alternatives to permabuff


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

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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 16:35

alternatives to permabuff

So, instead of implementing a permabuff interface, I'm thinking it would be more interesting to make it undesirable to keep buffs active all the time. Because which buff to activate or renew and when are choices which would be removed by permabuffs.
So, how about spell hunger can't be completely removed? Int and spellcasting reduce the hunger cost as of now, but it cannot go lower than a certain minimum value. I'm thinking something between 1/7 and 1/10 of base cost.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 16:44

Re: minimum spell hunger cost

I definitely agree that making it somehow undesirable to sustain buffs permanently is a good idea (the Swiftness changes were a good step in that direction), I'd rather see that than permanent buffs. But I think a minimum spell hunger cost might be hard to make significant enough for buffs without having a large effect on conjurers and summoners.

An easier solution might be to use glow for buffs, and change some of the glow thresholds/penalties (so that hitting the first danger threshold has some more minor negative effects like stat drain, and then the second danger threshold would be where mutations can start happening, for example).
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 16:58

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Good point. I changed the thread title for a wider discussion of the real issue.
I say we can use both, minimum hunger cost and glow.
Regarding hunger, if we keep reducing food sources (hive) and increasing cost, someday it will be significant :-)
About glow, if you can gain some more easily, maybe it should also be easier to get rid of it. Or at least less tedious. When you rest, it could go away faster. That shouldn't make it any easier to abuse haste or controlled blink.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 17:04

Re: minimum spell hunger cost

Although I'm not per se against the minimum spell hunger thing, I fear that it would have a devastating effect on spriggan casters.
For instance, fully unloading a Poison Arrow Gatling Gun (Haste, DMsl and then Poison Arrow until you are out of mana) could cost as much as 660 satiation points (at 1/10 minimum cost of 550 points per each spell) - 25% of the difference between Hungry and Starved. For races so reliant on permafood, that can be a gamebreaker.
Perhaps making the buff spells (or forms, for that matter) carry an increased hunger cost per turn could then work? Spell level /2 (or /3, perhaps) increased hunger per turn of having one spell active, and being cumulative?
Just my two Czech hellers - but I feel that I must defend the PAGG from more and more nerfing ;).
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 17:10

Re: alternatives to permabuff

The thing I don't love about hunger as a tool for this is that further encourages mummy/lichform hunger-clock abuse, and all the silliness that ensues.

I like the idea of using glow for this. It works well for Haste and Invisibility...
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 17:13

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Making it impossible to eliminate spell hunger is a flat-out good thing regardless of what impact this has on buffing. Currently you can't completely eliminate invocations or evocations hunger, and you can't even eliminate melee hunger, but you can completely eliminate the hunger from all your staple spells and use them willy-nilly. There's a little hunger that comes from resting the mp back up, but generally speaking you just made a big stack of fresh chunks at the beginning of your resting period so there's never any problem. If conjurors need to adjust to having to manage their resources like everybody else does, well so much the better.

I think 1/7 or 1/10 is a pretty conservative starting point. Spellcasters still have access to chunks, and later on they can still look forward to amulets of gourmand and staves of energy if, heaven forbid, they start experiencing any food pressure at all. Diminishing returns with a limit approaching 1/3 would be my educated guess on the right place to start, with a staff of energy cutting that in half to 1/6. If we really need more support for conjurors after this point, perhaps one of Vehumet's passives can be swapped out for a free hunger reduction on favored spells.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 17:20

Re: alternatives to permabuff

My alternative to permabuff is to maintain a list of spell expiration messages in runrest_messages.txt

I added this section for flight/levitation:
  Code:
# Spells
#
stop = You are starting to lose your buoyancy.
stop = You float gracefully downwards.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 17:21

Re: alternatives to permabuff

To be honest I only care about the form spells because I find it annoying that you can't stay in a form as long as you want. Most of them have drawbacks, anyway.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 17:31

Re: alternatives to permabuff

I support this: spell hunger should never vanish; spell hunger alone will not suffice; adding glow is thematic and will suffice.

Zicher: spriggan caster is one specific setup -- if necessary, that can be adapted afterwards. However, I believe that Spriggans can take a nerf or two without being crippled.

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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 17:36

Re: alternatives to permabuff

KoboldLord, anything you mentioned in your post would still be of no help to Spriggans (except the staff of energy - and this may be undesirable as well, given the heavy equipment slot restrictions placed on them). And believe me, I, Heaven luckily forbidded, did run into food troubles with them even in normal endgame, let alone extended, when not encountering any food shops and/or using higher level spells too liberally (my fault? bad luck? a combination of those? who cares?).
To point out an example - I believe that my current playstyle (DMsl when needed, Haste when needed, PA as my main attack spell, giving 55 food cost at 1/10 of minimum spell hunger) would take me from Engorged to Starving _approximately three times on a single V:8 run_. And I think this is a bit over the line.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 17:54

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Sp is supposed to be a food challenged species and hunger is supposed to be a cost of high level spells. If Sp can win the game by spamming high level spells at every corner, then something isn't right. If the minimum cost makes this playstyle unviable, they can always go back to sneaking, stabbing and running away.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 18:17

Re: alternatives to permabuff

galehar wrote:Sp is supposed to be a food challenged species and hunger is supposed to be a cost of high level spells. If Sp can win the game by spamming high level spells at every corner, then something isn't right. If the minimum cost makes this playstyle unviable, they can always go back to sneaking, stabbing and running away.

I fully understand your point.
My point then is, that "spamming high level spells" is not much of an option even for high level Sp with high Spellcasting. Add to this the fact that Sp casters usually do not rely on stabbing that much, for they want to divert as much XP as possible into Spellcasting to lessen the spell hunger burden anyway.
This would probably be of less trouble when in extended endgame, when you have the skills needed, yet I never managed, for example, to ninja a silver rune, let alone the Lair ones. My fault perhaps.
I do not say that minimum spell hunger is an outright bad idea, and I will happily apologize if I grab a SpVM win under this restriction. I just fear that such a win may no longer be possible without some food generation here and there. An SpVM all-runer is already pretty much impossible without some food shops and/or beehives.
But then again, this can only be just me and my point of view.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 19:06

Re: alternatives to permabuff

XuaXua wrote:My alternative to permabuff is to maintain a list of spell expiration messages in runrest_messages.txt

This is offtopic and completely useless. Since 0.9, you get a more prompt for expiration warnings when they can be deadly.

KoboldLord wrote:Diminishing returns with a limit approaching 1/3 would be my educated guess on the right place to start, with a staff of energy cutting that in half to 1/6. If we really need more support for conjurors after this point, perhaps one of Vehumet's passives can be swapped out for a free hunger reduction on favored spells.

Interesting. I'll gladly take any formulae proposal. And good point about nerfing the staff of energy while we're at it.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 19:30

Re: alternatives to permabuff

galehar wrote:About glow, if you can gain some more easily, maybe it should also be easier to get rid of it. Or at least less tedious. When you rest, it could go away faster. That shouldn't make it any easier to abuse haste or controlled blink.


For what it's worth, Light's in the middle of a glow overhaul. If any of this interests you, the mechanics there are currently:

  • All glow costs from effects are paid up-front. Haste, for instance, incurs a cost of 6 points* (the maximum for most races has been increased to 10). Thereafter, there's no continual addition of contamination for the duration of the effect.
  • If you have at least one glow-inducing effect active, glow does not dissipate at all.
  • If you have no glow-inducing effects active, glow dissipates at a constant rate of 1 point per 10 turns.

These mechanics had the side benefit of allowing the implementation of y/n prompts for overcontamination, for what it's worth.

*I'm unsure if this is too severe, given that all previously hungering effects like channeling also cost glow now. This might get toned down slightly.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 19:31

Re: alternatives to permabuff

minmay wrote:Or maybe Charms (and Phase Shift etc) should just go away. Frankly they're not very interesting compared to the consumables with similar effects.


This, actually, is the most interesting solution I've heard to the problem. It'd be a huge change to Crawl, but I don't know that it'd be a bad one :)
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 21:10

Re: alternatives to permabuff

galehar wrote:
XuaXua wrote:My alternative to permabuff is to maintain a list of spell expiration messages in runrest_messages.txt

This is offtopic and completely useless. Since 0.9, you get a more prompt for expiration warnings when they can be deadly.


The topic is "Alternatives to permabuff".
I want flight active all the time, regardless of my character's situation.
Receiving a more prompt when nearing expiration regardless of the "danger" situation informs me to refresh the spell (and breaks autotravel).
The tactic I use is a viable alternative to a program-placed permabuff.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 21:50

Re: alternatives to permabuff

galehar wrote:Interesting. I'll gladly take any formulae proposal. And good point about nerfing the staff of energy while we're at it.


After a few minutes of plotting graphs on an online graphing calculator, I've found that I like the curve made by -logbar(x)+7, where logbar(x) is the log of x with base 1.7. It starts at just over 10 on the y-axis, plummets quickly as the x-axis grows, and approaches around 2 on the y-axis as the x-axis grows arbitrarily high.

Anyway, suppose all spellcasting costs 100N base nutrition, where N is the spell level. With high enough spellcasting and intelligence, you get a discount, but you get no credit at all unless you've got a high enough threshold -- I figure count spellcasting as (spellcasting - 2N) and intelligence as (int - 3N). That way, your sharp initial discount starts kicking in around the time you get access to a spell level in the first place, rather than back during basic training.

At the end, I come up with:
DISCOUNT = 1/10 * max(1, SPCST - 2N) * max(1, INT - 3N)
newhunger = 100N * [-1/10(logbar(DISCOUNT)+7)]

As before, spellcasting and intelligence are multiplicative; I'm not entirely sure they need to be, but I didn't see an urgent need to change it either. This equation would put half hunger reduction for first level spells at around 5 spellcasting for a 12~15 int character just picking up spells, while a high-level conjuror with ~32 int would be barely able to squeak out the same proportional discount on ninth-level spells by maxing out spellcasting.

Even a 72-int Chei-follower with all +int gear would only be able to take this down by about another half, so conceivably we could even see characters put stat points into str or dex, at times. A crazy thought, to be sure.

Now, what does this actually mean for people who don't want to work out logarithms? It means your early-game Magic Dart is going to fall quickly down to strawberry, and eventually down to sultana, but there's no point in rushing it. Mid-level spells will fall quickly down to choko, going from high choko to low choko as time passes. Fire Storm will never get below mid-honeycomb, at least on raw stats alone.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 22:11

Re: alternatives to permabuff

KoboldLord wrote:It means your early-game Magic Dart is going to fall quickly down to strawberry, and eventually down to sultana, but there's no point in rushing it.


There is if there isn't enough food available.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 22:53

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Thanks KL. I can't comment on the formulae right now, but I will next time I have access to a computer.
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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 22:54

Re: minimum spell hunger cost

MarvinPA wrote:An easier solution might be to use glow for buffs, and change some of the glow thresholds/penalties (so that hitting the first danger threshold has some more minor negative effects like stat drain, and then the second danger threshold would be where mutations can start happening, for example).

I think there should also be a threshold between grey and yellow. A sort of warning, saying "if you accumulate a bit more glow, you'll start seeing negative effects". If glow becomes a larger gameplay mechanic, I don't think the current threshold for grey glow is good enough. In fact, if glow becomes a large enough gameplay mechanic, even this might not be sufficient. It would go from being a small part of gameplay to something you have to closely monitor (for any hybrid character build).


Anyway, I have two main thoughts about using glow here.

1. Whatever new system is used, it shouldn't encourage players to rest more often.
Crawl already has too much resting, and we should be focused on decreasing how much resting players need to do, not increasing it. This means glow should, at least, dissipate more quickly (as per galehar's suggestion). This might not be enough though. Maybe there could be a penalty while glow is (quickly) dissipating, such as an increased hunger rate. Or, there could be a new way to decontaminate yourself, at some cost (perhaps a consumable?). Scroll of vuln is the only way right now (unless you count purple drac breath and the like), but its too rare to have much of an effect on this front, and too powerful to make it a common item.

2. Glow levels (and thresholds) should be easy to monitor, and easy to manage.
dtsund's idea about upfront glow costs would be good to use here. MarvinPA's idea about additional glow thresholds is also good. Even then, more might be needed. With this proposal, glow becomes a much more important resource, and the player will need to know when they are just on the brink of reaching "dangerous" levels. If there's not enough information, a player might accidentally go into "dangerous" levels of glow by casting a weak spell like freezing aura. This would be annoying, and I think it would encourage players to rest too much (in order to guarantee they are at safe levels). Giving the player a numerical glow stat on the interface (along the lines of HP and MP) would be an extreme solution, but might be the best one, depending on how things go. More information means more control, which means less need to rest constantly. This ties in to point 1.

Ultimately, this new system shouldn't be a burden or annoyance. It needs to be implemented in a way that it can be a part of gameplay that doesn't encourage boring things (such as constant resting) to get around it. And, it shouldn't be over-complicated to manage. Otherwise, it will face the same problems as the attempted food reform.

These are not insurmountable problems, but they are big enough that they should be taken quite seriously. I can't think of good solutions to all of them - I'm not particularly fond of adding a "glow stat" to the interface, for instance. That is just the only thing I can think of that would allow players to manage their newly important "glow" resource (assuming it becomes that important), without it being a nuisance (or an interface burden).

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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 23:09

Re: alternatives to permabuff

evilmike: All good points. Can you estimate how many tiers the Glow indicator would have to have? Using "Glow" in various colours and perhaps *, ** and *** suffixes would go a long way.

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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 23:38

Re: alternatives to permabuff

dpeg wrote:evilmike: All good points. Can you estimate how many tiers the Glow indicator would have to have? Using "Glow" in various colours and perhaps *, ** and *** suffixes would go a long way.

It depends on how important glow becomes, really. My main worry is this:

Lets say grey glow is still the level before yellow, and I want to avoid yellow glow. Grey encompasses a range of values, from "I can still cast a few spells safely", to "I am one point away from being in the yellow". The problem is, I might be one point away without knowing it - and then go into yellow glow by casting something like beastly appendage. The possibility of this bothers me, since it means either
(a) I have to "manually" track how much glow I have (so I can differentiate between "high grey" and "low grey", so to speak), or
(b) I have to rest whenever I reach grey glow, if I want to play it safe.

Now, this is a pretty bad situation, so the system should be designed to avoid it. Giving a number is the easiest way to *totally* avoid this problem. But, the following might be good enough:

No status light: you have exactly 0 magical contamination
Dark grey: Some contamination, but low enough that *all* contaminating spells are safe to cast - even the most contaminating. Miscasts excepted, of course.
Light grey: You're still safe, but within a few points of yellow. Glow-heavy spells like haste and invis are *always* dangerous to cast at this level (the threshold between dark grey and light grey should be something like, "the point when casting the most glow-heavy spell will bring you into the yellow").
Yellow: You are slightly past the safe threshold, and will take minor penalties. Stuff that can be ignored in small amounts, but will add up over time. Accumulating more contamination at this stage becomes a very bad idea.
Red & dark red: Explosions and mutations. You were either desperate or foolish to get to this level.

I'm just using colours here because that's what the current system uses. It could just as easily be a scale of [.....] to [*****], with [***..] being yellow (one nice feature here is that the bad stuff happens when the "bar" is more than half-full).

In addition: a warning when you cast a spell that can contaminate you to dangerous levels. Perhaps a config option where the player can set this to yellow, red, or none. This would probably require an upfront glow cost to buff spells. This warning feature would prevent "accidents". I'm thinking of a warning prompt, which you can automatically avoid by force-casting with Z. More fine-grained contam thresholds are nice, but the key is really to help the player manage this, without it being a nuisance.

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Post Monday, 20th February 2012, 23:58

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Small thought-
1. Increasing mana cost on recast
2. Monster based solutions. Even if buffs weren't perma i feel that some are still way to good with too few downsides. I still think a new monster spell which harms you based on buffs or even monsters with slouch like abilities would really help the late game.
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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 00:11

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Eji1700 wrote:Small thought-
1. Increasing mana cost on recast
2. Monster based solutions. Even if buffs weren't perma i feel that some are still way to good with too few downsides. I still think a new monster spell which harms you based on buffs or even monsters with slouch like abilities would really help the late game.


2. sounds very nice, I second this. Dispel exists already (draco breath at least as far as I know). Making more dispelling attacks (the various moths that exist already are a good idea for bearers of such attacks) and attacks that cause scaling damage the more buffs you have are also viable ideas, am I right? Not that monsters that cast spells aren't deadly as they are, still...
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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 00:12

Re: minimum spell hunger cost

evilmike wrote:Giving the player a numerical glow stat on the interface (along the lines of HP and MP) would be an extreme solution, but might be the best one, depending on how things go.

Yeah, I didn't mention it above, but I did also add a Glow meter underneath the Magic meter.
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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 04:19

Re: alternatives to permabuff

I'm not sure if I like either of these ideas.

A minimum food cost doesn't make sense as an alternative to permacast. If I'm willing to spend the food, I'm still forced to put up with the interface screw of needing to cast the spell every ten seconds. A permacast mechanic would still be desirable, it would just have to increase your metabolism in addition to any other considerations that were already going into it.

And as for glow, you might get the situation where, like evilmike was getting at, optimal play demands that you tediously spam-cast the spell for a while like you do now, then rest to ditch the glow, then go back to doing it again. Displaying glow amounts more clearly wouldn't prevent this, just make the resting slightly less often. The only real cost do doing this would be the food wasted while resting, which, again, one may well be willing to spend in exchange for security. Since there are very few situations where small glow values are a tactical consideration (Haste and controlled Blinks are the only things I can think of that would make you suddenly wish you had no glow instead of gray glow), you might be increasing player tedium without necessarily adding many interesting choices.

(To be fair, I'm a teensy bit bitter at the moment because I just lost a promising Air Elementalist on floor 11 when I took one step and six centaurs simultaneously emerged from out of LoS and started shooting at me. Pre-casting Repel Missiles is the only thing I could have done that would have potentially given me a chance to survive, but I wasn't bothering with keeping it up permanently because of how tedious it gets.)
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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 07:02

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Here's a very rough idea I just came up with... as I seem to do sometimes. What if glow didn't go away on it's own, but instead you had to bleed it off? For example, Transmutations, Charms, and self-buffs all cause glow. Conjuration, Hexes, and other "doesn't affect self" spells could bleed glow. Bleeding glow could give some minor enhancement to those spells to encourage players not to throw Magic Darts at the wall. Though, this doesn't address high level conjurations and such.
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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 09:59

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Also doesn't address glow garnered by non-spellcasters.

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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 14:45

Re: alternatives to permabuff

I thought the point of the perma buff was to
a) reduce hassle
b) make it easier so people don't have to stop to recast all of the time

What happened?
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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 15:04

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Yet Another Stupid Noob wrote:I thought the point of the perma buff was to
a) reduce hassle
b) make it easier so people don't have to stop to recast all of the time

What happened?

Adding actual consequences for stopping to recast all the time fixes the same problem in a different and better way, since it also helps get rid of the lack of decisions involved.
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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 15:20

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Yet Another Stupid Noob wrote:I thought the point of the perma buff was to
a) reduce hassle
b) make it easier so people don't have to stop to recast all of the time

What happened?

What happened is that I don't think encouraging players to keep several buffs active all the time is such a great idea. I think it would make the game less interesting by reducing variety and addign a number of no-brainers (if you can afford it, learn x, y and z and keep them active all the time).
By making it undesirable to keep buffs active all the time, I hope to make buff spells more interesting.

evilmike: I like your scale. I think keep colours and just introducing the dark grey / light grey distinction could work.
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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 19:28

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Doing something like adding glow to spells like Swiftness and Deflect Missiles would do very little to add variety or introduce choices. The only difference would be that instead of keeping them up being always desirable and a big interface screw, it would be usually desirable and an even bigger interface screw. Improving the UI should be the most important consideration here.

What about something like this: permanent buffs get implemented, but if you have more than two buffs active at once, you start to accumulate glow at a pretty brisk pace. Like, enough to hit yellow in maybe 50 or so turns. So you would be effectively limited to two buffs at a time for exploration (with no interface problems, finally), and any other buffs you think you might need become an important tactical consideration. For example, if you like to run around with Swiftness and Deflect Missiles permanently active but then suddenly find yourself in a situation where you desperately need Haste or Control Teleport, then you either have to waste a turn cancelling one of your other buffs or run the serious risk of hitting yellow glow over the course of the battle (exacerbated by the fact that Haste and controlled Blinks contaminate you a little bit on their own). Maybe some people would choose to only keep one buff up permanently to prepare for this. Or sometimes you'd deliberately buff yourself up as much as possible to maximize your odds of surviving a particularly tough battle even though there's a risk of mutation.

Under a system like this, divine buffs (like Yredelemnul's Pain Mirror) shouldn't count against the limit to keep from devaluing gods. Weapon brands probably shouldn't count either. I would also keep transmutation forms separate, since they're already limited by being mutually exclusive with one another and they all have their own downsides. Buffs from potions could go either way. There might also be other complications that I'm not seeing, since this is pretty much just off the top of my head at the moment.

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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 20:08

Re: alternatives to permabuff

I have no idea if non-zero minimum spell hunger or glow from buffs would be a good idea. I think it's definitely worth trying out, though. For the glow thing, probably just see how it works in crawl light? Minimum spell hunger should be fairly easy to implement and put into trunk for a while. With things like these theorycrafting can only get you so far.

It's probably not worth bothering with logarithms for this, though. I'll try to come up with a better formula (probably of the x/(x+1) type).
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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 20:34

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Sjohara wrote:The only difference would be that instead of keeping them up being awlways desirable and a big interface screw, it would be usually desirable and an even bigger interface screw.

I doubt it. It's already not desirable at all to use swiftness when exploring since it reduces stealth and T&D. If you can't keep buffs when exploring, then you have to choose which buff to activate when engaging (if any).
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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 21:32

Re: alternatives to permabuff

galehar wrote:
Sjohara wrote:The only difference would be that instead of keeping them up being awlways desirable and a big interface screw, it would be usually desirable and an even bigger interface screw.

I doubt it. It's already not desirable at all to use swiftness when exploring since it reduces stealth and T&D. If you can't keep buffs when exploring, then you have to choose which buff to activate when engaging (if any).

Let's say I'm a predominately-melee character in the Vaults. My number one concern is getting shot to death by yaktaurs and dragons from a distance. Having Swiftness up enables me to close the distance with them in fewer turns, resulting in me being shot fewer times. Casting Swiftness after they appear wastes a turn during which I am shot, defeating the purpose and forcing me to have it prepared preemptively if I want to benefit. I don't care if my stealth is reduced because my character does not typically rely on stealth, or I am not presently interested in gambling with stealth chances. I don't care if I'm more likely to trigger traps because I have decided that ranged enemies are a bigger concern than traps. I don't care if I have gray glow because neither I nor my enemies have any abilities which cause gray glow to become a tactical concern. If I'm forced to duck into a side room every five casts to rest off the glow, then I will, because either nutrition is a non-issue at the moment or I'm willing to sacrifice nutrition for security.

In what sense is there not still an interface burden in this scenario?

If the dev team decides that buffs are overpowered and their use should be discouraged by adding drawbacks to more of them, then so be it. But that has nothing whatsoever to do with the desire to have a permanent buffing system implemented. If there is a cost, then players should have the option of consistently paying that cost without having to waste a bunch of time fiddling with the keyboard renewing buffs constantly. The UI problem and the balance problem (if there is one) are separate from one another.

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Post Tuesday, 21st February 2012, 23:32

Re: alternatives to permabuff

If your approach to yaktaur packs in the vaults is "run toward them" that is your problem (unless you are a naga). They are only speed 10, make them go to a corner or doorway--problem solved.

Even with the new ranged AI and a not-very-useful corner you will still at least get to approach diagonally instead of cardinally so you take fewer shots. Also they will tend to line up as they approach your position so you'll get some of the yaktaurs blocking others.

I can see instances where you might want to have swiftness up continuously but you might want to pick better examples :p

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2012, 01:46

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Galefury wrote:It's probably not worth bothering with logarithms for this, though. I'll try to come up with a better formula (probably of the x/(x+1) type).


That would probably work great, too.

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2012, 07:48

Re: alternatives to permabuff

I think yaktaur is a good example. Even if you want to get back to that corner swiftness does help to, taking less shoot from yaktaur. Casting swiftness in front of them to flee is just taking more shoot

I don't feel like keeping buff active all the time is a no brainer. Once you spend xp to raise charm to get them to excellent, and sacrifice spell slot to learn them, then it become obvious to keep them active (if it is possible).

What I expect from the permabuff request is to prevent the current behaviour of using autoexplore, seeing enemies, get back to prevent them from shooting you, cast buffs, then attack them
In the end, i spend most of my fight charging ennemies without buffs and only use buffs for strong ennemy. I do it because it is tedious, but starting a not so hard fight without buff is usually not a problem, until a strong ennemy arrive and you have lost 25% of your hp just by laziness in the previous fight

I do like interesting choice, and i feel like raising charm is a long terme interesting choice.
I don't feel asking myself if a need buffs or not for each ennemy really interesting. That too much small choices


We already have easy to cast long lasting buff (like swiftness) that i feel should be permacast and short lasting glowing buff (like haste) that have high cost and shouldn't be used to often. Making all buff part of the second categorie feel tedious for me

Maybe the problem comes from low level buff, where it doesn't cost xp to used (like switness if you're going for tornado : no need to raise charm). I don't really mind if perma-buff cost more than manual recast, i just want easy play :)

I would go for reducing max MP by 100% of the cost of the spell (as i will end if i go back to the corner and manually cast the buff) and not touching regen too much (but maybe a little). And put a restriction on charm skill (and/or transmutation skill)
Which buff to keep active should be an interesting choice
And i would up swiftness to level 3 or 4 at least, it is too good for a level 2 spell ;)

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2012, 11:09

Re: alternatives to permabuff

There seem to be 3 different but related discussions going on in this thread:

1. Making continuous buffing less attractive.
2. Nerfing conjurations/summoning (and magic in general, really.)
3. Making the food clock matter more.

With minimum spell hunger being proposed as an answer (or part of the answer) to all three.

I can certainly see the sense in this, as it would bring spells into line with other things like rods and invocations which always have a food cost. However, I can see problems with making the minimum cost too high, as it would seriously impact on the viability of certain playstyles, eg primary conjurers who need to cast many spells over the course of a battle.

If spamming mid-level (4-6) conjuration staples becomes non-viable, or even costs significantly more food than melee or shooting a bow, I can see more characters being pushed towards the buff-then-melee style, as buffs only need to be cast once per fight so will not have the high food costs associated with a mainly spellcasting style, possibly leading to reduced variety in character builds and play styles. (Of course this is pure speculation, and I don't know what will actually happen until it's implemented.)

As for making the food clock matter more, while it is (IMO) arguable that this is even a good thing, I suspect it would be nearly impossible to implement in a balanced way in any case: any change that makes the food clock even slightly challenging to an elite player like KoboldLord would make the game impossible for a new or intermediate player. And any change that does not go quite so far will have the elite players still dismissing the food clock as "trivial" or "irrelevant" while other players are starving all over the place. Again, speculation so I might be wrong... :P

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2012, 12:52

Re: alternatives to permabuff

In a game where you find a lot of food or gourmand the food clock might still not matter much even for conjurers. In a game with little food you might have to be careful with your high level casting. The food clock certainly shouldn't be very harsh in crawl, but requiring some consideration of available resources wouldn't be bad.

The food clock should clearly either matter more or be removed, because in its current form it is a pretty horrible mechanic. Crawl light is going the removal way AFAIK, should be interesting to see how that turns out.
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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2012, 13:22

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Sjohara wrote:Let's say I'm a predominately-melee character in the Vaults. My number one concern is getting shot to death by yaktaurs and dragons from a distance. Having Swiftness up enables me to close the distance with them in fewer turns, resulting in me being shot fewer times. Casting Swiftness after they appear wastes a turn during which I am shot, defeating the purpose and forcing me to have it prepared preemptively if I want to benefit. I don't care if my stealth is reduced because my character does not typically rely on stealth, or I am not presently interested in gambling with stealth chances. I don't care if I'm more likely to trigger traps because I have decided that ranged enemies are a bigger concern than traps. I don't care if I have gray glow because neither I nor my enemies have any abilities which cause gray glow to become a tactical concern. If I'm forced to duck into a side room every five casts to rest off the glow, then I will, because either nutrition is a non-issue at the moment or I'm willing to sacrifice nutrition for security.

The premise is not that buffs give glow, it's that keeping buffs permanently active is undesirable. If it is, then in your scenario, the strategy would be to retreat or to block LOS with summons or ?fog to gain time to activate the appropriate buffs. And I think it's more interesting than just keeping all your buffs active all the time.
Now, your little story is just telling us that adding some glow might not be enough. We probably also need to reduce the duration of swiftness, and maybe other spells too. Also, I think your strategy might not be so good if buffs give glow. If you keep accumulating glow when exploring and resting it off when you reach light grey level, then you risk running into a dangerous unique and not being able to haste yourself and use strong buffs because you're already loaded up on glow. It's a big risk for a very small gain.

Sjohara wrote:If the dev team decides that buffs are overpowered and their use should be discouraged by adding drawbacks to more of them, then so be it. But that has nothing whatsoever to do with the desire to have a permanent buffing system implemented.

I disagree. Currently, once the hunger cost is eliminated, there's no reason not to buff yourself. That's why players want a permabuff system. If it becomes undesirable to keep buffs active while exploring why should we bother on implementing a complicated system that no one will ever use?
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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2012, 14:47

Re: alternatives to permabuff

So... you want players to cast buffs before each fight instead of keeping them up permanently? I don't think this solves the problem because the repetitive nature of casting buffs over and over is still there. What if you could only have one buff up at a time? Then casting a ton of buffs before each fight wouldn't be optimal and the buff you cast might depend on what you're facing. If such a change is made though some buffs might need to be tweaked but I can see it being very interesting: do you use haste or lich form against that ice fiend?

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2012, 19:53

Re: alternatives to permabuff

galehar wrote:
Sjohara wrote:If the dev team decides that buffs are overpowered and their use should be discouraged by adding drawbacks to more of them, then so be it. But that has nothing whatsoever to do with the desire to have a permanent buffing system implemented.

I disagree. Currently, once the hunger cost is eliminated, there's no reason not to buff yourself. That's why players want a permabuff system. If it becomes undesirable to keep buffs active while exploring why should we bother on implementing a complicated system that no one will ever use?

Look. We are playing a game where it is entirely possible to take a single step and have six centaurs emerge from outside of LoS and simultaneously shoot you before you have had a chance to react. If it is even remotely possible to have Deflect Missiles active BEFORE you're totally screwed instead of after, people will do it. Halve the duration and they'll cast it twice as often. Add glow and they'll rest it off. Add a nutrition or statistical cost and they will pay it. Nobody wants a headstone that reads "killed by lazy play", and that's why it's important to design the game such as optimal play doesn't require tedious behavior. I really don't think it's possible to create a scenario where it's never ever ever in a million years worth the player's effort to have a valuable buff cast preemptively in at least some situations. The value of a turn in a life-or-death encounter is simply too high. Short of something extraordinarily heavy-handed like making buffs only castable when enemies are in sight and having them instantly fade if the screen is empty, every mechanic I can think of encourages wrestling with the interface even more fiercely rather than making permanent buffing totally worthless or impossible.

I also guess I don't really see what the big problem even is! It's a no-brainer to keep your strongest weapon in your hands. It's a no-brainer to keep your two favorite rings on your fingers. Your rings don't need to fall off after every battle to force you to decide next time whether it's worth spending a turn to put them back on or not. Why are charms singularly toxic in this regard? You're investing experience and spell slots to learn them; you'd probably be investing something like max mana to keep them permanently active. Strategic choices are still there, and could be tweaked by adjusting the upkeep cost or limiting the number of buff slots or any number of other things. Why is it so important that the cost of every buff be measured specifically in combat turns that it's worth fighting an uphill battle against the interface to shoehorn it in?

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2012, 20:37

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Sjohara wrote:I also guess I don't really see what the big problem even is! It's a no-brainer to keep your strongest weapon in your hands. It's a no-brainer to keep your two favorite rings on your fingers. Your rings don't need to fall off after every battle to force you to decide next time whether it's worth spending a turn to put them back on or not. Why are charms singularly toxic in this regard? You're investing experience and spell slots to learn them; you'd probably be investing something like max mana to keep them permanently active. Strategic choices are still there, and could be tweaked by adjusting the upkeep cost or limiting the number of buff slots or any number of other things.


As things currently are, many charms are very easy to cast and have essentially no downside. (The swiftness penalty to T&D and Stealth was news to me.) Skill slots are certainly abundant enough that they've literally never been a limiting factor for any character of mine. The experience cost of really useful charms such as Swiftness and Repel Missiles is very small, even if you have poor aptitudes. Right now, you should learn both of those spells unless you're following Trog. And keep at least rMsl active basically all the time.

Balancing things from those directions is probably possible, but would have wide-ranging effects. Simply removing Charms altogether would, I suspect, be easier -- though far from a small task!

Also: situationally swapping rings and amulets is super common, unless you've found super-awesome artefacts. Weapons, as well.

As minmay and others have pointed out, forms aren't a problem, as they all have some pretty serious drawbacks to balance their benefits. Similarly, Leda's Liquefaction.

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of removing Charms. dpeg's interview on Roguelike Radio really made me think about how removing features is at least as important as adding them.
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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2012, 21:49

Re: alternatives to permabuff

The simplest, most straightforward way of implementing permanent buffs would be to have them reduce your maximum mana by their level while active. Even if you changed absolutely nothing else, that alone would increase the cost of using them (since you couldn't rest to regain full mana while still having the buff up) while simultaneously eliminating the interface burden. A win-win! And the limitations could be further increased beyond that point by increasing the upkeep cost, enforcing a hard-capped or soft-capped buff limit, adding downside to more buffs, etc. Trying to solve the problem in any direction that doesn't start with embracing permanent buffs (other than the total removal of charms, which is definitely feasible but not necessarily desirable) just strikes me as wildly impractical as long as avoiding UI complications remains a priority.

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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2012, 14:12

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Another option would be to reduce INT by level/2 for every perfabuff to represent the attention needed to keep it active.

If the glow alternative is used then Charms skill should be used in the formula to reduce glow so that at 27 Charms minor glow is instantly reduced and there's a short wait between recasting haste. At lower Charm levels the glow could last considerably longer. This would give incentive to train Charms over the minimum needed to reliably cast a level 6 spell.
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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2012, 14:45

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Sjohara wrote:The simplest, most straightforward way of implementing permanent buffs would be to have them reduce your maximum mana by their level while active.


Unless you're using conjurations, as long as you have enough MP to cast your buffs (maybe with some reserve if you're a transmuter or want to blink), you don't care about reserve maxMP very much.

42 (I think) MP would let you simultaneously cast (I'm ignoring conflicts here):

  • Condensation Shield
  • Ozo's Armour
  • Regeneration
  • Swiftness
  • Phase Shift
  • Flight
  • Repel Missiles
  • Deflect Missiles
  • Ring of Flames
  • Control Teleport
  • Stoneskin

... so having a cBlink or two in the clutch is totally reasonable for most endgame characters, even with every buff you could possibly have running at once.

Yes, getting all of those castable would be a chore, but you don't really want all of them, anyhow.
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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2012, 14:47

Re: alternatives to permabuff

Sjohara wrote:The simplest, most straightforward way of implementing permanent buffs would be to have them reduce your maximum mana by their level while active. Even if you changed absolutely nothing else, that alone would increase the cost of using them (since you couldn't rest to regain full mana while still having the buff up) while simultaneously eliminating the interface burden. A win-win! And the limitations could be further increased beyond that point by increasing the upkeep cost, enforcing a hard-capped or soft-capped buff limit, adding downside to more buffs, etc. Trying to solve the problem in any direction that doesn't start with embracing permanent buffs (other than the total removal of charms, which is definitely feasible but not necessarily desirable) just strikes me as wildly impractical as long as avoiding UI complications remains a priority.


The problem with any any penalty to permabuffing is that it makes using it sub-optimal. Then means the current default (manual recasting) remains the boring, but optimal play.

The whole point of perma-buffing was to remove the grind of manually recasting your buffs all the time. The discussion seems to have morphed into "is buffing too powerful?", probably because the realisation that many/all players would be able to always have them up (as opposed to the fewer, optimal players)

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