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-   -   Blackguard first impressions and missing docs (http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=10740)

Tom Warner May 3, 2021 20:58

Blackguard first impressions and missing docs
 
Just downloaded 4.2.1 last night, have played 3.x extensively but this is my first time with the v4 classes and all, figured I'd make a thread for what I've been finding out.

I like the new online help and it's definitely a great direction to go in, but I think there's a bunch of missing information, particularly in terms of class overviews. I have a bunch of experience playing older versions but there were still a whole bunch of surprises:

- Combat-based SP regen doesn't get mentioned at all. When I started off in the town with 0 SP, I first tried resting to bring it up to full, and didn't figure out what was actually happening until I noticed the points went up while fighting early monsters. Similarly there's no explanation of any of the other mechanics, like SP decay or the healing it gives.

- Similarly the shield-bash mechanic doesn't really have any explanation--seems it gets a random chance to stun or confuse an enemy in melee? Does shield size or AC have any effect on this? Sometimes I 'stumble' when attempting a shield bash but it's not clear what effect that has either.

- There seems to be some inverse relationship between max SP and WIS? I'm playing a half-troll so INT and WIS are both very low, but when I got wisdom-drained by a rot jelly I'm pretty sure it gave me an extra point of SP that went away when I went up to the next level and my WIS restored. Currently trying to find another rot jelly to replicate.

- Leap Into Battle requires a specific enemy to target, but you can't just aim it in a direction and have it target the closest enemy in that direction, like most other spells. This seems like it should work.

- The light-level thing seems neat, but I've not found any explanation on how it works or is relevant to my character, except some mention that Necromancers don't like light.

- Same with the new hunger mechanics -- interesting that the Gorged mechanic came back but it seems kind of weird that you get gorged at 90% instead of by going over 100%. It's also not clear if there's any way you can escape being gorged without waiting for food to digest--are there still potions that make you puke? Do remove hunger scrolls reset your fed level downwards too?

- What happened to the search mechanic? It seems there's no way to just specifically search for hidden stuff anymore, but secret doors appear as soon as you stand next to them. But if I suspect I'm standing next to a trap, would I just stand still for a few turns to see if it shows up?

I'm gonna keep going with this HT Blackguard, honestly have been really enjoying the mechanics as I figure them out. Currently at CL11,DL10 so I'll update with anything else interesting I find--especially excited to see how the higher-level rituals work. But since I've spent so much time complaining about documentation I'm happy to help with that--maybe there should be a top-level help page for character classes, with a detailed explanation of the mechanics for each, plus some tips and tricks?

Tom Warner May 3, 2021 21:15

Another one: the rune-based ID thing seems really cool, but it's also a departure from the old ID system and not explained that well--basically you only have to learn each rune once, and any new object you pick up with known runes is already IDed for you?

Tom Warner May 3, 2021 21:19

Also there seem to be 'webs' now, since monsters are mentioned as able to clear them? No mention in the online docs, or 'available symbols' under the help menu.

Tom Warner May 3, 2021 21:27

Following on with item ID, is there some other way to ID stuff like potions/scrolls/etc without using it? ID Rune only IDs runes (logically enough) but I have seen no sign of anything that works like a traditional ID scroll, that I could use on wands or whatever.

Tom Warner May 3, 2021 21:31

Ok finally found a spider to fight and the web mechanic is really neat, great addition gameplay-wise and theme-wise :D

I also love that apparently doors and such do not change state when out of view, so you can't use them to tell where monsters are walking around anymore. That one always felt cheap to me.

Selkie May 3, 2021 22:28

Haha, this is like a live stream Tom.

Keep on ploughing through. Things get really interesting once bloodlust kicks in! I love that spell

MattB May 3, 2021 23:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 152986)
you only have to learn each rune once, and any new object you pick up with known runes is already IDed for you?

Exactly that! And even if you only know some of the runes, you can see what you do know when you 'I' the item.

And I'm afraid there is no way to ID potions and scrolls. You just have to use them - which can be a pain when it's Life. Or, for most characters, contemplation. But you get used to it. Nice thing is, if you see something like *Healing* in the BM, the cost is effectively paying for two, because you don't waste the first un-ID'd one.
And wands/staffs/rods are easier to ID by use than they used to be, as the criteria for successful ID seem to be relaxed. You rarely get a {tried} tag. And if you do, it's probably something to do with doors or traps.

Nick May 3, 2021 23:22

OK, let's go:

First, you should get 4.2.2 from here - it has bugfixes and improvements, and it's savefile compatible. Rephial is no longer updating.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 152984)
Combat-based SP regen doesn't get mentioned at all. When I started off in the town with 0 SP, I first tried resting to bring it up to full, and didn't figure out what was actually happening until I noticed the points went up while fighting early monsters. Similarly there's no explanation of any of the other mechanics, like SP decay or the healing it gives.

The 'S' (see abilities) command has a description of all the special abilities for your race and class; look at Combat Regeneration. You're right, some mention in the help would be good too.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 152984)
- Similarly the shield-bash mechanic doesn't really have any explanation--seems it gets a random chance to stun or confuse an enemy in melee? Does shield size or AC have any effect on this? Sometimes I 'stumble' when attempting a shield bash but it's not clear what effect that has either.

There's an entry for that under 'S' too, but it's not very helpful. Basically if you're a shield-bashing class (warrior, blackguard, paladin) and you're wearing a shield you will sometimes bash monsters with it, it does give a chance to stun or confuse, and sometimes (especially at low DEX) you stumble and get less blows.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 152984)
- There seems to be some inverse relationship between max SP and WIS? I'm playing a half-troll so INT and WIS are both very low, but when I got wisdom-drained by a rot jelly I'm pretty sure it gave me an extra point of SP that went away when I went up to the next level and my WIS restored. Currently trying to find another rot jelly to replicate.

You're imagining it :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 152984)
- Leap Into Battle requires a specific enemy to target, but you can't just aim it in a direction and have it target the closest enemy in that direction, like most other spells. This seems like it should work.

Yes, that could be made to work.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 152984)
- The light-level thing seems neat, but I've not found any explanation on how it works or is relevant to my character, except some mention that Necromancers don't like light.

Necromancers' spells fail more if they're in light. Also, some monsters have a "dark radius" (like the player's light radius), and you can't see them until you shed enough light on them.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 152984)
- Same with the new hunger mechanics -- interesting that the Gorged mechanic came back but it seems kind of weird that you get gorged at 90% instead of by going over 100%. It's also not clear if there's any way you can escape being gorged without waiting for food to digest--are there still potions that make you puke? Do remove hunger scrolls reset your fed level downwards too?

Yes, there are potions of salt water and mushrooms of purging. Remove Hunger scrolls set your fed-ness to 50 if it's below that, but otherwise do nothing. So you don't want to go over 90%, but if you do you'll digest fast until you're down below 90 again (in 4.2.2, at least).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 152984)
- What happened to the search mechanic? It seems there's no way to just specifically search for hidden stuff anymore, but secret doors appear as soon as you stand next to them. But if I suspect I'm standing next to a trap, would I just stand still for a few turns to see if it shows up?

Yep, it's gone. You're right about the secret doors; traps you get one chance (depending on perception skill) to see them when their grid first comes in sight. As a HT blackguard, expect to be hitting a few :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 152984)
I'm gonna keep going with this HT Blackguard, honestly have been really enjoying the mechanics as I figure them out. Currently at CL11,DL10 so I'll update with anything else interesting I find--especially excited to see how the higher-level rituals work. But since I've spent so much time complaining about documentation I'm happy to help with that--maybe there should be a top-level help page for character classes, with a detailed explanation of the mechanics for each, plus some tips and tricks?

I think the current way with a rough description in the help and more detail under 'S' is probably OK in general, but both could use some more attention (always).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 152986)
Another one: the rune-based ID thing seems really cool, but it's also a departure from the old ID system and not explained that well--basically you only have to learn each rune once, and any new object you pick up with known runes is already IDed for you?

Yes - once you know a rune, you will always recognise it on future gear. You can see whic runes you know from the knowledge menus '~' - which are another big source of information.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 152988)
Following on with item ID, is there some other way to ID stuff like potions/scrolls/etc without using it? ID Rune only IDs runes (logically enough) but I have seen no sign of anything that works like a traditional ID scroll, that I could use on wands or whatever.

Use or give (sell if you're playing with selling) to shops are the only ways.

MattB May 3, 2021 23:43

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 152995)
Use or give (sell if you're playing with selling) to shops are the only ways.

Only a lunatic would give an un-ID'd potion to a shopkeeper. It will invariably be Life.
Likewise, 99 times out of a hundred, an un-ID'd scroll will be Mass Banishment.
:D

Tom Warner May 3, 2021 23:59

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 152995)
First, you should get 4.2.2 from here - it has bugfixes and improvements, and it's savefile compatible. Rephial is no longer updating.

Interesting thank you! I'm running Linux and didn't feel like compiling from source so I grabbed a 4.2.1 that someone had made into a .deb -- is there any plan to update the versions in the official Apt repo (3.5 currently iirc) or otherwise make a Linux release that doesn't require compiling from source? I can do it if I have to, but I'm very lazy and haven't written much C and compiling it is always a huge pain.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 152995)
The 'S' (see abilities) command has a description of all the special abilities for your race and class; look at Combat Regeneration. You're right, some mention in the help would be good too.

That's a wonderful command that I did not know about! Super useful.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 152995)
You're imagining it :)

Wouldn't be the first time!

....general thanks for answering a few of the other minor questions....

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 152995)
Yep, it's gone. You're right about the secret doors; traps you get one chance (depending on perception skill) to see them when their grid first comes in sight. As a HT blackguard, expect to be hitting a few :)

Yes I have been finding all kinds of traps lately, mostly with my face :D It seems that sometimes even tripping one doesn't update the display though, so I can walk through a trap, trigger its effect, and then it will still display as an open floor grid but I can walk into it again and eat the effect again.


Rune knowledge is neat--still not sure how I feel about the use-ID on consumables though. There are a few potions I would really rather not ID by drinking, for example, and a few others (like Life mentioned above) where losing the first one you find, or having to buy it back from a shop, is not fun.

Otherwise I'm gonna see about contributing to the online docs -- a bunch of the new terrain features aren't documented at all (for example lava, webs, passable rubble....) and that seems like a good place to start.

Tom Warner May 4, 2021 00:08

Quote:

Originally Posted by Selkie (Post 152991)
Keep on ploughing through. Things get really interesting once bloodlust kicks in! I love that spell

I really wish I'd paid more attention to the stats I'd need for the character...Blackguard sounded combat-focused so I dumped all my points into STR/DEX/CON. The dungeon is a rough place at 6 intelligence, I'm excited to either get deep enough to find INT potions or die trying and re-roll for someone a little less stupid :cool:

Nick May 4, 2021 00:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 152997)
Interesting thank you! I'm running Linux and didn't feel like compiling from source so I grabbed a 4.2.1 that someone had made into a .deb -- is there any plan to update the versions in the official Apt repo (3.5 currently iirc) or otherwise make a Linux release that doesn't require compiling from source? I can do it if I have to, but I'm very lazy and haven't written much C and compiling it is always a huge pain.

My understanding is that you have to have someone who is officially approved in some sense to contribute to the official Apt repo. Magnate (who still appears here occasionally) has done this in the past, but there isn't really anyone regularly doing it now.

I should really point you at angband.live, too, in case playing in a web browser would suit you.

Tom Warner May 4, 2021 00:13

I did not know it was even available in-browser--thank you! 4.2.1 has been working fine on plain Ubuntu so far, I'll see what I can do with 4.2.2 later tonight if I get the chance.

Tom Warner May 4, 2021 00:31

Just managed to kill Orfax and Boldor which is always a nice little milestone -- Terrified Yeeks really add a whole new dimension to anti-yeek combat!

Tom Warner May 4, 2021 00:53

I do really like that devices get their damage % bonus from your device skill listed in the item descriptions -- always good when the game is more transparent about how much damage your gear can actually do :D

Pete Mack May 4, 2021 03:37

Best match for BG is likely Dunadan. You get plenty of HP and STR anyway. What you're missing is DEX, which really matters a lot with the 10lb weapon penanlty, well into the midgame. And decent INT helps too. H-T has one big benefit: Regen, which will help a bit with BG's weird HP mechanic, but won't do a thing for SP. That said, I haven't remotely figured out this class.

Specific details about the workings of HP and SP regen from melee would really help.

Tom Warner May 4, 2021 04:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pete Mack (Post 153008)
H-T has one big benefit: Regen, which will help a bit with BG's weird HP mechanic, but won't do a thing for SP.

The regen has been really nice I think -- mostly haven't struggled with missing HP and while I go through potions at a decent rate, I've generally been able to replenish them just from what I find lying around.

The INT thing is brutal though. I've managed to find a cap of +2 int which is a huge help (raises it all the way to 8) but all my rituals are still at 50% fail and I have 12 SP at CL 23. I've honestly had to mostly play so far like a warrior with a couple utility spells, and so I don't feel like I'm really getting the intended experience out of the class until I reach stat gain depth or die trying. Live and learn though.

archolewa May 4, 2021 04:29

I compile from source and it really isnt a pain. If youve already installed angband from apt-get then you should have all the dependencies, so compiling should just be a few commands away.

Tom Warner May 4, 2021 05:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by archolewa (Post 153013)
I compile from source and it really isnt a pain. If youve already installed angband from apt-get then you should have all the dependencies, so compiling should just be a few commands away.

......apparently my Ubuntu install (latest vanilla version) does not have a C compiler installed, and trying to install GCC fails on some other bogus dependency error. I appreciate that this is a free game and all, this is a very first-world problem, but it really is kind of a stretch to expect people to compile it from source code as a "normal" part of the install process, especially when you don't know what dependencies may or may not be installed on their systems.

Ideally it would be available through apt but I get there may be access issues there, still, it would be very nice to be available either through a PPA or at least as a pre-built .deb package, like 4.2.1 was built here.

Sphara May 4, 2021 05:35

Short starting tips for Blackguard:

Pick High-Elf race. Take two points off from CON and one point from DEX. Put all points to INT. Now you have 18/20 STR, 18/10 INT, 18/10 DEX, 13 CON.

Prefer heavier weapons at the start. Dungeon upgrades come up eventually.

Find Ring of Open Wounds. Activate it often for healing.

Buy Fear and Torment book as soon as you can afford it and are able cast Maim Foe spell. Use Maim Foe against everything nasty you decide to fight (does not work on undead afaik). It radically lowers melee damage taken by enemy hits.

wobbly May 4, 2021 12:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 152999)
My understanding is that you have to have someone who is officially approved in some sense to contribute to the official Apt repo. Magnate (who still appears here occasionally) has done this in the past, but there isn't really anyone regularly doing it now.

I actually talked to Magnate not that long ago over at the freeorion forums. It sounds like he is pretty busy these days and I haven't seen him there for a while which is generally a sign that he doesn't have a lot of free time at the moment. I doubt he was update anytime soon.

Tom Warner May 4, 2021 14:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sphara (Post 153015)
Pick High-Elf race.

My HT finally died of running out of healing potions while fighting a bunch of nasty orcs, but I actually re-rolled with a half-orc and put a few points in INT and it's been much smoother sailing now that the rituals are actually useful.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sphara (Post 153015)
Find Ring of Open Wounds. Activate it often for healing.

Found one, it's a huge help. The impaired regen is quite dramatic and it's nice to have healing available from non-potions,

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sphara (Post 153015)
Buy Fear and Torment book as soon as you can afford it and are able cast Maim Foe spell. Use Maim Foe against everything nasty you decide to fight (does not work on undead afaik). It radically lowers melee damage taken by enemy hits.

Just got the book, 1 level away from learning the spell so I'm pumped :D

Another nice change: automatically swapping in the best digger in inventory is huge. It's so smooth to be able to just carry a Shovel of Digging and not have to bother with the manual swap dance.

DavidMedley May 4, 2021 14:36

Try to never rest with Blackguard.

Pete Mack May 4, 2021 15:18

@David--
Right. Also beware of gorging while sucking down enormous numbers of !CLW.

Tom Warner May 4, 2021 15:23

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMedley (Post 153021)
Try to never rest with Blackguard.

Yep, one of the hardest adjustments was fighting my instinct to rest after every fight. Open wounds is a huge help and now I got an amulet of regen too so I do get HP back at a somewhat reasonable rate just running around between fights. Have definitely been mindful of the gorged thing--so far so good by mostly not eating unless my hunger drops below 20%.

Tom Warner May 4, 2021 15:57

Should monsters with shrieks be able to haste themselves too? It doesn't really change anything I guess, the first shriek was enough, but I've had a couple experiences with shrieker mushroom patches and terrified yeeks and such screaming to wake everything, hasting themselves, and then screaming even more off the speed bonus they got. I could see it being more of a problem if there was something else nasty in the room that I didn't want getting hasted 3 times in one turn ........

Sphara May 4, 2021 16:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 153024)
Should monsters with shrieks be able to haste themselves too? It doesn't really change anything I guess, the first shriek was enough, but I've had a couple experiences with shrieker mushroom patches and terrified yeeks and such screaming to wake everything, hasting themselves, and then screaming even more off the speed bonus they got. I could see it being more of a problem if there was something else nasty in the room that I didn't want getting hasted 3 times in one turn ........

I think "monster is moving even faster!" message from multiple hastes, means just that the monster will be hasted a longer period of time, not gaining ever more increasing speed. Otherwise Yeek royalties would easily gain something like >+50 speed in just couple of turns.

Tom Warner May 4, 2021 17:22

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sphara (Post 153025)
I think "monster is moving even faster!" message from multiple hastes, means just that the monster will be hasted a longer period of time, not gaining ever more increasing speed. Otherwise Yeek royalties would easily gain something like >+50 speed in just couple of turns.

Ah, that makes more sense. I think it's still new that shriekers can haste themselves now too but it's also really funny imagining a scared little yeek racing around the room, screaming so loudly it scares itself even more and starts running even faster.

Pete Mack May 4, 2021 17:28

In (significantly) older versions, haste really was additive: each call added +10 speed, and it never wore off. I believe this was considered unfair and bad for gameplay, since the usual response was just to flee the level.

Tom Warner May 4, 2021 17:36

That would be terrifying!

Hounded May 4, 2021 18:06

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 153000)
I did not know it was even available in-browser--thank you! 4.2.1 has been working fine on plain Ubuntu so far, I'll see what I can do with 4.2.2 later tonight if I get the chance.

Been using the Windows build on Ubuntu through WINE for a few versions and haven't had any issues.

Tom Warner May 5, 2021 02:06

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hounded (Post 153030)
Been using the Windows build on Ubuntu through WINE for a few versions and haven't had any issues.

May try that next, thanks--I'm reluctant to mess around with reinstalls and versions while I have a living character, just a bit nervous about something going wrong with the savefile...

Tom Warner May 5, 2021 02:50

Ok BG rules when you get a nice melee weapon--managed to pick up Dagmor and it instantly transformed me from "mostly doing well, but burning through consumables in hard fights" to "shredding everything that dares to challenge me"

Of course I get the sword with the poison brand right before I advance to the level where I can learn the poison brand ritual, though.....

archolewa May 5, 2021 20:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 153040)
Of course I get the sword with the poison brand right before I advance to the level where I can learn the poison brand ritual, though.....

Someday you will find the Glaive of Pain and it will be glorious. Glorious.

Tom Warner May 5, 2021 20:39

Quote:

Originally Posted by archolewa (Post 153054)
Someday you will find the Glaive of Pain and it will be glorious. Glorious.

Not today though, I still didn't have free action, thought I could sneak through using Grim Purpose till I found some, and that timed out with a bunch of ghouls in LOS.........RIP.

Playing a Necro now which has also been cool, but are there no items anywhere to detect doors/traps/stairs? I haven't found a single scroll or rod which does that with either of the last characters. Assuming it's a deliberate choice if true, but it makes it a lot harder to dive to the depth you want to be--my necro is CL7 and has not yet dropped down to DL3 on account of having found no down stairs yet.

Julian May 5, 2021 21:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Warner (Post 153055)
Playing a Necro now which has also been cool, but are there no items anywhere to detect doors/traps/stairs? I haven't found a single scroll or rod which does that with either of the last characters. Assuming it's a deliberate choice if true, but it makes it a lot harder to dive to the depth you want to be--my necro is CL7 and has not yet dropped down to DL3 on account of having found no down stairs yet.

Traps, no. Doors and stairs, nothing AFAIR outside of mapping effects.

Pete Mack May 6, 2021 13:51

I agree (down) stair detection should be available to all pure casters, directly, via mapping, or perhaps as a side effect of a "seek prey" spell for necros: "You feel there is more beneath your feet."

Tom Warner May 6, 2021 16:44

Even like items of Detect Stairs would be cool....for a lot of characters I like to play by diving hard and dangerous and that's way more difficult if you're constantly in need of Magic Mapping and/or Deep Descent to do it.

sffp May 12, 2021 18:12

Quote:

Originally Posted by MattB (Post 152996)
Only a lunatic would give an un-ID'd potion to a shopkeeper. It will invariably be Life.
Likewise, 99 times out of a hundred, an un-ID'd scroll will be Mass Banishment.
:D

Better to give Mass Banishment/Life to a shopkeeper rather than consuming them randomly. At least in the shop, you have a chance to buy it back (and when you're low enough to find them, you often have a lot of gold...)

Pete Mack May 12, 2021 18:31

what @sffp said. It's easily worth the normal store cost to get ID on high level scrolls and potions. Except, that is, on *acquirement* and !experience.


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