Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback


Although the central place for this kind of discussion is on the CDO wiki, some may find it helpful to discuss potential requests and suggestions here first.

Spider Stomper

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Post Monday, 10th April 2017, 15:01

Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Previous thread for development here. I felt like it needed a new thread to centralize feedback now that it is in Trunk. Here's a summary of the feedback/criticisms (and my personal comments for them) for the species I've seen here and elsewhere:

The name is bad/call them Gnolls
Bultungin will be changed to Gnoll, it's only waiting for the query bots/scoring scripts to be updated to not have overlap with Gnomes.

Skill ceiling too low/too high
I pretty much expected this to occur. The majority of players have been up in arms about the skill ceiling being too strict and frustrating, and yet I continue to see feedback from a minority that the species is still too easy and doesn't restrict enough. While the majority hit skill level 11 and see the massive wall and hate it, the minority have already mapped out the XP to go 20 M&F, 15 Fighting,12 Armor/Dodging/Shields/Invo/Evo and find it too easy. It's frustrating because the minority are going against what I feel is the intent of the species and finding it easy, while the majority are already hating the species and will write it off if it goes any lower. If it comes down to the species choosing one instead of appealing to both, I would prefer appealing to the majority but with the main aspect (lowered skill ceiling/generalist over specialist) still being the focus. Of course, this isn't really my choice anymore to make, it's the dev team's choice.

Species not powerful enough/not a hybrid species
This is a species that was originally designed around the concept of a bunch of spread out evenly skilled lower skills versus having a few high skills and some low investments in others, as well as taking inspiration from the Loremaster tournament banner. The difficulty is secondary (but important to consider, as seen above) compared to achieving this in some format first. I may push a pull request to change to how the species works to expand the generalist role after testing it (see way below at "Use a different system"), but it will likely never replace High Elves or be the powerhouse hybrid that some are hoping it to be.

Raising the skill cap mid-game
I've pointed out the issues with raising the skill cap with a hard limit before, but there are also issues with doing it on the soft cap:

Raising the skill level that the aptitudes start to decay, keep player's spent experience
For example, change skill level 8 from costing 983 experience (+2 apt) to costing 900 experience (+4 apt) after raising the decay point by 1 level, without changing the player having already spent 983 experience. The player sees their skill level jump up, and will probably be happy with it. However, there is now the potential for the unspoiled player to spend more than the experience required for skill level 27 after the cap has been fully adjusted. I could put a hard limit in to prevent spending past a certain point, but that's also getting back to hard caps which were already problematic.

Raise the skill level that aptitudes start to decay, reset player's experience progress
Same as above, but change the player's 983 to 900 to make the skill level appear unchanged. Unspoiled players would assume they are getting a bonus to their training for free, while spoiled players would immediately see they are being cheated and avoid spending experience past the decay point unless absolutely necessary. It's terrible on both sides.

Give experience in all skills on certain level ups
This has the same problem as the first one, to a lesser degree (account for how much free experience is given, train skills only up to that point).

Give experience as a potion of experience on certain level ups
This would lead to the skill super focusing that I wanted to avoid.

Switch to the original skill table with high aptitudes at XL 27 or so
Still has the same issue as the first or second point depending on implementation.

This is just a couple off the top of my head at the moment, but most keep cycling around to either being tedious, spoilers, or defeating the point of the species.

Not enough secondary abilities/not interesting enough
I still don't have a good solution for this, and I've been trying for weeks to come up with anything. It got pushed to Trunk with the likely expectation that one would come up. Suggestions welcome!

Low MR/Low XL/Low Stats/Bad Stat Growth are bad
All of these were all added at each point in development as side balancing aspects to tweak the difficulty in places without adjusting the skill cap lower, specifically in preventing extremely large stockpiles of consumables from trivializing everything meaningful in the late game. They are not essential to the species and can be adjusted if necessary.

Use a different system
Some criticism is related to the current system being unfun, or bad due to being the current skill system on steroids. If the current system is too busted to be balanced, there are a couple different approaches left to salvage it:
-Set skill level for all skills at game start, disallow training
-Set skill level based on XL level (I really dislike this one), disallow training
-Keep aptitudes the same at all levels (with a high aptitude) and no skill level cap, hard lock stats to a low value (no raising or lowering through items or abilities, only level up growths)
-Probably some other ideas I'm not remembering or thinking of at the moment

If I missed responding to your feedback somewhere, bring it up again and I'll reply!

Shoals Surfer

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Post Monday, 10th April 2017, 15:18

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Floodkiller wrote:Not enough secondary abilities/not interesting enough
I still don't have a good solution for this, and I've been trying for weeks to come up with anything. It got pushed to Trunk with the likely expectation that one would come up. Suggestions welcome!


Would you say it needs something that makes the early-mid game a bit more interesting/fun for the folks who suffer under the skill cap, but that fades in significance by the late (3-rune) game when things may get too easy?

Perhaps a limited form of Ashenzari's passive Detect Monsters? Such as, only within 4 tiles -- so you could sense something on the other side of a door, or in an adjoining hallway, but not much else.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Monday, 10th April 2017, 15:49

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

I'll be dropping the "rTorm so the already extended-challenged race isn't completely shafted in it" (can be reflavored as "used to pain and torment" like old anubis) and "switching armor/shields takes 0.5 auts like rings, so you can cast in robes and fight in CPA as a tactical decision" ideas from the old homunculus thread here. Actually, outright torment immunity without the corresponding dispel weakness would be fine in this race, which is already unsuitable for the areas where torment and dispel undead are present in appreciable quantities.

That said, I was generally content with my limited play experience, maybe the minority that say it's an easy race because low skills are good enough may be convinced by the fact that gnolls can serve as a "good habit-building" race like how Sp teaches you that movement speed is amazing and food doesn't matter or Qazlal teaches you that noise exists and is awful.

My biggest concern with the current state of affairs is that people may be tempted to abyssfarm with gnolls.

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Post Monday, 10th April 2017, 18:00

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Leaving aside any specific details of the implementation for a moment, in an ideal world what sort of experience will a player of this species have? Please be as specific as feels reasonable. I would like to understand the motivation better in the hopes of contributing useful ideas.

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Post Monday, 10th April 2017, 18:59

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Lasty wrote:Leaving aside any specific details of the implementation for a moment, in an ideal world what sort of experience will a player of this species have? Please be as specific as feels reasonable. I would like to understand the motivation better in the hopes of contributing useful ideas.


The main concept I wanted (when I saw the original species proposal I based Cyno off of) was a species that was literally designed to adapt to anything they find: they would have not only the freedom to adapt (a flat apt across the board) but also be encouraged to adapt whenever they find something new (high apts), instead of discouraged due to low aptitudes, previous investments, and/or the time/experience cost to skill something new versus keeping the course. This train of thought leads to the drawback: the species is good at adapting to anything quickly because they HAVE to adapt to anything quickly, using all of their available tools for survival instead of just the ones they like/have training for. This was the skill cap (both hard and soft versions), which was intended to encourage players to spread skills around as a generalist (and thus experimenting with adaptation) instead of focusing one/a couple skills to a high level for offense and shoring up a couple defensive/support skills while the offense carries them.

I'm not sure if I hit the mark on either based on the feedback that's coming in now that it has a wider audience on Trunk vs a few interested players on an experimental branch.

Edit:
mattlistener wrote:
Floodkiller wrote:Not enough secondary abilities/not interesting enough
I still don't have a good solution for this, and I've been trying for weeks to come up with anything. It got pushed to Trunk with the likely expectation that one would come up. Suggestions welcome!


Would you say it needs something that makes the early-mid game a bit more interesting/fun for the folks who suffer under the skill cap, but that fades in significance by the late (3-rune) game when things may get too easy?

Perhaps a limited form of Ashenzari's passive Detect Monsters? Such as, only within 4 tiles -- so you could sense something on the other side of a door, or in an adjoining hallway, but not much else.


Strong Nose originally also had detect monsters, but most opinions on it were that it stepped too much on Antennae/Formicids, Ash, and also Boots of the Assassin. Making the effect any more common starts to ruin the uniqueness of it. It was also based on the old version of Sense Invisible that canine-like monsters had, which has since been replaced with SInv and ruins the flavor for anyone not familiar with that. The SInv part they have now should probably go away after the rename to Gnolls, since it was only a flavor addition in the first place.
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Post Monday, 10th April 2017, 21:20

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Floodkiller wrote:
Lasty wrote:Leaving aside any specific details of the implementation for a moment, in an ideal world what sort of experience will a player of this species have? Please be as specific as feels reasonable. I would like to understand the motivation better in the hopes of contributing useful ideas.


The main concept I wanted (when I saw the original species proposal I based Cyno off of) was a species that was literally designed to adapt to anything they find: they would have not only the freedom to adapt (a flat apt across the board) but also be encouraged to adapt whenever they find something new (high apts), instead of discouraged due to low aptitudes, previous investments, and/or the time/experience cost to skill something new versus keeping the course. This train of thought leads to the drawback: the species is good at adapting to anything quickly because they HAVE to adapt to anything quickly, using all of their available tools for survival instead of just the ones they like/have training for. This was the skill cap (both hard and soft versions), which was intended to encourage players to spread skills around as a generalist (and thus experimenting with adaptation) instead of focusing one/a couple skills to a high level for offense and shoring up a couple defensive/support skills while the offense carries them.

I'm not sure if I hit the mark on either based on the feedback that's coming in now that it has a wider audience on Trunk vs a few interested players on an experimental branch.

Edit:
mattlistener wrote:
Floodkiller wrote:Not enough secondary abilities/not interesting enough
I still don't have a good solution for this, and I've been trying for weeks to come up with anything. It got pushed to Trunk with the likely expectation that one would come up. Suggestions welcome!


Would you say it needs something that makes the early-mid game a bit more interesting/fun for the folks who suffer under the skill cap, but that fades in significance by the late (3-rune) game when things may get too easy?

Perhaps a limited form of Ashenzari's passive Detect Monsters? Such as, only within 4 tiles -- so you could sense something on the other side of a door, or in an adjoining hallway, but not much else.


Strong Nose originally also had detect monsters, but most opinions on it were that it stepped too much on Antennae/Formicids, Ash, and also Boots of the Assassin. Making the effect any more common starts to ruin the uniqueness of it. It was also based on the old version of Sense Invisible that canine-like monsters had, which has since been replaced with SInv and ruins the flavor for anyone not familiar with that. The SInv part they have now should probably go away after the rename to Gnolls, since it was only a flavor addition in the first place.



How about: every gnoll you meet immediately becomes your permanent ally. They'll will soon be all dead, ofc, so it's not op at all, but may add some fun and safety in the 1st dungeon levels.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 10th April 2017, 21:52

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Floodkiller wrote:The main concept I wanted (when I saw the original species proposal I based Cyno off of) was a species that was literally designed to adapt to anything they find: they would have not only the freedom to adapt (a flat apt across the board) but also be encouraged to adapt whenever they find something new (high apts), instead of discouraged due to low aptitudes, previous investments, and/or the time/experience cost to skill something new versus keeping the course. This train of thought leads to the drawback: the species is good at adapting to anything quickly because they HAVE to adapt to anything quickly, using all of their available tools for survival instead of just the ones they like/have training for. This was the skill cap (both hard and soft versions), which was intended to encourage players to spread skills around as a generalist (and thus experimenting with adaptation) instead of focusing one/a couple skills to a high level for offense and shoring up a couple defensive/support skills while the offense carries them.

I'm not sure if I hit the mark on either based on the feedback that's coming in now that it has a wider audience on Trunk vs a few interested players on an experimental branch.
To encourage adaptation in current Crawl you really need something like: they have high apts, but as they gain skill points, they forget the old ones at a rate of 50% or so. As in, every 2 skill points gained causes the oldest skill point to go away, whichever skill it was in - so if you train
This would encourage adaptation by removing the "previous investments" inhibitor to adaptation - if you're using maces as this version of Gnoll and find a great polearm, making your maces skill useless by switching to polearms doesn't hurt, because your skill points are effectively going to transfer out of maces anyway.
Of course the problem with this design is that it's hard to communicate and leads to excessive micromanagement. But it is the only way I can think of to significantly encourage adaptation without outright removing options from the player (see below). I think it could work if Crawl ever returns to integer skill levels or genuinely gets rid of skill breakpoints (lol), since either of those would get rid of the ridiculous amount of micromanagement.

Simply giving them awesome apts for low skill levels doesn't encourage them to adapt. It just encourages them to train skills to low levels, because they have awesome apts for that. And broad skill training is already optimal for flat-apt species anyway. Except for fighting, dodging, armour, and unarmed combat, skills pretty much work on the basis of "you hit this breakpoint (min delay or good spell success) and then after that the returns on the skill are awful)", so while Gnoll does have a little less incentive to continue training skills past those breakpoints instead of training some other skill...there was already almost no incentive to train the skill past that breakpoint. And the returns on high armour and dodging skill suck anyway too, because even as a human the costs increase really fast.

I don't see how you could make it so they HAVE to adapt, short of literally randomizing their skills or otherwise taking control away from the player entirely - there are too many ways to win with very low skills. Currently the only species that encourages extra adaptation without randomizing something is Dg, because gods in Crawl let you play the same character every time (especially kiku).

Floodkiller wrote:The majority of players have been up in arms about the skill ceiling being too strict and frustrating, and yet I continue to see feedback from a minority that the species is still too easy and doesn't restrict enough. While the majority hit skill level 11 and see the massive wall and hate it, the minority have already mapped out the XP to go 20 M&F, 15 Fighting,12 Armor/Dodging/Shields/Invo/Evo and find it too easy. It's frustrating because the minority are going against what I feel is the intent of the species and finding it easy, while the majority are already hating the species and will write it off if it goes any lower. If it comes down to the species choosing one instead of appealing to both, I would prefer appealing to the majority but with the main aspect (lowered skill ceiling/generalist over specialist) still being the focus. Of course, this isn't really my choice anymore to make, it's the dev team's choice.
The reasons broad skill training is great (many awesome low-level spells, weapons that take lots of keypresses to kill things, hexes, summons) also happen to be some of the more reviled features in the game, so it's not surprising that a species designed to force people into broad skill training is unpopular. This is Crawl's fault more than yours, since like I keep saying, broad skill training is already really strong, people just avoid it because "pure" characters are generally regarded as more fun, and are certainly faster to play.

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Post Thursday, 13th April 2017, 14:17

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Honestly my experience with these guys so far has just been that you roll all the way through Lair/Orc without any trouble, run out of things to train that aren't -2, and end up working towards a mindelay weapon or level 6/7 spell to win with anyways because you are -2 on everything else by the time you finish Dungeon. Least challenging spellcaster I've ever played. Just splatted a BuWz of Chei because of a poor movement decision, and I was probably one lair branch away from getting Summon Hydra online in FDA. I bet any Chei or Ash worshipper can get level 6-7 spells online easily. Any god with a big AoE is going to make mage backgrounds a joke because you can just Slouch or Apocalypse anything dangerous until you get end game spells up and running.

Won an offline game with a BuSu of Ru and it was the same deal. Ice Beast spam super quick, and then eventually I got Shadow Creatures online. Rather than feeling like I was having to hybridize, it just felt like I was straight up stronger than other --Su because I had more armour, hp, dodging, stealth, etc.

There's an awkward little gap between crushing everything and getting your late game spell online if that's your win condition, but Nem/Ru/Chei solve that completely, and Ash worshippers could probably aim for Crystal Spear with a little help from Wiz.

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Post Thursday, 13th April 2017, 16:59

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

GravitySqueeze wrote:There's an awkward little gap between crushing everything and getting your late game spell online if that's your win condition, but Nem/Ru/Chei solve that completely, and Ash worshippers could probably aim for Crystal Spear with a little help from Wiz.
How does Vehumet's super-wizardry compare? The Conjuration XP-tax is nerfed, and I get the impression that triple-school spells are easier to achieve.
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Post Thursday, 13th April 2017, 17:59

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

MainiacJoe wrote:
GravitySqueeze wrote:There's an awkward little gap between crushing everything and getting your late game spell online if that's your win condition, but Nem/Ru/Chei solve that completely, and Ash worshippers could probably aim for Crystal Spear with a little help from Wiz.
How does Vehumet's super-wizardry compare? The Conjuration XP-tax is nerfed, and I get the impression that triple-school spells are easier to achieve.


Quick Wizmode test: 22 Int, 15 Spellcasting/15 Earth/15 Conjurations | wearing ring of Wiz

all gods tested with max piety, wearing a robe

4% failure when fully bound in jewelry with Ashenzari
9% failure with Vehumet
9% failure with Chei

Presumably you can get higher int than 22 in the current iteration fairly easily. This put Crystal Spear completely in reach for Ashenzari worshippers, but will require decent loot for Chei or Vehumet it looks like. Is it worth it over Iron Shot? Probably not. You'll likely end up clearing side areas like Elf and Crypt to get enough exp so at that point just winning makes more sense.
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Post Thursday, 13th April 2017, 18:08

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

duvessa wrote:To encourage adaptation in current Crawl you really need something like: they have high apts, but as they gain skill points, they forget the old ones at a rate of 50% or so. As in, every 2 skill points gained causes the oldest skill point to go away, whichever skill it was in - so if you train
This would encourage adaptation by removing the "previous investments" inhibitor to adaptation - if you're using maces as this version of Gnoll and find a great polearm, making your maces skill useless by switching to polearms doesn't hurt, because your skill points are effectively going to transfer out of maces anyway.
Of course the problem with this design is that it's hard to communicate and leads to excessive micromanagement. But it is the only way I can think of to significantly encourage adaptation without outright removing options from the player (see below). I think it could work if Crawl ever returns to integer skill levels or genuinely gets rid of skill breakpoints (lol), since either of those would get rid of the ridiculous amount of micromanagement.


I played one of these guys today, and I really disliked the current approach. It's basically playing a -6 apt challenge species with a few bonus starting skills. It may work ok-ish if you're playing a class that excels in hybridizing, but other than that, your path will be a long and grindy one.

Duvessa's suggestion is the way to go, IMO. I'd change the skill removal process by instead picking randomly a skill, biased so as to pick high skills more often, so that overall everything decays at approximately the same rate. So, if you have 5 fighting and 15 invocations, and you're not training them, after a while they'll be at approximately 4/14, respectively. I think this would take care of having to keep track of oldest skills and also the problem of skill breakpoints.
Give good aptitudes so that, once combined with the decay process, it would be equivalent to a base aptitude of, say, 0?

Call it "forgetfulness" instead.

Edit: My mistake, skill breakpoints would still be an issue.
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Post Friday, 14th April 2017, 00:23

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

I've been playing Bu Spellcasters, They have some serious food issues due to the spellcasting cap. Could we give them Gourmand or Carnivore (like the similarly flavoured Kobolds); this is for balance reasons this time, permafood as a hard ceiling preventing using spells higher than level 5 is a bit of a problem. That said, I'd move them from intermediate to hard as well... as someone with One and Won Bu, Mu and Fe...Bu is the hardest of those three races (there could be some exception for a TSO Fighter build as mentioned in the first post, but...)
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Post Saturday, 15th April 2017, 22:53

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

This is a 50% gnoll aptitudes question and 50% Ashenzari mechanics question.

If you are at max piety with Ash, do you get a fixed bonus # of skill levels to your cursed "slot"? Or is it somehow proportional to how much it would "cost" you to achieve a higher # of that skill?

Case example:
I run a gnoll and train Maces to 12, and Shields to 11. I curse my weapon and my shield.

Does max piety Ashenzari bring me to a boosted 16 in Maces/Flails and 15 in Shields? So a flat 4 point skill increase to each Skill? Or, do my shitty Gnoll aptitudes "scale down" the size of the bonus that Ash grants?

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Post Sunday, 16th April 2017, 01:55

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

The latter.

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Post Sunday, 16th April 2017, 04:59

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

duvessa wrote:The latter.


Bummer. Looks like Okawaru might be a better choice for sheer skill boosting then, since I think Heroism is a fixed +5 to all skills in the left column and to stealth too. As opposed to Ash taking your aptitudes into account when determining how much of a boost you get to a skill.

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Post Sunday, 16th April 2017, 05:00

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Or you could just pick a good god like trog or kiku or fedhas

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Post Thursday, 20th April 2017, 19:14

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Been playing a bunch of gnolls, mostly for the fun factor of steamrolling the early game and being able to easily use anything you find.

However, the games are getting quite samey. Get lots of skills to 10ish, then pick your endgame spell/weapon and focus it. The most interesting parts have been finding god synergies. Ash and Chei both help get endgame killdudes earlier, Trog is just silly strong as always. I'm trying out Gozag right now with the idea that the early game bulldozer will let me accrue lots of cashola to buy most cool items, as Gnolls seem to benefit more than most from good loot.

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Post Friday, 21st April 2017, 10:26

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

I have a level 19 Gnoll character and I think that the idea of the race is good. My playstyle usually involves getting level 7/8/9 conjuration or summoning spells relatively early and being unable to do so is an interesting challenge for me. On the other hand, I could easily learn a diverse array of level 3/4 spells (Blink, Mephitic Cloud, Vampiric Draininig, Passage of Golubria, Confuse, Sticky Flame, Regeneration) and using these means that I have to make interesting decisions in each fight.

The low magic resistance (and the fact that I cannot one-shot enemy hexers with a conjuration) also increases the number of interesting situations (I don't know exactly why, but my characters usually don't have problems with hexes).

The unique aptitudes of Gnolls can also make draining a surprising challenge in the early game. It is very surprising when all spellschools are reduced from level 7 to level 3.5.

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Post Sunday, 7th May 2017, 07:00

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

No one mentioned the recent gnoll nerf (end apts down from -6 to -9), so I'll do it.

It seems like a weird thought that a lategame gnoll nerf was needed, they were already ridiculously weak at that part of the game.

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Post Sunday, 7th May 2017, 08:55

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Magipi wrote:No one mentioned the recent gnoll nerf (end apts down from -6 to -9), so I'll do it.

It seems like a weird thought that a lategame gnoll nerf was needed, they were already ridiculously weak at that part of the game.

They also start with +5 aptitudes now, though. Looks like the first level they decrease is now at 6, down one from 7 before.

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Post Monday, 8th May 2017, 01:32

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

We're pretty close to "all gnoll skilling below X is free, all gnoll skilling above X+4 is impossible"

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Post Monday, 8th May 2017, 02:43

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

I'd still be fine with them having a hard skillcap of 12, which also prevents ridiculous things like Abyss grinding for skill levels ever being attractive for Gn ziggurat raiders/15-runers.

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Post Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 11:16

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

I'd hate to see the race go, since it's good at teaching players good habits.

My idea: recycle the old "victory dancing" skill training system; you have fixed, level-dependant experience pool, and you can distribute it among skills by using those skills - so wearing heavy armour and using a mace with shield will give you maces, shields and armour in the tens, dodging in singles etc.
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Post Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 22:36

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Croases wrote:I'd still be fine with them having a hard skillcap of 12, which also prevents ridiculous things like Abyss grinding for skill levels ever being attractive for Gn ziggurat raiders/15-runers.

The punishment for grinding abyss for exp is that you have to grind the abyss for exp :) I suppose with a race like gnoll being so comparatively weak in the late game that this might actually make sense for once, but it certainly isn't going to get you a good score. If you can't win a gnoll any other way, I say let them cheese the win if they want to.

I haven't finished my gnoll yet but it's level 22, in depths with the highest skill being 12.7 unarmed, and so far the damage output (in statue form) is still keeping up. All of the skills I want are at least 8, with most around 12, so at this point I'm just going to be dumping a ton of experience into my main skills to slowly get them towards 14 or so. I think that's fine - it helps make it feel like you aren't completely wasting exp, even if the gains are incredibly small.

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Post Wednesday, 10th May 2017, 13:50

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

I think we all know by now that tedium is both an inadequate safeguard against degenerate gameplay and a lazy excuse for not fixing poor design. That argument has been exhausting for years.

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Post Wednesday, 10th May 2017, 19:15

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

If you do want to hard cap it, I'd say that 12 is too low. I have 2 runes, and 4 skills over 12, with none over 13. A hard cap at 14 sounds about right to me, though. Isn't 14 what the tournament banner used? You could use 15 if you want a "round" number, but 14 is probably high enough.

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Post Monday, 19th June 2017, 17:04

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

I don't know if this is the right iteration of this thread to comment on, but I went ahead and tried this gnoll stuff out a bit (again). My impressions:

1. It is very similar to an ash character, but the crazy skills happen early in the game. That is sort of bad, because that kind of skill dynamic already exists in the game, but more importantly it removes strategic depth from the game. You just skill everything that could possibly be useful, as you do with ash characters. There're no decisions to make.

2. The effect of the background washes out even faster than with other species. While you gravitate toward something a little bit unusual because of the exaggerated incentives to skill lots of things to moderate levels, it seems all gnoll combos will gravitate toward roughly the same spot given the same dungeon. There's a variety problem in that you saturate your useful skills quickly and there's pretty much just one way to do that.

3. It's an interesting illustration of the limits of crawl's skill system. It simultaneously exaggerates all the problems. You have to switch skills even more frequently than usual or face even worse problems of diminishing returns and waste for overskilling, you reach the saturation point even earlier, and the glut of experience is even more pronounced.

4. My proposal for a straight xl-based bonus to all skills + starting skills and no player-controlled skill growth will provide a similar game experience without the interface problems and will maintain the distinction between different gnoll combos throughout the game. You just have to let go of the illusion of choice offered by the current system.
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Post Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 09:55

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

I just completed first gnoll game. It was a total snorefest. They are like demigods, but without crazy stats and access to nice things.
I join suggestion to simply give them positive aptitudes and lock their skilling in auto mode.

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Post Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 10:38

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

huh, i found them to be pretty much the opposite of demigods, getting skills quickly and relying on a god to carry them late game.

i've had fun playing them, but i can see them becoming samey after a while. otoh so do a lot of other species.

random thought: the current version seems to me like they would be very good for speedrunning (caveat: i know very little about speedrunning), though i don't think that is or should be a major design concern.

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Post Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 13:08

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Lavandula wrote:lock their skilling in auto mode.


So, bring back victory dancing?

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Post Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 13:56

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

woah woah woah, not auto mode. You give them a heroism-style straight bonus to all skills that is based on experience level and no other skill growth except for the starting skills of the background. Something like xl/2 or xl/3.
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Post Monday, 17th July 2017, 01:20

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

New version of Gnoll is now in Trunk:
-Scaled aptitude/skill system is gone: all aptitudes are now just a straight +3.
-In exchange, the statline for Gnolls is 7/7/7, and cannot be increased or decreased by any means.

The previous version had a lot of disagreement from the dev team (as seen by leaving it out of 0.20). Also, as Rast pointed out, balancing was very quickly heading towards trekking over previously rejected ideas (a hard skill ceiling). The new change is a radical mechanical change from the previous iterations, but hopefully does a better job of matching the intended goal (species that is forced to hybridize/use a bunch of different skills instead of just specializing in a couple) and still being fun to play.

Please leave any feedback/criticism/sarcasm you want, anything helps!

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Post Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 04:05

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

I've played a few games of new gnolls and while it might not be a big enough sample to make any definitive statements, I do feel they are very, very miserable.

The older versions were at least powerful early and they taught you to use all kinds of lower level things. The feeling was "look how awesome those things you usually don't use can be!". The current feeling on the other hand is "everything sucks". Relying on 7 str/int/dex is really not fun. I don't think this makes the race unplayable, I actually have a gnoll preparing for extended going now, but I can't say I particularly enjoy the experience.

EDIT: I won that gnoll with 15 runes, every spell in the game is definitely castable but the spell hunger and low spell power are actual issues.
Last edited by Leszczynek on Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 19:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 17:31

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

I've gone through about one and a half dungeon levels with the new Gnolls and I already hate it, too.

The issue is that the statcap doesn't actually accomplish the intended goals. Instead of pushing the player to diversify, the low stats force even the most basic actions to require more skilling than other characters, meaning that you have to specialize in something.

I used to like Gnolls--I'd pick Gnoll Wanderer and then just literally skill everything up at the same rate. I wonder if that's how we can tweak things back to what was the original intent. Here's my proposal:

Gnolls can't skill anything. Instead, their effective skill level in EVERY skill is equal to their experience level. They'd have to be balanced to have a much sharper XP curve so that you can hit reasonable skill levels in the early game, but are highly unlikely to hit 27 anytime before your 15th rune.

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Post Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 22:45

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

I tried a few. I'd also note that hellcrawl has had kobolds with a similar concept for a while. They play like bad combos from other species. The only novel thing is that every combo seems kind of bad.

The idea of locking stats at a level that is uniform across all backgrounds cuts against any goal of varied play there might be here. If you're going to try something different, the first thing to do is reexamine received notions like "backgrounds are just a starting package." "What if they weren't?" is a much better place to start on a species than "What if there were a species where you do what you're supposed to do anyway, but even more so?"
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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 04:11

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Give gnolls carnivorous 3 or gourmand or whatever it's called (dogs eat everything, don't they?), so that spell hunger is less annoying. Casting spells with 7 int would be very painful.

Since races are supposed to be (partly) about difficulty levels, I don't mind if gnolls are more difficult than others. But if that wasn't the intention, one could bump up some of the characteristics a bit to make them easier and/or less annoying.

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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 04:32

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Bad ac, bad ev, bad melee/ranged/spell damage. I don't get the species idea.
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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 05:28

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

I played a Gnoll of Kiku. I can confirm that not having gourmand is very annoying (this might just be because I play hellcrawl too much, but whatever).

I will probably modify the race in my offline copy to give it gourmand, to make it less annoying.

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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 07:43

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

The previous version with extremely high starting aptitudes was actually a pretty strong species, especially if starting with a book. It was very quick to get strong enough. Of course it fell off later, but wasn't really a problem.

In the current version, are stats affected by background at all?
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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 09:31

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

And what about Chei? Can he increase a Gnoll's stats?
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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 12:25

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

No.
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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 13:13

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

That seems bad.

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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 15:07

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

laularukyrumo wrote:The issue is that the statcap doesn't actually accomplish the intended goals. Instead of pushing the player to diversify, the low stats force even the most basic actions to require more skilling than other characters, meaning that you have to specialize in something.

This could probably be improved by either raising the stat line or raising the aptitudes even higher than +3. I would like to wait and look at more game data before making a decision on the way forward.

laularukyrumo wrote:Gnolls can't skill anything. Instead, their effective skill level in EVERY skill is equal to their experience level. They'd have to be balanced to have a much sharper XP curve so that you can hit reasonable skill levels in the early game, but are highly unlikely to hit 27 anytime before your 15th rune.

If the current version also ends up dead-ended like the previous version, this was likely going to be my next approach. That's still a ways off on the horizon, however; this version deserves a fair shot at testing/balancing first.

watertreatmentRL wrote:The idea of locking stats at a level that is uniform across all backgrounds cuts against any goal of varied play there might be here. If you're going to try something different, the first thing to do is reexamine received notions like "backgrounds are just a starting package." "What if they weren't?" is a much better place to start on a species than "What if there were a species where you do what you're supposed to do anyway, but even more so?"

Not to be rude, but I'm very much in the "backgrounds are a starting package" camp myself. If development on Gnolls was headed in your direction, I'd probably go hands off and work on a different project.

bel wrote:Give gnolls carnivorous 3 or gourmand or whatever it's called (dogs eat everything, don't they?), so that spell hunger is less annoying. Casting spells with 7 int would be very painful.

Since races are supposed to be (partly) about difficulty levels, I don't mind if gnolls are more difficult than others. But if that wasn't the intention, one could bump up some of the characteristics a bit to make them easier and/or less annoying.

As long as it is okay with the dev team and doesn't step on kobolds too much (I don't think it steps on troll's use of it), I'd be fine with merging a gourmand addition. I personally didn't have hunger issues during play testing, but I can see why many players would.

Again, I look at the stat line after more data comes in to make a determination on where to go next for balancing

4Hooves2Appendages wrote:In the current version, are stats affected by background at all?

Majang wrote:And what about Chei? Can he increase a Gnoll's stats?

Neither affects Gnoll stats.

Shard1697 wrote:That seems bad.

I left Chei and Zin enabled because they both have other strong Invocations abilities despite not being able to take advantage of stat bonuses (although Chei is more of a joke option because the abilities are probably not worth slow movement on their own). If there are too many complaints about allowing worship without giving stat gains, I would lean towards just banning worship (but I would prefer not to if it isn't actually necessary).
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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 15:27

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

It might be okay if gods could increase Gnoll stats, maybe a fraction of the amount they do for other species. Bend Space and Finesse work for Formicids.
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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 15:45

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Floodkiller wrote:
watertreatmentRL wrote:The idea of locking stats at a level that is uniform across all backgrounds cuts against any goal of varied play there might be here. If you're going to try something different, the first thing to do is reexamine received notions like "backgrounds are just a starting package." "What if they weren't?" is a much better place to start on a species than "What if there were a species where you do what you're supposed to do anyway, but even more so?"

Not to be rude, but I'm very much in the "backgrounds are a starting package" camp myself. If development on Gnolls was headed in your direction, I'd probably go hands off and work on a different project.


Not to be rude, but you have to face the possibility that this position has inherent limits and that the various attempts so far point to that conclusion.
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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 16:20

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Why locked stats? It makes it even more disappointing to find +Stats items in the dungeon. We could remove the +3 magic school apts, give Subdued Magic 2-3 and unlock Int. Then it fixes the spell hunger problem and gives similar results. Also, +3 to non-magic skills don't really stops someone from specializing. Apts could be lower and then there's no need to lock Dex and Str.

Locked stats and +3 apts sure looks different, but besides being less thrilling to find items, I can't imagine it playing very differently from a human with subdued magic and better evocation and invocation.

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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 17:33

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

watertreatmentRL wrote:
Floodkiller wrote:
watertreatmentRL wrote:The idea of locking stats at a level that is uniform across all backgrounds cuts against any goal of varied play there might be here. If you're going to try something different, the first thing to do is reexamine received notions like "backgrounds are just a starting package." "What if they weren't?" is a much better place to start on a species than "What if there were a species where you do what you're supposed to do anyway, but even more so?"

Not to be rude, but I'm very much in the "backgrounds are a starting package" camp myself. If development on Gnolls was headed in your direction, I'd probably go hands off and work on a different project.


Not to be rude, but you have to face the possibility that this position has inherent limits and that the various attempts so far point to that conclusion.

If you feel your idea is the only path forward, feel free to develop a PR and discuss it with the devs. As I already stated, I'm not interested in that line of development because I feel backgrounds are fine as they are: a starting package. If the devs are more interested in your version of Gnolls (or your species, if you use a different name), or I reach the end of my various attempts as you state, you can develop it your way and I will work on something else.

Celesta wrote:Why locked stats? It makes it even more disappointing to find +Stats items in the dungeon. We could remove the +3 magic school apts, give Subdued Magic 2-3 and unlock Int. Then it fixes the spell hunger problem and gives similar results. Also, +3 to non-magic skills don't really stops someone from specializing. Apts could be lower and then there's no need to lock Dex and Str.

Locked stats and +3 apts sure looks different, but besides being less thrilling to find items, I can't imagine it playing very differently from a human with subdued magic and better evocation and invocation.

The reason for the locked stats is the same reason behind the hard/soft skill caps in the previous version: allowing the player to get access to anything quickly, but leaving them worse at it than anyone else, which would hopefully encourage/enforce mixing a ton of skills together and swapping quickly to whatever loot shows up vs stubbornly sticking to the same skills until you get lucky because you are already too invested to swap. Capping the skill was declared ineffective because nobody could agree on the line between too hard and too easy, and many argued that it was what you were supposed to do anyway. Capping the stats limits the power of the tools instead of what tools are available, so it will be interesting to see if it is more successful.

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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 19:07

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Another possibility would be locking all stats at, say, XL+3 and have low apts. I feel like giving high stats rather than low stats would better achieve the goal of diversifying, for the reason laularukyrumo pointed out
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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 20:20

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Fingolfin wrote:Another possibility would be locking all stats at, say, XL+3 and have low apts. I feel like giving high stats rather than low stats would better achieve the goal of diversifying, for the reason laularukyrumo pointed out

If the species is shifted towards high stats/low apts, it is too similar to Demigod's mechanics.

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Post Wednesday, 19th July 2017, 20:21

Re: Bultungin/Gnoll Feedback

Floodkiller wrote:
Fingolfin wrote:Another possibility would be locking all stats at, say, XL+3 and have low apts. I feel like giving high stats rather than low stats would better achieve the goal of diversifying, for the reason laularukyrumo pointed out

If the species is shifted towards high stats/low apts, it is too similar to Demigod's mechanics.

Right, my bad, I overlooked that
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