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Old July 6, 2020, 20:39   #251
DavidMedley
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Is Necro a pure class?
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Old July 7, 2020, 06:13   #252
wobbly
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It's defining it as
> 5 blows = warrior
< 5 blows = caster
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Old July 7, 2020, 23:10   #253
Nick
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It seems like it might be a good idea to include the default starting stats in the datafile for classes, since blackguards have completely broken the (already fairly dodgy) algorithm for assigning them. This won't be completely straightforward, because race has an effect as well. Possibly the datafile should have priorities for the algorithm rather than straight points.

Thoughts?
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Old July 7, 2020, 23:44   #254
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Ok, so just pulled off my first Blackguard win (character: http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=23703).

I say pulled off, but the fight against Morgoth wasn't particularly long or close despite making a few mistakes
(forgot to bring scrolls of Phase Door). Here's my analysis of the class:

Overall, it was a very fun game that did a good job from beginning to end of capturing the hyper resilient berserker vibe.

Early game, the Blackguard's strength over the paladin or warrior is that they can heal a little while still attacking.
Being able to hit an enemy at full damage while effectively reducing your enemy's attack to scratch damage was huge. This is
also why focusing on Strength and Intelligence is so important. Blackguards are as dependent on reliable spells as mages.

Mid and endgame, the Blackguard's strength is that they always have full SP. Always. By dungeon level 50, I was at or
near full SP almost the entire time, and even if I wasn't, a few rounds with enemies got me up to full real fast. Being perpetually at full SP is huge. This made the Blackguard's midgame *much* stronger than the Warrior or Paladin's. This was also the first game I've ever used an item that aggravates enemies (the Chaos Blade Doombringer). Was a *lot* of fun before being slightly outshone by a Holy Avenger Mace of Disruption.

My fight against Morgoth was also very dynamic. I avoided using Werewolf against him at first, because I didn't want to spend two turns healing (drink potion, cast werewolf). Especially since the endgame was very stingy with healing potions. The last thing I wanted was tobe locked in a cycle of Werewolf-heal-Werewolf-heal. I cast Berserk a bunch of times before Morgoth got to me for the extra accuracy (every little bit helps, and an endgame Blackguard's spells are basically free). The first half of the fight was me whaling on Morgoth while periodically stunning him with Maiming Blow, while he danced around my Rune of Protection. Once I was out of runes, I would send Morgoth flying with Forceful Blow, pepper him with arrows of Holy Might while Taunting him, and then do it again when he got close. Once I ran out of arrows, I went full werewolf and swung him down (used all my Healing and better potions too! Not that I had many). I even used Howl of the Damned once to scatter some of his summons.

Now that I think about it though, I probably should have gone werewolf from the beginning. When I needed to heal, I should have shifted back, healed, sent Morgoth flying with Forceful Blow, and then gone back to Werewolf when he was one move away.

All in all, I was impressed by the number of spells I ended up using against Morgoth.

Some thoughts on some of the more noteworthy spells:

Leap into Battle - Used a lot in the early game, less by the time I got Werewolf. Was used mostly for the extra healing, and to hunt down a fleeing foe. Closing on a hostile enemy is just rarely a good idea, when they're perfectly happy to walk up to you themselves.

Whirlwind - Great against packs of Dreads, and for chewing through popcorn quickly. Nothing quite so satisfying as having four Dreads surround you in a corridor, and watching all four G's vanish with a single spell. Mostly niche though. Getting surrounded is usually a bad idea even if you can hit them all at once.

Shatter Stone - Not sure if this, or Werewolf is my MVP. Once I hit floor 50 and had basically infinite SP, I used this all the time. I used it to close on enemies, bypass enemies, carve out anti-summoning corridors for facing enemies. I used it to keep the space around me clear while fighting Morgoth so that I could dodge the ceiling.

Maim Foe - Another great spell. Used it every opportunity I could get, and made most stunnable Uniques utter chumps (Sauron and Morgoth still put up good fights though).

Venom - Great when it was useful, but so many enemies resist poison that it was fairly niche. Still, I briefly had the Glaive of Pain, and being able to do 1000 damage to enemies who aren't resistant to poison was awesome. Even with my MoD, I was doing north of 700. Made greater titans actually worth killing.

Howl of the Damned - Didn't use very often. I can see its merit in crowd control, but I generally prefer to avoid crowds that I need to control (as opposed to slaughter mercilessly).

Relentless Taunting - Situational, but the situations came up frequently. Used this a lot against Hounds, and against a couple of uniques comboed with Forceful Blow. Also, does Relentless Taunting do anything when an enemy is in melee range? Does it increase the chances that an enemy will melee you rather than breathing or casting spells?

Werewolf Form - Awesome spell. Loved the flavor of how transforming inflicted fear on enemies. My standard pattern against uniques was to stun them, shift to werewolf form, and go to town. Usually I was able to kill them before the stun went down.

Bloodlust - Eh. I could see how some people might like this spell, but I found the drawbacks way too severe. There were just too many ways that hallucination, being slowed, or randomly attacking an opponent whether I wanted to or not could go wrong. Only times I used this was against uniques that I wasn't too worried about that I wanted to swing down a bit faster to hopefully cut down on consumable use/destruction.

Forceful Blow - At first, this spell looked like a dud to me. The damage wasn't *that* impressive. Not when you're swinging a MoD (Holy Avenger) 5 times every attack. Plus, why would you *want* your enemy to leave melee range? Blackguards are at their best in melee! However, then I realized that Makar the Warrior only has melee attacks. So against him I proceeded to knock him across the room, pepper him with arrows, and then knock him across the room again. Don't think he attacked me once. I also used this plus Relentless Taunting against Morgoth and Gothmog to great effect.

Quake - This felt like a dud to me. The types of situations where it might be useful were situations I avoided entirely (i.e. closing on an enemy across an empty room). Plus, the LOS blocking really didn't seem to be that good. For one thing, it was too random. Too good a chance that that really nasty Wyrm of Annihilation you don't want to see you would still be able to do so after casting it. Certainly it wasn't anywhere near as good as Destruction. I tried using this against Maeglin to see if it could help me keep his summons under control, but an anti-summoning corridor was still better, despite his tendency to punch holes in it.

All in all, I think the class is very powerful and a lot of fun. Definitely one of the more fun and interesting berserker style classes I've seen in roguelikes.
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Old July 7, 2020, 23:46   #255
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
It seems like it might be a good idea to include the default starting stats in the datafile for classes, since blackguards have completely broken the (already fairly dodgy) algorithm for assigning them. This won't be completely straightforward, because race has an effect as well. Possibly the datafile should have priorities for the algorithm rather than straight points.

Thoughts?
Any reason you couldn't just manually assign default starting stats for humans in the data file, and then programmatically apply the modifiers that the other races provide?
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Old July 8, 2020, 05:53   #256
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Wow, great review archolewa. A lot in there that I might address individually in the future, but I agree with basically everything and didn't notice anything I strongly disagreed with.

Quake was added last and isn't meant to be amazing, but it's position in the last book implies greatness. I think it's pretty useful when you get into trouble with too many monsters having LoS on you. I think it's thematic enough and can be used kinda like Taunt to keep monsters from attacking you from range. Reducing its cost, effect, and required level is certainly a possibility for the future.

Speaking of Taunt, any time a monster might use an ability, Taunt cuts those chances in half. Under consideration is to report the instances when a monster would have used an ability but didn't. No one seems to trust that it actually works!
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Old July 8, 2020, 06:15   #257
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
might be a good idea to include the default starting stats in the datafile for classes
Thoughts?
A good algo would take into account breakpoints for each stat... or at least that's how I approach the birth screen. But that's a PITA and fragile. So setting the points to assign to each stat on a class by class basis sounds like a simple but resilient choice. This would communicate to the player which stats are important and which are not.

Blackguard needs everything except Wis, so might be something like this:
STR 6
INT 5
WIS 1
DEX 4
CON 4

But it's very debatable... I'll put 8 in STR or DEX if that gets me more blows. I never put 12 points in any stat. Anyway, the above communicates "hey, don't sleep on INT or you might regret it" but they're always free to reduce INT, and often they'd be right to do so.
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Old July 8, 2020, 06:15   #258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMedley View Post
Speaking of Taunt, any time a monster might use an ability, Taunt cuts those chances in half. Under consideration is to report the instances when a monster would have used an ability but didn't. No one seems to trust that it actually works!
Yes, in my game it didn't seem like it did much. Observer bias.
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Old July 8, 2020, 06:51   #259
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Originally Posted by DavidMedley View Post
I think it's pretty useful when you get into trouble with too many monsters having LoS on you.
I don't disagree. I just avoid those situations, or use a scroll/staff of *Destruct* if I end up in them, hence why I didn't get much use out of it. It would I think be much more useful if it came online before *Destruct* was plentiful. As is, by the time you get it, you have the tools you need to avoid these situations, and you've probably got Destruct available unless the RNG's been really stingy.

I feel like it would be most useful if it came online in the early 30's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMedley View Post
Speaking of Taunt, any time a monster might use an ability, Taunt cuts those chances in half. Under consideration is to report the instances when a monster would have used an ability but didn't. No one seems to trust that it actually works!
I absolutely trust that it works. Killed the Skeleton Lord without him ever doing anything but attacking me (and seeing as how he was stunned, it was pretty pathetic). Similarly, Gothmog and Morgoth hardly ever summoned, and Morgoth only used Mana Storm a handful of times.

Though I didn't expect to cut it in half. That plus Maim Foe is a *huge* reduction in enemy damage capabilities.
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Old July 9, 2020, 14:32   #260
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Originally Posted by archolewa View Post
Similarly, Gothmog and Morgoth hardly ever summoned, and Morgoth only used Mana Storm a handful of times..
Just read this part of the bg thread. I think I will be using Taunt more often! I have been having problems with 9-headed hydras and Hounds of Saurons multiplying. I'll try this out and see how things go.
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