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Old January 22, 2022, 22:28   #1
Join Date: Jul 2019
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emar is on a distinguished road
Of the design decisions of Diablo I/II vs. Moria/Angband

There's a clear connection between Diablo and Angband. Of Diablo, the developers said: "[T]heir game would be Rogue, Moria, and NetHack meet Crusader: No Remorse and DOOM," Producer Bill Roper says. "Now that was something different. We all loved the old Unix-based games, and when we took a look at the design documents, we just had to go with it."

With this said, I think it might be interesting to look at some of the design decisions that Diablo and Diablo II made and comparing them to what vanilla Angband has. Features found in the expansion to Diablo II will be included without referring to it specifically. The list is definitely not exhaustive (feel free to contribute any omissions or favorites). I apologize for any errors in advance.
  1. Persistent levels only between sessions: In Diablo II, the dungeon is persistent, unless the player saves and quits, which causes a new persistent dungeon to be generated, including reviving all unique monsters. In Angband, the dungeon is either always random, or singularly persistent--uniques do not revive.
  2. Level-specific unique monsters: In Diablo and Diablo II, unique monsters are found on specific levels (generally found in specific vaults). In Angband, uniques are found randomly in the general depths (Sauron and Morgoth excluded).
  3. Softcore death by default: In Diablo and Diablo II, if you die, your body drops and you spawn back in town without items. If you want to recover your body, you must re-equip with equipment or try to brave the environment that killed you in the first place, naked. Otherwise, you must sacrifice the current dungeon and start a new session to recover your body and equipment (sacrificing any gold that your body dropped). In Angband, unless you enable cheating death, permadeath is the rule.
  4. Waypoints: In Diablo II, I'm guessing as a result of streamlining the above, the player is able to return to certain depths in the dungeon if they have found a specific portal to town on that native depth. Angband has recall to a single set point.
  5. Banking in home: In Diablo II, because of the softcore death being the default, the player is able to store gold in his home to protect it between deaths.
  6. Gambling in town: In Diablo I and II, the player can exchange gold to generate random items of a certain class. In Angband, this is limited to the Black Market.
  7. Stat gain is level dependent: In Diablo I/II, statgain is limited by level and is a function of levelling up. Angband utilizes potions to level up stats.
  8. No items on dungeon floor/Loot is primarily monster driven: In Diablo I/II, items are not generated on the floor as part of the dungeon, but dependent on terrain features (e.g. barrels) and monster loot. In Angband, loot can be generated on the dungeon floor.
  9. Normal/Exceptional/Elite items: Vanilla items repeat their class as the game progresses, but have higher stats and requirements to wield (e.g. a normal dagger is 1-4 dmg, an exceptional dagger (the poignard) is 6-18 dmg, an elite dagger (the bone knife) is 23-49 dmg). In Angband, weapon classes progress to bigger weapons (e.g. Mace of Disruption, Blade of Chaos).
  10. Item sets: In Diablo I/II, players can collect certain sets of thematic items that confer synergistic buffs as the set is completed. In Angband, there are no benefits to wearing thematically complete sets.
  11. More mobs, less powerful: In Diablo I/II, the number of mobs per dungeon level is higher, but they are less powerful. In Angband, mobs are more powerful, but less numerous.
  12. Summoners revive/summon lesser beings: In Diablo I/II, there are revivers and there are summoners. The revivers reconstitute dead monsters. The summoners are generally immoveable totems that summon a specific type of monster at a fixed rate. In Angband, summoners can summon summoners and have less constraints on what can appear.
  13. Bosses to descend further: In Diablo II, there are superuniques that must be defeated to descend further in the dungeon. In Angband, there is only Sauron.
  14. Other miscellaneous features: In Diablo I/II, the hunger clock has been removed, weapons and armor have durability separate from stats, there is an inventory minigame instead of encumberance, class skills are found for every class and are inherent rather than requiring books, and many others,

Out of the above, the feature that pops out to me personally is the absence of in-town item gambling in Angband. After a certain point in Angband, there are few reasons to pick up gold or to return to town, even with the Black Market. I think the design decision in Diablo to
create a persistent incentive for collecting gold even in the late game is a good one. It also helps to streamline the game in that upgrading a particularly weak gap in your equipment isn't fully determined by the RNG (e.g. that good cloak you picked up on dlvl 13 that you're still wearing on dlvl 31 can be replaced with a random, level appropriate one by gambling one in town). This would also make dwarves and miners a lot more fun to play.

Thoughts in general?
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