Pain/Disto/Holy brands


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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:27

Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Since the thread about the dragon slaying brand got locked I would like to repost my thoughts on the distortion/holy brands. I think it would improve the game if these brands did not spawn naturally, and were obtained only from god gifts, on artes, or I guess from acquirement. Here is my reasoning:

1. Distortion Brand

In the early game there is enough danger from non-distortion glowing brands, so that you still must act carefully around them. After Lair or so it is almost always irrelevant what the glowing brand is, since the chance of distortion is very low and the chance of being banished on first hit is even lower, so it is a waste of real life time to behave cautiously around every glowing weapon by the midgame for a vanishingly small chance of being annoyed by an abyss trip.

Have I gotten banished on first hit from an enemy with distortion? Yes, a few times.
Was the resulting abyss trip extremely tedious and unfun? Of course, it's the abyss.
Was it preferable to carefully avoiding or using ranged against every enemy with a glowing weapon that I could otherwise easily kill? Definitely.

With that said, my understanding is this:
Design decisions are to be made by considering idealized games where the player always acts optimally.

In such a game, a player should act very cautiously around every enemy with a glowing weapon, using ranged attacks, etc. to avoid the vanishingly small chance of being banished on the first hit from a distortion weapon, even if the player could win the encounter no matter what the brand the enemy is using is. If this is not tedious I don't know what is.

2. Holy Brand
A hypothetical player in an optimal game playing a race with vulnerability to holy would be encouraged to act very cautiously around glowing brands, for fear of taking large amounts of damage from a holy weapon unexpectedly (due to the swingy nature of the damage formula), dealing with them in the same way as in part 1. It is tedious for the same reason - it's a pain to avoid engaging any enemy that may have a holy branded weapon in melee on the small chance that they actually have one.

However, the consequences are somewhat different, because holy damage can actually kill player characters later into the game, whereas an abyss trip will only annoy most characters at that time. For weaker characters, there is some upside, though, because at least if it kills you, it kills you quickly, rather than being a delayed death ray like banishment often is at low levels.

Regarding the pain brand, I don't think there are any problems with it (that I can conceive of), but it makes sense to make all the god gifted brands only appear on artes and from gifts or acquirement if you do it for two of them. Also, I think that if this is done, it is reasonable to buff the holy brand a bit by giving it some increased damage vs. non-evil enemies, so that the player at least has a reason to take TSO's final gift even if they don't plan to enter the branches where it is currently useful.

Edit: Since people keep missing the point I must not have been clear enough. I can whittle it down to one sentence:

An optimal player trying to maximize win probability would necessarily act in tedious ways around all glowing weapons, long past the point at which their effects are likely to pose a danger, despite very low probabilities of anything bad actually happening.
Last edited by tabstorm on Friday, 20th June 2014, 16:34, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:44

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Agreed, particularly with holy wrath. I don't like the notion of penalizing players so randomly based on race.
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:49

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

By nearly the same reasoning the electrocution brand should get the axe too, electrocution at early levels is much more of a worry than distortion - mostly because kobolds have a certain tendency to have it on their daggers.

@tabstorm:
You get banished? Well, live up to it.
Have you considered the possibility that if the slim chance of banishment from an early distortion weapon upsets you so, maybe you're taking this game too seriously?

I think that the mere possibility of using a distortion weapon (when it's fitting) far outweighs the inconvenience of suffering an early banishment once in a blue moon.
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:53

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

tabstorm wrote: it makes sense to make all the god gifted brands only appear on artes and from gifts or acquirement if you do it for two of them.


But pain and distortion are both very interesting brands. With pain you have to consider that it's useless against a few enemies (how will you deal with them with other means?) and how useful necromancy skill will be to your character, with distortion, on top of the diverse effects, you have to consider if you can give up wielding other weapons and rods. Restricting them to gods might make sense from a thematic perspective, but finding these brands often leads to interesting decisions in games where you don't follow kiku/lugonu (probably they are actually more interesting in these games, since with kiku necromancy is almost guaranteed to be useful, and lugonu makes disto unwielding easier). Seems like restricting them would make non-kiku/lugonu games less interesting.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:09

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Psiweapon wrote:By nearly the same reasoning the electrocution brand should get the axe too, electrocution at early levels is much more of a worry than distortion - mostly because kobolds have a certain tendency to have it on their daggers.

@tabstorm:
You get banished? Well, live up to it.
Have you considered the possibility that if the slim chance of banishment from an early distortion weapon upsets you so, maybe you're taking this game too seriously?

I think that the mere possibility of using a distortion weapon (when it's fitting) far outweighs the inconvenience of suffering an early banishment once in a blue moon.


Let me state it even more simply:

1. Glowing brands are dangerous in the early game because of the danger of elec, distortion, draining, venom, etc.
2. The danger from these brands becomes vanishingly small by the midgame, but an optimal player must nevertheless avoid engaging enemies with glowing weapons in melee to minimize the probability of banishment. Even if the danger which becomes quite tedious, when you consider that the probability of being banished on first hit by a glowing weapon is very small. You can say: The optimal player should act to minimize damage at all times, thus all glowing weapons serve to induce tedium, and thus should not exist. However, one can counter-argue that the damage from these brands (not-distortion) in the midgame is sufficiently negligible that it's not an optimal use of resources to avoid engaging all such enemies in melee, I think this argument is really splitting hairs and can't be definitively resolved, so let's put it aside.
3. In general, you can fight enemies in the midgame with glowing weapons with impunity, if you are willing to accept the occasional random banishment.
4. The state of affairs in 3. is preferable to the optimal play described in 2.

You can also say: I think being randomly banished is interesting, and the abyss is a fascinating and wonderful branch, and it's good that this possibility of randomly being sent there exists. However, it dosen't change the arguments about optimality, even if you are the kind of person who goes "Oh man, I got banished randomly. Time for INTEREST!"
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:16

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

I disagree with respect to pain/disto. Those are strong brands with interesting drawbacks and benefits; distortion in particular makes enemies very dangerous, but if you take the enemy out, you now have the weapon yourself. This has led to some very fun interactions in games I've actually played, in which I've had to get creative to take something down in order to get a whip of distortion or whatever. Fun times.

Now, I don't like that there is a (tiny but non-zero) chance to get insta-killed really early on, in a way that probably is not very fun and which, in order to avoid, requires rather extreme and unfun measures. But I think there are lots of other ways to address that which would not affect the entire game and (outside of a few gods) limit your weapon choices to the rather bland arena of "this adds X amount of damage." The most likely change (IMO—I'm not a dev) is that weapon brands would just auto-ID on sight, perhaps with a default red warning for distortion (possibly draining too, and holy wrath if you happen to be vulnerable), as this would address a few problems at once. And there's been a trend toward simplifying identification, anyway.

Holy wrath I don't much like but that's for slightly different reasons.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:18

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

tabstorm wrote:
Psiweapon wrote:By nearly the same reasoning the electrocution brand should get the axe too, electrocution at early levels is much more of a worry than distortion - mostly because kobolds have a certain tendency to have it on their daggers.

@tabstorm:
You get banished? Well, live up to it.
Have you considered the possibility that if the slim chance of banishment from an early distortion weapon upsets you so, maybe you're taking this game too seriously?

I think that the mere possibility of using a distortion weapon (when it's fitting) far outweighs the inconvenience of suffering an early banishment once in a blue moon.


Let me state it even more simply:

1. Glowing brands are dangerous in the early game because of the danger of elec, distortion, draining, venom, etc.
2. The danger from these brands becomes vanishingly small by the midgame, but an optimal player must nevertheless avoid engaging enemies with glowing weapons in melee to minimize the probability of banishment. Even if the danger which becomes quite tedious, when you consider that the probability of being banished on first hit by a glowing weapon is very small. You can say: The optimal player should act to minimize damage at all times, thus all glowing weapons serve to induce tedium, and thus should not exist. However, one can counter-argue that the damage from these brands (not-distortion) in the midgame is sufficiently negligible that it's not an optimal use of resources to avoid engaging all such enemies in melee, I think this argument is really splitting hairs and can't be definitively resolved, so let's put it aside.
3. In general, you can fight enemies in the midgame with glowing weapons with impunity, if you are willing to accept the occasional random banishment.
4. The state of affairs in 3. is preferable to the optimal play described in 2.

You can also say: I think being randomly banished is interesting, and the abyss is a fascinating and wonderful branch, and it's good that this possibility of randomly being sent there exists. However, it dosen't change the arguments about optimality, even if you are the kind of person who goes "Oh man, I got banished randomly. Time for INTEREST!"


Also, none of the other brands can kill you anywhere near as slowly as disto.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:20

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

cerebovssquire wrote:
tabstorm wrote: it makes sense to make all the god gifted brands only appear on artes and from gifts or acquirement if you do it for two of them.


But pain and distortion are both very interesting brands. With pain you have to consider that it's useless against a few enemies (how will you deal with them with other means?) and how useful necromancy skill will be to your character, with distortion, on top of the diverse effects, you have to consider if you can give up wielding other weapons and rods. Restricting them to gods might make sense from a thematic perspective, but finding these brands often leads to interesting decisions in games where you don't follow kiku/lugonu (probably they are actually more interesting in these games, since with kiku necromancy is almost guaranteed to be useful, and lugonu makes disto unwielding easier). Seems like restricting them would make non-kiku/lugonu games less interesting.


For pain, I think necro is useful for many characters, so it should be useful for almost anyone who wants to wield weapons to wield weapons of pain. Even if it is not effective against all enemies, I think this consideration is a bit overstated, aside from the case of shortblades of pain. Your base damage is fine for pain-immune enemies.

Regarding distortion, all I can say is that I'm interested in not wielding distortion branded weapons, since I find it annoying to have enemies constantly blinked away from me or teleported to random places on the level, that I know I could easily kill, but may well kill me if I am retreating from something else on low HP and I happen to come across it. Plus, I don't want to be locked out of blowguns, staves, etc.

But, I still think that considering an optimal game, the interest gained from being able to wield pain/distortion/holy is outweighed by the induced tedium from dealing with branded weapons. You may feel that pain/disto are so interesting that this is not the case.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:29

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

tabstorm wrote:For pain, I think necro is useful for many characters, so it should be useful for almost anyone who wants to wield weapons to wield weapons of pain.


Would you say that most characters want to train enough necromancy to make a pain weapon useful? Most characters want regeneration, but I don't think I would want to invest in enough necromancy to make a pain weapon work with many of my characters, depending on aptitudes, the armour I am wearing, and the necromancy spells I have found so far (which is an interesting factor you don't get in kiku games), etc.

Even if it is not effective against all enemies, I think this consideration is a bit overstated, aside from the case of shortblades of pain. Your base damage is fine for pain-immune enemies.


Sure, people worry about it way too much. I was just stating it because it still is a (small) factor in deciding whether to use it or not.

Regarding distortion, all I can say is that I'm interested in not wielding distortion branded weapons, since I find it annoying to have enemies constantly blinked away from me or teleported to random places on the level, that I know I could easily kill, but may well kill me if I am retreating from something else on low HP and I happen to come across it. Plus, I don't want to be locked out of blowguns, staves, etc.


I don't enjoy using distortion either. But it is a very powerful brand with a meaningful drawback and that makes it pretty well-designed in my opinion (talking simply about player use, not the mosters with distortion issue).
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:32

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

cerebovssquire wrote:
tabstorm wrote:For pain, I think necro is useful for many characters, so it should be useful for almost anyone who wants to wield weapons to wield weapons of pain.


Would you say that most characters want to train enough necromancy to make a pain weapon useful? Most characters want regeneration, but I don't think I would want to invest in enough necromancy to make a pain weapon work with many of my characters, depending on aptitudes, the armour I am wearing, and the necromancy spells I have found so far (which is an interesting factor you don't get in kiku games), etc.

Even if it is not effective against all enemies, I think this consideration is a bit overstated, aside from the case of shortblades of pain. Your base damage is fine for pain-immune enemies.


Sure, people worry about it way too much. I was just stating it because it still is a (small) factor in deciding whether to use it or not.


I don't know how to do the calculations to determine when pain becomes comparable in usefulness to, say, vorpal, since I don't know the details of the combat formula. I just know that pain adds 1dNecro to something. Plus, by virtue of allowing ally creation, training necromancy itself adds to your combat abilities, in a way that I can't quantify in terms of weapon damage. So my response is: I don't know, but probably, unless they have terrible int and necro aptitudes. Let's also assume they don't worship fedhas.

With disto, I don't disagree that it is well-designed in the abstract. the argument basically boils down to "In an optimal game, does the interest gained from pain/disto/holy being available to the player via enemies outweigh the tedium incuded in dealing with enemies using glowing weapons?" I don't think so, but some might find pain/disto so interesting that they disagree.
Last edited by tabstorm on Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:41, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:35

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Regarding distortion I think it's funny how a lot of new players consider it bad power-wise, and more experienced players consider it to be strong but still don't like to actually use it.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:39

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Sar wrote:Regarding distortion I think it's funny how a lot of new players consider it bad power-wise, and more experienced players consider it to be strong but still don't like to actually use it.


I'm not sure if I even consider it to be that strong. I'm not sure if granting enemies extra ranged attacks on me and teleporting them into possible escape routes that I may later want to take are worth the good damage and ability to sometimes banish enemies, when compared to brands like elec, freeze, etc.

I suppose the blinking thing is nice to blink away enemies from you that you want to run from, but in real games I have played I can't say I have thought: "Wow, I am sure glad that I blinked that melee-only monster away from me!" I build my characters to kill enemies, not run away from them. Obviously on characters who spend a lot of time running away, these effects may have more value.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:41

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Sar wrote:Regarding distortion I think it's funny how a lot of new players consider it bad power-wise, and more experienced players consider it to be strong but still don't like to actually use it.

I hate blinking and teleporting enemies that I WANT TO KILL RIGHT NOW!
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:42

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

tabstorm wrote: by virtue of allowing ally creation, training necromancy itself adds value to your combat abilities, in a way that I can't quantify in terms of weapon damage. So my response is: I don't know, but probably, unless they have terrible int and necro aptitudes.


...if you have found good ally spells. If, for instance, you found a decent pain weapon, but only have access to regeneration and have a good enough non-pain weapon, the decision becomes harder. Kiku characters always get to use their Necromancy skill for many great spells and weapon damage, but others might be unlucky and not find good necro books. Then there are other complicating factors (which can be apts or int, a better weapon base type on a non-pain weapon or simply another, more pressing use for your exp).
Whereas for other brands it's often the simple decision of "does this weapon deal more damage than my others" because your new weapon usually doesn't have an additional exp cost attached to it. The pain/not pain decision might not be very hard but I find it harder to decide between pain/not pain than deciding between most other brands.
Last edited by cerebovssquire on Friday, 20th June 2014, 10:51, edited 2 times in total.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:43

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

I'm not going to argue about pain or disto but I will point out that holy wrath in monster hands is effectively the same thing as dragon slaying in monster hands, and dragon slaying just got removed for good reason.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:48

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

cerebovssquire wrote:
tabstorm wrote: by virtue of allowing ally creation, training necromancy itself adds value to your combat abilities, in a way that I can't quantify in terms of weapon damage. So my response is: I don't know, but probably, unless they have terrible int and necro aptitudes.


...if you have found good ally spells. If, for instance, you found a decent pain weapon, but only have access to regeneration and have a good enough non-pain weapon, the decision becomes more harder. Kiku characters always get to use their Necromancy skill for many great spells and weapon damage, but others might be unlucky and not find good necro books. Then there are other complicating factors (which can be apts or int, a better weapon base type on a non-pain weapon or simply another, more pressing use for your exp).
Whereas for other brands it's often the simple decision of "does this weapon deal more damage than my others" because your new weapon usually doesn't have an additional exp cost attached to it. The pain/not pain decision might not be very hard but I find it harder to decide between pain/not pain than deciding between most other brands.


I grant you that it is a nontrivial decision, and it would be fine to have pain spawn normally and not be relegated to god gifts/artes like I want for disto and holy. It was basically for symmetry anyway.

crate: I think the holy brand suggestion is pretty uncontroversial.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 01:44

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

I don't agree or disagree with the idea in the OP but what I would like to see is that the first distortion effect from an unidentified distortion weapon is never banishment to give the player a chance to react. Or if the first effect is banishment it gets resisted.

Pain is fine, I don't think that changing it for symmetry is a good reason.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 01:45

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Wahaha wrote:I don't agree or disagree with the idea in the OP but what I would like to see is that the first distortion effect from an unidentified distortion weapon is never banishment to give the player a chance to react. Or if the first effect is banishment it gets resisted.

Pain is fine, I don't think that changing it for symmetry is a good reason.

It would be weird because it would make distortion wielding enemies sometimes MORE dangerous if, for example, you worship Ash, since now they can banish you on the first hit.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 02:55

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Sar wrote:Regarding distortion I think it's funny how a lot of new players consider it bad power-wise, and more experienced players consider it to be strong but still don't like to actually use it.


I guess this makes me a moderately experienced player, seems about right! I love using distortion, depending what I have to give up in terms of weapon swaps for it.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 03:45

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Each day that passes I'm more and more convinced that 97% of the Tavern regulars are economists.

tabstorm wrote:
Let me state it even more simply:

1. Glowing brands are dangerous in the early game because of the danger of elec, distortion, draining, venom, etc.
2. The danger from these brands becomes vanishingly small by the midgame, but an optimal player must nevertheless avoid engaging enemies with glowing weapons in melee to minimize the probability of banishment. Even if the danger which becomes quite tedious, when you consider that the probability of being banished on first hit by a glowing weapon is very small. You can say: The optimal player should act to minimize damage at all times, thus all glowing weapons serve to induce tedium, and thus should not exist. However, one can counter-argue that the damage from these brands (not-distortion) in the midgame is sufficiently negligible that it's not an optimal use of resources to avoid engaging all such enemies in melee, I think this argument is really splitting hairs and can't be definitively resolved, so let's put it aside.
3. In general, you can fight enemies in the midgame with glowing weapons with impunity, if you are willing to accept the occasional random banishment.
4. The state of affairs in 3. is preferable to the optimal play described in 2.


First of all, your (not explicitly *you* but many other regulars', funny thing how the english language can't tell between singular and plural 2nd person) optimal player techno-babble flies straight over my head. Either that or into one ear goes through the other one exits, depending on the height (relative to my head) of the horse they're sitting on. Just to clarify, this time it's taken the ear-to-ear route. Or maybe it's me who's sitting on a high horse now, and that optimal player just brushed his/her head against equine genitalia right now.

The optimal player is NOT the real player. Taking into account the hypothetical possibility of an optimal actor when designing stuff is good practice, but basing each and every decision on the grounds of what an hypothetical optimal player would do is not a guarantee for making a fun game.

And in the (unlikely though not impossible) event that an optimal player does arise, he/she is already steamrolling through your game by virtue of playing optimally, so the assumed needs or preferences of an hypothetical optimal player are not something to be catered to.

Besides all that, the concept of optimal player usually flinged around in here is entirely restricted to optimal play in a single playthrough, the moment we take more than one playthrough into account, obsessively worrying and overreacting to every single glowing weapon which is much more likely to be a cursed -3 whip of zurrir mierdas (see note) than a deadly +5 whip of distortion is anything but rational.

tabstorm wrote:You can also say: I think being randomly banished is interesting, and the abyss is a fascinating and wonderful branch, and it's good that this possibility of randomly being sent there exists. However, it dosen't change the arguments about optimality, even if you are the kind of person who goes "Oh man, I got banished randomly. Time for INTEREST!"


Being randomly banished isn't particularly enjoyable, but the possibility of such a thing happening IS interesting, much more so when it's the counterpart to the possibility of banishing many many enemies. The abyss is a fascinating and wonderful branch, and it's good that this possibility of randoml being sent there exists, for the reasons I have already stated. I'm not copypasting anything, I'm typing it all again, and I'm not the kind of person that goes "Oh man, I got banished randomly. Time for INTEREST!", I'm the kind of person that goes "Oh man, I got banished randomly, FFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU, how am I going to survive?!" and then either finds an exit from the abyss or rolls another character.

nilsbloodaxe wrote:
Sar wrote:Regarding distortion I think it's funny how a lot of new players consider it bad power-wise, and more experienced players consider it to be strong but still don't like to actually use it.

I hate blinking and teleporting enemies that I WANT TO KILL RIGHT NOW!


I hate that, too! But sometimes distortion is still too seductive of an option.
Distortion also sucks when you're up against something with a lot of HP (say, an orc warlord), so much HP that it will teleport half across the level and heal up 3 or 4 times before you can bring it down.

note: "zurrir mierdas" is part of the colorful spanish expletive "vete a zurrir mierdas con un látigo" o "¿Porqué no te vas a zurrir mierdas con un látigo?" which would translate to "go flail at some turds with a whip" or "Why don't you go and flail at some turds with a whip?" It's much more awkward and cumbersome in english, but it's not hard to imagine what a mess such an activity must make, with bits of shit flying all around.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 03:49

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

But there are plenty of actual, real players that avoid allowing monsters with glowing weapons to melee them (at least when they are trying to win). Me, for example.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 03:52

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

The optimal player is NOT the real player. Taking into account the hypothetical possibility of an optimal actor when designing stuff is good practice, but basing each and every decision on the grounds of what an hypothetical optimal player would do is not a guarantee for making a fun game.

And in the (unlikely though not impossible) event that an optimal player does arise, he/she is already steamrolling through your game by virtue of playing optimally, so the assumed needs or preferences of an hypothetical optimal player are not something to be catered to.


You have basically written the negation of crawl's design philosophy. I believe it is the goal to design around the ideal optimally played game, and not necessarily real ones played by humans. How you feel about this is up to you.

Let me be honest: Though I feel my argument is logically sound according to the design philosophy, the reason I am arguing it is because I despise getting abyssed, and anything that reduces potential abyss trips is something that makes me happy, even though I basically never die there. Note that I could avoid all enemies wielding glowing weapons and users of banishment, but that's even more annoying than the abyss trip.

It is not because I am obsessed with design purity. I usually don't really care about doing optimal things all the time, or even most of the time, I just play well enough to win without doing things that will interrupt the flow of the game i.e. bumping into dudes to kill them.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 04:22

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

I think distortion would be much improved if unwielding it wasn't almost guaranteed to kill you in the early game or annoy the shit out of you later on. The threat of banishment or severe space-bending damage makes it rather undesirable to ever unwield a distortion weapon once you've equipped it, and undesirable to ever wield one once you've IDed it unless you plan to use it for a very long time. But that's wasting a lot of the brand's potential.

Brands that penalize wields/un-wields are neat, because they introduce costs for what would otherwise be "free" tactical decisions -- e.g. "Is it worth burning some food to swap weapons right now" with vampirism -- and distortion has lots of tactical potential: moving enemies away to give yourself a few turns for ranged attacks/healing/buffing/escaping/etc. is very useful! That power should absolutely come with a significant weapon swap cost, but currently that cost is so high as to effectively reduce the decision down to "Do I want to use this distortion weapon basically forever, or not at all?" (Or, once you can absorb the few dozen max damage you might take from a disto miscast effect, "Is it worth maybe getting banished right now to be able to switch to a more preferable brand?")

I'd rather see the unwield penalty reduced to a significant but non-lethal HP cost (based on a percentage of max HP?) plus one of the current non-banishment effects. Blink/tele+conf/glow I think are the possibilities? At any rate there should be some chance that it could mess with your positioning, make you rethink buffs because of glow, or do other things to mess with your combat situation. That way it becomes reasonable to swap to or from a distortion weapon for tactical reasons, if and when you can afford to. The penalties should be harsh enough that you wouldn't want to do it in every fight, but it would still be fairly safe to swap weapons outside of combat. And the only folks getting banished are at the receiving end, not the handle.

As far as distortion weapons in monster hands, I don't have much of an opinion on the merits of inducing paranoia (in some players) at the sight of any glowing weapon -- but can't it be hard-coded that certain brands don't spawn before dungeon level whatever, to reduce the chances of early-game (delayed) instakills?
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 04:49

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

tedric wrote:I think distortion would be much improved if unwielding it wasn't almost guaranteed to kill you in the early game or annoy the shit out of you later on. The threat of banishment or severe space-bending damage makes it rather undesirable to ever unwield a distortion weapon once you've equipped it, and undesirable to ever wield one once you've IDed it unless you plan to use it for a very long time. But that's wasting a lot of the brand's potential.

Brands that penalize wields/un-wields are neat, because they introduce costs for what would otherwise be "free" tactical decisions -- e.g. "Is it worth burning some food to swap weapons right now" with vampirism -- and distortion has lots of tactical potential: moving enemies away to give yourself a few turns for ranged attacks/healing/buffing/escaping/etc. is very useful! That power should absolutely come with a significant weapon swap cost, but currently that cost is so high as to effectively reduce the decision down to "Do I want to use this distortion weapon basically forever, or not at all?" (Or, once you can absorb the few dozen max damage you might take from a disto miscast effect, "Is it worth maybe getting banished right now to be able to switch to a more preferable brand?")

I'd rather see the unwield penalty reduced to a significant but non-lethal HP cost (based on a percentage of max HP?) plus one of the current non-banishment effects. Blink/tele+conf/glow I think are the possibilities? At any rate there should be some chance that it could mess with your positioning, make you rethink buffs because of glow, or do other things to mess with your combat situation. That way it becomes reasonable to swap to or from a distortion weapon for tactical reasons, if and when you can afford to. The penalties should be harsh enough that you wouldn't want to do it in every fight, but it would still be fairly safe to swap weapons outside of combat. And the only folks getting banished are at the receiving end, not the handle.

As far as distortion weapons in monster hands, I don't have much of an opinion on the merits of inducing paranoia (in some players) at the sight of any glowing weapon -- but can't it be hard-coded that certain brands don't spawn before dungeon level whatever, to reduce the chances of early-game (delayed) instakills?


The issue is about the brand in monster hands, not the players'. Even if the spawn depth of disto was changed to prevent delayed instakills, you would just replace that with annoying and mostly not dangerous abyss trips if you don't play optimally.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 09:52

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

duvessa wrote:But there are plenty of actual, real players that avoid allowing monsters with glowing weapons to melee them (at least when they are trying to win). Me, for example.


Seeing how the win rate is around 1 point something (correct me if I'm mistaken), however plentiful that is, it still falls within "unlikely, though not impossible"

It's not like I completely and purosely refuse to acknowledge whether an enemy is carrying a potentally branded weapon, either.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 15:15

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

I actually do sort of like the interaction of holy weapons on monsters and undead races/demonspawn. I think it does improve on early elec/disto in that the danger is proportional to the weapon and monster; once you're in Orc, for example, plains orcs/wizards/priests might have holy wrath but it still won't be scary. While it does have the potential to make some monsters that you'd otherwise ignore dangerous, it's not true in the same way disto (even later game) does.
That said, the fact that different weapon types have different chances of having it (did you know that spears and hand axes never have it??) makes it a bit spoily. Possibly the max possible extra damage from holy could be changed from 150% to 100% (while keeping the average the same) too to keep weaker monsters with it from being very dangerous.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 15:16

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Psiweapon wrote:
duvessa wrote:But there are plenty of actual, real players that avoid allowing monsters with glowing weapons to melee them (at least when they are trying to win). Me, for example.


Seeing how the win rate is around 1 point something (correct me if I'm mistaken), however plentiful that is, it still falls within "unlikely, though not impossible"

It's not like I completely and purosely refuse to acknowledge whether an enemy is carrying a potentally branded weapon, either.


The argument is not about the off chance of banishment really, it's that the player is encouraged to treat branded weapons held by enemies in a tedious way in comparison to the probability of the worst possible effects of these brands happening to the player. Whether it randomly kills you like holy can or just sends you on a 20 minute annoying abyss jaunt isn't the important point.

Also I'm not sure what you are trying to argue by saying the win rate is around 1%, I assume you mean the winrate online across all players. Even if this is true I don't think it affects the argument I am trying to make.

wheals wrote:I actually do sort of like the interaction of holy weapons on monsters and undead races/demonspawn. I think it does improve on early elec/disto in that the danger is proportional to the weapon and monster; once you're in Orc, for example, plains orcs/wizards/priests might have holy wrath but it still won't be scary. While it does have the potential to make some monsters that you'd otherwise ignore dangerous, it's not true in the same way disto (even later game) does.
That said, the fact that different weapon types have different chances of having it (did you know that spears and hand axes never have it??) makes it a bit spoily. Possibly the max possible extra damage from holy could be changed from 150% to 100% (while keeping the average the same) too to keep weaker monsters with it from being very dangerous.


But you guys just removed dragon slaying (thank you for that) which is basically the same as holy but applicable to more player races. Also, I'm not necessarily talking about monsters I'd otherwise ignore, but normal-danger monsters that I know I could defeat without too much concern. Say for instance a vault guard in Vaults or something. If they are wielding a glowing weapon, I'm encouraged to act in a tedious way around them for fear of the holy wrath brand dealing large, swingy amounts of damage. So you are saying: "I think it is good that enemies can, with very low probability, wield weapons that can suddenly deal damage in the 100s to undead and demonic players very rarely, encouraging them to behave in an unnecessarily cautious way around all glowing weapons relative to the probability of the worst-case scenario being realized. This is an interesting mechanic because _____________"

This is a fine opinion to have, however obviously I don't agree because I have started this thread complaining about it.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 16:20

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

tabstorm wrote:
tedric wrote:stuff about disto unwield penalties

The issue is about the brand in monster hands, not the players'.

That's your issue. I was responding to the string of comments that started when
Sar wrote:Regarding distortion I think it's funny how a lot of new players consider it bad power-wise, and more experienced players consider it to be strong but still don't like to actually use it.

And I do think the line of thought is related. If distortion were a more appealing brand to use (see my post above) then it could be more desirable to allow it to spawn naturally because the benefits of its use might outweigh the (still small, still annoying to "optimal" players) risk of banishment. It's implicit in your argument that the benefit does not currently outweigh the risk -- though I suppose you may be so strongly opposed to ever being banished that there is no benefit which could outweigh it.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 16:30

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

The point of the argument is not about being banished it's that an optimal player trying to maximize win probability would necessarily act in tedious ways around all glowing weapons despite very low probabilities of anything bad happening.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 17:33

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

I think what is more important to tabstorm (and I agree he has a point) is basically that the current interface forces you to pay attention to something despite it usually not being that important—but then, randomly, sometimes it is extremely important. Currently you are given an awkward amount of information about the possible power level of your enemies' weapons.

In this respect, removing glowing/runed and having all non-artefact weapons appear the same would be an improvement—of course, that would be terrible for tons of other reasons. (Namely, you'd want to wield every single weapon of a certain type, and sometimes just wield every single weapon, until you found a good one, and you'd just have to accept that you randomly are punished without any regard to your skill. This would violate DCSS design on several levels, so it would be a really bad idea.)

A better option is to give the player slightly more information. When you know an enemy has a distortion weapon, or just a threatening weapon in general, that enemy makes you rethink your tactics. In this case giving the player a bit more information seems to make certain situations more interesting/intense, not less, so I think it would be justified even if it introduces some asymmetry (if, e.g., only some brands IDed on sight). This could be handled by having certain brands auto-ID, or (as was also suggested) having distortion never banish the player on the first strike. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of those two options.

*Note: Getting banished at high level is just boring/obnoxious, because abyss:1 is actually a hell of a lot less dangerous than Depths. But that's a general problem with banishment that would have to be addressed separately. For those cases in which being banished is actually intense, it is better if you know something has a distortion weapon before it can banish you.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 17:40

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

I don't see any defensible reason for having only some brands auto-id. Having all brands identified on sight is a possibility, but making it apply to just some is really weird and I see no good reason to exclude (include, whichever way you want to think about it) some brands but not all. Why not ID flaming? You might be a mummy. Cold? Maybe you're a draconian! Draining and venom stack up pretty quickly, better ID those too. And then eventually you're left with the only un-id'd brand being vorpal, so whoops better ID that too because it's the last one. And of course this whole process makes cursed glowing weapons largely irrelevant because of how crawl item gen works.

and now I hope you see why I made that post above pointing out that holy is the same as dragon slaying. I'm just surprised that the person objecting to it is a dev :p

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 17:46

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

That's a good point, and I wouldn't be against having all brands ID on sight. (Curses could be kept in various ways, although yes, some other things would have to change around that.)

However, I do think there's a difference however between being randomly, without warning sent to the abyss, versus taking extra damage or being slowed unexpectedly. Especially when (in case of Draconian) you have already made the choice to be a species that has a specific liability. It is still not ideal, and situations in which an enemy has a weapon that might slow you will often be made more interesting if you knew that in advance; nonetheless, the problem with distortion-banishment is greater and also more widely applicable.

Of course the issue is confounded by the fact that there are other problems with many of the features related to this.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 18:03

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Tabstorm's argument is exactly the same as the argument that I had against the chaos champion's chaotic mirror ability. This could (can? I'm not sure if this was ever fixed) randomly berserk the player, but only as one of many random possible effects, so it was rare. But if you get berserked and you're wielding a ranged weapon, your options are basically to sit there and die. This is less critical as it's a monster that only appears in extended, and so you can avoid it fairly well, but being able to be berserked against your will is something that is too strong to put on a ranged ability. Moths of wrath are much weaker, and can only berserk the player in melee (which generally means you'll have a melee weapon yourself and the berserk isn't as crippling for you).

Edit: updated with correct name of the ability.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 19:10

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Especially when (in case of Draconian) you have already made the choice to be a species that has a specific liability.

like with dragon-slaying?

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 19:26

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

I would personally say that all *wielded* weapons should ID on sight (whether it's you or an orc that wields them), after all, it doesn't take a braniac to tell that the weapon that orc is using, with all the flame coming out of it, is a flaming weapon, even if he never hits you with it.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 20:20

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

tabstorm wrote:The point of the argument is not about being banished it's that an optimal player trying to maximize win probability would necessarily act in tedious ways around all glowing weapons despite very low probabilities of anything bad happening.


I'm so goddamn grateful to Cheibriados that I'm not an optimal player and that I don't feel encouraged to play my game in an unfun way.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 20:50

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

I don't have much opinion on holy, but my favorite proposal I see pop up for distortion every now and then would be temporary banishment with the length spent there/depth banished to dependent on some sensible stat, maybe HD, maybe current branch/depth. As others have said, the real problem with disto isn't that you get abyssed, the problem is that if the Abyss will kill you, it often doesn't have the decency to do it fast. Making only Lucy able to do permabanishment seems like a totally reasonable nerf that would be quite popular.

But I'm also totally cool with the status quo! Ho hum. The only other thing I'll add is that Psiweapon and tabstorm offer two sides of a debate that has been glancingly brought up in several threads lately, this idea of "designing around optimal play" vs. "designing around actual play," and I always wonder if people really think the dev team is trying to make an ideological game instead of a fun game. For what little it's worth, I think this argument meme has way less to do with the actual development process (in which lots of developers do things for lots of reasons, Xom love 'em) and more to do with the tone of the conversation surrounding development.

Psiweapon wrote:I'm so goddamn grateful to Cheibriados that I'm not an optimal player and that I don't feel encouraged to play my game in an unfun way.

Stuff like this. (Though in fairness tabstorm is parroting what he considers the dominant design meme just so he can avoid the Abyss.) Psiweapon, people in this thread have already told you that they play like this. Furthermore, I think "being able to consistently win" is a common goal for players and certainly one of the major axes of Crawl mastery in online play, and any player attempting to reach that goal will be seeking optimal play. The game currently has an incredibly high bar to reach optimal play; you have to understand so many different mechanics and monsters and layouts and etc. Given that removing any single requirement for optimal play is unlikely to lower that bar by much, we might as well remove all the ones that suck to do.

In other words, Crawl's a big enough game that it can cater to a player who just wants to have fun and a player that wants to win 80+% of games. Nobody's trying to make it one or the other, as far as I can tell.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 20:56

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Without wish to get myself entangled in this, un-ID'd branded weapons just warning you about their presence is a mechanic I value and find fits the most in a crawl played without many of its superficial layers. Funnily enough that is the crawl development seems to be working towards getting the most out of; all of this while retaining all of the extra weight, as if it did not impact the game by being there and extending it to impossible lengths.
It is true however that in crawl as the crossbreed game it stands as right now, mechanics that require a constant attention mostly just cause weariness on the player (especially since tied to other mechanics such as banishment as potential punishment).

Myself, I would not tackle this problem by making random distortion go away, although I could see HW going for the same reasons Drslay did. Pain makes no sense at all for me to be removed from random spawns.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 21:04

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

It is one of the major design goals that things that are tedious to do but provide a benefit must either: 1) also have some gameplay value to make up for this (see ring swapping, resting, etc.; the implementation of these things is probably improvable but it is clear that crawl does not work without resting for instance) or 2) should become not-tedious. This is outlined in the manual, to some degree (item-selling is an easy example).

You can definitely argue that monster weapons being able to have brands provides enough gameplay value to outweigh the problem that you are encouraged to expend quite a bit of effort in tracking which monsters might have those weapons. It is also not unreasonable to suggest that keeping monster weapon brands unidentified also provides value, though it is quite obnoxious to avoid every monster with a glowing weapon. It is also not unreasonable to argue the opposite in either case.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 21:12

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Psiweapon wrote:
tabstorm wrote:The point of the argument is not about being banished it's that an optimal player trying to maximize win probability would necessarily act in tedious ways around all glowing weapons despite very low probabilities of anything bad happening.


I'm so goddamn grateful to Cheibriados that I'm not an optimal player and that I don't feel encouraged to play my game in an unfun way.


And I'm telling you that optimal gameplay is the main consideration in design decisions, as far as I can tell. I don't play in the way that I have described in this thread at all, but that dosen't matter.

archaeo wrote:I always wonder if people really think the dev team is trying to make an ideological game instead of a fun game.

I think they might say "The game is less fun than it could be if there are actions that the player can take to maximize their win probability that are tedious."

archaeo wrote:Though in fairness tabstorm is parroting what he considers the dominant design meme just so he can avoid the Abyss.

It's true. You see, my master plan is to insidiously suggest changes over time that will serve to make the abyss nearly vestigial, so that it can eventually be removed entirely. It will never happen, but I can still try.

Anyway, as long as there are enemy brands that super-rarely kill you, and the player is thus encouraged to act in a tedious way around them, I think that there is a problem, unless you think that there is so much interest gained from it that it outweighs the annoying aspects, or you just don't care and are resistant to such a change for some reason, and are willing to live with the occasional bad effects. Certainly I'm willing to deal with these effects to play the game in a way that won't drive me insane, but obviously I think there is a better way or I would not have posted this thread.

dck wrote:Pain makes no sense at all for me to be removed from random spawns.
I already said in the OP it isn't really a problem and was only suggested so that all the "god gift" brands were actually only gifted by their respective gods, pretend it was never brought up.
Last edited by tabstorm on Friday, 20th June 2014, 21:21, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 21:17

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Psiweapon wrote:I'm so goddamn grateful to Cheibriados that I'm not an optimal player and that I don't feel encouraged to play my game in an unfun way.

Getting killed in one attack because I refused to do something tedious is UNFUN. I cannot imagine why you disagree.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 21:23

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

tabstorm wrote:You have basically written the negation of crawl's design philosophy. I believe it is the goal to design around the ideal optimally played game, and not necessarily real ones played by humans. How you feel about this is up to you.


I disagree, but I do recognize the possibility that you might actually be right, even if I don't believe so.

In any event, liking and enjoying a given product or creation in one hand, and agreeing with the design decisions or general direction are entirely different things (you can call that aesthetic taste vs aesthetic judgement)

It's just the same as if you admire the craftdwarfship, composition o execution of a certain work, yet you still don't enjoy it.
Example given:

I may think (as is the case) that good ol' classic Counter Strike (the half-life mod) is a well laid-out game, that managed to grow out the common FPS pre-conceptions of the day, that brought a depth of gameplay not commonly seen in its time, while also implementing a novel power-up system AND itemization.

I sill never enjoyed it, because modern militaristic aesthetic and themes don't appeal to it, and I don't like waiting in an FPS: I like to run around like a madman shooting everything in sight, or if I want a more exquisite gameplay, I prefer reaction games (that's why I liked Quake III rail freeze mods and Unreal instagib mode).

tabstorm wrote:Let me be honest: Though I feel my argument is logically sound according to the design philosophy, the reason I am arguing it is because I despise getting abyssed, and anything that reduces potential abyss trips is something that makes me happy, even though I basically never die there. Note that I could avoid all enemies wielding glowing weapons and users of banishment, but that's even more annoying than the abyss trip.

It is not because I am obsessed with design purity. I usually don't really care about doing optimal things all the time, or even most of the time, I just play well enough to win without doing things that will interrupt the flow of the game i.e. bumping into dudes to kill them.


Your argument is not bad but still I don't think it's a good idea because, you know, takes fun out of the game <-- see there totally naïve, that's me, what I actually feel.

And now, for a change of tone, an excerpt from the archives of the Adeptvs Svbrepentis:

It is Most Unsettling that your mercy did, in written word, contradict something explicitly stated in the Philosophy Section of the Crawl Manual, as transferred to my Humble, but Steadfastly Undying Interbutt Terminal through no less than Two Methods, by the swift hands of the Machine Spirits that make their home in the Series of Tubes, I quote:

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup Manual, Section N: "Philosophy (pas de faq)" wrote:In a similar vein, early trips to the Abyss are not deficits: there's more than one way out, and successfully escaping is exciting for anyone.


But in fact I don't think that DCSS: Design Philosophy should be treated like some sort of holy gospel. Although it's extremely nice and cool that the manual includes a design philosophy section, and its contents are actually pretty sensible.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 21:26

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

In a similar vein, early trips to the Abyss are not deficits: there's more than one way out, and successfully escaping is exciting for anyone.


Shit, there goes my argument about distortion.

But really, if you feel that the game is better for having glowing weapons randomly banish you and subject you to a delayed death ray or, later, a not-overly-dangerous abyss jaunt, unless you act in an annoyingly cautious way around them, because these trips add a lot of interest, that's fine. Since neither you or I accept the other's premise I don't think there is any point in arguing further about this.

I think holy wrath is still bad for the same reasons as dragon slaying, though.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 23:18

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

I'm surprised to see "the optimal player is not the real player" being used as a basis for objecting to the removal of a mechanic that introduces tedious optimal play. That most real players do not engage in the resultant optimal strategy is precisely why the mechanic is troublesome. By eschewing the optimal strategy, the player makes it clear that avoiding this strategy is preferable to improving his chances of winning (which ostensibly is the point of the game). To put it another way, by maintaining said mechanic, players are punished for wanting to have fun by having their chances of victory reduced. Surely this is undesirable.

I'm not sure how much of the above applies to the situation with monster distortion; maybe it can be argued that monster distortion makes the game sufficiently more interesting to offset the tedious optimal play of avoiding getting hit by anything with a glowing weapon, or that monster distortion is fun (for example, if you like the abyss). I personally agree with tabstorm's complaints, though I think player distortion is interesting enough that it should not just exist for Lugonu worshippers; perhaps the auto-id suggestion could work.

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Post Saturday, 21st June 2014, 00:07

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

"The optimal player is not the real player" is an argument used to justify lots of changes, see for instance brand spells, nemelex, swiftness, etc.
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Blades Runner

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Post Saturday, 21st June 2014, 01:27

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

archaeo wrote:I don't have much opinion on holy, but my favorite proposal I see pop up for distortion every now and then would be temporary banishment with the length spent there/depth banished to dependent on some sensible stat, maybe HD, maybe current branch/depth. As others have said, the real problem with disto isn't that you get abyssed, the problem is that if the Abyss will kill you, it often doesn't have the decency to do it fast. Making only Lucy able to do permabanishment seems like a totally reasonable nerf that would be quite popular.


It sounds quite good in my ears. It would lessen the deadliness of banishment and sounds interesting.

archaeo wrote:But I'm also totally cool with the status quo! Ho hum. The only other thing I'll add is that Psiweapon and tabstorm offer two sides of a debate that has been glancingly brought up in several threads lately, this idea of "designing around optimal play" vs. "designing around actual play," and I always wonder if people really think the dev team is trying to make an ideological game instead of a fun game. For what little it's worth, I think this argument meme has way less to do with the actual development process (in which lots of developers do things for lots of reasons, Xom love 'em) and more to do with the tone of the conversation surrounding development.


The argument over the different ways of having fun in a game has always been hairy - in an open source community, where your input can conceivably have an effect on the direction a game - a work of art and technology! takes in the future, the argument becomes even more emotionally loaded.

I don't really believe the devs are making an ideological game AS OPPOSED to a fun game. The game does, however, have a game design ideology, partly explicit in the philosophy section. Just in case: I am not decrying that.

archaeo wrote:[sensible discourse snipped, you are right in most if not all of it]

In other words, Crawl's a big enough game that it can cater to a player who just wants to have fun and a player that wants to win 80+% of games. Nobody's trying to make it one or the other, as far as I can tell.


I sure hope you're right!

AFAIK indie and free game developers are much more concerned with making games they'd like to exist than with anything else.
Hirsch I wrote:Also,are you calling me a power-gamer? this is highly offensive! now excuse me, I have to go back to my GrBe game, that I savescummed until trog gave me a Vampiric +9 claymore.

Barkeep

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Post Saturday, 21st June 2014, 02:11

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

crate wrote:
Especially when (in case of Draconian) you have already made the choice to be a species that has a specific liability.

like with dragon-slaying?


Yeah but... Well... Okay I walked right into that one. I concede the point and admit the inconsistency. A questionable mechanic is still questionable regardless of the letter you hit on the character select screen.

_______

Yes, the design philosophy of Crawl tends to be taken very seriously on the Tavern, but that kind of makes sense to me. It is a way for people who are fans of the game and those who actually make the game to have (more or less) serious—if sometimes acrimonious—discussions about Crawl.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 21st June 2014, 02:24

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

With respect to distortion, I find the brand to be a lot of fun. I like being forced to deal with an enemy more carefully than normal; suddenly that vanilla orc or gnoll is promoted to the most important NPC in the room, and even after I take it down I have to think about the mad scramble that's going to take place for that weapon as more orcs or gnolls file in. I find distortion to be just as exciting when I am following Ashenzari or if I see the culprit actively wield the weapon. It would be unfortunate if distortion was removed from normal generation, but it wouldn't bother me at all if another piece of the identification mini-game went away. Squelching generation until around Temple depth is fine, too, since D1 distortion in enemy hands is pretty unfair and D1 distortion in player hands is also pretty unfair.

Holy wrath is more troublesome from a design perspective, because for 90% of the game it is useless, and for the remainder it is clearly better than anything else except anti-magic or distortion. It has basically no interesting qualities that justify its continued existence. I think it would be a good change to remove holy wrath from the game and replace it with a TSO invocation that gives a damage bonus against evil beings, or something similar.
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Pandemonium Purger

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Post Saturday, 21st June 2014, 02:29

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Removing holy wrath would make extended a lot harder. Or is this part of the intention?
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Saturday, 21st June 2014, 02:47

Re: Pain/Disto/Holy brands

Patashu wrote:Removing holy wrath would make extended a lot harder. Or is this part of the intention?

No, it would just only be found via TSO, artes, or acquirement. I think if this change were implemented, it would be reasonable to give the holy brand a damage boost against non-evil enemies, so that the player at least has a good reason to take TSO's final gift even when not planning to enter hell/pan/tomb.
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