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Old October 3, 2010, 23:46   #1
Laie
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a few thoughts about gameplay

Hello,

please allow me to introduce myself... I did so before, but it might provide some context: newbie player, started with 3.0.9 perhaps two months ago. When I went past lvl20 for the first time, I became so attached to my hobbit ranger that I kept him alive by restoring from savefiles. Last week I finally killed sauron. I didn't exactly dive... on the contrary, I think I spent a lot of time in the dungeon in the hope of finding ever better equipment.

That brings me to the first observation: item rarity, level and utility don't seem to be especially "balanced". I went through several weapons of westernesse, but stuck with westernesse until dl80 or so. It was vastly superior to most "artifacts" I found. I could belabour this quite a bit (yes, cloaks of aman are lowly), but suspect that it has been discussed before... if someone could point me to those threads, please?

What probably bugged me most were Zephyr Hounds. I think they serve a useful purpose, exposing the player to all kinds of elemental attacks in survivable doses... but all things considered, they were way too many and too annoying, stealing a lot of time and attention even when they were no serious threat. If I hadn't found that armor of banishment, I probably would have quit the game much sooner than I did. Locking / barring / sealing doors would be cool.

Again items, around dl70 there was a sudden downpour of artifacts. I think Great Wyrms with their numerous good drops are responsible for this. This felt rather odd, as if someone had thrown a switch or something... furthermore, by that time many artifacts weren't really worth a closer look. This didn't improve the gameplay experience.

I couldn't really scratch Sauron the first time I met him. I noticed the resistance hole, though, and then spent *several hours* finding the appropriate ammo. I was pretty pissed off by that point, did him in anyway, then quit and started a new 3.1.2 game. The quiver's a cool idea, but really: would it break the game if (say) the weaponsmith had a backroom with special equipment for special customers? Like, lots of fine ammunition?

Finally, starting a new game as a high-elf mage was quite a sobering experience. Does a clvl1 character really need to be that clueless and unequipped? The game becomes much more survivable once you learned a few spells and found/can afford a ranged weapon. Until then, it's a pretty much a lottery... after spending so much time in higher levels, the early game feels incredibly unfair.
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Old October 4, 2010, 01:01   #2
fizzix
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A lot of your concerns have actually been addressed since 3.0.9

In the current code:

Zephyr hounds are much less common. They still are annoying, but they're not everywhere.

The entire artifact list has been overhauled, with the attempt to make more artifacts useful.

Archery has also been adjusted so that missiles are less power and seeker bolts of wounding are competitve with acid bolts as far as damage goes. However, the amount of damage is much less than you're going to get with melee.

Lastly, drop frequencies for various items have been altered, so that finding endgame consumables is not nearly a bear as it was before. Now it's on par with hunting down the uniques you don't want M to summon.

So you should give the newest version a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.
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Old October 4, 2010, 01:06   #3
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Hey there, welcome to Angband!

I'm curious what artifact weapons you were finding that weren't as good as Westernesse. Westernesse gives you a few nice stat boosts and Free Action; that's basically it (its slays can largely be ignored once you pass the early game as they're only relevant for early monsters). I don't think most of us would consider Westernesse to be better than more than a half-dozen artifact weapons at most, even before the improvements made to several of the lesser artifacts.

Of course, it's entirely possible you were just unlucky. Sometimes you get a character where nothing good drops! This is fine for us more experienced players; it means more challenge. But it's not so much fun for a new player. Unfortunately Angband doesn't really have a guaranteed-smooth power curve for the player. Sometimes you find that early item that makes the entire game easy; sometimes you scrape by until the very end. Personally I'd say this adds replay value, since it means you don't always have the same capabilities when you reach the same dungeon level.

Zephyr hounds almost certainly are the least-liked monster set in the game. A big part of the problem is that they're so common. I believe that the next version will have a modification to make them more rare, so you aren't continually dealing with them. Unfortunately they can bash down doors, even if they're barred. The entire point of the Zephyr hound is to chase you down from across the dungeon and make your life painful. They're just rather too good at it at the moment.

You don't have to exploit Sauron's elemental weakness to kill him. Even if you do, you don't have to use acid ammo to do so. Rings of Acid will brand your melee attacks with acid. Slay Evil also works, and heck, so does plain ol' melee and ranged with bog-standard equipment. Someone managed to take a half-troll warrior all the way to Morgoth using only a d2 shovel to kill things. Exploiting weaknesses will make the fight shorter (and therefore safer), but it's by no means required, and if you don't have the equipment for it, I say you shouldn't bother.

Mages have terribly weak starts. No hitpoints, no melee, only a small mana pool. You really have to work for your character levels with them early on. They make up for it with their supreme flexibility and access to spells that make the late-game far more straightforward. They're also probably the only class that can rely solely on spells for damage output if they want to. Still, for the early game, I recommend relying on ranged nonmagical attacks. Bring a bunch of flasks of oil with you to start, and get a bow and some arrows ASAP (slings/shots also work but are heavier).
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Old October 5, 2010, 14:31   #4
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An aspect of gameplay that has always annoyed me is the monetary limit imposed on shopkeepers purchasing your spoils. If you find something worth 56k and the shopkeeper has only 30k. why can't you buy something useful from him for 26k and have him then have a total of 56k to pay you for your item.
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Old October 5, 2010, 14:36   #5
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Originally Posted by grumbleguts View Post
An aspect of gameplay that has always annoyed me is the monetary limit imposed on shopkeepers purchasing your spoils. If you find something worth 56k and the shopkeeper has only 30k. why can't you buy something useful from him for 26k and have him then have a total of 56k to pay you for your item.
That's an excellent thought!
Though, by the point you have something to sell for more than cap, you don't care about money anymore, i think
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Old October 5, 2010, 14:40   #6
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agreed. It's just the logic that the money YOU spend simply disappears, when there are times you want to buy 98k item in the back market and you have 40k. and if you dive to get more the item in question is gone.

More of an annoying anomaly or aberration than anything else.
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Old October 5, 2010, 14:49   #7
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One thing that would be really good at the market would be to "reserve" items. You would have to have a certain % of the item's price, and your reservations lasts only till you come back to town twice. after, normal mechanism would apply. And you could only reserve a particular item once.
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Old October 5, 2010, 15:00   #8
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that's not a bad idea either, sort of high payment plan layby.
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Old October 5, 2010, 21:00   #9
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I think the consensus is to drastically reduce the amount shopkeepers pay out for weapons in conjunction with much larger gold drops. If this is done, caps are moot, because the best weapon you're ever going to bring back is going to go for <5000 gold, or about 3x the amount you'll get from killing a creeping adamantite coins.
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Old October 5, 2010, 21:26   #10
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
I think the consensus is to drastically reduce the amount shopkeepers pay out for weapons in conjunction with much larger gold drops. If this is done, caps are moot, because the best weapon you're ever going to bring back is going to go for <5000 gold, or about 3x the amount you'll get from killing a creeping adamantite coins.
Down with shopping!!
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