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Old July 5, 2011, 14:55   #1
fizzix
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revisiting Teleport Other

Teleport Other (TO) is one of the most useful items in the game, and one of the hardest to balance. This is because it serves two purposes. 1: It allows players to partially neutralize monster summoning. 2: It allows players to remove solitary monsters from the immediate vicinity, thereby enabling access to areas that would otherwise be blocked off.

I find use 1 to be necessary. I don't want to weaken players abilities to deal with summoned monsters any further without a similar weakening of summoning. However, use 2 is problematic. TO is the single most useful item to pick up between dlevels 30 and 60. Furthermore, getting TO greatly accelerates the players ability to pick up great items and loot vaults. This leads to an exponential equipment growth in these levels that make the midgame a boring dive-fest.

There are several monsters that exist solely to block off regions of the dungeon (think beholders) and with TO these monsters are pointless. A beholder in a vault becomes an entirely different problem if you don't have TO. In fact it's an interesting problem. Do you fight it, do you lure it away, or do you give up on the vault? If you play a game where you are unlucky enough not to find TO until dlevel 50 or 60, you will likely have had to make several of these decisions. And IMO these are the risk reward decisions that V needs more of.

If you buy my analysis, that means we would want to weaken the effect of TOing solitary monsters in the midgame, but not the effect of removing troublesome summonses in the endgame. This is hard, and generally revolves around weakening the availability of TO in the midgame, but compensating for it by making it show up more often in the endgame.

Currently, TO wands show up around dlevel 20, and rods around dlevel 45. Wands come with 7-11 charges.
The arcane spell shows up in MB4. Mages get it at clevel 23, rogues and rangers at clevel 31.
The priest spell is in the dungeon-only PB5. Priests get it at clevel 20 and paladins at 25.

My proposed changes are:
remove TO spell from rangers and paladins, raise rogues to clevel 35.

Change allocation of wands from A: 100: 20 to 100 to A: 100: 55 to 100.
Change allocation of rods from A:50:45 to 100 to A: 100: 75 to 100.

Rods have a higher allocation probability but don't occur until deeper in the dungeon. I'd also consider reducing the recharge time on rods, so you need less of them for the endgame.

Lastly, in the least controversial change. Increase the price of TO by a factor of 20. (wands would then cost about as much as stat potions in the BM.)
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Old July 5, 2011, 15:31   #2
CunningGabe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
There are several monsters that exist solely to block off regions of the dungeon (think beholders) and with TO these monsters are pointless. A beholder in a vault becomes an entirely different problem if you don't have TO. In fact it's an interesting problem. Do you fight it, do you lure it away, or do you give up on the vault? If you play a game where you are unlucky enough not to find TO until dlevel 50 or 60, you will likely have had to make several of these decisions. And IMO these are the risk reward decisions that V needs more of.
Why not give some monsters the ability to resist teleportation? IIRC some other variants have this.
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Old July 5, 2011, 15:39   #3
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You are forgetting one more use:
To allow mages to take on resist all monsters between level 30 and 90. Without Taway mages have to resort to melee or bows, and if they consider those out of character, they can't fight most monsters in any way. But happily your proposal does not impact those.

I do agree with your changes, basically.

Other changes to Taway I had thought of:
  1. We could make Taway also affect items, like most other area affect spells do. This might make it stronger instead of weaker, and is somewhat included in the monster pickup.
  1. We could make it use bolts instead of ray.
  1. It could have a random chance of removing a monster or item from the level instead of moving them. It might make one careful to cast it on uniques or in vaults.
    In fact this might even be fun to add to Tself.
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Old July 5, 2011, 15:50   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CunningGabe View Post
Why not give some monsters the ability to resist teleportation? IIRC some other variants have this.
Certainly a possibility. I don't have experience with these variants. It's not my favorite approach though.

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Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
You are forgetting one more use:
To allow mages to take on resist all monsters between level 30 and 90. Without Taway mages have to resort to melee or bows, and if they consider those out of character, they can't fight most monsters in any way. But happily your proposal does not impact those.
Yes, I think TO is actually ok for mages. Although it'd be interesting to get other opinions on this.

Quote:
We could make Taway also affect items, like most other area affect spells do. This might make it stronger instead of weaker, and is somewhat included in the monster pickup.
This has been suggested before. I dont' think it will help. After all, you generally lure monsters out of a vault to TO them one by one. It also won't help at all with the more common aspect of removing a beholder from an area that it is patrolling so you can pick up the shiny object nearby.

Quote:
We could make it use bolts instead of ray.
This is already in 3.3. I'm responsible for this as well, after test-playing it and finding it to make battles more tactically interesting. What do people think about this change?

Quote:
It could have a random chance of removing a monster or item from the level instead of moving them. It might make one careful to cast it on uniques or in vaults.
In fact this might even be fun to add to Tself.
I haven't thought about this, but I'm not sure it'll help. If given the choice of TOing a drolem or TOing it with the possibility of removing it, I'd choose the latter every time.
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Old July 5, 2011, 16:10   #5
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I'm not sure a chance to resist teleport-other is a great idea... until Angband demonstrates an ability to "get this right" with other things (Slow Monster, Sleep, Confuse Monster, etc) I wouldn't want to make this change.

Making a few monsters totally immune to teleport-other might be ok, as might certain terrain types (e.g. lead-walled rooms) or player status effects which inhibit teleportation.

Mages are delicate enough that I don't worry too much about them getting teleport-other. I would worry even less if LOS was symmetrical. On some level part of the reason teleport-other is overpowered is because you can use it with the hockey stick to avoid taking a risk.

Bolt instead of beamed teleport-other works really well. I am (hopefully?) about to win with a character from the 3.3-release branch and I've found it to be more exciting... the escorts for uniques really do help them out more when they are teleport-other blockers. I've had to use a lot more trickery to get uniques out of vaults. I think it's a keeper!

I totally aggree on changing the value of -TO, ?TO, etc. Right now they sell for too little. In fact, this goes for most of the end game consumables (?*Destruction*, ?banish, ?mass-banish, etc).

Changing the depth/rarity of -TO seems like a good thing to try but I'd run some stats simulations before you commit it. This change makes the game harder for warriors, paladins, priests (and rangers if you take the spell away from them) without changing mage/rogue difficulty at all, so it's worth seeing how drastically the edit affects outcomes.
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Old July 5, 2011, 16:23   #6
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Currently at CL32 rogues/rangers/paladins get a game changing spell - either haste or the 300 pt heal. Given a choice between haste and TO, a rogue/ranger will likely use mana on the former. Once fail rates for those classes are reasonable, rods are available and possibly plentiful. I'm not sure removing TO as a spell or making wands/rods deeper will affect the casting play style of the hybrid classes.

Changing TO from a beam to a bolt already makes for more tactical decisions - for example, any open area with a druj is now extremely risky to the player. I'm not sure that more needs to be done, but if you want to make TO more rare, I might suggest an alternative to moving the items deeper:

1) Reduce number of charges per wand from 5-7 to 2-4.
2) Increase difficulty of recharging.
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Old July 5, 2011, 16:41   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulian View Post
Given a choice between haste and TO, a rogue/ranger will likely use mana on the former.
I disagree with this statement. If I have neither -TO or _speed, I'm more likely to use TO than haste.
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Old July 5, 2011, 16:59   #8
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Hey, did someone suggest making faults teleport-proof? No teleport off of "icky" spaces, for monsters and for players? Because I think I really like that idea...
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Old July 5, 2011, 17:05   #9
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Well if there is an area that you cannot teleport in to, maybe you sould not be able to teleport out of it either...
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Old July 5, 2011, 17:28   #10
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Yes. I makes sense, it would make me think twice about how to handle that vault.
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