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Old December 22, 2012, 02:33   #1
freyathedark
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Return to Angband

So it's been a few years since I last played Angband, and I must say that I'm enjoying this new release immensely.

The most visible change since my previous version (which was, I think, somewhere in the 2.0 range) is the new interface, which I love. I can see everything at a glance. The tileset is bigger and it's much easier to identify different creatures.

I only have two issues with it - the Deep Descent scrolls and the artifacts. If I remember correctly, Deep Descent scrolls weren't around or were very different in my previous version. I could be wrong, though. I think that the wording in the description needs to be changed - the description says it will take you down two levels, but what it does is take you down two levels below your deepest level visited. This is a bit of a pain, because now I can't use Word of Recall without going to a level that's too deep for my character.

In regards to the artifacts, I miss being able to go down below level 20 or so and have artifacts showing up quite frequently. I've only got the Phial so far, and I've been playing around level 30 for the past 7 hours. I would recommend making them drop a bit more frequently, if only to make it a little easier to get started in the game.

Apart from that, this is still one of the best and most addicting games I've ever played.
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Old December 22, 2012, 04:22   #2
Estie
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Deep descent scrolls are a new addition and their funcionality - but not their description - changes every new release.

If you want more artifacts, maybe try playing 3.1.2v2
Since that version, artifact value and depth/frequency has been reduced steadily in a neverending quest to make the game harder.
The Phial at level 30 ? Count yourself lucky! These days I tend to find artifact lights well down at the bottom.

Anyway...the changes are mostly for the better, the game is indeed addicting...happy banding.
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Old December 22, 2012, 05:17   #3
freyathedark
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I actually got the Phial dropped at level 17 by a unique. Thanks for the suggestion about the version - I'm going to download it now.

EDIT: I don't know if this was the version I used to play, but the tileset is exactly the same and I'm so nostalgic about it it hurts. Thanks again!

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Old December 22, 2012, 06:51   #4
Derakon
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It's hard to know what artifact drop rates were like back in the day. Certainly the Phial used to be a lot more common; if it didn't show up by 500' then I thought I was getting really unlucky. These days the game wants you to go through a progression: torch -> lantern -> ego torch / lantern -> Phial. More upgrades makes the game more interesting, is the theory.

As for other artifacts, I don't suppose you can characterize what kind of drop rates you expect? How many artifacts would you expect to have found by 1000'? By 1500'? 2000'? 3000'? We don't actually have stats on older versions of the game so it's really hard to know how much the modern game has deviated. Really we just know that 3.1.2 was over-generous (in many ways, not necessarily due to artifact drop rates), and most of the recent changes have been in reaction to that.
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Old December 22, 2012, 09:51   #5
Timo Pietilä
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
As for other artifacts, I don't suppose you can characterize what kind of drop rates you expect? How many artifacts would you expect to have found by 1000'? By 1500'? 2000'? 3000'? We don't actually have stats on older versions of the game so it's really hard to know how much the modern game has deviated.
I think this current version has about same artifact drop rate as those very old ones (2.4-2.7), but there is a change in monster quality which might make "mid-game" (after 1000' but before 2000') a bit more challenging than it was. Big change=orcs now shoot arrows.

Later game you see opposite change (speed is now much easier to find, less huge jump in danger at around 2500') until again at very deep things get more dangerous again.

OTOH, normal items and couple of added egos have boosted non-artifacts. You might actually want to keep that helmet of serenity even that you already have artifact helmet. Gauntlets of Thievery with big bonus might give you that extra blow that you can't get with artifacts. Trickery amulet beats pretty much everything else, competition comes basically from Weaponmastery which is another non-artifact. Amulet of Magi is now actually useful, especially if you are mage.

There are way more egos giving random ability: magi and aman cloaks, permanence and elvenkind body armors, elvenkind and preservation shields, lothlorien bow, magi and lordliness helmets, blessed and *slay evil* melee-weapons.

In old days there was only permanence (magi) robes, elvenkind armors, either elvenkind shield or aman cloak (depends of version which), blessed weapons and magi helmets.

OTOH there are now more abilities to find, resistances no more cover as much as they used to. BalanceDSM was end-game quality item (chaos preventing confusion, sound preventing stunning), now it isn't anymore.

Also way more items were found on the floor in old versions compared to drops (no-stacking: way less loot from huge battles like from angel/demon explosions). Your main source of artifacts used to be vaults, even DLV was considered a great find (less vaults too, better average quality of lesser vaults and in GV:s the big jackpot CGV was more likely).

Game isn't exactly same (the danger curve isn't same) so drop rate can't be exactly same either to keep same feeling, so stats from older versions wouldn't help much.
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Old December 22, 2012, 14:19   #6
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Thats why I prefer randart games - depending on what items you find, the amulet slot might well be taken up by something other than Timo´s list. ESP or sustenace see use in lategame.

That being said, I just checked my 10 most recent ladder winners and they used:

Trickery x6
Randart x3
Sustenance x1

However, that mirrors the endfight setup; more interesting would be the lategame setup before that.

It has always struck me as peculiar that the amulet slot has so much smaller value than the rings. In two ways: compare RoS +12 with "Trickery, and that to the artifact "downgrade". I would probably prefer the light slot over the amulet slot if I had to choose.

Maybe chop a bit off the lightsource artifact(s) and give to the amulet artifacts ?
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Old December 22, 2012, 18:16   #7
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I went looking for my old version of Angband to see what version it was, and it turns out that it was two laptops ago, so I won't be able to find it until I find the CD I'd put it on.

I know that artifacts were more common the farther down you got, around level 30-40ish. As for a good drop rate, I honestly don't know enough about the programming to even make a guess as to what's doable/plausible.

One thing that might be nice would be if, in the next version of the game, you had the choice of a harder game with fewer drops (like the latest version), or an easier game for people like me who don't want to spend months getting to Morgoth. Honestly, I really want a way to get the drop rate from v3.1.2v2 or earlier with the interface from Vanilla, because I adore the interface from Vanilla.
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Old December 22, 2012, 19:50   #8
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Originally Posted by freyathedark View Post
an easier game for people like me who don't want to spend months getting to Morgoth.
That's a thing that sometimes puts me off starting a new Angband game, too.
Recently I (and many others) have been enjoying an Angband variant called Sil, which, among other things, has a significantly shorter game length than vanilla Angband. Sil has been praised by many here on the forums for its new gameplay ideas, so I hope that some of these, including the shorter span, can be considered for being ported to the main Angband game.
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Old December 22, 2012, 20:43   #9
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Angband is almost certainly one of the longest roguelikes around, but it's also been that way for over 20 years now, and I don't think that's something that's going to drastically change. That's what variants are for, really.

However, it is certainly possible to play Angband faster, so that it doesn't take months for a single character to make it to the end. It's all about diving aggressively and picking your fights, avoiding the ones that you can't win (or that aren't worth winning) and quickly winning the ones that you can. If you never enter your comfort zone then the game is much faster...one way or another. Either you screw up, get into an unwinnable fight, and die; or you get much better rewards (for fighting challenging monsters deep in the dungeon), ratchet up your strength that much faster, and face Morgoth in a matter of a few weeks instead of months.

The problem is that most players instinctively default to a conservative playstyle, where they're unwilling to take risks even when the potential rewards are large -- let alone when they're small. Recent Angband development has in part been trying to encourage risk-taking on the part of players.
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Old December 22, 2012, 22:42   #10
Timo Pietilä
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
However, it is certainly possible to play Angband faster, so that it doesn't take months for a single character to make it to the end.
Winning angband takes something between 10-20 hours of playing. I once played entire game thru from beginning to facing Morgoth on one sitting, and that was before game got easier (in terms of getting more items and abilities) and this "new strategy" of diving got common (2.8.3 IIRC was the version). Now I could do it even faster if I wanted.

One week sounds more like it if you play just couple of hours / day. If you use months you are doing something wrong.

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picking your fights, avoiding the ones that you can't win (or that aren't worth winning)
That's the key, however I would not say that you need to leave your "comfort zone"; you just need to realize that you can be quite comfortable much deeper than the depth where you can kill everything you encounter and adjust that comfort zone accordingly. Avoidance is what you need to learn to do effectively to survive and picking your fights is something you need to do to get necessary items fast. Just leave level if it turns out to be too tough.

Not only avoidance, but also ignoring the unnecessary fights. You "clear" levels so much faster that way that you find them quite a lot safer than you would if you would try to kill everything (even if you could kill everything). Kill weak no-threat monsters only if you can do so really really fast (like in single turn) and they happen to be on your way (unless you decide to have some fun with one). Just turning to face and preparing for that unnecessary fight that isn't in your path takes (real life) time which if multiplied by hundred fights/level takes surprising lot of time even if you could do it fast.

Speed above damage. Speed allows you to explore faster, get away from nasty situation faster, gives monsters less time to wake up and so on. Even if you could kill the monsters faster with more damage it doesn't matter if it means that you can't run away from much nastier monster when it appears. With speed +30, some escape methods and ESP you could explore dlvl 100 basically naked. Get only resistances that really matter (basically only basic 4 and poison are necessities).
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