[Balance] Pick Pockets
issueid=1204 08-24-2012 01:28 PM
Ancient Member
Number of reported issues by Silfir: 6
[Balance] Pick Pockets
Too good and too mindless

Currently, applying the Pick Pockets talent on a creature with pockets gives you a random chance to receive gold or a small item, in addition to the items the creature will drop after its death. The vast majority of these creatures are completely harmless, and the pool from which the loot is chosen includes even the most powerful items at 10 stones or less, such as Preserver or the bracers of war.

This means that many players have made a habit of pickpocketing every creature at every opportunity, obtaining a vastly greater amount of loot at no risk to themselves - through pure grind - compared to players who don't pickpocket in order to preserve their sanity or to add a challenge.

If it were up to me, the "has been pickpocketed" flag would affect drops to subtract the first item generated at 10 stones of weight, so that Pick Pockets will only be of value when used on creatures you don't want to kill, rather than exchange button presses for loot. This behavior would change for thieves, to make their pickpocketing class power more distinctive. (Right now everyone with a wish to play the game optimally and a stomach for mindless button-pressing is a pickpocket.) Excluding some of the more valuable items from the pickpocket pool (for non-thieves) would be a step in the right direction.
Issue Details
Issue Number 1204
Issue Type Feature
Project ADOM (Ancient Domains Of Mystery)
Category Other (please specify)
Status Implemented
Priority 6
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 9
Assigned Users (none)
Tags (none)




08-24-2012 01:37 PM
Ancient Member
Since the game is about killing I don't think this is a particularly fun idea. It would essentially remove pick-pocketing from the game.

An alternative would be to make it only work on creatures that haven't noticed you, or which are friendly, but with a much higher chance of generating an item. This would work well with thieves' stealth, and would reinforce the chaotic alignment penalty for pick pocketing in these situations.

08-24-2012 01:48 PM
Ancient Member
I don't want to remove pick-pocketing from the game - but I do want to remove the incentive to do it all the damned time. If it has situational use, or requires use of stealth - as in, actual effort - I would be perfectly happy with that, increasing the rewards too, go nuts! Do something interesting with it, rather than make it a "create loot" button.

08-24-2012 05:26 PM
Senior Member
Can I suggest four changes?

1. Pickpocketing shouldn't work on summoned/bred beings. That mostly means no gremlin-bomb pickpocketing.

2. Pickpocket items should be limited to items within the current DL - a solid limitation, that is.

3. Pickpocketing should be far less likely to work when used on hostile creatures, and moderately less likely to work if the creature has noticed you.

4. There should be a likely-quality scaling that increases with creature DL designation. This means that pickpocketing that goblin, even on DL:48, is likely to give you a ring of searching, whereas pickpocketing Nuurag-Vaarn should have a high chance of producing a really high quality item. The quality scale should be more generous to Thieves, as they'd know where a target is more likely to keep a more valuable item.

08-24-2012 06:24 PM
LFk LFk is offline
Senior Member
I like the quality scaling the best. I don't have a problem with pickpocketing everyone, but I *do* have a problem with a random goblin able to give you something truly outstanding.

I think it's the intent of the creator that truly outstanding items can be acquired in this way, so why not have more dangerous monsters provide better loot? That would restrict some of the most grindy aspects, like gremlin bombs.


In terms of flavor, I'd love making the pickpocketing of hostile monsters difficult/impossible, and only possible on those that haven't noticed you, but in practice this nearly kills the pickpocket skill until a permanent source of invisibility is found. If and when stealthy (but not invisible) play ever has more of a place in ADOM, this can be done. No one has a "back" to stab in ADOM anyway, nor will they ever, so i'm skeptical of this.

08-25-2012 01:12 AM
Ancient Member
Hmm... How about that if you get the message "The monster notices your attempt and gets angry!", then all future pickpocket attempts will always fail? Or the monster goes into berserk rage? As it stands, ADOM is not set up to be a stealth game, and would require a lot of work to make the skill at all workable as one.

09-03-2012 02:42 PM
Ancient Member
I'm voting in favor of the quality scaling and the berserk rage suggestion.

09-03-2012 03:37 PM
Senior Member
Quote Originally Posted by JellySlayer
As it stands, ADOM is not set up to be a stealth game, and would require a lot of work to make the skill at all workable as one.
Maybe it wouldn't require that much work to make Stealth work a little better... I'll make a suggestion "issue" now, with one possible approach.

09-04-2012 03:32 PM
Senior Member
Silfir's suggestion will make a skill totally useless.

09-04-2012 05:28 PM
Ancient Member
Quote Originally Posted by Aielyn
2. Pickpocket items should be limited to items within the current DL - a solid limitation, that is.
What do you exactly mean? Pickpocketing is already limited to the current danger level as is most loot generation. You can't steal water or Preserver on D: 1.

4. There should be a likely-quality scaling that increases with creature DL designation. This means that pickpocketing that goblin, even on DL:48, is likely to give you a ring of searching, whereas pickpocketing Nuurag-Vaarn should have a high chance of producing a really high quality item.
This would probably kill the skill (pun unintended) depending on how it's done. Either you will get mostly junk, or everyone would want to pickpocket the Archmage because he's very likely to have something excellent.

You see, the randomness with stealing items is actually part of the attractive, at least for me. If you manage to steal an artifact or wish during the early game, it will most likely make a difference. If you don't (which is usually the case), you will still have more utility potions, scrolls, rings, blankets maybe, at a point in the game where they are more appreciated. Pick Pockets gives you the ability to get more these as you go without using extra talents (I won't get into a TH discussion because I've virtually never used it, would rather take something that makes a bigger difference in the short term).

Stealing something that is generated out of thin air the moment you do it and wouldn't have been dropped makes little sense, but many things in ADOM do not. (Holes dug next to a river are not filled with water. A single blanket can cover 100000s worth of stuff, and let you read spellbooks.) If you want to challenge yourself not to use the skill at all, you're free to do it (although you will lose Yergius' training). So those are moot points. IMO the skill should be left as is.

09-04-2012 08:27 PM
Ancient Member
Quote Originally Posted by Spellweaver
Silfir's suggestion will make a skill totally useless.
Yes. Which is still preferable to having the skill as it is now. It is that stupid.

@anon123: Yes, a lot of things in ADOM don't make sense. Pick Pockets doesn't make sense and is stupid.

If you want to challenge yourself not to use the skill at all, you're free to do it
That's the problem right there. If you want to obtain the maximum benefit from killing monsters, you have to learn Pick Pockets and spend approximately ten thousand button presses just pickpocketing. The better game - in which you don't have to do that because oh my god is it boring and stupid and dumb is the exception - the optional "challenge". We should make the better game the default; the one in which you don't have to press buttons over and over to get the most out of your kills.

People have said they enjoy pickpocketing - which I have a difficult time wrapping my head around because WHAT - I suspect that's a Pavlovian reflex of some kind: They enjoy getting the free stuff, so they've learned to associate pickpocketing with getting the free stuff, so they feel good about pickpocketing. And I can understand that just fine - I love getting items, too. But there's a limit to what I'll put up with to get them. There's a reason that I get bored to tears with most MMORPGs out there. ADOM is so fun because of the dungeon crawling, and the unimaginable variety of possible combat situations you can face. Winning combat gets you items - awesome! But wait! Did you remember to press the two buttons that get you more items? ... My answer is, "No I bloody diddn't because I'm playing ADOM, the best game in the world, not Press the Button to Get the Loot!"

09-04-2012 09:08 PM
Ancient Member
I don't really understand, to be honest.. What makes you so enthusiastic about a passive create loot button (TH) and so furious about an activated create loot button (pp) at the same time? Why does it being activated make such a world of difference?

I can see that gremlin bombs are broken, but this could be fixed with an exception for breeders and summoners..

09-04-2012 09:30 PM
Ancient Member
Because "passive create loot button" is a nonsense term. If it's passive you don't have to press an actual button. It makes ten thousands button presses of difference.

(Ok - you have to press like six buttons to get Treasure Hunter - to scroll down past the affinities and get the three talents.)

If you care about the loot you get from Pick Pockets so much, we could still take it out and just increase drops slightly across the board. I can't imagine anyone would miss the having to press buttons.

09-04-2012 09:36 PM
Ancient Member
Silfir hates pressing buttons.

09-04-2012 09:55 PM
Ancient Member
Honestly? Yes. So do you and everyone else. There's a reason the "w"alk command exists and why just about none of us would still be playing this game if there was an extra button for "attack in melee" and you couldn't just run into creatures to attack them. I also have automatic door opening and ammunition reloading activated, while we're at it, but that's neither here nor there.

The correct thing to say would be that there's no inherent value in pressing buttons. We put up with the commands we do use because they do something interesting. Applying skills is a bit of a hassle because it's two button presses each (a+skill), but it's fine because skills usually have only situational use.

Which is where the balance issue comes in. There's another way to create items out of thin air at no risk to the PC; it's called "Create Item", is a spell, and no one ever uses it - because a) you have to find a spellbook of it first and successfully read it, b) it costs like 100 PP, which take a fair amount of time to recover, c) it doesn't get you anything beyond what monsters could drop on the same level and seeking out more monsters to kill (or pickpocket!) is easier overall. It means the spell is basically useless except in very limited situations (it could be fairly useful in Weakest Link conditions). Is the game worse off for it? Imagine Create Item cost 1 pp and feasibly dropped artifacts. Why would you ever stop bookcasting it? Would the game become more fun as a result?

That's what Pick Pockets is - oodles of free Create Item for everyone. Absolutely mindless, boring as fuck - and still mechanically rewarding enough that everyone does it. (And some pretend or honestly believe its existence is a good thing.)

09-05-2012 06:06 AM
Senior Member
Quote Originally Posted by anon123
What do you exactly mean? Pickpocketing is already limited to the current danger level as is most loot generation. You can't steal water or Preserver on D: 1.
If I'm not mistaken, pick pockets works just like other loot generation, in that you'll occasionally see an exceptional item generated, just as you'll occasionally see an out-of-depth monster. What I'm proposing is that the potential to pickpocket out-of-depth items should be removed. Note that I would also remove the ability to pickpocket artifacts, except, say, a small chance from special foes (like the Orb Guardians), for the same reason as why you never see an artifact dropped by a foe on death (not counting any artifacts they may have picked up).

Quote Originally Posted by anon123
This would probably kill the skill (pun unintended) depending on how it's done. Either you will get mostly junk, or everyone would want to pickpocket the Archmage because he's very likely to have something excellent.
It's all about proper balance. I used the Archmage as an example of a very high level NPC that (I'd assume) can be pickpocketed, and thus one that would have a high 'quality rating' in terms of picking pockets. And picking the Archmage's pockets is entirely up to you, if you feel that trying to pick his pockets is a worthy use of a turn against a rather powerful foe. Also keep in mind that "quality" isn't necessarily a question of value to the PC.

Making it so that everyone wants to pickpocket the Archmage is quite fine. It's one use of the skill. The problem with the way the game operates now is that the skill is TOO useful - you want to use it on everything in sight. It SHOULD produce junk most of the time, when used on regular low-level monsters, even when they're highly experienced ones (goblins are a good example - even a D:48 goblin wouldn't be likely to have a top-notch item).

Combined with pickpocketing being much more difficult on hostile targets that have noticed you, and JellySlayer's idea of having a chance of enraging the target, this would provide a good balance, in my opinion, of risk vs reward. The problem right now is that the risk is very low, and the reward can be very high even for targets that aren't particularly experienced.

09-05-2012 07:13 AM
Ancient Member
Quote Originally Posted by Aielyn
If I'm not mistaken, pick pockets works just like other loot generation, in that you'll occasionally see an exceptional item generated, just as you'll occasionally see an out-of-depth monster.
I have never seen or heard of out-of-depth item generation in ADOM. There are exceptional items generated, but they are limited by DL. A very lucky PC can find a poisonous spear of devastation on D:1. He can never find an eterium spear on the same level. An item of type "spear" is DL1, and mods are independent of DL (but their likelihood depends on PC level); an eternium spear is something like DL15, and can't be found earlier. The only exception to this rule is, AFAIK, for whatever reason, higher-metal two-handers can be occasionally found as floor drops in the SMC.

The reality, I think, is that some areas are higher DL than we might normally give them credit for, and some items are much lower DL than we might normally think. The Pyramid and Griffyard, for example, are rather high DL areas, and you can find items comparable to Darkforge or deeper levels of the CoC in them on occasion. AoLS is a rare and powerful item, but it's DL2, so it can be found anywhere that you can find water. 7lbs are DL3, and can therefore be found in most low level areas. But you'll have to go a few levels lower to find an adamantium cap. I don't know much about artifact DLs, but some fairly good ones are also quite low DL, and I think just about all artifacts are at or below DL10.

09-05-2012 08:07 AM
Ancient Member
Quote Originally Posted by Silfir
That's what Pick Pockets is - oodles of free Create Item for everyone. Absolutely mindless, boring as fuck - and still mechanically rewarding enough that everyone does it.
This is an exaggaration. It is not free, it costs real life time and it costs game turns, lowering your score. Much like smithing or precrowning do. It also costs alignment, doesn't it? Or am I mistaken? I am not sure if pickpocketing a hostile monster is a chaotic act, if not then I'd say it should be.

And "everyone does it"? That's not true at all. Quite the opposite. I hardly ever bother with it myself and I think the majority of players doesn't. I have never witnessed anyone doing it on the server, except Grey.

Then again I mostly agree with the post of Aielyn above, that it's about finding a good balance and some quality scaling sounds fun. You could still get useful items like booze and water from goblins, in that case. If anyone is crazy enough to pickpocket Fistanarius and emperor liches, sure go ahead and give them a little better odds of a nice find.

Making the skill much harder against hostile monsters that have noticed you sounds good to me too, but maybe the rewards for succesfull application should be improved, in that case? Then again, with invisibility it's not hard to not be noticed.

09-05-2012 10:24 AM
Ancient Member
Quote Originally Posted by grobblewobble
This is an exaggaration. It is not free, it costs real life time and it costs game turns, lowering your score.
Now we're firmly in "splitting hairs" territory, aren't we? If it costs the same as walking, it's free.

Much like smithing or precrowning do. It also costs alignment, doesn't it? Or am I mistaken? I am not sure if pickpocketing a hostile monster is a chaotic act, if not then I'd say it should be.

And "everyone does it"? That's not true at all. Quite the opposite. I hardly ever bother with it myself and I think the majority of players doesn't. I have never witnessed anyone doing it on the server, except Grey.
Well of course not "everyone does it". It's called hyperbole. What's actually happening is that there's no good (read: mechanical) reason not to do it, but people ignore the skill's existence to stay sane. At which point it should be clear that the skill needs work.

09-05-2012 02:06 PM
Ancient Member
Quote Originally Posted by Aielyn
Note that I would also remove the ability to pickpocket artifacts, except, say, a small chance from special foes (like the Orb Guardians), for the same reason as why you never see an artifact dropped by a foe on death (not counting any artifacts they may have picked up).
Monsters can already drop artifacts they hadn't picked up as a random drop, like any other item. It's just exceedingly rare. But unlike pickpocketing it is not limited to 10s, so it's possible to get Executor :)

Quote Originally Posted by JellySlayer
I don't know much about artifact DLs, but some fairly good ones are also quite low DL
Skullcrusher, the black tome, Ironfist, Whirlwind, Long Sting and the scorched spear are all DL3 or below, as I've seen them in Barnabas' shop. Skullcrusher accounts for approximately 1/3rd of all surges of power I've ever had.

Edit: if you take the "'-foo- notices your attempt and gets angry' = berserk rage" (which may be too drastic considering how some foes become really overpowered when raging) or "if you fail, you can't pickpocket the -foo- again" approaches, maybe Calm Monster could have a small chance to restore the target to its previous state.

09-06-2012 12:57 PM

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