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Old July 2, 2009, 06:01   #1
andrewdoull
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Unangband competition post-mortem

I'd like to start a thread here, and on Ascii Dreams, for analysis of what worked and what didn't work in the Unangband competition. I'll start with the feedback from drchung, and let anyone else contribute their ideas. Feel free to use this as a wide ranging platform for game design discussion and how playing Angband and variants 'should' feel:
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Post-mortem: This has been a really really fun variant. For me, the big draw was the quest-like zones. There was such a strong flavor from the lord of the rings arc that it really made it interesting to push from zone to zone.

It is really hard to judge the difficulty of the game. On the one hand, the player gets so many advantages, from an inherent speed boost from agility, truly immense hp, bags to hold all the buffs and potions that you can want, and runes to get the egos that you want eventually.

And yet, this warrior didn't dominate the late levels like I am used to in other variants. I think the AC damage reductions that the monsters get is a huge part of this-- I feel in most bands, warriors thrive when they can whack monsters really fast. That just doesn't really seem to happen in U. Even with the 5d9+45 firebrand axe, killing wyrms was a hard slog and things like minotaur lords, ents, the tougher golems, and many of the bigger undead were just not worth fighting.

In some ways, the warrior played a lot like priests in other variants, focused on fighting a war of attrition. That made the tight packed mobs in especially the tower boards quite difficult to face. That combined with much less consistent escape (I found the ?o<>creation to be the best method) can make things tricky.

Still, I feel it was tough but fair, and I think an experienced player of this variant can turn it to a not-so-hard experience. It is just different from the normal 'band experience-- diving is not the answer, and you have to get used to fighting uniques sooner than you expect in V. Still, you get those juicy hp, natural speed boost, and all the potions you can drink.
I'll post my own feedback in a separate post, but feel free to make your own suggestions.
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Old July 2, 2009, 06:24   #2
andrewdoull
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewdoull View Post
I'll post my own feedback in a separate post, but feel free to make your own suggestions.
I've already had feedback about what is required to balance out some of the melee weaknesses of warriors: Matthias Rudolf has done an analysis to make melee against huge monsters feel less of a slog. On the other hand, I'm glad in a way that scaling up player power hasn't made the player any less fearful of the deepest monsters in the game.

In a way, the feedback you've given me tells me as much I still haven't found a satisfactory answer to the 'warrior problem' - how do you make warriors more interesting without just making them play like a spell caster.

I'm tempted to go back to basics: Angband is all about the inventory slots and everything else is secondary. Maybe the path of a warrior should be more about carrying additional swap weapons: ones for huge monsters, ones for evasive monsters and so on.

That also suggests making weapons which have even higher ego multipliers, instead of just boosting the permitted damage bonus.

How high a multiplier would have tempted you to make your weapon a SLAY (or execute)_DRAGON one instead of a BRAND_FIRE weapon?

Andrew
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Last edited by andrewdoull; July 2, 2009 at 06:31.
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Old July 2, 2009, 12:01   #3
drchung
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I think that your idea to make swap weapons the solution is a really good idea. Let me tell you why I decided not to use swap weapons.

1. For Inyare, since he was restricted to 5 attacks a round and because of the way enchantments worked, the best weapons were the big ones like executioner axes. I was lucky to find a 5d9 ego one, which is quite a bit better than the next best alternative. The fact that it was firebrand was a bit of a bonus, though I'd have preferred it to be ego-less so I could have runed it into an acid one.

2. Because the best weapons were the big ones, swap weapons would be *very* heavy. Even with max strength, each one would almost by themselves knock off a point of speed.

3. I considered and sometimes used different weapons for different bosses (mainly a 3d9 +2 westernesse with poison). Again, I left the 5d9 at home on those occasions because of weight concerns.

4. I collected unenchanted 4d8 axes in order to enchant them with runes. If I didn't have the 5d9, I probably would have carried different ones at different times, but the 5d9 seemed so good, and in the end I got a little lazy.

In the end I am not sure how tempting a slay would have to be to get use. The main constraint is weight and on making sure that the slays get on the right weapon. I had a gondolin 4d8 that I'd consider using if again there wasn't that weight issue. The danger that I'd see is that it would make the guardian uniques easier to defeat (as you know exactly where they are and can tailor your weapon for them) without really impacting the ability to defeat the deep mobs. And maybe that is how it should be-- otherwise survivability is so high that being a warrior would be a breeze.

Instead of trying to make slays have more attractive damage, maybe it should be easier to sculpt your weapon? For instance, with runes you can overwrite rings, potions, and wands. Maybe the same thing should be available with weapons? That way, you can carry around your big stick, and (at a big cost in runes) tailor it to the situation.

A bigger concern that I have is thrown weapons. I did not find them very useful in general. I'd carefully save up a bunch of pretty good ones (2d9 and 3d4 for instance), and when I threw them they'd inevitably get destroyed by acid, fire, or other balls on the ground, which was tremendously frustrating. They are so inferior to launcher weapons anyway, and losing them on the ground is the last straw. In the end, I tried instead saving harmful potions, but screwed up their usage by creating anti-summoning tunnels and realizing that I couldn't use them against Sauron without hitting myself. They weren't plentiful enough (except weakness) to use against normal monsters anyway, and were saved for guardians (I *loved* killing Saruman with a thrown potion).
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Old July 2, 2009, 19:22   #4
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I would prefer swap weapons to being able to re-rune, but at least re-runing allows some flexibility. Regarding slays, I just can't see carrying around a slay unless I know I'm going to be using it all the time - I usually prefer an elemental damage type.

I might be tempted to carry an extra weapon with the speed penalty if items of +speed weren't so small. Currently I have a =speed +3 and that's as good as I've seen so far.

And throwing hasn't been very useful at all w/Inyare. I don't know what to suggest, though.
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Old July 3, 2009, 12:49   #5
andrewdoull
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VRBones has some additional comments here.
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