Make all artifacts instantly recognizable
issueid=5985 02-04-2018 03:08 PM
Member
Number of reported issues by Tannis: 4
Make all artifacts instantly recognizable
no artifact should be indistinguishable from normal items

I just beat the game with a Dark Elf Thief who had a great run. After leaving the chain I checked my scoresheet and looked at the artifact spawn list to see what I missed. I missed three artifacts: whip of the vampire snake, chain mail of the martyred crusader, and hornet's sting. These artifacts all have something in common. Per the ADOM wiki:

Hornet's Stinger "appears as a rapier when unidentified, making it indistinguishable from normal iron rapiers."

The chain mail "appears as a chain mail when unidentified, making it indistinguishable from normal iron chain mail."

Whip of the vampire snake "appears as a whip when unidentified, making it indistinguishable from normal whips."

Compare that to skullcrusher, for example, which dropped for me in the earth temple. It dropped as a runed-covered club so I instantly knew what I had. No risk of missing it. All artifacts should be like that.

The current system is not only arbitrary: some artifacts can be readily identified just by looking at them like robes of resistance, ring of immunity, executor, etc, and some artifacts are indistinguishable from normal useless items. Even worse, it encourages tedious behavior. I cleared 3 greater vaults in my run. I fought monsters at chokepoints, the ideal strategy, so there were piles and piles of loot on a single tile. The current system where some artifacts aren't obviously artifacts means that optimal play is to pick up everything just in case. 99% of the time it's junk and you have to waste time dropping it again, but if you don't pick everything up you might miss that one time where that 15s whip is an amazing artifact. That is the sort of tedious gameplay that ADOM has been moving away from, and when you look at a scoresheet after the fact and see that you missed an artifact it's a bummer.

So, TLDR: change the unidentified appearance of any artifact that is currently not clearly an artifact at first glance. This can be done by giving them titles like "writhing whip" or "gleaming rapier," or giving them highly unusual weights. I prefer the former, but even the latter is better than the status quo. No one is going to leave a 14s whip lying there.
Issue Details
Issue Number 5985
Issue Type Feature
Project ADOM (Ancient Domains Of Mystery)
Category All
Status Implemented
Priority 7
Suggested Version ADOM 3.1.0
Implemented Version ADOM 3.1.0
Milestone (none)
Votes for this feature 15
Votes against this feature 8
Assigned Users (none)
Tags (none)




02-04-2018 04:32 PM
Junior Member
I disagree, I like the fact that some are not easily distinguishable. Keeps some surprise/keep alert/luck factor in finding them.

02-04-2018 05:31 PM
Member
Quote Originally Posted by Harkila
I disagree, I like the fact that some are not easily distinguishable. Keeps some surprise/keep alert/luck factor in finding them.
But it's not a function of luck or alertness. It's arbitrarily forcing the player to pick up every 15s whip, 30s rapier, and 400s chainmail they see and identify it just in case it happens to be an artifact. That introduces nothing to the game besides tedium.

edit: I should add that it's tedium compounded by metagaming. Because only some artifacts have this annoying propriety, ideal play would be to compile a list of all of these artifacts (there's more than the ones I listed) and constantly pick up all items that meets the criteria. Who could possibly enjoy that?

02-04-2018 06:43 PM
Junior Member
Well obviously, if you want to never miss a single good item in-game, you'll need to dig through every single pile of everything. But that's your choice. That's nothing that would be required to win the game.

Hey, maybe some artifacts are indeed looking identical to their mundane equivalents, and only by using them (or magically identifying), you can notice the difference. It's nowhere said that all artifacts should stand out.

02-05-2018 09:24 AM
ixi ixi is offline
Junior Member
I usually stay catious to unknown items if I don't have means of uncursing. Even though I know they might be artifacts. I'd keep the choice on the player - whether to risk and check what's that hoping for surprise, take all this garbage in your backpack to find out later or leave. That's basically it.

02-05-2018 12:56 PM
Member
Quote Originally Posted by Harkila
Well obviously, if you want to never miss a single good item in-game, you'll need to dig through every single pile of everything. But that's your choice. That's nothing that would be required to win the game.

Hey, maybe some artifacts are indeed looking identical to their mundane equivalents, and only by using them (or magically identifying), you can notice the difference. It's nowhere said that all artifacts should stand out.
It's true that digging through everything is "a choice." The problem is in a game with significant difficulty and permadeath, it's the optimal choice. Finding a good artifact radically improves your character's chances of living. So the "choice" here is a tedious, low risk action (hoarding and ID'ing everything) for the chance of high reward. That's not really a choice if you care about optimal play. No well designed game should inflict such a tedious choice on the player. It is universally accepted that low risk tedious behavior with the chance of a high reward is the hallmark of a bad game mechanic.

Yes, it's not written in stone that all artifacts should be instantly recognizable. My point is, good game design weighs in favor of such a change.

Quote Originally Posted by ixi
I usually stay catious to unknown items if I don't have means of uncursing. Even though I know they might be artifacts. I'd keep the choice on the player - whether to risk and check what's that hoping for surprise, take all this garbage in your backpack to find out later or leave. That's basically it.
The problem with this argument is that artifacts almost never randomly drop in the early game (puppy cave, VD, CoC 1-9, etc). Most random drops come from greater vaults and the lower CoC. By this point, you're swimming in ID and uncursing scrolls. So there's no real cost to ID'ing everything you come across. And that's the problem. Negligible cost + real life tedium = a mechanic that needs rethinking.

One final point. You don't even need to burn a scroll to ID an artifact! Let's say I have a pile of loot after killing a room full of dragons. There's a 15s whip in the loot pile. Might be an artifact, might be garbage. I can just pick it up from the pile and drop it on a square by itself. If I see a normal whip tile, I know I have junk. If I see this unique tile: ( http://ancardia.wikia.com/wiki/Whip_..._vampire_snake) I know I have an artifact. So the game isn't even requiring me to use an ID scroll or risk cursing! It's just requiring me to inspect every 15s whip, 30s rapier, 400s chainmail, by dropping it onto its own space and looking at the tile.

Why make optimal play so tedious? Avoiding these grindy optimal choices is why we got rid of gremlin bombing, ring of weakness scumming, infinite rings of wishing from potion dipping, etc It's why this change should be made too.

02-06-2018 07:45 AM
Ancient Member
Honestly, I never understood why half of artifacts are recognizable while others are not...

02-06-2018 05:47 PM
Senior Member
This was a quirky little thing in old versions of ADOM where you'd pick up wooden shields looking for Nature's Friend. Now that there are a bunch more (very powerful) artifacts like this, it's a very frustrating design. Especially for unspoiled players -- I've been staying away from the wiki list of new artifacts and so being forced to comb through every piece of random garbage on a greater vault floor is very aggravating.

02-06-2018 08:10 PM
Member
I keep saying one final thing, but really, one final thing. There's a lot of veterans in this thread, people who have been playing ADOM for 10+ years. Steam has brought the game to new players. Imagine explaining to an ADOM virigin that you have to comb through all of the junk you find lest you miss you the most powerful items, AND you have to memorize a list of which items can spawn as secret artifacts so you know in the first place which items warrant special attention. Now *there's* some advice that's going to really get a newbie eager to play.

At least veterans like us understand the ramifications of leaving junk on the ground without double checking. Newbies, not so much.

02-06-2018 10:58 PM
Senior Member
As an ADOM veteran (if you like): please end the madness of having to ID everything. Please!

02-06-2018 11:25 PM
Junior Member
Quote Originally Posted by Tannis
I keep saying one final thing, but really, one final thing. There's a lot of veterans in this thread, people who have been playing ADOM for 10+ years. Steam has brought the game to new players. Imagine explaining to an ADOM virigin that you have to comb through all of the junk you find lest you miss you the most powerful items, AND you have to memorize a list of which items can spawn as secret artifacts so you know in the first place which items warrant special attention. Now *there's* some advice that's going to really get a newbie eager to play.

At least veterans like us understand the ramifications of leaving junk on the ground without double checking. Newbies, not so much.
You keep saying you *have* to check everything. But as you also said, without spoilers you possibly wouldn't know that. And still, it is entirely possible to win the game without spoiling yourself. It is entirely possible to win with just the guaranteed artifacts (or less). You keep saying that optimal play shouldn't require tedium, and that in a game as difficult as ADOM you need every advantage you can get, but you did bring up how the solution for gremlin bombing was removing the possibility -- hence removing the advantage anyway. You might as well just not do it.

Right now, "optimal" could still mean "grind the big room (or some other relatively safe place with high monster generation) until you get enough stat potions to max out your stats to 99, have multiple rings of djinni summoning to get the highest grade (non-artifact) equipment, upgrade every item to the sky by smithing and scrolls of protection/defense, obtain 10000+ spell knowledge in everything, get all the skills to 100 etc." if you simply mean getting as powerful as you possibly can. Still, you wouldn't ordinarily do that, neither do you have to. What's optimal for you is a balance of how many advantages do you need to beat the game, how much risk you are willing to take, how much work you are ready to put in, you might care about your score etc. If you strictly just want to maximize power at minimum risk, you'll arrive at the sort of insane stuff described above.

The only time you need to really worry about "forcing" people to play optimally is in competitive play. This could theoretically be an issue now with global highscores, but the scoring system explicitly discourages stuff that takes up extra time, as it's (partially) based on turn count.

Quote Originally Posted by gym21
As an ADOM veteran (if you like): please end the madness of having to ID everything. Please!
Please don't. Besides the fact that instantly knowing the properties of items does not make much sense realistically, ID'ing is an important part of the game, and especially in the early game involves making nontrivial decisions.

02-07-2018 04:12 AM
Ancient Member
Quote Originally Posted by Taederias
Please don't. Besides the fact that instantly knowing the properties of items does not make much sense realistically, ID'ing is an important part of the game, and especially in the early game involves making nontrivial decisions.
How it makes sense to know that executor is a special drop which is very clearly marked, while let say new whip artifact must be Id'ed from any 15s whip (or whatever it is on default)?

Artifacts don't really happen early for Id them to be non-trivial. Further on, before ID scrolls get rolling you likely want to ID/price check most of non-stacking weaponry -- ego weapons are too good at this point.

If you are super realistic... artifacts do not make sense to start with... like at all. Having them being Id'ed by rune coverage, humming sound or whatevr narrative exists is just as realistic as they other magical properties.

02-07-2018 08:01 AM
Senior Member
Quote Originally Posted by Taederias
Please don't. Besides the fact that instantly knowing the properties of items does not make much sense realistically, ID'ing is an important part of the game, and especially in the early game involves making nontrivial decisions.
There's a difference between early game ID problems, which are important and interesting (how often does the Chain Mail of the Martyred Crusader drop in the UD, anyway?) and picking up every 15s whip for an entire game just to see if it's the right one. Whose game is improved by reading the final score, seeing generated artifacts and having no idea where and when they dropped?

02-07-2018 09:19 AM
Senior Member
Quote Originally Posted by gym21
As an ADOM veteran (if you like): please end the madness of having to ID everything. Please!
+1.
There are far too many areas where ID system in ADOM is completely illogical and broken, especially in regards to the blessed/cursed status of stackable items.

02-07-2018 12:59 PM
Member
Taederias, your point boils down to "you don't *actually* have to ID all 15s whips to see if it's an artifact." Yes, technically correct. I don't *have* to, in the same way that I don't have to scum the big room for infinite loot, scum the ID for wyrm threat rooms to get loot, etc. In a game like ADOM, with infinite item generation, monster generation, and dungeon generation, there's a lot of things you can tediously do to get ahead (and for my sanity I do none of those things (besides precrowning)).

But hiding top tier loot from the player is very different than giving the player the option to grind the ID. Most modern gamers have a baseline expectation that when you luck out and find the mystical sword of kill everyone, the game lets you know. Hiding some (but not all!) artifacts does not increase depth or enjoyability in any way. And even if a minority of players thinks otherwise, the vote ratio for this proposal speaks for itself.

I think it's telling that no one has advanced a good compelling reason for the status quo. The counter arguments boil down to "you don't have to do this," or its variant "why worry about balance in a single player game." Not a single persuasive argument showing why it's a good mechanic - because it's simply not.

02-07-2018 06:06 PM
Senior Member
People defended uberjackal effect. People will defend anything.

02-07-2018 07:22 PM
Member
Listen man no one's *forcing* you to kill all those jackals.

02-07-2018 09:07 PM
Junior Member
Quote Originally Posted by auricbond
People defended uberjackal effect. People will defend anything.
While your statement may be true, your analogy is somewhat flawed. Jackals becoming the Ultimate Monsters of Doom because you kill a bunch of them does not make much sense in any way, and is definitely not intuitive. That some powerful items would stand in an immediately apparent fashion ("Hey, this weapon is covered by some weird red runes, I wonder what it does... Ah it coats itself in fire and incinerates my enemies."), but other times powers manifest in less obvious ways ("Oh here are some undead, let's equip the sword I just found... Oh wow, it's as if my hand's guided to make the most deadly strikes!" (undead slayer property)) is/would be something that can definitly have a place in a game world.

02-08-2018 06:55 AM
Senior Member
It might make some sense for one or two artifacts to be this if they are dropped by a named monster - but that monster's description should give a hint about it
(i.e. something like "Kluk-kluk, the whip-wielding kobold, who displayed unnatural ability with his whip").
But it should definitely be an extremely special occasion, and never be just lying in a pile of random loot.

02-08-2018 08:34 AM
Ancient Member
Quote Originally Posted by SinsI
It might make some sense for one or two artifacts to be this if they are dropped by a named monster - but that monster's description should give a hint about it
(i.e. something like "Kluk-kluk, the whip-wielding kobold, who displayed unnatural ability with his whip").
But it should definitely be an extremely special occasion, and never be just lying in a pile of random loot.
I think Needle and Sting sorta makes sense of non-ID, after all they are not that special while being separate. (One of them is dropped in pile, but that is pile is a quest reward).

02-08-2018 10:07 AM
ixi ixi is offline
Junior Member
Following the logic stated... Shouldn't we get rid of entire id system at all? Is there a reason to keep it?

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