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Old June 4, 2011, 02:43   #1
Runix
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Thoughts on the Newer Versions from an Older Player

So I came back to Angband after a fifteen-year absence, decided to try it out and see how things went. I never got past dlvl ~40 in my previous playing, but after a few abortive starts, was able to get to dlvl 90 with a Kobold Rogue before Charcaroth killed me with an unresisted Nether breath (he breathes for more than 450 dmg at half health, how much does he breathe for at full health?!)

Anyway, my immediate thoughts. The game is much the same, but a few things made it much easier for me. The biggest improvement, which saved me from countless deaths (except the last one!): coloring the @ according to how much health you have left. I think most of my deaths in the older version of Angband were pure stupidity against trivial enemies where I simply didn't realize my health was low. Color highlighting of both the cursor and the health total is a literal lifesaver.

The other huge assistance: the Amulet of Weaponmastery. I don't know who came up with it, but it really turns the tables for melee characters. Disenchant was so immensely irritating that it would frequently drive me to do incredibly stupid things. But having found a Weaponmastery at a low level as a lucky drop, it was incredibly helpful for getting further in the dungeon.

Other than that, though, it feels much the same. In general, the game is fun and fairly challenging, but I am coming around to my previous thinking when I abandoned it lo those many years ago: the combat, monster, and object designs are more or less broken and need to be completely reworked. The game feels much too "cheesy", where it isn't actually challenging, it's just a matter of whether or not you know a handful of tricks; without them, you're dead, with them, it's not terribly challenging, just a matter of not doing stupid things.

I may write up some of the changes that I think need to happen, but one major one: Banishment. To be blunt, it felt like the latter half of the game for me was do-you-have-a-Staff-of-Banishment-and-do-you-know-how-to-use-it. Hounds: banish. Greater Demons: banish. Quylthulgs: banish. Mystics: banish. *yawn* Sorry, just not challenging at all. Unless, of course, you're a melee character who doesn't have Banishment in the spellbook, in which case you have to rely on scrolls/staves of Banishment, in which case you're in serious, serious trouble if monsters keep destroying your inventory faster than you can replace it. But that isn't hard, it's just frustrating and annoying.

One simple suggestion: completely remove Banish from the game. I know this has been on the table since 0.1.frog-knows or whatever, but it really needs to happen. It will require retooling a large number of the end-game enemies (specifically, to tone summoning way down), but again, it needs to happen. It's just silly that the game is so incredibly difficult without it and so nearly trivial with it. I should note that the same argument was made of good old GOI, which, after far too long, was finally removed, despite everybody and their brother knowing how broken it was. I realize there is some talk of making the game more challenging, and there is one easy way to start: get rid of Banishment.
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Old June 4, 2011, 03:09   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runix View Post
So I came back to Angband after a fifteen-year absence, decided to try it out and see how things went.
Thanks for the report - very interesting.

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One simple suggestion: completely remove Banish from the game. I know this has been on the table since 0.1.frog-knows or whatever, but it really needs to happen.
Interesting idea, and I can see where you're coming from. I have two (quite different) thoughts on this:
  1. I like the idea of leaving choice of tactics to the player. After all, anyone can alter the edit files, or the code, or use wizard or debug mode; if you don't want the cheesiness of Banishment, you can just not use it. Or use it the amount you judge to be fair.
  2. An alternative to removing Banishment altogether is to nerf it in a big way. There would be a number of ways of doing this, like making the damage done per banished monster a flat 2% of HP, or restricting the range, or making it only remove a randomly-chosen half of the relevant monsters, or some combination of these.

More generally, it seems to me that (one aspect of) what you're getting at is that the game becomes less interesting when there is a single obvious choice. My understanding is that current development is aiming to remove obvious choices.
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Old June 4, 2011, 05:39   #3
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... but one major one: Banishment. To be blunt, it felt like the latter half of the game for me was do-you-have-a-Staff-of-Banishment-and-do-you-know-how-to-use-it. Hounds: banish. Greater Demons: banish. Quylthulgs: banish. Mystics: banish. *yawn* Sorry, just not challenging at all. I realize there is some talk of making the game more challenging, and there is one easy way to start: get rid of Banishment.
Yes v interesting.

I think most agree that the challenge posed by the toughest endgame monsters is directly proportional to the extent of their summoning--it is far the most dangerous thing. So removing banish and toning down summoning is I think a very nice idea--of course it would require some very careful titration to get just the right amount of summoning adjusted for a whole host of different monsters...

You certainly hit on the major types we usually like to avoid--except I usually like to face greater demons--they are worth lots of experience and have nice drops, and are real vulnerable to big weapons with slay demon and especially *slay* demon, Like Eonwe for instance (which also has banish activation). I also don't like facing Black reavers, drujs, and angels.
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Old June 4, 2011, 06:16   #4
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eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, i only hav finished once but i think banish is good as it is,

i only used it when fighting intense summoners anyway, as warrior..

plz no rage~
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Old June 4, 2011, 06:26   #5
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Originally Posted by Nick View Post
I like the idea of leaving choice of tactics to the player. After all, anyone can alter the edit files, or the code, or use wizard or debug mode; if you don't want the cheesiness of Banishment, you can just not use it. Or use it the amount you judge to be fair.
I don't see this as a real option though -- the game is at least somewhat balanced around banishment being available, especially in terms of summoning. Using the edit files to remove banishment just leaves the player at a severe disadvantage.
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Old June 4, 2011, 08:18   #6
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Originally Posted by Nick View Post
An alternative to removing Banishment altogether is to nerf it in a big way. There would be a number of ways of doing this, like making the damage done per banished monster a flat 2% of HP, or restricting the range, or making it only remove a randomly-chosen half of the relevant monsters, or some combination of these.

More generally, it seems to me that (one aspect of) what you're getting at is that the game becomes less interesting when there is a single obvious choice. My understanding is that current development is aiming to remove obvious choices.
Well I don't speak for the rest of the team but that's always been my aim.

IMO the problem with Banishment is that it's guaranteed to do exactly the same thing every time - unlike teleport or tlev where you don't know where you will end up. The other two effects which had this characteristic have both been changed to make things more challenging: tel_other got changed from a beam to a bolt (which is still guaranteed constant but is a lot less powerful), and destruction got changed to remove artifacts (and give monsters a saving throw, IIRC).

So I would support monsters getting a save against Banishment - set at a level where, say, only ~10% of them saved. That would still leave it as useful without it being so cheesy.
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Old June 4, 2011, 08:44   #7
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So I would support monsters getting a save against Banishment - set at a level where, say, only ~10% of them saved. That would still leave it as useful without it being so cheesy.
Or give it a limited area of effect?

Then you can use it for getting rid of specific groups of monsters ("Bye bye Gothmog's escort") without being able to use it for eliminating entire races every time you enter a new level ("I never want to see another Quythulg as long as I live").

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Old June 4, 2011, 11:06   #8
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Or give it a limited area of effect?

Then you can use it for getting rid of specific groups of monsters ("Bye bye Gothmog's escort") without being able to use it for eliminating entire races every time you enter a new level ("I never want to see another Quythulg as long as I live").
Or perhaps have it teleport other instead of delete? Or only allow selecting races for which you have line-of-sight on at least one representative?
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Old June 4, 2011, 14:09   #9
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Another option would be to increase the "cost" of banishment after each use. So as the number of banishings increase, also increase the HP drain. It start out at 2 per/banished, right? After 5 uses move it up to 3 HP, then after 5 more move it up to 4 HP and so on.

Tweak the numbers to your liking and combine it with other ideas if you like, but this alone will eventually accomplish what it is intended to.
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Old June 4, 2011, 16:46   #10
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Monsters can save vs. Destruction? I sure haven't seen that happen yet. I would have thought my last battle royale with Morgoth would have seen some survivors if that were the case.
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