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Old August 5, 2009, 14:40   #1
grapejoose
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New forum goer, mage question

So I've played Ang off and on for years but never took it seriously and never been below 3000ish feet. Recently I had a great human warrior attempt but after running warriors over and over trying various things I've come to realize that I love the thrill of mage diving.

So far I am just learning how to do it properly, i.e., learning how to run, run, run, and run. and run. I've brought a mage down to 1800 feet at clvl 12, nabbing what loot I can, etc. He died shortly thereafter to a fire breath from offscreen by what I assume was an OOD mature dragon (or are they native that high up?) since I had resist fire but really really low HP.

Anyway, it's a BLAST. however, after reading a lot about it on here, I have one question and it's a BIG one, foundational actually, and it comes about since 3.1.1 is what I'm playing now.

Long bows are FRACKING expensive now, and I find I have to go down and scum the first couple levels finding crap to sell to get my long bow to get "started" on the dive, otherwise it's a doomed attempt as I won't even be able to kill snagas unless I get a lucky bow find in there.

What is the current starting strategy to mage dive with the price increase to ranged weapons? I find I just can't hang without a longbow and a few enchant to dams on it so that I don't ROYALLY suck at the start, and I tire of the 30 minutes or so (or more) to scum the tiny depths to get one and get it decent damage. (I never ever ever find any good ranged weapons on any char, which sucks )


edit: And while I'm at it, what (i play high-elfs for now, since I suck and need all the help I can get) should be my stat creation method now. Autorolling is gone, so I use point creation, and I'm never really satisfied with what I can get. :/ I usually get 18/50 int and some str/con to help carry/survive...no clue really what I should do if I'm doing the mage-dive technique.

Thanks in advance!
joose
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Old August 5, 2009, 17:21   #2
Marble Dice
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When I play mages, I go high elf and split my points evenly between str, int, and con. That's a total of 13 str, 18/50 int, and 16 con.

I hate grinding (scumming, farming) so even in 3.0 when ranged weapons were cheaper, if there was no long bow in the shop I'd just start diving without one. I sell my dagger and buy phase door and some oil for throwing. In the words of PowerDiver, "oil has gone nuclear," and inflicts ~21 damage on non-fire-resistant enemies. It breaks 100% of the time, but it's useful to kill Fang and Grip when they show up and you're still level 1. Oil is probably going to be toned down but I expect it to remain a viable (cheap, available) early-game ranged weapon. As you dive pick up any ranged weapon you can find and buy some ammo for it next time you're in town if you can't afford/find a long bow.

You won't be able to kill snagas, or anything else you can't m1a to death from not quite full mana (since you'll be using m1g and m1b a lot and trying not to rest all the time). You've gotta keep running and looking for the really juicy targets - lower depth enemies with high xp payoffs and not many hp. From dungeon level 1-20, I have good luck with Fang/Grip, kobold shamans, kobold archers, purple mushroom patches, red naga, night lizards, giant salamanders, orc shamans, king cobras, single gnome mages, and dragonflies, among others. Basically, when you detect monsters, look at the memory for the top few enemies in the list (they'll be the lowest depth) and if any of them give a really good xp payoff and aren't too difficult to kill, consider making a detour to kill them.
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Old August 5, 2009, 19:24   #3
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If you're intent on getting a long bow as soon as possible you might consider picking up a shovel in hopes of finding treasure veins early on. Although with the new ID scheme in 3.1.1 you might be able to find enough salable items to give you the $ you need.

If you're going to depend on a bow for damage early on you should think about boosting DEX rather than CON at birth. Neither is going to have much effect until you get it above 18, but I play low level mages so that I don't get touched or breathed on, and any increase to accuracy is good. Look at the source file tables.c to see what effect each stat level has and decide how you want to play.
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Old August 5, 2009, 20:01   #4
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You could settle for a short bow for awhile. They aren't that bad especially in the very early game which is what you're talking about.
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Old August 5, 2009, 20:53   #5
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Well my latest attempt got me clvl 20 at dlvl 44. Got nether-bolted for instant death by getting greedy, my bad. Stupid dreads, I knew I should have TO'd him when I saw him instead of risking it. :b

So, what about Deep Descent scrolls? I had about 15 on me on this char, wouldn't it be faster to just recite them all and go hog wild down there? :b

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Old August 5, 2009, 20:57   #6
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Stay away from King Cobras until you have cure potions. I don't dive with them on my first dive.

I played mages for awhile until I switched over to rogues. Don't mess with snagas or groups of monsters in general, unless there's stairs handy. You don't need to kill them anyway. Just keep diving, killing off the odd baby dragon.

Pick up every ring you find on the first ten levels, you're bound to find a =tele(+3 speed) Those are very useful for getting away from orc hordes, if you really want to tangle with them. Wands of sleep and confuse are really helpful if you find something you want to kill, but not sure if you can take.

I thought I needed a launcher until I started diving without them, and it made me a better player. Apparently the devs thought it was overpowered to bring a longbow down with you on your first dive, hence the price increases. Which is great, now the first few levels plays a lot more like the rest of the game where anything can kill you if you take a wrong step. I felt like superman diving down with a +3 longbow and 99 arrows. That false sense of security killed off many of my characters. Now I'm diving deeper and smarter.

Recently I had a rogue around Dlev 35 or so lose his WoR to hounds, so I trekked back up to ?WoR depth so I could get back to town and buy more escapes and arrows. Dlev35 is a harrowing place to be without escapes or a launcher. It took hours to get back up.
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Old August 5, 2009, 21:14   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napsterbater View Post
Recently I had a rogue around Dlev 35 or so lose his WoR to hounds, so I trekked back up to ?WoR depth so I could get back to town and buy more escapes and arrows. Dlev35 is a harrowing place to be without escapes or a launcher. It took hours to get back up.
Yikes! I *never* go deeper than dl3 without at least 2 ?WoR. If I get down to one, I read it right away.


I also seems kinda funny to me to tell him to stay away from king cobras when he just mentioned getting killed by dreads. @grapejoose: If you see a group of dreads, get off the level asap.
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Old August 5, 2009, 21:28   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will_asher View Post
I also seems kinda funny to me to tell him to stay away from king cobras when he just mentioned getting killed by dreads.
I think he was just responding to my advice to hunt them in the very early game, which isn't too hard if you're playing a mage, as cobras move somewhat erratically at normal speed. They've only got ~44 hp, so you should be able to magic missile them to death as early as level 4, and will gain a full level from it if you find one that early.

To a mage, King Cobras aren't especially more deadly than any other melee-only enemy, which is to say they're no problem if you don't get close, and almost certain death if you do.
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Old August 5, 2009, 21:30   #9
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I might have had two, I'm not sure. I just looked up one time and saw I didn't have any. I haven't been down to that depth much, basically I'm just trying to get deep, fast, every game, so I can find out what's down there. I've never even seen a Dread before. It's fun dying to stuff I've never seen before, and getting tore up by critters I thought were harmless and still managing to survive. I'm tempted to just read every single DeepDescent scroll I come across, but they're so useful as escapes that I always just end up keeping them. I still remember dying to a Mystic. I thought he was a summoner, so I wanted to see what he'd come up with before _tele. Big mistake. Bruce Lee kicked my little mage butt, one turn.
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Old August 15, 2009, 01:08   #10
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That's quite a devotion to diving to be unwilling to go to L1 and pick up a bunch potions, scrolls, etc and sell them in order to buy a more complete set of basic equipment. Do you just not want to spend a little time on the early levels or do you see it as "scumming" in the in the negative connotation sense?
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