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Old July 25, 2016, 07:24   #1
Pete Mack
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how to balance rangers.

After a few recent mentions, i decided to play ranger for the first time since shortly after my first win, years ago. It's a really strange class: very weak til level 20 (as well as the first ego bow.) Then quite tedious as melee lags, and you spend arrows at a ridiculous rate, but spell-casting still lags: fail rates and mana costs for utility spells is higher than for a rogue. Then you home T level 40, and the game is a joke. 3 overwhelming spells and 3 overwhelming shots.

The spells:
Enchant+ brand ammo
Rune of protection (!)
*Destruction*, though I never bothered to cast it this game, and won before the fail rate dropped below 30%.

Runr in particular is just nuts for a half-caster. It's. Even high wyrms are no threat with this spell--you can retreat around a corner to spam CLW, then go back into the fight.

Fight with Morgorth:
2 *heal*, one rod activation, 1 !heal
1 !Restore mana
1 ?*Destruction*
2 stacks of holy might ammo, 1/2 stack of Slay evil. (I had a total of 4 stacks, and 118 arrows total. Also had MoD +2 attacks, at 585 damage/turn.)

Possible actions:
Get rid of rune spell. I'm ambivalent on this. This is one huge difference from rogue, and allows a different strategy--easy, but different.
Get rid of enchant ammo; leave brand ammo, so it becomes impossible to use store ammo with more than +5 or +6 damage.
Get rid of third shot.
Lower mana cost on a number of spells. 30MP for half-assed attack spells is a joke. Make the Treasure detection spell full strength, or much lower level. Granting weak detection at level 33, at high mana and fail rate is just an insult--not to mention useless.
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Old July 25, 2016, 07:53   #2
brbrbr
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Very few healing potions... how did you do it?
Did you take Morgoth from distance in non-destructed zone, or spammed Blink in destructed, or spammed CLW+Blink, or spammed Rune?

If it's Rune than is hit and miss. In most of my characterd I gave up casting it as it drains too much mana and success rate is bad and P is good at breaking them, so it just wastes a lot of turns and mana.

But I agree Morgoth is easiest with Ranger. ~1000 damage per round in recent dump... Maybe it's the payback for tedious start??
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Old July 25, 2016, 09:20   #3
Thraalbee
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I am not sure anything has to be done. Priests have an even easier end game, albeit much slower. And rangers can be tedious until the very end.

If you play for low turn count or ironman and/or randarts you are not that likely to find both plenty super powered ammo and a great shooter until quite late in the game. In my latest ironman ranger win game, at level 45 I had to use 120 arrows, some bolts and then melee in a single fight against Ungoliant and a Wyrm. Probably more than I used against Sauron later on.
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Old July 25, 2016, 09:25   #4
Ingwe Ingweron
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I suggest you play comp 169, then we'll talk about whether rangers are too overpowered. http://angband.oook.cz/competition.php?showcompo=169
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Old July 25, 2016, 11:46   #5
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Yeah, I remember that. Quite tough. Never managed to get a win
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Old July 25, 2016, 17:43   #6
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"Balance" is a very nebulous goal for a single-player game like Angband. Why should the races/classes be balanced when they can never end up fighting each other? [1]

Of course, that's not to suggest that there are no ways to improve the races/classes, but I don't think "balance" makes much sense as a goal.

[1] EDIT: I suppose it could be argued that they do so very indirectly through score/ladder, but comparing characters that way is just so broken that it doesn't matter.
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Old July 25, 2016, 18:15   #7
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The different classes don't need to be balanced with respect to each other, but each class should be balanced to the extent that it is fun to play. If rangers aren't fun to play, then that bears examination. Now, keeping in mind that I haven't played a ranger in a long time, the big problems with the ranger class as I see it are:

* Archery is tedious. Finding and managing ammo supplies is annoying, as is having to pick up all the ammo you use after each fight.
* Young rangers are weak. They don't really excel at anything much in the early game. This is problematic because they, like mages, are also an attractive class pick for newbie players.
* The late game is overpowered to an extent that it makes the game less interesting.

I therefore suggest the following fixes:

* Use generic unenchanted ammo, Sil-style. Slays go on bows only. If you want multiple slays, then you carry multiple bows, instead of carrying multiple stacks of ammo. Yes, this loses the ability to have "Black Arrow"-style special ammo, but the resulting easing in inventory management and combat balance (no compounding launcher+ammo bonuses) is IMO worth it.

* Replace bonus shots with ranger-exclusive, archery-oriented spells. Burning Arrow, Piercing Shot, Explosive Shot, etc. These spells would deal damage based on the equipped bow and would consume an arrow in addition to SP, but would also provide elemental damage, AoE effects, etc. I find this more interesting conceptually than just doubling/tripling the ranger's archery DPS. Also importantly, it makes the ranger's strengths apparent to the newbie player, while the current "you fire arrows twice as fast starting at clvl 20" is not remotely easy to determine unless you pay close attention.
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Old July 25, 2016, 18:27   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
The different classes don't need to be balanced with respect to each other, but each class should be balanced to the extent that it is fun to play.
Obviously races/classes they should be fun to play (as I noted)... but I take issue with calling that "balance".
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Old July 25, 2016, 18:33   #9
Derakon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonymousHero View Post
Obviously races/classes they should be fun to play (as I noted)... but I take issue with calling that "balance".
I think you're arguing specifically about "competitive balance", which is a subset of balance and obviously doesn't really apply here. But this is a silly semantic argument and not really worth continuing IMO.
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Old July 25, 2016, 18:53   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
But this is a silly semantic argument and not really worth continuing IMO.
Indeed.

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