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Old December 1, 2020, 17:25   #1
GrimaTheBold
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Is Coffee-Break Harder than Normal Speed?

I'm curious, are equally skilled players more likely to win in the normal game or in Coffee-Break? I can see reasons for believing either:
  • Coffee-Break should be easier due to faster advancement and inability to scum - the shorter the game is, the less chance of horrible bad luck or attention lapse. Boredom and overconfidence are killers and there should be less of that in a Coffee-Break game
  • Coffee-Break should be harder because you are forced to constantly descend. If you feel underpowered for your depth you have no ability to hang around a while at that depth and catch up, or move to an easier dungeon for a while
  • Since you can't hang around and scum at a given depth, your chance of finding great gear should be lower right? I'm assuming fewer Coffee-Break players find late game rarities like Rings of Power, Bladeturner, Ringil, etc.

I play exclusively Coffee-Break and feel like I always run into a wall somewhere between DL 50-70. So I'm tempted to switch to Normal speed and see how the game changes when I can scum for a while, but the downside is I really don't like the Wilderness. There is a no-wilderness option, but there is a warning message that its intended for coffee-break mode only. Is it really unbalanced to play Normal speed game with no-wilderness, and if so, in what way?
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Old December 1, 2020, 21:32   #2
Sideways
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrimaTheBold View Post
I'm curious, are equally skilled players more likely to win in the normal game or in Coffee-Break? I can see reasons for believing either:
  • Coffee-Break should be easier due to faster advancement and inability to scum - the shorter the game is, the less chance of horrible bad luck or attention lapse. Boredom and overconfidence are killers and there should be less of that in a Coffee-Break game
  • Coffee-Break should be harder because you are forced to constantly descend. If you feel underpowered for your depth you have no ability to hang around a while at that depth and catch up, or move to an easier dungeon for a while
I think both of these are arguments are true, and which one wins out depends on the combo. For a class like berserker, coffee-break is easier because there's less chance of catching an unlucky summonstorm; and probably it's also somewhat easier for most other melee-type classes, who always have good HP and tend to die to device fails or unlucky double-breaths or inattention/other player errors. But for a squishy or grinding-happy class, coffee-break can be harder because that death zone around CL 30-35 hits you extra-hard; you need to either take the fights you'd otherwise postpone or keep heading down into even deadlier levels, and if you can't take the monsters down you miss out on the loot and XP.
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Old December 1, 2020, 21:46   #3
Seraphimus
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Honestly if you play no wilderness you're missing out on a few things, but from my experience nothing vital. As far as I can tell Normal has more quests and the variety of dungeons is really useful if you get stonewalled somewhere (I.e, missing some key high resists but over stacked on elemental ones? Do dragon dungeon instead of angband)

with no wilderness you miss out on both those things, There is also a special shop in one of the harder to reach towns that only sells dragon scale mail, and also wings, boots and helms. If that doesn't sound super cool or vital to you, feel free to play no wilderness.

That said, once you've been to a town you can quick travel there from any inn (except for Thalos where you have to finish a *hard* quest first) the island town is dangerous to reach but there's a birth option to make it easier to get to, and once you've been to a dungeon you can recall back and forth to it from town. it's very easy to have minimal travel in the wilderness.

And even then if you only travel in the day, and stick to roads it's rare you'll get ambushed. bring TP scrolls just in case and you can avoid fighting most that do hit you. (also remember < in town takes you to an overworld map for travelling between towns, Don't try to travel without it or you'll get lost and die)

As for easier vs. harder? that's hard to say, I personally find coffee mode much more difficult, I don't like forced descent. but I imagine you'll hear the opposite from others. also my understanding is Coffee-mode has reduced mob spawns and less loot drops but an increase in drop quality, so endgame gear is probably in a similar place. but if you have bad luck Swapping dungeons or grinding isn't an option.
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Old December 1, 2020, 22:44   #4
GrimaTheBold
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Originally Posted by Sideways View Post
But for a squishy or grinding-happy class, coffee-break can be harder because that death zone around CL 30-35 hits you extra-hard; you need to either take the fights you'd otherwise postpone or keep heading down into even deadlier levels, and if you can't take the monsters down you miss out on the loot and XP.
That's probably one explanation (of several) why I struggle more with spellcaster types than other risks. I've tried plenty of Mages and almost never get them past that level, while I've taken a decent number of melee-focused characters to CL 40-50 (Warrior, Rogue, Paladin, and melee-centric Priest builds). If I do give Normal speed a try, time to see if I can make it further with a Mage than I have in Coffee-Break with the benefit of some scumming.
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Old December 2, 2020, 03:46   #5
archolewa
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Having beaten Normal mode once (though admittedly with a buffed Rage Mage), and gotten down to the 90's a couple of times (even killed Oberon!) with Wilderness off, here's my impression:

1. The biggest problem with playing without wilderness is that you only have one of each type of shop. So if that shop doesn't have more healing potions, or is missing Monster Detection scrolls before you've gotten confusion resistance (screw you Variant Maintainer!) then you might be in trouble. In wilderness mode, because there's like 7 or so different shops, you're almost certain to find what you need.

2. Supposedly there's more scumming with Wilderness turned off, but I personally don't think that's true. I think the Wilderness just hides all the scumming you do with the multiple dungeons. If you look, there are a lot of dungeons, especially in the late teens to forties, that have overlapping dungeon levels. So instead of playing levels 10-20 in Angband ten times to get the gear you need, you explore six dungeons and do four quests each with a danger levels between 10 and 20.

3. You tend to get less overwhelmed by uniques in Wilderness mode. The uniques tend to be segmented by dungeon (i.e. you'll only run into the Camelot knights in Camelot or in Angband). There are a lot of uniques, so when you only have 100 dungeon levels, you'll be getting a lot of them showing up at once.

Personally, I prefer playing without Wilderness. I find the Wilderness to be more tedious than replaying some levels in Angband, and if I'm going to replay a dungeon level a bunch of times, I like to do it without the gimmicks and often unfriendly dungeon layouts that the Wilderness often throws at you. You spend less time shopping too.

I also must admit to a certain preference for the simplicity of a single dungeon with at most one town.

Last edited by archolewa; December 2, 2020 at 04:12. Reason: Remove superfluous paragraph.
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Old December 2, 2020, 08:20   #6
budswell
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I'm doing about the same as always, usually dying around CL25-30.
Admittedly have had chars where I was pretty much stuck, felt unable to cope around DL-40 and all the quests were a bit much too. And you can get dud equiptment runs (e.g. CL-30 and no ego+ cloak or amulet better than sincle element resist).

But still really like coffee break, as just 3 dungeon levels to complete the thieves+wolves quests and you're almost CL20. Which is where it usually starts getting more fun.

So for me the quicker format is more fun, birth to death in a few hours, and have got to feel a bit "good" before dying.
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Old December 2, 2020, 17:38   #7
GrimaTheBold
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Originally Posted by archolewa View Post
The biggest problem with playing without wilderness is that you only have one of each type of shop. So if that shop doesn't have more healing potions, or is missing Monster Detection scrolls before you've gotten confusion resistance (screw you Variant Maintainer!) then you might be in trouble.
Oh man I know what you mean. I usually won't descend past the DL5 Warg quest without a stack of curing potions or cure confusion mushrooms, because guaranteed the time you don't the next level will be the Variant Maintainer. I've had a lot of frustrating ends to him.

Generally speaking I have a lot of frustration with shops since I only have access to one town. Simple staples like potions of sight, potions of curing, potions of resist heat, scrolls of phase door. Often I bring a few scrolls of treasure detection and a shovel (if they are in stock!) just so I can mine some gold and and pay for a critical shop to turn over inventory (like I'm desperate for the 2nd Life magic book for example and they aren't in stock). Talk about tedious...
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Old December 2, 2020, 17:40   #8
emulord
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I always run out of consumables in Coffee-Break. Its very rare I die to a bad dungeon situation, it always ends up that I can win fights if I had !speed or !heal, so I avoid fights if possible and the % of enemies I can deal with keeps decreasing as d.lvl++. Coffeebreak would be so easy if it wasnt ironman.
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Old December 2, 2020, 22:23   #9
archolewa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrimaTheBold View Post
Oh man I know what you mean. I usually won't descend past the DL5 Warg quest without a stack of curing potions or cure confusion mushrooms, because guaranteed the time you don't the next level will be the Variant Maintainer.
Half the time that doesn't even work, because that dickwad is 2.0x speed and his melee attacks confuse you, so you're all but guaranteed to be confused the next round anyway. So you end up burning through all your cure confusion stuff while he gets free turn after free turn to spawn software bugs and whale on you. I find the only way to beat him consistently is to either get Resist Confusion early (typically Merry's Cloak), or detect him early enough that you can quaff speed, lure him into a room and shoot 'n scoot. Ideally with a Rod of Pesticide or some other area effect for keeping the software bugs under control.

I was once able to beat him while confusion-locked as a polearm master. Was surrounded by him and his software bugs, but I had my Spread Attack style attack active, so regardless of what direction I moved I had a pretty good chance of hitting him at least once each round. Just chugged Cure Serious Wounds and stumbled around drunkenly swinging my polearm until he died.

He would be *SO* less aggravating if Potions of Clarity granted you temporary resistance to confusion, like Potions of Antidote do with poison.
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Old December 3, 2020, 01:35   #10
GrimaTheBold
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Originally Posted by archolewa View Post
I find the only way to beat him consistently is to either get Resist Confusion early (typically Merry's Cloak), or detect him early enough that you can quaff speed, lure him into a room and shoot 'n scoot. Ideally with a Rod of Pesticide or some other area effect for keeping the software bugs under control.
I actually have a different tactic -if I detect him, I lure him into a corridor, and even after he confusion locks me, I keep randomly attacking. Assuming I'm not terrible at melee, I get enough random hits on him to eventually kill him, and the damage he (and the software bug on the other side of me) do is low enough that sometimes I don't even need to heal, or at most quaff one csw potion.
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