The current state of summoning


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Blades Runner

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Post Friday, 10th September 2021, 06:08

The current state of summoning

Excited by the recent changes to summoning (no xp drain), I set out to see how it would play out in trunk. I built a very evil demonspawn and made a point to focus deeply on necromancy and summoning skills primarily. I can't complain much about the mutations, as I got that my health and mana were shared, with fast mana regeneration and that mana would replenish instead of health when it was low. What's not to like about that, right? I also can't complain much about the drops I got - they were ok. Majin-Bo, and some other nice weapons (though I got claws so I tried unarmed combat).

The result? It was fantastic the entire game, against the living. Infestation was particularly great, the new cactus summon was great, lightning spire pretty good... summon horrible things was solid. I could vamp drain stuff and tear stuff up pretty well once I got my army going. All well and good, even clearing Zot 5 out.

Well, then I got to extended with nothing but pan/hell/tomb left. Armed with necromutation that I could cast fairly well just from my high necromancy, I figured, I'd see how it goes. I had started the game with Gozag, but switched to Mak for the life on kills. Well, to my surprise at first, I realized I got no life on kill when my summons killed stuff. Oh well, no big deal so long as I could still drain stuff and use vampiric tactics. I set off to try my hand in tomb.

On paper, I figured, I should be able to weather the torments fairly well with necromutation while my army of summons burned down the enemies. It didn't go well. Smites were badly damaging, my armies got crushed pretty quickly, I got no life on kill from what they did manage to kill, and I couldn't quaff any potions to recover. That left blink and teleport as the primary means to reset the fight. The mummies summoning stuff triggered lots of traps though, and without a fast way to clear out the quickly booming piles of enemies, it would just deteriorate into a mess. Now, I can handle tomb without spells, but it generally requires lots of fog, blink and silence scrolls to whittle it down to a sane state. But, I didn't want to test the build in this manner--I wanted to see how well the summons could fight back. It was an awful mess.

What's the main problem? If the build isn't some stealthy ninja build, it's easily overwhelmed without AOE. AOE spells are barely compatible with summoning, except for perhaps ignition. I didn't train ignition since it didn't fit in with my test, and if I were to do it, it would then be used way more exclusively than the summons since I'd get more bang for my buck getting life and mana back when things died, and the hordes of summons would have been kept under better control than summons. Probably this level 8 spell would have done better on it's own than all the entire summoning and necromancy spell schools combined. If I wasn't invested in summoning, it could be another flavor, pick one - "tornado", chain lightning, shatter, firestorm - whatever, they'd all return life.

To further contrast the situation with a build that can take tso - it will get life AND mana per kill, and if it's focused either on axes or a big AOE spell, or even with neither of these, it'll still perform better from holy blasts (invoked), and on top of that still be able to quaff potions. But, what about torment? Well, yeah it still hurts, but the fact of the matter is that you can basically melee until you're low on health/mana, then drop a nuke and you're back on top again. The demonspawn with summoning couldn't do anything but just get beat down until the need to retreat and reset the fight happens.

This is an example in tomb, but the same basic issues apply through the rest of extended since they have torment, although it's perhaps not quite at the level of the tomb.

What's the conclusion: summoning/necromancy and vampiric effects can make for an outstanding standard game, but get really awful in extended. I can understand some trade-offs, but such a large gap doesn't seem called for. What's the fix? I'm not sure! For starters, if mak accepted kills from summons to restore life, that would have possibly tipped the scales. What's the problem with it, when you cast a whole lot of mana to get some sort-of-ok critters in extended and they take ages to kill something, meanwhile everything is mostly still targeting you.... versus, 8 or 9 mana and you can nearly wipe out a whole screen of enemies and get life for them almost immediately. Another fix might be to permit lichform to quaff potions. It's already a hefty investment, and getting confused a single time can still be the death of you. I like this solution less though since it would break interesting dynamics. If mak gave life for kills from summons though, the standard game could definitely be way too easy. Isn't there a middle ground somewhere that extended can be a bit less harsh on the undead/evil builds without a huge imbalance in the standard game?

When everything gets boiled down, it's a fight to keep health/mana up. I don't see anything more effective than AOE weapons (axes), and AOE spells combined with TSO, or Mak, and currently Mak is quite limiting for requiring personal kills, and not giving mana back (normally). Sure torment hurts the living more, but there are more than enough nasty situations like dispel undead, smite, lack of potions, lack of invocations to cast holy blasts that I don't see why evil builds need to be gimped by comparison.

And if anyone says you don't need any life on kills for extended, err... sure, there are edge cases, but come on. And to be clear, I'm not including stealthy "I stole all the runes and ran away from everything builds", I guess because, I just never have a good experience with that tactic, even though I'm aware some people can do that successfully. Sorry.

Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 10th September 2021, 17:03

Re: The current state of summoning

This post really belongs in DCA. I can’t say for sure without a morgue, but from your narrative it seems like a poorly built character being poorly piloted:

  • god swap from Gozag (gold distraction does work on ally kills, plus potion petition) to Makh (whose heal on kill has never worked with allies)
  • using the Majin Bo with not direct damage spells, paying hp for no benefit.
  • training unarmed for fighting along side summons (instead of a less xp intensive melee)
  • training necro and summons both deep enough for level 8 magic (xp might be better spent on defense)
  • no mention of: bvc, dispel undead, haunt, mana viper, dragons call, hydra (maybe you didn’t find them, but see Gozag)
  • not using power consumables (scrolls, when you can’t use potions because of the choice to necromutate)
  • (probably) not using tactics appropriate for your spells (assuming this based on your choice re consumables)

Maybe there is a “gap” but this narrative doesn’t illustrate one.

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Post Friday, 10th September 2021, 22:36

Re: The current state of summoning

I think, maybe play a few more games before submitting feedback? I don't think there is any design change I would run just one character against before critiquing. I mean, I came to a conclusion pretty quickly with certain things like the power level of Absolute Zero, but even then I had to have measurable change from my normal winrate before I spoke intelligently about it. Otherwise this is like a morgue dump without the most fascinating thing: the morgue

I'm also confused about using Majin Bo here. How is that a "nice" drop for a summon build? Its like having a "spellcasting [wands] powered by HP [MP]" mutation, except you don't get more power and you just lose HP
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Post Saturday, 11th September 2021, 03:48

Re: The current state of summoning

ebering wrote:This post really belongs in DCA. I can’t say for sure without a morgue, but from your narrative it seems like a poorly built character being poorly piloted:

  • god swap from Gozag (gold distraction does work on ally kills, plus potion petition) to Makh (whose heal on kill has never worked with allies)
  • using the Majin Bo with not direct damage spells, paying hp for no benefit.
  • training unarmed for fighting along side summons (instead of a less xp intensive melee)
  • training necro and summons both deep enough for level 8 magic (xp might be better spent on defense)
  • no mention of: bvc, dispel undead, haunt, mana viper, dragons call, hydra (maybe you didn’t find them, but see Gozag)
  • not using power consumables (scrolls, when you can’t use potions because of the choice to necromutate)
  • (probably) not using tactics appropriate for your spells (assuming this based on your choice re consumables)

Maybe there is a “gap” but this narrative doesn’t illustrate one.


* To be clear, it was a test to see how a summoning character would flow since the change. It was not a test of "can I beat extended in the most efficient manner possible".
* I didn't actually use the Majin-bo much at all beyond tinkering with it. I was only saying, the game wasn't devoid of some nice equipment - that didn't help a summoner. That was part of the point I was trying to illustrate. Come to think of it, I was wondering, why is there no staff for enhancing summoning spell power?
* I had the claws mutation, so the xp wasn't quite as wasted as it could have been vs. say training a weapon. At the point i raised it up higher, I already had fairly solid casting and defenses. Solid, but not helpful much past the standard game. I could have trained a weapon and it would have made a marginal difference.
* I was using haunt and dragon's call quite a bit. They didn't help much past the standard game. Haunt was a beast in the standard areas though. I would have taken dispel undead, but since it's range 1 now and single target (where the problem was hordes of enemy summons that buried me), I don't think it would have mattered that much versus swinging with the claws at single targets. Perhaps, I considered it at least a possible mistake after the fact. I don't know for sure though. I can't stand bvc for permanent stat loss, it's not a matter of optimal tactics, it just bothers me. My goal in games is to try to save spell slots for stuff that keeps me from ever needing something like bvc. It doesn't always work, but everything counts.
* I screw up and not use consumables every once in awhile. It's a hard lesson over time. No, I wasn't badly mismanaging them though. I had actually run out of blink scrolls, and was using teleport. From a tactical standpoint, I wasn't luring enough, as I should have been as a "weak" build for the circumstances. But, at that point I think I was sick of the pain. Other builds I know I could have done could easily charge straight in with a blaze of glory. I was reviewing summoning mainly, and not enjoying it past the standard game, probably the notion of such a painful continuation past where I was at was why I didn't play conservatively enough to "make it work".
* Not using tactics based on the spells, well... see above. As I said in the OP, my summons would get crushed, and not do a heck of a lot of damage, because in a large part due t the massive amounts of enemy summons. If AURA OF ABJURATION wasn't yanked from the game, yeah, well it might have been a different story with such high summoning skill, but if wishes were horses... It might not have been my best tactics ever, but it wasn't my worst. I've done the level so many times, I can tell when a build is painful or not. Now, if I had built ignition into the build, it could have been a much different story, but then if I did, I'd probably JUST want to use direct damage a lot more and what a waste of all the other spell training...

I understand it looks like I just gave an accounting of one character, but that's not exactly what my intent was. I was dusting off, "how does a late game summoner feel", but not from the standpoint of I barely know what I'm getting into and completely confused "what happened?!".

If I were to test again to prove my own theory of a gap wrong, I might instead try a non-lichform summoner with Kiku that relies on sublimation. Could be a better option, perhaps. As for Gozag ... ehhh.. you still have to get enough kills quickly enough to get that going. You don't really have a lot of time to fool around and the summons are slower to kill stuff than direct damage. What happens is that your allies all start fighting with enemy summons... so, would you still get the distract from allies killing summons? I suppose the potions would make quite a bit of a difference, but it's hard to say how it would stack up. My feeling is that it would be tougher. For that, I think I'll try wizmode though because I suspect it would be a frustrating waste of time. It's pretty easy to lose whatever is gained in a turn by drinking in that same turn, repeatedly.

Thanks for the comments.
Last edited by svendre on Saturday, 11th September 2021, 04:30, edited 3 times in total.

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Blades Runner

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Post Saturday, 11th September 2021, 04:19

Re: The current state of summoning

twelwe wrote:I think, maybe play a few more games before submitting feedback? I don't think there is any design change I would run just one character against before critiquing. I mean, I came to a conclusion pretty quickly with certain things like the power level of Absolute Zero, but even then I had to have measurable change from my normal winrate before I spoke intelligently about it. Otherwise this is like a morgue dump without the most fascinating thing: the morgue

I'm also confused about using Majin Bo here. How is that a "nice" drop for a summon build? Its like having a "spellcasting [wands] powered by HP [MP]" mutation, except you don't get more power and you just lose HP


I agree game changes should not be made solely based on the observations of any single game, or even close to it. No contest there - 100%.

In my defense though, I wasn't suggesting that. The changes are recent, and it's just the first detailed posting of a run through since those changes, and includes prior knowledge of playing summoners also. Sure, wizmode can be run and similar characters can be prefabricated and similar scenarios can be played over and over, and should be if modifications are being considered, but it does also somewhat lack the authenticity of providing an accounting of how things went from start to finish, and to build that way takes time. I'm sorry I didn't post a dump. I think I provided at least a fairly clear idea of what the character had though, so wouldn't be tough to replicate it. If I had to sum it up, it comes down to two main points:

* No life on kill options for heavily summoner oriented builds as bad guys with Mak...
* Without AOE, at least in the tomb, the enemy summons combined with the traps makes it quite a tough run to handle as compared to direct damage builds, or even more heavily focused melee builds that blink to stairs and stair dance.

The changes happened only a few days or a week ago? I posted to get some dialog and thoughts, counter-points, counter-observations, all that good stuff. Nothing more, nothing less. Discussion has to start somewhere right?

Shoals Surfer

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Post Saturday, 11th September 2021, 16:26

Re: The current state of summoning

Playing a pure summoner with the new changes feels overwhelmingly better than in previous versions, though it's still a difficult play style most of the time. Finding the right balance of xp distribution between spell power, defenses, and utility is a challenge, but at least now there is actually enough xp to have a choice about where to invest. The summons' AI feels greatly improved as well; they don't need to be constantly micromanaged anymore, which is huge. All an all, it feels like a very positive change.

Blades Runner

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Post Saturday, 11th September 2021, 19:24

Re: The current state of summoning

Since more tests were mentioned, the next game I can present some "interesting" results. It wasn't a summoner so it doesn't demonstrate that, but it does the opposite as a contrast. It was a Djinni that got all high level spells as necromantic and summoning skills (and then shunned them), including:

BVC
Summon Horrible Things
Death's Door

The only "not evil" spell I got at level 8 was crystal spear, which I didn't use. Basically, the game flowed normally with low/mid level casting meshed with melee in a hybrid fashion. I started with Gozag, and when the standard game was cleared, I ditched him for TSO. My fourth rune was the tomb, and while it wasn't the absolutely easiest combo since I didn't have my choice of spells, it flowed way better to just axe things to death. I cleared 15 runes, and until the end of the game, surprisingly, the most useful spell turned out to be the level 4 flame wave. Flame wave ended up being the best way to clear the angels level in Pan. Conjure lightning balls also were pretty good, but more-so in the mid-game.

Unrelated, but foxfire, scorch and flame wave are a nicely built set to revamp fire elementalists. They were fun and all useful.

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/svendre/svendre.txt

Blades Runner

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Post Saturday, 11th September 2021, 19:53

Re: The current state of summoning

Alight I came up with a proposed solution (given that the problem isn't nailed yet, ok?) Just for constructive thought:

Bring back aura of abjuration, but only as a level 7 or 8 spell for summoners. I think this would alleviate the problem enough that the rest could be left well enough alone. It makes sense from a flavor stadpoint since a lot of summoning monsters can abjure. This wouldn't make summoners much more powerful for the opening/mid game like adjusting Mak would. The opening game probably in it's current state needs *more nerfing* for summoners, although I like that the solution is no longer xp drain.

Going to mak giving life on kills by summoned creatures would still not work as well, I think, due to the problem of enemy summons, but would alleviate the situation at the big cost of a major shift across all levels of the game, and further overpower summoners in the opening game. Combined with sublimation and necromutation it could be crazy too good.

Another idea is to adjust the abilities of Kiku to not conflict as much with necromantic spells (no need for torment resistance if you're lichform), not quite a direct line to the issue, but something that I think the game could benefit from anyhow. Something along the lines of switching the torment protection over to an AOE dispel undead. I don't know though, this last one is really just half-baked. I think my first suggestion combined with slowing down summoners in the earlier parts of the game would be better overall.

Edit: or, perhaps instead of an AOE dispel undead, Kiku could be arming players with aura of abjuration... that could be justified that Kiku hates that the enemy summons can't be raised into undead, and only hamper allied undead. This would keep a powerful feature like this out of the hands of anyone not with Kiku (god ability only), and be quite useful for undead army style builds even into the other areas of extended where demons are summoned. As a piety consuming ability, it should keep it from becoming an always-on buff, which I don't know for sure, but guess was one of the reasons for taking it out, similar to haste and other charms.

Dungeon Master

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Post Sunday, 12th September 2021, 08:15

Re: The current state of summoning

Proposing a solution requires a clear problem and problem statement, which you’ve yet to provide.

BVC is shorthand for Borgjnor’s Vile Clutch, the L5 earth/necro zombie hands spell that has beam targeting and ignores friendlies. It seems like you’re confusing it with revivification.

Blades Runner

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Post Sunday, 12th September 2021, 15:07

Re: The current state of summoning

ebering wrote:Proposing a solution requires a clear problem and problem statement, which you’ve yet to provide.

BVC is shorthand for Borgjnor’s Vile Clutch, the L5 earth/necro zombie hands spell that has beam targeting and ignores friendlies. It seems like you’re confusing it with revivification.


Yeah I confused that. The original game I never had BVC , (didn't find it), but it probably would have been a game changer. The problem, once again is:

* Enemies that summon lots of allies (and sometimes abjure yours) render summoners, particularly in the extended game fairly ineffective, and without much of a clear path to getting life back since vampiric doesn't work on much, and mak doesn't return life when allied summons kill enemies.

I am however working on a demonspawn summoner using Kiku to see how that goes (without using lichform). I'll post it later after I've seen how it goes.

Shoals Surfer

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Post Sunday, 12th September 2021, 16:48

Re: The current state of summoning

The preferred method of abjuring enemy summons is to kill the summoner, because it prevents further summons and awards XP. Player summoners do have a variety of tools for dealing with distant targets, even through enemy summoned creatures (starting with Lightning Spire and ending with Dragon's Call, with Spellforged Servitor being of particular note). Even without those, it's sometimes possible to use tactics like fleeing to wait for enemy summoned creatures to expire, or using stealth and terrain to ambush an enemy summoner at melee range, so your standard melee summons can get in and start mixing it up.

But what I have noticed is, when an enemy summoner is in a group or is otherwise alerted to your presence before entering LoS, it will start summoning creatures from safely outside of your LoS, and your own summons will not retaliate against the summoner because player summons are only allowed to fight when the player can see both the enemy to be fought and the summoned creature doing the fighting. Combine that with non-player entities having infinite MP, and it can lead to some deadlock situations that can be pretty frustrating. Maybe it would be a good idea to put a similar limitation on enemy summoners, so their summons will not attack anything the enemy summoner doesn't have LoS to? I don't really see potential for abuse with that change, because even if the players maneuver so they can kill the enemy summons without retaliation, what have they really accomplished? They didn't earn any XP, and they haven't made any progress towards killing the enemy summoner, who will no doubt just summon more enemies when LoS is restored.

Blades Runner

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Post Monday, 13th September 2021, 08:09

Re: The current state of summoning

Well, I'm about done with my demonspawn summoner of Kiku as my next test. This thing is a real monster. -6 ENC armour, +30% health, flames from blood, greater demon assist. It turned out quite nasty.

Summary:
I started with Kiku and kept Kiku. My first level 27 was summoning, and I made a point of staying on track with all summoning/necro and some mid/light defenses. It completely annihilated the standard game without flinching. Gear was "ok", and got much better later on. I tackled Tomb as my 4th rune, but this time beat it. It went reasonably smoothly. The big changes:

Kiku's torment protection and mummy curse protection was enough to pull it off without lichform. I stayed alive, and used sublimate.
I found a staff of wucad mu, and got evocations up to around 21 before entering the tomb. That was my last "big push" after getting summoning/necro online. It turned out to help immensely. I'd written that staff off, but it vindicated itself fairly well, particularly with this build.
The fire everywhere from blood triggered by summons fighting stuff, and was pretty brutal on everything, enemies and allies alike, but the short-lived duration of allies in general made the extra carnage a plus overall.
I had BVC - found it this game. Although it's level 5, it's probably the biggest game changer for this build.
I used Dispel Undead, which was most definitely handy. I probably could have survived without it, but it was well worth the 4 spell points.

So, yeah this combo worked, but was also pretty darn lucky with the mutations and the wucad staff. Hard to say how it would have been without those.

Moving past that, I started training fire for ignition and got that online clearing pan. I have just the 4 hells left to try out. Probably won't be too tough given the current state of this demonspawn from just the sheer beefiness of it. I'll find out tomorrow, calling it a night.

Conclusions:
Kiku is better for sure... and to keep for all extended, for a summoning build.
BVC was probably the biggest reason why I got the impression summoners weren't viable in the first run.
I may have misjudged things a bit initially (yes I can admit when I'm wrong), however I'll say that while I think it's viable, it sure is a heck of a lot more work to play than a lot of other styles. You really have to make a lot more decisions and keep an eye on more things. It's a cross between fun and tedious. Here's the current dump if anyone's curious:

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/svendre/svendre.txt

Blades Runner

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Post Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 02:24

Re: The current state of summoning

Well, this is sucking. I've managed to work my way into Dis a bit at a time, but because of all the drains and the sheer amount of HP loss (with over 300) from taking hits and sublimate, and the summons not killing stuff nearly quickly enough - it's turned into a Grind-fest, having to dip back into Pan to fix drains of HP, stats, and lick my wounds. It's not that I'm making foolish choices, it just seems more like a question of math.

I'm gradually rebuilding the character so that it's more of a direct-damage character (like what I waltzed through all 15 runes previously without even hardly using spells late game) and may just change Kiku out for mak just to get this over with. That tells me, that while spells are pretty good in the opening/mid game, it's the same-old situation that the combined extra amount of xp needed to get spells online, still needing defenses, and mana being yet-another-thing to try to keep up, combined with an evil demonspawn (no tso), and a summoner-based build (mak worth much less)... just aren't as good as a lower xp melee build (or even spells) with functional life on kills.

Since the hells were revamped to be harder, and punish more for the time spent in there, it seems it's highlighted the core matter even more. I guess I got my analysis a bit mixed up about torment/summons, etc, being a root cause, but it's a bigger, deeper issue overall and these are just factors that highlight it more.

*I'm definitely not going to enjoy the extended game without playing more optimal builds* - The drains/contam/etc. are annoying if you're not very overpowered to be able rush through and the way they are applied at no fault of the player isn't my idea of fun. It's always going to be more "optimal" to grind the drains off in-between clearing the hells, so we now have a terrible grind-fest unless only highly specialized builds are used to overcome it with overpoweredness.

At this point, I now think Mak should just give life on kill for summons. That doesn't address everything, but then at least summons are no worse than direct damage spells, and a late game evil summoner can go at it just like so many other builds with level 9 spells. It'll break the rest of the game outside hells so badly, so either deal with the revised hells, or just make it work in the current hells...

I've meandered a lot in the course of this analysis, so I'm going to attempt to refocus my opinion of "the current state of summoning" with the new changes:

Opening game: Possibly the easiest of anything now. I think if I wanted to streak, it might be one of my top choices.
Early/mid game: Still very easy.
Tomb: Kind of ridiculous, but okay with Kiku. Kiku feels like a one-trick pony, and the entire reason to have him are the mummy curse and torment resistance.
Pan: Fine.
Hells: Awful. Don't try it unless you're masochistic. I'm not, so I doubt I'll be testing it much more without changes.

Final comments:
I like the cactus summon for level 6 and it has some fun uses. The level 7 menagerie spell seems like a waste of spell points, you should get at least 2 monsters for that much mana, and probably three IMO. I don't know how the too-easy, too-hard dichotomy from standard to extended issues can be easily solved without a whole heck of a lot of cans of worms being addressed, but one thing is clear: that turning up the volume on the difficulty level in the hells (and particularly the timed drains) has shined an even brighter light on the situation.

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Post Friday, 24th September 2021, 19:44

Re: The current state of summoning

svendre wrote:[ ..]Infestation was particularly great

[..]On paper, I figured, I should be able to weather the torments fairly well with necromutation while my army of summons burned down the enemies. It didn't go well. Smites were badly damaging, my armies got crushed pretty quickly, I got no life on kill from what they did manage to kill, and I couldn't quaff any potions to recover. That left blink and teleport as the primary means to reset the fight. The mummies summoning stuff triggered lots of traps though, and without a fast way to clear out the quickly booming piles of enemies, it would just deteriorate into a mess. Now, I can handle tomb without spells, but it generally requires lots of fog, blink and silence scrolls to whittle it down to a sane state. But, I didn't want to test the build in this manner--I wanted to see how well the summons could fight back. It was an awful mess.

[..]What's the conclusion: summoning/necromancy and vampiric effects can make for an outstanding standard game, but get really awful in extended. I can understand some trade-offs, but such a large gap doesn't seem called for. What's the fix? I'm not sure! For starters, if mak accepted kills from summons to restore life, that would have possibly tipped the scales. What's the problem with it, when you cast a whole lot of mana to get some sort-of-ok critters in extended and they take ages to kill something, meanwhile everything is mostly still targeting you.... versus, 8 or 9 mana and you can nearly wipe out a whole screen of enemies and get life for them almost immediately. Another fix might be to permit lichform to quaff potions. It's already a hefty investment, and getting confused a single time can still be the death of you. I like this solution less though since it would break interesting dynamics. If mak gave life for kills from summons though, the standard game could definitely be way too easy. Isn't there a middle ground somewhere that extended can be a bit less harsh on the undead/evil builds without a huge imbalance in the standard game?

[..]
And if anyone says you don't need any life on kills for extended, err... sure, there are edge cases, but come on. And to be clear, I'm not including stealthy "I stole all the runes and ran away from everything builds", I guess because, I just never have a good experience with that tactic, even though I'm aware some people can do that successfully. Sorry.


You had infestation.
I assume you had quaffed brilliance, invisibility and haste before going down to tomb2/3

Now you experience problems from summons/smite/torment/zot traps/ etc.

There is a very simple solution to this if you want infestation.
It's one of the most powerful (overpowered imo) items in the game in crowded arreas.

Potion of attraction

Step on an alarm trap before you go down to tomb2/3 to hasten the effect.

Now everything will be in a big pile around you.
By 'big pile' I mean: the few empty spaces your army of scarabs leave open to be occupied.
It will also save you a lot of mp and turns if you have to cast infestation just a few times.

There is no Torment from the edge of LOS anymore.
They will move immediately.
There is also hardly any space for enemy summons anymore, too.

You don't need a potion of attraction, it just makes it easier.
Infestation is about snowballing.

These are 5 vampires (since you wrote about the problems Undead face in tomb) of Okawaru/trog in 0.27 (no heal on kills) if you are interested:
https://crawl.xtahua.com/crawl/morgue/N ... 173657.txt
https://crawl.xtahua.com/crawl/morgue/N ... 031602.txt
https://crawl.xtahua.com/crawl/morgue/N ... 222604.txt
https://crawl.xtahua.com/crawl/morgue/N ... 140009.txt
https://crawl.xtahua.com/crawl/morgue/N ... 022150.txt

4 of them iirc were a hs-game (missed Yermaks Be by 1k).
No heal on kills. (trog is without infestation ofc).
By 'hs-game' I wanted to stress that it didn't take me ages to get prepared/ready and it is pretty * repeatable *.
There are even stronger gods for it.

By 'stealth lets you pick battles' I meant: *I* can pick whether I want a battle or not.
This means I don't fight in Pan if I don't want to.
Check the log for successful killings of every (iirc) named Hell/Pan Lord.

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