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-   -   Shouldn't Ironman be the default (and is it even playable atm) ? (

archolewa October 14, 2021 01:23

Personally, I think Ironman should not be the default because making it the default goes against the spirit of Angband. Fundamentally, Angband assumes each player understands what they do and do not find fun and will adjust their playstyle accordingly. Making ironman the default effectively tells people who like to grind that they arent playing the game as intended. Meanwhile, the cureent default says nothing one way or the other about how much grinding is necessary. Want limited resources? Just dont take the upstairs! Nothing except the player is keeping them from playing ironman even with the current default.

However, making ironman default does restrict players who like grinding or at least having it as an option.

Evilpotatoe October 14, 2021 01:29

Wow, what reactivity :)


My understanding is that one of Angband's principal principles is it doesn't tell the player what to do.
This makes me think of sandbox games (which I quickly got bored of), but calling this freedom sounds way much better ^^

Anyway, thanks for this simple answer, which just makes perfect sense.
Plus, I'm pretty sure playing with some .txt could be another way to "ease" the game.
Well, I won't toy with this, clearly... but if it's possible, it's a quite good thing already.

Pete Mack October 14, 2021 02:34

It occurs to me that the easiest way to make Ironman playable early is to set the depth of _Teleport from 20 to ~10. For nin-ironman, an early escape isn't a big deal: recall is always an answer to exhausting your consumables. Ironman has no such mechanism.

Sphara October 14, 2021 06:05

For me, the reasoning is simply that I don't like people telling me how to play the game and I don't tell the others how to play. I strongly dislike stairhopping in order to generate a profitable level, but as long as I can set forced descent or ironman as default myself, why should I care people playing that way?

Nowadays, I even think that suggesting changes here in the Forum is often labeled as forcing people play like you'd like the game played. This is nothing new in roguelike communities. I'd guess everyone has a beef about something. Believe me, I would turn off endless stream of wolves and wargs if I could.

sffp October 18, 2021 16:30

Forced Iron-man?

I'm confused. I've never been a big fan of angband ironman games. The game is difficult enough to begin with without dying because I ran out of light or food or escapes or cures. I also like to know what my artifacts/weapons do. The way I learn most runes is by either using or selling.

I HATE making inventory decisions because I'm out of slots already. You're going to deny me access to the house? <ick>

No upstairs never made sense to me. Are the stairs all chutes/trapdoors that go down a level. No level regen would make sense but the game's been this way for 30 years. I've always assumed the stairs were multiple and you just ended up on a different floor when you came back up.

I mean, I guess "I like ironman. We should make the default ironman" is a perspective. But if you want to play ironman, there's no reason you can't play it that way without making everyone else play it that way. When they turned off selling as a default (which I liked), there was a trade off of gold being relatively more common in the dungeon. What tradeoff do you propose for making iron man the default?

Evilpotatoe October 19, 2021 00:02

It's not that "I like Ironman", but I just happened to realize all the "great roguelikes" I loved those last ~10 years did include that among their default settings, which don't necessarly make them hard to win with default settings.
When thinking back to playing some good ol' *band those last years, I always tought... "Meh... too long, too much grinding... just NO".

Essentially, since I'm not an *band expert, the game was pretty hard to approach again for me.

After this thread, I created a fresh (ironman) high-elf ranger, which is somewhere around CL27 and DL23, with decent stuff (includes a *cold weapon dropped by an orc chieftain, @DL13 IIRC, and good sling, bow AND cbow), but the game's pace seems to slow down already, and having used most my phase door scrools to get rid of a dwarf disenchanters triplet, I wonder what will happen next.

Anyway, what I'd like is a faster rythm, with less grind, less necessity to find "THE good gear pieces", no need to save some specific precious consumables (basically, escapes&healing). Something more forgiving.
Think of Slay the spire, Binding of Isaac, or DoomRL : a game lasts a few hours at most, and therefore, you don't care much about losing some character to YASD, or having made a bad choice.
Also, the difficulty starts pretty easy, but increases as long as you understand the game, and ends-up beeing very serious.
This lets you discover the mechanics / items / enemies softly without making the game pointless once you completed it once or twice.

THAT is what I'd expect.
Not an easier game, but a faster one, where learning about this or that isn't a pain, because the characer you lose would only have a few hours of play behind it. Not dozens.
The most important aspect I see in "modern roguelikes" is that it incites players to try things out, rather than the current "old school" approach we still have here, which lets us farm as long as we want, without any in-game drawback.

This morning, I was reading, and it points out some of the biggest issues -- from my pov -- in *band.
Seeking stat potions, for example, should IMO be replaced with something cooler, like the stat gain every few levels in Hengband.
IIRC, Vanilla improved this significantly... but didn't really "fix" it.

Anyway. From what my hall of fames tells me, last time I played, I ended-up winning with several race/class combos, but my gnome mage, while he didn't die, didn't win either.
... I suppose I just got bored of diving / banishing monsters / looting enemy-free vaults.

Well, I didn't intend much to continue posting in this thread, since I already gave my opinion, and am not gonna try to "educate" the community by explaining how "my way is the best", right ? :o))
But if you did read what I wrote before posting this, I might have just not been clear enough at all, so I'll go in a bit deeper...


The game is difficult enough to begin with without dying because I ran out of light or food or escapes or cures
Without Ironman, all this can be farmed pretty easily. Heal & escape will usually be boring to stack, but not hard, if you just avoid dangerous situations.
And from my experience, as soon as you start understanding the game a bit, it looks wayyyyyyyyy easier. To me, the problem isn't that the game is hard (I don't think it is), but that it's hard to learn, since it's an old game, of which most aspects aren't obvious, and often undocumented (or at least, not contextually, which is close to the same).


I HATE making inventory decisions because I'm out of slots already
So do I... I did FILL the 20 pages of my Hengband houses several times. I just think it's a very wrong way of playing, even if it's mine too.
Unneeded things like those 20 pages are, IMO a really bad thing to encourage. People wouldn't feel they need it if only they were aware of what they really need to win.

What I'd like is a game giving me an easier way of experimenting what I actually do need
This can be done via an easier default difficulty,with better drops, and/or a stats & HP multiplier, etc.
Maybe having the quantity of carried heal/escape limited more by inventory space than frequency of appeareance could be an idea ?

More in-game help, like Monster Train's "everything-is-fully-and-contextually-described" would help a lot too.
My ranger found some mushrooms of terror... What does the help say ?
"Grants you terror for X+dY turns". Okay... now, what IS terror ?
I see +10 speed and some probably "non-dispellable" fear, but does it change anything to AC, to hit, to dam or anything else ?
Same for a wand of holding... a new "slow/sleep-like" item ? If it's new, it won't be useless junk, right ? [...tries it out...] I must have got something wrong :/

No upstairs never made sense to me. [...] No level regen would make sense but the game's been this way for 30 years.
Yeah, as long as the loot is finite, I guess it could be ok. (note : finite would probably mean either no respawning mobs, or having them give no XP/loot)
With preserved levels, maybe people would tend to delay vaults, and go back with some more CLvl to clear them easy ? But since the loot wouldn't be out of depth anymore by then, it might not be a problem either... anyway, I doubt going back is necessary, and it looks like one of those "don't encourage bad habits" thing, but I'm not sure it would really affect the balance.


What tradeoff do you propose for making iron man the default ?
Maybe I should have written pages about it, but I tried to keep it short, and focus on what seemed to be the most important aspect to me.
When I said the game "should be balanced accordingly", this implied a *lot* of things.
Basically, and not extensively :
  • Different difficulty options. To keep it simple : Say current drop rates aren't changed for "Hard", and consider we'd have at least "Normal" and "Noobie" added, with better and *better* drop rates. Harder difficulties would be welcome too, btw.
  • This means better equipment drops by default, so that important resist-holes hardly ever happen as long as you play right. No "I need to farm some FA / SI / Rwhatever before diving" when playing a "normal" game.
    Some guaranteed items drops at depth X or Y may be considered. (like Hengband quests or dungeon masters did)
  • This also means more consumables drops, so that one can waste a lot of them with unoptimized gameplay.
    The easiest difficulty could even include some unlimited turn lantern as starting gear (unless you picked a necromancer).
  • *Faster* paced mid & endgame. The most important here is that one shouldn't be afraid of losing 40 hours of char leveling.
    I know a good player doesn't need that much time to win, but my targets here are the other ones, which I'm trying to give the space to improve. Players which don't need that are already reading a stack of scrools of deep descent anyway.
    Faster [end]game could include
    • Runes & flavors known from start.
      I'm not sure needing to identify things, even once, makes any sense gameplay-wise by now.
      Auto-ID could happen more progressively, e.g. step by step when using downstairs, but... I think it would still be more an annoyance than an interesting mechanic.
    • Making stat gain automatic with levels. No more potions hunting.
    • Nerfing summoners, so that only uniques or exceptionnal mobs may summon summoners instead of "trash" minions.
      So that we don't need to create an anti-summoning corridor every other rooms for safe exploration or combat
    • Reliable way of getting stats & XP back somehow over time. So that stat drains (including time attacks) don't scare unexperienced players too much
    • Less or smaller lower levels ? I'm not sure at all about this. I didn't went deep enough times.
  • On the ++difficulty side, I think escapes would benefit from some nerf too. I'd say Teleport level and consumable means of *destruction* are the most acceptable mechanism, since they are not too abusable, but teleport other and unlimited banishment look like serious issues to me, since they promote the avoidance of uncomfortable decisions without missing their benefits.
  • Other difficulty scaling options could includes challenges like what DoomRL has
    • One is to win with only 5 or even 2 inventory slots instead of... 16, I think
    • One times every level with a nuke exploding after a number of moves
    • One maxes every dice roll's value
    • Etc.
    I also mentionned Hades's pact system. It includes things like "less player HP regen", "Stronger mobs", "More dangerous traps", "Worse drops", etc.
    This is just to give an idea of the higher difficulty settings which could be added.
    In my view, the difficulty palette should have options to make some game aspects *very* easy as well as very hard.
    And ideally, most of those settings could be separated, with noobie/default/challenge values, so that one could experiment with some funny mixes.
Ok... it looks like a full variant already now >.<
Hey, I just meant to "make games faster/smoother/better/funnier", yet still playable.
Not much more !

Anyway, sharing my point of views was what mattered most to me.
I can easily understand the conservative vision of most veterans when facing this, for sure.
And I'm myself very resistant to change, so how could I have expected everyone instantly agreeing with my point of view ?

I'm also pretty aware of the time all this would need to balance (and code, even if I assume most core aspects could easily be done without insane reworks).

I hope the post-wall wasn't too heavy to digest... I made my best to avoid it in my previous posts !

Pete Mack October 19, 2021 03:13

Ironman does not allow drawn out fights, except in the rarest cases. It especially doesn't allow it in a class so horribly dependent on ?phase door as a ranger. Make sure to kill every non-unique thief you detect. They drop ?PD with high odds.

Bill Peterson October 19, 2021 16:48


Originally Posted by Evilpotatoe (Post 155873)
Not an easier game, but a faster one, where learning about this or that isn't a pain, because the characer you lose would only have a few hours of play behind it. Not dozens.

Have you tried Sil yet, it has at least some of the ideas you talk about

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