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Old February 1, 2009, 03:54   #1
Donald Jonker
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True confessions of a real-life townscummer

To give Mr. Sidwell et al. helpful data for revising shop code, I thought it useful to reconstruct as accurately as possible my townscumming habits (not to defend them, merely to record and describe them). I play High-Elves: Warriors and Rogues, so the following will pertain only to that set. The lists that follow aren't all the things I find necessary, but the things I will townscum for. Thus, ?phase and ?WoR aren't included, because they're guaranteed.

***Start-scumming:***
I will suicide my char if he doesn't find a 3/4 blow weapon in town, meaning a whip, dagger, main gauche, or rapier. Sometimes I won't settle for a whip.

***50'-1000'***

MB1
?to_dam

The only staple item that I find myself lacking in this range is ?to_dam, which is necessary if I don't find a {good} (or should I say good {magical}) 3/4 blow melee weapon by around 700'. I'll townscum until my weapon is at least (+0,+3).

For rogues, if I by some misfortune lose MB1 and it is not in stock, I'll townscum for it. This is rare.

***1000'-1500'***

MB1
!CCW - at least 5, ideally 12.
?to_dam
_dEvil
_telSelf - at least 1, ideally 2.

Warriors need _dEvil if they don't have FA, and should have it even if they do. I won't compromise on that, and it's usually a problem. _telSelf and !CCW for are equally necessary but more common. All three become staple for the rest of the game. !CCW is usually inadequate in quantity in 3.1.

***1500'-3000'***
MB1, MB3
!CCW - at least 5, ideally 12.
?mapping/_mapping - at least 5, ideally 10.
?dTreasure - at least 5, ideally 10.
?recharging - at least 2, ideally 5.
_dEvil
_telSelf - 2.

Magic mapping becomes a strategic necessity; treasure detection is needed to catch those elusive stat pots (although the rods are nicely common). ?recharging becomes necessary to keep from pulling your hair out as you use up your _mapping, _telSelf and _dEvil, and is very rare at the alchemist's; ditto magic mapping.

***3000'-bottom***

MB1, MB3, MB4
!CCW - 12.
?mapping/_mapping - 5 to 10.
dTreasure
?recharging - 5-10.
_dEvil
_telSelf/?telSelf

-telOther
!healing
?mass banishment
!stat

Black market time. Since I've been townscumming all along, my turncount is already busted, so I might as well skip buying it out, since my macros make it easier to townscum. -telOther is extremely rare, but an absolute necessity, so I'll be looking for it. !healing and ?mass banishment are needed for the final fights but are also very rare. When I lack rNexus, and have patience, I sometimes scum for stat pots at the black market, which are in somewhat common supply. ?telSelf probably ought to be sold at the alchemist's - I see no reason why not.

--

EDIT: I neglected to mention !rStat, which isn't as big a problem for me as it seems to be for most. I usually only scum for them when I get dropped down a blow, which typically happens 2-3 times/game.

--

I feel I'm leaving some things out, and will add to the list if some things occur to me. At the very least, these are some of the bare essentials that I feel are being snubbed in the present version.

More generally, I find that stocks of items being in smaller supply is a problem (2 ?phase, 1 ?WoR at the general store - that kind of thing). I'm not totally clear on what level of balance/deprivation is being aimed at, but I don't think we're very near the sweet spot. V309 was much closer (at least in Eddie's patch - did he mess with store inventories?).

I hope this is helpful!
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Last edited by Donald Jonker; February 1, 2009 at 04:11.
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Old February 1, 2009, 04:09   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Jonker View Post
V309 was much closer (at least in Eddie's patch - did he mess with store inventories?).
I made one change. Items that are guaranteed to be in stock, such as arrows at the general store, I cause to replenish without waiting for the slot to be completely empty. In 309, if you buy 98 arrows and adventure for a year, when you come back there will be only 1 arrow for sale. I don't know whether that has changed, as I only buy entire slots of ammo, phase, or recall from the general store to avoid worrying about it, even if then I have to sell the excess to the weaponsmith or alchemist.
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Old February 1, 2009, 07:07   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Jonker View Post
I will suicide my char if he doesn't find a 3/4 blow weapon in town, meaning a whip, dagger, main gauche, or rapier. Sometimes I won't settle for a whip.
I did an analysis of weapon vs. damage here that is worth reading. I've only provided the 'after adjustment' figures, but it's interesting to see how much worse higher damage weapons are in their damage to weight ratio - usually the before figure was twice as heavy (e.g. half as much damage to weight). This is exaggerated by the damage bonus being applied per blow - which I compensated for in Unangband by preventing weapons being easily enchanted beyond +(x*y) for a xdy weapon.

I'm not suggesting a move to O style combat. But making heavier weapons a more viable starting choice would at least encourage some variety in initial play.
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Old February 8, 2009, 18:49   #4
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The problem with townscumming ...

... is that there *could* be the item you want in the store. If the item was automatically in stock, you could buy it. If it could never be in stock, you'd forget about it and go back to the dungeon. But because it's possible, you scum and/or buy out the store.

So how about a model where stores *only* sell guaranteed items. We can have endless debates about what they should be (too few makes the game frustrating, too many takes some fun out of it), but nobody will ever bother to townscum or buy out stores. I gave my list in the other thread (ammo, ?recall, ?ID, restore stats, maybe ?PD - oh, and town spellbooks), but I suspect we'd end up with a few more (oil, food etc.).

If this sounds too scary, how about a town with two shops - a general store that stocks the agreed list of guaranteed items, and a BM-type pawnbroker who stocks *anything*, from !slowpois to =speed, but with such tiny probabilities you'd never bother to scum it. That way you at least get some variation on your return to town.


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Old February 8, 2009, 18:59   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewdoull View Post
I did an analysis of weapon vs. damage here that is worth reading. I've only provided the 'after adjustment' figures, but it's interesting to see how much worse higher damage weapons are in their damage to weight ratio - usually the before figure was twice as heavy (e.g. half as much damage to weight). This is exaggerated by the damage bonus being applied per blow - which I compensated for in Unangband by preventing weapons being easily enchanted beyond +(x*y) for a xdy weapon.

I'm not suggesting a move to O style combat. But making heavier weapons a more viable starting choice would at least encourage some variety in initial play.
I agree with the last part completely (and I would heartly support a move towards O combat), but the analysis of damage per unit weight is misleading while the current blow mechanic exists. The weapon's actual weight is irrelevant after the very early game, it's #blows which is all-important.

The big problem is that #blows is an integer, making certain breakpoints much more favourable than others. Personally I hardly ever use daggers, because I roll my characters to get max blows with a main gauche, rapier or (pre-3.1) sabre.

If you want to smooth out the relative attractiveness of weapon weights, discard the blows table and implement fractional blows, keeping track of stored unused energy until an extra blow can be awarded on the Nth round. I appreciate that this is not a minor change.

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Old February 8, 2009, 19:10   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
I agree with the last part completely (and I would heartly support a move towards O combat), but the analysis of damage per unit weight is misleading while the current blow mechanic exists. The weapon's actual weight is irrelevant after the very early game, it's #blows which is all-important.

The big problem is that #blows is an integer, making certain breakpoints much more favourable than others. Personally I hardly ever use daggers, because I roll my characters to get max blows with a main gauche, rapier or (pre-3.1) sabre.

If you want to smooth out the relative attractiveness of weapon weights, discard the blows table and implement fractional blows, keeping track of stored unused energy until an extra blow can be awarded on the Nth round. I appreciate that this is not a minor change.
Or do the sCthband thing and use per-blow energy rather than grouping them, then go further and smooth out the per-blow energy lookup.
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Old February 9, 2009, 13:30   #7
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What the hell is this constant complaining about so called townscumming? Surely if you don't like it, don't do it, who's forcing you?
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Old February 9, 2009, 14:38   #8
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What the hell is this constant complaining about so called townscumming? Surely if you don't like it, don't do it, who's forcing you?
I wasn't trying to complain (at least not entirely..): Andi Sidwell said he was looking at store stocks for 3.1.1 again to minimize the impetus for buying out/store scumming, so I was trying to provide feedback by way of describing my scummy needs. The other thread I was asking a plea for advice as I have trouble surviving in games where I don't townscum (in some variants, at least).

I don't think the debate is so much whether storescumming is good or bad - folks like me see it as a necessary evil (if that). The debate is more over what the philosophy of store stocking should be: to provide all necessities all the time and thus obviate the need for any storescumming whatsoever, or to provide a mix of ample necessities and flavorful extras to allow for some interesting purchasing decisions... if you find such things interesting. We're tending towards the latter, which is as it's traditionally been.

This is all a roundabout way of saying that I think you misunderstand what's being discussed: its a reexamination of the role of stores, not a complaint over the inconvenience of resting in the dungeon waiting for the stores to restock.
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Old February 9, 2009, 15:05   #9
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What the hell is this constant complaining about so called townscumming? Surely if you don't like it, don't do it, who's forcing you?
Yeah!! I'm gald I wasn't the one to say it.
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Old February 9, 2009, 16:02   #10
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I find the game challenging enough... I don't think having to go without direly needed items adds any fun to Banding whatsoever...

I unfortunately townscum all the time. I feel that the nessacary items should at least be in stock at all times.

But that's just me. =]
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