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Old May 18, 2012, 14:28   #11
Timo Pietilš
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Originally Posted by CliffStamp View Post
- there do not seem to be things to breath confusion
Confusion "resistance" is now considered a ability instead of resistance and confusion was eliminated as damaging element. Same applies to blindness and fear, so instead of getting them in cloaks of Aman or Elvenkind armor you might get them from 'Blessed' weapons and other stuff giving abilities like ESP or FA. Those show in char details as pBlnd, pConf and pFear (p as in "protection").

One additional is there as well: stunning (pStun). Sound resistance prevents stunning only from sound.

Chaos prevents confusion only from chaos, dark prevents blindness only from dark etc., but protection against blindness, confusion, fear, stun prevents those against any source. They do not affect the damage, only the effect.

I'm not sure stun prevents stun from melee though (I have a serenity helmet which has that, maybe I could find and fight a mystic to find that out).
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Old May 18, 2012, 16:11   #12
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Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
Uh, NPP high-level hydras as they are would be the most dangerous thing almost including Morgoth in vanilla. They would need to be toned down a lot, otherwise no thank you. In NPP breath attacks are conical with diminishing damage at distance. That makes all breath-based attacks way less dangerous if you just keep your distance. This same doesn't apply to vanilla.
Hence why they'd need a nerf. Mostly I was thinking of the way the hydras in NPP use a bigger mix of exotic elements and are generally more distinct from each other. Vanilla hydras have no breath, poison breath, or fire/plasma breath, with melee to match. NPP is a lot more varied.
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Old May 18, 2012, 16:54   #13
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In addition to your changes the game is way too generous with ego item and artifact drops. This has been corrected in 3.4. Artifacts are much rarer. Ego items are much rarer. Even stat potions are rarer in 3.4, which I don't necessarily agree with, but it does make it more difficult.
Note these do not actually make the game easier or harder, they just make it shorter/longer. They only effect the game play if the ratios are off. For example if a HA is not significantly more rare than slay evil then the ratio is broken as you just make SE redundant, similar if Gondor is nor more rare than Hammerhand. But having to kill for example ten times as many things doesn't make the game harder, it just makes it more repetitive.

If the entire purpose of game play is to just bulk a character to absurd levels all you do is use clone/summoning (or scumming) to generate monsters/vaults which low risk and high reward. It doesn't matter if you have to kill 100 (or 1000) swamp wyrms to get what you want vs 10. All you did was stretch out the time and again basically turn the player into a borg.

The only way it really effect difficulty would be if the drops are so common so low that you were too likely to get over powered gear before you even needed it, i.e. there was no way to move so fast that the game could be a challenge as the drops were too high/frequent. The problem is that you have to balance with play styles, if you are winning in > 10M turns and you balance drops around that, then anyone who is playing in < 500K has their "effective" rarity 20 times less.

After my hobbit died, I ran a HE-warrior down to dl 40 with absolutely nothing ego wise aside from a whip of slay troll. Stealth is enough to avoid anything serious and all money goes into detection and teleportation. Now based on that could I argue drops are not common enough, no, it would be absurd, if I wanted to be polluted with drops I would just scum/clear for them.

Difficulty, aside from ratios, is always balanced simply by game play in any rpg where there are infinite spans of exp/drops and the monsters do not level with you. The player can simply sit in a safe place, level until they are walking death and then stomp through the game. You can not balance that at all as no matter what you do the player can simply stay longer. The most you can achieve, which is the ideal balance, is that you can play the game without grinding.

This is impossible in Angband (without extreme luck) and has always been one of the key issues. Many variants get around this with allowing requested drops which remove scumming/grinding where you can pay to order/stock items that you want at a vastly inflated cost. The only thing to balance here is availabiity as for example even if !healing were $5000, if you could order them unlimited on demand it would break the game.
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Old May 18, 2012, 17:44   #14
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You're absolutely right that at some level, item rarity just dictates how long you have to scum to get items. I'd say what drop balance tweaks are aiming to do is to get the right amount of stuff to drop in the average case (i.e. splitting the difference between the maximally-aggressive playstyles and the more cautious clear-everything-multiple-times playstyles). Eventually the aggressive players are going to get in over their heads, which is good because isn't that what they want? Meanwhile the more cautious players are going to find more good stuff early because they're finding more stuff, period, and again isn't that what they want?

Drop balance in Vanilla is based on two things: user reports and a stats generator. The stats generator generates a bunch of levels and kills everything on them once, and is used to compare drops in one version to drops in another. I don't think we consider the absolute numbers it provides to be remotely meaningful -- it's not like we look at them and say "Oh, the stats generator found 100 Healing potions, that's clearly too many so it's time to make them rarer." That's what the user reports are for. The difficulty is that any time we make a given item more rare, that effectively makes everything else slightly more common -- there's second-order effects here which are hard to measure. That's where the stats generator starts coming in handy. So we make e.g. potions of *Enlightenment* more common, and then we look at the stats and go "Huh, that's funny, potions of Healing are 25% less common now, we should fix that."
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Old May 18, 2012, 21:46   #15
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Originally Posted by CliffStamp View Post
Difficulty, aside from ratios, is always balanced simply by game play in any rpg where there are infinite spans of exp/drops and the monsters do not level with you. The player can simply sit in a safe place, level until they are walking death and then stomp through the game. You can not balance that at all as no matter what you do the player can simply stay longer. The most you can achieve, which is the ideal balance, is that you can play the game without grinding.

This is impossible in Angband (without extreme luck) and has always been one of the key issues. Many variants get around this with allowing requested drops which remove scumming/grinding where you can pay to order/stock items that you want at a vastly inflated cost. The only thing to balance here is availabiity as for example even if !healing were $5000, if you could order them unlimited on demand it would break the game.
I agree with you, considering that the only options are making no safe place to level in (essentially what was done in Sil with the time limit) or make it impossible to become walking death(which is ridiculous in V).
I don't really have any problem with purchaseable healing potions, but having them restricted to the black market and making rare consumeables more common there would probably be the way to go. It strikes me as bad to have them infinetely availible to the character and with appropriate rarities it shouldn't be too much of a problem to make the dungeon more usefull than scumming the black market.
Of course, some consumeables should be outright banned to shops, to make scouring the dungeon for healing potions return things that cannot be bought. Maybe we should make a thread about item rarity balance and how to solve the problem of scumming.
The black market would become THE shop of the late game but there isn't much to be done about that. Buying out the black market could be an option but that shoudn't cause immediate recycle. You should be able to grab 6 more healing for example, or replenish teleport level or such. Over 1 milion turns I'd imagine about 10 tellevels, 10 teleports, 10 healings and maybe a couple isolated *healing* could be bought.
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Old May 18, 2012, 22:02   #16
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How much townscumming is done these days, anyway? Thinking back to my old days of playing, the main causes of townscumming used to be for stat/experience restoration potions, followed by Word of Recall or ID. These have both been solved by making the town stocking more binary -- it carries effectively unlimited WoR/ID and never carries stat restores. I think experience restore is somewhat unreliable but it's generally not an issue anyway.

Sure, you could scum the Black Market, but a combination of limited room for stock and the ability to stock just about anything means that it'd be an incredibly tedious way to get stuff. I check the Black Market every time I'm in town, sure, but I'm not going to make extra trips to the town just to see what it's restocked.
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Old May 18, 2012, 23:35   #17
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The only way it really effect difficulty would be if the drops are so common so low that you were too likely to get over powered gear before you even needed it, i.e. there was no way to move so fast that the game could be a challenge as the drops were too high/frequent. The problem is that you have to balance with play styles, if you are winning in > 10M turns and you balance drops around that, then anyone who is playing in < 500K has their "effective" rarity 20 times less.
.
Actually, this was the exact problem. Consider the diving method of walk from level beginning to the first available downstairs but pick up nearby items and kill any handleable monsters along the way. I found in 3.3 and earlier I would hit a runaway effect around dlevel 50 or so. At this point, just walking to the downstairs, I was able to get essentially all my *gear* that I needed by the end. I physically could not dive fast enough to keep up with my gear. That was the problem that we were trying to fix.

That and the myriad of complaints that artifacts/egos were way too common.


Edit: I'd like to add that your comments and the comments that follow highlight the incredible difficulty of gameplay in angband. Essentially, angband tries to please two disparate styles. One is the grinding style that is akin to JRPGs where you are free to wander around and grind as much as you want. The other is the push forward style that involves trying to get to the bottom as quickly as possible. Angband tries to be fun for both gameplay styles, and therefore cannot cater to either. If we could make ironman be the only way to play, game balance would be much easier. If we wanted to focus only on the grinding style we could do that as well the same way the JRPGs do.

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Old May 19, 2012, 00:45   #18
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I'd like to add that your comments and the comments that follow highlight the incredible difficulty of gameplay in angband. Essentially, angband tries to please two disparate styles. One is the grinding style that is akin to JRPGs where you are free to wander around and grind as much as you want. The other is the push forward style that involves trying to get to the bottom as quickly as possible. Angband tries to be fun for both gameplay styles, and therefore cannot cater to either. If we could make ironman be the only way to play, game balance would be much easier. If we wanted to focus only on the grinding style we could do that as well the same way the JRPGs do.
And yet, people continue to have fun playing.

As Derakon said, the balance is somewhere in the middle (as one might expect...). And while all sorts of playstyle are possible, most human players don't choose to take the more extreme ones because they're less fun.

IMHO one of Angband's big selling points is its freedom of choice. And the biggest lesson I've learned as a variant maintainer is that given two (reasonable) design options, you should choose the one that gives the player more choice.
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Old May 21, 2012, 08:45   #19
Timo Pietilš
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Originally Posted by CliffStamp View Post
Difficulty, aside from ratios, is always balanced simply by game play in any rpg where there are infinite spans of exp/drops and the monsters do not level with you. The player can simply sit in a safe place, level until they are walking death and then stomp through the game. You can not balance that at all as no matter what you do the player can simply stay longer. The most you can achieve, which is the ideal balance, is that you can play the game without grinding.

This is impossible in Angband (without extreme luck) and has always been one of the key issues.
Game is balanced when it is fun. "grinding" doesn't happen if you find levels interesting and don't dive like crazy and focus on getting as low turncount as possible. I think vast majority of people don't focus on optimal game turnwise. If they see something they find interesting they go after that even if it is unnecessary at that point and you could get same thing deeper easier. Pits, vaults, new monsters, new special rooms, challenging fights, level feelings telling that there is something worthwhile there, these all reduce grinding.
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Old May 22, 2012, 17:52   #20
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Pits, vaults, new monsters, new special rooms, challenging fights, level feelings telling that there is something worthwhile there, these all reduce grinding.
Timo, grinding is simply killing monsters for exp/items, it is next to impossible to avoid this in Angband, though it is accelerated if the pace of moving down is increased and that itself is unbalanced. In order to not have to grind you would have to be extremely lucky in drops, no matter what pace you progressed.

One of the reasons this happens in Angband is the inability to purchase / quest for specific items, it is thus very possible to end up at questor level and not have the required healing or monster control items as they are very specific. What is worse, and a little frustrating, is that you can end up with a glut of things you do not need with no way to trade them for what you do.

Again there are lots of ways to prevent this as it is a well known issue of RPG's in general and the only solutions are; specific quest rewards, trading, fixed ability to buy all items required.

For example, if you altered the BM item generator so that by the time you were at dl 98 (generate by depth of max level explored) the BM would have generated 5 potions of *healing*, 2 potions of life (as just one example) this would reduce a significant amount of grinding.
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