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Old May 23, 2010, 19:16   #1
d_m
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mixed blessing items

So, I think that a lot of the mixed blessing items end up being junk. I'm not really talking about the "Berserk Strength" effect (the reduction in AC stops being a big deal once your AC is pretty good) or the mixed blessing speed rings (teleport and escaping) but more about things like the Ring of the Dog, Mushroom of Stoneskin, etc.

Basically, I think that unless an effect is really great (e.g. speed) or the drawback is really minor (e.g. berserk strength) then the items are often not worth carrying/using. Since each item in the inventory already has a "cost" of one slot it's often easier to just not bother with items whose usefulness is minimal. Furthermore, there are tons of scrolls/potions/staves/etc whose effect is only good, so the player doesn't need to bother with mixed blessing stuff.

I think there are two basic approaches to fixing the problem:

1. Give all (or most) items drawbacks so that the ones that currently have drawbacks aren't significantly worse.

2. Remove all (or most) of the drawbacks, or make the drawbacks much less bad.

Obviously one can mix strategies #1 and #2 to meet in the middle somewhere, but my assumption is that #2 is probably more popular. I think this works especially well for rings, where there is little risk of "ring of the dog" becoming overpowered (since it will presumably always get replaced with one of many awesome rings, e.g. speed, damage, +stat, accuracy, slaying, ring of power, etc).

Mushrooms would be more challenging, except that they are pretty rare right now, and not easy to buy in stores, so improving them won't affect balance too much. I would also like to see them become more common... which might make them easier to stack and less useless. But for instance, stoneskin will never be useful if you lose speed. I think if the mushrooms were easier to find (for instance if fungi dropped them) then they could still be mixed blessings, as long as the downside wasn't so severe (or the upside was also really good, e.g. the +speed mushrooms).

Anyway, I will experiment with this a bit. I know other variants have changed this (I am thinking especially of Un) and I think I like the result.
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Old May 23, 2010, 22:06   #2
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Someone once wrote to rgra that he wanted to squelch all mushrooms at the start of each game. I think he made a good point. The only reason to test mushrooms is to eventually find mushrooms of vigor, but with the attack on consumables they are now too rare to matter
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Old May 24, 2010, 15:03   #3
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Personally I feel every item already has a cost (inventory/equipment slot + weight). Mixed blessing items can be interesting in the early dungeon, before the really good items start showing up. In the early dungeon I often have a free ring slot until I hit =damage and =stat, so we definitely can improve on the rings there if desired.

Specifically on the mushrooms

Debility is also a very useful mushroom, leave as is. Same with vigor.

Make the speed penalty on stoneskin -1 or -2 instead of -5 and then it may be useful. I could see using stoneskin if it was only a -2 penalty and I wanted to melee orcs with a warrior.

Second sight: increase time length

Fast recovery: pretty useless, maybe make it equivalent to !CSW or !CCW

Clear Mind: increase time length. This i the only source of temp rconf in the game. It can be useful, but it needs to have a long enough effect to make it worth carrying.

Emergency: might be useful early in the dungeon as is.

Sprinting: useful, make it last as long as !speed though

Purging: bad, but that's ok.

The next thing to do is make mushroom extremely common, especially in dlevels 1-20. Debility, Sprinting and vigor can be rarer than the others since they are very useful.

For the rings.

Dog: Remove the AC penalty. Then it's useful for characters that already have bad stealth.

Mouse: add stealth instead of dex. Have it appear earlier, dlevel 10 seems fine.

Escaping: leave as is (i've used it)

Teleportation: leave as is (I've used it)

Open Wounds: Move it earlier in the dungeon. I've never used this ring but only because I have better rings by the time it shows up.

Reckless attacks: Leave as is (I've used it)

Those are my suggestions.
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Old May 24, 2010, 17:38   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
Someone once wrote to rgra that he wanted to squelch all mushrooms at the start of each game. I think he made a good point. The only reason to test mushrooms is to eventually find mushrooms of vigor, but with the attack on consumables they are now too rare to matter
I think you're agreeing with me.

So do you prefer eliminating them or improving them? Or something else?
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Old May 24, 2010, 20:28   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_m View Post
I think you're agreeing with me.

So do you prefer eliminating them or improving them? Or something else?
Let someone who cares decide. We can always squelch them. I think Takkaria put some thought into them, and if they make him just a little happy that is enough reason to keep them.

I am in favor of even purely bad items, so long as they are sufficiently *common* and you can squelch them. Occasionally I wish I had something like a source of poison or confusion directed at myself. Mushrooms of bad benefits have their uses. There is no way that I would devote a home slot to storing such a thing, but it would be nice to be able to find one every DL or two when I was actively looking. OTOH, if they are rare, then there is no point.

I have to digress, sorry, but I think this is relevant to the reason for this thread. I really like junk, so long as you can squelch it. IMO the problem with junk weapons and armor is the need to ID before squelching, not that they are junk.
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