[Balance] HP-casting should be more costly
issueid=1201 08-24-2012 12:18 PM
Ancient Member
Number of reported issues by Grey: 57
[Balance] HP-casting should be more costly
Make HP casting abuse To and Wi, or make it more expensive

At the moment late game casters have it really easy since they can cast from HP indefinitely, healing up with infinite sources like spenseweed. The Mana penalty is irrelevant, especially in the late game sections. There needs to be a bigger penalty for this abuse. Ideas:

- Change the cost of casting from HP to double the PP amount instead of half the PP amount
- Make HP-casting abuse Toughness and Willpower, and abuse them much harder than it currently abuses Mana.

I kinda prefer the latter solution since it doesn't punish early game players so badly (in the early game HP-casting can be vital for sticky situations).

Edit: Some good ideas below, including:

- HP-casting has a big satiation cost, meaning over-reliance leads to starvation (this is perhaps my personal favourite idea).
- Make each HP-cast cost an additional 5 per cent of your max HP. This prevents abuse whilst still making it a valid tactic for difficult situations.
- HP-cast spells take more time, as per the higher energy cost of book-casting.
- Casting from HP corrupts when in corrupting areas, with more corruption in areas with higher background corruption.
- HP-casting has a chance to stun/sicken/confuse/paralyse (I really don't like this myself - HP-casting is often used in difficult situations, and having this effect would simply stop people using it ever).
- Casting from HP has a chance of failure, similar to wrenching the final charge from a wand.
Issue Details
Issue Number 1201
Issue Type Feature
Project ADOM (Ancient Domains Of Mystery)
Category Windows 7
Status Implemented
Priority 8
Suggested Version ADOM 1.2.0 pre 2
Implemented Version ADOM 1.2.0 pre 7
Milestone (none)
Votes for this feature 8
Votes against this feature 3
Assigned Users (none)
Tags (none)




08-24-2012 01:08 PM
Ancient Member
How about this:

Casting from HP in a corruption zone, in addition to the HP loss, will corrupt the player in addition to the HP loss (since by casting from their raw life force, they open a channel for the corruptive energies to reach it). The heavier an area corrupts, the nastier the effect will be. The early game, where corruption is not present, is unaffected.

For instance: PP cost made up for with HP times background corruption rate - so casting a 10 PP Fire Bolt on D:10 entirely from health would add 10 corruption points (no one cares); but casting a 80 PP Acid Ball on D:50 with the 90 day limit broken will cost 40*80 = 3200 corruption points - garnering three corruptions. This might be too extreme, but I think a solution along those lines would have both flavor and make the game harder for casters at just the right time.

08-24-2012 01:36 PM
Ancient Member
I think the problem with abusing stats in general is that it works too slowly. Once a caster is past the casino, thanks to HP casting the rest of the game can easily be finished in something like 10.000 turns (if not 2000). Even if HP casting abuses all stats very heavily, it will be too late by the time it kicks in for major effects. The character will already have left the chain by then.

Another idea could be to factor total HP into the HP price.

08-24-2012 01:43 PM
Ancient Member
Factoring in total HP is a great idea. If HP-casting also cost 5% of your max HP then it wouldn't be as abusable, whilst still being useful at low level.

08-24-2012 01:55 PM
Ancient Member
If it's based on percentage, having more HP still makes it more affordable, which means it still hits early game PCs more than late game PCs. In the proposed fashion, it also hits small spells more than the big spells (since each spell cast would carry the 5% penalty). It also wouldn't make sense for PCs to get worse at casting from HP as they increase in power, so any solution aimed at skewing the numbers of HP casting itself seems suspect to me. If we want to hit just the late game, adding a penalty based on corruption seems to be the obvious solution - or am I missing something crucial here?

08-24-2012 02:34 PM
Ancient Member
Instead of abusing stats, it could also cost a stat point directly, that's what the Wish spell does IIRC.

08-24-2012 02:46 PM
Ancient Member
Quote Originally Posted by Silfir
If it's based on percentage, having more HP still makes it more affordable, which means it still hits early game PCs more than late game PCs.
Yes, but much less so.

Quote Originally Posted by Silfir
In the proposed fashion, it also hits small spells more than the big spells (since each spell cast would carry the 5% penalty).
I don't know if this is necessarily bad. This would mean that spamming a cheap spell from HP is prevented, too. That could actually be good, considering spells like Teleport and CLW. However, it is also possible to design a formula that avoids this, if desired.
Note that your solution has the same property.

Quote Originally Posted by Silfir
It also wouldn't make sense for PCs to get worse at casting from HP as they increase in power
As you noted with the first point, more HP would still help. This idea would be comparable to drowning damage, the idea being that it affects you in a way where being physically tough doesn't really help as much.

Quote Originally Posted by Silfir
If we want to hit just the late game, adding a penalty based on corruption seems to be the obvious solution - or am I missing something crucial here?
It is another option, if not the most obvious to me. It would also overlap with the mana orb that way. But yes, it's a possibility.

I like the direct substracting of stat points, too.

08-24-2012 03:08 PM
Ancient Member
Hitting small spells more also means hitting early game PCs more, because they don't have ready access to the big spells. And I'm sorry for being obtuse about this - I don't see how early game PCs are hit "much less so". Sure they lose less HP, but they also have less HP. A 20 HP caster needs one of his HP much more than a 400 HP caster needs 20.

If anything, early game PCs are hurt more, because the absolute part of the cost already hurts them more, and the stat drain is still a factor for them.

As for substracting stat points instantly - how much (one point per 20 HP spent at once? What about the small spells?), and when do you start (again, I can't think of a better solution than tying it to corruption), and what is the justification for hitting only high level PCs with the penalty?

EDIT:
Note that your solution has the same property.
Er, no it doesn't. Mine hits the spells according to the PP cost, just like before. It just hits them with corruption on top, depending on location, which hurts late game PCs more than early game PCs, which I believe is the objective.

08-24-2012 04:08 PM
Member
How about a chance to stun, paralyze or blind? since it costs hp, why wouldnt it have other physical reactions too.

08-24-2012 04:10 PM
LFk LFk is offline
Senior Member
I definitely like the idea of HP casting being a little less easy to use.

I dislike direct stat drain. It would really hit the early game PCs pretty hard.

Having it cost HP in proportion to Max HP is elegant and simple, would not take much re-coding, so I like it. However, I can think of certain situations where this doesn't help. In many cases, healing spells *can* heal you for far more than 5% of your max HP, making it still usable, just less conveniently so.

Thus, why not the corruption idea? I think this is cool. It does tap out another resource (your corruption counter is essentially life) that you cannot recover quite so easily. You don't have to worry about the raw numbers, Silfir, there's always a way to balance everything. This of course still enables early-game casters to 'abuse' the mechanic, but it could be set on a formula to cause a base amount of corruption, and add more as you enter corrupting zones.

The explanation could be that chaos is spreading and twisting the entire area in one way or another, opening your own body to channel arcane torrents through it lowers your innate resistance to such chaos.



If Mr. Biskup is open to adding another counter, you could have a "casting sickness" that you acquire from casting from HP. It would function much like poison/sick where counters added as you absorb poisoning/sickening effects, and removed over time. Casting sickness would do things like directly reduce stats/HP/PP (to be restored when sickness is over), or incur negative status effects like confusion and stunning. The effects would grow more severe as more counters are added. The way this addresses the problem in the way the above methods cannot is directly and severely weakening you to the point where further HP casting is impractical for the time being. The long term effects can still be stat abuse, but other short term effects are all temporary.

The reason I only lightly suggest it is because it's not simple, like grobble's idea. In many cases, simple is better. Plus, you can just make the HP cost whatever max% so that it's impractical to cast heals on yourself off of HP most of the time.

08-24-2012 04:12 PM
Ancient Member
Definitely in favor of nerfing HP-casting.

Now, how about this: casting from HP increases spell cost.

The increase by itself grows exponentially, that is: first, say, 5 hp-castings will increase it by 1 in total, while next 5 hp-castings will increase it by 5 in total (exact numbers are to be discussed and should based on initial cost).

This way we don't hurt starting characters - they can cast to escape death and will have to cope with the increase later in the game.
At the same time, this heavily prevents mid/endgame abuse (remember, increase is exponential).

08-24-2012 05:59 PM
Senior Member
I like the idea of making it so that casting from HP is something done only at need. But I also think that trying to "nerf" it by boosting the penalties is missing the main point - it should be a risky thing to do, rather than something with a direct negative effect.

What if HP castings had a chance of failing (and still costing the same HP)? Kind of like trying to wrench a final zap from a wand - it won't always work on the first try.

Alternatively, how about having temporary effects that make it a bad idea in mid-fight? For instance, perhaps it temporarily slows you down (say, -lvl Speed for 3d10 turns, with successive HP-castings increasing the duration rather than the amount of reduction). Or perhaps it temporarily reduces your strength and/or your willpower.

Another option could be to have it consume satiation, driving a compulsive HP-caster to starvation and making repeated HP-casting during a fight a risky activity (and likely making scrolls of satiation more desirable). Since an early-game PC will only cast from HP occasionally (since HP itself is the main limiter at that point), it shouldn't be too much of a complication in the early game, and it makes satiation a bigger issue in the late game for spellcasters. Coupling this with Toughness abuse should make it sufficiently risky that spellcasters won't do it too much.

The corruption-effect isn't a bad one, but I think there's only so much you can add corruption to before it starts to feel like the go-to punishment for anything undesirable. Significantly increasing the HP cost or having direct and permanent negative effects will overcompensate for the issue. Making casting from HP increase spell cost seems like something that will grow out of control, since the increased cost will make casting from HP more common, which will further increase the cost. Adding a new sickness or equivalent is likely to be too much work to fix something like this.

I don't mind the idea of having a chance of stun/paralyze/blind on HP casting. That, either in conjunction with a chance of failing or alongside a guaranteed temporary effect (like satiation reduction, or temporary speed reduction), would certainly make the player less likely to do it frequently.

One last option, which I think is the best of my ideas, is to simply make casting from HP slower, as the PC has to pull the energy from their own body, a process that wouldn't really be easy. If the energy cost increased with number of PP points lacking, it would discourage casting heavily from HP, and would punish much more harshly in the late game and for higher-power spells. Something like, say, 100 energy points per lacking PP. So, casting 80 PP Acid Ball purely from HP would require an extra 8000 energy points, and thus take 9 times as long. But casting 80 PP Acid Ball when you have 79 PP would only require an extra 100 energy points, a mere 10% more time.

08-24-2012 06:08 PM
Ancient Member
It could also produce some temporary physical effect, for example:
- 30% chance of stunning
- 30% chance of confusion
- 25% chance of slowing
- 10% chance of sickness
- 5% chance of paralysis

I add the random factor because if the penalty were, for example, always stunning, then people would just wear an item providing stun resistance and still cast without problems. But being ready for several possible different effects is another matter.

It also implies that you are overstressing your body so much that the effects are unpredictable, which makes sense IMHO. Things like increasing PP cost are not really very intuitive/"realistic" (draining stats or consuming more HP are, though).

08-24-2012 06:12 PM
LFk LFk is offline
Senior Member
Quote Originally Posted by Aielyn
The corruption-effect isn't a bad one, but I think there's only so much you can add corruption to before it starts to feel like the go-to punishment for anything undesirable.
I don't necessarily disagree, but to me chaos and corruption feel like the centerpiece to the ADOM game and story. I wouldn't mind.

If this doesn't stick, though, I guess having a random chance of Confuse, Stun, Slowed, or Paralyze taking effect would be adequate to discourage just firing away in a dangerous area.

08-24-2012 06:18 PM
Ancient Member
I like several of Aielyn's suggestions, especially chance of failure, longer casting time and increasing hunger. The last is probably the most logical, simple, predictable and effective - something lacking from many other suggestions. The player should not need arcane knowledge of the background corruption level to judge how risky an activity is.

I'll update the original post with all the suggestions made so far.

08-24-2012 07:15 PM
Ancient Member
It gets more dangerous the deeper you go - that's pretty much all you need to know, isn't it? If a spellcasting ends up costing 100 corruption points or more, the game could create a warning message along with the casting from HP message. ("Part of your life energy is drained while casting the spell! You feel corruption seeping in to take its place!") Add a fortune cookie message and a line in the manual and you're good to go. Hell, even the line in the manual might be overdoing it. It's already pretty dramatic about casting from HP being "very dangerous" - and doesn't even mention it abuses Mana, weirdly enough.

Satiation doesn't seem like much of a solution. It's not like late game characters are short on food of all things. Overshoot on that count and the first victims are going to be the early game spellcasters once more. Most other suggestions above - random negative effect, fail chance and so forth - will definitely nerf HP casting, but it will do so at all phases of the game, and once again it's the late game spellcasters who are better prepared to face the repercussions. Granted, they might stop casting from HP in the late game except in emergencies - but early game PCs will suffer along with them, and be unable to save themselves with HP casting in emergencies a lot more often.

Unless it's agreed early game HP casting needs to be taken down a notch, too? That hasn't been my impression as of yet.

08-24-2012 07:54 PM
Senior Member
Quote Originally Posted by LFk
Thus, why not the corruption idea? I think this is cool. It does tap out another resource (your corruption counter is essentially life) that you cannot recover quite so easily. You don't have to worry about the raw numbers, Silfir, there's always a way to balance everything. This of course still enables early-game casters to 'abuse' the mechanic, but it could be set on a formula to cause a base amount of corruption, and add more as you enter corrupting zones.
Isn't the early game for casters already hard enough? No reason to make it any harder.

08-24-2012 09:02 PM
Ancient Member
Early game for casters is easy I think. And there's nothing wrong with nerfing HP casting then as well, just don't prohibit it entirely. It should be reserved for rare and desperate situations, not something to rely on.

08-24-2012 09:30 PM
LFk LFk is offline
Senior Member
Quote Originally Posted by mike3
Isn't the early game for casters already hard enough? No reason to make it any harder.
Not particularly. Aside from running into a stone block, which can't be helped, casters for the most part have it easy for the beginning, middle, and end of the game. That's just how this game is tweaked as of now.

Silfir: I wouldn't mind nerfing HP casting at *all* stages of the game, but that might be a personal opinion. I'm ok with whatever result, though. I suggested the [base corruption value + value based on background] to hurt the early game casters, but if you want to keep it easy for them, just make corruption entirely based on environment background.

08-25-2012 04:51 AM
Senior Member
Quote Originally Posted by Silfir
Satiation doesn't seem like much of a solution. It's not like late game characters are short on food of all things. Overshoot on that count and the first victims are going to be the early game spellcasters once more. Most other suggestions above - random negative effect, fail chance and so forth - will definitely nerf HP casting, but it will do so at all phases of the game, and once again it's the late game spellcasters who are better prepared to face the repercussions. Granted, they might stop casting from HP in the late game except in emergencies - but early game PCs will suffer along with them, and be unable to save themselves with HP casting in emergencies a lot more often.
The idea is that satiation is something that doesn't grow with the PC's level, like PP or HP does. When you're casting from HP in the early game, you're typically only going to use a few HP in the process, meaning only a small impact on satiation. And using it only in an emergency as well will mean that you're looking at basically enough hunger to remove a few turns from the time it requires to reach the next lower stage of satiation. Most early game spellcasters don't have huge HP reserves to play with, so there's an inherent limit to how much hunger they can incur prior to simply dying of spellcaster's exhaustion.

Meanwhile, the challenge isn't about whether the late game character has food, it's about whether the late game character has the time to spend eating the food. As I recall, the time required to eat food is proportional to the amount of satiation it gives, or thereabouts. Most significantly, it introduces a major danger to trying to do HP-casting against the Orb Guardians - with no teleportation, you're liable to get stuck in the middle of a fight with the guardian; stopping to eat is impractical and the risk of entering the range where your stats start to drop is a major issue.

If a spellcaster wants to routinely cast from HP for contexts where it's unnecessary, such as "teleport-walking", then the abuse of stats (which I still support as an extra source of discouragement) should be the bigger concern. The main issue, as I see it, of HP casting for late game spellcasters, is that they can do it during important battles, and that this makes things too easy, too often.

Quote Originally Posted by Grey
Early game for casters is easy I think. And there's nothing wrong with nerfing HP casting then as well, just don't prohibit it entirely. It should be reserved for rare and desperate situations, not something to rely on.
The idea is that HP casting in the early game already has its strong limitation - available HP. When you've only got double-digits of HP in total (especially when your max HP is below, say, 30, as it usually is for the first few levels, at least for the PCs with lower toughness), and you don't have the sort of equipment necessary to protect yourself strongly, and relatively few sources of healing, the risk of casting from HP can be high - and since you only have a few PP, you're also more likely to need to be able to do it. It doesn't need to be "nerfed" because it's already relatively risky in the early game. It's in the late game that it becomes too easy to do, when you have huge reserves of PP and HP to play with, high quality equipment to protect you, and often many sources of healing. Hence why we need something that hits harder as you get further into the game.

08-25-2012 12:39 PM
Ancient Member
That's what I meant with "overshooting". If you make the satiation cost severe enough that it actually becomes an honest-to-god hindrance in late game battles, it will also be severe enough for early game wizards to get into actual trouble with food.

As it stands, though, losing turns in an orb guardian battle or such isn't much of a concern; you can spend your time eating in Coward mode. Grey probably has the best expertise on this subject, having won the game with an acid spitter - how frequently do you have to run out of food before it actually hurts?

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