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Old November 18, 2016, 02:43   #21
Nick
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
I was going to finish my current game first, but I think I've seen enough so far (character is at endgame) that I can make some suggestions to game balance and game pacing that hopefully will improve things.
Thanks for this excellent analysis.

As context, I should say that I have spent very little time thinking about game balance. My focus has been on getting structural game changes in place (breaths, traps, curses, ID) and on code improvement. I have always expected significant rebalancing to happen before 4.1, and this thread will be of major assistance in that; there are still a few things that need addressing first, though (stuff may happen to stealth and monster AI, for example).

Now, to suggestions. The monster ones are great. The item suggestions (which seem to have been the most contested) all sound fairly reasonable to me too, and the vaults and pits comments are useful and a bit unexpected to me.

So some things I am thinking about for when balancing time comes. I was already thinking about caster level independent of depth, so I'm pleased you suggested it and am inclined to go with that one. I also have a bunch of other ideas broadly around the make-monsters-more-dangerous theme, including:
  • Introducing worse side-effects for unresisted elemental attacks
  • Making (new or existing) more dangerous deep monsters
  • Introducing a (or expanding the existing) selection of monsters in the early- to mid-game which target particular player deficiencies - lack of pConf and pBlind, for example
  • AI improvements mentioned earlier

These are fairly unformed thoughts, though. We'll see as we go along, and more ideas are good
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Old November 18, 2016, 07:33   #22
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I thought I had nerfed hounds, but I guess I made them tougher.

With symmetric LOS I get pack damage from all of

ZZZ
#Z#
#@#

assuming the middle top Z breathes on the intermediate Z causing splash damage.

What I thought was my nerf is that breaths are treated as bolts that explode into a ball, a la meteor swarm. In retrospect I guess that symmetric LOS dwarfs the so-called "nerf" change of a breath from a ball to a bolt.

I've been play testing. In another thread, where I bemoaned the change to reduce hound pack sizes leading to universal derision, I now understand that to make packs interesting you need symmetric LOS including knight moves. I now firmly stand by my opinion that reducing pack size was a mistake. But only if you do the other stuff right.
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Old November 18, 2016, 08:37   #23
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Literally the only fun thing in angband is finding cool stuff. If we reduce frequency of both egos and arts, I think combat will have to get a lot more interesting than it is now (sounds like this is well underway), and probably the game length could be axed by a lot also?

If you look at Sil as an example, the game got more or less progressively harder with each version even though you find quite a bit of good stuff. In the latest version the drop rates for good items were boosted pretty significantly, and the game is still challenging enough (and had enough diversity of challenge) that this works out.

Re: glass cannons, poschengband has quite a few early casters that are fragile but seriously mess you up if you're missing a resist or three. The arch-vile and the logrus master are the ones that jump to mind, and I think those are likely both from zangband. The logrus master is even pretty dangerous in melee, which could be something to think about if we're designing some new early monsters
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Old November 18, 2016, 09:50   #24
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@debo--
the fun part is sneaking around way out of depth, where any mistake could kill you. Loot is secondary to this. (At depth, you will find it in the first survivable vault.)
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Old November 18, 2016, 10:24   #25
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Originally Posted by Pete Mack View Post
@debo--
the fun part is sneaking around way out of depth, where any mistake could kill you. Loot is secondary to this. (At depth, you will find it in the first survivable vault.)
That's why I like to play rogues.
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Old November 18, 2016, 10:31   #26
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I really support the idea of adding various glass cannon monsters. They seem to be lacking at all depths. Practically all monsters with dangerous attacks also have a bazillion hit points.
This would also improve the game in the direction that different monsters become hard or easy for different classes. Tanky monsters are easy targets for warriors which are even more tanky but hard to take down for mages (although relatively easy to avoid). Glass cannon casters are dangerous for warriors but good targets for mages.
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Old November 18, 2016, 14:47   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
I thought I had nerfed hounds, but I guess I made them tougher.

With symmetric LOS I get pack damage from all of

ZZZ
#Z#
#@#

assuming the middle top Z breathes on the intermediate Z causing splash damage.

What I thought was my nerf is that breaths are treated as bolts that explode into a ball, a la meteor swarm. In retrospect I guess that symmetric LOS dwarfs the so-called "nerf" change of a breath from a ball to a bolt.

I've been play testing. In another thread, where I bemoaned the change to reduce hound pack sizes leading to universal derision, I now understand that to make packs interesting you need symmetric LOS including knight moves. I now firmly stand by my opinion that reducing pack size was a mistake. But only if you do the other stuff right.
While I support the symmetrical LOS changes, if the only way we can make the game "interesting" is to flood the floors with annoying monsters, then we have a serious problem.

It'd be something at least if the annoying monsters were at least different. But killing scores of hounds gets very old very quick. There are a very limited number of players that would find that enjoyable.
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Old November 18, 2016, 15:40   #28
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
While I support the symmetrical LOS changes, if the only way we can make the game "interesting" is to flood the floors with annoying monsters, then we have a serious problem.

It'd be something at least if the annoying monsters were at least different. But killing scores of hounds gets very old very quick. There are a very limited number of players that would find that enjoyable.
This at least is conceptually easy to fix -- add several more types of monsters that fill a similar niche as the hounds but are different somehow (in flavor, in exact abilities, etc.). I guess that niche is something like "always awake monster, preferably with a ranged attack, that chases you from anywhere on the level".

Some kind of clockwork golem sentinel as a precursor to the Drolem, for example. A group ghost enemy as a precursor to Dreads (sort of like ZAngband's Phantom Warriors). A high-level jelly that can spit acid. Elite uruks could probably use an upgrade (they just aren't that scary right now), so why not make them always awake? They're the elites, after all.
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Old November 18, 2016, 15:45   #29
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
It'd be something at least if the annoying monsters were at least different. But killing scores of hounds gets very old very quick. There are a very limited number of players that would find that enjoyable.
You can always try to avoid the Zs. In addition, staves of destruction litter the dungeon.

In my current 3.0 based game, I have killed significantly more orcs than Zs. I haven't seen people clamoring for fewer orcs the way they clamored for fewer Zs. I think you're all munchkins. An easy kill that produces loot is considered a plus, and a monster that hurts the pack is considered a minus.

What makes Zs boring is assymetric LOS. If dangerous, they might or might not be too annoying to be a game mechanic, but at least they aren't boring.

Anyway, I doubt you have to worry about anyone on the dev team wanting to change hound generation back. They are too polite to say it, but I assume they think I've lost my mind. I'm making a specific point about a specific situation in the hopes that they'll consider the underlying ideas in some other context later.
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Old November 18, 2016, 16:22   #30
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What makes Zs boring is assymetric LOS.
What makes Zs boring is that they have the best possible attack type en masse focusing on @ from lvl 20 onward. Elemental, max range, pack, ball (ball aoe is irrelevant for 1 target but still adds insult to injury).

The weakest attack is the melee, which has to get in range and overcome AC, ranged projectile is next etc. If you flood the dungeon with Zs from early on, you basically state that you cant challenge the player with the lesser attack types, and I dont think that is true. There are no dangerous archers in the game, people are worried to give monsters melee attacks that can 1-hit, in a game where offscreen ranged attack have been 1-hitting forever. I say this not because I necessarily want 1-hitting melee attacks soon, but because it shows how far off the perception is.

I would like to see the basic tactical combat explored more; a pack of monsters all using irresistable ball attacks should be reserved for special occasions, not become bread and butter encounters. This is probably a lot of work, compared to just increasing 2 numbers in the monster generation (more and earlier hounds).
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