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Old June 12, 2007, 23:22   #71
will_asher
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Originally Posted by andrewdoull View Post
(takkaria: Why is this useful? Monsters with blink would just blink away eternally, so you'd never get to kill them.)

Having done this in Unangband, monsters tend to blink into your line of sight instead (particularly if you are in a room)... which is nice.

What I had in mind is monsters who are trying to get to you to attack you but can't get to you another way except by blinking. Why would they blink away if they're already away from you?
(maybe what I'm thinking involves more monster intelligence than we have in the game right now.)
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Old June 13, 2007, 00:52   #72
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Originally Posted by takkaria View Post
3.0.7s has NPP autosquelch. The upcoming 3.0.8 has a much simplified version that I think is more useable and fits the common use of squelch just as well. However, the user interface for it still isn't great, but I'm not sure how to fix that.
I'll have to upgrade and check it out. This is the first time I've played V for a few months, so I just fired up what I had on my machine, which is 3.0.6.

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Originally Posted by Elsairon View Post
All books but Kelek's and still using a bow? It's one of the reasons I don't carry a bow when I play mages. Commonly in V almost all situations using a bow vs. spells when fighting a unique, the bow wins out.

I would like to see at least enough similarity in damage per turn count with spells for mages, at least enough to make the choice between big_spell_from_deep_book and a bow a consideration instead of a joke.
Well I actually did use spells as my primary offense until a bit after 2000'. The bow and a full load of ammo was heavy enough to slow me quite a bit. Then I found Aglarang, and it became an option- it is telling that I was willing to use Aglarang's speed points for carrying ammo though.

The other thing is that I am probably deeper for my clvl than most people play with mages, and spell damage tends to scale with clvl. Also, I had a ring of Int and amulet of regen, and Thengel, so 0% fail on most important spells, and ~300 mana. Somewhere around 2300' I had to start prioritizing Con and permanent rPoison, while keeping rConf after switching Thengel for a crown of might. That meant losing 4 points of int (meaning ~200 mana, and higher failure rates) and regen, and wearing encumbering armor (Rohirrim), as well as leaving an RoS +6 at home (where Belegennon and Numenor are also now sitting). At this depth with these hp and only +5 speed I need to keep haste and resistance up, and that uses a lot of mana. My damage/turn is actually higher with the big spells than with the bow, assuming normal ammo, but I don't have the mana to spare- it isn't the damage/turn, it's the fact that I can carry 100 bolts. Caspanion would be a big find for me right now (and a not unlikely one), letting me do quite a bit of juggling, though still leaving me with some hard choices related to Con and headgear- I lack a lot of the resists Numenor gives, and Caspanion would cost me sound as well. Thorin would be nice too. At that point offensive spells might become more attractive.

Except for Tenser's... it's a recent find and of course it changes the calculations dramatically. If you want to make spell offense more attractive for mages the obvious way to do it is to take Elemental Brand away, or make it very high level. This does have the drawback of leaving Tenser's a very expensive paperweight for mages.

I rarely play mages as I find getting them to clvl 25 overly fiddly- they're close to the only class I haven't figured out how to dive with, early on. But I don't feel like they are in any way underpowered, particularly at higher levels, with Kelek's. Kelek's offensive spells do a lot of damage, actually- quite a lot more than you're going to get out of a bow without branded ammo. Actually, given the way V vaults work, Kelek's is close to being a sufficient condition for victory. It's just pretty deep and pretty rare.

But archery is a little out of control in V (particularly if you get a good shooter early or you can cast Elemental brand), which was my initial point. Anything that makes it better, like a quiver or good ego bows popping up frequently in stores, ought to be very carefully considered. In general, I think there is a big difference between things that can be important lucky finds that speed you on your way and things that are always, or frequently, available.
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Old June 20, 2007, 04:28   #73
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Originally Posted by aeneas View Post
The other thing is that I am probably deeper for my clvl than most people play with mages, and spell damage tends to scale with clvl.

<snip>

But archery is a little out of control in V (particularly if you get a good shooter early or you can cast Elemental brand), which was my initial point. Anything that makes it better, like a quiver or good ego bows popping up frequently in stores, ought to be very carefully considered. In general, I think there is a big difference between things that can be important lucky finds that speed you on your way and things that are always, or frequently, available.
I see the main issue here for me. A 'lucky' find of a decent bow at low to mid clvl for a mage seems to happen every single game for me. Thus its not really a matter of if I'll find a good bow that outclasses my spells, but when.

Bow damage scales with items, spell damage scales with clvl. There is a chance for out of depth items, alas not so for clvl

Thinking some more on what you wrote... I think it's more of a mana issue than spell issue. The bo allows for carrying of alot of ammunition, while spells require chugging down mana potions. A much more limited resource. I generally don't run out of arrows during a fight. As you pointed out...

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Originally Posted by aeneas View Post
Somewhere around 2300' I had to start prioritizing Con and permanent rPoison, while keeping rConf after switching Thengel for a crown of might. That meant losing 4 points of int (meaning ~200 mana, and higher failure rates) and regen, and wearing encumbering armor (Rohirrim), as well as leaving an RoS +6 at home (where Belegennon and Numenor are also now sitting).
It's a given that at some point CON get's priority (or is it). The most frequent suggestion I have seen given to players who plan to make it to endgame is, 'get more CON'. This generally leaves INT rings being swapped out for rings of CON for the most part, thus lowering the chances to use spells as a sustainable attack form. (By that I mean finishing a fight with a some-what deep unique without resting in between 'bouts'.)

Last edited by Elsairon; June 20, 2007 at 04:37.
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Old June 27, 2007, 23:12   #74
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Originally Posted by Elsairon View Post
I see the main issue here for me. A 'lucky' find of a decent bow at low to mid clvl for a mage seems to happen every single game for me. Thus its not really a matter of if I'll find a good bow that outclasses my spells, but when.
I don't usually find ego bows all that early in V, but I mostly play pretty fast. Mages are slower at the start, so I can see how you would be much more likely to get a decent ego bow with them. I don't play them all that often so I don't have a good intuition for that. I know a lot of my Rangers wind up below 2500' with the original longbow. In fact, one of the biggest questions for Rangers in V for me is how fast +to_dam scrolls show up in the shop. OTOH, I almost always have a good ego bow early in NPP because they are so readily available in the shops. Actually for most classes, the optimal diving strategy in NPP revolves around archery, IMHO.

My recent NPP warrior actually saw Haradrim, with good pluses, in the weapons shop at his creation. For most practical purposes that approaches the usefulness of Belthronding for a non-ranger. Of course I couldn't buy it with my starting gold, but if it had appeared a couple trips to town later it would have been a license to immediately drop deep, particularly with branded ammo also available in the shops (actually, given breath atttenuation, I would have immediately set out for 3150 to hunt Wyrms). That's fine for NPP, but it would be a bit nuts in V, IMHO.

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Originally Posted by Elsairon View Post
Bow damage scales with items, spell damage scales with clvl. There is a chance for out of depth items, alas not so for clvl
Well, as far as shop items are concerned I don't think they show up based on depth, in NPP or V at least. For dungeon finds, if I understand the item generation system correctly, the common egos don't have a particular depth- that is, as long as longbows are in depth, so are longbows of extra shots, etc. But far less bows than melee weapons are generated, so you will find a lot more ego melee weapons than ego bows (and of course depth does affect the percentage that are ego).

Your basic point is right on the money of course- part of what makes Angband fun and addictive is the possibility that something really nice (or even gamebreaking) will show up early (there's some interesting psychological research on the addictive nature of large rewards that come at unpredictable intervals). I once found a ring of speed at 250'- unfortunately I died to Brodda before IDing it. I also once found a RoS +14 _and_ a rod of speed before 1000'. That character won. But I have played a lot of games of Angband. When I was first learning to dive most of my characters died in the first 30 minutes of play, many in the first 10. With autoscum on that leads to some lucky early finds. But they are only in a small fraction of games.

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Originally Posted by Elsairon View Post
Thinking some more on what you wrote... I think it's more of a mana issue than spell issue. The bo allows for carrying of alot of ammunition, while spells require chugging down mana potions. A much more limited resource. I generally don't run out of arrows during a fight. As you pointed out...
Yes, exactly- given a choice between using mana for useful things like resistance, haste, TO, genocide, etc. and meting out serious damage by another method, and using mana for offense and being able to cast less of the "useful" spells, it's obvious which is better. This isn't because Mages are underpowered in terms of combat spells- it is because they are very versatile. Giving them better combat spells in earlier books would not change that, it would just make the game a walkover for them. It almost is already, if they are patient, though it is much better than in the days of GOI.


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Originally Posted by Elsairon View Post
It's a given that at some point CON get's priority (or is it).
It's a given that it is _a_ priority. It may or may not be _the_ priority in the sense that it is the bottleneck in your kit. Mages can play at depths where there are things that can instakill them more easily than any other class. They are very good at picking their fights, and very good at escaping from battles that go against them, so it is only important that they not be instakillable by the things they want to fight. A mage with 450 hp may be a lot harder to kill than a warrior with 700 or 750 at the same depth. RConf, RBlind, or Speed might be bigger priorities, depending on your race's HD, your current speed, and what kit is available- one of the reasons that I like the middle game better than the endgame in V is that there are often really hard choices, rather than no-brainers. But mana is likely to be nearer the bottom of your list of priorities if you are minimaxing.

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Originally Posted by Elsairon View Post
The most frequent suggestion I have seen given to players who plan to make it to endgame is, 'get more CON'. This generally leaves INT rings being swapped out for rings of CON for the most part, thus lowering the chances to use spells as a sustainable attack form. (By that I mean finishing a fight with a some-what deep unique without resting in between 'bouts'.)
Well, Con is definitely bigger than Int for a mage in most cases in the mid-game (by mid-game I mean 2200' to around 3500'/4000')- the importance of Int is more about fail rate than mana- 0% is a big breakpoint on a few spells. Mages are better suited to using their magic for "utility" (if you can call things like Resistance, Haste, TO, Tele_Level, and eventually Genocide "utility" with a straight face). Late in the game the situation changes some, but... that's just the way the class is balanced. You could change that balance to emphasize combat spells, but to make that well balanced you would have to take (a lot) with one hand, while giving with the other.

At any rate, we're talking about two or three different, but related, things here, which makes the conversation a bit unfocused. Mage balance, the general utility of archery, and better stuff/services available in town in NPP (particularly good bows and branded ammo, which is what ties it all together), by my count.

I may not make a lot of friends by pointing this out, but most of the "feature from NPP" requests people make are requests for things that make the game easier. Quiver, shop services, quests, etc... Few people request Hydra pits (with good reason IMHO, even NPP has done away away with those ), less shots for rangers, high level uniques that can tele both directions, zap you repeatedly with their highest damage attacks until they run out of mana, and are impossible to shake, etc. I think some attention should be paid to the balance issues involved.

In particular, I was surprised to see that the note attached to adding a quiver in the feature list for upcoming V releases read (I paraphrase) "Since there's no good argument against it...". There is a pretty strong argument against the quiver in V, I think. I'm not saying that one might not decide to add one after considering that argument, but I think it ought to be considered. In fact, as I said earlier, anything that makes archery stronger in V ought to be very carefully considered. Same goes for better stuff in stores- if you only the easier bits from NPP are added the game will get pretty unbalanced. Also, less exciting- it is a big deal to find a good bow in V now... it is humdrum in NPP.
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Old June 28, 2007, 19:12   #75
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Originally Posted by aeneas View Post
In particular, I was surprised to see that the note attached to adding a quiver in the feature list for upcoming V releases read (I paraphrase) "Since there's no good argument against it...". There is a pretty strong argument against the quiver in V, I think. I'm not saying that one might not decide to add one after considering that argument, but I think it ought to be considered. In fact, as I said earlier, anything that makes archery stronger in V ought to be very carefully considered. Same goes for better stuff in stores- if you only the easier bits from NPP are added the game will get pretty unbalanced. Also, less exciting- it is a big deal to find a good bow in V now... it is humdrum in NPP.
The argument for the quiver is "it's a UI feature that makes it less fiddly to play the game". What's the argument against it? It doesn't make archery any stronger that I can see, just less annoying.
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Old June 28, 2007, 19:18   #76
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The argument for the quiver is "it's a UI feature that makes it less fiddly to play the game". What's the argument against it? It doesn't make archery any stronger that I can see, just less annoying.
Hi Andrew,

If each ammo type in the quiver still costs you an ammo slot, than there is no argument against it that I can see. But if the quiver takes a single slot in the inventory and allows several types of ammo, then it will affect balance since it allows the player to carry all kinds of branded and slay ammo that he has without having to leave other stuff at home.

(Of course, you could offset this by allowing a succesful fire attack a chance to destroy the whole quiver at once, including everything in it ... BWUHAHAHAHA )
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Old June 29, 2007, 00:21   #77
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Hi Andrew,

If each ammo type in the quiver still costs you an ammo slot, than there is no argument against it that I can see. But if the quiver takes a single slot in the inventory and allows several types of ammo, then it will affect balance since it allows the player to carry all kinds of branded and slay ammo that he has without having to leave other stuff at home.
Ah. I never had any intention of implementing the latter kind.
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Old June 29, 2007, 09:32   #78
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Ah. I never had any intention of implementing the latter kind.
But that's how the quiver works. It uses 1 inventory slot for every 99 ammo you carry, irregardless of type...

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Old June 29, 2007, 13:38   #79
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I'm for including the quiver as seen in other variants. To compensate, weaken archery is some minor other way, e.g. one most related to the feeling that V archery is too strong. Then see if it got balanced.

The reason is, two of the ways quiver improves gameplay are only present in the implementation that merges all ammo to 99 stacks in inventory. These two are: much more frequent tactical diversity of using different ammo kinds for different situations and much less UI managment decisions of the boring and counterintuitive kind (are the 2 arrows of Slay Giant worth the inventory slot? the home slot? should I shoot the better arrows first or the weaker ones from a smaller stack first, so as to break them earlier and free the slot? how to find enough scrolls to merge several small stacks of arrows of Flame? should I discard a stack of ordinary arrows of *Rare Brand*, because they do not have a chance to stack with the seeker arrows I most frequently find on my current depth or should I discard one of the stacks of non-ego seeker arrows? will I get more in the shops for the stack of 43 arrows of Foo or 17 arrows of *Bar*?).

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Old June 29, 2007, 15:36   #80
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I'm for including the quiver as seen in other variants. To compensate, weaken archery is some minor other way, e.g. one most related to the feeling that V archery is too strong.
Probably by calculating archery slay/brand bonus the same way as melee slay/brand bonus. That would reduce the unbalancing effect of being able to carry aroound every kind of slay and brand ammo you've ever found without sacrificing half your inventory slots.
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