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Old April 26, 2019, 05:02   #1
Nick
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Making player status effects less binary

Most player status effects (blindness, confusion, slowing etc) are binary - either you have it or you don't. Traditionally there have been two exceptions: cuts, where the severity governs how much damage the player takes per turn; and stunning, which has increasing effect on spellcasting, combat proficiency and device use. In the development branch there is also bloodlust.

Arguably, being sufficiently fed is in the same class, with regeneration being impaired when the player gets very hungry. Recently there have been suggestions to make hunger more interesting and to increase the effects of stunning.

While we're examining this, I think it's worth considering making some other effects less binary. The most obvious candidates to me are confusion, poisoning and paralysis, but perhaps also haste, slowing, fear, and even things like Protection from Evil. So, for example, low level confusion might allow spellcasting with increased failure rate (or chance of casting the wrong spell!), and a chance of successfully reading scrolls; higher level confusion might mean not just difficulty walking where you intend but walking at random when you mean to stand still.

What do people think?
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Old April 26, 2019, 05:21   #2
Derakon
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My thoughts are basically that having more variable status effects is fine for having more little details, but I'm not sure many of them will have a significant impact on gameplay outside of the early game, unless you address the player's access to status effect mitigation (protections and cures). Most players on these forums at least will view any reduction in their escape capabilities (such as ability to use spells/scrolls/magic devices) as "debilitating" and attempt to cure them ASAP, regardless of the statistical impact. I'm pretty sure that if you took a 0% failure rate and changed it to a 1%, that'd be enough to trigger "I've got to cure this right now just in case" logic. Players can get away with that kind of thinking because cures are plentiful in comparison to status effects, at least for careful players.

But that conversation starts spiralling rapidly out of control, so maybe save it for another thread.

One thing you could do, though, is have monsters that routinely apply small status effects, that gradually stack larger the longer you fight the monster without spending a turn on clearing them. Obviously these could be applied in melee, but I think it'd make good sense to have some that are applied just by being anywhere near the monster / having it in LOS. This is both so that non-melee characters don't get to escape them and also for more flavor: Nazgul applying a stacking fear effect as long as you can see them, for example, or Bile Demons poisoning you just by you being near them.

Heh...how about stationary monsters that, every dozen or two turns, stack an additional layer of debuff on you if you're within, oh, 30 tiles of them, even through walls? Put one of those suckers in a vault, that's mean.

Of the status effects you listed, my main thoughts are that it's easier, and more clear, to have variable debuffs that are straight-up stat modifiers. Having the effects of confusion change qualitatively depending on how confused you are is, well, confusing, and hard to communicate to the player. But they can easily tell the difference between -2 speed and -4 speed.

* Poisoning seems like an obvious candidate, because right now it's a super-boring status. There's any number of reasonable effects we could associate with being poisoned, including periodically tacking on other status ailments (like confusing, stunning, vomiting, etc.) because of the poison! Or you can just scale the damage instead of or in addition to the duration. *shrug*

* ToME 2 has a scaling haste spell; if I recall correctly, it hastes you by anywhere from around +5 to +15 or so depending on your spell power. I don't think this is an especially great idea because of the destabilizing effect it has on equipment power valuations; if you can get a +15 haste on demand, then you need 5 less speed from your equipment compared to usual, which can give you a lot of leeway.

* Slow can of course be applied at varying levels. Having something less bad than the -10 speed that can be applied more liberally could well be interesting.
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Old April 26, 2019, 05:28   #3
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It'll teach bad habits for confusion. If an umber hulk hits you for a few points damage, you'd still have a chance to escape without a ataff (or a speed potion.) Things will be different if it's a nightmare or Ethereal Dragon. For poison, it is a good idea to make it faster acting for high doses.
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Old April 26, 2019, 10:26   #4
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Confusion should maybe only scale how erratic your movement is; being unable to do anything that requires 'concentration' ie cast a spell I think still sounds OK for any level of confusion

At least then an experienced player would know they would have a good chance to be able to back off from the Umber Hulk at the first attack rather than keep trying to wail on it until all movement is random. But I'm open to ideas on it

I do think having less binary effects would be good. As has been said, poison is an obvious one for the damage per round to decrease over time. Slowness as well should do the same, gradually returning the play to normal speed

I like Derakon's idea of a 'debuff aura' and agree it fits well. As you get closer to a Time Vortex you get slower and slower... and the static wide area debuff monsters sound like they could add some interesting challenges
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Old April 26, 2019, 11:53   #5
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I'd like to see slowness be somewhat akin to stunning where there is the possibility to continue to get slower until you are paralyzed after a certain point. To counter that, you could make temporary speed stack when you are fighting slowness.
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Old April 26, 2019, 16:49   #6
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I think confusion is pretty good as is. I'd also be interested to see a different form if someone comes up with something good. The one I'm most interested in is paralysis. Some variants have made FA rare as an interesting challenge. The trouble is you just get to a point where you are sick of waiting for FA to drop & die because you're over being extra careful. I'd like some compromise solution where FA could be a little rarer & paralysis a little more survivable.

It's tangential to the topic, but now variable move speed is in master(shapechangers) I think it's worth considering whether mushrooms of sprinting & terror should be fast move rather then fast shooting. Terror mushrooms are crazy good for a ranger. I think sprinting mushrooms that make you move faster & appear earlier could be interesting as an alternative to always phasing as an escape.
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Old April 26, 2019, 17:55   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
My thoughts are basically that having more variable status effects is fine for having more little details, but I'm not sure many of them will have a significant impact on gameplay outside of the early game, unless you address the player's access to status effect mitigation (protections and cures). Most players on these forums at least will view any reduction in their escape capabilities (such as ability to use spells/scrolls/magic devices) as "debilitating" and attempt to cure them ASAP, regardless of the statistical impact.
Nick suggested the possibility that confusion might lead to accidentally casting the wrong spell; it would be reasonable, if that were the case, that it might also sometimes lead to accidentally drinking the wrong potion or using the wrong staff.

That might prove to be unreasonably dangerous, but it would make things interesting....
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Old April 27, 2019, 01:31   #8
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I like the idea of variable levels of statuses. The first time some confusing monster hits you, you get slightly confused. Any action you try to take might have a 25% chance to "misfire". Movement would go a random direction, quaffing a potion might get the wrong potion (or just do nothing, so you can't work around it by only carrying one type of potion), casting a spell gets the wrong spell, or the right spell in a random direction, etc.

Getting hit a second time would increase it to moderately confused, and now you have a 50% chance of misfiring. A third time and it's very confused and a 75% chance of getting things wrong. A fourth hit and your completely confused, with a 90% failure rate (I think a 100% rate would be too hard to ever recover from).

Other statuses would also scale appropriately. Level 1 poison might to 1 point of damage every turns, level 2 does one point per turn, level 3 does 2 points per 3 turns, etc. (yeah, I know, there aren't turns, there are time units, but you get the gist of the idea).

I ideally, you should recover one level at a time, based on how long it's been since each hit, but that might be too fiddly to track.

In general, level 1 of a status should be weaker than the current implementation, since we'd expect in most cases the player might get hit with more levels, which could make things worse than things currently get.

I also think we should have more levels of resistances. Currently, you're fire resistance, fire immune, or not resistant at all (well, there's also vulnerable). Unless things have changed since I last played much, having 3 items that give resistance to an attack type does no more than just having one. Hmmm, I seem to recall that having a resistance from an item did stack with resistance from a potion, is that still the case? (it's been a while since I played much, and there have been changes...)

Maybe resistances from multiple items should stack? One level of resistance would give less protection than it currently does, two would be about the same as one (or more) is now, three would be a little better, four even better and so on. But there should be a taper as you add more levels. So 7 levels is better than 6, but not as much of an improvement as 5 levels is over 4.

This gives the player more choices to make about what gear to wear. Instead of just checking all the boxes, hes got to decide if he wants to (for example) go with just level 1 for fire and also level 1 for nether, or skip the nether and get level 2 for fire.
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Old April 27, 2019, 02:43   #9
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Khearn-
I can't tell if you are being sarcastic. You are describing PosChengband.
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Old April 27, 2019, 05:17   #10
Nick
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While I'm working on it, another couple of things for consideration:
  1. Currently there are messages when a player status effect increases, for example "You feel even more berserk!". My feeling is that these messages are misleading; what is actually happening is that the timer has increased, but the effect is exactly the same. Should these all just be scrapped?
  2. Some effects, notably haste, have a cap on how much the timer can be extended - so if already hasted, quaffing another !Speed will only get the player 5 extra turns. For many others, though, there is no cap, so for example a paladin or priest in town can cast Bless and PfE until their mana runs out, rest, and repeat until they have enough for their entire next dive. Personally, I think the latter situation is ridiculous and all effects should be capped, but that's just me. Opinions?
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