Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles


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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 17th April 2014, 22:27

Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

Edit/Update: If you haven't yet seen the responses below, I was wrong about repel working off charges, instead of a chance to fail on each deflection. Below post is unedited, but charges are a bad idea.

Buff spells should be largely "charge" based rather than duration based. Repel/Deflect now counts how many missiles you can affect, and doesn't time out. Imho, at least the following buffs should also work this way:

Stoneskin
Ozocubu's armor
regeneration
condensation shield
phase shift
shroud of Golubria
portal projectile (Does this already?)

Flight I could go either way on. You're technically using it even if you aren't over water/lava....

I've probably forgotten another 10, feel free to add them, I haven't purposely left them off.

Question: Does repel missile's effect lose a charge when a missile is fired at you, or only if it successfully repelled one? should stoneskin lose a charge only if you actually take damage, or when any AC-checking roll is made? I suppose either way works, it would just change how the number of charges scales.
Last edited by tasonir on Monday, 21st April 2014, 22:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Thursday, 17th April 2014, 22:50

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

The Repel Missiles duration is actually stochastic right now - it has a certain chance to expire whenever a missile is fired at you (or possibly whenever it repels something, I'm not sure). It's not obvious how all of those spells could work similarly, but something along the lines of a check every time you make an AC roll would work for most of them I guess. I'm also not sure if regeneration and phase shift fit - they're both fairly short-lived spells and I don't think most players would keep them active all the time under the status quo.

The two problems this proposal is likely to run into:
1. The issues with rMsl/dMsl as they are now: you can basically take off your armour to cast these spells, which is tedious and removes the trade-off that is supposed to come with heavy armours. I think this aspect of the problem is trivial to fix (make the buff expire if you do something that tanks your spell success) but there's still an argument to be made that spell success is largely irrelevant to spells that last forever. I don't fully buy this argument because I think stochastic spells are more likely to cause your buffs to expire during a combat situation than the status quo, but it's something to bear in mind.

2. This proposal would make spell power irrelevant for a lot of those spells. You could perhaps make spell power increase the effectiveness of the buffs instead though.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 17th April 2014, 23:03

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

so right now rmsl/dmsl is in theory problematic in that it encourages doing things like taking off your armour to cast it since they are effectively now spells you cast outside of combat entirely (this is a game design consideration)
in practice this doesn't end up being a problem for a couple reasons: 1) rmsl is good enough 2) rmsl is level 2 so even in plate it's easy to cast 3) for just a single spell it is possibly more danger than it is worth to take off your armour and then put it back on afterward

if more spells work this way this becomes a problem in practice (if I can use dmsl/phase shift/cshield/etc without actually needing enough skill to cast them it is absolutely worthwhile to take off my armour and then put it back on afterward) instead of just in theory

non-combat spells simply do not work with how crawl's armour system works ... this is a thing you can overlook if it is very rare (though it's still, from a design perspective, something I find unforgivable); the more common it gets the less you can ignore the problems

the current situation does not have these problems since the time you spend taking off/putting on armour is long enough that you lose much (or all, in the case of short duration things like phase shift!) of your buff duration before you have any chance of the buff helping you

---

(make the buff expire if you do something that tanks your spell success)

So if I take off my +int ring because I want to put on rF my buffs instantly expire? If I get int drained my buffs expire? You want to remove wizardry being useful for charms? (since the best way to use wizardry is to swap it in when you need it) (note that I'm not sure making wizardry useless here is a bad thing)
I'm not sure this is as "trivial" as you think. (I'm not commenting here about whether it is a good or bad idea, just pointing out things you need to consider. The rules need to be clear to the player whatever you come up with.)

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 17th April 2014, 23:04

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

I didn't realize repel just has a flat chance to expire; I figured it counted missiles. Either implementation would work for other spells listed like armor/stoneskin/shroud.

Regeneration is likewise simple: Whatever the duration would be at your current spellpower, is instead saved as a hit point count. Then every turn, if your hp is below max, add one and reduce the hit point count. When hit point count is 0, the spell ends. So if you're at full life, the spell doesn't tick down, and will resume healing you when you take damage. I believe rings of regeneration already have some similar logic; because they increase your hunger rate, but do not if you are at max health.

I don't think spellpower would be irrevelant - if I have a choice between a stoneskin that breaks after 20 ac-checks vs putting a few more skill levels into and getting one that breaks after 35 ac-checks, I'd love to have the one that lasts longer. I already dump huge amounts of exp into charms/necromancy for regeneration spellpower, just so I don't have to cast it as often and it lasts longer.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 17th April 2014, 23:08

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

crate wrote:
(make the buff expire if you do something that tanks your spell success)

So if I take off my +int ring because I want to put on rF my buffs instantly expire? If I get int drained my buffs expire? You want to remove wizardry being useful for charms? (since the best way to use wizardry is to swap it in when you need it) (note that I'm not sure making wizardry useless here is a bad thing)
I'm not sure this is as "trivial" as you think. (I'm not commenting here about whether it is a good or bad idea, just pointing out things you need to consider. The rules need to be clear to the player whatever you come up with.)


Cast blade hands, lose all buffs. Awww. But yeah, something about removing armor should probably be figured out, but I'd hate to see a good reform shot down because people can't cast level 3 spells in armor. I would think the time delay and the risk of being unclothed would be enough to make that unlikely, but maybe not. If you're casting phase shift without enough skill to cast it in armor, how long would it really last? You'd end up with a low number of charges; but I suppose even one charge is technically optimal, even if no one would deal with the tediousness.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 17th April 2014, 23:15

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

oh, also, you cannot use "charges" since then you make the player recast the spell after every fight (to restore the full number of charges) even if the spell did not expire, and this is at least as bad as the status quo (would be fine for regen I guess ... by the way you know you can cast regen multiple times right now to stack duration right?)
you must use the rmsl/dmsl implementation of stochastic expiration for combat-relevant spells

you would end up casting the spells in plate (by taking off the plate) at the same spellpower you'd cast them in a robe (unless that robe is archmagi), so unless they're useless in a robe you'd still have pretty strong encouragement to take off your armour to cast them while spending less xp

I still don't understand how spellpower works with rmsl/dmsl anyway. I have been told that putting on archmagi (or wielding staff of air, I guess) to cast the spell does not affect the spellpower it actually uses, so my assumption is it checks spellpower when you repel a missile? but I don't know how it works

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Post Thursday, 17th April 2014, 23:20

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

It would be good if the spellpower was dynamic, yeah. I guess stochastic regen would work fine, just give it a chance to expire each time it gives you HP.

crate wrote:So if I take off my +int ring because I want to put on rF my buffs instantly expire? If I get int drained my buffs expire? You want to remove wizardry being useful for charms? (since the best way to use wizardry is to swap it in when you need it) (note that I'm not sure making wizardry useless here is a bad thing)
I can see the rF+ thing screwing up someone who isn't aware of the mechanic, but if it's communicated clearly to the player I don't think it would be hugely unfair and I can't see how it could lead to more re-casting than the status quo. I'd also say it's an unambiguously good thing to discourage constant ring swapping. Wizardry could still be useful for charms (it could potentially allow you to recast in the middle of a fight after you lose a buff) but it's not something you'd want to swap to just to cast the spell every single time.

However, if these are actually insurmountable problems with my idea you could just make it so that the buffs only go away when you put on armour (that would leave the "put on wizardry/+int to cast this spell" issue but that's no different from the status quo).

Ultimately I feel like spell success matters more under this system though. At the moment I can just cast a buff as many times as I like in safety and keep its duration high all the time. Under this system the buff will expire in a combat situation and I will have to choose whether to spend turns re-casting it.

Barkeep

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Post Thursday, 17th April 2014, 23:29

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

Wizardry is already pretty powerful and the fact that you can swap on wizardry to cast buffs without enemies in LOS (so there is no cost) is pretty annoying anyway. So that problem actually seems like a benefit to my eyes, crate. As for +int, obviously if your spell success shifts just a little bit, chance for buff to expire should be very low. If the spell success is shifting a lot, then it basically is same thing as wizardry, you *shouldn't* be able to abuse ring swaps, cast a bunch of (semi)-permabuffs, then switch back.

Easy way to do this is that anytime your spell success lowers, there is an under-the-hood (unannounced) roll against your *current* (lower) spell success. If that roll fails you get a message about "losing control of the spell" and it begins to expire, takes a turn (maybe 2?) before it fully expires. The spells get a line in their description stating that if your spell success is lowered after casting you may lose control of the spell, causing it to expire. That seems like it would work pretty well in my estimation.

Also note that if your buffs actually expire from such swings, then spell success suddenly matters more. Which seemed to be part of the problem with casting out of combat in the first place. I realize you don't like casting out of combat in general, crate, but your objections seem to be based on the assumption that the idea would be implemented in a bad, silly way.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 17th April 2014, 23:32

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

but your objections seem to be based on the assumption that the idea would be implemented in a bad, silly way.

you mean a way exactly like the way it is currently implemented and exactly like the way this topic suggested originally it should be implemented?

i hope you can see why i have concerns............

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Post Thursday, 17th April 2014, 23:41

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

I am aware you can cast regen multiple times to stack it, I do this quite frequently when I have low spell power regen, but once I get higher spellpower (around 6-7 #'s) I generally don't bother as one cast is pretty strong.

If there's a better way to implement these buffs than charges, by all means, throw away the charges. I wasn't aware that repel used a flat % under the hood, so I suppose charges isn't a good mechanic to replace duration with.

Barkeep

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Post Thursday, 17th April 2014, 23:43

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

Leafsnail wrote:(make the buff expire if you do something that tanks your spell success)


Sorry crate, I was referring to this idea in particular, I should have been clearer. Obviously if you changed DCSS such that lowering your success by X percent suddenly just made the buff expire always, that would be awful.

I agree with your concerns about charges. Stochastic is better, with chance of expiration tied to your spell power. I believe rmsl/dmsl does check your current spell power, rather than spell power when cast; if that's not how it works right now, that is how it should work.

Things that could probably work this way:

Stoneskin (stochastic expiration checks on AC roll)
Ozocubu's armor (checks on AC roll)
regeneration (checks every X turns over which you have had less than full HP while spell active)
condensation shield (checks every block)
Shroud of Golubria (checks every hit)

In all these cases your current spell power is used to find your odds; higher spell power, better odds at retaining the charm.

In addition whenever your spell success for one of these spells is lowered, there is a roll against your current (now lower) odds. If you fail, the charm expires.

While you are at it just let folks stay in Necromutation; any time your success rate with spell is lowered, it checks at current rate to allow for retention, or else expires. There is also a random check against current spell success every X turns (X being randomized, but on average quite large). Otherwise you stay in it until you end transformation through abilities menu.

In all cases expiration probably shouldn't happen immediately, give it a one turn delay.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 18th April 2014, 00:05

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

I never said that Leafsnail's idea was bad.

In fact I explicitly said that I did not think it was bad. I said it was not bad precisely to prevent posts like yours.

Please stop putting words in my mouth.

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Post Friday, 18th April 2014, 00:09

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

I was wrong to say the solution was trivial, what I should have said is that it wasn't a core issue with the idea and it could be overcome by changing the implementation of perma-charms. I think and into's suggestion of re-rolling for your success probably makes the most sense.

Barkeep

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Post Friday, 18th April 2014, 01:24

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

crate: I guess I misunderstood the intent behind what you were saying. I apologize if that is the case. I was not, however, trying to put words in your mouth, I was simply responding to what I took—and perhaps mistook—you to be saying.
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Post Friday, 18th April 2014, 02:33

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

I will only ever be happy with buffs when I don't have to cast them before fights... and especially not before fights while standing on stairs. This goes for haste, repel missiles, forms, etc.

Why not just have deflect missiles last forever, but cost MP every time a missile is deflected? Haste last forever too and cost MP per action, because glow doesn't even matter 99% of the time.

Also forms should last forever. Period. Low success rates could translate to glow over time (which actually would matter and make thematic sense) but even a 1% chance to drop out of a form translates to a lot of tedious recasts.

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Post Friday, 18th April 2014, 03:34

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

Those are more radical, but intriguing ideas, snow. I will mention that casting these spells without enemies in LOS and out of combat is not always boring though—sometimes you retreat successfully, recover, power up and go back into the fray. And being able to correctly anticipate when you will be in danger is sometimes a nontrivial skill, the application of which is therefore not boring.

The problem is with doing stuff like powering up before going down every new flight of stairs. Probably an easier way to deal with that specific problem is to give it the summons treatment—buffs expire when you go up/down stairs. Nerf the welcoming party on Vaults 8 a bit if necessary (pushing them two spaces back would do the trick probably).

reg

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Post Friday, 18th April 2014, 04:21

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

One idea for some buffs is to have them reserve some of your max MP, but be permanent until you choose to end them (from 'a' menu i suppose). This might be worth looking at for some of the lighter buffs like shroud that don't contaminate you.

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Post Friday, 18th April 2014, 08:06

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

I still like my suggestion from the last time this topic came up:

What if charms become item egos instead? Say amulet of repel missile (like amulet of air, but not unrand), or maybe make RM a shield ego. If temporary branding is worth keeping, make them glove egos. Ditto for Sure Blade. Shroud and Phase Shift could be cloak egos. Stoneskin and Ozo's Armour could be robe egos. Things like flight and swiftness and regen and control teleport already exist on items - increasing their generation rate to replace the spells may make sense.

The benefit of this change is that buffs no longer become a "no-brainer" once the spell is available and castable. Now you'd need to trade off against your other available equipment. This also addresses the problem of item egos being somewhat lacklustre.

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Post Friday, 18th April 2014, 12:28

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

I did the initial conversion of repel missiles to prevent tedious recasting - since it's cheap and there's no good reason not to have it up. The problem with it now is that it feels a lot more like armour rather than a spell, just something you put on out of combat.

I'd definitely support moving repel to an armour ego or to the amulet of inaccuracy. The Wind Wall spell I came up with tries to provide the same functionallity (helping against early centaurs) while avoiding the permanent buff problem.

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Post Friday, 18th April 2014, 20:10

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

Most spells have reliability based on spell success and effectiveness based on spellpower. This has a lot of nice results:
-- Heavy armour restricts the level of spells you can cast but not the usefulness of any castable lower level spells.
-- Low level spells continue to gain some power as characters progress, so each new spell a character gains doesn't necessarily render older ones totally obsolete.
-- Players can't get full use out of a spell by getting it barely castable.

Buffs don't work the same way, so they forgo the above gameplay effects.

Old RMsl/DMsl, and most current buffs, have reliability based on spell success and effectiveness based on nothing. To make it worse, players generally only need one successful casting per buff per fight, so spell failure for buffs is more tolerable than it is for attack or escape spells. Thus, getting buffs barely castable in heavy armour is often optimal. (Granted, duration is often based on spellpower, but for most buffs that's mostly just an annoyance. Duration is insignificant if it's long and obnoxious if it's short.)

New RMsl/DMsl have reliability based on spellpower and effectiveness based on nothing. This is slightly better, but it still encourages players to get these spells barely castable in heavy armour, with the added issue of using =wiz or armour swapping out of combat to get them online.

---------------------------------

Proposal: Buffs have reliability based on spell success and effectiveness based on spellpower, like most other spells do.

Buffs have stochastic expiration based on spell success. You can swap to =wiz and no armour to cast them before combat, but it won't help because your plate-wearing 87% failure rate will make most buffs give out almost immediately. Getting half-decent spell success suddenly becomes truly helpful, and a lot of the degenerate play we've seen around new RMsl disappears.

Buffs have effects that scale with spellpower. Having flat power levels for buffs is at the root of a lot of their problems, and they would work a lot better if skill investment made a bigger difference. The change would be pretty straightforward -- Phase Shift can scale the EV boost by spellpower, Regeneration can scale HP/turn by spellpower, RMsl can scale the to hit penalty with spellpower. The issue with every non-Troggy splashing certain critical buffs for low amounts of XP becomes far less problematic if those buffs need good spellpower to make them really effective. Instead, players would have the more difficult choice of spending some serious XP to get very powerful buffs, or forgoing that and getting other magic schools or more Dodging.
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Post Tuesday, 22nd April 2014, 14:48

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

I really like what you're saying Igxfl. The idea of buffs working off spellpower, and staying active until used, based on spell success, is a fantastic solution to the current problems with the current Dmsl and Rmsl, and provides the path to make other buffs work similarly. In addition, you change one of the more stale aspects of crawl, which is the current state of many buffs (as a non-trog follower, many of these buffs are total no-brainers).

What would you intend to do with haste? If haste were spellpower based, that might be the nerf we've all been looking for, and on top of it, you could make it so at very high spellpower, it's actually better than it is now. (maybe go all the way to .5 aut per action at max power, .95 at no power, which never happens)
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Post Tuesday, 22nd April 2014, 18:40

Re: Redesign other buffs to work more like Repel missiles

Igxfl wrote:Buffs don't work the same way, so they forgo the above gameplay effects.
Alternatively just make Buffs not spells. It causes such an endless amount of problems they just shouldn't have success that depends on conditional factors or have to be recast. (Some Charms like Death's Door or Song of Slaying or arguably Invisibility work find as spells but most do not. Those can remain spells.)
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