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Old April 10, 2013, 07:49   #5
bron
Swordsman
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Saratoga, California (in the midst of Silicon Valley)
Posts: 448
bron is on a distinguished road
(1) The character build system is very, very nice. The ability to customize characters to suit your playstyle is attractive. The lack of "classes" is an important part of that: any character can (potentially) learn any ability. But no-one can do everything, so you must learn to wisely pick and choose what skills and abilities are important for what character type(s).

(2) The other side of (1)'s coin is that the balance is fine enough that many different playstyles are accommodated and effective. I am terrible with Stealthy characters, yet I see plenty of winners with little or no combat skill.

(3) The game is lean and uncluttered, yet does not sacrifice interesting features. A simple example is the number of weapon types: Vanilla Angband has an incredible profusion of melee weapons, but it largely serves no purpose as they are not sufficiently distinguished from each other. Sil has maybe a tenth as many, and each type has something interesting and different about it. A more subtle example is the lack of "classes" and "character levels". This throws out a great deal of cruft, but retains the essential idea that a character "advances" via gaining experience, learning new abilities and becoming more powerful.

(4) The lack of overpowering artifacts or abilities. Ringil and Idril come close, but for the most part items and artefacts provide a nice but only incremental boost to the character.

(5) Every object has a time and a place where they are useful. Longswords are not always better than shortswords; it depends on the character.

(6) Resistances are not absolute: your sword may grant you Resist Fear, but that Great Drake can still make you afraid.

(7) No matter how good you are, you can (and will) still die. I admit to having somewhat ambiguous feelings about this, but consider it an important part of the "Sil experience". At one point, I had gotten good enough at Vanilla that, if I paid attention, I could win more often than not. That is simply not true for Sil. The variance is high enough (especially in the early stages), and there are no guaranteed escapes, that no matter how good you are you can still find yourself in a situation from which there is no escape. Everything is a risk, anything might kill you. Part of me doesn't like the idea that this means that in order to win you have to get lucky, or that a promising character can be killed off by the game in some unavoidable way. But at the same time part of me likes the idea that getting good just means that you no longer *have* to get lucky to win, but you still need to *not* get unlucky.

(8) I really like the way Songs of Power do their magic. Subtle, yet powerful, they aid the character but don't take over. Song of Slaying doesn't slay anything, but it makes you better at it. Narya didn't throw fireballs, it stoked the fires in hearts and minds. And so on.

(9) The game is very polished , well tested, well balanced, and well thought out. The controls are simple and easy.
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