Alternative to the Runelock


Although the central place for this kind of discussion is on the CDO wiki, some may find it helpful to discuss potential requests and suggestions here first.

Temple Termagant

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Post Friday, 25th October 2013, 21:53

Alternative to the Runelock

I lurk on this forum a lot during class and Im not sure if anyone offered this as a solution to the whole rune lock situation but heres my two cents. Also this is being made as a new thread because the other one was locked.

What if you had a timed system much like the volcano or portals in general. Once you enter a subbranch, you have a limited amount of time(a lot of turns but not enough for you to run off and do other branches) to get to the end for the rune + loot. If you dont get there in time, the rune will still be accessible but the loot will be locked away. This could prevent people from going down to the second to last level then going and doing another. But it also doesnt restrict the players freedom in anyway.

The main problem I see with this is letting players know just how much time is remaining.

Vestibule Violator

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Post Friday, 25th October 2013, 22:02

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

I think this has the opposite of the desired effect. Currently, people might do some of the upper floors before they're motivated to go for the rune. With your suggested change, people will feel strongly compelled to not even do that.

Temple Termagant

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Post Friday, 25th October 2013, 22:09

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Hurkyl wrote:I think this has the opposite of the desired effect. Currently, people might do some of the upper floors before they're motivated to go for the rune. With your suggested change, people will feel strongly compelled to not even do that.


What if once they leave the subbranch the timer starts?
Example:
>Enters Spiders nest first time
>has unlimited time to do branch
>Leaves Spiders nest for whatever reason, stash, shop, other branch
>Timer starts giving player X amount of time to get to the loot at the end


or what if you enter spiders nest, leave then enter another branch....the loot at the end of the spiders nest gets locked away some how. Just brainstorming another alternative. I dont think any of these ideas are solid enough to be used alone but the thought of adding a timed system seems like something that could work

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 25th October 2013, 22:19

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

jamesbron wrote:If you dont get there in time, the rune will still be accessible but the loot will be locked away.
...
But it also doesnt restrict the players freedom in anyway.


Contradiction detected. Please don't make players rush, it is not RTS. Presence of timed portals is bad enough IMHO but at least they are rare/dangerous/optional and you can use scrolls of magic mapping.

Temple Termagant

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Post Friday, 25th October 2013, 22:29

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Sandman25 wrote:
jamesbron wrote:If you dont get there in time, the rune will still be accessible but the loot will be locked away.
...
But it also doesnt restrict the players freedom in anyway.


Contradiction detected. Please don't make players rush, it is not RTS. Presence of timed portals is bad enough IMHO but at least they are rare/dangerous/optional and you can use scrolls of magic mapping.


Freedom in terms of can go anywhere they want.

In the Volcano portal, the loot gets locked away often if youre not quick enough, do you feel restricted when that happens? Do you feel like you dont have freedom when the wall collapses?

If you dont want to rush players then how do you feel about leaving and entering another branch will remove the rune-loot of the first? Or some sort of side effect of leaving a branch and going to another?

Barkeep

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Post Friday, 25th October 2013, 22:43

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Crawl could perhaps use more timer-based (time being measured in turns, not real time) mechanics, but I don't think the one proposed here would be good, for reasons Hurkyl pointed to: Doesn't really address the problem. Plus it doesn't help that, of the four alternating Lair branches, only one (Shoals) tends to have decent loot, in the first place.

As for general topic: I think rune lock on D15 is fine to *try* in Trunk. It would be easy to implement and even easier to revert if it is deemed too harsh, in which case johlstei's (I think that was the name) idea from the other thread, to rune lock Vaults entrance, could be tried, as that was a pretty good alternative. Or, of course, the entire idea could be abandoned.

If D15 rune lock ends up not working out, a slightly different take on the Vaults rune lock idea would be to randomize it within certain parameters. You are guaranteed one of the following: You get a deeper dungeon rune lock (like staircase down to D21 or something), or a Crypt lock, or an Elves lock. This way it is a bit of a roulette, like with Lair branches and floor on which different branches spawn.

A deeper dungeon rune lock would suck in that late Dungeon is non-optional, but on the other hand you have a very wide range of optional content to consider and several rune branches from which you could get the key. Crypt is completely optional, but generally is not too hard and has decent rewards; at the same time, for certain characters Crypt is really easy, this would make those characters have to work to get the key before they go and trounce Crypt. Elven Halls blocked until rune is a bit of a downer if you wanted to dip it for buckler or chance of a 1st-floor shop, but is otherwise probably the luckiest rune lock and what you hope to roll, because only characters capable of clearing at least the Lair runes should even bother with clearing Elf. A chance for a rune lock on *one* of the two alternating Lair branches could be another possibility.

With rune lock roulette, you'd have one more variable (along with things like early vs. late Temple, lucking into a D8 Lair, etc.) affecting structure of the game in a semi-randomized way. Guaranteed D15 rune lock is much more dramatic, but if that doesn't work out, there might be other, less radical ways to introduce a rune lock mechanic into the game.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 25th October 2013, 23:00

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

jamesbron wrote:Freedom in terms of can go anywhere they want.

In the Volcano portal, the loot gets locked away often if youre not quick enough, do you feel restricted when that happens? Do you feel like you dont have freedom when the wall collapses?

If you dont want to rush players then how do you feel about leaving and entering another branch will remove the rune-loot of the first? Or some sort of side effect of leaving a branch and going to another?


If you really want to know my attitude towards Volcano, just follow the link. Volcano is not an excuse to make game less enjoyable IMHO.

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Post Friday, 25th October 2013, 23:33

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

and_into: Sure, but one main point about the basic proposal is that it is simple. There are many ways to modify or augment the concept, as you say. However, the question is if the basic assumption works -- you can expect to get a Lair branch rune with what the game gives you until D:14, Lair (and possibly Orc if all hell breaks loose).

Sandman25: Volcanoes are certainly not prime examples for portal vaults but, and this is important, they come up rarely enough. If something like was involved in whatever runelock mechanic, it'd indeed be worrisome. (You can compare this with the tension mechanic: it is good for some things, for example Xom and demonic guardians, but there are limits to what you can expect from it -- see Lava Orcs.)

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Post Friday, 25th October 2013, 23:46

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

dpeg wrote:Sandman25: Volcanoes are certainly not prime examples for portal vaults but, and this is important, they come up rarely enough. If something like was involved in whatever runelock mechanic, it'd indeed be worrisome. (You can compare this with the tension mechanic: it is good for some things, for example Xom and demonic guardians, but there are limits to what you can expect from it -- see Lava Orcs.)


Yes, I agree. Volcano is optional so if character has problems with specific Volcano map, he can always leave it. Runelock problem should be solvable by most characters so it should be much easier than the hardest Volcano/Ice Cave. No Frost Giants, for example.

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Saturday, 26th October 2013, 15:20

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

What if, instead of a "hard" lock, monsters from beyond D:14 give only half the normal XP unless you have a rune, so while it would be possible to continue exploring the Dungeon or Vaults, you would miss out on a lot of potential XP if you don't go for the rune first. This could make things a bit more forgiving where, for example, you cannot get beyond Lair:2 because of uniques etc guarding the stairs.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 26th October 2013, 15:49

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Jeremiah wrote:What if, instead of a "hard" lock, monsters from beyond D:14 give only half the normal XP unless you have a rune, so while it would be possible to continue exploring the Dungeon or Vaults, you would miss out on a lot of potential XP if you don't go for the rune first. This could make things a bit more forgiving where, for example, you cannot get beyond Lair:2 because of uniques etc guarding the stairs.


Rather, make them twice as hard. The presence of your rune negates the extra "boost" they are receiving from their proximity to the Orb of Zot.

Then it can be a tournament challenge goal to defeat 14-27 w/o a rune.
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Barkeep

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Post Saturday, 26th October 2013, 21:45

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

If there's going to be a rune lock, make it a hard lock—you need a rune to proceed. All the "soft lock" alternatives thus far proposed are not only far clunkier and less elegant, but would lead to the sort of thing that currently happens (avoiding the Lair runes until they are trivial to get) but simply involve more spoilerish and meta-gamey behaviors and judgments than before, and cause even greater trouble with balance. By far the most sensible way to adjust the harshness of rune lock is by altering where exactly it appears (or can appear). You could do a bunch of gimmicky things like making certain consumables unusable past D15 unless you have at least one rune, etc., but it just beats around the bush. Rather than annoying people in the name of providing the illusion of choice, make the feature meaningful by presenting a hard block that people have to work around. The meaningful choices consist in figuring out which rune to get and how to get it at a level where there's an actual challenge presented.

Now, it may well turn out that the challenge thus posed is unfair and rune lock doesn't work out. That's totally possible. And if rune lock turns out to be a bad idea it can and should be abandoned, obviously.

But if it is to be tested, then test rune lock rather than rune annoyance. "If you don't have a rune you can proceed, but you will be horribly frustrated by slow leveling and/or arbitrarily tougher creatures—isn't it great that you have all these 'options?' Hurray for 'choices!'" — No thanks.

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Post Saturday, 26th October 2013, 22:14

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

and_into: Couldn't have said it better -- thanks!

Mines Malingerer

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Post Saturday, 26th October 2013, 23:37

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Yeah, I voted for soft lock in that choices=yay, but I really do have trouble seeing anything proposed that sounds like a workable good choice. I expected more stuff like "pay 2000 coins" or "kill/sneak past Grogzar the Gate Guardian", but all I'm sensing is stuff like "enter super-hardcore mode". Maybe I expected too much...

Seeing as a harder lock looks the viable route, maybe implement /some/ choice, but not to the same extent as a soft lock? As in, "Grogzar wants the serpentine rune, but will accept another if you bribe him" or "This door will open to any rune, but will give you this <specific item> for the <specific rune>". So it still requires a rune in any case, but now randomly punishes/incentivizes rune choice, encouraging diversity and strategy.

Of course this is all contingent on a hard lock actually working out.

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Post Saturday, 26th October 2013, 23:49

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

You could do something really simple like having a few pre-mapped shafts strewn across D:14. That way, you could always get in the lower half of D, although to get back you'd obviously need a rune from the lower half. But if that floats your boat, why not? Whatever happens here, rune/norune should not affect tactical rules (like xp or other monster statuses). I believe that this would be way too complicated. Needless to say, a lot more complicated ideas have been championed, for example a portal vault [or a small set of them] which allow entry in one half and, if you're successful, exit on the other half (this would amount to weaking the rune lock rule to: "you can only pass once [or a small number of times] through the D:14 stairs, until you own a rune"). However, that's idle speculation for now.

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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 00:05

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

I don't see how limiting the number of time one can pass without a rune would be effective. Although I have not yet won the game, I know the basic strategy seems to be to go somewhat linearly down, grabbing runes along the way, and then back up with the orb. Presumably that means that backtracking through the main dungeon shaft would happen almost solely upon ascension, in which case the player would already have at least 3 runes. So passing once without a rune is all that would be done anyway, and the restraint would become moot.

Or am I missing something that more experienced players would understand?

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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 00:40

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Daggtex: Looking from a distance, "grabbing runes along the way" is true but what happens upon closer inspection is this: you go down and may or may not decide to clear branches as you reach them. (For example, it is common sense in veteran circles and painfully learned by unspoiled newbies that you don't enter Elf or Slime as soon as you meet them, let alone going down all the way.) In particular, it can make sense to bypass the branch ends and explore other branches instead -- the stereotypical example would by forfeiting Swamp/etc:5 in favour of exploring more of the Dungeon. In this sense, players don't necessarily "grab runes along the way". They ultimately need three runes in order to enter the Zot branch, so at some point they have to backtrack and get some of the runes.
This very behaviour is what caused the invention of the rune lock, because the non-Slime Lair subbranch endings were intended to be tackled earlier than by someone who has done all the (generally/supposedly) easier content by then. "Easier" typically means these Lair branches except for their final levels, all of Orc, some of Vaults and as much as Dungeon as seemed fit.
The rune lock is an attempt to force players to tackle on Lair rune level earlier than that by denying the access to D:15 (hence also to Vaults). This is (a) a nerf and (b) restricts freedom -- where you have been able to ignore all of Lair before (at least for a while), that would be much harder under the rune lock. It is not a surprise that neither of these are popular with some, or perhaps many, players. I will not explain here why I think the rune lock actually improves the game. However, assuming the rune lock exists, one could wonder if some form of bypassing it would be possible. Being able to go down at D:14 once would be such a detour.

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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 03:46

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

  Code:
<ophanim> minqmay: the only thing i want to point out to dpeg is that runelock would require a jiyva change, and it would still probably just result in more jiyva dudes which is not really good for the game
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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 04:40

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

dpeg wrote:However, assuming the rune lock exists, one could wonder if some form of bypassing it would be possible.


This is why I was proposing (rather than penalizing experience) making the monsters tougher as you go deeper, an effect negated by runes collected.

I do see and understand the idea of tedium as a counter-argument to this proposal, but I'm still going to relate it.

Currently, the only rune lock that exists is Zot, which requires 3 runes. This lock would also be removed (SACRILEGE! BLASPHEMER!), and monsters in Zot would, instead, be more powerful by a factor of 3, requiring 3 runes to bring them down to normal (current) power. This wouldn't stop sneaky players from making their way to the Orb, but would require some factor of the usual rune acquisition to make thing easier.

I would say D26-27 could also be affected by this factor of 3, D20-26 could be affected by a factor of 2 and D14-19 a factor of 1.
Vaults should be affected by the same factor of whatever level it appears on.
Hell, Pan and Abyss should stay the same, leaving their runes accessible (leaving the Hell access in some Lair:8 endings and Abyssing via distortion / spells non-problematic).
This requires no changes to shafting.

Overall, the concept would be that proximity to the Orb of Zot empowers monsters and that rune possession negates the power.

If you'd like to make it a real pain in the butt, make Zot:4 a factor of 4 and Zot:5 a factor of 5.
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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 06:40

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

I actually think the early-game-Jiyva-conversion doesn't bode anything unwell for the game, though I'd say there should be at least one or two more options similar to it. As and into said:

and into wrote:The meaningful choices consist in figuring out which rune to get and how to get it at a level where there's an actual challenge presented.


...

and into wrote:Now, it may well turn out that the challenge thus posed is unfair and rune lock doesn't work out. That's totally possible. And if rune lock turns out to be a bad idea it can and should be abandoned, obviously.


I do suspect (as others who are interested in trying out the rune lock) that players will be able to get runes in the usual way. I also think a lot of players will die in the attempt -- in some cases this will be because of bad play, and maybe in some cases players will learn how to take on overwhelming odds in a more effective way. However, once we see how players die while attempting to get an earlier rune, then we can figure out how to support them; not in getting through the lock, but in getting a rune with significant and present risks.

If you decide to go with Jiyva, that's something your character will have to deal with for a long time, and if you were interested in other gods you have to deal with wrath effects. It's interesting that going Jiyva impacts the experience and loot you gain later on, and I think having other, different early-rune options with various long-term strategic penalties could be interesting.

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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 09:12

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

duvessa wrote:
  Code:
<ophanim> minqmay: the only thing i want to point out to dpeg is that runelock would require a jiyva change, and it would still probably just result in more jiyva dudes which is not really good for the game

A pity that minmay has to be quoted rather than posting himself.

In any case, if that's the only change, I wouldn't be troubled about rune-locking at all? :)
I don't see at this moment why players taking on Jiyva is necessarily bad. Perhaps a little bit: Jiyva forfeits a lot of the normal game (like Trog does with casting and Elyvilon with "how do I dispatch most monsters"). If Jiyva became the norm rather than the exception, that would be an unintended drift. But, luckily, Jiyva altars are rare and supposed to stay rare.

Unrelated question to self: Did people react the same way back when Linley added the Zot three-rune-locl (must have been around Dungeon Crawl 0.3 or so)?

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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 10:22

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Kind of off-topic, but if the rune lock is introduced, there probably ought to also be effort made to distinguish the Dungeon after the lock from the Dungeon before it - it would be a bit of an anti-climax if after getting your rune, you went back to the Dungeon and just found more of the same as before only slightly harder.

If there was enough distinction, you could even call the later part of the Dungeon something else, eg D would end at level 14 and there is some other branch, eg "Catacombs" or something that you get to with a rune. Another advantage of this is that it would get away from the idea that the Dungeon must have 27 levels, so the total number of levels could be tweaked if necessary to make the game harder, less boring, etc.

Obviously it would take a lot of work on monster sets etc to do this so the rune lock should be tested first and any work on changing the dungeon could be done once the lock becomes a definite feature.

Whatever - next game I start I'm going to try to get a rune before D:14 even if the lock is not in place.

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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 10:28

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Jeremiah wrote:Kind of off-topic, but if the rune lock is introduced, there probably ought to also be effort made to distinguish the Dungeon after the lock from the Dungeon before it - it would be a bit of an anti-climax if after getting your rune, you went back to the Dungeon and just found more of the same as before only slightly harder.
Absolutely! There was some talk among developers about this. In one sense it's premature since we may find that the lock doesn't work. But whatever, optimistically assuming it'll come and stay, here are some ideas that have been floated: different sets/weights for level layouts; different sets/weights for monsters; different visuals (floor/rock colours); different use of features (a lot more ordinary fountains in shallow D, predominantly dry fountains in D as one example); call the halves slightly differently (as a random proposal, here's "Dungeons of Despair" and "Dungeons of Doom"); trap types; vaults should obey the D divide.

Whatever - next game I start I'm going to try to get a rune before D:14 even if the lock is not in place.
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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 14:35

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

duvessa wrote:
  Code:
<ophanim> minqmay: the only thing i want to point out to dpeg is that runelock would require a jiyva change, and it would still probably just result in more jiyva dudes which is not really good for the game
Couldn't we just move the Slime Pits entrance to an area past the rune lock? If you aren't with Jiyva I doubt you would do it as the first rune. If we still want Jiyva to be available after completing the Lair, we could do something like the food vaults to ensure an altar.
dpeg wrote:A pity that minmay has to be quoted rather than posting himself.
duvessa is minmay. He started posting under an alt account after his posts were somehow deleted. However, the quote isn't from minmay; it's from ophanim. (For those of you who don't use IRC the name in the <> is whoever wrote it and the "minmay:" means that the message was directed at minmay.)
On IRC my nick is reaverb. I play online under the name reaver, though.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 15:59

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

dpeg wrote:
duvessa wrote:
  Code:
<ophanim> minqmay: the only thing i want to point out to dpeg is that runelock would require a jiyva change, and it would still probably just result in more jiyva dudes which is not really good for the game

A pity that minmay has to be quoted rather than posting himself.


For someone with insight, you fail to see the obvious.

In other news, I agree with roctavian that early game Jiyva is such an XP sink that the drawbacks may equate the benefits of access to the chance items at the bottom of Slime:6.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 16:12

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Earlygame Jiyva is fantastic.

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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 16:15

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

I believe that Jiyva is as irrelevant to the rune lock as is Elf.

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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 21:03

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

@Jeremiah

I really appreciate your idea that the Dungeon could change dramatically after the rune lock. Dungeon is very solid, but 27 levels of it can get pretty old. I've begun to find myself diving through D:20-27 because I feel like, apart from fun vaults like Profane Halls, I'm not going to see anything that I didn't get plenty of in Vaults(As for runelocking Vaults, I almost always get a rune before daring to peek into V anyway)

I also really liked your idea that "The Dungeon doesn't have to be 27 levels deep." If, perhaps, after the rune lock there were only around 8 more levels of D, each floor could be a sharp increase in difficulty, as opposed to the more gentle ramp of the early Dungeon. This could also reduce the amount of total experience available in the dungeon, making extended more interesting than "Oh well time to tab through demonic popcorn until I get to the various rune levels" Since players can often level up more than once per Dungeon level, the slow difficulty increase makes it a little too easy to get ahead of the power curve and then just coast through late D. A rune lock could provide the warning that "Late dungeon is not like early dungeon," much like the Zot lock shows that Zot is harder than D.

Hope I didn't wander too off topic, but I just got very excited with your idea for changing D halfway through
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Temple Termagant

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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 21:20

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Yeah, after reading all of these replies the hard lock seems much more efficient. I dont play the trunk versions but maybe I should to check these out if they are ever implemented.

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Post Sunday, 27th October 2013, 22:18

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

If we're going to have guaranteed D:14 shafts to allow one-way passage to the lower dungeon without a rune, then runelock might as well just apply in the upwards direction only.
Something like:
  Code:
Warning: If you pass through the Great Dungeon Runelock, you won't be able to return without a rune. Go down anyway? (Y/N)
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Post Monday, 28th October 2013, 01:19

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Add the rune lock, then sort out all the branch difficulties the sudden change at D15 and the other problems will be addressed, just to make the lock obsolete.
Rune lock will never stay, but It'll do it's job while it's there. Like braces.

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Post Monday, 28th October 2013, 11:05

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

1010011010 wrote:[...] Rune lock will never stay, but It'll do it's job while it's there.

Yes, I guess like back when Linley added the requirement to show three runes for going to Zot (the first Crawl versions had no runes). Some of the players from back then are probably still waiting for the Zot rune lock to be removed.

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Post Monday, 28th October 2013, 13:42

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

dpeg wrote:
1010011010 wrote:[...] Rune lock will never stay, but It'll do it's job while it's there.

Yes, I guess like back when Linley added the requirement to show three runes for going to Zot (the first Crawl versions had no runes). Some of the players from back then are probably still waiting for the Zot rune lock to be removed.


The Zot lock is at the end of the game and dose next to nothing for the order in which you play, just makes more of the game slightly more necessary.
The D15 lock is before a large portion of the game and forces you to play more linearly. No one will want the pre lock to be too hard or the post lock to be too easy and the game will be adjusted as such, at which point the D15 lock challenge will become the natural progression.

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Post Monday, 28th October 2013, 13:55

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Bitcode: I understand what you mean, and you have a point. I just find statements like "... will never stay" to be bold, for lack of a better word. (Also, in case you wonder why I behave like a condescending ignoramus: it's because I am reading for years now how this or that design idea cannot ever possibly work. Some of them are fairly established by now.)
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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 14:28

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

I played a HOFi of beogh, a VpEn of yreld, and a TeAE of vehumet. Basically, I played a warrior, a rogue, and a Mage.

I played each game without going passed d:14 until acquiring a rune. My vampire actually ended up dominating elf:3 before even stepping foot in vaults, and my HOFi put a superfluous amount of experience into invocations(14!) and he still was never hurting for exp.

I had shoals and spiders with my HOFi, shoals and snake with my vampire, and swamp and spider with my tengu. I did shoals twice and then spiders once. I never had any trouble at all, but I did have a few close calls.

In conclusion, I found that it made no difference, I didn't die in any of my games, but I had a few close calls(7 hp and being chased, nearly shit my pants when I was in spiders nest and saw the words "it hits you!"). If you want to improve this, you need to increase the difficulty of the creatures as a whole rather than specific uniques. Infact, i say make it so uniques only spawn on bottom floors, and the spawns of the first 4 levels more powerful(like adding more bog bodies and swamp dragons and less swamp worms and vampire Mosquitos in swamp). After doing that, we should improv the layout. I might make a full list of revisions later today.
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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 15:54

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Tiktacy: Well, it isn't like the point of runelock is to make the game impossibly difficult or something. It sounds like, in your games, it did close to what is intended—you had a greater (but not insurmountable) challenge than you otherwise would have experienced, with a couple more close calls (and one near death experience out of three runs). Considering that these were all solid builds (good species / background combos) that you were testing, then that (IMO) sounds pretty close to the challenge level rune lock should ideally provide.

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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 16:00

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

One effect this certainly has is it diminishes the viability of marginal builds that only work with an abundance of safe XP. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing, but it is something to consider. Getting past the runelock as a mummy is going to be an exercise in frustration. That also means you feel a lot better and more attached to your character once you finally do get a rune, which may well be worth it. I think it would be nice if this change coincided with shortening the dungeon and increasing XP payout in the lair branches, but I agree that we should try it without any such things yet.

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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 16:10

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

For what it's worth, I almost always grab two runes before entering D:14. On rare occasions I'll go down and find the Vaults stairs first, but I really never understood why people feel it is necessary to clear D and Vaults 1-4 before getting runes. I fully support trying out the rune lock, although it will have no real impact on my play personally.

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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 16:22

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

johlstei wrote:One effect this certainly has is it diminishes the viability of marginal builds that only work with an abundance of safe XP. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing, but it is something to consider.

That's true! But as I said before, the main thrust of design should not be concerned with conducts (like speed runs) or challenges (like marginal builds).

Getting past the runelock as a mummy is going to be an exercise in frustration. That also means you feel a lot better and more attached to your character once you finally do get a rune, which may well be worth it. I think it would be nice if this change coincided with shortening the dungeon and increasing XP payout in the lair branches, but I agree that we should try it without any such things yet.

Suppose the lock works as intended, then it will be better to throw mummies a bone or two rather than have everyone crush Lair branch ends like grapes just so that mummies can take part at the party.

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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 17:00

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

dpeg wrote:
johlstei wrote:One effect this certainly has is it diminishes the viability of marginal builds that only work with an abundance of safe XP. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing, but it is something to consider.

That's true! But as I said before, the main thrust of design should not be concerned with conducts (like speed runs) or challenges (like marginal builds).

Yes, I agree, why should we have dozens of viable, winnable archetypes? Far better to have just a few for the plebes and leave the experts the challenging builds.

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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 17:06

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

rebthor: It is not so long ago that many combinations weren't playable in the first place! Also, what's wrong with Crawl's winning archetypes?

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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 17:23

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

I guess it can lead to more scumming like Mu can do waiting for monsters to generate easy XP in early D.
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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 18:04

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

and into wrote:Tiktacy: Well, it isn't like the point of runelock is to make the game impossibly difficult or something. It sounds like, in your games, it did close to what is intended—you had a greater (but not insurmountable) challenge than you otherwise would have experienced, with a couple more close calls (and one near death experience out of three runs). Considering that these were all solid builds (good species / background combos) that you were testing, then that (IMO) sounds pretty close to the challenge level rune lock should ideally provide.


What is this "greater challenge" you speak of? I never said it was more difficult. Yeah, I had close calls, but its not uncommon for me to die as a result of powerful uniques even AFTER clearing most of the dungeon. Nikola, lamia, mennas, lernaean, Jorgun, they are the only thing I ever die to in these branches. In this case, it was that merfolk chick that nearly killed me.

Some uniques don't feel like a challenge of skill, they feel completely luck based at this point in the game, especially Nikola.

On the other hand, I've never ONCE died to a hydra(well, in swamps at least), aquamancer, emperor scorpion, or greater naga. I have died to a moth of suppression though, no resist poison or curing is REALLY bad. I think we should buff the spawn pools in these branches(maybe not spiders nest...) to have stronger monsters, or maybe just make certain monsters spawn more often(like we did in elven halls) and then make uniques only spawn on the bottom levels.

Its the threat of these uniques that scares me away from these branches until they are all a joke.
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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 21:31

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

Tiktacy wrote:What is this "greater challenge" you speak of? I never said it was more difficult.


Yes, I was the one who said "greater challenge," not you. I didn't mean to put words in your mouth, rather I was making a comment on the basis of reading between the lines of what you wrote. Having a few close calls and one near death experience while running strong builds is, I think, pretty close to a good difficulty level. Certainly better than how it is now, where most people generally get a fairly high level (~character level 20) character who can absolutely sleepwalk through the first 4 levels of any lair branch and may have, at most, a little bit of a challenge on level 5 (and sometimes not even that).

You said, "I found it made no difference, I didn't die in any of my games" — quite simply, I don't think that's a good way to determine whether rune lock provides a good challenge. On the other hand, saying you had some close calls and a near death experience sounded rather promising. These were only three games, all played by same person, so yes a very limited sample size and all. But if that ends up being the typical experience with it, then I'd say that is about right, in my opinion.


EDIT: Rebthor—to be fair, dpeg said that if a few specific species and/or builds end up being *too* harshly punished by rune lock, then there could be things done give players a bit of a break in those specific circumstances.

Let's try to maintain a clear, birds-eye view of what is needed with respect to game play variability. It is important that there are

1.) at least a few strong, straightforward, and (thus) relatively newbie-friendly options representing at least a few very different approaches to the game;
2.) at least several strong, but not necessarily newbie-friendly, options representing different types of approaches to the game;
3.) and many other *viable* options that definitely fall short of a "power-combo" but are still not exactly a "challenge-game only" build.

So long as conditions 1 through 3 are met, then everything else can be challenge or variant builds, to some degree or another (and of course there's as much of a spectrum here as there is in items 1 to 3 above). Rune lock may shuffle a few specific builds from one category to another, but I doubt it would really "break" the game with respect to keeping this fundamental balance.
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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 21:41

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

and into wrote:
Tiktacy wrote:What is this "greater challenge" you speak of? I never said it was more difficult.


Yes, I was the one who said "greater challenge," not you. I didn't mean to put words in your mouth, rather I was making a comment on the basis of reading between the lines of what you wrote. Having a few close calls and one near death experience while running strong builds is, I think, pretty close to a good difficulty level. Certainly better than how it is now, where most people generally get a fairly high level (~character level 20) character who can absolutely sleepwalk through the first 4 levels of any lair branch and may have, at most, a little bit of a challenge on level 5 (and sometimes not even that).

You said, "I found it made no difference, I didn't die in any of my games" — quite simply, I don't think that's a good way to determine whether rune lock provides a good challenge. On the other hand, saying you had some close calls and a near death experience sounded rather promising. These were only three games, all played by same person, so yes a very limited sample size and all. But if that ends up being the typical experience with it, then I'd say that is about right, in my opinion.


Re-read my post. I get the feeling you read the first sentence and skipped over the rest.
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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 21:52

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love the idea of a rune lock, but it should be a feature, not a fix. I honestly think a rune lock system like this will only effect high tier players aiming for efficiency, and will not in any way fix mid-game redundancy unless you pair it with various other fixes. I mean, I have no problem with it being implemented on its own, it hardly affects game play so I'm fine with it. But I'll be damned if I hear a single person suggest the notion that a rune lock alone is going to fix jack sh*t.
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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 22:22

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

I read your post a few times and I appreciate your willingness to give the whole self-imposed rune lock thing a go. I'm glad you related your experience doing so. I simply ventured to disagree with some of the conclusions you drew from doing those runs. Limiting the amount of experience someone can have before fighting a certain set of creatures is tantamount to making those creatures more difficult. Perhaps not as much as you'd like, but it seems frankly bizarre to me to claim that "It made no difference" and "didn't present enough of a challenge" when you say that you had several close calls.

I assume—and I think it is a safe assumption—that you would not have had any close calls if you were doing those branches when you were several character levels higher, with the better skills and more chances for better loot that surviving longer also brings. Certainly that's been my experience over *hundreds* of games—when you can come back to the Lair branches whenever you want, they become completely trivial for the vast majority of cases. I literally cannot recall the last time I had a level 20 character that felt even a little bit threatened by Swamp. When all the enemies around them are very weak compared to your character, even tough uniques aren't *that* threatening—they are scary, sure, but then you just get the hell out of dodge and either come back later or (very carefully) sneak past them, as the situation warrants.

Tiktacy wrote: But I'll be damned if I hear a single person suggest the notion that a rune lock alone is going to fix jack sh*t.


On the contrary, there is a discrete problem—perhaps lost in the copious smoke and little fire one sees in this and the other thread—that rune lock intends to fix: Many players only go back and do the Lair branches when they are so high level that it basically renders them zero-challenge. This may not apply to you; perhaps you don't do this. But many (if not most) players do, and they do it that way because they can. Rune lock would fix that. The only question is, where exactly to put the rune lock, and what (if any) other things should be changed along with introducing the lock. In the latter category, I think it may be the case that the generation range for certain uniques might have to change. Perhaps a few other tweaks would be in order—but I really doubt that a whole lot has to be revised.

I agree that rune lock would not fix mid-game redundancy in a single swoop, but that's a much bigger problem and it is at any rate not the primary problem that rune lock intends to address.

However rune lock can address the problem that the Lair branches are, in practice, *not the mid-game at all.* They are tackled in the late game and in the vast majority of cases are not very challenging or exciting, as a result. (Shoals 5 being the most frequent exception to that, of course, for a variety of reasons. Less commonly, but nonetheless, Snake 5 can be tough even for high level characters, as well.)

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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 23:08

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

and into wrote: (Shoals 5 being the most frequent exception to that, of course, for a variety of reasons. Less commonly, but nonetheless, Snake 5 can be tough even for high level characters, as well.)


I've been hearing this allot and i think it's the main problem some people have with rune lock, because if you get both the "hard" water level and the "hard" poison level your first rune could be almost impossible, I'm not sure if this suggestion has come up yet but i think it would be a cool idea to link spider with shoals and link swamp with snake so that you always have a more doable first rune.
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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 23:24

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

I don't think there is anything we quite disagree on, other than how severely the rune-lock is going to affect the game. The idea of all improvements in the game is to make it more enjoyable, right? Well, disadvantages =\= fun, and I think doing a rune lock is just going to shift around the issue, not fix it. It doesn't matter if the area is more appropriate for your level, crawl is suffering from "the curse of the water levels" and seriously needs to be improved IMO.

Spiders nest and shape pits work just fine, they are fun and interesting enough to keep me entertained. However, the water shuffling mini-game I have to play every time I go anywhere in swamp and shoals is getting frustrating, and don't even get me started on swimming/flying creatures. I actually have some propositions to fix this that I think I might post later though.

Btw, my only close call was caused by stupidity, and was more like a disguised suicide to end the terrible thing that is "water themed adventure".
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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 23:37

Re: Alternative to the Runelock

marxistplot wrote:
and into wrote: (Shoals 5 being the most frequent exception to that, of course, for a variety of reasons. Less commonly, but nonetheless, Snake 5 can be tough even for high level characters, as well.)


I've been hearing this allot and i think it's the main problem some people have with rune lock, because if you get both the "hard" water level and the "hard" poison level your first rune could be almost impossible, I'm not sure if this suggestion has come up yet but i think it would be a cool idea to link spider with shoals and link swamp with snake so that you always have a more doable first rune.


There's no hard water branch or hard poison branch. Depends on the character.

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