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Old June 29, 2018, 17:04   #11
bio_hazard
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One tactic that almost always comes into play is the player having to position for 1v1 combat unless @ is fairly overpowered. Cases where that's not possible are typically avoided. I'm not sure exactly how to implement this, but here's scenarios I think would be interesting

1) Monsters have more varied AI
2) Monsters can buff/debuff other monsters (we already have haste, but maybe healing, berserk, etc)
3) Monsters appear in mixed groups
4) These groups can be defused/defeated reliably if monsters are defeated in the correct order, but are more difficult if the wrong monsters are attacked first. Maybe the orcs flee when the orc captain goes down, or the rest of the demon horde self-banishes when the balrog is destroyed.

Player attributes such as stealth (to reach primary target), high damage peaks to take out a single target quickly, or crowd control to temporarily disable other threats become important to the encounter.

Thus target choice becomes a more frequent tactical choice, and the game isn't always "hide around the corner or make an ASC for every non-trivial encounter".
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Old June 29, 2018, 17:10   #12
Derakon
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You can also largely eliminate corner-hiding/standing in doorways by simply making corridors two tiles wide.
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Old June 29, 2018, 18:36   #13
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post

I guess when I was thinking of a deeper tactical game, I was imagining something where the player has a wide range of options, not a narrow range of options that require complex statistical analyses to choose between. Something like:
I was trying to distill a specific tactical idea, that is missing. Obviously other options would be available. I said at the beginning that I like the gameplay between levels 10-40 a lot, and a big reason for that is that there are many different options for dealing with problems, and few monsters are going to insta-kill you.

The big differences in the scenario I laid out is that levels themselves become an important aspect of terrain. You consider where you are and how far from the stairs you are before engaging an enemy. This is a defining feature of Sil for example. It doesn't exist in Angband because levels are too large and teleport is too plentiful. Angband is worse off for it.

The second difference is that there are a lot more turns available for the player to make choices. Things don't go from 10 to 100 immediately, as they often do after a powerful summon.


Edit: I should elaborate on some of the other options that could be available.

Obviously, powerful attack wands could be available to the player. The player could expend a valuable charge instead of melee.

The player could opt for ranged attacks that do less damage on average, but they would take less damage in return.

The player could use valuable branded/magical ammo that they risk losing.

When fleeing, the player could "hold monster" before they round a corner, and then get away without any future attacks. Other status effects could come into play here too. Confusion, sleep, scare etc.

The player could slow the monster (assuming it only affects movement speed here) allowing them to get away easily. Similarly they could haste themselves to escape. These spells are still powerful though, so care is needed. Stuff like "mushrooms of sprinting" and "rings of escaping" are great ideas that just can't fit into current Angband gameplay except in the narrowest of windows.

We used to have spikes and would allow players to jam doors. This was removed because in a world of infinite ?phase this is pointless. This is a great way of introducing terrain management.

Last edited by fizzix; June 29, 2018 at 18:44.
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Old June 30, 2018, 02:09   #14
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In another thread Derakon asked that I outline what I think combat should look like. A justified request since I was saying some provocative things, some of which may have been poorly thought out. Anyway, I've thought about it a few days and tried to organize my thoughts.
Thanks for this post, it is (or seems to me, anyway) a very clear enunciation of your opinions. I have let it sit for a while to think, because I wanted to give a thorough reply that represented my view as well as you have represented yours; I suspect I won't be as thorough, but never mind.

The summary is that I think we have fundamentally different conceptions of the game. I will try to characterise these without caricaturing them:
  • The reason for being I get from your explanations is that the game is a huge, complex, tactical and strategic puzzle. As the game progresses it should retain this character, but introduce more elements so that the challenge of balancing them all increases. At all times, the player needs to be pursuing the twin goals of being able to kill increasingly challenging monsters to get better gear, and preparing for the final battles. The aim for the maintainer is to make this an interesting, challenging, replayable puzzle.
  • For me, the game is a tactical and strategic representation of a ridiculously ambitious quest to destroy the source of all evil in the world. The character represents a single individual who can get access to amazing powers, but needs them to combat the increasing danger as they get deeper in the dungeon and closer to the final conflict. The player needs to think tactically and strategically to pursue the twin goals of being able to kill increasingly deadly monsters to get better gear, and preparing for the final battles. The aim for the maintainer is to convey the sense of increasing danger that the character is in, without making winning impossible.

So, for me, the transition at level 40 is not a failure of design, it is a reflection of the increasing danger. The main deficiency I see in the current game is that the increase in danger drops off toward the end. For high elements, for example, my suggested change would be to make the resists more reliable, but the attacks themselves more deadly (in damage, side effects or both).

It's probably worth saying, too, that (despite being a mathematician) I put remarkably little thought into balancing damage output numbers, power output, etc, etc. I focus on whether any change will make the played experience more like what I am aiming at, slap something approximately together, and then rely largely on people's complaints to work out how well I've achieved that.

Having said all this, there are some of your suggestions that do fit my philosophy (allowing monsters to wander and go back to sleep, for example), and all of them are good things to think about. It could be that following my philosophy will make the game closer to what you think it ought to be, or further away, or most likely both in different aspects.

One thing I think I can say for sure, though, is that I am not the maintainer to make these changes - which I think are much more fundamental than anything I have planned. I would be really interested to see a variant made based on your ideas, though. In fact, I think what you are really talking about is a fundamental rethink of the game in a way that few (if any) existing variants have approached.

I'm not sure if I've done this topic justice, but it's an attempt. I'd be very interested to hear opinions on any of this.
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Old June 30, 2018, 05:16   #15
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Originally Posted by Nick View Post
The summary is that I think we have fundamentally different conceptions of the game. I will try to characterise these without caricaturing them:
  • The reason for being I get from your explanations is that the game is a huge, complex, tactical and strategic puzzle. As the game progresses it should retain this character, but introduce more elements so that the challenge of balancing them all increases. At all times, the player needs to be pursuing the twin goals of being able to kill increasingly challenging monsters to get better gear, and preparing for the final battles. The aim for the maintainer is to make this an interesting, challenging, replayable puzzle.
  • For me, the game is a tactical and strategic representation of a ridiculously ambitious quest to destroy the source of all evil in the world. The character represents a single individual who can get access to amazing powers, but needs them to combat the increasing danger as they get deeper in the dungeon and closer to the final conflict. The player needs to think tactically and strategically to pursue the twin goals of being able to kill increasingly deadly monsters to get better gear, and preparing for the final battles. The aim for the maintainer is to convey the sense of increasing danger that the character is in, without making winning impossible.
My feeling as a regular player of the game is more in line with the second summary. My goals, as I play the game, is not only to kill Morgoth, but also to kill all the uniques and to explore the levels I enter. I play methodically, and perhaps too safely, but I understand that the longer my character spends on the level, the more risky it is. Such is life. I've won a dozen times or so following this playing style, along with being one-shotted a number of times. I would be very disappointed in changes which reduced the complexity and decision making.

I do find that deeper levels do become harder and more rewarding to clear, as I don't avoid a good fight.
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Old June 30, 2018, 05:31   #16
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Originally Posted by mrfy View Post
I would be very disappointed in changes which reduced the complexity and decision making.
It's very clear that fizzix doesn't want to do this; just the opposite in fact. I'm not yet convinced that the specifics of his ideas mesh well with his overall goals, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
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Old June 30, 2018, 05:55   #17
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It's very clear that fizzix doesn't want to do this; just the opposite in fact. I'm not yet convinced that the specifics of his ideas mesh well with his overall goals, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
It is possible that I've misunderstood his changes with regards to his goals. I am for increasing complexity, danger, and the feeling of wonder with regards to exploring this world, while still making it fun to play in the way I like to play the game.

I just don't think we should nerf combat or the danger of fighting enemies who can one-shot us 1% or more of the time, and that feels like what his changes try to do.
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Old June 30, 2018, 06:46   #18
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Not exactly. He wants to make it more like Sil, with no one-shotting, but way more dangerous than V nonetheless. I am not convinced it can be done without making V a near clone of Sil.
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Old June 30, 2018, 07:40   #19
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I have a (loaded) question for @Nick

How many downloads of 4.1 have you had ?
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Old June 30, 2018, 07:46   #20
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I have a (loaded) question for @Nick

How many downloads of 4.1 have you had ?
No idea - I don't think we keep stats. There are probably a couple of hundred ladder dumps, if that helps.
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