Fix monsters squeezing past one another (and cut down on message spam)
issueid=1505 12-20-2012 04:36 AM
Ancient Member
Number of reported issues by SirTheta: 79
Fix monsters squeezing past one another (and cut down on message spam)
Monsters you are fighting should not switch place

One of the more annoying things about p7 is that monsters you are fighting now switch place (and more monsters in general). Now, I understand that this was a general fix for meatshields (although I personally don't think that was a problem..), but it is super annoying to constantly cycle through what you're fighting (especially in places like vaults or tension rooms). To top it all off, it creates an incredible, incredible amount of message spam.

My suggested fix(es): do not show messages for place switching unless the switcher switches into a place that is 2 tiles from PC (i.e. tiles next to PC, plus the tiles next to them). [edit: in retrospect, as JS points out, it would probably be fine to only show message for switching into tiles next to PC] Also, if a monster has been injured by the PC in the last turn (maybe last two turns to account for misses? but then one could damage/heal, though I don't know why one would), do not allow it to be switched out--unless it is panicking.

edit: I'd also like to note that I think a perfectly fine fix would be to changing this back to the way it was (except maybe orb guardians or something? was it broken there? I should probably look up entry where it was fixed). Having a meatshield used to be a pretty inventive way of escaping from a bad situation, and even provided a use for wand of monster creation/summon monsters spell. Of course, it's applicability was quite rare, so it wasn't really overpowered..
Issue Details
Issue Number 1505
Project ADOM (Ancient Domains Of Mystery)
Category All
Status Fixed
Priority 5 - Medium
Affected Version ADOM 1.2.0 pre 7
Fixed Version ADOM 1.2.0 pre 9
Milestone (none)
Users able to reproduce bug 3
Users unable to reproduce bug 1
Assigned Users (none)
Tags (none)

12-20-2012 05:40 AM
Ancient Member
not sure why this was an issue to begin with, so yes totally agree.

only time it came in handy was vs cats. i actually got out of a situation in a corridor when 2 cats surrounded me, by simply waiting for other monsters to move past and killing them

12-20-2012 05:59 AM
Ancient Member
At very least, the message spam should be reduced. I think even only showing swap messages of neighbouring monsters is fine.

I agree though that, overall, I think the number of swaps itself could be reduced without any real problem, or perhaps that this change should be removed entirely--or have higher swap priority for bosses or something.

12-20-2012 06:34 AM
Ancient Member
Of course it does make much more sense now. Although I do agree it is slightly annoying when trying to pickpocket every monster, now you have to either waste a turn or keep tabs by naming monsters.

Maybe if the look command can inform you when a NPC has been pickpocketed.

An alternative to my problem with this, is as others mentioned: Only generate a message if a monster next to the PC swaps places.

12-20-2012 06:45 AM
Ancient Member
It really doesn't make sense at all. I'm fighting a large gnoll and suddenly a hyena switches with him and then, oh wait, a gnoll switches with him? I never pickpocket, and it's still really annoying!

12-20-2012 01:16 PM
Senior Member
Regarding the switching itself, here's my suggestion:

The level of the being doing the switching should factor in. If a high level being is trying to switch into the place of a low level being, it should happen every time it tries. If a low level being is trying to switch into the place of a high level being, it should fail every time. If their levels are similar, it should happen only some of the time that one tries to displace the other.

Note that the "level" refers to the DL that the being would be found on, rather than the current level of the being. A rat isn't going to be able to switch into the position of a Ghost Lord just because you've killed a lot of rats.

If special NPCs get DL ratings that are particularly high, this should ensure that beings like the orb guardians will always be able to push their way through the crowd.

12-20-2012 04:04 PM
Ancient Member
I generally like the squeezing, also that a Monster can back away when it likes. But Aielyn's suggestion would make it a lot more credible. And yes, please remove the spam.

12-20-2012 04:14 PM
Ancient Member
About the spam, I totally agree with the OP.

About the squeezing itself, I'm unsure at the moment. It has its pros and cons. I need to play more to have a well-grounded opinion on whether I like that change or not.

12-20-2012 07:15 PM
Ancient Member
I thought about some metric for danger, Aielyn (mine was HP), but it would still be super annoying if things were switching places while you're fighting. A large spider can be switched out for a cave fisher, which can be switched out for a giant spider, which can be switched out tarantula, etc. If you're fighting something, it should simply not ever be eligible for a switch, imo, regardless of what's behind it (they'll get there eventually anyway).

Of course, I'd prefer the previous behavior, where there was actually a tactical advantage to doing this. It was far from overpowered, or universally applicable, but it gave a nice use to some pretty useless items.

12-20-2012 08:02 PM
Ancient Member
What's worse is if you have, say, 3 or 4 yellow oozes that you're trying to kill in melee. They swap positions with each other constantly while the others regenerate... Or trying to fight a mixed tension room with a couple ochre jellies or karmic lizards in it that will occasionally swap in front of you.

12-20-2012 08:03 PM
Ancient Member
Quote Originally Posted by SirTheta
If you're fighting something, it should simply not ever be eligible for a switch, imo, regardless of what's behind it (they'll get there eventually anyway).
But why not ??? Makes perfect sense to me ..

12-20-2012 08:33 PM
Ancient Member
Is the fact that you are fighting a monster and it's pretty annoying when it gets switched out not enough? Should we simply disregard how the change plays?

and yeah, I've had this happen with a crystal statue, JS..

12-20-2012 11:05 PM
Ancient Member
It makes perfectly sense for a damaged monster to swap out to regenerate. As much as you don't want to die, it does. This behaviour is intentional, why is it reported as a bug?

This is a semi-choice between 2 suggestions, so my vote is yes to spam reduction and no to reverting to the previous behaviour.

12-20-2012 11:49 PM
Ancient Member
It really has nothing to do with dying [presumably me dying? that's kind of a weird thing to suggest; I haven't stated anything of the sort, and this has absolutely nothing to do with dying, of all things]. It's simply annoying, and stupid, behavior.

In addition, reverting to the old behavior is simply another suggestion for how to fix the problem (I don't think many people thought it was broken before). If you don't like that part, you can also comment on not switching out if it's taken damage in the last turn [which would allow it to be switched out if you missed a swing, incidentally], or even Aielyn's suggestion, or my brief comment on Aielyn's suggestion regarding max HP instead of DL.

12-21-2012 02:51 AM
Senior Member
For those advocating the return to the original setup, here's the issue:

At the time, you could use a lesser being to act as a meat shield for a much greater being. This didn't make sense, because you could use, for instance, a rat to prevent, say, the Snake from Beyond from attacking you in melee. Worse, you could use a being immune to a certain type of attack as a meat shield, and attack the real threat without risk of any return attack at all. A powerful being would just force itself past lesser beings to attack you. In theory, it attacking anything between you and it would be an alternate solution, but that would result in its own imbalance as the attacked being would likely attack back, and thus do damage for you.

By simply making it so that there's a priority system for monsters switching, with the most powerful monsters being guaranteed to be able to switch places practically at will, the game ensures that you can't just use meat shields and fire gleefully at the foe from afar.

It also helps to stop the nuisance of having to hack and slash through a heap of summons, for instance, in order to reach and defeat the summoner, hoping that the summoner manages to be the next one to step into the empty space after each kill.

12-21-2012 03:30 AM
Ancient Member
Well, yes, but there's nothing wrong with a meatshield. It's a pretty neat trick, and I think it's very far from overpowered (what are the chances that something in between you and a powerful monster is actually immune to something the powerful monster isn't?). Now, certainly for things like orb guardians, this might be a little cheap, and maybe it could be improved there--I'm not entirely sure. I do think that for most things, there's nothing wrong with the old behavior, whether people think it "makes sense" or not (which I find a pretty lame rationale overall). When you concentrate on things like titans, greater molochs, and orb guardians, you start to miss the bigger picture.

I very much disagree that this stops the nuisance of summoners--in fact, I find it very much exacerbates it. While summoners do have a change of switching in, unless you manage to kill it, it could very well be gone the next round--to the complete other side of the room!. I've had this happen, consistently, with all sorts of summoners, even going into berserk--jackalweres, werewolves, dark elven wizards, DE priestesses..the list does not end.

12-21-2012 06:17 AM
Ancient Member
Yeah, summoners seem a lot worse in 1.2.0 pre7. Not sure if this is necessarily the cause, but it certainly contributes.

12-21-2012 06:44 AM
wzq wzq is offline
Junior Member
My 2 cents:

1) I support the idea that monsters next to you should not be able to switch places, unless they're in panic.
- It cuts down the spam
- "Makes sense", because its not that easy to flee (safely) in hand-to-hand combat, especially when surrounded by a crowd
- It's really irritating when the monsters next to you constantly swap, especially so with summoners and regenerators
- It allows for special meat shield tactics in a restricted way, which makes combat more interesting but isn't overpowered

2) Monsters that aren't next to you should be able to change places freely
- But there shouldn't be any messages, they aren't really needed
- Stronger monsters would always have the priority

IMHO, it would be the best compromise (if it is technically doable).

12-21-2012 08:02 AM
Ancient Member
well, i guess i made my stance already. So, short: The general meat shield thing makes sense as long as it is credible (wrt immersion, role playing) that the big guy behind really has no way to get to you, because the meat shield is just something he could throw to the side.

As current monster behaviour stands, they never back off from you unless panicking. So the only reason that monsters get out of your weapon range now is when they are displaced by some other random mob. Consequently, this would be fixed automatically by giving stronger beings preference in keeping their place (Aielyn's suggestion). So the problem at the current stage is the random switching around without any order.

The only real problem, and difference, for player arising from this, would be that the strongest mobs come out first, not last like in 1.1.1.

As to the HP suggestion, high HP getting after you displacing low HP would lead to exactly the phenomenon that anyone wounded would hide immediately leaving you to fight exclusively full HP spiders and never getting through any summoner. If the suggestion was meant the other way round: wounded beings coming first, that would not make too much sense too me. If it was meant max HP, then that would work too. Going back to before is possible, although i must say the original behaviour always seemed a bit dumb to me (which is a kind of dumbness that is typical to most games).

12-21-2012 08:22 AM
Ancient Member
My original idea for metric of danger was max HP, yeah, not current HP (that would be a disaster). I abandoned it, though, because I don't think there is any reason something you are fighting should be switched out--it's simply annoying behavior (switching in the background, I could care less about). It's not quite realistic, but it does relieve a lot of tedium. For example, by most metrics (DL, max HP), DE wiz is less dangerous than a tarantula (and about equally as dangerous as a giant spider). Now, that's true, but it's really annoying when you have a chance to fight a summoner, and he slips through your fingers because he got switched out. I see no reason to apply switching across the board, and if opinion is strongly against reverting to previous behavior, well fine. But for goodness's sake, don't let a monster you are actually fighting be switched out.

For anyone confused, I would suggest looking at wzq's distillation of the ideas; it is probably the most balanced.

edit: in retrospect, max HP is probably a bad metric due to things like quicklings. I hadn't wanted to use DL due to examples like fire demon & ACW having same DL, but it would probably be a better choice for what is "stronger." (for switching in the background, mind you)

12-21-2012 09:54 AM
Senior Member
Quote Originally Posted by SirTheta
I very much disagree that this stops the nuisance of summoners--in fact, I find it very much exacerbates it. While summoners do have a change of switching in, unless you manage to kill it, it could very well be gone the next round--to the complete other side of the room!. I've had this happen, consistently, with all sorts of summoners, even going into berserk--jackalweres, werewolves, dark elven wizards, DE priestesses..the list does not end.
I didn't say that the current behaviour fixes it. I said that, if my idea were implemented, it would fix it. Summoners are generally a higher DL monster than the things they summon. As such, they would be more capable of switching places than their summons, and would resist their summons' attempts at switching. As a result, summoners would be more likely to approach the PC than to get buried behind a heap of their summons.

So if you spot a jackalwere, it'll summon a heap of jackals, which are lower DL (I believe - pretty sure you see jackals well before you see jackalweres). If the jackalwere tries to switch with a jackal, it will almost always succeed in its attempt at switching. If one of the jackals it summons tries to switch with it, it would resist most of the time, since it's practically their "master", and is a more powerful monster.

EDIT: And regarding the "don't want to use DL because fire demons and the ACW are equal in DL"... in my opinion, uniques should be treated as inherently higher DL than anything else in terms of switching. So the orb guardians, the AKW, Filk, Malakai, etc... they should all be capable of forcing their way past anything else on the level, irrespective of whether their official DL is higher or lower.

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