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Old July 13, 2020, 23:26   #1
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, US
Posts: 3,023
fizzix is on a distinguished road
4.2.1 Druid feedback

I recently played a Druid on angband live (and on twitch). The character isn't done yet, but he's rapidly approaching the confrontation with Sauron/Morgoth, so I figured I'd give some feedback now on the gameplay. I'll start with some general stuff and then do a detailed feedback on the Druid spells, just like what was done for the Priest.

First. The game is still awesome. I love a lot of the new changes, both the ones for flavor and the ones for gameplay. A lot of the specifics will come below, so I'll focus on the general here. The early game is great, and so is the midgame. Pacing is pretty spot on through say dlevel 50, clevel 30. Forced descent felt a lot more difficult than it used to be (that may be because I'm rusty, but even if it's not, that's not a bad thing!) I didn't play forced descent in this game for that reason. The endgame drags a bit, as it always has, but this might be ok. If most players die before the endgame (and most do) it's ok to have the endgame drag.

I am a big supporter of the new split between movement speed and global speed (which the druid can get in fox form or eagle form). I think this opens up some possibilities, including perhaps a "staff of movement" which gives +1 moves and can be a weaker version of the "staff of speed". The other staff that I think should exist, and be sold in stores too, is a "staff of detect life." The main reason for this staff existing is for flimsy characters like necromancers to not be instakilled by a blood falcon on the other side of a door.

I like that high level resists are now really important. My previous character got one-shot from a double-move nether bolt from a druj. I had never prioritized rnether in the past. But now it's important.

I made pretty good use of slow monster, and hold monster can be tactically useful early on. Stun monster is also pretty good. Confuse monster is only good for a fairly small window. I didn't find much use for sleep or scare, both are too unreliable, and don't buy enough time. You are far better off teleporting away. (Plus monsters can often execute their most dangerous attacks when fleeing, which feels a bit off). In all cases, the wand forms are good but the staff forms were useless. A staff of sleep monster is more likely to wake up a monster than cause it to go to sleep. Staves are heavier and hitting everything in LoS can often be a liability rather than an advantage. Buffs/debuffs has always been a bit of a weak spot for Angband, so it does feel nice to have these be useful and I have to relearn a bit how I approach the game (which is great!)

One suggestion I would have is to update the speed of a monster on recall to include current buffs/debuffs. Does casting slow more than once actually slow the monster more? Does it increase the slow time? Neither? The game doesn't currently tell you.

I love the enemy humanoid reskins. These are pretty much 100% good. The one monster I really think needs some rework is the ents. They are fast, tanky, hit hard, and track you across the level. Rather than nerfing them in a usual way, I might suggest giving them a flag which causes them to fall asleep if the player is out of sight (for some number of turns?) Blood falcons are also a bit of annoyance, but they're only a real problem for characters that have no way of detecting them.

On the endgame non-uniques. The new late game dragons are a nice touch, but super powerful, and probably not worth fighting. The new demon, the fury, can be a bit of a problem because of the move through walls. Demon summoning can get a bit out of hand because of it. I think not allowing monsters to summon while they are in a wall would solve a good chunk of the problems.

I really like the new black breath mechanic. The druid has a spell counter, but I imagine it's kind of a pain for other characters, and probably necessitates hoarding vigor mushrooms. The movement of the ringwraiths to later level bosses leaves a bit of a hole in the midgame uniques. I think some of the late game uniques could be weakened and moved earlier to take their slots. I'd target monsters like the Phoenix, Tevildo, Feagwath and Cantoras for "demotion" I'd also like to see the three stone trolls weakened and dropped to dl25 or so. After all, these monsters weren't anything special.

Monsters with trample probably should not be summonable. While it makes sense from a reality perspective, it's really not fair for a player to fight a long lengthy battle with Lorgan only to have him get trampled by his summon at 10% health. Stuff like that is very deflating.

Onto the spells!
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