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Old June 10, 2007, 01:50   #1
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[Un] Charging _long-read_

One of the goals of Unangband is to increase the complexity of melee combat. And while this gives a headache to my simple warrior loving self, I can't deny the fact that it is a good idea.
Andrew has implemented many ideas to reach this goal: Blocking and Dodging for a more tacktical combat; Monsters that resist edged or blunt weapons or both, as well as "huge" monsters that require a special charge move to be attacked efficiently. This is, from playing experience only, how charging works in the current version:

Each weapon has a charging multiply factor, that is bigger for heavy weapons. Daggers have a factor of 2, big lances go up to something like 8. To do a charge, there has to be one empty place between you and the monster. Then, move a step towards it, and use the next turn to attack. If successfull, you will do exactly one blow with your weapon, but the damage will get multiplied by the given factor. Monsters with the "huge" flag will evade most of your attacks, unless you charge them.

I like the concept of charging, but I don't really like the current implementation. Currenty, fighting big monsters deep down is not fun. Assume your warrior standing next to a Stonetroll. You move back, monster will follow -> No change happened. (That is, if you have more room to move back, something usually not true deeper down.) Or it will not follow; in that case it will throw a large rock at you instead. Then you step forward and get attacked once more. Then you do the charge, and get attacked a third time. A total of 3 troll attacks for one of yours. And that one attack of yours is exactly one heavy blow, with a good chance of actually missing. That makes it more or less better to just stay and miss 5 of your 7 normal blows for three turn. You won't believe how frustrating that is until you cross ways with your first troll pit

And that's just deeper down. The other reason for the charge implementation, and source of my recent complain is to reduce the power of light weapons early on. As you have no control, your attack will always be a charge if you did a walk in that direction before. This of course turns daggers into worse starting weapons. However i believe this to be just a wanted sideeffect of charging. Hengband has maximum skill levels for every weapon that can be set different for every class. So you want your Warriors and Paladins to use long swords & heavier? Well, give them a toHit bonus of -15 for lighter weapons instead.

So how to change it? Well I would make charging always rewarding, just less rewarding for lighter weapons. Change it to charge your one blow into the heavy one like it is now, but follow a normal attack the same turn.

For an example let's compare a) longsword 2d5 chargefactor 3 and b) dagger 1d4 chargefactor 2. Further assume +10 total melee bonus and 2 vs. 4 blows

This is a typical second dive scenario for a warrior, and the dagger easily wins 2*(2d5+10) = 32 < 50 = 4 * (1d4+10)

Now with the proposed change this would change to
3*(2d5+10)+32 and 2*(1d4+10)+50 =
80 for a) and 75 for b)

The heavier weapon wins as planned Now this is a lot damage and might cause different problems, however this is just for early game, and Andrew himself said early game might be too hard. The more intresing part is late game anyway, the time in the game that charge is most intresting.

You will likely have 6 blows, and a weapon heavy enough to get a multiplicator of 4-5. Without charge you will connect about 1-2 of your 6 blows doing 3*1.5*Blow = 4.5*Blow over three turns.
With the current charge system you'll waste two turns and will then get 4.5*Blow over three turns as well. Actually about 75% of that because of missing. So the current system would be fair if charging would never miss. Assuming a heavier weapon you could tweak this to the better but weapons are rare in Un, so good luck finding a heavy weapon that is also nicely enchanted. You defenitly won't have it in the Troll zone.
With my chargesystem this would change to 9*blow over three turns, that's 1/2 of the normal three turn damage. You will likely still want to carry a very heavy swap...

So... discuss. I'm especially intresting in hearing about others who played 062 Unangband deeper than lvl40.
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