Thread: Sil-Q Review
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Old January 10, 2019, 23:53   #33
Quirk
Swordsman
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 269
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Originally Posted by Wiwaxia View Post
I went to make an account to delurk and comment on this thread and discovered I'd already made one... 5 years ago? God.
Exceptionally good to have you posting. I've very much enjoyed your comments on your ladder characters.

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Originally Posted by Wiwaxia View Post
I just tried a few abortive runs with Song of Delvings after Scatha mentioned liking it. I was pretty unimpressed by it's description on paper but I absolutely love it in practice. Having that additional information to work with is nice for seeing where you might get flanked, planning possible escape routes, and spotting special rooms in advance (I look forward to avoiding wolf pens entirely once I survive deeper). I got consistently killed by rushing to it over more reasonable early-game investments because it's so fun to have.
Hopefully a slightly more reasonably costed version can find its way to be a fixture in places other than the ascent!

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Originally Posted by Wiwaxia View Post
I would love to see Slaying and Sharpness return to Sil-Q on thematic grounds. I wonder if there's a place for Slaying as a "capstone" song, possibly combined with Challenge as Scatha mentioned so that it proactively drew in enemies to keep up momentum in more sparsely populated areas of the dungeon.
I would like to find a way to bring some variant of Sharpness back - probably at a much cheaper cost. Songs are hard to balance though as you usually gain the benefits of only one of them at a time, while you slowly lose Voice, and you attract more foes. This requires quite a lot of raw power to overcome, but enough raw power and a song tips over into an obvious pick, and a song that is an obvious melee pick in the endgame risks outshining simple useful options such as Trees and Freedom. Mastery also exists at present in a somewhat endangered position: the Song needed to make it good exists primarily on Lorien builds which don't really need it, and on the too-rare Elbereth archer. A more combat effective song in a similar position really would serve to virtually obsolete it.

Song of Overwhelming - Song of Fierce Blows at the start - began as an attempt to provide guaranteed effectiveness without the huge investment needed for Mastery. It failed; it did not offer enough over Song of Staying, and even if it had there was no ladder to get there. The ladders are Elbereth, Silence and Lorien and none of them work well for a non-stealthy melee character.

I may reconsider whether it is possible to make a melee ladder Song in making a fresh attempt at the Song tree. It is a little difficult in that moving on to the next Song requires the last to be outshone. Lorien is a clear upgrade on Silence, Mastery is an expensive and initially slightly dubious upgrade on Elbereth, but Slaying/Staying/Sharpness don't scale all that well over most of the game, and Challenge/Staying/Overwhelming have not done much better. My main idea at present is to keep the territory the ladder needs to reach short, so investing in a new song is not so daunting. Perhaps we can see more prerequisites return in time, but songs will need to be a little more popular first.

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Originally Posted by Wiwaxia View Post
I'd also be in favor of ditching blunt weapons as a category. Having sceptres as a dedicated stat-stick weapon type (i.e. Sceptres of Power) makes some sense thematically, but my impression is that Sil design doesn't really favor stat-sticks. I agree that sceptres and crowns should be rarer, and possibly special-only.
On some level I like the notion of descending with robe and staff, but the approach really works only for the dedicated pacifist, and there aren't that many of us.

I would be tempted if I got to playing properly with level generation to reintroduce items which were more explicitly tailored to flavour than gameplay. I would rather though have Angband filled with things crudely made by orcs than broken elf-things. The latter is tolerable as long as it suits gameplay but it irks my inner simulationist.

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Originally Posted by Wiwaxia View Post
I have to say I do like consumables as they are from a gameplay perspective, even if they don't make complete thematic sense. I'm still holding out for Herbs of Athelas and maybe Niphredil. I like the Sil-Q trend of adding a bit more variety in items and adding more of interest to the upper levels.
Athelas! Yes. I would prefer to do more with herbs and less with potions, though I do love the way Orcish Liquor works. This would be a potentially hefty rebalancing though, and in truth there's a limited supply of Tolkien-faithful consumable magical substances.

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Originally Posted by Wiwaxia View Post
I think the question of ease of detecting and disarming traps is mostly a sideshow to the fact that Sil's trap design, with the exception of roosts and webs, is not great or at least certainly not up to the standards of the rest of the game. I might make a thread on this, actually, if there's not a minimum post limit to do so.
This is largely why I have weakened them so. I feel traps that the player is expecting are fair, provided the consequences are not too ruinous and in alignment with player expectations. If the player can choose to take the risk and has means of mitigating that risk, the player largely has themselves to blame when the trap shuts. Currently, traps spawn in places with no underlying logic, and a player who has fallen through a floor or damaged their armour simply through underinvestment in Perception or a poor roll is entitled to feel a little upset.

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Originally Posted by Wiwaxia View Post
Finally, this doesn't quite fit with the current discussion but a thought about Sil I've had for a while is that Morgoth shouldn't be immune to fear, at least until the player has picked up a silmaril, on thematic grounds. His cowardice, and his fear of Elbereth in particular, is frequently noted in canon and I think that cowardice is a major part of Tolkien's conception of evil in general and the way it is often both seemingly unstoppable and pathetic.
This is a not unreasonable stance, though I am not sure he would necessarily flee the player when the player comes into his very own lair. He did not flee Fingolfin at the gates, for all he took his sweet time coming up, and I don't think second-hand Valar would be enough to scare the originator of the attack on the Trees, for all he may have feared Tulkas. Still, I'd listen to other opinions on it.
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