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DirtyHippy April 9, 2017 19:35

A few observations after my first win
I recently beat Angband for the first time, with no deaths, as a dwarf paladin: Before this point I had never really played past the first 10 or 15 levels, always as a warrior. I decided I was going to try to beat it recently as I made another run. Certainly I am no expert on Angband now - but I will throw out some observations I had anyway.

First, before I start, Angband really is brilliant - its brilliance I think lies in its unique mixture of simplicity and complexity. It is hard to describe what this really means, but I think the lack of race/class activated abilities, millions of passives, etc make the game more streamlined. All the fluff - quests, towns, etc, just don't matter. You go down to win. That's all you need to know.

I had a few thoughts during that run I'd like to share.

1) Identification sucks once you hit DL60 or so and start running into larger vaults more frequently. I'm aware of the pseudo ID but at that point you aren't going to be using it anymore as you will have perma identification options. The squelching options were also not enough. The issue is once you start hitting vaults with 100 items, you can either A) choose to ignore everything that is not an artifact by just using squelching and picking up everything or B) mindless, tediously, identify everything that looks interesting. I know you can id stuff on the ground, but even was Combine that with the fact at end game, you need to start transitioning your weapons over to higher base damage weapons, and it becomes even worse. I won't even get started with ranged ammo.

My suggestion: grant better dropped item pseudo at high levels. Tell me this is a "whip of *Crap*" so I can just ignore it and move on. I see use cases for having class-specific pseudo at low levels, but I don't see that any of that really makes any difference to the game at high levels. At that point everyone has rods of ID, or spells, or whatever, and frankly it just makes larger vaults, which can already be tedious enough to clean out, even worse.

This is the #1 reason I probably won't play Angband again. It was no longer fun during the prep period before I dropped to DL100.

2) What is the point of two handed weapons? When I first got a mace of disruption, I thought to myself, this sucker has to be two handed with that base damage. But it wasn't. So two handers are basically just there for the low levels? I don't see a reason to ever use one - they don't compete with the end game high damage one handers, and they cause you to lose an artifact slot, resists, AC, etc which are clearly very precious. And I never saw one that did any significant base damage, and certainly not 50%+ more than one handers, which is what you would expect for losing out on a shield. I'd say just remove them or make them relevant.

3) Uniques that don't drop. I'm pretty sure the elemental uniques don't drop anything, for example. In a game where everything revolves around items, fighting uniques that don't drop anything once you kill them is just irritating.

4) Weird uniques. Sometimes I felt like I came around a corner and "You see Darth Vader. You see Braveheart." I'm not a big LOTR guy, sure I've read the books and the movies, but a lot of these uniques seemed like they were pulled from other mythologies, and it just seemed...weird.

5) Quiver management. I basically just gave up managing my quiver. Even with macros I just said screw it. Having to identify every stack of arrows, and having fifty million arrows of "extra damage to A" and extra damage to "B" was just too much and then having to select the right one for each shot...ugh. I'm not the only one. I looked through the ladder and many people, you could tell, just gave up on arrows, as they beat morgoth with 22 arrows of tickling (+1, +0) or whatever. Maybe paladin is just easy and other classes need them for kiting - frankly I just facetanked every unique in an anti-summoning corner.

6) Dispel evil/undead. Is there points to these spells and, well, offensive spells in general (activated breath attacks from artifacts, all the rods/wands of tickling? I mean they made mobs giggle during endgame, which was amusing, but certainly I had no intention of sitting in an undead vault, or any vault, and just spam that spell the fifty times it would take to kill something. Are these spells basically not useful later?

7) I'm not sure if this is how it works already, but I think having temp+perm resistance should make that damage school's inventory effects much less likely to happen. As it happened, I gave up fighting some of the end game uniques (I think I left some wolf and the tarasque), because they were murder to my end-game consumables, and I had no immunity to cold, so I just TOed them and said screw you guys.

8) Too much reliance on speed at end-game. The end game is all about maintaining enough sustained speed, probably 20+, with the ability to self-haste using pots/rods/etc since you simply cannot let a unique double turn you or that could be it, especially morgoth or some of the big breathers. It also seems like the only weapon brands that matter end game are extra attacks, disruption, and maybe holy avenger (although I never found any holy avenger weapon that outclassed my artifacts). You also need to find high damage versions of these, because, and I could be wrong, it appears your blows/round is capped at 5 regardless of how light the weapon is. So once you cap out your stats, you have to start using higher damage, slower weapons since they still cap out at 5.

9) Make townspeople passive. Having them follow you around and having them disturb you during recalls is just annoying.

10) Get rid of black reavers, or whatever they were called. GOD they were annoying :-)

Gwarl April 9, 2017 22:36


Originally Posted by DirtyHippy (Post 119801)
I probably won't play Angband again.

Try some variants. I heartily recommend Sil, which solves a whole slew of the issues you mentioned, as well as adding a whole bunch of new selling points. It's extremely difficult, however.

Vanilla is in kind of an awkward place in that it's very broken in many ways (blows per round anyone?), but it's also somewhat bound by tradition in terms of what it can reasonably fix. There may be an angband out there that's just perfect for you, and if not you could always make your own.

Pete Mack April 9, 2017 22:47

About Paladins and Archery: you are right, you don't need it. Once you get a low fail rate on heal, you can handle essentially anything in melee. Not so true for other classes. Congrats.

Nick April 9, 2017 22:55

One point - two-handed weapons only take up one slot. Calling them two-handed is simply flavour :)

Patashu April 10, 2017 03:36

Quickband is another variant worth playing. Due to the shortened length of the game, you can beat it in one several hour sitting, and there are extra races and classes to add longevity after that should you wish to replay.

You should also consider playing in Ironman mode (birth_force_descend = true). In this mode, you can't return to the town, and you have to play each floor exactly once. In such a mode, you will feel no obligation to scum forever for consumables and equipment upgrades, because it's impossible to! :) Your skill will be tested as you have to figure out how to stretch what the game gives you as far as possible.

Pete Mack April 10, 2017 03:56

that was true in the original quickband. In the more recent version, it's almost impossible to win at all. The monsters just come too thick and fast.

HugoTheGreat2011 April 10, 2017 04:54

The latest PosChengband 6.0.3 installment has birth options to turn itself into a variant of Quickband - something also worthy in future competitions.

Patashu April 10, 2017 05:41


Originally Posted by Pete Mack (Post 119826)
that was true in the original quickband. In the more recent version, it's almost impossible to win at all. The monsters just come too thick and fast.

Are you sure? The latest version, 2.0.6, has seven winners, including mine (who was the 10th attempt):

So it can't be THAT hard.

Pete Mack April 10, 2017 05:52

OK, I should be more specific: It is no longer all that quick. Here's a quote from a winner:
"Took a long time to get a character of this type to survive until adulthood, but it was fun. Might look like I was playing Slowband instead of Quickband from the number of turns, but a slow win is still a win. :-)"

Patashu April 11, 2017 01:44


Originally Posted by Pete Mack (Post 119834)
OK, I should be more specific: It is no longer all that quick. Here's a quote from a winner:
"Took a long time to get a character of this type to survive until adulthood, but it was fun. Might look like I was playing Slowband instead of Quickband from the number of turns, but a slow win is still a win. :-)"

It's quick for me.

Here's my winner:

539842 game turns, 65599 player turns, 6-7 hours real time.

And my Angband winner?

1844621 game turns, 299361 player turns, who knows how long in real time (I didn't track) is a quite fast win - 317041 game turns, 39785 player turns.

Compare to Angband - is a fast recent win. 525059 game turns, 79158 player turns.

So I would estimate that for high level players, Quickband is ~2x as fast as Angband - and for low level players like me, Quickband is 4-10x faster.

And something like Ironman Quickband would be extremely fast (I don't know how viable it is lol)

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