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Old March 7, 2019, 18:55   #103
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,411
Grotug is on a distinguished road
In the 5 years I've been playing Angband I don't remember changes to the game as drastic as the ones that are occurring now. It might not be a bad idea for Nick to slow down a bit; pick one aspect of the game to overhaul and get it right before going to the next.

While I am by nature more prone to align with the "preserve sacred game" mentality of Tiberius and Tangar, I'm also open to hear the arguments for why that sort of mentality is perhaps not very wise at all and may even be misguided. And I don't get the impression Tangar and Tiberius have really heard those arguments. I actually found Tangar's post very compelling and very similar to the type of sentiment I might have about something dear to me when I read it. But I also found the counter arguments very compelling, too, and the sheer number of them to be quite persuasive. I also don't feel I am very wise in terms of knowing what is best for Angband in terms of its lore or themes, given my limited knowledge of Tolkien and D&D. So... weighing that all in my mind, I don't really feel I'm in a position to say that some kind of butchering is going on; but I do relate to the tendency to feel that way when I see drastic changes happening: as such, I avoided the new branch for a long time because I felt the class changes were way too drastic, which I guess is why I think maybe not change two major aspects of the game simultaneously.

I'm not sure I agree with the idea that the game always needs to change or it will die. I think the game should be changed for the purpose of perfecting it, not out of fear it will stop being interesting. The game is well interesting enough as it is. It's the balance that could always be improved, imo. The games imbalance or bugs should be fixed before any overhauling should take place. The most glaring bug in my mind is the randart weapon power bug. Seems to me it should have immediate priority over everything else to be fixed.

With regards to the need to change something to keep it fresh, I'll refer to car design as an example that affects me personally. Car manufacturers feel they need to update how their cars look each model update, changes that are purely aesthetic (and to some extent to increase fuel economy). Engineering updates make sense; technology is always improving what cars can do and their safety. But for a long time now cars have not been getting any better looking (imo). They peaked in the 90s. The Mclaren F1 is still the best looking supercar of all time, yet new mclarens didn't bother keeping that perfect look. The "purist" in me complains about this. The purist in me also complains about new doom games (the original doom is still the best in my mind). Fortunately Nick isn't removing any monsters from Angband that are iconic (imagine if some maintainer of Doom decided demons, imps and cacodemons didn't fit in Doom!) Good thing the equivalent of that isn't happening to Angband under Nick's watch. I guess my point is, the attitude that Angband should keep being changed to keep it from dying seems too close to the idiotic car manufacturing logic of: thing should be updated for the sake of being updated. Car manufacturers update the look of their cars when the look of their cars was just fine and didn't need an update. Angband should keep being changed because something about it can genuinely be improved by being changed, not out of a fear of it becoming stale. That all said, let's imagine a scenario where Angband, by the power of some super-genius maintainer achieved perfection in the eyes of most players. This does not mean the game will remain unchanged for eternity and become stale, even in this unlikely scenario, what will be perceived as perfect will change in time (by virtue of tastes changing and technological advancements), and so valid impetuses to change/improve Angband would still come about.

I am not so married to the Lore of the game to be overly bothered by the lore changes, and the lore changes seem to be by and large reasonable: few monsters I'm attached to seem to be getting the axe (I'm still hoping Osse survives). This is a good opportunity to again stress that maybe too much change too quickly to a beloved game is not a good idea. Giving the monster lore more cohesion seems a good idea; going full Tolkien on the lore and removing D&D elements seems maybe too much change too soon; better to make small changes, release to public, see how they like, first. I don't even have much experience with D&D, yet I would like to see most of the D&D stuff remain, because I feel like it has a long-standing heritage and I like the idea of conserving that heritage. Of course, if Nick is more wise than Tiberius, Tangar and me, then with the passage of time, it will be revealed that the lore changes do in fact make Angband a better game.

I've never been crazy about the classes overhaul, but since I mostly play Warrior it doesn't affect me all that much. That said, I am not terribly happy with the current implementation of shield bash. I think its implementation is a bit crude at the moment: it's both too powerful and at times annoying.

1. Too powerful: even with a dinky wicker shield (which can be bought for 2 gold pieces) you can stun and confuse monsters, almost for free during melee.

2. Annoying: When @ learns a monster cannot be stunned or confused he still bashes it with his shield.

What I propose: the size of the shield should affect the efficacy of the shield bash. How much damage @ does with his weapon should affect how often he attempts a shield bash. If you are doing 800 damage per round, shield bashes are sorta pointless. Overall, right now shield bashes are a bit too frequent.

If shield bashes cannot be fine tuned, I'd like them to removed, or have their frequency greatly reduced.

I think a simple solution if Nick (or anyone else) doesn't want to spend a lot of time fine tuning shield bash, is to have only large and mithril shields give shield bashes, and reduce how often shield bashes happen. Or, only artifact shields should have the possibility of giving shield bashes.

Fine tunings I'd propose:

If @ can kill monster in less than 4 rounds, do not attempt shield bash.
If more than 3 rounds but less than 7 rounds is required for @ to kill monster, attempt shield bash early in the fight, but don't bother once monster is below 50% health.
If @ requires more than 7 rounds to kill monster, attempt shield bashes regularly.
If @ knows a monster cannot be stunned or confused, never attempt shield bash.

I don't know what percentage shield bashes get attempted currently, but whatever that number is, that probably should be the max @ attempts them, the criterion for that being he has a large or mithril shield and/or an artifact shield with a shield bash buff and the monster he is fighting will take more than seven turns to defeat.

I guess in summary I should say that since Nick is attempting a lot of big changes simultaneously, he take all the necessary time to ensure that they are super fine tuned and balanced before calling them good enough. And let's not forget to fix the current game imbalances, too.

It's actually kinda interesting people get more up in arms about the big changes to familiarity but they seem less concerned about changes that affect gameplay balance (I seem to be the only one bothered by 8d5 branded/evil weapons being generated on DL36 with a 6 treasure feeling). Two changes that are affecting my enjoyment of new angband the most are relatively very small: extra shots nerf (boring!) and shield bash (crudely implemented). I think in time I'll probably (hopefully) grow to see the new classes and lore changes as improvements to Angband, but I'm less convinced I wouldn't be much happier to see Ranger lose extra shots in its current nerfed form and have it replaced with extra might.
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