Confusing Touch is too strong


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

Snake Sneak

Posts: 91

Joined: Thursday, 23rd November 2017, 02:14

Post Saturday, 12th January 2019, 23:58

Confusing Touch is too strong

Confusing Touch is a level 1 spell that even at low power can completely disable most enemies in a 3-rune game long enough to kill them. It was always very strong, but it wasn't noticed as much because of the time and annoyance of switching between weapons and unarmed.

It's a spell for Skalds but it's too strong for Skalds to get it. It's overpowered but (still) kind of annoying to use. It's not a well-designed spell IMO.

For this message the author bhauth has received thanks:
duvessa
User avatar

Spider Stomper

Posts: 227

Joined: Thursday, 1st November 2018, 02:33

Post Sunday, 13th January 2019, 01:17

Re: Confusing Touch is too strong

I've always found these claims about confusing touch kind of strange in that they're often made in relation to confusion, which is clearly more powerful and useful. The line usually goes that HD-based resistance brings monsters that are hard to get with confusion into consideration, but confusion is very effective against many monsters you wouldn't want to melee straight-up. Both spells effectively kill the target in any remotely controlled situation. The confusion effect itself is the real problem where power is concerned.

On the interface side of it, the problem is not and was not ever primarily weapon switching, but having to perform multiple actions to apply the effect once. I would argue that targeted hexes have a similar issue of requiring repeated casts of an all or nothing effect (when of course you can repeat as many times as needed by resetting fights). On the other hand, there is something to be said for a spell that applies its effect in the course of normal melee combat. My suggestion is that both spells could be improved by a merge doing away with HD-resistance and the power of hexes at range. The mechanics of infusion are a better guide here, because there at least the player needs to commit to some combat to get a chance for the confusion proc death blow.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

Elite Crawl Power Player -- Pro Advice, Superior Design Opinion

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 8594

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

Post Sunday, 13th January 2019, 05:24

Re: Confusing Touch is too strong

tealizard wrote:I've always found these claims about confusing touch kind of strange in that they're often made in relation to confusion, which is clearly more powerful and useful. The line usually goes that HD-based resistance brings monsters that are hard to get with confusion into consideration, but confusion is very effective against many monsters you wouldn't want to melee straight-up. Both spells effectively kill the target in any remotely controlled situation. The confusion effect itself is the real problem where power is concerned.
The big thing that makes Confusing Touch a better spell than Confuse is that Confusing Touch works on everything even if you have no spell power at all. To get a lot out of Confuse you have to actually train a skill.

For this message the author duvessa has received thanks:
nago

Spider Stomper

Posts: 189

Joined: Sunday, 11th September 2016, 17:21

Post Sunday, 13th January 2019, 17:28

Re: Confusing Touch is too strong

That's not accurate. Sure, spell power doesn't affect confusion chance for Confusing Touch, but it won't work on enemies that can successfully evade your Unarmed Combat attacks or that have very high HD. So, basically, instead of the primary and secondary skills being Enchantments and Spellcasting, they're Unarmed Combat and Fighting. Even monsters that don't have enough HD to be immune might still have enough HD to resist the confusion effect long enough for either the monster or the player to die. CT is an excellent spell for low-level Transmuters lucky enough to find it, however.

Dungeon Master

Posts: 181

Joined: Thursday, 27th November 2014, 19:12

Post Sunday, 13th January 2019, 18:20

Re: Confusing Touch is too strong

1. I changed CT in trunk to work with any weapon.

2. Before that, even at zero skill UC, everyone has a lot of Fighting trained and CT-attacks got a huge boost to accuracy.

I played two games making sure to use CT whenever I could before the change, and one after. It's a bit of a theoretical buff, but the CT accuracy boost meant that in practice against all but the dodgiest monsters the net buff of 1. was not much.

I also wrote in the commit message that the spell was probably too strong, but that an interface screw (swapping to unarmed) shouldn't be used as a balance tool.

For this message the author ebering has received thanks: 3
mdonais, Nekoatl, njvack

Spider Stomper

Posts: 189

Joined: Sunday, 11th September 2016, 17:21

Post Monday, 14th January 2019, 01:57

Re: Confusing Touch is too strong

That's a nice change, but even so, there are plenty of situations where Confuse is stronger than Confusing Touch. Not only does Confuse allow a player to disable ranged threats from a distance (and without the chance of the enemy randomly performing a melee attack against the player), but it also is much more likely to affect some enemies. Take Sphinxes for example: a strong spellcaster can Confuse them at range with ~80% success, disabling their crowd control and smite spells, whereas Confusing Touch would only have ~25% chance of success (per swing). Neglecting spell power also means fewer chances to score a hit.

Also, not everyone heavily trains fighting on all of their characters (and especially not until later in the game), and not every character has a huge amount of Dex for the accuracy bonus.

All that said, I think we can agree that Confusing Touch, while not necessarily better, is at least more consistently useful. Not only are there a number of monsters that CT can affect which are completely immune to Confuse (and I've yet to find an example of one that is immune to CT and not also immune to Confuse), but also most characters are already inclined to heavily train a weapon skill and Fighting even without CT. Having the range of HD that are susceptible (and consequently the chance of affecting enemies in general) scale with spell power is worth considering, as it would create more of an incentive for players to invest skill points specifically into making the spell more useful.

... Now I'm tempted to try using Confusing Touch with ranged weapons.

Lair Larrikin

Posts: 24

Joined: Sunday, 26th February 2012, 07:01

Post Monday, 14th January 2019, 04:43

Re: Confusing Touch is too strong

I like when a few low level spells are attractive to hybrid characters. Skald does this really well and adds a playstyle choice to the game.

Confusing touch does the same thing which is great but you can't cast it with plate or a large shield so you have to make some choices.

Maybe Confusing Touch is a bit too strong. We should look after a tournament how much it is getting played, it could be weaker and still be ok.

For this message the author mdonais has received thanks:
byrel

Snake Sneak

Posts: 126

Joined: Friday, 13th March 2015, 13:33

Post Monday, 14th January 2019, 04:50

Re: Confusing Touch is too strong

The spell is really too strong. You can actually literally kill everything except like OOF, ancient lich and tentacled monstrousity in a 3 rune game with this spell. I probably missed some exceptions but those 3 are the only ones that comes to mind.

This spell is better than confuse in a number of ways. Obviously the biggest one is MR ignoring effect. Then there is MP efficiency. In a corridor or corner, you can confuse monsters one by one all day long. Also it doesn't care about spell power. This means you can pump dex at lvl ups and get higher dodge, stealth, stab damage, and most importantly, confusion stab chance.

It was pointed out earlier that to hit chance wasn't much of a factor and I agree, but there is a big difference in attack speed between untrained unarmed confusing touch and a short blade one.

For this message the author gameguard has received thanks:
nago

Shoals Surfer

Posts: 250

Joined: Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 19:14

Post Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 22:45

Re: Confusing Touch is too strong

gameguard wrote:The spell is really too strong. You can actually literally kill everything except like OOF, ancient lich and tentacled monstrousity in a 3 rune game with this spell. I probably missed some exceptions but those 3 are the only ones that comes to mind.

This spell is better than confuse in a number of ways. Obviously the biggest one is MR ignoring effect. Then there is MP efficiency. In a corridor or corner, you can confuse monsters one by one all day long. Also it doesn't care about spell power. This means you can pump dex at lvl ups and get higher dodge, stealth, stab damage, and most importantly, confusion stab chance.

It was pointed out earlier that to hit chance wasn't much of a factor and I agree, but there is a big difference in attack speed between untrained unarmed confusing touch and a short blade one.


You can kill 3 rune monsters in corridors using a rapier with no stabbing bonus.

Confusing touch requires you to cast the spell, then another turn to touch the enemy to inflict confusion. On many enemies, it only lasts a few turns after you do both of these things. High HD monsters break it very fast, and typically aren't things you want to face tank with a stabbing weapon under ideal circumstances.

Hearing how strong it supposedly was I've tried this spell numerous times (not a big opportunity cost) and even on hex-centric builds I find confuse consistently outperforms it. Confuse is a level 3 spell so that's okay, but it's debatable whether CT is even better than animate skeleton, apportation, or summon butterflies.

Return to Game Design Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by ST Software for PTF.