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Old June 28, 2021, 15:21   #41
Cuboideb
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Originally Posted by ewert View Post
Any time you fight a summon who can summon either high end breathers, or things that can cast the biggest storms/balls, dig a hole.
I keep forgetting that stone to mud is a must...
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Old June 28, 2021, 16:18   #42
archolewa
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Originally Posted by Cuboideb View Post
For me, the problem with late-game is the high chance of insta-death, which means that monster damage is too high or player hp is too low. Speed and ranged attacks are in the mix too.
I can understand this kind of frustration, but to me it's *precisely* these kinds of incredibly dangerous monsters that gives Angband its depth (at least in its current iteration). Let's face it, combat in Angband is pretty shallow, even without using anti-summoning corridors, pillar dancing or anything else, it basically boils down to:

1. Buff
2. Stab, stabbity stab.
3. Heal.
4. Stab some more.

Angband's depth comes from what happens *before* the battle. It comes from the player using their many detection tools to scope out the level and decide which enemies are worth fighting, which are worth teleporting, and which are worth staying FAR away from. It comes from struggling with risk-reward. Do I try looting that vault? The monsters don't look too bad, but what if wiruin is in there, hidden from my ESP and I haven't found a Rod of Detection yet? I only have 3 charges of TO. Is it worth teleporting that Beholder away to get the stuff behind it?

If we made more enemies fightable, then you would lose a lot of that depth, and I think Angband risks becoming fairly shallow. When you can fight everything, the game's depth should come from the combat itself, and I don't think Angband's combat is interesting enough to shoulder that load. You could totally change Angband to make combat more interesting of course. But that would be a pretty massive undertaking.

I think part of the reason the endgame is so problematic is that this formula starts to break down. Everyone, even warriors typically have plenty of renewable TO. Your power increases are generally going to be marginal, as opposed to the big leaps and bounds you can get in the early and midgame. Furthermore, even the worst enemies transition from "Oh God this thing will straight up *murder* me" to "I could kill this thing, but is it worth the consumables I'd need to use to do it?"
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Old June 28, 2021, 17:53   #43
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Originally Posted by Selkie View Post
This entire thread feels like the great schism!

Firstly, I think NCountr makes some very sensible and considered points to which I'm inclined to agree.

Secondly, I don't think NCountr is a troll account, as has been suggested.

I do think their tone is slightly aggressive and their criticisms of Nick have gone too far. This is a shame because it undermines the sensible points they have raised.

Finally, I think being the vanilla maintainer must be one of the most soul destroying jobs in the world, but at least it pays well hey?

I hope Nick recognises that so many players appreciate his work and the improvements he's made to a game many of us have been playing for decades.

We sometimes moan about the end game, we gripe about broken spells, or OP mobs with irresistible time attacks... At the end of the day, we still keep playing otherwise we wouldn't be here. Let's just focus on what really matters in Angband, finding broken randarts at ridiculously low depths
I agree with this. Does anyone else here remember the days of RGRA and characters like "Neo" that used to persistently troll? These forums have been fairly polite in comparison to those days.

As for my thoughts, I've been playing since 2.7.x having discovered the game after playing Moria on the old Acorn computers at high school. I think the game got a fair bit easier from 3.0.x onwards, with considerable beefing-up of artifacts and additional ego items added around that time. Round about version 3.1.x / 3.2.x it got ridiculously unbalanced and too easy in my opinion.

The work done from then onwards leading up to 4.2.x has been excellent and the game now feels better balanced than at any time since the 1990s. Version 4.2 especially beefed up the monster difficulty significantly without making the game more of a grind or slowing things down. I haven't really tried the new classes much (play 90% warriors / 10% mages - but that's just me!) but they do look well balanced and some of them clearly present a challenge for more seasoned players. I also alternate between randarts and standarts to mix things up.

Anyway, those are my thoughts and a job well done to Nick.
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Old June 28, 2021, 18:15   #44
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What's in a Newb Trap

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Originally Posted by ewert View Post
Others have in the past contributed or are contributing now, and that has included me, to the coding. You have said your peace (making mage spells a newb trap), it hasn't received much in the way of support, so you want to try it, code it. Looking at one class however does not do anything about the end-game itself.

PS. What is wrong with ASCII? Graphics, eww, disgusting, keep those out of my Angband ...
P.P.S. My attempt at humor seems to have escaped those with heated fingers whapping away at the keyboard.

Okay---let's tackle this topic because it is too important for it to be mis-labeled as a "newb trap". Newb Traps are hardly a thing. That's a weak-minded useless catch-all phrase to simply avoid anything one does not like. ---> typical YesMen straw man tactic. Not working this time, Flask of Oil right back at ya, bud.

Why are Spell Scrolls (or even Spell Points, an idea I hadn't thought of, but would love exploring more, credit to @Sky for bringing it up) a better way forward and a method to fix many issues at once ... including the current End Game doldrums that some have issue with?

1. It adds another layer of structured thought and tactics to the game. One must work out a set of trade-offs. Which spells are critical to my mage (or priest, or rogue or warrior (for agilities and skills mastery), which are not. Some attack, defense, utility spells can be covered by equipment. Is it worth a slot or am I just better off learning the utility and foregoing something down the line? Am I even guaranteed to find those MAGA scrolls (Make Angband Great Again, for those wondering)?

The YesMen are seething. They cannot comprehend that is is precisely a 1:1 correlation with equipment and gear finds going down the levels. You are not guaranteed to find another Scroll of Remove Hunger for some time. Do you keep Rations as well as Dried Fruit or do you sacrifice your slots for a few more scrolls of Phase Door? These are choices the newb player is already dealing with, @ewert. But, you seem to not want to call that a newb trap---inconvenient, I know.

2. By expanding the number of options given to players of spell casters, via finding scrolls to add into a set of carried binders or by allocating spell points per @Sky's suggestion, you are in effect creating a different scenario for the End Game. One where the player's earlier choices come to fruition, or detriment. You've added another layer of excitement as you may come to regret not having learned Electric Arc when you had the chance earlier on. Now you have to grapple with not having an effective attack against certain mobs that have but one critical weakness (aside from the pure melee or ranged missile attack).

3. By expanding the number of options given to players, the Game Designer does not need to penalize certain classes, nor inflate mob attacks to ever more insane levels ("Newb Trap", anyone? ... yes, I'm going to keep pounding that ridiculous argument into the proverbial ground. I have no patience for idiotic, low-level, trite refuse like that.)

4. Expanding options for players doesn't have to be purely equate to much change other than the mechanics of how spells are acquired early on.

---Mechanics of Spell Scrolls---

Store 4 has 3-4 basic scrolls for sale. Maybe 1-3 scroll spells normally found in Books 2 and 3 now. Store 7 could have a couple of more sensational scrolls for an additional price.

Store 6 will have Bindings for sale. A couple of variety -- trade-offs include bulkier, cheap bindings:
  • An Ethereal Binding which is light weight, impervious to fire and acid, but only holds 3-4 scrolls. So the trade-off becoming, do I want to sacrifice more precious slot space for security of my spell books?
  • a Wooden Binder which could hold 5-6 spell scrolls, yet be susceptible to Fire or Acid. (Never understood why plasma was a thing, but that's another worthless attempt at making mobs more difficult to counter earlier expansion of player power.)
  • A Scroll-Sheath of the Elves which would be something found primarily deep in the dungeon where Elvish Shields and Dwarven Armor can be located. Holds 5-8 scrolls, impervious to elements. Medium weight.
  • A Gnomish Textbook which only holds a few 3-4 scrolls but resists (not immune) Fire and Acid. Or maybe its not as sturdy and has a potential for pages (scrolls) to fall out? Maybe that could be a curse placed on some binders.

Scrolls should be moveable from binder to binder, should the player come across a more optimal book. Players should have the option to have as many books as they deem necessary, not limited to 5 or 9.

Simpler spells will be easy to find, and numerous. So, you can rather easily come-across and acquire a new one every level or so.
Spell scrolls could operate like normal scrolls, except the player has the option to commit to memory or just read and consume once on-the-spot. So, you find a Scroll of Light, say. You can study and commit that spell to Memory (and place in a binder if one has it), OR, you can read it verbatim and light up the immediate area, destroying the scroll in the process.

The UI will know the difference when a player 'r'eads a scroll for 1-time consumption, or 'm'agically casting / 'p'raying from them. (Perhaps the UI could warn players of such a choice the first few times before not asking further... have to avoid those Newb Traps. Insert_eye_roll) 'G'aining a spell/prayer will tell the UI the player intends to commit the scroll-spell to memory.

Priests coming across mage scrolls or Necro scrolls -- maybe they can read them, for immediate, one-time consumption, but maybe they cannot (depending on how much cross-contamination you want)... certainly they could not comprehend them to commit to memory.
Deeper down, past level 30, is where one begins to find the really interesting stuff. I would not code any spell-scroll to be deeper than the current level 60. The point is not to make them AS difficult to find as Rings of Power or other such Artifact items, though, they should not be commonplace, easy-to-find. Set the rarity to 8 to 10..?

The whole point is to slowly build up a large list of spells and prayers to make those choices more interesting as the game progresses.

My favorite spell I've never coded: Ventriloquism (a spell that comes from the oldest of Dungeon and Dragons books as a level 1 mage spell). A mage casts this to alert mobs to a Player being somewhere else in the dungeon. The higher the level the mage, the more effective the spell becomes (better range, mobs are more likely to respond to it). I.e., I can get those annoying Hounds to go bark off in a different hallway for a while. Ventriloquism should be found from level 0 onward. (And/or be a consumable, 1-time scroll.) Scrolls consumed will be consumed at the level of the caster. Level 1 for warriors or non-class casters. Level whatever otherwise for the same-class.

Scrolls not put in binders are susceptible to standard Fire / Acid attacks and also take up a critical slot space. So, unless you intend to stack up Scrolls of Holy Chant, you're better off placing one of those prayers in memory and into a binder with the rest of one's prayers.

Scrolls may be ripped from the binders. If a scroll is removed from player inventory, the spell will only be cast-able as a spell if the scroll is returned to player inventory (or he/she happens to be standing on it).

The number of spells a player may memorize depends on class, class-level, and Wisdom/Intelligence characteristics. Like now, a player may not unlearn something in favor of another spell later on. These are choices we all learn and adapt to as we play the game. Not a Newb Trap. More eye rolling.

Ideally, I think we're still talking spell-casters having 30-40 spells maximum in the game, with an expanded option set of 60-80 spells knowable (of assorted levels). Your current YesMen group will be happy to know they can still go and learn the current stock of vanilla spells _as_is_. Nothing will change if they want to pursue the same set of spells currently furnished by the 5 Mage books in the game. They'll just be spread out more. Those looking for creativity, though, will relish the new expanded horizons for spell casters (and eventually warrior/rogue classes where new abilities and skills could be learned in the same way ... albeit without binders).

Angband will be great again.

Last edited by NCountr; June 28, 2021 at 18:23.
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Old June 28, 2021, 18:21   #45
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Originally Posted by NCountr View Post
Fair enough. I think Nick's handled it quite well; if anything it gets the Yes-Men stirred silly quickly, don't you think? But, no, Trolling the Yes-Men was not my intention.
And this is exactly what people mean --€” calling people who disagree with you "€œyes-men" is needlessly abrasive.

Quote:
Every major change made to Angband or Rogue -- or whatever it was called back in the 90s when ASCII was the actual reason we couldn't have nice things -- has been coded up by the vanilla administrator of the time.
Nope. They are ultimately the gatekeeper, but pulling in patches from other people has always been part of the role. The monster learning/pack behavior code? Written by Leon Marrick, modified slightly for efficiency, and accepted by Ben. Randarts? I don't know where they came from, but I'm pretty sure they came from a variant first. And so on, and so forth.

Quote:
Sure, I could code things up, splinter off a variant. I did _do_ just that back in the late 90s when I wanted mage spells fixed properly. And, guess where it went? My hard drive. No one else ever saw it.
And that's on you. People can'€™t decide they like a thing if they don't see it.

BTW, if you feel embarrassed by the idea of letting other people see your code, I'm sure there was worse out there.

Quote:
Nor was I adroit enough of a coder to do reconciliations to maintain my changes with where the code went.
Modern tools for this are really quite good.

Quote:
I know just enough C to be dangerous;
The sum total of people in the world I trust to write C well is Ben.

Quote:
Which, in turn, means all my ideas fall on the deaf ears of YesMen shouting at me to run my own code base and let others judge it.
It is the way of the world. "€œI have a really cool general idea, and you should write and develop it."€ is always a harder sell than "€œHere's a tested implementation." People like novelty. If you made a variant with your desired spell mechanics, you’d get people playing it. And they'€™d have opinions.

Quote:
Meanwhile, it's the Vanilla Admin that determines where this story goes. Nick can poll for some issues to gauge acceptability of some things, but let's be honest --- it's Nick's boat now.
Yep.

Quote:
But, we're not here to talk about those things; we're here to discuss the trite topic Mage OP-ness and how to make the End Game more interesting ... without rocking the boat (which is darn near impossible with so many YesMen putting up the blinders).
I'€™m not entirely sure why you think that the maintainer who (I believe) added four new classes, two new magic schools, and upended identify is so opposed to rocking the boat.

Quote:
Am I abrasive? Perhaps. But, I'm going to tell you exactly how I see it.
Here'€™s the thing. One can express one's opinions forthrightly without being abrasive about it, but there'€™s an awful lot of people out there who are big on "€œsaying it like it is" where being a jerk seems to be part of the point for them. These people are tiresome, and generally come out of their interactions having persuaded nobody, but sure that they are in the right because they upset people.

Does that describe you? No idea; there is inadequate evidence.

People have raised criticisms of the roll-your-own-spellbook idea, and how it could work poorly for less experienced players. My personal first thought is that it'd lead to either a lot of extra items being generated, throwing off item distribution, especially if it's being applied to all the spell casting classes (which it doesn'€™t have to; different paradigms of spell acquisition for the various classes could be interesting); or difficulty finding even basic spells.

These are more interesting thing to engage with, and don'€™t require calling people "yes-men"€.

Edit: Since your latest post happened while I was composing this, some of the things I said are obviously no longer accurate

Last edited by Julian; June 28, 2021 at 18:47.
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Old June 28, 2021, 19:30   #46
archolewa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCountr View Post
P.P.S. My attempt at humor seems to have escaped those with heated fingers whapping away at the keyboard.
Insulting people you are trying to have a discussion with isn't funny. And honestly, the only person on this thread whose posts have come across as heated are yours.

Quote:
Okay---let's tackle this topic because it is too important for it to be mis-labeled as a "newb trap". Newb Traps are hardly a thing. That's a weak-minded useless catch-all phrase to simply avoid anything one does not like. ---> typical YesMen straw man tactic. Not working this time, Flask of Oil right back at ya, bud.
A newb trap is fundamentally a false choice. It *looks* like a choice to someone who isn't experienced in the game, but anyone with any sort of experience understands that the choice is so bad, that it's not in fact a choice at all. Using your limited spell points to learn Light Area is an example of a newb trap. It *looks* like a choice to someone who isn't familiar with the game, but anybody who knows that Rods of Illumination exist, and that Mana Storm exists and you will need a lot of spell points to learn it, understand that it isn't really. Unless the game gives you a surplus of spell points (in which case spell points are just needless complexity), wasting one on Light Area is *so bad* that it's not even really a choice.

It doesn't matter how often you insult those of us who use the term, newb traps are absolutely a thing, and a perfectly valid way of assessing whether an idea would improve or degrade a game.

Quote:
The YesMen are seething. They cannot comprehend that is is precisely a 1:1 correlation with equipment and gear finds going down the levels. You are not guaranteed to find another Scroll of Remove Hunger for some time. Do you keep Rations as well as Dried Fruit or do you sacrifice your slots for a few more scrolls of Phase Door? These are choices the newb player is already dealing with, @ewert. But, you seem to not want to call that a newb trap---inconvenient, I know.
Surely you understand the difference between rations that you can drop at anytime, and spells you are stuck with forever? One mistake can be corrected in the current playthrough. The other cannot.

One thing I like about Angband is that the only mistake a player can make that can't be corrected is the one that gets you killed, and the death happens very quickly after the mistake.

Edit: Well, ok I guess not bringing food could get you slowly killed. Though the game communicates the hunger mechanic blatantly enough, it's an intuitive enough mechanic, and food generates frequently enough that in practice it will rarely if ever get someone killed. But maybe that's an argument in favor of removing hunger.

There are other roguelikes where you can make longterm uncorrectable mistakes that don't immediately get you killed (Sil and DCSS come to mind) and I don't like them as much. I'm sure you can understand why I wouldn't be a fan of changes that bring into Angband elements that I don't like from other games.

As far as your actual proposed design, it's fine as far as it goes. A pretty significant bump in complexity, but it doesn't seem that much worse than what we have now with the resistance shuffle minigame. It significantly increases inventory pressure (either you have to more frequently return to town to build binders, or carry around some empty/partially full binders), and would probably require the item distribution to be rejiggered but neither of those are inherently bad things.

One thing that could introduce a *lot* of tedium is having to build multiple copies of binders, and rebuilding binders that were destroyed or stolen. That sounds unfun to me unless a lot of work was put into designing a UI that makes it easy to create multiple copies of the same binder assuming you had all the spell scrolls.

Last edited by archolewa; June 28, 2021 at 19:37.
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Old June 28, 2021, 19:59   #47
AceRimmer
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Originally Posted by archolewa View Post
As far as your actual proposed design, it's fine as far as it goes. A pretty significant bump in complexity, but it doesn't seem that much worse than what we have now with the resistance shuffle minigame. It significantly increases inventory pressure (either you have to more frequently return to town to build binders, or carry around some empty/partially full binders), and would probably require the item distribution to be rejiggered but neither of those are inherently bad things.
A lot of good points in your post, archolewa, but I think you are missing on this one:

The spell binders would be *great* for inventory pressure -- indeed, I think it's one of their two best selling points. Rather than needing to carry around the pre-programmed spell books complete with the mix of useful and unused spells, you can create your own spell book with only the spells that you rely on. It would be much more compact.

[The other selling point is introducing an element of choice into spell acquisition rather than the same old ladder of progression].
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Old June 28, 2021, 20:04   #48
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Originally Posted by AceRimmer View Post
The spell binders would be *great* for inventory pressure -- indeed, I think it's one of their two best selling points. Rather than needing to carry around the pre-programmed spell books complete with the mix of useful and unused spells, you can create your own spell book with only the spells that you rely on. It would be much more compact.
You're not wrong here. I think it would probably end up being mostly a mixed-bag: more inventory pressure while you're building the binders, less once you have the binders where you want them.

I play without the town, and I'm looking at this proposal largely through that lens. This proposal would *massively* increase inventory pressure in the midgame when you don't have reliable access to binders. Not necessarily a bad thing. I find managing my inventory and deciding what to carry and what to drop to be one of the more compelling parts of Angband. But definitely something to take into consideration. After all, too much or too little inventory pressure can degrade the game.
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Old June 28, 2021, 20:28   #49
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Your eyes seem less sensitive to YesMen comments.

AceRimmer gets it. Pretty sure Sky and Selkie get it as well.

In the end, novice players will tend to over commit to too many spells not really needed. As iterations stack up, players will better understand what spells coincide with their individual play styles.

--------------------------

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Originally Posted by archolewa View Post
There are other roguelikes where you can make longterm uncorrectable mistakes that don't immediately get you killed (Sil and DCSS come to mind) and I don't like them as much. I'm sure you can understand why I wouldn't be a fan of changes that bring into Angband elements that I don't like from other games.
Who said learning or not learning a spell or agility will get one killed? There's no precedent for that statement. I didn't learn Magic Missile. I will die at level 750'.

That's a fallacy. In 3.x, I played some of the dumbest mages imaginable, Half-Trolls. I purposely made choices to not learn certain spells knowing what it would cost me short-term, mid-term, &/or long-term. Only when I got close to Max Stats did I finally learn most of them. I, to this day in 3.x, still do not learn Telep Level and a few other spells that could or would get me into trouble should I finger-fault something on the keyboard. The risk is not worth the reward---I can always find a stair case nearby if I really need it. Same for a lot of Kelek's spells---just were not worth the risk.

Quote:
As far as your actual proposed design, it's fine as far as it goes. A pretty significant bump in complexity, but it doesn't seem that much worse than what we have now with the resistance shuffle minigame. It significantly increases inventory pressure (either you have to more frequently return to town to build binders, or carry around some empty/partially full binders), and would probably require the item distribution to be rejiggered but neither of those are inherently bad things.
I'm going to go back to 3.x and it's still fairly true for 4.x, but less so.

Mages and all spell-casters get a HUGE amp up in power for each BOOK found.

Once you parcel it out into scrolls, the ramp-up in power for spell casters is lessened. One new major spell, like Rift, would be a game changer in itself, but otherwise, you're only finding these spells piecemeal. Not like, when one finds "Raal's Tome of Destruction", and suddenly you've practically just won the game with that one find with ALL those spells packed in and all practically learnable on the spot. Were it not for Chaos Strike and Banishment spells, I wouldn't even bother carrying Kelek's in 3.x. Mana Storm? Who wants a 16% failure rate at Max Stats, Max level???

Spell-scrolls temper the power increase of players as they proceed through the levels. And as @AceRimmer accurately perceived, intelligent, experienced players will find a way to do more with less.

Quote:
One thing that could introduce a *lot* of tedium is having to build multiple copies of binders, and rebuilding binders that were destroyed or stolen. That sounds unfun to me unless a lot of work was put into designing a UI that makes it easy to create multiple copies of the same binder assuming you had all the spell scrolls.
No less un-fun than being subjected to an indefensible TIME or Plasma attack. The UI already handles multiple copies of similar items quite well. Kudos to Nick or Ben or whomever did that.
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Old June 28, 2021, 20:48   #50
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Who said learning or not learning a spell or agility will get one killed? There's no precedent for that statement. I didn't learn Magic Missile. I will die at level 750'.
This is not an accurate description of what I was trying to communicate. Of course longterm mistakes aren't as precise as that. But just go look at the Sil forums. Those have plenty of examples of people asking questions about how to get through Sil because they keep dying at floor 6 or whatever, and it quickly comes out that they're putting too much experience into talents, and not enough into Melee and Evasion. A long-term mistake that is by no means obvious, but leads to a weak character who will likely die without exceptional tactical play.

That's the sort of thing I'm talking about. A player can't seem to get much past DL50. Is it because they made poor tactical choices (they're raiding too many vaults, or not valuing detection enough) or is it because they made poor strategic choices (they picked Call Light, but because they picked Call Light they don't have enough spell points to take Mana Bolt, so they don't have enough damage to survive at that level). :shrug: Hard to say without talking to experienced veterans.

Now, some people like that kind of mix of longterm strategic problem solving and shortterm tactical problem solving. Which is great! There are Roguelikes for that already. Some of us don't. Some of us prefer roguelikes with a relatively simple strategy, that focus on short-term tactical decisions. Which is also great! But those of us who like the latter are going to push back against any efforts to turn a roguelike more like the latter into something more like the former.

Can your suggestion be made to work, and even create a compelling roguelike? Absolutely. Would I be happy if that roguelike was Angband? No. Nor do I think it would necessarily make Angband better, just different and in a way I wouldn't like.

Now, if mages were able to learn every spell, or were able to forget spells they already know, then I'd have no real problem with binderes. Because then we're back into short-term tactical decisions. Rather than asking "Is this spell worth having *right now* even if means I can't have a spell I'll need later?" you're just asking "What spells do I need *right now*?" And player are free to experiment, shuffle, and tweak their spell list until they have the spells they want without having to navigate a minefield of irreversible build decisions.
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