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Egavactip April 29, 2018 19:57

"New" Angband: First Impressions
 
I had to get a new laptop, so decided this was as good a time as any to migrate to the new version of Angband as well, the one with all the changes, even though I was dubious about most of them.

Yesterday I started a Dunedan Warrior and took him on one trip into the dungeon, getting him up to CL 15 or 16 before returning. It was enough to have a few first impressions about some of the changes.

Here they are:

1. New Identity scheme. I did not like the idea at all when it was proposed and argued against it. In practice, I still don't like it (parts of it don't even make sense, like automatically knowing the hit and damage bonuses of a weapon just by glancing at it, not even picking it up). Also, how can a character receive lore about monsters (including uniques) but not runes? I much prefer the traditional identity system and wish the game had an option to revert back to it. That way people who like the old system can use it and people who like the new system can use it.

2. Curses. I liked the idea of doing something about cursed items, which were virtually not a thing in the previous version. However, now they are way, way too common. Is there some army of wizards out there who work 24/7 cursing things? Cursed items *should* be relatively rare. Also, some of the curses--like no teleportation--are really nasty.

3. Traps. This is just broken. I hate it with a passion. There are an order of magnitude too many traps. My character was constantly running into traps. That's not FUN, that's just ANNOYING. The game is not served in any way by this. I've been in vaults with less traps than a typical dungeon area now. This really needs to go. This is pretty much a dealbreaker for me.

4. Level layouts. The single thing about the talked about changes that appealed to me, the new level configurations, unexpectedly turned out to be something I greatly disliked. This new method of generating levels does not generate good levels. It takes far too much time to explore these levels. I would like there to be a game option to exclude these levels.

5. Terrain. I did not get far enough down to encounter lava but I don't think I would have a problem with it. I did, however, have an issue with the two types of rubble--passable and impassable. My problem was not with the fact of two different types but the fact that they don't look different from each other. They need to have a different look.

6. Breath. I don't have a problem with the change here but the animation is unnecessary.

7. Out of line of sight doors: I don't like the fact that you can no longer see when doors open or close. That was actually a cool part of the game.

Overall, I was not happy with these changes, as you can see. Collectively, they had the effect of making Angband less FUN to play, while I could see no commensurate gain.

The worst feature of all is the new trap system. The old system was great; this system is annoying at best.

I haven't yet decided if I will refuse to play this version, but that is honestly the way I am leaning right now. I think some of these changes need to be reverted or to be made optional.

fph April 29, 2018 20:27

So in your view automatically knowing weapon bonuses is unrealistic, seeing so many cursed weapons is unrealistic, but telepathically knowing when a door opens at the opposite side of the level was fine? :)

Nick April 30, 2018 23:01

Quote:

Originally Posted by Egavactip (Post 129473)
It was enough to have a few first impressions about some of the changes.

Thanks for the frank feedback. I'm going to ask questions, and I'm interested in answers from anyone.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Egavactip (Post 129473)
1. New Identity scheme. I did not like the idea at all when it was proposed and argued against it. In practice, I still don't like it (parts of it don't even make sense, like automatically knowing the hit and damage bonuses of a weapon just by glancing at it, not even picking it up). Also, how can a character receive lore about monsters (including uniques) but not runes? I much prefer the traditional identity system and wish the game had an option to revert back to it. That way people who like the old system can use it and people who like the new system can use it.

I think you're on your own here, and I'm afraid it's not really feasible to have the old system as an option. For what it's worth, I think the main benefits of the new system are later in the game.

Originally the player had to learn to-hit and to-dam bonuses as well, but people found it confusing - should that come back? Any other opinions about the new ID?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Egavactip (Post 129473)
2. Curses. I liked the idea of doing something about cursed items, which were virtually not a thing in the previous version. However, now they are way, way too common. Is there some army of wizards out there who work 24/7 cursing things? Cursed items *should* be relatively rare. Also, some of the curses--like no teleportation--are really nasty.

Is it just the frequency that is the problem? I would be amenable to reducing that - what do others think?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Egavactip (Post 129473)
3. Traps. This is just broken. I hate it with a passion. There are an order of magnitude too many traps. My character was constantly running into traps. That's not FUN, that's just ANNOYING. The game is not served in any way by this. I've been in vaults with less traps than a typical dungeon area now. This really needs to go. This is pretty much a dealbreaker for me.

Again, frequency could be adjusted here. Are there other problems with the trap system, or is it just that there are too many?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Egavactip (Post 129473)
4. Level layouts. The single thing about the talked about changes that appealed to me, the new level configurations, unexpectedly turned out to be something I greatly disliked. This new method of generating levels does not generate good levels. It takes far too much time to explore these levels. I would like there to be a game option to exclude these levels.

Which types of level are the problem? Has anyone else had problems with (or even noticed) new level design?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Egavactip (Post 129473)
5. Terrain. I did not get far enough down to encounter lava but I don't think I would have a problem with it. I did, however, have an issue with the two types of rubble--passable and impassable. My problem was not with the fact of two different types but the fact that they don't look different from each other. They need to have a different look.

One is white and one is brown - what would you recommend to change?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Egavactip (Post 129473)
6. Breath. I don't have a problem with the change here but the animation is unnecessary.

The animation is essentially the same as it is for beams, balls, etc - is it just that you need to reduce your delay factor?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Egavactip (Post 129473)
7. Out of line of sight doors: I don't like the fact that you can no longer see when doors open or close. That was actually a cool part of the game.

What do others feel about this?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Egavactip (Post 129473)
Overall, I was not happy with these changes, as you can see. Collectively, they had the effect of making Angband less FUN to play, while I could see no commensurate gain.

This is basically the major concern I have about any change, and it's a bit subjective. What do people think about the level of fun in the current game? Were other versions more fun, and if so, which?

Most of the changes from 4.0 to 4.1 were made because there were areas which (I believed, anyway) had been complained about for a long time - traps and ID were the big ones, I guess. Are they better now, or worse?

spara April 30, 2018 23:23

Playing a warrior currently and he seems to trigger every trap encountered when running through the first levels. And there seems to be a ton of traps around. It's mainly just frustrating, not exciting or fun. The fun part comes later, when running scared and the traps force you to make decisions. Oh, and the blindness effect from a trap should be a lot shorter, IMHO. So, maybe there should just be less traps around?

About the rubble. I'm playing with Gervais tiles and both varieties look the same, so maybe the tileset should be expanded a bit?

I'm quite happy with the ID mini-game. Would be a bit more exciting though, if to-hit/to-dam bonus runes needed to be ID:d too. Both at the same time, so for example hitting with a (+1,+0) would ID both just for the sake of simpleness.

I think that magically sensing doors closing and opening across the dungeon was weird and the new system is much better. The only gripe I have, is the different rule for line of sight for walls and doors, as I have demonstrated in the other thread.

Sphara April 30, 2018 23:38

I'm okay with the new version except for two things OP mentioned already.

2) Curses are mostly way too harsh and hard to remove for them to be relevant. For those who play with word-of-recall working, I could imagine people stacking cursed stuff at home and trying to remove the curses afterwards. Not a minigame that sounds good to my ear. Curses add very close to zero value in my games.

3) Traps make hard starts even harder. Detecting traps is crap shoot and disarming them just isn't worth it unless it blocks some important gateway. I've switched my start routine on the Town from stacking phase door scrolls to stacking lots of CLW potions. Also, why are the traps so often scattered in junctions?
They change from major hazards to an annoyance later. I can live with the new trap system but I don't think making the early game even harder by them is necessarily a good thing.
Oh and by the way, feather falling now seems to actually save some asses because early poisoned spiked pits are so damaging for a low-HP combo.

Derakon April 30, 2018 23:49

I'm opposed to the idea of hidden traps. They're either reliably detectable (old Angband, or new Angband with high search skill) and thus aren't actually hidden and introduce a tedium tax on playing the game, or else they are reliably hidden and the player gets randomly nailed by traps. Neither is especially fun. The changes to traps in the new system haven't fixed that fundamental issue.

When we were last having this conversation, I agitated for traps being always visible, or being automatically detected when you got within a set distance of the trap (which distance might be increased by your search skill, making it more like "trap infravision"). The idea being that traps should present the player with a choice: risk stepping onto the trap and having it affect you, or take the time to disarm it. Traps become a de facto "terrain". But you should never be surprised by them: you'd always be making an informed decision. Unless you were blind or out of light, I suppose.

As I recall, the main opposition to this idea boiled down to "traps wouldn't be traps if they weren't hidden", that is, it would detract from the feeling of exploring a hostile environment if you could see the traps before they hit you. But I think that this is one of the cases where gameplay trumps realism.

Egavactip May 1, 2018 00:01

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 129481)
Is it just the frequency that is the problem? I would be amenable to reducing that - what do others think?

So far, it was mostly the frequency of the curses.


Quote:

Again, frequency could be adjusted here. Are there other problems with the trap system, or is it just that there are too many?
The frequency was really bad. I did not like that there seemed to be no way (like a detect traps spell or item) to detect traps out of line of site (although there may be one later in the game that I don't know about/did not discover). I did not like some of the new trap effects but am reserving my judgment on them until I have had more play. The traps *really* did not seem to work with the new scheme for dungeon configurations, which seems to create many more intersections and thus all the more traps.


Quote:

Which types of level are the problem? Has anyone else had problems with (or even noticed) new level design?
There seemed to be a new script or whatever--I don't have the vocabulary--used to draw some dungeon levels, which have a great deal more corridors and rooms than the standard method of drawing dungeon levels.


Quote:

One is white and one is brown - what would you recommend to change?
So far as I can, both are the exact same identical rubble tile graphic.

Quote:

The animation is essentially the same as it is for beams, balls, etc - is it just that you need to reduce your delay factor?
It seems much slower.

Quote:

Most of the changes from 4.0 to 4.1 were made because there were areas which (I believed, anyway) had been complained about for a long time - traps and ID were the big ones, I guess. Are they better now, or worse?
I had zero complaints about either traps or ID and prefer the earlier versions--especially for traps.

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my post.

Moving Pictures May 1, 2018 00:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by Egavactip (Post 129473)
3. Traps. This is just broken. I hate it with a passion. There are an order of magnitude too many traps. My character was constantly running into traps. That's not FUN, that's just ANNOYING. The game is not served in any way by this. I've been in vaults with less traps than a typical dungeon area now. This really needs to go. This is pretty much a dealbreaker for me.

This^2. The traps are, frankly, miserable and unentertaining.

Moving Pictures May 1, 2018 00:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 129481)
Again, frequency could be adjusted here. Are there other problems with the trap system, or is it just that there are too many?

There are too many, and they are serious inhibitors to progress at the start. I have lost count of how often armor has been turned into so many holes due to acid traps, whatever. You spend half the first 15 levels, no, make that two thirds, blind, stunned, confused or sizzling. It's simply onerous. Way over the top. Further, even at higher character levels, it sometimes takes five, six shots of acid to get past a trap that the character *knows* is there. And at starting levels, that means @ just lost five points of armor class.

Voovus May 1, 2018 00:44

Curses: I find them pretty pointless. For a while, after the new system was introduced, randarts would occasionally produce a very powerful but very badly cursed artifact. This was fun! I remember treasuring my *Remove Curse* scrolls, and finding ways to block a curse's effect without having to waste the scroll on it, like to put on something with resist chaos for the hallucination curse. Sadly, this feature seems to have disappeared. I'd prefer few, powerful items with nasty curses, than the current endless mild curses on pointless stuff.

Traps: Sadly, I agree that they are annoying. There are too many of them and they tend to be located at predictable places (=intersections; so a "safe" playstyle would encourage digging/stone-to-mudding around these). Plus disarming with a wand/rod takes at least two keypresses instead of one (shortcut key + direction). I find myself just trying to disarm everything by hand, simply because it's too frustrating. I think reducing their frequency and switching back to the old disable trap wands/rods would make it better, but probably not the ultimate solution.


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