Xom feedback

Feedback for Xom, the most chaotic god, goes here.

Xom is tiresome

I've tried Xom recently, and among other complaints (unreasonably dangerous effects) I have this: Xom is very tiresome. Playing with Xom felt like playing Crawl with someone patting me on my head every 30 seconds or so. Distracting and annoying. I had a great minotaur going, and I lost the joy of play to the point where I stopped caring about removing curse from Cekugob (no teleporting away from 1's).

Effects are repetitive in a bad way. They often trigger when you're resting - translucent walls and torment are especially aggravating, they force you to rest more or to find another resting place. Mutations don't change the way you're playing, they're just extra resists/ac/melee damage (the bulk of them). Mutations are like Conjunction events from Master of Magic.

Crawl SS Xom has two moods: nice and nasty. There's really not much you can do to affect it, except carrying a wand of Random Effects with you. b26 Xom had more moods: Haste, Berserk, Invisibility, Might. Haste: fight or run away, don't stand still. Berserk - fight or stand still and wait it out. Invisibility - don't stand still, but don't necessarily fight (easy to disengage). Might - find something to kill, but unlike berserk no downside. b26 Xom was like riding the tide, you had unexpected temporary boons and had to make the most out of them. Crawl SS Xom has some effects I can't live without (“Wheee !”) but is otherwise a random pile of mess, and worse - predictable. He'll try to kill you and interrupt your rest.

b0rsuk 2011-06-08 12:17

Xom is too hard

onia in 2747098, 2009-04-09 09:14

I noticed it in the first two games already: being a Xom worshipper is tough. The chances to reach the temple as a chaos knight worshipping Xom are significally worse than you would do as atheist. The first two deaths were classic animated weapons. I think that was the 9560 trunk. I thought maybe I was just very unlucky and started over to collect some more interesting deaths. And really, I only got one more death because of an animated weapon! One of my characters for not-Xom-related reasons (a monster). One got teleported at a very bad moment into a very bad place. My merfolk got stat-drained extreme (11(11) to 7(11) to 4(11) to 1(11) and on that point got the statrot mutation too) and died of a degeneration potion desperate to find restore abilities or sustain abilities. That was a pity because it was the only character that actually got a few good mutations. All the other characters got mutated BAD. Really bad. Almost all of them got statrot mutation in the first mutation set. And blurry vision and shouting seems to be very popular too. None of the other characters got any good mutation but all of them got at least one bad. And I bet my latest Naga would have got some as well if it did not die before that because of a surprise party Xom was giving for me:

You kill the rat!
You hear Xom's maniacal laughter.
As you read the scroll, it crumbles to dust.
You feel strangely unstable.
The shadow imp gestures at you.
Pain shoots through your body!
The hellion hits you!

I actually managed to teleport away, just not far enough. Guess who got me? Yes, hellion with hellfire. The hellion got me at D:2. So far none of my Xom characters has reached the temple alive, which I usually manage in more than 2/3 of my games.

jpeg: Thank you for the feedback!

My own games with Xom were nowhere near as harsh, with many deaths not even related to Xom, and others not happening until much later (e.g. animated weapon in the Orcish Mines, badly handled). Maybe I got lucky?

More feedback welcome!
onia: I will definitely play a few more now that I've been gaining momentum (reached character level 5 with a spriggan Xomite). Xom is definitely making the game harder in the beginning. Maybe you could deal with some of his ideas later on (summoned demons, dancing weapons are not adjusted to your level) and maybe make the character imba strong due to those good sets of mutations everyone is talking about (atm I got those mutations: You heal slowly. You are clumsy (Dex -2). which is way better than what I have seen before so I won't complain) he is definitely making the early game harder. I think this is not the right tendency. From the statistics on cao you can see that once you get past the few early levels the game difficulty gradually decreases until you reach the endgame regions. Xom (and Nemelex, too by the way) amplify that effect, amplifying also the level-27-superhero effect.
onia: After killing two more characters (Spriggan and MD) Xom let one of my characters pass Temple and even reach Lair. It is actually playing good. I think I get the hang of it: with Xom you can not play like with the other gods. Skip parts of the level, don't explore everything because you don't have the time. Don't rest. Best is to never rest at all. Obviously this does not work for many races, but it works for ghouls and trolls and my current character is a troll. Most of the evil things Xom did, happened when I needed to rest.
jpeg: Here are some results of my new Xom debug tool:

First, Xom being BORED, at 0 tension (no monsters around):
Total effects (all piety ranges)
GOOD 0.00%
BAD 100.00%
19.70% BAD: stat loss
16.52% BAD: teleportation
13.13% BAD: miscast (pseudo)
12.64% BAD: mutation
8.86% BAD: torment
7.86% BAD: miscast (major)
7.36% BAD: miscast (minor)
6.52% BAD: summon demons
2.79% BAD: animate weapon
2.79% BAD: draining
1.54% BAD: miscast (nasty)
0.30% BAD: banishment

Next, 0 tension, Xom acts without being bored:
Total effects (all piety ranges)
GOOD 46.32%
BAD 53.68%
16.77% GOOD: random item gift
15.77% BAD: miscast (pseudo)
8.71% GOOD: teleportation
7.31% BAD: teleportation
6.82% BAD: miscast (minor)
6.42% GOOD: vitrification
5.32% BAD: stat loss
5.07% GOOD: mutation
4.73% BAD: mutation
4.33% GOOD: acquirement
4.13% GOOD: spell (no tension)
3.83% BAD: torment
3.78% BAD: miscast (major)
3.08% BAD: summon demons
1.34% BAD: draining
0.90% GOOD: mapping
0.80% BAD: animate weapon
0.80% BAD: miscast (nasty)
0.10% BAD: banishment

And finally, as above, but with high tension (186, many monsters around):
Total effects (all piety ranges)
GOOD 67.61%
BAD 32.39%
8.81% BAD: miscast (pseudo)
7.46% GOOD: single ally
7.11% GOOD: confuse monsters
6.62% GOOD: summon allies
6.37% GOOD: potion
6.22% GOOD: teleportation
5.72% GOOD: polymorph
5.67% GOOD: swapping
5.57% GOOD: spell (tension)
5.42% GOOD: random item gift
4.83% GOOD: permanent ally
4.68% GOOD: lightning
3.63% BAD: chaos upgrade
3.48% BAD: teleportation
3.38% BAD: miscast (minor)
3.13% BAD: stat loss
2.69% BAD: polymorph
1.99% BAD: confusion
1.74% BAD: torment
1.09% GOOD: acquirement
1.00% BAD: summon demons
0.90% BAD: miscast (major)
0.65% BAD: draining
0.55% GOOD: annoyance gift
0.50% BAD: animate weapon
0.25% BAD: miscast (nasty)
0.25% GOOD: mutation
0.20% BAD: mutation
0.05% BAD: banishment
0.05% GOOD: vitrification

The way I read it, banishment and animating weapons are _rare_. Teleportation happens much too often (esp. as it occurs under both good and bad effects), and we have too few zero tension good effects, so random item gifts happen too often. When Xom is bored, stat loss and pseudo miscasts are a bit too common. Overall, the numbers look much better than I expected, though.

I agree that Xom is too hard. It feels like the current maintainers are trying to make him into a “nightmare mode” for Crawl experts, when I don't think that was what Linley intended. The gods are supposed to be helpful, on average. I would think that Xom would be a little bit more protective of his toys…I mean, he doesn't really have that many of them, does he? I don't see a lot of people picking Xom on the webtiles server. Looking above, he acts nicely a little more often under high tension than otherwise. The problem is, the bad acts are still very frequent under high tension, and bad acts during high tension are way worse than good acts are good. Being tormented or confused or losing your weapon is really quite deadly when you are already in a hairy situation. Also, the great majority of “good” acts are actually completely useless. He does give out plenty of gold, but I usually don't have enough places to spend gold. — Khashishi 2011-08-04 22:56

-Perhaps increasing the probability with which Good effects happen will help. Currently the probability of having a good effect is Piety/2 but it could be easily modified to be (Piety + 30)/2.

Prevent gloves abuse

By the way, someone recently observed that you can try to steer Xom > into gifting rings by wearing cursed gloves. Is that true?
Well, sort of, and that's something I'm not happy with. It's not like the annoyance gift is exactly common (see below for the numbers) but it will eventually happen, with the following results:

If you're wearing a cursed weapon there's a 50% chance of getting another weapon _of the same basetype_ (with 50% chance of it being acquirement level). Else, if you're wearing cursed gloves there's a 50% chance of getting a random ring. A cursed amulet grants a 50% chance of getting a random amulet, and wearing a cursed ring gives another 50% chance of getting a ring. If all that didn't trigger anything, there's a 20% chance of getting a weapon of a different base type than what you're currently wielding. Finally, if you're wearing a cursed cloak there's a 50% chance of getting either a cloak (10%) or body armour (90 % chance).

Otherwise, the check falls through to random items or acquirement, depending on Xom's mood.

The idea is that Xom thinks it's funny to gift items the player could use but not right now (because of the curse), and I can totally see this. The problem is that it's really easy to get rid of curses at the moment. Still, I don't want to remove these checks as they feel really Xom-like, but we definitely have to watch out for the grinding potential.
In the long run, we should make sure that those cursed gifts are bad or at least double edged. Bad: unknown bad rings (including EV, AC, slaying with negative numbers); weapons with negative enchantments or orc slaying etc. Double edged: randarts with bad properties like mutation etc.
Xom should not be so foolish to grant gifts that conflict with your curses when he can look in your inventory and see you have an (identified) scroll of remove curse. This is un-fun, because then you will read that scroll and the curses will go away. Boring. Ah, but Xom could gift you *cursed* items that conflict with your cursed items, so at least you replace one curse with another! — rriegs 2011-06-07 17:56
That'd be easily gameable by not carrying remove curse on your person. If you're not an Ashenzarite, there's always a couple of dozen of scrolls lying around, so blocking that act when there's a scroll anywhere in the world is not an option either. — KiloByte 2011-06-07 20:21

Too much early banishment

There's a great difference between putting the player in a dangerous situation that requires skill and luck to survive, and putting the player in a situation that entirely depends on luck. Being teleported into a dangerous position on your current floor is a great example of the former. Being teleported into the Abyss without forewarning is the latter. People know to retreat when they see Banishment-capable monsters appearing, if they're not ready for the Abyss. Whereas even with Xom in a great mood, eventually, Banishment will occur. If it happens when the player's low on resources, or even if they're just unfortunate in the Abyss itself in terms of demon/portal generation, it can be near-hopeless. Very frustrating when the player's done nothing to deserve it (as would, say, players mucking about too much with Erolcha).
jpeg: I've been thinking about adding a level or hp dependent restriction but haven't gotten around to testing that yet. However, I'm still not sure what the minimum value would have to be. I think a single demon on level 1 is okay, a whole group of them is not. Alternatively, Xom could take into account dungeon depth, equipment, or a combination of any of those four (xl, level, hp, equipment). Either way, to avoid scumming I'd only check the maximum xp/level ever reached or the maximum (unrotted) hit points.
Two ideas:

(1) Simply being in the Abyss could increase tension, which would make good acts more likely.

(2) It would be nice if Xom could simply pull you out of the Abyss, for example. Especially at high tension (ie. probably close to death).
I completely support both of the above ideas. It would keep all of the “Xom is a chaotic random jerk” flavour and effect, and even accentuate it once you're plunged into the Abyss. Even if (1) isn't adapted, I think 2 is definitely a worthy addition. Failing that, have Xom remove you from the Abyss automatically whenever you're banished there by things that AREN'T him putting you there. You could have him say something like “Oh no, this toy is mine. Youuuu don't get to do that with my toys”, and then you're back out. But whenever he sends you there, you're on your own. — aepoch 2010-03-18 17:15
Xom should make shafts under you while you're walking around the dungeon sometimes. He should sometimes do this in the Abyss, with those shafts leading back to the dungeon. This makes no sense at all, which makes it very Xom-y. — Eronarn 2010-09-22 03:54
I really like that idea. — Danei 2010-09-22 15:25
Or conversely, sending you straight to Hell. — KiloByte 2010-09-23 12:30

Weapon swapping

Xom shouldn't switch the player's weapon with a lava-based monster's (salamander), as it encourages scumming effects to get another swap or monster animated weapon or whatever to get it back. If the player doesn't want to scum, the item's effectively destroyed by the simple Swap effect; if the player does scum and Xom polymorphs the monster instead, the item's almost certainly destroyed. Swapping with a (deep-water-locked) aquatic monster is little better, though at least there the player has the option of converting actually, you can teleport/blink amphibious enemies out of deep water, if there's even any vaults that would've lost items in the first place. Swap'd only come up with easily-avoided badly-timed poison kills, or perhaps less-avoidable badly-timed ally kills. — OG17 2010-11-17 08:46

It sounds like you're trying to patch the worst symptom rather than the disease. Make it simple: Xom will not swap your weapon with any enemy standing on a square that is not valid for you to stand on (normally, open floor; whether the rules change for merfolk can go either way), just like he won't give you a gift while you're levitating over lava. Any alternative encourages scumming of some kind, even as simple as “lure the monster onto dry land without killing it”, and has the potential to destroy the item permanently, which is more devastating than the act was meant to be. Of course this allows the possibility of a monster flying over lava after the swap, but in those cases you should be able to lure him back to dry land easily enough. — Brickman 2010-11-17 14:39
I'm not sure if water actually causes real problems, or if every inconvenience can be dismissed as “scumming.” — OG17 2010-11-18 01:30
This sounds like exactly the kind of thing Xom should do more often to me, instead of boring stat drain. Annoying but hilarious, and I don't see how it encourages scumming Xom effects since there's no way that would work. — marvinpa 2010-11-17 20:42
If you want Xom to destroy player items, let him just steal them or blast them apart or something. Swapping is a sudden tactical upset, not something that's supposed to impact the rest of the game, and especially not only accidentally if Xom chooses to do it against a single rare enemy type. Also not sure why scummming “wouldn't work,” as there's at least two ways that Xom could eventually return the thing to you. — OG17 2010-11-18 01:30
Even if teleporting the enemy is technically an option, it's not an option for everybody. Who's to say you were lucky enough to find and identify a wand of teleport or learn teleport away before you obtained a good artifact weapon? As far as I'm aware, Xom does not have any effects that permanently hurt you except mutation (which he is likely to cancel out over time)–he has lots of effects that temporarily screw you over and could result in your death or force you to waste items, and in return you will eventually have a net gain of randarts and positive mutations if you survive long enough. Xom shouldn't have permanent item destruction, and swapping your weapon with someone who's in water or lava is, unless you are very lucky or go to excessive lengths (coverting to Fedhas? Really?), permanent destruction of one of your most valuable items. — Brickman 2010-11-18 05:12
Xom giveth, and Xom taketh away. I don't really see this specific instance as a problem. You'd better be carrying a backup weapon if you worship Xom. Well, it'd be nice if Xom would give some more stuff that wasn't junk, but he wouldn't be happy if you were using the same weapon the whole game. — Khashishi 2011-08-04 22:56

Demon Summoning

Just a quick note: player gets no experience for killing Xom-summoned demons. I think this is unnecessary, there's no gameplay justification, just code consistency. Killing Xom's demons (unless friendly) should yield experience. — b0rsuk 2011-06-06 23:10

In most cases it makes sense that your don't profit from killing summoned demons. Summoned demons often come from predictable sources. Typically a creature - so a player could be encouraged to drag on the fight forever. Now Xom is all but predictable. You can't hole up somewhere and wait. You'd be subject to draining, banish, bad mutations, etc.

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dcss/brainstorm/god/xom/feedback.txt · Last modified: 2012-05-05 19:23 by Fedman
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