Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) system


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Shoals Surfer

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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 09:26

Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) system

The main thread is mostly concerned with interface issues, Id like to highlight an issue myself and others have noticed.

True story 1: I rolled my favourite glass cannon a DEIE of Vehumet. Found a book, learned shock, cast it 10.20 times, then forgot it. A few runes later Im casting tornado.

Another; MDFi gets a crossbow and fires it 20 times then stashes it. 5 hours later we've got 12 levels and a fat fat stack of enchanted ammo.

Before w VD though it was annoying, at least training had a cost, primarily food and time for casters (or the choice to use suboptimal spells for a killing blow) or else a cost in mulchables such as bolts. Now there is no cost to training at all except opportunity costs.

This change removes a big amount of strategic thinking from the game and makes things a lot easier. But is there any fix possible within the current framework?
(p.s. this is stupid some dev please make it not stupid) - minmay
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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 10:09

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

sardonica wrote:This change removes a big amount of strategic thinking
(or the choice to use suboptimal spells for a killing blow)

I'm not sure the choices removed were very interesting. It does remove the food and time cost to training. Is that a problem? Training costs XP, this is the main cost, why would we need more?
What's the point in training crossbow if you're not firing any bolt?
I can add some restrictions like you need to know an air spell to train air. You wouldn't have been able to forget shock, but you wouldn't be forced to use it. It does add some complexity, and maybe some consistency/realism, but regarding gameplay, I don't think it would add anything interesting.
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Zot Zealot

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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 10:11

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Also training invocations had a piety cost for most gods. It's quite easy to train invocation to the level where the needed abilities are "Excellent" without almost any piety cost. This matters with gifts (Okawaru) and that using the high piety abilities are easier earlier.

Generally I like the new system much-much better, but it really made the game easier for me. Only the fact that switched of skills are not trained now at all changed the game significantly.
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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 10:21

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

i assume you're talking about the manual mode? as far as i'm concerned, it should eventually be removed. crawl was built and re-built around the idea that you should do something to learn how to do it better, and bypassing it breaks (or to be fair, bends) many things: the examples for evocations and invocations are just right. you can even work around high-level miscasts.

which means you still have to do some management. it's still way better than before, and more informative (you can figure it all out from the skills screen alone). i can settle for that.
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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 10:54

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Other than tedium, the vast majority of victory dancing costs were pretty meaningless. If the changes do make things easier then surely that just opens up possibilities to make the game harder in more interesting ways - I definitely don't see that any interesting gameplay or strategy has been lost with the change at all.

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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 11:13

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Costs for victory dancing generally involved chopping up a yak before you start, and then mashing 5 when you finish. There are additional costs of ammunition, wand charges, and piety for some other skills, but do non-casters really need the extra penalty compared to casters?

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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 11:59

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

I don't think the "main cost" of developing new skills before was XP or hunger. I think the main cost was having to use methods that didn't work. When you find a demon trident, but only have short blades trained, you do more damage with a sabre than the trident. So the yaks would kill you if you let them gore you while you slowly missed them with the trident. Or if you were trying to develop conjurations, they'd charge while you miscast.

With the new system, you can leave the demon trident in your stash until you reach the minimum delay. Instead of asking, "Should I leave the buckler on, even though it takes venom bolt from Great to Good, so I can get the shield skill up?" you just leave the buckler at home until the skill is up to 7. You don't mulch all your ammo training on weaklings or empty space. Your Ice Elementalist doesn't get put into the abyss trying to get summoning up for ice beasts.

All the work that went into making balanced shield penalties, weapon skills, armour penalties, and spell miscasts has been compromised.

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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 12:09

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

jejorda2 wrote:I don't think the "main cost" of developing new skills before was XP or hunger. I think the main cost was having to use methods that didn't work. When you find a demon trident, but only have short blades trained, you do more damage with a sabre than the trident. So the yaks would kill you if you let them gore you while you slowly missed them with the trident. Or if you were trying to develop conjurations, they'd charge while you miscast.


The problem with that is, that nobody trained the skills that way in the old system.
It went more like that: Disable all skills, build up Exp Pool while using your old skills .. then search for a rat, put on buckler and press the 5-key 200 times. repeat until no shield penalty.
Or: Build XP-Pool, shoot plant mit shock 100 times.

So in a way, only the tedium of shooting plants and standing in front of rats has been removed.

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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 12:21

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

jejorda2 wrote:I don't think the "main cost" of developing new skills before was XP or hunger. I think the main cost was having to use methods that didn't work. When you find a demon trident, but only have short blades trained, you do more damage with a sabre than the trident. So the yaks would kill you if you let them gore you while you slowly missed them with the trident. Or if you were trying to develop conjurations, they'd charge while you miscast.

With the new system, you can leave the demon trident in your stash until you reach the minimum delay.


Why wouldn't you use a lower-level conjuration to kill those yaks, or practice with one of the three thousand orcish spears in Orc 1-3 if the demon trident isn't good enough by itself? You'd have basic competence in a few minutes of playing either way, so as long as you don't beeline directly for a dangerous unique you should be fine.

jejorda2 wrote:Instead of asking, "Should I leave the buckler on, even though it takes venom bolt from Great to Good, so I can get the shield skill up?" you just leave the buckler at home until the skill is up to 7.


As opposed to the old system, where you put the buckler on in front of a bat and waited for shields to train?

jejorda2 wrote:You don't mulch all your ammo training on weaklings or empty space.


Because non-casters needed that critical nerf? Choosing a deity other than Okawaru or Trog for an archer or slinger should never be an option?

jejorda2 wrote:Your Ice Elementalist doesn't get put into the abyss trying to get summoning up for ice beasts.


How is it tactically interesting to have a meaningful risk of character death practicing skills while locked in a closet?

jejorda2 wrote:All the work that went into making balanced shield penalties, weapon skills, armour penalties, and spell miscasts has been compromised.


The penalties are balanced around the assumption that you've spent the xp for basic competence, not around the assumption that you're currently trying to fundamentally change the entire thrust of your character. Changing strategy is a very temporary thing, so eliminating the tedious parts of it is a good thing.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 13:21

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Everybody has really good points. I guess what I miss the most is the choice to use a weak skill to level it vs a strong skill to be safe. And someone else pointed out the piety issue re invocations. Some really hard tactical choices have been removed.

Very interesting to get a long sword and have to decide if your IE can take out that yak with it. Or should you wait until you find weaker monsters? Or split them off one by one? The old system makes you divide monsters into categories (yes this includes making rats into bucklers trainers).

The new system says, Go ahead and freeze cloud those yaks, your long sword will level the same.

Now monsters are just xp pinatas.
(p.s. this is stupid some dev please make it not stupid) - minmay
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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 13:29

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

What you're calling interesting choices is exactly what I hated the most about the old system. More than the tediousness of victory dancing. Factoring the skill training and xp pool state in the tactical decisions is not something I'm missing.
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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 13:50

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

I have to agree with sardonica, that by in large, you can just train up what you want with much less cost. My HaHu got spellcasting up to 10 without casting a single spell, which meant that I could breeze into tloc and air when I found the books, making the mid-late game train-a-thon disapear.
I really like this, but I agree it makes things easier and gets rid of a hell of a lot of choices. Even inventory management is easier, you don't have to take around the bow and arrows, you can just leave them stashed after you get to level 1, until you can make use of them properly.

However, I would HATE to see the game descend into only auto mode, it would take away a lot of the choices and customizability, and lead to people forever trying not to use skills they didn't want to train up. I think the answer is exactly what MarvinPA said, victory dancing costs were pretty meaningless except for tedium, and having this extra control and flexibility means that the game can branch out in new ways.

My one gripe with this system is that it seems to really, REALLY help combo's that are most suited to there roles (for example HaHu) and strongly penalize hybrids, to the point where they're just not fun to play.
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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 13:59

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Why is this system penalize hybrids,and suite specialists? In my experience the opposite is true. Specialists did not really needed (much) victory dancing in the old system. Hybrids are much better if you can manage your skills.
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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 14:12

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

The skill cost change was a nerf to generalists and a buff to specialists. And also an early game nerf to casters. I wouldn't call it "strongly penalize" and it's not directly related to the skill training change. And overall, it's a better balance IMO.
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Post Monday, 11th July 2011, 14:30

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

I for one am happy you can start with TSO without having to worry about training invocations with hard-to-get piety. Same with hurting yourself with lugonu.

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Post Thursday, 14th July 2011, 01:30

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

I can't say much about balance since I haven't won with the new system but it's definetly more fun, now you don't have to look for the pool every 5 minutes to know when to train your invocations.

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Post Thursday, 14th July 2011, 13:40

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

The new system is not perfect but it is a good start. Wherever we want to go with skills and training, we don't want to have the old problems in our baggage.
In case the game is too easy now, we will find ways to make it harder, in interesting ways. I always said the food clock could use tighening.
Regarding specific skills: I dislike how one Invocations skills fits many gods. It would be better if different gods kept their own scores (with Nemelex still using Evocations etc., and the good gods sharing one invocations skill). This is mostly unrelated to the new mechanic, of course.
On weapon skills: b0rsuk suggested that different skills could use different systems. For example, it would be conceivable that weapons only train by doing damage, and that sub-par monsters quickly provide no training at all. We may not want such a system, but we can think about such systems, if we like.

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Post Thursday, 14th July 2011, 14:21

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

dpeg wrote:Regarding specific skills: I dislike how one Invocations skills fits many gods. It would be better if different gods kept their own scores (with Nemelex still using Evocations etc., and the good gods sharing one invocations skill). This is mostly unrelated to the new mechanic, of course.

Drifting OT, but I never thought about this until now. But it does make sense to have some sort of split. If you drop Makhleb for Zin, there's no flavor reason why your insane prowess at calling up Balrugs and Executioners should immediately translate into silver-tongued Recitation of the Axioms.
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Post Thursday, 14th July 2011, 14:43

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Stormfox wrote:
dpeg wrote:Regarding specific skills: I dislike how one Invocations skills fits many gods.

If you drop Makhleb for Zin, there's no flavor reason why your insane prowess at calling up Balrugs and Executioners should immediately translate into silver-tongued Recitation of the Axioms.

I like how calling on a god is treated as a skill. It makes sense to me that the effort it takes to learn how to depend on another instead of yourself, and the voice to reach another plane to be heard by the deities, and the willpower to believe that the unseen spirit will accomplish what you ask all work the same no matter what power you call on. The piety reflects how strongly you follow in a particular path, but I like transferable invocation skill from a flavor standpoint.

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Post Thursday, 14th July 2011, 15:33

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

One significant thing with the new system, that is certainly a strategic difference, if not a problem, is that it is no longer possible to 'save' XP for something you can't learn now but will be able to learn in the future.

A good example is a berserker who is planning to abandon Trog for the post-endgame, who might want to save all the XP from Zot 1-4 so they can victory dance their magic skills once they are no longer bound by Trog's conducts.

With the new system, they can probably put their XP into spellcasting while still worshipping Trog, assuming they have gained 1 level from scrolls, without actually casting any spells (AFAIK,) but would have to spend all their XP as they gain them, so would not be able to save any to learn the other magic skills later.

But really, this seems like a minor inconvenience compared to the removal of victory dancing.

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Post Thursday, 14th July 2011, 17:56

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

galehar wrote:What you're calling interesting choices is exactly what I hated the most about the old system. More than the tediousness of victory dancing. Factoring the skill training and xp pool state in the tactical decisions is not something I'm missing.


I think what a lot of people are missing about the old system isn't the strategic decisions it forced you to make (Of which there were very few. You want to train shields? Equip a shield. Let something beat on you. Looking to train fire magic? Cast a lot of fire magic at...something). But what does seem to be lost is the ability to fine tune where the experience when. The old system allowed you dump 500k XP into just fire magic* if you were so inclined, where now (If my understanding is correct), you can put significant focus on fire magic, but you couldn't dump everything there.

I haven't played trunk and this is my understanding of the system based strictly on reading, so if I'm in fact wrong, please feel free to call me out on my awful reading comprehension.

*And spellcasting, and who doesn't love spellcasting?

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Post Thursday, 14th July 2011, 18:04

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

You could cast fire spells over and over to put your last 500k XP into fire magic. Now you put the next 500k XP you get into fire magic for no tedium at all.

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Post Thursday, 14th July 2011, 18:12

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Kautzman wrote:The old system allowed you dump 500k XP into just fire magic* if you were so inclined, where now (If my understanding is correct), you can put significant focus on fire magic, but you couldn't dump everything there.


Quite the contrary, actually. At least in manual mode (which is the one I've used almost exclusively so far) skills that are turned off won't receive any experience at all, unlike the old method. You won't be able to turn off everything and stockpile a ton of XP and then VD all of them at once, but there's no reason to do so anyway when you can just turn off everything but the one skill you want to train and be sure that every sinlge XP will go to that as soon as you earn it.
The only downside is that since you need to have at least one skill active at any time, you can't stockpile XP and then dump them in a skill you don't know yet. Even then, at least with automatic mode, you can pre-victory dance said skill to increase the percentage of XP it will receive, so even that is possible (at least this is how I understand the new system).
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Post Thursday, 14th July 2011, 21:17

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Jeremiah wrote:A good example is a berserker who is planning to abandon Trog for the post-endgame, who might want to save all the XP from Zot 1-4 so they can victory dance their magic skills once they are no longer bound by Trog's conducts.

This extremely meta-gamey, I'm glad this strategy is no more. If you abandon Trog, there should be a time when you have no god and no spells while you build your spellcasting capabilities. Your post actually makes me want to go further preventing it, because it's still possible to do it. You just have to start as a Skald and pick Trog at the temple. You'll be able to train you magic skills while clearing Zot. So, how about:

  • Berserkers don't train spellcasting when reading scrolls.
  • Trog hates it if you train magic skills.
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Post Thursday, 14th July 2011, 22:16

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

The second one sounds good. The first one not so much (stuff like this is not exactly unprecedented, but kind of weird). And I don't think it's necessary with Trog hating training magic skills (which includes spellcasting).

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Post Thursday, 14th July 2011, 23:12

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Two options regarding Trog:

1) Under Trog, all training of magical skills is disabled.
2) Trog hates it if you train magical skills.

I support 1).
While 2) may sound more flavourful, and 1) can look mechanically, consider this: if a character gets access to Spellcasting 1 before the Temple (easy to achieve), taking on Trog will require to manually switch off the skill. If she forgets, the game is busted. If we instead turn off magical skills while under Trog (yay to Off = 0%), i.e. either no key slots for the skill(s) or pressing the key does nothing, and printing the skill in a special colour (either Trog#s or the Dangerous colour), then everything is fine.

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Post Friday, 15th July 2011, 07:50

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Scrolls only train spellcasting to level 1 (and I think Trog should be okay with this particular case of training magic skills), so there's no need to switch spellcasting off after gaining it. Trog could also clear the training queue of all casting skills when you start worshiping him or turn magic skills off for you. Completely disabling training sounds very weird to me, and I think a god completely disabling player options instead of punishing their use is a bad precedent to set.
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Post Friday, 15th July 2011, 13:47

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Galefury wrote:Completely disabling training sounds very weird to me, and I think a god completely disabling player options instead of punishing their use is a bad precedent to set.


I agree. It's training / knowledge, not usage. Trog doesn't punish for spell memorization, Trog punishes for spell use.
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Post Friday, 15th July 2011, 15:22

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Automatically disabling training is easy to do. Trog doesn't prevent you from casting, he just hates it. Seems reasonable to do the same with training magic skills.
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Post Friday, 15th July 2011, 17:33

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

galehar wrote:Automatically disabling training is easy to do. Trog doesn't prevent you from casting, he just hates it. Seems reasonable to do the same with training magic skills.


Why would Trog punish you for learning stuff? My wife my know 16 different ways to kill me, but I am not very bothered by that until she starts lacing my coffee.

I can see Trog saying "Why are you learning that sissy stuff", but why would he punish you for just learning it. If you use that reasoning, then reading scrolls (since it indrectly is spellcasting) should also cause punishment.

IMO keep it simple and only punish for use. Is it exploitable? Yeah, maybe, but is it really worth redefining both a god and a system for such a minor problem?
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Post Friday, 15th July 2011, 19:20

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

It's not minor. In the old system, you couldn't train magic skills without angering Trog because you couldn't cast. Now you can work around it and train spellcasting for MP (guardian spirit), or an elemental school for an evocable staff, or necro for a weapon of pain. That really doesn't seem right at all that Trog would allow you to do that.
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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 04:31

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

galehar wrote:It's not minor. In the old system, you couldn't train magic skills without angering Trog because you couldn't cast. Now you can work around it and train spellcasting for MP (guardian spirit), or an elemental school for an evocable staff, or necro for a weapon of pain. That really doesn't seem right at all that Trog would allow you to do that.


But in the old system, you could store as much XP as you could till you dropped Trog, and then dumped it immediately into whatever spell skills you wanted.
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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 08:40

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

XuaXua wrote:
galehar wrote:It's not minor. In the old system, you couldn't train magic skills without angering Trog because you couldn't cast. Now you can work around it and train spellcasting for MP (guardian spirit), or an elemental school for an evocable staff, or necro for a weapon of pain. That really doesn't seem right at all that Trog would allow you to do that.


But in the old system, you could store as much XP as you could till you dropped Trog, and then dumped it immediately into whatever spell skills you wanted.


That is not a good thing about the old system; it shouldn't be replicated in the new.

I agree with whomever said above that there should be a period after you leave Trog where you're learning magic skills anew. You shouldn't be able to cast spells at your Trog wrath summons.

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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 19:19

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

Shouldn't Trog be able to summon lava giants or flying giants or something?
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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 19:46

Re: Strategic problem with NMVD (no more victory dancing) sy

smock wrote:Shouldn't Trog be able to summon lava giants or flying giants or something?

Something need to be done about wraths in general. But this is off-topic.
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