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Old August 30, 2011, 02:19   #1
bron
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Minor 3.3.0 feedback

I recently finished competition 107 which used vanilla 3.3.0, so I thought I'd give some minor feedback about my impressions:

I like the new different types of levels a lot. I thought they were just a little too frequent, but it's hard to make such a judgment without a lot more playing: I definitely saw more "cave" type levels than I would have liked, but I don't know if I was just [un]lucky or not. IIRC I only saw 2 "maze" levels, which seemed quite reasonable. The average level is also a lot more sparse than in older versions: many fewer total rooms on a level. With fewer monsters and less loot on a level, it certainly encourages one to go down a bit quicker. Personally, I would like to see the occasional "old style" level, densely packed with rooms. Or even something even denser, like the Oangband style block-of-directly-interconnected rooms. Not all the time certainly, but as another option in the variety-of-different-levels category.

The "restore stats on level-up" mechanic is nice. It seemed to make stat drain less of a problem, but still a problem, which I think is a good thing. I also like that charge-drain attacks now don't suck up all the charges. It certainly helps the player, and is less likely to be fatal, but draining is still bad enough that one needs to avoid it.

I don't think there are enough items with RES_STUN. But clearly you don't want too many of them either.

Despite my personal bias because of the name, I think the removal of Bronze Dragons and the changes to confusion are a net positive.

The following is a general issue, not a 3.3.0 issue, but there are too many different types of weapons and armor, most of which are redundant. At least half of each should probably just be removed. In particular, I think that the Lucern Hammer should be taken out, since the name confuses people into thinking it is a blunt weapon, when it isn't. I think the right answer is to remove it (rather than rename it).
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Old August 30, 2011, 03:30   #2
bulian
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I'll tack on some thoughts here as well. I tried my hand at the comp 107 char and also a ranger, both ironman.

- The cavern levels do seem to be common, and perhaps because of the smaller size, cavern levels almost always have poor loot feelings. Hence I'm normally not happy to see them. Monster density in cavern levels deep in the dungeon also seems to be comparatively high.

- I'm not sure I like the changes to curative potions from % based to a fixed amount. Part of it could be the name, as 60 hp on a 1000 hp character are not what I might consider "critical." Small, medium, large, etc. might be better adjectives. The fixed amounts make the early game easier and the late game harder. !Heal are not so available to make them effective as general healing. At least the MB1 CLW spell is still percentage based, so with the ranger, casting the spell was frequently more efficient than chugging a potion.

- The new level feelings seem to be much more accurate. "There might be something worthwhile" and above normally translates to a decent item. That being said, I would really like it if dungeon spell books were artifacts, as it seems these books affect the feeling when in reality the second one and beyond is junk.

- Monster pathfinding AI seems to have changed and be somewhat less well behaved than in previous versions.

- Use of multiple pval's is really nice and seems well thought.

- Changes to objects:
Were (non-artifact) cursed items completely removed? I haven't seen a single one. Not a bad thing at all.

Free action seems significantly harder to find. Speed boots seem to be too rare. DSM has gone from being too good to being a non-factor. Removal of off weapon combat bonuses seem OK for the most part, except elessar probably needs something back (e.g. +3,+3) to remain competitive with trickery. Trickery is still by far the best amulet. I like the speed bonus on the rings of power. I miss the brand on branding rings and think giving the rings weak brands would be a reasonable compromise.
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Old August 30, 2011, 06:00   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bron View Post
I like the new different types of levels a lot. I thought they were just a little too frequent, but it's hard to make such a judgment without a lot more playing: I definitely saw more "cave" type levels than I would have liked, but I don't know if I was just [un]lucky or not. IIRC I only saw 2 "maze" levels, which seemed quite reasonable. The average level is also a lot more sparse than in older versions: many fewer total rooms on a level. With fewer monsters and less loot on a level, it certainly encourages one to go down a bit quicker. Personally, I would like to see the occasional "old style" level, densely packed with rooms. Or even something even denser, like the Oangband style block-of-directly-interconnected rooms. Not all the time certainly, but as another option in the variety-of-different-levels category.
Thanks for your feedback on new levels! I agree that caverns are a bit too common and not quite good enough right now. My current goal for 3.4 is to allow the different level types to combine, so you might have half a cavern level adjoining a "normal" level, or a labyrinth embedded in a regular level like a vault, or something else.

Varying density is a great idea. I started working on it (particularly denser levels) for 3.3 but didn't get it quite stable enough for release. I hope it will be available in 3.4.


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I don't think there are enough items with RES_STUN. But clearly you don't want too many of them either.
I agree that RES_STUN is hard to come by. I am basically fine with that though. If anyone has a proposal for a single item to gain RES_STUN (or a new item to be created) it'd be worth thinking about.

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Originally Posted by bron View Post
The following is a general issue, not a 3.3.0 issue, but there are too many different types of weapons and armor, most of which are redundant. At least half of each should probably just be removed. In particular, I think that the Lucern Hammer should be taken out, since the name confuses people into thinking it is a blunt weapon, when it isn't. I think the right answer is to remove it (rather than rename it).
Completely agree. My general feeling is that each weapon and armor type should have at least one standart of the same base. I'd like to remove a lot of the redundant object bases, as well as differentiating the ones left. Many variants give some base types an AC bonus (e.g. spears and polearms) and I think this might be a nice way to differentiate them a bit. We'll see.

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I'm not sure I like the changes to curative potions from % based to a fixed amount. Part of it could be the name, as 60 hp on a 1000 hp character are not what I might consider "critical." Small, medium, large, etc. might be better adjectives. The fixed amounts make the early game easier and the late game harder. !Heal are not so available to make them effective as general healing. At least the MB1 CLW spell is still percentage based, so with the ranger, casting the spell was frequently more efficient than chugging a potion.
I think your analysis is correct, but I think this was a necessary change to increase difficulty. The potions were just too good late game, and had overshadowed many of the healing spells. It seems appropriate that spells should be better than potions.

I'm not worried about the name as much. Also, considering how many HP most townsfolk have, I think light/serious/critical are appropriate, but I'm open to other suggestions.

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Monster pathfinding AI seems to have changed and be somewhat less well behaved than in previous versions.
Yes, I think this was worked on a bit. Good to know. If people notice particular behaviors it'd be nice to open a thread about this.

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Use of multiple pval's is really nice and seems well thought.
I think this was mainly Magnate and I agree he did a good job!

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Originally Posted by bulian View Post
Were (non-artifact) cursed items completely removed? I haven't seen a single one. Not a bad thing at all.
I think so. I am in favor of reworking curses... sticky curses are boring and interfere with ID by use. I don't think they add much to game play or difficulty.

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Free action seems significantly harder to find. Speed boots seem to be too rare. DSM has gone from being too good to being a non-factor.
Free action and speed boots being rarer are OK by me, especially given that there are more other items providing small speed boosts and we made paralysis a (tiny) bit more forgiving. These seem like OK boosts to difficulty.

I agree that DSM has maybe been nerfed too hard. I think 3.2 level DSM egos were too powerful though, so it was important to go in this direction. We should consider any improvements very carefully.

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Removal of off weapon combat bonuses seem OK for the most part, except elessar probably needs something back (e.g. +3,+3) to remain competitive with trickery. Trickery is still by far the best amulet.
I think Trickery is probably going to be weakened given how amazingly good it is. If it were an artifact it'd maybe be OK to have it so good, but not as an ego (especially when compared to Devotion and Weaponmastery). So, Elessar may become more competitive if Trickery is weakened. We'll have to see. I agree that right now it's pretty pointless.

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I like the speed bonus on the rings of power. I miss the brand on branding rings and think giving the rings weak brands would be a reasonable compromise.
I would probably rather just remove the branding rings... I don't think there was a point where they weren't either pointless or over-powered. Maybe a weak brand would work, although I'm not really excited about weak brands in general.

I'd rather try to create some other more interesting high-level rings to compete with =damage and friends, e.g.

Ring of Elements (base4 resist)
Ring of Resistance (+10 AC, activate for resistance)
Ring of Chaos (resist chaos, activates for wonder)

I'm not saying we have to use any of those, just that I can think of replacements for the branding rings that might be nicer. None of those rings will beat out =speed in the long run unless the player needs to fill a hole, but I think they could end up being interesting.
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Last edited by d_m; August 30, 2011 at 06:38.
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Old August 30, 2011, 06:25   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulian View Post
- I'm not sure I like the changes to curative potions from % based to a fixed amount. Part of it could be the name, as 60 hp on a 1000 hp character are not what I might consider "critical." Small, medium, large, etc. might be better adjectives. The fixed amounts make the early game easier and the late game harder.
I was not the only person who killed M using only proportional CLW. The proportional CLW with 0% fail [from a potion, or in 3.1 the mage spell] was more powerful than a paladin's heal spell when you use proper worst-case thinking and assume it takes 3 tries to use a 5% fail.

As to the names, I'd recommend changing to something along the lines of

Cure (20) Blindness and Minor Ailments
Cure (40) Confusion and Moderate Ailments
Cure (60) Poison and Severe Ailments

That's overly clunky, but it expresses the idea.
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Old August 30, 2011, 06:31   #5
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I like the speed bonus on the rings of power. I miss the brand on branding rings and think giving the rings weak brands would be a reasonable compromise.
This is another change I dislike. It used to be that I expected to devote a ring slot to a speed ring. Now, everyone will be able to wear two rings of power and get 10 points of speed from them, and with the added speed boosts everywhere else that will be enough. It's almost like giving the player a 3rd ring slot for the endgame.

I'd rather see many of the other speed boosts removed, so that +3 or +5 speed was actually a significant deal instead of being considered trivial.
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Old August 30, 2011, 06:38   #6
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As to the names, I'd recommend changing to something along the lines of

Cure (20) Blindness and Minor Ailments
Cure (40) Confusion and Moderate Ailments
Cure (60) Poison and Severe Ailments

That's overly clunky, but it expresses the idea.
As long as we're willing to let the description explain what the potion does (in terms of amount of HP gained, and exactly which ailments), I think the Minor/Moderate/Severe Ailments language is fine.

The problem with Cure X Wounds is that it sounds like it's mostly about HP, when in fact those potions cure important status ailments.
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Old August 30, 2011, 06:44   #7
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This is another change I dislike. It used to be that I expected to devote a ring slot to a speed ring. Now, everyone will be able to wear two rings of power and get 10 points of speed from them, and with the added speed boosts everywhere else that will be enough. It's almost like giving the player a 3rd ring slot for the endgame.

I'd rather see many of the other speed boosts removed, so that +3 or +5 speed was actually a significant deal instead of being considered trivial.
Getting Ring of Power used to be rare, unless you played a long game. A very long game in current standards, like 10M+ turn games. I have nothing against giving RoP a speed boosts, but I would like to see them getting rarer.

There was a short discussion where I expressed the doubt that current rarity allocation system isn't making things rare enough (Ringil as rare as Durin or Aule and many others), and Magnate confirmed that current rarity 1 equals old 100 which isn't enough, cause there were things that were quite a lot rarer than 100.

This might also partly explain why game suddenly got a lot easier at some point of code reworking.

I think old way of expressing rarities was better in editing the items too. No up limit, and '1' means very common, not the other way around like it is now.
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Old August 30, 2011, 07:22   #8
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Regarding the elemental rings, I'll repeat the suggestion I've made every time they're mentioned and that nobody has yet bothered to respond to, to the point that I'm beginning to think there's a conspiracy out there...replace Rings of Protection with the elemental rings, in the process either nerfing or removing entirely the offensive portion of the activation. They'd still be useful then, since they'd show up early enough that there isn't as much competition for finger slots, and the resist they provide might well not be covered by other equipment (let alone the double-resist).
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Old August 30, 2011, 07:39   #9
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bulian makes some good points I'd like to echo:

The multiple pvals is a good change, although I miss the "cheater" elven cloaks of the magi with +4 to Int. Better to have them gone though.

I also did not see a single cursed non-artifact. Are they in fact gone?

Paralyze may have been made slightly more forgiving, but it is still usually a death sentence. Which I suppose is an improvement over *always* being a death sentence, but it still means that lack of FA is a problem. This in fact is one of the most common ways for me to die: somewhere around level 20 a druid casts a spell and paralyzes me.

I agree that Trickery is great, but the poison/nexus combination is very important for playing no-artifacts games. So much so that I'm convinced that JLE gave it the powers it does specifically for that reason. The speed bonus could be eliminated: that would make no-artifacts noticibly harder, but OTOH no-artifacts is supposed to be hard. Note also that Trickery has already been slightly nerfed in that the max +speed in now 3 instead of 4, although that is made up for by putting +1 speed on Elven Cloaks. For a no-egos game, the Trickery speed bonus is pretty important too, as otherwise one needs to find an unreasonably large +speed ring. But no-egos is not an officially supported birth option, so I suppose it's not a serious consideration for Vanilla.
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Old August 30, 2011, 07:47   #10
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replace Rings of Protection with the elemental rings, in the process either nerfing or removing entirely the offensive portion of the activation
I somehow managed to miss this suggestion, but it seems like a good one to me. I pretty much never use the offensive part of an elemental ring activation anyway. I'd say take out rings of Resist Heat and Cold as well.
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