Normalize Makhleb's Destruction Targeting


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Spider Stomper

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Post Tuesday, 4th February 2014, 18:57

Normalize Makhleb's Destruction Targeting

Currently hurling Makhleb's destruction is annoying and clunky in that it lets you target things at the edge of your LOS but not every destruction can actually make it there. This applies more to greater destruction, and is especially noticeable with sticky flame and iron shot, but a few minor destructions suffer from this as well. This additionally makes "Major Destroction" seem weak at times as your powerful spells fizzle without a chance of connecting. I have four potential proposals to remedy this.

1. The "Wand" Method
Currently all wands can fire to the edge of LOS regardless of their type. So bolts of fire, draining and lightning and fireballs get extra range from their normal. The same thing could be done for all of Makhleb's conjurations.
Advantages:
  • Removes the annoyance of having to "make sure you are close enough" before hurling destruction.
  • Makes Greater Destruction feel more powerful.
  • Maybe not too overpowered since you can't choose your conjuration.
  • Simplifies thought process on use to food cost, piety cost and target (already enough of a choice without having to figure range IMO)
Disadvantages:
  • Sticky flame or iron shot or even orb of lightning or fireball at the edge of LOS is quite strong
  • Might be the most work, I'm unsure of that though.
  • Might make it "feel" less chaotic. This one probably isn't a big deal though since the destructions are intrinsically chaotic
2. Reduce the Range
This would enforce the current (usually) optimal use of Destruction and limits the range of the ability to the shortest conjuration in the list.
Advantages:
  • Avoids increasing Makhleb's power, assuming that is something to be avoided
  • Fixes the problem without changing Makhleb gameplay much.
Disadvantages:
  • Nerfs all of the bolt spells
  • Might confuse new players when they roast themselves with an Orb of Electrocution

3. Just put it in the manual
While I obviously don't support "doing nothing" with regard to this problem, I recognize that for whatever reason the current system might be considered good and worth keeping. Even in this case I believe that a change is warranted to let the player know "This might do absolutely nothing if it can't make it far enough" which really sounds lame just typing it but there you go.

4. Reveal what is being targeted
I found this bit on the forums that I thought might be worthwhile:
danr in 2011 wrote:Another thing that might help (but make it less chaotic) would be if like a Tome of Destruction you would be told what kind of destruction you are about to unleash, which would at least help you decide where to target it.

This might be a good compromise between (1) and (2). The quote probably came from when Makhleb was still a starting pick for a CK and chaos probably isn't Makhleb's strongest affiliation anyway.

I would prefer either (1) or (4), and I know that Makhleb is good enough to not really need a buff, but this is more about completeness than power. Numbers could always be adjusted if power is a concern (for example, lower spell power for (1) or raise spell power for (2))

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dck

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Post Tuesday, 4th February 2014, 19:40

Re: Normalize Makhleb's Destruction Targeting

I do find the range of major dest quite annoying to deal with, since you have to remember the range of the smallest conjuration (ishot) every time you use it and honestly it's pretty ridiculous when you shoot sticky flame at something and said something is one tile too far away to be hit.
Makh doesn't see that much training of invo for usage of destruction to the extent of my knowledge (since demons are so much more valuable tools) and it would be nice if it all of them had full LoS range or it showed you the range of the conjuration.
I don't like showing the range of the conjuration a whole lot though, since it means you have to make the action consume time regardless of whether you shoot it or not to prevent cycling forever until you get the conjuration you want; cards do this, but drawing a card is a simple concept that makes sense to be an action on its own, while with conjurations it's not consistent with their spell analogues nor does it translate very well into gameplay.

I don't think Makh needs a buff and well, this would technically be a buff if it was made to give you full LoS major destruction, but I don't think it would be such a huge one and I find the quality of life improvement from it would be great.

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Dungeon Master

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Post Tuesday, 4th February 2014, 20:33

Re: Normalize Makhleb's Destruction Targeting

Idea: have the range vary with success / Invocations / whatever, and let all of the effects go out to the full range.

Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 4th February 2014, 20:36

Re: Normalize Makhleb's Destruction Targeting

I like method 1 in OP, or else sgrunt's suggestion just above. I agree with dck that if something is going to be done, it should remove all fiddliness from makhleb's destruction, rather than retaining some in the form of making you pay close attention to the targeting interface even when you are just trying to blast an almost-dead enemy or something.

Dungeon Master

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Post Tuesday, 4th February 2014, 20:53

Re: Normalize Makhleb's Destruction Targeting

I think it's okay if a major destruction attempt fails because the enemy turned out to be too far away. (That's a mild form of summoning a hostile demon.) But it's not okay if the character takes damage: that just leads to either non-use or tedium. There are a number of ways to address this. Apart from what RBrandon and sgrunt have said, here's another one:

Choose the damage type as now. If it would harm the character, make it fizzle. You'd still lose the turn, the MP and the piety, but you wouldn't take the damage. This looks like a low-brow solution to me. Any other, more elaborate one, is fine, too, of course.

dck

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Post Tuesday, 4th February 2014, 21:05

Re: Normalize Makhleb's Destruction Targeting

@Grunt: Well, as long as the real range is displayed when you're trying to use it instead of letting you shoot everywhere and having the missile fall short that sounds like a good idea. Although in practice it could be a bit worse since people already get a lot of invo with makh for servants so either the requisite for full LoS is a bit unrealistically high or people get it by training invo for servants regardless.
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Post Wednesday, 5th February 2014, 12:01

Re: Normalize Makhleb's Destruction Targeting

How about using cloud-like targeting to show guaranteed range vs potential range? That way, you keep the unreliability which fits Makhleb, but you make the interface clearer about it.
<+Grunt> You dereference an invalid pointer! Ouch! That really hurt! The game dies...

Spider Stomper

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Joined: Monday, 19th November 2012, 04:56

Post Wednesday, 5th February 2014, 13:50

Re: Normalize Makhleb's Destruction Targeting

Honestly this post stems from reading another post about how many of Crawl's removals have had to do with "removing unnecessary mental overhead" while I was playing with Makhleb. (I wasn't able to find the post again but that's the basic idea) I realized that Destruction was incurring much more thought than it needed to because of it's targeting. We already have piety and Invocations skill to determine failure chance; why does this ability need an additional chance to fail that is based on neither of those? As dck and and into have been getting at, removing interface "fiddliness" is a good thing.

@sgrunt: I like this idea as well! There are not very many effects that change range with a skill even among spells and this ability might be a good fit for that model.

@dpeg: I don't think I can agree with the comparison to a hostile Major Servant. A whiffed iron shot doesn't try to kill you! (And probably will early on if you don't get out of there quick) I don't think I understand the rest of your post though. You are saying don't pick fireball or OOE when it is targeted too close to the player? Or eliminate the HP cost on a whiff?

@galehar: Admittedly this would be an improvement over the present, but this is more akin to (3) in the OP and retains the mental flowchart that was my intention to eliminate.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Thursday, 6th February 2014, 01:12

Re: Normalize Makhleb's Destruction Targeting

After some code tinkering and asking around, we came up with this.

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and into, archaeo, dck, dpeg, johlstei, Lasty, magicpoints

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