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Old April 2, 2009, 10:13   #1
Cave Man
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*Destruction*

I haven't played V for a while. I have reviewed the changes implemented in 3.1 and would like to add my congratulations to Takkaria for a truly outstanding effort.
I've just finished playing the DaJAngband comp character, which is essentially V with a new monster set, and some spell tweaks combined with Eddies patch. I was struck by how cheesily *Destruction* is handled in V, primarily with respect to vaults, i.e. nuke vault, collect artifacts. When this is combined with connected stairs, it makes power-diving far less of a challenge than it should be. Optimum tactics become Buy lantern, dive to lvl98, scum until you have a staff of destruction, scum until you're next to a GV (especially a GCV), nuke GV, collect artifacts, kill Morgoth. OK, maybe there's a bit more to it than that, but I'm sure you get the general picture. I would favour disconnected stairs as standard, but can understand how this would put off many players. I think the main thing that needs fixing is *destruction*. A number of variants have tackled this problem:

1) NPP: Vault treasure is in chests, or carried by the monster guarding the square (even if this type of monster wouldn't normally carry any items.
2) FAA: (and presumably its parents- I can't remember) *Destruction* doesn't affect vaults at all.
3) Heng: *Destruction* removes all items - including artifacts, and has a random radius (11 - 19 if I remember correctly).

I have played variants with all these approaches, with many winners across all the classes, using play styles varying from slow-and-steady to fast to insane. My feeling on each option:

1) Although I like NPP a lot (probably my most played variant, through all its many stages of evolution), this is one feature I really dislike. Angband is a game of risk vs reward. Vaults are always very high risk, so unless you're very powerful for your depth (which for me would be very rare) you need to have a good idea that the reward is (at least very likely to be) worthwhile. Some of my favorite Angband experiences have been throwing every tactic and trick in the book, and inventing some new ones, to acquire a desirable item from a seemingly impossible location. The only advantage of this approach is that it also nerfs vault clearance via mass banishment.
2) I like FAA a lot also, but I don't like this way of handling destruction either (though I do think itís better than 1). I think *destruction* should always be a fail-safe solution to getting out of trouble (albeit at the cost of destroying the items around you). Teleporting out of a vault with low HP's into a level filled with monsters you've tele-othered is very high risk, and I don't really like tele-level as the only get-out. Another problem with this method is that the boundary of the vault (ie. the point where destruction stops working) is not always particularly intuitive. I have suffered one FAA insta-death, and one near-death when destructing a unique that was clearly outside the vault, only to find that the game considered both the room (and walls of the room!) surrounding the vault to be part of the vault.
3) This is by far my preferred approach. *Destruction* is valuable both as a get-out-of-jail option and as a vault cracking tool. For the latter, great is care required and there can be some interesting tactics associated with its use.

With regard to raiding vaults with Mass Banishment, I am much less concerned. The scrolls are rare, and very valuable for the final fight. However, I would probably support the idea that they don't affect monsters in vaults al la the FAA branch (I can hear mage-lovers squealing, but I think mages suck anyway). So I guess my vote is clear. Thoughts?
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Old April 2, 2009, 11:13   #2
Pete Mack
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I dunno--GCVs are sufficiently rare that they show up in a small fraction of games. And unless a character is extremely fragile, Teleport Other (rather than *Destruction*) is enough to clear a GCV. IMO, if you can get to dl 98 and find a GCD, you ought to be able to clear it any way you like. (The problem of connected stairs should be distinct from this. Level-scumming for a GCD at dl 98 is so unbalanced that the mechanism by which you clear it is almost immaterial.)
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Old April 2, 2009, 11:29   #3
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In my experience, Greater Vaults (not specifically GCV's, which just happen to be the most lucrative targets) are very common below lvl90 - I would guess maybe 1 in 10 levels or thereabouts. Even with disconnected stairs, everyone except ironmen will see many. Below lvl90, all GV's are likely to produce a windfall of very powerful artifacts, all easily obtainable, even by very wimpy characters, using *destruction*. Disconnected stairs definately mitigates the problem, but it doesn't come close to solving it (IMHO).
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Old April 2, 2009, 13:53   #4
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I agree that V should take the FAA approach and just make anything in vaults be immune to *Destruction* and Mass Banishment.

This will just force the player to either -TO everything or to get everything to run out and then use the *Destruction* outside.
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Old April 2, 2009, 14:20   #5
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Why do artifacts HAVE to be immune to destruction?
Don't most players use preserve mode?
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Old April 2, 2009, 17:29   #6
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If you're wearing the artifacts, I'm guessing they're IDed and they'll be gone even in preserve mode.
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Old April 2, 2009, 18:09   #7
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I cast my vote for #3; destruction should delete artifacts. The variable radius sounds interesting, but I'd have to play a few games to decide whether I thought it was a good idea.
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Old April 2, 2009, 19:07   #8
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To be honest, if it's a vault rimmed by "permanent rock" than it should be able to withstand the blast wave of a *Destruction* spell and the contents of the vault shouldn't be affected.

Just speaking realistically.
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Old April 2, 2009, 19:41   #9
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I think *Destruction* should be handled as a player centered ball projection that is blocked by permanent walls. This way it will allmost allways work as an escape because monsters on the other side of permanent walls are not an immediate threat in most cases. It wouldn't effect vaults from outside, but would work inside. Clearing a vault with this version of *Destruction* would require using a charge or scroll for each chamber in most GVs and for each row of a GCV because the internal permanent walls would also block the effect. I am not aware of any GV that does not have internal partitions made of permanent rock.

Of all the suggestions here I'm most opposed to variable radius with artifact deletion. If artifacts can be lost within a vault the player needs to be able to lure monsters out of the vault without worrying that he may lose the contents of the vault if he has to resort to *destruction*

I'd also caution against making disconnected stairs default behavior. That is a whole game change to fix a late game problem. The ability to flee down or up a stairwell with 1 HP and guarantee survival by scumming for an empty room should not be compramised in the default options unless you want to make Angband even less acessable to new players than permadeath and lack of fancy-shmancy graphics already make it.
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Old April 2, 2009, 21:41   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atarlost View Post
I think *Destruction* should be handled as a player centered ball projection that is blocked by permanent walls. This way it will allmost allways work as an escape because monsters on the other side of permanent walls are not an immediate threat in most cases. It wouldn't effect vaults from outside, but would work inside. Clearing a vault with this version of *Destruction* would require using a charge or scroll for each chamber in most GVs and for each row of a GCV because the internal permanent walls would also block the effect. I am not aware of any GV that does not have internal partitions made of permanent rock.
I really like this idea - it's an excellent compromise which prevents the real abuse of *destruction* (casting it outside the vault). I was opposed to changing it at all until I read this.
Quote:
Of all the suggestions here I'm most opposed to variable radius with artifact deletion. If artifacts can be lost within a vault the player needs to be able to lure monsters out of the vault without worrying that he may lose the contents of the vault if he has to resort to *destruction*.
I'm agnostic about artifact destruction, but against variable radius. Primarily because I'd want to know that that staircase will still be there after I cast.
Quote:
I'd also caution against making disconnected stairs default behavior. That is a whole game change to fix a late game problem. The ability to flee down or up a stairwell with 1 HP and guarantee survival by scumming for an empty room should not be compramised in the default options unless you want to make Angband even less acessable to new players than permadeath and lack of fancy-shmancy graphics already make it.
Hmmm. Eddie taught me that diving with connected stairs isn't really diving, and I've never played with connected stairs since. It's not just a late-game thing, it makes the whole game completely different. By all means leave it in as a default newbie option though.

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