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Old April 24, 2009, 05:58   #1
Spacebux
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Question Uninspiring unique drops

I've not played angband since an early revision of 3.0.9. Having come back to 3.1.x, I've been steadily playing r1283, I have the following comments about the game play. Forgive me if this is not the right forum / discussion board for these comments.

The game designers seem to be bent on making mages harder and harder to play. Reducing effectiveness of spells, etc. Indeed, bow shots are arguably the best method of dispatching hi-level mobs thesedays.

Anyway -

1. Rogues should not be getting mage spells. Rather, the game needs to introduce Rogue-unique skills to the rogue class. Picking locks, kindling fires (to light rooms or hallways permanently), setting traps for mobs to trip, peeking into a mobs' inventory (and attempting to theft such inventory or gold from a mob (with a much greater chance of success if the mob is asleep)), backstabing for multiple damage, and being able to disappear quickly like the other rogues in the game when they loot one's purse of gold.
2. Warriors need better skills, too. Kicking to stun mobs (akin to what mystics do), bashing spell-casters / breathers off their feet (so they cannot cast / breathe until they have recovered their composure), and dodge, perry, & other fencing type skills to assist defense in melee combat.

There are a lot of cases where a mage can handle with spells that a warrior or theif simply could not. E.g., I asked my friend who enjoys playing warriors how he handles packs of high-level hounds (plasma, gravity, inertia, etc.). His answer was simple - "just run away"... avoidance was his tactic. Unless a warrior happens to have high-level wands of ball or breath spells, carries a bunch of speed items, or has a distinct method (i.e., high resistance/immunity) to combat such hounds, vortices, there is little for the class player to do in terms of strategy. My point is, for mages and clerics, and probably for paladins & rangers, there are medium-level solutions to slowly picking off the hounds through attrition - bouncing ball spells off walls, etc. It's not easy, it's time consuming, but in the end, a patient spell-caster can usually manage the situation.

Rather than focus on making spell-casters harder to play, increase the abilities of the non-spell casters through class-unique skills. For instance, a rogue with a good trapping technique could set a bunch of traps along a hallway, and bait the hounds to chase after him, unwittingly springing the traps. (The game would need to keep track of such kills, giving the rogue credit for the XP kills.)

c. Level 51+. Seems the game changes dramatically once a character hits level 50. XP is no longer a motivation, only artifacts and uniques are the remaining challenges. To make XP a bit more enticing, what if levels 51 onward were attainable at given intervals of XP? only a few HPs / MPs would be gained, but there would be new reason to quaff potions of XP other than for the nutritional value.

d. Mages should be able to read all the spells in the mage books. What is the point of keeping all those spells illegible in Tenser's??? What tactical advantage does it keep mages from upgrading equipment like rangers? The scrolls of those spells are still available in the shops, so other than forcing the mages to go shopping, what is the point of preventing mages from learning those spells? If the point is to create ranger-class unique skills, than by all means, do so. Mages should not have "cure light wounds", by the way---that needs to be replaced with a weaker form of the shield spell or a "distraction" / ventril spell to distract the minds of weaker mobs or detect gold spell. In summary, mages should be able to learn all spells in "mage" books. If the designers feel mages should not learn those spells, then take them out of the books all together. This "illegible" stuff looks silly. "You stoopid mage!"

Mob drops:

I appreciate the attempts to reduce the amount of trash around the dungeon floors. However, whatever happened to all the cursed items?? Seems like 90% of the items picked up are not cursed at all. Some unique weapons / arrows still maintain the *heavil cursed* or *cursed* flags, but in 3.0.9, maybe 30% of the items were (- to-hit / - to-dam) weapons. Perhaps coders could also could a change to allow some items to be mixed - (negative to-hit coupled with a positive to-dam) or (positive to-hit with negative to-dam). And, yes, I for one miss the broken swords / daggers.

Inventory:

What's wrong with allowing characters to haul chests? (and, in-turn, placing up to 9 items in larger chests, 4 items in smaller chests)?? I think this will tie into aiding the warrior class greatly in terms of permitting warriors to lug around more equipment (they usually have the strength to do so). And, yes, I would also permit the players to store chests of stuff back home to increase inventory at home. I feel the game's a bit too limiting on slots available. I understand that's supposed to be part of the challenge of the game, but chests are generally not light-weight, especially the iron ones. And, heaven help the poor guy who stores a bunch of stuff in a wooden chest that gets flamed by a fire hound! If acid gets on an iron chest, that would say, ruin it, causing holes to break open, and possibly spilling the contents onto the dungeon floor.

Power-based pricing
:

What? Why? ... I really don't understand the why the developers have thought this to be a key development for 3.1.x. I don't see how this greatly affects the game other than to slow the development down of some classes---to the point of tedious.

Item modifications:

Would be interesting to see items that have greater mixes of benefits & detriments. For example, wands that cast a poison ball, but will also blind the user if s/he does not have RBlind on. A potion of quickness that permanently increases a player's speed between 1~3 points, but also reduces 2 or more stats by 3~4 points. A whip of shockwave that produces an R2 explosion on contact with a mob - if the wielder does not have RConfuion or RSound gear on, she/he too may be stunned by the explosion... stuff like that, mix it up a little more. Again, give the warriors / theives more options.

Focus more on making the warrior and theif skills better / greater / more interesting. Stop trying to penalize the spell-casting classes for being "too good". The next step, would be then to modify mob AI a little more.


More on mob drops:

Of all the drops I had in this game, only 3 items of my total inventory (on char, and at home), came from unique mob drops. The current mob drop algorithm has really skewed the drop code in favor of drops from normal mobs - i.e., I have purposely left the lesser uniques - o's, k's, y's - alive to preserve them. When they show up with a group of lesser mobs, the reduced drop code prevents the floor from becoming cluttered, but what they do drop is usually quality stuff.

Ring 'Narya' - dropped by a dracolich @ 4550'.
Ring 'Nenya' - dropped by a great wyrm of law @ 4350'.
Ring 'Vilya' - dropped by a bile demon @ 4500'.
Glaive of Pain (lovely weapon) - dropped by a dracolisk @ 4350'.
Bow of Bard - dropped by an Archon @3100'.
* Amulet of Carlammas - dropped by Smaug @3050'.
Amulet 'Ingwe' - dropped by pit fiend @4100'.
* Elfstone 'Elessar' - dropped by the Cat Lord @ 4250'.
* Amulet of Trickery - dropped by Feagwath @ 4150'.
Necklace of the Dwarves - dropped by great hell wyrm @3850'.
Mithril Plate 'Celeborn' - dropped by erinyes @ 4250'.
Small Metal shield 'Thorin' - dropped by Anc. multi-hued D @ 3050'.
Ring 'Tulkas' - dropped by great wyrm of many colours @ 4450'.
Chain mail 'Caspanion' - dropped by acidic cyto. @ 1800'.
Scale mail 'Thalkettoth' - dropped by an uruk @ 1100'.
Large metal shield 'Anarion' - dropped by a snaga @4250'. <-- had to work hard for that one.
Iron-helm 'Dor-Lomin' - dropped by a fire giant @ 4100'.
Metal shod boots 'Thror' - dropped by a mature blue d @ 1700'.
Katana 'Aglarang' - dropped by a patriarch @ 3150'.
Pick of Erebor - dropped by erinyes @ 1950'.

of 40 items in my inventory, home and abroad, only 3 items are from unique kills. All neck gear. What was the point of dropping uniques if they only drop a set of leather gloves [1, +10] and a small metal shield of resist fire [4, +8] ??

Aside from Kronos, whom I'm hunting down right now, and Sauron/Morgoth, my unique kill count is 95 known, 81 slain. Bert is the highest level unique left alive on my unique list otherwise. Unique o's, y's, and Mughash are on the endangered species list and purposely left alive while their buddies are slaughtered mercilessly.

Unique's ought to have a separate drop algorithm. Otherwise, some of them leave my character wondering what the hassle was all about---other than to register a new kill.


Good game, overall, but just wish the developers would focus on those points I made above.
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Old April 24, 2009, 06:17   #2
PowerDiver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spacebux View Post
1. Rogues should not be getting mage spells.
Don't be confused by the name. Angband needs a class that I would call a fighter-mage, and "rogue" is what that class currently happens to be called. Stuff about sneaking or setting traps or whatever is just confusion because of the improper name for the fighter-mage class.

I suppose we could introduce a trap-setting class without spells and call it a battlemage to maintain the glorious tradition of misleading names.
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Old April 24, 2009, 06:39   #3
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Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
Don't be confused by the name. Angband needs a class that I would call a fighter-mage, and "rogue" is what that class currently happens to be called. Stuff about sneaking or setting traps or whatever is just confusion because of the improper name for the fighter-mage class.

I suppose we could introduce a trap-setting class without spells and call it a battlemage to maintain the glorious tradition of misleading names.
Angband/64 has rogue 'spells' that create traps, and a war-mage class that combines somewhat reduced mage spellcasting with fighting skills.

(note /64. Angband/65 will have all this stuff but only when I finish coding it. )
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Old April 24, 2009, 08:49   #4
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(Pasted from trac - this is a much better place for the debate)
Quote:
a. Rogues should not be getting mage spells. Rather, the game needs to introduce Rogue-unique skills to the rogue class. b. Warriors need better skills, too. Kicking to stun mobs (akin to what mystics do), bashing spell-casters / breathers off their feet (so they cannot cast / breathe until they have recovered their composure), and dodge, perry, & other fencing type skills to assist defense in melee combat.
There are lots of variants you can play which have a skill-based approach to classes. It's never been part of vanilla Angband, so why would it start now? (How long have you been playing?) I'm not saying these aren't good ideas, they're just very different to what this particular game has ever been.
Quote:
c. Level 51+.
You can't have been playing long. This has been discussed ad nauseam. The consensus is that it wouldn't actually make the game any more interesting. You don't need to reach level 50 to win (see the Oook ladder for many winners in their 40s).
Quote:
d. Mages should be able to read all the spells in the mage books.
Not if you have specific spells for rangers and rogues, which we do. Mages do not lack for spells - there are plenty that don't get enough use already.
Quote:
I appreciate the attempts to reduce the amount of trash around the dungeon floors. However, whatever happened to all the cursed items??
Sticky curses are annoying, and don't do anything to make the game better. More interesting and varied types of curse are in development, along the lines of the "mixed-blessing" items you suggest. In the meantime, the number of sticky-cursed items has been reduced, which most of us are quite happy about!
Quote:
What's wrong with allowing characters to haul chests? (and, in-turn, placing up to 9 items in larger chests, 4 items in smaller chests)??
Being able to store items in chests requires code that doesn't exist. If you look at the open trac tickets, you'll see quite a few other things that need code work. I don't particularly have a problem with the idea, but it's a lot of coding work for very little gain.
Quote:
Power-based pricing: What? Why? ... I really don't understand the why the developers have thought this to be a key development for 3.1.x. I don't see how this greatly affects the game other than to slow the development down of some classes---to the point of tedious.
As the contributor of power-based pricing I'd be grateful if you could explain how on earth it affects the development of any classes. All it does is rationalise prices, and it does that identically for every class.

As for the extra stuff about a separate algorithm for unique drops - again, this is something that would require new code, the creation of which is in short supply. It's a nice idea, but as with chests, it's tinkering at the margins. In many cases uniques are easier to kill than Ls and Ds, so why would they have better drops?
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Old April 24, 2009, 10:50   #5
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Cool Fighter-mages..

If a "rogue" is a fighter-mage in Angband, I would suggest a more appropriate definition... perhaps I am old-fashioned, thinking back to the days when Gary Gygax started the D&D craze of the 80s, and DikuMudd of the 90s.. (when this game was called 'moria').

It would be interesting - to me anyway - to see a more thief/pilferer/rogue-specific class be created then.

The current rogue class seems to dependent on mage spells / tactics to be of much distinction.

I found out a few characters ago, that a mage wielding 'Ringil' is not a warrior-mage that can melee. In fact, that mage died rather quickly trying to spar with greater-titan ... the greater-titan won. *sob* *sob*

That's why mages are mages to me... mages have specific tactics---mage-tactics---to deal with certain situations. Rogues & rangers also tend to borrow heavily on mage tactics. And, it leaves me wondering "why" to have 3 classes so heavily burdened with using mage tactics when one class seems to suffice. Recent revisions have alleviated the ranger class from depending less on spells, and relying more on missile projectiles for many situations. I think this is a good trend, but I'd like to see the "rogue" class break away completely from mage spells, and the ranger class 50% as much.

One of the classic D&D tactics of rogues/thieves in D&D was the ability of the class to poison-tip arrows. Wouldn't it be cool, if in angband, rogues could take up a potion of poison, and use that to "create a sickly aura" about a bunch of arrows or bolts? (not sure how you do that with iron shots, though) Or poison-tip a dagger prior to a back-stabing attempt, where like "confuse monster", the affect wears off on the first successful hit to a mob. To most other classes and shop-keepers, the potions of poison are absolutely useless in the game. But, to the rogue class, they are deemed to be assets.

Rogues/Thieves ought to have skills that increase in proficiency with practice and character level.
i. Pilfer gold - attempt to steal gold from a given mob.
ii. Sneak - a successful attempt increases a theif's stealth profile.
iii. Backstab - necessary to be wielding a short-sword or shorter, dagger-type blade to succeed. But, when successful, deals 1.5 ~ 3x normal damage rate. Success rates are greater for sleeping / confused / stunned mobs.
iv. Peek - attempt to look at what a mob might carry for inventory. This would require the code to remember what was seen previously in a certain mob's inventory if the thief were successful in "peek"ing.
v. Steal - attempt to steal an item from a mob's inventory. Success rates are greater for sleeping / confused / stunned mobs.
vi. Kieru - Poof! Whatever, I'm not sure what to call that little trick that ninja's use to create a smoke screen and disappear. "Kieru" is the japanese word to "disappear". A successful attempt would be akin to a directional-phase-door... where the player could select which of 8 directions to disappear.
vii. Hide - A successful attempt permits the character to hide from all mobs that fail a save attempt to discover the location of the thief in a room. A mob that accidentally "bumps" into the player would discover the thief's location. Otherwise, mobs would have to act confused for a period of time until they relocated the player.
viii. Set Traps - Allow a thief to set traps of various kinds (and this could be a multiple set of separate skills). All traps ought to be player-passable - like "runes of protection" set by a mage. Saves by mobs would either permit the mob to see it and "pay attention" not to set it off, or see it as an impassable barrier, and attempts to wait or find a solution, or decides the damage is worth the risk of stepping over it. Mana points could be used as a scale to determine how many traps can be set in a period of time, OR, the player might be frozen for a few rounds (same as when a player attempts to disarm a trap) when attempting to make the trap.
a. Set dart trap. Damage based on player level / skill. Trap dissipates after tripping.
b. Set poison trap. (again) requires the player to possess a potion of poison. When tripped, the trap sets off a Radius-2 poison explosion with damaged based on a player's level / skill. Trap dissipates after tripping.
c. Set pit. Damage based on a player level / skill. This ought to be a skill learned after about the 10th level or so... and the damage ought to be greater than that of a "dart trap". This trap remains unless a higher-level mob makes a save and figures out how to disarm or fill in the pit. The same "rune of protection" algorithm could be recycled here.
d. Set explosive. Would require the user to carry a tinder / kindling kit or say an inceniary device---a flask of oil, a torch, a wand of magic missiles, a wand of fire balls, etc. Depending on the device used, the damage and explosion type are set. A torch would do minimal fire damage in a radius 2 explosion. A flask a little more. A wand of magic missiles would calculate the total damage of all the charges left in the wand, and create a damage table based on distance from the center of a radius2 mana explosion. Setting this kind of trap, successful or not, destroys the item in attempting to create the trap. In some cases, a failed attempt may cause the thief himself to take some damage--if his/her skill levels are weak and clumsy.
ix. Light area - Requires the user to carry a tinder / kindling box. With this skill a thief can light an area (level-dependent, akin to the mage "light area" spell) permanently.

x. Create rubble patch - maybe a higher level skill? Allow a thief to block passage based on the ability to locate junk around a level. Would require a thief to find _something_ on the dungeon floor, and figure out how to trash it into an impassable rubble pile. I'm not sure how this is a thief-only skill... might be something sharable with warriors. Anyway.
xi. Lace arrows / weapon. Requires the player to carry poison in inventory, takes 1~5 turns to complete the action. Success poison tips a set of arrows, bolts, or bladed weapon. A bladed weapon's poison flag dissipates with the first successful hit by the weapon on a mob. Would also be fun to allow the thief to also use potions of sleep, confusion, blindness, death(1-shot, 1-kill(!)), cause serious wounds, slowness, etc. Holy cr_p that would be fun to play.
These skills would make a pure rogue class lots of fun to play.

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Old April 24, 2009, 11:03   #6
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(Pasted from trac - this is a much better place for the debate)

You can't have been playing long.

In many cases uniques are easier to kill than Ls and Ds, so why would they have better drops?
Certainly not - I am a bit of an aged newbie to this forum. Forgive my naivety.


However, just because it is not in vanila code, to me, does not mean it does not need consideration. I have yet to research the plethora of variants - perhaps I should


I can appreciate the coders' time and energy in generating code for all the items I am suggesting.

Regarding the drops by uniques - as the uniques are queue'd up to be challenging based on a character's perceived level at the time, I do think better drops ought to come from those uniques compared to mobs of those levels. You are correct, Wormtongue should not to have a ring of power in his possession. But, currently, either Wormtongue or a hill orc have about the same drop quality. For a level 6-10 player, it's all about generating drops without dying; so I'd focus on finding, battling hill orcs. The only point of taking on Wormtongue would be if you were pinned down and had no other real alternative. The risk/reward just isn't there... except that some uniques have better XP gains than others.

In my experiences so far, I have found it very disappointing that hardly anything of interest has been generated in the corpses of uniques killed. I think the level of drops generated by uniques could be increased a bit. And, it does not have to be a bunch of artifacts - but potions of stat enhancement, a decent set of arrows/bolts, etc.

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Old April 24, 2009, 11:15   #7
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Originally Posted by Spacebux View Post
Certainly not - I am a bit of an aged newbie to this forum. Forgive my naivety.


However, just because it is not in vanila code, to me, does not mean it does not need consideration. I have yet to research the plethora of variants - perhaps I should


I can appreciate the coders' time and energy in generating code for all the items I am suggesting.

Regarding the drops by uniques - as the uniques are queue'd up to be challenging based on a character's perceived level at the time, I do think better drops ought to come from those uniques compared to mobs of those levels. You are correct, Wormtongue should not to have a ring of power in his possession. But, currently, either Wormtongue or a hill orc have about the same drop quality. For a level 6-10 player, it's all about generating drops without dying; so I'd focus on finding, battling hill orcs. The only point of taking on Wormtongue would be if you were pinned down and had no other real alternative. The risk/reward just isn't there... except that some uniques have better XP gains than others.

In my experiences so far, I have found it very disappointing that hardly anything of interest has been generated in the corpses of uniques killed. I think the level of drops generated by uniques could be increased a bit. And, it does not have to be a bunch of artifacts - but potions of stat enhancement, a decent set of arrows/bolts, etc.

--Spacebux--
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I've also noticed the worthless drops of uniques in the new vanilla versions.
In earlier versions it was part of the fun in angband to hunt those uniques and get considerable rewardings.
Now it's just an obligatory act to hunt them down, because you want them all dead before you take on Morgoth. It's just a task that I take on halfhearted.
In my last game I got major stuff from just killing orcs or trolls. It would be better if they dropped more good conumables instead of artifacts.
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Old April 24, 2009, 11:40   #8
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Originally Posted by Spacebux View Post


1. Rogues should not be getting mage spells. Rather, the game needs to introduce Rogue-unique skills to the rogue class. Picking locks, kindling fires (to light rooms or hallways permanently), setting traps for mobs to trip, peeking into a mobs' inventory (and attempting to theft such inventory or gold from a mob (with a much greater chance of success if the mob is asleep)), backstabing for multiple damage, and being able to disappear quickly like the other rogues in the game when they loot one's purse of gold.
Try playing Oangband - rogues there have many of these attributes. Also, my eyes!
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Old April 24, 2009, 14:01   #9
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Exactly

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/ signed.

I've also noticed the worthless drops of uniques in the new vanilla versions.
In earlier versions it was part of the fun in angband to hunt those uniques and get considerable rewardings.
Now it's just an obligatory act to hunt them down, because you want them all dead before you take on Morgoth. It's just a task that I take on halfhearted.
In my last game I got major stuff from just killing orcs or trolls. It would be better if they dropped more good consumables instead of artifacts.
Exactly--thank you for putting it succintly.

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Old April 25, 2009, 13:57   #10
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Things I've seen and liked or would like.

War:
Rage. There's an ability from O where you get faster as you do or recieve damage.
Rush. ability to get to monsters in sight faster
Shield bash. Stun monsters
5 max attacks but +1 attack @ lvl 25 or 30

Rg:
Backstab. only sleeping monsters with lighters weapon. (can't do it again after sleep spell like in NPP)
Set traps
Steal
Poison daggers and be good at throwing them. I don't think thrown items are effective enough and rgs seems best place for them
hide in shadows (only without light source)

Pal:
get a few more spells or more of priest spells.
they get restore but not remember
heroism would be nice

everyone:
more stuff like ring of delving. I've seen plusses to magic devices elsewhere.


what happened to stores getting better stuff as char goes deeper. Sometimes luck just gets you more than anything else. I've gotten BoS +10 from wormtongue and Bullroarer and other times jack. 1mill + GC is useless when nothing is worth buying. My char with BoS usually find them before lvl 50 and after nothing.
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