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krugar September 25, 2010 22:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tiburon Silverflame (Post 40409)
No. Not ever. Absolutely the worst possible scheme, IMO. This benefits weak characters and penalizes stronger ones, which is WRONG, and ridiculously illogical as well.

How?

Note that this is an honest question -- I'm not trying to be a smartarse. But I keep hearing these arguments that don't seem to really make sense to me. How exactly a scalable system based on character HP penalizes stronger characters. Or rather, why should it?

Note also that I'm not adamant on this option. It's not that I feel this is the solution to all our problems (or that there is a problem in the first place -- but that's another matter). I just don't see any clear and precise arguments as to why it is such a bad idea and why it draws such strong against opinions.

Nomad September 26, 2010 02:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by krugar (Post 40416)
How exactly a scalable system based on character HP penalizes stronger characters. Or rather, why should it?

It means that if you spend a lot of extra time descending slowly and carefully building up your character's stats to prepare for the dangers ahead, the dungeon will adjust itself harder to make sure you get no benefit for your extra effort. If you recklessly descend as fast as possible, the dungeon will make itself easier to make sure there's no penalty for your haste. It artificially balances things so that stronger characters have no advantage - they face exactly the same degree of risk as weaker characters.

Instead of scaling trap damage, imagine scaling monster damage. In the early levels, an orc might kill you with two good blows. That shouldn't scale so that no matter how much HP you gain, an orc can always kill you with two good blows, otherwise there's no benefit to gaining HP, and no way to improve your odds of surviving melee with an orc.

Deeper levels should be dangerous if you're ill-prepared, and more survivable if you've built up the stats and equipment. They shouldn't be tailored to provide the exact same degree of danger regardless of whether you've prepared or not.

Magnate September 26, 2010 08:55

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nomad (Post 40417)
It means that if you spend a lot of extra time descending slowly and carefully building up your character's stats to prepare for the dangers ahead, the dungeon will adjust itself harder to make sure you get no benefit for your extra effort. If you recklessly descend as fast as possible, the dungeon will make itself easier to make sure there's no penalty for your haste. It artificially balances things so that stronger characters have no advantage - they face exactly the same degree of risk as weaker characters.

Instead of scaling trap damage, imagine scaling monster damage. In the early levels, an orc might kill you with two good blows. That shouldn't scale so that no matter how much HP you gain, an orc can always kill you with two good blows, otherwise there's no benefit to gaining HP, and no way to improve your odds of surviving melee with an orc.

Deeper levels should be dangerous if you're ill-prepared, and more survivable if you've built up the stats and equipment. They shouldn't be tailored to provide the exact same degree of danger regardless of whether you've prepared or not.

+1. Very well put. This particular issue (trap damage) isn't a huge deal, but the principle is important. There is something perverse about designing a game to react to the character's stats. It's fundamental to some games, but inimical to roguelikes.

Sangband has a monster flag which sets its speed to your speed +5, which shows up in monster memory as "it is faster than you". That breaks this principle and is one of the most annoying things about Sangband, IMO. But it's used extremely sparingly (less than 1% of monsters), and never on monsters which could kill you in a double move (they're irritating rather than dangerous).

fyonn September 26, 2010 10:23

I must say I agree with the side saying that traps should not scale to the character, for a couple of reasons:

a) I can't think of a way to explain this in my head, how could any trap could physically scale itself to the character? nor could I see why some dungeon master rogue or mage would want to set a scaling trap. maybe something that scaled by weight I could see, ie did much more damage to half-trolls than hobbits as a factor of how pressure plates worked?

b) I think a valid defence against traps is getting more HP. a half-troll warrior is rubbish at finding traps but then the traps are less likely to matter to him. a trap is likely to be big news for a low level hobbit rogue though.

Now I would support traps being harder to find, significantly more dangerous the lower you go, more cunningly placed etc. perhaps even a separation into physical and magical traps, mages and priests only being able to find teleport and summoning traps via magical means for example, but everyone having a chance to "find" physical traps via perception and rogues having a spell for all traps?

but scaling with character HP.. I can't see it.

dave

krugar September 26, 2010 13:55

Very well then. I will not pursue this matter further. An unpopular suggestion merits no more.

But as a footnote I don't think comparing traps to monsters is a convincing argument. Sorry, it kind of ignores what I've been trying to say that traps are traps, monsters are monsters, and we were discussing traps, not monsters. I was hoping for technical, design, or mathematical arguments. Not a sort of ideology that limits possibilities for the simple matter you insist in comparing it to things where this is not being applied.

I'll be curious about what comes of this discussion and how traps will be fixed so that they remain balanced throughout the game. I sincerely wish you the best of luck.

Pete Mack September 26, 2010 22:47

One more time: if you wish to be educated on the possibilities of traps, try NPP 0.5. It covers this issue far more deeply than traps alone:
* Many traps can affect you at a distance, and their damage scales with depth.
* Dungeon has topography (sand, oil, shrubs, lava, water, etc) that affect the bahavior of both monsters and the player.
* Area affects are persistent, and cause limited sight lines.
* Area damage is persistant, so a poison breath does (say) 800 damage up front, and an additional 70 damage on the next dungeon turn.

Hajo September 27, 2010 11:27

Unangband has more sophistaced traps too. I assume it is the same concept that NPPAngband also has - regions and terrain features.

Unlike some other games, Angband has no persistent levels. It generates new levels as the player moves up and down the dungeon, allowing to grind, train, scum for better stats and items. In a game that has this as a very basic game feature, scaling the dungeon danger with player HP would nullify the training effect that was allowed in first place.

Scaling with player abilities works for games that have only a fixed number of opponents, where the player has no chance to "go training/grinding/leveling" further before they run into new areas. Since they can't go training, the new area must be scaled to be doable for this player.

Angband is another sort of game. Training, levelling, looking for resistances is a basic part of the game. Things which work well in one sort of game do not always work as well in another sort of game. So I'm against traps that scale with player abilities. Traps should (if they need to) scale with depth - this is native to Angband, the deeper you go, the more nasty things become.

Generally I want to second those who suggested that traps should not depend on "HP damage", but on other effects to the player and their equipment. There have been very good suggestions for trap effects.

EpicMan September 27, 2010 15:49

Krugar,

Are you a programmer (Can't remember if you said so one way or the other)?

If so, why don't you get a copy of the Angband source and see if you can alter the trap code to scale with player hp?

If you think this would improve the game the best way to demonstrate it to the skeptics is to make it happen in a variant; if the gameplay is appreciably improved by scaling trap you might be able to win over more people.

Of course, if you're not a programmer this isn't a viable option (unless you become one? Messing around with game code is probably a fun way to get your feet wet).

PowerDiver September 27, 2010 17:17

The whole point of a HP system is that more HP means you can survive more attacks. No attack should scale with HP, ever. If you want to separate out avoidance and armor damage reduction so that a blow to the head has a fixed chance of killing the player, then you should use a different system entirely.

Tiburon Silverflame September 27, 2010 18:19

Hajo: I don't play a heckuva lot of CRPGs any more; the last one would've been Neverwinter Nights. But from my experience: each area has a set difficulty. They *don't* scale to become harder as the character(s) get better; it's just that the stories are much more linear, and often there's no monster repop...so by the time you get to Area 7, the game knows you'll be 11th level.

krugar, I'm NOT comparing it to monsters. My point is, it's terrible design, in that it reverses things. My attacks and my defenses, are tied to my level. That's natural. YOUR attack power isn't linked to MY defenses, or to MY attack power; that's just wrong. I can readily explain why my attack at level 50, is more powerful than it was at level 40: I'm more skilled, more accurate, stronger, I can draw more power into a spell, whatever. All of those are entirely plausible and not a bit forced or contrived. Why does the damage that *your sword* (or the jaws of the bear trap, or the spikes in the pit, or whatever) change, between me being 40th and 50th level?

The first time I ever saw this point made explicitly, was in the 3.0 to 3.5 conversion for D&D...specifically, with the spell Harm. In older D&D and in 3.0, this spell didn't do X damage...it *left you* with 1-4 hit points. So if you had 100 hit points, you lost 96. If you had 300, you lost 296. The spell was *more powerful* against more powerful foes...and they realized (and stated) this is completely wrong.

Note that the kind of interaction you mention *can* exist in a reactive situation...how hard a batter hits a ball is partially a function of how hard the pitcher threw it. But we don't have that kind of interaction.


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