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starstealer
December 5, 2008, 15:35
Well, in immersing myself the last few days in the forum, I've been rather surprised by the number of people who subscribe to the use of "diving" rather than slow and steady progress (the method I tend to use to play).

That said, I haven't even had a moderately successful game in months, so I figured it might be time to try something else.

Normally I tend to play either human/half-elf mages or dwarf priests. I occasionally try other combinations but ultimately I tend to suicide them before they get too far. In any case, I tried this again last night with the following plan:

Purchase my usual kit - but replace a few of the more expensive items so that I can pick up a few potions/scrolls (something I would never have done previously).

My usual kit for a wizard is as follows: 2nd mage book, soft armor, shield, hat, boots, cloak, lantern (or extra torches with the latest version), shovel and if money permitted up to a trident for weapon (something up to 1d8 damage rather than sticking with the 1d4 dagger). However, since lanterns are no longer available in the general store - I cut that out and the shovel and replaced then with 1-2 potions of Cure Light/serious wounds and 3 scrolls of phase door.

I know it seems to be recommended that the armor is unimportant - but I did try that a few times last night and met an early end each time. Might have been coincidence - but at the same time, might as well spend the money on something.

Each "successful" dive I did managed to get to DL5-6 and ended up with a CL11-13 or so. I know for certain I could dive faster, but I found that I am so accustomed to exploring each level, that I actually didn't even notice stairs as I passed them by. I got better about this by the end of the night, but that's the primary reason I was going slow.

Each of my wizards did meet an untimely demise - 2 from running into Mughash and his cronies and once from being surrounded by hill orcs. This second one, I didn't have the second book (it wasn't in the shop), and when I did a phase door, I landed next to a floating eye, who paralyzed me and well, I got brutalized from there...

Some of the times, I had enough money for a bow and some arrows - sometimes I did not. I seemed to be more successful with the bow though - so despite never using a ranged weapon before, I think I'll continue with one.

I also did a couple of "successful" dives with my dwarven priests - again picking up the 2nd book in town, a moderate amount of armor (basically the same as the wizard), a ?WoR and ?phase door.

Here I found the ranged weapon absolutely necessary for the priest. I am so accustomed to magic missile that I even went so far as to cast detect evil on multiple occasions at my opponents and to my horror - they never took damage... Go figure.

Anyway - with a sling (can a priest use a bow/crossbow? never bothered to try it) I found I was pretty successful.

Got a couple of instances of good luck - robe of resistance on DL3 and a sling of extra might from Farmer Maggot on one occasion, but it was all for nought as all of my incarnations died last night.

I figured getting the dive down right would help me if I decide to make a run for the competition - but with how its going so far - I'm not certain I'll do well.

My biggest challenge right now is learning to run away - something I am simply not accustomed to doing.

Narvius
December 5, 2008, 15:48
That's pretty much me when I started playing =D

I (and pretty much everyone else here, I think) would suggest the use of a longbow. It has a x3 damage modifer, which makes a huge difference (actually, 50% more damage) when compared to a sling. And arrows are lighter, iirc.

Zikke
December 5, 2008, 16:04
I only recently started using the Dive technique as well! I was always a very methodical clear-the-whole-level kind of player and still can be (I mean, look at the ridiculous number of turns on my current high-level mage (http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=7832)).

I have been experimenting with a ranger in a couple different variants with diving and it's actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. The problem I am having with V is that the monsters get the first turn when I go down the stairs (which isn't the case in FA), so when it gets to be deep enough where Tengus and Blink Dogs are prevalent, I don't have Free Action yet and get killed. :(

starstealer
December 5, 2008, 17:28
Speaking of ridiculous number of turns for a character - I should get a friend of mine to post his... we checked it last night and he's up to 169 million... and he's not level 50 yet...

It seems I was mistaken about the bow for a priest (from what I have read elsewhere). In that case, the next one will certainly have a bow of some sort.

Also, I seem to have a big difference between my starting stats for a mage than others. From what I see elsewhere - it looks like the base stats people choose are Str, Int, Con. For me, I tend to put Str up to 10 (sometimes 9), and then 18/20 Int (half-elf), 18 dex and enough in CON to leave me with 4-500gp.

The way I see it - the + to hit and AC are big benefits for the wizard, whereas the increased str is hardly enough to affect melee ability (and a wizard isn't desiring to be in melee in the first place) and for carrying capacity (which is important I'll grant you).

My stats leave me with a +2 to AC to start and +3 to hit with melee and ranged weapons. Counterpoint to this?

Donald Jonker
December 5, 2008, 18:25
Also, I seem to have a big difference between my starting stats for a mage than others. From what I see elsewhere - it looks like the base stats people choose are Str, Int, Con. For me, I tend to put Str up to 10 (sometimes 9), and then 18/20 Int (half-elf), 18 dex and enough in CON to leave me with 4-500gp.
Always max your stats. It's infinitely easier to make 400gp than to bump up any stat points, and you'll find a single increase to any of them (save CHA) will increase your chance of survival.

For that matter, try playing as high-elf for great stats and see-inv. If you're worried about slow-leveling, you'll find that this is mitigated by the fact that you'll be more able to survive until higher levels. If it's for the challenge, that's another matter.

The way I see it - the + to hit and AC are big benefits for the wizard, whereas the increased str is hardly enough to affect melee ability (and a wizard isn't desiring to be in melee in the first place) and for carrying capacity (which is important I'll grant you).

My stats leave me with a +2 to AC to start and +3 to hit with melee and ranged weapons. Counterpoint to this?

Relatively speaking, AC is extremely unimportant. When making your considerations, leave that out. I personally don't even bother buying armor and spend that money on ?phase instead, but there's room for disagreement there.

As a mage, you shouldn't melee until very late in the game (basically until you get 3 or 4 blows). Even if you're within melee range it's more effective to use a longbow. You might as well sell the dagger and have nothing in the melee slot to free up some weight.

If you're trying to decide between STR & DEX, I wouldn't disparage STR too much - you'll find a little more carrying capacity will make the game much more enjoyable, which is what it's all about in the end. But since you'll be killing mostly with bows, Dex is useful. If you're playing a high-elf, though, you really don't need to worry about it.

starstealer
December 5, 2008, 18:42
Just a matter of point - at the point where I have 4-500gp left, I can only increase WIS or CHA on the wizard - so the difference is minimal to the character's survival. I'll consider it though (and as a matter of fact is how I used to play).

For the high elf I'm just not really interested. I prefer to level up faster and having SI has never really been an issue for me (until recently I usually played humans for what its worth and my most successful character was a human). I know this is just a one-player game, but the way I see it - if a race/class combination is so obvious that anyone would be handicapping themselves by choosing anything else - I would prefer to see a return to an effort to rebalance things. If you want to look at it differently - I preferred the days when the Dunedain and High Elf were not even options (back in Moria...).

I do occasionally play high elves, but I just don't get as much enjoyment out of it - so I tend to move on pretty quickly.

As for AC and such, I did play a couple of times this way last night with a mage and with a priest and was pretty disappointed in both cases. As for being over-encumbered - I find I tend to clear out my equipment quickly (for a wizard with identify) - so I don't worry too much about it. My priest has completely different stats anyway (18 str, 18/30 wis, 10 dex, xx con) - so it isn't much of a deal for him.

Maybe I'll play around with it the next time I play though. It would be nice to finally get an Angband win under my belt - even if it isn't in the way I would prefer to win it...

Jungle_Boy
December 5, 2008, 21:25
I've almost always been a "clear-the-whole-level-kill-everything" type of player and I'm curious about diving. On average how much of a level do you explore doing this? Do you use up stairs?

Whenever I try diving by going down stairs as soon as I find them I usually end up rapidly out of depth and dead. I'm sure part of my problem is that I try to melee everything cause it's easier. (I only very recently tried making macros)

Donald Jonker
December 5, 2008, 21:53
There's a ton of theory floating around on this, but...

Assuming connected stairs:

In vanilla I'm very successful with warriors and rogues by taking down stairs as soon as I find them. By the time you hit 1000', you'll need detect evil if you don't have FA (you probably won't if you're always going down), and you might as well buy a _dStairs at this point.

The trick to surviving is to detect monsters with the first move each floor, going back up if there's something relatively close that can kill you (a paralyser or something equally scary). If not, use ?mapping, detect monsters/evil again and make your way to a down stairs provided there's nothing too rough on the way over. If there's something juicy, like a unique you can handle, you can make a detour, but nothing too big and make sure you keep detecting like a madman. Be very selective about what you kill, and don't be afraid to retreat back to your upstairs and reset the level...unless you think this is cheating (I don't). Don't spend too much time on a level because eventually the game will start spawning awake creatures, and dEvil doesn't catch hounds.

As far as the rest of the kit goes, see Warrior's Descension Kit thread in vanilla forum.

You'll end up with better kit than you would if you cleared each level because items generated deeper down are better. The idea is that your equipment/real time will be far better by diving.

As far as the other classes go, I'm not very experienced with those, so I can't speak to it very confidently. But from what I've read, the same principles apply.

EDIT: I should mention that I haven't won. I have made it to the bottom of the dungeon, however. The above advice is a mixture of divers' catechism and my own measured success in applying it.

Zikke
December 5, 2008, 22:50
And as you can tell from the last post, Mages are (in my opinion) the best divers, since they have a bunch of detects, blinks, teleport other, teleport self, identify, light room, etc. etc. etc.

But it can be done with any class

Jungle_Boy
December 6, 2008, 03:33
I think the part i'm missing is the detecting. I usually skip most detection stuff unless I'm breaking into a vault.

buzzkill
December 6, 2008, 04:31
I've almost always been a "clear-the-whole-level-kill-everything" type of player and I'm curious about diving. On average how much of a level do you explore doing this? Do you use up stairs?

On levels with really good feelings I'll look around as long as it's safe to do so. On boring or only moderately good feeling levels I'll take the stairs down almost as soon as I find them. Often times I'll actively detect stairs to get deeper faster.

If you're going to dive, detection is everything. Diving, basically equates to sneaking around and running away. Detect monsters, detect objects, detect traps, teleport, these are your weapons.

Since you're almost always in over your head, an unexpected encounter could easily end in death.

Garrie
December 6, 2008, 12:29
If you're going to dive, detection is everything. Diving, basically equates to sneaking around and running away. Detect monsters, detect objects, detect traps, teleport, these are your weapons.

with this in mind, the priests ability to "sense reality" fairly cheaply with a town spell is pretty good way of helping priests make up for the lack of teleport other (from a town book anyway).

Mind you, magic mapping is very cheap & available compared to teleport other!

Pete Mack
December 8, 2008, 03:48
detection stealth and HP are the critical factors here. I recommend ranger, rogue, or warrior. Kobold and highelf are my preferred race choices. You might try a few rounds of quickband for practice-winning in 100k turns is a reachable goal.

starstealer
December 10, 2008, 17:24
It seems to me that diving is tougher in practice than I thought - though at this point it is mostly breaking learn'ed behavior rather than actual difficulty.

Had my best start last night - a level 19 high elf (yeah - I decided to just go with it for now) mage. He was doing quite well - but got overwhelmed by wargs, cold hounds, ogres and black ogres all at once. I could have risked the teleport with 0 MP, but decided to try to take them down while retreating - but they found a way to surround me. At that point I was up to 2 MP again - so I risked the PD and it phased me back into the room I was running from. Oh the irony.

If I had foreseen better the situation (both ogre groups and the wargs were off-screen on my last detect) - I think I would've been able to recall out of it.

Anyway - I noticed my diving was pretty quick on my first two trips (down to ~600-800ft), but after that, I tended to linger around. This, more than anything else, is probably what is doing me in here.

Donald Jonker
December 10, 2008, 21:01
Anyway - I noticed my diving was pretty quick on my first two trips (down to ~600-800ft), but after that, I tended to linger around. This, more than anything else, is probably what is doing me in here.

I have the same experience myself. I successfully dive down to a depth I haven't spent much time in and think "Wow, let's see what kind of gear monsters will drop here," or, "I'd better slow down a minute and get my bearings before moving on."

Invariably this means testing your mettle against an unknown baddie who will end up being more than your match. It seems safer in general to tackle things that you meet about 800-1000' deeper than the first time you met them. In any case you're bound to screw up and die, though. That's why Angband has such a bigger learning curve than, say, Nethack. I managed to beat Nethack after only about six weeks of playing (and it was my first roguelike), because once you reach a certain point in the game you can tackle anything. Not so with Angband. I've been on Angband for about 9 months now and I still consider myself something of a neophyte. One of those "easy to learn, difficult to master" things, I suppose.

Also, one of the biggest advantages, IMO, of diving is getting past 1000-2000' will thin out the hounds quite a bit which is quite nice.

Jungle_Boy
December 10, 2008, 22:05
I have the same experience myself. I successfully dive down to a depth I haven't spent much time in and think "Wow, let's see what kind of gear monsters will drop here," or, "I'd better slow down a minute and get my bearings before moving on."

Invariably this means testing your mettle against an unknown baddie who will end up being more than your match. It seems safer in general to tackle things that you meet about 800-1000' deeper than the first time you met them. In any case you're bound to screw up and die, though. That's why Angband has such a bigger learning curve than, say, Nethack. I managed to beat Nethack after only about six weeks of playing (and it was my first roguelike), because once you reach a certain point in the game you can tackle anything. Not so with Angband. I've been on Angband for about 9 months now and I still consider myself something of a neophyte. One of those "easy to learn, difficult to master" things, I suppose.

Also, one of the biggest advantages, IMO, of diving is getting past 1000-2000' will thin out the hounds quite a bit which is quite nice.

I've been playing Angband and before that Rogue for well over a decade and still have not had a winner. So yea, easy to learn difficult to master probably fits. Also from the one character I've had that got to Morgy, if I remember right there are hounds all the way down.

Donald Jonker
December 10, 2008, 23:11
Also from the one character I've had that got to Morgy, if I remember right there are hounds all the way down.

There are, but there seems to be a stunning profusion of them, especially fire and water hounds at ~1500' (before and after). I frequently have trouble keeping my cash flow in the black at that depth just because I get blasted to hell and back on what seems like every level...and that's using every possible escape to get away from them. Maybe it just seems like there are more of them since hounds at other depths don't hurt your inventory so badly.

edited for orthography.

Nile
December 11, 2008, 01:43
I know it seems to be recommended that the armor is unimportant
Unimportant only in the sense that everything else is more important. If you get hit with a melee attack, your AC straight up reduces the damage you take.

Each of my wizards did meet an untimely demise - 2 from running into Mughash and his cronies and once from being surrounded by hill orcs. This second one, I didn't have the second book (it wasn't in the shop), and when I did a phase door, I landed next to a floating eye, who paralyzed me and well, I got brutalized from there...
As a mage, these situations should never happen. Cast detect monsters like crazy (remember, monsters can spawn after you start exploring the level) and always have a safe escape route planned back to the stairs. When I say "safe escape route" I mean a route that doesn't require you to pass through or by a room full of sleeping monsters. If you are fighting monsters that shoot (kobold archers), make sure your escape route is not through big open rooms or you will be pelted. When I explore on early levels, I first go one direction away from the stairs, then retrace my steps and go a different way, so I'm never far from the stairs.

My biggest challenge right now is learning to run away - something I am simply not accustomed to doing.
That's the key to the game - knowing when to run and when to fight. If things are not looking good - retreat. There's nothing to be gained by dying, and anything you might have gained from fighting you can find another time. Always remind yourself of that, especially when taking on vaults.

starstealer
December 11, 2008, 14:02
Here's (http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=8330) my first character to bother putting on the ladder. He's nothing special yet and somehow I managed to pick up enough stuff to start that I'm apparently running at -1 speed (Large Metal shield and Tulwar are both equipment I picked up in my recent dive - so I'll exchange the shield for a lighter one).

The only thing of note that I've gotten so far is a Potion of Charisma on level 4 of the dungeon. Other than that its been a pretty uneventful foray. Hopefully he'll continue on well enough in the next few days.

Pete Mack
December 12, 2008, 01:24
you might want to go without a shield at all until you get more strength or find one with some resistance. BTW: to count as a dive, I always assume that CL<<DL. By CL 12 that means DL 20, with plans to kill young dragons asap. Mage really is a tough character for a newbie. Rogue, warrior, or ranger are much easier starting classes.

PowerDiver
December 12, 2008, 03:47
Rogue, warrior, or ranger are much easier starting classes.

Besides rogue warrior and ranger, the other classes in V that are easier than a mage for novice diving are priest and paladin.

Tenka
December 12, 2008, 15:13
Biggles (http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=8331) the Gnomish Mage (Sorcery, Chaos) preparing to dive, Sir!

Never done much diving, never played a Gnome or a mage.

I feel this is going to go really well.

>Those bandits nevar knew what hit them!...Fer' real probably..a Gnome is an odd sight to behold.