Early-Game Market Portal


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

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3037

Joined: Sunday, 2nd January 2011, 02:06

Post Saturday, 27th August 2011, 21:12

Early-Game Market Portal

This idea was one I've been thinking about since the item identification thread a while back, but the recent food store thread made me think it was worth bringing up. I think it would be worthwhile to add mini-bazaar "Market" portals to the early game. These markets would be essentially the same as bazaars, but they'd be restricted to having only consumable shops. They should spawn at roughly the same depth as sewers and ossuaries, but always strictly shallower than the Orc entrance since consumable shops no longer present any interesting choices once you have the Orc gold. An early announced timed portal would introduce the concept of speed-running through areas to new players who are not yet skilled enough to reach labyrinths, but if they miss out on purchasing consumables here because the timer expires they aren't unduly crippled.

Shops often create interesting choices for spending your gold, but consumable shops have almost exclusively cheap items. Once you've cleared Orc, you'll typically have enough money that any scroll, potion, or food item you could possibly want from a shop can be paid for with loose change. Oftentimes it isn't even worth actually buying, because it's just as easy to pay for later and it can't be destroyed by enemy attack while it's still in the shop, so if you run out of that kind of consumable it's guaranteed to be waiting for you later. A scroll shop on V8 will be cheap enough to completely buy out that there's hardly any difference between it and a pile of scroll-themed loot sitting on the ground, except the glowing shapeshifters can't get it. So consumable shops are mostly interesting in the early game.

On the other hand, it wouldn't be meaningful to put the good shops in a pre-Orc timed portal, because there's no reasonable way to be able to afford anything good that spawns. Spawning the Hat of the Alchemist in a D5 timed portal shop is just obnoxious, since there never was any chance of getting the money for it before it's too late. Just adding more consumable shops isn't really helpful, either, because quite a few consumables are strategic decisions that you'll plan to want later. That potion of cure mutation can just stay sitting safely in that D5 shop so you can come back when you have mutations you want cured, but if you get it in a D5 portal shop instead you can either buy now or give it up forever.

The likely possibility of being able to purchase your choice of consumables from an early portal vault would positively impact the item identification mini-game, by adding in a meaningful alternative. Currently, you read- and quaff-ID stuff as soon as you have two of them until you have all the ones that might be important, and then you stash the rest until you have spare identify scrolls. Regular consumable shops are too rare to significantly impact this strategic decision, but if there was an aggregate 75% chance for a mini-bazaar before Orc you might choose to stop use-identifying consumables early in hopes of not wasting important ones that you hope to shop-ID later. Or you can forgo shop-identification, and plan to use that money to stock up on multiple copies of especially useful consumables if they are available.

Adding a mini-bazaar Market Portal would be a fairly simple addition to code. It could even share the same maps as the bazaar, since bazaar maps exist for visual appeal and not for tactical purposes.

Dungeon Master

Posts: 3618

Joined: Thursday, 23rd December 2010, 12:43

Post Saturday, 27th August 2011, 22:14

Re: Early-Game Market Portal

Interesting idea, although I disagree with some assumptions.

In my opinion, consumable shops are relevant for almost all of a (3 rune) game. Note that consumables include scrolls such as blinking, acquirement, enchant armour and potions like cure mutation, magic, heal wounds. In particular, most players will not be able to purchase a potion of cure mutation in an early shop (expect prices around 400 gold). Furthermore, we have recently changed shop prices: important items became more expensive, and useless items cost more than the nominal one gold.

On the idea of an early mini-bazaar: I am not convinced, but it wouldn't hurt either. What do others think?

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3037

Joined: Sunday, 2nd January 2011, 02:06

Post Saturday, 27th August 2011, 23:06

Re: Early-Game Market Portal

dpeg wrote:In my opinion, consumable shops are relevant for almost all of a (3 rune) game. Note that consumables include scrolls such as blinking, acquirement, enchant armour and potions like cure mutation, magic, heal wounds.


They're only relevant as shops in the early game. The decision to spend 60 gold on a scroll of blinking is not a particularly interesting decision when you already have 5,000 gold, even though that scroll of blinking is still one of the best escape items in the game and one that you'll want to keep in your inventory. If you only have 100 gold, though, and spending that 60 gold means you miss out on these enchant weapon scrolls, then you have an interesting choice.

Acquirement scrolls and potions of gain foo are a bit of a special case, since they are exceptionally expensive and possibly not worth the investment, but it probably isn't important to specifically exclude those items from the Market because they're rare even in shops. Players won't be able to afford them.

dpeg wrote:In particular, most players will not be able to purchase a potion of cure mutation in an early shop (expect prices around 400 gold).


Ideally, the Market would spawn at exactly the right time where players would be forced to choose between this one single potion of cure mutation, which they may or may not ever need, and several other consumables of their choice. Some players might reach the Market with insufficient funds for the cure mutation, which is too bad but still better than spawning it too late so they can just buy out everything.

dpeg wrote:Furthermore, we have recently changed shop prices: important items became more expensive, and useless items cost more than the nominal one gold.


It's still worth shop-identifying useful consumables, even if they cost a fair price, because in exchange for the money you get two items of that type you wouldn't have otherwise gotten: the one you purchased and the one you didn't end up wasting. That makes a big difference if you manage to save two scrolls of blinking or recharging, for instance.

Vestibule Violator

Posts: 1567

Joined: Friday, 21st January 2011, 22:56

Post Saturday, 27th August 2011, 23:33

Re: Early-Game Market Portal

It could be quite interesting. I agree that consumable shops are much more interesting if only available temporarily and while the player has little gold. I don't think the market needs to spawn before Orc. Like everything regarding branch order this is of course spoilery, but it could encourage players to enter Orc as soon as they find it to get some gold. Dangerous, but potentially rewarding. Also Orc depth is D:6-11, so to ensure not spawning after orc (without ugly hacks) market depth would need to be D:1-5. At this point there usually just isn't enough gold to buy things with. I think a depth of about D:4-8 would be more appropriate.

An early market wouldn't usually be about getting the expensive stuff like gain and cmut, but about stuff like hw, might and haste, and saving (or even buying) some ID scrolls. If you actually do get enough gold to buy something strategic this is also interesting, because getting some useful potions and scrolls now might be more important than getting cmut or recharge or enchantment scrolls which you wont need until later.

I'm not sure this would positively affect the id minigame. Currently there are people who quaff ID a lot, and people who don't. This indicates some level of balance (although the people who quaff ID a lot often don't care about losing a char early). I think this would just make everyone wait for the potential market. But what to actually buy-id would be an interesting and difficult decision. I think I would buy as many good potions as I can (and mutation), then quaff-ID the rest. I would probably still read-id most scrolls, but maybe buy-id some of the valuable ones if possible. Lots of potential here, and many highly variable variables to base decisions on (how much gold do I have? how many ID scrolls? How many scrolls/potions? Do I have anything worth enchanting/recharging? What is actually in the shops? Did the market even spawn?). I think the ID minigame would definitely be changed, I'm just not sure if it would become more interesting or less. If an early market really is not a lot of work to implement this could be worth trying.

Having an announced portal and a way to spend gold in the early game would probably be nice for new players. Also giving the player some more options at a time where he has very few would make the early game more interesting. Also easier, of course. But the prospect of easier identification down the road would discourage players from IDing stuff early, making the very early game harder, which it really doesn't need. A quick test would probably be much more helpful than theorycrafting in this case.
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 4031

Joined: Thursday, 16th December 2010, 20:37

Location: France

Post Sunday, 28th August 2011, 07:00

Re: Early-Game Market Portal

I like the idea. I agree with Galefury that guaranteeing it before orc would be problematic. Regarding the use-id strategy, I guess players who aim for high win rate won't change their early game strategy. Other players might want to hold on use-iding before it to maximize their consumables, but it would probably not do much more than make the early game harder.
I think it does provide interesting choices. Don't forget to add it to the wiki.
<+Grunt> You dereference an invalid pointer! Ouch! That really hurt! The game dies...

Shoals Surfer

Posts: 312

Joined: Thursday, 9th June 2011, 19:12

Post Monday, 29th August 2011, 18:14

Re: Early-Game Market Portal

I would also suggest that you could move the depth of orc deeper, since the nearly universial advice I get here is that one should do lair before orc (indicating that orc is actually harder than its depth indicates).

Dungeon Master

Posts: 3618

Joined: Thursday, 23rd December 2010, 12:43

Post Monday, 29th August 2011, 18:21

Re: Early-Game Market Portal

Folks, this is something you can set up with standard technology. Give it a try! I am not fully convinced but I think the idea has potential and galehar likes it outright. We would definitely try it.

What you|d have to do: look into dat/des/portals/bazaar.des and try to understand what is going on. There are explanations to be found in docs/develop/levels. Of course, you can always ask here.

Next, copy bazaar.des into some other file (your new early market portal) and tweak as needed.

Then, try if it works and hand it in!

Return to Game Design Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 15 guests

cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by ST Software for PTF.