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Old September 25, 2011, 06:25   #1
Malak Darkhunter
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PC Angband 1.4

Started giving this old version a whirl just to satisfy my curiosity, so far I like the feel of this old game, I elected the version that had more bugfixes and ui improvements over the first one. The game brings me back a lot of the moria feel to it, which that was a game I couldn't set down for long. It dosen't have the better ui and options that the newer versions do, but I feel there is alot that we can learn from it. Thanks Timo and Kaypy for bringing my attention to this one.

The game is much more unforgiving, you really have to pay attention to what is going on, the game is not set up to "take care of the character" as I call it, for the first levels and town. Shops have random inventory, you have no guarente of what they have in stock, if your stat drained you are going to have to struggle through it till you find a potion to restore it, or the store sells it. There is no examine item command, you are going to have to pay attention to what an item does. "this can be painful". But other than that it feels pretty good. I had to run it in dosbox, but was a good move I have true full screen on a 23' monitor.

The thing that I have gatherd from playing this old version kind of tells me what has happend with angband over the years.-We truly have made it to easy. What has happend Is over the years we have slowly added more and more options to make it easier and more convient to the player. It became easier to ID equipment, It became easier to find health potions, It became easier to restore drained stats, and expereince. Store prices became way to cheap. But most of all character race became to powerful on certain races. High Elf-hobbit, they were giving powerful abilities from birth over top their racial benefits.

I'm sure not everyone agrees with my theory, and that is okay, post how you think the game has changed. For the Better or For the worse? Maybe we can all get on the same page with angband.
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Old September 25, 2011, 20:34   #2
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There are three completely different reasons that the game has become easier.

First, there has over many years been a conscious effort by successive maintainers to remove any need for note-taking. If you play old versions you'll find yourself jotting down notes of what items do etc. More and more note-taking scenarios have been removed by improvements in the game which give you more information. This makes the game much much easier in the sense that you don't get penalised for forgetting stuff because the info is always there.

Second, there has over almost as many but slightly fewer years been a drive to reduce the amount of "junk", meaning items which are of no use at the point when you find them. This has resulted in some significantly problematic side-effects - and before anyone else says it, most of them have been my fault. That said, I think perhaps the single most significant was the large increase in ego items in 3.1.0 - this got rid of the junk non-ego weapons and armour in the second half of the dungeon, but led to many more useful egos and artifacts being found. But it's more important to focus on how we solve the remaining problems, and that is a big focus for the devteam (it's the main reason we put a lot of effort into the stats module for 3.3.0).

Third, there has been an on-off campaign over the years to prevent "scumming", meaning doing stuff repeatedly to get a desired but uncommon effect. So things like fixed store inventories and consumables spread throughout the dungeon prevent scumming - but also make the game easier.

So when we're asking people to chip in their two penn'orth, the best way to phrase the question is: how do we make the game more challenging without increasing note-taking, increasing junk or increasing scumming?
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Old September 25, 2011, 20:52   #3
Derakon
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If you want to prevent townscumming, then you have three options, as I see it:

1) Remove the items in question from the town entirely (as was done with stat restore potions)
2) Make the items more or less always available (as was done with ammo, C*W potions, food, etc.)
3) Make the items undesirable enough that the player isn't motivated to scum for them

That latter approach would seem to boil down to "create new junk items", which seems antithetical. We've tended towards the middle option since it seems cruel to remove items that players depend on, but perhaps we should be cruel...
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Old September 25, 2011, 21:12   #4
Timo Pietilš
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
If you want to prevent townscumming, then you have three options, as I see it:

1) Remove the items in question from the town entirely (as was done with stat restore potions)
2) Make the items more or less always available (as was done with ammo, C*W potions, food, etc.)
3) Make the items undesirable enough that the player isn't motivated to scum for them

That latter approach would seem to boil down to "create new junk items", which seems antithetical. We've tended towards the middle option since it seems cruel to remove items that players depend on, but perhaps we should be cruel...
Undesirable can also mean "too expensive". There is no point doing town-scumming if you can't afford what you are trying to get.

In F-K basic stat potion in BM costs over 20000gp. I haven't yet seen any high-level ego there, but helmet of seeing was over 40kgp. Non-ego Blade of Chaos did cost over 45k.

I don't know when those prices got lowered, but they are now nearly five times cheaper than in F-K at least with char that has 9 CHR (dwarf priest). Also difference between bought and sold items is much higher, I actually don't have much money closing 1000' even that I have bought only what I need + one time expensive 2000+ gp RoSI. At this depth I have enough money now to buy one stat potion. One. Money drops over 100k are rarity. Wands and staves sell for less than 500gp and buying just ID-scrolls/staves and recall costs you about as much as you got from dungeon.

Now even playing no-sell game I can get more money in single level before 1000' without trying much, with selling allowed I would be swimming in money by now.
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Old September 25, 2011, 22:10   #5
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I'm a bit confused by this, because when power-based pricing first came in there was outrage that costs had gone up, so they've gone down since. So I'm assuming that prices came down a lot between FK and 3.1. I'd be very happy for them to go back up (both for wearables and consumables).
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Old September 25, 2011, 21:37   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
So when we're asking people to chip in their two penn'orth, the best way to phrase the question is: how do we make the game more challenging without increasing note-taking, increasing junk or increasing scumming?
This is going sound harsh, but it's the way feel so bear with. My apologies to the dev team in advance. If you know my PoV, then you don't really need to read this because it's more of the same. I just don't think that the current dev's have the stomach to take the game back to anywhere near the difficulty it held it the old days.

The first thing that needs to be done is to eliminate scumming, stair scumming and town scumming. Make scumming so cumbersome and boring that people will refrain from doing it in all but the most severe cases. Essentially, scumming and suicide should be equally attractive options. My guess is the dev team has no stomach for this.

Once that's accomplished you can seriously start tweaking object rarity. Off hand I'd say wieldable (non-consumable) items found on the floor could all easily be reduced by half, maybe as much as 75% or even 90%.

I don't see note taking as an urgent problem. Right now the player gets too much info, but the game was probably too restrictive in the old days. I wouldn't worry about this at all (outside of the very obvious) until the other problems are solved.
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Old September 25, 2011, 22:09   #7
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No problems with any of that. Not sure why you would think we would be averse to making scumming harder, and we're definitely going to be making items rarer.
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Old September 25, 2011, 22:27   #8
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No problems with any of that. Not sure why you would think we would be averse to making scumming harder, and we're definitely going to be making items rarer.
Because I've viewed scumming as one of the biggest exploits in the game since the day I showed up here, and in all that time virtually nothing has happened to correct it.

Without going back and searching the forums , it's because IIRC there have been some good suggestions that go to eliminating scumming that haven't been considered for implementation, and it's my gut feeling that if scumming were to be eliminated, the method chosen would result in adding in some form of relatively equal compensation to the player. Anticipated net change compared to current difficulty = nil.

PS. I hope I'm wrong.
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Old September 25, 2011, 23:58   #9
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Because I've viewed scumming as one of the biggest exploits in the game since the day I showed up here, and in all that time virtually nothing has happened to correct it.
I consider basic stair scumming "solved" by disconnected stairs. Agreed? Town scumming (for gold) is trivial to remove... I haven't heard of anyone proposing to remove townsfolk drops but it's certainly not something I'd mind doing.

Scumming for items can easily be fixed through stores with only fixed inventories, store refresh on level up, or stores that never refresh (what you start with is what you get). At this point I think we're all on board for one of these and are just waiting for a patch.

Other than alter reality/teleport level I can't think of any other obvious "scumming" problems you might mean, unless you mean the fact that you can bounce between two levels over and over again killing things. I don't usually consider hanging out on dlvl 98 looking for endgame gear scumming but I guess you could. Non-persistent levels is one of Angband's hallmarks and I can't think of an easy way to remove this kind of "exploit" without making everyone play ironman, or doing something draconian like removing all drops while "replaying" levels.

Incidentally, I don't think the "easiness of Angband" has to do with scumming as much as with detection and escapes. Once I learned the "correct" way to play Angband I found that even 3.0.9b (the version before any current dev started) was pretty easy (in most senses). It's just a matter of identifying everything, knowing the artifact set in advance, detection and escapes, and not taking risks. I know Timo talks about being able to win pretty much every game and I bet that was true even before 3.0.9b. You might imagine playing dungeon 98 again and again for hours would be dangerous but it isn't as long as you have a 100% effective escape to fall back on.

Downgrading 0% fail to something like 0.1% fail, or 0.01% fail would have a huge impact on difficulty, because it would impose something of a time limit... e.g. if you try this escape too many times it will eventually fail and you'll die. Then we can tweak those percentages. Right now late game priests/mages play with no risk, and scrolls like teleport-level, *destruction*, banishment, etc are foolproof (assuming you aren't blind/confused/etc).

Recalling is a big problem in the game too, both as an escape, a way to refresh levels, and a way to scum the town (or even just replentish consumables). If I were king of the world I'd probably make something more like ironman the default play style. Hunger would be more of an issue (I'd remove satisfy hunger spells and probably have limited food stocks in town). You might die because you got unlucky about item drops and ran out of something you needed. People don't usually lobby for those specific changes though.

In conclusion: F-K is harder to play. I'm interested in making V harder to play too. I don't think scumming is what makes current V seem easier than F-K (in fact, the older Angband encourages/requires more scumming and repetitive play). Despite all the general concern about difficulty, I predict that most people would be outraged (and probably no one pleased) if 0% fail actions/spells are weakened in V.

We'll see I guess. Patches welcome!
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Old September 26, 2011, 00:41   #10
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Would it be possible to implement semi persistant levels? Hengband has this and it works really well. If you're on level 1 and go down the stairs you get a randomly generated level, but if you go back up the stairs level one is unchanged. This would prevent a lot of stairscumming but keep random levels. On the new level if you take any stairs but the one you entered from, fall through a trap door or recall you can't get back to the original level one. I think you could keep going all the way back to the surface if you remembered Wichita stairs you took, but would work fine if it was only one level.
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