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-   -   do something about greatswords? (http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=6907)

bagori nd August 16, 2014 14:32

do something about greatswords?
 
I've been wondering for a while whether greatswords should be changed. Do other people have opinions about this? (Has this been discussed to death earlier?)

I can think of a few possibilities:

(a) Leave greatswords as they are.

As they stand, greatswords are just heavier, less-versatile bastard swords. This makes them are better than bastard swords if you have Charge (and/or are very strong but lack Momentum), but otherwise strictly worse. This annoys me: every other weapon (except for the very early ones, which are and should be inferior, and the very late ones, which are and should be better) has a distinctive function and feel.

Still, the current system does make for interesting choices when you find a greatsword with better stats and/or a better ego than the bastard swords you've seen, which (since greatswords have a lower natural depth) often happens. The artefact balance it yields is also spot-on: Calris, ironically, would never work as a bastard sword, and if Saithnar could be used one-handed the black swords wouldn't be as special as they should be.

(b) Boost greatsword accuracy to -1 (and +0 for mithril versions).

This is the possibility I'd most like to see discussed. I don't think it'd be overkill, but maybe I'm wrong. It would meaningfully distinguish greatswords from bastard swords without throwing anything else out of whack, and in an intuitive way: the two would still be similar, but since greatswords are supposed specially designed for two-handed use, they should be a little better at it than weapons that aren't. (Note, however, that even when used two-handed bastard swords would have a niche: as significantly lighter weapons, they will still crit more, despite their lower accuracy.)

(c) Change greatswords to (-3, 4d3) [+1].

Here greatswords correspond a lot more closely to greataxes, and the choice between a bastard sword and a greatsword turns on how strong you are.

However, this might make them too much like hammers and axes, and it would mess up the lovely artefact balance.

debo August 16, 2014 15:45

A minor change like bumping them by a damage side would help a bit too. Right now hand-and-a-halfing a bsword is exactly the same as a greatsword with better crits.

wobbly August 16, 2014 15:49

The main use I can see for greatswords in their current form is with a greatsowrd of Nargothrond & a strength potion against balrogs & the unique dragons. My biggest issue is there a pain to swap with a sword and shield setup. If I could swap back in 1 turn and didn't drop my shield in the process I'd be happier.

Arseface August 16, 2014 16:41

I'm kind of confused as to why having certain weapons being strictly better than others is an issue for a game where you have broken swords and depth influenced loot.

There's also the matter of just needing a heavy sword for strength elves with charge.

absolutego August 16, 2014 17:25

you really don't, because momentum exists

taptap August 16, 2014 17:35

They were underpowered when strength bonus was per 1.5 lb, but had a niche in the form of weight dependent abilities. With the uniform 1 lb per strength bonus since 1.1 they had their unique niche as the blade for the strong elf. But with 1.2 came momentum and with it the loss of any urgency to move to heavier blades at seriously high (buffed) strength unless you play weird challenges (like no ability play). However, I seriously love momentum.

I agree that 4d3 greatsword would be too much like hammers or great axes. An accuracy bonus would likely not make too much difference, I don't know.
Sth. else which could be considered are special ego types available only for two-handed weapons...

Of course there is arguably the point that the whole shortsword / longsword / bastard sword / greatsword series is somewhat messed up (historically) anyway.

bagori nd August 17, 2014 00:38

Oh! One fix--which I now find really promising--might be to change how hand-and-a-half weapons work: when you wield one with both hands, you don't get +2 sides, but +2 effective Strength, like Charge.

So, if you have a 3 lb. bastard sword and 2 str, you only get one bonus side if you two-hand it (without Momentum), since you run up against the Strength limit. Even with Momentum, you're effectively capped at 4 str--not enough to take advantage of potions or Charge if you're strong already.

The result would be to bring greatswords back to their original unique niche as the blade for the strong elf, without messing anything else up.

bagori nd August 17, 2014 19:25

Or, to throw out one more idea, maybe part of the issue is that momentum tips the balance in favor of light-to-medium weapons too much in general. In particular, it makes each pound of a weapon's weight past 4 or so basically superfluous.

To fix this, what if instead momentum only doubled your strength limit up to the first (say) 3 lbs., and after that it halved the weapon's remaining weight for determining crits? (So it would have a Finesse-like effect--potentially a big one--for heavy weapons.)

That is, your weapon's strength limit would be doubled or increased by 3, whichever was lower. But for every 1 lb. of weapon weight over 3, the base number you needed to get critical hits would go down by 0.5.

For example: now a 7 lb. greatsword allows up to 14 points of Str bonus with momentum--overkill!--but increases the number you need for criticals by 7 (normally to 14). Under the new system, it would allow up to 10 points of Str bonus but only increase your crit threshold by 5: with it, momentum would work like subtlety.

(Note that the overall effect is to make a weapon's effective weight for purposes of Strength double its effective weight for purposes of criticals, just like the current system. The difference is that heavier weapons get treated as lighter all around; there's less overkill.)

If you combine this with my last post--where two-handing a hand-and-a-half weapon increases your effective strength, not just your damage sides--greatswords have a definite niche again. Even with momentum, strong characters would have to use greatswords when charging or buff to take advantage of all their strength.

Infinitum August 17, 2014 23:20

Maybe I'm speaking heresy here, but perhaps removing the weight requirement of utilizing strength outright and rebalance from there? This would remove the need of keeping very heavy weapons around for the 4-native-strength+charge-crowd whilst making strength less of a dump stat for fencers and stabbers. It would also make Momentum/Rapid Attack a less mandatory choice once the +strength equipment starts piling up.

Of course, this would remove some complexity from the combat system since less weight would always be better, however in practice strong characters would still gravitate toward heavier weapons since those tend to have more damage dice (to take advantage of said strength) and weaker characters would still benefit more from taking (light) weapons with high intrisic die values.

Perhaps even change the weight designation from pounds to something more abstract like "Balance Value" or somesuch - this would also open up some design space for supremely well balanced artifact swords (say, removing Sharpness from Saithnar and making it a 1-2"lb" Bastard Sword instead to differentiate it from the black swords).

taptap August 18, 2014 08:08

Quote:

Originally Posted by Infinitum (Post 94840)
removing the weight requirement of utilizing strength // however in practice strong characters would still gravitate toward heavier weapons since those tend to have more damage dice

Bad idea! With critical hits what weapon has more dice - a subtle 2 lb longsword or a 6 lb greatsword? It would completely wreck the combat system, instead of hard choices you could always just collect the strictly better (light and +more) weapon.

I like the proposal to make the two-handing bonus of +2 a strength bonus, I remember making the same proposal somewhere in fact. (There already are modifiers that work as hidden strength bonus in the game, e.g. knockback with a two-handed weapon.) It also would achieve what the old system (strength bonus limit 1lb and 1.5lb for two-handed) aimed for = with a certain high strength wielding a bastard sword two handed does not give benefits anymore, without the downside of the old system, where possibly you would do less damage two-handed at one point.


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