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Old May 22, 2012, 17:18   #21
Derakon
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Originally Posted by CliffStamp View Post
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.
I contest your definition of grinding; to me, grinding is killing uninteresting monsters -- or more generally, not being challenged. It's what you do because you aren't yet strong enough to take on the next "tier" of challenges, and it can be eliminated by ensuring that the challenge curve is more or less smooth -- so that the completion of interesting fight A provides enough of a power boost that you're ready for interesting fight B, and so on.

To the extent that Sauron and Morgoth represent a significant jump in difficulty, you can find yourself needing to grind them. But otherwise, Angband has grinding only if you want it to. You can keep diving more or less indefinitely, exchanging better drop quality for being unable to fight an increasingly large percentage of the enemies -- but because there are all those enemies you have to avoid, the gameplay remains interesting, i.e. non-grindy. We used to inflict a massive amount of grinding on ourselves by refusing to drop below 1950' without poison resistance, but that didn't mean that Angband was a grindy game.
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Old May 22, 2012, 17:30   #22
CliffStamp
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
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.
There are ways to achieve a balance there but you won't please the people who do it. For example if you leveled monsters with cl then you could easily balance the game so you could not make the game easier by level grinding, but some people want to do that, they enjoy being over levelled/equipped. This can only be achieved with an option which scales difficulty with cl (and dl).
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Old May 22, 2012, 17:46   #23
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
I contest your definition of grinding; to me, grinding is killing uninteresting monsters -- or more generally, not being challenged.
There is no ISO standard for these terms, you can define it as you want. If you don't like grinding, no problem I define beetlejuicing as a problem in Angband as the issue noted where you have to gets items/exp simply in order to advance.


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To the extent that Sauron and Morgoth represent a significant jump in difficulty, you can find yourself needing to grind them. But otherwise, Angband has grinding only if you want it to.
It isn't just them, any of the high level uniques with similar abilities. Of course you can just ignore them which is what I did in the latest game where I ended up on dl 98 with no high uniques killed as I had no means of healing outside of CCW. At this point I could use CCW and CSW to start pruning the unique list, which is very tedious given how often you have to go through them when you have ~550 HP and only moderate speed < 25 hasted with a moderate weapon. You are constantly buying everything in town and still can only get through 1-3 uniques at most before another run.

I then basically suicided at dl 99 as it was pointless to beetlejuice for healing and with no means to genocide and moderate HP there was little chance to actually pass the questor. Of course if I started item beetlejuicing then the game would be trivial. My main contention is that I easily had enough money to buy healing, monster control, but no way to actually get it without just resting for store resets, and that again is just a silly thing to do in a RPG, it isn't like it is difficult/challenging.

Now again, the more you level clear then the less likely you need to beetlejuice for items, but I remember clearly (back in GoI) days, that I would often have characters at dl 98 and wanted to pad out consumables a little and all you did of course was detect + level scum to rapidly to turn them up. But if you level cleared every level, especially the later ones, then yes, you would likely be over stocked - but that is a very long game and would you really require that in order to enable completion?
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Old May 22, 2012, 18:08   #24
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In angband some characters e.g. hobbit rogue are specially designed for dive and then grind or level scum strategy. Others are better for level cleaning. It seems you have coosen wrong character for your preferred play style.
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Old May 22, 2012, 18:09   #25
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Originally Posted by CliffStamp View Post
There is no ISO standard for these terms, you can define it as you want. If you don't like grinding, no problem I define beetlejuicing as a problem in Angband as the issue noted where you have to gets items/exp simply in order to advance.
That's not a problem; that's the game. Angband's about numbers going up, when you get right down to it -- and you have two sets of numbers to work with, character-based and item-based. Once your stats and level are maxed all that's left is equipment, so complaining about having to get items is missing the point.

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I then basically suicided at dl 99 as it was pointless to beetlejuice for healing and with no means to genocide and moderate HP there was little chance to actually pass the questor. Of course if I started item beetlejuicing then the game would be trivial. My main contention is that I easily had enough money to buy healing, monster control, but no way to actually get it without just resting for store resets, and that again is just a silly thing to do in a RPG, it isn't like it is difficult/challenging.
The issue here isn't that you didn't have what you needed to take on Sauron/Morgoth. It's that you weren't enjoying the challenges of the ordinary dungeon that would normally be there to prepare you for those fights.

If we just took you at your word that the equipment/consumables needed for the final fights weren't available, then we'd end up making those items even more common, which is exactly the wrong thing to do! The simple fact is that you shouldn't have been able to survive at the depth you were at -- or at the very least, you shouldn't have been able to trivially survive.

It sounds like you're advocating that the town should be guaranteed to build up a stock of late-game consumables so you can buy them and thus be able to progress. I have two main concerns with that idea:

1) It breaks the illusion that the town is providing goods and services for anyone besides the player (which the normal store refresh does) -- why didn't these other people buy the high-level consumables instead?

2) It creates guarantees in a game that should not have them. The entire point of procedural content generation is to present the player with different challenges in different games, and making guarantees in the town to smooth over any potential humps obviates that.

Last edited by Derakon; May 22, 2012 at 18:15.
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Old May 22, 2012, 19:02   #26
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
If we just took you at your word that the equipment/consumables needed for the final fights weren't available, then we'd end up making those items even more common, which is exactly the wrong thing to do!
I have never suggested that, and that kind of solution is the problem, it is ignoring the issue and just making a bandaid to the symptom.


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1) It breaks the illusion that the town is providing goods and services for anyone besides the player (which the normal store refresh does) -- why didn't these other people buy the high-level consumables instead?
You can not use that logic for trivial reasons - the counter argument is obvious. Why does the store stock items which never sell, yet I have tons of money to give them if they would stock what I want. This really isn't a solid approach to business. You can easily code the mechanism as you suggest where you would buy items not in stock, they would be ordered, but you would be subjected to a random buy out (from someone else) if you waited too long before purchasing. This would also lead to pre-orders early which would lock up cash but prevent stalls.



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2) It creates guarantees in a game that should not have them. The entire point of procedural content generation is to present the player with different challenges in different games, and making guarantees in the town to smooth over any potential humps obviates that.

This only holds if there are ways to over come the challenges and this is the case for the majority as you can for example avoid killing by stealth (+detection) and thus not hit a depth hump. However at some point you are going to have to kill the questors or stall and that requires minimal equipment - hence beetlejuicing which is enhanced as it has to be specific, especially if you are trying to rp.

The very basic question is - should you be forced to beetlejuice or not. I never enjoy it when it is forced. But some people love killing just for the sake of exp/items so it is a moot point to them. My only point is that it is hardly impossible to allow diving without stalling so what is the argument to not doing it and simply saying - well you are playing it wrong, you have to beetlejuice.

All that does is just make people not play Angband proper, which is one of the reasons I have not for a long time. For example see Lev's 94k tun win of Zangband where he made use of a berserk mutation to heal and took advantage of the very high speed of the Serpent to outdistance any summons so he did not need any monster control.
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Old May 23, 2012, 04:48   #27
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Some of the issues that CliffStamp is getting that are indeed addressed in 3.4. One of the problems of 3.0.6 - 3.3.0 is that drops from weak monsters and floor drops were lessened, but drops from top level monsters stayed the same. These monsters (which had DROP_GOOD) could not drop consumables. Overall consumable drop rate plummeted, but the need for !healing remained unchanged. This led to a lot of scumming for healing which from what I can gather is CliffStamps main objection, and honestly, I don't enjoy this either.

In 3.4 DROP_GOOD only applies to uniques, add to this the addition of the late game Ainu (formerly angels) pit and you have a ready source of consumables. You'll get 6-8 potions of healing from clearing an ainu pit along with a couple !*healing and !life to boot. Unfortunately their tendency to pick up items and teleport you away makes it a bit annoying to clear, but not impossible. It's certainly a hell of a lot more fun than scumming the BM. Dragon pits are another good source, but we already know about those. Lastly healing and stat potions can drop in stacks of 2 once you're deep enough, this helps boost the amounts a lot, and !healing is more common (although *healing and !life are still fairly rare.) I would recommend trying out editing the stores to sell !healing, and adjusting the price to what you think should be a reasonable value. You can probably find a way to adjust the price to fit your play style, but I guarantee it will be too low or too high for other people's play style and will either be useless or make the game ridiculously easy.

If you want to consider how I think item distribution should be balanced. I think that it should be balanced for a clearing-style ironman player. That means, that your ironman warrior should be finding enough healing in the dungeon to make it through some reasonable % of the time (between 20 and 90 say). This means if you're aggressively diving, you will probably have to scum for healing, and if you're playing slowly, you're going to have tons of extra healing potions lying around. I'll note that this is not because that's the easiest style to generate stats for, but rather the other way around. I designed my stats generation algorithm to clear levels individually because I thought it was a good metric.

The one other issue that I agree is that there are too many late game uniques. I would prefer a smaller unique list with greater incentives (requirements?) to kill them. But this is enough of a significant departure that it can't be justifiably implemented. Also some players really like the large number of uniques in the game. I don't see this changing in the near future, unfortunately.
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Old May 23, 2012, 07:20   #28
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Originally Posted by CliffStamp View Post
and that again is just a silly thing to do in a RPG, it isn't like it is difficult/challenging.
I think I found out your problem: Angband is not RPG, don't play it like that. Angband is roguelike quake. Killing monsters is the whole point of the game, not to level as fast as you can or get to the questor as fast as you can. Have fun fighting. Pick up the biggest baddest monster you can handle and fight it out. Getting better items is a side-effect that allows you to take even bigger monster at next fight. Or chase down that ghost that picked up something from the floor and then retreated to the wall. Killing it is its own reward, not the XP or items it had. Prime your evil grin and see the horror in your victims.

Getting win in half-million turns or even faster can be done, but that is not the goal of the game and frankly it gets boring really fast if you just optimize your play to get there as fast as you can. Goal is to have fun in between that goal and the start. Winning is actually quite boring thing to do after you have done it couple of times, but you can still have fun playing if the game offers you challenges before that.

Most fun I have had in Angband was when CrownGV was accidentally marked as LV. It is open vault which provided challenging monsters that you could not handle and fun was to lure them out of it without getting killed in the process. IMO game needs more things like that. "broken" things that are not actually broken because they make game more fun.
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Old May 23, 2012, 15:06   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
This means if you're aggressively diving, you will probably have to scum for healing, and if you're playing slowly, you're going to have tons of extra healing potions lying around.
But if I've understood Cliff correctly, his main issue is a dislike of this very argument. He wants a mechanism whereby fast players don't have to scum/grind/beetlejuice for healing (or damage, or monster control) items - hence the store suggestions.

My views on this are mixed. OT1H I hate the "game of shopping" precisely because it's a whole load of balance challenges we could do without - how much gold should we expect players to have by a certain point in the game? How many *Healing* potions should be available, at what price? Etc. It's a *lot* of work to get things right, effort which would be better focused on other aspects of the game. I'd rather leave the stores as a bit of flavour, a minor irrelevance there to prevent the most avoidable game-breaking situations (running out of WoR, or arrows, or MB1 etc.).

That said, Cliff is right that the way to accommodate a wider variety of playstyles (and perhaps reduce some of the noise about divers vs. clearers and so on) is to make money meaningful and provide a way of buying stuff you need in the late game. Sang has a nice approach to this which makes money useful but doesn't end up with a formulaic endgame - I prefer Sang's investment model to NPP's store services because it's more random. I suspect Cliff would prefer the NPP approach.

But to be honest if I had the time I'd solve the problem without touching stores at all. I'd do it with quest rewards instead, and justify all those uniques.
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Old May 23, 2012, 15:42   #30
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But if I've understood Cliff correctly, his main issue is a dislike of this very argument. He wants a mechanism whereby fast players don't have to scum/grind/beetlejuice for healing (or damage, or monster control) items - hence the store suggestions.
The problem as I see it is if you make the items priced such so that they are purchasable by the divers, then they'll be a trivial purchase for any non-diver. If you price them for a slower player, then they're useless for the diver because they're too expensive. So it's the same problem as before, except instead of scumming for healing potions you're scumming to scrounge up enough gold. I don't see this as a solution to the problem at all. But I recommend CliffStamp to edit the store files and add in !healing priced to a level he thinks appropriate and see whether he then thinks the game has improved. Right now I only have the data point from my experience a couple years back, it'd be nice to get another opinion. I find no shame in customizing the game to one's preference, in fact, I encourage it wholeheartedly! If anyone wants to do this but needs help in figuring out what to change, I'll be happy to assist.

(as an aside, I like quests too. We should put them in v4.)
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