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Old May 25, 2010, 20:02   #1
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Should Angband have easy/difficult 'levels'?

I haven't won angband in ages, although I have a character who I assume is just in 'end phase' - aka just trolling around dlvl 98, looking for kit.

I was wondering if the difficulty of angband could be increased, perhaps a 'difficult' setting for people who want something more challenging.
It's nice to keep 'normal' 'as is' for people who haven't won before.

It shouldn't be such a massive jump as going Ironman/artifactless,
Nor do I think it should make the game more tedious, like say,
making pseudo ID take a lot longer, or dramatically reducing the probability of ego item/artifact generation. ( Which doesn't necessarily make the game harder, just longer )

The idea should be to make it harder, but in an interesting/fun way.

I was thinking things like:
1) higher monster density/level, so it's harder to just hop on a level and explore around without fighting things. (maybe not for the initial room the character enters a level in, so it's not instadeath city )
2) Reduce stealth so monsters wake up a bit faster
3) Remove the quiver ( multi shot isn't so abusive if you run out of ammo easier! )
4) ego/artifact generation probably does need to be toned down a bit
5) Reducing inventory slots would be very interesting even it's just 1-2 slots.
6) Avoid ego item generation in stores. One of my characters bought boots of speed (+9) from the armor store, and it was only 50K!
7) It would be very interesting to 'cap' the number of torches/flasks of oil you can buy from the general store, making the quest for permanent light more critical/satisfying. Maybe even do this for food, so dungeon food becomes more interesting.


- Frank
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Old May 25, 2010, 20:28   #2
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There are already many difficulty settings like
ironman, no_artifacts, ai_smart, etc.
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Old May 25, 2010, 21:44   #3
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You can always impose your own. E.g. promise not to dig or stone2mud any ASCs.
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Old May 25, 2010, 23:48   #4
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I must say, I like the sound of the "ironman rooms" option that's been mentioned for Z (? or Heng?), where every room tries to be made as a vault.
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Old May 26, 2010, 00:15   #5
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Ironman rooms was added first in Z, yes. And it is quite interesting, at least in the early game. I don't know if it'd stay interesting once you manage to achieve a reasonable amount of survivability, just because navigating the dungeon becomes so painful...but then, I've never managed to get a character past 800' or so, and that was with abusing some of Z's more twinked character combinations.
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Old May 26, 2010, 00:23   #6
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I think the options in V that tweak the creature AI give a good stepping stone up to no-artifacts or ironman. Is there a short distance option in V like there is in FA? i.e. sight and ranges cut in half

I am playing a Half-Troll mage and that is plenty challenging in its own way, heh
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Old May 26, 2010, 01:01   #7
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"Monsters learn from their mistakes" doesn't actually do all that much to combat. "Monsters cheat", on the other hand, renders any monster with the heal-self spell largely unkillable. Having something of a middle ground would be good.

Other possibilities for difficulty options:

* No selling to stores (as a halfway with the current ironman_stores option; thus, you could still buy, but only with the cash you find in the dungeon)
* Monsters cannot be frightened
* Monsters don't give experience after killing 10 of that type of monster
* Damage received is always maximized (so a Uruk with a 3d5 melee attack always rolls a 15 for damage, before armor damage reduction kicks in; likewise a manabolt that deals 50+5d10 damage would always hit you for 100)
* Hitpoints/mana don't regenerate during combat (must go N turns without seeing an enemy before regeneration of any kind kicks in)
* Monsters are always awake and have max awareness distance (like hounds)
* Summoning spells are biased towards deeper monsters / uniques
* Every vault is generated with a) no permanent walls, and b) an Umber Hulk or other EAT_WALL monster in the middle (okay, this is pretty silly...)
* Every level is generated with at least one pit of the most dangerous type permissible at that depth
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Old May 26, 2010, 01:58   #8
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A few other in-between difficulties:

* home-less
* no recall (but can still use up-stairs); kind of a ironman-lite
* no magical ID

My favourite self-imposed difficult story is still that guy who started with a plain shovel and used it for the entire game. Shovelled M to death!
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Old May 26, 2010, 19:26   #9
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Obviously, if these are just *options* then one can turn them on or off at one's leisure. Comments are directed to making them default or even mandatory.

Home-less would just seem to require more extended scumming prior to the final confrontations, and would make it much harder to adjust one's equipment set. Neither of these seems like they're any fun.

No ID is just plain tedious.

No selling to about, instead, greatly reducing the max $$$ one gets from anything? Make all stores give no more than 1000 gp. This lets you get *some* cash for Recalls and CCWs and spellbooks early on.

Decreasing monster XP based on count, as well as charlevel, would work better than a flat "no more after the first 10." This would be *ugly* tho with the damned hounds; now, they still threaten to kill you but you don't get a damn thing from them. Orc/troll pits become, at most, item drop areas.

I think "only regen when no enemies in sight" is a BAD idea. Why does it only work then? Makes no sense to me.

Having monsters never flee, would be nasty. Another one, perhaps a bit more complex, would be to give a lot of monsters a BERSERKER flag. When they drop to below, say, 25% of their max hit points, they gain benefits similar to the potion of berserker str. The option would be to Enable Berserk, or something along those lines.
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Old May 26, 2010, 20:27   #10
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Let me also make a broad comment. There's a big difference, IMO, between reducing tedium, and making things easier. To a degree, many things that reduce tedium, such as improved pID, do make things somewhat easier...but not that much. Things which reduce monster threat and/or increase your damage potential, make the game easier, and the converse also holds.

Note that the two aren't entirely disjoint. ESP falls somewhere in between 'reduce tedium' and 'improve chance to win.' Yes, it definitely lowers your risks...but at the same time, most characters could just use detection spells as often as their mana recovery would allow, so really it's just reduced tedium.
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