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Old July 11, 2011, 03:16   #1
fizzix
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Monster alertness values make no sense

Monster alertness values seem to make absolutely no sense. Lower alertness means the monster is easier to wake, with 0 being always awake. The following are some monster alertness values.

Code:
Monster            Alertness
----------------------------
Soldier                 5
Cutpurse                5
Bandit                  10
Master Rogue            40
baby - mature dragon    70
Ancient dragon          80
Great wyrms (normal)    80
wyrms bal. mc, law, ch  100
lesser demons (most)    30
greater demons (most)   80
Forest troll            40
Olog                    50
Do these numbers make any sense? A cutpurse is more aware than a bandit, more aware than a master rogue, who is downright sluggish. Just as oblivious to his surroundings as a forest troll. I get that dragons don't pay attention to you, but is there any reason why the most ferocious dragons are also the least likely to notice you? How does a soldier have 16 times more alertness than a Greater Balrog (who presumably woke up from Pippin dropping a pebble down a well).

The numbers also make no sense from a gameplay perspective. In the early levels, you have +0 speed and no stealth boosts. Yet everything is incredibly twitchy, so you have no chance of sneaking past much. Even a hobbit rogue is going to wake up a pack of novices. However, in the later levels, even a clunky paladin is likely to waltz around without waking up very much at all. Why do all novices have the same alertness. Shouldn't a cutpurse be more alert than a soldier?

I'm going to rework these numbers so they make more thematic and gameplay sense. Later monsters will be much more twitchy than they are now. Earlier monsters will have less awareness, (especially monsters that have FRIENDS)
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Old July 11, 2011, 03:18   #2
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It's always bugged me that it's pretty much instant death to enter a new level with a pack of Gallants in LOS. Thanks for taking the time to address this.
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Old July 11, 2011, 09:33   #3
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
I'm going to rework these numbers so they make more thematic and gameplay sense. Later monsters will be much more twitchy than they are now. Earlier monsters will have less awareness, (especially monsters that have FRIENDS)
Just so you know I have already done this, and sent in a pull request for it, in my branch called Stealth. My aim was a different one than yours, but I did do some changes in your direction. I increased alertness in the early levels, but this was to balance the lowered stealth in my branch (so with my changes it will be easier to sneak in the early game, and harder in the late game, cf. today)

Since many people seem to ba against making stealth harder I did not make the late monsters generally more alert. I don't usually change things I feel are wrong before I manage to convince people, and I have not asked about the discrepancies by depth, so those remain.

I did do some changes for thematic reasons like cutpurses etc. But this was not my main aim, so if you go through the file looking for thematic changes I am sure some do remain.
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Old July 11, 2011, 11:58   #4
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An argument could be made that early NPCs and other intelligent enemies, much like the player character, are more twitchy because their survival depends on it. As enemies become more powerful, again much like the PC, they become more relaxed. It's not a particularity strong argument, but it's something to consider. Maybe native depth vs. dungeon level could figure into it some how?
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Old July 11, 2011, 14:06   #5
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Originally Posted by jens View Post
Just so you know I have already done this, and sent in a pull request for it, in my branch called Stealth. My aim was a different one than yours, but I did do some changes in your direction. I increased alertness in the early levels, but this was to balance the lowered stealth in my branch (so with my changes it will be easier to sneak in the early game, and harder in the late game, cf. today)
Ok, if your changes do get pulled, I may go through monster.txt again. We're lagging behind on pulls, because of waiting for 3.3 to be released.

@buzzkill, I've thought of that argument too. It only makes sense if the deeper monsters pose some danger to the weaker monsters. Excepting some very few with KILL_BODY, most pose no threat whatsoever. I still think it's poor for gameplay though. Monsters should get more alert as player stealth increases, not the opposite.
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Old July 11, 2011, 14:28   #6
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
Ok, if your changes do get pulled, I may go through monster.txt again. We're lagging behind on pulls, because of waiting for 3.3 to be released.
Not fair! We're lagging behind on pulls because there are only three active devs with commit access and we're all busy. 3.3 has nothing to do with it - we have a 3.3-release branch precisely so that it doesn't hold up other changes going into staging/master.

I did pull all ten outstanding pull requests at the weekend, but trying to decide what to put into 3.3 made my head spin, so I merged none of them in the end. I am about to start a new thread about getting 3.3 out the door so that this doesn't happen again ...
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Old July 11, 2011, 15:15   #7
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Oh, one thing to keep in mind -- the faster a monster is relative to the player, the more alert they are. Speed rears its ugly head again.
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Old July 11, 2011, 16:31   #8
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It's always bugged me that it's pretty much instant death to enter a new level with a pack of Gallants in LOS. Thanks for taking the time to address this.
That problem is not really the alertness. They have what is essentially a ball attack, being able to do damage at a distance even with monsters in between. For novice paladins, the ranged attack should be the equivalent of a weakly enchanted bow.
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Old July 11, 2011, 17:02   #9
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I don't mind so much that Gallants have a curse spell, since the enemy "holy" caster spellset has very little in common with the player holy casters' anyway. It's more that as soon as you take even one step, several of them will be awake and ready to start casting at you. Anyway, giving Gallants a bow-type ranged attack would conflate them with Scouts.
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Old July 11, 2011, 17:32   #10
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Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
Not fair! We're lagging behind on pulls because there are only three active devs with commit access and we're all busy. 3.3 has nothing to do with it - we have a 3.3-release branch precisely so that it doesn't hold up other changes going into staging/master.

I did pull all ten outstanding pull requests at the weekend, but trying to decide what to put into 3.3 made my head spin, so I merged none of them in the end. I am about to start a new thread about getting 3.3 out the door so that this doesn't happen again ...
My fault. I misunderstood what was going on. I really thought the release was the hold-up.
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