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fizzix
November 20, 2011, 15:46
I've been thinking about doing some significant monster list tweaking for a while now, and I've started gathering my thoughts together. The main problem I wish to solve is that non-unique monsters top out at level 79. I'd like to move that to about dlevel 95, with the deepest monsters likely being the Pit fiend and the Great Wyrm of Balance.

So there will essentially be a linear shift of about 15 levels of all monsters deeper than level 50 or so, and the monsters between 1-50 will be spread out sublinearly. With some exceptions. XP gain will be lowered in almost all cases to account for the fact that the monster is deeper. I need to calculate exactly how much to adjust that, I have not done this yet.

Monsters that appear in groups will in general be moved deeper than the standard shift. Except for nuisance monsters (i.e. elemental hounds and crebain) and some other exceptions (mumaks, jackals)

Monsters with powerful non-elemental breaths will be moved deeper (i.e. drolem, jabberwock, many hounds)

Ancient and mature dragons will be beefed up and deepened. I'll dig up the thread where I describe these changes.

Uniques will be moved differently, I haven't quite figured out how. I do know that there are some constraints. The Lernean Hydra is constrained to be as deep or deeper than the 11-headed hydra. Lungorthin will be as deep or deeper than greater balrogs. Qlzqqlzuup will be as deep or deeper than a master quylthulg.

There may also be some changes to individual monsters. I'm almost definitely going to give lightning bolt to shimmering molds. I'm thinking of giving death molds teleport-to. Ticks and beetles will get even more of a boost to AC.

Some items will need to be adjusted. I actually think the wands and rods of elemental balls and bolts will be fine. However, =poison will be moved to dlevel 50, and _healing, _banishment, _magi will be dlevel 85. Stat gain potions will likely be deepened.

What other problems are there currently with the monster list? What changes would you like to see?

Nomad
November 20, 2011, 16:07
What other problems are there currently with the monster list? What changes would you like to see?

I think non-uniques with high HP probably need to be moved deeper in v4. Melee, missile damage and AC are all typically much lower than at equivalent depths in Vanilla, which makes it really tough to tackle anything that takes a lot of hits to finish off. My last Dwarven warrior was still desperately fleeing from a lot of hydras and golems a good 10 or 15 levels past their native depth.

fizzix
November 20, 2011, 16:50
I think non-uniques with high HP probably need to be moved deeper in v4. Melee, missile damage and AC are all typically much lower than at equivalent depths in Vanilla, which makes it really tough to tackle anything that takes a lot of hits to finish off. My last Dwarven warrior was still desperately fleeing from a lot of hydras and golems a good 10 or 15 levels past their native depth.

ok, that's good to keep in mind. Magnate has plans for some long overdue combat changes, and that is likely to necessitate some adjustment of monster HP. But for now, I'm going to leave that alone. I will deepen them as appropriate though.

Derakon
November 20, 2011, 16:58
Why give Death Molds teleport-to? They aren't meant to be meleed, so forcing the player into melee range seems mean-spirited.

In fact giving shimmering molds a lightning bolt also seems counter to the concept of the mold enemy to me. They sit there, get in the way, and wreck you if you get into melee with them. That's their job, and they do it just fine.

Why bother moving =rPoison deeper? If the player wants to dedicate a ring slot to resisting poison before they enter drolem depths, I say let 'em. Drolems are sufficiently nasty that I have absolutely no problem with the player getting the necessary counter before they're likely to start encountering them -- same as with free action. Especially since that counter comes on a valuable ring slot.

Also keep in mind that if you move dangerous enemies deeper, you're effectively making deeper items easier to acquire -- in two ways. First, if you kill the monster out of depth, you get a deeper base level for the item. Second, deeper levels will be easier to reach because the monsters guarding that level have gone even deeper.

Your other changes sound fine.

fizzix
November 20, 2011, 17:17
Why give Death Molds teleport-to? They aren't meant to be meleed, so forcing the player into melee range seems mean-spirited.

In fact giving shimmering molds a lightning bolt also seems counter to the concept of the mold enemy to me. They sit there, get in the way, and wreck you if you get into melee with them. That's their job, and they do it just fine.

Why bother moving =rPoison deeper? If the player wants to dedicate a ring slot to resisting poison before they enter drolem depths, I say let 'em. Drolems are sufficiently nasty that I have absolutely no problem with the player getting the necessary counter before they're likely to start encountering them -- same as with free action. Especially since that counter comes on a valuable ring slot.

Also keep in mind that if you move dangerous enemies deeper, you're effectively making deeper items easier to acquire -- in two ways. First, if you kill the monster out of depth, you get a deeper base level for the item. Second, deeper levels will be easier to reach because the monsters guarding that level have gone even deeper.

Your other changes sound fine.

These are good points. The reason for giving shimmering molds lightning bolts is that they are already a very deep monster for seemingly no reason. I think their depth goes way back to when electricity resistance was hard (or impossible?) to get. Disenchanter molds have drain mana, so there is a precedent for giving ranged attacks.

The reasoning for death molds is that they're sentient, so I figure they should have some option of doing something besides sitting there. Maybe you can suggest something else?

=poison is not for drolems, but rather for the intermediate poison breathers, air hounds, basilisks, winged horrors. When I started playing =rpoison seemed a lot rarer than it currently is, but maybe that was bad gameplay.

Also there are other unintended consequences with moving monsters deeper besides item drops. Deeper monsters can summon stronger monsters, but are harder to be summoned themselves. Deeper monsters have better to-hit on melee, and missile/ball/curse damage is higher. Only breaths, which depend on HP don't improve with added depth.

Derakon
November 20, 2011, 17:52
These are good points. The reason for giving shimmering molds lightning bolts is that they are already a very deep monster for seemingly no reason. I think their depth goes way back to when electricity resistance was hard (or impossible?) to get. Disenchanter molds have drain mana, so there is a precedent for giving ranged attacks.

The reasoning for death molds is that they're sentient, so I figure they should have some option of doing something besides sitting there. Maybe you can suggest something else?The simple solution to shimmering molds, then, is to make them shallower. :) As for death molds and disenchanter molds, there's a realm of difference between drain mana and teleport-to, especially when the target you're being teleported next to moves incredibly quickly and hits to disenchant. If you really feel that death molds need a ranged option, give them some of the heavier curse spells...but personally I still think they're fine the way they are.

=poison is not for drolems, but rather for the intermediate poison breathers, air hounds, basilisks, winged horrors. When I started playing =rpoison seemed a lot rarer than it currently is, but maybe that was bad gameplay.Rings of resist poison used to be very rare indeed, something more or less like having a native depth of 60 when you wanted them at dungeon level 40. This lead to many players just hanging around at level 40 waiting for the ring to pass the necessary out-of-depth checks before they would dare descend deeper into the dungeon. Of course, we now know that it's not a death sentence to go into drolem territory without poison resistance, but I still think that if the player wants to dedicate a ring slot to that, they should be allowed to, pretty much at any point in the game. Sell 'em in the magic store and I wouldn't mind.

Also there are other unintended consequences with moving monsters deeper besides item drops. Deeper monsters can summon stronger monsters, but are harder to be summoned themselves. Deeper monsters have better to-hit on melee, and missile/ball/curse damage is higher. Only breaths, which depend on HP don't improve with added depth.

Fair points, though I expect the impact of all of these will be rather less than the impact of allowing the player to survive at X depth with worse gear than used to be feasible since Y monsters no longer show up at that depth.

I do agree with your overall goal, though. Smoothing things out so the last 20 dungeon levels aren't just a uniques hunt is a good idea. Have you considered adding new monsters as well? I made a thread (http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=3528) awhile back which had some ideas, though mostly they'd fill in the mid range, not the deep end.

Zyphyr
November 20, 2011, 20:22
I do agree with your overall goal, though. Smoothing things out so the last 20 dungeon levels aren't just a uniques hunt is a good idea. Have you considered adding new monsters as well? I made a thread (http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=3528) awhile back which had some ideas, though mostly they'd fill in the mid range, not the deep end.

Adding to the midrange would be of some value for a project like this. If you add to the middle, then you can push things that are currently there outwards a bit without reducing the variation found in that range.

nppangband
November 20, 2011, 22:00
All of the object, ego-item, and artifact depths will have to be adjusted as well, in order to preserve game balance.

fizzix
November 20, 2011, 22:30
All of the object, ego-item, and artifact depths will have to be adjusted as well, in order to preserve game balance.

ego-item and artifacts have already been significantly changed in v4. Both are much rarer. So really the concern is objects.

I agree with the suggestions of more midgame/endgame monsters. I'll check to see if any are poachable from Derakon's thread. But if you have more suggestions, it'd be great to hear them.

nppangband
November 21, 2011, 00:28
ego-item and artifacts have already been significantly changed in v4. Both are much rarer. So really the concern is objects.

I agree with the suggestions of more midgame/endgame monsters. I'll check to see if any are poachable from Derakon's thread. But if you have more suggestions, it'd be great to hear them.

NOT trying to be a stick in the mud, but I just had one more concern. What about Shockbolt's tiles? I think he finally finished the set, now he seems to be on a little break. Is he on board with drawing more monsters for Angband?

fizzix
November 21, 2011, 01:51
NOT trying to be a stick in the mud, but I just had one more concern. What about Shockbolt's tiles? I think he finally finished the set, now he seems to be on a little break. Is he on board with drawing more monsters for Angband?

Good point. I'll hold off on incorporating more monsters, and just work on moving monsters deeper.

Black Reavers may be too powerful if moved deeper because of their mana storm attack...at dlevel 92 they average 520 damage per mana storm. That's unacceptable, right?

Derakon
November 21, 2011, 02:22
Another thing to keep in mind: the depth vs. monster danger level curve should not be smooth. In other words, there should be monsters that are significantly more dangerous than their in-depth brethren. Black reavers are an excellent example of this and should stay right where they are (at level 74).

fizzix
November 21, 2011, 03:24
Another thing to keep in mind: the depth vs. monster danger level curve should not be smooth. In other words, there should be monsters that are significantly more dangerous than their in-depth brethren. Black reavers are an excellent example of this and should stay right where they are (at level 74).

I've heard this before, and I'm not sure I agree with it. I'd rather have the non-smoothness arise through OoD monster spawning. I think inspection of what the monster level is should give a reasonably good indication of how dangerous it is.

Playing around with the deeper part of the dungeon today, this is what I have:


level 77
Great storm wyrm
great ice wyrm
great swamp wyrm

level 78
chaos hound
feagwath
archlich

level 79
greater titan
atlas
bone golem

level 80
glaurung
great hell wyrm
great bile wyrm

level 81
nightcrawler
great wyrm of thunder

level 82
ungoliant
gelugon

level 83
time hound
draugluin

level 84
jabberwock
witch-king

level 85
pazuzu
horned reaper

level 86
greater quylthulgs

level 87
aether hound
maeglin

level 88
master quylthulg
cantoras

level 89
qlzqqlzuup
bronze golem

level 90
nightwalker
kronos

level 91
great wyrm of law
tarrasque

level 92
great wyrm of chaos
black reaver (will have to be moved)

level 93
great wyrm of many colors
lungorthin
greater balrog

level 94
huan
carcharoth

level 95
great wyrm of balance
pit fiend

level 96
vecna

level 97
ancalagon

level 98
gothmog

level 99
sauron

level 100
morgoth

myshkin
November 21, 2011, 03:45
Also there are other unintended consequences with moving monsters deeper besides item drops. Deeper monsters can summon stronger monsters, but are harder to be summoned themselves. Deeper monsters have better to-hit on melee, and missile/ball/curse damage is higher. Only breaths, which depend on HP don't improve with added depth.

Should we consider making an individual monster's level a function of its race's native depth, the dungeon level on which it appears, and/or some random variation, instead of all black reavers having the same power level? I guess that's partway to the ego monster concept.

Timo Pietilš
November 21, 2011, 04:07
I've heard this before, and I'm not sure I agree with it.

So you prefer every monster being easy to predict and kill at their corresponding depth? You add boredom with smoothness, unless you also make sure that game creates very OoD monsters every now and then and pretty much every level has some OoD monster.

Antoine
November 21, 2011, 06:26
So you prefer every monster being easy to predict and kill at their corresponding depth? You add boredom with smoothness, unless you also make sure that game creates very OoD monsters every now and then and pretty much every level has some OoD monster.

+1

Some monsters should be "dangerous when encountered at depth"

A.

Magnate
November 21, 2011, 11:24
+1

Some monsters should be "dangerous when encountered at depth"Actually all monsters should be dangerous when encountered at depth. What we should avoid are massive discrepancies between the danger levels of monsters of the same native depth, which is what fizzix is trying to address. The discrepancies between the danger levels of monsters present on any given generated level should be roughly what it is now - but the more dangerous monsters should be varying degrees OOD.

Timo Pietilš
November 21, 2011, 11:50
Actually all monsters should be dangerous when encountered at depth.

That's impossible goal. Even if you make dungeon two level deep with Morgoth waiting at dlvl 2 player would just play level 1 so long that he is ready to face Morgoth. You need variance. Without that no level would ever be dangerous (or to be more precise all levels would be equally boringly similar in danger level).

PowerWyrm
November 21, 2011, 12:21
I've been thinking about doing some significant monster list tweaking for a while now, and I've started gathering my thoughts together. The main problem I wish to solve is that non-unique monsters top out at level 79. I'd like to move that to about dlevel 95, with the deepest monsters likely being the Pit fiend and the Great Wyrm of Balance.

For my variant, I made an important tweak on dragons to make the deeper levels more interesting (and to allow the full variety for players choosing the Dragon race at birth). Currently, you have wyrms which summon dragons (storm, ice...) and wyrms which summon ancient dragons (chaos, law...). For my variant I split those into Greater Wyrms (+10 speed, summon dragons) and Ancient Wyrms (+20 speed, summon ancient dragons). The Greater Wyrms are maintained at their current depth (63-83), the Ancient Wyrms are put deeper (87-97).

Magnate
November 21, 2011, 13:49
That's impossible goal. Even if you make dungeon two level deep with Morgoth waiting at dlvl 2 player would just play level 1 so long that he is ready to face Morgoth. You need variance. Without that no level would ever be dangerous (or to be more precise all levels would be equally boringly similar in danger level).You seem to have misunderstood what I wrote. I said "The discrepancies between the danger levels of monsters present on any given generated level should be roughly what it is now" which means the opposite of "equally boringly similar in danger level". Perhaps you are confusing the gameplay result (unchanged) with the underlying mechanism (proposal to change). Perhaps also we understand different meanings of "dangerous" as used in my sentence which you quoted. I meant "non-trivial" and (clarified in the next sentence) "not wildly varying in danger level" (remember this is the underlying mechanism, not the gameplay result). Perhaps you thought I meant "instakill-deadly" and "equally boringly similar".

fizzix
November 21, 2011, 19:14
So you prefer every monster being easy to predict and kill at their corresponding depth? You add boredom with smoothness, unless you also make sure that game creates very OoD monsters every now and then and pretty much every level has some OoD monster.

1) I prefer that every monster's depth corresponds in some way to its difficulty. Of course with wide varieties of monsters, this is very difficult to quantify, and depends greatly on the specific game you are playing. A nexus vortex is dangerous to a powerful character without rnexus but is ignorable for a much weaker character with rnexus.

2) To me problems occur when obviously stronger monsters appear earlier than weaker monsters. Dracolichs and great ice wyrms are an example here. Another problem is when monsters are given the illusion of being handleable due to prior experience when they are not. AMHDs are an example of this, judging by Ancient dragons, and the difference between mature elemental dragons and mature MHDs, a player will deduce incorrectly that an AMHD should be *much* weaker than they actually are. The solutions are to make AMHDs much deeper than elemental ancient dragons, or make elemental dragons stronger. Personally, I prefer the latter. But for the first run through, I'm going to avoid tweaking *anything* to monsters besides levels.

3) Some difficulties arise because moving some already powerful monsters deeper will make them significantly more powerful. I've already mentioned black reavers as a problem. Other problem monsters are angels, emperor wights, death knights, dark elven lords, nether wraiths. These monsters need to be handled with care, and perhaps they will satisfy your need for dangerous out of depth monsters, simply because the prospect of weakening them is not appealing to me.

4) I have no problem of increasing the variance in OoD monsters appearing. Assuming we use a normal distribution on the OoD side. Something like a 6 level standard deviation (after say level 40) seems reasonable. Then for every OoD monster, 68.2% are between 1 and 6 levels OoD. 26.8% are between 7 and 12 and 4.2% are between 13 and 18, and 0.2% are between 19 and 24. This will probably be my next task.

Magnate
November 21, 2011, 20:08
3) Some difficulties arise because moving some already powerful monsters deeper will make them significantly more powerful. I've already mentioned black reavers as a problem. Other problem monsters are angels, emperor wights, death knights, dark elven lords, nether wraiths. These monsters need to be handled with care, and perhaps they will satisfy your need for dangerous out of depth monsters, simply because the prospect of weakening them is not appealing to me.Just to note that the reason these monsters get more dangerous if moved deeper is because (some significant proportion of) their attacks are level-based.

Also to note that this is configurable, so we can stop any of these attacks being level-based and replace them with level-independent attacks, if we want to make any of these monsters deeper without becoming more dangerous.

Finally, I am working on moving this configurability of spells and effects from source code files into edit files, so it will be possible to test changes like this without needing to recompile. This is a sizeable project and won't be finished any time soon, but I am hoping to make good progress over the xmas holidays.

Just in case anyone has forgotten that this is the v4 forum, none of the above changes will be going into V, at least not for a long time.

Timo Pietilš
November 21, 2011, 20:10
1) I prefer that every monster's depth corresponds in some way to its difficulty.

Well, you are creating an variant I wont be playing, and hopefully nothing from it is coming to vanilla as it is (because nothing from it will be directly useful for vanilla) so feel free to do whatever you wish. Personally I feel that similar monster danger level at any given dlvl just makes game more boring.

Malak Darkhunter
November 21, 2011, 22:11
here is my take on the monsters, never liked monster pits of any sort it's tedious gameplay, I like the idea of having smaller groups, pits, but make the monsters tougher in return, trolls, giants, dragons, balrogs should never appear in large groups, but make them tougher and more dangerous and therefore worth more expereince in return, I think there is a thing such as too many monsters generated on a level, that makes for frustrating gameplay.

that's my 2 cents, I'm fine with whatever you guy's decide to do, I'll play it.

Antoine
November 21, 2011, 22:59
Actually all monsters should be dangerous when encountered at depth. What we should avoid are massive discrepancies between the danger levels of monsters of the same native depth, which is what fizzix is trying to address. The discrepancies between the danger levels of monsters present on any given generated level should be roughly what it is now - but the more dangerous monsters should be varying degrees OOD.

I understand what you're doing but I don't think it's good for the game

A.

Gorbad
November 22, 2011, 03:42
Well, you are creating an variant I wont be playing, and hopefully nothing from it is coming to vanilla as it is (because nothing from it will be directly useful for vanilla) so feel free to do whatever you wish. Personally I feel that similar monster danger level at any given dlvl just makes game more boring.

You are beginning to sound like dos350... I am sure you have very valid points, but remarks like this are just spiteful. Create your own angband fork and everyone who agrees will flock to your version. Welcome to the wonderful world of Open Source.

myshkin
November 22, 2011, 09:36
1) I prefer that every monster's depth corresponds in some way to its difficulty. Of course with wide varieties of monsters, this is very difficult to quantify, and depends greatly on the specific game you are playing. A nexus vortex is dangerous to a powerful character without rnexus but is ignorable for a much weaker character with rnexus.

By "depth," do you mean the race's native depth, the depth at which this particular monster appears, or something else? Similarly, by "difficulty," do you mean the race's native depth (i.e. mlvl), or some more nuanced measure of how tough the monster is?

I am curious as to how people would want the following thought experiment to go: Consider the distribution of characters who are first encountering dlvl 50. (I'm picking a specific level just to be concrete; I don't intend anything special about dlvl 50.) These characters might be mostly between 150-600 HP, have a maximum damage per round of 10-100, have speed from 0-20, etc. Pick a character from this distribution, compare it to the monsters it encounters on dlvl 50, and repeat a few hundred times. What proportion of these encounters should fall into each of the following categories? Assume an expert player with knowledge of monster attributes and tactics. For extra credit, think about what rewards a character should get for each kind of encounter.


Pushover - Poses no danger to the character, except maybe as an obstacle (e.g. a single orc)
Fight - Characters will win this encounter, but may need to use a handful of rounds and some tactics (e.g. ancient non-MH dragons?)
Major fight - A well-prepared character can win this encounter, but may be forced to flee (e.g. some vaults, middling dragon uniques depending on the character)
Very risky encounter - Character might be able to defeat the monster(s) with luck and/or consumable consumption, but death is also quite possible once engaged, even with best play; most players would evade before engaging (e.g. The Phoenix in most cases)
Evade or die - Character should leave level, banish, or take other evasive action immediately upon detection, on pain of death (e.g. pack of time hounds)


For the moment, I'm disregarding unpleasant side effects that may make the player want to avoid an encounter for reasons other than risk of death, e.g. stat swapping, disenchantment, equipment/inventory damage. I'm also ignoring synergies among nearby encounters. Feel free to amend my list of categories as needed.

Magnate
November 22, 2011, 10:51
I understand what you're doing but I don't think it's good for the gameCould you say a little more, please? If the actual gameplay is unchanged, why is it bad to change the underlying mechanism?

Timo Pietilš
November 22, 2011, 11:42
Could you say a little more, please? If the actual gameplay is unchanged

How do you keep the gameplay same if you move monsters around? Did this thread suddenly take 180 degree turn, and you are not supposed to change monster dlevels anymore?

Magnate
November 22, 2011, 12:39
How do you keep the gameplay same if you move monsters around? Did this thread suddenly take 180 degree turn, and you are not supposed to change monster dlevels anymore?No. Let me try and explain as simply as I can: the proposal is to make the native depths of monsters more closely indicative of their power/danger/whatever you call it. At the moment there are large variations in the power of monsters of the same native depth.

If we made this change without changing anything else, then gameplay would change because the variations in power encountered on any given dungeon level would be significantly reduced, leading to a duller game. This is what I think you and Antoine object to, and I can understand that.

The proposal is to increase the number of OOD monsters, and the extent to which they are OOD, so that the variability of encountered danger remains roughly the same, so the game stays interesting.

Does that make any better sense?

Timo Pietilš
November 22, 2011, 15:09
No. Let me try and explain as simply as I can: the proposal is to make the native depths of monsters more closely indicative of their power/danger/whatever you call it. At the moment there are large variations in the power of monsters of the same native depth.

If we made this change without changing anything else, then gameplay would change because the variations in power encountered on any given dungeon level would be significantly reduced, leading to a duller game. This is what I think you and Antoine object to, and I can understand that.

The proposal is to increase the number of OOD monsters, and the extent to which they are OOD, so that the variability of encountered danger remains roughly the same, so the game stays interesting.

Does that make any better sense?

Yes. Massive job to balance so that you get something that vaguely resemble current gameplay, but as a change it makes some sense.

In that case couple of minor things in fizzix list:

Bile Wyrm : acid is halved by armor, so those are weakest of all wyrms, and as such needs to be shallower than Ice and Storm variants, not deeper.

Gelugons are +20 speed shard breathers and summoners, as such they should be about as deep as Law Dragons if not deeper.

Tarrasque is easily more dangerous than Balance Dragon. So deeper it goes. Same applies to Huan and Carcharoth (so maybe Balance Dragon is too deep in fact).

Bronze golem is less dangerous than Bone golem. Swap those.

Nightcrawler has same problem as Black Reaver, many of its main weapons depends of its depth. That said, it is far more dangerous than Nightwalker, even that Nightwalker is more annoying in melee. Those are in wrong order in that list.

Non-unique demon dangers are IMO in order Pit-fiend, Greater Balrog, Gelugon, Horned Reaper, Bile Demon, Lesser Balrog, then rest of the group (Osyluth being one of the weakest even that it is fast). If you add darkness storm to Balrogs then Lesser Balrog comes before Bile Demon in this list and Greater Balrog and Pit-Fiend swap places.

I can fight two Horned Reapers at the same time, and there is no limit how many of those can be in LoS but just two Gelugons can kill me in single round.

Unique angels should be somewhere in that mix.

Max Stats
November 22, 2011, 16:00
Even if you make dungeon two level deep with Morgoth waiting at dlvl 2 player would just play level 1 so long that he is ready to face Morgoth.But this would certainly make trapdoors a lot nastier. :p

fizzix
November 22, 2011, 17:38
Yes. Massive job to balance so that you get something that vaguely resemble current gameplay, but as a change it makes some sense.

In that case couple of minor things in fizzix list:

Bile Wyrm : acid is halved by armor, so those are weakest of all wyrms, and as such needs to be shallower than Ice and Storm variants, not deeper.

Gelugons are +20 speed shard breathers and summoners, as such they should be about as deep as Law Dragons if not deeper.

Tarrasque is easily more dangerous than Balance Dragon. So deeper it goes. Same applies to Huan and Carcharoth (so maybe Balance Dragon is too deep in fact).

Bronze golem is less dangerous than Bone golem. Swap those.

Nightcrawler has same problem as Black Reaver, many of its main weapons depends of its depth. That said, it is far more dangerous than Nightwalker, even that Nightwalker is more annoying in melee. Those are in wrong order in that list.

Non-unique demon dangers are IMO in order Pit-fiend, Greater Balrog, Gelugon, Horned Reaper, Bile Demon, Lesser Balrog, then rest of the group (Osyluth being one of the weakest even that it is fast). If you add darkness storm to Balrogs then Lesser Balrog comes before Bile Demon in this list and Greater Balrog and Pit-Fiend swap places.

I can fight two Horned Reapers at the same time, and there is no limit how many of those can be in LoS but just two Gelugons can kill me in single round.

Unique angels should be somewhere in that mix.

Thanks for the feedback. I'll probably tweak things to reflect these orderings. In general, uniques will be much harder than comparable monsters. In fact, if you want, uniques can be viewed as monsters that are much more dangerous than the depth that they're found in.

I think horned reapers were deep because then the depth allowed them to trample over almost everything. I do agree that gelugons are more dangerous though.

artes
November 24, 2011, 08:01
To move some monsters down sounds like a good idea to make room if more monsters are to be added, since it seems to be easier to come up with new ones in the low and middle range. It seems a bit difficult to come up with things that are stronger than something with the name "Great wyrm of balance" or "Black reaver" without making it sound ridiculous or out of place in the current Angband mythology.

Antoine
November 24, 2011, 08:19
Could you say a little more, please? If the actual gameplay is unchanged, why is it bad to change the underlying mechanism?

You are proposing a gameplay change aren't you?

Under the status quo, the most dangerous monsters are of relatively few types - encountered in native depth, but unusually dangerous at that depth.

Under your proposal, the most dangerous monsters are of many different types - encountered OOD.

So instead of getting killed by Dracoliches and Dracolisks all the time, you'd get zapped by Great Wyrms, Pit Fiends or Archliches early in the dungeon.

A.

Timo Pietilš
November 24, 2011, 21:11
To move some monsters down sounds like a good idea to make room if more monsters are to be added, since it seems to be easier to come up with new ones in the low and middle range. It seems a bit difficult to come up with things that are stronger than something with the name "Great wyrm of balance" or "Black reaver" without making it sound ridiculous or out of place in the current Angband mythology.

"adding things" can be dangerous thing. You might end up having a forest with boring trees, instead of garden with interesting trees with individuality.

I think there are already a bit too many monsters in Angband. For example I tend to forget which one was the deeper one Maeglin or Eol, and when I see them I really don't care which one I'm fighting. Same for unique giants, I find them boring. Nightwalker and Nightcrawler. I mix those to each other and always need to check from monster memory which one was the one with nether breath and which one was the one with disenchant melee.

EpicMan
November 25, 2011, 00:50
About monster level affecting danger because of level-based spells like darkness strorm:

You could add an extra number to monster records that would be their spell power (I.e. they cast spells as if they were a level N monster), then scale spell damage with spell power rating rather than actual monster level. Spell power could be set to the monster's old depth to keep the same balance. It would also allow you to differentiate different casters by altering the level to tweak the monster's power easily.

Nick
November 25, 2011, 01:02
You could add an extra number to monster records that would be their spell power (I.e. they cast spells as if they were a level N monster), then scale spell damage with spell power rating rather than actual monster level. Spell power could be set to the monster's old depth to keep the same balance. It would also allow you to differentiate different casters by altering the level to tweak the monster's power easily.

Like in O/FA, you mean :)

EpicMan
November 25, 2011, 03:27
Like in O/FA, you mean :)

LOL, you always say that. :-)

Nick
November 25, 2011, 04:11
LOL, you always say that. :-)

Yeah - when in doubt, stick to the truth :)

LostTemplar
November 25, 2011, 08:09
Like in O/FA, you mean
Many "good and new" vanilla ideas seems to be in O style variants for ages.
Btw new proposed monster depth list seems to be pretty close to FA monsters natural depths.

Magnate
November 25, 2011, 09:29
Many "good and new" vanilla ideas seems to be in O style variants for ages.But without moving to O-combat (see threads passim ad nauseam) there are a number that we can't use.

However, we will be including monster mana in v4 shortly, and subject to what the other devs think I'd be very keen to separate monster casting power from monster level too.

LostTemplar
November 25, 2011, 18:50
O combat gives no real difference, still at the begining light weapons are preferable to heavy. Heavy weapons only become better after stat gain.

Narvius
November 26, 2011, 19:24
That said, I've been failing to understand what's exactly wrong with that [light weapons > heavy weapons early on] (with the sole exception of it not being obvious to novice players - but seriously, there are easier ways to solve that than overhauling the combat system). Light weapons are easier to use for beginners, and @ is a beginner at the beginning, no?

d_m
November 26, 2011, 22:59
That said, I've been failing to understand what's exactly wrong with that [light weapons > heavy weapons early on] (with the sole exception of it not being obvious to novice players - but seriously, there are easier ways to solve that than overhauling the combat system).

On some level a lot of these things are mostly subjective. But without getting too philosophical...

Part of game design is trying to do the most with the least (make the decision space for the player interesting given the existing items). Many of us feel that the current decision of what weapon to use isn't thematically interesting OR tactically interesting, and doesn't make good use of the "class/stat/weapon space."

For starters, class tends not to make much (if any) difference. We'd all like to imagine warriors, rogues and mages choosing to use different weapons but currently class has very little impact. And where it does, it's reversed... due to max blows. Given the same STR/DEX a warrior will always prefer lighter weapons than a mage, which seems backwards.

The bigger problem though is that even ability scores have a very weird effect. If you were to graph STR + DEX on the X axis and optimal weapon weight on the Y axis, you'd see a sort of U, where at very low STR+DEX you want the heaviest weapon possible (due to the 1 blow guarantee), as soon as you start getting multiple dagger blows it drops hard down towards zero, where it slowly climbs, spiking up sharply at the end (when you hit the max blows wall).

This isn't great because at any given time there aren't many useful base objects for weapons. Early on you only really care about drops that are daggers, main gauche, short sword, whip, etc. Late game you only care about heavy drops. The range of weapon bases you're interested in is usually pretty narrow. Obviously if you rely on magic or ranged damage then this isn't as big a deal and you may find yourself using a Defender battle axe while a warrior would still be using a Dagger +9,+9.

Anyway, whether or not you consider this a problem is pretty subjective, but I (and a lot of others including many variant authors) think it can be improved (in many different, not always compatible ways). I won't go into my preferred solution, I was just trying to quickly illustrate why many people refer to this as a problem.

LostTemplar
November 27, 2011, 07:18
IMHO if any problem exists, it is in individual base objects, e.g. long swords (and most moderately hevy weapons) are simply too weak or too heavy, they are never best choice, only very light or very heavy weapons are ever usefull. Revisiting object.txt and tuning values is the only solution here, problem cannot be fixed magically by changing combat algorithm or something.

Magnate
November 27, 2011, 08:31
IMHO if any problem exists, it is in individual base objects, e.g. long swords (and most moderately hevy weapons) are simply too weak or too heavy, they are never best choice, only very light or very heavy weapons are ever usefull. Revisiting object.txt and tuning values is the only solution here, problem cannot be fixed magically by changing combat algorithm or something.Ummm. I guess this is in line with your earlier "O combat gives no real difference". I'll just say I'm on the other side of the fence on this one. I think there's an awful lot that can be done to improve combat without tweaking objects. (I say this as a compulsive tweaker of objects.)

Derakon
November 27, 2011, 16:03
As far as blows are concerned, I suspect there's a window where they give you the same number of blows as light weapons do but heavy ones still give fewer, but honestly by the time your STR and DEX are that high, you're deep enough that the number of blows is not always the deciding factor behind a given weapon choice. Thus, midweight weapons are often the right choice when they're simply the best weapons you've found so far.

Malak Darkhunter
November 27, 2011, 17:54
Correct me if i'm wrong but i think O combat gives you a higher critical percent chance for heavier weapons.

LostTemplar
November 27, 2011, 18:38
Correct me if i'm wrong but i think O combat gives you a higher critical percent chance for heavier weapons. No, chance is the same, and power of critical is proportional to die sides e.g. d12 weapon benefit more from crits then d4. Heavy weapons generaly have many small dice e.g. 4d5 for great axe, they benefit less from crits, however Sangband have this changed, e.g. it have something like 1d21 for high end weapons resulting in sensitive crits.

Derakon
November 27, 2011, 20:03
Heavier weapons do give access to better-quality crits (in Vanilla). So for example, you'll never see a "*GREAT*" hit from a dagger. I think those are restricted to weapons that weigh at least 20 pounds, though you shouldn't quote me on that. The average damage display when 'I'nspecting weapons incorporates damage from criticals.

Malak Darkhunter
November 27, 2011, 21:11
Raise the damage dice of middle weapons to balance out the lack of blows, in example a longsword 3d4 instead of 2d5, longswords are about 3 times bigger than a dagger aftr all. Bastard swords 3d5 they are just a little bit bigger affter all, then you go back on track with the two-handed sword 3d6, which is again just a little bit bigger, and it is already 3d6 so you can in affect stay in balance with damage dice with the bigger weapons as they are.

This would perhaps encourage getting bigger weapons at game start instead of staying with daggers and whips until stat gain.

fizzix
November 27, 2011, 23:04
In a brief occurrence of internet, I've sent a pull request for the first attempt at monster rebalancing. Changes can be found at github.com/fizzix/v4 on the monsterlist branch.

Magnate
November 28, 2011, 10:25
In a brief occurrence of internet, I've sent a pull request for the first attempt at monster rebalancing. Changes can be found at github.com/fizzix/v4 on the monsterlist branch.I will try to test and merge these this evening, during a half-time break in my ongoing battle with the front room ceiling.

(@artes: I'll try to merge your 3.4 bugfixes too!)

fizzix
December 6, 2011, 22:59
One long overdue change coming, and one controversial one suggested.

The long overdue change is to add gradations to speed for monsters for 105, 115, and 125. (these correspond to -5, +5 and +15 speed respectively).

previous gradations were described as: slowly, at normal speed, quickly, very quickly, extremely quickly.

Now there are: slowly, slightly slowly, at normal speed, slighly quickly, quickly, very quickly, extremely quickly, unbelievably quickly.

I'll push some corresponding changes to the monster list shortly. Mature dragons will get +5 speed, but I haven't gone much beyond that in thought. Suggestions are welcome.

The controversial change is to lower the HP of some of the early uniques. Early uniques in v4 are simply unkillable at their found levels without an excessive amount of grinding. There is a huge jump in unique HP around dlevel 20, but there is not a corresponding jump in damage output until stat-gain (which now starts in the 40s). I'm going to hold off on this until I get some work done on the monster speeds. But I'm keeping it in my mind as I play through.

(uniques that l'm thinking about getting lowered hp include: some orc/troll uniques, khim, ibun, mim, sanghayando, angamite, lorgan, beorn, adunaphel.)

sethos
December 6, 2011, 23:15
Perhaps it's a too much hassle, but I believe "somewhat" would be a better term than "slightly" for both slower and faster monsters.

Derakon
December 6, 2011, 23:17
I'm inclined to agree with sethos.

"Unkillable" may be a bit strong, but certainly the amount of resources you'd have to expend to kill early uniques in melee is in no way made up for by their drops. My only concern is that this may make them too easy to be killed by spells, which haven't been hit by the massive nerf that melee received.

fizzix
December 7, 2011, 00:28
"Unkillable" may be a bit strong, but certainly the amount of resources you'd have to expend to kill early uniques in melee is in no way made up for by their drops. My only concern is that this may make them too easy to be killed by spells, which haven't been hit by the massive nerf that melee received.

Find me a mage that can do 800 damage to a unique with spells, and I'll show you one that has already hit stat-gain or has found a powerful wand.

fizzix
December 7, 2011, 00:32
Perhaps it's a too much hassle, but I believe "somewhat" would be a better term than "slightly" for both slower and faster monsters.

not a hassle at all, and certainly a better choice of words.

Derakon
December 7, 2011, 00:44
Find me a mage that can do 800 damage to a unique with spells, and I'll show you one that has already hit stat-gain or has found a powerful wand.

Wand of Fire Bolts: 9d8 base damage, level-30 item; level-20 elf mage gets 3+36+26 = 65 base device skill. Thus each bolt does ~1.35 * 40.5 = 54 damage. Lesser Recharging recharges with strength 6 (2 + 20/5), giving 80% success rate of recharging an empty wand and restoring 2-3 charges each time. It also costs 7 mana to cast. I don't feel like calculating the failure rate for the spell just now, so let's say it's 30%. Let's also say the mage has 60 mana.

So he can cast Recharging 8 times, or about 5-6 times successfully. That gets him 10-18 charges, each of which deals about 54 damage, for a total of 540-972 damage. I think my assumptions were pretty conservative. Probably the mage will be higher-level and will be wearing some +INT gear, which stretches his mana pool and improves his device skill. Also, this ignores the charges that were in the wand to start with. So it's a stretch, but it's much more feasible for the mage than for the warrior...assuming of course that the unique in question comes alone.


Incidentally, I think recharging is bugged -- there's practically no way that anything except for Greater Recharging can restore more than 2-3 charges to an item. Charges restored are 2 + d(spell strength / (item level + 2) + 1). Since item levels are usually pretty big and spell strength (for Lesser Recharging) is 2 + clvl / 5, the latter value is always 1.

buzzkill
December 7, 2011, 01:27
The controversial change is to lower the HP of some of the early uniques. Early uniques in v4 are simply unkillable at their found levels without an excessive amount of grinding. There is a huge jump in unique HP around dlevel 20, but there is not a corresponding jump in damage output until stat-gain (which now starts in the 40s). I'm going to hold off on this until I get some work done on the monster speeds. But I'm keeping it in my mind as I play through.

I be very cautious in doing this, or hold off on it for as long as you can. I'd much rather find uniques to be too hard than too easy. They should be difficult to kill. If an average character can maybe take it down with a combination of speed, RSW's, and intelligent tactics, then I wouldn't mess with them at all.

I disagree with the notion that the drop should be in some way compensatory to the amount of consumables needed to kill it. Uniques are one of the few things that really stress your limited resources. It's the players decision to fight or flee.

However, I at one time suggested (roughly) that a the greatness of a unique's drop should be relative to the uniques native depth vs. the character's level. Kill Wormtounge at CL3 and get an awesome drop, kill him at CL30 and get crap, or something like that... and I still think it's a good idea.

fizzix
December 7, 2011, 01:27
Wand of Fire Bolts: 9d8 base damage, level-30 item; level-20 elf mage gets 3+36+26 = 65 base device skill. Thus each bolt does ~1.35 * 40.5 = 54 damage. Lesser Recharging recharges with strength 6 (2 + 20/5), giving 80% success rate of recharging an empty wand and restoring 2-3 charges each time. It also costs 7 mana to cast. I don't feel like calculating the failure rate for the spell just now, so let's say it's 30%. Let's also say the mage has 60 mana.

So he can cast Recharging 8 times, or about 5-6 times successfully. That gets him 10-18 charges, each of which deals about 54 damage, for a total of 540-972 damage. I think my assumptions were pretty conservative. Probably the mage will be higher-level and will be wearing some +INT gear, which stretches his mana pool and improves his device skill. Also, this ignores the charges that were in the wand to start with. So it's a stretch, but it's much more feasible for the mage than for the warrior...assuming of course that the unique in question comes alone.

Until you hit stat gain it's really hard to get more than 2 SP per level. So that your 60 SP is actually 40, you only get 5 casts, of which 4 are likely to succeed, in which you get 12 charges, which gives 648. 30% is exactly right for my level 21 mage with 18/40 INT (who incidentally has 40 SP). There's also that 60% chance of destroying the wand by attempting 4 recharges...

Also, khim, ibun, mim, sanghayando, angamaite...are all immune to fire, so you need to get acid bolts for the petty dwarves and frost bolts for the humans. However, restore mana is not terribly rare, and you could imagine that a mage is expected to burn one on each of these battles.



Incidentally, I think recharging is bugged -- there's practically no way that anything except for Greater Recharging can restore more than 2-3 charges to an item. Charges restored are 2 + d(spell strength / (item level + 2) + 1). Since item levels are usually pretty big and spell strength (for Lesser Recharging) is 2 + clvl / 5, the latter value is always 1.

IIRC recharge scrolls act like greater recharging cast at clevel 40. Lesser recharging is supposed to be weak I think, but maybe it is too weak? I haven't thought about this much.

fizzix
December 7, 2011, 16:37
Here are the list of changes to monster speed. These monsters gain speed:


-10 -> -5
colossus
eog golem
giant brown tick
stone golem
creeping gold coins

+0 -> +5
mature dragons
nalfeshnee
glabrezu
erinyes
giant roc
gauth
greater mummy
necromancer
mage
giant grey ant
giant silver ant
killer stag beetle
quylthulg
imp
brigand
night lizard

+10 -> +15
great wyrms
arch/demi lich
dreadlord
elder vampire
dagashi
ninja
master rogue
dragon flies


And these monsters lose speed

0 -> -5
mithril golem
iron golem

+10 -> +5
phantom
spectre
shade
storm giant
acidic cytoplasm
beorn
basilisk
wyvern
colbran
adamantite coins
3-headed hydra
sasquatch
stegocentipede
mirkwood spider
ochre jelly
wood spider
cave spider

+20 -> +15
time hound/vortex
Istar


I should add that mature dragons were moved a bit deeper so that they appear at stat gain (dlevel 40+). That pushes ancient dragons deeper as well.

The next idea would be to reduce (by half?) some of the HP of some of the high-hp uniques that I mentioned above and give them +5 speed. I need to think about this more though.

Magnate
December 7, 2011, 20:40
The next idea would be to reduce (by half?) some of the HP of some of the high-hp uniques that I mentioned above and give them +5 speed. I need to think about this more though.Give me a couple of days to run the stats on the latest v4, because I've tried a number of different things to push the +hit/dam figures back towards V. Hopefully I haven't overshot, but the damage output might not be so much lower.

On your speed changes, why do all four of the big constructs have -5 speed? Does nothing have -10 speed any more?

fizzix
December 7, 2011, 20:50
Give me a couple of days to run the stats on the latest v4, because I've tried a number of different things to push the +hit/dam figures back towards V. Hopefully I haven't overshot, but the damage output might not be so much lower.

On your speed changes, why do all four of the big constructs have -5 speed? Does nothing have -10 speed any more?

monsters with -10 speed:

several snakes
several worm masses
creeping copper/silver coins
disenchanter eye
giant white tick
blue icky thing
earth elemental

Max Stats
December 12, 2011, 16:32
Wand of Fire Bolts: 9d8 base damage, level-30 item; level-20 elf mage gets 3+36+26 = 65 base device skill. Thus each bolt does ~1.35 * 40.5 = 54 damage. Lesser Recharging recharges with strength 6 (2 + 20/5), giving 80% success rate of recharging an empty wand and restoring 2-3 charges each time. It also costs 7 mana to cast. I don't feel like calculating the failure rate for the spell just now, so let's say it's 30%. Let's also say the mage has 60 mana.Man, why couldn't we have had word problems like these in Algebra class?

Derakon
December 12, 2011, 17:19
Incidentally, firebolt wands have a base 12d8 damage, not 9d8. I misremembered. So the average damage per bolt goes from 40.5 to 54, or 72.9 after the device skill multiplier kicks in. Given Fizzix's claimed 12 charges before running out of mana for Recharge Item, that's 874 damage, discounting the charges that were in the wand going into the fight.

Incidentally, if you assume that the spell itself costs 3 mana, has a 0% failure rate, and does 12d8 damage directly, then using your mana reserves (at 40 mana) would get you 720 damage on average (54 * 40 / 3). Hm. That's more competitive than I'd assumed it would be. And is firebolt 3 mana, or 2? I don't have the files handy at the moment to check.

Zyphyr
December 12, 2011, 23:34
Incidentally, if you assume that the spell itself costs 3 mana, has a 0% failure rate, and does 12d8 damage directly, then using your mana reserves (at 40 mana) would get you 720 damage on average (54 * 40 / 3). Hm. That's more competitive than I'd assumed it would be. And is firebolt 3 mana, or 2? I don't have the files handy at the moment to check.

Firebolt is 3 mana. However, if you have Firebolt at 0% fail, Lesser Recharge will be there as well (making recharge pull well ahead) and mana pool will be larger as well (though that only alter the maximum output and not the relative values).