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Old January 2, 2014, 21:51   #1
taptap
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[FA] A few ideas, comments from a 1st time player

1) Some weapons are abominations. Lead-filled maces. Whoever introduced them to roleplaying games / Angband needs a workout to get a feel of realistic weapon weights.

2) Why do stats go 17 -> 18 -> 18/10, whatever the reason is in D&D why not 19 etc. instead here? It isn't really explained in the help as well.

3) Wisdom / Intelligence looks like a superficial flavour distinction that serves little purpose in game, the Sil way of consolidating Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma into Grace seems much better to me. I can fill in the difference between druid and mage in my imagination just as well without using a different stat. Maybe I am missing something obvious or unobvious.

4) I don't like permanent stat changes.

5) Why are there recall scrolls in the game when you labouriously designed an overworld? It makes it really tempting to "just sell some loot and restock" every floor.

6) Why are there so many scrap items in the game, that really serve no purpose at all? Talking about the dubious items here, which I would only ever use in case of 2nd rate ammunition against easy opponents.

7) I don't mind killing everything in Angband, but when I have an overworld I feel slightly uneasy when I walk around like the dark lords apprentice slaying through dwarfs, edain, elves without mercy.

8) I die so fast when I don't have a ranged option + ammunition (I am not very successful with the competition that is.) But maybe the reason is my tendency to just proceed to the next floor or lack of metalore.

9) I didn't find an obvious explanation of sources of experience. Is it only or overwhelmingly fighting?

10) The concept of feelings upon entering a floor needs explanation (you know, interesting is kind of like, you likely die here) and feels utterly alien to me.

11) The complainer is probably Angband folklore, but it gives a strong impression that the developers are not interested in feedback.

P.S. I didn't write much praise, but I wouldn't have bothered to start a thread if I had not liked it. I hope this much is obvious.

Last edited by taptap; January 2, 2014 at 22:04.
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Old January 2, 2014, 22:06   #2
Fendell Orcbane
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taptap View Post
1) Some weapons are abominations. Lead-filled maces. Whoever introduced them to roleplaying games / Angband needs a workout to get a feel of realistic weapon weights.

2) Why do stats go 17 -> 18 -> 18/10, whatever the reason is in D&D why not 19 etc. instead here? It isn't really explained in the help as well.

3) Wisdom / Intelligence looks like a superficial flavour distinction that serves little purpose in game, the Sil way of consolidating Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma into Grace seems much better to me. I can fill in the difference between druid and mage in my imagination just as well without using a different stat. Maybe I am missing something obvious or unobvious.

4) I don't like permanent stat changes.

5) Why are there recall scrolls in the game when you labouriously designed an overworld? It makes it really tempting to "just sell some loot and restock" every floor.

6) Why are there so many scrap items in the game, that really serve no purpose at all? Talking about the dubious items here, which I would only ever use in case of 2nd rate ammunition against easy opponents.

7) I don't mind killing everything in Angband, but when I have an overworld I feel slightly uneasy when I walk around like the dark lords apprentice slaying through dwarfs, edain, elves without mercy.

8) I die so fast when I don't have a ranged option + ammunition (I am not very successful with the competition that is.) But maybe the reason is my tendency to just proceed to the next floor or lack of metalore.

9) I didn't find an obvious explanation of sources of experience. Is it only or overwhelmingly fighting?

10) The concept of feelings upon entering a floor needs explanation (you know, interesting is kind of like, you likely die here) and feels utterly alien to me.

11) The complainer is probably Angband folklore, but it gives a strong impression that the developers are not interested in feedback.
Hmm, I think that FA and Angband in general have a very different feel than Sil. I like the AD&D stats personally. As for the lead maces I'm not too concerned at all. I think the main difference bet FA and Sil is that FA is more complex, and a lot longer. You could play a game for months or at least weeks. Also it seems to reward you for doing so. It encourages a lot of scumming. On the other hand you don't have to go everywhere and kill everything.
Playwise I'd suggest getting your hands on some escapes. You *can* get out of a sticky spot in FA or most bands for that matter. In Sil you are just f&(#ed if you get caught in a tight spot. But in FA you have a lot more control. I tend to feel a lot worse about dying in FA. Sil, you can just get caught in a bad spot...although exchange can help, and warding staves if you are lucky enough to find one. In FA you generally can get all the escapes that you need if you survive long enough.
You just can't get too sloppy, although like I said FA is much more forgiving than Sil. LOL. I'm calling a rogue like forgiving.
Nick: I really don't like how I can't make the main screen larger in FA. This is why I'm not playing the comp....the screen is too small for middle age eyes :/ You fixed that with the last version...but this version is back to the small screen.
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Old January 2, 2014, 22:15   #3
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1) Weapon weights are indeed rather unrealistic. So is getting multiple blows per round with a whip just because it's light. I kinda chalk it up to the system, and since it seems to work, it doesn't really bother me much.

2) Relic of Moria, I suppose. I think originally having stats past 18 was a case of diminishing returns, that is, 18/100 was essentially equivalent to 19.

3) They affect different secondary skills, like saving throw and magic device, appropriately.

4) Not sure what you mean by this, might be variant specific - I haven't actually played FAangband for ages, so I'm addressing this thread generally rather then with respect to that variant.

5)Again this may not apply to FA, but in Heng/Cheng/Entro/Poscheng, the primary overworld variant I play, recall scrolls allow you to descend into multiple dungeons all across the map, which I find quite useful... I'd rather not walk all the way through the overworld and back into level 1 of a dungeon I've already explored to 3500 feet.

As an aside, I really like MAngband's inscribed recall system, though of course it's not of much use outside of that variant.

6) There are junk items in every variant... hell, Moria itself had a much longer list of junk then most variants today do. Even ignoring actual junk, and talking about stuff that just isn't useful to you, that's mostly a class or scaling related issue. On my vanilla priest, I have probably 98% of generated items squelched.

7) Variant specific, again. Perhaps FAangband would benefit from friendly monster flags?

8) This must be variant specific... the only roguelike I have any success with ranged weapons in is DoomRL - every Angband variant I've played makes ranged feel cumbersome and unnecessary.

9) Also variant specific, so I can't be of any help here. I do know that noncombat tasks in other variants, such as opening and disarming doors, chests, and traps, and casting spells for the first time, grant experience, but it's negligible compared to combat experience, since most variants are overwhelmingly combat based.

10) Most feelings in variants I play are fairly self explanatory - Vanilla even has double feelings for danger and for loot. I can't speak to FAangband specifically, however.

11) Must also be variant specific. I expect it's some townie like Maggot that doesn't really matter and is just there as an inside joke or something. I certainly wouldn't take it as disapproval of feedback.
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Old January 2, 2014, 22:21   #4
Philip
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Not the developer, but I think I can answer some of the questions.
1) That was one of the O guys, or perhaps it was just taken out in V. What would you suggest as a replacement heavy weapon?
2) Tradition, mostly. When angband started it had it this way, and very few variants have got around to changing it.
3) Again, largely tradition. DnD, coupled with no real reason to change it. Sil is also a low-magic world, so a lot of things are a bit different.
4) That is sort of inevitable with Angband variants, but you might want to try Ironband, where you only increase stats on levelup. Sil and Quick are immune because 20 levels do not demand so much scaling.
5) Mostly a thing of tradition, I suspect. Doesn't FA have no_selling? Nick ported a lot of things from V to FA, and that may have been one of them. That would remove most of the temptation.
6) A consequence of item generation is that a lot of useless, weak stuff gets generated. If it were not so, object detection would be very powerful, which would weaken those without it compared to those who have it. There is a workaround, squelch, but it is a known issue with Angband in general.
7) Pretty sure at least some of the monsters are neutral. If you don't want to kill those, you don't have to.
8) Probably a lack of experience. FA is particularly brutal, though. It's based on O, which had a streak of perfectly sadistic maintainers who added stuff like group monsters at dlvl 7 with +10 speed, and light curse. Nick has kept the game as tough as it always was.
9) Pretty much. You get 5 xp per trap, 1 xp for unlocking a door, some XP for casting a spell and a character and monster level dependent amount for killing something.
10) Yeah, that's something to get used to, at least unless there is an option to disable them. V has that, I think. They are only actually relevant on dlvls 1 and 2 where they mean you either die or find something awesome. Later, every level has that potential, so feelings are no longer relevant.
11) Not Angband folklore, it replaces Bill Ferny, who is the O replacement of farmer maggot. I sort of like him.
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Old January 3, 2014, 02:53   #5
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Re: recall. There are indeed dungeons in FA, though it may take you a while to find one, and FA also lets you choose to recall to one of multiple points, which is nice since there are multiple possible paths as well as several dungeons. You manage your recall points from within the spell dialog (when casting). Recall always return you to your 'home' town, wherever your home is. There's a command to move your home to a new town (once you travel there). Check the help '?' I can't remember what the key press is, maybe 'H'.
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Old January 3, 2014, 12:05   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taptap View Post
1) Some weapons are abominations. Lead-filled maces. Whoever introduced them to roleplaying games / Angband needs a workout to get a feel of realistic weapon weights.
I don't have very strong feelings about weapon types - I guess I just kept the Oangband ones for the most part. The artifact lead-filled mace I introduced (Rog) is described as being a great mace like a hammer, and having a long handle - no mention of lead, but they used molten metal to defend Gondolin, so it's not out of the question.

Quote:
2) Why do stats go 17 -> 18 -> 18/10, whatever the reason is in D&D why not 19 etc. instead here? It isn't really explained in the help as well.
Historical reasons; I guess no-one has got around to changing it, and old players are used to it. I don't see it as a big problem, but then I'm used to it... I guess we need to keep the 3-18 range if we're still trying to mimic 3d6, but there isn't really a good reason not to use 19 to 35 (or whatever).

Quote:
3) Wisdom / Intelligence looks like a superficial flavour distinction that serves little purpose in game, the Sil way of consolidating Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma into Grace seems much better to me. I can fill in the difference between druid and mage in my imagination just as well without using a different stat. Maybe I am missing something obvious or unobvious.
They do have other effects - wisdom affects saving throw (magic resistance), and intelligence affects magic device and disarming success rates. In FA, I think of wisdom as harmony with the world and intelligence as kind of tech-savvy.

Quote:
4) I don't like permanent stat changes.
It's just a different method of character development - a cruder version of Sil's skill and ability system.

Quote:
5) Why are there recall scrolls in the game when you labouriously designed an overworld? It makes it really tempting to "just sell some loot and restock" every floor.
Well, yeah, that's an option. Sil is a much more tightly controlled game than Angband, and you'll find in most Angband variants you can set your own pace.

Quote:
6) Why are there so many scrap items in the game, that really serve no purpose at all? Talking about the dubious items here, which I would only ever use in case of 2nd rate ammunition against easy opponents.
Fair point, there probably are too many, and I suspect FA is fairly bad for them as a variant. You can manage them with squelch, but it could use a rethink.

Quote:
7) I don't mind killing everything in Angband, but when I have an overworld I feel slightly uneasy when I walk around like the dark lords apprentice slaying through dwarfs, edain, elves without mercy.
Not the neutral ones, I assume? And the hostile ones - well they were going to attack you.

Quote:
8) I die so fast when I don't have a ranged option + ammunition (I am not very successful with the competition that is.) But maybe the reason is my tendency to just proceed to the next floor or lack of metalore.
The competition character is quite fragile - it needs to be played stealthily, stealing gear rather than fighting for it (at least early on). I've killed a lot of them since my one relatively successful one. And there is quite a bit of metalore - I'm noticing from the questions you've been asking, actually I tend to expect players to have come from Angband experience already, and it's opening my eyes a bit. Vanilla is probably a bit better at making it clear what you should do.

Quote:
9) I didn't find an obvious explanation of sources of experience. Is it only or overwhelmingly fighting?
It's pretty much exclusively killing stuff (also disarming traps, casting spells for the first time and identifying new things by use, but that's only really significant early on). I regard the Sil idea of XP for encounters as a brilliant innovation, but I must say my experience of other roguelikes is not very wide.

Quote:
10) The concept of feelings upon entering a floor needs explanation (you know, interesting is kind of like, you likely die here) and feels utterly alien to me.
Yes, it's a bit weird, and also often misleading - which is why Vanilla has them optionally suppressed. I've left them in FA because in spite of all the problems with them, I still like the shiver down the spine I get from a superb feeling.

Quote:
11) The complainer is probably Angband folklore, but it gives a strong impression that the developers are not interested in feedback.
Back when FAangband was at 0.1.1, there was a guy who used to send me lots of bug reports; after a while he started signing himself as "The Complainer". I said "Be careful, or you'll get a unique named after you", and the rest is history

The complaints are all actual problems that have been fixed in the game; I add more from time to time based on new bugs. If you look closely you'll also see that some shopkeepers are named after successful early characters, and player ghosts are named after other variant maintainers.

Unrelated - I can't recall seeing any player ghosts in OSX, but I have in linux. Anyone have any relevant experience?

Quote:
P.S. I didn't write much praise, but I wouldn't have bothered to start a thread if I had not liked it. I hope this much is obvious.
Thanks for the time and effort you've spent on this. It's always helpful to get feedback, and doubly so when it's from someone who's (essentially) completely new to *bands. We live inside a bit of a bubble here, largely as a result of the long history of the game; it's really good to get new opinions.

It's quite a nice bubble, though
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Old January 3, 2014, 12:42   #7
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All of these has a some legacy/history/flavour reason of a 20+ years old game.
It is not like Sil where things were written from scratch.

I would recommend realistic weapon weights, I have done this once in FAangband, however it was lost in time. Scaling blow table and weights 3 times down works more or less, plus some manual corrections later. Purely cosmetic but looks nicely.

Also making stats linear may be nice, but it requre a lot of work and gameplay rebalancing.

Last edited by LostTemplar; January 3, 2014 at 12:50.
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Old January 3, 2014, 16:32   #8
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Stats)

So they are effectively 19+ or the are 18.1, 18.2 as supposedly originally? Regardless of what it is, it should be explained somewhere clearly (as should the to hit chances). I may have missed on some place, but the obvious in game helpfiles didn't feature it.

I understand the flavour difference between wisdom / intelligence, but you can imagine the difference (with an added modifier for mages to devices, for druids to saving throws) just as well when they are consolidated into one stat. E.g. I also imagine the dexterity of a dwarf and the dexterity of an elf to represent different behaviour (but similar results). I just noticed Angband itself removed charisma.

Stat potions)

It is indeed a way of character development, but one which partly breaks down the differences between the builds. Everyone will have 18+ in every stat sooner or later, right? (My best run where I was unluckily killed by Mim already featured 2-3 con and 4-5 cha or so.)

Overworld)

I understand that FAAngband and other Angbands leaves the decision about descent to you, but do advanced players actually travel between places more than exactly once to set the initial recall point and afterwards it is happy beaming even if they play otherwise very slowly? Maybe they occasionally loot lucrative map tiles, but the purpose of having an overworld looks lost to me when I have recall. Maybe remove all consumable drops from the dungeon, add a herb that helps against depth sickness, whatever, people should have a reason in game to roam the overworld.

Maybe add a morale modifier (if such a thing exists in FA) to deprecated monsters that can't do anything against you, so they tend to avoid you.

Neutrals)

I may have attacked one of the neutrals by accident... oops. Maybe warn?

Experience)

Regardless of system, a clear explanation in the help would be very much appreciated.

Ranged weapons) (@avenger)

I am not very good at FA, but given that you start in open overworld maps, ranged weapons are really strong at start. (In Sil I have more convincing wins with different ranged builds as well. Hitting enemies from afar, especially those who can't retaliate just feels like the right thing to do, no?)

Items)

I understand a lot of items will be useless to me during the game, but items that are about useless right away at start to about everyone look wrong to me. On the other hand, the pseudoID would probably suffer, if there were no plain dubious items in the game.
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Old January 3, 2014, 17:09   #9
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Well, one reason for the distinction is flavour. Honestly, otherwise it's just that FA never got rid of it. No reason to get rid of it, no reason to keep it, so it was kept.

Stat potions are just a way for the player to keep up with power bloat. It's an interesting item and much of a remnant. It would be sort of hard to balance a game in which base stats didn't increase, I guess.

Well, the overworld is there to make the game interesting, since you now have a lot of different types of dungeon. Recall is there to prevent it from being boring. Very weak monsters do tend to avoid high-level players. Most visible at clvl 40+ in town, for example.

Neutrals show they are neutral on inspection, are not agressive, and have names that suggest they will be. Particularly on this kind of character, who could only be more fragile if he were a mage or something like that, you should already be inspecting all monsters you see. It is tough to think of something to easily visually distinguish neutral and hostile monsters.

Help could stand to be overhauled across all variants, honestly.

Yes, ranged combat is generally a good idea, and the comp character pretty much needs to use that if he ever does get into combat. FA has a lot of monsters capable of ranged damage, though, so that advantage may disappear later on. Rogue traps can be pretty nice, they deal with pack monsters easily and can be used to take on some uniques if you have enough phase door and extra trap.

Too Many Items is a well-known problem. I suspect Sil may be the only variant to solve it, and Sil has an advantage in terms of its length. An item that you find at 50 feet may be useful at 500 feet, and an item you find at 500 might be useful for killing Morgoth. Even Tome4 has a problem with it, and that has a complete overhaul.
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Old January 3, 2014, 17:11   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taptap View Post
Stats)

So they are effectively 19+ or the are 18.1, 18.2 as supposedly originally? Regardless of what it is, it should be explained somewhere clearly (as should the to hit chances). I may have missed on some place, but the obvious in game helpfiles didn't feature it.
They are effectively 19+. The stat tables in the code have entries for 3 through 40 (where 40 = 18/220 a.k.a. 18/***). The 18/xxx representation is just a holdover from the old days.

Quote:
Stat potions)

It is indeed a way of character development, but one which partly breaks down the differences between the builds. Everyone will have 18+ in every stat sooner or later, right? (My best run where I was unluckily killed by Mim already featured 2-3 con and 4-5 cha or so.)
Yep. Eventually your internal stats will all hit 18/100, and the only differences between your character and another "maxed" character will be your race, class, and equipment stat modifiers. However, these can still be significant, especially since many stats give increasing returns (i.e. the difference between 17 and 18 is smaller than the difference between 18/150 and 18/160). This is most visible with CON, which makes practically no difference to your HP until you get it above 18.
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