Dwarves. Just dwarves. Or Dwarfs.

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Dwarves. Just dwarves. Or Dwarfs.

Postby Lujo on Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:51 pm

Anyway, my PQI has been throwing dwarves at me in noticable (alarming?) quantities, so much so that they were a key player in making PQI very grindy. And the absolution nerf was hailed as a terrible insult to all of dwarfdom, as if sucking mechanicaly entitled them to mound of cheeze. I know they've been complained about, changed and reverted and all that, but let's see about the little bastards one more time. I'm generaly godawful at proposing buffs, but let's try this.

What are they good for?

1) Rogues. So is everyone else. Still, they make good, moderate Rogues, ones I can get behind and not feel bad about it.

2) B2P - well, since B2P can't be prepped, and theyre useless for most spellcasting without it, this means Bloodmages or bust. They do make awesome bloodmages, because they're actually better for Sanguine than for B2P itself (you need 3 conversion bumps to cast one more B2P, and a whooping 6 for two more wihch then gets you a second fireball).

3) Resist stacking - but as Darvin has noted many times, damage is the king of that game, so humans and orcs beat them at it, as do halflings and gnomes due to the dumbsword.

4) Healthmonstering - well, they're not even very good at it. Sure their bonus really kicks in at higher levels, but, to be frank, if I needed to leverage a big bunch of health I'd go with halflings for the potions. They suffer the same problem as elves here - sure they can get a big bunch of health/mana but recovering all of that is a pain. If you can get a decent number from other sources, having acess to loads of potions is just plain better. Now, I'm not saying dwarves aren't good healthmonsters, they are, but when you do the math - if you'll ding as much as a healthmonster you might as well go with spellcasting, and if you're going for lategame health in general, you might as well go halfling or resists. Don't hotly dispute this, please - it can be, but either math or metrics say otherwise.

5) Drac worship - now there's somethign they're actually good for. They can always pick up a bunch of sanguine and not feel it, make good use of all his boons and all that. GG worship too - if you're looking to use protection, you'll get loads of health.

6) Naga Cauldron and Avatar's Codex - seriously, they're really good with dwarves. But they're vicious rewards. See the edit below.



That's all I've got. Half of their best uses have them as a second choice in a race with supreme cheeze as the first option, other half is either unpreppable or unlocks late. All in all it's too little.

So what's the deal?

1) Theyre too "back loaded" - the bonus becomes relevant too late in the run. Wouldn't be a problem except all their competition in the same playstyle vein isn't. Some of this is due to the trisword being what it is. Other "some" of it is Orcs and Humans.

2) People in general feel that you need a cheezy way to rack up tons of health to back their current bonus up, as with old Absolution. This is telling me that if they gave a front-loaded benefit on top of their current benefit people might play them. Would this break the Rogue? Certanly! Would I mind? No more than I mind the current Rogue as such, and I'd rather have a playable race than be held hostage to the Rogue.

3) Their conversion cost is obviously not reflecting the actual benefit to gaining a lot of health. Most people simply don't value it at where it is now. Now, DD players, vets included, me included, can sometimes be narrow minded fools, but we don't seem to think we're getting bang for buck.

4) There aren't enough features that let you turn health into a weapon. Ok, this sounds stupid and is wrong, but think about it - you can use mana in a variety of ways, damage is something you acquire and it takes no upkeep and there's loads of ways of applying it to enemies, potions do a million billion things - health has B2P, drac's boons, resist stacking - and that's pretty much it. Dwarves aren't supported by the inventory system well enough! Or so it seems, or at least not in any "here's a blunt object" unmisunderstandable way other things are.

EDIT: 4.5) Caveat - Fire Heart is good with them, obviously, and so are the Naga Cauldron and the Codex. But two of those are post-game vicious rewards, and dwarves you practicaly start out with. Sure, they work wonders with dvarwes, but they're too little too late, before you get a chance to get them you've allready messed the PQI up terminaly. And the whole "a guide with a dragonshield in it" argument.


So, further thoughts? I don't want to rush my suggestions, because as I've said, I can spot nerf bait a mile off, but I tend to mess up with buff sugestions. What would make YOU consider them?
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Re: Dwarves. Just dwarves. Or Dwarfs.

Postby Lujo on Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:17 pm

To separate a key point I've just remembered - doublepost warranted I think. I may have figured out exactly what makes dwarves compare badly to other guys.

Everybody else except elves get the benefits of ther conversion as an instantenious thing - it needs no exploration to be applicable. Dwarves increase their max health - but you then need to heal or explore to get the benefits. This is actually a big, big deal as you can't make big plays or hold off on conversion with them as you can with the other guys, they have trouble regennign, and you can increase your health by a small vital ammount and still need to blow healing on it. This has made me whish I was anything but dwarf more times than you'd imagine.

And this puts pressure on converting early or at inconvinient times, while at the same time giving proper benefits late - and contributes to not really seeing the benefits of being a dwarf as opposed to anyone else.

If they simply regained 10% health or so every time they convert something I think they'd be either fine or much closer to where they need to be. And have their own specific tactics, flavour and advantages, as well as wider range of conversion antics available to them, on par with the rest of the guys.
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Re: Dwarves. Just dwarves. Or Dwarfs.

Postby Darvin on Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:03 pm

I do agree that dwarves are the most lackluster of the races. They're backloaded and their conversion bonus only starts to become appreciable at high levels. The problem is that there are a huge number of front-loaded hit point boosting effects in the game. It's easy to get +10 or +20 at level 1 with the right effects (even new absolution can handle that much) which blows the dwarf out of the water. At the same time, without a way to bolster your attack damage those HP really get wasted, so he's definitely not a purist character. He's for very specific niches only.

I don't know what the solution is. Letting him have his free HP without having to explore to fill them up is a good start, but it's a small thing.
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Re: Dwarves. Just dwarves. Or Dwarfs.

Postby Lujo on Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:48 pm

Darvin wrote:I don't know what the solution is. Letting him have his free HP without having to explore to fill them up is a good start, but it's a small thing.


Yep, small and necessary. If done the way I suggested adds further synergy with big health and a little boost in regenerating, so it wouldn't be that small either. I guess it would need something more, but what must be done must be done - they're problematic and compare badly to the others too much (whether seemingly or truly).
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Re: Dwarves. Just dwarves. Or Dwarfs.

Postby harfatum on Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:25 pm

So, Halflings convert 80 CP into 40% health (which you can use whenever you want), right? Dwarves getting about half that, but immediately, could be very good as a bonus. Converting for X CP gives .2X% or .25X% health.
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Re: Dwarves. Just dwarves. Or Dwarfs.

Postby Lujo on Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:30 pm

harfatum wrote:So, Halflings convert 80 CP into 40% health (which you can use whenever you want), right? Dwarves getting about half that, but immediately, could be very good as a bonus. Converting for X CP gives .2X% or .25X% health.


Sort of - you get what you'd get for later, an immense health benefit, but you also heal for 10% of the total. Or whatever % the devs decide is not broken. But faithless dwarf runs leave me looking at my humongous health pool and wanting to cry for lack of any way to regen any of it after I've blown my HP potions. This way you'd be secure to have your HP instantly when you convert - and also benefit from healthmonstering. With such a bonus, timing your conversions can really pay off ^^

Also, it doesn't fuel the trisword, and doesn't cure poison, and doesn't provide piety with drac and gg. But makes for an interesting option for healing while in drac, on top of all the allready present sinergies.
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Re: Dwarves. Just dwarves. Or Dwarfs.

Postby Darvin on Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:36 pm

harfatum wrote:So, Halflings convert 80 CP into 40% health (which you can use whenever you want), right? Dwarves getting about half that, but immediately, could be very good as a bonus. Converting for X CP gives .2X% or .25X% health.

Not even close, halflings get 40% of their total health, while dwarves would get 10% of their base health.

For a 5th level dwarf, that means he gets 5 HP, since his base health is 50. If a halfling is stacking some boosts such that he has 80 HP, then chugging a 40% potion is 32 health. So it's actually a factor of 6, not a factor of 2. And that's before we consider the Trisword.
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Re: Dwarves. Just dwarves. Or Dwarfs.

Postby Sidestepper on Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:51 pm

I think that dwarves are always going to be marginal. Humans, dwarves, and elves all emulate the three standard powerups you find in dungeons. It makes sense to keep it that way rather than make a up a special exception for dwarves.

It's really hard to leverage dwarf health. It's tiny at low levels and is overtaken by monster damage at high levels. Your typical boss hits for 75 damage. You would need 640 CP just to soak one extra hit, and that's at 10th level. If you have exploration, you can still get some use out of smaller amounts of health, but with the damage that dwarves do, regen fighting is usually going to be lossy, which further reduces the advantage. Meanwhile, a human with 640 CP is doing +60% per attack.

I'm not really sure that there's much to be done about it. You can lower the threshold, but at a certain point, you start to break them for fringe cases while still leaving them mediocre for everyone else.
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Re: Dwarves. Just dwarves. Or Dwarfs.

Postby Bloggorus on Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:57 pm

I really like dwarves. Front-loading conversion gets you early game survivability that is maintained throughout the game, which leaves you free to concentrate resources on items, boons and gods that provide purely offensive bonuses. Sure, they are 'back loaded', but so are humans.

Someone mentioned that health as a resource seems 'one dimensional'. I see it as the opposite: it's the ultimate generalist factor that relates to every other mechanic.

Regeneration and managing health during levels and over level ups is one of the most complex and essential strategies in the game. It's probably easy to dismiss because you use it so often; think about how often you make health calculations every game.
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Re: Dwarves. Just dwarves. Or Dwarfs.

Postby Lujo on Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:07 pm

I know, it's what you use to pay for attacks. That's why %res stacking works so well in general. But you really don't get much from dwarfs as opposed to other guys - and as far as health management goes they lose too much of what they gain the way it is now.

And as for my suggested 10% healing bonus - giving them the percentage of the base is necessary - or simply giving them their bonus in current health not just max. It's a bigger deal than it looks.

But if we want them buffed, why not 10% of the whole? You'd still have to hit the cap 4 times to match one conversion out of a halfling, but it'd certanly be a way to help leverage the big health and offset the fact that your options for ever regenerating that much health are few and far between. It would make all the sinergistic stuff be somethign you want to use with dwarfs, rather than something you feel you need to use when you get stuck dwarfs or go looking for "what ever in the game works for dwarfs". Make them stand on their own feet, so to speak. Orcs and halflings win games on their own, why not dwarfs?

I'd rather have them unique this way, than marginal the way they are now. Plus, I don't think it'd break anything that wouldn't still be better off playing some other race...

EDIT: And we certanly want them playable otherwise they flood the PQI. I've played more dwarven assassins and warlords than any synergistic ones. Heck, with a built in 20% per CP pop healing surge, they would really be a viable and interesting choice. If it looks like too much - goblins can do a 100% surge on both health and mana and are cleaning house in token runs ATM, so that's almost a non-issue. Halflings can fuel a trisword as well as B2P (and outdo Dwarves with an Alch Scroll!), and Orcs can match the trisword with no gold and potion expediture.

EDIT2: This would also boost priests and bloodmages, which is nice, give monks good options, and reduce the need for healthmonstering support on dwarves, as well as lower the requirements of healthmonstering support in general - then Absolution can be fixed by just letting it add two beads, and counting on paladins and dwarves (of any class) to be guys who can rally get the most out of it.
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