Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race


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Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 12:38

Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

Hello,
currently Gnoll appears as an "intermediate" race. I suggest to move it to the "simple" column.

I understand that not being able to focus your most important skills is a problem for better players, but that's already something complete newbies may take a while to take advantage of. Moreover newbies tend to try lots of new things, and sometimes like a randart so much that they start training the corresponding skill from zero spreading their point to thinly.

So Gnolls are a great starting race: you can try anything you want (and Gnolls have no armor limitations), pick any spellbook and cast any new spell you find. If you find a nice randart you can switch to it. And so on: basically I think new player's strategy is naturally a good fit for Gnolls (and viceversa).

I'm not a great player (only finished twice: DrTm and GnFE, and got very far with GrEE) and yet I quickly mastered Gnoll and soon finished a game with it.

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Post Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 22:47

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

Not to confuse the matter, I agree with you - except I feel that for experienced players, the not being able to focus skills isn't really much of a problem. It's outweighed by the enormous aptitudes and getting synergy out of having a bit of everything. Gnolls feel pretty easy to me *and* they are simple.

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Post Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 23:50

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

I have Gn as the 5th best species in the game fwiw
Remove spell hunger.

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Post Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 03:19

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

I probably agree with your main point more than I disagree with it, but I'm not sure winning one game with gnoll counts as mastery.

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Post Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 06:38

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

Hellmonk wrote:I have Gn as the 5th best species in the game fwiw

Gn is my best species with 1/1=100% wins :)
...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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Mines Malingerer

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Post Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 09:41

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

Pekkekke wrote:I probably agree with your main point more than I disagree with it, but I'm not sure winning one game with gnoll counts as mastery.

Fine. What's a good word for "I don't die before Lair and get consistently to Swamp/Pit"? Anyway this seems OT, and more of a lawyery point.

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Post Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 16:27

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

So the current definition of "basic" isnt "powerful" but rather "doesn't have any complications which make it an unusual race to play"

In terms of its *typicalness* gnolls are not basic, but, particularly in regards to the early game they have a lot of simplicity, you dont have to think about what to train, can use anything you come across, and are above the power curve at least through the lair (probably a bit beyond)

Some additional complexity arises in that your lack of specialization means making decisions about which spells to memorize, and which equipment to use is more complicated, but i think by in large that is balanced by the simplicity around training.

So the real question is do we want the racial categories to represent ease of play, or typicalness of play.
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Mines Malingerer

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Post Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 20:40

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be

Siegurt wrote:So the current definition of "basic" isnt "powerful" but rather "doesn't have any complications which make it an unusual race to play"

In terms of its *typicalness* gnolls are not basic, but, particularly in regards to the early game they have a lot of simplicity, you dont have to think about what to train, can use anything you come across, and are above the power curve at least through the lair (probably a bit beyond)

I agree with your definitions. But I think what you (an expert player) consider typical is not a concept that a beginner would understand. Because it doesn't force the player to make and commit to choices that they hardly understand, e.g. choosing between different weapon types or how to divide XPs among skills, it's a simpler race to play.

In comparison to Gnolls, Draconians seem a lot harder to use, imho. For a start you never know which colour you will get. Moreover Draconians can't use either armor or helmets, giving the character less slots that could offer protections (not to mention DrTm that would also lose protections from unique weapons, gloves, or shields). Finally there's more things for players to learn to use, like the breath attack.

So aside from Gnolls being powerful, my main point is that they are both simple and a especially well matched to beginner players who don't know what is and isn't typical in dcss.

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Post Thursday, 31st May 2018, 06:12

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be

Antares wrote:
Siegurt wrote:So the current definition of "basic" isnt "powerful" but rather "doesn't have any complications which make it an unusual race to play"

In terms of its *typicalness* gnolls are not basic, but, particularly in regards to the early game they have a lot of simplicity, you dont have to think about what to train, can use anything you come across, and are above the power curve at least through the lair (probably a bit beyond)

I agree with your definitions. But I think what you (an expert player) consider typical is not a concept that a beginner would understand. Because it doesn't force the player to make and commit to choices that they hardly understand, e.g. choosing between different weapon types or how to divide XPs among skills, it's a simpler race to play.

In comparison to Gnolls, Draconians seem a lot harder to use, imho. For a start you never know which colour you will get. Moreover Draconians can't use either armor or helmets, giving the character less slots that could offer protections (not to mention DrTm that would also lose protections from unique weapons, gloves, or shields). Finally there's more things for players to learn to use, like the breath attack.

So aside from Gnolls being powerful, my main point is that they are both simple and a especially well matched to beginner players who don't know what is and isn't typical in dcss.


I'm not especially arguing that "expected-ness" is the *best* measure of what should go in that category, I'm just saying that that's how things are now.

I think it's perfectly reasonably to argue that "easiest to play" (in either powerful-ness or less-decision-ness varieties) should be the measure of what goes in the 'simple' category, and was attempting to clarify that shifting the type of criteria used would make gnolls fit naturally into the category of "simple"
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Post Friday, 7th September 2018, 20:26

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

I've submitted a feature request on Mantis:
FR: move Gnoll from "intermediate" to "Simple" species
https://crawl.develz.org/mantis/view.php?id=11669
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Post Friday, 7th September 2018, 20:40

Allow * focused skills training?

Gnolls have all their skills: + selected.
Has there ever been a discussion about allowing them to change their skills training to also allow for: * focused ?
This would allow new crawlers to learn more about skill investments without allowing for huge mistakes, which on other species is often a source of a pre-Lair YAPD (Yet Another Preventable Death).

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Post Friday, 7th September 2018, 20:46

Re: Allow * focused skills training?

RoGGa wrote:Gnolls have all their skills: + selected.
Has there ever been a discussion about allowing them to change their skills training to also allow for: * focused ?
This would allow new crawlers to learn more about skill investments without allowing for huge mistakes, which on other species is often a source of a pre-Lair YAPD (Yet Another Preventable Death).

There hasn't afaik, and it would run a bit counter to their primary shtick (that their skill points are all divided equally at a greatly increased aptitude) I think that the entire point of gnolls is to be able to not care about skill investment.
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Swamp Slogger

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Post Friday, 7th September 2018, 21:42

Re: Allow * focused skills training?

Siegurt wrote:There hasn't afaik, and it would run a bit counter to their primary shtick (that their skill points are all divided equally at a greatly increased aptitude) I think that the entire point of gnolls is to be able to not care about skill investment.

I agree; I'm just trying to think of a way to make it an even more appealing race for new crawlers so that they could learn easily about Skills Training.

With 31 skills all being trained simultaneously, each skill get ~3.23% share of gained experience allocation.
If one of the skills is focused, that means '+' selected skills would get 3.125% investment and the sole focused one would get 6.25%
If two of the skills is focused, that means '+' selected skills would get ~3% investment and the two focused ones would get ~6%
If more skills were to be focused, then the investment for those would be <6%.
(These above percentages assume that the skills training would be locked to "manual".)

My major concern is with how this could affect expert crawlers (which I am not one). Would it make Gnolls over powered?
My guess is it would/could ...since elemental backgrounds would be able to access the highest level spells for their background once they started extended.
(I'm basing this on the experience of finding a Manual early, which allows for that 1 skill to reach levels 25-27 in a 3-run game.)

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Post Friday, 7th September 2018, 23:25

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

The point of gnolls is that you can't modify skill training. Being able to modify their skill training is not a good idea.

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Post Saturday, 8th September 2018, 00:49

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

The complexity of gnolls comes from the vast number of options they always have available thanks to being automatically trained in every weapon, every spell, evocations, throwing, shields...

I agree they are a top five race when it comes to overall power.

Draconians should move to intermediate and Humans should move to simple.
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Post Saturday, 8th September 2018, 01:40

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

chequers wrote:The point of gnolls is that you can't modify skill training. Being able to modify their skill training is not a good idea.

So how would you go about teaching new crawlers playing offline the importance of skills training? (without any spoilers other than the LearnDB)
Currently, there doesn't seem to me to be any of that anywhere in the game's documentation.
Also, just the fact that "automatic" skills training is the default (and that it's likely impossible to win a game with most combos) is setting new crawlers to fail miserably.
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Post Saturday, 8th September 2018, 01:46

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

Rast wrote:I agree they are a top five race when it comes to overall power.

I'm even wondering if a Gnoll hybrid combo should be added to the hints mode as a fourth option.

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Post Saturday, 8th September 2018, 04:01

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

RoGGa wrote:
chequers wrote:The point of gnolls is that you can't modify skill training. Being able to modify their skill training is not a good idea.

So how would you go about teaching new crawlers playing offline the importance of skills training? (without any spoilers other than the LearnDB)
Currently, there doesn't seem to me to be any of that anywhere in the game's documentation.
Also, just the fact that "automatic" skills training is the default (and that it's likely impossible to win a game with most combos) is setting new crawlers to fail miserably.

I think for MiBe or similar, automatic skill training is fine.

I don't think you can use Gnolls to teach players how skill training works even with your proposed change, because the Gnoll skilling system is so radically different from all other species.

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Post Monday, 10th September 2018, 19:30

Re: Proposal: Gnoll should be "simple" race

Gnolls don't belong in simple and humans definitely don't.

Playing gnoll well means having a mastery of all of the game's systems instead of just one. It means optimizing from every armour/weapon encountered and every spell found to make up for not excelling in any one particular area. It can make for a powerful species but only if that versatility can be exploited.

On the other hand draconian deserves to be in simple because of how well it works for casters and hybrids. You've got all the benefits of casting in a robe except (including a free resist) with +13 AC, +10% hit points, +1 fighting, and decent melee apts. It's not as ridiculous as gargoyle (nothing is), but it's a caster that doesn't need to fear walking down stairs or running out of MP.

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