How important is a finite ammo source to the game?


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Post Tuesday, 16th September 2014, 18:45

How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

I was playing Tome4 and was wondering if a similar ammo mechanic would work in crawl. If you're not familiar lemme try to break it down:

Ammo is unlimited
Ammo is swapped out based on the brands and intrinsics
All ammo mulches (obviously)

Eh, thats about it.
So applying this to crawl we would eliminate mulching. Eliminate stacks of ammo. Possibly re-work how rare brands are (maybe removing bow brands entirely?) and many more implications I am too lazy to write out.

Currently, there is a stigma attached to ranged combat (although the damage/speed rework was spot-on) and, I think, tweaking ammo a bit would help.

Really I don't know if this is even possible (acceptable) balancing wise, but I would like to hear everyone's thoughts.
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Post Tuesday, 16th September 2014, 18:55

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

I think it's mostly a non factor, but one of the previous times this came up, I relayed an experience I had where it was quite relevant. I'm not taking a position on the matter so don't take this as support or opposition:
johlstei wrote:For what it's worth I've had a case where I needed to make the hard decision to run away from an ice cave where my 75% of my ammo was on the ground, and obviously couldn't return to pick it up. It was my own mistakes that got me to that point of course, but always-mulch ammo would have spared me the loss at least(assuming more ammo dropped overall as stated). I think the decision for me to keep fighting despite the risk of losing my ammo for good if I had to bail was an interesting one, and one I made incorrectly. This is admittedly something that I think happens a small number of games, but it sure hit me hard that time.

Also if anyone had told me that day that I'd, at some point in the future, use the experience to defend ammo mulching, I'd have laughed in their face. With a more level head I see now that it was probably a kind of cool thing even if it sucked hitting '<'.
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Post Tuesday, 16th September 2014, 19:02

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

I definitely understand that having a limited resource of anything will generally force the player to make thought through decisions. However, as it stands, ammo is so plentiful that more often than not you will have enough to spam without really paying attention. This is different for specific brands, however, and Im realizing as I type this that the only ammo that should be functionally unlimited are the unbranded base arrows. Buuuut I digress ...
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Post Tuesday, 16th September 2014, 19:15

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Limited plain ammo creates interesting decisions even less often than inability to butcher with cursed blunt weapons did. Any terrible game mechanic will have a small number of edge cases where it's interesting.
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Post Tuesday, 16th September 2014, 19:33

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

I like the idea of slightly higher drop rates with a 100% mulch rate.

Right now over the course of a full game, unbranded ammo is already functionally unlimited. Situations like johlstei describes are rare, and only during the early game do you run any real risk of mulching all your ammo faster than you find new stacks. Making ammo truly unlimited removes even that meager possibility for creating tactical & strategic challenges. Giving ammo a hard limit (properly balanced) would create more situations where you have to think on your feet.

My impression is that most Taverners believe new!ranged is quite powerful. I've seen several advice threads where veteran players advocated using bows at point blank range rather than investing skill points in a melee swap, even when the potential swap was a badass artefact. To me, that suggests there is too much ammo in the game -- so much that ranged weapons are functionally equivalent to melee weapons that can hit at full LOS.

Add to this that it can be a bit tedious to retrieve ammo (and if you take it off autopickup, it becomes tedious to collect new stacks) and I think there's a compelling argument for a 100% mulch rate. With a properly balanced drop rate, it imposes a hard limit on the overuse of ranged weapons, encourages putting more thought into tactical options, and removes tedium.
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Post Tuesday, 16th September 2014, 19:38

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Plentiful but automulching ammo sounds like a good solution too. Anything where we don't have to run around collecting arrows.
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Post Tuesday, 16th September 2014, 21:05

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

There are at least one or two extensive threads about this.

The argument for limited ammo is that ranged should be different from melee and magic because we want to have different playstyles. It's obviously different from melee. It's different from magic because ammo is unlimited in one fight but is limited overall. Unlike magic which is limited in one fight but is unlimited overall. Making ammo unlimited makes it more similar to magic.

What makes ranged with limited total ammo interesting is that ranged is a weapon type that is strong, but can't be used all the time. So the player needs to decide when it is worth using. That's the concept. If there's too much ammo then generate less ammo. This choice of when to use the weapon is supposed to make ranged weapons distinct and interesting.

I hate playing ranged with limited ammo so I never play ranged. But I understand that it enables a different playstyle. If I want to spam ranged attacks without caring then I can play a magic character.

100% mulch rate with still limited ammo sounds good though.

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Post Tuesday, 16th September 2014, 22:35

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

I think the mulching stuff should be balanced.

I used to play hunters a lot, and, except of the game start, I never had any problems with the ammo (bolts for crossbows). Theoretically, bolts should mulch during the game, but this is just a theory: if you have 500 blots of fire, you really shouldn't care about loss of ammo. For example, when I visit Pan with 1000+ bolts of all types, I really don't feel scared like I was on the initial levels, when the ammo was strictly limited on the beginning of the game. When I'm heavy loaded with ammo, I start to miss that uncertainity and suspence which I felt on the beginning (will 10 bolts, that just left me, be enough for the next level...?). That's the huge oversight of the game designers.

My concept was to increase the probability of mulching the ammo unit depending on the power of weapon: let's say the bolt of fire, launched form the unenchanted hand crossbow (weak stuff) has 1/6 of chance of mulching, while the same bolt, fired from the +9 triple crossbow would be respectively higher of mulching the bolt (good stuff); let's say it would be 3/5 chance in this case. The given numbers I are just my guess - those probabilities should be carefully balanced by people, who are competent with that kind of stuff.

Of course, steel bolts should constantly has a lower probability of mulching (but certainly not as high as it is now). That would be fair for beginning players with feeble ranged weapon, who don't have much sources of ammo, and for experienced characters with powered stuff, who's got nearly unlimited amount of all types of ammo. In other words: if you don't want to waste the ammunition, use them for weaker weapons.

When the missile, fired by a layer, hits a wall, the mulch probability should be even higher! On the contrary, when it miss a target and falls to the floor, the probability should be respectively lower.

All in all, that seems logic: in RL, the bolt (or whatever missile), fired with a greater speed by a skilled hunter, has a much higher chance to be destroyed while hits the target, than the same missile, fired by a child from an ordinary sling.
Last edited by adamo901 on Tuesday, 16th September 2014, 22:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Tuesday, 16th September 2014, 22:43

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

I wouldn't like to lug around a weaker crossbow to use on easier monsters just so that ammo wouldn't get mulched.
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Post Tuesday, 16th September 2014, 22:50

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

If you really want to save the ammo for tougher customers, just use the ordinary melee weapon - like swords or axes - for easier monsters.

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Post Tuesday, 16th September 2014, 23:43

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

I'm going to repost a post I made when we were overhauling ranged combat before 0.15, because it addresses ammo in particular, and I still feel strongly about it.

Spoiler: show
I've always interpreted ranged combat as a combination play-style of both melee and conjurations. What I see as the ideal design philosophy is using ranged combat to soften up foes to ~0-50% health as they approach, then finishing them off with melee if necessary. I like this because it lends itself toward underutilized builds; medium-armours and middling stealth (achievable in species without good aptitudes) in characters with less than good magic apts. You don't want to have so much ammo that you never get into melee (too much like a caster play-style, which feels uninteresting), and you don't want so little ammo that you end up feeling like you have to lure out weaker monster and slap them to death (like handicapped melee, also tedious). Patashu figured it out before me:

Patashu wrote:
What if we did something like this:
1) Launcher ammo always mulches when shot.
2) When wielding a launcher and nothing is quivered, an infinite supply of basic ammo is quivered by default.
3) More interesting/powerful/whatever ammo's supply is tweaked such that you only have enough for the battles where you really need it to count (similar to how consumable supplies should be balanced)


To address PleasingFungus' comment about elemental branded ammo encroaching on wand philosophy (which makes sense), what if we got rid of Frost and Flame missle brands, and maybe remove Poisoned on all except needles. Improve the drop rate of steel ammo, and create a third grade like crystal ammo (another simple step up from steel) that was more rare (whatever the frequencies might be to make it balanced); this would help you deal with threats that would maul you if you let them in melee.
Introduce new, unique, brands to **differentiate from melee/magic/EVO** like say, Corrosive, to function like monster corrosion, or to simply ignore % AR. Mix and match brands (or just brand weights) amongst different launcher/missle types to help differentiate ranged combat skills from each other.

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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 01:07

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

I don't want to be misunderstood; what I said above - if the mulch depends on how powerful the launcher is, plus how skilled the character is (+9 triple crossbow along with 27th level of crossbows makes the character deadly), the player himself must rebalance what he cares most: amount of ammo or hitpower. If he wants to have a great firepower in the cost of ammo, he uses some deadly, randart crossbow; if he wants to save the ammo in cost of the firepower, he'd use the least powerful crossbow. That would force the player to make a difficult choices (crisis management).

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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 01:26

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

The problem with limited ammo is that Crawl has trivial fights, and in fact, they make up the overwhelming majority of fights after D:1. It's optimal to switch to a 0 skill melee weapon for these fights, since they're still trivial and you don't waste ammo. If you haven't tried this, try it; it gets annoying very quickly.
If ammo were limited enough that you couldn't use it in every vaguely dangerous fight then it might work - this is how early-game wands work - but if you do that then you just make ranged combat redundant with wands. Being pointless is arguably better than being annoying but neither one is good for the game.
So I submit that if ranged combat is going to exist in Crawl at all (I'm not confident it should), ammo shouldn't exist. This isn't really a big balance change after early game, since after early game you have far more ammo than you could ever use in vaguely dangerous fights. It is a significant change for the first few dungeon levels, though.

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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 01:31

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

I think I'd rather have more powerful ammo give higher mulch rates than more powerful launchers give higher mulch rates. This ends up producing something similar to the "infinite supply of weak ammo but make other ammo always mulch" idea, and I both ideas have a similar effect to the "more powerful launchers give higher mulch rate idea": you have to figure out when you need to use your limited ammo for more powerful fights and when you can afford to save ammo. But switching weapons is a lot more than switching ammo types (or at least I think so).

It seems like the general agreement in this thread is that ranged weapon combat with branded ammo is too powerful to be unlimited, so ranged weapon users have to decide when it's worth using ammo and when it's not. The question is whether the expected backup when not using ammo should be melee, a weaker but much more plentiful ammo (similar to stones for slings now), or a weaker but infinite ammo.
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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 01:48

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

@Quazifuji
"ranged weapon combat with branded ammo is too powerful to be unlimited"

It definitely should be changed, because now, from a practical point of view, it is unlimited in some sense (that you simply couldn't waste few hundred fire bolts, unless you have spend a week in Pan, but even then new ammo is being constantly generated during the gameplay). In previous versions, when we had a weight limitation(*), the player couldn't simply take 1000 bolts or arrows to the Pan or Zig (as he can do now), and he should at least go to the stash for a new part. Although there were (practically unbreakable) steel bolts, (which were quite powerful by the way), BUT they were also three times heavier! Which was very god, because skilled hunter with a lot of dexterity and low strength simply couldn't afford taking unlimited amount of ammo with himself because of the lack of strength. That was some kind of a limitation in a good way. But the problem of unlimited amount of ammo has to be solved. As for now, they are practically undestroyable. If only the probability of mulching was higher in any way...

(*) BTW. How do you like removing the weight form the game in 0.15? I don't like it at all, and, while I could agree that scrolls and potions (and eventually jewellery) might not have weight at all, the other stuff, as weapons, ammo, armour and other heavy stuff should have weight! Please bring it back! Now I can carry, for example, 300 large rocks, or 3000 bolts, which disturbs the game balance in many various ways! Not to mention that it makes the game easier...

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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 02:07

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

adamo901 wrote:@Quazifuji

(*) BTW. How do you like removing the weight form the game in 0.15? I don't like it at all, and, while I could agree that scrolls and potions (and eventually jewellery) might not have weight at all, the other stuff, as weapons, ammo, armour and other heavy stuff should have weight! Please bring it back! Now I can carry, for example, 300 large rocks, or 3000 bolts, which disturbs the game balance in many various ways! Not to mention that it makes the game easier...


having 300 bolts in your pocket and having the other 2700 in your precious lair stash is basically same as shoving 3000 in your pocket

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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 02:10

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

@duvessa

The solution to ranged combat is to eliminate the feasibility of "pure" ranged combat characters (with the possible exception of large rock users). Being able to play purely ranged combat is too much like casters or EVO based characters. Ranged combat could be redesigned such that it is a support to melee-based players (or arcane marksmen). A minotaur doesn't really need that support, but a merfolk or halfing could certainly benefit if they chose to train the skills.

Your first point: my previous suggestion of weak, unlimited, always-mulching, non-generating ammo to deal with the popcorn. This removes the need to switch, which I wholly agree, is annoying.

Ranged combat would be similar to wands, but it would be MUCH more reliable. You wouldn't fire 3-4 wand shots at the 2-4 potentially dangerous enemies on every floor; you would run out of charges far too quickly. Wands are good for Uniques and OOD monsters, or anything else that's nasty. Ranged combat would be meant to be a much more committed part of your characters play style, in that you would draw at least first blood on most enemies you engage with it. Having spread out your experience points in both ranged combat skill(s) and melee (or magic), you wouldn't have really made dangerous fights trivial, you would have made them manageable.
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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 04:05

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

duvessa wrote:It is a significant change for the first few dungeon levels, though.

What if there were no backgrounds that started with a ranged weapon?
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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 12:29

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

@nvjack
"What if there were no backgrounds that started with a ranged weapon?"

Good idea... I opt for that. When ranged weapon & ammo appears somewhere in the midgame, it's up to the player if he want to invest experience in developing respective skill.

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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 13:16

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

It's possible to win using nothing but melee, using nothing but spells, using nothing but large rocks. Why do you want to make it impossible to win using nothing but ranged weapon?

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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 14:00

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

@Sandman25

"Pure" Ranged Combat is essentially the same play style as Conjurations. It needs to be differentiated or removed. Ranged combat would need to be weakened if it were to fill the support/hybrid role that I talked about.

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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 15:37

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Sandman25 wrote:It's possible to win using nothing but ... large rocks

Is it really?
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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 15:42

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Sar wrote:
Sandman25 wrote:It's possible to win using nothing but ... large rocks

Is it really?


That sounds like a challenge.
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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 15:55

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Greyr wrote:
Sar wrote:
Sandman25 wrote:It's possible to win using nothing but ... large rocks

Is it really?


That sounds like a challenge.


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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 15:58

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Huh.

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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 16:08

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?


Clearly you used javelins and stones, doesn't count. Image

Just kidding, that's really awesome.

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Post Wednesday, 17th September 2014, 16:20

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

johlstei wrote:
Clearly you used javelins and stones, doesn't count. Image

Just kidding, that's really awesome.


First off, that smiley is horrifying.

Second, Sandman's win is certainly impressive, but not wholly uncommon since the ranged overhaul (and the removal of inventory weight). More than once have I seen people using large rocks as their ranged AND melee damage. Large rocks are exclusive by nature (Ogres, trolls) but are such an enormous boon to otherwise already strong species, that its almost a little bit silly.

Really, thats beside the point though. Why are ranged weapons an alternative to melee weapons?
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Post Thursday, 18th September 2014, 20:49

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Here's a thought: Just give ranged weapons a min range dependent on the weapon, or make firing speed slower and damage greater. This gives them a well defined niche (soften enemies up, or hit archers behind deep water) while still differentiating them.
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Post Thursday, 18th September 2014, 22:44

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

TeshiAlair wrote:Here's a thought: Just give ranged weapons a min range dependent on the weapon, or make firing speed slower and damage greater. This gives them a well defined niche (soften enemies up, or hit archers behind deep water) while still differentiating them.

Conjurations used to all have the same unlimited range, and adding limited ranges really helped differentiate the single target spells. It was a large improvement.

Adding minimum ranges to ranged weapons would do the same kind of thing.

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Post Thursday, 18th September 2014, 23:18

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

But minimum and maximum ranges have completely different effects. I don't want to have to spend half my turns moving away from an iron troll because the game won't allow me to keep attacking it otherwise. This isn't a problem with iron shot.

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Post Thursday, 18th September 2014, 23:28

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

But even if you use iron shot you wouldn't let the iron troll hit you. So iron shot gets let's say 2 extra shots but after that you have to move away every other turn the same as with a ranged weapon. The problem is that an iron troll is a slow melee monster and can be killed with anything that has more than 1 range including polearms by moving away from it every other turn, so it's not a problem related to a ranged weapon having a minimum range.
Edit: I think min range is a great idea because it means that the player is forced to have another way of killing things. A group of enemies can easily get into melee range before they all die and fast monsters can do so as well. So even if ranged ammo was made unlimited, the player would still have to use a melee weapon or something else. This makes ranged weapons a lot easier to balance because they can't be the only method of offence. Also min range can force a player to switch to a melee weapon against fast monsters that aren't weak. Limited ammo only forces the player to switch to melee against weak monsters to save ammo. So swapping because of min range is more interesting.

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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 13:05

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

If you really like min range idea, I think it should have a speed or to-hit penalty only (like archers feel nervous when they are attacked in melee and can't aim fast/well). I don't see why ranged weapon should have min range and spells shouldn't.

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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 13:50

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

There is no reason some spells can't have minimum ranges.

Mephitic cloud (all clouds, really), deconstruction, and fireball effectively have a minimum range because of self-damage. I thought that new explodey IMB would have the same, but it doesn't. OOD is more effective at range.

Another option is to create a delay after an archer is hit. If being damaged knocks the arrow away and requires 1.5 aut to re-notch, then it just becomes impractical to use ranged combat in melee range instead of impossible. Make dodging attacks or blocking attacks also prevent firing for a time, and it's even further along. I'd be fine with making the delay equal to the time needed for one attack, so it scaled with weapon skill and weapon type.

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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 17:18

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Why do people here consider ranged weapons being only a secondary attack method as desirable? If I always had to train some additional melee weapon skill to be able to deal the monsters, I'd just pretend that ranged weapons do not exist at all.

If ranged combat is too powerful and can't be balanced to be in line with other offensive methods: Remove it completely and make it an enemy-only trait. Cooking up some weird mechanics which reward tedious micro-management only makes it less likely that people actually make use of it.

Also regarding the original topic: As already said, in the current ranged combat system infinite ammo would only have an impact on the early game. As soon as you regularly meet Centaur / Yaktaur packs it is pretty much impossible to run out of ammunition right now.

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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 18:04

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Tedronai wrote:Why do people here consider ranged weapons being only a secondary attack method as desirable?

I want it to be impractical to use ranged as a secondary attack, not impractical to use as a primary attack.

The primary attack is what you use to get rid of the hard things you encounter; the secondary is what you use to get rid of popcorn.

"Is this popcorn" is a fun decision to make. With melee, you never make it because melee attacks aren't limited. With most spells, MP limits and hunger and miscat chances limit how often you can use the primary attack. With ranged combat, limited ammo could serve that function. But it really doesn't, because there is plenty of ammo.

Killing rats and Liches the same way is kind of boring. There should be some mechanic that discourages using your best stuff all the time.

Ranged can be the best stuff, thus used sparingly.

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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 18:08

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

I wonder if it would work to remove the physical ammo from monsters, and just have them fire 'virtual' arrows, the same way summoned monsters do now. Then centaurs/yaktaurs would not longer be effectively infinite sources of ammo, and the actual rarity could be tweaked by adjusting how often ammo spawns as floor loot.

This might also make ammo gifts from Trog/Okawaru actually matter rather than being something players would rather avoid getting.
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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 18:19

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Jeremiah wrote:I wonder if it would work to remove the physical ammo from monsters, and just have them fire 'virtual' arrows, the same way summoned monsters do now. Then centaurs/yaktaurs would not longer be effectively infinite sources of ammo, and the actual rarity could be tweaked by adjusting how often ammo spawns as floor loot.

This might also make ammo gifts from Trog/Okawaru actually matter rather than being something players would rather avoid getting.


Increasing the likelihood of an ammo shortage could be compensated by making (early) ranged skill investment less expensive.
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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 18:39

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

jejorda2 wrote:
Tedronai wrote:Why do people here consider ranged weapons being only a secondary attack method as desirable?

I want it to be impractical to use ranged as a secondary attack, not impractical to use as a primary attack.


Why is it bad? There can be characters with all possible combinations:
primary melee/secondary ranged (Be, especially in extended)
primary melee/secondary magic (Shadow Creatures, Bolt of Draining with Kiku etc.)
primary magic/secondary melee (most casters)
primary magic/secondary ranged (DE/HE with Longbows)
primary ranged/secondary melee (CeHu)
primary ranged/secondary magic (Shadow Creatures, Bolt of Draining with Kiku etc.)
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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 18:48

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

jejorda2 wrote:The primary attack is what you use to get rid of the hard things you encounter; the secondary is what you use to get rid of popcorn.

Do you realize that you would have to use your secondary attack against 95% of the enemies? That would be like having the plutonium sword and only being able to use it against orbs of fire and ancient liches.

jejorda2 wrote:"Is this popcorn" is a fun decision to make.

I disagree. When I'm encountering popcorn enemies my thoughts should be "Die, feeble creature!" and not "Man I better switch to my shitty weapon in case something scary shows up later".

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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 18:57

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

^^This. we really don't need to add more trivial but time-consuming resource/risk management to popcorn fights.
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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 19:15

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

jejorda2 wrote:There is no reason some spells can't have minimum ranges.

Mephitic cloud (all clouds, really), deconstruction, and fireball effectively have a minimum range because of self-damage. I thought that new explodey IMB would have the same, but it doesn't. OOD is more effective at range.

Another option is to create a delay after an archer is hit. If being damaged knocks the arrow away and requires 1.5 aut to re-notch, then it just becomes impractical to use ranged combat in melee range instead of impossible. Make dodging attacks or blocking attacks also prevent firing for a time, and it's even further along. I'd be fine with making the delay equal to the time needed for one attack, so it scaled with weapon skill and weapon type.


I really like the delay idea.

But as far as spells go. "There is no reason some spells can't have minimum ranges." Well, don't let them. Keep them different from ranged weapons.

Hell, you could even have the cloud spells not affect your square, this way you have the choice of nuking yourself but also trapping yourself at the same time. As it is, cloud spells are extremely easy to position to not hurt yourself.

OOD is a good case because it's damage scales inversely with its reliability, which is fun.
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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 21:14

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Igxfl wrote:we really don't need to add more trivial but time-consuming resource/risk management to popcorn fights.

I'm at a loss to see how pressing ' every now and then is tedious. Swapping ammo to match every foo's vulnerabilities is way more annoying, and we're already doing plenty of that.

Also the point of a well-balanced finite ammo source is to make it possible to run out of ammo, not to guarantee it. I wouldn't want to make players paranoid about ever shooting a popcorn enemy. But at the same time, there should be a drawback to things like spamming dozens of projectiles at a high-EV or high-AC target -- in melee, the drawback is that they are punching your face the entire time you're flailing uselessly at them, but with (functionally) unlimited ammo you can easily end up in situations where you draw the foo from one up-stairs to another, come back down the first, let them enter LOS at full range, take a few more shots, lead them in the other direction, etc., etc., etc. (I believe this is also enabled by the time-dilation of being on another floor, but that's a different conversation.) If you only ever had a few dozen projectiles at a time, and they always mulched, you'd be encouraged to find other ways to deal with those situations.
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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 23:33

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

What is the problem with ranged weapons being usable? It's in no way in the same niche as conjurations, you don't learn new ranged attacks with varied effects, you don't need to wear lighter armor to fire arrows, missing badly with a ranged weapon will not harm you or send you to the abyss...

I think ranged weapons are in a pretty good place now, making basic ammo unlimited would get rid of a lot of tedium that doesn't add any real difficulty.

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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 23:34

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

tedric wrote:you can easily end up in situations where you draw the foo from one up-stairs to another, come back down the first, let them enter LOS at full range, take a few more shots, lead them in the other direction, etc., etc., etc.

Why is it bad? You are describing a rich set of possible tactics, compare it to stupid and too often used "lure to a corner" trick for melee character.

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Post Friday, 19th September 2014, 23:53

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Also, nobody has asked this: Why is it desirable to have branded ammo in the game? Why not just have branded launchers? Then ammo could be dropped completely.

There used to be +1 ammo, +2, etc, and I think most people will agree the game is much better without it.

Throwing weapons would still need to be able to be branded, but further differentiation isn't a bad thing.

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Post Saturday, 20th September 2014, 05:25

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Sandman25 wrote:
tedric wrote:you can easily end up in situations where you draw the foo from one up-stairs to another, come back down the first, let them enter LOS at full range, take a few more shots, lead them in the other direction, etc., etc., etc.

Why is it bad? You are describing a rich set of possible tactics, compare it to stupid and too often used "lure to a corner" trick for melee character.

It's bad because it's a guaranteed way of taking down an OOD foo at absolutely zero risk to me, but it is tedious to perform. I am very much in favor of discouraging/eliminating tediousness.
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Post Saturday, 20th September 2014, 06:05

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

jejorda2 wrote:
Tedronai wrote:Why do people here consider ranged weapons being only a secondary attack method as desirable?

I want it to be impractical to use ranged as a secondary attack, not impractical to use as a primary attack.

The primary attack is what you use to get rid of the hard things you encounter; the secondary is what you use to get rid of popcorn.

"Is this popcorn" is a fun decision to make. With melee, you never make it because melee attacks aren't limited. With most spells, MP limits and hunger and miscat chances limit how often you can use the primary attack. With ranged combat, limited ammo could serve that function. But it really doesn't, because there is plenty of ammo.

Killing rats and Liches the same way is kind of boring. There should be some mechanic that discourages using your best stuff all the time.

Ranged can be the best stuff, thus used sparingly.


Can't this already be accomplished by making branded ammo more limited? I played a HaHu with slings recently. Sling bullets are way less common than arrows or bolts, since there's no extremely common sling users like Yaktaurs for crossbows or centaurs for bows, but to offset this, Slings can fire stones, which are found all over the place in large quantities. I use slings almost exclusively throughout the whole game (killed popcorn with short blades on rare occasions but was frequently too lazy to do so), and even with Okawaru ammo gifts I found myself occasionally running low on unbranded sling bullets if I didn't use stones for popcorn (occasionally I even ran low on stones).

So if people like this idea, then rather than making ammo limited as a whole and forcing ranged users to switch to melee weapons for popcorn or melee range, why not have an equivalent to stones for crossbows and bows, and make good arrows and bolts less plentiful?

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Post Saturday, 20th September 2014, 14:41

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

tedric wrote:It's bad because it's a guaranteed way of taking down an OOD foo at absolutely zero risk to me, but it is tedious to perform.


"zero risk" would be possible only if we had exactly one monster on every level and the monster could not be adjacent to stairs when you re-enter a level.

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Post Saturday, 20th September 2014, 19:18

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

Quazifuji wrote:why not have an equivalent to stones for crossbows and bows, and make good arrows and bolts less plentiful?

FR: Let bows and crossbows fire stones
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Post Saturday, 20th September 2014, 22:43

Re: How important is a finite ammo source to the game?

I just thought I'd mention one case where ammo really is limited, and that's sling bullets. I guess people aren't considering it to count since you can use stones, but stones aren't terribly good and I don't consider them to be unbranded sling ammo. Unbranded sling bullets are; stones are like having a special arrow type that only does 2/3 damage. So slingers who aren't with trog/okawaru can face limited basic ammo, imho. I've had to switch hunters over to melee as a primary offense when I started with slings, although I personally don't mind this as I was intentionally picking slings just for the early game power. From my .15 naga hunter:
  Code:
Action                   |  1- 3 |  4- 6 |  7- 9 | 10-12 | 13-15 | 16-18 | 19-21 | 22-24 | 25-27 || total
-------------------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------++-------
Melee: Short sword       |    17 |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       ||    17
       Spear             |       |       |       |    69 |       |       |       |       |       ||    69
       Flail             |       |       |       |       |     2 |       |       |       |       ||     2
       Unarmed           |       |       |       |       |   249 |  1375 |  1403 |  2380 |  2549 ||  7956
 Fire: Hunting sling     |   130 |   156 |   457 |   994 |  1431 |   246 |   382 |    81 |    51 ||  3928
       Blowgun           |       |       |       |       |     5 |       |       |       |       ||     5


It doesn't show a breakdown of sling bullet vs stone, but I ended the game with only 85 sling bullets and 1198 stones. There's no way I could have continued to use sling bullets throughout the later game (which in this case basically means level 13-15, or around the end of lair).

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