Buffs


Although the central place for design discussion is ##crawl-dev on freenode, some may find it helpful to discuss requests and suggestions here first.

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Post Thursday, 16th June 2011, 19:57

Buffs

I'm still on my neverending quest to get a caster off the ground, and have been failing rather miserably despite having 8 wins with pure melee characters ...

So, I decided to start watching games on CAO. One thing I've noticed that almost ALL casters do is that they manage to keep their buffs up at all times. Things like fly, swiftness, repel missiles, armor buffs, etc.

It's like automatic for them ... they must have the buffs bound to macro keys, and just hammer them instinctively when they expire.

So, I tried this, and man ... it's a real pain in the ass. I use num pad for movement, and bound (/ * and -) on the numberpad to my buffs so that I could punch them quickly while I move. But even then it's a hassle. You have to be constantly aware of your buffs, and when they expire, and methodically remember to recast them. This is making me miserable. But I feel like if I do not do this, them I'm putting my caster at a severe disadvantage, which leaves me kind of torn.

While on one hand, I really wanna learn how to play casters well, I'm not sure I want to have to get used to recasting buff spells every 10 seconds while I play ... seems like a needless monotonous chore!

I'm sorry, but I have no good proposed solutions, but I think it's something that might be worth thinking about collectively.

3 rather ill-thought-out ideas pop immediately to mind:

1) Be able to indefinitely keep a buff spell up while reducing max MP during its duration
2) Add a separate pool of points called "concentration points" that can be allocated for casting buffs.
3) Get rid of them alltogether (yikes!!)
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Tomb Titivator

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Post Thursday, 16th June 2011, 20:18

Re: Buffs

I've heard some talk before about them fixing this issue. It's one that many players have.
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Post Thursday, 16th June 2011, 21:28

Re: Buffs

I just wrote about it a few hours ago.
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Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Thursday, 16th June 2011, 21:44

Re: Buffs

Thanks for the link ... some interesting discourse going on there ... I saw you mention:

I forgot regeneration, but I don't think you should be able to cast it permanently. — galehar 2010-09-16 09:29

What is your reasoning here? Is it not already for someone to basically get the effect of casting it permanently by repeatedly hitting a macro each time it expires? Is that not the drudgery that we're trying to eliminate?

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Post Thursday, 16th June 2011, 22:05

Re: Buffs

Moose wrote:What is your reasoning here? Is it not already for someone to basically get the effect of casting it permanently by repeatedly hitting a macro each time it expires? Is that not the drudgery that we're trying to eliminate?


Regeneration has the drawback of increasing hunger. Even though the increased hunger shuts off when you're at full hp, if your mp takes longer to recover than your hp after a fight and you don't expect to be interrupted, it would be optimal to manually shut regeneration off and then manually restart it again so you don't waste the food. That's worse than just casting it when you need it.
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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 07:45

Re: Buffs

Moose wrote:What is your reasoning here? Is it not already for someone to basically get the effect of casting it permanently by repeatedly hitting a macro each time it expires? Is that not the drudgery that we're trying to eliminate?

I'm not sure, I wrote that a long time ago. You can get permanent regeneration from ring and troll hide/armour, so it's not really unbalanced. As koboldlord noted, it may not be optimal to have it as a permanent buff vs casting it when you need it, but that's not really a reason for excluding it of the new system. If you're willing to sacrifice a few max MP to keep regeneration active all the time, then why not.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 17:30

temp

Just a thought, but I assume that mana regeneration works like hp regeneration in that you get X "points" per time unit, and when that value reaches 100 you get another hp.

This means that if you divide the spell cost by duration can get an effective "point" value per unit of time. If you subtract this value from your normal mana regen it effectively frontloads the cost of recasting the buff. Since the buff recast is “paid” for, the game can automatically attempt to recast the spell instead of giving you a warning said buff was fading. Said recast would be instant, but have normal miscast and glow effects. If this auto-cast fails, the game will tell you "Your control of foo has failed" with enough time to manually attempt a recast before the effect fully wears off. If this frontloading would make your mana regen is <= 0, then you cannot maintain the buff this way.

Cons: More coding, since you have to add a manual subtraction to the mana regen formula.
The player gets instant-casting of buff spells that might make them stronger. I’d make the recast effect instant if possible, since I would be really irked if the game wasted a turn recasting deflect missiles for me just as I round a corner face to face with a hydra.

Pros: The spell is “paid for”, in fact the cost is front loaded.
You still have to suffer the miscast/glow effects.
It eliminates the meta-game effect of being able to use enhancers to get their benefit and then removing them; thus double-dipping equipment slots for the duration of the buff.
It eliminates the really annoying micromanagement of buff spells.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 17:36

Re: Necromutation ideas

Yet Another Stupid Noob wrote:Just a thought, but I assume that mana regeneration works like hp regeneration in that you get X "points" per time unit, and when that value reaches 100 you get another hp.


It is a little different in that mana regeneration is affected by character level and the total quantity of mana you have, I believe.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 17:44

Re: Necromutation ideas

2.The base regeneration rate is your maximum hitpoints / 3. If this number is over 20, then divide the result by two and add ten. For example, 100 max health results in a regen rate of 26. RR accumulates every turn and for every 100 RR you gain, you regenerate 1 hp. For 1 hp per turn, 540 health is needed. For 1 hp per 2 turns, 240.


I pulled this from the learndb, I assumed mana regen worked the same way

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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 18:48

Charms (buffs) upkeep again

Constantly upkeep buff spells are annoying but a good strategy for many spells. Charm spells are also useful for everyone, and not easy to balance.
It would be good if the player need not to recast them - but it would be hard to balance the crusader playstyle (and maybe some spells).

I would rather move in the opposite direction - create (or use an existing) resource to make upkeeping buff spells for a long time impossible or at least not feasible. What is even more important, it should make it impossible to use several buff spells at the same time. This would make a lot of tactical decisions - which buff should the player activate - and would nerf every buff spell, because you cannot stack them infinitely. Another goal is that it's always good to put up the buff when you need it, because otherwise it may expire when you need it, and it should be impossible to extend for a long time. And creating new buff spells are much less likely to ruin game balance if stacking buffs are not easy.

There are already a mechanic like this for some spells - glow. Also, there are some spells which we may want to allow infinite upkeep - forms and fly for example. They should use a "permanent" mechanic which had been proposed somewhere.

My questions are:
1. Do you think it's a good idea? (So should most buff spells behave a little bit like haste and invisibility in the sense that the player is not supposed to extend them?)
2. What resource would you use? If glowing, then I think we would need more glow levels, to make differentiating the cost of the different buff spells possible. If we use mana somehow, like buffs constantly drawing some mana - it has the drawback that it hits pure casters much more than crusaders, because crusaders does not use mana for other things. while conjurers for example need it. Creating a completly new resource, an "upkeep point" may be to much.

Thank you for any answer and reading this.
Last edited by sanka on Friday, 17th June 2011, 18:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 18:49

Re: Buffs

I've moved your posts into the buff topic. It's more appropriate than the one about necromutation.

Indeed, MP regen works the same way as HP regen. It depends on total MP and not XL. Reducing MP regen for permanent buffs instead of reducing max MP is a great idea, thanks! I think it will make coding it easier, not harder. Having the player manually recast it when the auto-recast fails is also a great idea. This idea is one step closer to be implemented, thanks to you. Your nickname is funny but not appropriate ;)
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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 18:56

Re: Buffs

Stop making new topics about the same subject!

If we need to prevent some buffs to be permanent, let's use glow. We already use it for haste and invisibility, there's no need for another mechanism. It has been suggested to make swiftness give glow. I'm not sure about this one, but I don't think other spells need to be prevented the "permanent casting" option.
Slowing MP regen is a great mechanism, as it's the closest we can get without touching the balance. And you'll also need to keep your spell success up of course, or you'll risk miscast and losing your buff.
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Zot Zealot

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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 18:58

Re: Buffs

Sorry - somehow I missed this topic - mea culpa. I would not repeat some ideas here otherwise anyway. Thanks for moving it to here.

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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 19:01

Re: Buffs

Yes, I like the idea of slowing MP regeneration. There should be some feedback, e.g. when slapping on (or releasing) another buff: "You regenerate Magic [adverb] slowly."

sanka's idea has a lot of merits... a whole system could be made out of this. In a sense, it comes a little too late, now that everything thinks about and plans for permanentising buffs. However, if we see player running around with five buffs all the time and not liking that (I can imagine not liking that), then increasing base glow for each buff would be an option.

Shoals Surfer

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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 20:07

Re: Buffs

Mana regeneration, though, is almost meaningless in certain cases: mummies, vampires or liches (and, less so, normal races with gourmand) worshipping Sif or evoking a staff of channeling, high HP races and sublimation of blood + regeneration/Makhleb, maybe a few other I can't think of atm. In all of this cases the rate of regeneration via channeling is so much higher than the natural rate that slowing it down would hardly make any difference.
Then it would be either reduce the amount of mana channeled depending on active buffs, or make buffs affect both total MP and regeneration (I agree that simply reducing max MP would be unfair when comparing conjurers and crusaders)

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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 20:09

Re: Buffs

I think channeling is a problem in itself. But without it (and we can restrict channeling like MP regeneration), the nerf would be felt. MP is a caster's lifeblood, if it regenerates slower, it'll hurt.

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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 20:47

Re: Buffs

Channeling is something I sometimes do to regenerate MP after casting my buffs (if I have some rotten chunks to sublimate before they disappear, or if i can channel for free). So while channeling would allow people to get around the slowed (or negative) MP regen, it is already something that lets people get around the mana cost of buffs. I don't see the problem with this, nothing changes. So why should channeling be slowed down?

If the mana cost of recasting permabuffs is simply transferred to lost MP regen over the spell duration then it is already paid for, people should not have to pay extra when they channel?

Another issue that needs to be considered is resting to regain MP. There should be a single button to suspend and resume recasting of buffs so people can regain MP. Otherwise people with many active buffs (and thus really slow MP regen) would have to tediously switch them all off, rest, then recast them one by one, waiting to regain MP after each one. This is not a problem if max MP are reduced instead of regen.

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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 22:28

Re: Buffs

While it's nice to see collective agreement that my original assertion is a problem for the game, the solution I'm seeing spun here is a nerf.

The problem I mentioned wasn't that keeping buffs up is overpowered, it's a pain in the ass. Sure, one way to "fix" that is to make it non-viable, but before we go too far down that path, we should first discuss whether or not it deserves a nerf, and that can be done in parallel with actually coming up with a fix to the problem I brought up.
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Post Friday, 17th June 2011, 22:50

Re: Buffs

Well, you put a non-specific title :)
Some buffs could give some glow at a slower rate than it heals, so on their on, the glow wouldn't build up. Combine too many of them and you start glowing seriously.
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Post Monday, 20th June 2011, 13:23

Re: Buffs

dpeg wrote:I think channeling is a problem in itself. But without it (and we can restrict channeling like MP regeneration), the nerf would be felt. MP is a caster's lifeblood, if it regenerates slower, it'll hurt.

Have channeling be a source of glow then, too. (EDIT: A minor one, like galehar mentioned directly above.) You're infusing yourself with mana at an unnatural rate, so there's going to be some leakage.

That, combined with the removal of MP recovery from Makhleb, would further distinguish Vehumet and Sif. Vehumet doesn't give as many books, but he gives the only "safe" source of accelerated MP recovery in the game.
Last edited by Stormfox on Monday, 20th June 2011, 14:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Monday, 20th June 2011, 14:00

Re: Buffs

Cast a bunch of buffs. Channel your MP back. You're at full MP and have barely touched the timer on your buffs.
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Post Monday, 20th June 2011, 15:15

Re: Buffs

You know it used to bother me, but maintaining 3/4 buffs is now completely instinctual without even using macros. At least, when I'm exploring a new level and being extra careful :)

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Post Monday, 4th July 2011, 09:32

Re: Buffs

I can't wait for such system to be added. I personnaly lost L27 DsWz just because i stop recast buff (too boring at the time, and i though i can kill all randoms monsters without them)
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Post Thursday, 7th July 2011, 21:00

Re: Buffs

I also like the just adding glow to every buff and even channeling. It would work pretty well.

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Post Friday, 8th July 2011, 06:06

Re: Buffs

Glowing has some very serious side effects, adding it to too many sources makes certain play styles far more dangerous. Especially for mummies! Slowing mana regeneration and adding small amounts of glow to buffs will encourage more users to find some means of channeling mana. That however is not bad. It forces people to make the choice between permanent buffs and weapons or even gods, that is not a trivial decision.
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Post Friday, 15th July 2011, 18:46

Re: Buffs

Perhaps instead of capping buffs by glowing, buffs should have a hard cap instead, much like what has been suggested for summons. I think Charms skill should increase the cap, while casting buffs from different secondary schools should decrease the cap [e.g. a moderately skilled Charmer could have Flight, Swiftness, Deflect Missiles, and Regeneration (4) but only DMsl, Regen, and Phase Shift (3)].

To start out, 2 active buffs seems reasonable, 4 (or 5 with limited secondary schools) seems good for endgame, while very skilled (>20) Charmers could have 6-7 active buffs.
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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 15:26

Re: Buffs

you might soft cap the number of buffs through glow

perhaps adding INT [k *Spell level * (n-skill level)] glow every T turns (play with k , n and t until reasionable.)
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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 16:36

Re: Buffs

Surely the purpose of autorecasting buffs is to make things simpler / less tedious, not to actually alter gameplay or balance or introduce any new things for the player to think about.

I suggested it in another thread but I'll repeat it here: the simplest possible mechanic is to prompt the user with "Recast [x] y/n?" whenever a buff expires or is close to expiring. It doesn't affect game balance in any way because you're giving the user the choice to perform an entirely ordinary action; it eliminates the tedium/error in pressing the right spell keys for each buff and monitoring when they expire; it can be easily disabled for players who find it annoying or unnecessary. The most straightforward solution is usually the best, right?
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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 16:50

Re: Buffs

Prompts are ugly. I promise you guys an elegant solution for 0.10.
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Mines Malingerer

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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 17:04

Re: Buffs

It is simple, but you get only half the benefit : it is still half annoying :)

You still need to recast buff before the prompt happen if you want to be at maximum mana, if you don't want to use a precious action rebuffing in the middle of a fight
And you will be prompted several time if you travel a long distance

I am for a small gameplay change in order to make the buff the smoothiest possible (i find thme really annoying at high level). Having a recast option creates choice (which are usually good) between recasting or not. But if 95% of the time, the good choice is to recast, it becomes annoying again
And if for a "perfect" gameplay, you still need to recast before being asked to prevent recats mid fight, I prefer a system without recast at all

Even if it modifies the gameplay a little

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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 17:23

Re: Buffs

Danakh wrote:It is simple, but you get only half the benefit : it is still half annoying :)


I dunno; I would consider it about 1/10th as annoying; instead of constantly watching your buff levels and pressing various key combinations when you need to, you'd only have to press 'y' now and then.

Anyway, it would seem that galehar and the dev team are considering all the options, and I have confidence that whatever is implemented will be the all-round best solution!
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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 17:55

Re: Buffs

RFHolloway wrote:you might soft cap the number of buffs through glow

perhaps adding INT [k *Spell level * (n-skill level)] glow every T turns (play with k , n and t until reasionable.)


I don't like the idea of using glow as a soft cap. Glow amounts aren't measured like HP or MP, so I can't see if X spell will tip me over into mutating glow. Color alone can't convey enough information, unless you use a much broader spectrum of colors, instead of 5. However unless you got out your handy dandy color chart, you'd still only know generally where you were on the glow scale. Adding another bar give you enough information, but do you really want to add Glow as a stat for all characters, when only a minority will have to deal with it?

Until there is a way to cleanly give me enough information that so that I can know to within an L2 buff where the line of, "Thou shalt not cross (unless thou desirest thy virtual body to be delivered unto the forces of chaos)," I'm against glowing applied wholesale to buffs.
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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 18:37

Re: Buffs

I think this is the big change that a lot of people are looking forward to. People are just sick of constantly refreshing swiftness, flight, and forms such as blade hands. MP isn't really an issue.

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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 20:20

Re: Buffs

Personally I'd also prefer a solution that makes constantly casting buffs for large periods of time a bad idea (like glow), rather than a solution that makes constantly casting buffs easier (permanent buffs with maxmp reduction seems like it could easily end up being more micromanagement than the present, for a start). Or both would also be fine, but the latter definitely seems harder to implement and balance well to me.

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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 20:55

Re: Buffs

MarvinPA wrote:Personally I'd also prefer a solution that makes constantly casting buffs for large periods of time a bad idea (like glow), rather than a solution that makes constantly casting buffs easier (permanent buffs with maxmp reduction seems like it could easily end up being more micromanagement than the present, for a start). Or both would also be fine, but the latter definitely seems harder to implement and balance well to me.


Surely glow would just mean characters stopped and waited for the glow to heal, then carried on with buffs enabled again? There are parts of the game that are extremely dangerous for a squishy wizard to explore without at least two or three buffs active. Of course I'm all for a solution that allowed not having to use buffs so often, but wouldn't that essentially mean just making the game easier?

I do agree that some of the solutions proposed sound a bit too micromanagey, although I guess something like the skills screen could make it pretty easy to enable the main buffs needed for a particular area.

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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 22:06

Re: Buffs

mumra wrote:Surely glow would just mean characters stopped and waited for the glow to heal, then carried on with buffs enabled again? There are parts of the game that are extremely dangerous for a squishy wizard to explore without at least two or three buffs active.


Either that or, as soon as I spot an enemy I would caste haste or (semi)controlled blink to get away from that enemy, then once he's offscreen cast all my buffs, channel mp back and only then take the fight. Then rest off the glow and resume exploration.
Either way, it's far more involved than the already annoying method of constantly spam macros to keep yourself buffed, and it still wouldn't do much to balance the whole thing, unless you somehow make it so that every buff gives a haste-like amount of glow so it's impossible to have more than a couple of them up at any given time without considerable risk.
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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 22:52

Re: Buffs

MarvinPA wrote:Personally I'd also prefer a solution that makes constantly casting buffs for large periods of time a bad idea (like glow), rather than a solution that makes constantly casting buffs easier (permanent buffs with maxmp reduction seems like it could easily end up being more micromanagement than the present, for a start). Or both would also be fine, but the latter definitely seems harder to implement and balance well to me.

What I'm thinking is fixing the interface first. As someone suggested, I think it's much smarter to reduce regeneration rather than max MP. Here is how I see it:

When you perma-cast a spell, you calculate the average duration (no randomization) of the spell minus the expiration threshold (when you get the expiring message). Since this is when you usually recast. You divide the spell level (MP cost) by this duration and reduce the regeneration rate by this amount.
When the expiration threshold is attained, a recast is done behind the scene. It doesn't cost MP (already paid for) and doesn't use a turn. But this is when you pay hunger, exercise skills and have a chance of miscast. If you succeed, nothing happens and duration is renewed. If you fail, then you get a miscast, the normal expiring message (or a different one like "You're losing control of spell foo.") and it's up to you to recast it permanently, temporarily or let it expire.
It shouldn't be too hard to implement this way and almost doesn't change the balance. To compensate for the gained turns, we can increase the other costs by simply reducing the duration.
Of course, even with low or stalled MP regeneration, you can still channel it back, but it's no different than now. And if you try to maintain too many buffs this way, you'll get negative regeneration and it will start draining your MP. And again, we've got a simple and effective lever for balancing. Reducing the duration increases the MP cost per turn and thus reduces MP regeneration.

I'm not sure about giving glow to more buffs. Instead, I'd rather nerf some of them. There were interesting proposals about nerfing rMsl (AC boost, effective only against physical missiles). We can also dump the flight/swift combo, remove levitation and reduce flight to L3.
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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 23:14

Re: Buffs

In my mind, the cost of perma-casting a buff should be almost mathematically equivalent to casting the temporary buff again when it runs out. That's why I disagree with the idea of introducing a drawback to permanently casting a buff; it's still optimal to go through the tedium of recasting the temporary version after it runs out. You can work around that by also penalizing repeatedly casting temporary buffs in the same way, but at that point the fix seems way too complex for any of us to get our heads around.

So I like galehar's idea of having automatic recasts which are paid for ahead of time by reducing MP regeneration. Conceptually, it's very clear how the price paid for the permanent buff is equivalent to repeated recasts. It also has a very intuitive drawback to having too many permanent buffs at once, which is MP regeneration going negative. It all makes sense. It'll take interface adjustments to make it work, such as letting the player know how much MP regeneration he will get after the perma-cast, and the question of what to do when the spell's castability goes down after it's been permacasted, or when a recast is needed during non-zero tension, but in my mind this solution is the cleanest of all.

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Post Monday, 18th July 2011, 23:43

Re: Buffs

galehar wrote:We can also dump the flight/swift combo, remove levitation and reduce flight to L3.

I've been thinking about doing something like that regardless of other changes, yeah (it would be nice to somehow make cFly from the amulet and draconian innate actually relevant, but failing that just merging Levitation and Flight might work too).

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Post Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 00:24

Re: Buffs

Reducing MP regen for permanent buffs has many advantages over reducing max MP. A minor problem is that if you cast manually having all your buffs on (with enough duration left) and full MP when you go into battle is not trivial. So a slight reduction to max MP in addition to the lowered regeneration may actually capture the current mechanics better than just lower regen. Then again, you would prepay the mana cost of the next buff cast, so in long battles you will already have less mana available. Just in cases where you can finish the fight quickly starting with full mana but lower regen will be an advantage. These are also the cases where casting buffs and regenerating your mana before going into battle provides an even bigger advantage, so I think this is not a problem.

Also I don't think the saved turns have to be compensated for. Recasting buffs is usually not done in combat, and prepaying the mana cost is probably enough of a penalty. It could actually be just as relevant in combat situations as the rare extra turns. I agree with ElectricAlbatross, permabuffs should not be worse than manual casting. Players should not be punished for using an interface convenience, even a complex one like permabuffs. The disadvantages and advantages of permanent buffs will not be equally severe in all situations however, so the point where manual and automatic casting are equally powerful will be hard to judge. And to be on the safe side permabuffs should be very slightly weaker than manual casting. Playtesting will show if an extra penalty is needed or if prepaying mana cost is enough.

Another thing: buffs should expire normally after permanency is switched off, because the cost is prepaid and the time of the last cast would be tracked in galehar's proposal anyway. Refunding mana already paid for the next recast on cancelling is probably not a good idea. It would lessen the change to game mechanics a little, but only lost regen at less than full MP could be considered, and while tracking that would not really be hard it's probably not worth implementing. Besides, a small penalty is fine, and cancelling is probably not going to happen much anyway. Also it would lead to weird tactical use of cancelling permabuffs depending on whether you need the MP or not.

I think using fixed "durations" for permanent buff spells is a bad idea. This would allow prediction of the next expiration/miscast check and doing things like entering Vault:8 just after sucessful extension of important buffs (which you may be unable to cast reliably). Also it would make the recasts (and thus miscast effects and expiration messages) occur at the same time for some spells. With many good buffs sharing the same schools (charms/air) and thus having equal power, equal average durations do not seem far-fetched. Just using the usual random duration would not be so bad IMO. Permanent buffs would usually be on for a long time, so the mana cost would average out after a while. And I think unpredictable and non-coincident miscasts and expiration warnings are worth the slight variations in mana cost per cast. Especially because the player has no way of knowing when he got a high or low duration.

A command to turn off all permabuffs would be useful. Because turning off buffs would (I hope) not cost any turns or MP this should not be a problem.
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Post Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 07:13

Re: Buffs

I strongly agree with getting rid of levitation. I never even memorize it anymore... I just memorize flight and I think most people do this too.

Anyway the MP cost doesn't really matter. At all. I don't even think anyone would even notice if MP regeneration was slowed... for all it matters you might as well just set each buff duration to 200,000,000 turns and leave any costs as they are now. The only thing it would change would be your turn count.
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Post Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 08:04

Re: Buffs

ElectricAlbatross wrote:It'll take interface adjustments to make it work, such as letting the player know how much MP regeneration he will get after the perma-cast

huh? I don't plan to do anything about that. It's not like you can tell what your MP regeneration is.

ElectricAlbatross wrote:and the question of what to do when the spell's castability goes down after it's been permacasted

Nothing. You'll just be more likely to have a miscast on the next recast.

ElectricAlbatross wrote:or when a recast is needed during non-zero tension

Nothing either. It would be complicated and gameable.

Galefury wrote:I agree with ElectricAlbatross, permabuffs should not be worse than manual casting. Players should not be punished for using an interface convenience, even a complex one like permabuffs.

True. I said we can lower duration if needed, but I don't think we'll need to. And as you said, we need to be careful to not make it worse than manual casting.

Galefury wrote:Another thing: buffs should expire normally after permanency is switched off, because the cost is prepaid and the time of the last cast would be tracked in galehar's proposal anyway.

I think it's better to have something consistent. You have no mean of knowing if you're at full duration or just about to recast when cancelling. So just set the duration at the expiration threshold and let it expires. And absolutely no refunding.

Galefury wrote:I think using fixed "durations" for permanent buff spells is a bad idea. This would allow prediction of the next expiration/miscast check and doing things like entering Vault:8 just after sucessful extension of important buffs (which you may be unable to cast reliably). Also it would make the recasts (and thus miscast effects and expiration messages) occur at the same time for some spells.

What needs to be fixed is the duration used to calculate the MP cost per turn. You don't want your MP to be stalled, then drained a bit, then regenerating a bit. We can introduce a bit of randomization in the actual duration but I don't think it's necessary. Successful recast is completely transparent, you have no way of knowing when it happens. And if spells have the same duration, they won't be recast at the same time because you didn't cast them at the same time.

Galefury wrote:A command to turn off all permabuffs would be useful. Because turning off buffs would (I hope) not cost any turns or MP this should not be a problem.

Yeah, we can add it to the ability screen, like form cancelling. You can also cancel individual spell by Z casting them (which is by the way how you permacast them). I'm not sure about "no turn cost". It would be inconsistent with the rest of the interface, and you can afford to spend a turn after all the ones you've saved. And manually cancelling permabuff is not something which is going to be done very often anyway.

Speaking of interface, and in the idea of "not worse than manual casting", I think you should be able to refresh the duration by z casting the spell. You might want to do it if you're fully perma-buffed and ran into something very nasty. Like Mennas and Mara having a picnic for example. You want to make sure your swiftness and Dmsl are not going to miscast and expire right after you're starting to fight. It shouldn't be optimal to cancel your permabuff and recast them to refresh their duration.
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Post Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 09:15

Re: Buffs

Wait so you'd be flying along with automatic flight, it can fail to recast automatically, and you can drown? Instead of miscasting and such why not just take spell success and and work it into the costs... and make the MP regeneration cost or whatever smooth? For example if flight is as good your MP regeneration would slow less than if it was at fair.
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Post Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 09:27

Re: Buffs

snow wrote:Wait so you'd be flying along with automatic flight, it can fail to recast automatically, and you can drown?

No, if it fails to recast, you get the normal expiring message ("Careful! You are losing your buoyancy!") and you still get a few turns to recast or reach land before the spell ends.
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Post Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 09:29

Re: Buffs

I noticed I got it all backwards in my previous post. In actual play you wont be prepaying the buff cost, you will be postpaying it, and there is only a cost if you are not at full MP. Cast all the buffs you need, then rest to full MP. Now a recast event happens, buff duration is renewed, but you don't lose any MP. Instead your regen is penalized if you keep it on, which adds up to the total cost of recasting the spell in the time until the next recast, but only if you have non-full MP during that whole time. This is what I was talking about in the first paragraph of my previous post, I just didn't see it then. This means that only if you never rest to full MP after enabling your permabuffs you will be prepaying the cost. Lost regen at full MP equals no cost at all. I don't see this being a huge advantage in actual play, but combined with the saved turns (some of which would be in combat) I think permabuffs would actually be stronger than manual casting. It's still probably best not to implement an added penalty at first to get people to use the new system, then introduce penalties if it turns out to be imbalanced.

I thought a bit about what the "correct" max MP penalty for permanent buffs would be in the regen penalty system. With correct I mean the penalty that most closely reproduces manual buffing. My solution: when mana regeneration is completely disabled due to permanent buffs the lost max MP should be half the mana cost of all permanent buffs. Because if you manually cast all your buffs (and cast no other spells) you would on average be at max MP minus half the cost of all those buffs if mana regeneration exactly compensates for the cost of keeping them up permanently. Max MP penalties in between can be linearly interpolated. The problem with reducing max MP is that it does not reproduce current channeling correctly. So to actually reproduce the status quo there would need to be a maximum MP you can regen to, and you could reach your regular maximum MP only by channeling. This would far better reproduce what happens if you manually keep all your buffs up all the time than artificially lowering duration. It's a bit complicated though.

A way to find out how many turns between the recast events of a buff if fixed durations are used: cast the permanent version of the buff, memorize turn count. Put on plate mail and a large shield. Wait until miscast/expiry. This is not possible with high spell/armor/shield skills, but this prediction would only be relevant at low success rates anyway. The regen penalty should of course be based on the average duration, but actual recast events should use random duration IMO.

Further options for degenerate play: put on a staff of enchantment or robe of the archmagi and maybe some int rings while waiting for your MP to regenerate. This will increase the power of your buffs, raising average duration and increasing your MP regen. Wield your regular equipment for combat. This saves turns, which means food. Also it may be relevant for chars with many buffs and very slow MP regen. They may have to use an enhancer to regenerate any MP at all. Possible solution: MP regen only increases gradually when buff duration increases. Drops in MP regen should be instant of course. The problem with this is that it's not obvious, and making it transparent with a message would quickly get annoying because every skill levelup changes spellpower and switching between enhancer staves can happen quite a lot in normal play. Also delayed regen increase would just cause even more annoyance (and some extra food cost) for people with very low MP regen, it would not actually disable this behaviour, just penalize it. And you actually have to spend item slots on the otherwise possibly not that useful enhancers. So I don't think this is a big problem.

I think you should not dismiss the need to let the player know about MP regen changes. A message upon reaching half the normal rate and upon going into negative regen would be good. Showing actual number of turns to regenerate full MP is not needed IMO.
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Post Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 10:12

Re: Buffs

Galefury wrote:I thought a bit about what the "correct" max MP penalty for permanent buffs would be in the regen penalty system. With correct I mean the penalty that most closely reproduces manual buffing. My solution: when mana regeneration is completely disabled due to permanent buffs the lost max MP should be half the mana cost of all permanent buffs. Because if you manually cast all your buffs (and cast no other spells) you would on average be at max MP minus half the cost of all those buffs if mana regeneration exactly compensates for the cost of keeping them up permanently. Max MP penalties in between can be linearly interpolated.

Good point. Combining slower regen and max MP penalty would be good indeed.

Galefury wrote:The problem with reducing max MP is that it does not reproduce current channeling correctly. So to actually reproduce the status quo there would need to be a maximum MP you can regen to, and you could reach your regular maximum MP only by channeling. This would far better reproduce what happens if you manually keep all your buffs up all the time than artificially lowering duration. It's a bit complicated though.

I don't think we need to bother with that. If players see that they can channel their way to a higher max MP, they'll think they have to do it. We don't need to encourage it.

Galefury wrote:A way to find out how many turns between the recast events of a buff if fixed durations are used: cast the permanent version of the buff, memorize turn count. Put on plate mail and a large shield. Wait until miscast/expiry.

Sure, it's possible, but what's the point? Why would you bother tracking down the duration and recast events of your buffs? You can manually refresh the duration before a tough fight if you need to be on the safe side anyway.

Galefury wrote:Further options for degenerate play: put on a staff of enchantment or robe of the archmagi and maybe some int rings while waiting for your MP to regenerate. This will increase the power of your buffs, raising average duration and increasing your MP regen. Wield your regular equipment for combat.

You can already do that with manual casting. And if you don't keep your enhancers, you'll lose the bonus on the next recast. I don't think there's a need to readjust the cost each time spell power is changed. Let the cost readjust itself automatically on the next recast.

Galefury wrote:I think you should not dismiss the need to let the player know about MP regen changes. A message upon reaching half the normal rate and upon going into negative regen would be good. Showing actual number of turns to regenerate full MP is not needed IMO.

Right, better to know right away your MP is going to be drained rather than have to wait. Another message at half regen can be useful too.
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Post Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 12:11

Re: Buffs

snow wrote:Wait so you'd be flying along with automatic flight, it can fail to recast automatically, and you can drown? Instead of miscasting and such why not just take spell success and and work it into the costs... and make the MP regeneration cost or whatever smooth? For example if flight is as good your MP regeneration would slow less than if it was at fair.


I always do an extra cast of Flight before I travel over anywhere dangerous, even if I've already got it on, just in case. My behaviour wouldn't be any different with perma-buffs.

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Post Friday, 22nd July 2011, 14:12

Re: Buffs

I like this idea:
(1) Buffs become active when memorized. They cannot be cast.
(2) Buffs reduce max MP by some amount, perhaps equal to the spell level. The max MP reduction and spell levels can be tweaked if needed.
(3) If you want to turn off the buff (presumably, in order to reclaim your MP) you need to forget the spell. This is good because at present cost of forgetting spells too low; this would put an interesting strategic constraint on spell memorization.

It would work well with many but not all buffs. Flight, Shroud of Golubria, Swiftness, Phase Shift, Condensation Shield, Regeneration, Repel/Deflect Missiles, Sure Blade, and many others would fit well here. Haste and Invisibility might work if they induce a constant low level of glow. Transformations and weapon brands would not work as well because players usually don't want them to be permanent.

Indicating which spells are perma-buffs and which are temporary would be important. Moving buffs that are not permanent from charms (into hexes, for example) would work and would be my preferred solution. Coloring perma-buff and/or giving a warning prompt during memorization might work too.

While it doesn't allow all buffs to be permanent, it does remove the annoyance of having to ever recast a large share of the buffs that most commonly used.

Many buffs are highly powerful. This proposal could nerf them, at least for stronger players/characters who keep their buffs up and let MP recharge before doing battle. If Swiftness is too strong as level 2, it can be moved to a higher level. If Phase Shift is too weak as level 5, it can be moved to level 4.

If needed perma-buffs could influence hunger, either upon memorization ("This will take some energy. You best be full before trying to memorize this complex charm") or continuously over time.

This proposal is simpler than others as well -- no more recasting, no need change MP regeneration (which improves in a relative sense already-strong channeling methods), no need to change duration, no (minor) issues with spell enhancers, no need to worry about the details of turning buffs off or on, no need to add a command to turn off all buffs.

I had suggested this in a previous discussion about buffs. I still like the idea and I don't remember why it didn't catch on.
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