Balancing the Council God


Although the central place for design discussion is ##crawl-dev on freenode, some may find it helpful to discuss requests and suggestions here first.

Slime Squisher

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 14:27

Balancing the Council God

I've been a bit frustrated due to timezone restrictions lately, as I sleep through all of the interesting council god discussion (which is now named Wu Jian Council by the way!).

One inevitable topic was going to be balance, and it is becoming clear that the god is very strong, and that something will need to be done about it. Obviously the sample size is very small, and I'd say it would be good to take some time until the novelty wears off and there is more conclusive data. However, since I'm finding it difficult to be involved in the discussions live, I thought it could be useful to dump all of my thoughts on the matter and drive part of the discussion here, although I will obviously keep coming back to ##crawl-dev.

I'll freely admit that I'm not too experienced with the endgame, so I'm probably not suited to talk about how the god performs in Zig and late extended, but what I lack in that experience I have in dozens of spectated council god games. I've been with the god since its inception and I have tried (and seen fail) many balance ideas, so hopefully this will serve as a starting point. This is a big post, so I've put the sections under spoiler tags to ease reading it a bit.

A point about perceived power.
Spoiler: show
One thing that I've brought up frequently when discussing WJC balance, is the realization I had that testers tend to perceive themselves more powerful than they are. I've chalked this up to the offensive nature of the god: as a WJC worshipper, you find yourself being able to deal a lot of damage very quickly. Your turn efficiency goes way up as you need a fraction of the time to deal with a pack of monsters. However, the price paid for this power is not always obvious; being exposed to multiple retaliation hits increases the variance of damage taken and has consistently lead to surprising splats. I just wanted to point this out early, especially since it's good to keep in mind when I bring up the god's interaction with damage mitigation later.

What exactly is imbalanced?
Spoiler: show
As mentioned, the god offers very powerful offensive tools. I don't think this is bad. My intention with these final designs was to open up a "melee glass cannon" play style, where your substantial gains in offense would be paid for through an increase of exposure. I believe the cannon is working as intended, but the glass needs some work. Where the risk/reward offer from the god breaks down, I've found, is for characters with substantial damage mitigation. Having a wide safety margin between the point you perceive yourself in danger to when you're actually in trouble nullifies the drawback of the god, since you're given fantastic escape tools. This is especially obvious when you also have access to forms of quick HP recovery, in particular Vamp weapons.

Ideally, if you miscalculate your martial moves and are left cornered, with nowhere to wall jump, you should be in deep trouble (none of the god's tools work at that point). As it stands, you're probably not in trouble if you're wearing heavy armour.

Should the martial attacks be nerfed?
Spoiler: show
Hopefully, people who have been interacting with me on the dev channels will agree that I'm not unreasonably attached to my own designs. I really want the god to be a healthy addition to DCSS, and that desire has made me go back on my own decisions and rethink all basic assumptions time and again, and has gotten us this far. However, one point that I'm most cautious about is the three martial attacks themselves. This isn't arbitrary: through the past months I've (locally and through webtiles) tested several permutations of martial attacks and associated effects, and finding a combination that works without leading to degenerate play has turned out to be extremely difficult.

In particular, the suggestion that I've been adamantly opposing is removing status effects from martial attacks. The current status system is honestly the only satisfactory combination that I've found. The reasoning is: If you attempt to make the three attacks equally attractive without a mechanic that links them together, inevitably one of them will come out on top, and play quickly degenerates towards exploiting that one. I've seen this happen with lunge, which is particularly ugly to watch (long corridor lures and swapping back and forth with summons), with whirlwind (mindless "jkjkjkjk" spam), and with wall jump (constant wandering looking for the perfect wall jump spam area). The reason why I chose two movement impairing debuffs, slow and distract, is to make sure that the optimal moment to use lunge does never force the player to gain one tile of distance with a full speed monster, as this leads to extremely tedious play. The current iteration of martial attacks, leaving their general power level aside, flows very well, and it's in no small part thanks to the debuffs and the interaction between them.

There is one exception to my resistance to nerf martial attacks: I've been thinking lately that it might not be that bad of an idea to decrease the damage of whirlwind to something like or 80%, in exchange for more reliable slow. While I think whirlwind should remain as the god's bread and butter, it would be interesting to reintroduce tabbing as a reasonable option, and especially to force the player to branch out once the slow has already landed. I'll go back to this later.

Conducts
Spoiler: show
One thing that I've been experimenting a lot lately has been conducts. I've made many attempts to work conducts into the god, and they've all been unsatisfactory for various reasons. Here's some of them and why they didn't work out:

  • No launchers (justified by being cowardly): irrelevant for most builds, arbitrarily restrictive for others.
  • No shields (same justification): Only affects gearing choice, not general power level.
  • Restrictions on movement (having to move after/before every action, skill malus when fighting on the same tile too long): Extremely annoying to play around, and ultimately mostly irrelevant.
  • Restrictions on location, implemented as different forms of claustrophobia (skill malus when surrounded by obstacles and/or enemy actors): Lead to some weird habits like sticking to corridor corners, tedious to keep in mind.

I haven't given up on the conduct front, and as you'll see towards the end of this, one of my proposals is a conduct. Ideally, whatever conduct we come up with should be able to align itself with the design of the god, supporting its strengths, while at the same time preventing the player from circumventing its weaknesses. I intended for Claustrophobia to achieve this, but in the end the direction was wrong. Artificially forcing a player to use the tools provided doesn't interact with the worshipper's weak point at all, it just forces them to follow a set of rules even when it's uncomfortable to do so.

Change idea #1: A stat conduct to put the "glass" in "glass cannon":
Spoiler: show
If you look at morgue files for players who have reported the god being OP, you will almost certainly find high AC, and to a lesser extent high SH and HP. This is no surprise: the main weakness of the god is the variance in damage taken, knowing that you're exposed to attacks from multiple enemies at once. Having high defense brings variance back down, allowing the player to abuse their escape tools early.

On the other hand, lower HP, high EV games are reasonably well balanced and fun. The good seems to align with these characters better, since they are fully paying the price for their increase in power. Knowing this, I've been looking for a conduct that affects all builds equally, but is especially impactful for builds that attempt to mitigate damage. Here's what I have for now:

WJC worshippers develop a flashy, dangerous fighting style even when they aren't performing any martial attacks. Each piety pip provides +1 Slay, but -5% AC and SH.

The numbers are quite arbitrary (could easily be 10%, or one slay per two pips), but the fact that Slay is discrete and AC/SH percentual is very deliberate, to make sure that high mitigation builds are punished more than high evasion ones. The reasoning behind the passive Slay is to push the idea of "best defense is a good offense" by providing help taking out monsters before they can strike back. While variance when taking damage is increased, variance when dealing it is reduced thanks to the early help with precision.

This notion of "alpha strike" is very important to the god's current design, particularly for slower moving species and/or characters with fast weapons. The martial attacks allow the player to front load damage at will, by spending auts in a flurry of multiple attacks, or to be more mindful and spend the auts piecemeal through non-martial attacks when dealing with low HP or damaged monsters. This nuance adds another dimension to the melee tactics, and +Slay would make this moment to moment decision more important and reliable, to counteract the loss in defense.

Change idea #2: Slight tweak to whirlwind/lunge and their interactions:
Spoiler: show
I've been thinking a lot about an idea I was proposed: reducing base damage on whirlwind. At first I didn't like it, but I've realized that it might have a very positive impact on the kit. By reducing the damage on whirlwind to around 80% of a normal attack and making the slow reliable, we could achieve two things:

  • Whirlwind becomes suboptimal against an already slowed monster, forcing the player to think and improvise if they care about the fight.
  • Whirlwind isn't strictly optimal against popcorn, allowing tab to be a viable tactic in low-risk fights, reducing player involvement and potentially tedium.
  • A general reduction in killing power, since the easy to use AoE attack is not 100% damage efficient.

On the other hand, I think it would be interesting to modify the damage profile of Lunge a bit. I have found that people aren't using it to punish the status effects as much as I would've liked, but rather as a general source of extra damage. To counteract that, I'm thinking the extra damage of an unmodified lunge could be reduced to 110% (down from 130%), while increasing the damage bonus against a distracted/slowed monster to 180% (from 160%) and the bonus against a distracted AND slowed monster to 250% (from 200%). This last number may seem high, but the condition is quite hard to achieve in practice. This could achieve the following:

  • Fight the temptation for lunge to be used as a one size fits all attack.
  • Slightly counteract the extra advantage given to stabbers.
  • Push towards opportunistic play, getting the player to take more risks when an enemy gets debuffed in a group fight (at the moment, it's seldom interesting to get deeper in the thick of combat to land a blow against a distracted opponent).
  • While it may look vestigial, that extra 10% damage on an unmodified lunge is enough for the player to generally prefer it when opening a fight to a monster, vs wait a turn + tab. This is desirable, as it generally pushes the player out in the open.


Apologies for the wall of text. I hope I've made sense, and if I haven't, I hope this post will be of some use as a starting point during the upcoming discussions :)

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 14:54

Re: Balancing the Council God

If you're looking for a way to incentivize high EV / low AC characters with this god about interesting movement, it seems like the way to bring those goals together is to use your armor evasion penalty (or AEVP) in one of the following ways:
Hard restriction:
a) You may not wear armor with AEVP > x
Soft restrictions:
b) Your body armor AC bonus is halved (maybe including Armour skill bonus and/or enchantment)
c) Your chance to trigger an attack with movement is equal to (x-penalty)/x
d) Your damage while performing a movement attack is multiplied by x, then divided by x - penalty

I would favor a or c, myself.

I haven't played the god recently, so take this with a grain of salt, but I'm a little worried about the god's direction. You mention that you don't want players repeatedly whirlwinding back and forth; what do you want? Should players be lunging into combat, whirlwinding, using a pole vault, lunging again, etc.? That's a lot to have to consider in a game with as many fights as crawl has. Is there an optimal pattern for order of deploying these abilities? If so, the player would have to learn and then repeatedly use that same order of operations over and over, possibly after luring enemies back to terrain that enables it. Because all of the special attacks have big bonuses associated, players should be using them constantly in some form or another.

I know this is a big change, but I wonder if the movement powers would work better without any bonuses attached. That way they would be situationally useful extra moves you could use when it makes sense, but that you wouldn't be pushed into using constantly. If you did go that direction, you would probably need to put some more content into the god -- add in more actives or passives or something -- to keep the god viable from a power level perspective, but I think it would be a lot easier to balance and create good gameplay.

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 15:08

Re: Balancing the Council God

Lasty wrote:I haven't played the god recently, so take this with a grain of salt, but I'm a little worried about the god's direction. You mention that you don't want players repeatedly whirlwinding back and forth; what do you want? Should players be lunging into combat, whirlwinding, using a pole vault, lunging again, etc.? That's a lot to have to consider in a game with as many fights as crawl has. Is there an optimal pattern for order of deploying these abilities? If so, the player would have to learn and then repeatedly use that same order of operations over and over, possibly after luring enemies back to terrain that enables it. Because all of the special attacks have big bonuses associated, players should be using them constantly in some form or another.


Honestly, this is the thought process I'd like a player to follow:
  • Is the encounter difficult?
    • No -> Tab.
    • Yes -> Martial attacks.

Then, which martial attack to use should be entirely dependent on the context, and preferably a reaction to what's going on around you. This is working well currently. I don't think there's a preset order and it's very much down to how the terrain/enemies are laid out. The only problem with the system at the moment is that popcorn is best handled with whirlwind too (since it's strictly better than tab) which has been brought up as a risk for tedium.

Lasty wrote:I know this is a big change, but I wonder if the movement powers would work better without any bonuses attached. That way they would be situationally useful extra moves you could use when it makes sense, but that you wouldn't be pushed into using constantly. If you did go that direction, you would probably need to put some more content into the god -- add in more actives or passives or something -- to keep the god viable from a power level perspective, but I think it would be a lot easier to balance and create good gameplay.


I spelled out the reasons why I think this wouldn't work on the OP (and not by lack of trying!) and honestly, I think the glue holding the system together is precisely the status system. It is entirely responsible for the reactive part of the martial combat: If you didn't have status effects, there would be an optimal solution to the martial fight problem. By having slow and distract, you are forced to reevaluate what you're doing constantly. This feedback loop is what makes the tactical combat fun. Its main weakness, at the moment, is the versatility of whirlwind on every fight (and potentially lunge being generally too good), but we're getting close to a point of equilibrium; I don't think it's the time to rock the boat too much.

To expand a bit, if we went as far as to make martial moves completely vanilla melee attacks (other than the positional/AoE element) I can tell exactly what happens, because I've done it: Lunge is useless (except for stabbers, but still superseded by walljump), wall jump is optimal always (as it never allows you to end a turn near a monster you haven't hit) and whirlwind is optimal in all cases where wall jump isn't available, and you can spam it since there's no feedback loop other than your HP going down.

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 15:35

Re: Balancing the Council God

Yeah, it sounds to me like simply reducing the effectiveness of martial attacks proportional to your heavy armour penalty (lasty's suggestion c or d) is the simplest and most direct way to increase the "glass" factor, and it makes for a readily adjustable knob as you can play around with how much it makes a difference.

Plus it makes sense thematically... Wall jumps certainly sound like they should be easier in robes than in plate mail.
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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 15:44

Re: Balancing the Council God

Siegurt wrote:Yeah, it sounds to me like simply reducing the effectiveness of martial attacks proportional to your heavy armour penalty (lasty's suggestion c or d) is the simplest and most direct way to increase the "glass" factor, and it makes for a readily adjustable knob as you can play around with how much it makes a difference.

Plus it makes sense thematically... Wall jumps certainly sound like they should be easier in robes than in plate mail.


That's a good one too, the problem is that AC doesn't always come from armour. It can be statue form, a lucky set of jewelry and other conditions.

Also, I would hesitate to add another hard failure chance for martial attacks (other than whiffing due to slow attack speed). Decreasing the power of martial attacks because you have high defense is not the intention; that would probably lead to a slower, less offensive build with more keypresses, and that's directly opposed to what I'm proposing. It's reducing the cannon instead of increasing the glass, if it makes sense ;)

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 16:21

Re: Balancing the Council God

Siegurt wrote:Yeah, it sounds to me like simply reducing the effectiveness of martial attacks proportional to your heavy armour penalty (lasty's suggestion c or d) is the simplest and most direct way to increase the "glass" factor, and it makes for a readily adjustable knob as you can play around with how much it makes a difference.

The problem with a scalar reduction is that it introduces one more obscure calculation in a game that already has way too many of them. If I wear plate instead of ring mail, I will take some penalty to accuracy/damage/status effect chance/etc in exchange for more AC. Is the trade worth it? Often there's a right answer, but the game doesn't share the numbers and damned if I'm going to the wiki to do the calculations every time I find some new equipment.

I think Lasty's first option--the hard restriction--is the way to go. I suggest AEVP/encumbrance rating of 4 as the limit, the same as Ozocubu's Armour, though I could see going up to 7 (letting in ring mail and the lighter dragon scales) if that turned out to be too weak. This:

(a) is nice and simple;
(b) should be intuitive for players (since it's continuous with the D&D monk trope);
(c) has the neat effect of pushing players to pay more attention to armor they'd reflexively ignore otherwise (I play a lot of EV fighters/hybrids but never go below ring mail); and
(d) may generate an interesting strategic interaction with ozo's armor, since the best way to get more AC with your movement god would be a spell that slowed you down.

otoh if (d) ended up just incentivized players to cast ozo's armor every fight, that might be a problem. Or perhaps ozo's armor could block your martial attacks itself--the idea being that because it slowed you down, it too restricted your movement too much.

Finally, if you went this way, I'd also consider not allowing martial attacks if you're in spider/ice/hydra/statue/dragon form, since (a) there would otherwise be an excessive incentive to worship WJC as a transmuter and thereby make the armor restriction irrelevant, and (b) the mental image of a character using martial attacks in one of these forms is stupid anyway IMO.
Last edited by luckless on Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 16:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 16:38

Re: Balancing the Council God

Steel Neuron wrote:
Siegurt wrote:Yeah, it sounds to me like simply reducing the effectiveness of martial attacks proportional to your heavy armour penalty (lasty's suggestion c or d) is the simplest and most direct way to increase the "glass" factor, and it makes for a readily adjustable knob as you can play around with how much it makes a difference.

Plus it makes sense thematically... Wall jumps certainly sound like they should be easier in robes than in plate mail.


That's a good one too, the problem is that AC doesn't always come from armour. It can be statue form, a lucky set of jewelry and other conditions.

Also, I would hesitate to add another hard failure chance for martial attacks (other than whiffing due to slow attack speed). Decreasing the power of martial attacks because you have high defense is not the intention; that would probably lead to a slower, less offensive build with more keypresses, and that's directly opposed to what I'm proposing. It's reducing the cannon instead of increasing the glass, if it makes sense ;)


Well, I was thinking to the extent of "if you are wearing platemail with this god, you probably shouldn't have bothered taking them, and would be better off with any other god" discouraging people to the extent that they voluntarily reduce their AC to get decent bonuses from the god. The penalties would have to be steep enough to offset the usefulness of the god while trying to use heavy armour.

And yes, AC does come from all sorts of places other than body armour, I suppose you could make the 'effectiveness mitigation' tied to your AC rating, however that sounds a little awkward and slightly awful.

Restricting body armour by ER gives the player the ability to grow defensively throughout a 3 rune game without completely breaking their ability to mitigate damage from undodgable sources. (I guess alternately a god power could be "you can dodge stuff you can't normally" but that seems contrived and awkward) it allows for some damage mitigation from uncommon sources that have other opportunity costs associated, but not the "cheap and easy" damage mitigation that comes from heavy armour.

Additionally, there's already plenty of "play in light armour" builds and we already know they work, and are more "glassy" than heavy armour builds. Even "has a lot of hps, but low AC" races like ogre play a bit glass-cannony, this suggestion just leans into that existing and known-working mechanic.
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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 16:43

Re: Balancing the Council God

Fair enough, that's a good argument.

I'm leaning towards Lasty's (A) solution then. I'd rather have a hard limit, than reduce the god's offense as a punishment for having too much defense. The latter would make a turtly version of IJC possible, and that's an idea I don't like, not just because of theme reasons, but because we would run the risk of running into tedious territory in extreme cases. Imagine a centaur with dark maul + heavy armour. It might be a good build, but in an extreme case like this you might have to move 10 times to kill a simple enemy, and that's not cool.

I can see the arguments against my percentual reduction to AC, and I can accept that limiting armour by ER is a good alternative. However, I think it's important to have this restriction grow in parallel with an increase in offense. I like the idea of the player being "liberated of their earthly tether" as they grow in piety, with the ER (and possibly shield size) restriction increasing as their +slay goes up. There is precedent in forcing you to unequip a set of armour anyway, in mutations.

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 17:26

Re: Balancing the Council God

I've played only 1 partial game with the Council, but I really don't get at all the first 3 powers.

I mean, cool, I can move in DCSS like a kung fu stuntman, but it feels to me that just being still in a corridor and fight 1vs1 is much much better.

I mean, I can stay still, and hit one things at around 0.7 delay while getting hit back by only 1 or move around around multiple ones, attack at 1.0 delay while being hit by multiples.
Why should I choose the second one? The slow effects trigger too rarely, the confusion even less, the lunge attack is cool but again you need to waste multiple turns you could just tab normally.
I can think only a very few occasions where tab < martial powers, like while having a weapon still at >=1.0 deleay, or against a faster than you dangerous things but not so dangerous so it's better to move around hoping for slow rather than using consumables, or multiples faster than you things again not so dangerous so it's better to move around and hit some at same time rather than only 1 while being surrounded...

Powerwise, the Council doesn't look very appealing - right now I'd put in the very low tier list.
Flavour wise, for me, it's even worse: with the enormous amount of combat in DCSS, I wouldn't enjoy a combat god that forces to "mini manage" to have some utility. The 5* power is probably cool just with tab, but it costs a fuckload of piety, so it's going to be used extremely rarely. I would be happy to see one of the first 3 powers that works a bit more "normally", aka that is usable just with tab without the need to move around - I realize this is a personal opinion, which is probably most contrary to the "conduit" of the god.
Last edited by nago on Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 17:27, edited 1 time in total.
screw it I hate this character I'm gonna go melee Gastronok

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 17:27

Re: Balancing the Council God

Steel Neuron wrote:Fair enough, that's a good argument.

I'm leaning towards Lasty's (A) solution then. I'd rather have a hard limit, than reduce the god's offense as a punishment for having too much defense. The latter would make a turtly version of IJC possible, and that's an idea I don't like, not just because of theme reasons, but because we would run the risk of running into tedious territory in extreme cases. Imagine a centaur with dark maul + heavy armour. It might be a good build, but in an extreme case like this you might have to move 10 times to kill a simple enemy, and that's not cool.

I can see the arguments against my percentual reduction to AC, and I can accept that limiting armour by ER is a good alternative. However, I think it's important to have this restriction grow in parallel with an increase in offense. I like the idea of the player being "liberated of their earthly tether" as they grow in piety, with the ER (and possibly shield size) restriction increasing as their +slay goes up. There is precedent in forcing you to unequip a set of armour anyway, in mutations.


If you want to use a hard cut off, it seems like it would be better to completely cut off good abilities until you switch to lighter armor, rather than forcing unequip of body armour.

Either way i don't like the hard cut off very much, if you are wearing too much armor and gain piety in combat, you are either suddenly without body armor or suddenly without God abilities. Mutations at least just remove aux armor, with isn't as large of a difference, and if it does happen in combat, it is as a result of a monster attack, rather than because you gained piety.
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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 18:22

Re: Balancing the Council God

nago wrote:I mean, I can stay still, and hit one things at around 0.7 delay while getting hit back by only 1 or move around around multiple ones, attack at 1.0 delay while being hit by multiples.

Shit, the "thanks" was accidental. (Sorry, that sounds way snottier than I ever want to be an an online forum. Dang.)

Unless something changed, in this case you ARE effectively attacking at 0.7 delay since you have a proportionate chance of multiple hits. So you're damage neutral, you get AOE for when corridors aren't an option (more the rule than the exception past early D, in my experience, but maybe you're a better/more patient player), and wall jump gives you arguably the best escape mechanic in the game other than controlled blink. Plus it can help to think of the slow/confuse effects working like critical hits: they're designed to give you a chance to step back and set up a lunge.

Steel Neuron wrote:I can see the arguments against my percentual reduction to AC, and I can accept that limiting armour by ER is a good alternative. However, I think it's important to have this restriction grow in parallel with an increase in offense. I like the idea of the player being "liberated of their earthly tether" as they grow in piety, with the ER (and possibly shield size) restriction increasing as their +slay goes up. There is precedent in forcing you to unequip a set of armour anyway, in mutations.

Well, one way to do this is to make the restrictions tighter for each ability: e.g. you can whirwind in ring mail, but only wall jump in leather and only lunge in robes. However, I don't think this is a great idea. In this case I'd just plan my character with the most restrictive level in mind: I wouldn't invest in the Armor skill, use all my ?enchant armor on robes or aux slot items, etc.

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 18:23

Re: Balancing the Council God

nago wrote:I've played only 1 partial game with the Council, but I really don't get at all the first 3 powers.

I mean, cool, I can move in DCSS like a kung fu stuntman, but it feels to me that just being still in a corridor and fight 1vs1 is much much better.

I mean, I can stay still, and hit one things at around 0.7 delay while getting hit back by only 1 or move around around multiple ones, attack at 1.0 delay while being hit by multiples.
Why should I choose the second one? The slow effects trigger too rarely, the confusion even less, the lunge attack is cool but again you need to waste multiple turns you could just tab normally.
I can think only a very few occasions where tab < martial powers, like while having a weapon still at >=1.0 deleay, or against a faster than you dangerous things but not so dangerous so it's better to move around hoping for slow rather than using consumables, or multiples faster than you things again not so dangerous so it's better to move around and hit some at same time rather than only 1 while being surrounded...


Shuffling in 1v1s is straight better than tab for council worshippers due to the random slows. You don't have to actually run in circles around a target to proc whirlwinds (and you shouldn't!); you can get them by just making orthogonal moves that don't shift your LOS too much. You also aren't missing out on any attacks: if your weapon delay is faster than your move delay, you get a chance to get an extra swing to equalize the damage output.

Wall jumping seems incredible to me and the main appeal to the god; you effectively get (weird) fast movement speed for 2* piety. In an open area with a flat wall, you can effectively cover 4 tiles in 3 moves like so:

  Code:
..3##
.2.##
1..##
...##
..@##
...##


Non-straight hallways often have even more windows to wall jump to open distance. It puts the game in a really weird spot where auto-travel is straight-up worse than manually traveling since auto-travel won't save turns with wall jumps. It also doesn't make any noise, which is odd since you're hitting the ground hard enough to kick up dust.

Lunge seems pretty pointless so far though, and haven't touched the invocations yet.
Last edited by Doesnt on Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 18:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 18:25

Re: Balancing the Council God

I've won a game with the council and it while it was fairly strong, it didn't have the pure power of other far stronger gods like Oka/Trog/Makhleb. I feel like it's in a decent position, and nerfs to it would make it undesirable to play.

for example, from this game http://crawl.xtahua.com/crawl/morgue/Va ... 023243.txt and this game http://crawl.xtahua.com/crawl/morgue/Va ... 011303.txt

The DsMo^IJC took 1157 turns to clear vaults:5 with the heaven on earth ability(takes 21-31 piety IIRC) on constantly
The MiWn^Oka took 2018 turns to clear vaults:5 with minimal usage of hero/finesse

The demonspawn also had powered-by-death to increase it's longevity in a pitched battle, so really IJC is not what I would call overpowered enough to require a nerf or conduct play.
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Progress so far : OpFi, OpGl, OpWn, OpAr, OpCK, OpMo, OpBe, OpHu, OpVM, OpAM, OpWr, OpFE, OpEE, OpNe, OpTm, OpSk

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bel

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 18:34

Re: Balancing the Council God

Wall jumping is fairly powerful, you can pretty much always escape from a normal speed monster using it.

Doesnt wrote:Lunge seems pretty pointless so far though

Among other uses, you can lunge with a dagger for a stab, which cuts down the time for a monster to notice you and wake up. (Actually, I'm not quite sure; does the monster get a stealth check before you hit it with a lunge? I'd have to look at the code to be sure). It's a decent ability, from what little I've played with it so far.
Last edited by bel on Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 18:42, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 18:39

Re: Balancing the Council God

Yeah, 1v1ing in an enclosed space is a super powerful ability available to all characters. A god which doesn't do anything whatsoever in such a space has a hidden, but large, penalty even without conducts. Let people get out of the overreaction stage before you start nerfing the god that only helps you when you're fighting in a way that normally is wrong and bad.
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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 20:58

Re: Balancing the Council God

shping wrote:Yeah, 1v1ing in an enclosed space is a super powerful ability available to all characters. A god which doesn't do anything whatsoever in such a space has a hidden, but large, penalty even without conducts. Let people get out of the overreaction stage before you start nerfing the god that only helps you when you're fighting in a way that normally is wrong and bad.


Very well put.

Yeah, I think I may be overreacting myself, and there might not be a need for an AC related conduct at all. As I said in the OP, we need a bigger sample size and some time for the dust to settle, I just wanted to get in on the conversation early.

Regardless of the conduct, I think that whirlwind damage reduction to 70-80% (with a proportional increase to slow chance) is still an interesting tweak that would broaden combat choices, and I believe Brannock and I have come to similar conclusions on this separately. I will bring that up again in a couple of weeks.

bel wrote:Wall jumping is fairly powerful, you can pretty much always escape from a normal speed monster using it.

Doesnt wrote:Lunge seems pretty pointless so far though

Among other uses, you can lunge with a dagger for a stab, which cuts down the time for a monster to notice you and wake up. (Actually, I'm not quite sure; does the monster get a stealth check before you hit it with a lunge? I'd have to look at the code to be sure). It's a decent ability, from what little I've played with it so far.


The monster does not get a stealth check, so if it's asleep when you're two tiles away, it will still be asleep when you lunge. This also makes wall jump a convenient stabbing tool if you can line it up right.

From the first iteration of the god, I've found it amusing how different tester's views have been on Lunge. Some have sworn that it's the most overpowered move of the three, while others have found it entirely useless. Some people use it strictly as a punish, others to open fights. I think this is a healthy sign!

Btw, since the little dust clouds on wall jump come up a lot, here's a bit of trivia on their story:

My first iteration of wall jump didn't have them, and instead triggered a message "You bounce against the obstacle and pole vault!" (Back then it was called pole vault as it only worked with staves and polearms, how far we've come!). This made it clear what was going on, but turned very messy very quickly because the messages took a lot of log space, especially when you used them to traverse the level.

So I removed the message, and what happened is that wall jump became a bit sudden and jarring, and sometimes you didn't know what was going on. Accidental wall jumps were harder to spot, and testers learning the god would take longer to figure out how to use them properly. My solution to this was to add the little clouds of dust, which give you a visual cue that the wall jump happened without being annoying. I can see how it can be surprising that this makes no noise, but then again crawl aims not to be simulationist, and this is I think a case of convenience vs realism.

bel

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 21:10

Re: Balancing the Council God

Heavenly Cloud seems to cost a lot of piety; perhaps there aren't enough abilities which use piety? Also, since there are a lot of fights in crawl, the god isn't Tab-friendly, which might turn off certain people.

Steel Neuron wrote:Honestly, this is the thought process I'd like a player to follow:
  • Is the encounter difficult?
    • No -> Tab.
    • Yes -> Martial attacks.


One way to address all of these objectives is to make all the abilities active. You press "aa" to activate all the available martial arts for some piety (it could be instant and/or buffed a bit to compensate if required).

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 21:26

Re: Balancing the Council God

bel wrote:Heavenly Cloud seems to cost a lot of piety; perhaps there aren't enough abilities which use piety? Also, since there are a lot of fights in crawl, the god isn't Tab-friendly, which might turn off certain people.


Well, the god has a rather generous list of likes and few piety sinks, so it feels fine to have high cost abilities. I struggled a bit to find a balance point as far as ability costs go, but I think it's okay now.

bel wrote:One way to address all of these objectives is to make all the abilities active. You press "aa" to activate all the available martial arts for some piety (it could be instant and/or buffed a bit to compensate if required).


I really don't want to do that. I think the biggest charm of the god is the fact that abilities are simply triggered by movement; they are always with you. The only argument against it would be inconvenience due to accidental wall jumps, but most players get used to it after a while, and shift-walk prevents them anyway.

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 21:38

Re: Balancing the Council God

Steel Neuron wrote:
bel wrote:One way to address all of these objectives is to make all the abilities active. You press "aa" to activate all the available martial arts for some piety (it could be instant and/or buffed a bit to compensate if required).


I really don't want to do that. I think the biggest charm of the god is the fact that abilities are simply triggered by movement; they are always with you.

Well, it's clear you don't want to do that; this is one of the unique parts of the god. However things which are only meant to be used against non-popcorn typically cost piety, MP, HP, exhaustion, drain or some such thing. I don't really see any reason why the martial abilities should be always active, if they're not meant to be used against popcorn.

One reason you're thinking of nerfing whirlwind is that it's "optimal" to type "jkjkjk" instead of Tab (except on a constricting race like Op, perhaps). One could also imagine other situations where it's optimal to repeatedly wall jump (perhaps - I haven't really played much with this god). The interface provides good ways to spam optimal actions like Tab; simply making people press keys for no reason isn't a good idea. Making whirlwind do 80% of the damage of a normal attack seems to me a roundabout way of addressing the basic issue: you really envision these abilities as active rather than passive.

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Post Wednesday, 22nd February 2017, 22:31

Re: Balancing the Council God

bel wrote:Making whirlwind do 80% of the damage of a normal attack seems to me a roundabout way of addressing the basic issue: you really envision these abilities as active rather than passive.


Honestly, I really don't. Martial attacks being fully passive has been brought up again and again as the cornerstone of the god, the most welcome difference from the rest, and the most enjoyable feature. They are good as passives, and lunge + wall jump work exactly as I'd want them to. They're great, but not always applicable.

Whirlwind is the only one that I feel is inches away from being where I want it to be: Better than tabbing, but not inconditionally

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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 09:38

Re: Balancing the Council God

The passive attacks are the "cool" portion of the god, but if you think it through, here's what you find.

Firstly, having cool abilities is fine, but you have to look at (a) opportunity cost (b) potentially broken mechanics.

Let's look at (a) first.

If you make martial attacks strictly better than tabbing, you're essentially forcing people to stop tabbing. Now, nobody is forcing people to choose this god, so if they are not willing to give up tabbing, they can go choose another god. But this fact is not consistent with your statement I quoted above that you want people to only use martial attacks for threatening encounters - you have to give up one or the other objective.

Also, this god shouldn't be OP compared to other gods, because then the argument of not forcing people to choose this god no longer applies. Therefore, you are correct in emphasizing balance in this thread.

Let's look at (b):
To me, wall jump looks like the strongest ability of the god and a bit broken. For instance, as Doesnt points out above, you can get fast movement 2 (covering 4 steps in 3 turns) basically for free. Fast movement is a very strong ability in crawl, having one for free (the opportunity cost is simply worshipping a different god) seems broken to me.

I suggest making wall jump cost piety, or exhaustion (like Ru's ability), make the landing place 3x3 instead of fixed, or taking 2 turns, a la the Matrix scene when Neo wall jumps and Morpheus is simply waiting for him and pummels Neo when he lands. The distraction chance can be buffed to compensate if this makes the ability too weak.

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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 09:51

Re: Balancing the Council God

bel wrote:If you make martial attacks strictly better than tabbing, you're essentially forcing people to stop tabbing. Now, nobody is forcing people to choose this god, so if they are not willing to give up tabbing, they can go choose another god. But this fact is not consistent with your statement I quoted above that you want people to only use martial attacks for threatening encounters - you have to give up one or the other objective.


Well, I think neither wall jump nor lunge are strictly better than tabbing, simply because they are not always available. Under certain circumstances you can choose to spam them, but there are concrete drawbacks to this, so tab is still in the mix. Balance objective achieved with these.

Whirlwind is essentially super-tab at the moment, and this is not my design intention. I explicitly want whirlwind to be good against a) groups, and b) single monsters that you anticipate will fight for a bit. The reason for this is that slowing a monster is an investment, it implies you expect the fight to last. That should be whirlwind's role on single target, and choosing whether to whirlwind or tab shouldn't be about raw power, but applying the right tool at every moment. We are close to that, there is no need for a sweeping change.

bel wrote:Let's look at (b):
To me, wall jump looks like the strongest ability of the god and a bit broken. For instance, as Doesnt points out above, you can get fast movement 2 (covering 4 steps in 3 turns) basically for free. Fast movement is a very strong ability in crawl, having one for free (the opportunity cost is simply worshipping a different god) seems broken to me.

I suggest making wall jump cost piety, or exhaustion (like Ru's ability), make the landing place 3x3 instead of fixed, or taking 2 turns, a la the Matrix scene when Neo wall jumps and Morpheus is simply waiting for him and pummels Neo when he lands. The distraction chance can be buffed to compensate if this makes the ability too weak.


I very strongly disagree with both the problem you've identified and the solution you propose.

If wall jump turns out to be too strong, I have a possible nerf ready to propose: It's perfectly reasonable to make wall jump take more auts than walking. 150% AUT expenditure for 200% distance travelled is a reasonable tradeoff, and this is something I will propose if we reach a consensus that wall jump is broken. As it stands though, I'm quite sure it isn't: the god pushes the player towards very dangerous and generally unadvisable tactics, an escape move this good is essential to make the prospect appealing to begin with. Even if you decide to go full cheese mode and play a ranged character that exclusively abuses wall jump and serpent's lash, it is still largely balanced because you're fully commiting your god choice to these two abilities, as the rest are entirely useless.

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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 10:29

Re: Balancing the Council God

Serpent's Lash costs piety, so it's not a big problem.

I can't speak for others, but I used wall jump all the time in the early dungeon (I am currently playing an octopode) to escape from monsters. It is pretty much always available against normal speed monsters (just walk to an appropriate place to jump) and is frequently available against fast monsters as well.

Whirlwind is available pretty much everywhere except in corridors. Making it do less damage and slowing more reliably may not make much difference. If the slow triggers reliably enough; it's better to slow non-threatening monsters anyway. If the slow isn't reliable enough; whirlwind isn't worth using, except against big groups. If the latter is your objective, one suggestion is to make the chance of martial abilities triggering dependent on tension (tension isn't a transparent mechanism though).

I have no idea if there will be "consensus" on what I'm saying: I'm just giving my feedback. After all, wandering mushrooms at 1* exist, so it's not as if other abilities which I consider broken aren't in the game.

Also, I will shut up for now; I'll talk more when I have played with the god a bit more and understood it better.
Last edited by bel on Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 10:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 10:37

Re: Balancing the Council God

bel wrote:I have no idea if there will be "consensus" on what I'm saying: I'm just giving my feedback. After all, wandering mushrooms at 1* exist, so it's not as if other abilities which I consider broken aren't in the game.


Of course, and please don't take my disagreeing as me disregarding your input :).

bel wrote:Whirlwind is available pretty much everywhere except in corridors. Making it do less damage and slowing more reliably may not make much difference. If the slow triggers reliably enough; it's better to slow non-threatening monsters anyway.


That is probably the case, but my intention with the proposed whirlwind change is mostly psychological. Even if whirlwind is generally better, having one single facet at which tabbing is arguably better is desirable, so players who decide to tab through a section of the game because they want to play fast or don't want to be as attentive don't feel like they're playing strictly suboptimally.

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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 11:08

Re: Balancing the Council God

Lots of interesting points in this thread. I fully agree with everyone saying that it would be counterproductive to make significant changes for at least a few weeks or else it will be impossible to build an informed consensus on what needs changing and what does not. I'm probably not the most experienced player of this god, but I have a solid grasp of the mechanics, two wins and a couple near misses, so I will throw in my opinions.

Regarding the martial attacks:

I think they're fairly well balanced as they are now. I also think they would remain well balanced without any status effects. Lunge would still be great (as long as it keeps a similar damage modifier to the current, vanilla lunge), whirlwind would be excellent for position and wall jump will still certainly be seen by a subset of top players as (borderline) overpowered.

Nevertheless, I don't think preserving the status effects and implementing a change in the damage ratios of the abilities would be terrible either. I know Lasty mentioned there is a danger of a set pattern becoming optimal, but the fact is that it's already the case that it's optimal against nasty melee enemies like hydras to open space with whirlwind slow or wall jump and then lunge against them. And that's not "a lot to have to consider", in practice it's extremely intuitive and fun. It does involve luring enemies to a wall sometimes, but that's no worse than luring is already, you just lure to a different type of terrain. If martial attacks are going to have status effects, what Steel Neuron proposed regarding damage modifiers is very reasonable and quite possibly the best change in terms of presenting the most number of options to the player.

It would more or less kill the god to make the martial attacks activated. There's plenty of room to tweak them, but the heart of what makes the god good and interesting is that it fundamentally changes the way melee combat works. I can see why wall jump might be considered problematic if it's always available. One idea, and I personally don't want it implemented but I'll air it, is to have it only work under serpent's lash. I have another, bad, idea for toning down wall jump and WJC in general that I'll mention at the end of my post because it's tied to a larger "conduct".

Regarding conducts:

I think Steel Neuron's original proposal makes the most sense. Followers of IJC exchange AC for versatility and damage. I don't think limitations on armor would work out in practice for reasons people have already explained in this thread. A possible modified version of Lasty's "a" (hard limit on armor types) is that WJC multiplies (possibly exponentially) AEVP for worshippers, perhaps by an amount dependent on piety, but that could turn out really weird and hard to understand as well. AEVP is already really weird and hard to understand. I think a percentage reduction of AC as you gain piety would be clear and effective.

My own, bad, idea is to use Uskayaw's piety mechanic for IJC. It could be represented to the player as simply a combo meter, and that WJC doesn't care about piety. You would start with lunge and whirlwind, then gain wall jump after a few hits. That would at least reduce the power of wall jump as an always available escape tool and prevent it from being the optimal form of movement as well as overall making the god weaker and more dangerous to use.

However, I also think the god is a lot of fun right now, and messing around with its abilities too much runs the serious risk of making it less fun in practice in exchange for possibly getting closer to some ephemeral, fundamentally unreachable, aesthetic principles of design theory.

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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 11:15

Re: Balancing the Council God

Sorry for posting twice, but in case anyone doesn't think lunge is good:

Image

That is lunging at an orb of fire, missing it and killing it in one hit anyway with anti-magic bite. That happened before the change from damage multipliers to flurries on martial attacks, but I'm pretty sure a powerful character with a big weapon could still deal over 100 damage in one lunge anyway with some good rolls.

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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 11:20

Re: Balancing the Council God

Very good points huiren :) (Although I must admit I wouldn't want to see the god go into any of the directions you've brought up). If walljump is too powerful, I'm still fairly convinced that the best knob to tweak is the number of auts spent when doing it.

huiren wrote:That is lunging at an orb of fire, missing it and killing it in one hit anyway with anti-magic bite. That happened before the change from damage multipliers to flurries on martial attacks, but I'm pretty sure a powerful character with a big weapon could still deal over 100 damage in one lunge anyway with some good rolls.


In case someone is concerned about this, this happened before a couple bugs were fixed that made VS bites insanely overpowered (namely, they got the martial damage bonus, which they shouldn't, they triggered much more often than they should, and they were affected by the move speed damage compensation factor).

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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 12:41

Re: Balancing the Council God

Thank you! This probably doesn't encourage anyone to listen to what I have to say, but I don't want to see WJC go in any of the directions I brought up either!

Except I don't think loss of status effects would end up as that big of a change and it might be a slight step towards toning down the powers. But, I think what you proposed regarding the martial abilities -- a light nerf to whirlwind's damage with a buff to its slow and a nerf to the base damage of lunge, with a strong buff to its modified damage -- is a better idea.

However, that might be hard to communicate to the player and the god is already a little tough to grasp until you've played a game or two, at least going by my own experience and what people have posted on SA, my usual source for Crawl discussion.

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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 18:23

Re: Balancing the Council God

A point of feedback on high-EV/low AC chars, since a usable god(dess) for those seems to have been one of the design goals. Council is not working with octopodes, and I'd imagine with other high EV/low AC chars.
If you need a shield, and many high EV/low AC chars do, current shield implementation punishes too heavy for being in a fight with multiple monsters at once, thus negating Council advantages.

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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 19:00

Re: Balancing the Council God

le_nerd wrote:A point of feedback on high-EV/low AC chars, since a usable god(dess) for those seems to have been one of the design goals. Council is not working with octopodes, and I'd imagine with other high EV/low AC chars.
If you need a shield, and many high EV/low AC chars do, current shield implementation punishes too heavy for being in a fight with multiple monsters at once, thus negating Council advantages.


I strongly disagree with the concept that you need either high AC or high SH to win the game, with WJC or otherwise. Yes, it's easier, but it's very far from necessary. I haven't played an octopode of the council, but both of my wins wore either a robe (robe of vines, though, so maybe it doesn't count) or troll leather armor. Both characters felt extremely strong even with just a buckler and low AC. I'm sure an octopode would be quite playable with the council, especially with the right background or careful play.

That said, I'm not sure it's necessary for a conduct to reduce SH, just for the reason you mentioned. Reducing AC in exchange for a little slaying, though, seems like an interesting idea.

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Post Friday, 24th February 2017, 06:23

Re: Balancing the Council God

So, I've played around with a few different versions of the god now, and I have a few thoughts on balance.

My basic build in the most recent run was a pale DrTm that ran with Dragon form for most of the game, with some Lichform when i needed it in Tomb. The current iteration of the martial attacks is the best yet. The change to their damage calculation is what balanced them in the newer version. No more sacred scourge 1-shotting everything with whirlwind! I did not find the martial attacks overpowered, with the exception of wall jump. For whirlwind or lunge, you still need to be in range of enemy attacks to use them; The net effect is not so different from running away into a killhole. I did not find them tedious to use, personally; Even if I did not have the abilities, I would still need to choose one enemy to individually attack. It isn't slower than normal combat. They're both equally slower than holding down tab, however. Wall jump's problem is, of course, the escape potential. I don't think there is an easy way to alter the move to balance it, either; It either needs to only be available to activate if you have a target at the end of the jump, or the god needs a conduct to counteract the mobility offered.

Remember, also, that any conduct needs to affect transmuted forms! Eliminating heavy armor does not affect dragon form. Preventing the use of the martial attacks in forms is also arbitrary; why prevent transmuters from using a viable god? A flat armor penalty on its already low AC would be reasonable, however.

Serpent's Lash: I like the concept of the move, but the burst damage potential is too high right now, especially if the god goes into glass cannon conduct. In dragon form, almost nothing survives this move; The only exception (in the entirety of extended) was the Serpent of Hell in Dis. I had a free 30 auts worth of attacks on every enemy to start the fight, which is enough to kill every enemy with a few decent rolls. I'd propose to change this ability so that it only gives 1 free move, rather than two, and accordingly make it more spammable (reduce the cooldown and piety cost slightly). This solves other issues that the move has simultaneously. Currently, the move can also be used for tactics such as running away through shallow water, move->move->fog, etc. which gives it too much utility at the same time. Another option to change Serpent's lash is to make the movement non-instantaneous (make it a 100%+ haste for 2 moves).

Heaven on Earth: This moves seems VERY familiar to some shenanigans i was pulling in ziggurats on the old version of the god... Fog cloak + lunge through the fog! This move can currently be used to block all vision, in all directions, and the duration can be quite lengthy as well. The ability to block line of sight is actually great in combination with lunge; it can be used to eliminate a lot of threat from all ranged threats, especially tormentors. However, the current iteration actually benefits tanky builds over glass cannon builds. Since the counter goes up with every martial attack attempted, a sword and board character who doesn't kill as quickly will gather larger bonuses, or one with fast movement speed can build the counter much more quickly. It is better to give the move a flat bonus such as a haste effect, which is also more thematic than slaying, and make the player fight a bit harder to keep the storm going. It's currently easy to build up a large counter on the ability and sit on it. I'd also like it if the move was more offensive, in keeping with the god's theme. How about... Heaven on Earth shoots a 3- tile wide beam of clouds that moves like steam, and anything you kill while inside/near the clouds EXPLODES into more clouds? Their spirits join the heavens or something. You would need to constantly be killing to keep the effect active.

Overall: I love this god. It's changed greatly in all the different iterations, but each time for the better. I've had a lot of fun in each version of the god so far. Congrats on making it into trunk as well!

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Post Friday, 24th February 2017, 08:23

Re: Balancing the Council God

ofeo wrote:So, I've played around with a few different versions of the god now, and I have a few thoughts on balance.


Glad to see you around! I've spectated a few of your games and I was sure you had a lot to share :).

ofeo wrote:Wall jump's problem is, of course, the escape potential. I don't think there is an easy way to alter the move to balance it, either; It either needs to only be available to activate if you have a target at the end of the jump, or the god needs a conduct to counteract the mobility offered.


You say there is no way to tweak the move but, what do you think of my hypothetical proposed change (and I say hypothetical because I'd like the god to get more playtime before we conclude whether wall jump needs nerfing), where wall jump takes 150% the amount of auts to execute than a normal step?

Wall jump is a brand new way to move, so I think it's fair game to expect it to take a different amount of time. The attack component of wall jump would have to be modified accordingly (either by increasing damage to maintain DPS, or removing the attack part and allowing wall jump to be strictly about distraction with an increased chance).

ofeo wrote:Serpent's Lash: I like the concept of the move, but the burst damage potential is too high right now, especially if the god goes into glass cannon conduct. In dragon form, almost nothing survives this move; The only exception (in the entirety of extended) was the Serpent of Hell in Dis. I had a free 30 auts worth of attacks on every enemy to start the fight, which is enough to kill every enemy with a few decent rolls. I'd propose to change this ability so that it only gives 1 free move, rather than two, and accordingly make it more spammable (reduce the cooldown and piety cost slightly).


Serpent's Lash used to work like this before (one instantaneous move) but it suffered from some problems that way. The coolest advanced way to use Serpent's Lash is opportunistically, to exploit status effects on nearby monsters. Slowing down a monster often allows you to serpent's lash into a wall jump (for the distract) immediately followed by a very devastating lunge. Lash is the hidden "combo meter" of this god, and reducing the number of triggers decreases player options.

ofeo wrote:Another option to change Serpent's lash is to make the movement non-instantaneous (make it a 100%+ haste for 2 moves).


I'm not a big fan of that either, because the biggest appeal of Lash is the ability to "see ahead" and take a chess-like approach to the monster layout. If you can think three moves ahead the way the monsters are currently laid out, Serpent's Lash allows you to play out that combo in a deterministic way.

If Serpent's Lash ends up needing a nerf, I'm convinced it can be done through cost only. Either increasing piety cost or adding another layer such as stat drain.

ofeo wrote:Heaven on Earth: This moves seems VERY familiar to some shenanigans i was pulling in ziggurats on the old version of the god... Fog cloak + lunge through the fog! This move can currently be used to block all vision, in all directions, and the duration can be quite lengthy as well. The ability to block line of sight is actually great in combination with lunge; it can be used to eliminate a lot of threat from all ranged threats, especially tormentors. However, the current iteration actually benefits tanky builds over glass cannon builds. Since the counter goes up with every martial attack attempted, a sword and board character who doesn't kill as quickly will gather larger bonuses, or one with fast movement speed can build the counter much more quickly. It is better to give the move a flat bonus such as a haste effect, which is also more thematic than slaying, and make the player fight a bit harder to keep the storm going. It's currently easy to build up a large counter on the ability and sit on it. I'd also like it if the move was more offensive, in keeping with the god's theme. How about... Heaven on Earth shoots a 3- tile wide beam of clouds that moves like steam, and anything you kill while inside/near the clouds EXPLODES into more clouds? Their spirits join the heavens or something. You would need to constantly be killing to keep the effect active.


Interesting point about tanky builds; Heaven on Earth does indeed benefit characters with a lot of sustain. It does also benefit characters with fast weapons (due to the slay) and fast move speed (due to how the storm decay works), but I might need to tweak the speed at which the slay bonus decreases.

ofeo wrote:Overall: I love this god. It's changed greatly in all the different iterations, but each time for the better. I've had a lot of fun in each version of the god so far. Congrats on making it into trunk as well!


Thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying it! And like I said to other people, I really appreciate the feedback even if I disagree with specific points. Nothing goes unheard, I promise :)

Dungeon Dilettante

Posts: 4

Joined: Monday, 20th February 2017, 16:24

Post Friday, 24th February 2017, 16:10

Re: Balancing the Council God

Playing (and having a great deal of fun with) a KoSu, I find myself unable to resist lunging through an ally, backing up, and repeating until the enemy is dead.
I really don't think this is how the god is intended to be played, especially since it's effective in a corridor. Maybe make it a normal move if you are swapping with an ally?
Swapping with allies when doing whirlwind seems appropriate and fine.

Spider Stomper

Posts: 236

Joined: Saturday, 2nd July 2016, 13:16

Post Friday, 24th February 2017, 16:41

Re: Balancing the Council God

ofeo wrote:Remember, also, that any conduct needs to affect transmuted forms! Eliminating heavy armor does not affect dragon form. Preventing the use of the martial attacks in forms is also arbitrary; why prevent transmuters from using a viable god?
though it's nitpicky, my version of this proposal was limited to forms that superceded worn armor--i.e. not blade hands or necromutation. (Having won such a character, I can tell you that blade hands is more than enough.)

bel

Cocytus Succeeder

Posts: 2184

Joined: Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 22:05

Post Friday, 24th February 2017, 21:52

Re: Balancing the Council God

I played some more with an OpFi. Here's a dump of my current character.
  Code:
 Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup version 0.20-a0-738-gb057e68 (console) character file.

bel3 the Unseen (Octopode Fighter)                 Turns: 60857, Time: 07:27:02

Health: 151/151    AC:  2    Str: 24    XL:     21   Next: 83%
Magic:  43/43      EV: 27    Int: 15    God:    Wu Jian [******]
Gold:   650        SH: 18    Dex: 15    Spells: 20/38 levels left

rFire    . . .     SeeInvis .   a - +5 dagger (distort)
rCold    + + +     Gourm    .   p - +1 shield
rNeg     + . .     Faith    .   T - +1 hat of Deyh {+Fly rF- rC+++ MR+}
rPois    +         Spirit   .   z - +3 amulet of reflection
rElec    +         Reflect  +   e - ring "Toysoisch" {+Inv rPois rC+ MP+9 Str-5}
rCorr    +         Harm     .   c - ring of protection from fire
MR       ++++.     Clarity  +   n - ring of Rufesukk {+Inv rPois rN+ MR+ Dex-2}
Stlth    ++++++++..             G - +3 ring of evasion
Regen    0.4/turn               H - ring "Ziptam" {+Fly rElec Str+4}
MPRegen  0.3/turn               m - ring of Incredulity {MR+ Str+4 Dex-2}
                                C - ring of resist corrosion
                                X - +4 ring of dexterity

@: exhausted
A: almost no armour, stealthy swim, amphibious, 8 rings, constrict 8, camouflage
1, clarity, poison resistance, strong 2, gelatinous body 1
}: 2/15 runes: barnacled, gossamer
a: Serpent's Lash, Heaven On Earth, Renounce Religion, Evoke Invisibility, Evoke
Flight


You are on level 14 of the Dungeon.
You worship Wu Jian.
Wu Jian is exalted by your worship.
You are near starving.

You have visited 7 branches of the dungeon, and seen 36 of its levels.
You have also visited: Labyrinth, Ice Cave and Volcano.

You have collected 4236 gold pieces.
You have spent 3586 gold pieces at shops.

Inventory:

Hand Weapons
 a - a +5 dagger of distortion (weapon)
Armour
 p - a +1 shield (worn)
 A - the +1 buckler of Lugonu's Anger {rElec Str+7 Dex-5 SInv}
   (You found it on level 4 of the Vaults)   
   
   It affects your strength (+7).
   It affects your dexterity (-5).
   It insulates you from electricity.
   It lets you see invisible.
 T - the +1 hat of Deyh (worn) {+Fly rF- rC+++ MR+}
   (You bought it in a shop on level 4 of the Shoals)   
   
   It makes you vulnerable to fire.
   It renders you almost immune to cold.
   It affects your resistance to hostile enchantments.
   It lets you fly.
Jewellery
 c - a ring of protection from fire (right tentacle)
 e - the ring "Toysoisch" (left tentacle) {+Inv rPois rC+ MP+9 Str-5}
   (You bought it in a shop on level 2 of the Orcish Mines)   
   
   [ring of protection from cold]
   
   It affects your strength (-5).
   It protects you from cold.
   It protects you from poison.
   It affects your magic capacity (+9).
   It lets you turn invisible.
 f - an uncursed ring of protection from fire
 m - the ring of Incredulity (on tentacle) {MR+ Str+4 Dex-2}
   (You acquired it on level 2 of the Orcish Mines)   
   
   [ring of protection from magic]
   
   It affects your strength (+4).
   It affects your dexterity (-2).
   It affects your resistance to hostile enchantments.
 n - the ring of Rufesukk (on tentacle) {+Inv rPois rN+ MR+ Dex-2}
   (You acquired it on level 4 of the Shoals)   
   
   [ring of protection from magic]
   
   It affects your dexterity (-2).
   It protects you from poison.
   It protects you from negative energy.
   It affects your resistance to hostile enchantments.
   It lets you turn invisible.
 z - a +3 amulet of reflection (around mantle)
 C - a ring of resist corrosion (on tentacle)
 G - a +3 ring of evasion (on tentacle)
 H - the ring "Ziptam" (on tentacle) {+Fly rElec Str+4}
   (You found it on level 4 of the Shoals)   
   
   [ring of flight]
   
   It affects your strength (+4).
   It insulates you from electricity.
   It lets you fly.
 X - a +4 ring of dexterity (on tentacle)
Wands
 g - a wand of acid (5/15)
 i - a wand of digging (15/24)
 o - a wand of polymorph (12/24)
 t - a wand of confusion (32/48)
 w - a wand of paralysis (?/24)
 B - a wand of lightning (8/15)
 I - a wand of acid (3/15)
 J - a wand of disintegration (?/24)
 M - a wand of clouds (1/9)
 N - a wand of iceblast (12/15)
 Q - a wand of paralysis (9/24)
Scrolls
 l - 12 scrolls of remove curse
 s - 16 scrolls of identify
 v - 2 scrolls of silence
 y - 2 scrolls of fog
 K - 5 scrolls of magic mapping
 L - 2 scrolls of blinking
 O - a scroll of summoning
 R - 7 scrolls of teleportation
 V - 5 scrolls of fear
 W - 5 scrolls of recharging
Potions
 h - 15 potions of ambrosia
 j - 2 potions of berserk rage
 k - a potion of resistance
 q - 2 potions of brilliance
 r - 8 potions of curing
 D - 4 potions of might
 E - 3 potions of agility
 F - 2 potions of cancellation
 P - 2 potions of invisibility
 U - 5 potions of haste
 Y - 3 potions of magic
 Z - 2 potions of heal wounds
Miscellaneous
 b - 3 boxes of beasts
 u - a phial of floods
Comestibles
 d - 13 meat rations
 S - 34 fruits


   Skills:
 + Level 15.2 Fighting
 - Level 11.5(11.7) Short Blades
   Level 3.9(8.4) Long Blades
 + Level 14.9 Dodging
 + Level 17.4 Stealth
 - Level 15.1 Shields
 - Level 9.1 Spellcasting
 - Level 14.2 Hexes
 - Level 6.4 Charms
 - Level 5.3 Necromancy
 - Level 5.5 Translocations
 + Level 13.9 Evocations


You have 20 spell levels left.
You know the following spells:

 Your Spells              Type           Power        Failure   Level  Hunger
a - Song of Slaying       Chrm           ####....     1%          2    None
c - Confuse               Hex            #####...     1%          3    #......
d - Tukima's Dance        Hex            #####...     1%          3    #......
k - Blink                 Tloc           N/A          1%          2    None
r - Regeneration          Chrm/Necr      ###.......   2%          3    #......
s - Slow                  Hex            #####...     1%          2    None
w - Spectral Weapon       Hex/Chrm       #####...     1%          3    #......


Dungeon Overview and Level Annotations

Branches:
Dungeon (15/15)            Temple (1/1) D:6            Lair (6/6) D:8
 Shoals (4/4) Lair:3       Spider (4/4) Lair:3        Slime (0/5) Lair:6
    Orc (2/2) D:12            Elf (0/3) Orc:2        Vaults (4/5) D:14
  Crypt (0/3) Vaults:2     Depths (0/5) D:15       

Altars:
Ashenzari
Cheibriados
Dithmenos
Elyvilon
Fedhas
Gozag
Hepliaklqana
Kikubaaqudgha
Makhleb
Nemelex Xobeh
Okawaru
Qazlal
Ru
Sif Muna
Trog
Uskayaw
Vehumet
Wu Jian
Xom
Yredelemnul
Zin
The Shining One

Shops:
D:9 %   Orc:2 ?(?[[(=[   Shoals:3 ?   Shoals:4 *=[   Vaults:1 ?[

Annotations:
D:15 exclusion: oklob plant
Shoals:2 exclusion: downstairs
Vaults:2 Sojobo
Abyss:1 Nikola


Innate Abilities, Weirdness & Mutations

You cannot wear most types of armour.
You are very stealthy in the water. (Stealth+)
You are amphibious.
You can wear up to eight rings at the same time.
You can use your tentacles to constrict eight enemies at once.
Your skin changes colour to match your surroundings (Stealth+).
Your rubbery body absorbs attacks. (AC +1, EV +1)
You possess an exceptional clarity of mind.
Your system is resistant to poisons. (rPois)
Your muscles are very strong. (Str +4)


Message History

You spin and attack the two-headed ogre repeatedly!
You hit the two-headed ogre.
The two-headed ogre looks slightly unstable.
The two-headed ogre seems to slow down as you strike a pressure point.
Your squeeze misses the two-headed ogre.
The two-headed ogre is severely wounded.
You puncture the two-headed ogre!
The two-headed ogre seems to slow down as you strike a pressure point.
You squeeze the two-headed ogre.
You kill the two-headed ogre!
The Council accepts your kill.
Unknown command.
Your muscles tense, ready for explosive movement...
Zoom!
ZOOOM!
You swap places.
You swap places.
Your spectral weapon fades away.
Unknown command.
Unknown command.

............................###..
#............#(#......#..........
#...........#####.....#..........
#...........§.∩......##....).....
#...........#####..........[.....
#............#.#...........>.....
#.........................>.>....
#................................
..........<......................
....................###..........
................@...# #..........
....................###..........
............................###..
............................# #..
....##.........)............###..
....#............................
...#.............................
#..##...(........................
#..###(.)(...(...................
#..# ##..........................
#..#  ##<..................<.....


There are no monsters in sight!

Vanquished Creatures
  Saint Roka (Vaults:3)
  Rupert (D:14)
  A sphinx (Vaults:3)
  2 tengu reavers
  9 vault wardens
  3 ghost moths (Spider:4)
  Ilsuiw (Shoals:4)
  A fire giant (Vaults:3)
  4 frost giants
  Louise (Spider:1)
  3 emperor scorpions
  9 ironheart preservers
  2 very ugly things (Vaults:4)
  3 stone giants
  3 entropy weavers
  2 deep elf demonologists (Vaults:3)
  A deep elf annihilator (Vaults:3)
  8 merfolk javelineers
  A spark wasp (Spider:4)
  A deep elf death mage (Vaults:3)
  4 yaktaur captains
  A minotaur (Lab)
  A great orb of eyes (Vaults:4)
  15 merfolk impalers
  A rakshasa (Vaults:1)
  2 vault guards (Vaults:2)
  9 ogre magi
  A merfolk avatar (Shoals:4)
  9 centaur warriors
  7 hydras
  2 death knights
  4 merfolk aquamancers
  2 dancing weapons
  2 death yaks
  26 two-headed ogres
  2 deep troll shamans (Vaults:3)
  A queen ant (Lair:3)
  Urug (D:15)
  A deep troll earth mage (Vaults:3)
  A vampire mage (Vaults:2)
  A sun demon (D:14)
  2 shadow wraiths
  Sonja (D:10)
  4 deep elf knights
  Nergalle (D:10)
  7 sea snakes
  2 deep trolls
  An orange crystal statue (Vaults:2)
  4 unseen horrors
  8 wizards
  A flayed ghost (Vaults:3)
  5 harpies
  4 phantasmal warriors
  6 deep elf archers
  2 lindwurms (Volcano)
  3 necromancers
  9 orb spiders
  6 orc knights
  A sphinx zombie (Vaults:3)
  13 ironbrand convokers
  18 deep elf magi
  An orc sorcerer (Vaults:3)
  6 fauns
  11 manticores
  14 cyclopes
  31 wolf spiders
  25 ugly things
  A moth of wrath (Spider:1)
  A black mamba (shapeshifter) (Vaults:1)
  A toenail golem (Volcano)
  11 elephants
  A water nymph (shapeshifter) (Vaults:1)
  8 merfolk sirens
  2 ice statues (IceCv)
  5 black mambas
  9 water nymphs
  10 vault sentinels
  3 molten gargoyles (Volcano)
  A naga mage (D:15)
  12 spiny frogs
  3 rime drakes
  29 yaktaurs
  5 komodo dragons
  12 demonic crawlers
  5 efreet
  3 freezing wraiths
  7 trolls
  7 ice devils
  13 polar bears
  A harpy zombie (Shoals:1)
  A troll (shapeshifter) (Vaults:2)
  9 hornets
  23 jumping spiders
  A tengu conjurer (D:15)
  A minotaur zombie (Lab)
  45 merfolk
  5 wind drakes
  A queen bee (shapeshifter) (Vaults:3)
  A wind drake (shapeshifter) (Vaults:1)
  15 hippogriffs
  A sphinx simulacrum (Vaults:4)
  15 slime creatures
  21 dream sheep
  28 blink frogs
  8 snapping turtles
  3 vampires
  3 wyverns
  A wraith (D:12)
  A shadow (D:11)
  32 tarantellas
  42 yaks
  53 redbacks
  8 basilisks
  3 water elementals
  6 fire elementals
  4 hungry ghosts
  4 vampire mosquitoes (D:15)
  10 two-headed ogre zombies (D:9)
  An acid dragon (shapeshifter) (Vaults:3)
  Edmund (D:5)
  A water moccasin (shapeshifter) (Vaults:1)
  19 water moccasins
  20 soldier ants (Lair:3)
  7 wargs
  An acid dragon (Vaults:2)
  17 hell hounds (Lair:6)
  4 porcupines
  14 black bears
  2 ice beasts
  39 orc warriors
  6 phantoms
  3 sky beasts
  An ettin simulacrum (Vaults:3)
  A necrophage (D:9)
  3 eyes of draining
  28 ogres
  A centaur (shapeshifter) (Vaults:4)
  A human skeleton (Vaults:3)
  43 wolves
  36 centaurs
  2 hippogriff zombies (Shoals:1)
  13 crocodiles
  Blork the orc (D:4)
  12 bullfrogs
  A big kobold (D:13)
  2 earth elementals (Volcano)
  A wyvern skeleton (D:9)
  11 killer bees
  5 scorpions
  3 human simulacra
  A howler monkey (D:14)
  An electric eel (Lair:3)
  A bullfrog zombie (D:9)
  14 crimson imps
  5 hounds
  3 centaur zombies
  2 quasits
  4 bullfrog skeletons
  11 orc priests
  9 centaur skeletons
  7 jellies
  6 iguanas
  25 orc wizards
  31 worker ants
  A killer bee zombie (D:5)
  2 hound skeletons
  6 adders
  3 shadow imps
  21 white imps
  9 ufetubi
  6 oozes
  2 adder skeletons
  2 worms
  A dart slug (D:4)
  4 leopard geckos
  87 orcs
  12 bats
  A bat zombie (Shoals:1)
  3 giant cockroaches
  7 goblins
  2 hobgoblins
  14 kobolds
  7 quokkas
  4 frilled lizards
  A jackal zombie (D:8)
  A leopard gecko skeleton (D:5)
  2 quokka zombies
  9 rats
  A fire vortex (Volcano)
  A fungus (Lair:3)
1460 creatures vanquished.

Vanquished Creatures (collateral kills)
  2 merfolk impalers (Shoals:4)
  An ironbrand convoker (Vaults:3)
  A shining eye (shapeshifter) (Vaults:4)
  A merfolk (Shoals:3)
5 creatures vanquished.

Vanquished Creatures (others)
  An orc warlord (Vaults:3)
  A frost giant (Shoals:4)
  A deep elf sorcerer (Vaults:2)
  3 vault wardens
  Aizul (Vaults:1)
  2 ghost moths
  An emperor scorpion (Spider:4)
  A reaper (IceCv)
  4 ironheart preservers
  A stone giant (Vaults:3)
  A spark wasp (Spider:4)
  4 merfolk javelineers (Shoals:4)
  2 yaktaur captains
  An ogre mage (Vaults:3)
  A fire dragon (shapeshifter) (D:14)
  2 merfolk impalers
  A great orb of eyes (Vaults:2)
  A vault guard (Vaults:2)
  3 merfolk avatars
  A merfolk aquamancer (Shoals:4)
  6 two-headed ogres
  2 centaur warriors (Vaults:2)
  A death yak (Lair:4)
  2 death knights
  A tengu warrior (D:15)
  3 deep trolls
  2 unseen horrors
  A flayed ghost (Vaults:3)
  A deep elf archer (Vaults:3)
  5 sea snakes
  A wizard (Vaults:2)
  2 harpies
  A phantasmal warrior (Vaults:3)
  2 ironbrand convokers (Vaults:4)
  7 ugly things
  3 wolf spiders
  4 orc knights
  A deep elf mage (Vaults:2)
  4 cyclopes
  A manticore (Shoals:4)
  3 fauns
  A black mamba (Lair:4)
  2 merfolk sirens
  3 vault sentinels
  A water nymph (Shoals:2)
  2 torpor snails
  A centaur skeleton (D:15)
  15 yaktaurs
  4 freezing wraiths
  2 demonic crawlers (Spider:2)
  An ice devil (IceCv)
  2 trolls (D:13)
  9 merfolk
  A harpy zombie (Shoals:1)
  4 jumping spiders
  2 wind drakes (Shoals:4)
  9 slime creatures
  A hippogriff (shapeshifter) (Vaults:3)
  4 snapping turtles
  A meliai zombie (D:15)
  A dream sheep (Shoals:1)
  2 water elementals
  14 dancing weapons
  6 redbacks
  A fire elemental (D:14)
  3 yaks
  A tarantella (Spider:3)
  2 basilisks
  A hungry ghost (D:11)
  A warg (Vaults:4)
  9 orc warriors
  An ice beast (D:10)
  An eye of draining (shapeshifter) (D:13)
  9 ogres
  9 centaurs
  A hippogriff zombie (Shoals:1)
  A wight (Vaults:2)
  A crimson imp (D:14)
  An orc priest (Orc:2)
  An orc wizard (Orc:1)
  8 white imps
  6 orcs
  A fire vortex (Volcano)
  10 fungi
  31 plants
  8 tentacles
281 creatures vanquished.

Grand Total: 1746 creatures vanquished

Notes
Turn   | Place    | Note
-------+----------+-------------------------------------------
     0 | D:1      | bel3 the Octopode Fighter began the quest for the Orb.
     0 | D:1      | Reached XP level 1. HP: 16/16 MP: 1/1
   198 | D:1      | Reached XP level 2. HP: 21/21 MP: 2/2
  1117 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Stealth
  1117 | D:2      | Reached XP level 3. HP: 24/26 MP: 3/3
  1864 | D:3      | Found an ancient bone altar of Kikubaaqudgha.
  2178 | D:3      | Reached XP level 4. HP: 29/31 MP: 4/4
  2576 | D:4      | Noticed Blork the orc
  2688 | D:4      | Found a hide-covered altar of Uskayaw.
  2689 | D:4      | Found a hazy altar of Hepliaklqana.
  2732 | D:4      | Reached skill level 2 in Stealth
  2732 | D:4      | Reached skill level 1 in Evocations
  2732 | D:4      | Reached XP level 5. HP: 35/36 MP: 5/5
  2757 | D:4      | Found a stormy altar of Qazlal.
  2761 | D:4      | Found a white marble altar of Elyvilon.
  2866 | D:4      | Got a transparent dagger
  2869 | D:4      | Identified the +2 dagger of Cobwebs {protect, Str+5 Dex+5} (You found it on level 4 of the Dungeon)
  2951 | D:4      | Reached skill level 1 in Short Blades
  3035 | D:4      | Reached skill level 3 in Stealth
  3305 | D:4      | Reached XP level 6. HP: 43/43 MP: 7/7
  3404 | D:4      | Killed Blork the orc
  3498 | D:5      | Entered Level 5 of the Dungeon
  3657 | D:5      | Noticed Edmund
  3761 | D:5      | Reached skill level 4 in Stealth
  3761 | D:5      | Reached XP level 7. HP: 34/48 MP: 8/8
  4451 | D:5      | Killed Edmund
  4659 | D:6      | Reached XP level 8. HP: 46/54 MP: 10/10
  4690 | D:6      | Found a staircase to the Ecumenical Temple.
  4711 | Temple   | Entered the Ecumenical Temple
  4853 | Temple   | Became a worshipper of the Wu Jian Council
  4923 | D:6      | Reached skill level 5 in Stealth
  5008 | D:6      | Gained mutation: Your muscles are strong. (Str +2) [potion of mutation]
  5008 | D:6      | Gained mutation: You occasionally shout uncontrollably at your foes. [potion of mutation]
  5008 | D:6      | Gained mutation: You evolve. [potion of mutation]
  5128 | D:6      | Gained mutation: Your system is resistant to poisons. (rPois) [evolution]
  5213 | D:6      | Reached skill level 5 in Fighting
  5232 | D:5      | Reached skill level 5 in Short Blades
  5575 | D:7      | Reached skill level 5 in Dodging
  5774 | D:7      | Reached skill level 6 in Stealth
  5812 | D:7      | Reached XP level 9. HP: 61/61 MP: 12/12
  6401 | D:8      | Noticed Maurice
  6507 | D:8      | Found a staircase to the Lair.
  6545 | D:8      | Reached skill level 7 in Stealth
  6545 | D:8      | Reached skill level 5 in Evocations
  6749 | D:8      | Noticed Psyche
  6756 | D:8      | Reached * piety under Wu Jian
  6792 | D:8      | Noticed Psyche
  6792 | D:8      | Psyche changed into Psyche the basilisk
  7090 | D:8      | Noticed Maurice
  7090 | D:8      | Maurice changed into Maurice the hornet
  7099 | D:8      | Killed Maurice the hornet
  7222 | D:8      | Killed Psyche the basilisk
  7348 | D:9      | Found Qoanyezergh's Food Shoppe.
  7413 | D:9      | Reached XP level 10. HP: 69/69 MP: 13/13
  7877 | D:9      | Reached ** piety under Wu Jian
  8170 | D:9      | Noticed a two-headed ogre
  8420 | D:9      | Found a sparkling altar of Nemelex Xobeh.
  8844 | D:9      | Reached skill level 5 in Shields
  9247 | D:9      | Noticed an ogre mage
  9330 | Lair:1   | Entered Level 1 of the Lair of Beasts
  9349 | Lair:1   | Gained mutation: You possess an exceptional clarity of mind. [evolution]
  9380 | Lair:1   | Noticed a four-headed hydra
  9591 | Lair:1   | Reached XP level 11. HP: 72/75 MP: 14/14
  9595 | Lair:2   | Noticed a four-headed hydra
  9596 | Lair:2   | Killed a four-headed hydra
  9806 | Lair:2   | Reached skill level 10 in Short Blades
 10250 | Lair:2   | You fall through a shaft for 2 floors!
 10659 | Lair:3   | Reached *** piety under Wu Jian
 10662 | Lair:3   | Lost mutation: You occasionally shout uncontrollably at your foes. [evolution]
 10684 | Lair:3   | Found a staircase to the Shoals.
 10944 | Lair:3   | Noticed a queen ant
 11016 | Lair:3   | Killed a queen ant
 11282 | Lair:3   | Reached XP level 12. HP: 58/84 MP: 15/15
 11381 | Lair:3   | Found a hole to the Spider Nest.
 11566 | Lair:3   | Noticed a death yak
 11580 | Lair:3   | Noticed a death yak
 11974 | Lair:1   | Reached **** piety under Wu Jian
 12835 | Lair:1   | Gained mutation: Your muscles are very strong. (Str +4) [evolution]
 12835 | Lair:1   | Lost mutation: You evolve. [end of evolution]
 13297 | Lair:3   | Learned a level 2 spell: Blink
 13300 | Lair:3   | Learned a level 2 spell: Slow
 13304 | Lair:3   | Learned a level 3 spell: Confuse
 13375 | Lair:3   | Noticed a death yak
 13375 | Lair:3   | Noticed a death yak
 13460 | Lair:3   | Reached skill level 1 in Hexes
 13467 | Lair:3   | Reached skill level 1 in Translocations
 13477 | Lair:3   | Learned a level 2 spell: Song of Slaying
 13539 | Lair:3   | Reached skill level 1 in Spellcasting
 13554 | Lair:3   | Reached ***** piety under Wu Jian
 13690 | Lair:3   | Reached skill level 1 in Charms
 13859 | Lair:4   | Reached XP level 13. HP: 55/92 MP: 7/16
 14960 | Lair:5   | Reached skill level 5 in Hexes
 15441 | Lair:5   | Reached skill level 10 in Fighting
 15755 | Lair:6   | Entered Level 6 of the Lair of Beasts
 15775 | Lair:6   | Noticed a dire elephant
 15844 | Lair:6   | Found a staircase to the Slime Pits.
 15882 | Lair:6   | Reached skill level 8 in Stealth
 15919 | Lair:6   | Found a dark tunnel.
 15939 | Volcano  | Entered a volcano
 15995 | Volcano  | Reached skill level 10 in Dodging
 17785 | Lair:6   | Reached XP level 14. HP: 84/99 MP: 15/18
 19048 | Lair:6   | Reached skill level 9 in Stealth
 19638 | Lair:6   | Reached skill level 10 in Shields
 20648 | D:10     | Entered Level 10 of the Dungeon
 20713 | D:10     | Noticed Sonja
 20720 | D:10     | Killed Sonja
 20801 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Translocations
 20852 | D:10     | Found a hide-covered altar of Uskayaw.
 21001 | D:10     | Reached ****** piety under Wu Jian
 21055 | D:10     | Noticed Nergalle
 21255 | D:10     | Killed Nergalle
 21639 | D:11     | Found a frozen archway.
 21672 | IceCv    | Entered an ice cave
 21905 | IceCv    | Killed a reaper
 21913 | IceCv    | Reached XP level 15. HP: 105/106 MP: 22/22
 23188 | D:11     | Reached skill level 5 in Spellcasting
 23343 | D:11     | Reached skill level 10 in Stealth
 23666 | D:12     | Found a staircase to the Orcish Mines.
 26416 | D:14     | Noticed Rupert
 27063 | D:14     | Found a gate to the Vaults.
 27556 | D:15     | Entered Level 15 of the Dungeon
 27616 | Orc:1    | Entered Level 1 of the Orcish Mines
 27915 | Orc:2    | Entered Level 2 of the Orcish Mines
 27915 | Orc:2    | Found Xouh's Antique Weapon Emporium.
 27915 | Orc:2    | Found Qumeij's Magic Scroll Emporium.
 27931 | Orc:2    | Bought a scroll of noise for 14 gold pieces
 27932 | Orc:2    | Bought a scroll of teleportation for 42 gold pieces
 27932 | Orc:2    | Bought a scroll of acquirement for 728 gold pieces
 27933 | Orc:2    | Got a twitching silver ring
 27935 | Orc:2    | Identified the ring of Incredulity {MR+ Str+4 Dex-2} (You acquired it on level 2 of the Orcish Mines)
 27963 | Orc:2    | Found Xefracw's Jewellery Shoppe.
 27996 | Orc:2    | Found Narop's Antique Armour Emporium.
 28038 | Orc:2    | Found a staircase to the Elven Halls.
 28042 | Orc:2    | Found a labyrinth entrance.
 28064 | Lab      | Entered a labyrinth
 28813 | Lab      | Got a blackened shortbow
 28850 | Orc:2    | Learned a level 3 spell: Tukima's Dance
 29648 | Orc:2    | Reached skill level 10 in Hexes
 29662 | Orc:2    | Found Ittos's Armour Shoppe.
 29662 | Orc:2    | Found Nugg's Armour Shop.
 29662 | Orc:2    | Found Pem Somp's Magic Scroll Boutique.
 29685 | Orc:2    | Found Setes's Weapon Emporium.
 29695 | Orc:2    | Bought a scroll of summoning for 133 gold pieces
 29695 | Orc:2    | Bought a scroll of silence for 105 gold pieces
 29695 | Orc:2    | Bought a scroll of torment for 105 gold pieces
 29822 | Orc:2    | Reached XP level 16. HP: 113/113 MP: 25/25
 30245 | Orc:2    | Bought the ring "Toysoisch" {+Inv rPois rC+ MP+9 Str-5} for 877 gold pieces
 30254 | Orc:2    | Learned a level 3 spell: Spectral Weapon
 30258 | Orc:2    | Learned a level 3 spell: Regeneration
 30938 | D:15     | Found a hazy altar of Hepliaklqana.
 30962 | D:15     | Reached skill level 11 in Stealth
 31110 | D:15     | Reached skill level 1 in Necromancy
 31242 | D:15     | Found a blossoming altar of Fedhas.
 31323 | D:15     | Noticed Urug
 31353 | D:15     | Killed Urug
 31757 | D:15     | Found a staircase to the Depths.
 32168 | Spider:1 | Entered Level 1 of the Spider Nest
 32379 | Spider:1 | Noticed Louise
 32827 | Spider:1 | Killed Louise
 32937 | Shoals:1 | Entered Level 1 of the Shoals
 33731 | Shoals:1 | Noticed a kraken
 34770 | Shoals:2 | Reached skill level 5 in Charms
 35676 | Shoals:3 | Reached XP level 17. HP: 119/119 MP: 26/26
 36299 | Shoals:3 | Found Kayntari's Magic Scroll Emporium.
 36969 | Shoals:3 | Reached skill level 12 in Stealth
 37174 | Shoals:4 | Entered Level 4 of the Shoals
 37357 | Shoals:4 | Noticed Ilsuiw
 37363 | Shoals:4 | Killed Ilsuiw
 37393 | Shoals:4 | Found Piush's Assorted Antiques.
 37612 | Shoals:4 | Noticed a kraken
 37635 | Shoals:4 | Bought a scroll of magic mapping for 112 gold pieces
 37635 | Shoals:4 | Bought a scroll of enchant weapon for 240 gold pieces
 37705 | Shoals:4 | Got a barnacled rune of Zot
 38458 | Shoals:4 | Found Aqaso's Jewellery Shop.
 38575 | Shoals:4 | Found a runed door.
 39990 | Shoals:4 | Found Hiblauhe's Antique Armour Emporium.
 40513 | Shoals:4 | Reached skill level 5 in Necromancy
 40521 | Shoals:4 | Bought a translucent hat for 243 gold pieces
 40533 | Shoals:4 | Identified the +1 hat of Deyh {+Fly rF- rC+++ MR+} (You bought it in a shop on level 4 of the Shoals)
 40565 | Shoals:4 | Bought an uncursed ring of protection from fire for 500 gold pieces
 40652 | Shoals:4 | Reached skill level 10 in Evocations
 40749 | Shoals:4 | Reached XP level 18. HP: 126/126 MP: 27/27
 40767 | Shoals:4 | Got a sparkling glass ring
 40768 | Shoals:4 | Identified the ring "Ziptam" {+Fly rElec Str+4} (You found it on level 4 of the Shoals)
 41408 | Shoals:3 | Bought a scroll of teleportation for 57 gold pieces
 42875 | Spider:2 | Reached skill level 13 in Stealth
 45765 | Vaults:1 | Entered Level 1 of the Vaults
 45835 | Vaults:1 | Noticed Aizul
 45934 | Vaults:1 | Found Ahowekky's Armour Boutique.
 46414 | Vaults:1 | Noticed Nikola
 46428 | Vaults:1 | Banished Nikola
 46724 | Vaults:1 | Reached XP level 19. HP: 111/134 MP: 28/28
 47176 | Vaults:1 | Killed Aizul
 47482 | Vaults:1 | Found Ewotauc's Magic Scroll Emporium.
 47504 | Vaults:1 | Bought a scroll of fog for 30 gold pieces
 48262 | Vaults:2 | Reached skill level 14 in Stealth
 49371 | Vaults:2 | Noticed Sojobo
 49402 | Vaults:2 | Reached skill level 15 in Shields
 50779 | Vaults:2 | Reached XP level 20. HP: 142/142 MP: 29/29
 51049 | Vaults:2 | Found a staircase to the Crypt.
 51417 | Vaults:3 | Reached skill level 15 in Stealth
 52133 | Vaults:3 | Noticed Saint Roka
 52161 | Vaults:3 | Killed Saint Roka
 53624 | Shoals:4 | Bought an uncursed ring of positive energy for 400 gold pieces
 53625 | Shoals:4 | Got an ancient turquoise ring
 53627 | Shoals:4 | Identified the ring of Rufesukk {+Inv rPois rN+ MR+ Dex-2} (You acquired it on level 4 of the Shoals)
 54219 | D:14     | Killed Rupert
 54280 | D:14     | Reached skill level 16 in Stealth
 54589 | Vaults:3 | Noticed a Tzitzimitl
 54591 | Vaults:3 | Noticed a Brimstone Fiend
 54912 | Vaults:3 | Reached XP level 21. HP: 149/149 MP: 33/33
 55712 | Vaults:4 | Got a twisted buckler
 55718 | Vaults:4 | Identified the +1 buckler of Lugonu's Anger {rElec Str+7 Dex-5 SInv} (You found it on level 4 of the Vaults)
 56589 | Vaults:4 | Found a shimmering altar of Xom.
 57247 | Vaults:4 | Paralysed by a floating eye for 3 turns
 58355 | Spider:4 | Entered Level 4 of the Spider Nest
 58761 | Spider:4 | Reached skill level 17 in Stealth
 59162 | Spider:4 | Reached skill level 15 in Fighting
 59609 | Spider:4 | Got a gossamer rune of Zot
 59986 | Lair:3   | Found a staircase to the Shoals.
 60030 | Lair:3   | Found a hole to the Spider Nest.

Skill      XL: |  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 |
---------------+----------------------------------------------------------------+-----
Stealth        |     1     2  3  4     6  7           8  9 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 | 17.4
Long Blades    |        3                                                       |  3.9
Evocations     |           1     2  3  4  5           6  7  8  9 10    11 12 13 | 13.9
Short Blades   |              1  3  4  5  7  9 11                               | 11.5
Fighting       |                 4     5  6  7  8  9 10 11    12    13    14 15 | 15.2
Dodging        |                    4  5  6  7  8  9 10    11    12    13 14    | 14.9
Shields        |                          4  5  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15       | 15.1
Hexes          |                                   3  6  8 10 11 12 13 14       | 14.2
Translocations |                                   2  3  5                      |  5.5
Spellcasting   |                                   1  3  4  6              8  9 |  9.1
Charms         |                                   1  3        5  6             |  6.4
Necromancy     |                                               3  5             |  5.3

Action                   |  1- 3 |  4- 6 |  7- 9 | 10-12 | 13-15 | 16-18 | 19-21 || total
-------------------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------++-------
Melee: Long sword        |    70 |    17 |       |       |       |       |       ||    87
       Constrict         |    23 |    17 |    34 |   170 |   337 |   481 |   470 ||  1532
       Tentacles         |    15 |    27 |   106 |   408 |   799 |   574 |   780 ||  2709
       Dagger            |       |    58 |   297 |  1051 |  2378 |  1941 |  2358 ||  8083
       Scimitar          |       |       |       |       |    87 |       |       ||    87
       Unarmed           |       |       |       |       |    31 |       |       ||    31
 Fire: Hunting sling     |       |       |     7 |     9 |       |       |       ||    16
Throw: Stone             |     2 |       |       |       |       |       |       ||     2
 Cast: Confuse           |       |       |       |     3 |    15 |   102 |    98 ||   218
       Slow              |       |       |       |     2 |     5 |       |    16 ||    23
       Song of Slaying   |       |       |       |     2 |     3 |       |     3 ||     8
       Regeneration      |       |       |       |       |       |    98 |   248 ||   346
       Tukima's Dance    |       |       |       |       |       |    34 |    16 ||    50
       Blink             |       |       |       |       |       |       |    15 ||    15
       Spectral Weapon   |       |       |       |       |       |       |     5 ||     5
Invok: Serpent's Lash    |       |       |       |       |     3 |    13 |     5 ||    21
 Abil: Evoke Invisibilit |       |       |       |       |       |     5 |     1 ||     6
Evoke: Wand              |       |       |    13 |     4 |     4 |     9 |    18 ||    48
       Phial of floods   |       |       |       |       |       |       |     1 ||     1
  Use: Scroll            |       |     7 |     6 |     8 |    21 |    18 |    13 ||    73
       Potion            |       |     1 |     1 |     1 |     4 |     5 |     5 ||    17
 Stab: Sleeping          |     5 |     2 |    10 |    33 |    60 |    50 |    30 ||   190
       Distracted        |       |       |     1 |     5 |    14 |    35 |    30 ||    85
       Confused          |       |       |     1 |     2 |     6 |    29 |    25 ||    63
       Invisible         |       |       |       |       |       |     2 |     7 ||     9
       Held in net/web   |       |       |       |       |       |       |     1 ||     1
  Eat: Chunk             |     4 |     4 |    12 |    21 |    30 |    44 |    55 ||   170
       Royal jelly       |       |       |     1 |     1 |       |     2 |     1 ||     5
       Bread ration      |       |       |       |       |     4 |     7 |       ||    11
       Meat ration       |       |       |       |       |     2 |       |     3 ||     5
       Fruit             |       |       |       |       |     2 |     2 |       ||     4
Armor: Skin              |     2 |     7 |    21 |    35 |    70 |    26 |    12 ||   173
Dodge: Dodged            |    28 |    25 |   109 |   310 |   801 |   483 |   396 ||  2152
Block: Shield            |    22 |    22 |    75 |   216 |    95 |   597 |   510 ||  1537
       Buckler           |       |       |       |    19 |   493 |       |    71 ||   583
       Reflection        |       |       |       |       |    67 |   129 |   122 ||   318
Rpst.: Long sword        |     9 |       |       |       |       |       |       ||     9
       Scimitar          |       |       |       |       |     8 |       |       ||     8



Here are my thoughts:

  1. Martial attacks are pretty fun. However, I am not sure if they are fun because they are broken. I'll try to comment on them separately.
  2. Whirlwind is pretty strong but perhaps it's ok (it's roughly the same ability as flanking in Sil. dodging + flanking in Sil is probably the strongest way to play). I didn't have any problems with not tab-ing; it was pretty smooth.
  3. Wall jump is simply broken. It is pretty much a free escape tool. Not only does it give fast movement, but it can also distract monsters who are chasing you.
  4. Serpent's lash is very strong. It should perhaps have higher piety cost (probably will be still too strong, in my opinion) or it should perhaps only give one free turn.
  5. Lunge has very good synergy with short blades (fast weapons in general). I got lucky in finding a dagger of distortion early. With lunge, I get two distortion effects plus aux attacks on a monster two steps away, before the monster gets a single attack (often the monster is blinked, teleported, or banished or killed, so it doesn't even get to hit me once). It's hilarious, but I'm not at all sure that it isn't broken. Lunge and/or serpent's lash also helps in stabbing unaware or asleep monsters; you can stab monsters with 100% success up to 4 steps away by combining serpent's lash and lunge.
  6. I didn't really use heaven on earth because octopodes are so squishy, so my piety has basically always been maxed. I could use serpent's lash as much as I wanted.
User avatar

Abyss Ambulator

Posts: 1111

Joined: Monday, 18th March 2013, 23:23

Post Saturday, 25th February 2017, 04:30

Re: Balancing the Council God

bel wrote:Wall jumping is fairly powerful, you can pretty much always escape from a normal speed monster using it.

Doesnt wrote:Lunge seems pretty pointless so far though

Among other uses, you can lunge with a dagger for a stab, which cuts down the time for a monster to notice you and wake up. (Actually, I'm not quite sure; does the monster get a stealth check before you hit it with a lunge? I'd have to look at the code to be sure). It's a decent ability, from what little I've played with it so far.


I tried the god on a SpEn recently, and it was the first time I'd used the god since it was doling out divine weapons and had "crosstrain all weapon skills at 80%." Lunge is pretty ridiculous for stabs, and whirlwind with a +9 qblade is pretty good at quickly whittling down groups. I wound up dying due to stupidly trying to passwall away from 3 meliai, failing to realize how many free smites they would get in on me. But that particular user error would have gotten me killed regardless of which god I was using. I'm pretty sure there is no stealth check involved on the actual lunge itself; mechanically it seems to work similarly to using reach on a polearm, except you actually move forward a square.

ETA: Ironically, wall jump is the most difficult move to use consistently with Sp because in the process of getting to a wall to jump off of, you frequently open up too much space between yourself and the monster following you and it becomes more effective to just lunge at it.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 8783

Joined: Sunday, 5th May 2013, 08:25

Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 01:41

Re: Balancing the Council God

There's a huge advantage to martial attacks that should be obvious but everyone here is somehow either pretty much ignoring it or even trying to sell it as a disadvantage: The ability to combine multiple attacks into one action. This is because monsters do not act. The player acts, and monsters react. If a player takes 100 aut to kill an ogre, but those 100 aut happen within a single player action, the ogre dies without getting a single action of its own. As a result, if your attack delay is lower than your movement delay, and you're fighting a single monster (which you usually are, especially since the god makes it even easier to separate monsters than usual...), the monster gets fewer actions if you use whirlwinds/walljumps instead of regular attacks, even *without* the extra bonuses for using whirlwinds and wall jumps. The monster getting fewer actions before it dies is the same effect that a damage bonus would give. This becomes relevant the earliest with Na and Ba, but applies to every character.

For this message the author duvessa has received thanks:
Lasty

bel

Cocytus Succeeder

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 06:30

Re: Balancing the Council God

duvessa wrote:There's a huge advantage to martial attacks that should be obvious but everyone here is somehow either pretty much ignoring it or even trying to sell it as a disadvantage: The ability to combine multiple attacks into one action. This is because monsters do not act. The player acts, and monsters react. If a player takes 100 aut to kill an ogre, but those 100 aut happen within a single player action, the ogre dies without getting a single action of its own. As a result, if your attack delay is lower than your movement delay, and you're fighting a single monster (which you usually are, especially since the god makes it even easier to separate monsters than usual...), the monster gets fewer actions if you use whirlwinds/walljumps instead of regular attacks, even *without* the extra bonuses for using whirlwinds and wall jumps. The monster getting fewer actions before it dies is the same effect that a damage bonus would give. This becomes relevant the earliest with Na and Ba, but applies to every character.

I described a similar phenomenon just a couple of posts above. It is not limited to wall jump and whirlwind, but applies even more to lunge, because you can use it on a monster two steps away:
bel wrote:Lunge has very good synergy with short blades (fast weapons in general). I got lucky in finding a dagger of distortion early. With lunge, I get two distortion effects plus aux attacks on a monster two steps away, before the monster gets a single attack (often the monster is blinked, teleported, or banished or killed, so it doesn't even get to hit me once). It's hilarious, but I'm not at all sure that it isn't broken.

I'm not sure why you say that lunge is different from wall jump/whirlwind in this regard (in the other thread - why are there two threads?). As far as I can see, the player gets the same number of attacks with a lunge as with a whirlwind/wall jump (assuming you are fighting a single, non-slowed/non-distracted monster and the appropriate conditions apply, and ignoring the slowing/distraction effects).

The number of attacks one gets is (move_delay^2) / (attack_delay * BASELINE_DELAY), randomly rounded (which is move_delay / attack_delay in most of the relevant cases). So if your move_delay is 1.2 and attack delay is 0.7, you get 1 or 2 attacks.
Last edited by bel on Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 06:39, edited 1 time in total.

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duvessa

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 06:38

Re: Balancing the Council God

bel wrote:I'm not sure why you say that lunge is different from wall jump/whirlwind in this regard (in the other thread - why are there two threads?). As far as I can see, you get the same number of attacks with a lunge as with a whirlwind/wall jump (assuming you are fighting a single, non-slowed/non-distracted monster and the appropriate conditions apply, and ignoring the slowing/distraction effects).
Lunge has the same advantage but you can't generally do consecutive lunges against a single monster without losing time inbetween, so it's less important.

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bel

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 06:48

Re: Balancing the Council God

huiren wrote:It would more or less kill the god to make the martial attacks activated. There's plenty of room to tweak them, but the heart of what makes the god good and interesting is that it fundamentally changes the way melee combat works.

I don't understand this sentence. The original concept of the god was completely different, with weapons and crosstraining and other complicated things. This and a hundred other things were reworked for various reasons - that didn't "kill" the god, but making the martial attacks active abilities would somehow do it?

In terms of mechanics, active martial attacks would be extremely straightforward. You press "aa" to activate martial attacks, then do whatever you do normally (dancing around monsters, wall jumping, lunging, whatever). The attacks could be buffed if needed (irrestible slow or distraction with whirlwind/wall jump is one possible idea).
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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 07:35

Re: Balancing the Council God

My suggestions:
Reduce martial attack damage by a small amount, in compensation for the status infliction chance
Increase status proc chance
Remove the entire slaying bonus from heaven on earth

Wu Jian is really fun!!

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 08:10

Re: Balancing the Council God

duvessa wrote:There's a huge advantage to martial attacks that should be obvious but everyone here is somehow either pretty much ignoring it or even trying to sell it as a disadvantage: The ability to combine multiple attacks into one action. This is because monsters do not act. The player acts, and monsters react. If a player takes 100 aut to kill an ogre, but those 100 aut happen within a single player action, the ogre dies without getting a single action of its own. As a result, if your attack delay is lower than your movement delay, and you're fighting a single monster (which you usually are, especially since the god makes it even easier to separate monsters than usual...), the monster gets fewer actions if you use whirlwinds/walljumps instead of regular attacks, even *without* the extra bonuses for using whirlwinds and wall jumps. The monster getting fewer actions before it dies is the same effect that a damage bonus would give. This becomes relevant the earliest with Na and Ba, but applies to every character.

This is very true, and a good point to raise. However, there is a bit of missing nuance in your analysis.

Since the number of attacks is integer and subject to weighted rounding, unless your move delay is a perfect multiple of your attack delay, your variance goes up and there is a chance your martial attack would be less effective than tabbing.

To give you an example, if you have an attack delay of 6 and a move delay of 10, while most of your lunges will strike twice, there is a chance they will strike once. When they do, your AUT expenditure is inefficient and you will be punished. This is infrequent, but DCSS is a game of difficulty spikes, so it only takes it happening in a bad scenario to be noticeable. You can argue that over a significant amount of martial attacks against the same tough monster the issue disappears, but the opposite argument is also true: The more attacks you use against a monster, the more martial attacks and tabbing are normalized in terms of damage per aut (leaving all other effects aside).

bel wrote:I don't understand this sentence. The original concept of the god was completely different, with weapons and crosstraining and other complicated things. This and a hundred other things were reworked for various reasons - that didn't "kill" the god, but making the martial attacks active abilities would somehow do it?

In terms of mechanics, active martial attacks would be extremely straightforward. You press "aa" to activate martial attacks, then do whatever you do normally (dancing around monsters, wall jumping, lunging, whatever). The attacks could be buffed if needed (irrestible slow or distraction with whirlwind/wall jump is one possible idea).


The god hasn't been changing randomly at my (or anyone's) whim. It has been converging towards a design that works. As our experience with it increases I'm interested in progressive smaller tweaks that iterate on the current ideas, not sweeping changes or full reforms. What you propose is not only a radical change but also kills the identity of the current incarnation of the god for little gain.

bel

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 09:56

Re: Balancing the Council God

Steel Neuron wrote:
bel wrote:I don't understand this sentence. The original concept of the god was completely different, with weapons and crosstraining and other complicated things. This and a hundred other things were reworked for various reasons - that didn't "kill" the god, but making the martial attacks active abilities would somehow do it?

In terms of mechanics, active martial attacks would be extremely straightforward. You press "aa" to activate martial attacks, then do whatever you do normally (dancing around monsters, wall jumping, lunging, whatever). The attacks could be buffed if needed (irrestible slow or distraction with whirlwind/wall jump is one possible idea).


The god hasn't been changing randomly at my (or anyone's) whim. It has been converging towards a design that works. As our experience with it increases I'm interested in progressive smaller tweaks that iterate on the current ideas, not sweeping changes or full reforms. What you propose is not only a radical change but also kills the identity of the current incarnation of the god for little gain.

I didn't say that the changes were random or on anyone's whim. I am saying that making the martial attacks active would be an order of magnitude less radical than all that interaction with weapons and crosstraining and a hundred other things which were part of the god's original design.

It's ok if you are only interested in making tweaks rather than more radical changes; you're doing the work after all. That is not relevant to the argument I made.

I am also focused on making things "work", unfortunately, we differ on what "works". I tried to explain what works and what doesn't work in detail above.

Steel Neuron wrote: These are the changes I will propose:

  • Whirlwind will deal 70% of weapon damage, with a slightly higher chance to slow.
  • Wall Jump will take 150% auts to execute, but the attack part will be normalized against 100% auts as before. Distract chance may or may not need to be increased against adjacent targets.

These two effects will have a significant impact since they will make both martial attacks less effective in combat and more specialized, with the added benefit of reducing Wall Jump's effectiveness as an escape tool.


The 150% delay would not help with the escape potential of wall jump. It doesn't matter (for normal speed monsters, which are the vast majority of monsters the player encounters) whether you can move 2 steps in 1.5 turns or 1 turn; you can still escape reliably.

I an unclear what the whirlwind change is meant to achieve. I see two problems with it:

Firstly, right now, you can simply dance around monsters without caring about whether they are slowed or not; since whirlwind is at least as good as Tabbing. However, now you will be incentivized to check the status of the monster each turn. If it has been slowed then you Tab or lunge, otherwise you continue with whirlwind. The complexity only increases if there are multiple monsters around.

Secondly, people will be even more incentivized to use short blades or other fast weapons to slow the monster, then switch to another weapon to tab the monster. I am currently playing a VpEn; I use a dagger of speed to slow the monster (I get three chances to slow the monster every 10 auts), then use a long blade to finish it off.

In general, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with fiddly mechanics. As I said above, I don't find using "jkjkjk" instead of "Tab" burdensome or tedious; people who are attached to their Tab key can worship another god if they wish. It's ok if the council god only appeals to certain players.

However, I am not sure that adding this kind of cognitive load for unclear benefits is a good thing.

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 10:14

Re: Balancing the Council God

bel wrote:The 150% delay would not help with the escape potential of wall jump. It doesn't matter (for normal speed monsters, which are the vast majority of monsters the player encounters) whether you can move 2 steps in 1.5 turns or 1 turn; you can still escape reliably.


You have a point, but I disagree with the details. By that metric, just moving 1 aut faster would be enough to outrun anything in the game. If you want to outrun one yak the change to wall jump isn't that noticeable. However, the situations that wall jump is not meant to bail you out so easily are those in which you've gotten yourself surrounded by ranged monsters, by multiple enemies in different directions, etcetera. Having a 50% increased AUT cost for wall jump would make it way less reliable an escape in the situations that matter.

bel wrote:I an unclear what reducing whirlwind damage and increasing probability of the slow effect is meant to achieve. I see two problems with it:

Firstly, right now, you can simply dance around monsters without caring about whether they are slowed or not; since whirlwind is at least as good as Tabbing. However, now you will be incentivized to check the status of the monster each turn. If it has been slowed then you Tab, otherwise you continue with martial attacks. The complexity only increases if there are multiple monsters around.


Forgive me, I'm going to get a bit more theoretical about design now. What we're talking about in the end is feedback loops. Feedback loops are a very useful element in game design and DCSS makes a very interesting use of them (namely, it gives the player a lot of tools to completely remove feedback loops as their power level increases with respect to the environment to reduce tedium). WJC is built on the idea of adding a few feedback loops to melee combat, and the design is based upon the assumption that the player will enjoy the process of being constantly aware of the changing conditions of the fight and reacting accordingly.

This feeling of noticing a minor change in the fight and adapting to it is what many people are finding fun about the god. However, I fully expect it not to be for everyone. People play DCSS for different reasons. Some players are more interested in the strategic aspect, while combat tactics are something they might want to focus on only for very specific difficult encounters. For this kind of player, knowing that martial attacks are unconditionally going to be better than tabbing, the god will result in frustration, as they will be forced to constantly and attentively engage with a part of the game that isn't their main focus.

The changes I propose to whirlwind will, indeed, increase the importance of this feedback loop, because whirlwind becomes suboptimal once the slow lands. My argument is that for the kind of player that enjoys WJC, this is fantastic news. On the other hand, it achieves the converse goal, for the kind of player that might have reservations about WJC, they are allowed to forgo whirlwind in simple fights, choosing to save it for difficult encounters where they feel it is worthwhile to become more engaged. The net result is that the feedback loop is deeper, but also optional.

"jkjkjk" spam should be never optimal. It means the feedback loop has broken, and that's just another flavour of tab, so if the player is ever tempted to do this, it means the design is subtly wrong and needs to be corrected so the player uses tab instead, since it has a lot of built in quality of life mechanics like stopping on low hp and walking towards monsters. I don't think there's a kind of player that would enjoy the "jkjkjk" playstyle. You either want the feedback loops on a fight, or you don't. Either way, you want the martial attacks and tabbing to be good choices in the respective cases.

bel wrote:Secondly, people will be even more incentivized to use short blades or other fast weapons to slow the monster, then switch to another weapon to tab the monster. I am currently playing a VpEn; I use a dagger of speed to slow the monster (I get three chances to slow the monster every 10 auts), then use a long blade to finish it off.


I've sometimes considered making slow chance trigger on the whole flurry instead of each individual strike, but I think there's some charm in allowing a player that specialized in two different weapon types to benefit from their differences, which is something that is often missing from DCSS. What you describe sounds like a fun way to use the god but not necessarily broken or overcentralising. I want to try it now, actually :)

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 14:23

Re: Balancing the Council God

More on the feedback loop: there needs to be a way to see that a monster is slowed on console. Currently `v` is the only way, it doesn't show up on the monster list on the side, nor is there any visual indicator. This is a huge hindrance to getting in a flow state with the god, because you will never know whether a monster is a good lunge target at a glance.

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bel

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 14:53

Re: Balancing the Council God

The issue isn't about feedback loops; the issue is whether there's an actual decision to be made.

If one path is clearly better than the others, there's no actual meaningful decision being made, just different keypresses. So, if you whirlwind till you slow the monster, then Tab, that has no more interesting decisions than if you simply whirlwind all the time. Therefore, I don't see what exactly the whirlwind change accomplishes. If there's one clear best path, it should be made as painless as possible; that's why Tab exists.

I can illustrate this with another example from Sil. In Sil, there are two skills, called Blocking and Focused Attack. If you rest with a shield equipped, your effective AC increases. And if you rest one turn before attacking, your next hit has a higher chance to hit (which in Sil means higher chance of criticals). So, with a shield, the optimal way to play is often block, then hit, then block, then hit and so on (but not always, you want to hit Trolls every turn, using another skill called Concentration, because Trolls regenerate so fast and trample you).

Now, Sil has no Tab, but this sequence requires no actual decisions at all, even though there's a "feedback loop" operating. The decisions are whether you want to learn blocking/focused attack or not, or go into another build.

Another point is that there are hundreds of fights in crawl (crawl is a MUCH longer game than Sil); these (mostly) meaningless decisions about keypresses add up if you're doing it again and again.

I second the console issue; I play mostly on console and it bothered me a fair bit that I had to xv monsters in the middle of a fight (this is one reason I recently opened a thread in GDD about the possibility of glyph decorations indicating status effects).
Last edited by bel on Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 15:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 15:06

Re: Balancing the Council God

bel wrote:If one path is clearly better than the others, there's no actual meaningful decision being made, just different keypresses. So, if you whirlwind till you slow the monster, then Tab, that has no more interesting decisions than if you simply whirlwind all the time. Therefore, I don't see what exactly the whirlwind change accomplishes. If there's one clear best path, it should be made as painless as possible; that's why Tab exists.


There are at least five paths form a successful slow:

  • Tab, if you're fighting a single enemy and want to maximize DPS.
  • Walk back for a lunge, if you want to maximize burst damage.
  • Wall jump to the other side of an enemy, to deal damage and hopefully set up a distracted+slowed lunge, but taking the risk of extra retaliation.
  • Wall jump away from the monster, setting up a lunge (and possibly a distracted+slowed lunge), taking less inbound damage, but sacrificing slow duration.
  • Whirlwind, if there are multiple enemies, because the combined DPS is better than tabbing (arguably, this is okay even against a single target, if you really want to guarantee that the slow sticks).

Not only that, but the change doubles the number of choices when sitting in front of a single isolated target with no walls around. Before, the only choice was whirlwind. Now, you have tab and whirlwind, which are both valid. This is good because it allows the low-effort, open loop approach to exist, for when you do not care about a fight.

bel wrote:Another point is that there are hundreds of fights in crawl (crawl is a MUCH longer game than Sil); these (mostly) meaningless decisions about keypresses add up if you're doing it again and again.

And that's exactly what I'm trying to solve with my proposal! It almost feels like you're trying to agree with me, but you've come at it from an opposed perspective and don't want to let go of the idea of making martial arts active. I don't think I'm ever going to be on board with that unless there is overwhelming support, and nobody else has either proposed it or agreed, so we can work towards a different solution or just not communicate.

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 15:42

Re: Balancing the Council God

I don't have an argument to add in the discussion between bel and SteelNeuron, but on the specific subtopic of whether martial attacks should be activated, I feel strongly that they should not. I am certain that doing so would kill any hope of the god being fun by making something that should be quick and smooth take additional thought and key presses.

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 15:47

Re: Balancing the Council God

Re: feedback loops and decisions,

The most enjoyable parts of this god are when you chain together martial attacks and achieve "combos" and force multipliers. For example, the most basic is whirlwinding past an enemy while lunging at another distracted monster. Seeing two, three monsters pop with well placed movements, maneuvering to create holes to jump in and out of, and adjusting lunge patterns to account for disorientation is what *makes* the god. It's not a no brainer as bel makes out (whirl until slow, then tab), there is room for learning and a state of flow which is very enjoyable. A tight feedback loop (status visible at a glance) is a must for this to actually be possible.

> Another point is that there are hundreds of fights in crawl (crawl is a MUCH longer game than Sil); these (mostly) meaningless decisions about keypresses add up if you're doing it again and again.

I disagree that these are meaningless decisions, due to the fact that in any encounter the number of branching paths of movement are enormous, and the ceiling for efficacy is pretty damn high. And if you actually enjoy the play style as I do, the fact that difficult encounters require thought about where you move each turn becomes a good thing! Popcorn is popcorn, you'll tab through it anyways. For the hard fights, which are the interesting ones after all, WJC will ideally add a dimension of active positioning skill. This can be heightened by increasing the cost for "bad" movements, by adding AUTs so that you get hit more if you wall jump into a pack without a plan, for example.

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bel

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Post Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 15:49

Re: Balancing the Council God

Lasty wrote:I don't have an argument to add in the discussion between bel and SteelNeuron, but on the specific subtopic of whether martial attacks should be activated, I feel strongly that they should not. I am certain that doing so would kill any hope of the god being fun by making something that should be quick and smooth take additional thought and key presses.

sooheon wrote:Re: feedback loops and decisions,

The most enjoyable parts of this god are when you chain together martial attacks and achieve "combos" and force multipliers. For example, the most basic is whirlwinding past an enemy while lunging at another distracted monster. Seeing two, three monsters pop with well placed movements, maneuvering to create holes to jump in and out of, and adjusting lunge patterns to account for disorientation is what *makes* the god. It's not a no brainer as bel makes out (whirl until slow, then tab), there is room for learning and a state of flow which is very enjoyable. A tight feedback loop (status visible at a glance) is a must for this to actually be possible.

> Another point is that there are hundreds of fights in crawl (crawl is a MUCH longer game than Sil); these (mostly) meaningless decisions about keypresses add up if you're doing it again and again.

I disagree that these are meaningless decisions, due to the fact that in any encounter the number of branching paths of movement are enormous, and the ceiling for efficacy is pretty damn high. And if you actually enjoy the play style as I do, the fact that difficult encounters require thought about where you move each turn becomes a good thing! Popcorn is popcorn, you'll tab through it anyways. For the hard fights, which are the interesting ones after all, WJC will ideally add a dimension of active positioning skill. This can be heightened by increasing the cost for "bad" movements, by adding AUTs so that you get hit more if you wall jump into a pack without a plan, for example.

Let me just clarify one point about what I mean by "active martial attacks", because I don't think people are talking about the same thing as me. I am talking about a status effect like Heroism, where you press "aa" and you get to do whatever martial attacks you want for a while, and then the status fades.

You'll still have all kinds of positioning thinking you want, and it will be perfectly smooth and require no extra keypresses (except for the initial "aa"). The only difference is that you'll only be using the abilities in the fights that matter, not in all fights.

By the way, whirlwind can also be used as an escape option (because of the associated slow), but it's not completely reliable like wall jump.

I happen to think that many of the problems with the mechanics arise largely because they're free. Making them cost something (piety, exhaustion, whatever) is the most logical and simplest way to proceed, reduces cognitive load and fixes the (perceived) brokenness. And it will certainly not "kill" the god (or at least I don't see how it kills the god).

Ok, I'll now really shut up for a while.
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