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Old September 23, 2014, 12:59   #1
half
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Changing Leaping

Looking through various threads since January, it seems pretty clear that the current implementation of Leaping and Chasms is not quite right. Since they are changes to the game that affect many levels and situations throughout the game, I think it is important to fix this sooner rather than later. It may also require more than one change before we settle on the right solution, which also counts in favour of a quick change. So I'm thinking of releasing a new version (1.2.2) where changes to Leaping/Chasms are the main thing. The changes will probably be very small in terms of code, but sizeable in terms of gameplay.

I'd like your help in understanding the current problems and what would or would not count as a fix. Do also mention what you like about the chasms/leaping as this is important too! I won't be able to please all of you with my solution, but am pretty sure you will all find it an improvement over the status quo.

There are several different levels of how difficult Leaping could be to acquire.

1) Everyone can leap.
2) It is merged with another ability (such as Dodging or Sprinting).
3) It has no pre-req and is a pre-req for another ability.
4) It has no pre-req, but isn't a pre-req for another ability.
5) It has a pre-req that people often acquire (maybe multiple pre-reqs)
6) It has a rarely used pre-req.
7) No-one can leap.

We started off with (6), which is a difficult to acquire version of Leaping. We did this out of fear (mainly mine) that it could be overpowered. It is pretty clear now that it is not overpowered in its current form and it would be good to make it easier to acquire. I'm not too big on (1), but am open to (2)-(5). I don't mind too much if the next iteration makes it a bit too easy to acquire, as this could always be re-tuned again.

Note that we like the basic implementation of chasm squares and the way the character can leap over them and would like to keep that, but are quite open to tweaks around acquiring the ability and the placement/frequency of chasms.

Other relevant considerations include:
- should boots of Leaping be more common?
- should chasm generation be more restricted?
--- fewer levels with chasms?
--- fewer chasms on those levels?
--- fewer chasms that cut levels into inaccessible pieces?
--- are the vaults/rooms with pre-generated chasms OK?
- should Leaping go in a different skill-tree such as stealth?
--- (a problem at the moment is that so many evn abilities are so good)
- what proportion of characters should end up with Leaping?
--- I don't want everyone to get it, but maybe it should be more than 1 in 3

(Note that reducing the number/effect of chasms means reducing the power of Leaping, which could make the problem of its price worse.)

Another thing to note is that some things which encourage acquiring Leaping game-wise such as in order to get more treasures or to see all of a level seem to be found 'not fun' by the majority of players (at least of vocal ones) and is perceived as a 'push' instead of a 'pull' (perhaps because they are used to being able to traverse the whole level etc).
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Old September 23, 2014, 13:25   #2
Scatha
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In a similar vein, I'm also interested in knowing everyone's impressions towards chasms generally, now that they've had time to get used to them.

Do they feel:
- cool?
- hazardous?
- useful?
- annoying?
- game-y?
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Old September 23, 2014, 14:07   #3
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Chasms are cool (and would be pointless if they were coded to avoid cutting off areas or even rarer as they are now).

Leaping, when I had it and played to its natural strength (ranged effects via archery/song), felt good. (Beren competition) Even with such a char, Leaping is only useful sometimes as opposed to always for Sprinting (for that reason removing dodging prerequisite would not change much for me). It might feel more compelling if I would play more disciplined and truly contemplate defensive positions to fall back to as an archer - via chasm/warding/horn influence zones or it had a minor perk regarding traps (jump over identified false floors, caltrops in addition to pits). Leaping probably doesn't work great as an emergency measure, because jumping into the chasm is always an option - without any ability cost.

If AI archers would do sth. to exploit chasms against the player, leaping would be more attractive as well.

With melee I believe knockback based builds could troll Angbands inhabitants pretty hard in combination with chasms (although when you can knockback opponents you can usually kill them - with the exception of grotesques).
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Old September 23, 2014, 16:04   #4
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a big problem is that, as you say, so many evasion abilities address so good. it'd be natural to merge Leaping with Exchange Places, or even Charge.

would you be open to adding a way to acquire leading temporarily, say through potions?
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Old September 23, 2014, 16:20   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bagori nd View Post
a big problem is that, as you say, so many evasion abilities address so good. it'd be natural to merge Leaping with Exchange Places, or even Charge.

would you be open to adding a way to acquire leading temporarily, say through potions?
Current contenders for merging that I've thought about include: Dodging, Charge, Sprinting, Exchange Places (roughly in order from best to worst).

Temporary Leaping would be good gameplay-wise. I just have some difficulty with the flavour of it.
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Old September 23, 2014, 16:43   #6
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I will basically never take leaping unless I will obviously die on the next turn without it, or unless I see Celeg Aithorn in one of those gamey vaults that requires me to leap to it. Once I have it, I will occasionally use it, but I'd say it's more like 1 time in 10 rather than 1 time in 3. Boots of Leaping seem pretty rare, which doesn't help.

I really don't like the super-gamey vaults where you have to leap in circles to pick the weapon you want -- Mostly because that is a really weird mental picture given the austerity of the rest of the setting.

Leaping also has some weird hackiness to it that makes it feel sort of unpolished sometimes, but that is a very subjective statement and I can't really back it up.

Even without leaping, I am used enough to chasms as a dungeon feature now that I kind of like them. They seem to happen really often, especially on earlier floors, but it has stopped bothering me. I do really like it when trolls knock you into them.

One thing I have thought of prototyping was a dex check on falling down a chasm that would help you blunt or evade damage. Right now, chasms are nightmarish for low-con characters because they do so much damage, and I really do feel like the way people actually play now already favors high Con. Dex is another 'overused' stat but giving e.g. stealthy fragile characters a chance to slip down a chasm or something as a risky escape could be fun. This could be enabled by taking leaping also, I guess.
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Old September 23, 2014, 17:10   #7
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I like the added atmosphere chasms bring. Since the character-engine and gameplay is so tight, which is mainly the reason I fire up Sil, anything that spices up the dungeon is nice - and I mean this from a non-tactical point of view. Those kinds of things help my imagination and keep me engaged. But, directly, I don't find chasms annoying or particularly helpful. I like that there are opportunities there, but I'm a player who will seldom make use of those opportunities.

I was most excited by the addition of chasms this year mainly because I took it as a sign that even more terrain might make it into the game. Anything that makes the dungeon feel more alive and threatening is sheer bonus on top of the core Sil experience. Even though I don't really take leaping very often, I was excited to see abilities address dungeon-survival since adding terrain is essentially declaring the dungeon to be a monster to be survived as well.
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Old September 23, 2014, 23:37   #8
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I'd like every one can leap with an ability check dexterity based (with malus weight-related, like stealth). Dodge give you a +X bonus to this ability check.
About chasms, I like them a lot, but sometime i'd like to have the possibility to "try" an hazardous leap :P
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Old September 24, 2014, 05:15   #9
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I quite like chasms, especially for the asthetics of those deep level chasms where the whole level has massive jagged pits. Maybe moving the early chasms down 50' or 100' would relieve some of the frustration of losing your 2nd forge with a smith. That's the forge that seems to hurt the most on a smithing build.

Regarding leaping, I've never really bothered. It's a 1500 pt ability to me as I can't justify taking it over sprinting. I might try it out and get back to you. Seems you'd need a bow of radiance or listen on an archer to milk it properly.

With the boots it's again competing with sprinting. I'm never going to build them while there the same smithing requirement as speed boots. At 8 I might build them on a belegost. At 6 that's reachable with an Edan or easily tacked on to an artifact. They probably need to be more common, they're weaker than speed boots and I see them just as often.
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Old September 24, 2014, 10:45   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wobbly View Post
Regarding leaping, I've never really bothered. It's a 1500 pt ability to me as I can't justify taking it over sprinting. I might try it out and get back to you. Seems you'd need a bow of radiance or listen on an archer to milk it properly.
Good point about the 1500 experience. I generally think of Sprinting, Loremaster, Whirlwind Attack, and Leaping as abilities that take two ability slots as the pre-req is either not that good in most situations or gets overshadowed. So I thought that characters who were taking Dodging anyway (sprinters or flankers) would be the main target audience for Leaping. However, such characters are typically getting in deep on evasion abilities, so while Leaping is only one extra ability for them, it is a particularly expensive one.

I agree that archers are in the best position to take advantage of Leaping, perhaps followed by stealth characters (for running away). However it would definitely be a problem if only archers wanted Leaping -- I'm aiming for it being more versatile and desirable than that.
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