Armour/Dodging/Shields breakpoints


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Spider Stomper

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Post Friday, 11th January 2019, 00:51

Armour/Dodging/Shields breakpoints

I really like the convenience of being able to check a weapon's description and set your training target to the mindelay breakpoint. Wouldn't it be nice if we could do something similar with Armour/Dodging/Shields breakpoints, like, "with current stats and equipment, you will reach X EV at skill level Y.Z. Press (s) to set breakpoint." Checking spoilers to determine the appropriate breakpoint for these skills is much more troublesome than checking spoilers to determine the breakpoint for weapon mindelay, after all. It might not make sense from your inventory the way weapons do, but surely it makes sense when viewing the skill descriptions?

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Post Friday, 11th January 2019, 02:20

Re: Armour/Dodging/Shields breakpoints

Nekoatl wrote:I really like the convenience of being able to check a weapon's description and set your training target to the mindelay breakpoint. Wouldn't it be nice if we could do something similar with Armour/Dodging/Shields breakpoints, like, "with current stats and equipment, you will reach X EV at skill level Y.Z. Press (s) to set breakpoint." Checking spoilers to determine the appropriate breakpoint for these skills is much more troublesome than checking spoilers to determine the breakpoint for weapon mindelay, after all. It might not make sense from your inventory the way weapons do, but surely it makes sense when viewing the skill descriptions?

Shields already lets you set a skill goal at the point at which you get rid of the penalties. I'm not sure what you mean by "You will reach X EV" are you proposing you select, or type in the EV point at which you want to stop? That sounds pretty annoying, additionally, temporary and long term bonuses/penalties to your dex and strength will altar that skill point goal, and doing it for each and every EV point you gain sounds pretty annoyingly micromanagy to me.
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Spider Stomper

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Joined: Sunday, 11th September 2016, 17:21

Post Friday, 11th January 2019, 05:09

Re: Armour/Dodging/Shields breakpoints

I just meant the next increase, so if your EV was 14, it would offer to set the breakpoint that would get you to 15.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 11th January 2019, 07:13

Re: Armour/Dodging/Shields breakpoints

Could we at least get a message when AC or EV or SH is raised due to skill training? This would make it possible to set a force_more_message for that message.
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Lair Larrikin

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Post Friday, 11th January 2019, 08:23

Re: Armour/Dodging/Shields breakpoints

Sprucery wrote:Could we at least get a message when AC or EV or SH is raised due to skill training? This would make it possible to set a force_more_message for that message.


That's a great idea! I'm usually training EV "until I get that extra EV point", and I forget to check that and over-train the skill which leads me to decide if I want to train to another point of EV. Such message would be very useful.

Spider Stomper

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Post Friday, 11th January 2019, 10:59

Re: Armour/Dodging/Shields breakpoints

I agree that adding those messages would be useful, but knowing how many skill levels are required to improve a defense is important to consider when deciding whether training that skill is a good investment at the time. By the time the message appears, you'd already have committed to the investment, which isn't ideal.

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Post Friday, 11th January 2019, 11:08

Re: Armour/Dodging/Shields breakpoints

so one thing that none of these features solves is that the optimal time to mess around in your skill screen is right before the skill reaches the breakpoint, not after, so that you can toggle on the next skill (or even multiple skills) to prevent XP being wasted on overtraining the first skill past the breakpoint. you can set your skill target at 14.9 or whatever to help remind yourself but it's still pretty fiddly to do and yet optimal.

the cause of every single one of these problems, by the way, is that DCSS's current skill system has you choose where your points will go before you gain them, instead of after you gain them like pretty much every other game does it. you can't just change this alone though, because crawl also has your skills potentially change after every. single. kill. and messing with your skills after every single kill would not be very good. that's why all those other games only give you skill points occasionally, on every level up or whatever.

So you could overhaul the skill system to a more conventional one. Another possibility is to make skill targets a game feature rather than purely an interface one: if your skill target is 15.0, it doesn't put any more skill points in it than are needed to reach 15.0, it stops immediately and puts the remaining points in the next skill you turn on. This makes the game faster for those who use skill targets, but also gives them an advantage over players who don't, essentially making a previously optional feature into a mandatory one.
While we're on the subject, the current behaviour gives a similar advantage to those who don't have skill_focus = false in their rcfile, as focus is more effective at preventing overtraining than not using focus. (Why is focus even a thing?)

Finally, the most DCSS way to do it would be to get rid of the breakpoints altogether. This has the advantage of being a good thing to do anyway. Breakpoints suck.
The most difficult skill breakpoints to address are spell levels, HP, MP, AC, EV, SH, minimum attack delay, and shield penalties. (Less-difficult ones: the skill cost breakpoint at every skill level, various spell/invocation/evocation power breakpoints, spell hunger (lol), weird acquirement stuff...)
The obvious "solution" to HP/MP/AC/EV/SH is to allow non-integer values for players. Mathematically, this can work for AC/EV/SH but cannot actually work for HP/MP as it stands since damage received and MP costs are still integers, leaving breakpoints. Also, non-integer HP/MP would be really gross.
Spell levels I just don't see any way to tie to skills at all without having breakpoints. Maybe they should just be purely determined by XL. Could do that for HP and MP as well but that's a big change since the HP skill is also the melee/missile damage skill and therefore controls how melee/missiles compare to conjurations/summons.
There've been a lot of suggestions for how to get rid of minimum attack delay and so far all of the specific ones have been terrible, but it's not something that fundamentally can't be done. It will almost certainly mean removing a lot of weapons though.

Shield penalty breakpoints are the easiest thing in that list to solve, to the point that I considered bumping them down to the less-difficult list. Shield penalties are a mess already, you could make them work the same as body armour penalties with no other adjustments and it would still work better than the current system.

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Shoals Surfer

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Post Friday, 11th January 2019, 11:50

Re: Armour/Dodging/Shields breakpoints

I'd like to see a "targets with priority" system replace the current system, so that skills automatically switch among a succession of targets. Alternating skill levels of equal priority so you're always training exactly one skill would be nice too. A sensible default "build order" in place of autoskill would be vastly better for new players.

As far as displaying skill levels needed to hit various targets of EV, AC, SH, and so on, a sort of wizard thing that extends the pretty spare help functionality already in the menu would probably work, maybe show a table with lettered options for targets based on breakpoints for the associated combat stats. I think people have always talked about similar problems for spell fail rates and so forth, but maybe that has been addressed already (?).
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Spider Stomper

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Post Friday, 11th January 2019, 18:06

Re: Armour/Dodging/Shields breakpoints

Eliminating the breakpoints on AC/EV/SH would be good, particularly considering it can take multiple skill levels to increase these stats by 1 point. Spell memorization breakpoints can be ignored, because 1 level always equals 0.5 Spellcasting, which is super easy to manage. Breakpoints for specific spells & abilities could be handled in the descriptions of those spells & abilities, although the way spell success & power progress slows to a crawl as mastery is approached makes identifying breakpoints awkward.

Having skill XP not overshoot training targets would be a huge quality of life improvement in general, as it would eliminate the tedious but optimal strategy of micromanaging your skill allocation in response to the expected XP return on a kill to minimize the amount of overshoot. I think the concern about advantaging the use of targets is overshadowed by the benefit of removing the advantage to this micromanagement behavior (which I do sometimes practice). Excess skill xp when all targets are hit could be handled with the potion of experience UI, since they're basically the same scenario for practical purposes.

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