Evaporate

You shouldn't be able to throw potions while in forms that can't throw. I suggest that when in such a form, you can still cast evaporate, but either:

  • No targetting. You evaporate the potion on yourself. There's a prompt even if you're resistant to the cloud, so that you don't waste a turn if you wanted to throw it and then realise you can't.
  • Range 1. You can toss the potion next to you and evaporate it.

The spell is strong enough that it can handle this slight nerf. I think it will also make transmuter's tactics more interesting. — galehar 2010-12-15 10:00

I see what you mean, but this makes low level felid transmuters quite a bit weaker. What about range 2? — nubinia 2010-12-15 10:17

No to range2. The point is that you have to cast it on yourself! I haven't played felid much, but from what I've heard, they can take a slight nerf. Also, this could differentiate them so they would have to rely on stick to snakes until they find rPois or can cast ice form. — galehar 2010-12-15 22:18
I'd hardly call a FeTm nerf a felid nerf, unless you specifically mean FeTm is overpowered, or you don't care about the rest. — mrmistermonkey 2010-12-16 01:48

A better alternative would be to get rid of the throwing flavor (and bizarre skill involvement) and write it off as magic. A form-specific nerf encourages people to manually shift out of forms after every encounter just to have a non-crippled initial disabling shot available - this is an interface burden, not “more interesting tactics.” — og17 2010-12-15 17:21

I like the throwing flavour. Also, you can't just “write it off as magic”. Moving an item without throwing it is called translocation in crawl's world. If we change evaporate, we can later think of adding another spell that combines evaporate and portal projectile but I don't think it's worth it.

I don't see the problem with shifting out of form after an encounter. And it can create interesting choices. Evaporating is very noisy, so if you start every encounter with evaporate then transform, you risk getting screwed when more baddies come. You might want to choose to use only one of the two spells. Also, when you explore shoals and swamp, using ice form all the time is not a no-brainer anymore. — galehar 2010-12-15 22:18
Moving things (generally; though perhaps items are magically specially only movable by Translocations) in Crawl is not necessarily Translocations; for example, how does repel missiles manage to do its job? I'd write evaporation autothrowing off as fire magic, specifically.
On shifting out of forms, it is largely an interface burden, but occasionally interesting in combat (after, say, confusion and poisoning wear off, or more monsters appear), since it takes what a turn or two. — mrmistermonkey 2010-12-16 01:48
Does airstrike need tloc to move air, or does stone arrow need tloc to send the conjured spear flying? Writing things off as magic is what magic does, and throwless evaporate isn't even out of place in this gameworld (whereas throwing is pretty out of place mechanically). And unshifting has nothing to do with noise or spamming clouds - if you constantly unshift after battles, coming across monsters that you're comfortable fighting means you can just shift and close to melee with no loss. But if you decide you don't need to unshift after encounters and then come across enemies that call for evaporate, you'd need to completely avoidably leave yourself vulnerable as you grow your hands back. This makes unshifting common sense, not “choice.” It's also hard to call ice form a no-brainer in swamp/shoals, as the form has innate downsides, though I don't see how it'd be an issue regardless since levitate and fly are both fine being greater “no-brainer” spells in the same situations. — og17 2010-12-16 06:52
Fire magic is about making things burn and explode. How does it move a potion away before exploding it? That doesn't make any sense. For airstrike, you can expect elemental spells to be able to manipulate their element. Stone arrow is a conjuration spell, we can imagine the arrow is conjured with some velocity (like all other conjurations). I like that crawl's magic system is flavourful and logical. If we just say “it's magic, it can do whatever”, we can just get rid of the spell schools, use only spellcasting for casting, have wizard as the single magical background and be done with it.

Yes, this change would force you to unshift after every fight, but you already have to rest, loot, fulsome or eat the corpses, I fail to see how a single (or 2 if you hate macros) keystroke is an interface burden. The choice it creates is at the beginning of the battle not at the end. “Should I evaporate and shift, risking not being able to evaporate anymore if more monsters come? Just evaporate to keep my options open? Just change form to not alert nearby monsters? Use another spell or tactic?”. Forms don't have a lot of downsides during battles. There's not a lot of things you can't do. So there's no reason not to use them. This change will make the decision about shifting or not (and when) more critical, and thus more interesting. — galehar 2010-12-16 10:16
Currently there is no downside to using forms unless you were relying on your equipment for some resistances or ponderous brands (and I think you keep those in the next version anyways). This would make one, which is a good thing. Magic could be explained to do it, but it doesn't have to. That said, training throwing skill is totally ludicrous and needs to go. — brickman 2010-12-16 20:42
Can't propel anything with fire magic? What a pity.
Also, you don't have to eat/rest/fulsome after every fight; that's just silly, and adding another thing to do wouldn't really help it.
Potential downsides to using current forms, off the top of my head: reduced spell success; lack of resists, AC, other benefits from equipment; undesirable negative resists; stat changes; hunger and mp loss from casting (in early game). Note, also, existence of other spells (e.g. sticky flame, freezing aura, repel missiles, phase shift) with nearly no downsides as pre-combat buffs; perhaps those should change, too. I don't have anything against giving forms more downsides, but I feel this is the wrong place to start, given it would indeed be a bit annoying, and there are wacky inconsistencies in current forms (e.g. spiders being able to use wands (and rings, though this is unrelated to the rest of my example), while cats can't even use wands held in their mouths, and spiders formed by cats casting spider form magically still can't use wands (incidentally, spider cats apparently put their rings on paws, and spider humans have hands)). — mrmistermonkey 2010-12-17 00:40

Removal

WHAT?! I ought to update the DCSS version I play more often, but I just realized Evaporate has been removed by the DCSS team. I really like(d) this spell: it added an entire level of interaction to the game, was as close to Alchemy as you can get in DCSS (coupled with Fulsome Distillation), and is the only reason to value potions of Water/Poison/Degeneration/etc. What the heck is with you programmers? You kill Bone Shards, then Projected Noise, and now Evaporate? I can understand removing Bone Shards (clunky to use) and Projected Noise (supposedly makes some vaults trivially easy), but Evaporate… you haven't just removed [YET ANOTHER] spell, but also killed: an entire early-game Transmuter playstyle, a very interesting gameplay mechanic (which is the only one of its kind in DCSS, by the way), potentially the most versatile tool in a spellcaster character's arsenal, AND a staple spell that has existed since before the Stone Soup project was even a *thought*. Congratulations for screwing with so many things at once, but would you PLEASE bring Evaporate back? You're putting people like myself in a real bind: you add all sorts of great content for us players to enjoy, then turn around and kill previous content we *already* enjoy: I really hate you making us choose between playing a previous DCSS version with the old stuff we love *OR* playing the more recent version with the new stuff. We want both, please! — Andy 2013-01-23 15:28

Evaporate was removed for several reasons. Clunky interface and annoying inventory management were two major problems. That it was way too strong for its spell level was another one. Practically unlimited access to poison clouds (usually you get these from a level 6 spell) and miasma (usually you don't get these at all), and on top of that a cheaper to learn (dual school, level 2) version of mephitic cloud was just too much. Fulsome destillation was deemed problematic because of its effects on potion identification, and the general annoyance of potion hoarding. Please note that fulsome + evap were removed from transmuters long ago and replaced with beastly appendage, a level one transmutation that gives you an aux attack. Only Stalkers still had these spells. I'm sure the decision to remove evaporate and fulsome destillation was not an easy one. Ways to change the spells to make them work were discussed, but finally removal was deemed the best option. — Galefury 2013-01-23 17:15
Evaporate is/was NOT overpowered: First, it is/was the *only* spell that requires ammunition to function, which kills spam-ability from the outset; not even “Sandblast” requires ammo (though it helps effectiveness). The ammo (potions) also must be carried, so limiting spamming/spell abuse even further (since you can only hold so much and must choose what to bring along.) Then the devs nerfed Evaporate even further by removing the guarantee of a 3×3 cloud via the exploding potion. Next is that the “Poison” class spells are an *entirely separate class* from Transmutation/Fire, so a caster may only have access to poison clouds and the like through Evaporate. Moreover, Fulsome Distillation must be learned before use, and used before identifying potions, by which time the player should already know most/all of the *very few potions acquirable* through Ful. Dist. (poison, mutation, water, degeneration.) You also state that Evaporate is an easy way to get poison effects: so is starting as a Naga or Venom Mage, or tripping over the Staff of Olgreb (which is WAY more spammable!) Still, the main reason I'm miffed is that the devs removed something *for which there is no alternative*! DCSS has no alchemy, and the player STILL has to hoard potions and lug them around, so removing Evaporate has done nothing on that level to reduce what you call “potion-hoarding”… but now now the potions I [still] have to hoard are even less useful since I can't Evaporate them in emergencies. Furthermore, now potions with negative effects are made useless in entirety. So… what is so terrible about Evaporate and why should I think removing it is so great? Evaporate is NOT overpowered, removing it has NOT killed potion-hoarding, we can't even put poison potions on our weapons, thus rendering a *bunch* of stuff completely useless, Transmuter flexibility is crap (“oh good, I now have a tail”), and there IS NO ALTERNATIVE AVAILABLE that comes even close to Evaporate's versatility. And for the record: versatility isn't the same as being overpowered. Lee's Rapid Deconstruction, Summon Elemental, Portal Projectile, Conjure Flame, and other great spells all have multiple uses, either by themselves or in conjunction with other things. — Andy 2013-01-28 18:03
None of the limitations you mention were really significant downsides to balance out a level 2 “Make Pretty Much Any Cloud” spell, though. Yes, it required ammo, but you could get as much of that ammo as you wanted by murdering things and distilling their corpses. Having to know Fulsome Distillation wasn't a downside, it was a level one spell that came in the same book as Evaporate that you could just cast until it worked. — nicolae 2013-01-28 21:47
With respect, nicolae, I believe you are incorrect. Corpses aren't the limitless resource you make them out to be, so much so that the primary function of one deity (Kiku) is to do nothing but grant corpses. Fresh corpses only yield potions of water, which grant steam clouds (useful for hiding, but not offense). For poison potions, corpses must be rotting, and alternate potions were RARELY given out (degeneration, strong poison, or mutation for contaminated corpses.) Moreover, you still haven't answered any of my main points, nor have you offered actual reasons I am incorrect.
First, it has been said that Evaporate is overpowered. I have pointed out it has already been nerfed multiple times *and* requires things like obtaining ammunition, inventory space for ammo storage, and only gives specific clouds for corresponding potions (which allows tactical planning, which I enjoyed quite a lot!) You argue that it is STILL too powerful for a level 2 spell. Fine, let's raise it to a level 3 rather than dropping a nuke on it “for the sake of balance”. If deletion of something is how balance is maintained, then a balanced game cannot exist by definition. It's throwing the baby out with the bathwater!
Secondly, you haven't pointed out any alternative method that fills the interactivity, capability, flexibility, and [highly enjoyable to me, as I've said] playstyle granted by Evaporate. You haven't pointed out any reason why my analysis is incorrect, aside from the “It was overpowered” argument. No one has addressed the facts that “bad” potions are now universally useless without ANY potentially useful function, necessity of potion hoarding is unaffected, Beastly Appendage is severely limited for several species (primarily undead and unusual player anatomies like Octopodes), and I STILL haven't heard any reason or supporting evidence why out-of-hand deletion was such a great idea as opposed to, say, FIXING it. — Andy 2013-01-29 18:23
Please read my earlier comment again, i don't care to copy and paste the multiple problems with evap and distill I pointed out. That you cant kill every single rat and goblin with evap doesn't mean it's limited in any significant way. There was more than enough ammo to kill anything that was actually threatening and vulnerable to poison with evap. Poison it, block line of sight with water or confuse it if it has ranged attacks or is fast, just kite it if it is a normal speed melee enemy. And this is without even using the slightly more limited miasma, which becomes practically unlimited when ogre bands start showing up. Raising evap to level 3 wouldn't have solved this problem. As I told you before, this removal was discussed many times, and several ways to “fix” the spells were also discussed. The ##crawl-dev logs are public, you can search them and read the discussions if you want. — Galefury 2013-01-30 13:00
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dcss/brainstorm/magic/spells/evaporate.txt · Last modified: 2013-01-30 13:14 by Galefury
 
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