Chaosforge Forum

DoomRL => Discussion => Topic started by: iainuki on June 14, 2020, 02:39

Title: Some maybe contrarian opinions on master traits
Post by: iainuki on June 14, 2020, 02:39
DoomRL's difficulty is enormously tilted to the early game.  This isn't unusual among roguelikes, Nethack and Angband are both other roguelikes I've played with the same characteristic, but DoomRL takes it farther than either of those games.  A character that survives Phobos Anomaly can usually win the game, and one that survives the Cyberdemon is almost certain to, IME.  Because of this, the best choices for the early game are whatever keeps you alive longest.  The game gets easier the farther you go, so even choices that aren't optimal for the late game make sense because you don't need late-game power as much as early-game power.  You can't take a master trait until the mid-game, which automatically means that master traits don't help during the hardest part of the game.  Because of their blocks and requirements, though, they can hurt during the early game, if the master trait you want hurts your early-game survival chances.

Because of this, I evaluate a lot of the master traits differently than some other commentary I've seen, and I'm not convinced that masterless builds aren't straight up better than most of the master traits.

I group the master traits into three rough categories, master traits that don't hurt your early game through requirements or blocks (whether a master trait is any good itself), bad traits with bad blocks and requirements (never useful, don't take these), and good traits with bad blocks and requirements (the hard cases).  To explain which master traits are in which categories though I first need to briefly cover what other traits are good and bad, and those too fall into three rough categories, good for the early game, situationally useful in the early game, and not early game material.

Good Early-Game Traits

Traits Situationally Useful in the Early Game

Most of these traits are only good for characters specializing in a particular type of weapons, and that type of weapon is usually obvious.

Traits Not Useful in the Early Game (or Ever)

Offense is more important early than defense because you can prevent damage with better tactics, so most of the defensive traits end up here.

Master Traits with Good Prerequisites and Blocks

Some of these traits are good, some of them aren't, but they're all playable in a way that other master traits aren't.  The good master traits are considerably better than other traits, and the not-so-good ones still might be worth taking depending on what other traits are available, angel-of challenges you're undertaking, weapons you've found, and so on.  One important note is that the melee and pistol master traits all have weak early games if you aim straight for them.

Bad Master Traits with Bad Prerequisites and Blocks

I don't know if I could justify taking any of these master traits.

Good Master Traits with Bad Prerequisites and Blocks

Some of these traits are considered good, and in specific circumstances they are, but they also have major downsides.  I've never managed to get some of them to work, and others only seem useful in particular challenges.

Title: Re: Some maybe contrarian opinions on master traits
Post by: singalen on June 16, 2020, 23:50
I like the analysis. It's well-structured.
I almost never played melee, so cannot speak of it, but I cannot see a statement I would immediately disagree with.
I also like the idea of optimizing for early game, because this is what people get first impression from. JH design should take this idea into account as well.
Title: Re: Some maybe contrarian opinions on master traits
Post by: PsihoKekec on June 20, 2020, 06:52
I always considered that loss of Hellruner and Finesse in Army of Darkness is necessary to not make it too OP.
Title: Re: Some maybe contrarian opinions on master traits
Post by: Sylph on July 25, 2020, 08:04
I couldn't disagree more with the notion that juggler is not useful in the early game. Even without stacking shotguns and using mousewheel, it's still one of the very best early game traits.
In fact, considering I usually play on nightmare going for angelics, finesse-juggler is often my beeline at the very start. I totally agree with your opinions about master traits, and more often than not I finish masterless, but juggler, for me, is the prime example of a reason not to go for master traits!