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Old September 21, 2009, 16:28   #1
Deranged Archivist
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Long time player, first time poster

I did not see a 'general discussion of roguelike' forum, so I posted this here.

So, I've been playing roguelikes of one kind or another for years. I think the first was one of the versions of Moria, post-rogue but pre-Angband. (And I got really excited about Angband's new innovations. I mean, adding colour to the screen! What beautiful madness!)

I've played various incarnations of Nethack, Angband, many many Angband variants, (Zangband and Steamband being favorites) Crawl, ADOM, TOME, and a whole bunch of more obscure stuff. My interest comes and goes, but I've never lost my fascination with the genre.

But in all the twenty or so years I've been playing, never, not even once, have I actually succeeded in winning. Not a single time. (I dabbled with Wizard mode and copying save files at first, but found that it ruined the enjoyment of the game. So technically, once, by cheating, I ascended a Nethack character. Yay me. Still never actually won the game.)

And yet it is obvious that people do beat the game.

I've thought about what it is in my approach that gets my characters killed, and I suspect it is impatience. Impatience spurs me to take risks, dive deeper than is wise, push just a little bit farther, wait a few more turns before making a tactical retreat. You might get lucky and make it out of a bad spot a few times, but not every time.

So I'm trying to adjust my playing style (on those infrequent occasions that I can play at all- now that I have kids, it's not such a regular indulgence anymore), and I think this is the most important factor.

But I want to know what sort of general strategies or approaches you use, beyond that, that might help me.. ah... not die so much.

Thanks in advance,

-DA

Incidentally, the fact that I remain interested in roguelikes after twenty years of failing to beat the game is really indicative of the staying power of the genre. As long as people keep producing new versions and variants, I suspect I will never get bored of them.
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Old September 21, 2009, 16:51   #2
Mondkalb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deranged Archivist View Post
...

But in all the twenty or so years I've been playing, never, not even once, have I actually succeeded in winning. Not a single time. (I dabbled with Wizard mode and copying save files at first, but found that it ruined the enjoyment of the game. So technically, once, by cheating, I ascended a Nethack character. Yay me. Still never actually won the game.)

And yet it is obvious that people do beat the game.

I've thought about what it is in my approach that gets my characters killed, and I suspect it is impatience. Impatience spurs me to take risks, dive deeper than is wise, push just a little bit farther, wait a few more turns before making a tactical retreat. You might get lucky and make it out of a bad spot a few times, but not every time.

So I'm trying to adjust my playing style (on those infrequent occasions that I can play at all- now that I have kids, it's not such a regular indulgence anymore), and I think this is the most important factor.

But I want to know what sort of general strategies or approaches you use, beyond that, that might help me.. ah... not die so much.

...
Sounds like me.
I got hooked with Moria in the Amiga era.
Later I used to play TKAngband on the PC. With both I never won.
I changed to Vanilla and played occasionally for many years without ever winning. I started save game scumming because of frustration about ongoing deaths. ^^ (Just wanted to reach level 99 for once. )

Then I got bored with cheating and tried again without. With each promising character I went to the newsgroups and later on the forums and browsed for helpful hints about gear and tactics.
Finally I got my first winner and another and ...

Every time I loose a promising character it is usually because of impatience or over selfconfidence. But I have learned which monsters are to avoid or at least knowing whether I am prepared properly or not.

I also have learned whether a greater vault is worth a risk or not. It pays to have a look at the spoiler files if you are not sure about a certain monster. It pays also to know about the maximum damage of certain attacks and the effect of resistances.
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Old September 21, 2009, 17:17   #3
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I did win the game with a mage and a priest. But that was ages ago.
These days I generally die clvl 40+ by reckless playing. I seem to miss that crucial bit of info the game throws at me when a bad-ass monster is around. Once I'm dead I appreciate the danger I was in. But then it's allready to late.

So basically I get killed by unknown/new monsters and a too speedy playing style.

Yes, it hurts to die. But I just do not seem to be able to change the way I play. Hopefully you can.
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Old September 21, 2009, 19:34   #4
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A couple things.

1. the utility of cheating: The first couple 'winners' I had were cheaters. Usually I used save scumming. This helped me immensely, because I learned what the deeper monsters and the deeper uniques were like and what I needed to kill them. I also learned how to kill sauron and morgoth. Had I not cheated I would have lost a lot of characters in the deeper levels of the dungeon, and probably would've gotten frustrated. Once I gained that knowledge though, there's no need for save-scumming anymore. I've had several legit wins and have a character that's pretty close again.

2: Fast-playing: There are two types of fast-playing. I'm not sure which one you mean. There's the real time speed and there's the number of turns speed. Playing fast in real-time is dangerous and will cause many deaths. You often need to stop and think of whether its worth the risk, or whether to bail (it's almost never worth the risk) On the other hand playing fast in game time will actually help you avoid careless deaths. You'll be on your toes a lot more often and will be less likely to find yourself mindlessly bashing through orcs and all the sudden *you die* What? how'd i die from orcs? Oh, I got breathed on 3 times. Jeez, where in the world did that dragon come from?

3: Angband is a game of escapes. There are a lot of monsters that can very quickly make your survival perilous. You need several means of 0-fail escapes. These include (in order of usefulness) scrolls of *destruction*, staves of *destruction*, scrolls of deep descent or teleport level, scrolls of mass banishment, scrolls of teleportation and staves of teleportation, scrolls and staves of banishment. Early on scrolls of phase door, rings of escaping and rings and amulets of teleportation are useful. That being said, try playing a wimpy, stealthy character for a while. you might find yourself more comfortable with running more often than fighting. rblind and rconf are necessary, and you need to identify well in advance whether there are any monsters around that can insta-kill you, so detection is a must.
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Old September 22, 2009, 12:27   #5
ask2
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I have only been playing angband. Tried some variants early on but it was just not fun.
Had two early winners with dwarf priests.
Nowadays I am playing warriors and power dive. Much more fun

Dying is 99% of the time happening when my char is starting to get a little bigger around clvl 30 and I am having some period of easy levels. Then I start holding down the walking button and ..... oooops died from pure stupidity.

Earlier on I mostly hate being "confused" which tends to get my boys killed quite often.

I play mostly for quick real life style which probably is one of the reasons I die. Because if you look at each turn what is happening many many deaths can be avoided. But I guess you will have to find a balance between game speed and safety.

//Sheliak
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Old October 14, 2009, 07:13   #6
evets
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Just simply having an escape route (or rather *multiple* escape routes) is a crucial skill to learn. Early on, this means scrolls of phase door, and means of *reliable* teleport. It's also useful to carry around other things that can get you out of sticky situations. For instance, once you start running into things that blind and confuse, start carrying potions of CCW and CSW. When you get surrounded by light hounds and that umber hulk is pounding on you, don't panic, just quaff a !ofCCW, use your staff of teleportation, and your safe again. No worries! Another useful one is a wand of teleport other for getting rid of dangerous uniques and out-of-depth dangerous monsters.

The point is, just be prepared, so that you can make sure that when you get in a sticky situation, you have a way out. Then, the only thing that can kill you is simply not paying attention.
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Old October 14, 2009, 16:19   #7
Marble Dice
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Then, the only thing that can kill you is simply not paying attention.
This one is killer though. I recently lost a level 50 priest geared out well enough to kill Sauron, if not Morgoth as well, in a greater vault on dungeon level 98. I was wading through a horde of orcs and I didn't realize I was in line of sight of an eye druj which was blasting me with nether bolts for about 10 turns. When the tombstone screen popped up, not only was I completely surprised but I had full mana, and I realized I forgot to enable the HP warning on that save file. The worst is I even knew the druj was there, just for some reason thought it was out of line-of-sight.
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