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Old September 14, 2013, 08:23   #1
yrriban
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YAFWP: 3.5-dev High-elf Mage

So I finally managed to sit down and win a game of Angband, on a semi-recent 3.5 dev build. I have to say, it was quite the enjoyable experience. Here's the ladder entry for my winner: http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=14882

I didn't keep a journal or log or anything, so here's just some general thoughts on the experience:
  • I didn't upgrade during the run mostly due to paranoia about breaking things. I heard vague rumblings of chaos breath causing crashes on later builds, so that didn't exactly inspire confidence either. Finally, as a user of the roguelike keyset, I think I would have had to change all of my inscriptions. I definitely want to download a newer build now and mess around with that though, as having to use standard keyset inscriptions in the roguelike keyset can be kind of brainbending.
  • 3.5, in general, seems to be considerably more generous than 3.4.1, but certainly not to an unbalanced degree. I did get very(?) lucky by finding a helm of telepathy around DL 25, which helped greatly with survivability.
  • Speaking of survivability, there was a substantial period where this character had more SP than HP, because he found a stack of two !Intelligence as his first stat potions. This was a great find obviously, but I still needed to be careful to select and plan out combats that wouldn't be a problem for the character. Anything with big cursing damage (e.g. patriarch, knight templar) could have killed me outright with a failed saving throw. Fortunately I had a low % fail TO spell, so I was generally able to keep these things under control.
  • Related to the above point, I passed on a lot of greater vaults on my way down the dungeon. I think this was ultimately the right decision, as I really didn't think I had the firepower or health to take on most of them, especially since it took me a while to find a copy of Raal's. I think this resulted in having somewhat mediocre gear for the endgame though - I was definitely still wearing Cammithrim when facing Sauron...
  • The closest call I had was actually very close: Osse breathed unresisted nether at me, which resulted in just having 4 HP! Fortunately I didn't have to learn the lesson that Osse has nether breath the hard way, and was able to teleport off the level to live another day.
  • I looked at a few other recent mage winners, and I'm surprised to see that none of them were carrying stacks of attack wands. I actually found them useful enough that I carried around copies of Tenser's for Greater Recharching. This still didn't stop me from blowing up lots of key magical devices at crucial moments. I had a wand of Annihilation at the start of the battle against Sauron blow up on its first recharge, and the Staff of the Magi I had blew up on its second attempted recharge while fighting Morgoth.
  • I found a copy of Kelek's without having to scum too much. From there it was open season on pretty much anything that was around, including pretty much any vault. Being able to banish and mass banish with no long-term strategic implications is enormously helpful. Soul Rend and Chaos Strike are also pretty nice. Never did get Mana Storm down to a reasonable fail rate though.
  • There was a clear turning point when I realized I had a very solid chance to make it through the endgame. I had wanted to take out Maeglin before the final battle, as he's a real hassle. During the fight, he summoned a bunch of dangerous uniques. I was able to teleport them away, and eventually finished off Maeglin. While I thought I would have to flee the level due to the number of uniques on it, I resolved to take as many of them down as I could, as I was riding a wave of confidence from killing Maeglin. By the time I was done, there were no uniques left on the level, including a bunch that were in a greater vault. The final tally from this level was the following: Maeglin, Draugluin, the Witch-King of Angmar, Vecna, Medusa, Feagwath, Tselakus, Thuringwethil, Ancalagon, Omarax, Kronos, Osse, and Cantoras.
  • The endgame was very straightforward, if a little tense due to the occasional mana storm. However the basic strategy of using wands of Drain Life on Sauron and Morgoth and mass banishing any summons was highly effective. There were a few cases where I used rods of healing when I probably should have used potions, but I'm always wary about burning through comestibles, even if it's really silly to worry about running out. All in all I used just two !*Healing*, after Morgoth's mana storms. And I probably could have just teleported him away and regenerated for a bit. Anyway, the win came in what seemed to be a reasonably expedient ~180k standard turns, although it felt like I was wandering around level 98 looking for nice things for an awfully long time.
  • The only unique to escape my wrath was Radagast the Brown, who is hiding out on DL100 somewhere. He was a real hassle throughout the game, so I should probably go finish what I started.

Overall, I really enjoyed playing a mage - I think it's a relatively straightforward class to win with if you can survive having very low HP in the midgame, as they become extremely powerful in the endgame. After playing a bunch with all the classes, I'm fairly certain that the mage is my clear favorite. Not sure what I'll tackle next. Maybe a priest? I also have an earth elemental character in PosChengband that's quite far along, so maybe I'll go play some more of that as well.

Finally, many thanks to the dev team for all their hard work in keeping Angband going - it's certainly provided me with countless hours of fun and adventure, and I'm definitely looking forward to playing much more.
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Old September 14, 2013, 17:59   #2
Derakon
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Neat report, and congrats on your win! The only feedback that comes to mind is that you mentioned being unable to get Mana Storm down to a reasonable fail rate. This is literally impossible; I think its minimum failure rate is 9% or 12% or something like that, even at level 50 with max INT. Even with that, it has a pretty fantastic rate of damage.
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Old September 14, 2013, 20:35   #3
Estie
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Congratulations on a nice win. ESP and teleport other are probably the biggest advantages to get on the way down the dungeon so getting them early (and for mage, getting int early means also getting tele other early) is great.

My mages, maybe out of old habit, use melee for the last fight; the most recent one found a MoD +2 attacks, making melee the superior choice. Thats the only reason why you wont see attack wands on my dumps, I do carry them before the switch to melee.

Did you use rings of escaping and/or mouse early on ? I find they are very valuable for mages (and priests), even if not for anyone else.

Priests used to have a spell that behaved like enlightenment potion, lighting up the entire level and all items. It has unfortunately been changed to only duplicate the Arkenstone activation, leaving items at fuzzy red * state. This was the caster special of priests, somewhat weaker but in function similar to the banishment spell for mages, enabling them to get items easier than non-casters. Without it, they play like weak paladins most of the time, as OoD unlike the mages arsenal isnt powerfull enough for endgame damage dealing.

Why dont you go to the other end of the spectrum and play a warrior next ?
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Old September 15, 2013, 00:37   #4
Timo Pietilš
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Estie View Post
OoD unlike the mages arsenal isnt powerfull enough for endgame damage dealing.
I have OoD M to death multiple times. It's not that bad at clvl 50, it causes double-damage to evil so you get 2*(75+3d6) ~= 171 / cast. That's a lot for 7 mana spell.

You need to collect potions of restore mana to manage that though, it takes time. Collecting those potions is good idea even if you plan to use something else, because priest healing-spells are better than potions except life. With plenty of restore mana you can outlast any monster, so it doesn't matter if killing things takes a bit longer than with mage.
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Old September 15, 2013, 00:56   #5
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Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
I have OoD M to death multiple times. It's not that bad at clvl 50, it causes double-damage to evil so you get 2*(75+3d6) ~= 171 / cast. That's a lot for 7 mana spell.

You need to collect potions of restore mana to manage that though, it takes time. Collecting those potions is good idea even if you plan to use something else, because priest healing-spells are better than potions except life. With plenty of restore mana you can outlast any monster, so it doesn't matter if killing things takes a bit longer than with mage.
Yes I have done it too. I didnt say it was impossible, just that its not at the same level as other options. Even if OoD would cost no mana at all it would be inferior, as it is still less than half of the dpr you get with melee or archery.

When I made my original response, I re-read it before posting and considered clarifying my point, because I feared exactly what happened - "but its possible to kill M with OoD". Well I guess i was right and should have clarified it :P
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Old September 15, 2013, 02:15   #6
Timo Pietilš
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Originally Posted by Estie View Post
Yes I have done it too. I didnt say it was impossible, just that its not at the same level as other options. Even if OoD would cost no mana at all it would be inferior, as it is still less than half of the dpr you get with melee or archery.
It's a bit of planning issue more than it being inferior. You need to be prepared to fight a long time and use a lot of mana. Mage can't do that, neither can ranger or warrior. Priest can. It's completely different strategy. Though, if you have a very good missile weapon by all means use that first.
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Old September 16, 2013, 03:09   #7
yrriban
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
Neat report, and congrats on your win! The only feedback that comes to mind is that you mentioned being unable to get Mana Storm down to a reasonable fail rate. This is literally impossible; I think its minimum failure rate is 9% or 12% or something like that, even at level 50 with max INT. Even with that, it has a pretty fantastic rate of damage.
At level 48 with maxed int, Mana Storm still had a failure rate of 20% with a damage/cast of 396, which made it roughly as good against a single enemy as Chaos Strike in terms of damage per round. It was really annoying having it fail that often though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Estie View Post
My mages, maybe out of old habit, use melee for the last fight; the most recent one found a MoD +2 attacks, making melee the superior choice. Thats the only reason why you wont see attack wands on my dumps, I do carry them before the switch to melee.
Huh! I had a hard time hitting anything in melee through the whole game, so I wouldn't have really bothered. Maybe if I found a nicer weapon it would have been worth it, but mages don't exactly have much of a margin for error health-wise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Estie View Post
Did you use rings of escaping and/or mouse early on ? I find they are very valuable for mages (and priests), even if not for anyone else.
Yeah, ring of the mouse is definitely useful for mages, and I used one for a while. I carried a ring of escaping for a bit, but I wound up never really using it. I'd rather use some form of teleportation to escape if I really needed to get away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Estie View Post
Priests used to have a spell that behaved like enlightenment potion, lighting up the entire level and all items. It has unfortunately been changed to only duplicate the Arkenstone activation, leaving items at fuzzy red * state. This was the caster special of priests, somewhat weaker but in function similar to the banishment spell for mages, enabling them to get items easier than non-casters. Without it, they play like weak paladins most of the time, as OoD unlike the mages arsenal isnt powerfull enough for endgame damage dealing.
I think the primary draw of priests is the relatively cheap, failure-free healing. Even if they wind up spending a lot of turns to kill things, they can just heal as they need without having to worry about the strategic impact of, say, burning through a lot of !Healing.

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Why dont you go to the other end of the spectrum and play a warrior next ?
Perhaps! I've never had a whole lot of luck with warriors before. Something to try out, I guess.
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Old September 16, 2013, 05:04   #8
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I carried a ring of escaping for a bit, but I wound up never really using it. I'd rather use some form of teleportation to escape if I really needed to get away.
Not carry as swap, wear 2 permanently. You cant melee and spells have fail rate increased, but +8 speed is very much worth it.
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Old September 16, 2013, 13:36   #9
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At level 48 with maxed int, Mana Storm still had a failure rate of 20% with a damage/cast of 396, which made it roughly as good against a single enemy as Chaos Strike in terms of damage per round. It was really annoying having it fail that often though.
Chaos Strike will only work against uniques though due to the annoying polymorph effect. But yeah, Mana Storm will never go below 14% fail.
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Old September 17, 2013, 03:20   #10
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Not carry as swap, wear 2 permanently. You cant melee and spells have fail rate increased, but +8 speed is very much worth it.
Huh, I never considered doing that. The prospect of increased failure rate isn't exactly great, especially early on while your mana pool is limited, but that boost to speed might be worth it.

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Chaos Strike will only work against uniques though due to the annoying polymorph effect. But yeah, Mana Storm will never go below 14% fail.
You're right, Chaos Strike is kind of a hassle too. There's really no ideal, general purpose late-game damage-dealing spell, which I guess is kind of the point.
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