Sunday, June 24, 2012

Archers in ADOM II

Just having finished the implementation of professional abilities for assassins for the next release of ADOM II I'm now turning towards archers as the final profession to be added to the next release. Here's my proposal for special abilities:

  • missiles are only 10% as likely to break after being used at level 1 if archer is the main profession, and only 40% as likely as normal if chosen as a secondary profession while multi-classing
  • to hit penalties for ranged attacks are halved at level 3
  • the energy cost for shooting/throwing is reduced to 75% at level 6
  • the range of all missile attacks is doubled at level 10
  • fletchery is a lot more effective at level 15
  • can unerringly dodge all missiles up to their size at level 21
  • +10% to all critical hit probabilities and +1 to all critical hit multipliers with missiles at level 28
  • +20% to armor penetration with missiles at level 36
  • can unerringly dodge all missiles independent of size at level 50
  • can hit multiple targets at level 75
  • missiles automatically return to the archer at level 100


  1. Why is the missile size important? Are we fighting ballistas?

    1. Well, now that monsters have a real size, missiles and missile weapons also have sizes. So basically - yes, even now a fire giant sized crossbow is rather something like a ballista. And later on there probably also will be siege engines, etc. But that's more for the 1.x or 2.x dev line ;-)

      Even rocks thrown by stone giants already will be pretty impressive :-)

  2. Somehow I was expecting some sort of "shoot projectiles out of the air mid-flight" high level ability", particularly so as I'd imagine there are Detonation missiles of varying sorts that even dodging wouldn't help much if you happened to be near a wall or any other obstruction.

    1. My guess would be that this would come rarely into play. Although the missiles in ADOM II are not as instantaneous as in ADOM Classic, this rarely comes up in play (as it as supposed to be).Thus I decided against special abilities regarding this detail.

  3. The Fletchery thing in ADOM I was never pleasing to me; it encouraged you to wait until you had ultimate Fletchery before you used it at all. Also you couldn't make eternium arrow heads and put them in your arrows which always annoyed me.

    General issue on the classes: Are we expecting people to get all the way to level 100 during an actual game? It doesn't look to me like the lvl 100 capstone is going to be worth going single-class archer - even if 100% return also means 0% destruction. So people will go Archer 75 / Foo 25 every time, yeah?

    Compare to other level 100 capstones: Assassin (+50 speed? Yes, I'll take that), Monk (I'm going to assume Transcendence is insanely good), actually the Barbarian capstone isn't so hot (+30% crit rate is more damage on average than +50 speed... unless your crit rate is already high), pickpocketing equipped items (Thief) would presumably be insane early on, but aren't you fighting Dragons and shit by this point?, and the Fighter capstone is probably not worth it either.

    A suggestion that might upend how all your class-ability progressions work: RetroMUD (;title:Primaries;call:guildsxml) has a conceit where you can go to level 20 in one guild (the first one you raise above level 14), level 14 in another guild (the second one you raise above level 9), and only level 9 in any other guild. So everyone multiclasses past level 20 but your guild at level 20 is always your "primary" guild which is where your capstone comes from. Just a thought there.

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  5. All of these abilities seem sensible and logically related to archery but I feel that the abilities should be more exciting than being almost all stat altering passives, although these do have their place, the current abilities list is just too saturated with them I find. I'm not so sure about the usefulness of the level 100 ability though. By the time you reach level 100, wouldn't you have so much ammo that returning missiles would just be redundant?

    I would like to see some more active abilities. This can be done by either replacing some of the current passives with active abilities (this would maintain your current abilities count to 11 abilities for 100 levels) or by keeping the current abilities as they are and just adding extra active abilities gained at different levels. Something like 20 to 25 abilities for 100 levels seems like it would keep you wanting to kill stuff for xp because a new ability is always just around the corner. As it stands now, you obtain 8 abilities after 36 levels, do you really feel like grinding until the point of insanity through 64 extra levels for 3 new abilities?

    I will list some active and passive ability suggestions. I will emphasize that the active abilities which affect the next fired arrow do not fire an arrow immediately but their effect is present on the next shot. This allows you to activate several abilities in a row in order to combine their effects on the next shot for some extra variety. If this seems overpowered, perhaps the amount of arrow-altering abilities which can be activated at once can be limited to 2 or 3.

    Unstoppable arrow (active): Next fired arrow damages all enemies it passes through. (Can be stopped by walls.) 300 turn cooldown.

    Third eye (active): Craft a vision-giving arrow by attaching an eye to an existing arrow. This arrow provides vision for 15 turns around the spot where it lands. The arrow has 3 charges (it will no longer give vision after being fired a 4th time unless recharged by magical means) and its chances to break are 1/5 of normal while it contains a charge. (Requires eye from floating eye corpse to craft.) No cooldown.

    Rubber shot (active): Next fired arrow is a double ranged shot that will bounce upon hitting obstacles (such as walls, doors, trees, enemies, not items on the ground unless the item was specifically targeted) and will remain in flight until its range is exhausted. Damage is reduced by 10% for every enemy hit (1st enemy receives 100% dmg, 2nd enemy 90%, ..., 10th enemy is hit for 0 dmg and the arrow falls to the ground even if its range is not exhausted yet.). 200 turn cooldown (If combined with Unstoppable arrow the arrow passes through enemies instead of bouncing off of them but it still bounces off walls, doors, trees, etc.)

    Grand entrance (active): Next fired arrow will splinter any door it hits causing a cluster of wooden sticks (splinters) to be sprayed in a semi-circle in the same general direction as the arrow. The wooden sticks will inherit the properties of the fired arrow during their flight but may not splinter other doors in order to prevent insane chain reactions (when they hit the ground they return to regular wooden sticks). The fired arrow's chances to break are tripled when it demolishes the door and it always lands at the door. 500 turn cooldown.

    Traitorous shot (active): Next fired arrow causes the target to treat you as friendly and all other monsters as hostile for his next 2 turns. 200 turn cooldown


    1. Impatient (passive): Reduces the cooldown of the selected skill by 5 turns for each successful arrow shot (a fired arrow which hits one or multiple enemies so whether you hit 1 enemy or 10 enemies with 1 arrow the cooldown reduction is still 5 turns). Only 1 skill can be under the influence of Impatient at a time.

      Kinetic transfer (active): Next fired arrow's momentum is inexplicably huge and will knockback the target for a distance determined by the target's weight. The target is treated as a projectile during the knockback and can damage other enemies or even crash through doors if the target is heavy enough. Can be used on items on the ground to propel them. 150 turn cooldown

      Inner fire (active or passive): Every kill with an arrow fuels your inner fire by 1. Your maximum amount of inner fire is equal to your level. When activated, you transfer your burning desire for blood to the next arrow shot which will deal an additional 1d(inner_fire) fire damage to the target. Your inner fire is reset to 0 after the shot. (This skill may be activated manually or may be set to automatic mode which will automatically imbue your next arrow when your inner fire reaches its maximum.)

      Determination (passive): Whenever you fire an arrow which is dodged by the target, you gain an additional +3 to your ranged to-hit modifier against that specific target. This bonus can stack indefinitely but will reset to 0 upon a successful hit on that target. (This effect will not trigger if attacking in a cowardly state to intentionally miss attacks.)

      Eject (active, silly teleportish ability but might be fun): By some miraculous contortion of your body you've managed to load yourself into your own missile weapon. You may launch yourself and you will be treated as a dangerous projectile during your flight. You will sustain damage depending on how far you've launched yourself and whether you hit a wall or enemy and whether you land on stone, grass, water, etc. Your missile weapon falls to the ground at the launch location and has a high chance to break from shot. Requires an equipped missile weapon which matches your size. No cooldown.

      Dissipate (active): The next fired arrow is twice as energetic as usual (200% normal damage) and will dissipate its energy on the first target that it hits such that the target takes 100% damage and the remaining 100% damage is distributed evenly among all adjacent hostile monsters. (This area of effect damage only applies to the first enemy hit in the cases where the arrow continues to fly because this skill was combined with Unstoppable arrow or Rubber shot.) 200 turn cooldown.

      Raw instinct (active): In a moment of sudden attunement to all of your previous archery experiences, you let your subconscious guide your movements to dodge incoming missile attacks. You have a 100% chance to dodge missiles for the next 5 turns. In addition, your ranged to-hit modifier is increased by 10 and ranged critical hit chance increased by 5% for the 5 turns. 300 turn cooldown.

      I think it would be pretty cool to be able to combine things like Grand entrance with Rubber shot and Kinetic transfer all at once. You stand in a corridor and fire at a closed door in front of you which bursts into rubber splinters that bounce everywhere and knockback enemies, sending them flying into each other.

    2. Two quick notes: The class power distribution for archers is the same for all other classes. If TB wanted to add a bunch more class powers for archers, he'd had to do the same for every other class. Not saying it's a bad idea necessarily, but it's a lot more work and will make the game increasingly difficult to balance.

      Will also just add that the level 75 class power is essentially the same as your "unstoppable arrow" power.

    3. I do think every class should have more abilities as they are currently very spread out past level 36. It is a lot more work but I think it is quite a worthwhile area to invest time in when it comes to adding content, once all the game mechanics have been established and it comes time to add variety to the game in the form of more monsters, items, abilities, locations, quests, spells and any other content I missed. Out of all these forms of content, I think expanding on the existing abilities will yield the greatest gains in terms of reducing the monotony of battle and keeping the player engaged throughout (I view abilities and spells as roughly equal in importance but ADOM original already had plenty of spells and I assume ADOM II will match that). I could be wrong though since I haven't heard very much objection to the level distribution of abilities.

      It's true that adding more abilities will make the game harder to balance, but I find it a worthwhile sacrifice. It doesn't have to be perfectly balanced on right away, and balance updates should be pretty simple to cook up given some competent feedback. (Easy for me to say, I'm sure it's probably more difficult to balance the game than I think.)

      You're probably right about the lvl 75 class power, I mistook it as meaning that you could shoot multiple arrows in a single shot.

    4. Setting Up The Enemy: Fire a single arrow at an enemy that know's you're there, that's almost guaranteed to miss; but in dodging that arrow, the enemy puts himself in a position where he can't dodge your next shot (guaranteed hit if taken immediately).

      Quick Reload: Allows you to instantly load up a new set of ammunition, or even to quickly swap out a weapon.

      Aim For The Eye: Takes 150% longer to fire, has a chance to blind the target.

      Pin It: Only works on a target which is standing in front of a suitable surface (like a door). A successful hit has a chance of pinning the target to that surface, preventing it from moving until it can wrench itself free (something that stronger monsters are better at).

      At higher levels, I'd also think that further decreases in the energy cost of ranged combat would be worthwhile; down to perhaps as low as 50%. (Does increased ranged weapon proficiency come with a reduction in time to shoot? It should).

      And as a further thought, would it be possible to dip arrows in potions to gain extra effects? Potions of poison have obvious uses here, but others may also be useful; a potion of oil and a torch to make fire arrows, a potion of healing to make arrows that do extra damage against undead (but less damage against others); other potions to paralyse or cause disease in the target. I don't know if this should be a high-level archer skill, a high-level assassin skill, a high-level alchemist skill, or simply something that everyone with a bow can do (albeit not with the same levels of proficiency)

    5. Good suggestions. I do think such flexible use of potions would be beneficial for gameplay.

    6. All those ideas for "active" traits with cooldowns seem like something that might be found in ToME. Now that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on point of view. Personally I don't like it much, it could end up that "optimal" play would be running around waiting for the strongest abilities to be available again.

    7. Yeah, it did cross my mind that people would be tempted to idle just to reset all cooldowns before going into battle again. This would certainly be counter-productive in the effort of making gameplay more interesting. Maybe one way around that would be to replace cooldowns that decrease each turn with a cooldown that decreases by (1+x+y) for every enemy killed, where x would increase according to how strong the enemy is, and y would increase depending on how long of a kill streak you can get. This would promote gameplay where the player is rewarded for killing enemies (the stronger the better, and the less time between each kill the better) instead of idling forever between each kill.

      Actually, I would add a very small time component to the cooldown reduction so that if you do happen to wait for a very long time (like going back to town to buy food) you would be able to use your abilities again. I think the following cooldown equation would work well:
      e = 1 if a monster was killed this turn, 0 otherwise,
      x(e) = bonus reduction based on how strong monster e is,
      y = bonus reduction based on how many turns elapsed since the last kill (less elapsed turns means bigger reduction),
      cooldown = cooldown - 0.1 - e*(1+x(e)+y)

      So if you have a cooldown of 200 and you don't kill any monsters for 2000 turns, the cooldown will have reset, but if you killed maybe 30 decently strong monsters in 150 turns, that might be enough to reset the cooldown. This would promote active gameplay.

  6. Will archers still get a to-hit and damage bonus with missile attacks at every level like in ADOM I?

    Overall, I think this set of abilities is pretty good, especially if they have hit and damage mods. It's very much like the ADOM I archer--nothing too fancy, but very practical and very deadly. I think archers will also be a very popular multiclass. Having 6 levels in archer gives a very nice set of abilities for any character who uses missile weapons.

  7. The level 1 class power looks very powerful, which may or may not be a bad thing. Mainly, I'm thinking in terms of ammo of $foo slaying, and other magic ammo. These are already massively powerful in ADOM, and having them break only 10% of the time effectively means you get 10 times as many shots per arrow, which massively increases their power.

    The other problem with this is that t makes fletchery a little bit pointless. If you're effectively getting ten times as many arrows as everyone else, why bother to make your own? Unless, of course, the arrow you can make with fletchery are better than conventional arrows, but if you are making exceptionally powerful arrows, that runs into the first problem again.

  8. I don't think that the level one ability makes fletchery pointless. Fletchery helps you have larger stacks of arrows which is good for when you kick in the door and unload on a tension room without taking a step. The level one ability just gives you the benefit of being able to pick up most of your arrows afterwards, it wont be that helpful if you are trying to fight a monster with only three arrows.

    I really like a lot of pnut's ideas, seems like they would make the archer a lot more dynamic, instead of just pressing t t t t t. It would give you the benefit of being able to use many different tactics, from pinning monsters to the door so you can run away, or placing the arrows of the eye all around the dungeon at certain points you want to monitor.

  9. I like those abilities, no lame ones like +x to stat ;). Only one I don't really like is the level 100 - I'd guess that if I managed to get an archer to lvl 100 I'd have enough arrows to last through any combat. Probably not worth getting 25 levels ;).

  10. Personally, I would swap the level 6 and 10 abilities, it just seems more natural to me this way.

    Also, about level 100 - what magic would bring your arrows back to you after the shot? How could this work, even in the universe so full of magic and miracles? I just don't like this one.
    What about changing it to - say - ability to instantly jump back from the enemy getting next to you?

    And one more thing - I believe, that attacking (with missiles, or in melee) enemies should take more time, if you have to turn back, so when fighting two monsters in the corridor, after attacking one of them, attack on the one behind you should take some extra energy points, as you need to turn back first. Reducing this penalty also could become one of the class powers. If not for archers, then for barbarians maybe?