Thoughts on Items

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Thoughts on Items

Postby Darvin on Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:07 pm

So, I figure that it's time for a thread to revisit items in general, and discuss how things have changed (or not) since they were last discussed.

Troll Heart
I don't know about you guys, but I'm finding this item so overpriced that I almost never buy it. The troll heart still works for 1st level rogues, but for everyone else it's a pretty steep cost and it's no longer worth a lot of CP when you finally decide to toss it. Either needs improvement (probably CP) or a cost decrease.

Pendant of Mana
I'm really on the fence over this item. It's not bad, but it's pretty mediocre across the board. Below-average effect, below-average CP, cost is unremarkable (neither really high nor really low), large item, and seldom lines up for a good combo. None of those on their own are a big deal, but taken together I'm given to think the item needs something.

Piercing Wand
This item is really niche in its current form. I haven't bought it in months, and it only occurred to me recently that it's an item that I never use. It has piss poor conversion value, it only works on a very narrow range of monsters (and really is only practical against magic-resist bosses), and requires a large expenditure of exploration space to function effectively. Beyond that, its actual effect isn't very noteworthy. The piercing wand needs something; heck, I'd go so far as to say combine it with the battlemage ring and ditch this item completely.

Battlemage Ring
This item's alright, but overpriced at its current cost. I never pick it up unless I'm really dedicated to fireball'ing and already have a strong spellcasting combo running. For everyone else, it's just too pricey for what it does. Maybe if it gave some decent CP...

Platemail
This item, in my books, is just way too good. Until you hit vicious-level damage absurdity, it just lets you tank through pretty much everything in the game without flinching if you combo it effectively. It's completely overshadowing just about every other preparation, and it definitely needs a nerf.

Balanced Dagger
After playing around with this wacky item a bit, I've found it just a bit too impractical. It's not good enough to merit bringing it as a preparation, so you're stuck using it from a shop. Its medium cost and low CP is already a big disincentive to an in-game purchase, but the deal-breaker is that it requires you to fundamentally change your monster-slaying priorities before you find it in a shop. Normal gameplay involves killing higher-level monsters, which means that when you level up there are relatively few monsters that are equal-level to you. It's not uncommon to reach the 5th level and already have killed all the 5th level monsters, which means there's virtually no benefit to picking up this dagger.

I love the way this item fundamentally changes your game-plan, but for a veteran player who knows how to leverage bonus experience (that is, anyone who can actually beat thief silver to unlock this thing...) it's just impractical. Not sure what the answer is, but I'd hate to see something so original and interesting just disappear from the game. Unfortunately as it stands, it'd be my top pick for veto if I were actually inclined to veto items.

Venom Dagger
Still feel the same way about this item. Just too niche as it currently stands, and basically only useful for a glass-cannon character build fighting a glass-cannon monster. For anyone else you probably want to attack more than once in succession which will break the venom dagger's poisonous effect.

Stone Sigil
Good item, but kept down by high cost and low CP. Consider a small tweak in those departments.

Martyr Wraps
The offensive counterpart to platemail's defensive, Martyr Wraps are just dominating currently. The issues essentially are threefold: spellcasters suffer little from the downsides, there is no corrosion cap so the damage you can deal gets obscene (particularly for monks, gorgons, and paladins), and there are a couple of reliable ways to clear large stacks of corrosion and purge yourself of the downsides just before the boss battle. I'd say something needs to be done about all three to bring the wraps into line.

Mage Plate
This item was definitely too good for spellcasters and gnomes, but offered some neat tricks for other character builds. Now it's only good for spellcasters and gnomes. A little middle-ground would be nice. Either soften up its downsides or give it another interesting upside.

Avatar's Symbol
Still a mish-mash of unremarkable abilities that don't seem to combo particularly well with any class. Also has a ludicrous kingdom cost as a preparation, which is not warranted for an item that is at best on par with the fine sword as a preparation.

Namtar's Ward
An interesting novelty; sadly not locker worth aside from a trophy but I can understand why it wouldn't be buffed further. It has the same issue as the Avatar's Symbol with an unrealistic kingdom preparation cost, which should be brought in line with stuff like the crystal ball.

Sensation Stone
With the stacking orc gone, I'm increasingly convinced there's nothing wrong with the old 225 number for this item. Considering there are already items that are directly comparable to a couple hundred CP for each race, I don't see any real issues with improving it up to those levels.
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Re: Thoughts on Items

Postby Blovski on Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:10 pm

Troll Heart
I do buy it for a couple of levels then conversion

Piercing Wand + Battlemage Ring
I use both. They are pretty specific, I admit.

Platemail
It is very strong. Has really completely revamped the vamp, and is far and away the best general-purpose prep. 1 DR/Level would be piffling. Maybe saddle it with a flat -2 damage to make it weaker as a prep.

Balanced Dagger
I use this one quite a lot. Agree it's not prep-worthy.

Venom Dagger
Not a huge fan. Is vetoed.

Stone Sigil
Slightly lower cost would be nice. Slightly higher CP would be nice also.

Martyr Wraps
I guess. I like the simplicity of use a lot though. If the self-corrode were a bit stronger (say 2/level) I think the corrosion clearing would become more interesting (having 10 corrosion at level 5 would be a big enough problem that you'd at least have to make clearing it a more tactical choice).

Avatar's Symbol
I've been fiddling with it as a Gorgon. Agree on lower Kingdom prep cost.

Sensation Stone
Fair enough
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Re: Thoughts on Items

Postby The Avatar on Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:12 pm

Hmm...

Troll Heart: I use it all the time personally. Although, on most Vicious extra cash gives you enough to buy all.
Pendant of Mana: Agreed. Main effect is making potions give 6 mana for normal people.
Piercing Wand: Worst Item in the game easily. Good idea combining it with the ring, another rather weak item.
Platemail: This is the best, least niche and my personal favorite item. Still, 1 DP per level is too weak, and 3 per 2 levels kills its awesome early game usage. I'd rather have it give a damage penalty. Perhaps -2% per level?
Balanced Dagger: Agreed. It's cool, but has few uses.
Venom Dagger: See above.
Stone Sigil: I'd even venture to say great item, mind you, not super, but great. Excluding its high cost this guy is great for squeezing out a boon or two or avoiding a punishment.
Martyr Wraps: OP. Or rather, corrosion is. How about caping corrosion at 3 per monster level or something. Also make it resistible.
Avatar's Symbol: Change the resists to +5-7 base and it will be worth every penny.
Namtar's Ward: This is devilishly tricky to balanced, but its not bad, at least. A DP per level is great for a rogue, berserker, or Warlord.
Sensation Stone: Totally agreed.
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Re: Thoughts on Items

Postby Darvin on Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:28 pm

Troll Heart: I use it all the time personally. Although, on most Vicious extra cash gives you enough to buy all.

If you're achieving a total buy-out, then what really matters is shop density. Troll Heart is distinctly average in this regard, and not particularly remarkable or weak. For the vast majority of dungeons, however, Troll Heart just prices itself out of contention unless the shops are outright barren or you locate it immediately.

I just don't find 40 CP plus the 6-10 HP it usually grants to be worth 16 GP on a typical dungeon where I'm pinching pennies.


Platemail: This is the best, least niche and my personal favorite item. Still, 1 DP per level is too weak, and 3 per 2 levels kills its awesome early game usage. I'd rather have it give a damage penalty. Perhaps -2% per level?

Agree that 1/level would kill it, though I don't think 3 per 2 would be too bad.

I'm beginning to wonder if the platemail should give the player the slow status. This would mean its penalty wouldn't stack with the RBS, but the platemail already combos so well with that blacksmith item that you'd never prep RBS without it anyways...
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Re: Thoughts on Items

Postby The Avatar on Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:46 pm

That could be interesting. Still, its benefit kind of defeats its penalty. Popcorn won't hurt you normally, slowed or not, if you have plate mail.
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Re: Thoughts on Items

Postby Darvin on Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:10 pm

Popcorn could still hit for status ailments, and this would essentially disable first-striking (which is a pretty serious penalty). Certainly it would be the end of the item as a rogue prep.
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Re: Thoughts on Items

Postby Blovski on Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:35 pm

Agree that 1/level would kill it, though I don't think 3 per 2 would be too bad.

I'm beginning to wonder if the platemail should give the player the slow status. This would mean its penalty wouldn't stack with the RBS, but the platemail already combos so well with that blacksmith item that you'd never prep RBS without it anyways...


Popcorn could still hit for status ailments, and this would essentially disable first-striking (which is a pretty serious penalty). Certainly it would be the end of the item as a rogue prep.


I have to admit I don't ever prep RBS because the slow effect interferes with almost every way a physical class gets decent kills. Also there are enough tricks to bypass resistances now that RBS is a really high-cost one even on levels like Slime Pit where it should be a great call. That is an item that really needs improvement in my book.

Slow status's problems: would make it much worse for Vampires, and make it unuseable with a lot of classes/playstyles. I don't prep it for rogues anyway. It'd straight out kill the chances of a Vampire DL run in particular. Oversevere.

3/2 sounds about right to me (I think making the first level use weaker is precisely the kind of change it needs in many ways - it's too good as a general-purpose prep item atm). Alternatively I'd quite like a flat -2 penalty to base attack to come with it. Sort of thing that isn't a huuge deal over the game but will make it a less killer startup item.
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Re: Thoughts on Items

Postby Darvin on Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:42 pm

Also there are enough tricks to bypass resistances now that RBS is a really high-cost one even on levels like Slime Pit where it should be a great call. That is an item that really needs improvement in my book.

The prevalence of debuffs on slime pits makes that a poor location for the RBS. Better locations are Creeplight Ruins, Rock Garden, Namtar's Lair, or Northern Desert.

I do agree the RBS could use improvement, but currently it works alright on levels without too many debuffs so long as you pair it with the platemail to ignore damage from popcorn.
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Re: Thoughts on Items

Postby q 3 on Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:32 am

Perhaps the Mana Pendant could grant a bonus to MP regen, say, +2 MP when consuming a mana potion, or overheal MP to 150% on level up. (This would replace the +2 max MP, I think, unless you were to increase the cost quite a bit.)

I like Darvin's idea for Platemail giving slow status. Heavy armor is heavy, after all. (I'm too lazy to check - does slow status prevent you from getting bonus XP from a slowed enemy? If the plate + RBS combo were too powerful, disabling that source of XP could be a fair tradeoff.)

What if the Venom Dagger were a "click to activate" sort of thing? Activation gives you a 1-time poison attack, which can be repeated as many times as you like, but only works once on any given monster. That way the player can choose when to activate it, i.e., after two or three hits rather than the first.

Any thoughts about the Crystal Ball? I've been trying it out quite frequently on my new profile, but find that it rarely pays off. I might use it once relatively early on to get a high level kill, then save it for the boss and either use it once (in a hard dungeon) or find that I don't need it at all (everywhere else). Granted, I haven't gotten to the vicious dungeons yet, and of course I nearly always go purist, so my perspective is limited.

Still, the gold cost and the fact that it takes so long to recharge make it hard to pull off even two uses, and when you're only using it twice it's just not worth it. 25 gold for 2 full MP restores, but you have to leave it sitting in your inventory for basically the entire dungeon, versus 15 gold for an easy-to-use and easy-to-store Schadenfreude or 20 gold for a Keg of Mana isn't a very good deal. Lower the use cost to 2 or 3 gold and it'll be a lot more reasonable, I think. (If that makes it too strong, you could always put a cap on the number of charges, which would also encourage more frequent use...)
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Re: Thoughts on Items

Postby FDru on Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:32 am

Troll Heart
More HP is more HP. Considering the average HP that most classes have at level 10, this item potentially adds a very significant amount. I just don't like finding it in the middle of a run because its value is diminished severely with each level. If it worked more like Platemail (as in a constant bonus based on your level) it would be sweet.

Piercing Wand
Love this item. LOVE IT. That is, when it's actually useful... which is rare. But it's freaking amazing when it is.

Battlemage Ring
It's definitely nothing compared to Fire Heart.

Platemail
I've been using this less and less, and that's not because it's bad... but it seems to be mostly useful at low levels combined with the shield from the blacksmith.

It's still a good item, but I'd rather prep something else and just pick it up from a shop if it shows up. I've done most of my unlocks without it, to be honest.

Balanced Dagger
Correct me if I'm wrong, but killing +1s gives you 2 bonus exp right? With that in mind, I tend to grab this whenever it's available, because I find myself killing +1s way too often anyway. If I can kill an equal level and get the same bonus, and save exploration then that's fine with me. I really don't mind this item at all.

Stone Sigil
Haven't unlocked this yet, so can't agree/disagree.

Martyr Wraps
I'm inclined to agree, though I haven't really abused these for much. Heavy attrition fighting just isn't my style, so I only do it occasionally.

Avatar's Symbol
Has this item been changed from its original incarnation? I haven't bothered to grab it for a long while.

Namtar's Ward
Never found this one, I think.


For everything I left out, I basically agree.
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