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From: takkaria <takkaria@gmail.com>
Subject: Money (and Charisma)
Date: 2007-11-28 10:56:40
Agent: Angband.oook.cz web gateway

I seemed to open a can of worms when I posted here about making Charisma
more important.  Various questions were raised about whether Charisma is
*really* the most pressing issue right now for the game, and indeed,
perhaps it isn't, but it does touch on a lot of areas (potion
distribution, relative power levels of objects, randarts/egos,
money/shops, character creation).

I'm fairly convinced by the arguments (led most vigorously by R Dan)
that I took the wrong approach.  Instead of looking at Charisma by
itself, it should be looked at within the context that it's currently
used in; namely, money and shops.  So I'll spend a little time talking
about what I've found out about money generation in Angband, and how
that can be fixed.  This will make a large difference on the "what to do
with charisma?" question.



Everyone knows that the money situation at the moment isn't quite right;
it either comes out in people saying less gold needs to be generated,
or that selling shouldn't be allowed, or that stores should have
services so that excess money can be got rid of.  It's way more flawed
than I ever realised previously, though, and here's a graph to prove
it:
http://rephial.org/research/avg_gold_drop.pdf

The graph illustrates how the average amount of money in a single gold
drop varies with dungeon level.  Note how it looks like it was balanced
for a 50-level dungeon.  There's a good reason for this, because the
graph is exactly the same as one plotted for Moria.  Combined with the
poor pricing routines for shops, and the way the number of gold drops
increases with level, and one basically has a broken system.

I found it useful when examining this problem to ask a few questions,
outlined below.  I believe the current system to be flawed on a number
of levels; one, gold acquirement relies partially on patience, and
things that rely on patience in Angband encourage boring gameplay and
scumming; two, there are far more ways to acquire gold than there are to
lose it.

Here are the questions:

1. What activities create gold?
a. killing monsters
a. killing *town* monsters
b. digging
c. wandering the dungeon
d. selling items

2. What activities take gold?
a. thieves
b. buying items

3. What affects gold creation?
a. dungeon level (quality)
b. patience (quantity)

4. What affects how much gold is taken? (negatively)
a. saving throw vs. thieves (wisdom)
b. charisma

Because you get more gold per drop as dungeon level increases, as well
as getting more drops per dungeon level, as well as wisdom and charisma
increasing (generally) with dungeon level, the system is set up not
only such that gold becomes more available, but that anything one wants
to purchase becomes cheaper.  This is insane.

A number of things occur to me to mitigate the issues, largely based
on the list above:
- make patience no longer a factor: [3b]
- [1aa] town monsters should stop dropping gold
- [1b] digging for gold should yield less gold less reliably.
- [1c] money found on the floor should be worth less, or be found
entirely around veins (possibly with some skeletons for decor)
- [1d] selling items should be prohibited, or at least made
not-worth-it. e.g. by making ID irrelevant for store sales, so that
things are priced on the shopkeeper's estimation of the item rather
than what the player knows about the item
- [2a] make thieves more dangerous later on (make saving throw have
less of an effect)
- [2b] make money more important in the endgame by having stores stock
items with goodness in proportion to maximum dungeon level

These would probably make a decent dent in the issue, but not enough of
one.  The problem remains that both gold and charisma increase with
dungeon level, and really, only one mechanism is necessary to make the
essentials more available to higher-level characters -- not two.  So,
there are a further two options:

- Make average gold value per drop (near-)constant
This appeals to me, but at the same time has a number of problems.
One is simply that Charisma is still blatantly not on the same scale
as the other stats; there is no useful break-point to be gained from
any quantitative quaffing of Charisma potions, and the effect will
never be so noticeable as an extra blow or hitting 0% fail.  This
means that Charisma will still be a second-class citizen.

- Make Charisma constant
Either by generating it once at birth, or by removing it entirely.
Needless to say, rebalancing the distribution curve of gold would
also be necessary.  This also has the nice advantage of sorting out
problems with gain-one-lose-one stat potions, having a different
bias for charisma vs. other stats when creating randarts, and having
one worthless "sacrificial" stat during character generation.

Another--perhaps more basic--problem, is that stores just don't stock
that much /interesting/ stuff, regardless of how much /stuff/ they
actually stock.  There are lots of items to buy, but most of them aren't
necessary, and what with Angband being a game of inventory management,
unnecessary == don't carry.  Unsure how to fix this.  Really, I think
the town could probably consist happily of two stores and a home.


In consideration of these issues, I believe the role Charisma currently
plays is redundant.  The economics of Angband are also currently flawed.
Charisma is only a part of the economics of the game, not of any other
aspect of gameplay.  Any attempt to assign extra roles to the stat would
be misled just because they would be trying to enforce stats to be
equally useful or powerful for the sake of it.  There are obviously no
/a priori/ reasons for Charisma not to affect things other than shop
prices, but if Charisma only currently makes sense as part of a flawed
system, one has to question that stat's existence at all if that system
if fixed to work without it.


I think I might be all for removing Charisma.  (Not for 3.1.0, though.)

Flames accepted.

--
Andrew Sidwell
http://rephial.org/


Money (and Charisma) 27 posts
..... takkaria 2007-11-28 10:56:40 132
.......... VALIS 2007-11-28 11:54:03 40
............... camlost 2007-11-28 19:30:41 29
.................... Kenneth 'Bessarion' Boyd 2007-11-29 00:34:01 58
......................... camlost 2007-11-29 02:34:59 58
.............................. Kenneth 'Bessarion' Boyd 2007-11-29 19:35:38 83
............... Roger 2007-11-28 21:07:34 40
.................... VALIS 2007-11-29 06:38:17 49
.......... Eddie Grove 2007-11-28 18:56:20 57
.......... Timo Pietil 2007-11-28 21:21:29 24
............... darkDrone 2007-12-01 12:14:52 31
.......... Werner Baer 2007-11-28 22:01:24 19
.......... Dan 2007-11-29 05:21:32 45
............... will_asher 2007-11-29 07:13:42 61
............... VALIS 2007-11-29 11:24:54 149
.................... Nick 2007-11-29 12:18:34 13
.................... R. Dan Henry 2007-11-29 16:28:26 27
......................... Dan 2007-11-29 17:44:25 53
.............................. Eddie Grove 2007-11-29 17:23:10 27
.................... Dan 2007-11-29 18:09:42 123
......................... tigpup 2007-11-29 22:35:39 45
.......... R. Dan Henry 2007-11-29 15:21:56 37
............... Nick 2007-11-30 00:38:37 24
.................... Polarhound 2007-11-30 12:08:06 20
......................... momo125 2007-12-01 11:45:51 7
.......... andrewdoull 2007-12-01 07:44:45 48
.......... Magnate 2007-12-04 17:08:29 170


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