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Old April 2, 2018, 22:54   #11
Quirk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bel View Post
I tried out Sil-Q. I'm playing a Noldor Feanor stealth stabber. Here's the dump.

Code:
  [Sil-Q 1.3.2-q Character Dump]

 Name   Gaininn       Age    2,169       Str   2 =  1  +1
 Sex    Male          Height   7'3       Dex   6 =  4  +2
 Race   Noldor        Weight   181       Con   5 =  4  +1
 House  Feanor                           Gra   5

 Game Turn   12,849   Melee  (+15,1d8)   Melee       15 =  8  +6      +1
 Exp Pool     2,374   Bows    (+8,1d9)   Archery      8 =  0  +6  +1  +1
 Total Exp   30,874   Armor [+13,4-16]   Evasion     13 =  9  +6  -2
 Burden        94.8                      Stealth     22 =  8  +6  +3  +5
 Max Burden   144.0   Health     49:49   Perception  10 =  5  +5
 Depth         650'   Voice      49:49   Will         9 =  4  +5
 Min Depth     550'                      Smithing    12 =  6  +5      +1
 Light Radius     5                      Song        13 =  8  +5

 You are one of several children of an archer from the house of Feanor.
 You have light grey eyes, straight black hair, and a fair complexion.






  [Equipment]

a) a Shortsword of Gondolin (+0,1d7) [+1] {@w3} 1.5 lb
   It slays orcs and trolls.  
b) a Shortbow (+1,1d7) 2.0 lb
   It can shoot arrows 13 squares (with your current strength).
c) a Bloodstone Ring of Accuracy (+2)
d) a Beryl Ring of Dexterity <+1>
   It increases your dexterity by 1.  It sustains your dexterity.
   
e) an Ivory Amulet of Constitution <+1>
   It increases your constitution by 1.  It sustains your 
   constitution.  
f) a Feanorian Lamp of Brightness
   It burns brightly, increasing your light radius by an
   additional square.  
g) Leather Armour of Stealth [-1,1d4] <+3>
   It improves your stealth by 3.  
h) a Cloak of Stealth [+1] <+2>
   It improves your stealth by 2.  
i) a Kite Shield of Protection (-2) [+0,1d8] {@w7}
   It cannot be harmed by the elements.  
j) a Dwarf Mask of Brilliance [-2,1d2]
   It provides resistance to fire.  It lights the dungeon around
   you.  
k) a Set of Gloves of Strength <+1>
   It increases your strength by 1.  
l) The Pair of Greaves of Orodreth [-1,1d2] <+1>
   It increases your dexterity by 1.  It provides resistance to 
   fire.  It cannot be harmed by the elements.  
m) 98 Arrows
   They can be shot 13 squares (with your current strength and bow).
n) 21 Arrows (+3)
   They can be shot 13 squares (with your current strength and bow).


  [Inventory]

a) a Dark Green Herb of Rage
b) 2 Fragments of Lembas
c) 6 Murky Brown Potions of Orcish Liquor
d) a Sky Blue Potion of Clarity
e) 3 Dark Blue Potions of Antidote
f) a Golden Potion of Elemental Resistance
g) a Yellow Potion of Strength
h) a Pale Green Potion of Constitution
i) a Yew Staff of Sanctity (3 charges)
j) a Beech Staff of Understanding (used 6 times)
k) a Maple Staff of Self Knowledge (2 charges)
l) a Jade Ring of Warmth
   It provides resistance to cold.  
m) a Golden Ring of Venom's End
   It provides resistance to poison.  
n) a Coral Amulet of Regeneration
   It speeds your regeneration (which increases your hunger
   while active).  
o) a Set of Gloves of the Forge <+2>
   It improves your smithing by 2.  
p) a Pair of Greaves of Free Action [-1,1d2]
   It grants you freedom of movement.  
q) 2 Daggers (Poisoned) (+1,1d5) 1.0 lb
   They are branded with venom.  It can be thrown effectively
   (11 squares).  
r) 3 Daggers (Poisoned) (+0,1d5) 1.5 lb
   They are branded with venom.  It can be thrown effectively
   (11 squares).  
s) a Shortsword (+0,1d7) [+1] {@w2} 1.0 lb
t) a Longsword of the Feanorians (+0,2d6) [+1] <+1> {@w1} 2.5 lb
   It increases your dexterity and grace by 1.  It makes you
   encounter more dangerous creatures (even when not worn).  
u) a Battle Axe of Doriath (-3,3d4) 3.5 lb
   It slays wolves and spiders.  It does extra damage when
   wielded with both hands.  
v) a Battle Axe of Nargothrond (-3,3d4) 5.5 lb
   It slays dragons and raukar.  It does extra damage when
   wielded with both hands.  
w) a Shovel (-3,2d2) <+1> 6.0 lb
   It improves your tunneling by 1.  It requires both hands to
   wield it properly.  


  [Abilities]

Finesse
Subtlety
Blocking
Assassination
Opportunist
Focused attack
Concentration
Armoursmith
Jeweller
Enchantment
Song of Silence
Song of Lorien


  [Enemies]

  2 / 10  Wolf                                    
  0 /  2  Tanglethorn                             
  3 / 15  Orc                                     
  1 /  2  Grimhawk                                
  3 /  8  Orc scout                               
 17 / 18  Spider hatchling                        
  0 /  2  Blue serpent                            
  0 /  6  Brood spider                            
 12 / 50  Orc soldier                             
  0 / 24  Madthorn                                
  7 /  7  Gorcrow                                 
 25 / 49  Orc archer                              
  3 / 16  White wolf                              
  1 /  5  Red serpent                             
  (seen)  Gorgol, the Butcher 
  6 / 22  Orc warrior                             
  3 /  8  Sword spider                            
 30 / 43  Crebain                                 
  1 /  3  Mewlip                                  
  0 /  1  Orc thief                               
  0 /  2  Nightthorn                              
  3 / 11  Mountain troll                          
  1 /  3  Tattered wight                          
  0 /  3  Orc champion                            
 10 / 27  Easterling warrior                      
 19 / 22  Hummerhorn                              
  1 /  2  Orc captain                             
  4 / 16  Warg                                    
  1 /  3  Dark serpent                            
  5 /  9  Whispering shadow                       
  1 /  9  Distended spider                        
  3 /  3  Twisted bat                             
  3 / 13  Snow troll                              
  1 /  5  Barrow wight                            
  2 /  7  Giant                                   
  (slain) Uldor, the Accursed 
  (seen)  Aldor, the Risen King 
  1 /  4  Easterling spy                          
  1 /  1  Shadow bat                              
  3 /  6  Sulrauko                                
  4 /  5  Fire-drake hatchling                    
  6 / 11  Werewolf                                
  3 /  3  Shadow spider                           
  0 /  1  Shadow                                  
  2 /  6  Sapphire serpent                        
  2 /  5  Ringrauko                               
  1 /  1  Cave troll                              
  3 /  3  Cat warrior                             
  1 /  1  Amethyst serpent                        
  0 /  1  Kemenrauko                              
  0 /  1  Spider of Gorgoroth                     
  1 /  1  Adamant serpent                         
  0 /  1  Lesser vampire                          


  [Notes]

Gaininn of the Noldor
Entered Angband on 1 Apr 2018

   Turn     Depth   Note

    422    100 ft   (Armoursmith)
    422    100 ft   (Enchantment)
    521    100 ft   Made a Set of Gloves of the Forge <+2>  0.5 lb
    642    100 ft   Made a Cloak of Stealth [+1] <+2>  2.0 lb
    773    100 ft   Made a Kite Shield of Protection (-2) [+0,1d8]  6.0 lb
    777    100 ft   (Blocking)
    786    150 ft   (Focused attack)
    791    150 ft   (Finesse)
    868    150 ft   Encountered Gorgol, the Butcher
  1,345    250 ft   (Assassination)
  3,169    250 ft   Fell into a chasm
  4,289    200 ft   Made a Dwarf Mask of Brilliance [-2,1d2]  6.0 lb
  4,626    200 ft   (Jeweller)
  4,785    200 ft   Made a Feanorian Lamp of Brightness  1.0 lb
  4,931    200 ft   Made an Ivory Amulet of Constitution <+1>  0.1 lb
  5,198    200 ft   Made a Pair of Boots of Softest Tread [+0,1d2] <+2>  2.0 
                    lb 
  8,023    450 ft   Encountered Uldor, the Accursed
  8,246    450 ft   (Opportunist)
  8,339    450 ft   Slew Uldor, the Accursed
 10,492    500 ft   Made a Pair of Boots of Nimbleness [+0,1d1] <+1>  2.0 lb 
 10,634    500 ft   Made a Set of Gloves of Strength <+1>  0.5 lb
 10,697    500 ft   Made a Golden Ring of Venom's End  0.1 lb
 10,832    500 ft   (Concentration)
 10,942    500 ft   (Subtlety)
 11,148    550 ft   (Song of Silence)
 12,144    600 ft   Entered the Tomb of the King
 12,388    600 ft   Encountered Aldor, the Risen King
 12,389    600 ft   Found The Pair of Greaves of Orodreth
 12,628    650 ft   (Song of Lorien)



  ['Score' 013087151]
Subtlety seems really powerful in Sil-Q with the increase in reduction to 3 (from 2 in normal Sil). I realize that Momentum no longer exists, but do light weapons really need a boost?
Subtlety looks really good when things are going well; your enemy is asleep and you're attacking with a massive bonus and doing many crits.

Subtlety is much less fun when things aren't going so well - when you've been spotted and you've got two or three enemies surrounding you. A shortsword like the one your character is wielding starts effectively two crits down on a two-handed battle axe with 3 strength. That's a lot of melee to make up even at 4.5 points per crit, and you need to be consistently hitting your third or fourth crit before you're doing better than the battle axe would from the same roll.

The initial stab is usually pretty epic with Assassination and Focused Attack, and if you're picking off low-HP foes, fairly reliable. It is still possible to roll relatively low: assuming a best-case scenario on this character here, you're effectively attacking at +42 vs -5 on the initial stab when prepared against a sleeping enemy (I think?), but with a 20 vs 1 roll going against you, +28 gets you only 6 crits for a nice but not monstrous 7d8; it's possible to roll only 20-30 points of damage, which is very likely not enough to kill a werewolf outright. Following up and ending the werewolf is significantly harder as it has very similar melee and evasion scores and if you find yourself facing several aware werewolves things will get a lot tougher.

Original Sil had deathblades and damage rings as well as Momentum, which made lower numbers of crits more dangerous; with Song of Slaying, Subtlety could also be quite potent in the throne room. Subtlety has to carry more weight by itself now.

Song of Lorien changes the dynamic, and arguably gets quite overpowered at high song scores, but I think the issue there is more Song of Lorien than Subtlety.

Last edited by Quirk; April 2, 2018 at 23:25.
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Old April 3, 2018, 02:15   #12
bel
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Subtlety

One clarification: I have a (+0, 1d7) 1.0 lb shortsword as well, so the crits occur on multiples of 4, not 4.5.

Let's compare it to vanilla Sil with the same shortsword, but with Momentum, so you'd do (+0, 1d9), with criticals every 5 points vs (+0, 1d8) with criticals every 4 points in Sil-Q.

I look at it like this. If, on average, you roll "X" on the combat roll (difference with the monster roll is included in this calculation), the average number of criticals you get is "X/4" in Sil-Q vs "X/5" in Sil. The difference is X/4 - X/5 = X/20. This is an (X/20) / (X/5) or 25% increase over original Sil. This is a HUGE boost.

In contrast, Momentum only increases damage by 1/8, which is only half as much.

I suppose damage rings no longer exist in Sil-Q, which also make a difference. Still, it's not easy to find a damage ring until very deep into the game.

Of course, looking at averages is not the whole story, but they give a rough idea.
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Old April 3, 2018, 03:40   #13
Quirk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bel View Post
One clarification: I have a (+0, 1d7) 1.0 lb shortsword as well, so the crits occur on multiples of 4, not 4.5.

Let's compare it to vanilla Sil with the same shortsword, but with Momentum, so you'd do (+0, 1d9), with criticals every 5 points vs (+0, 1d8) with criticals every 4 points in Sil-Q.

I look at it like this. If, on average, you roll "X" on the combat roll (difference with the monster roll is included in this calculation), the average number of criticals you get is "X/4" in Sil-Q vs "X/5" in Sil. The difference is X/4 - X/5 = X/20. This is an (X/20) / (X/5) or 25% increase over original Sil. This is a HUGE boost.

In contrast, Momentum only increases damage by 1/8, which is only half as much.

I suppose damage rings no longer exist in Sil-Q, which also make a difference. Still, it's not easy to find a damage ring until very deep into the game.

Of course, looking at averages is not the whole story, but they give a rough idea.
Yes, it's a substantial boost.

However, in original Sil, it's more likely that you take Subtlety for a Momentum deathblade with a decent to-hit modifier; a 1d9 2 lb deathblade with Momentum can be doing 1d13 of damage every 6 points, and deathblades were usually paired with damage rings. 1d7 shortswords would definitely be considered underpowered for use with Subtlety in Sil.

Early game, even in Sil-Q, many skilled players prefer to assassinate with an axe. A battle axe is likely 3d8 or 3d9 depending on strength. If we consider a 3d9 3lb battle axe, it does 3d9 of damage on making contact, and a further d9 every 10 points.

At the point the 1d8 shortsword has 3 criticals - 12 points of Melee advantage - the battle axe is only one short of getting its first, which takes it to 4d9. In fact, the battle axe is clearly superior until the shortsword wielder beats the opponent's evasion by 16 points. In original Sil, the 1 lb shortsword wielder had to beat the opponent's evasion by 20 points to keep up with the battleaxe.

We also haven't considered things a battle axe wielder might like to spend their 1500 XP on instead of Finesse and Subtlety, such as Power and Charge; the break-even point moves on some way further when such considerations are in the picture.

In a straight-up fight, then, Subtlety is only a better approach if you have much more Melee than your opponent has Evasion. Luckily Assassination and Focused attack allow large temporary Melee bonuses, but if the damage done is not enough to kill outright then the stabber is in for a rough time. Songs can do a lot to fix this; however, if you can effectively keep something permanently asleep with Song of Lorien while you stab it, it doesn't really matter if you're using a shortsword with Subtlety, a battle axe or a toothpick.
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Old April 3, 2018, 03:47   #14
Quirk
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It should be noted that even with the existence of deathblades and damage rings, Subtlety was not over-popular in Sil 1.3:
http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthr...ety#post118825

Note that it's about half as popular as Assassination on the winners list, sandwiched between Knock Back and Eye for Detail.
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Old April 3, 2018, 03:48   #15
Pete Mack
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How about concentration as a partner to subtlety? Does is pay off?
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Old April 3, 2018, 12:20   #16
Quirk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Mack View Post
How about concentration as a partner to subtlety? Does is pay off?
I think they pull in different directions. Subtlety means no shield; this makes every hit you take more dangerous. For Concentration to be good you need to be in an extended fight. If I have Subtlety I hope most of the fights I engage in last at most two or three blows.

Cruel Blow on the other hand combos well to effectively suppress retaliation.
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Old April 3, 2018, 13:48   #17
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Subtlety

I don't have much experience with different playstyles in Sil and don't know a lot about what skilled players do, so what you say might be right.

My main point is that if I understand correctly, you wanted to nerf lighter weapons in Sil-Q to balance them relative to heavy weapons. So you took away Momentum and Damage rings, which makes sense. But at the same time, you buffed Subtlety by a huge amount. Why was that necessary? Did you get complaints that light weapons are underpowered? If so, you might consider buffing Subtlety by a smaller amount, say, a reduction of 2.5 instead of 3.

A few comments:

(a) A lot depends on how one builds up a character and what items the game provides. One should be looking at not just an endgame character with a deathblade, damage rings and high str etc., but also the middle game with no further items. Subtlety, in this case, works well with minimal investment, since you can take it with 8 Melee and Finesse (which you want anyway, if you're using light weapons).

(b) The way I think about Sil is that light weapons can work better on low str characters, and heavy weapons on high str characters. Thus, one can look at a character with 1 str, vs a character with 3 or 4 str. For low str characters, the extra points can instead be placed in dex or grace, where they can be very useful.

(c) The list of popular skills is useful, but one has to keep in mind the limitations. It doesn't make sense to compare Subtlety with Eye for Detail -- the cost, the skill tree and the positions in the tree are very different. The key thing to note is that Subtlety is taken with a specific playstyle in mind. For instance, you can straight away remove almost all games where a player has taken Power -- in those cases, the player will likely not take Subtlety.

(d) What people like to play and what is powerful, are not identical. Not every player can appreciate the power of some feature, or the said powerful feature might involve a lot of keypresses or tedium, or careful play, or whatever.

Last edited by bel; April 3, 2018 at 13:55.
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Old April 3, 2018, 14:12   #18
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Subtlety and shields

One mostly unrelated point to the above.

I don't know how others play, but I often use both shields and subtlety. I just drop/remove the shield when I'm assassinating monsters, and then pick it back up again. When playing with a shield, I often go for blocking/focused attack/concentration, and later on, controlled retreat. This gives me insurance against monsters which notice me, or when I need to kill them in normal melee.
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Old April 3, 2018, 14:53   #19
Quirk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bel View Post
My main point is that if I understand correctly, you wanted to nerf lighter weapons in Sil-Q to balance them relative to heavy weapons. So you took away Momentum and Damage rings, which makes sense. But at the same time, you buffed Subtlety by a huge amount. Why was that necessary? Did you get complaints that light weapons are underpowered? If so, you might consider buffing Subtlety by a smaller amount, say, a reduction of 2.5 instead of 3.
I think I need to distinguish here between light weapons in the context of mithril longswords and bastard swords vs greatswords and great axes, and light weapons in the context of daggers and shortswords. The first type of light weapon was too strong, the second type broadly weak. Daggers in original Sil are nigh unplayable with the exception of a couple of artifacts.

Complaints were similar to the following:
http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthr...ety#post126402


Quote:
Originally Posted by bel View Post
(a) A lot depends on how one builds up a character and what items the game provides. One should be looking at not just an endgame character with a deathblade, damage rings and high str etc., but also the middle game with no further items. Subtlety, in this case, works well with minimal investment, since you can take it with 8 Melee and Finesse (which you want anyway, if you're using light weapons).
Finesse also turns out to be a bit weak midgame even where it should be good - without Momentum, Power is almost always better even on longswords. See
http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=8857
where CrabMan wrote a combat simulator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bel View Post
(b) The way I think about Sil is that light weapons can work better on low str characters, and heavy weapons on high str characters. Thus, one can look at a character with 1 str, vs a character with 3 or 4 str. For low str characters, the extra points can instead be placed in dex or grace, where they can be very useful.
While this is true, a low strength character is still better placed to win a fight with anything other than a shortsword or dagger with Subtlety unless they are reliably exceeding their opponents' evasion by a lot more than the one or two extra Dex points will give you.

In other words I think Subtlety works well for stabbers but would be really quite weak on a low strength character without stealth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bel View Post
(c) The list of popular skills is useful, but one has to keep in mind the limitations. It doesn't make sense to compare Subtlety with Eye for Detail -- the cost, the skill tree and the positions in the tree are very different. The key thing to note is that Subtlety is taken with a specific playstyle in mind. For instance, you can straight away remove almost all games where a player has taken Power -- in those cases, the player will likely not take Subtlety.
This is why I compared Assassination. The number of people taking Assassination who do not take Subtlety makes it clear that Subtlety is not an autopick even in a stabbing playstyle. Eye for Detail and Knock Back are mentioned because they are very niche skills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bel View Post
(d) What people like to play and what is powerful, are not identical. Not every player can appreciate the power of some feature, or the said powerful feature might involve a lot of keypresses or tedium, or careful play, or whatever.
This is where feedback from various skilled players indicating that Subtlety was considered somewhat weak in vanilla Sil and was now weakened further by removal of Momentum, deathblades and damage rings came into play.

The fundamental issue Subtlety has to overcome is that it is a win more skill. If you are hitting at +50, practically any weapon does a ton of damage. It pushes you into using weapons that are very weak when hitting at +1. For that reason it has to have a payoff that really justifies the investment when everything works.

One last note: at present nobody in the Sil-Q ladder is taking Subtlety on Edain Haleth. I think/hope that it should now be powerful enough to be a valid choice there, for if it can't find a home with natural stabbers when the XP counts, it's possibly a bit of a wasted slot on a very competitive tree.

Last edited by Quirk; April 3, 2018 at 15:25.
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Old April 3, 2018, 15:49   #20
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Subtlety

Thanks, that was very interesting to read! I understand better the idea behind the changes now. I agree with a lot of what you say, but disagree with quite a few points. I will chew over things and do a little bit more digging before I reply.

If any other player wants to weigh in on Subtlety (with or without stabbing) and light weapons in general in Sil-Q, would be nice to hear their thoughts.
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