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Old December 7, 2009, 15:37   #61
Mangojuice
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Originally Posted by Jude View Post
You'd skip Touch of Confusion and Fist of Force?! Those are bread and butter spells for me. I don't like Ray of Frost, Static Field (unless it ramps up in power or something, or has hidden benefits), and maybe Immolation or maybe Trap/Door Destruction. I was vacillating between Blink and Trap/Door, but Blink has potential to be VERY useful...whereas Trap/Door is very useful in some situations but I would think less often. it's great in a vault, or when a monster summons traps around you, though.

About Immolation - it just does fire damage to anyone who hits you, right, same as the electric aura? How much damage though? The amount makes a huge difference to whether I would pick it as one of my spells or not.

Also, I'd skip Fire bolt instead of Fist of Force, easy. Fist does more damage AND knocks out walls.
Two points: (1) Fire bolt does more damage. Same number of dice but d8 instead of d6. Not a huge difference though. (2) With both Fist of Force and Trap/Door destruction, it helps to know that the utility benefit (tunneling / removing traps) can be found in another chaos spell later on. There's a much more powerful tunneling spell in the 3rd book, and there's a de-trapping spell that affects all tiles in LOS.

Sheaths (such as you get temporarily from Immolation) do 2d6 damage of the appropriate elemental type to each monster each time they touch you.

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Wait, so basically if you have a chaos weapon, you can just wait till you're about to level up, then equip it and get the gift/curse? Weird. Seems like having a patron should be a more permanent thing - you have to pledge yourself to them or something.
Well, sure. If you can time it that well. As for bonding -- I believe you always get the same chaos patron, once one has been selected for you, it's just a question of whether they are noticing you or not.

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-"Weird luck?" I wore a ring of Fate for a while and nothing really seemed to be happening. What does that do?
Rings of Fate increase the rate of critical hits for both you and for monsters attacking you, and they also increase the rate of out-of-depth monsters and treasure.

One of the few things they do that's really interesting in Z+ is, you can get two different versions of quest levels, depending on if you have the WEIRD_LUCK flag or not.

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-*ID* seems to be hard to come by. I run around between several large cities and none of them have any stores that *ID* things - are there any? As it is I have to just run around between the specialty scroll stores and hope one of them has a scroll.
Thieves' guilds. Any class can join them but you have to do a quest to gain membership. Once you have membership, you can pay to have things *ID*ed. But yes, it's not so easy to come by.

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-On the other hand, a lot of the stores seem to offer overpowered items for not really all that much money. Shields of deflection for 25k?! It seems like that sort of thing should be limited to the black market for hugely inflated prices. Also, things in general seem overpowered on my side. I'm at clvl24 and haven't really encountered any major challenge yet; a few medium challenges in the form of a T-Rex and the odd horde are about all. It's a lot easier than I remember Zangband being. Also, I think the Amulets of Protection from * might be overpowered, especially as they're very cheap in almost every city. Most monsters are evil, and having an amulet of protect evil seems to make me nigh-invincible.
Protect amulets are far better against monsters near or below your level than they are against monsters above your level. If they're making you "nigh-invincible" you are probably sticking to relatively easy foes.

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-Some of my abilities do seem nerfed though, like Fist of Force. It barely seems to do more damage than Magic Missile, and I remember it being a lot stronger. Also, you replaced Chaos Bolt with Field of Chaos...
Actually Chaos Bolt was replaced with "Finger of Chaos" in the 3rd book, which also does sick amounts of damage and is even a little better because it's a 0-ball so you can shoot over things. "Field of Chaos" has several interesting utility uses: one is mass confusion / polymorph. Another is, if you have too much junk to sort through, chaos destroys almost everything, so it can wipe the floor of all but artifacts and a few ego items. Plus it's high-radius so it's great against breeders.

It's hard for me to remember now, but I felt, I think, that the 3rd Chaos book used to be far weaker than it should have been.

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-How exactly does improving spells work? What tier does it use a slot from?
For your chaos warrior, exactly 1 tier above. For some other classes it's more complicated. Basically, each successive improvement comes at a higher "learning level" by a certain interval: 10 for Chaos Warrior, but I believe it's 7 for Mages. So if you were to improve Fist of Force, it would be a tier-2 spell and you couldn't do it until you were level 20. (That may seem harsh for low-level spells, but part of the goal is to disallow improving the top-level spells.)

What you get: the spell becomes more powerful, cheaper, and you have a better chance of casting it successfully. The failure bonus is especially notable since it can force the minimum failure rate below what you normally get for your class.

1 improvement: -1% failure, +10% power, -20% mana cost.
2 improvements: -1% failure, +40% power, -33% mana cost.
3 improvements: -2% failure, +50% power, -40% mana cost.

"Power" is directly applied to duration of buffs and to damage of projections like spells (which also applies to "damage" of things like mass sleep which affect their effectiveness).
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Old December 7, 2009, 16:03   #62
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the biggest thing that i think needs fine-tuning is the quests. make fewer quests with a little more flavor, perhaps higher difficulty, and better rewards, or maybe just rewards that scaled with quest difficulty (as opposed to just quest depth level). for instance, i might actually consider dealing with a three floor 'den of strange substances' quest if i thought i might get an artifact, some nice stat gain potions, or even just anything better than a 'take out this novice ranger' quest of similar depth.
Are you playing the latest version, with random uniques? I think this helped a bit, because you never take on individual monsters other than random uniques.

But one of the problems is that it's hard to find a formula to correlate actual difficulty with the "level" of the targets of a quest. Part of the problem, of course, is that monsters of level X are not necessarily created equal. So this is on my list but I'm not sure what to do exactly, in the code.

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perhaps some mid-level mandatory quests or a class-specific quest of some sort would give the game a little more structure, maybe even something like some of the special levels in ToME.
I think people are already encouraged a little too much to do quests. Good old-fashioned dungeon crawling is good too! You do have to clear at least one town of quests before you can take on the big bosses, but that's about as far as I'm willing to take required plot elements. 'bands are great because of their openness to any player style and I want to stick to that principle.

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the wilderness is too large, i think - exploration is fun and an important part of the game, but holding shift for 3.5 minutes while you run between towns is just tedious, and teleportation towers are fairly rare and early on, prohibitively expensive. overall wilderness size could be reduced by 30% or even more (possibly cutting down towns and dungeons accordingly) and gameplay would not suffer. alternately, some late-game means of automatically mapping the whole wilderness would be appreciated (complete some quest or obtain some item that maps the whole wilderness).
encountering strygaldwyr (or maeglin or a greater demon or whatever) can lead to a frustrating and sometimes unavoidable death, as their appearance is often not dependent on the dangerousness of the surrounding wilderness, and they can chase after you from well before you can even see the dungeon on the map. if dungeon depth corrolated better to wilderness dangerousness (ie you couldn't find 9 dungeons in areas where "you feel a bit nervous"), that might help this problem.
Your comments illustrate perfectly how tough a balancing act this is. The wilderness is very large. But unless it is very large, you have no hope of keeping the very high-level dungeons away from easy areas.

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for character generation, either being able to assign specific desired stats when rolling (like in ToME), or utillzing a point-based system is far preferable to the imprecise, guesswork-based system that is currently implemented. additionally, opening a save file from a dead character should offer you the option to create a character based on the previous one.
There is a birth option to use a point-based system instead of the autoroller. But I like the current system, I think it's good at getting you a playable character relatively quickly, while making it difficult to completely free yourself of all randomness woes.

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regarding magic: im quite fond of the system in zang, and the changes seem pretty well balanced. i think the tier and specialization systems works great, and give you a lot more strategic choices. however, i've never been able to get particularly far with illusion magic, and i'm not really sure of its worth. perhaps it's more interesting at higher levels. the improved conjuration school is nice, although its been a long time since i played using the old trump magic for reference. i'll start playign z+ again and think more about the magic system...all this thinking about the game has gotten me pumped up to play it, heh..
I don't really mind if Illusion is harder to play with than other schools. What would bother me a lot more is if people found it uninteresting or not fun to try.

I could use a spell-by-spell critique, though.
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Old December 7, 2009, 16:05   #63
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Maybe chaos warriors are, for some reason too grand for our comprehension, supposed to be vulnerable to electricity?

Ugh aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I just died after Word of Recalling to level ~40 and I must have stepped one tile, because the crowd of least 20 Arch-viles (at least 20 because a fireball does 20-30 damage and I had 280 health) EACH threw fireballs at me, one after the other, while I had no chance to respond until I was already dead. AHGHGGHGHHG
Well I guess it doesn't matter now. But your electrical vulnerability comes with the "brain is a living computer" mutation.
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Old December 8, 2009, 18:14   #64
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Originally Posted by Mangojuice View Post
Are you playing the latest version, with random uniques? I think this helped a bit, because you never take on individual monsters other than random uniques.

But one of the problems is that it's hard to find a formula to correlate actual difficulty with the "level" of the targets of a quest. Part of the problem, of course, is that monsters of level X are not necessarily created equal. So this is on my list but I'm not sure what to do exactly, in the code.

I think people are already encouraged a little too much to do quests. Good old-fashioned dungeon crawling is good too! You do have to clear at least one town of quests before you can take on the big bosses, but that's about as far as I'm willing to take required plot elements. 'bands are great because of their openness to any player style and I want to stick to that principle.
yeah, i'm playing the latest version, i think (0.3.2), and it is indeed quite a bit better. the older version, if i recall, also had about twice as many quests overall, right? you still do get non-unique single monster quests occasionally in the latest version, though (a recent character benefitted wildly from a series of DL 50-60 quests for quite very easy single ants).
regarding quest difficulty versus depth level - maybe simply removing those 3-4 floor quests would help, or guaranteeing small levels for those quests. personally, i never take them on except out of desperation or necessity. you can do way more other quests in the same amount of time. i've even played with small levels on simply to make those quests less irritating, and even then i still rarely take them. i understand that quests shouldn't all be of equivalent difficulty, but those are just tedious...
totally agree on the topic of dungeon crawling, and that the game is a little too quest-oriented as is, was just throwing ideas out there, partially in regards to your comments elsewhere that you wanted to design a band w/ more storyline. leveling in the 30's goes pretty slowly, and after the excitement of the early level quests it can feel a bit drudging. so something to break that up a bit might be good - it's not a crucial point, though, and there's probably better ways to address it. in my last game there was a fairly large number of fun "find the relic of..." quests, which are great for the mid-level hump.

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Your comments illustrate perfectly how tough a balancing act this is. The wilderness is very large. But unless it is very large, you have no hope of keeping the very high-level dungeons away from easy areas.
i can imagine it's very difficult to balance! but i do think reducing the wilderness size (or at least greatly increasing it's traversability and the means by which it is mapped) is one of the most important changes to be made, though. if the map was smaller, there'd be fewer towns and, thus, fewer quests, plus less grueling map exploration to find the quests and dungeons you need. and if you want more emphasis to be put on good old-fashioned dungeon diving, i think this would be one of the best ways to do that.

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There is a birth option to use a point-based system instead of the autoroller. But I like the current system, I think it's good at getting you a playable character relatively quickly, while making it difficult to completely free yourself of all randomness woes.
when it comes to character generation, i tire quickly of randomness woes. the RNG in gameplay is random (and cruel) enough, and considering the rate at which many of my characters die in rogue-likes, stat-rolling is a step that should take as little time as possible :-P regardless, i still maintain that opening a save file of a dead character should prompt to create a character with the same stats. it sucks having to spend another 1-2 minutes rolling after your last hobbit rogue only had a life span of 16 seconds.
i'll try out the point-based generator, though, thanks.

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I don't really mind if Illusion is harder to play with than other schools. What would bother me a lot more is if people found it uninteresting or not fun to try.

I could use a spell-by-spell critique, though.
ill play a mage using illusion with my next character and take notes. totally agree on the difficulty thing, i don't think the magic realms need to be perfectly balanced - variants like zang/z+ are interesting and fun precisely because of the crazy gameplay options and lack of balance.
just played a chaos warrior (CL 33, just got stupidly killed by garm's nether breath when playing while distracted, assumed he was a wolf even though i knew he was on the level). made sure to play around with immolation, which, as i recall, is pretty useful - but because the first 15-20 character levels zip by fairly quickly, its window of usefulness is pretty slim. the fact that elemental sheaths are somewhat easy to acquire in this game further impacts its usefulness (i got a dual sheath randart phial around CL 25ish). definitely helps out w/ hordes of snagas, wolves, and the like, though. should its damage should scale with level? is that do-able? that could make it interesting and exciting beyond normal elemental sheaths.

oh, and good to know 'living computer' makes you vulnerable to electricity!
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Old December 21, 2009, 16:41   #65
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Found an instant-death issue you might want to address. Unfortunately I do not have a save file.

My mage received a quest to kill mysterious things. I took the staircase entrance to the quest and was instantly killed. There was a Death Sword right next to the staircase when I entered the level, and it killed me before I got a single move.
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Old December 22, 2009, 04:57   #66
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My mage received a quest to kill mysterious things. I took the staircase entrance to the quest and was instantly killed. There was a Death Sword right next to the staircase when I entered the level, and it killed me before I got a single move.
That's just good old-fashioned killer dungeon design. The death sword was probably charged with the same quest, only it succeeded .
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Old December 22, 2009, 18:02   #67
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Thanks to recent updates to Vanilla, I've found myself becoming addicted to ?Deep Descent. I think those would be a welcome addition to Z+.
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Old December 26, 2009, 16:49   #68
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Hi. Recently tried many Angband variants and found Z+Angband the most catching one.

Pretty quickly got a crash after stepping on a hallucination trap (not immediatly but after several turns). It repeated in 4/5 cases.

Also I'm stuck with 2 level quests, after clearing the first level I can't find a staircase down.. Tried all revealling stuff still can't find it and Teleport level scroll always moves me to surface.

Anyways thanks for a great game! Looking forward for new versions
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Old December 26, 2009, 18:51   #69
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Pretty quickly got a crash after stepping on a hallucination trap (not immediately but after several turns). It repeated in 4/5 cases.
Isn't hallucination great. This is a known bug. Just save the game when you start to hallucinate in case it crashes. The bug is repeatable, so it will continue crash upon each reload. You need to s)earch (upon reload) to avoid repeating the crash.

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Also I'm stuck with 2 level quests, after clearing the first level I can't find a staircase down.. Tried all revealing stuff still can't find it and Teleport level scroll always moves me to surface.
Maybe there's something invisible, or behind a secret door or something, maybe even a lurker. The stairs should appear once everything it dead. I've had the same problem on occasion.
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Old December 26, 2009, 20:00   #70
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Thanks very much for the answers! I've already got it with hallucination and gonna be more careful with searching in those 2 level quests
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