Makhleb hasn’t seen much attention in a while. I feel like this god in many ways is a simplified (and inferior) version of Nemelex. Both gods do roughly the same thing: give you random attack magic and summons to supplement a non-spellcaster. But Nemelex’s attacks and summons are way more powerful, plentiful, and don’t have an HP cost to use. Plus Nemelex gives you numerous very powerful panic buttons whereas Makhleb gives you minor healing from kills (which mostly just offsets the HP you’re spending on the abilities).
Is Makhleb due for a rework? I can’t think of any reason I’d ever want to take Makhleb over Nemelex, apart from wanting to complete polytheist.
Makhleb’s main feature is health-on-kills. If I take him, that’s why I take him.
bcrawl did a very nice update of Makhleb, improving on the keep-fighting-to-get-health-back style by increasing melee attack speed by (maxhp-hp)/maxhp (ie you get the Finesse effect at 0% hp)
And replacing the tier ** summon with a very fun active that functions both as a way to escape and as a way to kill reliably.
This isn’t my experience; the nice thing about Minor Destruction is you can use it on everything, so Nemelex’s abilities are certainly not more plentiful. Mind you, I haven’t played with the reduced Makhleb healing.
Minor Destruction is pretty good when you first get it online but it falls off quickly. Nemelex’s abilities never fall off as long as you regularly invest in invocations.
Frankly I think the healing aspect being the main draw of Makhleb is pretty boring and mediocre. Like sure, you could go Djinn nuker and use it to greatly offset your casting costs and totally ignore the invocations. But then why not wear an amulet of regen and troll leather? Go Jiyva for that matter!
Makhleb just feels like a relic of old crawl: boring, vanilla, and mostly just a “win more” god, not something you can go to in an emergency to pull off a spectacular play in an impossible situation. That kind of thing is slowly being phased out of the game in favour of more bold, dynamic, interesting choices.
I think Makhleb is the only (non-Ignis) god who provides an ability that becomes completely useless past a certain point in the game. Combined with the fact that 2 of the 4 active abilities are basically “other ability, but bigger”, it feels like following Makhleb gives you a lot less than following any other god.
Personally, I’d love to see a Makhleb rework that starts by streamlining the current version: combine minor and major abilities, and instead use the player’s XL to determine whether the ability produces a minor or major effect. Remove the HP cost and passive healing, and instead make god abilities drain the player (drain is already a “pay HP now, get it back on kill” mechanic.) That would free up two (high piety) ability slots as well as the passive, so the dev doing the rework can add the most exciting parts of the god (big, flashy abilities, and a new passive to communicate the dev’s vision for “new Makhleb”.)
I do see a play style difference, but agree it’d be nice to give another interesting choice to Mahkleb. Random brainstorming to follow, haha:
Mahkleb lets you train pure invocations to tilt fights in your favor whether you need summons, ranged, or just some sustain to get you through crowds. It frequently requires you to assess and tilt the fight early on, vs as a panic button, where I feel that nemelex draw 4 (and generally more powerful individual ability uses) allows you more leeway there.
Mahkleb is one of the decent late game gods already, even if it’s backed off a bit with the heal nerf, and I confess I am not sure where a tweak would go. It’d be fun to have major destruction be more relevant for extended to support melee runs (maybe remove draining bolt? Add more spell power?) if that didn’t overbalance… and it could also be that I just don’t use it enough to assess its utility.
Minor destruction comes online sooner. Definitely worth considering when your invocations aptitudes are 3-4 higher than your ranged aptitudes.
Please leave Makhleb alone. His HP on kill is his main feature, and if you touch that, you destroy the god. His active abilities are somewhat boring, I agree, but there are runs where I don’t even bother to train invocations. If you fiddle with those, be my guest, but please, please leave the HP on kill in place. I don’t care how flashy a god looks in Crawl, or how much everyone shouts “wow” at the abilities. There must be a strong practical reason for me to pick a God, and often the most practical gods are somewhat boring, such as Makhleb or Vehumet.
i think gods that have fun abilities are better than ones that are easy to win with but boring