Something Darvin said about Drac...

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Re: Something Darvin said about Drac...

Postby Lujo on Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:54 pm

I do agree with making you automatically start the dungeon worshipping Dracul is a good drawback, or a good drawback on any of the gods.


Been thinking about this (and also I started a new kingdom :) ) and it still seems like a good idea to me, but it wouldn't work with most if not all other gods.

Most other gods are in fact kinda disbalanced by the fact that you can prep them. JJ and GG are really front loaded, Mystera's a toolbox, Taurog has an explosive easy start etc.

The only guys who whom "having to worship them" is a drawback, afaik, are Drac, TT and Binlor. Binlor on a pure technicality because people do prep him all the time for the glyph, noclip hack and resist farming all the time, but his penalty IS technically an early game penalty (even if it's easy to overcome, which people do). TT is prepped as a part of the "prep him, worship someone else first, kill boss at lvl 1" shennanigans, but it's not like you're in a terrible spot worshipping him right away (Gettindere's the strongest glyph in the game, guaranteed dodge, XP and gold +easy 50 conversion piety for killing some stuff, and an easily desecratable altar if you're not planing on going melee isn't terrible at all).

Drac, on the other hand has a late game penalty (it DOES technicaly reduce the silly healing and piety total you get from sanguine), but it's just that worshiping is an incredibly raw deal compared to only poping in for the bonanza at the end. He rewards 2 piety for a kill, rewards potion conversion and rewards a few glyph conversions (handsomely). Glyphs are a crapshoot, potions aren't that readily available unless you're a halfling (and sinergize with guys who'd worship drac anyway) and +2 per monster kill is...

It's really bad compared to other guys. I'ts actually even or worse compared to killing every monster on the map for other guys and then just converting into him. If you kill the same guys for Taurog and convert, you get the exact same amount for regular monsters, you get the +2 instead of -5 for undead, and you get DOUBLE for magic users (which makes killing wraiths and converting go from -5 to +4 O.O). If you start out with TT, you can kill undead (and anything else) for a flat 5 which when you convert is, again, better than what he gives you. If you're in Mystera and use 2 glyphs per kill you're again getting the same as he'd give you. You can kill undead for piety (and sometimes burning), but he also rewards killing stuff with the ding piety which, again, ammounts to a better rate per kill that Drac gives even after converting to Drac and losing half (I think, because you take fewer kills to get it and then you have more fodder for drac and are incentivized to take out the undead first which would otherwise give you a penalty). Heck, if it's just piety you're after, then getting the bloodpool piety and stoning a bunch of plants gets you as much if not more piety per kill after you convert from EM (you do cut yourself off from sanguine healing, but as far as piety goes that's hassle free 5 per kill on non-undead, pretty much, and you can even use undead for XP fodder for IMAWAL and you get +5 after conversion for every stoned undead).


He does tack on the sanguine piety bonus to your kills once you take it, but you can still get that if you kill stuff for other guys first And other guys can give the same if not better even after losing half of it for converting while being able to kill undead for a bonus. So having to actually worship him if you prep him would be a HUGE penalty on Drac as far as pure cheezing goes.

If it replaces the current penalty, though, that still doesn't fix the whole "silly end spike to easy to just pop in for". He's not the only culprit in that department, TT, EM and GG have efortless found-them-on-last-tile spikes which we kinda never really discussed because we were complacent with the Drac precedent when most of those got buffed to where they are now.

Taurog and Mystera have strong spikes - but their spikes require dedication. So does the Binlor Stoneskin one, to a degree (can't really make it go from the final tile you explore). JJ doesn't have a spike, he just helps other spikes. EM got buffed to being a "mana Drac", TT's potions got lumped into one boon for usability, and GG's spike is truly mediocre on it's own compared to the benefits of prepping and worshiping him for the breezy piety and utility spam. When Drac got Sanguine, we did complain and so bloodswell got the curse tacked on and he got the prep penalty which targeted sanguine specifically (the dedicated worship problems are more of a side effect).

I think it was the Devs trying to get bloodpools to be more of a thing for everyone besides bloodmage, as they're a really strange gameplay element - most of the time they're just an art asset, but a few features turn it into a strong (mostly) all-upside powerup. The problem is that bloodpools sorta just track the location of your kills (and EM plays around punishing that but nothing else does), but don't track who you were worshipping when you made the kill - and that's a huge part of both piety gain and piety loss mechancis. If relevant, they can, by default, mess up a fundamental aspect of the piety game. I wonder if there's an elegant solution to it though.

Also, EM is actually worse than Drac in this regard. Find her on last tile - get craploads of mana for 0 effort. The reason people don't notice this that much is that she takes less effort to abuse than Drac and is easy and beneficial to worship. Free IMAWAL is worth it, Entanglement is a really broken boon, early health is very good and corrosion spam spawned a strat (plus she rocks with Avatar's Codex) and Warlords. But early Mystera into last minute EM is still anywhere from 6-10 effortless fireballs. Sangune mostly ends up paying for itself which lets you use 50 conversion piety to take 2 bloodswells, for 2-4 full heals (one more if you desecrate stuff) which sinergizes with some classess and builds and is plenty silly but worshiping the guy is way worse than just dipping in for that.




EDIT:

Here's a really, really silly idea which isn't gonna go anywhere - what would happen if something Drac did or gave you made bloodless ghosts of some sort rise up out of bloodpools? It would be playing with what bloodpools track - kill location in much the same way EM does, but if he spawned something with death protection and blink you could get it to move if you attacked it but it would be hella crazy and weird. There's a cool potential mechanic to play around with for the expansion in case the devs are reading this. ^^

God, now I whish we really did put our minds to it and talked the devs into a Drac rework back in the day. Not necessarily a big one, or this one (well I'm still sticking with the "have to worship him" penalty XD) but there's a ton of ways he could've worked better than he does now...
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Re: Something Darvin said about Drac...

Postby Tinker on Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:21 am

Darvin wrote:I will grant it to QCF, if they were going for a "temptation of evil" concept with Dracul they pulled it off in spades.

In terms of story background, Dracul seems to be obsessed with power, and I think it fits this concept nicely that he favors worshippers who are already more powerful. He can be used as an early-game deity but it's harder to do so than to wait until higher levels and start worshipping him late (or just convert over from someone else). This is the polar opposite of how the Glowing Guardian - the 'good guy' - is the patron of the weak, and has much more to offer for starting characters.
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Re: Something Darvin said about Drac...

Postby Lujo on Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:37 am

^ Which is a fine interpretation allthough I'm not sure it's the intended one, tbh. GG was kinda supposed to reward monotheism, and give you a hard time about getting piety for the big payoff. I think the devs said this explicitly once (the acronym PITA was used). Not sure what the exact intention for Drac was, but the whole sanguine thing was a result of a rework.

What happened after both of them got reworked (but I'm not sure intentions for them changed) is that GG got the breezy worship paired with a lacklustre payoff, and Drac ended up with what GG worship was supposed to be like but with better payoff (which you can also get with no Drac worship).

Something deffinitely went wrong somewhere, or something changed about the intentions.
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Re: Something Darvin said about Drac...

Postby MTaur on Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:28 am

Lujo wrote:^ Which is a fine interpretation allthough I'm not sure it's the intended one, tbh. GG was kinda supposed to reward monotheism, and give you a hard time about getting piety for the big payoff. I think the devs said this explicitly once (the acronym PITA was used). Not sure what the exact intention for Drac was, but the whole sanguine thing was a result of a rework.

What happened after both of them got reworked (but I'm not sure intentions for them changed) is that GG got the breezy worship paired with a lacklustre payoff, and Drac ended up with what GG worship was supposed to be like but with better payoff (which you can also get with no Drac worship).

Something deffinitely went wrong somewhere, or something changed about the intentions.


I have found it rather difficult to get much use out of GG's ultimate boon. I need to get better at piety juggling, I guess, but it's really hard to earn enough beads for it to even be worth it. I suppose that's what Absolution is for, to a large extent, but if you stumble across his altar after most of the popcorn is gone, it becomes a pretty big XP penalty for a benefit that has been outscaled by the dungeon already. Maybe the boon is balanced with Paladin in mind, idk. The fact that Paladin can eat poisons and cleanse them for free piety makes it that much more extreme.

Dracul is sort of weird because Blood Shield tends to be at odds with the lifesteal boon. If you have innate resists, you often can't even use both boons meaningfully. Picking Blood Shield means that you don't get to lifesteal. Not that I disagree with building dilemmas into worship choices, but it's rough.
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Re: Something Darvin said about Drac...

Postby TheSchachter on Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:08 am

MTaur wrote:I have found it rather difficult to get much use out of GG's ultimate boon. I need to get better at piety juggling, I guess, but it's really hard to earn enough beads for it to even be worth it. I suppose that's what Absolution is for, to a large extent, but if you stumble across his altar after most of the popcorn is gone, it becomes a pretty big XP penalty for a benefit that has been outscaled by the dungeon already. Maybe the boon is balanced with Paladin in mind, idk. The fact that Paladin can eat poisons and cleanse them for free piety makes it that much more extreme.

Dracul is sort of weird because Blood Shield tends to be at odds with the lifesteal boon. If you have innate resists, you often can't even use both boons meaningfully. Picking Blood Shield means that you don't get to lifesteal. Not that I disagree with building dilemmas into worship choices, but it's rough.


Well, Enlightenment is admitedly difficult to use, and a lot of experienced players say they don't often bother with it. This is especially true if you prepare the GG altar and are dealing with significantly reduced piety gain. While the complete curse removal and the +5 mana can be very valuable in various situations, the whole package is something you'd normally only be interested in if you'd started worship at level 1-2, which is by far the optimal GG worship conditions.

Though I seem to be one of the few players who really likes the boon (sometimes I go out of my way to use it even when suboptimal or completely unnecessary), I feel like there's a bit of a catch-22 going on with it. What I mean is, it takes a lot of game knowledge, skill and effort to earn enough piety to accumulate enough beads to make most of it; however, it seems to me that by the time a player is skilled and familiar enough with the game to really leverage GG worship and get somewhere around 10-15 beads while still making good progress in a dungeon, they're probably good enough that they can beat any dungeon without the additional power granted by Enlightenment. The only dungeons where I find that its power really pays off are the Vicious ones (and it really feels good; a piety-farmed lvl 1 conversion from Binlor to GG got me a Purist + Parched victory in Dragon Isle, which was easily one of my proudest achievements in the game).

Still, one aspect that I feel isn't mentnioned enough when discussing the boon is that it gives you the opportunity to cap off a level up even if you're 10 or more XP away from one, and the refill that gives you is all the more powerful when it also boosts your max health and max mana (not to mention, since you most likely took Humility your stats are likely already reaching higher than average). You can effectively use non-health/mana resources (like gold and items for conversion, potions you can't use, altar desecrations even) to accumulate bonus XP, and tight end-game Enlightenment rushes are often a frenzied "oh-god-what-else-can-I-get-rid-of" panic of trying to accumulate enough beads to get that last ding you need (which creates brings up a very thematically-appropriate comical scenario of an adventurer desperately getting rid of all material posessions they can get their hands on to reach "enlightenment"). Triple Quest 3-3 feels like it's engineered to set up this scenario, though again it's arguably one of the hardest challenges in the game.

(I'm not sure why I'm so passionate about the Enlightenment boon that whenever it comes up I feel compelled to write up a text wall...)

As for Dracul, it's good to remember that Lifesteal lets you overheal on popcorn, and that there are few classes that can easily get a natural 45% in both resists, so the penalty to max resists is only really significant on classes like the Monk and Berzerker. Also, piety-wise, Dracul has a tendency to generate an infinite piety loop when you use his boons (blood tithe especially, obviously), so if short, sacrificing health potions for piety often gets you more health recovery than using them. Earlier today I got my human fighter to face-tank Bleaty thanks to a combination of maxed-out overheal and Blood Shield + Body Pact.
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Re: Something Darvin said about Drac...

Postby Tinker on Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:10 am

Lujo wrote:Something deffinitely went wrong somewhere, or something changed about the intentions.

Well, I don't know about current (or historical) design intent, all I can say is that I see Dracul, the way he plays now, and Darvin's "Temptation of Evil" note rings very true.

I also don't see any issue with some deities generally favoring early worship and some generally favoring late worship or conversion... Especially since it's never absolute. For example, in a recent NC run I tried a new concept and it didn't work quite as I expected it to work. So what saved my bacon in the end, and allowed me to still snatch a win, was a late-game conversion into GG. Not Dracul - he only would have allowed me a single Blood Swell after conversion, as I had no way to gain Piety with him at that point. But I still had lots of junk to convert in my inventory, which allowed me enough Piety to buy 3 Protections from GG, which was a curse-free full-restore for both Health and Mana, that made all the difference at the time.

TheSchachter wrote:Well, Enlightenment is admitedly difficult to use, and a lot of experienced players say they don't often bother with it. This is especially true if you prepare the GG altar and are dealing with significantly reduced piety gain. While the complete curse removal and the +5 mana can be very valuable in various situations, the whole package is something you'd normally only be interested in if you'd started worship at level 1-2, which is by far the optimal GG worship conditions.

Interestingly, if you take Absolution several times on Level 1, you only lose 1 XP per bead, which you gain back with Enlightenment (which conveniently also clears your curse stacks, that happens to be the other main reason for keeping level 1 monsters around).

By the way, it may be a sign of suboptimal play, but I almost always take Enlightenment, if for nothing else, then the Mana boost. It makes subsequent Protections that much better. Plus, even a character who is not a spellcasting specialist can benefit from +5 Mana.
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Re: Something Darvin said about Drac...

Postby dislekcia on Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:45 am

Tinker wrote:
Lujo wrote:Something deffinitely went wrong somewhere, or something changed about the intentions.

Well, I don't know about current (or historical) design intent, all I can say is that I see Dracul, the way he plays now, and Darvin's "Temptation of Evil" note rings very true.


Dracul is exactly as we intended, after about 5 reworks. Honestly, if we wanted to do more, we'd have done more. God balance isn't just about one god, it's about how everything around the different gods works together AND how those interact with each other when different god combos are rolled.
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Re: Something Darvin said about Drac...

Postby Astral on Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:19 am

I generally use Enlightenment the same way as Tinker. Rush it with conversions, and enjoy the more powerful protections later. I only bother with bead collecting if I find an early unprepped GG, or when I play a Paladin.

My only beef with Dracul is that life steal already has it's powerful downsides, the prep penalty makes it even worse and unreliable. Add in that lifesteal is an expensive boon, and only starts to matter when you stack multiples of it, it really limits the potential of the boon.

Also Dracul gives you no bonus on joining. I understand that he's a lategame god, but all the other gods give you something, or work very well as a lvl1 find. A costless +1 lifesteal would be amazing, but unfortunately abusable with monks. So how about +5% starting sanguine? It's even double-edged, if you don't mind your steps you waste your precious bloodpools.
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Re: Something Darvin said about Drac...

Postby Blovski on Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:44 pm

On the Enlightenment discussion, I just don't see how Absolution stacking + Enlightenment measures up to the much more convenient Chaos Avatar with piety gains, piety costs and late-game punishments being what they are. In a few longer scenarios or with Paladins and Goatpersons it works out alright but I'm not a huge fan in general.
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Re: Something Darvin said about Drac...

Postby Tinker on Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:17 pm

Blovski wrote:On the Enlightenment discussion, I just don't see how Absolution stacking + Enlightenment measures up to the much more convenient Chaos Avatar with piety gains, piety costs and late-game punishments being what they are. In a few longer scenarios or with Paladins and Goatpersons it works out alright but I'm not a huge fan in general.

Even though both seem like "ultimate" boons, I wouldn't compare Chaor Avatar (which is one of the best boons in the game) to Enlightenment (which makes a lot of sense for GG but is not the same league as CA, arguably just a tag-along next to his other boons). Or even GG to JJ for that matter. Sure, both offer stat boosts and refills and debuff removal and resist hack, but the weight and workings of each of these is different enough to cater to different strategies.
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