Author Topic: Crawl tourney  (Read 7888 times)

Vanguard

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Crawl tourney
« on: April 14, 2014, 08:41:08 AM »
Any of ya'll in this?  Post your username and server so people can spy on or give you advice or something.

I'm van on crawl.s-z.org, but I probably won't play anymore.

mushroom patch

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 12:20:37 PM »
Unfortunately, I'm too bad at the game to play competitively, or I might.

jim

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 01:25:22 PM »
You know, after seeing the update, I logged into s-z and gave it a few tries.

Wow. Speaking as someone who is hardly a prodigy but has gotten a few all-rune wins, I just couldn't get into it. Did the game change, or did I? Maybe I've just been spoiled by the likes of Sil, where gameplay is streamlined and the action is fast. Either way, the name "Crawl" seems more and more like the perfect moniker. It takes forever to do anything, the least bit of bravado is severely punished, and the only incentive to proceed at anything beyond a crawl's pace is the player's own impatience.

I'd be willing to give it a shot if anyone wanted to make a Mighty Ducks / Meatballs style team of idiots, which is about where I feel like I'd fit in at this point. My username is omniguy.

Vanguard

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2014, 03:48:17 PM »
Either way, the name "Crawl" seems more and more like the perfect moniker. It takes forever to do anything, the least bit of bravado is severely punished, and the only incentive to proceed at anything beyond a crawl's pace is the player's own impatience.

That's exactly how I feel.  Crawl has its strong points, but Sil et al. have every bit as as much cool stuff and way less wasted time.

awake

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2014, 05:33:08 PM »
I'm new to this game and was worried it was just me... seems like I'm spending an inordinate amount of time luring solitary enemies up the stairs but I still haven't gotten very far (~12th floor now) so I was hoping the game would click. I haven't played on a server but I don't see how y'all could be worse than I am.

mushroom patch

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2014, 06:46:14 PM »
I'm quite terrible at crawl, as I said. It's telling that the guides on the game put such emphasis on the importance of not progressing into unknown territory with monsters already in line of sight. It seems the short lines of sight and the relative lack of escape options other than just running makes it play pretty slow in the early game.

I think another aspect that makes it harder to get into is that simply diving through the dungeon is not what you're supposed to do. Most guides say something like clear a few levels of the orc caves (or whatever it's called), then leave, then clear all but the last level of the lair, establish a stash on the first level of the lair, then go back to the orc cave, etc. It's not what you would guess to do, in other words. Trying to clear the orc place in one go really will get you killed most of the time, etc.

I've never really played a game of crawl in which I applied the above wisdom, but from watching people play, it seems to work.

jim

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2014, 07:23:56 PM »
awake: it's actually a very interesting game, very fleshed out, with quite a lot to do, but as mushroom patch indicates, you need to do a lot of counter-intuitive and fairly annoying things in order to get there.

for instance, since they revamped how XP is allocated, you need to set XP distribution to manual and pump up your one or two most important skills in the early game (for fighters, this will be the weapon skill.) this makes an absolutely huge difference in terms of survival, and you could play for months and months without even realizing that you could turn off automatic XP allocation. then a month or so more before you realized which ways you should really allocate XP.

then there's stair-luring, pillar dancing, summon spamming, "don't run into the black," blah blah blah.

so let's get this started!! what's our team name? :)

EDIT: LOL, just died to a quokka on level 2. tried to be cautious by resting up to full MP offscreen, but apparently 5 magic darts weren't enough to take it down. in other words, i will not be participating in a crawl tournament now or ever again
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 07:30:27 PM by jim »

mushroom patch

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2014, 10:57:34 PM »
I have to say, I find this thread a little sobering. Here's a bunch of self-professed roguelike fans/developers saying they don't have the patience for one of the standard bearers of the genre. (I would say I lack the time to learn a new game more than the patience, but I don't mean to scold or anything.)

One thing that should be said for crawl is that their online playing facilities are really nicely done, but still only scratch the surface of what's possible in that realm. Public telnet is a big part of the history of dcss and it should play a greater role in future roguelike playing and development.

Vanguard

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2014, 12:16:07 AM »
I really like the enormous number of races and character builds in crawl.  It's cool that the branches are so distinct and you can choose your own order and skip huge amounts of content if you want.  I like the great variety of spells that are more than just fire damage, ice damage, etc.   As you said, the online features are amazing.  That stuff is all well really well done and the crawl team deserves recognition for it.

But man, the game has so many problems that go unacknowledged.  Combat is too random - there's a really dangerous late game enemy that can do 3-129 damage in one shot.  Maybe it'll tickle you, maybe it'll blow you up.  Only the RNG knows.  If you cast a spell at an enemy, your spell has a change to fail, and if it succeeds, it has a chance to miss the enemy, and if it hits, the damage range is usually really wide.  See: jim's post about quokkas.

So basically, since you can't predict what's gonna happen, you need to do everything you can to stack the odds in your favor, so optimal play means spending the mid-game going through the easiest area available, then the second easiest, and so forth.  If you do it right you're rarely at risk but it isn't very exciting.  There's not a lot you can do about that in the early game, and so the beginning is the hardest part.

Crawl is really long and repetitive too.  The main dungeon has 27 floors and a bunch of branches.  The branches are gonna range between 3 and 5 floors and you have to do at least 3 of them.  So ignoring ziggurats, special floors and all that, you're looking at 35 floors minimum, usually more.  And even individually the floors are huge.  That's already way too long, but you're probably going to do even more than that to ensure you have the best equipment possible.  You don't want to get killed and start over after putting so many hours into it.  And if you're doing a 15 rune run you're going to need to spend twice as long.  So even though the different areas are pretty distinct, it ends up feeling repetitive because they're too long and there are too many of them.

I think Crawl is weird about what information it makes available too.  They don't want spoilers to be necessary so the game doesn't have Nethack-style cheap shots.  And that's well and good.  They've also decided to remove harmless fun stuff like potions of poison being slightly beneficial to poison-immune characters, presumably for the same reasons.

What's weird is that even though the game superficially adheres to that anti-spoiler policy, it withholds other vital information and I don't know any way of finding out other than to look it up or ask someone who knows.  It doesn't tell you how much a given skill will improve your casting or fighting ability, or what your encumbrance level is after applying your armor skill.  It doesn't tell you what your accuracy rating is, or how much damage you'll do with any given weapon.  It doesn't tell you how much damage your attacks inflicted either, so it's difficult to gauge the power of your spells and your attacks.  Especially since half the time the formula is something like 2d50.

I'm really glad I won in my last run because now people can't say I'm just complaining because it was too hard.

awake

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2014, 12:36:48 AM »
Here's a bunch of self-professed roguelike fans/developers saying they don't have the patience for one of the standard bearers of the genre.
...and for once they're not talking about Nethack!

mushroom patch

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2014, 01:08:58 AM »
But man, the game has so many problems that go unacknowledged.  Combat is too random - there's a really dangerous late game enemy that can do 3-129 damage in one shot.  Maybe it'll tickle you, maybe it'll blow you up.  Only the RNG knows.  If you cast a spell at an enemy, your spell has a change to fail, and if it succeeds, it has a chance to miss the enemy, and if it hits, the damage range is usually really wide.  See: jim's post about quokkas.

Yeah, I definitely agree about inconsistent combat damage. This is a really crazy thing that makes no sense. I don't know where roguelike developers got the idea that you can use d20s for damage dice or even more ridiculously d50s or d100s. I have a certain admiration for angband's plus to-dam dominated damage system with big dice weapons and attacks being big by number of dice instead of number of sides. Reasonably consistent damage with some scope for surprises. (I think this is one of the downsides of Sil's streamlining of angband damage, but at least they keep the dice sides under control.)

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Crawl is really long and repetitive too.  The main dungeon has 27 floors and a bunch of branches.  The branches are gonna range between 3 and 5 floors and you have to do at least 3 of them.  So ignoring ziggurats, special floors and all that, you're looking at 35 floors minimum, usually more.  And even individually the floors are huge.  That's already way too long, but you're probably going to do even more than that to ensure you have the best equipment possible.  You don't want to get killed and start over after putting so many hours into it.  And if you're doing a 15 rune run you're going to need to spend twice as long.  So even though the different areas are pretty distinct, it ends up feeling repetitive because they're too long and there are too many of them.

35 floors is too much for your taste? Wow. If it's less than 50, I want my money back!

I'm really baffled by a lot of the commentary to this effect around here. So what's the optimal number of floors to the prevailing tastes? 20? That seems really short to me, for a roguelike.

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I'm really glad I won in my last run because now people can't say I'm just complaining because it was too hard.

Well, I suck at the game, so no such accusation here.

Vanguard

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2014, 01:27:01 AM »
35 floors is too much for your taste? Wow. If it's less than 50, I want my money back!

I'm really baffled by a lot of the commentary to this effect around here. So what's the optimal number of floors to the prevailing tastes? 20? That seems really short to me, for a roguelike.

Shorter, more intense games are a better fit for permadeath.  The longer a game is the more frustrating it is to die, and a long game that maintains a high level of intensity becomes inordinately difficult.  Long roguelikes like Crawl and Tome resolve this by keeping the average difficulty low with occasional spikes.  The end result is that large portions of both games waste your time and can only kill you if you get complacent, and you're more likely to get complacent when you get bored of doing the same thing for hours.

Also, bear in mind that Crawl's floor's are pretty big and diving quickly is much deadlier than it is in Angband.

pat

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2014, 03:19:00 AM »
the main dungeon isn't 27 floors anymore, I think it's 15 (I think) and then it becomes the "depths" which is 5 levels (I think).

I used to be really into Crawl but I'm a bit burnt out on it now and I find that the generic fantasy world that it inhabits is about as boring as possible. Still a good game and the reality is that it's a must-play for roguelike fans but I'm glad that it's largely in my past.

pat

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2014, 03:19:37 AM »
oh yeah, I'm in the tourney and I'm going to win a game but it's going to be in as few attempts as possible and I'll stop immediately once I succeed

mushroom patch

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Re: Crawl tourney
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2014, 04:08:31 AM »
the main dungeon isn't 27 floors anymore, I think it's 15 (I think) and then it becomes the "depths" which is 5 levels (I think).

I used to be really into Crawl but I'm a bit burnt out on it now and I find that the generic fantasy world that it inhabits is about as boring as possible. Still a good game and the reality is that it's a must-play for roguelike fans but I'm glad that it's largely in my past.

I agree that crawl's hodge podge of Greek mythology, Tolkien, and AD&D monstrous compendium makes for a fairly uninspiring setting. What's the alternative though? The only answer I seem to be seeing is Cthulhu mythos, which doesn't strike me as any better -- if anything, it's much less coherent.

(I know people like to say "sci-fi!" but this is, in my opinion at least, a departure from the genre and in any case runs into issues of lacking a familiar bestiary, lacking familiar weapons, lacking magic, etc., etc. It's good to be able to say "Look, it's an orc, a monster similar to a human, but evil and okay to slaughter in large numbers. Now look, it's something from Greek mythology. You know what those do!")