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Old December 15, 2017, 16:07   #1
Derakon
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Making randart sets more cohesive

Crossposting from the "No OP Items" thread, because I thought this was an interesting idea and I'm disappointed nobody's responded/reacted to it. As background, the issue being discussed was that it's currently too easy to generate randart sets where the player can assemble "full coverage" of important abilities and also get massive stat bonuses / good damage / good speed. It was proposed that part of the issue is that each randart is generated in a vacuum, so to speak, which ends up often making them more synergistic than standarts.

I think a few heuristics should be able to handle synergy for most cases. I don't think it's necessary to have an algorithm that's guaranteed to be perfect; after all, rare outlier games (both too strong and too weak) help to keep things interesting.

Synergy in general comes from artifacts covering for each others' weaknesses, while still providing good coverage in stackable abilities like speed and stats. Therefore a lack of synergy comes when multiple important abilities are only reliably avaliable on a single slot (and usually not at the same time), or when covering binary abilities comes at the cost of losing out on stackable abilities. For a specific example, pBlind/pConf are most frequently available on helms in standart games, and so is ESP, but there's very few sources of all three in the helm slot. This frequently leads the player to have to decide which of the three powers they want (or how to juggle their gear to get the abilities "off-slot" on an otherwise-weak item), instead of just getting all of them conveniently.

So for example (just spitballing here), an anti-synergy heuristic could work like this:

* Have a predefined set of Important Binary Abilities (IBAs). This would be things like rBase, SI, FA, ESP, pConf, etc. Abilities that all players want to have.
* Break the IBAs down into sets of at least 2 abilities. Assign each set a favored slot.
* For any randart, assign higher power if it has multiple abilities from the IBA set.
* For any randart not in the favored slot, assign higher power for each ability it has from the IBA set.

For example, if rFire and rCold are in an IBA set, and the game decides to assign that set to the ring slot, then we might see randarts like:

* The Ring of Foo (rFire) power 25
* The Ring of Bar (rCold) power 25
* The Ring of Baz (rFire, rCold) power 75
* The Boots of Quux (rFire) power 50
* The Boots of Quuux (rFire, rCold) power 100

Higher power means that the randart has "less room" to fit other abilities, making it weaker on the whole in exchange for the versatility it gets. This should, if I thought it through correctly, create randart sets where you either get versatility ("off-slot" abilities) or you get useful stats, but both would be rare.
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Old December 15, 2017, 17:19   #2
Philip
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I figure this is a very good way to make randart sets resemble the standart ones a bit closer in terms of how they are balanced, though I don't know if it is sufficient as a balance fix on its own - I suppose if the cost of off-slot +attacks and slays goes up even further, it could be? The problem with some overpowered slots and some slots covered by egos (which in many slots are quite comparable to the best standarts) would remain, I think, but fixing that would either require some rather aggressive nerfs to high egos or making randarts boring.
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Old December 15, 2017, 20:59   #3
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Whats the point when ego items have enough synergy to get a perfectly good winning setup ?
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Old December 15, 2017, 23:33   #4
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Originally Posted by Estie View Post
Whats the point when ego items have enough synergy to get a perfectly good winning setup ?
The relative balance of ego items and artifacts is a related issue, but I think it can be tackled separately. The balance of standarts and ego-items is a little precarious, but fairly clear; in principle it should be possible for randarts to (usually) achieve the same balance.
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Old December 16, 2017, 00:49   #5
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
The relative balance of ego items and artifacts is a related issue, but I think it can be tackled separately. The balance of standarts and ego-items is a little precarious, but fairly clear; in principle it should be possible for randarts to (usually) achieve the same balance.
How so ? In your example, you can require the Ring of Baz to use up power 75 all you want, if there is an ego (rFire, rCold) that drops all over the place, it simply means that you end up with a trash artifact and use the ego instead.

Whatever artifact evaluation you want, wouldnt it make sense to "substract" the ego in some way before evaluating.
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Old December 16, 2017, 01:39   #6
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How so ? In your example, you can require the Ring of Baz to use up power 75 all you want, if there is an ego (rFire, rCold) that drops all over the place, it simply means that you end up with a trash artifact and use the ego instead.
So pick your numbers with care, and maybe tweak how you generate the IBA sets.

Quote:
Whatever artifact evaluation you want, wouldnt it make sense to "substract" the ego in some way before evaluating.
A hypothetical codebase that took egos into effect when designing artifacts, allowing you to add/remove egos and have that affect how randarts get generated, would be pretty cool! But the ego-items have been pretty stable for awhile, so I'm not too worried about "baking" knowledge of ego-items into the randart generator, especially if it makes the randart generator easier to write.

If you can suggest an algorithm that does take the ego items into account though, I'm listening.
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Old December 16, 2017, 17:15   #7
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First off, sorry for the negativity in my previous post.

As for the randart distribution: initially I thought of a way to do exactly what I proposed: compare the mods to existing ego mods in the same slot at creation and act on that - but that misses the point in the same way your proposal does.

I have said this before, but I see the problem simply in the proximity of standart and ego power. An @ with dwarven pdsm, a MoD +2 attacks, Caestus of power etc. is virtually indistinguishable from an @ with top end standarts. One reason for this to have come to pass the recent scraping off from artifact values, like Sting or Theoden - in an attempt to lower @ overall power by changes to artifacts exclusively instead of distributing changes over both item types.

I would agree that ego items shouldnt become obsolete in the endgame kit, but I would like to see them more inferior to artifacts. You said yourself that ego items have remained stable for a long time - and this is imo the root cause for all the trouble. When balancing is done, everyone looks at the easy way out and changes the artifacts yet again. And thats why my initial reply to your proposal was grumbly.

So instead of some weird randart distribution, find ways to scrape off of ego item power. Then the overall value of randarts can be lowered without ending up with mostly junk, and the outliers become less extrem.


There is the matter of "harder game". To adress that, I really would like to (have Nick ) look into buffing monsters in more or less global ways. When zephyr hounds got cut to size, I rejoiced, but they had been the cheap way to make the dungeon dangerous. It could use being more dangerous.
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Old December 16, 2017, 18:34   #8
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Originally Posted by Estie View Post
When zephyr hounds got cut to size, I rejoiced, but they had been the cheap way to make the dungeon dangerous. It could use being more dangerous.
I agree, it could be more dangerous, but please don't bring back immense Zephyr hound pack sizes. Sure, they're dangerous...for awhile, but then they are just tedious.
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Old December 16, 2017, 18:44   #9
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I agree, it could be more dangerous, but please don't bring back immense Zephyr hound pack sizes. Sure, they're dangerous...for awhile, but then they are just tedious.
Absolutely - emphasis was on "cheap".

They have the best attack shape (unlimited range ball), the best type (elements), they come in packs, have the worst risk/reward ratio and I could probably think up some more superlatives. Oh and they dont fit into the tolkien universe.

No, but making monster archery better, giving them overall more melee damage, buffing some individual types with other stuff like additional speed, these things could be done. So, Nick, go work
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Old December 16, 2017, 21:35   #10
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No, but making monster archery better, giving them overall more melee damage, buffing some individual types with other stuff like additional speed, these things could be done. So, Nick, go work
That is one of the two big areas of change planned for 4.2 (the other is races/classes/magic). What I plan to do is go through every monster type from 'a' to 'Z' and rethink them. The intent is for every type to have some underlying reason for being, and for (almost) every monster to present some sort of a challenge at some stage of the game.

I've been keen to get on and work on this for some time, but have been prevented by RL becoming very busy, and by people continuing to find bugs in 4.1.x
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