Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)


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.

Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 03:47

Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Greetings!


(EDIT: I've updated the post to reflect the CURRENT version.)

I've been working for a while on a Demigod redesign. The details of the paper design have already gone through many revisions, landing currently at the playtest version represented here.

DOWNLOAD AND PLAY HERE! --> https://github.com/RealzHS/crawl/releases --> https://i.imgur.com/6lLgEYM.png

This offering is very incomplete as far as text is concerned, but I'm much more interested in finding out if the mechanics are fun before doing all the polish items.


Goal

Introduce a species that provides fun, novel, replayable experiences for the highly engaged crowd.

Why?

When I enjoy the pieces of a complex system (as I do with god powers in Crawl), I often imagine ways those pieces can exist in other contexts. Part of the fun of this design is taking familiar things and presenting them in a new context. With that new context comes new perspective, that perspective changes how the pieces are evaluated, and new combinations provide new/unique gameplay opportunities. Crawl is an incredibly complex and deep game, but even it has an audience that has done most of the things there are to do... this is an attempt at providing players with another highly replayable species.

Why Demigod?

Although this is currently a Demigod redesign, it doesn't have to be. It was originally conceived in part because I was disappointed by Demigod's current mechanics insofar as I felt they were a mismatch to the fantasy the name and manual description evoke... but I anticipate a good deal of pushback on that topic (my position is certainly very subjective), so if playtesters find the concept to be fun in practice but untenable as a Demigod redesign, I'm open to ideas that would see it re-kitted as a new species. If I had my way, the no-god challenge would move to some other species or possibly a new background to make room for the Demigod re-imagining... but I should probably address those possibilities separately sometime in the future.

If you do play, please let me know what you think!


Details

Manual Description
Spoiler: show
Image


Species Select Description
Spoiler: show
Image


Base Stats and Attributes
Spoiler: show
-1 EXP modifier (was -2)

No HP modifier (was +10%)
No MP modifier (was +10%)
+0 starting MP (was +2)

STR: 10 (was 11)
INT: 10 (was 12)
DEX: 10 (was 11)

Double chosen stat per 3 XL (no change)

+3 MR per XL (was +4)


Aptitudes
Spoiler: show
Image


Innate Abilities, Weirdness, and Mutations
Spoiler: show
Image


"Realz, I need to know exactly how this shit works. Tell me!"
Spoiler: show
Part of this system mirrors Demonspawn so far as gaining randomized powers as you level up, with the current milestones:

XL 5: Gain the passive powers of a god

XL 9: Gain a 1-3* active ability of a different god

XL 13: Gain a 4-5* active ability of a different god

The comparison is a good way to describe the general structure, but the resultant gameplay is extremely different. Getting randomized god powers will heavily influence characters and how they play, while (hopefully) creating fun/memorable characters since they're gained in combinations that would not be possible under normal circumstances as another species. I've left it in the Advanced species category, because unlike Demonspawn who has relatively generic bonuses, this system presumes some level of knowledge from the player about existing god abilities and how to use them to good effect when gained outside the corresponding god's normal synergistic kit.

There are currently 10 gods whose passives can be gained in the passives bucket, 19 abilities in the 1-3* active bucket, and 17 abilities in the 4-5* active bucket. For now I'd like to keep that first number at 8 or more if possible, but I think the actives could be cut down to 12-15 in each bucket and still function well, if trimming is desired.

The desire (and current implementation) is to have abilities function the same as if you had them with the god that would normally grant them, so that a player's existing knowledge can be leveraged, and is correct. They're exactly the same abilities. The exception is conduct restrictions - Demigods are masters of their own fate, and as such are not subject to the conduct restrictions of any god. Piety ("Divinity") costs are the same, hunger costs are the same, scaling with Invocations is the same (Demigods believe in and invoke of themselves)... everything should be the same as if you had the ability with that god (if something seems wrong, just ask - it might be a bug). Piety is gained the same as the standard just-kill-stuff gods like makhleb/qazlal, but you start the game with 'yourself' (kind of like a zealot background) at 0 piety.

This is all coded in such a way that if someone were to modify the piety cost or effect of a god ability that a Demigod can get, that change would be the same for Demigods as it is for characters with that god. There are more than zero considerations, but future work should be minimized. The default state for new abilities made is to be unused by Demigod, and if someone makes a new ability and wants to let Demigod get it, all they should need to do is set a bool value to true and write an alternate text string.

If you have any questions about how any of this is structured, just ask! =)

The next few spoilers will list all of the abilities in each bucket of this version.


Passive Bucket
Spoiler: show
At XL 5, reveal one of the following gods and gain the listed powers:

The Shining One

- Resistance to Negative Energy, max rN+++
- Allies protected from abjuration
- Allies gain duration when they kill evil beings
- HP/MP restore when you kill evil beings
- Halo aura

Yredelemnul

- Attract undead allies (plus Recall)

Vehumet

- MP on kill
- Destructive magics wizardry
- Destructive magics range increase
- Chance to learn destructive magics

Makhleb

- HP on kill

Cheibriados

- Stat boost as movement slows
- Orb run and Abyss more your 'speed'
- Slow metabolism

Ashenzari

- "Bounty of Information" (ID'd items, sense monsters through walls, detect traps, etc.)
- See Invisible
- Clarity

Dithmenos

- Umbra, and immunity to Umbra
- Chance to emit smoke when hit
- Shadow Mimic, copies your attacks/spells

Qazlal

- Cloud Immunity (also now extends to allies)
- Storm Shield / Upgraded Storm Shield
- Elemental Adaptation

Ru

- Aura of Power / Upgraded Aura of Power

Hepliaklqana

- Ancestor (plus Recall)


1-3* Active Bucket
Spoiler: show
At XL 10, gain one of the listed abilities (note that you cannot gain an ability from the same god you got passives from):

- Vitalisation (Zin)

- Imprison (Zin)

- Divine Shield (TSO)

- Call Corpses (Kiku)

- Animate Remains/Dead (Yred)

- Heroism (Oka)

- Minor Destruction (Makhleb)

- Lesser Servant (Makhleb)

- Channel Magic (Sif Muna)

- Berserk (Trog)

- Trog's Hand (Trog)

- Heal Other (Ely)

- Purification (Ely)

- Bend Space (Lugonu)

- Banish (Lugonu)

- Smite (Beogh)

- Time Bend (Chei)

- Upheaval (Qazlal)

- Draw Out Power (Ru)


4-5* Active Bucket
Spoiler: show
At XL 15, gain one of the listed abilities (cannot gain one from one of the previous gods):

- Sanctuary (Zin)

- Cleansing Flame (TSO)

- Divine Warrior (TSO)

- Drain Life (Yred)

- Finesse (Oka)

- Major Destruction (Makhleb)

- Greater Servant (Makhleb)

- Brother in Arms (Trog)

- Greater Healing (Ely)

- Divine Vigour (Ely)

- Corrupt (Lugonu)

- Abyss Enter + Abyss Exit (Lugonu)

- Slimify (Jiyva)

- Step From Time (Chei)

- Shadowform (Dith)

- Disaster Area (Qazlal)

- Apocalypse (Ru)


Example XL 13 Religion ("Your Divinity") Page (remember, ability text is wrong/unfinished)
Spoiler: show
Image


You may notice I've left out any commentary on balance... I have plenty of thoughts on the matter, but I'd prefer to focus on answering the question "is this fun?" rather than getting bogged down by balance commentary on its likely-to-change details. If it is indeed fun, the next question can be "can it be balanced?", but for now I'm happy as long as it's not clearly worse than the worst species and not clearly better than the best.

If you have comments, concerns, questions, or especially playtesting feedback... please, let me know!


Cheers,

Realz
Last edited by Realz on Monday, 28th May 2018, 23:52, edited 8 times in total.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 03:53

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

This definitely seems like it belongs on a new species, since, y'know, the whole point of Dg is that they don't have god powers. A species that always gets lots of god powers is the polar opposite of current Dg, calling it Dg is just going to be confusing.

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 06:26

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

For Chei's passive powers, does it also make you slower? If it makes you slower, is there some scale, or do you just jump to ****** Chei slowness/stats at level 5?
Spoiler: show
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Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 06:50

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Siegurt wrote:For Chei's passive powers, does it also make you slower? If it makes you slower, is there some scale, or do you just jump to ****** Chei slowness/stats at level 5?

Scales with Piety just like it does with Chei, both for the slow amount and corresponding stat boost amount (the more piety you have, the slower you are, and the more stats you get).

Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 07:16

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

How do you gain piety? Does it depend on which god powers you get?

Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 07:26

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

monkeytor wrote:How do you gain piety? Does it depend on which god powers you get?

Realz wrote:Piety is gained the same as the standard just-kill-stuff gods like makhleb/qazlal, but you start the game with 'yourself' (kind of like a zealot background) at 0 piety.

Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 07:58

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

It's buggy, for me at least. Most tiles are just white, can't see what's going on.

Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 08:19

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

PlatinumSpider wrote:It's buggy, for me at least. Most tiles are just white, can't see what's going on.

Hmm, I downloaded the client I posted and it works for me. Not sure what to tell you. It's a windows executable... are you on windows?

Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 09:25

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Realz wrote:
PlatinumSpider wrote:It's buggy, for me at least. Most tiles are just white, can't see what's going on.

Hmm, I downloaded the client I posted and it works for me. Not sure what to tell you. It's a windows executable... are you on windows?


Sorry, seems to be on my end. normal trunk is doing it too.

Dungeon Dilettante

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 19:48

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Im having compatibility issues on my 32 bit pc (ancient piece of junk that I only keep around for retro gaming/rougelikes), could you release a 32 bit version?

Btw I got sent here by UltraViolent4, your Fairie Dragon/Demigod looked super cool, now if only I can actually play it ;)

Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 20:00

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

FallenAfh wrote:Im having compatibility issues on my 32 bit pc (ancient piece of junk that I only keep around for retro gaming/rougelikes), could you release a 32 bit version?

Btw I got sent here by UltraViolent4, your Fairie Dragon/Demigod looked super cool, now if only I can actually play it ;)

No idea how to do this. I'll look into a bit more when I have time, and if anyone has pro tips, I'm all ears.

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 22:02

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

I've thought a lot about this, and I think the conclusion I've come to is that this should be either a new species, or not at all. While I feel Dg may be due for a rework, I've always understood demigod to be "you worship nobody but yourself". To this end, I feel like giving Dg god powers kind of defeats the point. Is this altogether much different than worshiping a faded altar?

I don't claim to have any meaningful ideas for a rework, but if Crawl is going to have a species that is basically atheist, then saying "here's a species that can't worship gods, but don't worry you still have god powers" isn't the way to meaningfully mitigate the lack of having a god

I would much rather see the species made slightly stronger outside of the realm of divine abilities. In their current iteration, -1 to every aptitude makes things quite painful, especially if you're playing a background that is strapped for xp (looking at transmuter), so I would probably be more in favor of going that route.

All that said, I think there is design space in Crawl for a "boring" species, which I think Dg fits in quite well. I think the combination of being boring *and* relatively weak make it a lot less fun to play than it could otherwise be, but at this point I'm repeating myself


Now, none of this is to say I don't love the sound of your species. It sounds really really fun actually, and I'd love to give it a go just to see how it feels

Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 22:24

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Dazliare -

You may very well be right about it being better as a new species. But I disagree that the current Dg paradigm is a good fantasy match, for any reason other than inertia (aka, it should stay the way it is because that's how it has been, and change is painful).

Imagine explaining how Crawl's gods work to someone. Then you tell them there is a species in the game called Demigod that is described as a descended mix of both mortals and gods... then ask them what they think Demigods will do. How often would someone correctly assume Demigod is the species mechanically furthest away from the game's gods, instead of the closest? When you tell them how it really is, do you think they'll be excited, or disappointed? The current design fails to capitalize on the strong fantasy it evokes.

But sure, new species. I'm open to ideas that can tie the mechanics to a different compelling species concept.

Shoals Surfer

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 22:40

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

I think that Dg is fine as "species that can't worship gods but has high HP, MP and stats", it's interesting gameplay and the flavor doesn't really matter. My problem with the species is that it's actually not doing what it promises : it has no gods and high stats, but it doesn't have high HP and MP, because of the exp modifier, the low Fighting apt and the low Spellcasting apt.
3 runes : MiMo^Ru, HOFi^Beogh, TrMo^Yredelemnul, GrFi^Ru
4 runes : DDFi^Makhleb
5 runes : GrEE^Vehumet
15 runes : MiFi^Ru, NaWz^Sif Muna
I mostly play offline or online on CXC

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 23:23

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

I've had a lot of fun with your new demigod so far. I'm no expert so I can't say much about the balance, but I've always liked the randomness in Ds and Dr, and I think this is a sufficiently differentiated but still enjoyable version of that.
I agree with Fingolfin and others—I like the idea of demigod as is, though it currently doesn't live up to expectations for me, although I might just be bad at playing them. The ideas seem different enough to make two species, especially with different flavour for one and more differentiated stats.

Your new demigod is actually offspring of three gods and (presumably) a human—perhaps call it the Demisemigod? :)

Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 21st May 2018, 23:28

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Terrapin wrote:Your new demigod is actually offspring of three gods and (presumably) a human—perhaps call it the Demisemigod? :)

This actually fits under the current Demigod description just fine (I didn't change the first part of the species description at all, that's what it already is).

I don't have a good idea for an alternative yet. I'll have to think on it, but yeah, I'm open to ideas. Something that makes sense as a race that would be jealous of the gods, steal of the gods, could work too... it doesn't have to be an innate awakening style, like Demigod fantasy is. That was the most obvious to me, but doesn't have to be the only good idea.

Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 00:17

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

How is current Demigod meaningfully different from a Human who doesn't worship a god?

As is, Demigod evokes nothing in me. This proposed one immediately stirs up images of ancient mythology.

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 00:21

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Realz wrote:I don't have a good idea for an alternative yet. I'll have to think on it, but yeah, I'm open to ideas. Something that makes sense as a race that would be jealous of the gods, steal of the gods, could work too... it doesn't have to be an innate awakening style, like Demigod fantasy is. That was the most obvious to me, but doesn't have to be the only good idea.

If you're okay with borrowing from greek mythology you could go with "Titan". They preceded the Olympian gods and had their disagreements with them (Cronus eating the Olympians, Prometheus stealing the fire from them...) This would make an ambiguity with the monsters of the same name, but those can just be renamed "storm giants" or whatever.
3 runes : MiMo^Ru, HOFi^Beogh, TrMo^Yredelemnul, GrFi^Ru
4 runes : DDFi^Makhleb
5 runes : GrEE^Vehumet
15 runes : MiFi^Ru, NaWz^Sif Muna
I mostly play offline or online on CXC

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 01:29

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Great idea! It's very intriguing. I am keen to play it.

Have you pushed the source code? I only see a single commit for the skeleton implementation. If you could push the code (ideally to a separate branch from FD to simplify testing, but it's not a big deal) that would be great.

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 01:51

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

chequers wrote:Great idea! It's very intriguing. I am keen to play it.

Have you pushed the source code? I only see a single commit for the skeleton implementation. If you could push the code (ideally to a separate branch from FD to simplify testing, but it's not a big deal) that would be great.

I haven't yet, but I will. It's pretty messy... I haven't done any cleanup yet, and I want to improve some of the ways some things are implemented. I was eager to get a playable client out there asap, but I'll get to this when I can.

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 03:10

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Ultraviolent4 wrote:How is current Demigod meaningfully different from a Human who doesn't worship a god?
That's like asking how current Mummy is meaningfully different from a Human who doesn't drink potions or berserk. You can imitate some species' disadvantages with voluntary conducts, but that doesn't mean the disadvantages are problematic.

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 04:54

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

duvessa wrote:That's like asking how current Mummy is meaningfully different from a Human who doesn't drink potions or berserk.

Poison immunity, Negative energy immunity, Torment immunity, Mutation immunity, rC+, rF-, no Hunger/Spell Hunger, Necromancy spell power boosts. I think those have more meaningful gameplay implications than a few stats and some hp/mp. If Mummy were just a Human who couldn't drink potions or berserk, do you think that would be a good, fun design?

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 05:13

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Realz wrote:
duvessa wrote:That's like asking how current Mummy is meaningfully different from a Human who doesn't drink potions or berserk.
Poison immunity, Negative energy immunity, Torment immunity, Mutation immunity, rC+, rF-, no Hunger/Spell Hunger, Necromancy spell power boosts. I think those have more meaningful gameplay implications than a few stats and some hp/mp.
Strongly disagree. The negative energy/torment immunity/rc+/lack of hunger/necromancy enhancer were meaningless in almost all of my mummy games. Poison immunity stops you from dying to a d:2 adder or blowgun kobold but that's all it does. The mutation immunity does make for a noticeable disadvantage late-game, but it's irrelevant for most of the game. rF- does matter, but only rarely, most monsters don't have high fire damage attacks and by the time fireballers show up you've probably found resistance equipment anyway.
Dg, on the other hand, has higher spell success and power and better defenses than Hu, for the whole game, starting right from turn 0. They don't need to find one of a select few monsters/items/spells for that advantage to be relevant, it's there in your first monster encounter, your last, and every one in between. In my opinion, these are more impactful than a bunch of useless resistances and ignoring hunger.
Realz wrote:If Mummy were just a Human who couldn't drink potions or berserk, do you think that would be a good, fun design?
No, but it's also not the design that exists. Mummies get an advantage or two as well, though they're obviously still awful at the end of it.

Now, maybe Dg's differences from Hu still aren't enough, and more differences need to be added - but that has nothing to do with whether or not their disadvantages can be imitated by a conduct player.

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 07:45

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

duvessa wrote:This definitely seems like it belongs on a new species, since, y'know, the whole point of Dg is that they don't have god powers.

Before 0.20 I would have said the point of Ogres was to be extremely skilled with Maces and Flails (and thus, giant clubs). Sometimes these things change for the greater good of the game.

Realz wrote: Poison immunity, Negative energy immunity, Torment immunity, Mutation immunity, rC+, rF-, no Hunger/Spell Hunger, Necromancy spell power boosts. I think those have more meaningful gameplay implications than a few stats and some hp/mp.

I'd add that those things are all wrapped up (pardon the pun) in a highly thematic bundle: Mummies are an evil, undead species. Not only does that make all of the above tie into a distinct fantasy for the species, there are further gameplay implications through god choice, being vulnerable to holy wrath, not being able to transmute and so on.

duvessa wrote:You can imitate some species' disadvantages with voluntary conducts, but that doesn't mean the disadvantages are problematic.

I'm in complete agreement with you. It certainly wasn't my intention to say that a species is problematic if it's disadvantages can be imitated through conduct. Indeed, one could "imitate" a Gnoll's disadvantages by playing a Human and training every possible skill at once or a Naga's by playing a Centaur and not moving. Both of those examples are ridiculous and would say more about the player than any issues with Gnoll or Naga design.

Rather, my point was more about whether Demigod offers anything interesting or distinct that can't be obtained elsewhere. Why was High Elf removed? If we're to go by the commit in question, it's mostly because they "were a relatively uninteresting species in terms of gameplay" who were becoming "increasingly redundant". Their gameplay felt somewhat like Tengu and their weapon specialisation like Merfolk. I put it to you that Demigod isn't only uninteresting, it's also not fun or broadly appealing in any way. This is borne out by the relatively low amount of play the species gets.

I'd say the two main drawcards of Demigod are:
  • Can't worship a god - Literally any non-zealot character can do an atheist run.
  • A relatively high HP and MP species with good stats and flexibility due to flat aptitudes - Almost all of this somewhat redundant now that Ogres start off with both high Str and Int and have -1 magic school aptitudes across the board. Ogres might not have +10% MP but their +1 Spellcasting aptitude makes it extremely similar in practice.
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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 09:12

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Ultraviolent4 wrote:Can't worship a god - Literally any non-zealot character can do an atheist run.
I can only speak for myself, but there is a huge difference there. I really enjoy demigods, because having to play without a god is interesting. But choosing to not pick a god on some other species wouldn't feel the same. I can't explain it better, but gimping yourself with a voluntary challenge feels different to me than playing a species with a built-in 'challenge'.

A relatively high HP and MP species with good stats and flexibility due to flat aptitudes - Almost all of this somewhat redundant now that Ogres start off with both high Str and Int and have -1 magic school aptitudes across the board. Ogres might not have +10% MP but their +1 Spellcasting aptitude makes it extremely similar in practice.
Well, you won't cast firestorm in plate with an ogre...
...SENeGEFEMDBeDDFiHOWzVpVMHuEE{HEMoDEHuDDAs}{HaBeKoAK}CeVM{MfWnMiAK}TeAMDrIE{FoVMVSFi}
{MuVMGhGlVpMo}HaWrSpWz{OgGlTrMo}{CeWnMfBeMiSk}DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}
DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNe

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 10:21

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Ultraviolent4 wrote:
duvessa wrote:You can imitate some species' disadvantages with voluntary conducts, but that doesn't mean the disadvantages are problematic.

I'm in complete agreement with you. It certainly wasn't my intention to say that a species is problematic if it's disadvantages can be imitated through conduct. Indeed, one could "imitate" a Gnoll's disadvantages by playing a Human and training every possible skill at once or a Naga's by playing a Centaur and not moving. Both of those examples are ridiculous and would say more about the player than any issues with Gnoll or Naga design.

Rather, my point was more about whether Demigod offers anything interesting or distinct that can't be obtained elsewhere. Why was High Elf removed? If we're to go by the commit in question, it's mostly because they "were a relatively uninteresting species in terms of gameplay" who were becoming "increasingly redundant". Their gameplay felt somewhat like Tengu and their weapon specialisation like Merfolk. I put it to you that Demigod isn't only uninteresting, it's also not fun or broadly appealing in any way. This is borne out by the relatively low amount of play the species gets.

I'd say the two main drawcards of Demigod are:
  • Can't worship a god - Literally any non-zealot character can do an atheist run.
  • A relatively high HP and MP species with good stats and flexibility due to flat aptitudes - Almost all of this somewhat redundant now that Ogres start off with both high Str and Int and have -1 magic school aptitudes across the board. Ogres might not have +10% MP but their +1 Spellcasting aptitude makes it extremely similar in practice.

These are very strange comments.

A Gn is not a Hu where you train all skills at once: Hu don't have a big positive aptitude in all skills. If you tried training all skills at once, you'll fall behind on XP by a lot, which completely changes your power level and play style. Similarly, Na is not just "Centaur but slow", a slow Centaur would be much weaker than a Naga.

---------------

Similarly, if your contention is that an atheist Ogre is roughly the same as Dg, your calculations are not correct, and thus you vastly underestimate the difference in power level and play style. The biggest thing you discounted is that Dg start with +2 MP. So an XL1 DgFE would have 5 MP while an OgFE would have 3 MP. That is a big difference on D:1. As you go along the game, a DgFE would keep its MP lead on an OgFE at every XL. (You can check with wizmode -- the slower Dg leveling does not nearly make up for the higher MP).

There are other things which you discounted which also make a fair bit of difference. Dg start with +2 Int, a lot more Dex, more stat gains per level and can wear all armour. This makes a big difference in early-to-mid game survivability, spell power etc.

A DgFE has a completely different power level and play style than an atheist OgFE. They aren't even close.

------------------

Finally, what does Dg offer which you can't get anywhere? Answer: Dg is well-designed, offers meaningful trade-offs with a clean mechanism which is easy to communicate. If the OP is to be implemented, it would make more sense as a separate species than a replacement for something which isn't broken.

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 14:05

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

bel wrote:A Gn is not a Hu where you train all skills at once: Hu don't have a big positive aptitude in all skills. If you tried training all skills at once, you'll fall behind on XP by a lot, which completely changes your power level and play style. Similarly, Na is not just "Centaur but slow", a slow Centaur would be much weaker than a Naga.

Yes, that's the exact point I was trying to make. I was agreeing with duvessa that imitating the disadvantages of species would say nothing about the species being imitated themselves or imply anything problematic about those disadvantages. So far, all three of us have agreed on this.

bel wrote:Similarly, if your contention is that an atheist Ogre is roughly the same as Dg, your calculations are not correct, and thus you vastly underestimate the difference in power level and play style. The biggest thing you discounted is that Dg start with +2 MP. So an XL1 DgFE would have 5 MP while an OgFE would have 3 MP. That is a big difference on D:1. As you go along the game, a DgFE would keep its MP lead on an OgFE at every XL. (You can check with wizmode -- the slower Dg leveling does not nearly make up for the higher MP).

There are other things which you discounted which also make a fair bit of difference. Dg start with +2 Int, a lot more Dex, more stat gains per level and can wear all armour. This makes a big difference in early-to-mid game survivability, spell power etc.

I agree with you that there are differences between Ogres and Demigods. I would argue they are not fundamental differences, however. To take you back to the High Elf Removal, it was said their playstyle was somewhat similar to Tengu and weapon specialisation similar to Merfolk. Would you say the devs discounted the big differences in early-to-mid-game survivability and spellpower, etc. between High Elf and Tengu that occurred due to High Elves starting with +3 Int and +2 Dex, getting more stat gains per level, having extra MP due to a higher Spellcasting aptitude (+1 vs -1) and being able to wear all armour? Would you say the devs overlooked weapon differences between Merfolk and High Elves such as +4 vs -2 Polearms and -2 vs +3 Bows? Or would you agree, as I think is much more likely, that the devs considered such differences but didn't find them fundamental because High Elves still felt somewhat like those other species in practice?

bel wrote:A DgFE has a completely different power level and play style than an atheist OgFE. They aren't even close.

I also point out to you that the 2nd main argument was that the High Elf hybrid playstyle had become redundant due, in part, to Ogres having improved magic aptitudes. It's pretty obvious there was more of a difference then between Ogres and High Elves than there is between Ogres and Demigods now. A HEAE or HEAM had a completely different power level and play style than an OgAE or OgAM. They weren't even close. Why didn't that keep High Elves in the game?

bel wrote:Finally, what does Dg offer which you can't get anywhere? Answer: Dg is well-designed, offers meaningful trade-offs with a clean mechanism which is easy to communicate.If the OP is to be implemented, it would make more sense as a separate species than a replacement for something which isn't broken.

Would you say that High Elf was broken? Being broken is not the only test for whether something in Crawl should be changed, reworked or removed. Demigod could be well-designed and offer meaningful trade-offs but if it's a relatively uninteresting species that simply plays somewhat like other species, why is it any different to High Elf?

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 17:05

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

I would agree that this race fits the description of "demigod" far better than the current one. In fact, I'd much rather the current one be called Forsaken or Revenants or some other "You can't worship gods because you're cut off from them" fluff. I think if we were designing from scratch and had demigods all coded up, I'd be fighting vehemently against them being called demigods, because in pretty much any source material, demigods are, if anything, favored by gods, not prevented from accessing them. I don't think they need to be removed, though I do agree they're kind of boring, but that's fine - if people like them, great. Their design is solid.

That said, I think adding a new race, calling it demigod, and renaming existing demigods is also problematic - it makes previous versions weird for score tracking and historical logs and stuff. I think my preferred solution where we are right now is to add this with a different name. Is Aasimar copyrighted?

The race seems really cool, though we'll have to really take a hard look at the power combos to make sure none of them trivialize the game. Lucky combos that are above the power curve are fine, but there might come a point where a combo makes every enemy trivial to fight or whatever, which we should just keep an eye out for.

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 19:01

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Does Crawl need two races with the "not allowed to worship a god" special? One with no divine abilities named "Demigod" and one with a bunch of divine abilities named something that won't be confused with "Demigod"?

I think the new proposal is great and capitalizes on the replayability benefits of Dr and Ds exactly as described. Demigods in their current state have less reason to be than High Elves or Mountain Dwarves. I'd say embrace this as a Dg reform.
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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 23:55

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Ultraviolent4 wrote:I also point out to you that the 2nd main argument was that the High Elf hybrid playstyle had become redundant due, in part, to Ogres having improved magic aptitudes. It's pretty obvious there was more of a difference then between Ogres and High Elves than there is between Ogres and Demigods now. A HEAE or HEAM had a completely different power level and play style than an OgAE or OgAM. They weren't even close. Why didn't that keep High Elves in the game?

Well, there is one extremely subtle difference between ogres and demigods, one that is not present between ogres and high elves. It's very subtle so I can see why you missed it. Specifically, if you look really carefully at the two species for long enough, you'll see that ogres can worship a god and demigods cannot.

mattlistener wrote:Does Crawl need two races with the "not allowed to worship a god" special? One with no divine abilities named "Demigod" and one with a bunch of divine abilities named something that won't be confused with "Demigod"?

I think the new proposal is great and capitalizes on the replayability benefits of Dr and Ds exactly as described. Demigods in their current state have less reason to be than High Elves or Mountain Dwarves. I'd say embrace this as a Dg reform.
Currently DCSS has 26 species with god abilities and 1 without god abilties. This Dg change would make DCSS have 27 species with god abilities. I do not think that this change would differentiate Dg from other species more, I think it would do the exact opposite. Maybe the change should be made anyway, like allowing felids to use wands, but it's definitely making Dg closer to the rest of the game's species, not further away from them.

What I see here is a perfectly good new species proposal, that's being tethered to Dg for superficial flavour reasons. There's not a lot of reason to pit it against Dg, and it certainly doesn't make sense to call it Dg. Maybe this species should be added on its own merits. Maybe Dg should be removed on its own lack of merits. But it doesn't make much sense to me to "redesign" Dg into something that's mechanically opposite to current Dg. It's like redesigning minotaurs to be bad at using weapons and great at casting.

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 00:11

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

@realz, I think this might be a neat idea, but I wish you had split it up. "Should this species exist" is the first step, and "should this species replace the current version of Demigods" is the second.

I have a soft spot for species with random attributes. Draconic and Demonspawn are a couple of my favorite species. With Draconics I get such a thrill at finding out my color, and with Demonspawns I like seeing the mutations mature. Thus this species sounds fun to me.

mattlistener wrote:Does Crawl need two races with the "not allowed to worship a god" special? One with no divine abilities named "Demigod" and one with a bunch of divine abilities named something that won't be confused with "Demigod"?


Sure, why not? It's good to have a certain degree of uniqueness to each species so they all have a different feel, but there's also patterns that are used multiple times. Centaurs, Spriggans, and Felids all have fast movement, for example, and I forget how many gods make use of allies. I'd be more inclined to ask, does Crawl need three races with random qualities? Can these random qualities be brought into reasonable balance?

Since all the abilities being used are in the game already, it seems like reasonable game balance won't be too hard to achieve. Random god abilities coupled with not being able to worship a god sounds sufficiently unique to me, but if I had concerns on that front it would be that this species steps on Demonspawn turf.

I rather like the current Demigods from a game design standpoint. They're simple, uncluttered, and they don't really hog any design space. To me, being unable to worship a god does create a very different feel than choosing to go atheist. They're actually not my favorite to play because I find them a bit challenging, but I would wish for a small buff like improved aptitudes, not seeing them removed.

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 01:24

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

duvessa wrote:Well, there is one extremely subtle difference between ogres and demigods, one that is not present between ogres and high elves. It's very subtle so I can see why you missed it. Specifically, if you look really carefully at the two species for long enough, you'll see that ogres can worship a god and demigods cannot.

Please consider this as constructive feedback. Regardless of how 'right' you are, when you use dripping sarcasm to insult someone like this, you undermine yourself by dissuading people from engaging you in further debate (not just the recipient, but observers as well). I greatly appreciate your perspective and commentary on a great deal of topics, even when I disagree... but this strikes me as mean-spirited and counterproductive.

duvessa wrote:Currently DCSS has 26 species with god abilities and 1 without god abilties. This Dg change would make DCSS have 27 species with god abilities.

True, and even if it came to pass I'd want to preserve the concept and gameplay in some other way, like with a Zealot (Anti-Zealot?) background, or similar. It might be a "can't have your cake and eat it too" type of situation, but I started from a point that imagined blue skies, even if it ultimately ends up being unrealistic.

duvessa wrote:What I see here is a perfectly good new species proposal, that's being tethered to Dg for superficial flavour reasons.

I've gathered that I philosophically put much more weight on the fantasy than some of the more outspoken voices in this forum, and I see it as a much more valuable reason than just a superficial one. That said, I understand that my values on the matter may not align with Crawl's and that is okay. I am open to ideas that would marry the mechanical kit to a different species concept.

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 02:04

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Realz wrote:this strikes me as mean-spirited and counterproductive.

I would post more often in GDD (and on Tavern in general) if the experience wasn't so often unpleasant. I've been contributing only when something especially excites me but, even then, my participation has been with apprehension due to how personal and demeaning the exchanges are likely to become. It's a shame, really.

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 02:51

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Mod Note: Please let's not derail this species proposal with further discussions about tone of argument etc. OP made a polite request for less sarcasm, and that is certainly sufficient. You may start a discussion thread "Suggestions and Criticisms" if you like, but this thread is for discussing the proposal.

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 07:18

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Ultraviolent4 wrote:
Spoiler: show
bel wrote:Similarly, if your contention is that an atheist Ogre is roughly the same as Dg, your calculations are not correct, and thus you vastly underestimate the difference in power level and play style. The biggest thing you discounted is that Dg start with +2 MP. So an XL1 DgFE would have 5 MP while an OgFE would have 3 MP. That is a big difference on D:1. As you go along the game, a DgFE would keep its MP lead on an OgFE at every XL. (You can check with wizmode -- the slower Dg leveling does not nearly make up for the higher MP).

There are other things which you discounted which also make a fair bit of difference. Dg start with +2 Int, a lot more Dex, more stat gains per level and can wear all armour. This makes a big difference in early-to-mid game survivability, spell power etc.

I agree with you that there are differences between Ogres and Demigods. I would argue they are not fundamental differences, however. To take you back to the High Elf Removal, it was said their playstyle was somewhat similar to Tengu and weapon specialisation similar to Merfolk. Would you say the devs discounted the big differences in early-to-mid-game survivability and spellpower, etc. between High Elf and Tengu that occurred due to High Elves starting with +3 Int and +2 Dex, getting more stat gains per level, having extra MP due to a higher Spellcasting aptitude (+1 vs -1) and being able to wear all armour? Would you say the devs overlooked weapon differences between Merfolk and High Elves such as +4 vs -2 Polearms and -2 vs +3 Bows? Or would you agree, as I think is much more likely, that the devs considered such differences but didn't find them fundamental because High Elves still felt somewhat like those other species in practice?

bel wrote:A DgFE has a completely different power level and play style than an atheist OgFE. They aren't even close.

I also point out to you that the 2nd main argument was that the High Elf hybrid playstyle had become redundant due, in part, to Ogres having improved magic aptitudes. It's pretty obvious there was more of a difference then between Ogres and High Elves than there is between Ogres and Demigods now. A HEAE or HEAM had a completely different power level and play style than an OgAE or OgAM. They weren't even close. Why didn't that keep High Elves in the game?

bel wrote:Finally, what does Dg offer which you can't get anywhere? Answer: Dg is well-designed, offers meaningful trade-offs with a clean mechanism which is easy to communicate.If the OP is to be implemented, it would make more sense as a separate species than a replacement for something which isn't broken.

Would you say that High Elf was broken? Being broken is not the only test for whether something in Crawl should be changed, reworked or removed. Demigod could be well-designed and offer meaningful trade-offs but if it's a relatively uninteresting species that simply plays somewhat like other species, why is it any different to High Elf?

(I cut off the initial part because there's no disagreement there.)

The easy answer to your points would be that I am not a dev and hold no brief for either HE removal or HE retention. So, I don't feel the need to tie one choice to the other. Each one can be defended (or not) based on their own merits.

-----------------------------

But let's assume for the sake of argument that HE deserved to be axed. Let's first clarify the point at issue -- because the discussion threatens to become confusing (I already see duvessa's post which is confusing).

Let there be two separate species -- "atheist Ogre" (AOg) and "theist Ogre" (TOg). You say that the difference between AOg and Dg playstyle is less than the difference in playstyle between HE and TOg, HE and Mf, HE and Te.

If I have misunderstood your point, let me know. Now, we can discuss.

The main problem with the two paragraphs in which you detail the argument, is that there's too much handwaving. You assert that there are no "fundamental differences" between AOg and Dg. Yet you did not address the biggest point I made: Dg start with +2MP. Would you say that there's no fundamental difference between having 5 MP on D1 vs 3 MP on D1? That's a 66% difference. At XL5, with reasonable training, a DgFE has 11 MP which AOg has 9 MP. That's a 22% difference. As I said in my last post, you vastly underestimate the difference which the extra Dg stats make in the beginning.

Let's now look at the middle game. A reasonable breakpoint would be the end of Lair. I looked at a few morgues of DgFE and OgFE (with worship, which we'll ignore, because we're considering AOg), who died in Lair 4, 5 or 6. Here's a table:
Spoiler: show
AOgFE DgFE Absolute difference
Max HP 145 110 24%
Max MP 32 31 0%
AC 7.4 8.7 18%
EV + SH 11.1 21 90%
Str 16 11.7 27%
Int 22.7 28.7 26%
Dex 9.9 15.3 55%

Let's now consider differences between HEAE and TeAE:
Spoiler: show
HEAE TeAE Absolute Difference
Max HP 78.1 74.4 4%
Max MP 36.2 30.3 16%
AC 10.8 10.3 4%
EV+SH 17.0 18.5 9%
Str 8.5 12.6 48%
Int 25.6 23.1 10%
Dex 19.4 18.1 6.7%

Just visually inspecting the tables shows that the first table has vastly more differences than the second one. (You can calculate the L1 and L2 norms of the differences if you like.)

The differences are so large that the arbitrary choices I made, and the small sample sizes, probably won't matter. You can try other combinations if you feel like doing it.

Here are the Sequell queries I ran:
Spoiler: show
!lg * OgFE 0.21 br=Lair lvl=(4|5|6) x=avg(MHP)
!lg * DgFE 0.21 br=Lair lvl=(4|5|6) x=avg(MHP)
!lg * HEAE 0.19 br=Lair lvl=(4|5|6) x=avg(MHP)
!lg * TeAE 0.19 br=Lair lvl=(4|5|6) x=avg(MHP)

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 16:24

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

It's hard to let go the idea that Demigods are *supposed* to have divine-origin abilities that separate them from mortals.

Ancient: Achilles' invulnerability, Hercules' strength.
Recent: Diana (Wonder Woman), Maui (Moana).

That said, I certainly hope this proposal becomes a race. If the current Demigod identity is secure, then here's a thought about name/theme.

Changeling -- A child of unknown origin planted with normal parents by fairies. This is not a shapeshifter, but a seemingly-normal humanoid whose mysterious (divine) nature manifests as they grow older.
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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 16:39

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

mattlistener wrote:It's hard to let go the idea that Demigods are *supposed* to have divine-origin abilities that separate them from mortals.

Ancient: Achilles' invulnerability, Hercules' strength.
Recent: Diana (Wonder Woman), Maui (Moana).

John Gaines (Super Persuasive) ;)
Spoiler: show
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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 16:47

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

mattlistener wrote:It's hard to let go the idea that Demigods are *supposed* to have divine-origin abilities that separate them from mortals.

Ancient: Achilles' invulnerability, Hercules' strength.

My understanding was that Crawl demigods were actually based on greek mythology demigods, who were similar to other humans but had extraordinary strength and resilience (high HP, MP and stats) and were part gods (Heracles' immortal spirit rose to Olympus on his death). Achilles had no divine power, his invulnerability came from him being dipped in the Styx by Thetis. Both of them were just enhanced humans.
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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 17:11

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

I like this rework of the demigods, but it can be done better. The demigods are people who, in one way or another, have acquired a partial divinity that makes them stronger, but it hinders the worship of the gods. You should remove the mention of the connection of the demigods with specific gods. The demigods simply receive at certain levels abilities, partially or completely similar to those given by the gods. (You can add unique abilities). Killing enemies, the demigods receive divine energy, the current amount affects the power of passive abilities and it is spent on activating active abilities.

An example of a recycled ability.
Power in meditation: increases the base attributes by 10 and gives Clarity (at the very end). It also reduces the speed of movement. This ability can be activated, which removes the penalty, but begins to give magic contamination, while the ability is active, Berserk and Speed automatically activate it and generate additional magic contamination.

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 17:26

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Fingolfin wrote:Achilles had no divine power, his invulnerability came from him being dipped in the Styx by Thetis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thetis#Thetis_as_goddess
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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 18:50

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Sorry my phrasing was ambiguous, I meant that Achilles' invulnerability does not derive from any intrinsic divine ancestry, but came from external factors. Like Heracles, he is a demigod and that makes him mightier than regular humans, but he doesn't have any "divine abilities" (apart from high stats and HP ;) ) like you seemed to imply in your above post :

mattlistener wrote:It's hard to let go the idea that Demigods are *supposed* to have divine-origin abilities that separate them from mortals.

Ancient: Achilles' invulnerability, Hercules' strength.
Recent: Diana (Wonder Woman), Maui (Moana).


Crawl demigods are conceptually close to those ancient demigods
3 runes : MiMo^Ru, HOFi^Beogh, TrMo^Yredelemnul, GrFi^Ru
4 runes : DDFi^Makhleb
5 runes : GrEE^Vehumet
15 runes : MiFi^Ru, NaWz^Sif Muna
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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 21:11

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Species musings:

I do not have any fleshed out pitches yet, but for those who want to help, here are the directions I've thought about so far that may have some merit (or even if they're bad, maybe they shake loose a better idea for you!).

"Trickster"

The "trickster" is a common-thread character archetype across tons of stories, cultures, and mythos. It is not always a deity and not always opposed to the gods or stealing from the gods... but it can be, and sometimes is. I also don't think it would be crazy to combine multiple sources of inspiration. There exists, for example, a lizard-like humanoid trickster, and elsewhere exists characters who steal powers from the gods (most famously, Prometheus).

Construct

It is easily within the range of Crawl's existing lore to imagine magical experiments creating a living being that manifests godly powers. I don't know the best form to imagine the actual species as, but if fleshed out I think this could be a great direction.

Angel/Demon hybrid species ("Archon" or "Pariah")

Imagining the intersection of angels and demons, there could be strong fantasy of a species with inherent and powerful closeness to the gods, while yet being shunned by them because of their abominable (perhaps even threatening) nature.

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 22:15

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

@Realz, where are you at in terms of wanting reactions to the divine abilities? How did you choose which abilities to work with?

I noticed that manifesting most gods (Ru, Trog) doesn't require any of the game play adjustments that you'd make if you worshipped them normally, but manifesting Chei does hit the player with slow movement. From a fantasy aspect it seems off to have to make a sacrifice for Chei but not for any other form of divine heritage. I'm thinking that if I got hit with a curveball only once in a while I'd be frustrated, but if I got a curveball every time I chose this species I'd be cool with it. Maybe there was some special reason though?

I notice you left out several gods--I assume because they didn't easily fit into your scheme? I can't imagine what an appropriate way to manifest Xom would be, for example. Nemelex's abilities are all oriented around Nemelex gifts so that's another weird one. OTOH Fedhas would seem to fit right in.

I'll try to play this at least a little in the next few days so I can give better feedback.

mattlistener wrote:Changeling -- A child of unknown origin planted with normal parents by fairies. This is not a shapeshifter, but a seemingly-normal humanoid whose mysterious (divine) nature manifests as they grow older.


I like this name suggestion. Foundling would also fit.

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Post Thursday, 24th May 2018, 00:47

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

cjo wrote:@Realz, where are you at in terms of wanting reactions to the divine abilities? How did you choose which abilities to work with?

Super interested in feedback, both gut reactions and especially playtesting feedback. I would be very surprised if these lists represent the exact end state. The short version of 'How' is that they were chosen by some rounds of iteration that attempted to figure out what powers and abilities "make sense" in a normal god kit. Uskayaw and Gozag are right out. Some abilities for a god are fine while others aren't (like Chei's Step from Time is fine, but Slouch is not since you aren't usually slower than enemies). It's a curated list, and some things that were borderline I left out pending more feedback (like god gifts... all are out for now as a rule, but some could make sense like Yred as a god in the passive bucket).

cjo wrote:I noticed that manifesting most gods (Ru, Trog) doesn't require any of the game play adjustments that you'd make if you worshipped them normally, but manifesting Chei does hit the player with slow movement. From a fantasy aspect it seems off to have to make a sacrifice for Chei but not for any other form of divine heritage. I'm thinking that if I got hit with a curveball only once in a while I'd be frustrated, but if I got a curveball every time I chose this species I'd be cool with it. Maybe there was some special reason though?

The rule is no conduct restrictions, but I don't view Chei's passive as a conduct, it just is the power. The power is, you're slow and gain stats... but as a Demigod you can also use a Haste potion or Berserk and it's fine. TSO's passives give you Halo, which mean you can't go invisible, but that's just because that's what the power does. Another example is Qazlal's clouds which still generate noise, and yet another is Hep's -10% HP in order to manifest your ancestor... all the same idea.

cjo wrote:I notice you left out several gods--I assume because they didn't easily fit into your scheme? I can't imagine what an appropriate way to manifest Xom would be, for example. Nemelex's abilities are all oriented around Nemelex gifts so that's another weird one. OTOH Fedhas would seem to fit right in.

I answered some of this in the reply to "how?" just above, but yeah, right now it's basically just everything that is a natural fit.

- Some exclusions are obvious no-go (Uskayaw, Xom).
- Some exclusions aren't as immediately obvious, but it's clear they don't really work outside of that god's total kit (like Slouch, and this is also where I felt Fedhas powers fell... but if you can make an argument for them, great).
- Some exclusions are just really bad, too often (Shadow Step).
- Some exclusions are because that god's powers would be overrepresented and that god would 'show up' in that bucket too often relative to others (Ely's Lesser Heal fit both this and the previous category).

The ones I need the most feedback on are anything borderline. Most importantly, we need to answer questions like... How many abilities in each bucket provides the right amount of variance? How many total abilities is correct just in general? What from the current list should we cut (like Time Bend, which I'm leaning towards cutting for being too weak)? Are there any not currently on the list that should be added (for example, a case can be made for Yred as passive to gain undead followers, or Nemelex as passive to create decks)?

Ultimately... what configuration is the most fun? What guidelines (explicit or that can be sussed out) make future development decisions easy, instead of a headache?

I didn't poop out an exact perfect design first try, and even what you see here is a product of tons of revision, intentional design choices, and response to both gut-reaction and playtesting feedback. I intend to keep iterating from here, but I'm at the point where I need wider feedback and playtesting, which is why it's posted here =)

cjo wrote:I'll try to play this at least a little in the next few days so I can give better feedback.

Great, thanks! One of the most valuable things in order to move forward with iterations on designs is playtesting feedback. I look forward to it =D

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Post Thursday, 24th May 2018, 03:14

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Realz wrote:The rule is no conduct restrictions, but I don't view Chei's passive as a conduct, it just is the power. The power is, you're slow and gain stats... but as a Demigod you can also use a Haste potion or Berserk and it's fine. TSO's passives give you Halo, which mean you can't go invisible, but that's just because that's what the power does. Another example is Qazlal's clouds which still generate noise, and yet another is Hep's -10% HP in order to manifest your ancestor... all the same idea.
I don't think the slowness and stat gain are coupled any more than the slowness and Chei's other abilities are. Chei gives you higher stats as you gain piety. Chei also happens to slow you as you gain piety. The slowness isn't causing the increased stats or vice versa, otherwise nagas would get a bigger stat bonus and centaurs would get a smaller one.
Beside that, increased movement delay is crippling and getting stats in exchange but not Chei's other abilities is an awful trade for most characters. Most players are just going to quit when they get that.

Hepliaklqana may be flavoured as using "a fragment of your life essence" to create the ancestor, but the -10% HP wasn't added for flavour, it was added to give the god an immediate disadvantage to make up for the immediate advantage of getting the ancestor (most gods do not give you anything instantly upon worship). It is effectively the god's conduct. I don't think it should be on this species either.

Also, don't go by whether the ability appears on the "Powers" screen or not.

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Post Thursday, 24th May 2018, 03:24

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

bel wrote:But let's assume for the sake of argument that HE deserved to be axed. Let's first clarify the point at issue -- because the discussion threatens to become confusing (I already see duvessa's post which is confusing).

Let there be two separate species -- "atheist Ogre" (AOg) and "theist Ogre" (TOg). You say that the difference between AOg and Dg playstyle is less than the difference in playstyle between HE and TOg, HE and Mf, HE and Te.

If I have misunderstood your point, let me know. Now, we can discuss.

I say the differences in practice between the hybrid playstyles of Ogres and Demigods are less interesting than the differences between Ogres and High Elves.

bel wrote:The main problem with the two paragraphs in which you detail the argument, is that there's too much handwaving. You assert that there are no "fundamental differences" between AOg and Dg. Yet you did not address the biggest point I made: Dg start with +2MP. Would you say that there's no fundamental difference between having 5 MP on D1 vs 3 MP on D1? That's a 66% difference. At XL5, with reasonable training, a DgFE has 11 MP which AOg has 9 MP. That's a 22% difference. As I said in my last post, you vastly underestimate the difference which the extra Dg stats make in the beginning.

Let's now look at the middle game. A reasonable breakpoint would be the end of Lair. I looked at a few morgues of DgFE and OgFE (with worship, which we'll ignore, because we're considering AOg), who died in Lair 4, 5 or 6. Here's a table:
Spoiler: show
AOgFE DgFE Absolute difference
Max HP 145 110 24%
Max MP 32 31 0%
AC 7.4 8.7 18%
EV + SH 11.1 21 90%
Str 16 11.7 27%
Int 22.7 28.7 26%
Dex 9.9 15.3 55%

Let's now consider differences between HEAE and TeAE:
Spoiler: show
HEAE TeAE Absolute Difference
Max HP 78.1 74.4 4%
Max MP 36.2 30.3 16%
AC 10.8 10.3 4%
EV+SH 17.0 18.5 9%
Str 8.5 12.6 48%
Int 25.6 23.1 10%
Dex 19.4 18.1 6.7%

Just visually inspecting the tables shows that the first table has vastly more differences than the second one. (You can calculate the L1 and L2 norms of the differences if you like.)

The differences are so large that the arbitrary choices I made, and the small sample sizes, probably won't matter. You can try other combinations if you feel like doing it.

Here are the Sequell queries I ran:
Spoiler: show
!lg * OgFE 0.21 br=Lair lvl=(4|5|6) x=avg(MHP)
!lg * DgFE 0.21 br=Lair lvl=(4|5|6) x=avg(MHP)
!lg * HEAE 0.19 br=Lair lvl=(4|5|6) x=avg(MHP)
!lg * TeAE 0.19 br=Lair lvl=(4|5|6) x=avg(MHP)

I suspect the main issue between us is that you want to apply objective criteria to something which I feel must necessarily be subjective. High Elves were removed because they "were a relatively uninteresting species in terms of gameplay" that "felt somewhat" like other species. Further, they were becoming "increasingly redundant". These are all abstract concepts; while laudable, I don't think your attempt to apply numbers to them really gets at the heart of the matter.

When I say the differences between Demigods and Ogres created by such things as Demigods starting with more Dex or +2 MP aren't fundamental, I don't want to suggest they aren't or can't be impactful. Obviously, having extra MP at the start changes things about your game (for the record, it's not always a difference of 2 because Ogres have a higher Spellcasting aptitude - a DgWz has only 1 more MP than an OgWz). I mean that they aren't different in such a way that, in practice, becomes interesting. To try to illustrate this point, imagine we now introduce a Demigod-er species that's exactly the same as Demigod but with +4 MP and a Demigod-est species with +6 MP. The Demigod-er Fire Elementalist would have 40% more MP to begin than the regular Demigod and Demigod-est would have 80% more. Now, would I be underestimating the impact of that additional MP if I said those differences were uninteresting? I submit those species would all play in fundamentally the same way, feel somewhat like each other and be largely redundant.

Again, I want to applaud the effort you made to create those tables. I just don't think they tell a meaningful story. Relatively small differences between things can, in practice, lead to very large and fundamentally different outcomes. And the reverse can be true, too. Humans and chimpanzee share 98.8% of their DNA and, with only a 1.2% difference between the species, it sounds like the two should be almost identical. In practice, however, we can see the differences are absolutely fundamental (and interesting!).

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Post Thursday, 24th May 2018, 05:53

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Before I address your philosophical/subjective points, let me first point out that the example you gave actually supports the approach I outlined above. So there's no contradiction between "objective" and "subjective" arguments in this case.

To see this, suppose you apply the (patented) "bel's two-population test" to "Demigod-er vs Demigod" or "Demigod-ish vs Demigod". You'll find that right hand column will have zeroes for all the rows except for MP. And even in that row, the differences would be somewhere in the 10-20% range.

Therefore, you find that my approach gives the same answer as your subjective belief that Demigod-er and Demigod-ish are too similar to Demigod to be worth bothering about.

This demonstration is almost on par with the solar eclipse in 1919 which confirmed Einstein's relativity theory. And this experiment is correct, while that experiment was wrong! I am so excited! "bel's two-population test" will revolutionize Crawl development! I AM GONNA BE RICH!

---------------------------------

Anyway, first: you have misread the commit for HE removal. The commit (by gammafunk) does not say that HE and Og were similar, rather it says that HE and Te were similar -- that's the first sentence. The Ogre part was by another dev (MarvinPA) and was making a different point: that new Ogre offers even more options for the "hybrid magic/melee" playstyle. It does not say that HE and Og were similar.

In the previous post you referred to the HE/Te comparison as the main reason and the HE/Og comparison as the "2nd argument". I am not going to address the 2nd argument here, because it's just a side point.
---------------------------------

Coming to your subjective points: I have no problem with subjective arguments -- indeed my first arguments were subjective -- but there's a difference between arguments of the form "I like this flavour of ice-cream" vs "this species is not meaningfully different from the other species". As the proverb says, there cannot be arguments about taste: each person is the ultimate arbiter of taste.

Suppose you were willing, in principle, to change your mind about whether Dg offers a different playstyle which is found nowhere else. What kind of evidence are you looking for? If no evidence is going to change your mind, we can throw reasons at each other till we're blue in the face, and it's going to lead nowhere.

--------------------------------------
The argument about DNA doesn't make any sense to me. The point is that people (or chimpanzees) do not experience DNA directly. But you do experience differences in hair color, social organization, diet, language and so on. Those are the things that matter in the life of a given chimpanzee or human, not how much their DNA is different.

The factors I chose, like Max HP, AC and Int, are immediately and "subjectively" important for everyone. As evidence, I present to you DCA, which contains at least one thread a week about which armour to wear or what spells to learn. If you think there are other relevant factors, list those as well, and one can compare.

Spoiler: show
Btw, if you're interested, Dawes (1979) provides a very simple way to make decisions and predictions: when comparing two things, you list all relevant factors, weight them all equally, and add. This simple model does better than many sophisticated statistical models or intuitions for predicting a range of things. This approach has the advantage that it can be easily applied by human beings: we tend to be better at identifying relevant factors, but with no idea on how to weight them.

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Post Thursday, 24th May 2018, 22:03

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

I tried this out a bit. I wanted quick games and I wanted the same background so I could more directly contrast divine effects, so I chose gladiator with polearms three times running. I'm not the best player and I was rushing, so all of these died before reaching L15.

Game 1: manifested Qazal, then Trog->berserk. Getting Qazal was both very cool and really awful--I rarely choose Qazal and so I'm not adept at managing the noise. I liked getting pushed into something new, but also fund it stressful. When I got berserk, I used it a couple of times, but in general it felt extra risky when I never knew if more enemies were already on the way toward me. I muddled on ok for a while, but in lair I had a hard time not getting swarmed. Still, I stayed alive until I entered a minotaur maze.Then I entered a minotaur maze. I died to a misstep--I haven't set up whatever the offline equivalent of an rc file is, I rounded a corner and got hit with a javelin but hit the next key without even noticing. Thus in the end it mostly wasn't Qazal's fault.

Game 2: manifested Chei, then Elyvilon->heal other. Same reaction as the first game: cool+oh crap! My limited experience with Chei games is that they go great until they don't. Playing Chei without the actives....well... when I found an early book of minor magic, I thought I'd try hybridizing early and maybe conjure flames would save me in the lair. Getting heal other was pretty meh. I love heal other but it works best at high power and I was already juggling too many skills. Heck, maybe chasing the spells in the book of minor magic was a mistake. I dunno, I don't really know how to play Chei. Somehow I muddled along until I entered a volcano. Honestly I thought it would be fine as I had two rings of protection from fire. What got me though was salamanders with bows.

Game 3: Dithmenos, then Zin->vitalization. Now this is a sharp contrast from the first two games! A bunch of passive bonuses plus an active ability which works well at low skill. I never saw Dith's smoke manifest until 6* piety, btw, and if my shadow ever attacked anything, I missed it. (Honestly I was half asleep for this game so I may have just missed it.) Sadly I was at 6* for only a short time as I put on an un-ID'd amulet of faith, which affects piety for this race. In retrospect I should have just left it on. Anyway, I lost focus and died on lair 6.

****
How it feels
The early game passives affected me much more dramatically than the level 10 active. Moreover, these passives didn't feel like they came from the blood of the gods in my veins. Subjectively they felt much more like something enforced from outside. I felt a lot like a lost child who wandered around for a few years, then got tracked down by Mom & Pop who then said, "All right kiddo, here's the rules! This is how you live now!" I also felt a lot like I'd converted at an unknown altar. This very definitely does NOT feel like an atheist species.

About conducts. You can think of a conduct as something a player voluntarily refrains from doing, but in Crawl you can also think of conducts as a change to the rules of the game that comes about from choosing a god. Qazal's conduct is coping with noise. Chei's conduct is moving slowly. Hep's conduct is -10% health. In three games, I essentially got hit with two fairly significant conducts, even though in Chei's case some of the details were different. Part of me would love to see every deity represented, but another part of me doesn't really want as much chaos as this version holds. I don't really have a conclusion--I guess it depends on your design goals. How many curve balls do you want to lob?

About abilities. I think it might be interesting to mix up the passives, so instead of getting a predictable package deal from one god, you get a variety. You could also then split them up by power. Maybe move some of the 1-3* actives earlier and some of the more powerful passives to L10. OTOH this would probably involve a ton of extra programming and would muddy things in terms of which gods you emulate.

I have more thoughts but I'm out of time.

I had fun trying this and think it's a neat idea!

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Post Friday, 25th May 2018, 00:27

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

cjo - thank you for your feedback! Conveying how it felt, what you liked, what you didn't like... is very helpful.

Here's some commentary on parts that stuck out to me.

cjo wrote:Getting Qazal was both very cool and really awful--I rarely choose Qazal and so I'm not adept at managing the noise. I liked getting pushed into something new, but also fund it stressful.

cjo wrote:Same reaction as the first game: cool+oh crap!

cjo wrote:maybe chasing the spells in the book of minor magic was a mistake. I dunno, I don't really know how to play Chei.

I'm glad you got Qaz/Chei in your games. I do expect this to be a species worthy of the 'advanced' tag, and being a bit uncertain because of some unfamiliarity in your case is okay. Stretching comfort zones or influencing a character's build is great, but I'm keeping an eye on whether or not Chei represents more punish than a scary-but-interesting/powerful enabler.

cjo wrote:The early game passives affected me much more dramatically than the level 10 active.

Intentional! It makes sense that the passives will often be the most influential, so being the earliest thing you get is good, so that you have more time to react to their significant influence and maybe even build into it.

cjo wrote:Moreover, these passives didn't feel like they came from the blood of the gods in my veins.

Unfortunate. I wonder if you were subtly influenced by incorrect text that hasn't been changed to represent the correct flavour. That said, I mark this as a vote in favour of an alternative, custom species being kitted to match the mechanics more closely (instead of being Demigod).

cjo wrote:This very definitely does NOT feel like an atheist species.

I think this sounds right - although not flavoured as direct worship, mechanically there is god gameplay.

cjo wrote:You can think of a conduct as something a player voluntarily refrains from doing

Indeed.

cjo wrote:but in Crawl you can also think of conducts as a change to the rules of the game that comes about from choosing a god.

Also true. I've chosen the former with intention based mostly on 'feel' that some things are so tightly linked and painful to separate. It's easy to separate "no stabbing" if you get TSO as part of your kit, but impossible to remove inability to go invisible... I feel similarly about Qaz noise, Chei's slow=stats, Hep's frail... I understand this is controversial at the moment and I look forward to discussing it more.

cjo wrote:I guess it depends on your design goals. How many curve balls do you want to lob?

I really like the idea that games can be, and will be different. It's an advanced species, playing it is opt-in, and it doesn't offend me at all that a casual player's approach might be quitting if they don't get what they want at XL 5. I do want to avoid whammies so powerful that the advanced crowd is being frustrated in a significant number of games instead of being challenged. Variance and challenge are fun, being 'forced' to do tedious things is not. Chei is popular and enables very interesting games and characters, so for now I'm hoping it's much more the former.

cjo wrote:I think it might be interesting to mix up the passives, so instead of getting a predictable package deal from one god, you get a variety.

An interesting idea, although I do worry about complexity, messaging, fantasy, and the extra angle to consider for balance.

cjo wrote:Maybe move some of the 1-3* actives earlier and some of the more powerful passives to L10.

Complexity again gives me pause, but more importantly as I described earlier, the passives are often the most influential and moving them to XL 10 would do the opposite of what I want (which is to give players opportunity to react and build around what they get). That doesn't make your idea bad, but that's the approach I have for now.

cjo wrote:I have more thoughts but I'm out of time.

Awesome, I super appreciate the feedback, very helpful.

cjo wrote:I had fun trying this and think it's a neat idea!

Cool! Glad you like it, I hope it can improve from here =)

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Post Friday, 25th May 2018, 07:43

Re: Redesign Proposal - Demigod (or, a new Species?)

Realz wrote:
cjo wrote:I guess it depends on your design goals. How many curve balls do you want to lob?

I really like the idea that games can be, and will be different. It's an advanced species, playing it is opt-in, and it doesn't offend me at all that a casual player's approach might be quitting if they don't get what they want at XL 5. I do want to avoid whammies so powerful that the advanced crowd is being frustrated in a significant number of games instead of being challenged. Variance and challenge are fun, being 'forced' to do tedious things is not. Chei is popular and enables very interesting games and characters, so for now I'm hoping it's much more the former.
I submit that Chei's popularity is because of people being attracted to Chei's abilities, not Chei's slowness. Otherwise I'd expect nagas to be a lot more popular. Inheriting Chei's passives on this race gives you the slowness but not the abilities.

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