If you think about it... the degree of balance in this game is amazing

Discussion in 'Dungeons of Dredmor General' started by Midnight Tea, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. Turbo164

    Turbo164 Member

    To expand Wootah's comment; stack splitting helps with shops too. If you're a few zorkmids short of an item, selling 7 of your 8 Smithing Kits is nice; selling all 8 could mean you won't find a kit for the next 5 floors :/ If there was no stack splitting you'd have to head to the Pocket Dimension every time you found one and put it in it's own floor space, and that takes a little bit longer than pressing Alt.

    Same for transmutes. Having to drop every gem you have, then picking up the new one, then transmuting it, then finding a spot on the floor for it...yuck.

    I split for those things far more often than I split for Lutefisk; Lutefisk is typically "oh I found a shrine on floor 9+, I have 350 softballs and 422 bolts, might as well Skol some of the ones I don't need and add them to the pile of ~150 lutefisk that I've been turning Rusty Caltrops/Apples/Sewer Brews/etc into."
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  2. SkyMuffin

    SkyMuffin Member

    Honestly I don't get why we have those two transmute skills at all. The penalties for waiting 20 or so turns in this game are almost nonexistent...and with the (apparent) removal of the Mudwren dead-end there's really no point in the tedious parts anymore. Just let the player choose what to transmute into.
  3. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Thirding the stack splitting thing. I can't be arsed (by the way, thank you, David, for that phrase -- my family uses it constantly) to fuss with the Lutefisk God, but without stack splitting, every character I have would be lugging around 19 extra Ingot Presses by the time they die, and that would just be ghetto.

    That said, people who optimize the fun out of the game (by always picking Archeology and abusing IBTAM) already have the option of 'turning that exploit off' -- go into your skillDB.xml file and comment out Archeology. You'll be amazed how much fun you can have when you're not worried about it. (On the same note, have you ever noticed how not mad you are that you can't turn cheese into XP? Now imagine that Fungal Arts skill had a spell that did just that -- suddenly, you'd be just as pissed that that wasn't universal as you are about IBTAM. When an argument takes that little extension to start to sound silly, it's often because it's already silly.)
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  4. SkyMuffin

    SkyMuffin Member

    A really simple solution to this would be to just make all the crafting tools permanent, and replace the ingredient for Trapper's Toolbelt with something else. Then you can just redistribute the zorks (because it is pretty significant, at least in GR) into other items and their sell prices.

    Besides Trapper's Toolbelt there's really no reason to ever have more than one of each craft tool. And now that we have the Pocket Dimension, praying for an Ingot Grinder or other craft tools in the next room is a lot less of an issue.
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  5. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    Okay, so basically it looks like there are three big issues being bandied about here. They are 1) Museum! 2) Additional objective based content and 3) Consumables (particularly traps)

    In reverse order: 3 is pretty well covered in all the above posts, starting with David's and working down. An itemDB overhaul to make traps awesome might be the project of an amibtious modder with nothing else on his hands, but I don't know of any of them.

    2) We all seem to be in agreement that more objective based rewards like minibosses, puzzle rooms with XP and ect. are good. Perhaps a suggestions thread in the Mods or Suggestions forum could be created to post ideas.

    1) Ho boy. There's a relavant post about changing people's minds on the internet that I wish I could go and find right now. Sadly, mobile computing devices are not the best venue for the necessary image manipulation. Maybe tomorrow. Still, because it will bug me if I don't say it, my problems with a "universal" Museum! button.

    Not Everyone Agrees With The Premise
    The premise is that skills are the only thing making the game fun, equipment and whatnot is just "there" not doing much, so obviously the reward equipment is pretty much junk that doesn't mean much in the long run. However, people make entire runs built around crafting, which suggests there's a large segment of the population who sees their equipment as more than just "being there" and might even enjoy having enhanced versions of "inferior" equipment to throw into the Swiss Army Pocket Dimension next to their Torque of Canada and Plague Doctor's Mask.
    In short, I question the premise that everyone pretty much junks reward equipment all the time. On top of that, see the next two points.

    When Something is Weak, Make it Better, not Irrelevant
    A universal Museum is a step towards making quest rewards irrelevant, not better.

    It Creates Unfun Moments
    This is my biggest problem with the idea. I'll give you an example. Let's say you find a magic Torque of Canada at the end of a Zoo. It offers both cold resistance and fire resistance. Do you 1 Send it to the museum or 2 keep it for floors 7 and 9? Go to the appropriate option below.

    1 You get to floor 7 and get pwned by an Entropic Elemental, leaving you wondering if you could have survived with the hat. You feel bad about sending it to the museum.

    2 You wear the hat on floor 7 and get pwned by a Big Blue, leaving you wondering if you coould have survived if you had another level from sending the hat to the museum. You feel bad about keeping the hat.

    Decisions where either choice has a high likelyhood of making you feel bad are bad. It's poor game design to force them on people. Some people enjoy the challenge of optimizing them, you can make them available to them, but don't force people to make them.

    and finally...

    It Mitigates Randomness
    Roguelikes are supposed to be highly random and are balance around that idea. That's part of their identity and shouldn't be lost. As a result, skills that mitigate randomness are very powerful. Museum makes the first five or six floors much easier because the levels mean much more there. Unless we want those floors to be easier, something that I don't think we do, adding Museum to every player's repitoir hurt's the games balance in ways simply making skill lines longer won't fix. (Plus, making the skill lines longer probably hurts how the skills themselves, another thing I don't think we want.)

    Blah. There it all is. :/
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  6. dbaumgart

    dbaumgart Art Director Staff Member

    The truth? They were just really, really old skill effects from early iterations of the game. We had them, so we used them. (Choosing what to transmute to would require new UI elements -- and Dredmor has a terrible UI backend. We basically all gnash our teeth and wail whenever something needs to be changed with the UI.

    Yeah, been talking about doing that since before ROTDG, I think. See above issues regarding UI pain.
    I do agree that it is the correct solution to the problem, though.

    @Essence, re. optimizing fun out of game:
    It's a strange phenomenon. My attitude toward this is about halfway to the point where I feel like I can create my own terms for the enjoyment of the game - I mean heck, when you make a game or mod a game, that's what you're doing ... and yet, there's not always time or a means to do that, and the structure of a game still compels one to play in a certain way toward certain goals and it's like an annoying itch that's always there...

    Our internal Gaslamp discussions about the issue is that people will always do this and we will always get blamed. That's just how it works. (I'm sure all game designers realize this at some point.) So: we just have to do the best we can to structure the game mechanics so they don't encourage optimizing fun out of the game. There's a hell of a lot more to be done with Dredmor on this front, but there are so many rabbits-holes of special cases ...

    (At some point we really ought to get it over with and open-source the thing, eh.)

    Oh, and Lutefisk: I'd have preferred to keep it at 100 to fit the scheme where everything in the game is generally on a scale of 1-10 or 1-100 (yes, it's a *very* loose scheme). The 500 thing is something Nicholas did to lower abuse of stacks of bolts instead of my suggestion to make bolts worth less than 1 lutefisk each - so like, store lutefisk as a float somewhere - but he objected to that on technical grounds or something.

    The whole thing should basically be more interesting and interact with more game systems, but at least, for what is essentially a garbage can, it's got a neat thematic twist.
  7. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    I think Jesus (PBUH) just kissed me on the soul.

    There would be no faster way to watch me learn C++ (or whatever the hell Dredmor is coded in) than to hand me the source code. Not even a thing. :)
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  8. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    Thank you for that comment, Essence. It really bugs me how people who are about using things "because it's optimal" (instead of using builds that are fun for them to play) sometimes want to make these things accessible to everyone because they think these things are must-have. Just like they play with Archaeology/whatever skill tree always included, I play with Clockwork Knight being almost always included, but you don't see me proclaiming that it's a must-have skill tree that has to be incorporated into every build.

    And the general analysis done by the one we hear proposing it here, in my opinion, misses one thing. It states that the way to gain levels is by using IBiaM, while in reality it is just one of two ways, the other one (very often practiced in the game) being normal dungeon exploration. If I play without Archaeology (read: most of the time), I either just kill a little more stuff or get to deeper floors without all skill trees completely maxed out. And I don't really "regret" not having Archaeology fir these few more levels, really.

    Why not just add a parameter that would make something give us no Lutefisk/not be skolable (something like 'Fiskable="0"'), and apply it to stuff that is essentially produced in large quantities at once?
    That way people who want to abuse the system would still be able to do that (because seriously, what's to stop them?) and people who want to play "normally" would be able to do that without gathering Lutefisk in stacks of 100.
    And modders would then be able to create spells that create items for whatever reason, without worrying about these spells breaking the tithing balance, because they would be able to get around the problem by making the spawned items non-skolable.

    Sure, it could introduce some other problems because now we would have to skol 100 of non-total-junk items instead of 500 pieces of junk, but finding 100 traps every level isn't really that difficult. And there wouldn't be as many inventory-tetris-related problem now because everyone can access the pocket dimension and store their stuff there.
    Of course, there remains the fact that some people would feel cheated that they won't be able to change their consumables/ammo into Lutefisk, but these can be used to get a boost and it is usually preferable to skoling them regardless of that.

    And then you could do something like this:
    • Take the already existing Lutefisk tithing system, where you get a random item with +1 AQ [Artefact Quality] every 20 Lutefisk, up to +5 AQ for 100 Lutefisk.
    • Now add +1 AQ for every shrine you already tithed to and got an item from (+2 AQ on No Time To Grind); that way people will be able to choose between waiting for deeper shrines to get better stuff, or tithing Lutefisk earlier in hopes of getting more bonus points for the future.
    • VoilĂ , even though it is not the best now, people who weren't waiting for the deepest shrines and skipping all the early ones will get items that might actually be relevant when they get deeper, and even though there would be less tedium because you would need 100 Lutefisk instead of 500, it wouldn't get much easier (if any) to get the required amount.
    Of course, the whole thing might need balancing, but I think making it like that would be a step in the right direction there.
    Essence likes this.
  9. Wootah

    Wootah Member

    Open source? NOT YET!
    I don't know what the current sales are, but you guys still gotta be making SOME money on dredmor. It is an amazing game and we are still seeing people register here. I want you guys to get more money so you can last longer and make CE better.

    I would rather you do some very binding license with a couple of the main modders here (such as Essence), one where GLG keeps the code safe, unleaked, and they are allowed to make directed changes and send them back to review. GLG keeps the IP, and can choose to upload the changes to game hosts like steam. Any changes that gaslamp prefers NOT to distribute could be distributed (FOR FREE) through other means to people who already own the game through a legitimate method.

    Of course if you are just tired of maintaining the game as a whole and want to hand it all over, I would support you guys, but I think this game is amazing and there should be quite a bit of life left in it for you all, even if you don't have to maintain it directly.
    Essence likes this.
  10. lujo86

    lujo86 Member

    Wow, ty David for posting, I just wanna say I'm a great fan of the game, and I'm not blaming you guys for anything, or think I have any call for it. I'm also not in love with any of my "solutions" but as you seem to have agreed - my reasoning is not really wrong. And I know you didn't plan for a "useless junk to XP converting mechanism", and it was a good joke, but it put an element into the game which there is place for. Not expecting anything from you, I don't feel entitled to anything. No time to post a decent reply just now (aka textwall... :D joking, but I do have a bit more to say, and be constructive).

    And both Lorr and Essence deserve repiels also, but for now let me just say that the argument for a global "It belongs in a museum" button is a really strange one. You guys might be overlooking it, but there allready IS a global "It belongs in a museum button", right there at the character creation screen. I'm using it all the time, and so are a lot of people, many of whom are simply not modders - and I among them have never used it do optimize fun otu of my game. Heck, I must've used one Tenebrous Rift build in my life, and concluded that this is not fun for me, and went back to using traps for clearing zoos.

    Now since the game allready has a button which lets whoevr wants to convert relics to XP and focus on skills rather than equipment, could we please make it so that it doesn't actually cost an entire skill tree? Because I'd keep that Toque, and convert it later, but would in the meantime convert 3-5 useless and easily obsoletable island nicknacks, a bunch of magical rusty swords from inconsequentia (with a bit of thought about whether rust was wahat I really want), for meager but satisfying XP which would make up for me taking a push skill that I can grab more useless knicknacks with ^^

    (EDIT: I'm also pretty sure I don't want to see another fedora in my life)

    I agree with the difficulty of changing peoples minds on the interwebs, but your own argument works both ways, and it's just a matter of allowing each other to exist on the same terms. People are always going to cap out somethign with silly capstones or overpowering craftables at the end of the tree before they really need them, that seems to be the metagame right now, and the Museum actually really doesn't make you all that powerfull. But I got some nice ideas that could probably make everyone happy, if cool minds can give them a proper shaking at.

    Tommorow :)
  11. SkyMuffin

    SkyMuffin Member

    This is kind of out of nowhere, but what if you introduced a zorkmid-to-lutefisk exchange rate and had some sort of bank? Eliminate lutefisk as an item and add it as a new currency beside zorks. You could do all sorts of wacky things with a second currency. Shops that only take one or the other, quests that require tributes, etc.

    Or maybe different qualities (or quantities?) of lutefisk that are generated when you cube them, based on the item quality itself...
  12. Wootah

    Wootah Member

    That is some pretty serious changes there skymuffin, especially since the game is well known for skolling lutefisk!
    But I could see it working.... make the lutefisk valuable and then as david suggest using a float variable for lutefisk from items (based on their gold value) so that you keep dumping items into very slowly generate lutefisk. The rooms with 9 lutefisk would be very valuable.

    But man it would be a lot of work and they want to focus on CE.
  13. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Ummm...no. because the entire point of having the ability as part of a skill tree is that it's worth it. You don't get to have it both ways -- you can't say "It's right there and anyone could use it" and then say "Therefore every character should have access to it." That logic would have pure Warriors dropping Tenebrous Rifts and pure Wizards tinkering up Rail Launchers.

    Also, I agree with Wootah. Just give me the source code. Just me. mememe. memetics. That oughta be a skill tree.
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  14. Wolg

    Wolg Member

    There are a few things about lujo's theories I disagree with, but I see it's mostly already been covered by others. So, to other stuff...

    For me, skill selection is not only about what you're choosing, it's equally about what you're giving up. Museum is choosing an option for faster level-ups, but giving up the variety of skills you might otherwise get from taking a different tree and powering up slowly. This is not an unusual mechanic, in my observation (sorcerers vs wizards in DnD v3.5).

    Regarding lutefisk, I'd be inclined to bind artefact quality to the floor the shrine is on, then make the percentage chance of any given tithing dropping an item lutefisk_tithe_total/5. 500 pieces would still guarantee an item, but the quantity comes out of the quality equation (instead a partial tithe becomes "will I get it right now or have to come back?").

    For zoos, shrines and Inconsequentia: if the theory (which I don't really buy) that skills are the only real content holds weight, perhaps a new category of item is in order, only spawning as a reward and uncraftable: skill elixirs. (If it's possible to skip the player-must-use-item part, it could just be applied directly.) These would grant 1-5 uses of a randomly selected, non-permanent activated skill from outside of the set the player can attain by levelling (eg. Communists couldn't get The Bomb this way). UI-wise this is perhaps Painful, but they could show as stacks like a buff - clicking this pseudo-buff selects the granted skill for use. Gaining a new grant while one was still unused would overwrite the existing one.

    This reward type would be a chance to drop for quest, zoo and shrine, in addition to the existing item possibilities.
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  15. mining

    mining Member

    The entire point of archaeology is manipulating artifacts you've unearthed. From sending them to a museum for a reward, to 're-examining' it to find out its different to what you might expect.

    Giving that ability to every other class is like saying "I only use alchemy in all my builds, because otherwise I can't make my own heals. Therefore, all classes should be able to make heals by default."
    Kazeto likes this.
  16. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    I'd just like to say, the entire notion that skills are the only content that holds weight is entirely contrary to the notion that by the endgame, equipment is the only content that holds weight, and I've seen both arguments on these boards in the last week.

    That's all. :)
  17. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    The best equipment driven builds are crafters. They have to give up an entire skill tree (often more than one) in order to convert 10-40 otherwise truly useless ingots into high end gear. I think that giving up one skill tree for a "skill focused" build is totally fair.

    Also, in my example, there is no "later" to convert the Torque. You die while using it, then wonder if you would have died if you had a chance to convert it (contrast to dying after converting it, and wondering if you would have died if you had had it.) =/
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  18. Finnien

    Finnien Member

    Skills provide my motivation for fully exploring floors, and give the biggest sense of reward and power-increase while working my way down. Deep level 11+ items provide the big overall reward that's always in the back of my mind when playing. Oddly enough, with Wizardlands available, It Belongs in a Museum seems almost pointless, since the same xp can be gained by running more wizardlands without giving up an all-valuable skill slot for it. And I haven't bothered with Lukefisk shrines in a long time.

    That being said, after about floor 5, I tend to make sure I hit the monster zoo and dwarven express post on a given floor, then head to the next level. Those are the two important features of every floor, and once I've hit them, I feel like I've gotten the majority of what a floor has to offer. Since each floor has one of both, and can only have one of both, it does create a certain methodical monotony to the midgame. It sounds like there are mods I really need to check out, though, so that could be mixing things up in the near future. Once I get a little more XCOM out of my system...
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  19. jhffmn

    jhffmn Member

    The game gives you plenty of slack so you can pretty much successfully play whatever you want. If the margin of error was much smaller and optimal builds were required, the game would not seem balanced.

    Also, since you only need a few core abilities and careful play to win you can fill up your build with all kinds of terrible stuff.

    If you think of your character as a car, some skill lines would be the engine. Others are more like windshield wipers or even a beverage holder. It's nice to have a beverage holder, but rather insignificant to getting somewhere.
  20. lujo86

    lujo86 Member

    OK, here we go for now:

    Which is both perfectly understandable, and also a crying shame, because if the game needs one more expansion i'd buy one which added nothing but the ability to put custom markers on the mini map so I can return to places where I've left something undone. IF nothing can be done, nothing can be done :)

    All the more because I'm one of the more active members of the Desktop Dungeons beta forums community, and that game gives yo ability to convert anything into various stuff as the only feature of race sellection. One of the races converts for XP, and having a conversion centric build is just another legit way of going about your rogueliking. Not the same game, I know, but since I've been using the mechanic extensivels, and testing out the powergaming potential of it in both games (I actually broke it there spectacularly a few times, but never here while effectively playing with a IBIAM button on everything), I can say with perfect conviction that it doesn't in face upset the ballance in any way.

    And that's the thing - the senior members of this community think of the ability to convert stuff to XP as just another ability, while I know from expirience that it's a legit roguelike core mechanic that simply ended up being tied to a single skill in this particular game. When you couple that with all you've said about ROTTG, the need to have that ability for anyone who recognizes conversion as a legit way of dealing with content which has no meaning to them really does go up the lower in the dungeon you go.

    (this is not aimed at David)

    But the bigger misunderstanding about making it more universaly available comes from a few more misconceptions:

    1) That skills have a greater value to all people than all loot, which seems to be what Lorr thinks I'm saying. No. It's just that named loot as such is on average far less inherently aplicable than skills, and very deffinitely far less DoD specific than skills are. There are a million games out there where you go lower in a dungeon, farther in an andventure map, deeper into a ramshackle story line and look for better loot. There is no other game which matches the skill system in charm, presentation and variety though (except in a certain way Kingdom of Loathing, but I'm not going there).

    2) The first point applies to some people more than to others, but people who are in it for the skills (and I'll bet you that theres more people who regularly use archaeology out there than not, but are simply not posting. The game sold really well, as far as I can tell) don't have a choice but to sacrifice a skill line if they want acess to a game mechanic which ended up being a skill. This can seem legit on balancing grounds, but:

    3) The game both allready supports picking up archeology every time and thus always having the ability to convert useless named gear, AND, and this is very important, the game is allready busted on lower levels balance wise in uncountable ways even on GRPD anyway. There is so many skilllines which let you clear the early game with no trouble whatsoever, on top of the fact that one of the rather easily killable miniboses drops a spear (which I suspect is bugged on grounds of comparably huge stats), and all the other crap you can pick up on lvl 1-2, a permabuff lesser syzigy among other things. On the other hand there is so little meaningfull fuel for IBIAM before late midgame that picking it up early instead of stacking the named junk for later is wrong from a powergaming perspective. It can take a few floor before anything converts for more than what you get from stepping on 3 caltrop eruptors and picking caltrops up -.-

    4) Not to mention that since XP doesn't go over a threshold, even if you score a crownstar addendum in a fouintain it's not gonna do you any good before very late - and then you allready have all the skills you need, quote all the "who'd need those extra skill points anyway? You got plenty!" guys. It's actually obvious that a powergamer can see that all he needs to do in the game skillwise is boost 2-3 skill lines to beat the game, while seeing no point in picking up IBIAM. And yes, this is true - it has no value to a powergamer! But we're not all powergamers! We don't want to shoot for capstones on lvl 1, or follow advice like, and I quote: "Make sure you have Tenebrous Rift before lvl 2 zoo." (insert "zoo de-meaningifier X", that's an actuall quote from a non-archeology build explanation). It's perfectly easy to descend 3-4 levels down and kill stuff and grab stuff without opening too many doors with allmost any random build on GRPD without using IBIAM.

    5) So people who are not powergamers, or if they are, they probably aren't really efficent ones, get second class citizen status both in game (for being taxed in skill variety for wanting to focus on skill variety) and on the boards (you can't imagine what it feels like to post a build which includes archeology with guys like Kazeto "being extra nice" by not coming over to my house and cutting my head off for not sharing his personal misconceptions). Make us wear a yellow star why don't you, keep giving us the "respect your outlook as long as you do it in the privacy of our own personal mods" because someone might be inconvinienced by having a choice. -.- I don't need a "do this at a terrible price" attached to IBIAM to stop me from powergaming, not because all the other powergaming crap doesn't effectively have one, but because I'm not even looking to powergame . If I was, I certanly wouldn't be wasting my time with Archaeology. This is the biggest issue.

    The latter part is perfectly understandable and understood by me - if anyone's goning to make the next expansion or official DLC it's the modding community, and there are ways to make the traps awesome which we can actually do. They don't need to be super awesome - being able to mold lesser incarnations into more high quality ones (IED's into flameburst, or boulder drops into rocbursts or whathave you) would just mean more recipies and make picking them up more worthwhile (and were allready picking them up for more XP at lower levels than IBIAM gives).

    Changing the crafting method for traps and redistributing them among all the craft skills would also probably be doable by modders (heck, if noone want's to, I'll do it, I'm an archivist among other things and it's just fancy data entry). Being able to smith caltrops into a caltrop eruptor, and then tinker the eruptor into a caltrop eruptor bolt from one of the mods would be hella fun to me, provided I could remove the XP gain from all the newly generated caltrops.

    Then if skills like Hunters Lure and such can be edited to reduce monsters trap sense / sight / whatever, you could make interesting trap based builds ^^ There's just so much that can be done, really.

    Oh, and what's all this about stack abuse? I can't make heads or tails of it, they way the boards explained the cube to me is that yo put stuff in there untill it reaches 500, go to a lutefisk statue and get a random piece of junk. Did this a couple of timeas and didn't get too many usefull junk. And agree on making the crafting gear permanent, would reduce the clutter a bit, it has no use past the one you have. I have used stacking to not convert all my stuff into other stuff if I want to keep some handy, and also to preserve lockpicks for later levels if I'm not into burglary.