Trim pointless monster gear


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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 13th March 2017, 22:15

Trim pointless monster gear

Because searching for "orc" gives you lists like this:
  Code:
 a - [D:14] an orc corpse (skeletalised by now)
 b - [D:14] an orc corpse (skeletalised by now)
 c - [D:11] a book of Maledictions
 d - [D:11] a staircase to the Orcish Mines
 e - [Orc:1] a chain mail
 f - [Orc:1] a chain mail
 g - [Orc:1] a club
 h - [Orc:1] a club
 i - [Orc:1] a club
 j - [Orc:1] a club
 k - [Orc:1] a dagger
 l - [Orc:1] a dagger
 m - [Orc:1] a dagger
 n - [Orc:1] a dagger
 o - [Orc:1] a dagger
 p - [Orc:1] a dagger
 q - [Orc:1] a dagger
 r - [Orc:1] a dagger
 s - [Orc:1] a dagger
 t - [Orc:1] a dagger of venom
 u - [Orc:1] a dagger of venom
 v - [Orc:1] a dire flail
and later in the game, I can't search for some things *at all* because there are too many items. Branch endings are especially susceptible.

Dozens of +0 daggers and clubs and chain mails are not interesting. Every +0 item that generates after the first one is useless clutter, and the overwhelming majority of these items exist because they were given to monsters.
The only reason to generate all non-plain orcs, Vaults humans, etc. with body armour, and all draconians with cloaks, is theme - nobody cares about the gameplay difference between orc warriors with scale mail and orc warriors with chain mail. But it's not good theme. Why does the game consider every orc wizard and wight's plain robe to be notable enough to be an in-game item, but not that ogre's loincloth? Are all the monsters without explicit armour items naked? If so, we have to change Duvessa's tile again.
I shouldn't need to know what monsters are wearing unless it's something actually special, like uniques' signature gear.
It would be a great improvement to the interface if most geared monsters didn't start with gear, and just had appropriate innate AC/damage instead. (This would be a buff to those monsters that manage to find gear on the ground, of course, but not a significant one). If the gear is actually important for theme (uniques) or in a way that can't be trivially baked into the monster itself (reaching etc.) then it's justifiable, but otherwise it should really be removed.

Major offenders:
DE_MAGE_WEAPONS, DRAC_MAGE_WEAPONS, FAUN_WEAPONS - melee from the monsters that use these is irrelevant either way. They don't need weapons.
IRON_WEAPONS, GARGOYLE_WEAPONS - the difference between the weapons on these monsters is too small to be significant. Get rid of them and increase these monsters' base damage.
Gnoll shaman weapons, Spriggan druid quarterstaves, orc high priest weapons, non-classed draconian weapons, merfolk aquamancer rapiers, merfolk javelineer spears, orc sorcerer/kobold demonologist/necromancer/wizard daggers, blood saint weapons, imperial myrmidon weapons, melee weapons for primarily ranged monsters in general - Just give them a little more base damage instead. (Orc priest and orc wizard weapons are at least relevant on the first few dungeon levels.)
All armour and shields on non-uniques, except for bardings. Deep elves, orcs, Vaults humans, and draconians are especially bad (because there are tons of those monsters so they create tons of items), but the rest are just as pointless too. Just increase the monsters' innate AC and decrease their innate EV instead. Bardings are an exception, though they're so vanishingly rare that players wouldn't notice if they were removed as monster gear anyway.

If you want, you can compensate by increasing the ego chance and/or number of floor weapons and armour. I don't think the strategies of "dip into Orc for plate armour" and "dip into Elf for a buckler" are worth preserving.

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Post Monday, 13th March 2017, 22:23

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

This is basically a milder version of something I suggested about nine months ago - milder since it's not doing away with the mechanics of monster weapon use, just restricting it to a few interesting monsters. I thought it was a good idea then and still think it's a good idea now, in some for another, to get rid of most monster weapons and armor.

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Post Monday, 13th March 2017, 22:28

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

I did already draw a new Duvessa tile if the devs want it

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Post Tuesday, 14th March 2017, 11:37

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

I pretty much agree with this post.
There only are a couple of things I don't agree with. One is about shields. I find that they are pretty rare, and having a good chance to find one you like in a certain branch gives you more reason to train the skill beyond what's needed for the one you are using. This is especially true for large shields in Vaults.
In theory I don't like the idea of having a slimmer chance to get good armour earlier, however, in practice, having to settle for scale or chain for a while can allow you to open up to magic and force variety in your game.
The second problem I see is learning who drops something beyond his corpse. The way things are now, it means that you have to be on the square to verify if there are two corpses or one corpse, 34 ( and 55 [. While the proposal is a step forward, it doesn't address the fact that you still would have to check for things hiding beneath corpses. It would however make the quantities more manageable, which is a big improvement in q.o.l.
About brands and so on, wizards and clerics could occasionally be given a permanent personal charm spell that they can use to gain a flavour to their unarmed attacks. Orc wizards in particular would be good for this, since it would mean that they wouldn't drop anything. Vault wardens could have a mass, timed version of this spell to give a brand to all weapon-bearing allies in sight.
The game could keep some variety by randomizing AC of monster types within a certain range, and saying something in monster description (an unarmoured-very lightly armoured-lightly armoured-medium armoured-heavily armoured-very heavily armoured orc warrior). I personally always found a palpable difference in fighting orc warriors in different armour, and this would keep part of it.
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Post Tuesday, 14th March 2017, 17:19

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

Jiyva nerf!

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 14th March 2017, 22:14

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

The Jiyva nerf might actually be significant, but there's probably still enough floor items to make up for it. You could always increase the piety/food from jellies eating by 20% or something to compensate.

I would say that an early orc warrior wearing a scale mail vs an early orc warrior with plate mail is a significant difference and the plate mail is much, much more dangerous for melee characters who have relatively fast/low damage weapons early on. But I'm not sure if that difference is really something that's worth keeping - giving them all the same, average value is probably an improvement in clarity/being able to predict fights more accurately.

And while I'd support removing nearly all weapons from orcs/orc warriors/knights (warlords should probably keep them, they're rare enough), I'd still like to see a small (10-20%) chance of them having a polearm so that they can use reaching. That said, if they lose this it wouldn't be a major issue either.

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Post Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 07:50

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

A milder way to implement this and conserve the flavor and differentiation random equipment adds to monsters is to add a 'PlayerUsable' flag to the items. If set to false the item disintegrates (silently) when dropped. For mundane items it could be set to false in 90% of the cases, but better gear might have a lower chance to be unusable.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 08:27

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

  Code:
You hit the orc warrior!!!
You kill the orc warrior!
The orc warrior's plate mail shatters to pieces!
DCSS: 82: ...{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMo
HuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE
{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu{FoArNaBe}FeEE{HOIEMiAE}GrGlHuWrGnWrNaAKBaFi{MiDeMfDe}
Bloat: 7: RaRoPrPh{GuStGnCa}{ArEtZoNb}KiPa

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Post Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 14:28

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

Why not preserve both a little unpredictability in monster power and the player's chance at a good drop by buffing monster base stats a little as proposed and allowing only ego items to generate equipped?

That way, you still have some risk/reward of that early goblin with a dagger of electrocution, but 90% of the +0 chain mail clutter is eliminated.

This is based on the premise that said unpredictability in a monster's strength is desirable; this is subjective. IMO it is.

One other thought: GC and GSC might be a special consideration.

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Post Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 18:00

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

tantanoid wrote:A milder way to implement this and conserve the flavor and differentiation random equipment adds to monsters is to add a 'PlayerUsable' flag to the items. If set to false the item disintegrates (silently) when dropped. For mundane items it could be set to false in 90% of the cases, but better gear might have a lower chance to be unusable.

Why not something even simpler? Any weapon or body armor (but not aux slot items like cloaks) equipped by a monster shatters when it dies, unless it is either (a) a rare base type (e.g. a triple sword or dragon scales) or (b) magical.

Way less clutter, but no change to gameplay beyond relying on floor items for early game gear (which is just fine imo).

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 18:25

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

In roughly 95% of my games I am using at least 1 +0 item that was previously on some monster for some portion of the game, removing those completely would be a large difficulty increase in the early game.

If your real goal is to eliminate clutter, I suggest removing all *duplicated* equipment on monster death, aka the first +0 club drops, but all subsequent ones do not, or if your real goal is just to not have it be in the 'find' results, just replace duplicated items in the stash tracker, then they don't appear in 'find' but still behave exactly normally (The conditions where you might want to find an older-than-the-most-recently-found-+0 platemail aren't super common, but the game impact is pretty minor)

Another tactic is to only show the closest of any duplicated (non stackable) item in the 'find' results, which is actually my personal favorite.
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Post Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 19:00

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

Shtopit wrote:There only are a couple of things I don't agree with. One is about shields. I find that they are pretty rare, and having a good chance to find one you like in a certain branch gives you more reason to train the skill beyond what's needed for the one you are using. This is especially true for large shields in Vaults.
In theory I don't like the idea of having a slimmer chance to get good armour earlier, however, in practice, having to settle for scale or chain for a while can allow you to open up to magic and force variety in your game.
Siegurt wrote:In roughly 95% of my games I am using at least 1 +0 item that was previously on some monster for some portion of the game, removing those completely would be a large difficulty increase in the early game.
Yeah clearly I didn't think of this at all, it's not like I explicitly addressed it in its own paragraph of the OP or anything
duvessa wrote:If you want, you can compensate by increasing the ego chance and/or number of floor weapons and armour.


Siegurt wrote:if your real goal is just to not have it be in the 'find' results, just replace duplicated items in the stash tracker, then they don't appear in 'find' but still behave exactly normally (The conditions where you might want to find an older-than-the-most-recently-found-+0 platemail aren't super common, but the game impact is pretty minor)

Another tactic is to only show the closest of any duplicated (non stackable) item in the 'find' results, which is actually my personal favorite.
It's not just because of ^f. The useless item spam makes it a lot harder to find corpses etc.

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Post Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, 01:03

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

Siegurt wrote:Another tactic is to only show the closest of any duplicated (non stackable) item in the 'find' results, which is actually my personal favorite.


But it should mention that there are more out there, in a smart way that adjusts to fit on only one line.

  Code:
j - [Orc:1] a dagger (43 more: 3 on Orc:1, 6 on Orc:2, 2 on D:11, 4 on D:10 ...)


Then when you hit the letter for the item, the menu changes to only show all plain daggers, with the closest to you always on the letter 'a'.

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Post Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:38

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

My objection had mainly to do with the last sentence of that paragraph. I think that giving a greatly increased chance to find a specific kind of item in a certain branch is good, because it allows for player reasoned choices (risk vs benefit), rather than roaming around in the hope that Random Generation will hear your prayer.

Anyway, I wouldn't worry too much about Jiyva - she's got a huge number of problems anyway. Also, I think that item consumption is very heavy on the machine.

If a "player unusable" flag were added to items, it would solve the problem of scythes as player traps without removing them: keep them in the game, but never allow players to use them.

I think that the "drop usable mundane (+0, unbranded, uncursed) weapon & armour only once and nevermore after they've been found" is a good approach. It's unusual to backtrack on these. If shops still generate them, even J followers can backtrack if needed.

I also think that, while the search function is clearly overwhelmed by the current state of things, the need to examine every single pile of items is much more tiresome during the game. So actually reducing spam item generation is imo more advantageous to the player than optimizing the search function (which remains a good idea anyway).
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Post Sunday, 26th March 2017, 19:06

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

I implemented a version of Siegurt's idea for search improvements: https://github.com/crawl/crawl/commit/fa95efab809b

There are some screenshots (slightly outdated, but pretty close) if you want to see what it looks like, here: https://github.com/crawl/crawl/pull/496

Part of this change makes search by name primarily sort by the name ignoring numbers and determiners, which should hopefully be another boost to search usability.
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Post Monday, 27th March 2017, 16:20

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

split off the monster "squelching" discussion. Let's use this thread to talk about other solutions to this problem, such as duvessa's and Siegurt's.

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Post Monday, 27th March 2017, 16:44

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

archaeo wrote:split off the monster "squelching" discussion. Let's use this thread to talk about other solutions to this problem, such as duvessa's and Siegurt's.

Jffr: the split off discussion is about "splashing" (aka spreading items out onto different squares) not "squelching" (which is the electrical engineering term for zeroing out signals below a threshold, analogous to removing noise from signal, which is what this thread is about)
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Post Tuesday, 28th March 2017, 19:03

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

advil's patch is definitely an improvement but I think it shouldn't check for duplicates of stackable items at all. If I search for "needle" I almost certainly want all the needles in the dungeon by default, not just the closest pile. (yes I can press = but I shouldn't have to)

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Post Tuesday, 28th March 2017, 21:10

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

duvessa wrote:advil's patch is definitely an improvement but I think it shouldn't check for duplicates of stackable items at all. If I search for "needle" I almost certainly want all the needles in the dungeon by default, not just the closest pile. (yes I can press = but I shouldn't have to)

Yeah i agree that stackable/consumable items shouldn't be hidden by default.
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Post Tuesday, 28th March 2017, 22:00

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

Siegurt wrote:
duvessa wrote:advil's patch is definitely an improvement but I think it shouldn't check for duplicates of stackable items at all. If I search for "needle" I almost certainly want all the needles in the dungeon by default, not just the closest pile. (yes I can press = but I shouldn't have to)

Yeah i agree that stackable/consumable items shouldn't be hidden by default.


I wonder if one of you could expand on your reasoning for this. This would be easy enough for me to change but I did think about / test this for a while, and concluded that in the vast majority of cases, one would want ammo to collapse by default. (Ammo is the only stackable that does collapse.) The issue is not really searches like "needle" on a needle-using player, but searches like "vault" on a non-crossbow-using player, which is rendered useless in my testing without ammo stacking, but is actually usable with. Since most players don't use most ammos in any given game, I went with that.

If the goal is to find out how many there are, that is doable (IIRC it currently tells you the number of piles).

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Post Wednesday, 29th March 2017, 02:21

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

I suppose the problem is more that ammo exists in the first place, or more specifically that monsters use it (since that's how you get a million ammo piles in vaults). My reasoning is that when I'm searching for ammo it's because I'm about to go pick up all the ammo in the dungeon. But like you said, it does make searching v:5 and elf:3 harder, so I suppose the current behaviour is better overall on second thought.

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Post Wednesday, 29th March 2017, 02:44

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

duvessa wrote:I suppose the problem is more that ammo exists in the first place, or more specifically that monsters use it (since that's how you get a million ammo piles in vaults). My reasoning is that when I'm searching for ammo it's because I'm about to go pick up all the ammo in the dungeon. But like you said, it does make searching v:5 and elf:3 harder, so I suppose the current behaviour is better overall on second thought.

Yeah, if a special case for non stacking when you specifically searched for ammo existed that would be fine, ohoh as is is fine since you can just search again to travel to the next stack.
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Post Wednesday, 29th March 2017, 14:39

Re: Trim pointless monster gear

The collapsed missile display will now show stuff like:

  Code:
m - [Vaults:2] 20 stones (824 further duplicates in 6 piles)


Which hopefully provides a bit more of the information that you'd get from an uncollapsed display. Still open to changing it further, just thinking on it.

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