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Old January 26, 2018, 13:19   #291
Gwarl
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I think that if we emulate the Oangband thematic distribution of magic like this we should take a conservative route and more or less half-copy straight from there. Oangband I think was a variant that understood some of the underlying tone of the game, and the additional classes there fit comfortably alongside the vanilla classes. Their presence isn't disruptive. Mages can still operate as mages, priests can still operate as priests.

I like that when I play a mage in angband I'm getting a full suite of mageyness, and not having design a build where my spells complement each other well. I can do whatever a mage can do - which in particular involves preparing the field of battle with the use of magic (light spells). I have a ranged attack, and to use it I need to be able to see my target.

All of the classes have their own distinct methods of interacting with the dungeon when they initially encounter it going all the way back up the variant inheritance chain. The warrior blunders into things which can hurt him like traps and monsters because he only has a radius 1 torch but he has the HP to survive if he rests between encounters. The mage is craftier and lights his way using magic to kill his enemies from a distance. The rogue sneaks around in the dark but unlike the warrior he finds his way using detection and picks his fights using stealth. Ranger is a little more idiomatic, it's the warrior/mage hybrid with bow skill attatched. The priest uses his faith to survive the early dungeon and is rewarded with awesome power and endurance later on. However he lacks some of the diversity of the mages thoroughly complete toolkit.

This stuff gets obscured by high level play and tactics to bypass stages of a lengthy game, but they're the fundementals. Mages need light.
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Old January 26, 2018, 14:22   #292
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On the other hand, stuff like infravision is pretty useless right now. It sounds like this might make certain equipment attributes actually valuable instead of chaff. (Could be worth changing infra from 'sees heat from living things' to 'has a chance to see anything in the dark'.)
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Old January 26, 2018, 15:35   #293
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Light seems to have two somewhat distinct features in Angband. One is as an element, usable by monsters and the player. The other is as an information tool, constantly telling you the contents of all lighted areas in line of sight, Clearly, the first would fall into the domain of the priest, and it seems fair for that to be exclusive. Giving the information tool only to priest seems to be the issue here, though. I agree that it is odd for the class with the most dungeon control not to have an important early/midgame tool. In my opinion, giving mages the ability to make squares visible somehow would be important. If keeping mages from using light is important, Tome4 has an interesting spell called Arcane Eye that sees monsters (in the dark) in a certain radius around wherever you place it.

As for copying realms from Oangband, as much as I like the variant, gameplay is not particularly distinct by class in it. Necromancers and druids do little more than fill gaps between the mage and the priest, necromancers being magey but with Dispel Evil, and druids being priesty but with elemental bolt spells (and for whatever reason, TO at clvl 15 and Detection at clvl 21, both in town books). They are not particularly distinct, nor do they seem to follow any consistent patterns in terms of gameplay or theme. They have some very interesting spells in the later books, but these seem to be allocated more or less at random. One form of continuity with V is that there is at least one book per class that is completely useless and serves only to annoy the player. Half-caster classes are a bit more distinct, but more through skills than through spells. One differentiating aspect is Specialty Abilities. These do a bit, but not enough, and I don't expect them to be added to V any time soon (though it would be nice).
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Old January 26, 2018, 22:11   #294
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What is going on with the changes ?

All I can see are new classes created by removing stuff from the former casters.
The casters had the lowest damage in the game, balanced by the highest utility from their books. The utility has been reduced below even what the old hybrids used to have (because banishment got nerfed - why this change ? I strongly disapprove), but the damage is still the same low level.

I am not one to nitpick balance, but a assumed at least a sanity check would be made. I cant see that happening at all. With the druid shapes, I completely missed that the 1st one, fox, actually had a damage boost (about the amount I suggested for the last late game shape), but the later shapes completely fall off compared to the fox. And the reaction is to nerf the fox, too. So are mages all going to be challenge classes ? If so, why bother making so many of them ?

I dont know if I like a mage without light utility or not, but if you take it away, what do you give in return ? Changing the colour of the attack spell isnt going to make up for that.

Curently, a gnome mage is a bad gnome warrior who can cast a few utility spells from books but does 1/3 the damage. It is a cripple. What is the greater plan ?
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Old January 26, 2018, 22:24   #295
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So no matter how long you waited it didn't recover?
it's a visual-only bug. i had the same, tried, and could cast.
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Old January 26, 2018, 23:15   #296
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwarl View Post
All of the classes have their own distinct methods of interacting with the dungeon when they initially encounter it going all the way back up the variant inheritance chain. The warrior blunders into things which can hurt him like traps and monsters because he only has a radius 1 torch but he has the HP to survive if he rests between encounters. The mage is craftier and lights his way using magic to kill his enemies from a distance. The rogue sneaks around in the dark but unlike the warrior he finds his way using detection and picks his fights using stealth. Ranger is a little more idiomatic, it's the warrior/mage hybrid with bow skill attatched. The priest uses his faith to survive the early dungeon and is rewarded with awesome power and endurance later on. However he lacks some of the diversity of the mages thoroughly complete toolkit.

This stuff gets obscured by high level play and tactics to bypass stages of a lengthy game, but they're the fundementals. Mages need light.
All right, I can buy that (although I do think it makes sense to give rangers nature magic).

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Light seems to have two somewhat distinct features in Angband. One is as an element, usable by monsters and the player. The other is as an information tool, constantly telling you the contents of all lighted areas in line of sight, Clearly, the first would fall into the domain of the priest, and it seems fair for that to be exclusive. Giving the information tool only to priest seems to be the issue here, though. I agree that it is odd for the class with the most dungeon control not to have an important early/midgame tool. In my opinion, giving mages the ability to make squares visible somehow would be important. If keeping mages from using light is important, Tome4 has an interesting spell called Arcane Eye that sees monsters (in the dark) in a certain radius around wherever you place it.
Thanks you for saying that. Light in Angband doesn't just have two distinct features, it is actually functionally two distinct elements, Light and Weak Light. Light is barely used - a few breathers, the Gil-Galad activation, and amusingly a trap (kudos to takkaria for that one) - but is an element just like others that damages all monsters and the player. Weak Light simply lights up floors and walls, and in projected form hurts light-sensitive monsters (like stone-to-mud hurts some monsters).

Solution here looks so obvious I don't know why I didn't see it before. Mages (and probably only them) can have some Weak Light spells - priests get actual Light spells.

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As for copying realms from Oangband, as much as I like the variant, gameplay is not particularly distinct by class in it. Necromancers and druids do little more than fill gaps between the mage and the priest, necromancers being magey but with Dispel Evil, and druids being priesty but with elemental bolt spells (and for whatever reason, TO at clvl 15 and Detection at clvl 21, both in town books). They are not particularly distinct, nor do they seem to follow any consistent patterns in terms of gameplay or theme. They have some very interesting spells in the later books, but these seem to be allocated more or less at random.
I've actually found this too. In constructing the new classes I am certainly mining O (or more precisely FA) for ideas, but not following slavishly. I'm working on necromancers at the moment, and at this stage they're looking ... different

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All I can see are new classes created by removing stuff from the former casters.
The casters had the lowest damage in the game, balanced by the highest utility from their books. The utility has been reduced below even what the old hybrids used to have (because banishment got nerfed - why this change ? I strongly disapprove), but the damage is still the same low level.
I'm not convinced they have less utility (I may be cheating here by including giving them back some weak light spells). For example, Dimension Door is a more powerful teleport spell than they had before. Leaving light spells aside, what do you see as the big losses? I'm guessing Haste Self and Rift, and maybe Word of Destruction?

With the banishment nerf, are you talking about the fact it doesn't affect vault monsters any more? I think that's an improvement - banishing everything and then walking in and picking up the loot doesn't seem like fun to me. Note that I've also made Destruction not affect vaults - and in return, I (haven't yet but) will stop it destroying artifacts.

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I am not one to nitpick balance, but a assumed at least a sanity check would be made. I cant see that happening at all. With the druid shapes, I completely missed that the 1st one, fox, actually had a damage boost (about the amount I suggested for the last late game shape), but the later shapes completely fall off compared to the fox. And the reaction is to nerf the fox, too.
The idea for the shapes is for them to be useful in certain situations, not a simple "I'm always better in this form" - so they all need to have advantages and disadvantages. So designing them individually (a process which is happening by me putting something out and then everyone telling me it's either useless or too powerful ) is going to require (a) a concept that has situations where it's useful (fast and stealthy but weak, or slow but hard to hurt) and (b) a lot of balancing. At this point we're early in the balancing stage.

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So are mages all going to be challenge classes ? If so, why bother making so many of them ?
Plan is for all the classes to be challenge classes

Seriously, it's balance again. This will take time, and the current aim is to get some rough classes in place, tweak them for balance for a bit, and then start doing the monster list changes, which will require more balancing then between player and monsters. I don't know if you've noticed the current class experience penalties

Why have so many is because they should feel different to play, and Angband has an amazing array of possible effects at its disposal which I think are really underused (you only have to look at how creative some variants get). Note that I'm not suggesting Angband should go into wacky variant territory, but I think the difference between Vanilla and Wacky should be balance and robustness, not creativity.

tldr - it's a work in progress. Keep complaining, it helps
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Old January 27, 2018, 00:11   #297
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I liked the fact that you could banish vaults. We can agree to disagree. But that was not my point. Banishment was the top selling point for mages. They were arguably the weakest class even so, but by reducing their best spell to rubble, they simply fall off completely.

"All classes are going to be challenge classes" - is that supposed to be funny ?

What you call "just balance" affects gameplay. A mage can choose to either use melee or archery or spells. Changing the power of one way within reason doesnt affect play, but if you dont give a damn at all, it creates weird monstrosities that end up being played not at all the way the endresult would be. When I played the druid, I used melee in unshifted form for a long period - is that intended ? Are you going to reduce warrior damage by 1/2 to make spells better ? If so, why dont you do it now, or, if it is a difficult task, why not simply increase spell damage to the amount where the relation with melee damage is right ? THAT would be far more important for any testing; I can play a melee mage, but to what end ?

Or are you having completely different plans ? What am I supposed to test ?

I am sorry, but my impression currently is that you have no clue what you are doing. Shapes for different purposes is a plan (albeit one I doubt will turn out well - but thats another matter), but it requires that not one shape is superior in every way. And giving one shape an extra attack and speed, while reducing speed of a higher level form is not a mistake that should be found out by testing - something like that can be rooted out long before, in planning. For that kind of pre-alpha planning, it would be better to get presented with the ideas, so we can point out unreasonable things, before you go and program everything.

I am happy to play guinea pig, but only if I am treated like an intelligent guinea pig. Getting fed cryptic lines like "All classes are going to be challenge classes" - just keep playing - puts me off, especially when it turns out that I just did an utterly pointless playthrough by missing one vital piece of information that could have been avoided if we had communicated.
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Old January 27, 2018, 00:50   #298
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Quote:
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I liked the fact that you could banish vaults. We can agree to disagree. But that was not my point. Banishment was the top selling point for mages. They were arguably the weakest class even so, but by reducing their best spell to rubble, they simply fall off completely.
When I play mages, by the time I get Banishment I'm generally already ready to win, so I never really thought about it much. I'm not saying you're wrong, just that we all have different perspectives about what's important about the game. Which is why it's so important to have feedback. So thanks for giving your two cents.

Quote:
"All classes are going to be challenge classes" - is that supposed to be funny ?
I assume Nick meant that the game ought to be difficult, and ideally roughly equally difficult for each class. Obviously there's going to be variations -- some classes are better early and some late, some have more difficulty with certain monsters or less with others, and of course there's always the question of whether you chose a race that's well-suited to the class. But it wouldn't surprise me to see warriors get whacked with the nerf bat once Nick's done bringing everyone else down a bit.

So yes, it was meant to be funny, but he's also serious.
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Old January 27, 2018, 07:17   #299
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Or are you having completely different plans ? What am I supposed to test ?

I am sorry, but my impression currently is that you have no clue what you are doing. Shapes for different purposes is a plan (albeit one I doubt will turn out well - but thats another matter), but it requires that not one shape is superior in every way. And giving one shape an extra attack and speed, while reducing speed of a higher level form is not a mistake that should be found out by testing - something like that can be rooted out long before, in planning. For that kind of pre-alpha planning, it would be better to get presented with the ideas, so we can point out unreasonable things, before you go and program everything.

I am happy to play guinea pig, but only if I am treated like an intelligent guinea pig. Getting fed cryptic lines like "All classes are going to be challenge classes" - just keep playing - puts me off, especially when it turns out that I just did an utterly pointless playthrough by missing one vital piece of information that could have been avoided if we had communicated.
I'm sorry, this has largely been poor communication on my part (including stuff that sounds funny in my head when I'm under-caffeinated sometimes not translating well ).

My starting point for this branch was the previous discussion about classes and magic. Given that discussion, I thought the best way to progress was to put out actual new classes, because
  • It would give me an idea of what was possible and what wasn't
  • It would get me to do any underlying code changes that were needed (as opposed to the changes to data files)
  • It would give us something clear and definite to talk about, and avoid misunderstandings that could arise from talking in generalities about what was being planned.

Maybe I should have put out a thorough description of each class first, with my reasoning for what the spells are and how it was supposed to play. I didn't do that partly because I thought it was better to allow people to look at it and see what they thought, and partly because that would have left me less time for actually making changes. I have definitely made basic mistakes in some of what I've put out; I expected that I would, but I didn't make that clear. Other factors include
  • I don't have nearly as much time to work on this as I would like, so I'm erring on the side of releasing early and
  • This is actually an enormous amount of fun, so I'm sometimes getting carried away with ideas and failing to see the negatives.

I am really grateful for all the feedback I'm getting from you and others - your druid playthrough was very helpful - but I should have made it clearer that I am nowhere near done with these new classes yet. While it looks all nice and shiny and official when you see "Druid" pop up on the birth screen, it's in its infancy. We have a long way to go. Lots of things will change.

My feeling is that me putting out changes, people here pointing out the good and bad points, and then future changes being informed by the resulting discussion is the best way to make progress. Tell me if you think that's wrong, or if you think I'm doing my bit badly. And again, apologies for treating you as an "unintelligent guinea pig" - not wanting to play favorites, but I value your input greatly.
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Old January 27, 2018, 07:35   #300
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Tell me if you think that's wrong, or if you think I'm doing my bit badly. And again, apologies for treating you as an "unintelligent guinea pig" - not wanting to play favorites, but I value your input greatly.
Nick, this has to be one of the most diplomatic and genuine posts I've seen. Thank you for all your hard work, and I thank Estie too, as well as everyone who contributes to the strange and wonderful survival of this game for decades.

Small aside, I do wish we could get a bug-fix for some of the 4.1.2 issues (damage info problems), but I know they aren't as sexy and fun as all the new class stuff.
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