Against Piety Decay


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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Sunday, 16th May 2021, 19:27

Against Piety Decay

Is there a good reason to keep piety decay in the game?

The main effect it has currently is that it punishes auto-exploring, because that is fairly turn-wasteful.
To a lesser extent it also encourages some thought to go into stashing inrequently used items, like some potions and scrolls, in more accessible places.

It also means that players who auto-explore experience gods as weaker, with less access to their piety consuming abilities.

I would propose to get rid of all piety decay, and if necessary, to reduce piety gain, and/or increase ability costs.


Disclaimer
I usually auto-explore. Seeing messages telling me that "X god ability is no longer available", purely because the algorithm checked all the little nooks and crannies in Lair, feels annoying.

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Majang, Nekoatl

Mines Malingerer

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Post Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 17:21

Re: Against Piety Decay

I agree. I think time based punishments (hunger -> now zot clock, piety decay, summon/necro timeouts, even status buff/drain timers) are only a feasible thing to balance around if the game takes a consistent amount of time to play in a comfortable fashion.

Autoexplore is by far the only reasonable way to play the game and it is more or less what the levels are designed around. Roguelikes without autoexplore often have maps that are 1/10 or less the size (e.g. Nethack) or do not expect you to clear the map ever (e.g. Cogmind). Manually clearing or at least mostly clearing a crawl map given the absurd average size and complexity without heavily relying on autoexplore is torturously slow. Everyone already has this experience in their back pocket somewhat: if you are shafted in early game, want to find a timed portal and don’t have ?mapping, or clearing a rune floor you probably have very sparingly autoexplored. That is a slow process always but not necessarily a bad thing. I like that sometimes the game needs to be played manually like that even. However, the vast majority of the game is NOT spent in such a tense situation where you would even need to get close to optimally clearing a floor. And doing so is an incredibly large mental tax for something that ends up being trivial anyway (enjoy spending 5 mins planning your moves on D:4 so that you have optimal positioning and a clear escape route against that goblin and ooze you just encountered). Thus in those situations (most of the game) hitting the o key is a no-brainer (literally) and it’s not a bad thing per se that it is set up like this.

The problem is when the game disproportionately punishes use of it, because it goes without saying that while it is real-time and brainpower light, it is turncount heavy. Thus this more or less mandatory thing has its use punished by any turncount based system. Sometimes this seems like the intent (timed portals) and that can actually be interesting, mostly it seems like a terrible idea to punish autoexplore though, given its necessity.

Now, I don’t know of a good alternative to propose, but I would start by asking “what are you trying to punish with that?” It is likely aimed at overly cautious or slow play, like resetting fights a lot, but it ends up also punishing all the things you mentioned as well. A more direct punishment - or in cases like piety where simply no punishment could work - may be in order.
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andrew, Majang

Spider Stomper

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Post Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 17:36

Re: Against Piety Decay

Also --- does piety decay even matter in realistic situations? Yes, I suppose if one is right at a breakpoint then one could go below it backtracking or something; but then one gets it back in the next nontrivial fight. I'd rather just have somewhat slower gain.
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Mines Malingerer

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Post Thursday, 20th May 2021, 17:53

Re: Against Piety Decay

I'd say piety decay is not a good mechanic. As said, it conflicts with auto-explore and it doesn't promote an interesting choice at all.

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andrew

Spider Stomper

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Post Thursday, 20th May 2021, 20:19

Re: Against Piety Decay

And possibly confuses newbies who are led to think it matters?

Shoals Surfer

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

Post Saturday, 22nd May 2021, 11:39

Re: Against Piety Decay

It matters sometimes, though typically not very much. Probably most impacted are slow-regenerating characters that incorporate abilities with piety costs into their core strategy and are exceptionally interested in gift acquisition. But, it's clearly not a necessary piece of the design puzzle, considering multiple gods and one species have no piety decay whatsoever.

Spider Stomper

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Joined: Friday, 13th December 2019, 01:33

Post Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 01:43

Re: Against Piety Decay

So ghouls actually need to use deity actives noticeably less often? I've never noticed that but could be.

Slime Squisher

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Post Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 16:33

Re: Against Piety Decay

Veras wrote:Autoexplore is by far the only reasonable way to play the game and it is more or less what the levels are designed around. Roguelikes without autoexplore often have maps that are 1/10 or less the size (e.g. Nethack)


FWIW, NetHack's maps are 80x21, 30% the size of Crawl's 80x70. They just seem smaller because you don't peer at them through a tiny window.
Ascension reports with too many words since 2016.

Lair Larrikin

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Post Sunday, 5th September 2021, 19:56

Re: Against Piety Decay

Nekoatl wrote:It matters sometimes, though typically not very much. Probably most impacted are slow-regenerating characters that incorporate abilities with piety costs into their core strategy and are exceptionally interested in gift acquisition. But, it's clearly not a necessary piece of the design puzzle, considering multiple gods and one species have no piety decay whatsoever.

I like to play fragile characters that need to lure a lot (mummies/felids/octopodes/etc). And the piety decay is very much relevant (in a bad way). It punishes weak characters, isn't flavorful at all, and overlaps in function with the Zot clock.
Yes, I play offline, tiles and stable. I am not l33t enough :_(

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andrew

Blades Runner

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Post Monday, 6th September 2021, 05:48

Re: Against Piety Decay

Piety decay doesn't seem like that big of a force to me. If the gains were slowed down and the decay removed, it'd probably be fine. I don't feel like it would be a big issue either way. Leave it, fine, change it fine.. whatever, it's low on my list.

But, this topic does lead into what bothers me more: that is - turn count determining score by far more than anything else. If you want a high score, you must not use auto explore at all... and rush in and out as fast as possible avoiding as many encounters as possible. How is that not always going to be a stealth/ninja game? I realize it would be difficult to come up with a different metric. I can't think of much off the top of my head, but, it feels unfair that a game where every challenge is faced, every danger taken on, scores lower than one that uses "avoidance" as the main principal. I feel like the # monsters killed should amount to a larger %, but realize any serious alternative would be really tough to figure out. I just sort-of hate the current score system, for a lot of the reasons previously discussed here concerning piety.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 6th September 2021, 07:13

Re: Against Piety Decay

svendre wrote:But, this topic does lead into what bothers me more: that is - turn count determining score by far more than anything else

Discussion about score should probably be in a separate thread, but I'll just say that imo score in DCSS is irrelevant. If you want to compare games, you can use the # of runes, turn count, real time, XL, monsters killed, any metric you want. Combining this into a single score is rather pointless anyway.
DCSS: 86: ...HuSu}DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}
DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu
{FoArNaBe}FeEE{HOIEMiAE}GrGlHuWrGnWrNaAKBaFi{MiDeMfDe}{DrAKTrAMGhEnGnWz
Bloat: 8: RaRoPrPh{GuStGnCa}{ArEtZoNb}KiPaAnDr

Zot Zealot

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Post Monday, 6th September 2021, 13:38

Re: Against Piety Decay

svendre wrote:Piety decay doesn't seem like that big of a force to me. If the gains were slowed down and the decay removed, it'd probably be fine. I don't feel like it would be a big issue either way. Leave it, fine, change it fine.. whatever, it's low on my list.

But, this topic does lead into what bothers me more: that is - turn count determining score by far more than anything else. If you want a high score, you must not use auto explore at all... and rush in and out as fast as possible avoiding as many encounters as possible. How is that not always going to be a stealth/ninja game? I realize it would be difficult to come up with a different metric. I can't think of much off the top of my head, but, it feels unfair that a game where every challenge is faced, every danger taken on, scores lower than one that uses "avoidance" as the main principal. I feel like the # monsters killed should amount to a larger %, but realize any serious alternative would be really tough to figure out. I just sort-of hate the current score system, for a lot of the reasons previously discussed here concerning piety.


I think that "getting runes with low XP" should dominate the score. Killing more monsters should reduce your score instead of increasing it, with the exception of perhaps the unique Pan & Hell lords.
I'm not good enough at the game to get a high score either way, but I find not killing monsters just as hard and much less tedious than turn-count optimising. If I kill everything and go for Elf+Slime+Vaults, reaching XL27 before I even enter Zot or extended, the game is usually pretty easy. With every floor emptied before I descend to the next level, I always have a safe place to retreat to, and I'm almost always strong enough to take advantage of timed portals. (I still die, but that's just due to carelessness/stupidity, almost never due to a lack of very-good-gameplay.)
An argument could be made that killing a unique whilst it still counts as 'very dangerous' could also give bonus points, as could things like skipping Temple/Orc/Lair.

If most of the score-gain (ie rune-collection, dangerous-unique-killing, ******-piety-reaching) would scale inversely with the amount of XP a character has earned (plus a background-dependent amount of 'phantom xp' to avoid silly score spikes on D:1), and winning after skipping a rune branch would give a # of bonus points that's comparable to the amount of points that a good player could get collecting that rune (slightly less for skipping only an S-branch, slightly more for skipping all of Lair) I can't see any annoying exploits and I might actually become interested in score.

Anyway, we both agree the current scoring system is a little odd. I'll hope they do something to make the score more interesting for you ;)

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