Stat upgrades on hybrids


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Swamp Slogger

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Post Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 01:52

Stat upgrades on hybrids

How do you pick stat upgrades on a hybrid, by which I mean, a lightly-armoured melee fighter with support spells?

I've been playing a lot of that kind of character lately (specifically warpers, but I don't want to restrict the question to just that background).

At first, I was putting most of my upgrades into DEX thinking it would increase EV, but it didn't seem to have any effect, so in more recent games, I changed to a combination of INT for spell success/power and STR for increased damage. I'm not sure if that makes sense though.

My latest game is an OgWr. I've put my early stat upgrades into DEX only because he started with 8 DEX, which seemed really low compared to STR/INT, which were in the low-mid teens. Also, I'm using polearms and I find I need to switch down from a halberd/glaive to a trident to have any chance of hitting evasive monsters like spriggans, which I put down to my low DEX.
Does it make sense to prioritise DEX (or any other stat) on a hybrid if it's particularly low?

Cocytus Succeeder

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Post Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 06:25

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

There are at least 2 more important things to consider.

1. Your species
If you are an ogre, you have high starting Str and gain additional Str on level-ups. You will likely have all the Str you'll need. On the other hand, if you are a deep elf, it is quite likely your Str needs some help even in mid-tier armour.
2. You key spell
Does it care about spell power? If yes, then raising Int is more attractive. For example, Vile clutch does care about spell power wile lightning spire not really.

In the case of your ogre, I would choose between Dex and Int. Str only comes into the picture if you want gold dragon scales.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Thursday, 12th December 2019, 12:28

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

Magipi wrote:You will likely have all the Str you'll need

How do you determine how much of a stat is "all you'll need".

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 16:18

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

The calculations for the relationship between arnour, strength, dodging, dex, spell success and int are fairly complex.

As a short heuristic I would suggest aiming for:
If you're casting spells that benefit from spellpower, get Int, especially early.
Next, consider what kind of armour you want to wear, then aim for strength ~ encumbrance rating + 2. Also, there is some benefit in having enough strength to be able to absorb some stat drain in certain parts of the game. 10 is usually enough, and can also be supplemented with items as necessary.
Finally, fill in with Dex, especially if not going for higher level spells. Above 24 dex gets less useful I believe, but never bothered to look into the insane calculation myself.

Shoals Surfer

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Post Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 15:09

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

4Hooves2Appendages wrote:Next, consider what kind of armour you want to wear, then aim for strength ~ encumbrance rating + 2.

The ER^2 term means such a rule of thumb cannot be correct.
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Tomb Titivator

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Post Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 15:46

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

As I have already pointed out in another thread, ER^2/strenght - ER^2/(strenght +1) ~ ER^2/strenght^2. Hence a linear correlation between strength & ER is expected.

Swamp Slogger

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Post Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 16:36

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

There was a recent thread on the topic of stat choices in general, which you may find helpful.

I will go into more detail here. In my experience, a stat increase will do roughly this much (I am talking about after all stepdowns and interactions, so a lot of character-specific stuff is handwaved, making this a very rough approximation):

STR: about 1/4 to 3/4 of 1 slaying, and in heavy armour, about 1/4 to 1/2 of 1 EV and about 1/2 to 3/2 percentage points of spell success increase.
INT: about 1/2 to 1 percentage points of spell success increase and about 2 to 4 spell power increase.
DEX: about 1/4 to 3/4 of 1 EV.

Some versions ago, STR used to have a much smaller effect on attack damage, and a sharp falloff in effect on armour penalty reduction after a certain amount based on the armour, so DEX was often the best choice for characters who had sufficient STR and didn't care about spell power. In my opinion the advice about having enough STR and needing more DEX is a relic of that time and is no longer true. Currently, in my opinion most characters are very strongly impacted by attack damage, spell power or both, much moreso than they are by EV, so DEX is generally quite bad.

Now for your question about lightly-armoured melee fighters with support spells, you should decide whether attack damage or spell power matters more. A good rule of thumb is: imagine you are fighting a tough enemy for your area (a centaur in early D, a black mamba in lair, a fiend in hell, etc.). What causes that enemy to die, and does it depend on spell power? Example answers for "hybrid" characters: (1) I cast some buffs and melee it to death; my attack damage does a lot more than buff spell power, so I prefer STR. (2) I cast confuse until it's confused, then stab it to death; once confuse succeeds it's as good as dead, so spell power matters more than attack damage, so I prefer INT. Specifically for a Warper, if your plan is to abuse Teleport Other, I would suggest picking INT, but if not, STR.
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Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 17:48

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

I don't necessarily endorse the str rule of thumb (or the version stated in this thread in particular), but it's not crazy. At least historically, I believe it corresponded to a transition between two different formulas in the dodging penalty calculation. I don't know whether that's still the case, but the last commit that looks like it might change that, I think, does not, so I suspect it is.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 18:50

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

Better heuristics that don't require spreadsheets are of course welcome!
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 19th December 2019, 01:07

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

Personally, I still usually go by this rule: int if I want to raise the spellpower of my spells, otherwise str if my str is less than about 1.2 times the encumbrance rating of my body armour, otherwise dex.

There are some exceptions, like if I'm a draconian who uses melee, I might raise str for damage even though there is no ER.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 19th December 2019, 01:17

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

I think 4Hooves2Appendages is talking about the dodging penalty from body armour, which actually does still have a breakpoint at str = ER-2, and which actually doesn't have an ER^2 term. (Of course, just because you have a breakpoint there does not mean that is what you should raise strength to; raising dexterity is usually going to improve your dodging more even when your strength is well below that point!)

The penalties for spell success and accuracy, however, don't have breakpoints and do use ER^2. petercordia is talking about the specific case of comparing raising str to raising int for the specific purpose of improving spell success, but making us dig through their post history to figure that out.

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Thursday, 19th December 2019, 08:57

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

So what's the conclusion?

Get Int if you need spell power and/or want higher level spells, then what?

How does an unspoiled player make a reasonable choice between Str and Dex?

Maybe it would be easier if players didn't have to choose...

Tomb Titivator

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Post Thursday, 19th December 2019, 10:30

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

I actually agree that removing chosen stat gain weight be good.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 19th December 2019, 11:00

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

It's not like an unspoiled player can make an informed decision about skill training or weapon selection either. Stats are hardly an outlier in that regard.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 19th December 2019, 11:41

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

New players just should learn to learn from experience count exclamation marks.
  Code:
Your Int allowed you to cast more powerful spell!!
Your Dex allowed you to evade the arrow!!!!
Your Str allowed you to deal extra damage!


Jokes aside what do you think about Str/Int giving a chance of critical damage and Dex giving a chance to adjacent monster to hit itself?
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Mines Malingerer

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Post Thursday, 19th December 2019, 15:33

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

4Hooves2Appendages wrote:Better heuristics that don't require spreadsheets are of course welcome!

Game mechanics that aren't completely obscure are also welcome.

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Thursday, 19th December 2019, 16:38

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

I don't disagree, but that's not helping MrDizzy.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 19th December 2019, 17:26

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

My advice for a stat-picking method:
  Code:
 
Don't pick Dex, pick whichever stat helps you do more damage with your chosen damage type (Str for weapons, Int for spells)

Don't pick Int if you don't directly do damage with spells, it's not really even particularly worth it just for hexes, because by the time you get enough bonus from the stat choices to matter, the things you care about hexing will either be easy enough to hex or be unhexable. (If you are dagger stabbing with hexes, neither Str nor Int help much in the short term. However, you'll need to have another plan for damage doing long term when stuff is unhexable, and you should be increasing your stat relative to whatever that is)

For hybrids in non-light armour, it's often better to pick Str over Int for spell success on spells that don't care about spellpower (or so you can upgrade armour and retain the same spell success), however, since you're probably doing damage with a weapon if your spells don't care about spellpower, you'd be picking Str with that picking method anyway.

Dex unfortunately has pretty bad returns for the investment (even late game), and it gets worse the better armour you want to wear, and it gets worse the further away from 10 you are.

However in the long run, picking which stat you increase most optimally has very very little impact on your win rate, so don't stress about it, pick one that seems good right now and move on.
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Snake Sneak

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Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 19:22

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

Oh, I thought I was going insane. I started playing DCSS again after several years. I made a Barachi Fighter + Wu Jian Council, Long Blades, Evocations and all 3 defensive skills. I put several points into Dex. I just... couldn't kill stuff fast enough before they would bruise me pretty badly. I was regularly dropping below 50 HP. I was fighting in scale mail / chain mail depending on more preferable resists. I was bouncing between branches trying to find one that's reasonably easy, and ultimatedly died on Vault:2 after getting one rune.

Skills were like this:
22 AC, 20 EV, 16SH
Fighting 15, Long Blades 18 (+4 flaming scimitar), Armour 18, Dodging 16, Shields 15 (+1 shield), Evocations 13 (Only one Lamp of Fire and I had to buy it).
It's either putting points in Dex that dragged me down, or unusually bad equipment (two decent randart rings, +1 hat, +0 gloves, +0 boots, a few modestly enchanted armors of resistance). I was making extensive use of wands and calling even Heavenly Storm pretty often, and it was still very challenging compared to gnoll hybrids.

I'm getting an impression Dex is only really worth it for "robe" characters and stabbers.

Maybe I should have bought that Necklace of Bloodlust, (I only found Gourmand - worn - and Harm). But I suspect it would be even worse if I was regularly fainting.

Zot Zealot

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Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 19:49

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

b0rsuk wrote:+4 flaming scimitar


This is a weak weapon for Vaults.

I do not like shields that much especially because it is hard to find a good one handed weapon, and if you are unwilling to enchant up an inferior one (so you will have your scrolls for a demon kind), then you got stuck with a very weak weapon for a long long time.

Also, part of what is good in a demon blade that it does not require much XP for min delay. If you have 18 skill in long blades, you can use a great sword as well.

While DEX is weak (choose STR if you are a fighter), it does not matter that much. You were weak because of the inferior weapon, not because of 5 stat points moved from STR to DEX.

Snake Sneak

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Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 21:21

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

I always struggled with shielded characters for this reason. So even though shields nominally interfere with spellcasting it seems shield bearers actually must cast spells to make up for low damage (in early-mid game). Or use a combo like Formicid of Qazlal (with both Evocations and Invocations).

Tomb Titivator

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Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 21:28

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

Strange. I've never had that problem. I usually manage to get a broad axe/demon trident/etc fairly early, either by finding it or using acquirement.

Blades Runner

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Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 22:17

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

Demon blades are significantly more rare than broad axes (can spawn on orcs) or demon tridents (likely in shoals and more common on uniques AFAIK) in practice. Hell knights in depths can have any of the demon weapons, but you can get good 1h weapons from other types earlier/more often. Elf might get you a double sword, but that's not even kind of reliable.

Long blades are possibly the most awkward weapon type in terms of progression, as a scimitar is quite likely your best weapon before depths unless you go 2h. It's not like scimitars are completely awful though, and you do have cross training with short blades so you can pick up some elec/draining short blade since those litter D, O, and E.

Nothing wrong with using some magic to help out.

Snake Sneak

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Post Friday, 17th January 2020, 12:23

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

Moral of the story: I should have explored the Depths first.

Blades Runner

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Post Friday, 17th January 2020, 22:02

Re: Stat upgrades on hybrids

Depths are more dangerous than elf and vaults, however. I usually go S branches --> Elf --> Vaults --> Depths.

Scimitar +4 isn't amazing but it should be workable in vaults still. I had a game where I was stuck w/o demon blade until V:5. Scimitar is better than trident, slightly better than war axe, worse than broad axe/demon weapons.

If you want a common/consistent melee type go with maces & flails. Branded whips are pretty common early game, 1h morningstars are common and are as effective as a broad axe in 1v1 situations. Eveningstar while rare is the highest base damage of the 1h damage options and it can still be used 1h when small. Demon whips are reasonably common too. Among 2h options most species can't use great clubs, but great mace has 17 base damage and takes 20 skill for mindelay...better than glaive/battleaxe/greatsword's 15 at same skill, and only marginally worse than executioner's axe. It doesn't hit multiple targets though.

Or you can just run around spamming mephitic cloud or something and wading through most enemies in Elf/Vaults/Depths.

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