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Old June 24, 2017, 16:30   #21
Pete Mack
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@sky --
Mage is THE hardest class for a novice player. You can't expect to melee anything for HP until around CL40 as a HE/Dunadan and you are struggling to get XP with spellcasting. Early Melee is only useful against extremely weak monsters and you are saving SP makes sense. (Later you will have more blows and it will work better.)

As a mage exercise, I strongly recommend trying to reach CL 20 with as few kills as possible. (10 kills per CL is a feasible but difficult target.) It means you will have to
(a) dive HARD (you'll likely be at dl 30 by Cl 17 or so.)
(b) actively hunt monsters with high EXP (or loot) to effort payoff. Being aware of these monsters is a critical part of the game.
(c) actively avoid almost everything else, unless they are in the way of a high value target. You may want to stair scum a little bit for levels with safe starting rooms.

After CL 20, this exercise gets harder to follow, because you start needing equipment, and loot requires kills.
Finally: NEVER hunt cutpurses for EXP. There are other targets with a vastly higher ROI for your time and effort.

Gnome mage is probably easiest for this exercise, though I played it with HE, where SI is free. In one game, I was having trouble maintaining pace until I met an out of depth Erinyes at DL34/CL18 and killed it for 5000 exp and 3 character levels.

Selected Monsters that pay for their native level
* Low-HP uniques (Bullroarer, Wormtongue, Lagduf etc. NOT the blue uniques and above, unless you're lucky with devices or archery.)
* kobold ranger
* dark elf
* Wolf/white wolf (you can snipe then with perfect safety from one square back in a door.)
* low level hounds. After your first pack, the payoff false off rapidly.
* Young and mature dragons
* low level 'U'
* Mumak

Here is an example:
http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=19649
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Old June 24, 2017, 17:12   #22
Sky
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mage isn't even the worst offender here; other classes are. what happens when you play a warrior and you roll all 1s?

im talking specifically the first 4~5 character levels. NOT interested in CL50, 18/200 CON, statistics on the long run, but the playability of a BRAND NEW CHARACTER that fails his first 2,3 or 4 hp rolls. Surely you understand that escape / detect are NOT always an option when you have a brand new character.

Ooh but you should use lightning bolt which costs 4 SP and is a level 5 spell OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT FIT THE CASE.

im asking specifically and exclusively for the first 3 hp rolls. this will result in - for those here who love statistics - a massive unbalance of about 0~20HP at endgame, maybe 30 for warriors.
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Old June 24, 2017, 18:07   #23
Pete Mack
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I understand your point. The point the rest of us are trying to make is that if you are struggling with the first three level ups, you are likely not playing to an effective strategy.
Things to consider:
* are you spending your initial cash wisely?
* are you regularly exhausting your mama, to the extent of risking your character?
* are you risking your character and wasting your starting purchases by spending too much time at low dungeon levels?
* are you choosing your fights wisely?

If you are having a particular kind of trouble at Cl 4 then you will still have the same trouble at CL30. An extra 4.5* HP points won't help you. Focusing on the special of the fist 3 character levels will tend to teach the wrong lesson.

* 3*(MHP+2)/4. 4.5HP is the mean HP boost for a HE mage, with a range of 0-12, or 3*(MHP-1)
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Old June 24, 2017, 18:22   #24
luneya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky View Post
mage isn't even the worst offender here; other classes are. what happens when you play a warrior and you roll all 1s?

im talking specifically the first 4~5 character levels. NOT interested in CL50, 18/200 CON, statistics on the long run, but the playability of a BRAND NEW CHARACTER that fails his first 2,3 or 4 hp rolls. Surely you understand that escape / detect are NOT always an option when you have a brand new character.

Ooh but you should use lightning bolt which costs 4 SP and is a level 5 spell OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT FIT THE CASE.

im asking specifically and exclusively for the first 3 hp rolls. this will result in - for those here who love statistics - a massive unbalance of about 0~20HP at endgame, maybe 30 for warriors.
If you're a warrior rather than a mage, you're probably playing a race with a big enough hit die that rolling all 1s is even less likely than in the mage case. You also get +2 starting CON for being a warrior, and most likely have a race with additional CON bonuses. So getting hosed on HP isn't a worry. And the complaint that you'll still be 20-30 hp short at endgame in the worst case scenario is laughable, given that at that point you're taking damage and using heal potions for hundreds of hp at once.

Suggesting lightning bolt, I was thinking of bandits, native to DL 8 (my mistake). For the DL 2 cutpurses, and anything else you encounter in your first few levels as a mage, obviously you use magic missile instead. Escape is via scrolls of phase door, which are cheap enough that you can (and should) buy a lot of them with your starting gold. It wouldn't be crazy for a mage to select the birth option to receive extra gold instead of the standard start kit, and then spend the extra gold on buying more escapes. As for detection, basic detect monster is a first-level spell, and by the time you're deep enough to need it, you'll have enough character levels (and thus MP) that you can afford to detect constantly--at least if you go with a conventional strategy rather than the sort of extreme non-fighting powerdive that Pete Mack suggests. On the non-fighting strategy, you can afford the required detection by virtue of the fact that you're not fighting anything, and thus don't need to save mana.
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Old June 24, 2017, 18:25   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Mack View Post
* are you regularly exhausting your mama, to the extent of risking your character?
Lol! Funny typo
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Old June 24, 2017, 18:37   #26
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Seriously. Although a few more hp would make some difference, a different strategy would make a huge difference. Your first strategy is dependent on luck, even if the game is tweaked to accomodate this, in the long run you will be better of trying other ways instead. Speed diving for instance sounds insane but actually slow level clearing is even more insane if you look at the numbers. Finding the right balance for yourself takes trying a lot of things. Also, did you know that xp for a specific kill is reduced for each level up you gain so killing your first 《high exp target》when diving quickly is likely to be more valuable (and difficult) than if you would be grinding low xp monsters first. Mages with a wand of wonder and such are ideal for quick xp gain fron distance
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Old June 24, 2017, 18:44   #27
Sky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Mack View Post
I understand your point. The point the rest of us are trying to make is that if you are struggling with the first three level ups, you are likely not playing to an effective strategy.
Things to consider:
* are you spending your initial cash wisely?
* are you regularly exhausting your mama, to the extent of risking your character?
* are you risking your character and wasting your starting purchases by spending too much time at low dungeon levels?
* are you choosing your fights wisely?

If you are having a particular kind of trouble at Cl 4 then you will still have the same trouble at CL30. An extra 4.5* HP points won't help you. Focusing on the special of the fist 3 character levels will tend to teach the wrong lesson.

* 3*(MHP+2)/4. 4.5HP is the mean HP boost for a HE mage, with a range of 0-12, or 3*(MHP-1)
no, the problem is exclusive to the first levels. statistically you will have a reasonable amount of HP by CL10, always.
consider that mages will at best have 9 SP by CL4, sometimes that is simply not enough to escape a situation. At this point you have no TS, no TO, maybe a could of !Phase, maybe 5~10 CLW. You *can* melee your way out of many situations, provided that you did not botch your HP rolls. I am in no way advocating a melee style for mages, but often it is needed when you first start... icky things, jackals, bats ..
hybrids are in even worse condition. you will have to melee whether you want to or not, because you don't have any other options.
it's ok to roll the occasional 1hp, but it is a problem when you get unusually bad rolls during the first level-ups, simply because the spread doesn't take into consideration real-world usage. To the RGN, doing CL43->44 and CL2->3 is the same, it doesn't care that you DON'T have 500 hp in store to rely on.

A "first three rolls" fix would basically give zero overpower and would ease the early gameplay for every newb.
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Old June 24, 2017, 19:09   #28
Derakon
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Originally Posted by Sky View Post
consider that mages will at best have 9 SP by CL4, sometimes that is simply not enough to escape a situation.
This is a good thing, because the lesson you should be learning from it is "don't get into situations that even have the potential to spiral out of control". Mages from day 1 must be aware of the monsters in the vicinity, what resources they'll need to expend to kill something, what their escape routes are, and how they're going to reach those routes. That awareness must then feed into how they approach or avoid different encounters.

The bottom line is, if you find yourself in melee you have already screwed up. The reason you are frustrated by lack of HP is because you are relying on that HP to keep your character alive. But a mage should not be taking damage from the vast majority of enemies in the early game. They have no ranged attacks, and the mage does. Why are they even surviving to reach melee range? Keep them away from you, and you won't care what your HP total is.

So instead of Pete's powerdiving strategy, I suggest an alternative: try playing as if melee did not exist. Your only means of killing things are (in rough order of preference) devices, bows, and spells. If you find yourself in melee range, don't fight back; escape.
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Old June 24, 2017, 20:08   #29
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The no. of spell points a mage needs to escape a situation is 1. 1 sp for detect monster. A couple more to handle the fails & have a bit of back-up. Preferably another 3 for detect traps if you want to be safe about things. That's enough up to kitty-cat depth when you'll need to detect it & read ?recall straight away. What really matters is having enough ?phase to dance as long as recall takes to kick-in & enough hps to survive a bad phase. Preferably some !clw or better.

Edit: Not necessarily suggesting pushing it that close to the wire. Just saying you can keep a mage alive that low without SPs. The phase spell has a fail. If you're dependent on SPs you're already in trouble.

Last edited by wobbly; June 24, 2017 at 20:30.
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Old June 24, 2017, 20:23   #30
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
Your only means of killing things are (in rough order of preference) devices, bows, and spells. If you find yourself in melee range, don't fight back; escape.
I always load up on oil with a mage. As many as I can carry without being burdened. Yeah, they miss a lot, but the oil is cheap. As I pick stuff up, if I haven't used it yet, I drop some oil so that I remain unburdened. By the time I'm CL 7 or so, it's no longer useful.

Also, I don't know why this thread has had all the talk about lightening bolt. LB is too expensive, because it always beams. MM is almost always better. One you have enough SP, acid and fire bolt are better, too. The only time that LB is good is when you've got a line of light-resistant monsters in a corridor and your MM doesn't beam often yet.
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