Lousy Demonspawn mutations


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Snake Sneak

Posts: 111

Joined: Tuesday, 18th January 2011, 17:51

Post Sunday, 20th February 2011, 09:15

Lousy Demonspawn mutations

Some Demonspawn mutations are better than others--I'm okay with this. The thing is, it can be incredibly disappointing to get one of less exciting ones, like magic mapping, energized from suffering (if you are a melee character), or even nightstalker and fire, if you are at a low level. Typically, if I get one of these mutations at XP level 2, I just exit the dungeon. Since I know that character is likely to die anyway, why waste any more time on it, especially if one of my precious mutation slots it taken by something as mediocre as fire when it could be used for something as awesome as ice?

I'm actually OK with mutations like nightstalker or the energized from suffering mutations. I actually like them a lot, in theory, because they encourage the player to change the way they play the game, but I feel like that only works when you've already invested some time in a character. Getting these when you're still at the first dungeon level... well, they just encourage scumming, if you're a little resistant to those playstyles.

At the very least I'd like to see the less exciting mutations made so that you can't get them until level 4 or 5 or even later. By then I typically won't just quit on a character, unless it's going especially poorly.

For the record, though, I do like the changes that are in trunk so far.

Lair Larrikin

Posts: 19

Joined: Saturday, 1st January 2011, 06:49

Post Sunday, 20th February 2011, 11:31

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

I completely agree with your sentiments, playing Demonspawn's really often I tend to do the same thing if I get a lousy mutation first up in the first few levels (I've gotten overly strict on it because it's so easy to scum amittedly, so I've ended up at the point where I scum way too much), although if I get one of them later on after some better ones I'll play on (except for thin skeletal structure, I seriously hate it, at least nightstalker gives an actual benefit besides stealth (I play DSFi, so stealth is usually useless, and that's where my opinions come from, people who play spellcasters and such will obviously disagree)).

While they don't have to be perfectly balanced, there's a fair few no-brainers in which is better, so I'm gonna throw my opinion on them down.

Breath weapons are fine, although poison ends up sucking a bit much late game compared to fire, but it is more useful early on (it's so disappointing to have the breath finally kick in at XL 20, and find out it's poison).

Horns/Antennae are by far the best body slot (since you can still use a wizard hat/cap and not lose out on potential resists), and claws are the worst by a long margin as the extra attack gets locked out too often. Monstrous makes me quit, it feels more like a 10% chance of 'haha, say bye to a large chunk of your potential defense'.

Black scales suck, full stop, compared to iridescant, thin skeletal structure sucks too and needs an actual benefit besides stealth and some stat shuffling (non-stealth melee player), the rest of the scales ect are all awesome to get (colourless scales are probably the mutation I get most excited at, to find out what it ends up being later)

Most of the tier 2 facets are great fun, ice, spines, MR and PbD are all awesome, PbP sounds fun but I play heavy melee so yeah, same general feeling for nightstalker, demonic guardian is fun but I find the first 2 ranks go obsolete too quickly (by D:8 or so the first rank is rather useless, by late Lair the second rank is too except for the occasional sticky flame), that and it feels too unreliable (they pop away too easily) and an on/off switch would be nice. Mapping is plain boring and doesn't add any real benefit due to how common mapping scrolls are.

The only tier 3 facet I don't find awesome is fire, simply by comparison with the ice facet. Hellfire costs way too much health to consider using (admittedly, I haven't had much of a chance to use it later on, but I didn't find it that great), and honestly, I just don't see why it's tier 3 when ice is tier 2 and so much better (passive freeze is the greatest thing since sliced bread).
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Halls Hopper

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Post Sunday, 20th February 2011, 20:55

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

Well, that's the idea, right? They're supposed to be random and force you to adjust your playstyle. If you get "energized from suffering", strongly consider getting rid of your heavy armour and picking up spellcasting, or else you're "wasting" your mutation; if you get nightstalker or magic mapping, try playing a stealthy character. Demonspawn aren't supposed to be a power-gamer race. If you find yourself scumming them a lot, consider playing a different race!

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Snake Sneak

Posts: 111

Joined: Tuesday, 18th January 2011, 17:51

Post Sunday, 20th February 2011, 22:49

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

Uh, did you guys even read my post?

I'm actually OK with mutations like nightstalker or the energized from suffering mutations. I actually like them a lot, in theory, because they encourage the player to change the way they play the game, but I feel like that only works when you've already invested some time in a character. Getting these when you're still at the first dungeon level... well, they just encourage scumming, if you're a little resistant to those playstyles.


As for magic mapping, I don't see how it encourages changing your playstyle

Vaults Vanquisher

Posts: 447

Joined: Thursday, 16th December 2010, 22:10

Post Sunday, 20th February 2011, 22:50

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

minmay wrote:If some mutations are way better than others then that may be a problem

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 20th February 2011, 23:01

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

I have no idea how magic mapping can be designated as a weak mutation. Knowing where the vaults are on a level is HUGE, since vaults come with more predictable treasure and monsters than the rest of the dungeon. Once you're familiar with the common vaults of your current depth, you can make fairly accurate educated guesses from a bare minimum of revealed tiles.

Snake Sneak

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Post Sunday, 20th February 2011, 23:06

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

I don't know, I don't think I miss vaults enough for me to consider that very worthwhile.

Lair Larrikin

Posts: 19

Joined: Saturday, 1st January 2011, 06:49

Post Sunday, 20th February 2011, 23:13

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

If you're already familiar with the vaults you'll run across magic mapping isn't anymore helpful than walking up to the front of the vault in most cases (there are very few vaults where finding them immediately puts you in serious danger, and antennae are better at warning you of those), and about the only place I can think of with hidden vaults is Lair:8, the rest you'll find just by exploring normally (ok and it helps with the seperate chambers in orc/slime, but I check all of the stairs anyway). It's just very, very rare for mapping to tell you something you wouldn't know from exploring normally and experience (I know that when I was a lot newer at the game mapping was awesome to get, but now it just doesn't seem to give me anything useful).

Vaults Vanquisher

Posts: 476

Joined: Friday, 31st December 2010, 06:38

Post Sunday, 20th February 2011, 23:41

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

Generally the only time I start-scum with a DS is when I'm at XL3 and I still haven't gotten a mutation. -_-

Dungeon Master

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Post Monday, 21st February 2011, 14:56

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

DemonOfWrath: You should check out the changes in trunk, a lot of the facets you mentioned were tweaked. Breath weapons were removed. Horns and Antennae correctly remove your headgear slot when they hit level 3 (they were supposed to do this all along). Iridescent scales now give less AC compared to Rough Black scales, Thin Skeletal Structure gives twice as much Dex. Mapping is definitely one of the remaining mutations that's not very exciting at all, I've vaguely considered removing it. Moving the very powerful ice facets to Tier 3 is also a possibility (you should try out hellfire before dismissing the new fire facet, it does huge, smite-targeted, AC-and-rF-ignoring damage).

Ideas for new mutation facets are welcome (wiki page here). I implemented Powered by Pain as it was my favourite suggestion from that page, there's nothing else I've seen suggested that I'm particularly keen on (some sort of rotting/miasma facet might be nice though). As a guideline, active abilities should be avoided, interesting and game-changing passive abilities are great (Hellfire is a current exception, obviously, but I'd like to keep those to a minimum).

If anyone's played much with Powered by Pain I'm really interested on feedback - does it trigger often enough at higher levels (I tweaked the formula recently so hopefully it should)?

Snake Sneak

Posts: 111

Joined: Tuesday, 18th January 2011, 17:51

Post Monday, 21st February 2011, 18:10

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

Here's an idea I had that I'd like feedback on before I post it on the wiki:

Unholy aura:

Each level of the mutation expands your aura's radius by one. For every monster standing in your aura, you get some bonus. I'm not sure what would be most appropriate--damage? AC/EV?

The idea being that it would encourage players to stay out of corridors. One problem I already foresee is that if you have a level 3 unholy aura, it's still optimal to stay in a corridor, because if you have 3 tiles in front of you filled with monsters, you still get a bonus, even though you're still just fighting one guy--maybe your aura should stay small (just 8 tiles around you) and as the mutation gets stronger so do the bonuses?

Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Monday, 21st February 2011, 18:57

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

Hm. Well considering the Holy Aura TSO gives you adds accuracy, it'd make sense if the Unholy Aura gave you damage. The two being twins in the RPG world.

Snake Sneak

Posts: 111

Joined: Tuesday, 18th January 2011, 17:51

Post Monday, 21st February 2011, 19:12

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

The only thing about that, is that I believe the devs were already looking for more mutations for casters (hence powered by pain). Making it add damage would be another one for melee characters. AC/EV would make it somewhat useful to both--but if it was just AC/EV, I'm not sure it'd be worth it to stay out of a corridor

Vaults Vanquisher

Posts: 476

Joined: Friday, 31st December 2010, 06:38

Post Monday, 21st February 2011, 19:15

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

Hrm, caster mutations... it's harder for casters, because they're already more complicated than melee but they generally have all they need in Int and Spellcasting. Any mutation would almost assuredly be the equivalent of having more of one of the two.

I dunno. Maybe a mutation where there's a 15-25-35% chance of whatever spell cast not costing any mana?

Snake Sneak

Posts: 123

Joined: Monday, 3rd January 2011, 14:47

Post Monday, 21st February 2011, 20:04

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

I just thought of an interesting idea for a mutation set that would thematically be perfect for daemonspawns:

Lord of the Abyss:
Imps seem to be the cannon fodder of hell and in the late game are exactly that, just nuisances that take a few seconds to swat away, not really doing any damage while taunting you with their high evasion and annoying blinking ability.

What if daemonspawn emitted an aura that made the imps stand still in awe from your presence or fight for you as their lord.

Here's my suggestion:

Level one mutation: passive ability that causes all imps in line of sight to stand still in awe (paralyzed) for three turns and die after that.
Level two mutation: passive ability that causes all imps to be charmed and after three turns die.
Level three mutation: passive ability that causes all imps in sight to be charmed and go berserk shouting "for the master" and die in three turns.

This should be a fun ability that would make the most hated late game enemy 'the imp' a welcome sight, but would in no way unbalance the game as imps are pretty much canon fodder from around character level 5.

Imagine how satisfying it would be to see a summoner summon a dozen pesky imps who all go berserk and kill their former master because your character is so awesome.

The death mechanic is a way to cut down the annoyance factor of having a screen full of imps follow you which would probably make the skill unbalanced and moderately annoying.

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 50

Joined: Monday, 31st January 2011, 03:23

Post Tuesday, 22nd February 2011, 00:00

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

Seconding the dislike for Monstrous. I have no doubt that it lends itself to a valid playstyle that can be just as powerful as the others. It's just that most people have a general idea of the character they'd like to play when they pick their starting build (even when picking DS), and monstrous is by far the most different from any other mutation set. The fact that it's just one of many means that lots of people will start playing DS for one of the other sets, and just quit instantly when they see monstrous.

Lair Larrikin

Posts: 16

Joined: Saturday, 18th December 2010, 02:10

Post Tuesday, 22nd February 2011, 00:51

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

The point seems kind of missed when most of the mutations do not force you to adjust your playstyle to them. Of the many Demonspawn mutations, only Nightstalker, Thin Skeletal Structure, Demonic Guardian (for Okie worshippers) and the slot removing mutation have side effects you have to adjust to, and only Nightstalker is really game changing. If Demonspawn are suppose to be about adapting, (then what are Draconians about? Are they suppose to have the same gimmick but be weaker?) they need to have more mutations that force the player to adjust to them.

Snake Sneak

Posts: 111

Joined: Tuesday, 18th January 2011, 17:51

Post Tuesday, 22nd February 2011, 01:28

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

I suppose I should restate my original point since nobody's addressed it: although I agree that, ideally, players should just accept their mutations, but when players have in mind a certain playstyle beforehand (which most will have), it's too easy and tempting to start-scum when you get the lousier mutations and the game-changing mutations on early experience levels.

What's the upside to monstrous again?

Dungeon Master

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Joined: Thursday, 16th December 2010, 21:54

Post Tuesday, 22nd February 2011, 01:52

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

You get huge unarmed damage output (claws boost to base damage + hooves/talons aux attacks + horns aux attacks/antennae), and still get the same number of tier 2 and 3 mutations. Think of it as your Demonspawn turning into a Troll except with good apts and mutations.

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 33

Joined: Tuesday, 15th February 2011, 06:24

Post Tuesday, 22nd February 2011, 01:54

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

It think part of the problem is that the time frame for adjusting is too random. Starting with poison breath doesn't screw over any builds, and doesn't especially help any either. Claws on the other hand aren't going to be useful unless you're using UC, and you know that right off the bat. So people who start out wanting to play whatever happens along get screwed by poison breath giving them no direction, while people wanting to play a particular path get a big red light right off the bat. And the opposite happens later on. Someone already heavily invested in summoning doesn't get anything special out of poison breath, but neither would anything else so why adjust at all? And if they get claws it's pretty late to be making adjustments if your stats are already skewed away from melee.

So, are demonspawn supposed to follow their random path from the get go or are they just expected to adapt no matter how late stuff shows up? Because as it is, is fairly unbalancing when one guy gets just what he needs early on to make a good build, while another gets shafted far down the road. They should either both have a path to follow early on or both be potentially shafted down the road. Having a slim chance of being screwed early promotes scumming to avoid that. The chance of an early mutation screwing with your starting profession should be either very high (so restarting is pointless) or non existant (So you're too invested to restart when it does screw with your build.)

Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Tuesday, 22nd February 2011, 02:13

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

MarvintheParanoidAndroid wrote:Breath weapons were removed.

Mines Malingerer

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Joined: Tuesday, 15th February 2011, 06:24

Post Tuesday, 22nd February 2011, 03:31

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

Ok, so replace poison breath with generically useful scales. Same difference.

Vaults Vanquisher

Posts: 447

Joined: Thursday, 16th December 2010, 22:10

Post Tuesday, 22nd February 2011, 05:55

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

You know how the demonspawn mutation system works, right?
For example, you always get a body slot facet (or multiple in the case of monstrous) and it (/they) doesn't (/don't) take the place of anything else.
You always get a scalesey facet (includes thin skeletal structure and distortion field) and it doesn't take the place of anything else.
When breath weapons were in they got their special guaranteed not overriding anything else spot too.

So really, you want to look for boring facets that have the potential to take the place of something game-changing, like passive mapping taking the place of nightstalker (not boring facets that only ever replace other boring facets).

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 33

Joined: Tuesday, 15th February 2011, 06:24

Post Tuesday, 22nd February 2011, 16:40

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

Are you saying thats what the player wants, the devs want, or what I want? Because that's not what I want at all. I think game changing stuff should all be part of a 'set' (Even if they're in diffferent facets) that always shows up around the same time. Either early, before the temple when you've probably picked a god based on what you're planning to play as, or later, when you're already fairly set in your ways. Having it be random whether it happens early or late means it's good to scum your early mutation, because it's only got a slim chance of conflicting with you early on, so you might as well play the 4 out of 5 characters who get something they like. I think the odds of getting something you like before the temple should either be 5/5 or 1/5, as either make restarting characters to get what you like fruitless.

So for example, if we go with the first option, the player shouldn't get bony plates, torment resistance, demonic guardian, a second body slot, or night stalker until after the temple, probably around the lair or so. Everyone's first mutations are something unobtrusive like generic scales or passive mapping or a single body slot, and you don't have to start adjusting for things until later, when you've already spent several levels worth of xp and gotten the character off his feet. I'd like that. Then there's actual adjustments to make on a fleshed out character. When you're forced to start making adjustments because of a slim chance you got something weird/crappy at level 2, you might as well restart, since it's faster to change your mutations than change your character.

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 34

Joined: Monday, 7th February 2011, 18:49

Post Tuesday, 22nd February 2011, 18:52

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

Cybermg wrote:Seconding the dislike for Monstrous. I have no doubt that it lends itself to a valid playstyle that can be just as powerful as the others. It's just that most people have a general idea of the character they'd like to play when they pick their starting build (even when picking DS), and monstrous is by far the most different from any other mutation set. The fact that it's just one of many means that lots of people will start playing DS for one of the other sets, and just quit instantly when they see monstrous.

I sometimes will go with Monstrous if I'm playing a caster, however generally I dno't even notice that I am monstrous until the second or third body mutation this me.. Would it be possible to at least make the Monstrous message more noticeable? Maybe force an extra --more-- prompt, or change it from the normal red mutation line color, to something different which might stand out slightly? The wording is really not very noticeable if you level up midcombat.

I really do not like Powered by Pain much though, since if Im' a caster the last thing I want to be doing is taking damage. It'd be good for, say, a Makhlebite maybe, but you'd have to go for that after getting the mutation in all probability, since Makhlebites were removed from starting choices.

Blades Runner

Posts: 554

Joined: Tuesday, 25th January 2011, 14:24

Post Tuesday, 22nd February 2011, 20:04

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

coyo7e wrote:I really do not like Powered by Pain much though, since if Im' a caster the last thing I want to be doing is taking damage.


Hrm...does Powered by Pain trigger from casting the "Pain" necro spell? (haven't played DS in a while).

Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 23rd February 2011, 00:29

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

No. The current formula is: If d(damage) > 2 + 3*mutlevel (or dam >= hp/2), you regain 3d(2 + 3*mutlevel) MP.

Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 23rd February 2011, 00:38

Re: Lousy Demonspawn mutations

coyo7e wrote:I really do not like Powered by Pain much though, since if Im' a caster the last thing I want to be doing is taking damage. It'd be good for, say, a Makhlebite maybe, but you'd have to go for that after getting the mutation in all probability, since Makhlebites were removed from starting choices.

Sure, it is a risky provision. And I understand that players happier about safer avenues. (Note how I refrain from using the evil powergamer word!)
One motiviation behind the mutation is this: everyone dies when health runs out; casters often die when magic runs out. A caster powered by pain will have magic to spend should health go down, however! Think of it like an insurance: if the shit starts hitting the fan, _you_ will be casting.

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