Please get rid of ally based XP drain


Although the central place for design discussion is ##crawl-dev on freenode, some may find it helpful to discuss requests and suggestions here first.

User avatar

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 845

Joined: Monday, 31st January 2011, 23:19

Post Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 11:14

Please get rid of ally based XP drain

New thread since the last one got locked.

Basically, counterintuitive hidden mechanics should be removed. If you were playing without spoilers, you'd not know there was a summoning experience penalty. And if you do know it exists, you end up doing tedious things to avoid it.

Finally, it has no real impact on the game, no one likes it, and it really just comes down to being something that sounded like a good idea, turned out to be terrible, everyone hated it, and somehow just hasn't been remove yet for whatever reason.

So can we just remove it and add reduced experience for summons to the "bad idea, don't suggest" list?

For this message the author snow has received thanks: 2
quik, rigrig

Swamp Slogger

Posts: 142

Joined: Friday, 13th December 2019, 01:33

Post Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 14:53

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

I think the idea is that it's a mild nerf to summons, but mild enough that one won't do tedious things to avoid it. Do you think it is optimal to do those tedious things?
User avatar

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 845

Joined: Monday, 31st January 2011, 23:19

Post Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 07:56

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

Yes it's optimal. If you're a summoner, you are encouraged to tediously drag yaks up stairs one by one to kill them instead of just summoning a demon or something.

If you want to nerf summoning just make the skill require more xp. Here's how people actually use it: they tab through the game and learn a single summoning spell to kill a few hard things. So the current reduced experience literally does nothing but add tedium and doesn't accomplish the original goal.

Zot Zealot

Posts: 1024

Joined: Tuesday, 4th January 2011, 15:03

Post Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 11:32

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

It does not matter whether it is optimal to tediously avoid using summons whenever possible or not. If it is not optimal, then why we have a hidden mechanic, which seems to encourage this? Simple remove it. If it is optimal, then it is a bad mechanic, so remove it.

Summons are still strong, but I think they could be changed to be better - and the first step could be to remove the XP penalty that seem to be balancing them but it is not.

I would change every ally to (almost) immediately expire if they do not have a target. So you can not summon before battle, you have to do it during battle.
Last edited by sanka on Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 11:58, edited 1 time in total.

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 891

Joined: Thursday, 16th August 2018, 21:19

Post Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 11:40

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

I agree, these hidden strategic costs are annoying.

If summoning spells are too powerful, increase their spell level (and nerf Dragon's Call). If invokable summons are too powerful, increase their piety cost. If evokable summons are too powerful, nerf the evokables.

Get rid of ally based XP drain.
User avatar

Blades Runner

Posts: 624

Joined: Monday, 24th April 2017, 11:46

Post Thursday, 7th January 2021, 09:59

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

Please keep the XP drain, and just make it more public. Playing with allies is optimal play, but it is also the most annoying and tedious way to win Crawl. Those who now claim that XP drain has no impact know full well that it takes away up to half their experience, depending on play style, and they want this to go away, so they can play this with even more OP characteristics.

Instead, strengthen the options to play Crawl without dangling the need to engage in tedious game mechanics in front of new and even experienced players.
Maɟaŋ
User avatar

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 845

Joined: Monday, 31st January 2011, 23:19

Post Thursday, 7th January 2021, 11:40

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

Majang, I don't like how you're implying we are being dishonest and just want to make the game easier. The way experience scales between branches in the game, -50% experience really isn't a big deal. The issue is how it's super annoying to know you're not playing optimally when you use allies vs drag things up stairs one by one.

Also, using allies in general isn't even something that's overpowered. It's usually a heavy skill investment, and you only use them in corner cases. I get that you played a summoner once, hated it, and think the entire skill sucks, but that's probably because you were playing it wrong. You really don't want to use allies in every fight regardless of experience penalties, that's just not a good strategy.

Your post reflects that you have these theories about allies, which totally make sense to be honest, but just are not how things are in practice. You think that you should always summon allies, but for example they just get wrecked in hallways, are not good vs packs, etc. Summoning is only annoying when you try to use it for every situation and it doesn't work. Their main use is swarming a single target or distracting enemies while you run. Summoning starts kill most things with their equipped weapon, and are hell to play if you try to put all points into summoning (which sounds like what you're describing).

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 891

Joined: Thursday, 16th August 2018, 21:19

Post Thursday, 7th January 2021, 13:11

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

Pure summoners can actually be quite fun.
But only if I force myself not to think about the XP penalty.

At the end of a pure summoner game you can kill literally everything with Dragon's Call / Summon Horrible Thinks / Mana vipers etc.
It's about as OP as Ice / Fire / Earth / Air magic.
I'd still train 12 weapon skill to make popcorn less annoying, which I'd do with any mp-reliant character.

The only "optimal" build which uses *a few* allies *most of the time* that I can think of is the hexer / mana viper / sprigans knife build. It's usually best to optimise for weapons *or* for magic.
User avatar

Blades Runner

Posts: 624

Joined: Monday, 24th April 2017, 11:46

Post Thursday, 7th January 2021, 16:51

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

snow wrote:Majang, I don't like how you're implying we are being dishonest and just want to make the game easier.

Yes, I think I deserved that. Please take my apologies. Your post is the first well-reasoned defence of summoning I've read so far. You are completely correct with all your assumptions about me. Again, sorry.
Maɟaŋ
User avatar

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 845

Joined: Monday, 31st January 2011, 23:19

Post Thursday, 7th January 2021, 21:40

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

Petercordia, I used to think that way too. But actually it's better to put points into both melee and magic instead of going for something like fire storm or crystal spear. It's a newbie trap that makes the game much harder. Sure once you get high level spells you can nuke everything, but when you're lower level, you really want to conserve your MP tactically (leaning on melee) and spread your skill points, avoiding high level skills strategically. Once you start doing lair branches, every "caster" should look about the same regardless of your start: lots of low level spells to use whatever is best tactically, instead of going all in one one skill to try to nuke things. That is, basically everyone should learn a few hexes. The +x and -x on the skill screen doesn't really matter since they mostly just average out when you spread your points around.

EDIT

Thinking about this more, there are many ways to win at crawl, so I'm not going to try to argue my strategies are best, since they might not be. Personally I lean on hexes in most of my games, but I guess you could lean on summoning more, and in that case the experience penalties might matter more. I will still argue, however, that even then it's not enough to effect your chance of winning, since the experience curve is so steep and you get so much more experience the lower you go that even getting half experience all game only puts you maybe a level or two behind, and worst case you can make that up by just not skipping crypt or elf, which easily gets you to 27 by zot. And if we're talking extended, you generally get more experience than you'd ever need regardless.

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 891

Joined: Thursday, 16th August 2018, 21:19

Post Friday, 8th January 2021, 13:10

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

I never find MP a real issue before Pan/Hell because of stairdancing.

Crawl is "easy" enough that many different strategies can win, so long as you're patient enough to employ the right tactics. If you like training some weapon skill & hexes early, good for you. I don't really like low-powered hexes myself, because they don't help with the toughest enemies (Death Yaks, Hydras, etc).

The main effect of the XP drain for me, is that a summoner can't really diversify to other spell schools. It's quite possible to learn Dragon's Call after learning a level-9 elemental spell (or a level 8 hex), but trying to learn Absolute Zero after learning Dragons Call doesn't seem like a good idea. (I don't remember for certain whether I tried, but I know for sure you end up with sub-par defences.)

Spider Stomper

Posts: 235

Joined: Sunday, 11th September 2016, 17:21

Post Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 08:13

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

My biggest problem with the summoner XP penalty is that it doesn't apply if you land the final blow. This is a problem because it incentivizes players to do tedious things like ordering summons to stop attacking when the enemy is almost dead and finish it off to avoid the XP penalty. This is not only tedious, but damages replay value, as having fewer effective strategies to choose from means players will tend to become bored more quickly. If Summoning magic really is so overpowered that general character growth needs to be nerfed to compensate (and I don't believe it is... at least, not in its current form), then the penalty should apply in full to any enemy damaged by a summon.
User avatar

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 4366

Joined: Wednesday, 23rd October 2013, 07:56

Post Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 10:43

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

Nekoatl wrote:My biggest problem with the summoner XP penalty is that it doesn't apply if you land the final blow.

Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that you get reduced XP in relation to how big part of the damage was done by your allies, down to 50%, regardless of who landed the final blow.
DCSS: 79: ...{CeWnMfBeMiSk}DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCKSpAE
GrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}
SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu{FoArNaBe}FeEE{HOIEMiAE}GrGlHuWrGnWrNaAK
Bloat: 6: RaRoPrPh{GuStGnCa}{ArEtZoNb}

For this message the author Sprucery has received thanks: 2
Majang, petercordia

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 6419

Joined: Tuesday, 30th October 2012, 19:06

Post Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 16:46

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

Sprucery wrote:
Nekoatl wrote:My biggest problem with the summoner XP penalty is that it doesn't apply if you land the final blow.

Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that you get reduced XP in relation to how big part of the damage was done by your allies, down to 50%, regardless of who landed the final blow.

This is correct, the "final blow" thing was changed a very long time ago.
Spoiler: show
This high quality signature has been hidden for your protection. To unlock it's secret, send 3 easy payments of $9.99 to me, by way of your nearest theta band or ley line. Complete your transmission by midnight tonight for a special free gift!

For this message the author Siegurt has received thanks:
andrew

Spider Stomper

Posts: 235

Joined: Sunday, 11th September 2016, 17:21

Post Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 22:53

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

Last I heard was if your summon gets the kill, you get at least 50%, and potentially more based on damage you dealt direct, but if you get the kill, you get full XP. My recent gameplay in Trunk seems to reflect this, but that could be coincidence. And, if there was a note in the simplified commit notes saying the full XP for a final blow was removed, it wasn't written in a way that any of my several search attempts could find. Are you saying the game now always uses the XP split formula regardless of who gets the last kill? If so, that's an improvement, but it doesn't completely eliminate the problem, as players are still incentivized to use silly tactics like summon beefy allies and tell them not to attack at all, using them as temporary walls only.

Besides, intuitive summoner play (i.e. using your summons to kill things) is hardly safe, as many enemies can kill you through your summons, and high-level Summoning magic often comes with inherent risks on top of that, not to mention trying to use Summoning magic to defeat a group of strong monsters is one of the least efficient and effective uses of MP in the game. There's enough incentive to diversify from Summoning magic usage without applying hidden character growth penalties, IMO, but if you really want to punish Summoning magic, I think a better way to do it would be to introduce some enemies that can use Aura of Abjuration, that way players would get normal XP and after experiencing mass removal of their summons, would be able to use the XP they're not being penalized by to choose some alternate method of dealing with those threats. It would allow for more diversity of choice in strategy, and would be more intuitive and transparent than a hidden XP penalty.

For this message the author Nekoatl has received thanks:
petercordia

Shoals Surfer

Posts: 329

Joined: Monday, 12th September 2016, 16:25

Post Monday, 18th January 2021, 14:33

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

Nekoatl wrote:Last I heard was if your summon gets the kill, you get at least 50%, and potentially more based on damage you dealt direct, but if you get the kill, you get full XP. My recent gameplay in Trunk seems to reflect this, but that could be coincidence. And, if there was a note in the simplified commit notes saying the full XP for a final blow was removed, it wasn't written in a way that any of my several search attempts could find. Are you saying the game now always uses the XP split formula regardless of who gets the last kill?

  Code:
_calc_player_experience()
in mon-death.cc is the relevant function (and yes, it does, there's no "last hitting").

I think a better way to do it would be to introduce some enemies that can use Aura of Abjuration, that way players would get normal XP and after experiencing mass removal of their summons, would be able to use the XP they're not being penalized by to choose some alternate method of dealing with those threats. It would allow for more diversity of choice in strategy, and would be more intuitive and transparent than a hidden XP penalty.


Other than all the enemies that can abjure summons already?
Ascension reports with too many words since 2016.

For this message the author damerell has received thanks:
Nekoatl

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 891

Joined: Thursday, 16th August 2018, 21:19

Post Monday, 18th January 2021, 16:01

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

Nameless horrors have "Abjure monster", and all summoners can cast that spell at a reduced frequency, but it never really feels like a summoner has much to fear from them. If anything you need a few more summons than you're used to, but it's easily workable.
(As it should be as long as summon-XP drain is a thing)

For this message the author petercordia has received thanks:
Nekoatl

Spider Stomper

Posts: 235

Joined: Sunday, 11th September 2016, 17:21

Post Monday, 18th January 2021, 20:14

Re: Please get rid of ally based XP drain

I didn't realize that Abjuration is now more widely available (the wiki has not updated all, or perhaps any, of the relevant monster pages to indicate this). What I had in mind was a bit stronger, though, outright banishing summons rather than accelerating their expiration. I agree that with current tuning, monster Abjuration isn't impactful enough to invalidate Summoning magic as a strategy against enemies that can cast it, at least in most cases I've encountered so far.

Return to Game Design Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by ST Software for PTF.