Stairdancing nerf proposal


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Swamp Slogger

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Post Sunday, 10th April 2016, 08:39

Stairdancing nerf proposal

Stairdancing is way too powerful: You can almost always retreat upstairs (possible several times) and then go down another staircase to control which enemies you have to fight. I believe everyone does this, and it's especially powerful during normal 3-rune games.

So I propose following nerf to stairdancing, which should help to make the game slightly more difficult and interesting:

EDIT: Based on the feedback i suggest just increasing the aut cost of climbing the stairs.
Here is the original, more complicated idea:
  Code:
If there are hostile monsters in LOS who are aware of player presence, they should have a chance to follow player upstairs, even if they are not right next to player when player goes upstairs.

Not all of them have to follow, but they could have a chance to follow based on distance. (e.g two squares of distance = 50% chance to follow, three squares of distance = 30% chance to follow, etc).
There could be a slight delay for them to pop upstairs, also based on distance.
Amount of following monsters could be capped at 8 or some other value.
They would not follow, if there are no free squares upstairs near the stairs. They also need to have a clear path to stairs, not be confused etc.
This would apply to downstairs and hatches too, of course.
Because of the delay, player could still avoid being surrounded upstairs.

This would restore some difficulty to the game, and make stealth&invisibility more valuable (if they don't notice you, they can't follow either!).
Some other scenarios:
- Also wands and scrolls of tele would get another tactical use (go upstairs, and then tele to lose hostile followers).
- cblink to stairs before going up/down to gain some distance and have smaller chance for monsters to follow.
- Go twice upstairs and then shaft yourself, etc.

Effect could be balanced by adjusting following chance, delay and cap, to avoid too big difficulty increase.


I believe the gameplay effects would be very much positive.
Last edited by hannobal on Wednesday, 13th April 2016, 05:23, edited 1 time in total.

Spider Stomper

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Post Sunday, 10th April 2016, 10:38

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Because of the way the monster energy system works, wouldn't this just mean that you'd wind up going up multiple sets of stairs if the chance to ditch a monster was only 50% at two tiles?

Plus, it seems like it'd be a hassle to communicate "Monsters will follow you up the stairs in 1 turn, are you sure you want to rest?" to players.

Swamp Slogger

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Post Sunday, 10th April 2016, 10:48

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

The percentages are rough, they could and should be fine-tuned like all the other details to make it work.

Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Sunday, 10th April 2016, 17:17

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

I've thought for some time that monsters should move even player is offlevel, and wander up and down stairs on a regular basis.

It would be tricky to do without being a CPU hog.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 10th April 2016, 17:20

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

This would make using stairs to escape monsters less powerful, but it would also make using stairs to lure monsters to a better location much more powerful (no longer must you risk getting melee'd like 3 times). I'm not sure if that is an improvement, though it would be a change.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 10th April 2016, 17:51

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

As long as there's any non-zero chance of bringing no non-adjacent creatures with you, this doesn't reduce the net power of staircases, it' only makes it more tedious (Since you now have to travel up/down several staircases to "lose" all your pursuers) this doesn't actually nerf stairdancing in the optimal sense, only in the "we're going to make the game so boring you don't want to actually do the optimal sort of stairdancing" sense, which is a bad way to go.

There's no percentage which would make this not the case between 1 and 99. (The more likely it is that creatures will follow you, the more tedious it would be to 'lose' them.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 10th April 2016, 18:00

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Hm, here'a slight variant from the original which wouldn't increase tedium:
  Code:
Monsters have a random chance of getting the 'tracker' flag at generation, a tracker-flagged monster will follow you up/down staircases even if not adjacent (and hostile, not confused/paralyzied etc.), the time it takes for them to follow you is dependent on how far away they were from the staircase when you started ascending. Packs are either all marked as 'tracker' or not when generated together.


That way if a monster is tracking you, there's no point in going more than one staircase.
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Slime Squisher

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Post Sunday, 10th April 2016, 23:07

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Why not just go full Brogue and make *all* monsters have infallible cross-level radar?
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Dungeon Master

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Post Sunday, 10th April 2016, 23:31

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Anything that involves keeping two levels in memory at once is right out: it would require such a fundamental restructuring of the game engine that I don't think it's feasible. Someone is welcome to prove me wrong, of course.

However, it would be possible (still a lot of work, but not unreasonably so) to pull more monsters into the transit list, and pull them off onto the new level more gradually. One difficulty would be the case where you immediately go back down the stairs: you don't want taking stairs up and back down to rearrange the monsters too much, or that would still be a reason to stairdance.

Another possibility would be taking level excursion (where you save the current level and load the other one) and stealing monsters (this is how off-level recall works), but that is moderately slow for something that would probably be happening several turns in a row, and I think is more bug-prone than using the transit list.

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Blades Runner

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Post Monday, 11th April 2016, 00:02

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

You could simply make it that stairs are not useable while any hostile monster is in LOS. That should be pretty easy to implement and would kill tons of characters in horrible ways...two birds with one stone.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 11th April 2016, 00:26

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

svendre wrote:You could simply make it that stairs are not useable while any hostile monster is in LOS. That should be pretty easy to implement and would kill tons of characters in horrible ways...two birds with one stone.
This is the only reasonable idea in the thread so far. It's kind of extreme (consider the number of vaults that place monsters near the stairs, plus orb run), but none of the other suggestions here would actually solve any of the kinds of "stairdancing" that have been mentioned, and they're overly complicated to boot. This one is at least easily understandable and, as desired, mostly gets rid of the tactical uses of stairs, even if it does require changing some vaults. It also requires removing monster invisibility but that's a point in its favour imo.

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Swamp Slogger

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Post Monday, 11th April 2016, 04:54

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Based on the feedback i see problems in my original proposal.

What about a much simpler change: Increase time required to travel stairs by 10 auts (1 turn) or more.
Time required for monsters could be same, or shorter (to amplify the effect).

This would keep mechanics as now, but make stairdancing more dangerous, by giving monsters more time to take actions while player climbs the stairs.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 11th April 2016, 06:08

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

rename stairs to ladders, make them take 60 aut to use (50 on original level, 10 on new level)

Dungeon Master

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Post Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 21:17

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Denying stair use while monsters are visible would greatly increase the power of wands/spells of Invis.

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Slime Squisher

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Post Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 21:23

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Lasty wrote:Denying stair use while monsters are visible would greatly increase the power of wands/spells of Invis.


So just restrict those to the player and possibly their allies. Seriously, could there ever be any non-degenerate reason for players to make hostile monsters invisible?

I'm sure someone could come up with flavor for why you can't make hostile monsters invisible.

Swamp Slogger

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Post Thursday, 14th April 2016, 11:45

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

I believe the real problem with stairdancing is separating monster groups designed to be fought as a whole into smaller chunks. Taking a couple enemies up and down at a time, killing off melee threats while avoiding the ranged threats, etc.

Basically, here is the change I would recommend experimenting with.

- adjacent enemies follow you upstairs, just like they do now. If no enemies are adjacent to you, no enemies will follow you up.

- if any adjacent enemies follow you upstairs though, any other enemies who were not adjacent to you will climb up the stairs over the next few turns (based on how far they were from the stairs, probably ignore monster speed for simplicity)

- if the stairs and all the spaces around the stairs are occupied, push other enemies or players out of the way to make room for the newcomers.

There are probably still a few issues with this proposal and maybe some new ones I haven't thought of, but I think it would accomplish the following:

- Staircases are still safe avenues of retreat if you aren't adjacent to any enemies.

- Staircases are not eliminated entirely as a tactical tool, you can still use staircases to change or funnel enemies, but they are not nearly as potent as before.

- Enemies that are spawned as a group still fight as a group, instead of being funneled and separated so the player can rest between them.

Alternatively, one very simple change that wouldn't overhaul the system but at least make some abuses less effective - make all staircases in the game have eight open tiles around them. If we don't want to change all the vaults with staircases, make it so that at least all randomly spawned staircases have eight adjacent spaces monsters can use. That way you cannot funnel enemies as efficiently as you would otherwise.
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Tomb Titivator

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Post Thursday, 14th April 2016, 16:28

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Aethrus wrote:if any adjacent enemies follow you upstairs though, any other enemies who were not adjacent to you will climb up the stairs over the next few turns (based on how far they were from the stairs, probably ignore monster speed for simplicity)
the problems with this were described in this very thread! Following your line of thought, it would be better to allow a monster to follow you across stairs if there is an unbroken line of hostiles between you and the monster, i.e. monsters adjacent to you can take stairs, monsters adjacent to those monsters can use stairs, etc etc. Though AI and time mechanics mean that gaps form within monster groups anyway, allowing stairdancing to break packs anyway. Still not ideal even if you fix that, IMO.

Swamp Slogger

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Post Thursday, 14th April 2016, 16:49

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

HardboiledGargoyle wrote:
Aethrus wrote:if any adjacent enemies follow you upstairs though, any other enemies who were not adjacent to you will climb up the stairs over the next few turns (based on how far they were from the stairs, probably ignore monster speed for simplicity)
the problems with this were described in this very thread! Following your line of thought, it would be better to allow a monster to follow you across stairs if there is an unbroken line of hostiles between you and the monster, i.e. monsters adjacent to you can take stairs, monsters adjacent to those monsters can use stairs, etc etc. Though AI and time mechanics mean that gaps form within monster groups anyway, allowing stairdancing to break packs anyway. Still not ideal even if you fix that, IMO.


I wasn't trying to make using stairs to reposition around monsters never a good idea. I was just trying to make it less effective at separating packs. The fact that it can still be helpful in some situations is incidental in a thread titled 'nerf stairdancing' not 'remove stairdancing wholesale'

Dungeon Master

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Post Thursday, 14th April 2016, 20:53

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

forget about flavour, just give all monsters a seal stairs aura

Blades Runner

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Post Friday, 15th April 2016, 16:33

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

To follow up on my idea of block stairs when monsters are in LOS, I had not considered invisibility - which is somewhat of an issue. On the point of someone using a wand to make a hostile monster leave LOS to use the stairs, I think that is almost so extreme it should almost be forgotten and let it happen if it does. It's not easy to have a wand of invisibility and one with enough charges, and also assuming it's not resisted if there is an MR check (?) It sounds like quite an effort to escape.

The bigger problem with invisibility that I see is that if there is some other kind of automatic aura mechanic that blocks stairs if an invisible monster is in range, is that you're basically giving a free see invisible to let the player (who didn't intend on leaving anyhow) know that there is an invisible monster near them.

Another slightly different idea to compensate for these issues which I have seen used before (I can't remember where though) is that actions taken against (or by) hostile monsters generate some sort of in-combat flag, which prevents the use of exits (stairs in this case) until the flag wears off. So in the case of making something invisible for the purpose of escaping, it wouldn't help much because then they would just be forced to have an invisible monster beat on them indefinitely until they killed it or fled and had time for the combat flag to wear off.

If you use a timed combat flag instead of monsters in LOS to block stairs:
* players could leave if there was an invisible monster that hadn't taken a swing at the player yet
* players couldn't leave even if they couldn't see an invisible monster which started an attack on them
* stealth has value in the case that you want to leave, but there are monsters in your LOS - but they haven't tried to engage you yet (thus no combat flag yet)
* the player wouldn't have any idea if there was an invisible monster 3 spaces from them (with nothing else in sight) after coming down some stairs due to the status of the stairs
* players using stairs for the first time ever into some horrific scene which was unfair death would have a better chance to simply bail back up the stairs (before a combat flag was created) preventing some very unfair deaths, but repeated use of the stairs over and over to split packs would still fail. Initially I was joking a bit with the LOS idea, because it would make going down a new set of stairs very frightening, but at the same time the danger would make the game very exciting. I just think that the initial time you come down, because of RNG there still needs to be some chance of backing out of RNG created atrocities at least the first time.

I would have the combat flag created whenever a melee or ranged attack is used on a player or whenever the player targets a hostile monster (invisibility wand I'm looking at you.) Since it takes time to go up the stairs, and the only way to get a pack split is to have them adjacent to you while you're next to the stairs, trying to use the stairs when a monster is right next to you but before a combat flag has been generated due to a lure would still result in a failure since the combat flag would be created by an attack in the time you spent trying to go up the stairs.

If there was a combat flag blocking stair usage, there would need to be some amount of time associated with it... what would be appropriate is anyone's guess and probably would need some testing, but I think something like 5-10 turns should be reasonable enough to get the job done without being too terrible. There might also be some added conditions to where it was always instantly cleared, but then we get back to the troubles with invisibility and auras so that would have to be more carefully considered... or not at all - and leave it to the more simple time-out.

Finally, I would turn off this functionality when the orb has been picked up. The flavor is easily there in that you already have this "special" orb aura, implying the orb has some kind of power making it worth all the trouble to steal.. rather than simply being a monster summoning door stop.
Last edited by svendre on Friday, 15th April 2016, 17:42, edited 1 time in total.

Snake Sneak

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Post Friday, 15th April 2016, 17:29

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

At one point on CBRO there was an interesting god that really disliked stair dancing. I believe the god was called Wanderlust.

I'm not sure why the god got removed but I like having difficult game changing gods like Xom and Chei (albeit Chei does get vastly stronger as does Wanderlust) as an option for those that are interested in a challenge.

In that same vain an option might be to make some gods namely the OP killing gods (oka, mahkleb, and trog) decrease piety a small amount for being a wuss.

I like this idea because gives the player the choice if they want a stairclimbing nerf but I realize it would probably needlessly complicate some gods.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 15th April 2016, 22:47

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

svendre wrote:On the point of someone using a wand to make a hostile monster leave LOS to use the stairs, I think that is almost so extreme it should almost be forgotten and let it happen if it does. It's not easy to have a wand of invisibility and one with enough charges
It's also a spell.

agentgt wrote:At one point on CBRO there was an interesting god that really disliked stair dancing. I believe the god was called Wanderlust.
Or Wulndraste.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Wednesday, 27th April 2016, 23:21

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

How about...monsters that are adjacent to monsters that are right next to the player as he/she/they climb the stairs are 50% likely to follow.

i.e.:
  Code:
########
.......#
..g....#
..gg..,#
...g...#
....@.#
######

@, who has finally reached the stairs, is running from a pack of gnolls. The leading one situtated right next to @ will follow up/down, while the two dudes nearest to the leader dude may or may not follow. %33 chance, %50 change, whateva.

(i skimmed the thread)
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Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 28th April 2016, 12:43

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Lose a turn when you go up the stairs, if you are hit during that turn you stumble and fail to go up the stairs.
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Swamp Slogger

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Post Friday, 13th May 2016, 17:03

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Hi - first post in GDD here - hope I'm not speaking out of place.

Just reading this thread, an idea came to me - how about making it so that any monster that sees you going up the stairs will try to follow after you no matter how many squares away they are, in much the same way that they'd follow you through an open doorway if they saw you disappear through it. This way, you'll nerf stairdancing and have a more realistic game mechanic - it always struck me as being a bit odd that intelligent, able-bodied creatures would see you go up the stairs and think 'Oh man, he's used a staircase, and he's more than one square away - I can't possibly go after him now..." (Unless they're in wheelchairs, in which case I really think we should be providing them with access ramps)
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 13th May 2016, 18:51

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

The problem with that is that it would make it, in fact, easier to kite enemies to desired terrain. Would make early game harder, though!

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 13th May 2016, 21:38

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Yes monsters following up stairs is just a different problem, not a lesser one.

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Friday, 13th May 2016, 21:47

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Am I the only one that finds it satisfying to go up and down different stairs assassinating one fool monster at a time? Especially with weaker characters (Fe comes to mind) some levels can be near impossible to deal with.

That said, I'd mused about the possibility of having all stairs be single use only. They just crumble. Of course there would be a few details to iron out, like branch entrances, etc.

Lair Larrikin

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Post Saturday, 14th May 2016, 01:00

Re: Stairdancing nerf proposal

Stairdancing used to limit the amount of enemies fought at a time is degenerate and can be removed.

Stairdancing used as an escape mechanism to completely abandon the battle one can't handle is not a "stairdancing" and can stay.

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