Underlying design ideas endgame.


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Temple Termagant

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Post Monday, 3rd January 2011, 00:35

Underlying design ideas endgame.

I was reading through the development wiki and the incoming removal of TSO as starter god and with it the paladin. To me the paladin is such an iconic class that it would sadden me. However, I do agree with the reasoning and the idea behind it. TSO is an endgame god. In which - to me - lies the problem.

The fact that there's a select amount of endgame gods (not only gods) does not fall good with me personally. Let's take the case of TSO. The reason it is such an endgame god, is that so very good in the endgame, because all ending branches are quite alike (compared to early branches). This, erm, 'narrowness' cuts off a lot of playstyles. To me this does not feel good, to narrow the playstyle towards the end, I would expect a broadening. Imagine swapping 2-3 hells with for example shoals and the orcish mines - well, make it the human castle*, filled with highpowered humans. This just as thought experiment, as I'm not sure think it fits in the game right now.

And now the question and purpose of this post: "What is the underlying thought behind this, and how do the developers/other players think about this?"




******
Human castle. Imagine it filled with guards and, well, every class you can start as as human. At the end, you will find the keeper of the rune: the princess. We don't want to forget our clichees, right?

Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 3rd January 2011, 05:58

Re: Underlying design ideas endgame.

Extended endgame badly needs more living monsters who leave corpses and less monsters who relentlessly Torment (dealing with Torment is the reason why you basically have to go with TSO, Lichform, or be a mummy/ghoul/bloodless vamp). Some gods can't even build piety in the endgame (if your god doesn't like demon kills, you're basically screwed).

A few ideas:
Pan - demonspawn enemies. Give them jobs like the draconians, and make some of them really nasty. Lower the frequency of tormentors.
Hells - more variety in hell effects by branch (so different jobs will be better at withstanding the effects of different hells). Right now, we just have miscasts/summoning for all of them. More living monsters - dragons (ice dragons currently spawn in Cocytus, but no dragons in Gehenna?, DIs has iron dragons and could also spawn quicksilver dragons), necromancers, themed wizards and casters (scorchers and pyromancers in Gehenna, deep dwarf and deep elf necromancers in Tartarus, ice mages in Coctyus, etc.)

There are some ideas for new hell branches on the wiki - it would be nice if certain gods were good in certain branches (Fedhas great in Hanging Gardens, etc) instead of TSO/a god who gifts lichform being your two realistic choices.

Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Monday, 3rd January 2011, 07:10

Re: Underlying design ideas endgame.

You forgot makhleb (healing on kills), kikubaaqudgha (for rtorm, not necromutation), and lugonu (corruption trivializes branch endings, and you can just rush through the rest), at least. Oh right and you don't even need them, realistically, but they help; perhaps you meant "obvious choices". Really, torment isn't that bad if you have some way to sustain yourself (usually going really fast and using regeneration in hells, though other means of healing work; resting works fine in pandemonium since there aren't any hell effects there), and it's already not too common.

Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 3rd January 2011, 16:50

Re: Underlying design ideas endgame.

MrMisterMonkey wrote:You forgot makhleb (healing on kills), kikubaaqudgha (for rtorm, not necromutation), and lugonu (corruption trivializes branch endings, and you can just rush through the rest), at least. Oh right and you don't even need them, realistically, but they help; perhaps you meant "obvious choices". Really, torment isn't that bad if you have some way to sustain yourself (usually going really fast and using regeneration in hells, though other means of healing work; resting works fine in pandemonium since there aren't any hell effects there), and it's already not too common.


I guess I meant 'optimal' - you can do Makhleb (but why not switch to TSO?) or Kiku-no-necromutation (but why not go for lichform if you're already a necromancer). Lugonu is OK (the abyssal escape is nice) but she doesn't like demon kills so corrupting/escaping burns piety. I tried extended endgame with a DsCK of Lugonu who had the (crappy) demonspawn torment resistance - had to bail out after 3 Pan runes (part of the problem was bad luck in getting mutations through rMut); if I could have switched to TSO this character probably would have grabbed all 15.

Awesome characters can do extended endgame with any god - I did 15 rune with Oka MdFi in 0.5 (had boots of running & broad axe of speed) and 15 runes with Vehu DEFE no necromutation in 0.6 (all resists covered by randarts). Likewise, any XL27 character who can beat Zot 5 without teleroulette can do hells/pan if you're willing to risk your sure winner (but most people aren't, when you can just win and then play another character who is more setup for 15 runes).

Quote from knowledge bot (Henzell learnDB):

<elliptic> in extended endgame in general the main threats are torment, hellfire, and ice fiend

Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Monday, 3rd January 2011, 22:48

Re: Underlying design ideas endgame.

On not switching to TSO, TSO disallows necromancy, like Regeneration, Revivification, Death's Door, and Necromutation.
On Kiku without Necromutation, Kiku provides, to some extent, most of its benefits, without having to waste 8 spell levels and train Tmut.
On Lugonu, there are a good few living/undead monsters in Hells for piety, and Crypt/Tomb are full of undead. You also don't have to corrupt every branch end. I also forgot to mention that the distortion weapon works wonders with getting things out of the way and going quickly, and if you're a staves, polearms, or long blades user, there's some nice guaranteed distortion in Pandemonium's disco hall.
On that elliptic quote, ice fiends do tons of cold damage, and it looks to me like it was less set up to emphasize torment and hellfire as especially threatening than to compare ice fiends with them.
Also, being undead isn't so great vs. gloorx vloq and shadow fiends, since they have some fancy dispel undead.

I do agree with mixing up monster composition of early/extended game, but I'm also rather partial to torment.

Snake Sneak

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Post Monday, 3rd January 2011, 23:45

Re: Underlying design ideas endgame.

TSO worship seems to be rearloaded in favor of doing dangerous endgame areas with lots of demons and undead. Perhaps balance the regular monsters with more demons, or give more non-demonic and undead creatures the "evil" flag?

Temple Termagant

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Post Tuesday, 4th January 2011, 01:46

Re: Underlying design ideas endgame.

I had not intended for this discussion to focus on TSO/the paladin, it was merely the introduction to it. It got me wondering as it is going to change to really cater for TSO as an 'endgame' god, something I did not expect.

The midgame is way less restrictive than the endgame. The only 'necessity' is rPois, and even that is not as hard a requirement as the fact you need to be able to handle torment. While the endgame should obviously be harder, to me it feels more restrictive. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm not well-versed in the history/growth of crawl, so I'm mostly wondering how this came to be, and what the philosophy is concerning this.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 4th January 2011, 02:09

Re: Underlying design ideas endgame.

I would go so far as to say that grinding for Necromutation before entering Pan or the Hells is a clearly suboptimal strategy for the majority of characters. Necromutation is a very high-level dual-school spell, and while Necromancy is generally useful Transmutation is almost useless unless you've already invested heavily in Earth, Unarmed Combat, or both. Grinding that sucker up to being able to cast Necromutation involves shafting your other skills over a fairly long period of time, and over Transmutations I'd typically value Fighting, Spellcasting, Conjurations, Bows, Crossbows, Throwing, Translocations, Enchantments, Stealth, Dodging, Shields, and probably more that I can't bother looking up. Torment resistance is unnecessary if you simply kill all possible sources the moment they step into your line-of-sight.

I think the eventual fix to the post-endgame problem is already under work. The Swamp/Snake/Shoals shuffle was an elegant way to expand variety in the midgame without necessarily leading to power creep, and I don't see any way it wouldn't work for the post-endgame too. Instead of awarding 10 Runes every game for fighting demons, demons, demons, you get EITHER the Pan Runes OR the Hell Runes, with Lugonu either being the Mistress of Pandemonium or of Purgatory. The other five Runes might be wrested randomly from the Elder Elementals, or the Primal Spirits, or the Rakshasa Rajahs, or whatever slots in nicely.

Once the post-endgame isn't all demons, demons, demons, The Shining One will suddenly be underpowered. The conducts are really punitive if you're facing anything but demons, demons, demons. Perhaps the otherwise unique alliance of the three goddesses of good can be emphasized, allowing worshippers to switch between them without being forced to return to an altar? A large piety cost, perhaps an entire * of piety or so, would keep players from switching too casually, but with careful management you could adjust your strategy to the local conditions.

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Post Tuesday, 4th January 2011, 02:56

Re: Underlying design ideas endgame.

I would agree that there could be some tweaking between gods and the endgame.

I think a good design principle should be that each god at max piety is equally useful in the extended endgame. To me, that would mean they are "balanced".

The same would apply to different playstyles: a heavy armoured fighter, a light armoured fighter / assassin, a "hunter" type, and spellcasters etc. should be equally viable in the endgame.

I'm guessing that already is the philosophy, but given the complexity and options in Crawl, this is a very difficult objective!

Dungeon Master

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Post Tuesday, 4th January 2011, 03:26

Re: Underlying design ideas endgame.

danr wrote:I would agree that there could be some tweaking between gods and the endgame.

I think a good design principle should be that each god at max piety is equally useful in the extended endgame. To me, that would mean they are "balanced".

The same would apply to different playstyles: a heavy armoured fighter, a light armoured fighter / assassin, a "hunter" type, and spellcasters etc. should be equally viable in the endgame.

I'm guessing that already is the philosophy, but given the complexity and options in Crawl, this is a very difficult objective!

From the Philosphy section in the FAQ: "To us, balance does not mean that all combinations of background and species play equally well! Some are much more challenging than others, and this is fine with us. Each species has at least some backgrounds playing rather well, though."

I don't see why this shouldn't apply to gods as well. I'm not against changing up the endgame so it's not purely demons/undead, or even making some of them more common in the early game, but equally I don't have any problem with some gods being better than others at different stages of the game. I definitely hope that monster demonspawn in some Pan levels (as proposed on the wiki for a while and mentioned by others in this thread) are added, for example, and I think that alone would be a pretty significant change for the better.

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Post Tuesday, 4th January 2011, 03:33

Re: Underlying design ideas endgame.

Written before I saw MarvinPA's post:
The closest thing the philosophy says on the matter is that there shouldn't be no-brainers. While all gods should be viable, and none overpowered, I'm pretty sure striving for equality is unrealistic and dull. Xom shouldn't be as breezy as TSO, for instance, and there's also the matter of gods catering to specific builds (e.g. Trog versus Sif for a deep elf), and complete leveling of usefulness removes importance from choice of religion. On applying to playstyles, how do you determine which playstyles are adequate for viability? For example, scumming forever is certainly a style of play, but as it is horrible (and goes against the philosophy, which explains why it's horrible), it should not be viable.

Written after:
I agree with MarvinPA.

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Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 4th January 2011, 03:54

Re: Underlying design ideas endgame.

While I know you're trying to keep this thread to the endgame, a quick question about the paladin going: Are they planning to replace it with anything? I always quite like the idea of a religious warrior type. We have chaos knights right now, and healers and priests start with a god, perhaps some kind of 'templar' type for the more martial gods like Oka?

As to endgame balance: I'm assured by many people the endgame exists, but I've yet to see it for myself ;)

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Post Tuesday, 4th January 2011, 07:36

Re: Underlying design ideas endgame.


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