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Old August 6, 2011, 05:35   #1
Estie
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330 ways to kill a warrior

http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=11664

Since my poor priest got roasted in the nexus-microwave I sat down to adjust monster colours to my liking. But instead of actually doing that, I ended up starting a little warrior, and since I wanted to see the changes done to the early game as well, decided on a whim to go for ironman - priest had skipped much of that by means of deep descent scrolls.

It went well, all things considered. She came dangerously close to running out of both food and light at some point, but just when the lantern was down to a few rounds found a single torch, or when she got hungry and was eyeing that mushroom of vigor greedily, found a small heap of bland but nourishing slime molds.

One thing that was never to spare was phase door scrolls. I dont know if their droprate has been reduced, but it certainly feels that way, they are being burned at about the same rate as found and while I never ran out completely, the stack also never rose above 20ish either and was usually around 10. Alas, no fire immunity this game.

Pretty early she found not one, but two awesome artifact bows. One was x6, with +20 dam enchantment and minor attributes, the other "only" x4, but had huge amount of bonuses to stats along with important resists and even lightning immunity on top. I was equipping the latter and carrying the former for a while, but knew full well it was futile to try to hold onto both. So eventually I dumped the big damage one with a sigh, figuring Id be most likely meleeing Mr. M.

The RNG being what it is naturally came back to me on that one by innocently leaving on the floor a pair of artifact gauntlets with +1 to shooting speed. The only comfort I had when looking at those was that I would never have seen them had I decided to dump the other bow.

My main weapon for most of the middle and late game was a SoS of lightning. At the time I found it I was using some artifact with a long list of useful properties, but could let go of it with light heart knowing that the scythe had the potential to eventually do far more damage, once my stats were up to the task.

Descent was slow, but steady. I did a rough sweep over every level unless driven off by something dangerous out of control (I think that happened only 2 or 3 times). But, I never stayed on any level purely to create more respawns. Once it was cleared I would take the stairs down. The vast majority of levels was on the low monster count side. Eventually the second part of the level feeling would report either "nothing worthwhile here" or "you might find something to your liking", however I could never tell the difference. I guess if you stay on a level long enough to get the second message, chances are the items created from monster drops dominate whatever was on the floor initially.

The labyrinth levels seem to be very dangerous. Early on I detected and made for the exit asap (and yes those didnt get the routine clear I mentioned earlier). Later in the game I might go for a promising item if it wasnt too far.

The cave levels were a welcome change, but maybe a tad too frequent. The problem with those is that the warrior comes equipped with rods of light and illumination, which do a great job of bringing light to the standard dungeon geometry but not so much to irregular caves.

So things were good as I went deeper and killed uniques along the way. Even some which I normally leave for later. Azriel, when he first showed up, got to-ed away. But then I happened onto some artifact armor which was unremarkable except for the fact that it had nether resist. I counted my potions, considered my chances, donned that armor and went looking for Azriel again. It cost me most of my consumables, but down he went, thankfully without summoning his named brothers (I guess they have low chances to appear at shallow depths). Of course the armour got left behind as well and nether resist wouldnt bother me any further.

By the time I reached level 97 I was cruising comfortably. My bags were swelling with consumables, I had managed to get an acceptable end game set and was finally dumping the SoS that had served me for so long in favor of a fancy artifact MoD with slay evil which I intended to use for the last part of the way.
I had held onto a crown of serenity which was the first item I saw that gave protection from stunning. As it turned out, it also was the only one that had that property - neither other egos, nor any randarts, nor indeed any other magic item I found gave that new particular protection. And it is a very useful protection to have, especially (but not only) for characters using melee. Everything and their hound can cause stunning deep down. I was swapping that crown with a helm of ESP as needed which had worked well up to then. I intended to do the same in the end fight - have ESP as default and don the crown before trading blows.

================================================== ==================================================

So, pleased with myself, I pick on whatever uniques dare to show their purple face, whacking them to death with the new mace. Ancalagon comes along, gets isolated and cornered, but somehow does alot of damage while barely losing stars himself. Must have been some unlucky rolls or something...drink a *heal* and finish it. Hmmm, not only is my precious *heal* gone, but I am down to 300 hp again, Ancalagon is still barely hurt and also managed to shatter some more of my potions with his cold breath!

Dangit, what gives, I read through the combat log. Lots and lots of breathing. And shattering and frying of consumables. I am immune to lightning, but he doesnt care, I sadly did not have the room to maintain stacks of resist cold and heat potions.

Well, I -to him away, gather my bearings, and when he comes on again go for the second round. Unfortunately, the second round goes much the same as the first, I have to -to a slightly hurt and angry dragon while being myself barely able to drink fast enough to stay alive. And drink not only the cheap ccw from the big stack, no, it has to be the good stuff which was intended for the endfight. Dumbfounded I take the stairs down and a break.

When I return, I look at the mess that used to be my proud warrior. Barely a dozen ccw, 2 heals, no *heals* and only 4 *life* are left of my formerly reassuring supply. ?*banishment* gone, ?banishment reduced to 2. And whats worse, Ancalagon is still alive and kicking, I see him in the middle of a vault nearby. And if I have so much trouble with the mere servant dragon, how can I hope to face the master himself ?

Nothing for it but start to clear this level. Its 98, last stop before the end. After clearing it, my supply of consumables looks still as sorry as before. Not in the mood to start a boring "respawn the monsters" session on the last lap, I take the next stairs as well. 99 has a GV in the center. I clear around first, killing Sauron in the process, then starting with the vault. In the middle room is a fat black D, again, mocking me in front of his roaring entourage. I port everything out.

While I ponder my chances with M (at this point I see no way to try and get Ancalagon again - he will stay alive), I sort through the loot in the middle room ad start to blink when examining a longbow. It comes from Lothlorien. It does have ESP, the first thing I always look for when seeing one of those. But it is also big. Its in fact by far the biggest one I have ever seen.

A Long Bow of Lothlorien (x5) (+26,+24) <+5, +2>, with +5 to dex and +2 to might.
It is infact the equal of that awesome bow I left behind long ago, considering that it has +20 to hit over the former. Also...I am still wearing those gauntlets with the +1 shots, mostly because there werent any better options for the glove slot. Whats more, among the loot here are also some arrows...some 30 arrows of holy might, with +23 to damage....I quickly swap bows. Can this work ? I am lacking con, since the old bow provided +3 of that....but wait, with bow, I dont really need to wield this mace, right ? So why not equip this funny pick here...not much of a weapon, but does boost con. Bingo. I look at my new setup...I have won with much worse.

So, happy and eager to end this, I buff up with whatever is available and read a tele level scroll from the stack I dropped to the floor - wont need those anymore - and land in a big room of an undescript level 100. When HE appears on radar, I manage to get into a position where I can pepper him while he crosses all of the big room, without him having LOS. Port him away when he gets near, rinse wash and repeat a couple times. Uneventful fight, dont even have to touch my 4 *life* potions, all whats left of my big pile.

HE dies and I try to remember when was the last time that I spent the night awake playing Angband. Been a while.

Normally, once I have won with a character, I dont touch them again. However, this time I have a score to settle. With a certain dragon. A black dragon.
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Old August 6, 2011, 08:01   #2
Derakon
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Ancalagon is in many ways more dangerous than Sauron or Morgoth. He's very fast and doesn't muck around with wasted spells -- every single spell he can cast will cause you trouble, either by dealing big damage or by pulling in more dragons. Meanwhile Sauron will do things like mind blasting, plasma bolts, healing -- all annoying and potentially dangerous, but nowhere near so directly impacting your "bottom line", so to speak.

Ancalagon is basically never worth fighting except for the challenge.

Congrats on the win!
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Old August 6, 2011, 11:30   #3
Timo Pietilš
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
Ancalagon is basically never worth fighting except for the challenge.
I disagree, Ancalagon is one of the easiest monsters to kill in Angband. He just breathes basic4 and poison and summons dragons. If you can handle the summons, double-resistances and immunities take care of the rest. He is easier than Azriel or Gabriel and definitely easier than Vecna, Carcharoth, Huan, Tarrasque or any of the giant uniques. Only "tough" thing in him is his HP, it takes some time to kill him. Ancalagon is basically just a bit bigger version of GWoManyColors.
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Old August 6, 2011, 16:42   #4
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Great Wyrms all have blind/confuse/scare spells in addition to their breath weapons and summons, and don't cast as often. Ancalagon will be putting the hurt on each turn.

I guess if you're playing an arcane caster then Resistance makes him much less dangerous. I don't play arcane casters as much as the others, but that's still not really an excuse for forgetting about it. And of course, if you're playing standarts then Colluin's activation will also help a lot, but I play randarts...
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Old August 6, 2011, 17:26   #5
Timo Pietilš
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Great Wyrms all have blind/confuse/scare spells in addition to their breath weapons and summons, and don't cast as often. Ancalagon will be putting the hurt on each turn.

I guess if you're playing an arcane caster then Resistance makes him much less dangerous. I don't play arcane casters as much as the others, but that's still not really an excuse for forgetting about it. And of course, if you're playing standarts then Colluin's activation will also help a lot, but I play randarts...
I don't. I play standart warriors. I just killed Ancalagon few minutes after I had emptied a MHDPit. He is a pushover compared to many others. Even warriors can prepare against him, potions of resist heat/cold and immunities make a huge difference, especially if the immunity is elec (because that is the only really damaging one that is difficult to gain double resistance). Acid gets halved by gear, and poison is "halved" by lower damage cap.

Ancalagon spellcasting rate is 1/3, two for summoning, five for breaths.

Balance dragons are much more dangerous, because their breaths *hurt*, even with resistances, and I usually have at least one of those missing (shards usually).

BTW, immunity to elec still makes Pazuzu completely harmless.

Also, if you don't play with standarts, stop making suggestions to game, because that what is used to make game balanced. If game balance is different with randarts, then problem is with randarts, not with the game. As developer you should really play with standarts, unless you are debugging randart games.
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Old August 6, 2011, 17:45   #6
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Gentlemen....there is no balance issue here.
Derakon was, I assume, aiming his remarks at my particular game which was played with randarts and not making any "suggestions for the game" unless im mistaken.

When I took on Ancalagon, I had immunity to lightning, but only single resists in heat and cold. In an ironman situation, randarts or no, there isnt room for everything and and getting resist potions is more involved than just recalling to town and doing some shopping. You cannot count on them unless you devote 2 inventory slots permanently, and while they are very useful for more than just Ancalagon, in this game I didnt have them. The mistake was to underestimate that dragon; given some other configuration, he might as well be a pushover.
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Old August 6, 2011, 18:07   #7
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Gentlemen....there is no balance issue here.
Derakon was, I assume, aiming his remarks at my particular game which was played with randarts and not making any "suggestions for the game" unless im mistaken.

When I took on Ancalagon, I had immunity to lightning, but only single resists in heat and cold. In an ironman situation, randarts or no, there isnt room for everything and and getting resist potions is more involved than just recalling to town and doing some shopping. You cannot count on them unless you devote 2 inventory slots permanently, and while they are very useful for more than just Ancalagon, in this game I didnt have them. The mistake was to underestimate that dragon; given some other configuration, he might as well be a pushover.
Well, Ancalagon can be really hard without proper preparation, difference between him and rest of the hard ones is that it is relatively easy to prepare against him.

Ironman games are always difficult. You don't want to leave level until you are sure you are prepared to next level, and if there is something "too dangerous" in that level it creates a dilemma: should I dive one level deeper to avoid this, or stay here and risk meeting it unprepared. Problem is that if you don't deal with the danger when you meet it, it will return later, and later might be worse than now (get Ancalagon as part of Demon summoning for example, making risk points way worse).
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Old August 7, 2011, 02:50   #8
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Also, if you don't play with standarts, stop making suggestions to game, because that what is used to make game balanced. If game balance is different with randarts, then problem is with randarts, not with the game. As developer you should really play with standarts, unless you are debugging randart games.
Right now I'm not playing at all -- my queue of games to be played is completely clogged and I have a lot of real life stuff going on too. That doesn't mean I can't participate in theorycrafting.

Anyway, I refute your thesis -- randarts are supposed to be as balanced as standarts on average, just with more variance. They should result in different problems than standarts do (e.g. the lack of Colluin makes getting double-resistance harder for many classes, but perhaps this game you get telepathy on your gloves early on), but a roughly equivalent level of overall difficulty.

And besides, someone on the devteam (not that I would call myself a dev) needs to be playing randarts, to make certain they keep working properly if nothing else.
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Old August 7, 2011, 04:29   #9
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Anyway, I refute your thesis -- randarts are supposed to be as balanced as standarts on average, just with more variance.
Keywords in that are "supposed" and "average". They very rarely are. As you wrote they cause different problems, which means that games played with randarts can't be used as base for normal games.

Even when debugging randarts at least 1/3 of the games need to be standart games, so that person making balance-debugging for randarts doesn't lose touch of what the baseline should be.
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Old August 7, 2011, 07:44   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
Keywords in that are "supposed" and "average". They very rarely are. As you wrote they cause different problems, which means that games played with randarts can't be used as base for normal games.

Even when debugging randarts at least 1/3 of the games need to be standart games, so that person making balance-debugging for randarts doesn't lose touch of what the baseline should be.
I have *no* idea what you two are arguing about. But it's still my intention to overhaul the randart generator for 3.4, so I hope to provide you with plenty of new things to argue about after that ...
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