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Old January 18, 2011, 18:46   #41
Derakon
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Originally Posted by CunningGabe View Post
The problem with humans is not that they are a challenge race, but that newbies won't realize that they are a challenge race. I know I played humans when I first started, and I wasn't trying to impose an extra challenge. Humans are presented as a default race, and it's only natural that someone who is playing for the first time would choose human. High-elves are only the new-player race for people who read the forums!
I think we can solve this with better information display. On the birth screen, mark all stat modifiers as yellow if they're +0, green if they're greater, and red if they're lesser. Mark the d10 hit die in yellow, larger green, smaller red. Add infravision to the list. Or maybe different colors so we don't abuse our colorblind players, but you get the idea. Leave the experience modifier in greyscale.

Then include a short blurb on the race's inherent traits on that screen, so when you highlight the half-troll, you see "sustain STR, regeneration", and when you highlight high-elf, you see "resist light, see invisible". And the human says "no extra traits".

Assuming our hypothetical new player bothers to even look at the other races before choosing human, this should help them see that the human is disadvantaged compared to the other races.
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Old January 18, 2011, 19:35   #42
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
I think we can solve this with better information display. On the birth screen, mark all stat modifiers as yellow if they're +0, green if they're greater, and red if they're lesser. Mark the d10 hit die in yellow, larger green, smaller red. Add infravision to the list. Or maybe different colors so we don't abuse our colorblind players, but you get the idea. Leave the experience modifier in greyscale.

Then include a short blurb on the race's inherent traits on that screen, so when you highlight the half-troll, you see "sustain STR, regeneration", and when you highlight high-elf, you see "resist light, see invisible". And the human says "no extra traits".

Assuming our hypothetical new player bothers to even look at the other races before choosing human, this should help them see that the human is disadvantaged compared to the other races.
I think this would definitely be helpful.
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Old January 18, 2011, 21:46   #43
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Originally Posted by CunningGabe View Post
The problem with humans is not that they are a challenge race, but that newbies won't realize that they are a challenge race. I know I played humans when I first started, and I wasn't trying to impose an extra challenge. Humans are presented as a default race, and it's only natural that someone who is playing for the first time would choose human. High-elves are only the new-player race for people who read the forums!
Yeah, the Zangband help file even explicitly says "humans are the best race for new players"! Which reminds me, Z+Angband gives humans extra gold to start with, and when they hit a monster they get exact numbers on how much damage the hit did and how many HP the monster has left! I feel like that advantage is almost too much, but it's definitely a good idea to beef up weaker races and could be considered in some form for Vanilla.
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Old January 18, 2011, 21:50   #44
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I agree that more information on the little tricks and quirks would be nice.

I decided to abandon my endlessly dying High Elves in favor of a faster-levelling Dwarf, and was astounded that I was spotting buried treasure behind multiple tiles of rock!

I wonder what other undocumented features are in there...

...and for that matter, what the "magic device" skill actually does. But i suppose that is for another thread.
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Old January 18, 2011, 21:54   #45
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Originally Posted by Starhawk View Post
I wonder what other undocumented features are in there...

...and for that matter, what the "magic device" skill actually does. But i suppose that is for another thread.
You haven't read birth.txt recently then? Both those are documented.
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Old January 18, 2011, 22:14   #46
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People don't like reading the help files, remember? And if he read it once years ago, he can (rightfully) assume that nothing much has changed about it since then; the help files are basically the same as they were back in the 2.8 days from what my spot-checking has revealed. No sense reading the entire document if only a few sentences have been changed.

EDIT: incidentally, it would be awesome if, when you hit '?' with a given race or class selected, you jumped automatically to where that race or class is described in the help text.

Last edited by Derakon; January 18, 2011 at 22:24.
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Old January 18, 2011, 22:36   #47
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You haven't read birth.txt recently then? Both those are documented.
Read that and learned about Gnome ability which I wasn't aware of earlier (I rarely play gnomes). However it seems that these special skills are given to races already quite good, hobbits, dwarves and gnomes. We need to boost elf and half-elf, because those two are the weakest of the races, even including humans. Elves in particular are bad at everything that matters in survival in dungeon.
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Old January 18, 2011, 23:14   #48
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EDIT: incidentally, it would be awesome if, when you hit '?' with a given race or class selected, you jumped automatically to where that race or class is described in the help text.
The game actually had this functionality back in 3.0.9; if you look at birth.txt it's still marked up with the 'bookmarks' for it, but it doesn't work any more.

I'm not sure many new players would take the time to press ? for each individual choice, though; I'd suggest slipping in a one-liner description under the "Your 'race' determines various intrinsic factors and bonuses" line. Something like:

- Humans have no special abilities or bonuses.
- Gnomes are clever and agile and can ID wands and staves.
- Dwarves are tough and wise, resist blindness, and sense treasure.
- Half-trolls are strong and tough and regenerate quickly.

...etc. Combined with colour-coding to highlight stats and in particular indicate less obvious things like lack of infravision or good/bad HP, I think that would help a lot.

Also, when I was a newbie it took me a while to twig that 'hit die' refered to HP rather than combat damage. Is there a clearer way to label that?
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Old January 18, 2011, 23:21   #49
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Also, when I was a newbie it took me a while to twig that 'hit die' refered to HP rather than combat damage. Is there a clearer way to label that?
Hit die is traditional but maybe health die could work better? Or saying directly Hit Points and leave "die" out of it.
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Old January 19, 2011, 00:32   #50
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Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
Elf priest might be the worst possible combo. Actually I think elf anything is worse than its human equal. -1 to STR, -2 to CON and worse hit die than humans makes it the challenge race.
Timo - I am curious about your thinking here. How this could be worse than a human rogue? Human rogue might be stronger at startup, but even an elf priest can eventually get 0% fail on their spells, and they can eventually have just as much spellpower as any other mage.

A human rogue is almost worthless in the later part of the game. They are weak at combat. And while they have some utility spells, with a 5% fail they can't be counted on when it matters. Maybe they aren't as weak as an elf priest in some characteristics, but their biggest weakness is that they aren't good at anything.

And I know you have won with a bookless hobbit mage, so I just want to stress I am not challenging your evaluation, but seeking to understand it.
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