Troll trait: Stupid

Brainstorm ideas of possible additions to the game. Read this before posting!

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

Forum rules
Before posting a new idea, you must read the following:
Posts: 144
Joined: April 3rd, 2006, 8:56 pm

Troll trait: Stupid

Post by YbeRn00b »

Trolls can't be intelligent, buy some might be even more stupid than average. A "stupid" trait could add some flavor to the gameplay.

Stupid: One less upkeep than usual, +10% XP to level

This means a lvl1 troll cost 0, lvl2 cost 1, and so on.
Stupid creatures might work for pennies and a good meal, but they aren't able to learn very fast.

User avatar
Posts: 1401
Joined: February 7th, 2005, 7:04 am
Location: Poland

Post by Tomsik »

Traits should be only positive, +10% xp needed isn't.

Posts: 465
Joined: January 21st, 2006, 8:22 pm

Post by Stilgar »

Neither is having less HP, but we still have Quick. As I recall from the days when Loyal was still a randomly gettable trait, having less upkeep on a unit can be quite powerful (to the point of being too much so, as I recall.)

Inactive Developer
Posts: 2119
Joined: March 31st, 2004, 1:04 pm

Post by Boucman »

I might be wrong, but IIRC the idea was that, for balance reasons, all traits should be overall equally desierable...

so I don't think having negative traits is bad per se... it's just that it should only be put with other negative traits, not mixed with positive trait... so the unit can be slightly overpowered to compensate...

Now, I don't endorse that idea (I don't really care either way) but I think it's important to repeat regularly and make sure we all agree to why we have such policies... so we know why we do stuff...
Fight key loggers: write some perl using vim

Posts: 18
Joined: June 27th, 2006, 10:05 am

Post by Elvish_Star »

Extremely funny

Good idea by the way

Darth Fool
Retired Developer
Posts: 2633
Joined: March 22nd, 2004, 11:22 pm
Location: An Earl's Roadstead

Post by Darth Fool »

I am probably the main proponent of the "Traits should always be positive," although you will see that the issue is a little more nuanced in a bit. Quick has been grand-fathered to a large extent because some devs think that the -10% hitpoints is needed for balance. I don't agree, but then again, I am not a multiplayer fanatic. On the third hand, I don't think any of the multiplayer devs have really tried balancing quick without the 10% penalty. Now, why should traits always be positive?

First off realize that any trait can be equivalently made positive by a suitable adjustment of the units hit points and the other traits. For example, in the -10% case, reduce all units* by 20% HP (you'll see why in a minute) then add 10%** HP to all the other traits. With two traits and no double traits, one of the traits is guaranteed not to be quick, so that 10% brings you back up to the original HP of a quick version of the unit. If the second trait is quick then you are done. If not, then the second 10% bonus brings you up to the original HP of a non-quick unit. There are some ugliness if you want to allow events to add traits to the unit such that you don't know how many traits it will have in advance, but it is all doable in WML and besides, that is all second order stuff anyways...Now, this is pretty complicated, but it is quite possible to balance the traits without having to resort to anything this complicated. The point is, instead of weakening one trait to balance traits, you can simply make all the other traits a little bit better, perhaps in different ways. It is only this complicated if you really want the exact effect to be identical, which is silly given how small an effect traits should be to begin with.

So, given that traits can be made purely positive, why should they be positive. The answer is the user interface. Imagine that I am a new user that knows very little about the units. When recruiting, I read the descriptions and attributes of the units carefully and select a unit that meets my needs. Now, I get a unit, and it has these strange trait things that modify the unit I expected. If the trait is purely positive, I am either happy and think little of it or I don't even notice. (until such time as I become a trait expert and want particular traits for my particular units, but hey, such experts will never be happy). If the trait is purely negative, I get annoyed. If it is a mixture of the two, I am a mixture of annoyed and happy. A fundamental rule of UI design is that people do not remember aspects of a UI that make them happy, they take such things for granted, but they really remember the things that annoy them (how often does someone complain about their unit hitting an enemy all four times on really good defensive terrain?)

There are realism arguments as well, but I won't give them here, since I also am a strong believer that for any gameplay/balance decision it is always possible to come up with a realism argument to support both it and the diametric opposite result.

Now, the definition of a fanatic might be well described as someone who places value in a single virtue above all others. It is therefore necessary to consider the other aspects of traits that should be balanced, in order for them to be effective in game play. I have previously listed the following rules of thumb about traits: ... 4241#94241
Well, the real constraint on traits is three fold:
1) game mechanics dictate what it can effect. There are only so many stats.
2) simple means that it shouldn't have lots of conditionals
3) it must be relatively weak. In other words, the unit must still act recognizably like a unit of the original type,
4) balanced. it can't be a trait which you would always want over other traits. Loyal was like that in campaigns.
Now, if one takes a look at what needs to be done to exactly replicate the current use of quick but make it purely positive, you can see that this would make the other traits more complicated, to the point of ridiculousness. That doesn't mean that it couldn't be balanced as a purely positive trait in other ways. For example, add an extra 1hp to strong and resilient units, etc... The problem is that you still need to follow 3. This is why double traits or traits that are exactly the opposite of an existing trait (weak-strong) are forbidden, it provides too big a variation within a unit class. If you have to do too much adding of bonus's to the other traits, it probably is a sign that the suggested trait is too powerful to not significantly effect how the unit is viewed. Part of the problem with quick is that there are some units for which adding 1mp is a significantly bigger improvement to the unit than the other traits are even at their best. I personally think that we would be better off preventing such units from being allowed to be quick as a way of balancing quick then to have the -10% penalty, but you win some, you lose some.

If you really really want units to have large variations between different one, then you should consider making a new unit or heck a new variation of the existing unit (see WC). Ok, so we haven't (I think) yet implemented a mechanism to allow the specification that when recruited a unit will be a random variation of the unit, but it will happen eventually. The key point here is that units that are sufficiently functionally different should, at a glance look different in game. Otherwise at some point, the player will be annoyed to discover that the unit he thought was a mere bushling turns out to be venemous shrub of death. This is why it is important that leveled up images of a unit do more than just add some gold trim.

So, in conclusion, when making a new trait proposal, having a negative aspect to the trait to balance the positive aspects should be taken as a sign that you have made the positive aspect too strong. If it is their for flavor, consider the effect on the new user. Remember, people remember things that annoy them much more than things that they like. This means that it had better be quite clear to the player that they could get a negative or mixed trait for a unit, and I would argue that this rules out any such traits in the default era. I would entertain the idea (that I am pretty sure someone has previously proposed) of having units (say, a new version of undead) where one of the racial characteristics is that the units only have negative traits. This might be particularly fun for experienced players in a UMC, but I think would be terrible for regular play. The key point here is that while it is not as good as having all positive traits, by having all negative traits as a racial characteristic, the player can at least anticipate what the limits might be without having to become an expert in all the new traits. All right, my conclusion has started to turn into yet another rant, so I will shut up now. There's nothing to see here. These are not the traits your looking for. Move along.

* assuming two traits per unit. The reduction needed ends up being a function of the number of traits you allow per unit
**ok, the real number is going to be (1-1/0.9)=11.111...%, but you get the picture, besides, I'm rounding to significant digits here....

Posts: 497
Joined: August 30th, 2004, 8:07 pm
Location: Virginia, USA

Post by aelius »

Darth Fool wrote:On the third hand...
To worsen the signal to noise ratio, do you mean "on the gripping hand"?

- b.
La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste rien à ajouter, mais quand il ne reste rien à enlever. - Antoine de Saint Exupery (of course)

Posts: 17
Joined: August 4th, 2006, 2:12 pm
Location: Finland

Post by Peitenimi »

From wiki:
"The Trolls are slightly more intelligent than Ogres"

Then give it to ogres too.

Dragon Master
Posts: 1012
Joined: February 11th, 2006, 1:04 am
Location: Somewhere

Post by Dragon Master »

Why do we need a trait that just reiterates exactly what we already know? This literaly sounds like saying "mage trait: magical", which we technically have

Posts: 15
Joined: June 28th, 2006, 1:39 pm

Post by Dominikus »

Dragon Master wrote:Why do we need a trait that just reiterates exactly what we already know?
Yes, it should be allowed for most units. Don't mention "they are stupit" in the unit-description, simply let them have the trait.

I would generally like to count allowed traits for a unit multiple times, thereby changing the chance for them to get it (of course units should never get one trait twice, but that can easily be implemented).

This way it is possible to make races with different intelligence
(may be ogres get "strong strong resilent guick stupid stupid stupid" so the chance for an ogre to be stupid is about 62%, with equal distribution would only be 50% with 4 possible choices, resulting in ogres beeing e.g, more stupid then trolls with "strong strong resilent resilent quick stupid" - on the average, of course).

I would not say stupid is a negative trait, because the slightly higher xp required is by far outweighted by the lower upkeep. It's an downgraded verson of loyal (which, I would say, indeed is a kind of stupid), and that's absolutely ok because loyal was much too good.

Posts: 401
Joined: June 13th, 2004, 8:02 pm
Location: Netherlands

Post by Na'enthos »

Dragon Master wrote:Why do we need a trait that just reiterates exactly what we already know? This literaly sounds like saying "mage trait: magical", which we technically have
What, you mean like the elven 'dextrous' trait? :wink:

Personally, I'm in favour of this trait (for trolls and ogres or one of them, I don't much care).
He who would travel happily must travel light.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Posts: 649
Joined: December 21st, 2005, 7:24 pm
Location: Gdansk, Poland

Post by kshinji »

Erm, it's just... trolls ae stupid, so they require more xp than other units. And i don't know if upkeep represents how much monster wants to earn - what about equipment, food or anything you want. And cash is not always cash, for undeads it might be vital energy they drain from villages. So i dont understand why stupid unit should cost less.
Probably there's no point for me posting here, but i'll raise my PC to 1337 before leaving again ;P -- just kidding.

Posts: 42
Joined: June 20th, 2006, 12:50 pm

Post by Xeron_ »

probably because the upkeep for a troll consists of hum - food for a troll whelp - they are utterly naked
a club they can get from any tree for tier2 and - well some full metal amor for tier3 - so theoretically tier 1 and 2 require rather little efford

Posts: 127
Joined: November 11th, 2005, 9:06 am
Location: California

Post by Lord_Aether »

And now you dive into the realm of reality arguments...
Mac OS X 10.5.7
Wesnoth 1.6.2

David Esquivel
Posts: 5
Joined: September 29th, 2006, 1:04 am

Post by David Esquivel »

well being stupid is one thing but being more stupid wouldnt fit that good would it and 10% exp?

Post Reply