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Old July 10, 2020, 08:56   #1
drquicksilver
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A few reactions to the druid class

This was originally going to be my thoughts on druid as a whole but since Kavlax ended my journey at clvl 31 I don't really have that perspective, so this is just some comments on the first part of druid. I went dunedan with 18/10 WIS and balanced str/dex/con. Not sure that was smart. Early game was a bit weird because I picked up a lucky Sling of Power (x2) (+5,+22) on 50'. That meant I could dive fast and level up fast but it also meant that no form of attack I had did anything like as much damage as the sling, so I relied almost exclusively on that for any tougher monsters until level 20 or so, with weak melee for the easiest monsters. I hardly used stinking cloud at all (because the sling was better) and Lightning Strike/Earth Rising were initially mostly for crowd control.

I was lucky to get Creature Dominion from Nar at 850' but didn't find the early spells in it that useful. Lightning Strike/Earth Rising did gradually take over as their damage output rose but I still found the early orc uniques pretty tough, even with slow monster. Around 1000' I stopped diving for several trips until I found a Ring of Free Action as being paralyzed was annoying (and was sooner or later going to be fatal). Potions were a critical resource (perhaps partly because it was easy to destroy any potions dropped in tense battles with the two spells), and being confused/blinded/scared was a frequent problem. Forasgil is a nice weapon at low levels but I still missed more than I hit against tough monsters. Even as the spells became more useful against typical monsters they did not do enough damage to take out uniques before I run out of SP - e.g. at level 28 with +2 amulet of wisdom and Holhenneth I had just 57 SP which isn't a lot of lightning strikes. Around 1250' (clvl 29) I was really struggling against Bill, Bert and Tom, and I ran out of Teleleport Other charges and there were no scrolls of recharging for sale. Finding Holhenneth to solve problems with blinding and confusion stopped me burning through CCW and things became more consistent to 1500', although some out of depth monsters were a definite 'no way' - night mares, for example.

Clearly shapeshifting is the most interesting part of druid, and I really enjoyed trying it out. I never managed to get much use out of Fox - I get that it works as an escape, but it often leaves you in LoS so I still preferred to use potions, scrolls, or just avoid those situations in the first place. Bearing in mind the emphasis currently on letting players understand the numbers behind their character (e.g. melee weapon damage and spell damage) I think perhaps the effects of the shapeshifts should be better documented? It was quite fun trying to work out the effects of pukelman from the char sheet: speed malus, STR and CON boosts (which gave me 0.3 extra blows and thus more melee damage), +20AC, hold life, regen, poison immune, and damage reduction, some changes to abilities (better saving throw? worse stealth?). The damage reduction is the big one but it feels quite binary - able to absolutely plow through orcs and trolls whilst actually regenning HP, but going down really quickly to a stone giant. Making the best of shapeshifting requires interesting planning ahead, understanding what monsters you can take. If you stay shapeshifted for longer than a single encounter then you are wondering around without detection, without conveniences like light room - definitely it makes the game feel different. And it's an interesting shift from using spells as primary source of damage to suddenly having a melee tank form - but one which feels critically vulnerable to monsters past a certain threshold. At least pukelman attacks don't destroy potions so my supplies started to build back up.

I actually got lucky, I think, and found Nature Craft just on the floor of an unusual room at 1650'; obviously haste self is a great spell and my routine for tough monsters became Slow Monster -> Haste Self -> Pukelman -> pray it goes down before the haste runs out; sometimes I tried to stun the monster with lightning strike before shifting. It worked on Bill, Bert and Tom when they showed up again, but Mim I didn't dare because of the disenchantment so I had to ping him down with a few spells and a lot of shots from my sling.

The downside of shapeshifting from a gameplay perspective is that it really does reduce your tactical options. I appreciate this is a deliberate tradeoff for the power of the forms but the game is definitely a bit less dynamic when in a form; in normal play you always have choices like "quaff a potion, use a device, cast a spell, read a scroll, use a missile weapon". It might be fun if some of the forms came with one or two innate abilities (cast using 'm' I guess?) but it might ruin the balance or the feel you are trying to create?

I have one specific suggestion - could there be a message when you destroy an out-of-sight object using a spell - "You hear shattering glass"? - because it took me some time to realise that my lightning strikes and earth risings were clearing away potions around corners!
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Old July 10, 2020, 09:46   #2
archolewa
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Are you aware that shifting back to humanoid form doesnt take a turn? So your options aren't really limited.
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Old July 10, 2020, 17:48   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drquicksilver View Post
I never managed to get much use out of Fox - I get that it works as an escape, but it often leaves you in LoS so I still preferred to use potions, scrolls, or just avoid those situations in the first place.
Unrelated to the druid per se, this seems to be a general meme in the game.

It's not entirely without merit, but the simple truth is that "running away" is (seemingly) almost never a good idea.

Run away from many dangerous monsters, and they start breathing and what not on you. LOS is as or more important than actual distance. Distance is mostly helpful when you're kiting to shoot arrows at something, but since most everything in the game is as fast or faster than you, it's very difficult to make range in contrast to just popping a ?PD.

The only time so far that I've been successful "running away" really is against large slow creatures, where I can strike and run repeatedly, getting in free blows, and dragging them around the room.

But that's a rare event. If I'm going to be staying in LOS to use ranged weapons, I'm better off blinking, and let them charge me through the cloud of arrows before I blink again.
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Old July 10, 2020, 20:13   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drquicksilver View Post
Clearly shapeshifting is the most interesting part of druid, and I really enjoyed trying it out. I never managed to get much use out of Fox - I get that it works as an escape, but it often leaves you in LoS so I still preferred to use potions, scrolls, or just avoid those situations in the first place. Bearing in mind the emphasis currently on letting players understand the numbers behind their character (e.g. melee weapon damage and spell damage) I think perhaps the effects of the shapeshifts should be better documented? It was quite fun trying to work out the effects of pukelman from the char sheet: speed malus, STR and CON boosts (which gave me 0.3 extra blows and thus more melee damage), +20AC, hold life, regen, poison immune, and damage reduction, some changes to abilities (better saving throw? worse stealth?). The damage reduction is the big one but it feels quite binary - able to absolutely plow through orcs and trolls whilst actually regenning HP, but going down really quickly to a stone giant. Making the best of shapeshifting requires interesting planning ahead, understanding what monsters you can take. If you stay shapeshifted for longer than a single encounter then you are wondering around without detection, without conveniences like light room - definitely it makes the game feel different. And it's an interesting shift from using spells as primary source of damage to suddenly having a melee tank form - but one which feels critically vulnerable to monsters past a certain threshold. At least pukelman attacks don't destroy potions so my supplies started to build back up.
While not exactly documentation, all the shapes are here (or the appropriate file in your angband folder):

https://github.com/angband/angband/b...data/shape.txt

You can see foxes get an extra blow & free action so it is a reasonable melee form with the right weapon. They also have + 5 stealth & + 1 move (which in turn is half as many stealth checks) so they are a great stealth form. Another way of using it is a kiting form where you move away, change back, shoot/device/spell, rinse, repeat.
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Old July 10, 2020, 23:59   #5
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Originally Posted by wobbly View Post
While not exactly documentation, all the shapes are here (or the appropriate file in your angband folder):

https://github.com/angband/angband/b...data/shape.txt

You can see foxes get an extra blow & free action so it is a reasonable melee form with the right weapon. They also have + 5 stealth & + 1 move (which in turn is half as many stealth checks) so they are a great stealth form. Another way of using it is a kiting form where you move away, change back, shoot/device/spell, rinse, repeat.
This is wonderful data wobbly! Although there are a few technical terms I don't understand, at least we get a feel for all the changes to status changing shapes will give.

There was one instance when my necromancer spent considerable time in town just changing from normal to warg to normal to vampire and back, all the while checking shift-C, trying to note all differences in each shape change. In fact, I never bothered to change into a bat thinking the melee damage is so small, and you're unable to cast spells, that the form is useless. But apparently bats get see invisible, more stealth, etc, that this form could be used in a tactical manner.

If and when I try druid out, I will be going back to this thread for reference. Thanks wobbly!
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Old July 11, 2020, 00:14   #6
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I guess a knowledge menu for shapes would be possible.
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Old July 11, 2020, 16:48   #7
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The blows in that file are mysterious. How are dice computed?
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Old July 12, 2020, 11:24   #8
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It's just flavour text Pete. Damage is still your weapon, which makes total sense as long as you pretend it makes sense. Well, maybe it makes no sense whatsoever but you know...
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Old July 14, 2020, 09:28   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archolewa View Post
Are you aware that shifting back to humanoid form doesnt take a turn? So your options aren't really limited.
No! I wasn't OK that changes how I think about it. I will use the forms more next time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobbly View Post
You can see foxes get an extra blow & free action so it is a reasonable melee form with the right weapon. They also have + 5 stealth & + 1 move (which in turn is half as many stealth checks) so they are a great stealth form. Another way of using it is a kiting form where you move away, change back, shoot/device/spell, rinse, repeat.
Oh. Interesting. I will definitely try that.
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Old July 19, 2020, 17:13   #10
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Originally Posted by drquicksilver View Post
No! I wasn't OK that changes how I think about it. I will use the forms more next time.



Oh. Interesting. I will definitely try that.
Yes, Fox amusingly becomes the go to melee form with the right weapon. 3 attacks vs 1 can overcome the strength bonus pretty easily.

I find myself only staying out of form to cast.

I have played with the Pukelman, but never found any of the advanced books beyond that. I often find myself just plain not doing enough damage...
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