Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple


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

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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 19:24

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

I just looked at the proportion in this thread. It already says that it's not uncommon to think this way. Those who don't state their opinion, don't count, but I'm sure if it would be obligatory and we would make every player think about it and decide we would have that large portion. And I mean thoroughly think it out.

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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 19:32

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Game design is not decided by vote -- thanks all the gods for this.

Question B5b of the 2012 DCSS survey ("If you haven't ever won the game yet, what was the furthest you got?" yielded the following results:
  Code:
- 10.9%   never deeper than first few levels of the dungeon
-  9.8%   reached the Temple
- 28.0%   reached Orc and Lair
- 17.4%   reached Vaults
- 15.2%   had one or two runes in one game
-  7.4%   had three different runes (possibly in different games)
-  8.7%   My best character died in Zot
-  2.6%   N/A

I'll go out on a limb and declare that for the first two subsets of players (907 participants), the existence of the Temple is relevant.

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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 19:38

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

dpeg wrote:Game design is not decided by vote -- thanks all the gods for this.

I must agree here, as generally I find DCSS is quite stylish and flavourful or I woudn't play it for all these years. But not in this case. I don't think it's that relevant in this discussion. If they remember reaching the temple it just shows that their memory works properly, not that it was particularly important.

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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 19:40

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

I do like the idea someone came up with for the temple being *between* two levels of the dungeon (So it's something you have to pass through) rather than it being an offshoot. But then I like the idea of the Dungeon being broken up into more sections (I liked breaking it into the dungeon and the Depths, and breaking it up into say.. "The caves" and "The dungeon" with the temple in between would feel nice and natural to me, after all, that would give the dungeon something to be a dungeon *of*
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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 20:11

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Amnesiac wrote:Probably no use to argue with devs, but I just can't keep silent, when you say "it's milestone", "it's pantheon" without providing real points for the gameplay


Game play is not the *only* consideration, and no good arguments have been made for why game play would be improved by removing Temple (particularly from you). Bart's posts come the closest, but I think the possibility that the Temple has tough guys around it creates (possibly) interesting tension. The same can be said for when a strong unique or nasty band of enemies are hanging out around entrance to Lair. The existence of staircases in the game, in general, creates these possibilities and it is a good thing. So that counts as a point in favor of keeping Temple, in my view. (I'll address the aesthetic considerations in a moment, but let's continue with game play for a bit longer.)

The above is just one example, but I suspect that having a large number of altars condensed in one area (the ET), with overflow altars guaranteed by D9 (sometimes with neat little vaults), plus some flat chance of random altar (vault) spawning, gives better variation, game play choices, and replay value than just having random altars would. Some of the ET designs might leave something to be desired but that can easily be fixed by designing new Temples.

Religion is a big factor in Crawl and it is nice that you *know* that if you can survive to D7 you are extremely likely to get choice of any god you want. It gives a nice balance of having a strategic or longer-term goal in mind, while also presenting possible challenges to that plan. "So you want to worship Okawaru—but are you sure you wouldn't worship Zin if you get the altar from D2?" In that situation it is good to know that you can take Zin on D2, but also know that if you make it to Temple, which could be as early as D4, you have a very high chance of getting to worship Okawaru. The tension between planning and new opportunities is more interesting game play in that situation compared to just having it be random. If altar spawning was random, you would nearly always want to worship the first halfway decent god you come across. That's often the case now, but the guarantee of Temple early on means that it is sometimes non-suicidally stupid not to worship the first strong god you come across. You could shorten the range of levels over which those random altars spawned—but in that case I think you would be inviting pretty big changes to game balance, which shouldn't be made willy nilly. Finally, I also think having Temple is better for letting people experiment with new gods. It gives much more significant bundling of gods than random spawn would, and so when someone is good enough with a certain species and/or background that they can get to Temple fairly reliably, I think it makes one a bit more willing to try out a new or unorthodox choice amongst this wide range of options you are presented with all of a sudden.

In terms of aesthetic and flavor:

The early vaults are interesting in part because they are somewhat exotic. If you were running into vaults for the 18 or 19 gods (and that number will probably go up over time) constantly, then the altar vaults would get pretty dull. You can add new ones, but the period of excitement and novelty from any new ones added would be really short. Right now, you run into probably something like one altar a level, on average. That seems exciting and fun, and it makes sense to want to see them more, but I think part of what makes those dungeon features neat is precisely that they aren't too common or widespread. I really doubt it would seem so exciting and fun if you were running into 4 altars or altar vaults per level, on average, throughout the early game. In every game.

"Milestone" isn't the correct word, perhaps, but the ET does correctly give a sense of the importance of religion in Crawl. In terms of flavor it works really well, because it matches the game play. Which is what flavor tries to do in Crawl, to tie together its aesthetic with the game play. Not to offer rationales on the basis of concerns regarding realism. So the "why are the gods all hanging out?" question is entirely beside the point, to my mind.

Removing temple would ultimately detract, not add, to the novelty of overflow altars and vaults, and since increasing one's enjoyment of those has really, as I see it, been the only reasonable justification offered for removing temple, I think it is best if it stays.

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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 20:30

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

At least few of my arguments - bad flavour(not just my opinion), temple diving encouragment(I've been succesfully doing it almost every time recently), lack of variety, dullness of the temples that look like a graveyard. How did you manage to miss those arguments?
And those who oppose the idea were not as specific, don't you find so? "The temple is a milestone for me" - Why? Why not getting a god to worship is your milestone? What's the point in the temple itself? "It's Pantheon?" - Pantheon is for greek mythology and greek gods, what does it have to do with crawl, why does it have to? That's the gist.

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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 20:53

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Amnesiac wrote:At least few of my arguments - bad flavour(not just my opinion), temple diving encouragment(I've been succesfully doing it almost every time recently), lack of variety, dullness of the temples that look like a graveyard. How did you manage to miss those arguments?
And those who oppose the idea were not as specific, don't you find so? "The temple is a milestone for me" - Why? Why not getting a god to worship is your milestone? What's the point in the temple itself? "It's Pantheon?" - Pantheon is for greek mythology and greek gods, what does it have to do with crawl, why does it have to? That's the gist.


The temple is a milestone for me because, short of a sewer, it's the first change from D. It marks a character transition if I pick up a God there, but even if I don't, it usually marks the point where I have some reliable escape methods in my inventory and can take the character a little more seriously. Even if it's a small temple with no Gods I want to worship, it feels like that character accomplished something by getting there. Having a "pantheon" is an established trope of the genre (look at all the D&D and/or Pathfinder Gods, demigods, religions, avatars, and divine powered classes), and I think that removing this can only take away flavor from the game, never add it.

Why isn't it a milestone for you? Why do you feel so strongly that the first Golden Staircase you can get to isn't important enough to remain in the game, despite being flavorful, and rather necessary before attempting the Orc mines?
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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 20:59

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Amnesiac wrote:At least few of my arguments - bad flavour(not just my opinion), temple diving encouragment(I've been succesfully doing it almost every time recently), lack of variety, dullness of the temples that look like a graveyard. How did you manage to miss those arguments?
And those who oppose the idea were not as specific, don't you find so? "The temple is a milestone for me" - Why? Why not getting a god to worship is your milestone? What's the point in the temple itself? "It's Pantheon?" - Pantheon is for greek mythology and greek gods, what does it have to do with crawl, why does it have to? That's the gist.


I don't know, did you present reasonable arguments in the thread that got locked? My apologies if you did. But posts like

Amnesiac wrote:Pft. Still, most temples look like a graveyard. At least having more vaults like those with a separate room for every altar would be nice. (and less of the other ones or none at all)


or

Amnesiac wrote:Temples also encourage temple diving which is somewhat bad considering the disign/balance.


are very low content. I would normally just ignore that, but when you then turned around and argued against another person's lack of rigor...

Thanks for reminding me of temple diving, though, that's another point in Temple's favor. It is generally a super-niche tactic outside of speedruns but if you can pull it off well with your particular species / background, then great. Another thing that would be lost if Temple were removed.
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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 21:04

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Amnesiac wrote:At least few of my arguments - bad flavour(not just my opinion)

Even if it's shared by others, it's still an opinion. And other others like the flavour in case you missed it.

temple diving encouragment(I've been succesfully doing it almost every time recently)

That's the worst argument ever. The fact that you didn't die doing it doesn't mean it's a good strategy. It's a terrible one. You take a lot of risk for minimal gain which is the definition of a bad strategy. Please, don't answer that this thread is already awful enough. If you really want to discuss this strategy, bring it to advice.

lack of variety

What, there aren't enough temple maps to your taste?

dullness of the temples that look like a graveyard

So, a couple of maps don't fit your taste, let's just remove the branch.

And those who oppose the idea were not as specific, don't you find so?

Except and into which did a good job at pointing out the good reasons for keeping the temple. Did you miss it? Too bad, because his arguments are much much better than yours. The gameplay justification doesn't swing your side. For the flavour, it's just taste, there's no point in discussing it. I probably won't discuss this much more as I doubt anything interesting can spawn from this thread.
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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 21:06

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Siegurt wrote:I do like the idea someone came up with for the temple being *between* two levels of the dungeon (So it's something you have to pass through) rather than it being an offshoot. But then I like the idea of the Dungeon being broken up into more sections (I liked breaking it into the dungeon and the Depths, and breaking it up into say.. "The caves" and "The dungeon" with the temple in between would feel nice and natural to me, after all, that would give the dungeon something to be a dungeon *of*


It was TeshiAlair, I believe, and I liked that idea too. Though part of the proposal was that no altars could spawn in "the caves" (i.e., before Temple) and I think that would be a very bad move. But you could easily have Caves --> Temple --> Dungeon [....] and have overflow and random altars spawn the same way they do now.

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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 21:12

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Well, to remind you I'm not the op and some people have the exactly same opinion as I have. It's just maybe that I defend my position more eagerly. Is it a bad thing?

Also, wrighting a lot doesn't mean it has a lot of meaning. and_into's arguments seem really hollow to me, since I don't really see any difference in finding temple by D:7 or finding an altar by D:9. What's the significance of the temple, other than that I know that I can skip first 3 levels to start looking for the concentration of altars. Is there any indication that it should be specifically in one location in and_into's post?
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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 21:35

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Amnesiac wrote:Well, to remind you I'm not the op and some people have the exactly same opinion as I have. It's just maybe that I defend my position more eagerly. Is it a bad thing?

No, the bad thing is that you didn't give any solid argument.

Also, wrighting a lot doesn't mean it has a lot of meaning. and_into's arguments seem really hollow to me, since I don't really see any difference in finding temple by D:7 or finding an altar by D:9.

If that's all you can pick from his post, then this discussion is worthless. Do I really have to quote his post? At this point, the idea is already in the won't do list and the discussion isn't going anywhere. The locking point is not far.
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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 21:52

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Ok, I'll give a more detailed answer to that and_into's post. 1) Significance of stairs doens't really have to do with the temple particularly. 2) Concentrating them all in one place doesn't really give more variation. What does are those rare guarded vaults, which are hundred times more fun. 3) Finding early altar, then another one, then another would actually give more variation, than just finding one early altar and the temple where you can choose all you want. 4) Having the temple or the whole part of D:1-D:9 of the dungeon being a one big temple is not any different, exept for the flavour reasons that I've already given. And this leads to 5) How is having a lot of separate vaults less exiting and dull and having most of them in one place every time is the opposite?. This also connects to the point of novelty. But if something is novel and something is not it doesn't mean that we need something bad to emphasize something good, we just need more good ideas.

And then my point of temple diving. Bad or good and however minor an argument - spreading altars along the dungeon rather than concetration will at least remove the idea itself.
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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 22:12

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Siegurt wrote:I do like the idea someone came up with for the temple being *between* two levels of the dungeon (So it's something you have to pass through) rather than it being an offshoot. But then I like the idea of the Dungeon being broken up into more sections (I liked breaking it into the dungeon and the Depths, and breaking it up into say.. "The caves" and "The dungeon" with the temple in between would feel nice and natural to me, after all, that would give the dungeon something to be a dungeon *of*


I don't like it, way more easier to temple-dive then (and with the formicid...).
I wouldn't mind removing temple has a separate floor and just making is a crazy ass vault in a corner of a map.

For me it's one of the most boring floor of the whole game, I often just "O" it (or walk to the altar I want when I see it), press "p, y") and never get back again unless I need really early safe stash because I'm overflowing potions and curare needles. The only quirk the level has (shit-ton of gods and no enemies) isn't even a fine learning step in the game.

Fun with it only appears when I don't find the stairs or my god isn't in it and then I've to choose is it worth continuing godless or taking the 2nd choice.
One of my most memorable game had the temple with the spiraling glass entrance and Menkaure stuck in it, thus denying me temple.
That it is a milestone, maybe for some. But removing it doesn't remove the milestone, just force us to define another.

I'll try to add one more argument to remove it.
Remember why we removed "hive", because it was a low risk (if you had rpois or cloud spell) very high reward (shit-ton of permafood) and was guaranteed, and thus no-brainer and dull.
Temple is the same thing, very low risk (no enemies) and high reward (nearly guarantee you your god of choice) and is guaranteed, and thus no-brainer and dull.
Hive was removed and put back has a (non guaranteed) vault.
Temple could be removed and put back has a (guaranteed) vault.
Plus I think most of the temple map can be easily reused has a vault.

Sar

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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 22:15

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Hive was removed because it was 2 floors of beeeeeeeeeees and sometimes some oklobs and wasps, and nothing more. I don't know how can you compare a branch where you press O, occasionally admire some neat rare design, join a god, leave it and never return (this takes less than a minute!) with two-floor slog of poison and beeeeeeeees.

I mean god damn it's just a Temple, who cares.
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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 22:16

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Sar wrote:I mean god damn it's just a Temple, who cares.


Everybody that has answered this topic at least...

Sar

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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 22:22

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

I don't think I would personally miss Temple much if it was removed. However, I don't mind its existence either, and it was made clear that it won't be removed, a page ago, in fact. Thus, this thread seems rather pointless now.
Including my posts.

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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 22:24

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

Devs: "Removing the Temple is something we aren't going to do."
Players: "Ah, but have you considered, instead... doing it?"
repeat ad infinitum

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Post Wednesday, 12th February 2014, 22:40

Re: Proposal: Remove Ecumenical Temple

This seems to have been pretty adequately discussed.
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