Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres


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

Zot Zealot

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 16:06

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Well, you are right to take the claim "you do not have to fight the whole pack at once" as true, because it is true. I do not follow the logic how this implies to remove *all* (not fast) packs. The fact that some monsters are bad enemies does not imply to remove them without any other change. You may change some characteristics, and at least generation weights, etc. As gammafunk pointed out if a monster is a bad enemy there are many possibilities.

In the case of deep troll packs I would not mind removing them or not, it would not change depths much.

bel

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 16:18

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

We don't have to debate this point, because duvessa agrees with me:
duvessa wrote:
bel wrote:the claim that "you don't have to fight them all at once" is simply ridiculous: using that logic, there is no point to any pack in the game.

I think this is pretty much true for slow packs, and to a lesser extent for melee packs in general.

Unless I misread them (duvessa can correct me), they say explicitly that there's is no point to any speed <=10 pack.

It seems to me that you have yourself not grasped the implications of duvessa's claim.

Zot Zealot

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 16:22

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Maybe I misunderstood you (or duvessa). I thought that she would agree that the game would be better if all (or almost all) slow packs were changed, for example, to make them faster, or make them not a pack, or give them some ability so you cannot run away so easily and cannot separate them so easily, or maybe change their pack behaviour so they do not cripple themselves, or considering any other change that makes them less annoying. And I thought that you spoke about simply removing all such packs, and that's why you think the claim is radical.

The thing is, changing all such packs does not seem that radical to me, but I personally would not mind if a few slow packs remains. Right now however there are many, and in Depths (and Vaults) they are especially annoying.

For me it seems strange that you call a claim "ridiculous" when it seems to be true.

bel

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 17:09

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Your sentence has two parts:
sanka wrote:I thought that she would agree that the game would be better if all (or almost all) slow packs were changed, for example, to make them faster, or make them not a pack [...]

If you do this, there will be no speed-10 packs left.

sanka wrote:[..] or give them some ability so you cannot run away so easily and cannot separate them so easily, or maybe change their pack behaviour so they do not cripple themselves, or considering any other change that makes them less annoying.

Rather vague, don't you think? As I said above, the devil is in the details. Nobody has proposed any details about this, so I can only surmise that the first option would be the one they favour: namely, no speed-10 packs.

Spoiler: show
Incidentally, this discussion reminded me of something. I have come to the horrible conclusion that while in my soul I am a revolutionary (I like Hellcrawl very much, for instance), by temperament, I am rather conservative. I might even be a bleeding reactionary. If I lived in the 18th century, I have a sneaking suspicion that I would be writing pamphlets like "Reflections on the Revolution in France". This realization horrifies me, and goes against my every political instinct. It has been very disorienting to my real-life political views. Anyone have any suggestions?

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 17:21

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

It is just a fantasy that you will not fight more than one speed-10 enemy at a time. You will. If you have to stairdance, you will. If you are in the open without a killhole available, you will. If you got shafted or stuck away from stairs and the level is uncleared, you have to fight where you are or risk a dangerous teleport, and if you walk away you risk waking up more things. If there are fast monsters mixed in with the speed-10 ones, walking away means you can take a lot of damage, and fighting where you are means you will get surrounded by the speed-10 ones.
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Zot Zealot

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 17:29

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

What I do not understand is not that it is vague or not, but why it is radical, and especially why the radical implication? If a mechanic leads to bad gameplay, than yes, it follows that most likely you would have a better game that if you change it somehow to something better. It does not make a claim that a mechanic is bad inherently radical to me.

Of course, there could be a huge number of possibilities *how* we should change the game. And of course it can be different from pack to pack. It does not even excludes the possibility to leave a few packs, as a tedious mechanic that is everywhere is much worse than one which only happens a few times during a game. The tedious is not so tedious if you only need to do it once.

But again, I think I misunderstood you. I thought that you think that *removing* all slow packs is a radical idea. Well, indeed. Now it seems that you think that changing the game so that there are no more slow pack as now (or at least much, much less) is a radical idea. Well, I do not think it is. There is a mechanic, how packs behave, and it simply does not work well on not fast monsters.

Zot Zealot

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 17:42

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Berder wrote:It is just a fantasy that you will not fight more than one speed-10 enemy at a time. You will. If you have to stairdance, you will. If you are in the open without a killhole available, you will. If you got shafted or stuck away from stairs and the level is uncleared, you have to fight where you are or risk a dangerous teleport, and if you walk away you risk waking up more things. If there are fast monsters mixed in with the speed-10 ones, walking away means you can take a lot of damage, and fighting where you are means you will get surrounded by the speed-10 ones.


I am not a very good player, and I cannot achieve 100% not fighting more than one monster at a time. However, I am pretty sure I can avoid it in most cases if I want to. I think some of your examples are not good ones.

But the main point is that the remaining cases are not more exiting with slow pack monsters. Regular monsters, faster, not pack, etc. would work just as well.When you have to fight multiple ones at once for some reason a centaur pack is not much different than a yaktaur one. However, in every other situation, and this makes up most of the game, yaktaurs are way more tedious to play against.

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 18:04

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

When you have to fight multiple ones at once for some reason a centaur pack is not much different than a yaktaur one.

What I was saying applied to speed-10 melee packs. You almost always have to fight many yaktaurs at a time. They are ranged.
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Zot Zealot

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 18:17

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Well I think can separate yactaurs most of the time if I want to. However, what I said applies to melee packs even more. Why it is useful that they are a pack? Why it is useful that they are speed-10 melee? If you really, really forced to fight more than one, because your retreat options are blocked for some reason, than surely other monsters can work just as well.

The feautre that you need to be shafted as a formicid into the middle of them to threat you does not seem to be a good property in enemies. Most situations are not like that, and those situations are more tedious because they are a speed-10 melee pack.

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 18:30

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

You already know that you can be shafted when you aren't a formicid. Why would you jump to formicid? The other cases I described were: stairdancing, fast monsters mixed in with the speed-10 ones, getting stuck out away from stairs for reasons other than being shafted (e.g. teleporting), open levels.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 18:36

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Well, it is true that most of the packs in DCSS are slow. Currently 66 of the 108 bands mostly consist of speed <= 10 monsters:
  Code:
enum band_type
{
    BAND_NO_BAND                = 0,
    BAND_KOBOLDS,
    BAND_ORCS,
    BAND_ORC_WARRIOR,
    BAND_ORC_KNIGHT,
    BAND_KILLER_BEES,
    BAND_CAUSTIC_SHRIKE,
    BAND_SHARD_SHRIKE,
    BAND_FLYING_SKULLS,
    BAND_SLIME_CREATURES,
    BAND_YAKS,
    BAND_UGLY_THINGS,
    BAND_VERY_UGLY_THINGS,
    BAND_HELL_HOUNDS,
    BAND_JACKALS,
    BAND_HELL_KNIGHTS,
    BAND_GNOLLS,
    BAND_WIGHTS,
    BAND_CENTAURS,
    BAND_YAKTAURS,
    BAND_INSUBSTANTIAL_WISPS,
    BAND_OGRE_MAGE,
    BAND_OGRE_MAGE_EXTERN,
    BAND_DEATH_YAKS,
    BAND_NECROMANCER,
    BAND_BALRUG,
    BAND_CACODEMON,
    BAND_EXECUTIONER,
    BAND_HELLWING,
    BAND_DEEP_ELF_KNIGHT,
    BAND_DEEP_ELF_HIGH_PRIEST,
    BAND_KOBOLD_DEMONOLOGIST,
    BAND_NAGAS,
    BAND_GUARDIAN_SERPENT,
    BAND_WOLVES,
    BAND_GREEN_RATS,
    BAND_HELL_RATS,
    BAND_DREAM_SHEEP,
    BAND_GHOULS,
    BAND_DEEP_TROLLS,
    BAND_DEEP_TROLL_SHAMAN,
    BAND_HOGS,
    BAND_HELL_HOGS,
    BAND_VAMPIRE_MOSQUITOES,
    BAND_FIRE_BATS,
    BAND_BOGGARTS,
    BAND_BLINK_FROGS,
    BAND_SKELETAL_WARRIORS,
    BAND_DRACONIAN,
    BAND_PANDEMONIUM_LORD,
    BAND_HARPIES,
    BAND_ILSUIW,
    BAND_AZRAEL,
    BAND_DUVESSA,
    BAND_KHUFU,
    BAND_GOLDEN_EYE,
    BAND_PIKEL,
    BAND_MERFOLK_AQUAMANCER,
    BAND_MERFOLK_IMPALER,
    BAND_MERFOLK_JAVELINEER,
    BAND_ALLIGATOR,
    BAND_ELEPHANT,
    BAND_REDBACK,
    BAND_JUMPING_SPIDER,
    BAND_TARANTELLA,
    BAND_POLYPHEMUS,
    BAND_VAULT_WARDEN,
    BAND_DEATH_KNIGHT,
    BAND_JIANGSHI,
    BAND_FAUNS,
    BAND_TENGU,
    BAND_SOJOBO,
    BAND_SPRIGGANS,
    BAND_SPRIGGAN_ELITES,
    BAND_ENCHANTRESS,
    BAND_SPRIGGAN_DRUID,
    BAND_SPRIGGAN_RIDERS,
    BAND_PHANTASMAL_WARRIORS,
    BAND_THRASHING_HORRORS,
    BAND_RAIJU,
    BAND_FAUN_PARTY,
    BAND_NAGA_RITUALIST,
    BAND_NAGA_SHARPSHOOTER,
    BAND_SALAMANDERS,
    BAND_SALAMANDER_ELITES,
    BAND_MONSTROUS_DEMONSPAWN,
    BAND_GELID_DEMONSPAWN,
    BAND_INFERNAL_DEMONSPAWN,
    BAND_TORTUROUS_DEMONSPAWN,
    BAND_BLOOD_SAINT,
    BAND_WARMONGER,
    BAND_CORRUPTER,
    BAND_BLACK_SUN,
    BAND_VASHNIA,
    BAND_CEREBOV,
    BAND_GLOORX_VLOQ,
    BAND_LOM_LOBON,
    BAND_MNOLEG,
    BAND_DEATH_SCARABS,
    BAND_HOLIES,
    BAND_ROBIN,
    BAND_SPARK_WASPS,
    BAND_RANDOM_SINGLE,
    BAND_JOSEPHINE,
    BAND_HOWLER_MONKEY,
    BAND_MELIAI,
    BAND_ANCIENT_CHAMPIONS,
    BAND_SALTLINGS,
    BAND_DANCING_WEAPONS,
    BAND_MOLTEN_GARGOYLES,
    NUM_BANDS                   // always last
};
and as I mentioned earlier, being in a band usually slows down ugly things (and similar monsters) enough that they're effectively speed < 10. Really fast monsters like bees and harpies usually overcome this though. Bee bands are great.
When I agreed there was no point to those packs, I didn't mean there was no point to the monsters that appear in the packs. I meant that there was no point to generating them in a pack, instead of individually. I think most of these monsters work just fine individually. I am not suggesting to remove the 100+ monsters that appear in these bands.

Perhaps changing all those bands is also a radical idea, but like, I don't think it would be that big of a deal? It doesn't need to be done all at once, and DCSS adds and removes and changes and moves monsters all the time. And this hypothetical band change doesn't even add or remove any of the monsters themselves. (Do remove insubstantial wisps though)

Also, I'd make an exception for jackal and gnoll packs, because those work well on D:1-2.

Open levels are exactly the levels where packs slow themselves down the most, btw. Of course, that feature could be changed if you want.

Zot Zealot

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 18:37

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

To avoid blinking out. Or just teleport.

Stairdancing is the most strange here, since I use this tactic exactly to avoid fighting multiple monsters at once. But the other examples also do not seem as valid.

Granted, I usually fight more than one slow monster at a time. But this is not because I must, but because most monsters are popcorn in crawl, and I am not very patient.

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 19:05

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

sanka wrote:To avoid blinking out. Or just teleport.

What is this in response to? If you got shafted? Not that wise if you are capable of fighting the pack, you might land somewhere worse. You can trust me when I talk about safe tactics.

Stairdancing is the most strange here, since I use this tactic exactly to avoid fighting multiple monsters at once. But the other examples also do not seem as valid.

If you don't agree that stairdancing involves being adjacent to several enemies at a time... I don't know what to tell you. Seems like common sense. Luring an individual monster up the stairs is not really "stairdancing" but just luring it up the stairs. Stairdancing is when there are many monsters and you repeatedly go down and then up the stairs to lure up a small group at a time.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 19:30

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Being adjacent to multiple monsters is likely if you are stairdancing using a single set of stairs. However, most levels have multiple stairs. There are branch entrances of course, and the occasional vault, and V:5 (where stairdancing sucks anyway), where you have to wait a while between each stair usage if you don't want to be next to multiple monstres. But those are not the norm.

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 19:43

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Berder wrote:
sanka wrote:To avoid blinking out. Or just teleport.

Not that wise if you are capable of fighting the pack, you might land somewhere worse. You can trust me when I talk about safe tactics.


I trust you. But if you are capable of fighting a whole pack at once, then surely they are very weak enemies, aren't they?

So I considered the case when you are *not* able to fight all of them at once. I did not considere a pack of rats interesting enemies.

Of course you can simply use some strong options, like a god ability or consumable to fight all of them anyway. But the point is, if you only need to do it if you land in the middle of them, they are really lame enemies.

Berder wrote:
Stairdancing is the most strange here, since I use this tactic exactly to avoid fighting multiple monsters at once. But the other examples also do not seem as valid.

If you don't agree that stairdancing involves being adjacent to several enemies at a time... I don't know what to tell you. Seems like common sense. Luring an individual monster up the stairs is not really "stairdancing" but just luring it up the stairs. Stairdancing is when there are many monsters and you repeatedly go down and then up the stairs to lure up a small group at a time.


May bad. I thought you speak about *fighting* multiple monsters at once, not occasionally being adjacent to 2-3, although many times you can avoid it too by waiting or going to an other stair or something.

When I face a slow pack where individual monsters are strong, so I cannot kill 2 of them at the same time, it's quite easy to just separate all of them by stair dancing.

Most of the time, of course. There are rare exceptions, like Vaults$. But if a monster is rarely threatening, when the stars align, then they are not very good enemies. And there is no point in generating a huge amount of them when they are not likely to be threatening.

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 20:20

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

sanka wrote:
Berder wrote:
sanka wrote:To avoid blinking out. Or just teleport.

Not that wise if you are capable of fighting the pack, you might land somewhere worse. You can trust me when I talk about safe tactics.


I trust you. But if you are capable of fighting a whole pack at once, then surely they are very weak enemies, aren't they?

So I considered the case when you are *not* able to fight all of them at once. I did not considered a pack of rats interesting enemies.

Of course you can simply use some strong options, like a god ability or consumable to fight all of them anyway. But the point is, if you only need to do it if you land in the middle of them, they are really lame enemies.

First of all, I never said anything about landing in the middle of them. I don't know why you assumed that. The scenario is that you are stuck in the middle of no-man's-land due to a shaft, a teleport trap, a monster that teleported you, you teleporting yourself, or just poor autoexplore, and a pack notices you, perhaps from edge of LOS. You're forced to fight, or do something else risky such as teleport.

Second of all, no, there is no reason to assume they are weak enemies. You may be able to kill them only by burning a lot of consumables. Or you may not be able to kill them and be forced to teleport dangerously.

Berder wrote:
Stairdancing is the most strange here, since I use this tactic exactly to avoid fighting multiple monsters at once. But the other examples also do not seem as valid.

If you don't agree that stairdancing involves being adjacent to several enemies at a time... I don't know what to tell you. Seems like common sense. Luring an individual monster up the stairs is not really "stairdancing" but just luring it up the stairs. Stairdancing is when there are many monsters and you repeatedly go down and then up the stairs to lure up a small group at a time.


May bad. I thought you speak about *fighting* multiple monsters at once, not occasionally being adjacent to 2-3, although many times you can avoid it too by waiting or going to an other stair or something.

Descending and then ascending stairs takes 5 turns, during which your defenses are reduced. It may well take you less time than 5 turns to kill them. You may be taking more damage than if you actually had fought all of them at once. And, if the upstairs is in an open area, you may not be able to get to a chokepoint upstairs anyway, especially if there are a few fast monsters mixed in (think a yak pack accompanied by a couple black mambas). If you can't fight 2-3 of the monsters at once, you probably shouldn't be stairdancing, or you will take too much damage trying it. The purpose of stairdancing is so you don't have to fight 15 monsters at once without resting. You do need to be able to fight at least 2-3.

When I face a slow pack where individual monsters are strong, so I cannot kill 2 of them at the same time, it's quite easy to just separate all of them by stair dancing.

No, it's not, unless the stair happens to be in a corridor. How can you say this? You go downstairs and, say it's a yak pack, you'll be adjacent to 2 or 3 or 4 yaks, which will all come up with you.
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bel

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 20:30

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Nvm.

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 20:57

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Berder wrote:First of all, I never said anything about landing in the middle of them. I don't know why you assumed that. The scenario is that you are stuck in the middle of no-man's-land due to a shaft, a teleport trap, a monster that teleported you, you teleporting yourself, or just poor autoexplore, and a pack notices you, perhaps from edge of LOS. You're forced to fight, or do something else risky such as teleport.

Second of all, no, there is no reason to assume they are weak enemies. You may be able to kill them only by burning a lot of consumables. Or you may not be able to kill them and be forced to teleport dangerously.


I think you missed the point. It was not that you are actually in the middle or not. The point is: these situations are 1. Rare 2. Not improved by having a melee only speed 10 pack.

There could be a group of individually generated monsters, a fast pack like bees or centaurs, etc. They would be a good challenge here. However, in other situations, which are much, much more common, only bees and centaurs and such works well as enemies.

Berder wrote:No, it's not, unless the stair happens to be in a corridor. How can you say this? You go downstairs and, say it's a yak pack, you'll be adjacent to 2 or 3 or 4 yaks, which will all come up with you.


First I go up when there is only one yak next to me. This is usually possible, because they slow down when they swap with each other or you turn a corner. You may use some week summons/skeletons etc. if you want to. I guess there are other methods, they do not seem to always walk with the same speed.

Second, I do not come back immediately if I know there are multiple strong monster waiting at the other end. I go to an other stair instead, or wait a little bit.

I think you loose the context.
I admit that there are a few situations where you cannot do this and really need to face the pack or teleport. However, I feel this is very rare. Most pack encounters are not like this. And I feel that it's a very poor justification for a monster that in very rare cases it can be dangerous.

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 21:20

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

You keep imagining these ideal situations where everything is carefully controlled. You dismiss more dangerous situations as rare. Here is what you are missing: the dangerous situations where you are attacked by many enemies at once, are what kill players! The situations where you get to fight 1 at a time aren't even a concern.

In fact, the situations where you fight multiple enemies aren't that rare; against slow melee packs like yaks, death yaks, elephants, ugly things, slime creatures, ogres, deep trolls, vault guards, I do find that when I play a melee character I more often have to fight 2 or 3 at once than 1. There just aren't that many perfect chokepoints.

I think that as you learn to play more safely, you learn to worry more about these situations that you now dismiss as "rare." You learn to expect and prepare for the worst. If you don't expect the worst, you'll be blindsided when it happens, and die.
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Zot Zealot

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 22:08

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

It was not a discussion in the advice section. I have the feeling that you talk about something entirely different thing than me.

Of course from the players's point of view you need to care about the rare, dangerous situations more than a typical slow melee pack. But from the game design point of view it is a problem that the latter is very common, and former is very rare.

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 22:19

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Berder wrote:I think that as you learn to play more safely
You're the one who hasn't learned how to separate deep trolls, my dude. We've spent this whole page trying to teach you how, but you're ignoring it because you assume that your tactics are already the best.

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Post Sunday, 5th August 2018, 23:18

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

  Code:
<causative> !lg . recent /won
<Sequell> 75/100 games for causative (recent): N=75/100 (75.00%)


If you're talking advice, generally the thing to do with deep troll packs is just kill them quickly. They will dig to you, it's a losing battle to try to fight them with an ideal chokepoint because they will dig around it, and stairdancing is a pointless last resort. Deep trolls become speed 15, you can't go running to the stairs all the time. You probably don't want to descend/ascend stairs with a buffed deep troll on the other end anyway unless you are too strong to care at all. Also, the longer you let them be in LOS the more they are going to haste and might each other. Instead you can kill them with spells, with evocables, or with strong melee. They can do a lot of damage but are fragile. The best way to ensure they don't buff up, surround and whack you is to kill them before they get there.
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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 00:15

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Posting your winrate does not make deep trolls hard to separate, sorry.
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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 00:35

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

You are also a very safe player. Do you recall a recent game where you frequently were able to separate deep trolls in depths and fight them 1v1 in melee, as opposed to just killing them quickly? Let's check the tv.
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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 06:54

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

I would suggest to create new deep troll equivalents to "hasted deep troll", "mighted deep troll" and "hasted mighted deep troll" and put them in deep troll bands. Current situation is weird, you still lure even a single deep troll because you never know if there is a deep troll shaman just 1 tile away from your LoS and then you get only a little XP as a reward for your patience.
As Berder is saying it is a bad idea to fight a hasted mighted troll even in heavy armour (150 max damage per turn, that's about 75 max damage per turn in CPA). With new monsters nothing would change about luring but you'd get more XP as you deserve, we would have more dangerous monster to fight and we would remove a potential death trap for unspoiled new players. Also deep troll shaman would have only Heal Other and could spam it, that would be an interesting difference to orc priest's smiting IMHO.
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bel

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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 14:12

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

That is no different from any other monster encounter in Crawl. It is always "optimal" to lure every monster every time. There's nothing special about Deep Trolls here.

Indeed, in "Berder's guide to safe crawling", he explicitly says this:
Berder wrote:Lure lure lure lure lure enemies back into a safe area before fighting. I can't stress this enough. This even applies to trivial enemies, since their noise could attract others, or others might be wandering nearby.


"Optimality" (in the sense of winrate) is a very bad ideal to design the game around. It essentially implies that most of the game is of no significance, because the winrate with "optimal" play quickly reaches 100%. Here is another one of duvessa's radical statements (not to pick on duvessa, just to indicate where this kind of argumentation leads):
duvessa wrote:there are no threatening monsters in depths

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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 14:34

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

bel wrote:That is no different from any other monster encounter in Crawl. It is always "optimal" to lure every monster every time. There's nothing special about Deep Trolls here.


True, it is always optimal but benefit from luring is not the same for different monsters, there are some synergy monsters.
Let's assume you use a weapon with cleaving (and let's assume there is no damage penalty for secondary targets). If you are fighting 2 goblins, you will deal and will get the same damage, no matter if you fight them simultaneously or one by one. The latter fight will just last longer allowing you to get more HP from regeneration and you are more likely to have a path for retreat in case it is needed. Now let's compare that to fighting a deep troll and a deep troll shaman. If shaman does not die in 2 turns, it can haste/might deep troll and as others indicated a mighted/hasted deep troll deals on average about 6 times more damage (and about 1.25 more max damage: 1.5 x 1.5=2.25) than a normal deep troll.
Another example is band with spiders and corroding monster.
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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 16:37

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

i disagree that only Bee and Centaur packs are interesting. I personally think that Orc packs are fairy well done, at least at the time they are first encountered. Orc packs function really well because the various orc types have some basic synergy that works pretty well together. Priests are dangerous from far away due to smite, Warriors are pretty durable at the time they start appearing, and will displace weaker orcs (like Priests) preventing you from getting at the priest. Wizards have a wide variety of annoying abilities which can ruin a player's day which can make escaping from the Orc pack difficult. Like an invisible wizard blinking to the other side of a player in a hallway- or casting slow / confuse.

Faun / Satyr bands are also pretty effective, since they come on strong with some really strong hexes and a lot of sling attacks- they are much more interesting than the other ranged packs like Centaurs and Yaktaurs despite only appearing in Shoals- I think the game would be much improved in Faun / Satyr bands replaced some of the Yaktaur bands in Vaults / Depths. They require more thought to engage, and it would give sling users a good chance to find some good branded weapons.

The main problem with "comparable bands" to the Orcs, like (Ogre and Deep Troll) is that they really don't have the depths of abilities to threaten a well rounded player character. Deep Trolls can be helped by adding Iron (Deep) Trolls to their bands as a Warrior type class, Deep Troll Shamans should be given Smite and/or Call Down Damnation like other high priest class enemies, and Deep Troll Earth Mages should add a few more spells- like Leda's Liquification, Petrify, and Blink Close so they can warp to the player and slow them down to prevent an easy escape.

Ogres are in my opinion not salvageable as a band. All Ogres should be solitary enemies, and Ogre Mages should have Haste Other exchanged for Haste Self to make them a more legitimate threat with their Crystal Spears and other spells that make them actually interesting to face.

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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 17:58

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

bel wrote:That is no different from any other monster encounter in Crawl. It is always "optimal" to lure every monster every time.


For me it is a very different feeling to lure bees than yaks (when they are still dangerous individually).

bel wrote:
duvessa wrote:there are no threatening monsters in depths


Why, are there? I am way worse player than duvessa, for example the Enchantress is threatening to me. But even with my abilities I feel that the Depths is full of individually non threatening monsters. The designers try to compensate the individual weakness of the monsters by generating huge amounts. In my opinion this does not work well, Depths is not really hard, but can be very very tedious.

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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 18:05

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

I cannot discuss a claim that says everything is pointless. There's no common ground to build on.

In epistemology, it is known that radical skepticism cannot be refuted. There's no point even trying.

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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 18:31

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

bel: I think you overstretched your logic somewhere again. At least I cannot follow. Who claimed that everything is pointless? And how scepticism is involved at all?

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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 18:55

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

akaean wrote:i disagree that only Bee and Centaur packs are interesting.
Good thing nobody said that. Even I admitted that around 40 bands are interesting.

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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 19:14

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

The fact is, a melee character will spend much of the mid-late game, and certainly most of the dangerous situations, and most of the time when they have to kill a pack in an open area, fighting 2 or 3 monsters at once. Additionally even in the cases where they can fight them one at a time, they will have to fight many monsters in sequence before they can rest, making a pack much more dangerous than a lone monster. I can only consider it optimism bias that makes anyone think otherwise. Or maybe they die so often in the early dungeon that they think the rest of the game is like that. There are plenty of big vaults in depths that really do not permit 1v1 killhole tactics at all, you just have to kill things as they come to you (while retreating and breaking LOS as much as you can).

It is also a point to be mentioned, that packs of monsters, including relatively weaker packs (which FYI deep trolls are not), make blaster mages spend their MP. This can put them in trouble by leaving them unable to kill additional dangerous threats. I expect the same optimism bias that makes you think you get to fight everything 1v1 would also make you underestimate the severity of this.

Just to draw one image. Imagine you are in in depths in the open and you see a troll pack and a caustic shrike. What do you do? You kill the caustic shrike ASAP because you cannot run from it. While you do this, the troll pack gets buffed, approaches, surrounds you, and starts hitting you. By the time the shrike is dead a couple of the trolls are hasted so you can't run from them either. If your character is incapable of killing both the fast monster(s) and the pack, you are forced to teleport, which is a risk itself.

Draw another image. Imagine the depths floor is entirely open, all 3 stairs are in about the same place with plenty of monsters around. You stairdance. Do you try to bring up only 1 monster at a time each time you go down? No. It's better to bring up 2 or 3 at once, because that reduces the numbers below more quickly. If you only bring up 1 at a time, you are more likely to go downstairs and find yourself surrounded by 6. Better to bring up 3 one time, 2 the next, and 3 the next, than to only bring up 1 the first time, 1 the second time, and 6 the third time. And yes, you probably are going to fight the 2-3 monsters after you bring them up, because first of all you're strong enough to do it, and second of all there might or might not be a killhole nearby on the floor above, and third of all you might take more damage walking to the killhole than you would fighting the monsters where they are.

Draw another image. Consider the vault in depths consisting of metal walls in a maze of concentric circles with the downstairs at the center. There are no width 1 chokepoints, if you encounter a deep troll pack, you're just going to fight it, and as you fight you are going to have at least 2 adjacent to you. There are also plenty of fast monsters (caustic shrikes, spriggans, liches that haste themselves, etc). As mentioned you can't run from a speed 10 monster or a speed 10 pack at the same time that a fast monster is fighting you.

Draw another image. Same concentric circle vault, you spot a deep troll pack and don't think you can fight it all at once. You retreat, a good decision in this case. Meanwhile a couple of the deep trolls haste each other. Do you keep walking? Of course not, you have to kill the hasted ones before you can keep going. Do you teleport? Unless you've already cleared most of the level, that is a quick way to die in this vault. Now suppose an ancient lich appears around the corner from another part of the maze. What now? Your HP is already low or you wouldn't have been running. It's not wise to fight an alich in that condition. This is the risk of running; more things may discover you. Now you probably have to burn a scroll of blinking and/or a potion of haste to get away. It was forced in this case, you didn't do anything wrong, but the troll pack still ultimately caused you to spend your most valuable consumables.

There's much to be said for luring and it does indeed form the basis of sound tactics. But there is also much to be said for killing monsters as quickly as possible, being smart about it with potions, evocables and god abilities. Many Depths floors (and floors in other branches) are designed to prevent you from safely luring. You still want to manage LOS as much as possible but when you've done all you can there, the safest thing to do is often just to kill the horde coming at you (efficiently).
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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 19:53

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Berder wrote:Just to draw one image. Imagine you are in in depths in the open and you see a troll pack and a caustic shrike. What do you do? You kill the caustic shrike ASAP because you cannot run from it.
No, I move away many squares first because both the troll and the shrike are probably part of packs and it is better if the rest of the packs don't see me. I would only be seeing an entire troll pack come into LOS at once, let alone alongside a caustic shrike, if I was autoexploring (obviously suboptimal) or walked into a teleport trap.
Berder wrote:If you only bring up 1 at a time, you are more likely to go downstairs and find yourself surrounded by 6.
Only if I don't know that I can disperse the monsters below the stairs by simply waiting for a while on another level.
Berder wrote:Draw another image. Consider the vault in depths consisting of metal walls in a maze of concentric circles with the downstairs at the center. There are no width 1 chokepoints, if you encounter a deep troll pack, you're just going to fight it, and as you fight you are going to have at least 2 adjacent to you. There are also plenty of fast monsters (caustic shrikes, spriggans, liches that haste themselves, etc). As mentioned you can't run from a speed 10 monster or a speed 10 pack at the same time that a fast monster is fighting you.
Draw another image. Same concentric circle vault, you spot a deep troll pack and don't think you can fight it all at once. You retreat, a good decision in this case. Meanwhile a couple of the deep trolls haste each other. Do you keep walking? Of course not, you have to kill the hasted ones before you can keep going. Do you teleport? Unless you've already cleared most of the level, that is a quick way to die in this vault. Now suppose an ancient lich appears around the corner from another part of the maze. What now? Your HP is already low or you wouldn't have been running. It's not wise to fight an alich in that condition. This is the risk of running; more things may discover you. Now you probably have to burn a scroll of blinking and/or a potion of haste to get away. It was forced in this case, you didn't do anything wrong, but the troll pack still ultimately caused you to spend your most valuable consumables.
I don't do any of this because I'm spoiled so I know that vault has no good terrain, so I lure the monsters out of it instead of charging into it, and I certainly don't go into it if I haven't already cleared the rest of the level, so even if I did run in and then out, an alich wouldn't appear as I was leaving it (remember, new monsters don't generate anymore in most branches including Depths).

Yes, sometimes you'll step on a teleport trap or shaft, and sometimes you'll just play lazy and explore into a pack or voluntarily fight lots of monsters at once, and yes, I know that I almost always play lazy. Even supposing that a monster is interesting in 5% of encounters (a massive overestimate for Depths deep trolls), does that justify the other 95% of the time where it is just harmless, annoying "popcorn", as we call it? Shouldn't we aim to have monsters that are interesting in 100% of encounters, or at least as close as possible to 100%?

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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 20:23

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

One point I would like to add to duvessa's explanation.

In addition to traps I have one case where I have the experience that Berder describes. Sometimes the Depth's entrance generates with many monsters in LOS, and some whole level vaults with every staircases next each other (do we still have these? I do not remember them in my recent games). I am prepared to use some consumables/god abilities or both in these cases.

The rest of depths is not like what Berder describes for me. I often still choose to fight multiple monsters at once, but reason is that they are weak, and there are many, and I often have like 6 blink scrolls in my inventory by then.

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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 20:30

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Berder wrote:It was forced in this case, you didn't do anything wrong, but the troll pack still ultimately caused you to spend your most valuable consumables.


The main point that you still do not seem to grasp: yes, sometimes an otherwise weak monster is involved in a scenario that gets dangerous, and makes you spend a consumable etc. This does not seem a valid argument to me that it would not had been better to generate a strong monster instead. Surely that also would have caused you to burn the consumable etc. Being weak in other situation has no benefit in the dangerous one.
Last edited by sanka on Monday, 6th August 2018, 20:36, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Monday, 6th August 2018, 20:35

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

No, I move away many squares first because both the troll and the shrike are probably part of packs and it is better if the rest of the packs don't see me.

Sure, but that shrike and the trolls already saw you, so once you've backed up a bit they're still after you. (and closer to you than before). Then the situation is as I described.

I would only be seeing an entire troll pack come into LOS at once, let alone alongside a caustic shrike, if I was autoexploring (obviously suboptimal) or walked into a teleport trap.

Or you open a door, or turn a corner.

Berder wrote:If you only bring up 1 at a time, you are more likely to go downstairs and find yourself surrounded by 6.
Only if I don't know that I can disperse the monsters below the stairs by simply waiting for a while on another level.

Takes a really long time of waiting, doesn't it? Bit scummy behavior.

I don't do any of this because I'm spoiled so I know that vault has no good terrain, so I lure the monsters out of it instead of charging into it, and I certainly don't go into it if I haven't already cleared the rest of the level, so even if I did run in and then out, an alich wouldn't appear as I was leaving it (remember, new monsters don't generate anymore in most branches including Depths).

You must be thinking of a different vault. The vault I am describing covers the whole floor, and you can't draw things out very far by yelling due to a lot of closed doors and metal walls. It is also a "maze" with different branches, so when you retreat backwards to the fork between two branches of the maze, things could have wandered out of the branch you didn't explore yet, and be between you and the stairs.

Yes, sometimes you'll step on a teleport trap or shaft, and sometimes you'll just play lazy and explore into a pack or voluntarily fight lots of monsters at once, and yes, I know that I almost always play lazy. Even supposing that a monster is interesting in 5% of encounters (a massive overestimate for Depths deep trolls), does that justify the other 95% of the time where it is just harmless, annoying "popcorn", as we call it? Shouldn't we aim to have monsters that are interesting in 100% of encounters, or at least as close as possible to 100%?

Troll packs are rarely popcorn - I would define popcorn as something that you don't have to really worry about or change your tactics for. If you can't just charge in and tab it with minimal HP loss, it's not popcorn.

Now, an "interesting" situation is one that makes you burn valuable consumables. If there were 20x more "interesting" situations, winning would be impossible for us, let alone an average player.
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Post Tuesday, 7th August 2018, 15:57

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

sanka wrote:bel: I think you overstretched your logic somewhere again. At least I cannot follow. Who claimed that everything is pointless? And how scepticism is involved at all?

The initial discussion was a limited one: whether to buff (or otherwise change) Deep Trolls. Clearly, Deep Trolls are not the most dangerous monsters in Depths. If one starts with the baseline of "there are no threatening monsters in Depths", one would have to buff not just Deep Trolls, but everything else as well. That would be a very big change. And this change would have nothing to do with Deep Trolls; rather it would probably be a fundamental change in Crawl.

One can't seriously argue about the issue if one starts with such a baseline. A corollary: one can't seriously argue about the issue using a criterion which implies such a baseline.

The analogy with radical skepticism was confusing. Just ignore it.

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Post Tuesday, 7th August 2018, 19:25

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

One can also not argue seriously under the assumption that perfect play would mean you will always survive, nor that you always will be able to face packs monsters one on one, especially when troll packs can have ranged attacks, dig and haste.

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Post Tuesday, 7th August 2018, 19:45

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

bel: Thanks for the explanation. Your position is more clear to me now.

Considering yours, I would take the following opinion:

1. I think that slow packs do not work well in crawl, maybe with a few exceptions.
2. I think that Depths is not working well as a fun challenge, (again with maybe a few exceptions), because all of the individual monsters are weak, and there are too many of them.

I do not feel that either of these statements are "radical", or implies some very radical change of crawl. Yes, there are many packs, and Depths is a whole branch, but assuming the devs share my feelings the solution most likely not some very radical change like removing all slow packs or adding 20 to the AC of every monster in Depths, but to gradually tuning the whole game towards a better equilibrium. Changing packs individually (for example making them not a pack), making small changes to Depths (for example removing Deep Trolls and changing the shamans), etc.

However, you are absolutely right that singling out Deep Trolls from these premises is not logical, one could argue for other changes instead. I just state that I personally would like a change to them, because I share these assumptions, so I feel it would push the game towards a better state.
Last edited by sanka on Tuesday, 7th August 2018, 20:04, edited 2 times in total.

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Post Tuesday, 7th August 2018, 19:54

Re: Can we tone down the number of two-headed ogres

Plantissue wrote:One can also not argue seriously under the assumption that perfect play would mean you will always survive, nor that you always will be able to face packs monsters one on one, especially when troll packs can have ranged attacks, dig and haste.


I do not understand these arguments about what one can or cannot argue, because I never seen anyone arguing these. My argument was the following:

1. You *can* separate deep troll packs *most* of the time. (Duvessa said 95% at least, I believe her. I do not guess a percentage, but most of the time.).
2. When I can do it, there is a very big incentive to do it, and it is very tedious.
3. When I cannot do it, the situation is not more interesting because they are normal speed and generating as a pack. The suggested changes, like starting them hasted, generating shamans alone and allow them hasting other mosnters, etc., would make just as good a challenge.

Therefore, I see no reason to not change them.
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