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Against Piety Decay

PostPosted: Sunday, 16th May 2021, 19:27
by 4Hooves2Appendages
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.

Re: Against Piety Decay

PostPosted: Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 17:21
by Veras
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.

Re: Against Piety Decay

PostPosted: Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 17:36
by andrew
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.

Re: Against Piety Decay

PostPosted: Thursday, 20th May 2021, 17:53
by Deso
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.

Re: Against Piety Decay

PostPosted: Thursday, 20th May 2021, 20:19
by andrew
And possibly confuses newbies who are led to think it matters?

Re: Against Piety Decay

PostPosted: Saturday, 22nd May 2021, 11:39
by Nekoatl
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.

Re: Against Piety Decay

PostPosted: Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 01:43
by andrew
So ghouls actually need to use deity actives noticeably less often? I've never noticed that but could be.

Re: Against Piety Decay

PostPosted: Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 16:33
by damerell
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.