Magic vs Melee


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Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 00:29

Magic vs Melee

I'm not the best at trying to explain this really, but I think that the combat system in this game is biased against casters. The amount of xp's needed to learn sufficient spells to be useful killing/surviving the dungeon is far more than what's required to melee your way through. The shortening of the game is much more a detriment xp-wise to the casters than the melee types. The removal of many spells seem to have been caused by wanting to eliminate access by melee characters (phase shift, stone skin, condensation shield...and added a movement penalty to ozocubu's, etc), but have a more dramatic impact on spell-casters who can't wear the armour that melee types can.

Perhaps instead of so many types of spell schools there could be more generic types Combat, Defense, Buff/Debuff. It's not like melee types have to learn several weapon schools to approach their max power level, and there's no creature in the game who's resistant to a type of weapon (that I am aware of). Perhaps make it harder to cast in armour to prevent melee double-dipping? Once melee get min delay on their weapon type, they're able to focus on survivability for the rest of the game.

Surely there's a reason that the majority of wins are melee-centric characters. I feel that casters are more interesting than melee-types, but I hate having to 'pay' for the more interesting game by increasing the hassle/struggle.

Sorry if this is a bit rambling. Thanks for your time.
Avigdore
Last edited by Avigdore on Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 01:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 00:43

Re: Magic vs Melee

I agree that casters take longer to learn, and are more... finicky than fighters. I'm not entirely convinced they are weaker than melee characters. And I'm definitely not convinced that casters being somewhat weaker than melee chars would even be a bad thing to begin with.

Not all classes have to be as good as all other classes.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 01:18

Re: Magic vs Melee

I still believe that conjurations and especially summoning are much stronger than melee. Possibly conjurations are worse than missiles at the moment but I don't see how they could not be better than melee.
It's unlikely that the proliferation of "melee characters" has much to do with strength. Look at species: recently the 5 most played ones online are Ds, Mi, Op, DE, Gr. Only one of these species (Mi) is even better than median*. DD and Ce, which are unambiguously 2 of the 3 best species in the game, are the 7th and 2nd least popular, respectively. Vehumet and Cheibriados are awful but a lot of people find them fun so they're two of the most popular gods, while Fedhas is even less popular than the god that only one species can worship.
If popularity were a good indicator of strength then you would, at the very least, expect the number of summoners to be several times larger than it actually is, especially in older versions.
It's more likely that people play the characters they find fun, and overall "melee characters" are more fun than "casters" because melee combat has better mechanics and a better interface than the spellcasting system, conjurations, and especially summoning do.

The game also explicitly tries to funnel new players into playing characters that don't start with spells. The first option in hints mode is MiBe. The first background is Fighter (yes this has an effect, Fi is more than twice as popular as the second most popular background, Be, which is blatantly obviously better). Almost 20% of all new characters are fighters.** If you want to start with spells you have to either pick Wn, which is always greyed out, or go to the opposite side of the screen.

*though you can give Gr some credit since it is one of the easiest species to bot, as a lot of players play like bots or worse

**you can counter this by pointing at Human's middling popularity, but HuFi is actually a very popular combo. It's only one place after CeHu at the moment, which is only one place after GrBe.

Avigdore wrote:It's not like melee types have to learn several weapon schools to, and there's no creature in the game who's resistant to a type of weapon (that I am aware of).
Monster resistances aren't actually a problem for conjurers. At all. They make poison magic even more ass than it already is, but that's about it. And there are a ton of monsters that are extremely bad to melee.

I find characters without spells much more interesting than characters with spells, and melee much more interesting than ranged attacks.

I should note that I also believe heavy armour is extremely overrated.

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Post Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 19:40

Re: Magic vs Melee

Try Naga casters.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 20:41

Re: Magic vs Melee

It's less about strength or popularity or particular races or what-not. It's more a case where casters are weaker than melee for a given amount of xp's in general. They require a larger investment into their means of killstuff, are more limited to what types of defense they can use, and more limited by book drops. The caster does often has better escape options.

If a melee type puts 16 levels into Maces, they can use an end-game viable melee weapon at it's optimal delay for the rest of the game, that makes no super loud noises, costs extra food, or uses up limited resources every use.

If a caster puts 16 levels into 1 single spell school, they're probably not getting the most bang for their buck (maybe Tornado or Shatter are possible at 16?, OOD for sure). I am not that familiar with the sliding level cost, but let's assume I can get a 2 schools up to 12 for what a melee costs to get 1 to 16 (again this is all based on an average, generic concept; attributes would have a large impact). Most 2 school spells that you can cast at 12/12 are probably going to be able to get you what you need to muddle through. They certainly aren't the optimal number. They're going to cost extra food. You will get to use them at a distance, but at a cost of sound, or resistances, or the inability to wear any sort of decent armour. Then again, you don't have to get in the monster's face...but neither do missile-users.

Hmm...it's terribly hard to try to make an apples-to-apples comparison. Maybe it's a power-curve thing. Maybe caster's just are stronger late game and pay a price for that in the beginning (which everyone agrees is the only dangerous time, right?)

The expected response is something along the lines of not pigeon-holing a character into 'caster' if you don't get the books you need, or don't use spells and pick up a weapon. If those are the answers, then you've already accepted that caster is weaker. If it's a power-curve issue, then caster's are the ones weakest when the game is hardest. Why not address the extra cost in spell-casting schools to offset that weakness? If it's just my imagination that casters are weaker...well, confirmation bias is certainly a possibility.

Again, I'm sorry that I am having a hard time making the comparison case. There are just so many variables that play into the comparison. I'm betting a review of good, skilled players game date would bear out the melee>caster idea.
Last edited by Avigdore on Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 20:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 20:44

Re: Magic vs Melee

Casters are more powerful both early game and late game but they are less forgiving because of limited MP, bad AC and typically low HP both from species (Na and Dr are exceptions) and undertraining Fighting compared to melee characters for whom Fighting increases weapon damage also.

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Post Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 20:49

Re: Magic vs Melee

Sandman25 wrote:Casters are more powerful both early game and late game but they are less forgiving because of limited MP, bad AC and typically low HP both from species and undertraining Fighting compared to melee characters for whom Fighting increases weapon damage also.


I find it difficult to consider a level 1 human fighter in any way weaker than any level 1 human caster. I'm thinking 100 games of the melee vs 100 games of the caster would show more melee survive to level 2. More would survive into Lair. More would win the game (all assuming competent players).

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Post Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 21:24

Re: Magic vs Melee

HuCj starts with Magic Dart at 4% and 13 spell power, that's 1d5 non-missing damage at the edge of view.
HuFi with flail vs goblin:

  Code:
           AvHitDam | MaxDam | Accuracy | AvDam | AvTime | AvSpeed | AvEffDam
Attacking:      5,4 |     13 |      42% |   2,3 |   138  |  0,72 |      1,7
Defending:      0,5 |      3 |      46% |   0,3 |   100  |  1,00 |      0,3


I'll take Cj.

Edit. Oh, we are in GDD now.

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Post Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 21:30

Re: Magic vs Melee

If the game were constantly 1 on 1 with ample time to rest between kills, you're right. But that's not this game. Especially level 1 where you can't really retreat up stairs, jackal packs are a thing, you've got no effective stealth, opening doors to 1-tile away & multiple monsters is the norm, not the exception.
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Post Tuesday, 16th August 2016, 23:44

Re: Magic vs Melee

I wouldn't read too much into relative popularity of combos, but I think conjuration is definitely worse than melee except very late in the game and possibly very early depending on the background. Usually my character feels pretty good when playing FE, IE, Ne, Su. AE, EE, VM, Wz, Cj are not especially good, imo. Like you said, the spell noise issues, armor constraints, and the existence of a whole skill that mostly exists to soak XP (Conjurations) make conjurers worse than heavy armor melee, imo. The lack of good spells in the level 7-8 range for everyone but AE is also a factor. But, I think heavy armor melee is better than anything that dosen't involve allies (Necro, Summons) or archery, easily.

Maybe this isn't the best example, but I have been playing a lot of Wanderers recently (VSWn, MuWn) and when I got a decent melee start (ring or scale mail with a weapon and not a ton of int) I feel a lot more confident in my chances to win compared to a conjurer start, especially one that isn't IE/FE. I never feel like I'm going to die on D:1 as a warrior. To be fair, I do worry about dying on D:2-3 but that also holds for conjurers.
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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 00:36

Re: Magic vs Melee

duvessa wrote:
"melee characters" are more fun than "casters" because melee combat has better mechanics and a better interface than the spellcasting system, conjurations, and especially summoning do.

This is exactly why I don't like playing spellcasters. Couldn't have said it better myself.

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 00:38

Re: Magic vs Melee

@tabstorm: book wanderers often have abysmal Int because wanderers, maybe that was a factor as well?

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 01:24

Re: Magic vs Melee

Avigdore wrote:It's less about strength or popularity or particular races or what-not. It's more a case where casters are weaker than melee for a given amount of xp's in general. They require a larger investment into their means of killstuff, are more limited to what types of defense they can use, and more limited by book drops. The caster does often has better escape options.

If a melee type puts 16 levels into Maces, they can use an end-game viable melee weapon at it's optimal delay for the rest of the game, that makes no super loud noises, costs extra food, or uses up limited resources every use.

If a caster puts 16 levels into 1 single spell school, they're probably not getting the most bang for their buck (maybe Tornado or Shatter are possible at 16?, OOD for sure). I am not that familiar with the sliding level cost, but let's assume I can get a 2 schools up to 12 for what a melee costs to get 1 to 16 (again this is all based on an average, generic concept; attributes would have a large impact). Most 2 school spells that you can cast at 12/12 are probably going to be able to get you what you need to muddle through. They certainly aren't the optimal number. They're going to cost extra food. You will get to use them at a distance, but at a cost of sound, or resistances, or the inability to wear any sort of decent armour. Then again, you don't have to get in the monster's face...but neither do missile-users.
This only makes sense if you assume the following:
1. You start the game with an "end-game viable melee weapon"
2. You stop gaining xp once you enter Lair
Neither are true. Never mind that you are basically ignoring that spells other than conjurations even exist.
Avigdore wrote:Hmm...it's terribly hard to try to make an apples-to-apples comparison. Maybe it's a power-curve thing. Maybe caster's just are stronger late game and pay a price for that in the beginning (which everyone agrees is the only dangerous time, right?)
I'm quite confident every background in the Mage category except VM is better than Fi, Gl, Mo, Hu, As, CK, Sk, Tm, and AM. VM is still better than Fi/Gl/Mo/Sk/Tm imo. I am talking about early game here, and yes, it is the only dangerous time (but those characters are better in the rest of the game, too).

It is, of course, nearly impossible to usefully transition into a conjurer if you didn't start as a mage background, because you didn't start with int or books which you both need, and the only gods that could "help" with that are really, really bad gods. But transitioning in Crawl to anything other than a Kiku necromancer is pretty much always bad anyway, this isn't unique to conjurations. For the same reason about half of the wanderers that start with books are really annoying to play since they don't start with int.

The only worthwhile level 7+ direct damage spells in 3-rune games without Vehumet/Chei are delayed fireball and sometimes iood, and delayed fireball shouldn't really count because its success rate is almost meaningless. It is already extremely difficult to approach the damage/time of level 6 damage spells with melee (or a couple level 5 ones for that matter) so this isn't actually a big problem for conjurers.

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 03:14

Re: Magic vs Melee

Sar wrote:@tabstorm: book wanderers often have abysmal Int because wanderers, maybe that was a factor as well?

This is true, but I would rather take my chances with --(Fi, Gl, Hu, As) than --(Cj Wz VM AE EE Sk AM) for most races except Op, DE, Te, HE regardless.
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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 03:54

Re: Magic vs Melee

OpFi is surprisingly good, actually.

Book backgrounds that have some kind of ally or path blocking angle are often better than some non-book backgrounds for a given species, but this is mostly because it's easy to transition to a mixture of melee and low level magic, not because magic is good in general. Non-summoning, non-necromancy offensive magic has horrible experience efficiency outside of the early game. Of course, there are some species with low hp and/or equipment restrictions that make melee a lot more dangerous than ranged magic or ally play.

I recall having seen the argument made that in "optimal play" direct damage magic is strong because between pack splitting, luring, and stair cheezing, you can always kill things at range or retreat and try again so that most monsters can't even damage you. This strikes me as specious reasoning because as soon as you're using these kinds of tactics, it doesn't matter what you're doing to kill things. You still win every game.

The dungeon is built for melee guys. You're rarely short of the materials needed to make good melee characters. It's very easy to find yourself short of spells or forced to allocate experience wastefully to maintain a direct damage magic style. The solution of picking a bad god to continue on a magic path is still worse. At least there's Kiku.

In my experience, heavy armor melee characters become nearly indestructible around the end of dungeon. It really doesn't matter if magic can do more damage than melee weapons when monsters simply can't kill you in heavy armor. God abilities and low level magic are very good in crawl and they work in heavy armor.
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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 04:18

Re: Magic vs Melee

The reason people don't play blasters without melee isn't that weaponless blasters are weak or lack defenses or are hard to play. It's because constantly running to the upstairs to regen mp is extremely annoying.
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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 06:57

Re: Magic vs Melee

Both kinds of characters should win approximately 100% of the time with the most cautious possible tactics, so falling back to a position of "well, you just need to use more cautious tactics with this kind of character" is conceding the argument regarding strength. There's no measure of the strength of different kinds of crawl characters based on win rates and the assumption of optimal tactics that can actually distinguish among them.

If the poor mp efficiency of conjurations means you have to use more cautious tactics and scum encounters you would just plow through in one go with other kinds of characters, this is a concrete sense in which the conjurations focused character is weaker than others.
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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 07:50

Re: Magic vs Melee

I like playing casters more than meleetabtabtab-dudes. Why? Because it engages players to think, what they're doing.

To topic posters:
If you thinking you need to retreat each time you've encountered something or mash tab as extra bonus - you're training skills wrong.
If you can't sustain mana in anywhere except hell:7\Abyss:5\Randomly-hard Pan areas - you're doing it wrong.

Casters can have up to 90+ mana pool with a proper gear and setup as of De. Ds can even have insane mana regen on top of that, and hp pool. It's a random gamble of mutations, but it is possible, and happens more than often.
Interface isn't even an issue, if you can map and remember to which each button spells are corresponding. Imagine a virtual skill panel, like in any MMORPG out there, and you're good to go.

Main issue with casters are people. They don't want to cast smart, they just want their tabtabtabtabtabtab mechanic to work where it should not be working at all.
Automagic helps in these cases.

My main issue with casters tho - extended doesn't support any playstyle without staff of energy abuse, because of insane speed of enemy generation.
Even with 90+ mana pool enemies spawn too quickly to regain mana for high-tier encounters in Hell:7. Abyss is more forgiving in this, because of random generated structures, but annoying too. Pan is all random, and zigs...are zigs. I tried doing a run without it, and it sucks. Majorly.
Something must be done with those. I don't like to v->v->v->v->firestorm\shatter\glaciate->v->v->v->v->Necromut->v->v->v->v....
This part is annoying as F. I want this staff to be removed the same way as Sif Muna's abillity of channeling. It's the same thing, except, any god user can do it without any cost whatsoever.
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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 08:03

Re: Magic vs Melee

goodcoolguy wrote:Both kinds of characters should win approximately 100% of the time with the most cautious possible tactics, so falling back to a position of "well, you just need to use more cautious tactics with this kind of character" is conceding the argument regarding strength. There's no measure of the strength of different kinds of crawl characters based on win rates and the assumption of optimal tactics that can actually distinguish among them.

If the poor mp efficiency of conjurations means you have to use more cautious tactics and scum encounters you would just plow through in one go with other kinds of characters, this is a concrete sense in which the conjurations focused character is weaker than others.


While relying on mana is a weakness of conjurations vs melee, it is not the only difference between them. The other one is that conjurations deal far more damage from a safe distance, so you can easily kill monsters with it, and I think this is better to be used as "strength", because - unlike the relying on mana - it can't be countered with a melee character with simple tactics.

I think that players tend to think that melee is stronger because races they think that are good for melee (Mi, HO, etc.) are far stronger than those they think are good for casting (DE, HE, Te). Also gods they seem to use for melee (Trog, Oka, Makh, Yred) are far stronger that popular conjurer gods (Veh, Sif).

I do not really get how those who think melee are stronger play a DGFi vs a DGCj of HuFi vs HuCj - the latter is far stronger in my experience.

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 08:20

Re: Magic vs Melee

@vergil: Crawl magic tactics are not deep or interesting, sorry bud. Ally tactics seem to be little understood, but they are not complicated. The rest is a joke. "What the bad players don't know is that you need to bounce the lightning bolt" *strokes long white beard solemnly*

@sanka: In my experience, DgFi or HuFi starts so strong relative to early dungeon monsters it is essentially impossible to die with reasonable tactics. Cj is a fine start for those species though.

Basically what I'm hearing in this thread is people who wildly overrate the dangers of melee combat for heavily armored characters.
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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 09:24

Re: Magic vs Melee

vergil wrote:If you thinking you need to retreat each time you've encountered something or mash tab as extra bonus - you're training skills wrong.
If you can't sustain mana in anywhere except hell:7\Abyss:5\Randomly-hard Pan areas - you're doing it wrong.

Casters can have up to 90+ mana pool with a proper gear and setup as of De. Ds can even have insane mana regen on top of that, and hp pool. It's a random gamble of mutations, but it is possible, and happens more than often.
Interface isn't even an issue, if you can map and remember to which each button spells are corresponding. Imagine a virtual skill panel, like in any MMORPG out there, and you're good to go.
You should basically retreat each time you've encountered something, no matter if you are a caster or a meleedude. You should also rest (upstairs) as a caster if your mana is not full. Even full mana bar might be insufficient to handle big packs of enemies, even with Vehumet (Sif Muna might be the exception). If you can't sustain mana, there is a good chance it's because of crappy equipment and average magic apts / intelligence, which is more often the case than not. 90+ mana is as likely to see in a normal game as the full set of octopus king, i.e. never except when multi-zigging. Are you also seriously referring to Ds mutation (which has less than 25% chances of occuring) as a generic solution to mana regeneration issues?

My caster wins always take much more time than melee wins. Interface is a significant part of added time simply because of targeting, which is a serious nuisance especially that you cannot afford misclicking. Kiting due to low mana or to achieve superior casting position also takes noticeable time. There is also nothing surprising in the fact that casters waste time due to overchoice, which is exciting at first, but eventually grows tiresome and discouraging if the game can be won in a simpler, streamlined way. So, yes, you are partly right about people choosing melee over spells - it is simpler and humans like simple solutions.

vergil wrote:I want this staff to be removed the same way as Sif Muna's abillity of channeling. It's the same thing, except, any god user can do it without any cost whatsoever.
There is cost - AUTs. I agree that channeling is annoying, but I also think that without the staff every character going into extended would be forced to focus on or at least invest heavily in melee. If staff was removed, some other method to buff mana regeneration in extended would be highly recommended.

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 09:54

Re: Magic vs Melee

Bart wrote:90+ mana is as likely to see in a normal game as the full set of octopus king, i.e. never except when multi-zigging. Are you also seriously referring to Ds mutation (which has less than 25% chances of occuring) as a generic solution to mana regeneration issues?

I'm not. Just saying it helps a lot. 90+ mana is easily reachable @ 27 spellcasting+mutations+staff of power and some randart +9 mp ring. It is possible and I've done it on my Ds and De, but that is a bit extended (4-5 runes).
In 3 rune run, it won't be either usefull (I'd prefer defences from skills and rings), or viable (less randart overall). But 60-70 is definatelly possible.

Bart wrote:If staff was removed, some other method to buff mana regeneration in extended would be highly recommended.

This. I think overall magic regeneration should be overhauled. It is the main issue. Increasing magic regen would decrease need for kiting\stairdancing etc.

Also, remove staff of energy
Last edited by vergil on Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 10:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 10:00

Re: Magic vs Melee

vergil wrote:It is even more possible on De, since starting +30% mp bonus.

You mean they have +2 MP.
...{HaBeKoAK}CeVM{MfWnMiAK}TeAMDrIE{FoVMVSFi}{MuVMGhGlVpMo}HaWrSpWz{OgGlTrMo}{CeWnMfBeMiSk}
DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}
DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu{FoArNaBe}FeEE

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 10:02

Re: Magic vs Melee

Edit:
Ok, I'm stupid and that was changed in the past or never existed in the first place.
Last edited by vergil on Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 10:08, edited 4 times in total.
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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 10:03

Re: Magic vs Melee

But there is no +30% MP. There's just two extra MP.
...{HaBeKoAK}CeVM{MfWnMiAK}TeAMDrIE{FoVMVSFi}{MuVMGhGlVpMo}HaWrSpWz{OgGlTrMo}{CeWnMfBeMiSk}
DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}
DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu{FoArNaBe}FeEE

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 10:20

Re: Magic vs Melee

goodcoolguy wrote:Basically what I'm hearing in this thread is people who wildly overrate the dangers of melee combat for heavily armored characters.


Oh, I do not think crawl is hard. I usually play worse than a bot and I have won several MuWns - some with melee only.

Only if we compare it to conjurations (not even stronger schools like summon/necro), I have found that common early game monsters (orc wizard, orc priest, ogre) are far easier to kill with conjurations. Adders are the only enemy where heavy armour melee may come close (or maybe better). Most enemies are safe to kill with melee with a conjurer with 0 weapon skill.
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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 10:26

Re: Magic vs Melee

@vergil: I guess it was changed it 0.17.
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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 14:14

Re: Magic vs Melee

Sprucery wrote:But there is no +30% MP. There's just two extra MP.


FR: +30% HP for Tr/Og changed to provide two extra HP.

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 15:30

Re: Magic vs Melee

Yeah, uhm, I was always puzzled by this change. Was DE too strong?

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 15:53

Re: Magic vs Melee

For the supposed optimal player, magic backgrounds are supposedly better because they can avoid dying in situations that would be an unavoidable death for a melee background. For actual players who die in places after D1, it seems pretty obvious that melee backgrounds are better, especially if you pick a god that goes with it. You will almost certainly get an endgame quality weapon and armor before you go into your first rune branch, and things will only improve from there.

A magic background is not nearly as certain to get their endgame quality spells at all, they have to wear lighter armor to allow for spellcasting, they have to train more skills, they have to spread their stat points out more (and they start out spread more).

The fact that the races with good magic apts tend to have low HP and/or bad defensive apts also adds to the problem. If there were a magic minotaur that had awesome magic apts and bad weapon apts instead, but the same HP apt, maybe people wouldn't think spellcasters are so much worse.

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 16:01

Re: Magic vs Melee

dowan wrote:If there were a magic minotaur that had awesome magic apts and bad weapon apts instead, but the same HP apt, maybe people wouldn't think spellcasters are so much worse.

Naga? I don't think +0 apts are particularly bad.

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 17:02

Re: Magic vs Melee

Naga is not a great caster because of speed which is even more important than for melee characters due to MP limit.

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 17:44

Re: Magic vs Melee

I said magic minotaur damn it, that's +2 apts! And yes, normal speed as well. Also a retaliatory magic headbutt of some kind.

Nagas are fun to play, but they can't be compared to a minotaur in terms of ease of winning.
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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 18:47

Re: Magic vs Melee

dowan wrote:Nagas are fun to play, but they can't be compared to a minotaur in terms of ease of winning.

Of course they can't, and they shouldn't.

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 19:33

Re: Magic vs Melee

Ok... but you did...

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 20:12

Re: Magic vs Melee

sanka wrote:Yeah, uhm, I was always puzzled by this change. Was DE too strong?
When I proposed changing the bizarre max MP formula, a concern with a linear XL+Spellcasting formula was that characters' max MP would be either too high in the late game or too low in the early game. A +30% MP species at XL27 with 27 Spellcasting would have had 70 max MP with the plain XL+Spellcasting formula. I didn't actually think this was a problem in itself and still don't; if there is a problem it is that Crawl is too easy once you reach Lair.
What ended up happening is that the current max MP formula is still bizarre but a lot less so than the old one, and MP "aptitude" was changed to a flat bonus to make it more impactful in the early game and less impactful later. I think the MP "aptitude" change was a good one in the context of Crawl's current balance, even though it would have been bad in a game with better balance elsewhere.

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Post Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 20:17

Re: Magic vs Melee

I hope devs are going to change HP bonus in the same way. I don't see how +74 HP at XL 27 is less of a problem than +20 MP. Late game Og/Tr in heavy armour feels unkillable in 3 rune game while extra MP is not that useful, you still don't die even if you have 0 MP because you can just attack with melee weapon or whatever.

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Post Thursday, 18th August 2016, 04:05

Re: Magic vs Melee

dowan wrote:For the supposed optimal player, magic backgrounds are supposedly better because they can avoid dying in situations that would be an unavoidable death for a melee background. For actual players who die in places after D1, it seems pretty obvious that melee backgrounds are better, especially if you pick a god that goes with it. You will almost certainly get an endgame quality weapon and armor before you go into your first rune branch, and things will only improve from there.

A magic background is not nearly as certain to get their endgame quality spells at all, they have to wear lighter armor to allow for spellcasting, they have to train more skills, they have to spread their stat points out more (and they start out spread more).

The fact that the races with good magic apts tend to have low HP and/or bad defensive apts also adds to the problem. If there were a magic minotaur that had awesome magic apts and bad weapon apts instead, but the same HP apt, maybe people wouldn't think spellcasters are so much worse.

Hawk Hog:

An ungulate with an attitude, the Hawk Hog is a purely magical creature. Fat and happy off of plenty of feed, and needing plenty more over its life, it has incredible skill with all schools of magic, and can cast no matter the circumstances that might impede other, lesser species. But their skill with magic is such that wielding the sword or the axe is foreign to them.
Stats:

30% more HP
Inherent ability to fly. Temporary flight granted at level 7, perm at level 14.
Cannot wear gloves or boots; have special barding instead, akin to centaur/naga barding. Also can only wear robes/dragon armors. Unfitting armor.


Aptitudes across the board are +2 for all spell schools, +4 for spellcasting, +3 for invocations/evocations. -4 aptitude to all weapon skills, and armor. +1 aptitude to dodging and fighting.

Edits made at suggestion of dowan.
Last edited by Queen Cassie on Thursday, 18th August 2016, 16:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Thursday, 18th August 2016, 14:04

Re: Magic vs Melee

I'd drop the fast metabolism, immunity to silence, magic hooves, and poor with melee.
I'd also put the dodge and fighting apts at 0 or +1, remember this is supposed to be easy like a minotaur, except with spells.
-4 apts to weapon skills and armor is fine.
Does it get unfitting armor? It'd fit with nagas and centaurs in that case.

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Post Thursday, 18th August 2016, 16:32

Re: Magic vs Melee

dowan wrote:I'd drop the fast metabolism, immunity to silence, magic hooves, and poor with melee.
I'd also put the dodge and fighting apts at 0 or +1, remember this is supposed to be easy like a minotaur, except with spells.
-4 apts to weapon skills and armor is fine.
Does it get unfitting armor? It'd fit with nagas and centaurs in that case.

Yes to all. Sounds good.
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Post Friday, 19th August 2016, 05:03

Re: Magic vs Melee

@goodcoolguy

Direct damage magic doesn't require degenerate gameplay.

Recharging MP = cheeze and scum, while backing up behind corners and standing in hallways = reasonable tactics? You would sound just as sensible if you had it the other way around.

Recharging your MP is a requirement of using spells to do damage, like how standing next to monsters is a requirement of using melee to do damage. It is not a tick somewhere on the spectrum of cautiousness. MP does not limit spell-casting very much in practice, IMO - you could get rid of MP, and it would not buff magic very much, yet your main issue with magic's perceived weakness would disappear.

I dunno, it really never occurred to me to call something outright weak just because it takes more to get it to work. It's like saying that Stanley Kubrick is worse at making movies than Roger Corman, or that bicycles are faster than automobiles.

You say of overpowered melee chars: "It really doesn't matter if
magic can do more damage than melee weapons when monsters simply can't kill you in heavy armor."

You could similarly say of overpowered magic chars: "It really doesn't matter if
armor lets you take less damage from monsters when you simply fry everything as soon as it comes into view."

You say that spellcasters suffer from loot dependence. Personally, I've always found a surplus of books, but I see how races with uneven magic apts can find themselves in a bind ("forced to allocate experience wastefully"), more so than races with skewed weapon apts.

I'm not sure (maybe you can fill me in) how you expect people to read your mockery of the depth of "magic tactics", when the comparison isn't to chess or whatever, but to melee (i.e. hugging walls and mashing tab).

Like vergil said, interface can be easy, and imagine if the mouse wheel let you change hot-spell and the right mouse button cast the spell at the pointed location. Agreed, it's hard now, esp. with a keyboard-only conduct.

Actually, thinking back, goodcoolguy's posts would all make more sense if every instance of "good" and "bad" was followed by "for winning Crawl faster in real-time". But then, fewer people would disagree with him. Ah well, it's hard to be precise: "Tab, for the lack of a better word, is good." It's a quite an issue around here on tavern, in general, like how people say "easier", when what they really mean is "likelier to win assuming ideal play", which is not even close to what "easy" actually means.

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Post Friday, 19th August 2016, 09:05

Re: Magic vs Melee

Image

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Post Friday, 19th August 2016, 12:19

Re: Magic vs Melee

wow, this guy is an unabashed one-man echo chamber.

e: perhaps you meant to use this for your gif:
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Post Friday, 19th August 2016, 21:29

Re: Magic vs Melee

When you realize that arguments of the form 'in hypothetical optimal play you should do X' can show baically whatever you want to show because you are arguing over a 0.00001% margin in your win rate
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Post Friday, 19th August 2016, 21:56

Re: Magic vs Melee

Who are you talking to? Did anyone make that argument?

Saying ‘in hypothetical optimal play you should recharge MP’ about casters sounds about as dumb as saying 'in hypothetical optimal play you should get yourself next to monsters’ about melee chars or saying ‘in hypothetical optimal play you should carry arrows’ about bow chars. In hypothical optimal play you should pick up the orb if you want to win.

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Post Saturday, 20th August 2016, 09:12

Re: Magic vs Melee

It has been scientifically proven, that all characters escaped carrying orb have won.

Seriously though. Magic needs regen system revamped towards the end-game. Magic!=Health. There's no reason to make it regen as slow as health.
Something like 1-1.5 magic for 10 max points per turn sounds reasonable. People shouldn't need staff of energy, if they got 90+ magic. Because that's dumb.
And the amulet of mana regen should double it, instead of making it somewhat better.

And staff of energy should be removed or changed to something like - staff of remove hunger and wizardry, or just merge both, and give that property to the staff of wizardry
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Post Saturday, 20th August 2016, 10:11

Re: Magic vs Melee

I don't know if they are stronger, but melee PCs are surely easier. You have infinite attacks at your disposal, improved HP through Fighting, and improved protection through heavy armour. You can find a full plate on D:1, wear it, and you're set. Shields generate less problems. You can make a lot of mistakes, you need only a few skills which will go up faster, and the games carefully avoids creating situations where you'd need more skills than 1 weapon, armour, fighting and maybe dodging.

On the other side you have a squishy wizard with a limited attack pool and very low defences, which needs to train multiple skills while moving at the same speed as our aforementioned melee character.

The problem, I think, is that armour doesn't limit movement speed. If heavy armour made you slower, you would suddenly have reasons to not go for it. Make dex have you move faster, with body armour limiting your speed in a scaling way unless your strength is high enough. Stealth and ranged characters become much faster, beginning fighters are slower, mages are somewhat faster, but quickly slow down if they use armour.

What I don't really understand from a design perspective is limiting the health pool of casters, if they already give up on AC, and AC mitigates almost anything that will hit you. Caster races have either no HP bonus or very bad fighting aptitudes.
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Post Saturday, 20th August 2016, 10:45

Re: Magic vs Melee

Shtopit wrote:Caster races have either no HP bonus or very bad fighting aptitudes.

Good 'caster' races: HO (HOFE), Dr (DrIE, DrCj).
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Post Saturday, 20th August 2016, 14:41

Re: Magic vs Melee

HO have -3 aptitude in spellcasting, it is optimal to pick some axe because your MP is very low.

I am playing a DgTm at the moment and I see it is extremely hard to branch into Conjurations even if you do it as early as Lair while having Int 24, MP+9 amulet and staff of conjuration in leather armour. Flame tongue is not that great and it takes forever to get fireball castable.
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Post Saturday, 20th August 2016, 16:00

Re: Magic vs Melee

Sandman25 wrote:HO have -3 aptitude in spellcasting, it is optimal to pick some axe because your MP is very low.

HOFE is still a good 'caster'. Unless for some bizarre reason 'caster' should mean 'no melee'.
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