Rework brand spells


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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 10:04

Rework brand spells

Considering the recent changes to Repel missiles and Deflect missiles that I wholeheartedly support, I think that some other spells could use a similar treatment in order to remove tedium.

The suggestion is to make the brand spells (Fire aure, Warp Weapon, etc...) give the weapon a certain number of "charges", or "hits" instead of branding it for a short duration. Thus, the brand would be permanent until discharged. A way to do this would be by having a spellpower dependent chance of discharging the brand each hit. This way, removing one's armour to cast the spell and then doning it back would have little effect.

Furthermore, "warp weapon" should cause the usual distortion effects upon unwielding until the charges run out. Just for fun...

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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 14:03

Re: Rework brand spells

Great idea. I really like the new Repel/Deflect Missiles : same balance, but really easier gameplay
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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 17:14

Re: Rework brand spells

I like it too, it really takes a lot of the tedium away. It makes sense for brand spells, but why not go further, and extend it to phase shift, shroud of galubria, ozu's armor, etc.

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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 17:50

Re: Rework brand spells

Armor only affects spell casting success, but has no effect on spell power. So as proposed, this would have the same problems as repel missiles.

Now, that being said, I'd be down with giving brand spells (and maybe even others) the repel missiles, but factoring in spell success beyond the point of casting has to become a thing for any "permabuff" charms spells, in some way. Switching armor and/or wizardry in to cast buffs is degenerate but encouraged for repel / deflect m., and we shouldn't go farther down that path until something is worked out.

Swapping body armor of any type should cause you to "lose control of the spell," or whatever, causing its effect to begin fading and then end after a few turns. For wizardry and !brilliance and (to a lesser extent) +6 int rings, any changes that result in substantial diminishing of casting success should likewise cause you to lose control of the spell.

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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 18:00

Re: Rework brand spells

You could have it check spell success on each swing. If the casting fails, the buff is removed (perhaps with some sort of small miscast effect). Allow the spell to be turned off in the magic menu and also remove the buff on unwield.
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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 18:33

Re: Rework brand spells

Abominae wrote:You could have it check spell success on each swing. If the casting fails, the buff is removed (perhaps with some sort of small miscast effect). Allow the spell to be turned off in the magic menu and also remove the buff on unwield.


Something like this could work; this would mean that spell success would become hugely more important for these buff spells and would be a strict nerf to them even at 1% failure. Maybe that's a good thing though. Casting spells outside of combat is a bad thing actually the more I think about it (I've changed my mind) although having spell success matter during combat could make up for that to an extent, and perhaps retain best of both possibilities.
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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 18:47

Re: Rework brand spells

While thinking about this; I remember from the debate to replace Ice Storm with Glaciate that 'Ice and Fire shouldn't be too symmetrical'.

Fire Aura and Ice Brand do the same thing except the element...Something should be changed about one of them.
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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 19:01

Re: Rework brand spells

Anything that allows you to cast branding spells well outside of combat would be a buff to excruciating wounds, which is quite loud.

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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 20:49

Re: Rework brand spells

To avoid the issue of taking off armor, swapping wizardry, etc, you could do this:
If the player has buffs active AND he does anything that lowers his spell success chance
If the new failure % is > 25%
Remove the buff

You can explain it by saying you need to be very good with a buff to maintain it while changing armor.
You can still cast it outside of combat with a 80% failure if you want, and if you succeed, it stays active, unless you change armor, then it does the check again.

I think this pretty much gets rid of any degenerate armor swapping behavior for out of combat buffing. Noise is a separate issue.

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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 20:58

Re: Rework brand spells

And it replaces it by miscasting the spell twenty times in safety whenever it is removed.

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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 21:35

Re: Rework brand spells

How about something like this:

You firsts cast the brand spell outside of combat, with or without armour, as you wish. Whenever you strike with the weapon, two checks are performed:

1) A miscast check (this takes armour, wizardry and shields into account) is done. If it fails, the spell goes out and the standard miscast effects apply. A slight bonus (let's say around 5%) to spell chance might be appropriate here in order to not screw over those characters with ~ 2% or lower chance to miscast ( compounded over a lot of hits, even such a small chance will lead to a miscast).
2) After every hit, a spellpower dependent check is made. If it fails, the spell goes out and must be recast.

This might take care of the most degenerate behaviours.

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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 21:37

Re: Rework brand spells

And concerning excruciating wounds - you can modify the spell so that it makes noise whenever it is switched off as well.

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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 21:53

Re: Rework brand spells

I'd personally suggest just removing the low-level brand spells entirely (especially with new ?brand weapon behaviour) and keeping excruciating wounds and warp weapon ... I'd also prefer to keep the spells working the way they do now (with a duration). Warp weapon is already something you don't want to use all the time because of how distortion works, so no problems there really. Excruciating wounds is maybe a bit more iffy to keep unchanged, but the noise is at least significant and the duration is short enough that the noise is likely to be made close to where you end up fighting.

edit: I might suggest letting them overwrite existing brands also, since really mostly that just eliminates the tedium of carrying/switching between two weapons. They're level 5 dual-school spells already so it's not like this is some wimpy magic replacing your weapon brand.
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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 22:08

Re: Rework brand spells

Why stop at buffs? Why can't I pre-cast my attack spells and pay the MP cost for them outside of battle when I'm safe, too?

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Post Wednesday, 12th March 2014, 22:42

Re: Rework brand spells

Patashu wrote:Why stop at buffs? Why can't I pre-cast my attack spells and pay the MP cost for them outside of battle when I'm safe, too?

It already exists and is called Delayed Blast Fireball.
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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 04:07

Re: Rework brand spells

If we wanted to avoid the armor swapping then we could just make it so their is an additional chance of wearing off immediately if the miscast rate is over 10%.
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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 05:10

Re: Rework brand spells

The problem I see with making spells simply not work if they aren't below a certain miscast rate is that it basically adds another hoop to jump through to get it castable. Even if you have the spell memorized, you still technically can't use it even if you wanted too if you have over X% chance to fail. I don't think it would make sense if somehow going from a 11% to 10% chance to fail somehow miraculously makes the spell work. If you have a 15% chance to fail but according to the game you need 10% for it to actually work correctly, wouldn't that make 11%+ pretty much identical to 100%?

Rather, why do we need to turn all buff spells into permabuff spells in the first place? They already work just fine the way they do now, and personally I think duration based buffs make more sense. Duration based buffs make the casting cost actually meaningful. If you can just throw on all your buffs out of combat, why should they have a MP cost in the first place? The casting cost is only meaningful in-combat, and if you can have all your buffs on before you get into a fight, all buff spells might as well be spell level 0.

I really don't want to see the day when everyone and their dog is running around with ozocubu's armour, shroud of golubria, phase shift, condensation shield, deflect missiles, and excruciating wounds 24/7 without ever having to use a single point of magic during the moments when your magic actually matters (in-combat!).

crate wrote:I'd personally suggest just removing the low-level brand spells entirely


Why?
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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 05:39

Re: Rework brand spells

Taking off your armour to cast spells absolutely can get you killed, so don't jump on that bandwagon! Also presumably if you're doing that your spellpower is terrible and you will not block many yaktaur bolts before being perforated. Possibly the "duration" of rMsl/dMsl should be reduced (or depend more steeply on spellpower) to make up for that, and for not missing the MP in combat (though often times you didn't anyway, especially rMsl).
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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 06:01

Re: Rework brand spells

Laraso wrote:
crate wrote:I'd personally suggest just removing the low-level brand spells entirely


Why?

For the most part no one uses them, they're no longer in a starting book, as this topic points out they have problematic design (the higher-level ones are much less problematic), with new ?brand weapon existing you can (admittedly with two scrolls) still turn an unbranded weapon into something other than vorpal without the spells.

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 07:09

Re: Rework brand spells

Lethal Infusion is still in the Ne starting book, and I feel like it's a significant part of it. OgNe may or may not be clouding my judgement there.
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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 07:49

Re: Rework brand spells

crate wrote:as this topic points out they have problematic design (the higher-level ones are much less problematic)


Can you please point out where in this thread they have been shown to be problematic, because I'm not seeing anyone anywhere explaining how they are a problem and need to be removed. Your post did little more than say "personally I'd remove the low-level brand spells", it didn't actually say why you want them removed.

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 08:14

Re: Rework brand spells

well a large number of charms spells are problematic, in that you just want to have them active all the time (no drawbacks or drawbacks that are not really meaningful) and you can often more-or-less manage this by just recasting them out-of-combat. See also: old repel missiles (new rmsl has different problems and I'm not convinced it's better design-wise), regeneration, flight, sure blade, ozo's armour.

The low-level weapon brands are problematic like this, are rarely used, are only usable on unbranded weapons (this promotes weapon-switching tedium for no real gain).... What's the actual loss from removing them? I don't see a way to rework them that makes them worth having. Maybe you have better ideas.

Lethal infusion is the only one that I ever use but removing it from the necro book is imo not much loss. Could possibly replace it with something else.

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 10:35

Re: Rework brand spells

crate wrote:I might suggest letting them overwrite existing brands

I like this idea and I wanted to suggest it, too.
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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 16:21

Re: Rework brand spells

crate wrote:well a large number of charms spells are problematic, in that you just want to have them active all the time (no drawbacks or drawbacks that are not really meaningful) and you can often more-or-less manage this by just recasting them out-of-combat.


Perhaps we could have these charms spells run a tension check on cast. If tension is below a certain threshold (less than one enemy), the time on the buff will run out five times faster. That would discourage players from casting the buffs outside of combat, since they would have to constantly keep using them and if they actually stumbled into combat while doing that all of their buffs would run out extremely fast.

crate wrote:The low-level weapon brands are problematic like this, are rarely used, are only usable on unbranded weapons (this promotes weapon-switching tedium for no real gain).... What's the actual loss from removing them? I don't see a way to rework them that makes them worth having. Maybe you have better ideas.


Well if all you're judging that from is your own personal experience then I wouldn't say they are "rarely" used. If I'm a melee guy and I'm capable of casting level 1 - 2 spells, and I happen upon a book with weapon branding spells, I almost always learn them because a weapon that can go from burning to freezing your enemies on-the-fly is a very nice thing to have. Yes it's true, it's pretty lame how you can only cast the brand spells on unbranded weapons, but you have already given your own suggestion on how to fix that and I agree with you 100%: allow branding spells to temporarily overwrite any brands that are already on the weapon.

I don't think you need to ask me what we'll lose if these spells or gone, because those spells are what we'll lose. I appreciate that the people behind this game aren't afraid to remove content to fix problems, but I don't believe that removing content is always a good solution. I think it's rather silly to include "rarely used" in your list of reasons why you think it should be removed. If you don't use it and most other people don't use it, then what would we actually gain by removing it? Nothing, you'll only be upsetting the few who actually do use it. For example, few people use the Wanderer background, and yet it still remains in the game. Even if most don't use it, removing it would only achieve removing some fun from the game for those few people who like to play Wanderers.

It's important to remove content when it becomes a problem. For example, Projected Noise. It was removed because it was very overpowered in certain areas of the game. I do not, however, believe that weapon branding spells are causing some sort of problem that would warrant their removal.

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 16:46

Re: Rework brand spells

Tension doesn't work for things like those and shouldn't be used for things like those.

I agree with removing freezing/flaming/venom/draining temp brands and frankly think the only thing that would be relevant would the loss of draining from the necro book since it's a book actual characters that exist and do not depend on the whims of the floor god start with and more importantly, it's a brand that works very well on the sort of weapon a necro will most likely be using at the time; venom brand is close to this since it's also useful on weapons you can expect to have but it's lacking the whole existing part so it doesn't do much.

The problem I see with branding spells is that those spells also enable tedious but optimal behavior (since they're all just a straight buff) such as having to go through them before every combat that matters, then again this is a problem with many charms but there's no reason it can't be at least reduced somewhat; the idea of combat abilities is frowned upon and given how long these spells last and how their spellpower doesn't matter they're dangerously close to being just combat abilities.
They also enable more unfun things such as having to cast your brand every time before read ID'ing in the case you want to affix the brand permanently.

So they are indeed tedious and optimal and enable a lot of bad things that slow the game down for the gain of pretending you found two weapons of flaming/freezing with the same base type and enchantment. If this is such a desirable thing then the generation of weapons with those egos can be increased.

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 16:56

Re: Rework brand spells

I think the discussion re: the equipment god has shown that there's clearly a design space for manipulating egos and brands. While the branding spells in their current iteration do lead to degenerate behavior and should be removed, I think chucking out the idea of manipulating brands wholesale is a mistake.

My proposal is this: consolidate all of the current branding spells into, say, a level 5-6 charms spell that does something to significantly buff a brand's function(a chance arc to nearby targets for electrocution, for example) for a short period of time - but each buff carries with it a drawback to discourage simply spamming it(like -rC or a chance at napalming yourself for flaming, mild irresistible draining for pain/draining, and so forth). This could lead to interesting tactical choices - I want to buff my flaming claymore to deal more damage to this Ice Fiend, but doing so will undercut my defenses against it. What do?

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 17:09

Re: Rework brand spells

Tension is finicky though. It works okay for some things, but making a spell run out faster in low tension is unintuitive and may be hard to relate to player. It wouldn't stop outside of combat casting, just make it more annoying to do consistently.

I'm not sure it is worth it to go through the trouble, as opposed to just removing the spells, but you could switch the low level spells to rMsl style with a certain number of "charges." Let them overwrite brand (at least for non-artefact weapons), and give them an infusion-like mechanism, where each attack with the charms-branded weapon takes up one point of MP. Any weapon swap ends the effect. The high level brands (Excruciating Wounds and Warp Weapon) can stay as they are, except that they should be able to overwrite brands temporarily, too.
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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 17:19

Re: Rework brand spells

Well it doesn't even have to be tension, it could just check to see if enemies are in LOS.

Personally I don't want to see these spells removed, but it looks like things are moving in that direction. :(

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 18:27

Re: Rework brand spells

I think if an existing feature cannot justify its own existence (particularly when it's creating problems by its interactions with other features that can justify their own existence) there is nothing wrong considering its improvement or removal.

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 19:11

Re: Rework brand spells

If you don't use it and most other people don't use it, then what would we actually gain by removing it? Nothing, you'll only be upsetting the few who actually do use it.

There is a game design standpoint view where removing spells with design problems is a good thing, even if those spells are rarely/never used. Cigotuvi's degeneration and poly spell are good examples here (and personally I used both of these spells! But they shouldn't have been spells in the first place).

You can certainly argue fixing them might be better, but I don't like the charges idea at all (like I've said before I actually think new rmsl is worse from a design perspective than old rmsl, even if it is somewhat less annoying to players), I don't really like letting freezing/fire brand overwrite existing brands (they're quite likely better than what you find on your own, and then they become like old rmsl: no downside so use it all the time; I explained that the highlevel ones aren't quite the same above), I don't have other ideas for fixing them.

This certainly isn't something I feel strongly about, and I am not a dev so it's not like I could implement this on my own even if I wrote a patch for it (which I also don't know how to do).

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 21:46

Re: Rework brand spells

I'd mostly be sad that I couldn't choose a brand for brand weapon scrolls if they were removed, outside of hoping for the right blade card to come up. You could bump them up to level 5 and have them the same drawbacks as excruciating wounds, but that doesn't really address the issue. Making charms permanent and subtracting their cost from max mana is an option but I think it makes them too strong, especially when stuff like cboe exists. I'm the sort of player who unironically feels compelled to explore and recast buffs when they run out every time, it's pretty annoying.

Charms seem like a hard thing to balance tedium-wise in general and it'd probably have been better if the game hadn't been designed around them, but it is what it is.

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 22:05

Re: Rework brand spells

Subtracting the cost of permacharms/forms from your max mana would make (most of) them weaker, surely. Under status quo you regenerate the MP before the charm runs out (particularly if you can channel!), so on average they take out less than their whole cost in MP. I think that's probably the way to go, even if it would require a change to the way spell success works.

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 22:35

Re: Rework brand spells

Having less max mana isn't a big nerf though, unless you are super low on mana. One can generally expect to channel in prolonged fights anyway, and can go upstairs and rest to full in a pinch. It seems like having 10-15 mana's worth worth of charms would be a no-brainer for the most part. I guess it's most dangerous in places you can't escape to rest in.

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 22:41

Re: Rework brand spells

I really don't think making low lever charms something you stumble upon and then just because you found it you get continuous benefit from no matter what is a good idea.

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 22:55

Re: Rework brand spells

I agree. Honestly, I'd like to see every Charms spell have more interesting, potent effects counterbalanced by a significant drawback, or at least something that prevents them from being mindlessly spammed. Repel Missiles giving -25% to hit on average may be useful, but it's also boring.

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Post Thursday, 13th March 2014, 23:40

Re: Rework brand spells

johlstei wrote:Having less max mana isn't a big nerf though, unless you are super low on mana. One can generally expect to channel in prolonged fights anyway, and can go upstairs and rest to full in a pinch. It seems like having 10-15 mana's worth worth of charms would be a no-brainer for the most part. I guess it's most dangerous in places you can't escape to rest in.

That still seems like more of a cost than the status quo, where you could keep 10-15 mana's worth of charms active with no MP penalty. I guess the main problem is the tiny cost associated with most of these buffs though - if buffs required a non-negligible XP investment then there would be a decision to be made.

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Post Friday, 14th March 2014, 05:46

Re: Rework brand spells

The largest problem with the low level spells (as distinct from the high level ones) is that you regenerate mana quickly enough that you *can* spam them indefinitely, and therefore it's theoretically "optimal play" to do so.

If those spells wore off on average more quickly than it would take to regenerate the mana to use them constantly, you wouldn't do so.

If the 2MP version of these spells maxed out at like 6 turns of combat, you wouldn't re-cast them constantly.
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Post Friday, 14th March 2014, 07:52

Re: Rework brand spells

That would also be annoying beyond all belief though, I mean casting low power regen is already one of the saddest things you can do in the game and low power brand spells don't last much more.

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Post Friday, 14th March 2014, 08:43

Re: Rework brand spells

I am not much of a spell checker, but I believe that sooner or later something will happen to Charms. Giving the school the Divinations treatment seems like a confession of total loss, but we had more radical departures. (I don't agree with the statement that "Crawl is designed abound enchantments", by the way.) In contrast to Divinations, Charms has more spells to offer that seem interesting or salvageable, but I for one wouldn't mourn over the loss of the Haste spell.

Perhaps the underlying problem with some spells is just that these are player focused -- something that might be better left to consumables. Just like it turned out to be impossible (at least for us) to make Alter Self work, many charms seem to suffer a similar problem. Not all of them, though, which makes settling the issue harder.

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Post Friday, 14th March 2014, 09:14

Re: Rework brand spells

I like the spell, but I don't think that haste should exist as one, tbh.

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Post Friday, 14th March 2014, 09:29

Re: Rework brand spells

FWIW, I was in favor of the RM change. Now having tried it out for a bit... it feels a lot like having permanent RM. Sure, in theory expiring in combat should make it more relevant, but in practice you just do without it for a little bit and recast when safe. Part of the problem I guess is that renewing RM is pretty low on the list of priorities in most combat situations.

What if charms become item egos instead? Say amulet of repel missile (like amulet of air, but not unrand), or maybe make RM a shield ego. If temporary branding is worth keeping, make them glove egos. Ditto for Sure Blade. Shroud and Phase Shift could be cloak egos. Stoneskin and Ozo's Armour could be robe egos. Things like flight and swiftness and regen and control teleport already exist on items - increasing their generation rate to replace the spells may make sense.

The benefit of this change is that buffs no longer become a "no-brainer" once the spell is available and castable. Now you'd need to trade off against your other available equipment. This also addresses the problem of item egos being somewhat lacklustre.

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Post Friday, 14th March 2014, 09:52

Re: Rework brand spells

Drache: Yes, that could have potential. But since everyone's been waiting for the permanent buffs, there hasn't been much discussion to do something completely different with enchantments, I believe. (Perhaps during the Enchantments -> Hexes / Charms split discussion, but I cannot recall much from back then.)

Swamp Slogger

Posts: 173

Joined: Wednesday, 11th September 2013, 04:59

Post Friday, 14th March 2014, 10:52

Re: Rework brand spells

All charms could "reserve MP" (lower max MP) while they're active.
You would get the max MP back when it terminates, but not current MP which would have to be regenerated.
That way they could be "permanent" like repel missiles, and have a meaningful counter-effect to balance that, by reducing available MP.
If that feels like too small counter-effect, the reserved MP could be multiplied by 1.5x or 2.

And like repel missiles, they should have a fixed amount of "charges", or like shroud, a chance of terminating (depending on spell power) when effect triggers (monster is missed, monster misses you due to spell, shield blocks an attack).

Haste could be timed like now, but i feel it should be level 7 spell because of the power.
Swiftness seems fine now, as the slowdown effect on termination means it's not worth spamming anymore, while still being useful for running to stairs or waiting for teleport to activate.

Dis Charger

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Joined: Wednesday, 9th January 2013, 19:44

Post Friday, 14th March 2014, 12:12

Re: Rework brand spells

If haste is to be 7 spell level it would be unfair to fighter types. But I think it should not be a spell, like I said. Now this is the case where "no-brainer" is an appropriate word to use. I think it should be a wand spell, like heal and teleportation, to actually make decisions instead of "it's getting a bit hot, let's haste, because why not"

dck

Vestibule Violator

Posts: 1650

Joined: Tuesday, 30th July 2013, 11:29

Post Friday, 14th March 2014, 12:14

Re: Rework brand spells

Learning the spell haste is not a "no-brainer" and this thread is not about that.

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