Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal


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Slime Squisher

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Post Monday, 14th June 2021, 15:42

Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

I have been trying to implement this, but I was told I should probably get some feedback before trying to go through with it so here I am:

The Problem with DD

My main problem with DD, is that on paper, they have this cool gameplay gimmick about turning HP in a strategic resource rather than a tactical one. However the reality is that this design falls flat in its implementation. This is because though HP is a strategic resource for DD, they get to use healing abilities and spells normally, which ruins the design, because there spells and abilities are designed for races that will use them tactically rather than strategically.

Thought having variety in difficulty depending on choice is fine, I think just getting to bypass your intended weaknesses by picking X is not great. It also encourages degenerate gameplay like leaving pens of weak enemies, pick up whatever vampiric weapon you found and go clear them only when you start needing some HP. This is what happens when you let players use stuff meant to be used tactically strategically.

My proposed solution.

These tools are tactical tools for other races. So make them tactical for DD too. Since for them HP is a strategic resource, make them give something tactical/temporary instead. You would still benefit from Makhled and Vampiric stuff, but you wouldn't be encouraged to herd.

An idea would be to turn sources of healing in temporary HP - but this might be complicated to implement because it would require GUI changes. Instead, I would propose that healing sources give DD a significant temporary empowerment of their shaving - very powerful in the right situations that encourages using this empowerment tactically, rather than abusing it strategically.

I would make potions still heal normally, while also giving the buff since they are limited.

This would balance out their god choices, make Vampiring Draining decebt rather than scummy.

Since now DD would be forced to rely more on their innate ability to heal out of combat, players might more often reach the endgame with cripplingly low amounts of MP. Since I don't think this is a particularly fun situation to be in, I would make lvl 27 DDs get an ability that would let them forfeit their resiliency (damage shaving, 10% of the HP and natural rN go) in return of their ability to regenerate and all the previously expended MP - IMO a reasonable trade-off. Their resiliency could be reflavored as an ancient racial curse powerful DD's can break.


I know many people would be in favor of just removing them, but I personally think that their gimmick is actually pretty cool, just not done right.

Spider Stomper

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Post Monday, 14th June 2021, 16:49

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

Personally, I'd rather go the other direction of being the heal-on-kill species. That is, current HP and maxHP are the same thing, so no other form of healing works at all (in particular, no more innate heal-wounds); but you get an HP increase for everything you kill.

Zot Zealot

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Post Monday, 14th June 2021, 21:55

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

I personally like your idea, it's better than the status quo. I would like the temporal hp version better though, the ui problem does not sounds so severe, in fact it would be much more transparent mechanic. It could work similarly to poison display.

Note, however, that this may not fix the big problem with DD, which all proposed versions share. In dcss there are a huge number of popcorn, and they can damage you if you just press tab. It is very desirable for a DD to tediously use tactics that avoid damage in every otherwise trivial fight. This is what makes DD unbearable without infinite healing, like makhleb or vampirism weapons (which makes the whole mechanic pointless).Strategic hp simply doesn't work in dcss, no matter what.
Last edited by sanka on Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 06:58, edited 1 time in total.

Blades Runner

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Post Monday, 14th June 2021, 21:58

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

Since they don't get any natural regeneration of HP, I wouldn't exactly call Mahkleb , vampiric draining, and Vampiric weapons "scummy" - more like, required since what are they going to do otherwise? Play the whole game with no HP regeneration other than heals from dropping max health? I haven't played a lot of DD, but that's because I don't really like the whole setup, and I am also very put off by permanent drop skills and spells to the point that I'd rather not play or use them, even if they could be functional at times. I think the entire premise of this species is a bit wonky, but I suppose the damage shaving is still a bit of a unique mechanism.

Personally, I'd just give them regeneration and then if they're too powerful with damage shaving, nerf them in some other way to compensate. I don't know what offhand (maybe regen from items doesn't work and all life-on-kill effects also don't function), but feel like pretty much anything else would be better. Ghouls are already sort of the health-on-kills race. Gargoyles are the tough race, but in a slightly different way that DD at least. If they aren't changed, it doesn't bother me either - I just won't play them. More power to anyone who enjoys it.

Slime Squisher

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Post Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 15:34

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

It's been proposed before, but I still think heal-on-explore is a workable option. The rate could be variable, so that short/small but intense branches (think Tomb) don't become hopelessly difficult; variable rates could even balance out the most common criticism of heal-on-explore, namely that Crawl (still, sadly) has branches that are infinite.

To both prevent players creating "fridges" of unexplored territory, and to provide an interesting tactical healing option, taking a down staircase could instantly provide all the remaining healing that would be available on the current level.

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andrew

Mines Malingerer

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Post Friday, 18th June 2021, 10:49

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

It's an unworkable concept to do right.

I guess its kept because people enjoy it as it is now as a gimmick.

Spider Stomper

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Post Friday, 18th June 2021, 13:28

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

I see it just as the "you must use Makhleb" species at the moment (yes, I once won a DDBe, but it was tedious and unfun). I don't have a problem with it, but it doesn't have much to do with strategic HP.
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Barkeep

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Post Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 18:47

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

I think the fundamental problem with strategic HP is that it encourages you to do what you can to not take damage, ever, and that encourages degenerate gameplay. I'm not really sure how the OP's proposal would work — if Mak doesn't really heal you but instead increases damage shaving, you still need really work to not take damage since even 1HP lost is lost until you quaff a potion. And HP == MaxHP with heal on kills lets you bank a ton of MaxHP, but you still have a really strong incentive to not take damage... while also letting you just steamroll through the occasional otherwise dangerous encounter. (And making torment a strategic nightmare instead of a tactical challenge.)

I think that rest-to-heal is paired up with some other things about Crawl that are maybe not, like, #1 best game design ever, but are really hard to avoid in a giant roguelike dungeon crawl. DD's current set of compromises seem like a pretty decent way of making a species that doesn't heal on rest.
I am not a very good player. My mouth is a foul pit of LIES. KNOW THIS.

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andrew, Majang

Spider Stomper

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Post Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 21:23

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

HP == maxHP with heal on kills was intended primarily to solve the "keep weak enemies alive" problem, and to get rid of the strong incentive to use Makhleb. I agree that you would still be strongly incentivized to avoid taking damage; but you'd also be strongly incentivized to kill things. I'm not sure I'd call the result degenerate, just different. Yes, torment would have to be special-cased somehow; either give DD massive torment resistance, or make it have a totally different effect on them (e.g. double all incoming damage for the next n auts).

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 21:40

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

andrew wrote:I see it just as the "you must use Makhleb" species at the moment (yes, I once won a DDBe, but it was tedious and unfun). I don't have a problem with it, but it doesn't have much to do with strategic HP.

I won one with Cheibriados. The question is how much do you want to spam vampiric draining? Start as necromancer, you can have it online by ~level 4 before you have to use too many heal wounds...

Spider Stomper

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Post Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 22:05

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

How did you handle Spider? Doesn't Vampiric Draining not work there?

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 22:13

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

I think most of the spiders are natural holiness, so you can vamp drain them. Of the common spawns I think only demonic crawlers are demons, so don't drain those. Sadly the morgue of my run was lost due to server shutdown, so I can't link it. It's on my overall scoring page though.

Spider Stomper

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Post Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 23:31

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

Why did I think it went based on bloodiness?

Blades Runner

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Post Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 05:55

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

I guess you could also try to play one with Wereblood (or whatever it's called), The lvl2 transmutation... it now gives a little bit of life per kill. Song-of-Slaying <- that renamed. I think the life gain is better than the slaying bonus :D

Tasonir, playing an entire game regenerating from vampiric draining.. that's just masochistic!

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andrew, Majang

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 1st July 2021, 22:01

Re: Deep Dwarf Mini-Rework Proposal

Partially yes, but really, it isn't too bad once you get your starting skills in place. You want enough to be able to cast vamp draining with good spellpower and also some levels in your basic weapon/fighting/armor/dodging mix. Then instead of just tabbing everything, you alternate between tab and 1, which is your macro to vamp drain whatever is in front of you. It's the same amount of keypresses in the end, just two different keys.

I do think I ended up with something like 6000 casts of it, but sadly, the morgue's gone now. I know other players have done it though, it wasn't even an original idea, I did it after seeing someone else's morgue of doing it :)

The general idea is that with deep dwarf damage shaving, heavy armor, very high EV (due to chei + dodging), and good spellpower on vamp draining (free heals) you are about as maximally damage resistant as you can get in crawl. Throw in statue form for good measure!

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andrew

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