Mutations


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Post Friday, 29th August 2014, 19:19

Mutations

Good Design:

Mutations are interesting enough to effect things like gear choices and skill progression and have a long term impact on your game.

Bad Design:

Mutations are short lived annoyances that add no interesting choices except for occasionally forcing you to wear stasis or something.

The Solution:

1. Above all, good mutations should stick with you. Things like malmutate shouldn't remove them and as such if you get a good mutation you can plan your progression around it. Things that you can cause (like potions of mutation or god effects) are perfectly fine for randomly removing good mutations but not something like an orb of fire.

2. Cure mutation should only cure a single selected mutation. The interesting choice is which bad mutation to cure (especially if you get many mutations). In the current state of things you tend to end up with no mutations at all and this is bad. Mutations should be a more prominent part of the game.

With careful play mutations basically don't exist. Is this really how it should be? Mutations should be common, and ways to manage them should be common. This would allow for more drastic mutations as well as more interesting choices. As it stands most mutations are barely even noticeable. To elaborate: a REALLY bad mutation can't exist in Crawl because ways to either suppress or remove it is too rare and the one that does is a sweeping effect that removes all interesting choices that could possibly be associated with it. The end result is a bunch of mediocre bad mutations... with even things like berserkertitis getting watered down because it's too hard to manage.
Last edited by snow on Sunday, 7th September 2014, 06:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Saturday, 30th August 2014, 16:19

Re: Mutations

I like this idea.
currently mutations and "managing" them is boring.
and you hardly ever get any before Zot/Pan

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Post Saturday, 30th August 2014, 16:50

Re: Mutations

KittenInMyCerealz wrote:I like this idea.
currently mutations and "managing" them is boring.
and you hardly ever get any before Zot/Pan

I get lots of mutations because I chug every potion of mutation and chunk of mutagenic meat I find, but that's not exactly optimal behavior.

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Post Sunday, 31st August 2014, 08:03

Re: Mutations

I'm not sure I agree with some of your premises here.

You introduce what you declare to be good design and bad design for mutations (which while I don't disagree with, I do find a little simplistic, since there would be many things that could be good design for mutations, including the premise you suggest, and there could be many bad designs for mutations including the one you suggest) and then go on to propose a solution. I suppose one is supposed to gather from that that you believe mutations as they currently exist are implemented as 'bad design' and should be instead implemented as 'good design'. If that's your proposition (which isn't wholly clear) then I'm not sure I agree that mutations fit into the definition of 'bad design' as you've laid it out.

You further state:
snow wrote:Above all, good mutations should stick with you.

snow wrote:you tend to end up with no mutations at all and this is bad.

snow wrote:Mutations should be a more prominent part of the game.

snow wrote:With careful play mutations basically don't exist.

snow wrote:Mutations should be common


So these form a sort of meta-premise here, that mutations don't have a large enough impact on the game, and should. If that's your actual premise, you should probably state that at the start. You do go on to justify that as a premise:

snow wrote:To elaborate: a REALLY bad mutation can't exist in Crawl because ways to either suppress or remove it is too rare

Which at least backs your argument about why you think mutations and the ability to remove or suppress them should be more common (because you believe it allows for more significant game-changing effects to be present, which is consistent with your opinion that Mutations should have a larger impact on the game)

You haven't backed up your argument that "Good mutations should be permanant and not be removed by malmutate" so I'm just not sure why you think that's the case (you might have good reasons, you just haven't stated them clearly here)

I would like it if your proposal:

1. Had a clear goal stated at the top (Like "Mutations should have a larger impact") with some clear reasoning as to why you think this goal is true.
2. Show that the goal is not met with the current system.
3. Propose a way to fix it, with details. (Simply saying "you could come up with mutations that would have a larger impact" isn't sufficient, actually come up with some that couldn't work in the current system and present them as examples)
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Post Monday, 1st September 2014, 05:16

Re: Mutations

khalil wrote:
KittenInMyCerealz wrote:I like this idea.
currently mutations and "managing" them is boring.
and you hardly ever get any before Zot/Pan

I get lots of mutations because I chug every potion of mutation and chunk of mutagenic meat I find, but that's not exactly optimal behavior.


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Post Sunday, 7th September 2014, 06:03

Re: Mutations

Siegurt wrote:I would like it if your proposal:

1. Had a clear goal stated at the top (Like "Mutations should have a larger impact") with some clear reasoning as to why you think this goal is true.
2. Show that the goal is not met with the current system.
3. Propose a way to fix it, with details. (Simply saying "you could come up with mutations that would have a larger impact" isn't sufficient, actually come up with some that couldn't work in the current system and present them as examples)


1 Mutations don't exist in Crawl (unless you count the few seconds between gaining them and curing them). I think mutations are interesting and should be added to Crawl.
2. Only a few monsters cause mutations and they only appear after you have cure mutation potions.
3a. Make potion of cure mutation cure a single selected mutation instead of multiple random mutations.
3b. Make potion of cure mutation more common, and sources of mutation more common.
3c. Any enemy that would remove a good mutation should just instead give a bad mutation. It's more fun to have a good and bad mutation than no mutations at all, and beyond that, it adds more depth and allows you to build around some mutations.

TO STRESS: CURRENTLY YOU CAN'T GET FOR EXAMPLE A CLAW MUTATION AND SAY "OH I WILL TRAIN UC BECAUSE OF THIS MUTATION!" BECAUSE THAT'S STUPID AND YOU'LL JUST LOSE YOUR CLAWS ANYWAY WHEN CURING YOUR TELEPORTITIS OR THAT SUMMONER SUMMONS A DEMON. Mutations should be a fun thing to play with and not just some red text that reads "please drink a potion of cure mutation." Not that you'd ever get a claw mutation early enough for it to ever matter, or the mutation is strong enough to ever matter even if it was early, or that it wouldn't just get suppressed by your +2 gloves, but hey baby steps to get ourselves out of this mess. :)

There are too many parts of Crawl that have been copied from other games but at the same time been toned down to the point or might as well not even existing. Curses for example. I just see other games do this stuff right, and Crawl to it so wrong, and it just blows my mind.

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Post Sunday, 7th September 2014, 06:24

Re: Mutations

snow wrote:1 Mutations don't exist in Crawl (unless you count the few seconds between gaining them and curing them). I think mutations are interesting and should be added to Crawl.
2. Only a few monsters cause mutations and they only appear after you have cure mutation potions.
3a. Make potion of cure mutation cure a single selected mutation instead of multiple random mutations.
3b. Make potion of cure mutation more common, and sources of mutation more common.
3c. Any enemy that would remove a good mutation should just instead give a bad mutation. It's more fun to have a good and bad mutation than no mutations at all, and beyond that, it adds more depth and allows you to build around some mutations.


With exception of 3c., altogether these seem like it would just make it really good for all characters to build up a long list of strong good mutations, which seems like it would be about as much fun as gathering your intrinsics in Nethack or scumming Augment Self or whatever it was called back when that spell existed in Crawl. I don't see how that would improve game play at all.
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Post Sunday, 7th September 2014, 06:38

Re: Mutations

and into, I never though of that! You've really opened my mind. Now that I think about it, we should remove armor too because players might scum for it! The same goes for potions of might... we can't have players summing potions of might because if they have lots of them then it would make the game too easy! Sarcasm aside, to say we can't have anything that players can build, such as gear or skills, because they might scum pan for really good artifacts or to all 27s is just silly. If that's a problem then fix Pan, and not say we can't have gear or skills.

It's not like a player will just rest in front of an orb of fire with rf+++ until they get the mutation they want and then cure the rest. That won't be possible because malamute will only cause bad mutations and not add or remove good mutations. We can't just say "mutations are implemented horribly wrong, so we'll just hide them in a corner and pretend they don't exist instead of fixing them." How about we just fix them? It's not that hard.

Just draw the line. Make good mutations are a finite resource such that you can't scum them any more than you can scum potions of heal wounds. I've already complained about scumming pan in general, and how it shouldn't exist in Crawl, but that's neither here not there and far from he topic of this thread.

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Post Sunday, 7th September 2014, 06:55

Re: Mutations

I don't think eating mutagenic corpses and drinking !mutation and then drinking !cure mutation to maintain a laundry list of intrinsics on your A page sounds very fun. That's my point. The interface is much worse and clunkier than (e.g.) armor, for one thing, and I don't see how it confronts the player with strategic considerations that weapon/armor choice at least sometimes, kinda sort of do, since you are simply adding good things and taking away bad things rather than making choices about how to fill a slot that can only have one item.

Also, it is possible to disagree and/or push for clarification without being an ass.

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Post Sunday, 7th September 2014, 08:01

Re: Mutations

and into wrote:I don't think eating mutagenic corpses and drinking !mutation and then drinking !cure mutation to maintain a laundry list of intrinsics on your A page sounds very fun. That's my point. The interface is much worse and clunkier than (e.g.) armor, for one thing, and I don't see how it confronts the player with strategic considerations that weapon/armor choice at least sometimes, kinda sort of do, since you are simply adding good things and taking away bad things rather than making choices about how to fill a slot that can only have one item.

Also, it is possible to disagree and/or push for clarification without being an ass.

Even if this suggested system is flawed, it would still be far better than the current system of mutations
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Post Sunday, 7th September 2014, 08:51

Re: Mutations

and into wrote:I don't think eating mutagenic corpses and drinking !mutation and then drinking !cure mutation to maintain a laundry list of intrinsics on your A page sounds very fun. That's my point. The interface is much worse and clunkier than (e.g.) armor, for one thing, and I don't see how it confronts the player with strategic considerations that weapon/armor choice at least sometimes, kinda sort of do, since you are simply adding good things and taking away bad things rather than making choices about how to fill a slot that can only have one item.

Also, it is possible to disagree and/or push for clarification without being an ass.


Sorry, I wasn't trying to be rude.

I don't want players to maintain a laundry list of mutations either. I also don't think that would happen and that your fears (while justifiable) are clouding your judgement. We already have potions of beneficial mutation with no way to remove these mutations until the very end of a 3 rune game, and you don't see players chugging them while crossing things off a list. I think you feel that the second you can keep a mutation without risk of losing it, the world is going to end and everyone will grind the abyss endlessly to get a perfect mutation set. That simply won't happen because mutations are a finite resource and mutigenic chunks can remove good mutations (as I've stated, potions of mutation and mutigenic chunks can remove them, just not the malmutate spell).

What you're saying is no different from saying that artifacts shouldn't exist because people will grind for them, or potions of heal wounds shouldn't exist because then players would just spam potions every fight and be invincible. Your arguments against my suggestions just don't make sense. The mutation you get from your beneficial mutation potion sticks around a little longer, and bad mutations show up earlier but can also be healed a little earlier too. That's it. That's the only change. The world isn't ending!
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Post Sunday, 7th September 2014, 09:02

Re: Mutations

To be 100% clear:

1. Potions of mutation and any other source of mutation that you inflict on yourself randomly adds or removes mutations. Therefore, it's impossible to gain a perfect mutation set without having more potions of mutations than there are atoms in the known universe. Please note that if you had that many potions of mutation you can get a perfect mutation set anyway even in the current system.

2. Only sources OUTSIDE your control would be prevented from removing good mutations. Instead of removing one, they'd add a bad mutation. This interface is no more clunkier than that of item identification, and honestly is less clunky than that of curse removal. On that note, curse removal should be selectable too as it would make sitting on your stash after doing Tomb and removing all your curses wayyy less annoying.

3. Potion of cure mutation removes one selected mutation, is a bit more common, and source of bad mutations appear earlier.

Now, there are valid arguments against this proposal. A checklist of mutations to get before ascending isn't one of them. A good argument, for example, would be that the risk from mutation from randomly sipping potions to identify them is much lower. The counterargument for that though is that half the time the mutations are good, it's still not worth it to do that and waste a potion of haste or might, and even if the mutations are bad at the moment most mutations don't even matter so at best you're left with an extremely low chance of getting a meaningful bad mutation from doing that. Another argument against this suggestion is that a fast healing mutation might prevent a slow healing mutation. I say let the player have both and they cancel each other out (like haste and slow).

I don't mind arguments against my suggestions, as long as they make sense or at least a tiny bit valid. :|

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Post Sunday, 7th September 2014, 18:44

Re: Mutations

While I am happy to have more mutations in a typical game (some people like Ds because of that), I should point out that current mutation mechanic significantly affects my decisions. For example, I am wearing rMut over better amulets if I really like my current mutations and don't want them to be ruined by necessity to quaff potion of cure mutations. Also it pushes me into Necromutation, which is another very important decision (being a double-edged spell with high XP required). Top players claim it is very easy to avoid being mutated so I suspect they will have lots of good mutations and no bad mutations while not so good players still can use mutation roulette (if they want) and current mutations system encourages them to learn how to avoid being mutated while suggested mutations system encourages them to use mutation roulette ("you will be able to clear all bad mutations soon any way")
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Post Monday, 8th September 2014, 00:22

Re: Mutations

Sandman25, I really don't know how to respond to your post. You are talking about end game things (Necromutation, malmutation), and "avoiding mutation" is basically just not playing mutation roulette. The current mutation system doesn't encourage anything as it basically doesn't exist. It's like if there was a potion of curses and other than that curses don't exist until Tomb but you get remove curse scrolls throughout the game anyway.

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Post Monday, 8th September 2014, 00:45

Re: Mutations

snow wrote:Sandman25, I really don't know how to respond to your post. You are talking about end game things (Necromutation, malmutation), and "avoiding mutation" is basically just not playing mutation roulette. The current mutation system doesn't encourage anything as it basically doesn't exist. It's like if there was a potion of curses and other than that curses don't exist until Tomb but you get remove curse scrolls throughout the game anyway.


My point was that I disagree with "mutations don't exist". If players want them, they can use mutation roulette as early as before Temple. If they don't want to take unnecessary risk, they can quaff potions of beneficial mutation and explore with rMut as default amulet. The latter approach allows to have many good mutations without too many bad mutations. With suggested changes that would be the case for every player no matter how they play. And while it can be fun and leads to more distinct characters even for the same combo and god (2+ good mutations before Lair), it is still a serious buff to players. I don't like situation when it is OPTIMAL to quaff potions of mutation as soon as they are found because it makes potions of mutation too similar to potions of beneficial mutation.
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Post Monday, 8th September 2014, 06:32

Re: Mutations

1. It's currently a bad idea to drink potions of beneficial mutation. They basically lower your chances of winning (but the margin is so low it's rather negligible). If you want I can elaborate but you shouldn't even drink potions of gain stat in older versions.
2. I get that some people like to sip from fountains early on, even though it's a terrible idea, just because they may get a wish. This will still be possible.
3. With the suggested changes it still won't be optimal to sip potions of mutation early on so your scenario won't happen. At worst you're given some mid game strategic choices (sip a potion of mutation, and cure any bad mutations with a few cure mutation potions, but you lose a cure mutation potion so is it worth it especially with bad mutations now being much more common?) but overall sipping early mutation potions would still be a bad idea.

I get that people are terribly afraid of changing anything, but the mutation system in Crawl is clearly broken. If not all at once can we at least do incremental changes? I think potions of cure mutation should be more common and mutations should show up earlier in the game. Is that a small enough change? Potions of decay can be made more common so that sipping potions randomly is still a bad idea.

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Post Monday, 8th September 2014, 13:05

Re: Mutations

snow wrote:1. It's currently a bad idea to drink potions of beneficial mutation. They basically lower your chances of winning (but the margin is so low it's rather negligible). If you want I can elaborate but you shouldn't even drink potions of gain stat in older versions.


No, I don't need it. Even without taking into account reduced probability to remove really bad mutation later.

Sandman25 wrote:Morale of the story is "don't quaff potion of beneficial mutation if wild magic will ruin your game".

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Post Monday, 8th September 2014, 14:11

Re: Mutations

snow, I'm having a hard time seeing a compelling argument in favor of the changes you're proposing. You keep throwing around declarations like "the mutation system in Crawl is clearly broken" and "the current mutation system doesn't encourage anything as it basically doesn't exist", but to the extent that you provide arguments, they basically seem to add up to "I want to keep my good mutations." In order to convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you, you need to provide some detail that would help them understand how your suggestion would change gameplay for the better, and speaking as someone who doesn't already agree with you, I can't see any such detail.

Also, "I get that people are terribly afraid of changing anything" is just sour grapes. Crawl is changing all the time, and just because the thing you want isn't being embraced immediately by everyone is no reason to get snotty. If you're frustrated that people don't like your idea, work harder to come up with a way to make it compelling to others.

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Post Monday, 8th September 2014, 21:22

Re: Mutations

I agree with everything snow has said regarding the ineffectiveness of the current mutation system. The focus should be on what to do to make it better, not pretend the problems so clearly spelled out don't exist.

It's an unmanageable crapshoot, right now.

Also, when rMut 2 can't even provide security against further interference, then really what is the point?

Current character ate 2 chunks of sky beast flesh at XL7 on D:5. Got clarity and regeneration 1. Lucky. But he won't have them by them time he reaches the end game, because he'll have to quaff !curemut at some point and its shotgun approach will demolish them. What's not broken about that?

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Post Monday, 8th September 2014, 21:29

Re: Mutations

Aule wrote:Current character ate 2 chunks of sky beast flesh at XL7 on D:5. Got clarity and regeneration 1. Lucky. But he won't have them by them time he reaches the end game, because he'll have to quaff !curemut at some point and its shotgun approach will demolish them. What's not broken about that?

The fact that you'll have clarity and regen 1 for a significant chunk of the game, specifically the part where they make the most difference and you're least likely to have other means of acquiring them.
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Post Monday, 8th September 2014, 21:44

Re: Mutations

Lasty, I just hate looking at an empty mutation screen knowing there's so much potential there. I want to keep good mutations and gain bad ones. Mutation roulette currently just lowers your chance of winning and I just don't have the time to lose 1000 spriggans a day anymore.

At the very least I feel that bad mutations above all should appear earlier on and cure mutation potions should be more common. More mutations are better than less mutations so yes I'd rather have one good and one bad mutation than no mutations. I've been pretty clear on how I feel I think: it's optimal to avoid mutation roulette, thus leaving you with no mutations most of the game and by the time you do get them you can just cure them. Therefore, mutations basically don't exist. I'd like them to be more common.

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Post Monday, 8th September 2014, 21:47

Re: Mutations

Aule wrote:I agree with everything snow has said regarding the ineffectiveness of the current mutation system. The focus should be on what to do to make it better, not pretend the problems so clearly spelled out don't exist.

It's an unmanageable crapshoot, right now.

Also, when rMut 2 can't even provide security against further interference, then really what is the point?

Current character ate 2 chunks of sky beast flesh at XL7 on D:5. Got clarity and regeneration 1. Lucky. But he won't have them by them time he reaches the end game, because he'll have to quaff !curemut at some point and its shotgun approach will demolish them. What's not broken about that?
Posts like this make it mostly pointless to use GDD.

1. DCSS changes to the mutation system: many mutations modified/added/removed; temporary mutations; Alter Self removed; two gods affect mutations; beneficial mutation added.
2. There is a complete misunderstanding about what mutations are trying to do in the game, the last sentence highlights the confusion.
3. There are certainly many imperfections to any aspect of Crawl, mutations included, but this is not the way to change any of this.

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Post Tuesday, 9th September 2014, 00:02

Re: Mutations

dpeg wrote:2. There is a complete misunderstanding about what mutations are trying to do in the game, the last sentence highlights the confusion.


So what are mutations trying to do in the game? Maybe giving your perspective on this would help guide the discussion.

Personally, my non-dev, completely non-professional view on the matter is that the main role of mutation in the game is to provide mid-game strategic modifications to your character that you have to adapt to (whether to work around them or take advantage of them). One of my favorite parts of Crawl, and I don't think I'm alone in this, is the way character development is about adaptation, rather than optimization. You're not trying to create a perfect optimal end-game build like in many other RPGs, you're trying to make the best use of what the game gives you to survive. Mutations figure into this. They encourage you to adapt. If you end up with a set of mutations that you don't want to adapt to, you can use cure mutation potions, but that will tend to eliminate the good ones along with the bad, and those can be quite rare.

But I think the problem is that mutations often fail to accomplish this. Many of them have either very minor effects that aren't significant enough to warrant shifts in playstyle (such as the stat modifications) or effects that don't reasonably detract from or enhance any particular playstyle in the first place and are just all around good or bad.

Personally, I really liked Snow's rant about the Claws mutation earlier in the thread. Claws is the perfect example to me of a mutation that sounds interesting in theory but is actually usually quite boring in practice. In theory, claws provides an interesting tradeoff to adapt to. You no longer get gloves, but your unarmed attacks are much more powerful, neat. The problem is, aside from maybe Demonspawn, 90% of the time a character gets claws, it's too late to switch their training. Either they already use unarmed and it's a massive damage boost, or they don't use unarmed and it's a defensive penalty. How often does a non-Demonspawn character acquire the claws mutation and actually get faced with a meaningful, non-trivial decision about whether they should start training unarmed to take advantage of it?

Personally, I think the best mutations, design-wise, are wild magic and the new reverse wild magic. These are both mutations that have significant effects that you really can adapt to in many scenarios. A magic-focused character might be hoping to get level 9 spells, but acquire wild magic and choose instead to focus on using extremely high-power mid-level spells instead. Or a fighter aiming for some mid-level charms who acquires wild magic must decide if it's worth the increased investment or if they want to change their plans and stick with their (now more powerful) low-level charms. These mutations actually create meaningful decisions for many characters and, if not cured, can affect their playstyle in meaningful ways.

But mutations like that seem rare. Most of the time, it just feels like mutations are either "yay!" or "is this worth using a cure mutation potion?" It's pretty rare that I get a mutation and think "can I take advantage of this?"

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Post Tuesday, 9th September 2014, 00:21

Re: Mutations

dpeg wrote:Posts like this make it mostly pointless to use GDD.

I hardly think my post epitomized any such thing, but if personal digs make you feel better about it then go for it.

1. DCSS changes to the mutation system: many mutations modified/added/removed; temporary mutations; Alter Self removed; two gods affect mutations; beneficial mutation added.
None of these allow for reliably managing them, except for perhaps Jivya, which has much more far-reaching effects on any character planning than is usually desirable.

2. There is a complete misunderstanding about what mutations are trying to do in the game, the last sentence highlights the confusion.

With little or not official documentation about its uses, purpose or the goals for its inclusion, the confusion should be understandable. Is is going to go the way of fountains or is is going to be part of the game that rises above the level of annoyance?

3. There are certainly many imperfections to any aspect of Crawl, mutations included, but this is not the way to change any of this.

What would you have me do if I agree with the OP, and I believe the they made numerous detailed statements/suggestions that I think are being ignored? If I am not sufficiently eloquent or technically savvy, should I just keep my mouth shut?

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Post Tuesday, 9th September 2014, 00:47

Re: Mutations

I think Cure Mutation is fine as it is, and I don't like the proposed change. As it is you have to decide whether it's worth trashing your good mutations in order to get rid of a bad one, and that goes out the window if you can just make a targeted strike. The OP claims that choosing which bad mutation to remove could be interesting, but I think that's very unlikely. In most cases you won't have two (especially if Cure Mutation is more common than it is now) and even if you do it's usually pretty clear which one is hurting you more.

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Post Tuesday, 9th September 2014, 02:07

Re: Mutations

Optimal play involves not incurring any mutations whatsoever. Potions of beneficial mutation frequently are not as much of a benefit to the player as they are an obstacle to curing bad mutations in the future via !cmut. Thus in an ideal game of Crawl, mutation has no function beyond being a detriment. This is not true for nearly every other mechanic in the game. For something that has such a major amount of mechanics and monsters devoted towards it (shining eyes, neqoxecs, ugly things, sky beasts, guardian serpents, wretched stars, Mnoleg, orbs of fire) it does feel like a waste of design space for players to work as hard as they can to eliminate it from becoming a factor - positive or negative - in their playthroughs.

Crawl has a significant amount of very interesting mutations - good or bad - and it's a shame to see that being ignored in the majority of goodplayer wins.

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Post Tuesday, 9th September 2014, 02:08

Re: Mutations

To give a more fleshed out response:

I'm having a hard time seeing how the proposed changes would be functionally much different than just a major net increase in !benemut, with the addition of much higher control over which mutations you retain over time. Bad mutations would be more prevalent, but so would ways to cure them, and the way to cure them would allow you to select which mutations you wish to remove. So it would be functionally rather similar to just having more !benemut, with the addition that !curemut becomes more like a better version of Jiyva's god power (thus rendering the god power largely redundant btw).

So first of all this would be power creep. Some power creep can be fine if it is an incidental effect of a change that is adding a lot to game play or fixing a problem, but this is obviously power creep.

What do these changes add in terms of game play? That's what I'm having a hard time seeing.

Being able to cultivate and manage an ever longer list of mutations seem like bad mutations would have even less, not more, of an impact. "More malmutation" + "More ways to cure it" sounds like moving mutations towards stat drain. It gets bad, you chug a potion. Currently mutations are rare but so are the ways to cure them, and thus the emphasis is put on avoidance, which differentiates malmutation from other similar kinds of non-HP damage/threat. The current balance might not be perfect, but I don't see how the proposed changes are a big improvement. More prevalent doesn't necessarily translate into more meaningful.

The other side of that is, how fun is it to be chugging potions every few floors, selecting that bad mutation you picked up that was actually bad, and removing it, in order to maintain your awesome mutated god-dude that has four times as many acquired intrinsics as characters normally would have by that point? Unlike armor choices where you have a slot that you fill with one option among many others, which are mutually exclusive to each other, or species choice, which drastically and singularly affects your entire game, good mutations in the new system would just accumulate over time without any interesting choices and input from player.

If you've got +8 AC and rF+ and antennae and extra strength and dexterity etc. etc. from mutations, then that would diminish, in however small a way, other things that determine the strength of your character in the game, some of which may actually involve weighing some interesting considerations and making choices that matter. !benemut currently does not run into this problem, in the vast majority of games, because it is rare and thus a bit of a treat to find one (well, at least until you start clearing ziggurats but the game is being unnecessarily prolonged by the player at that point so whatever).

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Post Tuesday, 9th September 2014, 02:44

Re: Mutations

To me, all this thread has shown is that mutagenic corpses should be removed because they troll some players into thinking there is a mutation "game" to be had when really, as a.i. just said, the only meaningful game around mutations is avoiding getting them (which isn't to say that game isn't fun/interesting!).

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Post Tuesday, 9th September 2014, 03:10

Re: Mutations

Brannock wrote:Optimal play involves not incurring any mutations whatsoever. Potions of beneficial mutation frequently are not as much of a benefit to the player as they are an obstacle to curing bad mutations in the future via !cmut. Thus in an ideal game of Crawl, mutation has no function beyond being a detriment. This is not true for nearly every other mechanic in the game. For something that has such a major amount of mechanics and monsters devoted towards it (shining eyes, neqoxecs, ugly things, sky beasts, guardian serpents, wretched stars, Mnoleg, orbs of fire) it does feel like a waste of design space for players to work as hard as they can to eliminate it from becoming a factor - positive or negative - in their playthroughs.

Crawl has a significant amount of very interesting mutations - good or bad - and it's a shame to see that being ignored in the majority of goodplayer wins.
I picked out a few random (applicable) games from top tournament players, and as far as I can tell this is entirely untrue. Most of them used benemut. Heck, in Bloax's 13320 turn win he used three.

Basically I think the benefit you get from having a positive mutation now massively outweighs the very small risk that it will prevent you from removing a really bad mutation later.

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Post Tuesday, 9th September 2014, 03:33

Re: Mutations

Just because a good player does it doesn't mean it's actually a good idea. Also, many aspects of playing for score encourage you to do things that are bad ideas -- getting very lucky once for every three times you're very unlucky will result in better high scores than doing average all of the time.

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Post Tuesday, 9th September 2014, 03:53

Re: Mutations

My point is that the claim that benemut is "ignored in the majority of goodplayer wins" is false. Beyond that I also have not seen any compelling argument for why it's objectively a bad idea to drink it, considering that benemut has a very high chance of helping you early in exchange for a very slight chance of hurting you later on.
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Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 9th September 2014, 13:38

Re: Mutations

My favorite situation about the current mutation system is when this happens:

1: I get good mutations (usually from !benemut)
2: I get bad mutations (usually from being a badplayer)
3: I find !cmut

Do I quaff it?

It depends on my character, how good the good mutations are and how bad the bad ones are, and the near-term risks I'm gonna be facing, and whether my gear can mitigate the badmut, and whether I'm willing to devote a slot to that. And whether I'm feeling lucky.

If mutations were more common or more controllable, this wouldn't happen.

I used to want more control over mutations, but now... I dunno. Mutations are random. They're not generally something you plan a build around. Rolling a CK and getting a whole bunch of mutations is fun.
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Post Tuesday, 9th September 2014, 17:33

Re: Mutations

Quazifuji wrote:
dpeg wrote:2. There is a complete misunderstanding about what mutations are trying to do in the game, the last sentence highlights the confusion.


So what are mutations trying to do in the game? Maybe giving your perspective on this would help guide the discussion.
I actually started typing up something about this, but then went back for the more concise form. To me, GDD is a timesink (of my time!) and I am better off not participating. Average quality of discourse is not high enough, although there are very good contributions (this thread is a good example).

By the way, everything here is non-professional, we are all laymen. (Laypeople these days?) I agree with your desiderata for mutations, and with the short-comings. There are more mutations that influence players decisions, in my opinion. Or at least, I have been influenced by a Stealth+ mutation recently to switch the dragon armour.

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Post Thursday, 11th September 2014, 03:16

Re: Mutations

dpeg wrote:By the way, everything here is non-professional, we are all laymen. (Laypeople these days?)

Yes, but the Dev Team is still in charge of what does and doesn't end up in crawl. Thus, discussion that is based on a misunderstanding of what the Dev Team wants crawl to be is just a waste of everyone's time.

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Post Friday, 12th September 2014, 15:43

Re: Mutations

If there is to be any change to the way mutations work, then IMO it should be this:

When you have one level of a mutation with multiple levels, the next time you get a mutation, you should be more likely to get a higher level of the same mutation, rather than something completely random.

I've seen quite a few character dumps with something like Icy Scales 1, Green Scales 1, Molten Scales 1, Breathe Flames 1, and I think it would be more interesting if they had higher levels of a single mutation. Getting a level 3 mutation is so rare that it might as well not exist at present (other than Demonspawn.)

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Post Friday, 12th September 2014, 16:48

Re: Mutations

I thought it was weighted toward increasing levels of existing mutations already. But maybe that's just that damn clustering illusion.

I feel like in any game where I drink 4 or more benemuts, I always end up with at least one mutation at level 2.
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Post Friday, 12th September 2014, 17:39

Re: Mutations

imho you should never get more than 1 type of scales mutations, because
1) they clunk up the mutation list
2) almost none of the level 1 scales are interesting, since most of them only give you AC (and a unnoticeable boost in some other thing, like -1dex or 2SH)

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Post Friday, 12th September 2014, 17:49

Re: Mutations

There's already code to ensure you get a maximum of two types of scales, and a maximum of three total levels of scales.

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Post Sunday, 26th October 2014, 20:43

Re: Mutations

This image is my argument and shows why i like the mutation system as it is.
Attachments
mut.jpg
mutation based run.
mut.jpg (355.72 KiB) Viewed 6595 times
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Sandman25

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Post Monday, 27th October 2014, 18:08

Re: Mutations

Here are my thoughts:

1. Mutations are interesting as a form of threat that has lasting impact.
2. Mutations are fun in that they can provide a random boon.
3. Getting rid of bad mutations feels like a chore, losing good mutations feels like a punishment.

which means

1. Reliable means of preventing mutation generates gameplay choices
2. Mutations shouldn't be entirely threatening, and mutation roulette can be fun as something clearly non-optimal.
3. Mutations being removable actually makes them less interesting.

My (probably drastic) solutions:

Remove !mutation, !benemutation, !curemutation (in their current forms)

Add the following:

Potion of Evolution:
Mutates you according to the following pattern:
0 Mutations: 0% get one mutation, 25% get two mutations, 75% get three mutations
1 mutation: 0% get one mutation, 50% get two mutations, 50% get three mutations
2 mutations: 25% get one mutation, 50% get two mutations, 25% get three mutations
3 mutations: 49% get one mutation, 49% get two mutations, 2% get three mutations
4 mutations: 74% get one mutation, 24% get two mutations, 2% get three mutations
5+ mutations: 96% get one mutation, 2% get two mutations, 2% get three mutations

If you get a single mutation, it has a 50/50 chance of being negative or positive. If you get two mutations, they are guaranteed to be 1 and 1. If you get three mutations, they are guaranteed to be not all good and not all bad.

In addition, each mutation you have with multiple ranks has a 10% chance to level up.

Reasoning:
Preserves sense of risk that potions of mutation have without making it as swingy. It is fun to get a random change to a character and take that risk, but the current system encourages more scumming or quitting from getting a bad mutation early on.

Potion of Regression:
Does the exact opposite of the potion of evolution: removes more mutations if you have more, and won't remove all good or all bad ones.
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Post Monday, 27th October 2014, 19:51

Re: Mutations

I appreciate off-the-wall suggestions, and I do find the evolution mutation fun, but so long as mutations like teleportitis and blurry vision and the like exist (some combination of annoying and dangerous), I'm going to want cure mutation potions that can cure my mutations.

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Post Monday, 27th October 2014, 20:09

Re: Mutations

IMO one major purpose of mutations in Crawl is to provide risk to players in a way that is sufficiently complicated that it's hard to optimize around. Because a handful of game-ending mutations exist, every mutation provides an indirect risk: if you have too many mutations, you won't be able to cure the one game-ender even if your other muts are good or benign. This influences the potion ID game, it influences tactics when facing mutating enemies, equipment choices late in the game... sufficiently bad luck with mutations can even motivate someone to switch gods.

The fact that so many mutations are beneficial serves in part to cut players a break and in part to lure us to our doom. One of Crawl's favorite ways to kill players is to tempt them into doing something foolish because they can't resist the lure of power or a good laugh. (And yes, in the right mood I'm not above gambling.)

In short, I really like the current system.

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Post Monday, 27th October 2014, 20:12

Re: Mutations

As an aside, no mutation is truly "game ending". Several increase your risk by a significant amount, but none of them actually, directly, end your game.
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Post Tuesday, 28th October 2014, 07:57

Re: Mutations

I think the existence of really crippling mutations like Teleportitis or Blurry Vision is part of what complicates the issue. If no truly crippling mutations exist, then malmutation is boring as a threat, and voluntary random mutation is boring as a risk. But as long as the possibility of mutations like those does exist, malmutation can sometimes feel overly threatening and potions of mutation become blatantly unoptimal. Really, I think mutation has a similar problem as spells like paralyze and banish - all it takes is one unlucky turn in line of fire of the wrong enemy to get screwed over (or at least feel like you got screwed over). But unlike with paralyze and banish, I think there might be a solution here.

So here's my thought: dramatically reduce the danger of the nastiest level 1 malmuations. I think degeneration is a good example here: very mild and mostly ignorable (as long as you're not a deep dwarf) at level 1, crippling and essential to cure at higher ranks. The mutations that are nasty even at level 1, like teleportitis and blurry vision, should have their level 1 versions nerfed. Maybe make teleportitis just a one-tile jump, and make blurry vision make it so your scrolls have a chance to take 15 auts to read instead of 10, or something like that. Maybe a similar thing could be done with positive mutations, although I can't think of any level 1 positive mutations that make as big a difference as blurry vision or teleportitis.

The idea here is to reduce how threatening a single malmutate or potion of mutation can be. There's no risk of having your character completely crippled by an unlucky turn spent in LOS of a Shining Eye or mutation potion, because a level 1 malmutation can only be so bad. But many of them could be the seeds of something truly crippling, so once you've got one of those "seed" mutations, you need to be careful, because now you're really in danger of something nasty happening if you get careless around malmutators. The more bad mutations you have, the more threatening malmutators become.

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Post Tuesday, 28th October 2014, 08:03

Re: Mutations

teleportitis isn't actually crippling to your character, it's just crippling to your will to play
blurry vision isn't actually that bad now that it doesn't turn off trap detection
Quazifuji wrote:Maybe a similar thing could be done with positive mutations, although I can't think of any level 1 positive mutations that make as big a difference as blurry vision or teleportitis.
so instead of rarely getting useful mutations players would never get useful mutations?

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Post Tuesday, 28th October 2014, 09:22

Re: Mutations

What's with the "beneficial mutation is bad because it makes it harder to remove bad mutations" crowd? As a disclaimer I'm the sort to target 3-5 runes, not 15, but bad mutations don't even happen for 95 percent of the game, only a few of them are *really* bad, cureMut removes what 1d7 and none are game overs. The reasoning behind why taking a random mutation is bad relies on there being a *slight* negative EV for random mutations. It doesn't mean that *maybe* getting stuck with a bad one late game is so awful so as to make it not worth getting a good-weighted one early.

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