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Old February 5, 2010, 09:11   #1
Donald Jonker
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Modernization wishlist

Took a long break from roguelikes. Then got hooked on DoomRL, then played some FAAngband and Vanilla for kicks. Fun for a while until I got killed out of nowhere. Thoughts occur to me. There are certain measures that could modernize Angband to make it both more mainstream and enjoyable for hardcore fans.

1. Detect + Evade is dull. It slows the pace of the game to a snail's crawl and is necessary for all classes when it should only really be a perk for a stealth class (rogues). Ways to fix:

a) Make powerful enemy hits non-deadly and have them cause knockback. Let them take the player's health down to 1 hp (or some critically low number). This reduces frustrating instadeath which everyone accepts as a necessary evil, but I don't really believe is necessary.

b) As a corollary, nerf teleport. Bigtime. Angband's all-powerful "reset" button holds a lot of other aspects of the game back. Make it very rare and expensive. Provide other means of escape (DoomRL's tactics system of 1 expendable dose of haste per level seems ideal.) Boost slow monster and other charm spells.

2. Provide breakpoints. Guarantee unique encounters at certain dungeon depths so that anything less than killing S or M doesn't feel like one big waste of time. For instance: Maggot dogs at 150', Smeagol at 500', Wormtongue at 1000', Khim at 1500', Smaug at 2500', Saruman at 3000', Witch-King at 3500', &c. Breaks up an otherwise tediously long dungeon and gives you a sense of accomplishment for getting part way.

3. Fix LOS. I still end up blowing mana, arrows and turns by shooting at walls or at my feet. I know this one's on the docket, and should be a high priority.

4. Do something about stat-gain. Potion-hunting isn't very fun. Doesn't mean it should be eliminated entirely, just make it the icing on the cake. The cake should be user-decided stat-boosts at level up (like in Un, but with fewer stats to choose from).

5. Get rid of stat draining, or make it only temporary. Period. Getting my stats drained and having to go through the ritual of finding a way to restore them makes me want to turn the game off and never turn it on again.

6. Either provide full monster memory, or (preferably) make it mostly unnecessary by giving monsters intuitive powers. Paralysers should be gorgons and basilisks, not druids and carrion crawlers. Colored monsters are helpful indicators in this regard.

That's it. Happy banding, and congratulations on the new releases!
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Old February 5, 2010, 11:41   #2
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Agreed.

P.S. Some of this was already proposed or partially implemented in variants (e.g. toning down some teleports and speed boosts in Un). Once I dared to utter the blasphemy about about 1HP instead of instadeaths on the forum (and as a feature request at the Un bug tracker) and so far I wasn't stricken down by lightning, though the popular outrage was considerable. Good luck!
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Old February 5, 2010, 14:58   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Jonker View Post
2. Provide breakpoints. Guarantee unique encounters at certain dungeon depths so that anything less than killing S or M doesn't feel like one big waste of time. For instance: Maggot dogs at 150', Smeagol at 500', Wormtongue at 1000', Khim at 1500', Smaug at 2500', Saruman at 3000', Witch-King at 3500', &c. Breaks up an otherwise tediously long dungeon and gives you a sense of accomplishment for getting part way.
Don't do this. I'm not adverse to the idea of mini-bosses to beat, but this is too many. If you must, randomize the unique and where it appears, allow the player to proceed without killing it, and provide a worthwhile reward for killing it (like stat gain, or a 'heavy enchantment'). Some uniques are really hard to beat if you don't have the goods, and I don't want to have to scum simply to go deeper. I'd much rather charge forth recklessly.

Welcome back Donald.
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Old February 5, 2010, 15:21   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Jonker View Post
Took a long break from roguelikes. Then got hooked on DoomRL, then played some FAAngband and Vanilla for kicks. Fun for a while until I got killed out of nowhere. Thoughts occur to me. There are certain measures that could modernize Angband to make it both more mainstream and enjoyable for hardcore fans.

1. Detect + Evade is dull. It slows the pace of the game to a snail's crawl and is necessary for all classes when it should only really be a perk for a stealth class (rogues). Ways to fix:

a) Make powerful enemy hits non-deadly and have them cause knockback. Let them take the player's health down to 1 hp (or some critically low number). This reduces frustrating instadeath which everyone accepts as a necessary evil, but I don't really believe is necessary.

b) As a corollary, nerf teleport. Bigtime. Angband's all-powerful "reset" button holds a lot of other aspects of the game back. Make it very rare and expensive. Provide other means of escape (DoomRL's tactics system of 1 expendable dose of haste per level seems ideal.) Boost slow monster and other charm spells.

2. Provide breakpoints. Guarantee unique encounters at certain dungeon depths so that anything less than killing S or M doesn't feel like one big waste of time. For instance: Maggot dogs at 150', Smeagol at 500', Wormtongue at 1000', Khim at 1500', Smaug at 2500', Saruman at 3000', Witch-King at 3500', &c. Breaks up an otherwise tediously long dungeon and gives you a sense of accomplishment for getting part way.

3. Fix LOS. I still end up blowing mana, arrows and turns by shooting at walls or at my feet. I know this one's on the docket, and should be a high priority.

4. Do something about stat-gain. Potion-hunting isn't very fun. Doesn't mean it should be eliminated entirely, just make it the icing on the cake. The cake should be user-decided stat-boosts at level up (like in Un, but with fewer stats to choose from).

5. Get rid of stat draining, or make it only temporary. Period. Getting my stats drained and having to go through the ritual of finding a way to restore them makes me want to turn the game off and never turn it on again.

6. Either provide full monster memory, or (preferably) make it mostly unnecessary by giving monsters intuitive powers. Paralysers should be gorgons and basilisks, not druids and carrion crawlers. Colored monsters are helpful indicators in this regard.

That's it. Happy banding, and congratulations on the new releases!
1a. Setting to 1HP will not help, that white icky thing in the corner will get you anyway. There are more monsters about in *band than in DoomRL I guess. Boss monsters are not alone in this game.

1b. Again, monster groups are the bane of your idea. With the current AI they will block your retreat and you will be reduced to mash. Not to mention that band has monsters that can walk or bore through walls destroying any hopes for escape that rely on simply walking to a set of stairs.

2. I like, but as buzkill says, dont make them quest monsters, allow the player to keep going and ignore that monster.

3. okay, that is definitely modernization we could use

4. I guess you can only achieve that by moving away from stat-based-bonuses to level-based-bonuses. Not sure I like that, someone should try it in a variant

5. why not for vanilla, hellband instead restores stats at every level gain, it works out quite well.

6. I dont know where the meme of players should have full monster memory comes from. Cant say I like it, are there other RL's where the player starts with full monster memory ? What I have done for Hellband is make probing more available and have probed monsters give away all their information.

As others said, welcome to band land,

T.
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Old February 5, 2010, 21:46   #5
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1a. Setting to 1HP will not help, that white icky thing in the corner will get you anyway. There are more monsters about in *band than in DoomRL I guess. Boss monsters are not alone in this game.
I find in the vast majority of my 1 hit deaths, it's a 1 on 1 scenario, usually because I was either blindsided, or didn't properly appraise the danger. 1HP would let you drink a potion, and start thinking about how to flee. This would admittedly be overpowered with current teleport-spamming. As for nerfing teleport, I would rather problem-solve ways of breaking through whatever group is surrounding me than just blinking away and finding a staircase. If monsters, in turn, need to be nerfed (I don't really think they would all that much - susceptibility to charm spells would go a long way), then so be it.

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2. I like, but as buzkill says, dont make them quest monsters, allow the player to keep going and ignore that monster.
I agree w/ you and Buzzkill. I still think they should be a guaranteed unique on a guaranteed level, however (and they won't appear anywhere else). Drops, of course could stay as is.

Quote:
6. I dont know where the meme of players should have full monster memory comes from.
It's more of a treatment than a cure. You see a monster with a name and know nothing about it. You fight it and maybe die, maybe bulldoze it. Maybe it breathes something that you don't have a resistance for. Who knows. Angband's bestiary is so vast that I even forget which monsters pose threats during periods of avid play. The best solution, IMO, is vast simplification with a view to making things more intuitive. A master mystic shouldn't be able to KO you. A juggernaut (for example) should.

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As others said, welcome to band land
Thanks - it's good to be home.
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Old February 5, 2010, 22:01   #6
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I find in the vast majority of my 1 hit deaths, it's a 1 on 1 scenario, usually because I was either blindsided, or didn't properly appraise the danger. 1HP would let you drink a potion, and start thinking about how to flee. This would admittedly be overpowered with current teleport-spamming. As for nerfing teleport, I would rather problem-solve ways of breaking through whatever group is surrounding me than just blinking away and finding a staircase. If monsters, in turn, need to be nerfed (I don't really think they would all that much - susceptibility to charm spells would go a long way), then so be it.

<snip>
Hmm. There should be at least then a time out counter, so that if you got set to 1 in less than x (5,15?) turns ago, you should die ?

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Old February 5, 2010, 22:16   #7
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6. I dont know where the meme of players should have full monster memory comes from. Cant say I like it,
It's something I've been pushing more than anyone else. I consider it "presenting the rules of the game as seamlessly as possible". IMO, if it's hardcoded, it should be presented to the player nicely giftwrapped. If it is fun for a newbie to be killed by a breath he didn't know the monster had, it should be equally fun for a veteran, so in this case you should give random monsters instakill [without appropriate resistance] breath or spell attacks like manastorm each game, and who gets what random ability would not be presented until you learned them.

I also think you should learn egos by process of elimination given the info in the edit files, standarts should come fully identified [or be eliminated], etc.

The community sentiment is with you that presenting edit file info "spoils" the game.
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Old February 5, 2010, 22:29   #8
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Hmm. There should be at least then a time out counter, so that if you got set to 1 in less than x (5,15?) turns ago, you should die ?

T.
Or, rather, your character qualifies for the 1HP save if his health is >= 85% MaxHP.
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Old February 6, 2010, 01:21   #9
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Or, rather, your character qualifies for the 1HP save if his health is >= 85% MaxHP.
That would be massively abusive I think. Players with low hitpoints can keep healing > 85% without dying. Maybe =>85% and not in the last 5 turns.

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Old February 6, 2010, 01:39   #10
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Or, rather, your character qualifies for the 1HP save if his health is >= 85% MaxHP.
I just don't get this whole idea. If you're dead, you're dead. A 200HP mage has no business taking on a Dracolisk, period.

Further, a 301 HP priest is more powerful than a 350HP priest, as he can always heal back to full HP after any single breath and can keep fighting indefinitely, while the 350 HP priest is liable to die after a second breath, because he can't heal fully.

It also means melee is even more dangerous, since the monsters can get additional blows after you are at 1HP and you will be fully dead.

Frankly, I don't see any reason to change the classic roguelike instadeath model. I don't think it's broken.
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