Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.


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

Abyss Ambulator

Posts: 1236

Joined: Thursday, 10th March 2011, 19:45

Post Saturday, 12th March 2011, 12:11

Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

It seems pretty widely accepted that Mephitic Cloud is still overpowered, makes the early game too easy, and is due for further nerfing.

Here are some suggestions that I think would reduce its potential for abuse while still leaving it powerful enough to be useful.
Apologies if these have already been suggested or dismissed elsewhere...

1. Confused =/= suicidal

It seems crazy to me that as well as all the other benefits of this spell, it often causes monsters to plunge to their deaths in deep water or lava, giving the player huge amounts of XP for doing almost nothing. Maybe if a confused monster 'tries' to move towards terrain that would be fatal, it should 'wobble on the edge' instead and then stop, just losing its chance to move rather than killing itself. Monsters hitting themselves is pretty silly too.

I'm all in favour of confused players falling into the lava if they try to move - it's up to the player if they want to take that risk.

2. Greatly reduce the duration of the confusion effect
3. Monsters build up immunity

For example, if a monster gets hit by Mephitic Cloud and then recovers, it would then be immune or much more resistant to further castings, as it has now become accustomed to the effects.

2 and 3 combined would mean that Mephitic Cloud, instead of being an almost foolproof method to kill most of the dangerous early game monsters, would instead be useful in giving the player a few extra turns to run away. They could still attempt to kill the monsters, but doing so would be risky as if they recovered from the confusion the player could not just keep confusing them again and again.

For this message the author Jeremiah has received thanks:
Twilight

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3037

Joined: Sunday, 2nd January 2011, 02:06

Post Saturday, 12th March 2011, 15:27

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

4) Make Mephitic Cloud hex/air/poison. Conjurations should not get the best hex-like effect in the game. Mephitic Cloud is an early caster's solution to every problem because its spell power gets a free ride off of the early casters' main killing tools. You should really be expected to invest in debilitating effects if you plan to use them. Few players bother to train hexes because anything they can do early on, Mephitic Cloud can do better, and in the late game the opportunity cost of training hexes from scratch keeps people from even trying.

For this message the author KoboldLord has received thanks: 2
Cybermg, Twilight
User avatar

Snake Sneak

Posts: 117

Joined: Sunday, 6th February 2011, 03:18

Post Saturday, 12th March 2011, 16:36

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

I dunno. I kind of like Mephitic as is. Early spellcasters are kinda squishy and need something to prevent getting splattered. Something other than training Fighting, wearing armor, or growing a beard. :D

But if one were to reduce Mephitic's power, how about (a) making the clouds go away faster; (b) removing it from the Conj (Ice) and Air Elementalist starting books; and (c) not making confused enemies kill themselves.

I don't mind confused monsters drowning/lavafying themselves. That isn't easy to do unless the terrain is right. And it rewards careful crowd control movement.

If one were to remove Meph from the starting books of Conj (Ice) and AEs, that would limit the classes that have access to it as a crutch. (Cuz, you know, the RNGs will then never gift Meph to anyone until they hit Z4.) You'd have to come up with another 3rd level Air spell though. What about a wind gust or something that knocks enemies back a square or two (more effective vs fliers) or causes the target to lose 2-3 moves. Basically, another minor defense.

Just my two cents! :)
Annotations
D:3 exclusion: Sigmund
User avatar

Vestibule Violator

Posts: 1533

Joined: Thursday, 16th December 2010, 20:52

Post Saturday, 12th March 2011, 16:54

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

I think KL's suggestion is inspired. Two birds with one stone: Make hexes more attractive, and nerf meph cloud without actually making it a worse spell.

And it makes a lot of sense - confusion is a core hex effect.

It would be best to do this first and then see if further action is needed.

TGW

Halls Hopper

Posts: 82

Joined: Thursday, 16th December 2010, 22:14

Post Saturday, 12th March 2011, 17:13

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

Don't screw with spell schools to try to balance things. It doesn't work, plus it takes mephitic cloud from the playstyles that use it. What are you going to do for Wz, Cj, VM, and AE?

1) Reduce confusion duration from cloud. Things shouldn't be incapacitated forever with one cloud. 2) Tie cloud duration more strongly to spell power. This would let people confuse things for longer with more power (because the effect keeps getting renewed). 3) Intelligent monsters should stand still if they could fall into water by moving. This is symmetrical and confusion drowning is kind of overpowered. 4) Prevent things from hitting themselves while confused. It's unreasonable that mephitic cloud should actively kill things in addition to incapacitating them. 5) Revert the HD nerf. Mephitic Cloud is OP in the early game, not the late game, where a combination of spell noise and unreasonable amounts of rP make mephitic cloud worse.

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1774

Joined: Monday, 21st February 2011, 15:57

Location: South Carolina

Post Saturday, 12th March 2011, 17:19

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

What if instead of a distant 3x3 block of cloud, the spell created a single square of cloud at the target, then a second cloud on a random square adjacent to the targeted square? Also, reduce the range to one, like freeze.

That way, you can't reliably get groups of enemies, can't get 'em until they are right on top of you, and you risk getting hit yourself.

Go ahead and make it a level 2 spell with these changes.

Dungeon Master

Posts: 1531

Joined: Saturday, 5th March 2011, 06:29

Post Saturday, 12th March 2011, 18:05

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

I'd say maybe it shouldn't even be in the starting books of Conjuror or Air Elementalist - it's too poison-themed. Fine for Wizard (needs it more than any background) and obviously VM.

Cj and AE should get something else more strongly-themed for their backgrounds. Maybe something like a "Strong Wind" that impedes movement and maybe pushes monsters around by the odd tile or two but not as heavy as the effects of Confusion.
User avatar

Vestibule Violator

Posts: 1459

Joined: Sunday, 19th December 2010, 05:45

Location: New England

Post Saturday, 12th March 2011, 18:23

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

Why's there always someone who wants to do away with drowning? It's allows for interesting interaction and strategic exploitation of otherwise static terrain, in a dynamic and hilarious manner. It should definably stay.

There's also an easy option for balance besides nerfing. If a spell is too powerful, make it a higher level, until the cost justifies the power. If you moved the spell too level 4 or 5 and hunger was suddenly a concern, you wouldn't see as much rampant mephitic spam.

@TGW: I'm sorry, but I really dislike that idea. It turns radically changes meph from something interesting into a inferior cloud version of enscollered hibernation. It's a step too far.

@Lantier, mumra: have you played many air experimentalists? They don't exactly need a nerf. If anything, they could use another standby added to the starting book, not one removed.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3037

Joined: Sunday, 2nd January 2011, 02:06

Post Saturday, 12th March 2011, 18:48

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

Lantier wrote:I dunno. I kind of like Mephitic as is. Early spellcasters are kinda squishy and need something to prevent getting splattered. Something other than training Fighting, wearing armor, or growing a beard.


They can, I dunno, maybe use their godlike ability to kill from all the way across the screen to kill monsters before the monsters can reach them. The simple fact that they start with an infinite ranged attack that never mulches makes them flat-out better than some melee backgrounds. You could remove Mephitic Cloud from the game and give those casters nothing in exchange, and they'd still be competitive.

minmay wrote:You don't need to invest in hexes to cast a level 3 hexes spell, let alone a three-school one. Changing the schools is fine, but it's not much of a nerf. (You could make Swiftness transmutation/necromancy and nobody would change their playstyle.)


In the current build, a conjurations-focused character with reasonable aptitudes will have Mephitic Cloud at fair or good at level 3, which is not good enough. They can then victory dance to Mephitic Cloud at excellent by spamming Magic Dart or an equivalent, which is ridiculous since they would be grinding conjurations anyway to get the big nukes. It's a free upgrade! Forcing casters to suck up a couple 'wasted' levels of xp training in hexes, air, and poison to get Mephitic Cloud at excellent would be a nerf.

mumra wrote:I'd say maybe it shouldn't even be in the starting books of Conjuror or Air Elementalist - it's too poison-themed. Fine for Wizard (needs it more than any background) and obviously VM.


Wizard needs it the least now. They have Summon Imps, Slow, and Blink. Mephitic Cloud gives them ability to wade through hordes of monsters early on without risk, and idly wander to the stairwell to recover mp without having to worry about being followed.

Conjurors don't really need it, either. They start with high-powered conjurations in their book, which kill things. Things that have been killed usually stop attacking.

Air elementalists should probably keep it. It's an air spell too, and it would be nice if they had something that gives them access to stabbing so they aren't forced into conjurations like every other elementalist.
User avatar

Snake Sneak

Posts: 117

Joined: Sunday, 6th February 2011, 03:18

Post Saturday, 12th March 2011, 19:20

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

@ Mageykun - Yes, I have played AEs. I like them. Fun with multizap. Please note I did not say just take away Mephitic. I suggested, if one were inclined to do anything with Mephtitic, that one consider replacing it with a more Air specific, less Posion reliant, disabling spell. Something which mumra also suggested. For the record, I would prefer not nerf either AEs or Mephitic.

@ KoboldLord - Well, Dart (or whatever range spell you had in mind) last only as long as you have MP. And if you ain't a kitty or a faerie or a horse, every shot you take means the bad guy is getting closer to catching you and squishifying you. And that is assuming you didn't just run into them around a corner/behind a door. I totally agree that some spellcasters are more powerful than some meleers. The reverse is also true. KoboldTrogZealot is pretty darn scary. Anyway, I still think we should leave Mephitic alone or nerf it just slightlyish.

Cheers! :)
Annotations
D:3 exclusion: Sigmund

Halls Hopper

Posts: 60

Joined: Friday, 17th December 2010, 14:41

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 04:10

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

Mephitic cloud is not overpowered and I think it is in fact underpowered. But let's move on from that. Maybe it is too common.

If you look at what characters really take meph if it isn't in your starting book it isn't very many.

DDNe today, had the option of meph, haven't taken it; why - not very useful. Not worth the slots or the training.

Air elementals are weak and claiming they get "lightning bolt" or "tornado" imply that they've gone sif, so that's really sif's strength not AEs. Static discharge is the only reason they are weak compared to IE or EE though.
Go kiku!

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3037

Joined: Sunday, 2nd January 2011, 02:06

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 04:25

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

casmith789 wrote:Mephitic cloud is not overpowered and I think it is in fact underpowered. But let's move on from that. Maybe it is too common.


What on earth would qualify as overpowered, then? Yes, Mephitic Cloud uses utility in the mid- and late-game. Doesn't matter, because it outrageously outclasses everything with comparable functionality in the early game and requires no investment to speak of.

casmith789 wrote:If you look at what characters really take meph if it isn't in your starting book it isn't very many.


By the time you start getting lots of spellbooks to choose from, you're no longer in the early game. Mephitic Cloud is specifically overpowered in the early game. It won't help against stone giants, which is as it should be.

As long as you're still in the early game, Mephitic Cloud instantly neuters 90% of all possible threats with a single casting. That's overpowered. The fact that it doesn't instantly neuter a high proportion of possible threats once you hit mid-Lair or early Vaults does not change the fact that it is overpowered early on.

casmith789 wrote:DDNe today, had the option of meph, haven't taken it; why - not very useful. Not worth the slots or the training.


No, I would hope not. If it was a no-brainer choice even so late in the game, with a character that had no pre-existing skill, I'm afraid that a simple nerf wouldn't be nearly enough.

casmith789 wrote:Air elementals are weak and claiming they get "lightning bolt" or "tornado" imply that they've gone sif, so that's really sif's strength not AEs. Static discharge is the only reason they are weak compared to IE or EE though.


Lightning Bolt is actually pretty common now that it's in Wizardry. You don't really need Sif Muna to find a copy. Tornado will usually turn up before it's castable, too; for some odd reason it's in way more books than Fire or Ice Storm.

Halls Hopper

Posts: 60

Joined: Friday, 17th December 2010, 14:41

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 04:49

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

KoboldLord wrote:
casmith789 wrote:Mephitic cloud is not overpowered and I think it is in fact underpowered. But let's move on from that. Maybe it is too common.


What on earth would qualify as overpowered, then? Yes, Mephitic Cloud uses utility in the mid- and late-game. Doesn't matter, because it outrageously outclasses everything with comparable functionality in the early game and requires no investment to speak of.


Controlled blink at level 4. Or a spell everyone wanted to use every game. Haste before the nerf.

KoboldLord wrote:
casmith789 wrote:If you look at what characters really take meph if it isn't in your starting book it isn't very many.


By the time you start getting lots of spellbooks to choose from, you're no longer in the early game. Mephitic Cloud is specifically overpowered in the early game. It won't help against stone giants, which is as it should be.

As long as you're still in the early game, Mephitic Cloud instantly neuters 90% of all possible threats with a single casting. That's overpowered. The fact that it doesn't instantly neuter a high proportion of possible threats once you hit mid-Lair or early Vaults does not change the fact that it is overpowered early on.


Meph is useful, therefore it's overpowered. Um... what? Look, stone arrow kills monsters, nerf it!

KoboldLord wrote:
casmith789 wrote:DDNe today, had the option of meph, haven't taken it; why - not very useful. Not worth the slots or the training.


No, I would hope not. If it was a no-brainer choice even so late in the game, with a character that had no pre-existing skill, I'm afraid that a simple nerf wouldn't be nearly enough.


Right, I'm playing a DDNe. That immediately makes me late in the game. This is pre-lair.

KoboldLord wrote:
casmith789 wrote:Air elementals are weak and claiming they get "lightning bolt" or "tornado" imply that they've gone sif, so that's really sif's strength not AEs. Static discharge is the only reason they are weak compared to IE or EE though.


Lightning Bolt is actually pretty common now that it's in Wizardry. You don't really need Sif Muna to find a copy. Tornado will usually turn up before it's castable, too; for some odd reason it's in way more books than Fire or Ice Storm.


Sure you find way more books than me, then; I've played enough AE to know that you don't get it every game. Same with tornado (and casters which either were AE or built up air magic).
Go kiku!

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3037

Joined: Sunday, 2nd January 2011, 02:06

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 05:04

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

casmith789 wrote:Meph is useful, therefore it's overpowered. Um... what? Look, stone arrow kills monsters, nerf it!


I think I'm done talking to you.

Halls Hopper

Posts: 60

Joined: Friday, 17th December 2010, 14:41

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 05:17

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

I see you need clarification.

"No investment to speak of" = level 3, three schools. This means meph will be miscastable (not excellent) even when you reach lair, assuming you train one of the skills and then deliberately train the others (not the case - because you need to learn more than those 4 skills (poison magic, air magic, conjurations, spellcasting))

"Outrageously outclasses everything with comparable functionality in the early game"

Assuming your targets for meph are... well the early game threats minus the ones not affected by meph. So uniques, ogres? Not going as far as poison resistant monsters, of course.

Evaporate - level 2. Two schools <-- meph is clearly worse
Confuse - level 3. One school <-- noiseless and when used to isolate a threat probably stronger than meph, as it's unusual to get a pack of strong monsters early. If this does happen, leading them into a corridor and confusing while you run away has a similar effect.
Ensorcelled Hibernation - level 2. Two schools <-- incapacitating a monster completely
Swiftness - level 2. Two schools <-- allowing the same running away effect as mephitic cloud, ability to heal

Long range attacking spells of course also follow this pattern, they "incapacitate" your opponent by killing them. Great examples of this include Sandblast with stones (L1), summon small mammals (L1), freeze (L1), pain (L1), sting (L1), stone arrow (L3), IMB (L4, but only one school).

Of course none of these spells (apart from evaporate) are *always* better than mephitic cloud but the same situations can be avoided with lower-cost spells quite easily. Is meph ever useful? Yes. Why isn't it always useful? Because it *doesn't* work against *every* earlygame monster, it draws *attention* to you so that out of mp [presumably being early game you're unlikely to be a hybrid, so you still have to kill those monsters] you die [more likely run away].
Go kiku!

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3037

Joined: Sunday, 2nd January 2011, 02:06

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 06:27

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

casmith789 wrote:I see you need clarification.


Yes, you should have probably done that first.

casmith789 wrote:No investment to speak of" = level 3, three schools. This means meph will be miscastable (not excellent) even when you reach lair, assuming you train one of the skills and then deliberately train the others (not the case - because you need to learn more than those 4 skills (poison magic, air magic, conjurations, spellcasting))


Every instance of Mephitic Cloud in a starting spellbook is on a conjurations-focused background. Therefore, if you start with Mephitic Cloud you will be training conjurations. Conjurations is not a cost for these backgrounds, it's what they do. Neither is spellcasting skill a meaningful cost for any primary or hybrid caster. Conjurations from your primary kill spell is more than sufficient to get Mephitic Cloud to excellent, and my hope is that undoing this exploit and forcing players to actually train for Mephitic Cloud if they want it will be enough of a nerf to get it under control.

The fact that your necromancer didn't want to train it from scratch isn't especially relevant. We didn't see too many troll berserkers of Trog training to cast Haste, even pre-nerf, and even you admit that pre-nerf Haste was overpowered.

casmith789 wrote:Assuming your targets for meph are... well the early game threats minus the ones not affected by meph. So uniques, ogres? Not going as far as poison resistant monsters, of course.


How about orcs with big weapons? Orc warriors. Orc wizards. Orc priests. Gnoll packs. Yak packs. Centaurs. Kobold vaults with multiple blowguns. Killer bees. Yellow wasps. Scorpions. Crocodiles. Komodo dragons. Giant frogs. Manticores. Minotaurs. Getting ridiculous yet? Mephitic Cloud shuts down every early caster, every early archer, and most early melee bruisers.

Walking into a room and having an orc shout to wake up Dowan and Duvessa as well as the two orc priests in the room is normally an extremely dangerous situation for a low-level character, wouldn't you agree? If you have Mephitic Cloud at excellent, you just kill them all. A couple casts lock down the three casters, and the couple normal orcs that escape are easy to deal with. Once you've got the casters locked down they will never recover. Zero risk.

If you've got Mephitic Cloud at excellent, the only early game enemies that are meaningful at all are the ones that are immune, because they're the only ones you actually have to pay attention to. Non-immune enemies will only get a non-confused turn if your attention is diverted to weightier matters, such as the ice beast that wandered in. Mephitic Cloud casters basically get an entirely different list of early threats than everybody else, and the only quality that matters for this list is immunity to Mephitic Cloud.

casmith789 wrote:Evaporate - level 2. Two schools <-- meph is clearly worse


Evaporate is another good target for a nerf, but at least it isn't as disgustingly ubiquitous. Transmutations should probably also not get a hex that's better than actual hexes.

casmith789 wrote:Confuse - level 3. One school <-- noiseless and when used to isolate a threat probably stronger than meph, as it's unusual to get a pack of strong monsters early. If this does happen, leading them into a corridor and confusing while you run away has a similar effect.


One target, so clearly inferior. I don't know what game you're playing where orc casters don't come with a pack of meat shields.

casmith789 wrote:Ensorcelled Hibernation - level 2. Two schools <-- incapacitating a monster completely


One target, so again clearly inferior. Short duration, and breaks on damage. Has a niche role for trained stabbers, but getting into melee like that is inherently more dangerous than standing back and shooting.

casmith789 wrote:Swiftness - level 2. Two schools <-- allowing the same running away effect as mephitic cloud, ability to heal


Does nothing against casters and archers. Also rare.

casmith789 wrote:Long range attacking spells of course also follow this pattern, they "incapacitate" your opponent by killing them. Great examples of this include Sandblast with stones (L1), summon small mammals (L1), freeze (L1), pain (L1), sting (L1), stone arrow (L3), IMB (L4, but only one school).


Making conjurations the best magic skill at dealing direct damage should not be paired with being the best magic skill at setting debilitating status effects. Hexes are, by definition, the baseline at which debilitating status effects should be set. Anything that sticks above that point should be cut down.

casmith789 wrote:Of course none of these spells (apart from evaporate) are *always* better than mephitic cloud but the same situations can be avoided with lower-cost spells quite easily.


Skilled play of that kind is unnecessary if you have an AoE confuse that always works on almost all of the most dangerous enemies, and that's bad.

casmith789 wrote:Is meph ever useful? Yes. Why isn't it always useful? Because it *doesn't* work against *every* earlygame monster, it draws *attention* to you so that out of mp [presumably being early game you're unlikely to be a hybrid, so you still have to kill those monsters] you die [more likely run away].


If the noise draws some more monsters in, just Meph those too. Mp is easy to regain if you've locked down everything nearby. It really is a one-tool solution to nearly every problem, and that's bad.

Halls Hopper

Posts: 60

Joined: Friday, 17th December 2010, 14:41

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 12:53

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

KoboldLord wrote:
casmith789 wrote:No investment to speak of" = level 3, three schools. This means meph will be miscastable (not excellent) even when you reach lair, assuming you train one of the skills and then deliberately train the others (not the case - because you need to learn more than those 4 skills (poison magic, air magic, conjurations, spellcasting))


Every instance of Mephitic Cloud in a starting spellbook is on a conjurations-focused background. Therefore, if you start with Mephitic Cloud you will be training conjurations. Conjurations is not a cost for these backgrounds, it's what they do. Neither is spellcasting skill a meaningful cost for any primary or hybrid caster. Conjurations from your primary kill spell is more than sufficient to get Mephitic Cloud to excellent, and my hope is that undoing this exploit and forcing players to actually train for Mephitic Cloud if they want it will be enough of a nerf to get it under control.


While conjurations skill and spellcasting skill are useful despite meph, this doesn't mean they aren't a cost. Just because a fire elementalist wants fire and conjurations skill doesn't mean he can cast bolt of fire. Mephitic cloud needs investment above and beyond normal things to work at a decent percentage chance - with a normal caster I'd want to train only one or two schools and also a weapon.

KoboldLord wrote:The fact that your necromancer didn't want to train it from scratch isn't especially relevant. We didn't see too many troll berserkers of Trog training to cast Haste, even pre-nerf, and even you admit that pre-nerf Haste was overpowered.


Firstly "even you". Nice, thanks.

Secondly the parallels are extremely small between the two situations. In one situation, a character to learn an overpowered spell would have to abandon a god with the strongest wrath in the game and then subsequently train 12 levels in spellcasting and enchantments. In the other, a character to learn mephitic cloud would have to... read a book, and then train 4 levels in conjurations, poison and air.

KoboldLord wrote:
casmith789 wrote:Assuming your targets for meph are... well the early game threats minus the ones not affected by meph. So uniques, ogres? Not going as far as poison resistant monsters, of course.


How about orcs with big weapons? Orc warriors. Orc wizards. Orc priests. Gnoll packs. Yak packs. Centaurs. Kobold vaults with multiple blowguns. Killer bees. Yellow wasps. Scorpions. Crocodiles. Komodo dragons. Giant frogs. Manticores. Minotaurs. Getting ridiculous yet? Mephitic Cloud shuts down every early caster, every early archer, and most early melee bruisers.


Any and all of these monsters can be stopped using my alternatives as well. Orc packs are not disabled by meph alone for the simple reason that the monsters block other monsters - and without rPois you cannot feasibly use the summon corner technique available to things like confuse (go behind a corner, cast, fight, so you pick them off one by one). Centaurs likewise may be affected by meph but not only do you then have to close the gap, and melee an incoming centaur, but new monsters will join you while you are out in the open. Again, safer to wait behind a corner and then melee the centaur without needing to use the racket. Meph is useful for running away in this situation, however.

KoboldLord wrote:Walking into a room and having an orc shout to wake up Dowan and Duvessa as well as the two orc priests in the room is normally an extremely dangerous situation for a low-level character, wouldn't you agree? If you have Mephitic Cloud at excellent, you just kill them all. A couple casts lock down the three casters, and the couple normal orcs that escape are easy to deal with. Once you've got the casters locked down they will never recover. Zero risk.

If you've got Mephitic Cloud at excellent, the only early game enemies that are meaningful at all are the ones that are immune, because they're the only ones you actually have to pay attention to. Non-immune enemies will only get a non-confused turn if your attention is diverted to weightier matters, such as the ice beast that wandered in. Mephitic Cloud casters basically get an entirely different list of early threats than everybody else, and the only quality that matters for this list is immunity to Mephitic Cloud.


*Zero* risk? Rather, because you are fighting in a corridor, meph isn't going to get you past dowan because there isn't space, and orc priests hear your meph noise and start smiting you. So you run away around the corner. Safer to use some non noisy spell, deal with the monsters at hand before moving onto the orc priests.

KoboldLord wrote:
casmith789 wrote:Confuse - level 3. One school <-- noiseless and when used to isolate a threat probably stronger than meph, as it's unusual to get a pack of strong monsters early. If this does happen, leading them into a corridor and confusing while you run away has a similar effect.


One target, so clearly inferior. I don't know what game you're playing where orc casters don't come with a pack of meat shields.


The one where I kill monsters one by one by leading them out.

KoboldLord wrote:
casmith789 wrote:Swiftness - level 2. Two schools <-- allowing the same running away effect as mephitic cloud, ability to heal


Does nothing against casters and archers. Also rare.


You can run away, of course it does a lot. Also not that rare.

KoboldLord wrote:
casmith789 wrote:Long range attacking spells of course also follow this pattern, they "incapacitate" your opponent by killing them. Great examples of this include Sandblast with stones (L1), summon small mammals (L1), freeze (L1), pain (L1), sting (L1), stone arrow (L3), IMB (L4, but only one school).


Making conjurations the best magic skill at dealing direct damage should not be paired with being the best magic skill at setting debilitating status effects. Hexes are, by definition, the baseline at which debilitating status effects should be set. Anything that sticks above that point should be cut down.


Is this an arbitrary measure, or what? Not sure the devteam have "Hexes must be the baseline at which debilitating status effects shall be set." as one of their key policies. What do you mean "by definition". Hexes are decided arbitrarily by the devteam as can be seen by the hex nature of Sure Blade and Poison Weapon. This point is just wrong.
Go kiku!

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3037

Joined: Sunday, 2nd January 2011, 02:06

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 16:10

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

minmay wrote:I am pretty sure casmith789 is just messing with you, KoboldLord; I don't think someone with over 50 wins honestly thinks Mephitic Cloud is underpowered.


That was my initial assumption, hence the "I'm done talking to you" bit. Then he followed up with something that resembled a reasoned argument, so I'm thinking he's just change-averse. So I don't know. Maybe I'm being trolled real good.

casmith789 wrote:While conjurations skill and spellcasting skill are useful despite meph, this doesn't mean they aren't a cost. Just because a fire elementalist wants fire and conjurations skill doesn't mean he can cast bolt of fire. Mephitic cloud needs investment above and beyond normal things to work at a decent percentage chance - with a normal caster I'd want to train only one or two schools and also a weapon.


Cost for a conjurations-focused character to use the big elemental blast for their school is higher than the cost of Mephitic Cloud. Assuming that a conjurations-focused character is going to drop their school before they pick up the big blast in it is an unreasonable assumption.

casmith789 wrote:Again, safer to wait behind a corner and then melee the centaur without needing to use the racket.


Oh, this doesn't work any more. Ranged AI has been improved in trunk so that ranged monsters don't stupidly walk into melee just because you went around a corner.

casmith789 wrote:Rather, because you are fighting in a corridor, meph isn't going to get you past dowan because there isn't space, and orc priests hear your meph noise and start smiting you.


Perhaps you shouldn't fight in a corridor when you're facing a multiple smiters behind a line of meat shields? Those meat shields work both ways. It's good to vary your tactics depending on what you're actually facing, and if you have Mephitic Cloud it's better to keep your lines of fire open than it is to keep melee enemies off you, because Meph will keep those melee enemies off you anyway.

casmith789 wrote:The one where I kill monsters one by one by leading them out.


Pack AI has also been improved in trunk. They're much better about staying together.

Halls Hopper

Posts: 60

Joined: Friday, 17th December 2010, 14:41

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 17:13

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

I don't want to start quoting everything you say and giving counter points. Instead I'm going to condense it back down.

1) I'm not "messing with you" - I see little point for the use of meph outside its intended targets, and this coupled with the poor use lategame makes it underpowered for a L3 spell.
2) WRT ranged ai, it's still possible to do what I said, regardless of ai. Each ai can be made to melee you around a corner.
3) While of course it is good to vary your tactics, when I'm going into a room containing, 2 smiters, a magic user, and someone who will become berserk if I kill their brother, I feel this is one of the best situations to use a corridor. Using mephitic cloud isn't really as strong an alternative because you're still in the middle of nowhere surrounded by monsters.
4) Bringing it back to the original post, I like the idea that mephitic cloud could be greater tied to power. If this was done maybe the mephitic HD nerf could be undone. This would mean at low power (early game) the confusion would be short and thus deal with the issue of 'mephitic cloud being overpowered' whereas later the confusion would be long or work on higher HD monsters giving it utility throughout the game.
Go kiku!

Vaults Vanquisher

Posts: 447

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

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 17:24

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

being bad in the late game doesn't stop it from trivializing the early game and a good chunk of the mid game
read: it makes things boring and horrible
(this is why I avoid mephitic cloud)
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 4031

Joined: Thursday, 16th December 2010, 20:37

Location: France

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 18:25

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

You guys should just agree to disagree, because this isn't going anywhere. My personal opinion on the subject is that mephitic is a very useful spell, but its high noise is a significant downside. Spamming it at anything threatening will get you into trouble some day.
On what has been suggested, I think drowning and self-hitting are pretty funny. We could just disable it for highly intelligent monsters. Not normal intelligence. It should apply to those stupid orcs and ogres.
The important fix is scaling the duration effect with spell power and HD. That way, at low power, the effect is shorter, and at high power it can either affect low HD monsters for a long duration or high HD ones for a short duration.
I'm against the school change. School determines what is the physical effect of a spell, not its gameplay effect. That's why s2s has been changed to pure tmut. Some schools (necro and tmut) have various gameplay effects. I don't see the problem with having a conjuration spell (especially a tri-school one) that isn't about pure damage dealing.
<+Grunt> You dereference an invalid pointer! Ouch! That really hurt! The game dies...

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3037

Joined: Sunday, 2nd January 2011, 02:06

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 18:53

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

galehar wrote:I'm against the school change. School determines what is the physical effect of a spell, not its gameplay effect.


Then trivially modify the flavor of the spell so that it concentrates already-existing stale dungeon air instead of creating it out of nothing. Flavor should not override gameplay concerns.

galehar wrote:I don't see the problem with having a conjuration spell (especially a tri-school one) that isn't about pure damage dealing.


There's no reason for half of all casters to pick up hexes -- EVER -- because they have a conjuration spell that does everything they might want hexes for anyway. Hexes might as well be expunged from the game. No amount of rebalancing of hexes is going to change this fundamental problem.

Conjurations is already one of the best skills because it solves most challenges efficiently and permanently by means of direct damage. It doesn't need access to good buffs, debuffs, instant movement, etc. to still be one of the best skills.
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 4031

Joined: Thursday, 16th December 2010, 20:37

Location: France

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 20:04

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

KoboldLord wrote:There's no reason for half of all casters to pick up hexes -- EVER -- because they have a conjuration spell that does everything they might want hexes for anyway.

Again, I think the noise of the spell is an important factor. Currently, the enchanter playstyle is about stabbing. Spamming explosions which wake up half the level isn't very useful for them. That's why mephitic doesn't fit in the hexes school.
<+Grunt> You dereference an invalid pointer! Ouch! That really hurt! The game dies...

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3037

Joined: Sunday, 2nd January 2011, 02:06

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 22:39

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

galehar wrote:Again, I think the noise of the spell is an important factor. Currently, the enchanter playstyle is about stabbing. Spamming explosions which wake up half the level isn't very useful for them. That's why mephitic doesn't fit in the hexes school.


Am I understanding you correctly that enchanter is the only background you want using hexes, and that enchanters should be expected to use every hex rather than just the ones that are best for their particular strategy? This seems like a damaging design strategy with respect to character differentiation, and contradictory to what I believed was Crawl's design philosophy.

Spell noise is a much less important consideration for a non-stabber. If there's any sort of cover nearby, you can retreat towards it when poison-immune monsters come and burn them down first. The others will go into wander mode when they come out of confusion, so they won't usually follow, and you can just Meph them again later. The only difficult part is when you come across a particularly troublesome level entry, such as those wide-open levels with all three stairwells in the same spot. In these unusual cases, you do need to go to alternative solutions but because Meph has carried you so far already you should have plenty of resources to do that with. You certainly won't need to use consumables in any other situation.
User avatar

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1850

Joined: Monday, 20th December 2010, 04:22

Location: Surabaya, Indonesia

Post Sunday, 13th March 2011, 23:56

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

Then trivially modify the flavor of the spell so that it concentrates already-existing stale dungeon air instead of creating it out of nothing. Flavor should not override gameplay concerns.

This will get us into bigger trouble sooner or later.

Vaults Vanquisher

Posts: 447

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

Post Monday, 14th March 2011, 00:19

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

what? gameplay should always come first (this is crawl philosophy)

I don't really have an opinion on making meph a hex though
I'd like bland schools like Conj to have some variety
Associating schools with gameplay effects (like conj/damage and hex/incapacitation) is pretty dull
I think it would be best if meph got a nifty redesign and stayed Conj, but if that's not happening, and making it a hex would benefit gameplay, I really don't care

Halls Hopper

Posts: 67

Joined: Wednesday, 23rd February 2011, 05:41

Post Tuesday, 15th March 2011, 13:44

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

Just accept that your opinion is inferior, casmith, and enlightenment will come from your betters soon enough.
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 4031

Joined: Thursday, 16th December 2010, 20:37

Location: France

Post Tuesday, 15th March 2011, 14:01

Re: Mephitic Cloud Suggestions.

That's trolling. I'm locking this thread.
<+Grunt> You dereference an invalid pointer! Ouch! That really hurt! The game dies...

Return to Game Design Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests

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