Diminishing returns on torment?


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Snake Sneak

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Post Monday, 29th February 2016, 21:09

Diminishing returns on torment?

I was thinking of ways to change torment so that it isn't one of the most significant determining factors of a characters success in extended. Torment has always peeved me in that any character that wants to do extended, for the most part, either has to have very specific tools to deal with torment, or be undead or something. Torment also severely limits viable character builds in ziggurats, but I know zigs aren't really crawl so whatever.

So what IF, when a character gets tormented, he gains a stacking buff that reduces damage taken from torment by a percentage until torment stops being effective - this buff wearing off gradually as the player stops getting tormented. So torment alone can only reduce a living players health to a rough percentage - and other extended threats can be adjusted to make up for the nerf.

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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Monday, 29th February 2016, 21:12

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

I like this idea. The centralization of the extended game around torment (and to an extent hellfire) is one of the main reasons I almost never bother to get more than three runes. I would love to see something change along these lines.

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Post Monday, 29th February 2016, 22:23

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

Shouldn't this be in GDD?

I'm not sure if this change in particular is what's needed, but something should definitely be done about extended and torment/hellfire. It's not a whole lot of fun when literally nothing is a threat unless it can hellfire/torment or is currently acting as a meatshield for something that can.

Depths, to a lesser extent, suffers from the same thing; everything is more or less completely tame there, until you run into a juggernaut (or, to a lesser extent, ettin; ettins are at least speed 10) at which point you need to stop to think. I don't find it very good game design when most enemies are popcorn whereas a few are extremely threatening and define the branch.

edit: I consider Tomb an exception to the above. Tomb is well-designed, even if it's absolutely horrible to play through. If a Greater Greater Mummy were added, which could haste itself and whose smite dealt double damage, there'd be a problem.

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Post Monday, 29th February 2016, 22:28

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

One could say that Torment has diminishing returns built in, it's part of the design.

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Post Monday, 29th February 2016, 22:59

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

The "bad" thing about Torment is how well it synergizes with Hellfire, Smite and things like LCS/IS that don't check resists. You can find yourself at very low health very fast, with some bad rng. Of course the answer to that is to try and fight only one or a couple of tormentors at a time and kill them fast. That being said, facing dispel undead can be a horrible experience too, as it can do some ridiculous amounts of damage too and personally I don't know which monsters can cast it (learned about Gloorx Vloq the rough way...).
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Post Monday, 29th February 2016, 23:05

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

A full torment basically doubles the damage other monsters do (sort of). Unfortunately, it doubles it again if you get tormented again. Perhaps after one torment, your health should be reduced to 1/2 and a Torm[1] status should be granted; then after another, reduced to 1/3 (or equivalently reduced by another 1/3 of its current value) - giving you a Torm[2] status. This could be removed at full health.

Even easier to describe (and more robust against extreme regenerative abilities), why not just have torment scale twice with current HP instead of once with a linear factor to make it no worse at full health? Thus at full health one torment would remove 1/2 of your health; at 1/2 another torment would leave you at 1/3; at hp health you are left with hp/(hp/maxhp+1) health, instead of a flat hp/2 health.

Of course, then other sources of damage would need to be revamped for torment to be even remotely dangerous anymore.

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 00:08

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

Before discussing torment it's important to recognize what it is supposed to do (which it fails to do well because of some things that should be changed).

The idea of extended is that no character, regardless of equipment, should be nigh-unkillable. Simultaneously, it's desirable to allow reasonably weak characters a chance in extended. Therefore, you have to create attacks that get around player resistances, since that specifically attacks strong characters without completely destroying weak ones.

Obviously you want one such attack that can actually kill the player (it needs to bypass AC, EV, and other resists); this is hellfire. But, for hellfire to actually be a threat to ogres without just murdering spriggans, you also need something that specifically attacks high-hp characters. This, obviously is torment. I'm sure there are some other ways to implement an anti-high-hp attack but percent-of-current-hp damage really does work pretty well imo.

The problem, then, is that torment is resistible in several ways, when it really fulfills its design role much better if it is completely irresistible. But, it is resistible, so it has to be tuned around characters that do resist it for it to do its job. And of course there are also characters that are completely immune (necromut or undead) where torment obviously completely fails.

I don't really think there's a problem with torment in pan or hell (perhaps it's questionable in some ways in hell), especially if you get rid of torment resistances and just make it deal 30-40% of current hp or something. There are problems with it in tomb, obviously, but I'm not going to talk about tomb here. No comment on zigs since they don't even pretend to follow the same rules as the rest of crawl, the devs can do whatever they want in zigs.

You might argue that this is not a great direction for extended to go, which is reasonable. It turns out that the characters people actually take to pan and hell can typically just laugh at things like executioners and reapers (which are supposed to be pretty scary), so pan and hell end up being disproportionally about hellfire and torment. I think that's probably closer to the real problem than torment being "too strong" is.

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 12:32

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

crate wrote:-snip-


I wholeheartedly agree with pretty much everything you said – I personally don't think torment/hellfire wombo combo is too strong, I think it's overused throughout extended, which makes the experience rather samey. Consider: 10 of the runes are part of extended, which is chock-full of torment. 9 of them are also chock-full of hellfire. The 5 other runes at least have their respective flavours to them as you collect them: Poison, water, chaos, corrosion (with mutation thrown in because why the hell not), and whatever you want to call Vault's flavour. You could argue that Vaults has no flavour since it has a nonsensical jumble of possible enemies, but I think the Vaults-specific enemies make it unique enough what with recall, mark, and locked doors.

Extended doesn't have this flavour. Extended is just this giant monolithic part of the game which is all about hellfire and torment. I like Tomb, because it's cohesive design-wise. I wish Tomb were the "torment branch", with torment starring in Tartarus as well but to a lesser extent. However, all of Pandaemonium and Hell feel really samey. It shouldn't feel the same way to play through Gehenna and Dis, but it really, really does. They're both just full of torment and hellfire, with bosses that throw hellfire at you.

It's a design challenge how to improve upon these issues, but I definitely think it's a desirable goal for the devs.
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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 12:56

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

Clownie wrote:Extended is just this giant monolithic part of the game which is all about hellfire and torment.

It's worth pointing out that the "giant" part of that is probably a large part of why hellfire and torment feel so overused. Not that they couldn't be improved, but still, reducing the size of extended would go a long way imo.

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 14:01

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

Proposal: Introduce elemental torments. Firetorment halves HP if you lack rF (and still does damage if you have it, 35% damage at rF+++), Icetorment if you lack rC, regular Torment if you lack rN; and Irontorment can't be resisted but is reduced by AC.

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 14:06

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

So... what's the difference then? Except for undead/lichformers getting fucked, I guess.

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 14:50

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

Croases wrote:Irontorment


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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 15:32

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

crate wrote:You might argue that this is not a great direction for extended to go, which is reasonable. It turns out that the characters people actually take to pan and hell can typically just laugh at things like executioners and reapers (which are supposed to be pretty scary), so pan and hell end up being disproportionally about hellfire and torment. I think that's probably closer to the real problem than torment being "too strong" is.


So in other words, the non tormenting enemies in extended need to be more dangerous, so there is less reliance on torment.

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 15:48

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

A lot of non-tormenting enemies in extended are already extremely dangerous. You just don't notice it usually because you have a top character and a million escapes.

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Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 15:54

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

Croases wrote:Proposal: Introduce elemental torments. Firetorment halves HP if you lack rF (and still does damage if you have it, 35% damage at rF+++), Icetorment if you lack rC, regular Torment if you lack rN; and Irontorment can't be resisted but is reduced by AC.

For the most part, big elemental damage in extended already performs this function. You could always reduce the effectiveness of different levels of resistance, or even cause certain branches to reduce your effective resistance; imagine if Coc caused you to be rC--, or if Dis' gravity gave you temporary ill-fitting armour.

lethediver wrote:So in other words, the non tormenting enemies in extended need to be more dangerous, so there is less reliance on torment.

Or characters need to be less OP, which could be accomplished by lowering the ceiling on various things and giving out less XP. Or extended needs to be dramatically shortened, especially since most of the encounters in between a portal and the rune vault are meaningless. Or new mechanics could be developed to remove options from players in certain branches, like gating certain classes of items or giving increasing numbers of temporary mutations. Or you could just make the 3-rune game short enough that it's impossible to be "fully prepared" for extended.

Which is to say there are lots of ways you could change the game to effectively make extended more interesting without directly buffing enemies.

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 16:06

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

Sar wrote:A lot of non-tormenting enemies in extended are already extremely dangerous. You just don't notice it usually because you have a top character and a million escapes.


This.

I like how people argue that most of the things in extended are laughable when you have 2 trillion turns behind, godzilion of hp, tons of damage and non-shitty God - everything in game seems easy. People will start noticing and experiencing danger level ( reflected in enemies strength) when they would actually care playing and not grinding pan and abyss for infinite amounts of exp and loot.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 22:03

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

Just introduce some really fast monsters with lots of HP, AC and EV who spam Fire Storm/Glaciate/Tornado/Shatter/LCS every turn and hit like a juggernaut on steroids in melee.

(Then stop the power creep problem by not introducing any more buffs...)
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Post Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 23:34

Re: Diminishing returns on torment?

"Which is to say there are lots of ways you could change the game to effectively make extended more interesting without directly buffing enemies."

Good ideas. But, not a high chance of implementing. I think my idea will win out since Power creep = default dev balancing mode. Juggernaut, caustic shrike, iron giant, all pretty new.

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