### Author Topic: Are required resistances fun?  (Read 15216 times)

#### Hi

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##### Are required resistances fun?
« on: January 09, 2014, 03:40:42 AM »
Player resistances are good because they make items and monster danger multi dimensional (how dangerous a monster is depends on what resistances you have).  But a runic item can achieve the same thing while also changing the tactics you use.
In some cases, like corrosion resistance, they can even make the game less interesting because they remove the tactical meaning of corrosive monsters.
In games where the right set of resistances is practically required for ascending characters, resistances are no longer interesting because it is not having a resistance that makes one interesting..

But all of this is irrelevant if they make the game more fun, so I'd like to hear from people with more experience.  Are they fun?
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 07:14:40 AM by Hi »

#### guest509

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2014, 04:41:30 AM »
Well I guess they can cause certain monsters to become trivial, not dangerous at all, but RPG style gamers are used to this. Pretty much any sort of progression system is going to have the character outlevel certain monsters.

What game are you talking about? Each game does it so differently.

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2014, 05:12:11 AM »
In Angband, resistance to acid, lightning, fire, and cold don't provide immunity to the side effects of that kind of damage - instakill monsters like wyrms will be reduced to merely extremely dangerous, and the risk of having spellbooks burned will still exist and cause problems. Resistances to other effects like blindness or shards provide immunity from effects, but still permit some damage.

This means that the tactical interest of elemental effects is preserved in the more interesting cases, and can be circumvented in the more deadly cases (spellcasters need total resistance to blindness to fight some monsters). This means some effects suffer this loss of interest because gameplay-wise there's no other choice. However, most effects remain dangerous or problematic throughout the game. Some (time, gravity) don't even have resistances available, and are feared by all characters.

Aside from racial resistances like dwarves being resistant to blindness, there are no permanent resistances in the game. With almost all resistances provided by equipment, it is very common to be faced with tradeoffs that pit two "essential" resistances/abilities against each other. The old and outdated Angband Newbie Guide would hold that you should wait until you have all the required abilities before venturing to certain depths (with the implication that you should eg. grind for poison resistance items before touching the last 60% of the dungeon).

The alternative is to keep descending and classify monsters as fightable or not depending on one's abilities. apart from eliminating the grind, the presence of monsters that mustn't be awake in the same room provides tactical interest by cutting off sections of the dungeon (at least for non-stealthy characters), making teleport unusable, and reducing the escape options. The result is to make monster detection, telepathy, magic mapping, treasure detection, and large highly-connected levels critical for success (at least for players who don't want to grind).

I find this method of play, where most resistances can be sacrificed if I have the ability to avoid dangerous monsters, a lot more enjoyable than the traditional alternative, which as you say is based on removing interesting aspects of play as the game progresses. Even with that playstyle, the effect isn't game-breaking because of permadeath. In cases where the early game is the most interesting part (because all gameplay elements are in effect), permadeath allows a player to experience more of the early game than they would in a "normal" CRPG.

#### Vanguard

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2014, 05:53:19 AM »
Different monsters presenting a greater or lesser threat based on your resistances is a great way to make every playthrough a bit more unique.  It's also a nice method of letting the player suddenly improve their defense by a large amount without jacking up their HP and ruining the game's difficulty.

With that said, I think Angband-style resistances do more harm than good because of how they reward grinding and how they drastically effect the player's survivability based on lucky drops.  I think that through clever design it should be possible to keep the good parts of resistances without most of the problems.

Like, if you gave the player the ability to acquire one permanent resistance of their choice at some point in the game, that could a long way towards mitigating bad luck without introducing too many new problems.  You could also make single-resistance items fairly common, so the player is likely to have access to every resistance, but not all at once, and they need to choose which enemies they want to have an advantage against and which they'll be fighting with a penalty.  That'd only work if equipment switching was non-trivial, but there are plenty of methods of accomplishing that.  There's also the option where increasing a resistance lowers one or more other resistances.  There are tons of different approaches you could take.

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2014, 06:24:13 AM »
With that said, I think Angband-style resistances do more harm than good because of how they reward grinding and how they drastically effect the player's survivability based on lucky drops.  I think that through clever design it should be possible to keep the good parts of resistances without most of the problems.
I just described how Angband makes grinding unnecessary for a careful player, how the effect of random drops on player survivability is minimised by the use of detection, and how the problems described in the OP are avoided in the majority of cases. I'd appreciate it if you'd give your claims a bit more justification.

#### Hi

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2014, 07:14:01 AM »
What game are you talking about? Each game does it so differently.
mostly as implemented in Crawl and Angband

Resistances can make the game more interesting, as Quendus lucidly explained.
But what I mean by less tactically interesting  is that that when you get an item with cold resistance cold based attacks do less damage and your classification of fightable or not changes (good).  But if you get armor of mutuality not only does your classification of fightable or not change (groups become more fightable, individuals are unchanged), but the player changes from fighting monsters in corridors to preferring to fight in doorways. So I wonder if we can keep all the interesting consequences of resistances while also having them effect playstyle in that kind of way.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 07:15:54 AM by Hi »

#### naughty

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2014, 10:32:22 AM »
Apart from the obvious sense of getting more powerful the only fun that crudely implemented resistances add to the game is an extra desiderata for inventory management. Even then it largely seems to be a fairly simple set of rules you can apply to make the decision it's just made more difficult by the size of inventories and the number of equipment slots.

Ultimately the interesting decisions are those that force some form of trade-off. Larger inventories, more equipment slots and lots of randomly generated floor trash work against it.

#### Darren Grey

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2014, 11:15:19 AM »
Different monsters presenting a greater or lesser threat based on your resistances is a great way to make every playthrough a bit more unique.

Not if everyone grinds or shops around for the same resistance set every game. But this is a problem of resistances becoming too easy to get.

I think a good resistance system is one in which the resistance reduces the damage by 50%. Several layers of resistance could give further 50% reductions, never eliminating the damage but making it fairly small with enough dedication to resistance building. But with limited item slots it means sacrificing some resistances for others. A big issue with the likes of ADOM and Angband is that there are so many item slots and so many resistance items - building up universal resistance is too easy.

Actual damage immunity should be incredibly rare and considered very special, and potentially come with tactical trade-offs.

Another issue is that damage flavour systems in general are a bit boring. I like it when fire is more than just a flavour of damage, but has burning affects or similar. Ice damage could affect movement in the nearby terrain for instance, shock damage could make metal weapons less effective for a few rounds, and so on. Gaining "resistance" could be more about finding workarounds to the physical effects of a damage type instead of just being a HP buffer.

#### Vanguard

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2014, 06:07:22 PM »
I just described how Angband makes grinding unnecessary for a careful player, how the effect of random drops on player survivability is minimised by the use of detection, and how the problems described in the OP are avoided in the majority of cases. I'd appreciate it if you'd give your claims a bit more justification.

Sure it's possible to sneak around, carefully avoiding any breathers whose attacks you don't resist, but it's much safer to farm until you have what you need.  Angband's resistance system isn't about tradeoffs or difficult decisions.  It's about getting lucky drops from the RNG.

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2014, 08:28:31 PM »
No, actually the longer you spend in the dungeon the more likely you are to meet an out-of-depth drolem or unique, spawn in or teleport into a room of gravity hounds, or make a bad decision and get killed. The only way to get the tools necessary to win is to go below level 60 where useful gear becomes common. Any time before that is just courting death for no gain.
Darren - building "universal resistance" is next to impossible in Angband, no matter what one might find. Even conservative players regularly have to forgo some minor resistances when they decide they're ready for Morgoth, and even a full complement of resistances won't reduce the danger of big breathers - the weird ones have side-effects removed and retain their damage potential, and the basic ones retain the side-effects and have damage reduced from "instakill" to "two or three turn kill".
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Actual damage immunity should be incredibly rare and considered very special
It already is! There are only a few unique items providing damage immunity, and even if one found items that grant all four immunities it would be pointless to wear more than one or two because they don't provide various crucial abilities (speed in particular). In fact immunities are more useful for eliminating the risk of losing spellbooks or consumables. Fire immunity in particular is nice for characters rhat cast spells from books.

#### Vanguard

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2014, 09:03:04 AM »
In other words, Angband randomly instakills you for no reason other than bad luck.  Wow, what a great game.

This is why Angband's resistance system is bad and part of why Angband itself is bad.  Unresisted elemental attacks do too much damage, resistances reduce damage by too much, there's no viable way to deal with elemental attacks other than resistant equipment, and there's not really any way to get that equipment other than to get lucky or do some farming.

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2014, 11:20:49 AM »
The game you're talking about sounds pretty bad. Pity it isn't Angband.

If your memory extends beyond the previous post, you'll remember that there are no random instakills for a player who makes use of the game's plentiful means of detecting monsters. It's a 1HP stealth subroguelike.

Resisted and unresisted elemental atttacks - as I already said - do just enough damage to produce distinct nontrivial challenges.

Damage reduction on unusual attacks - as I already said - is low or unavailable.

Useful equipment - as I already said - is more likely gained from diving to the second half of the dungeon than from farming or RNG worship.

#### Vanguard

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2014, 01:03:47 PM »
So what you're saying is that hanging out on floor 59 for a little while is outright courting death, but going deeper is perfectly safe.  No need for equipment or resists, just cast detect monsters every now and again and you're golden.  Also, Angband never randomly instakills the player, but it does like to spawn you in the middle of gravity hound packs and drop OOD drolems right on top of you.

This is what passes as logical to Angband fans.

#### Quendus

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2014, 03:01:17 PM »
So what you're saying is that hanging out on floor 59 for a little while is outright courting death, but going deeper is perfectly safe.
I simplified "The danger of death is always nonzero and the risk-reward ratio for a capable player increases monotically with depth, becoming optimal at level 99, and endgame-level rewards only start to show up around level 60-80, making the equipment found in earlier levels inessential to the objective" to something shorter, because I figured that with your selective reading it wouldn't be worth writing out in full.
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No need for equipment or resists, just cast detect monsters every now and again and you're golden.  Also, Angband never randomly instakills the player
That's right. I send mages into the dungeon naked with books, light, food, and a few scrolls and potions from the shop. By level 40 it's very rare not to have found resistance to base elements and at least two of paralysis, confusion, and blindness, and be well set up to go the rest of the way.
Quote
but it does like to spawn you in the middle of gravity hound packs and drop OOD drolems right on top of you.
I'd explain exactly why gravity hounds in the entrance room are instadeath to players who don't detect and survivable but suboptimal for everyone else, but given your habit of ignoring anything that doesn't correlate with your prejudice I'm not sure it would be worth taking the time to type.
In the case of drolems the same applies, except that I've already described all the contributing mechanics so you should be able to piece it together.

I find your deliberate misinterpretations of my words every bit as illogical as you do, but I don't try to pass them off as representing my position.

#### Gr3yling

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##### Re: Are required resistances fun?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2014, 02:35:19 AM »
Player resistances are good because they make items and monster danger multi dimensional (how dangerous a monster is depends on what resistances you have).  But a runic item can achieve the same thing while also changing the tactics you use.
In some cases, like corrosion resistance, they can even make the game less interesting because they remove the tactical meaning of corrosive monsters.
In games where the right set of resistances is practically required for ascending characters, resistances are no longer interesting because it is not having a resistance that makes one interesting..

But all of this is irrelevant if they make the game more fun, so I'd like to hear from people with more experience.  Are they fun?

Oh, gosh, is nobody going to mention the Tower of Eternal Flames in ADOM?  That's the first thing I think about when I think of required resistances.  I know that it is actually possible to survive it without complete fire immunity, but I sure find it to be really hard.

I think that you should be able to achieve complete corrosion resistance, but there should be tradeoffs that you make it get it.  So, if you were acid immune and your equipment couldn't be corroded away, you couldn't also be fire immune and be safe from having it burned, or something.

The rune system you mentioned is interesting, because you could say that the effects of runes "diluted" each other.  So, a really powerful acid resistance rune might give you 100 percent corrosion resistance, but if you added a fire resistance rune you would have 50 percent resistance to acid and 50 percent resistance to fire.

Those numbers may be way to high, but you get the idea.

EDIT:

And apparently, Vanguard already said pretty much the same thing:

"There's also the option where increasing a resistance lowers one or more other resistances"

Sorry.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 02:45:51 AM by Gr3yling »