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Old July 10, 2013, 18:31   #11
Derakon
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Well, it has that effect for me! Certainly I think that stat-draining monsters are perceived as more dangerous by most players now that restoration is not so readily-available. How you respond to having been drained is going to vary by person, of course. Ideally players wouldn't want to scum dlvl 3. In my experience, hoarding mushrooms of Vigor throughout the game gives me enough to deal with occasional "serious" stat drains. I just can't afford to play recklessly when drainers are around, since my stock of restoration items is limited.
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Old August 9, 2013, 21:55   #12
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I think it's not really complete right now, *because* of the aftermath.

If I get drained a bit and become less powerful, that makes me afraid of stat draining and take such encounters more seriously.

If I get drained a LOT and can't continue to play at current depth, that's boring. I just have to regress my gameplay until it's safe enough, and wait for it to go away.

Consider that strength can be reduced to the point where you can't even use your current gear anymore. This happened to my priest.

Buying a crappy weapon out of the store? Interesting enough, I guess.
Being unable to continue at anywhere near half the depth level his level would suggest? Dull.

The aggregate result is to make the overall game experience worse, IMO.

In a game like Crawl or Nethack you don't have the option to regress (usually, anyway), so having stats reduced would make the game unavoidably more dangerous. So there it feels more meaningful. However they won't take away 75% of your health from a single round with timehounds because that would feel ridiculous in that context. Also in those games if something so catastrophic happens I can just suicide and lose 5 hours, wheras in Angband your level 30+ character doesn't seem acceptable to suicide.

I think when my current games end I'll just play an older version of Angband where this mechanic is absent. But for now I just edited mushrooms of vigor to be 3x as common to reduce the tedium.
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Old August 9, 2013, 23:40   #13
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How often do you find yourself so badly drained that you're unable to be remotely effective with your normal gear? I think the goal is that this should happen less often than the rate at which you find mushrooms of Vigor, so that if you keep them around for such "emergencies", you won't be forced to regress, as you put it. In other words, Vigor is available if you need it, so long as you don't need it too often -- and careful play ought to ensure that it isn't needed too often.

Unfortunately that sounds like I'm saying "you're playing it wrong", which isn't my intent. Rather, I'm trying to figure out how well the spawn rate matches your needs.
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Old August 10, 2013, 04:01   #14
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Well, it has that effect for me! Certainly I think that stat-draining monsters are perceived as more dangerous by most players now that restoration is not so readily-available. How you respond to having been drained is going to vary by person, of course. Ideally players wouldn't want to scum dlvl 3. In my experience, hoarding mushrooms of Vigor throughout the game gives me enough to deal with occasional "serious" stat drains. I just can't afford to play recklessly when drainers are around, since my stock of restoration items is limited.
I've played around with it a bit more and I think I like the change. It's just another threat that you need to be aware of.

To avoid the incentive to scum, couldn't you change the drop rates on Vigor in the same way that the drop rates on stat gain potions were changed? People used to hang out on D30 forever to max out their stats, but now that stat potions drop more evenly, it's pretty pointless
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Old August 12, 2013, 19:04   #15
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
How often do you find yourself so badly drained that you're unable to be remotely effective with your normal gear? I think the goal is that this should happen less often than the rate at which you find mushrooms of Vigor, so that if you keep them around for such "emergencies", you won't be forced to regress, as you put it. In other words, Vigor is available if you need it, so long as you don't need it too often -- and careful play ought to ensure that it isn't needed too often.

Unfortunately that sounds like I'm saying "you're playing it wrong", which isn't my intent. Rather, I'm trying to figure out how well the spawn rate matches your needs.
My sample size is fairly small at the moment. Out of 5 characters with the new drain, it's happened 3 times, twice to one. 3 of those characters are still alive, only in the clevel 30s and dlevel 40s/50s or so. If home space wasn't so restricted, I *might* have had one left for one of these characters, but I typically used them when significantly drained at lower level. It's boring then too.

Basically the rate at which you acquire them is about right at lower levels. Once you're in significant drain territory and they no longer can be found the rate is not right.

This could be partially solved by making the home larger, which is probably the game modification I'll end up playing with in the end. Coming back to Angband after 5 years or so, juggling in the home is something I still do not enjoy.

If I was to continue to play with the game as-is, I would probably just memorize the time hound levels and skip them, as they're the major source of this. For example, I went down stairs and found a pack of them in the room. the round of detection gave them the turn to drain me silly. This is when I gave up on the game as provided and changed it.

Of course, my concerns were overblown as it turned out, because they had drained me enough to make me lose a level. Restore xp fixed that, but it's considered a bug.

The real problem is that the malus isn't any fun. Crawl style maluses can give new and interesting challenges. Stat drain just regresses the character a bunch and you get to wait for it it go away. Allowing players to punish themselves with boredom is a longstanding Angband trait (one I used to agree with but no longer do.. but that's personal), but inflicting it on them seems a really bad idea.

Last edited by jrodman; August 12, 2013 at 19:10.
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Old August 12, 2013, 21:25   #16
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I think the idea is that you learn which enemies can drain you, and then you do your best to avoid them. Landing in a room with a bunch of Time Hounds is lousy luck though. Ideally you'd have telepathy so you wouldn't have to use a turn to detect them. NPP-derived variants try to always start the player in a little cul-de-sac so there can't be lots of enemies in LOS right at the start; Vanilla should probably steal that feature.

The way I handled experience drain in Pyrel (which I have, alas, been too busy to work on lately) was to have it temprarily drain entire character levels, and it'd stack. So getting hit once usually wasn't a big deal, but getting hit ten times would be a big problem -- which would go away on its own after a bit. Something similar could probably be done with stat drains too: make them bigger (percentile?) drains, but only temporary. I do tend to agree that permanently "damaging" a character is pretty lame.

As for house size, if it weren't so intractably tied up with the size of stores, I'm pretty sure it'd have been made gigantic awhile ago. Practically nobody thinks that the current house size is important for any kind of gameplay reason, and there are a lot of players who want to be able to hoard more loot.
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Old August 13, 2013, 09:30   #17
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Draining LOTS of stats quite seriously but having the status expire seems like a lot more fun. Trying to survive crazy stat drain scenarios sounds exciting.

One of the problems with angband negative statuses is the prepared player can so readily just leave. I wonder if there's space for something more evil like the rare short-term teleport prevention. I suppose teleport-to is along those lines, but it's quite expectable once you know the game, while the unusual combination of one creature which can momentarily block teleportation with another creature that offers some other unwanted threat might be good.

Of course I'm kind of far off topic here.

I think there should be some other pattern of recovery for drain still, or it shouldn't be so common (and then so pointless once properly equipped).
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Old August 13, 2013, 10:45   #18
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I think there should be some other pattern of recovery for drain still, or it shouldn't be so common (and then so pointless once properly equipped).
I take your criticism. If you can think of something better I'd be interested in hearing it. I think the current situation is still better than people just recalling, buying/scumming for potions, and going back to the dungeon but I'm open to other suggestions.
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Old August 13, 2013, 15:02   #19
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Well, I made my suggestion.
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Old August 15, 2013, 21:32   #20
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I take your criticism. If you can think of something better I'd be interested in hearing it. I think the current situation is still better than people just recalling, buying/scumming for potions, and going back to the dungeon but I'm open to other suggestions.
The xp drain scenario is still essentially that; go to town wait for restore life levels to appear. I think it's actually superior to the current situation where you can end up having progression rewound, which means proper play may just be to play treading water at a much earlier point in the dungeon.

I think the options are:

* The problem is made temporary in some way. Probably with a trade of being more severe.
* Additional items of recovery are introduced that are more readily acquirable, or current sources become more common.
* Some independent method of recovery is introduced that is not item based.
* Limit the possible reductions by stat drain. Eg loss of more than say 2 points in a single round is exceedingly rare.

----
Limiting might be the change that most fits your existing choices. For example stat drain could apply a temporary effect to the player, perhaps lasting around one normal turn, where further drain in this time window has no effect.

That would make time hounds a lot less scary, but yet they still can worsen your character for hours so there's a certain fear there.

This makes it fairly unlikely that you end up with a character missing 8 points in every category, which is when you just have to leave and wait for it to go away.

----

Because I think the real problem is the boringness of waiting for it to go away, I am more interested in play mechanics that keep the player engaged in the problem.

For example, what if exercising a stat had a chance to give some recovery?

Say performing strenuous activity over some period might occasionally restore 0.1 point of strength. Perhaps spellcasting might do the same for intelligence.

To get this right you'd probably want to do some kind of tricky filter for like "you can only get this benefit in combat" so the right thing to do isn't necessarily to stand in the corner in town and do stuff until the drain is gone.

This kind of mechanic would make the post-drain scenario more interesting, enjoying the return of your power, rather than more boring.
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