Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction


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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 04:02

Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

Seeing the wonderful new mechanics on the flayed ghost made me think about applying that summoning. By drawing another monster to this plane, the summoner lends it a bit of the summoner's life force while the summon is in this world.

Lose life equal to the level of the summon (so 9 hp for a summoned dragon). Fully refunded on the monster's death or summon timer expiring. Works just like the flay effect. Puts a soft cap on how many summons you can have at one time, and makes summoners somewhat less safe by giving mass meat shields a survival cost to the player.
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Wizlab Walloper

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 04:20

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

Summoning has already received some pretty serious nerfs recently. I'm actually in favor of this idea (it's thematic and provides interesting gameplay choices) but only if the other recent nerf, the inability for summons to fight outside of LOS, is removed. It's unrealistic and removes fun game tactics. I understand that the devs want to remove "no brainer" choices, but if summoning has thematically realistic and balanced drawbacks like this and 50% EXP reduction, it's hardly going to be my definite go-to school-- but will still be fun.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 04:25

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

Fair enough. Another thing I like about this is it makes picking a race for a summoner more interesting. Most caster races have low hp, so this might make a higher hp race like naga more interesting for a summoner than a deep elf. The ratio of levels of summons active to hp can be tweaked as desired, I was thinking maybe having a certain amount free before taking hp from the caster, something like summoning skill/2 is free, then the rest 1:1? Up to the devs for the final numbers I suppose.

Dungeon Master

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 06:42

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

The out-of-LOS nerf wasn't due to no-brainers; it's because we feel things happening where the player can't see them isn't very interesting. And summoning as it was basically encouraged you to conduct most battles of the game in a place you couldn't see them.

There is a proposal floating around for nerfing summoners further (actually, making them more interesting) with a summons cap. So there would be a per-summon-type cap and a total summons cap. The idea is that you have to think more about using different types of summons together, rather than spamming your strongest summon every time.

This coupled with making them better at following you down stairs would I think improve things greatly. Adding a HP cost as well would make them frustrating and complicated I think. It could be interesting to have this cost on a specific summon type, but having it on all of them would be weird.

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 09:24

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

mumra wrote:The out-of-LOS nerf wasn't due to no-brainers; it's because we feel things happening where the player can't see them isn't very interesting. And summoning as it was basically encouraged you to conduct most battles of the game in a place you couldn't see them.


I don't know where this argument of it not being interesting comes from, but I believe the nerf would be more because out of sight summons killing things was due to it leaning into tactics that let players deal with enemies by simply spamming summons and running out of sight while their summons killed the enemy. Arguing that it was to nerf such an overpowered and broken tactic would be more valid - since some of Crawls mechanics rely on LoS mechanisms and you can basically avoid damage far too well.

Anyhow, the way I see it this would replace the summoning caps. Taking a chunk of hit points may also be more fitting with Crawl's playstyle - I mean people likely have fun spamming the screen with Scorpions to overwhelm their enemies and with this proposal you would likely still be able too cast Summon Scorpion 4 or 5 times (your HP willing). Of course, if players are going to lose hit points permanently then they will likely be less prone to spamming the screen with summons in hope of overwhelming an enemy.

However, one problem is the HP to MP idea - 9 or 18 HP to summon 1 or 2 dragons or 4 or 8 HP for 1 or 2 Ice Beasts isn't really a big cost on hit points. The HP buffer would likely have to be very big for this to work, and in the interest of making it so caster races might still be viable it might make sense to make Summoning scale off a percentage of hit points. Something like X% Total HP Before Rotting & Summoning = X MP might work better then X HP = X MP.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 12:15

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

Davion Fuxa wrote:
mumra wrote:I don't know where this argument of it not being interesting comes from, but I believe the nerf would be more because out of sight summons killing things was due to it leaning into tactics that let players deal with enemies by simply spamming summons and running out of sight while their summons killed the enemy. Arguing that it was to nerf such an overpowered and broken tactic would be more valid - since some of Crawls mechanics rely on LoS mechanisms and you can basically avoid damage far too well.

Killing enemies that can't even see you, let alone threaten you is the very soul of uninteresting.

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 12:38

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

mumra wrote:There is a proposal floating around for nerfing summoners further (actually, making them more interesting) with a summons cap. So there would be a per-summon-type cap and a total summons cap. The idea is that you have to think more about using different types of summons together, rather than spamming your strongest summon every time.


How about if it's an MP maintenance cost instead of HP? Would be a more transparent way to implement a summons cap, I think, rather than some magic number limit. HP cost would also work that way of course, but I agree that it would be more frustrating.

This could fit in with Charms reform, where buffs simply have an ongoing MP maintenance cost instead of being periodically recast.
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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 14:53

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

mumra wrote:This coupled with making them better at following you down stairs would I think improve things greatly.

Or just prevent them from using stairs, like zombies. It's much easier and I think it would be a better change anyway (with a few exceptions maybe like TSO's angels)
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Halls Hopper

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 17:05

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

Would the player be able to rest to get back the health spent summoning stuff? At high enough spellpower this mechanic seems like it would combine with abjuration to give casters tedious to set up but incredibly useful mid-fight health re-gen.

Edit: I should probably point out I haven't seen the new flayed ghosts in action, and am judging this mechanic based on what the wiki says.

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 17:15

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

Davion Fuxa wrote:I don't know where this argument of it not being interesting comes from


I believe it comes from the mouth of the dev who made the change, and I certainly agree with it and as far as I know so does everyone on the devteam.

Davion Fuxa wrote:Arguing that it was to nerf such an overpowered and broken tactic would be more valid


Don't worry, they're still broken and overpowered even within LOS, but it's now at least more fun since you can see them being broken and overpowered.

Davion Fuxa wrote:some of Crawls mechanics rely on LoS mechanisms and you can basically avoid damage far too well


These mechanisms are gradually being fixed. The main offender now is clouds, and there's a good proposal to nerf out-of-LOS clouds too.

Davion Fuxa wrote:Taking a chunk of hit points may also be more fitting with Crawl's playstyle


I don't really see this. And have you tried playing a Djinni conjurer? Trading HP for killing things is dangerous, difficult and sometimes frustrating. If you're playing a Djinni mage then you're accepting that downside but it's the biggest complaint about Djinni that I've seen. Instigating this for all summoner types as well would be terrible IMO.

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 17:16

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

DracheReborn wrote:How about if it's an MP maintenance cost instead of HP?


This has also been suggested before, in line with perma-buffs. It's certainly not a bad proposal but it's more limiting on what the player can do. It would make more sense if the summons were made permanent too. But either you you'd then want an interface for dismissing your summons as well; this would get fiddly (same with permanent HP costs actually).

DracheReborn wrote:rather than some magic number limit


There's an idea to have a "soft" cap, so you can temporarily go over the limit but those summons will time out much quicker than ones under the limit.

I think the caps are actually pretty transparent, thought, and actually quite a bit simpler to figure out than having to continually do math like "ok ... with this much MP, I can afford 3 foo, 2 bar, and 1 baz ... or can I?" etc. (I'm going to call this type of math "supermarket bargain shopping", I think this is actually quite an accurate description)

galehar wrote:Or just prevent them from using stairs, like zombies. It's much easier and I think it would be a better change anyway (with a few exceptions maybe like TSO's angels)


Yes good point. Temporary summons only presumably? I still think it would be nice if the stairs behaviour were improved for the exceptions.

minmay wrote:So I suggest making friendly summons disappear on level changes as well.


I think this also came up before and sounds like a good idea.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 20:48

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

mumra wrote:
galehar wrote:Or just prevent them from using stairs, like zombies. It's much easier and I think it would be a better change anyway (with a few exceptions maybe like TSO's angels)

Yes good point. Temporary summons only presumably? I still think it would be nice if the stairs behaviour were improved for the exceptions.

Brogue style stair following for allies? Yes! Would be great indeed. But it's much harder to code than just poofing all temporary summons when you change level.
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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 21:49

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

Play a Djinn summoner now to see how it feels. I know it's not a max hp cost, but it's along the same lines.

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Post Sunday, 23rd June 2013, 19:36

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

I'd like this quite a bit more than the LOS thing, as them only attacking monsters in your LOS isn't a nerf except for when you're fighting orc priests, and it's extremely spoilery, as no-where in the game are you told that summons only attack things in your LOS.
Plus, if the hp or mp reduction was added in, that'd be another step closer to permabuffs.

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Post Monday, 24th June 2013, 09:42

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

mumra wrote:
DracheReborn wrote:rather than some magic number limit


There's an idea to have a "soft" cap, so you can temporarily go over the limit but those summons will time out much quicker than ones under the limit.

I think the caps are actually pretty transparent, thought, and actually quite a bit simpler to figure out than having to continually do math like "ok ... with this much MP, I can afford 3 foo, 2 bar, and 1 baz ... or can I?" etc. (I'm going to call this type of math "supermarket bargain shopping", I think this is actually quite an accurate description)


I was thinking that watching the MP gauge go down gives you a much better feel for how many more critters you can (normally) summon.

With a magic number soft cap, well I guess it depends on the actual implementation, but it seems to me that after x number of summons, you'll start getting messages like "You summoned a hydra! You feel the hydra is here for only a short time", etc. Is that more transparent? I'm not sure. Certainly it seems clunky.

Re: interface for dismissing summons, wouldn't the soft cap idea have the same problem? You may want to dismiss the earlier critters so that your new summon is of normal duration. I don't think it would have to be too fiddly. How about "Dismiss own summon" from the abilities menu, which you then use to target the critter you want to dismiss?

For all these ideas, there's still the problem of summon spells that summon multiple critters (butterflies, spammals, scorpions, etc). Should there be a per critter cost/count or per cast? For example, if it's per critter and you summon a room full of butterflies, do they use up your cap? And if it is per cast, when do you get the HP/MP or cap number back, when they all die? Etc

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Post Monday, 24th June 2013, 09:51

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

khalil wrote:I'd like this quite a bit more than the LOS thing, as them only attacking monsters in your LOS isn't a nerf except for when you're fighting orc priests, and it's extremely spoilery, as no-where in the game are you told that summons only attack things in your LOS.
Plus, if the hp or mp reduction was added in, that'd be another step closer to permabuffs.


I have different experience. The dragons killed Cerebov without me even noticing him. Even Zigs were very easy except a holy floor, mainly caused by my lack of Animate Dead. I quit the game because of boredom and upgraded to 0.12 immediately.

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Post Monday, 24th June 2013, 11:08

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

DracheReborn wrote:
mumra wrote:"ok ... with this much MP, I can afford 3 foo, 2 bar, and 1 baz ... or can I?" etc. (I'm going to call this type of math "supermarket bargain shopping", I think this is actually quite an accurate description)


I was thinking that watching the MP gauge go down gives you a much better feel for how many more critters you can (normally) summon.


Perhaps this could work. But it still wouldn't fix one thing that I'd like to see changed, that with this system you'll still mostly want to spam your best summons, rather than thinking about mixtures. That's the neat thing about the per-spell cap.

I also think this has a mechanical flaw. Casting a spell doesn't always produce the same number of summons, and different spells produce different quantities of summons. This change would require a spells to start producing predictable numbers of summons, and the MP cost would be per-summon rather than per-cast. So it'd require a big rethinking of how spell costs worked for summoning, and would also be quite different perma-buff costs.

DracheReborn wrote:With a magic number soft cap, well I guess it depends on the actual implementation, but it seems to me that after x number of summons, you'll start getting messages like "You summoned a hydra! You feel the hydra is here for only a short time", etc. Is that more transparent? I'm not sure. Certainly it seems clunky.


You don't usually summon only 1 monster at a time. You'll quickly and naturally figure out e.g. if two casts is filling out your limit on a certain. I perceive the caps increasing with Summoning skill or spell power as well. And in fact I think we can balance the numbers so that you can apply fairly consistent thinking across most spells - i.e. "I can each spell once for maximum benefit, or cast this spell twice if I want slightly more of a particular type but it'll be less MP efficent, and the global cap means right now I can manage 5 or 6 different types at once".

DracheReborn wrote:Re: interface for dismissing summons, wouldn't the soft cap idea have the same problem? You may want to dismiss the earlier critters so that your new summon is of normal duration. I don't think it would have to be too fiddly. How about "Dismiss own summon" from the abilities menu, which you then use to target the critter you want to dismiss?


I described this wrongly. Actually new summons should replace your oldest ones, so it can still be worth casting when you're at the limit, to renew old creatures.

DracheReborn wrote:For all these ideas, there's still the problem of summon spells that summon multiple critters (butterflies, spammals, scorpions, etc). Should there be a per critter cost/count or per cast? For example, if it's per critter and you summon a room full of butterflies, do they use up your cap? And if it is per cast, when do you get the HP/MP or cap number back, when they all die? Etc


There are two different ways to go about this:

1) If per-summon-type caps are worked out correctly, maybe a global cap isn't needed

2) Alternately, each summon has a different 'cost' in how it contributes to the global cap. So 10 butterflies might count as only 1 dragon. Of course all these conversion rates would have to undergo a lot of tweaking and balancing to find a system that worked well, feels fair, and plays naturally.

Overall I'm still confident this system is much better than perma-costs. An important factor is that they will work out the same for everyone whereas an MP/HP cost would make some races particularly overpowered or underpowered as summoners for no obvious reason. Whereas with the caps, races with better summoning apts will be a bit more powerful but in a controlled way, and the reason is obvious.

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Post Monday, 24th June 2013, 12:38

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

mumra wrote:There are two different ways to go about this:

1) If per-summon-type caps are worked out correctly, maybe a global cap isn't needed

2) Alternately, each summon has a different 'cost' in how it contributes to the global cap. So 10 butterflies might count as only 1 dragon. Of course all these conversion rates would have to undergo a lot of tweaking and balancing to find a system that worked well, feels fair, and plays naturally.


Ah, so the idea is for caps to work on a per type/spell basis? I didn't realize that, and ok, that might be better.

Still, neither alternative feels natural/transparent to me. For the first, you'll constantly have to refer to lists to see how many of each type you're capped with. The second is worse IMO, with the complication of equivalence conversions. I guess it will all depend on the actual implementation.

mumra wrote:Overall I'm still confident this system is much better than perma-costs. An important factor is that they will work out the same for everyone whereas an MP/HP cost would make some races particularly overpowered or underpowered as summoners for no obvious reason. Whereas with the caps, races with better summoning apts will be a bit more powerful but in a controlled way, and the reason is obvious.


Fair point.

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Post Monday, 24th June 2013, 13:44

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

DracheReborn wrote:Still, neither alternative feels natural/transparent to me. For the first, you'll constantly have to refer to lists to see how many of each type you're capped with. The second is worse IMO, with the complication of equivalence conversions. I guess it will all depend on the actual implementation.


My idea is to balance the numbers so that 2 or at most 3 castings of a spell will generally take you over the maximum cap for that summons type. So you won't actually need to know anything about individual cap numbers at all, just that one or two casts are generally optimal, or three if you really want to squeeze out a few extra bodies. You might also want to recast if your summons are old or dying (maybe low health ones should be replaced as a priority too) but this is also a decision you can make just by glancing at the screen. To me this seems simple and intuitive, offering choice and flexibility without having to get bogged down in numbers or values of summons (as opposed to perma MP or HP costs where the numbers become extremely important).

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Post Monday, 24th June 2013, 19:18

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

Small suggestion for the soft-cap idea: this is harder to code but it would be nice if going over the cap made the new summons have full duration and made older summons disappear faster. This is important because let's say you cast summon dragon but then the fight goes badly and you teleport and you're next to some monsters. You want to use summon dragon but the first dragon alive somewhere else on the level is making your dragons have a shorter duration. This was an extreme example but there are also many more situations like this that don't involve teleport. With any kind of repositioning or simply walking at faster than summon speed you can find that you want fresh summons at the new location and the older summons are less important. So older summons disappearing faster would make summoner gameplay nicer.
EDIT: sorry should've read the thread more carefully.
Last edited by Wahaha on Monday, 24th June 2013, 19:21, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Monday, 24th June 2013, 19:20

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

Wahaha wrote:Small suggestion for the soft-cap idea: this is harder to code but it would be nice if going over the cap made the new summons have full duration and made older summons disappear faster. This is important because let's say you cast summon dragon but then the fight goes badly and you teleport and you're next to some monsters. You want to use summon dragon but the first dragon alive somewhere else on the level is making your dragons have a shorter duration. This was an extreme example but there are also many more situations like this that don't involve teleport. With any kind of repositioning or simply walking at faster than summon speed you can find that you want fresh summons at the new location and the older summons are less important. So older summons disappearing faster would make summoner gameplay nicer.


Yes, this is what I'm saying: old summons (and possibly damaged ones), would be replaced by the new ones. Setting their duration low is a good way to do this.

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Post Tuesday, 25th June 2013, 11:35

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

mumra wrote:Yes, this is what I'm saying: old summons (and possibly damaged ones), would be replaced by the new ones. Setting their duration low is a good way to do this.


Now that I have a better understanding of your idea, I have to say it sounds pretty good. Far better than anything I came up with certainly. Thanks for explaining.

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Post Tuesday, 25th June 2013, 22:46

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

DracheReborn wrote:
mumra wrote:Yes, this is what I'm saying: old summons (and possibly damaged ones), would be replaced by the new ones. Setting their duration low is a good way to do this.


Now that I have a better understanding of your idea, I have to say it sounds pretty good. Far better than anything I came up with certainly. Thanks for explaining.


I'm glad you like it, because it's now in trunk :twisted:
http://s-z.org/neil/git/?p=crawl.git;a=commitdiff;h=8f257afba082

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Post Tuesday, 25th June 2013, 23:23

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

mumra wrote:
DracheReborn wrote:
mumra wrote:Yes, this is what I'm saying: old summons (and possibly damaged ones), would be replaced by the new ones. Setting their duration low is a good way to do this.


Now that I have a better understanding of your idea, I have to say it sounds pretty good. Far better than anything I came up with certainly. Thanks for explaining.


I'm glad you like it, because it's now in trunk :twisted:
http://s-z.org/neil/git/?p=crawl.git;a=commitdiff;h=8f257afba082


Literally the only downside I can think of for this is that MuSu is now complete garbage.

...wait, that's an upside, not a downside.

Guess this marks the end of summoning being overpowered. Hopefully.

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Post Wednesday, 26th June 2013, 19:51

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

No wonder my IE is struggling to maintain hordes of Ice Beasts. Hmm, I never had the patience to do well with a summoner, now it sounds pretty hard.

MuSu will be even more of a thing now though - no stair dancing means channelling will be even more helpful.

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Post Thursday, 27th June 2013, 17:52

Re: Proposal: Nerf summoning through temporary hp reduction

Lightli wrote:Literally the only downside I can think of for this is that MuSu is now complete garbage.

You imply that mummies weren't already garbage. *rimshot*

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