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Old October 10, 2013, 22:17   #1
Ingwe Ingweron
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Ring of Slaying vs. Ring of Damage

Any advice on choosing between Rings of Slaying and Rings of Damage? The damage modifier on Rings of Damage is almost always higher, which is reflected in the weapon damage statistics, but at what point does the To-Hit modifier on a Ring of Slaying make up for the lower To-Damage modifier, even if it's not readily apparent from the weapon damage statistics? Or do you always go for the higher damage output and ignore the To-Hit modifier in making a decision between the two?
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Old October 10, 2013, 23:00   #2
Derakon
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Generally, bonuses to-hit seem to be almost totally irrelevant. In 3.5, you should be able to see your chance-to-hit in the monster memory as soon as you've attacked them once; bring up a monster you fight commonly, and check the percentage chance to hit with Slaying vs. with Damage. My guess is that you'll see at most a 1% change in the chance to hit.

Being more accurate does also slightly improve your critical hit chance, so bigger to-hit directly improves your damage output. This is reflected in the 'I'nspect screen for the weapon, so if you have a choice between e.g. a Ring of Slaying (+8, +9) and a Ring of Damage (+11), you might want to do the comparison anyway...
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Old October 10, 2013, 23:12   #3
Ingwe Ingweron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
Generally, bonuses to-hit seem to be almost totally irrelevant. In 3.5, you should be able to see your chance-to-hit in the monster memory as soon as you've attacked them once; bring up a monster you fight commonly, and check the percentage chance to hit with Slaying vs. with Damage. My guess is that you'll see at most a 1% change in the chance to hit.

Being more accurate does also slightly improve your critical hit chance, so bigger to-hit directly improves your damage output. This is reflected in the 'I'nspect screen for the weapon, so if you have a choice between e.g. a Ring of Slaying (+8, +9) and a Ring of Damage (+11), you might want to do the comparison anyway...
Thanks, Derakon. I never thought to check the monster memory to compare the chances to hit. Looks like generally the Ring of Damage is superior to the rarer Ring of Slaying, unless the values are close.
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Old October 11, 2013, 00:52   #4
Susramanian
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Opaque game mechanics

The to-hit stat, like a number of similar things in Angband, seems to be implemented in such a way that all you can say about it to the average player is, "more is good." Lots of people would say that this is all a player needs to know to have fun, but reasonable game designers know that to be false. Essentially, mechanics like this mean the game frequently asks the player to make uninformed decisions, which are about as entertaining as optimal vs. fun gameplay decisions. The original poster's question is about just such an uninformed decision.

How can we weigh +hit against +dam? We essentially can't.
How much AC is it acceptable to lose for a +2 CON bonus? Impossible to say.

It would be really nice to see a rational discussion about fixing stuff like this in Angband. Just because a poorly-thought-out rule has been around for decades doesn't mean it has to live forever. I was ecstatic to see the demise of Charisma recently. Keep that axe swinging!

Derakon, in your Pyrel notebook, right next to where you've written down "don't force the player to choose between optimal gameplay and fun gameplay," write "don't force the player to make uninformed decisions."



If a rule cannot be implemented in such a way that it is easily explained to a player, just don't implement it.
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Old October 11, 2013, 01:42   #5
Mikko Lehtinen
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susramanian View Post
The to-hit stat, like a number of similar things in Angband, seems to be implemented in such a way that all you can say about it to the average player is, "more is good." Lots of people would say that this is all a player needs to know to have fun, but reasonable game designers know that to be false. Essentially, mechanics like this mean the game frequently asks the player to make uninformed decisions, which are about as entertaining as optimal vs. fun gameplay decisions. The original poster's question is about just such an uninformed decision.

How can we weigh +hit against +dam? We essentially can't.
How much AC is it acceptable to lose for a +2 CON bonus? Impossible to say.

It would be really nice to see a rational discussion about fixing stuff like this in Angband. Just because a poorly-thought-out rule has been around for decades doesn't mean it has to live forever. I was ecstatic to see the demise of Charisma recently. Keep that axe swinging!

Derakon, in your Pyrel notebook, right next to where you've written down "don't force the player to choose between optimal gameplay and fun gameplay," write "don't force the player to make uninformed decisions."



If a rule cannot be implemented in such a way that it is easily explained to a player, just don't implement it.
I agree. Even having a straight 80 % chance to hit always might be preferable to the current system where the hit chance is almost always higher than 80 % anyway. New players have no way of knowing that the hit chance is almost irrelevant.

Or you could make the combat skill versus monster AC more meaningful, and show the percentage chance to the player when he targets a monster. That's what I did in Halls of Mist. Even that is probably too opaque: players generally don't bother to check their hit chance.
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Old October 11, 2013, 02:31   #6
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For what it's worth, in Pyrel your chance to hit is (75 - monster evasion)%. That's it. If you want to be more likely to hit the monster, get more attack opportunities.

I agree that to-hit in Angband is pretty opaque; moreover its effects are very subtle (i.e. wearing gear that specifically boosts your to-hit provides a negligible actual bonus). Ideally your gear should have straightforward and noticeable effects on your character.

As for whether trading off X for Y is worthwhile, I don't think that should be easily answerable. Angband is in many ways an equipment-optimization game, and thus equipment optimization should be difficult. The rules should be clear, but the decisions should be hard, with the player forced to make tradeoffs between valuable abilities.
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Old October 11, 2013, 08:57   #7
Timo Pietilš
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
Generally, bonuses to-hit seem to be almost totally irrelevant.
...at high levels. Very early for classes with poor fighting abilities to_hit might actually benefit more than to_dam (if your weapon has reasonable damage without it). IMO rings of slaying should be as shallow as rings of damage. I think currently they are way deeper or rarer.

I once played a ranger with huge emphasis on ranged combat, and I ended up wielding two to_hit rings. If you use missile weapons a lot ring of slaying might mean more than ring of damage, especially if both bonuses are high.
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Old October 11, 2013, 12:09   #8
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I seem to recall fizzix mooting the idea that there was a skill on your character page called PHAC50, i.e. Probability of Hitting Armour Class 50. This seems like an excellent idea to me.

(Apologies if it was someone else's idea).
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Old October 11, 2013, 16:34   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susramanian View Post
If a rule cannot be implemented in such a way that it is easily explained to a player, just don't implement it.
I don't think you will see much rapid change on these things in Vanilla Angband. My response to this frustration was to write Sil. You might find it much closer to your preferred type of game design.
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Old October 12, 2013, 09:55   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by half View Post
I don't think you will see much rapid change on these things in Vanilla Angband. My response to this frustration was to write Sil. You might find it much closer to your preferred type of game design.
At the risk of re-inflaming and old debate, I'm not sure it's possible to change these things and still have Vanilla Angband. Remember that V wasn't designed, in the way that Sil or Pyrel (or indeed almost any variant) were designed. It evolved from Moria, which had evolved from Rogue. Nobody at any point in the last 40 years has sat back and re-designed the opaque mechanics and released them in V - everyone who has done so has released a variant.

What we have done is tinker as far as we felt able without fundamentally changing V - for instance I doubled the length of the AC scale and adjusted the to-hit and damage absorption algorithms to provide roughly the same results, so that the change wouldn't strike players as too drastic while making armour trade-offs more interesting. (Jens Schou went a little further and changed the minimum hit chance from 5% to 12% but it didn't cause too much angst.)

I'm all for redesigning the mechanics to be clear and accessible - which is why I switched to working on Pyrel. But I'm not sure it's fair to express frustration with any V maintainers or developers - past or present - because it is what it is. It's a beloved, crufty old thing with fabulously unintuitive and opaque mechanics.
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