Rewards for uniques


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 Monday, 10th March 2014, 19:25

Rewards for uniques

I apologise for adding to the flurry of threads on the topic. This is a reply to crate's comment in Monsters you are not allowed to melee. I am not replying there because in my opinion duvessa's drift is a little different (about questionable monster mechanics), and that thread is busy enough as it is. There is also Unique reason to kill uniques by Sandman25 which addresses the very same issue but goes in a completely different direction (which I don't think will fit).

I suggest three things. The first has to happen, the second could also happen right now, the third needs some thinking but has the potential to deepen the player-unique relationship considerably, in my opinion.

1. Unique xp harmonisation
There seems to be a concensus that some uniques are not worth killing: they are dangerous (Finally! There was a time when most of them were not.) but most give only xp as reward and some of those, in turn, not very much.
So this is a call for names and numbers. If you can provide a list of uniques who seem to be too skimpy with xp, please tell us, complete with current xp and suggested change. Bulk petitions are fine; just be prepared to discuss the guys one by one. You can use this thread, or make your own; I will try not to miss any.

2. Unique loot improvement
This was mentioned by andinto already, but I think the same, and it has to said here, too. A concrete proposal:
  • There is a small chance that uniques get their standard equipment artefactised. By small I mean something like 1% -- we have very many uniques, after all.
  • If a unique fails to meet artefactisation of an item in his/her kit, then there should be a high chance for an armour ego and (independent) a high chance for an enchantment increase of weapon/armour. By high, I mean something like 50%. [This proposal leaves weapon ego chances untouched on purpose.]
The goal is not to make uniques drop killer items; the goal is to increase the chance they got something you can use for a while. It might be more reasonable to take depth into account -- it is much, much harder for Boris' robe to impress you than for Yiuf's cloak. That may come later; I am aiming for simplicity first.
Also, it should be obvious that these changes would make uniques a bit harder on average.

3. Special rewards
This is the most far-fetched component of my proposal, and goes in the direction of Sandman's thread. I believe that having uniques very rarely give something really unexpected (at times, sometimes you cannot get otherwise) would increase the incentive to not just exclude them, but to kill them. Here, by "very rarely" I mean "not guaranteed in a winning 3-rune game but on average about once or twice" for a start. Some ideas for such rewards:
  • Consumables of strategical value. For eample, a potion of cure mutation, a potion of experience, a scroll of brand weapon, or a scroll of acquirement.
  • A manual.
  • A map of a fixed, not yet seen level (preferably a branch end). [Interface: indicate this property in the Ctrl-O screen.]
  • Bonus piety: a god (not necessarily your god) may be so impressed by your kill so as to promise extra piety. You can see this as a kind of divine bribe attempt. [Interface: indicate in god list of Ctrl-O.]
Note that for manual and bonus piety, we can play on the uniques' characters: each unique would come with a list of fitting skills and a list of fitting gods (this can be extended to fitting consumables, if we like), easily defined in a speech-like text file. Available maps should come from the branches where the unique can spawn (so this set does not have to be defined manually). If this works well, chances could be increased a bit, and rewards added.
Last edited by dpeg on Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 10:09, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Monday, 10th March 2014, 19:46

Re: Rewards for uniques

One thought from me in addition... If these changes are made (and I think it's a great idea!), I think uniques should be made rarer overall. Perhaps 10 or so a game on average (not counting guaranteed uniques). This would make each unique encounter more special and encourage killing them even more, I think.

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duvessa, nago

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Post Monday, 10th March 2014, 19:49

Re: Rewards for uniques

For maniacs/idiots such as myself, this would be awesome. I already (try to) kill every unique I come across (with very rare exceptions). So getting an extra reward for doing so would be nice.

For saner players, this makes handling uniques more of an interesting choice.

I like the idea of uniques having a chance to drop a nice version of what they're using, kind of like Yuif with the cloak, and Rupert with his weapon. Having Roka drop some kind of randart plate would be cool.

FAKEDIT: I agree with WalkerBob about increasing the rarity of uniques.
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Post Monday, 10th March 2014, 20:14

Re: Rewards for uniques

Unique: Current -> Proposal. Based mostly on difficulty where they show up & the exp you need at such levels.(Killing a boss and going from XL16 3 to XL 16 6 isn't much of a reward.) '+items' meaning #2 as well, throw in some interesting loot drops. My experience with Hell, Pand, etc. is limited so I didn't check those.
  Code:
Agnes: 2148 -> 3500
Aizul: 1669 -> 3000
Azrael: 1263 -> 2500
Boris: 5753 -> 6000 + items.
Erica: 929 -> 1000 + items.
Erolcha: 739 -> 1000
Fannar: 1007 -> 1500
Frances: 2119 -> 3000 + items.
Frederick: 3749 -> 5000 + items.
Grum: 188 -> 300 + items.
Harold: 992 -> 1000 + items.
Jorgrun: 1518 -> 3000 + items.
Jory: 3954 -> 4000 + items.
Joseph: 610 -> 1000
Louise: 1667 -> 2000
Mara: 4614 -> 5000
Margery: 5081 -> 6500 + items.
Maud: 1747 -> 2000
Maurice: 469 -> 500 + items.
Menkaure: 161-300 + items.
Mennas: 4552 -> 6000 + items.
Nergalle: 804 -> 1000
Nessos: 956 -> 2000 + items.
Nikola: 3678 -> 4500
Prince Ribbit: 277 -> 500
Rupert: 2162 -> 3500
Saint Roka: 5756 -> 7000 + items.
Sigmund: 104 -> 300 + items.
Sojobo: 5528 -> 7000 + items.
Sonja: 293 -> 1000 + items.
Terence: 18 -> 25
Urug: 831 -> 1500
Wiglaf: 1771 -> 2000 + items.
Xtahua: 3799 -> 5000
Lamia: 4706 -> 6000
Arachne: 3551 -> 5000
The Lernaean Hydra: 5233 -> 7000
Ilsuiw: 1889 -> 3500
Polyphemus: 2335 -> 3000
Natasha: 35 -> 100
Vashnia: 2147 -> 3000

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Post Monday, 10th March 2014, 20:52

Re: Rewards for uniques

Another proposal (in addition to the carrot, the stick): make killing a unique of high enough hd a requirement for levelling up to some XL in addition to xp, for instance, xl 6, 12, 18, 24.

In addition:
- make it guaranteed that some number of uniques will appear,
- extra xps (blocked because you haven't killed a unique yet) still count for skills, but you don't get the hp / mp increase and other benefits for the locked level,
- you would get a message if you reach the xp for some xl, but need to find a unique to unlock it,
- clearing a portal vault could count as killing a unique ("clearing" would have to be defined, it needs not be defeating everything inside),
- alternatively, killing the unique could unlock piety stars (easy unique for *, medium for ***, hard for *****), thematically this corresponds to "heroic deeds" which make the god notice you; good gods could be exempt from this.

Dungeon Master

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Post Monday, 10th March 2014, 21:04

Re: Rewards for uniques

galbolle: This proposal has my uncompromising sympathy, but I'll tell you upfront that it will be about as popular as the rune lock. :)
[In general, I think the stick goes very far... it's just harder to design than the carrot: basically, you have fewer attempts.]

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Post Monday, 10th March 2014, 21:26

Re: Rewards for uniques

Klown wrote:Unique: Current -> Proposal. Based mostly on difficulty where they show up & the exp you need at such levels.(Killing a boss and going from XL16 3 to XL 16 6 isn't much of a reward.) '+items' meaning #2 as well, throw in some interesting loot drops. My experience with Hell, Pand, etc. is limited so I didn't check those.
  Code:
Agnes: 2148 -> 3500
Aizul: 1669 -> 3000
Azrael: 1263 -> 2500
Boris: 5753 -> 6000 + items.
Erica: 929 -> 1000 + items.
Erolcha: 739 -> 1000
Fannar: 1007 -> 1500
Frances: 2119 -> 3000 + items.
Frederick: 3749 -> 5000 + items.
Grum: 188 -> 300 + items.
Harold: 992 -> 1000 + items.
Jorgrun: 1518 -> 3000 + items.
Jory: 3954 -> 4000 + items.
Joseph: 610 -> 1000
Louise: 1667 -> 2000
Mara: 4614 -> 5000
Margery: 5081 -> 6500 + items.
Maud: 1747 -> 2000
Maurice: 469 -> 500 + items.
Menkaure: 161-300 + items.
Mennas: 4552 -> 6000 + items.
Nergalle: 804 -> 1000
Nessos: 956 -> 2000 + items.
Nikola: 3678 -> 4500
Prince Ribbit: 277 -> 500
Rupert: 2162 -> 3500
Saint Roka: 5756 -> 7000 + items.
Sigmund: 104 -> 300 + items.
Sojobo: 5528 -> 7000 + items.
Sonja: 293 -> 1000 + items.
Terence: 18 -> 25
Urug: 831 -> 1500
Wiglaf: 1771 -> 2000 + items.
Xtahua: 3799 -> 5000
Lamia: 4706 -> 6000
Arachne: 3551 -> 5000
The Lernaean Hydra: 5233 -> 7000
Ilsuiw: 1889 -> 3500
Polyphemus: 2335 -> 3000
Natasha: 35 -> 100
Vashnia: 2147 -> 3000


I had no idea Aizul was so low... what a rip-off! This is one of the most egregious ones imo. Erolcha as well.. especially since you meet her at a point where abyss can mean certain death.

It seems like it would be easy to standardize some of the guaranteed branch encounters.. for eample, Ilsiuw is just as dangerous as Arachne (if not more), so their xp discrepancies make almost no sense.

Just thought I would add the monsters that I wouldn't fight from this list...even with Klown's proposed changes.

Aizul
Erolcha (unless I have enough MR to guarantee non-banishment)
Jorgrun (if i thought there was any chance of him petrifying me)
Mara
Mennas
Roka
Sojobo

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Post Monday, 10th March 2014, 21:33

Re: Rewards for uniques

Making you not want to gain experience for one reason or another generally makes for very strange and convoluted gameplay, I think. If in some nebulous future the issues with huge exp overflow in the overall game are addressed and uniques are set to a reasonable scale (eg. pikel or grinder in floors where they are the unquestionably most dangerous thing) this would be all solved naturally without needing to make it so that one needs to backtrack to kill a certain unique to continue leveling up or gaining piety.

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Post Monday, 10th March 2014, 21:46

Re: Rewards for uniques

dck wrote:Making you not want to gain experience for one reason or another generally makes for very strange and convoluted gameplay, I think. If in some nebulous future the issues with huge exp overflow in the overall game are addressed and uniques are set to a reasonable scale (eg. pikel or grinder in floors where they are the unquestionably most dangerous thing) this would be all solved naturally without needing to make it so that one needs to backtrack to kill a certain unique to continue leveling up or gaining piety.


I wasn't that evil as requiring a certain unique: any "easy" unique would do for xl 6, any "medium" one for xl 12, any "tricky" one for xl 18, and any "frightening" one for xl 24. Of course, if you want another one than the first you meet, you have to dive deeper and have worse mundane monsters without the benefit of levelling up (but still better equipment and skills). I think it can make for interesting choices, at least in some games.

dck

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Post Monday, 10th March 2014, 21:53

Re: Rewards for uniques

I don't care if it's a particular unique or not and that doesn't affect anything of what I said, having a reason for the player not want to gain experience is bad because it leads to silly optimal play strategies.

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Post Monday, 10th March 2014, 21:54

Re: Rewards for uniques

Let me chime in by saying that xp harmonisation is the most crucial of my list (hint: it's number one!), followed by better loot. Everything else is icing on potentially very hypothetical cakes.

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Post Monday, 10th March 2014, 23:24

Re: Rewards for uniques

I think Saint Roka is overvalued, at least relative to other uniques. He's the highest XP unique you're likely to run across in a 3 rune game, but is nowhere near as scary as Mennas, Mara, etc. In my last 3 wins the only the only creatures I killed that were worth more XP were orbs of fire and ancient liches, (although I did run from Khufu on Crypt:1 in one of those games).

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 03:47

Re: Rewards for uniques

I think some uniques should hold Runes. better than holding leveling, IMO.
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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 04:09

Re: Rewards for uniques

For Agnes specifically, I think she could be guaranteed to drop a medium/large amount of gold. Her description and dialogue both reference the fact she's carrying a bunch around, but right now it apparently evaporates when you kill her.

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 05:52

Re: Rewards for uniques

Here's a more general idea I had for some Crawl monsters have lopsided risk/reward ratios: The amount of XP you get from a monster goes down as you kill more of them. So for example, maybe the first time you defeat a Centaur (currently 112 XP) you get 560 XP, but the next time you get 448 XP, and so on. By the time you reach the 20th Centaur you're only getting 50 XP or so and by the time you reach 40 you don't get XP at all. This would:

A) Naturally provide rewards for uniques - There's only one, so they are worth a lot of XP.

B) Encourage progress and novelty - fighting new monsters means more XP

C) Further constrain scumming - this problem is already handled well, but a little more can't hurt.

The rebalancing would probably be a bit too much for this to go in as is, but I thought it was worth bringing up.
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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 06:02

Re: Rewards for uniques

The game basically already does that anyway, skill cost increases very sharply.
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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 10:42

Re: Rewards for uniques

Just to clarify, because some may not be aware of it, but the XP value of monsters isn't hardcoded, there's a formula. Here is the code of the function which calculates the XP value of monsters:

  Code:
int exper_value(const monster* mon, bool real)
{
    int x_val = 0;

    // These four are the original arguments.
    const monster_type mc = mon->type;
    int hd                = mon->hit_dice;
    int maxhp             = mon->max_hit_points;

    // pghosts and pillusions have no reasonable base values, and you can look
    // up the exact value anyway.  Especially for pillusions.
    if (real || mon->type == MONS_PLAYER_GHOST || mon->type == MONS_PLAYER_ILLUSION)
    {
        // A berserking monster is much harder, but the xp value shouldn't
        // depend on whether it was berserk at the moment of death.
        if (mon->has_ench(ENCH_BERSERK))
            maxhp = (maxhp * 2 + 1) / 3;
    }
    else
    {
        const monsterentry *m = get_monster_data(mons_base_type(mon));
        ASSERT(m);

        // Use real hd, zombies would use the basic species and lose
        // information known to the player ("orc warrior zombie").  Monsters
        // levelling up is visible (although it may happen off-screen), so
        // this is hardly ever a leak.  Only Pan lords are unknown in the
        // general.
        if (m->mc == MONS_PANDEMONIUM_LORD)
            hd = m->hpdice[0];
        maxhp = hd * m->hpdice[1] + (hd * (1 + m->hpdice[2])) / 2 + m->hpdice[3];
    }

    // Hacks to make merged slime creatures not worth so much exp.  We
    // will calculate the experience we would get for 1 blob, and then
    // just multiply it so that exp is linear with blobs merged. -cao
    if (mon->type == MONS_SLIME_CREATURE && mon->number > 1)
        maxhp /= mon->number;

    // These are some values we care about.
    const int speed       = mons_base_speed(mon);
    const int modifier    = _mons_exp_mod(mc);
    const int item_usage  = mons_itemuse(mon);

    // XXX: Shapeshifters can qualify here, even though they can't cast.
    const bool spellcaster = mon->can_use_spells();

    // Early out for no XP monsters.
    if (mons_class_flag(mc, M_NO_EXP_GAIN))
        return 0;

    // The beta26 statues have non-spell-like abilities that the experience
    // code can't see, so inflate their XP a bit.  Ice statues and Roxanne
    // get plenty of XP for their spells.
    if (mc == MONS_ORANGE_STATUE || mc == MONS_SILVER_STATUE)
        return hd * 15;

    x_val = (16 + maxhp) * hd * hd / 10;

    // Let's calculate a simple difficulty modifier. - bwr
    int diff = 0;

    // Let's look for big spells.
    if (spellcaster)
    {
        const monster_spells &hspell_pass = mon->spells;

        for (int i = 0; i < 6; ++i)
        {
            switch (hspell_pass[i])
            {
            case SPELL_PARALYSE:
            case SPELL_SMITING:
            case SPELL_SUMMON_EYEBALLS:
            case SPELL_HELLFIRE_BURST:
            case SPELL_HELLFIRE:
            case SPELL_SYMBOL_OF_TORMENT:
            case SPELL_GLACIATE:
            case SPELL_FIRE_STORM:
            case SPELL_SHATTER:
            case SPELL_CHAIN_LIGHTNING:
            case SPELL_TORNADO:
            case SPELL_LEGENDARY_DESTRUCTION:
                diff += 25;
                break;

            case SPELL_SUMMON_GREATER_DEMON:
                diff += 20;
                break;

            case SPELL_LIGHTNING_BOLT:
            case SPELL_STICKY_FLAME_RANGE:
            case SPELL_DISINTEGRATE:
            case SPELL_BANISHMENT:
            case SPELL_LEHUDIBS_CRYSTAL_SPEAR:
            case SPELL_IRON_SHOT:
            case SPELL_IOOD:
            case SPELL_FIREBALL:
            case SPELL_HASTE:
            case SPELL_AGONY:
            case SPELL_LRD:
            case SPELL_CHAIN_OF_CHAOS:
                diff += 10;
                break;

            case SPELL_HAUNT:
            case SPELL_SUMMON_DRAGON:
            case SPELL_SUMMON_HORRIBLE_THINGS:
            case SPELL_PLANEREND:
                diff += 7;
                break;

            default:
                break;
            }
        }
    }

    // Let's look at regeneration.
    if (mons_class_fast_regen(mc))
        diff += 15;

    // Monsters at normal or fast speed with big melee damage.
    if (speed >= 10)
    {
        int max_melee = 0;
        for (int i = 0; i < 4; ++i)
            max_melee += _mons_damage(mc, i);

        if (max_melee > 30)
            diff += (max_melee / ((speed == 10) ? 2 : 1));
    }

    // Monsters who can use equipment (even if only the equipment
    // they are given) can be considerably enhanced because of
    // the way weapons work for monsters. - bwr
    if (item_usage >= MONUSE_STARTING_EQUIPMENT)
        diff += 30;

    // Set a reasonable range on the difficulty modifier...
    // Currently 70% - 200%. - bwr
    if (diff > 100)
        diff = 100;
    else if (diff < -30)
        diff = -30;

    // Apply difficulty.
    x_val *= (100 + diff);
    x_val /= 100;

    // Basic speed modification.
    if (speed > 0)
    {
        x_val *= speed;
        x_val /= 10;
    }

    // Slow monsters without spells and items often have big HD which
    // cause the experience value to be overly large... this tries
    // to reduce the inappropriate amount of XP that results. - bwr
    if (speed < 10 && !spellcaster && item_usage < MONUSE_STARTING_EQUIPMENT)
        x_val /= 2;

    // Apply the modifier in the monster's definition.
    if (modifier > 0)
    {
        x_val *= modifier;
        x_val /= 10;
    }

    // Slime creature exp hack part 2: Scale exp back up by the number
    // of blobs merged. -cao
    if (mon->type == MONS_SLIME_CREATURE && mon->number > 1)
        x_val *= mon->number;

    // Scale starcursed mass exp by what percentage of the whole it represents
    if (mon->type == MONS_STARCURSED_MASS)
        x_val = (x_val * mon->number) / 12;

    // Further reduce xp from zombies
    if (mons_is_zombified(mon))
        x_val /= 2;

    // Reductions for big values. - bwr
    if (x_val > 100)
        x_val = 100 + ((x_val - 100) * 3) / 4;
    if (x_val > 750)
        x_val = 750 + (x_val - 750) / 3;

    // Guarantee the value is within limits.
    if (x_val <= 0)
        x_val = 1;
    else if (x_val > 15000)
        x_val = 15000;

    return x_val;
}


We can adjust the XP values of each unique by tweaking their XP modifier, but there is also the possibility to simply adjust the formula. This would also affect non-unique monsters of course.
Both approaches are complementary and suggestions to improve the formula are also welcome.
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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 11:28

Re: Rewards for uniques

As I've some spare time and the argument interests me, I've made a list of uniques, ranking them in relation of their risk/reward ratio, from my experience.
I've roughly divided them in:
- (A)void at all cost, no matter how strong you are
- (D)oable: it may worth for many combos to kill the unique the moment he appears, even if it slightly dangerous and means to spend some consumables - because the exp/gear reward is worth it.
(K)ill/(A)void at all cost: a very limited number of uniques are incredible dangerous but also quite easily disabled - so it's safer to actually kill them asap (or run away if lacking the right tools)
(k)ill/(a)void : the largest number of uniques isn't much different of other enemies of crawl: if you can safely kill them you do so, otherwise you run away (and may kill them if spotted while backtracking on the level for some reason)

Some random thoughts before the list:
- as Crate pointed out there's no point to increase experience value. The very few unique who are worthy to be slain for their exp are in the beginning, when they can net you two or three level at once - which is insanely good, because it's a huge boost to your hp plus let access much better spells. Going from xl15 to xl16 is much much less important. Plus, even if Federick would be worth 5 foo giant, the best sensible way to affront him would be to stay fucking away, because the game is full of giant everywhere, so there's no point to lose consumables, piety or life to get the experience of 5 more condensed in one incredibly dangerous foes . The only xp harmonisation I can imagine would encourage players to actually fight dangerous uniques would be made each of them worth 1-2 pots of experience (and that still wouldn't be so good, because crawl in mid-late game is full of easy experience everywhere)

Spoiler: show
Agnes (D) : a fast fucking sp with a lajtang who will beat you to death. Who wants that? That lajtang may be worth to kill her though
Aizul (A): sleep and pa. Stay away
Azrael (A): fire and hellfire and more hellfire.
Blork the Orc (k/a) : for many char is quite weak the first time he appears, and may have a glaive (plus decent xp)
Boris (A): ahahah, why would you want to slay a Lich with ood and iron shot when your reward is that he may appears in a later floor? C'mon!
Crazy Yiuf (D): in melee is can be incredibly dangerous, but he's weak, has a cloak and that quaterstaff may be useful for many char and and can be easily kited with poison.
Dissolution (A): eyeball and more eyeball. If you really need more exp (do you really need at this point of the game??!), Slimes is full of acid blobs.
Donald (k/a): not so dangerous, but his weapon could be of draining or distortion - do you want really to check it out?
Dowan and Duvessa k/a : not particularly dangerous, plus I find having hasted enemies lurking around annoying. Depending on the char they could be easily A
Edmund (k/a) : again, a weak unique with a not negligible chance to have distortion or draining.
the Enchantress (D): if you are fighting her, the only reason is you want her armour.
Erica (k/a) : that scimitar of flaming could be worth something by the time you meet her.
Erolcha (A): oh hello banishment and lcs on D:8. How graceful!
Eustachio k/a : in 0.14 isn't so bad, plus may have a decent sabre
Fannar k/a : quite dangerous, but at least for a ice mage (or someone lacking rc+) his gear can be very useful
Frances (A): what nice spellset. Be quiet, I'm leaving
Frederick (A): ditto as above
Gastronok (D): it can deal very high damage, but kite poisoning kill him fast and he may have a very good headgear. If he has the hat of pondering is (k/e)
Grinder (D): <jeanjacques> grinder is like a potion of exp that randomly kills you
Harold (k/a ): pretty unimpressive.Always nice to get some throwing nets
Ijyb(D): it's only a tougher goblin. If he gets a good want you're probably dead by the time you notice it.
Ilsuiw (A): you want the rune, not to kill all the fish in the ocean
Jessica (D): not really dangerous, a little more exp on D:2 is always good.
Jorgrun (k/a): (A) if you lack MR
Jory (A): mesmerize and lcs. Nice
Khufu (A): torment and torment
Kirke (k/a): (A) if you lack MR
the Lernaean hydra (K/A): at range it isn't dangerous, but it can close distance very quickly due to water
Mara (A):
Margery (D): her complete band is very dangerous - but tackled every member alone aren't so *much* dangerous than other foes at same deep (except maybe Margery herself) and they tend to provide high quality gear, so it may be a good idea to kill them. In some games even Margery could be worth to be slain (when she has a fda/mda you want and still lack the relative hide)
Maud (k/a): her weapon can be interesting
Maurice (K/A: his stealing ability is frustrating and can remove precious consumables (plus can lead to your death if he get a wand of fire or things like that)
Menkaure (D): early torment! Worth good amount of experience and not so though so it's actually good to be kill for many char
Mennas (K/A): fast and dangerous, but for an "high AC melee" char ins't so difficult to put to rest. For a "spellcaster" is usually a (A)
Nergalle (k/e)
Nessos (K/A): fast and dangerous, but quite easily disabled by some wands/spell.
Nikola (k/a): very high damage for little reward, unless you still lack somehow of gloves and cloak and you have relec (and still a lot of hp)
Norris (k/a)
Pikel (D): very dangerous in melee, but worth of lot of experience and maybe a whip of elec too - and kite poisoning works well.
Polyphemus (k/a)
Prince Ribbit (k/a)
Psyche (K/A): faster than average human with a good chance to get a dagger of distortion (and chaos in face ins't so good too)
Purgy (k/a)
Roxanne (A): unless you still lack some loved earth spell and you hope it is under her.
Rupert (k/e): paralyzing berserking craxy man with a good 2 handers. Why do you want to mess with him? Actually worth for some chars to be slain even later on for that weapon
Saint Roka (k/e): high hp, high damage not so good equipment to loot.
Sigmund (k/e)
Sonja (K/E): fast kobold with curare and a dagger of distortion. Nice!
Terence (k/e)
Tiamat (A): you've almost won, why do you want to mess with a thing with so insane defence and hp pool? With the same effort you could have already ascended!
Urug (k/e)
Wiglaf (k/e): his armour tends to be very good, but usually isn't worth to swap by the time you meet him (because you've already put all your ?ea elsewhere)
Xtahua (k/e)
Last edited by nago on Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 13:20, edited 1 time in total.
screw it I hate this character I'm gonna go melee Gastronok

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and into, dpeg, rockygargoyle, Sandman25

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 11:44

Re: Rewards for uniques

Assuming we don't want wholesale firing of uniques (and I don't, because I think fighting uniques can be really interesting, and different from fighting other stuff), then it seems the carrot is too weak. I wonder if it's better to reduce other xp until unique xp starts to matter, or to have rule changes. galbolle suggested one above, here is how I'd do it: a level that spawns with >2 uniques has a chance to have it's downstairs sealed; gotta find a key, and three uniques on the level will have one.

But regardless of that, I still think that rewards for killing uniques should be updated. There's really no reason not to, even if, as nago points out, it wouldn't suffice. There were also no comments about the idea of extra death drops: this is one more attempt for the carrot.

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 17:47

Re: Rewards for uniques

I really believe that shrinking the number of uniques per game and giving each unique a non-negligible chance of carrying a very good and character-appropriate item (scroll, wand, weapon, armour, whatever) would really solve 90% of the issues. I'll write up a list with more concrete suggestions later unless someone bears me to it.

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Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 19:13

Re: Rewards for uniques

Would brainstorming some more unrandarts tied to uniques (like Gastronok's hat) be a productive area of discussion? Looking at nago's list all the doable uniques beyond the early game experience bags are due to having possibly good drops, and more artifact would be a good way to ensure fighting a unique immediately will give a benefit while saving them for later the drop will already be outclassed.

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 19:50

Re: Rewards for uniques

Kennysheep: yes. Probably in another thread but you can use this one for a trial balloon.

WalkerBoh: one of them is point 2 on my list, and the other bit (unique reduction) is unrelated. Not saying it's necessarily bad but I wouldn't connect them.

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 19:54

Re: Rewards for uniques

Dpeg: right, and I think you are on the right track with point 2. I disagree that reduction is unrelated though; I think it is almost necessary in order for increased rewards to work properly, along with just being desirable in general for other reasons. If you wish, I can make another thread for that topic though rather than hijack yours. :)

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 19:55

Re: Rewards for uniques

dpeg wrote:here is how I'd do it: a level that spawns with >2 uniques has a chance to have it's downstairs sealed; gotta find a key, and three uniques on the level will have one.

As a player I would probably stop playing crawl if this gets in. In theory, you can right now win crawl without ever killing (or pacifying, or otherwise eliminating) a single monster. I say in theory, because of course this will never actually happen--monsters will, at some point, kill you, unless you have xp from some source to increase your survivability (and the only way to get enough xp in a realistic fashion is via eliminating monsters). The Royal Jelly and Geryon (do you still have to kill Geryon? I know the horn got some changes recently and I'm not entirely sure what happened there) are okay because they are completely optional, and in fact with TRJ you are even given another option (worship Jiyva). Forcing me to kill uniques to progress changes the nature of the game fundamentally. Crawl would no longer feel like crawl to me the instant I found one of these locked stairs.

Personally my proposal for uniques' xp would probably involve absolutely huge adjustments upward but I do not have the desire to go through them all right now. Encouraging players to kill uniques for xp is fine. "Forcing" players to kill uniques for xp is fine (again, in theory you can win without gaining xp at all, even if in reality you cannot). Forcing them to do so to progress is not, at least not in a game that wants to feel like crawl.

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duvessa, n1000, Psiweapon, rockygargoyle

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 20:06

Re: Rewards for uniques

crate: I value your opinion highly, but "I will stop playing Crawl" is not a good way to argue. We have seen that so often, the net impact (on developers) is probably negative. The idea of uniques sealing a level was my gut reaction when I realised that (from your posts) players will probably avoid uniques no matter what. Players are absolutely entitled to do this. We can try making unique kills more attractive (this is what my initial post is about). If we think that uniques are such a core element of Crawl that players just have to engage them, then the carrot would have to be accompanied with some stick. There are many options for this, some harder, some softer. Posting here "do that and I go" has a very negative effect on the whole discourse. Please don't do it.

There is absolutely no way that I will stop voicing ideas as they come. If we restrict ourselves already when thinking or talking about the game, that would be a decisive blow to the whole project.

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 20:14

Re: Rewards for uniques

I don't see your point, dpeg. The entire idea of forcing me to kill uniques to progress is turning crawl into a different game, which I described. It is making it into a game that, on a fundamental design theory level, feels to me nothing like current crawl. So if it happens I would stop playing. This is my way of expressing how bad a transgression implementing that idea would be, to someone who has the same ideas as me about what makes up crawl.

You may note that I also explained why I would stop playing. If you really do not see the difference between my post (which I firmly believe has important content) and a post simply saying "if you do that I go" without content then discussion here is impossible.

You are free to ignore the first sentence of my previous post. It is simply an expression of how severe a misstep I would see implementation of this idea. I personally think this is a useful thing to express; there are ideas that I do not like but do not feel so strongly about, and I think providing to the reader a clear separation there is useful. Apparently you do not?

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Shoals Surfer

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 20:56

Re: Rewards for uniques

As a quick tie in to the other thread about melee being disadvantaged, I just want to note that most uniques offer little challenge to ranged/casters while a large number should really be avoided as melee if the goal is to maximize the chance to win.

Real world numbers, my last 4 wins:
1: firestormer: after win, 0 uniques left alive
2: trog polearmer: after win, 7 uniques left alive
3: okawaru polearmer with charms: after win, 11 uniques left alive
4: caster with orb of destruction, bolt of cold/lightning, cloud of poison/freeze: after win, 1 unique left alive

edit: i just want to note that no matter the amount of XP and loot, there are many uniques that I would never fight if I'm trying my best to win if I can avoid them. I find uniques pretty fun so outside of tournaments I end up fighting most of them, but if the goal is to force players to fight them, a better alternative might be to make them guard stairs.

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Slime Squisher

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 21:19

Re: Rewards for uniques

Having the occasional down stair vault guarded by a unique sounds to me like a more elegant solution than requiring the unique to be killed. As I always tell my students, the goal is to get three runes, grab the orb, and get back up. Killing monsters is ancillary, and for some characters, maneuvering around them is quite as interesting as vanquishing them.

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 21:35

Re: Rewards for uniques

I don't like to take sides especially in hypothetical situations, but I have to agree with crate that requiring unique kills is not what I believe Crawl to be about. I think an attractive thing about Crawl is that it is ends-oriented rather than means-oriented. In the past, people have suggested that we require killing the various Hell or Pan bosses to get their runes, and this was shot down because it would prevent players from taking a sneak/speedrun type of approach.

I can anticipate a possible response to this easily -- "well, if most players ninja postgame runes, we should compel them instead to fight the uniques!" This is a fine line of thought and there are good intentions in it, but I think "we should require players to fight the uniques" shuts off the experience of getting in, getting the rune, and getting out. Now, sometimes that experience is as simple as the sentence "get in, get the rune, and get out" and that's worth looking at and revising, but I think there are a lot of interesting situations that have arisen as players try to meet that goal. This applies as well to uniques earlier in the game, when the player is vulnerable to many things and wants to explore a floor before going deeper, and knows that a unique is prowling around the current floor. I don't think the notion of, "I should pursue my goals and try to stay far afield of this unique" is bad.

We all know the importance of picking and choosing battles in Crawl, and I think it is great to challenge that. I can see how a proposal like this can add situations that are interesting ("ah dang, which of these three uniques is the one I should fight to progress the game?") but I think it isn't necessary -- it sacrifices the player's ability to progress deeper into the dungeon and into more trouble.

I do think that well-balanced rewards would be better. XP isn't enough, because I feel that XP is flavorless and simply numerical, and you can only change player behavior so much with XP awards. I think that equipment and consumable drops could be really interesting, if they were relevant to the power progression of the player character. Nobody uses the Staff of Dispater or the Rod of Asmodeus because they aren't relevant by the time the player can get them -- that doesn't mean they can't be.

An idea to consider: what about unique consumables, on a level stronger than normal ones, that only drop when you kill uniques? A scroll of controlled teleport, a potion of ent-ification that lets you go treeform and still walk around, a potion of Death's Door, a one-shot wand of Firestorm that breaks when you use it? A potion of torment resistance that works for several dozen turns, or a scroll of Tukima's Dance Party that animates every weapon in sight? Rewards like these should naturally be constrained to different parts of the game, but I believe if we had good ideas they would be balanceable.

Relevance-to-power-progression is a hard thing to judge, considering the differing level of skill that players bring to the game and the variety of builds available. It especially gets harder to give players meaningful gifts later in the game. I don't think, however, it is impossible to offer players meaningful gifts.

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Post Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 21:49

Re: Rewards for uniques

Well said, n1000. And of course one can make uniques *harder* to escape and/or tougher all around. A lot of them already have tricks along those lines (curare, nets, hex spells, being fast, and so on). That all fits Crawl's style perfectly and is a good "stick," without being transgressive in the way crate describes.

On the other hand I do agree with dpeg, "better fewer, but better"—that way uniques are actually unique!

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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 05:41

Re: Rewards for uniques

I tend to kill all the uniques I encounter, or avoid them (for safety!) until such time as I can go back and kill them later. I do this for three reasons:

1.) My character's kit is strong enough to do so. Why *NOT* kill Duvessa, Dowan, Yiuf, etc. etc. if you've got Mephitic Cloud or Berserk-Minotaur and the time to do it?
2.) A nebulous feeling of pressure to gain EXP by all means, which makes unique-slaying attractive.
3.) The desire for '<' stairs to be reliably safe instead of potentially fatal escape points.

That, plus instinct.


Upon reflection, however, the biggest motivating factor is *DEFINITELY* the loot. Whenever I have driven myself to fight a unique that I knew was "potentially a really bad idea" it was because the possible rewards were too good for me to overlook easily.

Therefore: unique items.

Here are five off-the-cuff proposals:

1.) Aizul has a unique naga barding that has evocable sleep/paralysis. Alternatively, he has lightning scales. God help your poor soul if Aizul spawns with lightning scales!
2.) Azrael drops an evocable hell-horn that can summon a hell-hound. Cost should include taking 1d8 fire damage, and the possibility of hostile-summons.
3.) Harold is *GUARANTEED* to have rPois, rC+ or rF+ on his helmet. At the time of the game where you find Harold, an extra point in any of those categories is huge. Enough to make me face down a wand more readily.
4.) TIamat gets "bloodscent" if she sees you, which allows her to pursue you, even OFF FLOOR for X turns. Rationale is that that late in the game, you're gonna be running from her anyway unless you can trivilaly kill her. Better to give her a way to force herself onto you instead. Also note this does not apply to her cadre, so you can still potentially divide and conquer.
5.) Instead of their weapons which - while very cool - are things that I have *literally* never had a use for, the Hell Uniques each carry a scroll of "Great Power [elem]". tartarus/genenna/cocytus/dis DDoor/Firestorm/IceStorm/LCS . . . . and they are *guaranteed* to perform at between 80-100% of max damage. This makes them still stand out for a post-endgame player, even if they already have their go-to for casting.
6.) Sigmund should drop a weapon that is amazing for low-level characters in general rather than one that's useless for them in general. I'd say a trident, but I'd be talking out of my ass if I implied I really knew what qualified.

-AHMAD
My Wins 22:
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Other: DEWz, DrWz, DjWz, KeCj, SpEn, SpWz, SpCj, MuWz, FeWzx2, MiBe x7.

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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 10:02

Re: Rewards for uniques

Bounty: This is exactly the kind of powergamer's dream I want to avoid. Uniques should not come with endgame gear, which you have to collect. It is completely alright if they use items with egos.

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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 12:14

Re: Rewards for uniques

This is a very interesting discussion on whose main course I have nothing to contribute, but there's a side point on which I'd like to throw my two cents in: It was mentioned that the amount of uniques could be reduced. I think that would be a pity. There a two reasons why uniques are good, even if nothing changes: 1) flavour and 2) variety in threat assesment.

1) Crawls design principle of "game play before flavour" is a sound one. However, there's such a thing as overapplying a sound principle. Without flavour, crawl would be a game of positioning ASCII chars and arithmetics. I like it better as a game of dungeon exploration, character development and tactical fights. Uniques add variety, hint at a background story and overall contribute to the feeling of crawl.

2) If you have 100+ wins under your belt, you probably know how to assess each and every unique and there's nothing interesting about that anymore, I presume. But for us less experienced players, this is different: When I encounter a unique, I do x+v, look hard at the info screen and try to figure out how dangerous that one is to my character. Even for early game uniques which I know very well, it's still a minor challenge to assess how they relate to my current character: "Terence is usually a pushover ... hm, but this melee char is kind of squishy ...", "Dovan and Duvessa were easy meat with my last char. But that one had more firepower ... do I have ?tele or ?blink if anything goes wrong?" -- At one point you know normal floor monsters quite well and can assess them intuitively, uniques add variety.

With regard to the last point: nago's list made me wonder whether my threat assessment for uniques should be "Oh, don't bother." So, I'd rather argue in favour of a mix of uniques that includes weak ones that are not too much harder than normal floor monsters, so that threat assessment is meaningful. Again, this is nothing for very experienced players, but for us beginners and early intermediates.
"... while we / Unburden'd crawl toward death." -- King Lear I,1

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 00:16

Re: Rewards for uniques

Utis, I agree with you completely and think there is some misunderstanding here. I am not suggesting we remove a bunch of uniques from the game entirely; I love that we have 70+ uniques (okay maybe 70+ Is a few too many, but regardless...) for all the reasons you mentioned.

I was rather suggesting that the number of those uniques in each individual game is reduced. So instead of seeing (to steal duvessa's number) 32 out of 75 uniques in an average winning game, you would see 15 out of 75. This makes each unique encounter more... unique, because you don't see each unique every other game. And I think especially if we start giving more encouragement to kill the blander uniques, a reduction in spawns per game is even more desirable.

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DracheReborn, Klown, n1000

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 00:29

Re: Rewards for uniques

To be honest I think uniques are way too common even in the existing system. Frances has been generated and killed in 82% of my winning games. Uniques that I have killed in more than 50% of my online wins: Boris, Wiglaf, Frances, Saint Roka, Agnes, Kirke, Donald, Nikola, Aizul, Margery, Xtahua, Mara, Nergalle, Harold, Louise, Snorg, Erica, Frederick, Nessos, Rupert, Urug, Azrael, Sonja, Ilsuiw, Psyche, Grum, Norris, Josephine, Eustachio, Maurice. Half of those uniques weren't even in the game when I started winning!
Considering the nature of uniques, I'd expect that if you picked any individual unique, they would only exist in maybe 25% of full games (exploring every branch completely) at the very most. Yet in Crawl, for most uniques it's 80% or higher. That's really freaking high.

Also, unique density increases every time someone adds a new (randomly generating) unique, because the more different uniques there are, the lower the chance of picking uniq_dummy. This does not seem desirable to me.

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crate, Hirsch I, Sprucery

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 10:53

Re: Rewards for uniques

So, I'm going to spitball some fairly basic, gut instinct thoughts:

1. Uniques should happen at least once every 4 or 5 levels. This way, newer players or weaker player can reliably hit one. With D being 15 levels and Depths being 5, this would make about 4 unique encounters in the "base" branches.
2. Each 5+ level branch should have at most one random unique and one "boss" unique special to that branch. Each 3/4 level branch should have one unique, preferably special. (Not including Hells/Pan.) This makes the rough count of branch uniques 16, 20 required total due to the lair branches.
3. This spread indicates that if we want to have the chance to see each unique about 25% of the time in a "full" game, we'd need about 80 uniques total. This is very rough, and is ignoring branch bosses and the like.
4. We currently have, by my count, 60 uniques, ignoring Hells/Pan and the Royal Jelly.

So, I think the best solution is
1. Tweak unique distribution to lower it slightly.
2. Come up with some more uniques for variety.
Three wins: Gargoyle Earth Elementalist of Ash, Ogre Fighter of Ru, Deep Dwarf Fighter of Makhleb (0.16 bugbuild :( )

Zot Zealot

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 12:32

Re: Rewards for uniques

I actually enjoy floors when 5+ dangerous uniqes generates. It's still funny even if you usually simply skip the floor. Of course duvessa is right that it would be better if a given unique would only generate about 25% of the games.

If you want to make xp from uniques matter more (by incresing XP for the uniques), and the problem is that there are more than enough other xp source, than the solution I think is to reduce the other xp source. Shorten shoals/snake/swamp/spider/vaults/depths/zot to 3 levels each. They are too long anyway.

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 14:51

Re: Rewards for uniques

What if a possible entry requirement for treasure troves was something like "give me the long sword xxx which is being wielded by yyy."

The item could be like a randart, but without any particular abilities except its name. The unique would have to be one which the player has not encountered yet, which would then be guaranteed to be generated on a level the player has not yet visited.

Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 15:22

Re: Rewards for uniques

Reduce unique generation rate and give them a good chance for nice equipment (not game breaking, eg, give sigmund a nice ring).

The probability that a unique with a endgame item can be made to be about the same as finding one on the floor.

Tomb Titivator

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Post Friday, 14th March 2014, 20:29

Re: Rewards for uniques

As one thing I would like to throw in, some uniques really change in difficulty depending on build. Mennas could just arbitrarily kill any casters who enter LoS without access to haste, and I wouldn't be able to notice the difference. On the other hand, Menkaure is a joke for the undead.
Actually, as an idea with Mennas, he could drop some kind of item that would make you immune to silence, and possibly give you a silence aura. That'd be very valuable for casters, and might make trying to fight him worth the risk.
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Blades Runner

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Post Sunday, 16th March 2014, 13:47

Re: Rewards for uniques

@dpeg

Sealing downstairs because of uniques?! Sorry dpeg, with all due respect, that's preposterously cruel ;_____; and partially flies smack against "every game is winnable in principle" because if you don't have the right tools, are not buff enough, and suddenly you have no access to further resources, you're SCREWED, save for shafts and escape hatches. Which might land you in an exactly as hopeless spot, maybe even ANOTHER level with sealed downstairs because of uniques. It can very well be a death sentence.

Sometimes having uniques guarding downstair vaults makes much more sense, as you could still conceivably sneak, invis, confuse, paralyze, dig, disperse, blink, etc... your way around them.

On making uniques less common, why not make an exclusion formula? I.E., from all uniques with HD ranging from X to Y, only Z can generate. This would make them less redundant.


Reading that Erolcha is only worth some 700+ XP makes me ANGRY. That cheapskate bitch.
Hirsch I wrote:Also,are you calling me a power-gamer? this is highly offensive! now excuse me, I have to go back to my GrBe game, that I savescummed until trog gave me a Vampiric +9 claymore.

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Post Sunday, 16th March 2014, 14:27

Re: Rewards for uniques

Sigh. Psiweapon, this was not a proposal or anything, but just a random idea to show that we can make uniques are meaningful as we like. I cannot parse "preposterous cruel" although I am sure people said the same about the runelock.

In general, instead of all the hullabaloo about how evil or horrible my contributions are, it'd be much more useful for everyone if we try to understand the underlying issue. This starts with the question whether there is a problem at all.

My train of thought was like this. 1. Uniques are challenging opponents, fighting them can be interesting and force you to play outside of your comfort zone. That's good!
2. crate observes that because of this, many uniques are better to be ignored. This is very sensible, and would probably not change if we increase the rewards only moderately. And we may not want to increase the rewards drastically.
3. At this point, I wondered how we could make players to engage at least some uniques. And that's how I came up with the proposal. It was straight off the top of my head, and is admittedly very crude. However, even so: the way I phrased it was not completely arbitrary. The "unique lock" would only kick in with sufficient uniques on a level, and you'd only need to kill one of them (a choice!). Also, going down by any other means and them coming up would solve the issue as well (another option!).

Anyway, it was just a little idea to stir up some discussion -- not drama about players quitting Crawl for good or measuring how preposterous dpeg really is.

Unique xp changes will definitely come for 0.15, I think I can guarantee that. Better loot seems also low-hanging enough (however, think of egos and +2 caps, not of randarts). The more elaborate ideas I will collect in a new thread, or on a wiki page.

dck

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Post Sunday, 16th March 2014, 14:44

Re: Rewards for uniques

All things considered I think a good number of uniques already have decent chances (sometimes 100%) of having some piece of gear on them that is relevant for one character or another, so I'm not sure making that more common is a step in the right direction as to give people reasons to kill uniques. Also exp rewards for early D uniques such as grinder or pikel are already significant and good, and I would much prefer if other uniques that pose equivalent levels of threat relative to their depths gave equivalent amounts of exp (this would probably be a metric ton of exp however).
That said, I don't believe making them give non-trivial amounts of exp would change things very well with the current exp distribution of crawl and particularly with the amount of uniques that are faced in the average three runes game, so I think this problem would be best tackled as part of a whole exp distribution reform, paired with a significant reduction to the amount of uniques placed on average.

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Post Sunday, 16th March 2014, 15:35

Re: Rewards for uniques

dpeg wrote:Sigh. Psiweapon, this was not a proposal or anything, but just a random idea to show that we can make uniques are meaningful as we like. I cannot parse "preposterous cruel" although I am sure people said the same about the runelock.

In general, instead of all the hullabaloo about how evil or horrible my contributions are, it'd be much more useful for everyone if we try to understand the underlying issue. This starts with the question whether there is a problem at all.

My train of thought was like this. 1. Uniques are challenging opponents, fighting them can be interesting and force you to play outside of your comfort zone. That's good!
2. crate observes that because of this, many uniques are better to be ignored. This is very sensible, and would probably not change if we increase the rewards only moderately. And we may not want to increase the rewards drastically.
3. At this point, I wondered how we could make players to engage at least some uniques. And that's how I came up with the proposal. It was straight off the top of my head, and is admittedly very crude. However, even so: the way I phrased it was not completely arbitrary. The "unique lock" would only kick in with sufficient uniques on a level, and you'd only need to kill one of them (a choice!). Also, going down by any other means and them coming up would solve the issue as well (another option!).

Anyway, it was just a little idea to stir up some discussion -- not drama about players quitting Crawl for good or measuring how preposterous dpeg really is.

Unique xp changes will definitely come for 0.15, I think I can guarantee that. Better loot seems also low-hanging enough (however, think of egos and +2 caps, not of randarts). The more elaborate ideas I will collect in a new thread, or on a wiki page.


Aww, sorry man, my heart-felt apologies if that sounded hurtful, everything else in your posts so far seemed quite cool, but I panicked at the stair sealing thing.
Hirsch I wrote:Also,are you calling me a power-gamer? this is highly offensive! now excuse me, I have to go back to my GrBe game, that I savescummed until trog gave me a Vampiric +9 claymore.

Halls Hopper

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Post Sunday, 16th March 2014, 17:49

Re: Rewards for uniques

Umm... This is something I've thought a lot about before. Not because I usually run away from uniques but, quite the opposite, I tend to enjoy the challenge of taking a unique down. Sure, I might retreat at first, but I tend to be focussed on going up against uniques when I think I can handle them. Err... though, as others have said, it's not always easy to judge how equipped I am to deal with a unique. So there's always a risk there.

Anyway, my primary motivation for facing uniques is probably to clear out levels I've already explored, with experience being a distant second. Loot rarely enters into it, mainly because I've sort of gotten used to the idea that uniques rarely have loot that is of much use to me. And, whilst experience gain is a factor in my decision to face uniques, it's probably not that a particularly large one. Experience can be gotten anywhere and, whilst I might get it in larger chunks from certain enemies, I don't think that'd make me any more likely to face a unique that I knew was bad news.

Loot, on the other hand, probably would. I've never noticed a problem with experience gain (though, I freely admit that that might say more about my inattentiveness than anything else) but, as I said, I've always found the loot to be lacking. This might just be my love of new toys overriding my knowledge of what is actually optimal or sensible, but I tend to take way more risks when there's a shiny, new trinket on the horizon.

As for how to implement it, there's several ideas I like. One is the old RPG trope of "I wish I had that a few minutes ago", where killing something gets you something that would have helped considerably in your fight against that creature. For example, Sigmund is known to use confusion, throw flame and invisibility. So you could make it so that he carries a ring of see invisibility, a ring of fire protection, or an amulet of clarity on him.

Tying in with this idea is giving rewards based on what the hardest way to dispatch of a unique is. I've noticed that one's build largely affects one's chances of overcoming certain uniques. For example, if I was a melee fighter, I might struggle against something that a spellcaster could easily take care of. As such, so as not to give the spellcaster easy loot, and also to make the melee fighter's struggle worth it, give certain uniques loot that would more greatly benefit those that are less effective against that unique.

Another thought is to make unique challenges give unique loot. Or, at the very least, very rare loot. I'd probably hurl myself even more suicidally at bigger and nastier foes if I knew I could get an artefact out of it. It probably wouldn't have to be all that powerful, as I'm always a sucker for a shiny. For example, from Nikola, getting something that would allow me to give my own weapon the electrocution brand. Either a specialised scroll of brand weapon, or maybe an object (such as gauntlets) that, when worn, overrides the brand of one's weapons with the electrocution brand. It'd be only marginally different from grabbing an electrocution weapon from his corpse, but would give him something unique to offer.

Aside from that, I don't think I have much to add. For me, it comes down to the difference between reward and incentive. To more experienced and optimisation-based players who know all the behind-the-scenes stuff, there will likely be little difference. An adequate reward would be seen as incentive enough. But for those not familiar with the ins-and-outs of gameplay or who are more interested in messing about and trying new things, then what one considers suitable incentive to face down a dangerous unique will vary greatly. As I've said, I'm a loot and challenge junky, but I imagine others have their own vices.

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Post Sunday, 16th March 2014, 18:48

Re: Rewards for uniques

I disagree with the premise.

Uniques are in the game to be fun, to be challenging, and to be flavorful representatives of the game culture for non-players to read about in Let's Play threads and cause those non-players to decide to become new players. There are plenty of monsters which are already basically ambulatory treasure chests that you just have to stop from moving. The dungeon is filled with those sorts of xp and loot piñatas. If a player occasionally gets a useful item for their character off a unique, that's certainly fine, but I don't see any reason to add additional pressure to kill uniques when letting the player avoid them is just as good.

Take Mennas for example. Sometimes I burn him down with Fire Storm, or summon a Brothers in Arms and tab vigorously until he stops moving. Other times I have to gingerly explore his native level, watching my noise level at all times, using all six available off-level staircases repeatedly, and pooling all of my player and character skills to liberate as much xp and loot and possible off his level without actually fighting him. That last option is always the most fun, but it requires more effort on my part and I really can't fake the level of effort and the satisfaction that comes from it on anything that isn't genuinely just as troublesome.

Grinder is another good avoider, and I would honestly think he would be improved as an obstacle if he gave much less xp. He's got a power that makes him really dangerous if you don't mind your surroundings and meet up with him when he has friends, and another power that makes him easy to escape from if you can't handle him. He's the perfect trainer monster to show new players that they don't have to kill every monster… only he's got two free level-ups if you happen to have picked up a killer wand or he stupidly walks into your flame cloud and dies without you doing anything. So new players get trained to try to brute-force the dangerous monster every time because those two free levels are just too good to pass up.

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Post Sunday, 16th March 2014, 19:12

Re: Rewards for uniques

did you just post for the first time in 368 days to say that grinder should give less xp

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Post Sunday, 16th March 2014, 19:56

Re: Rewards for uniques

That's how you come back in style. wb btw
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Post Sunday, 16th March 2014, 20:16

Re: Rewards for uniques

KoboldLord wrote:I disagree with the premise.

Take Mennas for example. Sometimes I burn him down with Fire Storm, or summon a Brothers in Arms and tab vigorously until he stops moving.

{...}

Grinder is another good avoider, and I would honestly think he would be improved as an obstacle if he gave much less xp ... he's got two free level-ups if you happen to have picked up a killer wand or he stupidly walks into your flame cloud and dies without you doing anything.


Both of these uniques were given rF+++ since you left.
"Be aware that a lot of people on this forum, such as mageykun and XuaXua, have a habit of making things up." - minmay a.k.a. duvessa
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Post Sunday, 16th March 2014, 21:12

Re: Rewards for uniques

The one thing about boosting XP. People can still run away and come back when the unique is a joke. Such cowardly behavior doesn't deserve the good reward.
Double XP if you kill them before leaving the floor! (and a Jory-like explosion, but randarts instead of blood; who cares, they're usually bad anyways).
#realrewards.

Sounds like a lot but look at the XP you need to level up after XL15+ hundreds of thousands. Double any of those above, and you go from XL20 3 to XL20 8. If that.
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