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Old July 19, 2010, 03:00   #1
Taha
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First clean victory

Just completed my first complete game of Angband - I have played a ton, and won before with save scumming, but decided to try for a clean win. 5 serious characters later (I don't count pre stat gain deaths) here we go.

Playing as a Dwarf Priest, points left to default on str, con and wisdom. Most of my previous experience is as a high elf ranger or mage, wanted something different.
Relatively early boots of speed +4 (pre stat gain) kept thing moving along early, let me carry my wait and handle low level monsters easily. Found a decent weapon (the whip Faleb, had several slays and acid brand) that enabled me to do good damage and get a few blows around 1900, and the Caestii of Carth, with rpoison, around 1750 to keep things moving down. A fur cloak of the magi (ESP) improved my safety dramatically, as detect evil was leaving a lot of risk from hounds. That lasted until the end game, I found ESP for all sorts of other equipment, but there were always better options in those slots. A shield of elvenkind with rdisenchant in here saved me some worry, I hate disenchanters. Stayed in 30-50 range longer than necessary, but had wisdom high enough to get 0% fails with my hat and amulet before I left.

Moved quicklyish through 50-98 looking for unknown flavors and better gear whenever it was reasonably grabbable. Poor level feelings meant dive on down, superb meant I took a look. Got clairvoyance around 52, so that helped to focus on the worthwhile areas. Mostly avoided anything too powerful, and mostly only took out the undead uniques (I hate fighting them, so try to finish them on sight if possible).

This was where I got in serious trouble. I still haven't mastered saying no to greater vaults; I probably never will, as exploring them is my favorite part of the game. When I found a "Target Practice" Vault, and saw holy infusions inside, I couldn't say no. *(see note at the end)

Everything went well at first; I cleared the backside of the vault, and then opened up the easy access portion and I had tele other at 0% fail, went on in. The bottom had nothing special, the top opened up, and the cat lord hit me multiple times to confuse. After two attempts, my staff took me out of the vault just in time.

Healed and went back, with some difficulty because of the monsters already tele'd away. The second attempt was going well, the entrance mostly cleared, one ancient dragon to get rid of. No problem, tele other, p5b. Wait, no, that's Tele self, and now there are lots of nasties awake out here. Tried to go back AGAIN, but fell through a trap door. That probably saved my life.

Moving on down, somewhere in the 60s, upgraded to BoS +9, just happened to land near them when trying to portal closer to stairs. And then found a ring of speed +12 around 75, that carried me the rest of the way down. Never saw a better one after that.

Resistance holes were a problem until near the end, was on 98 or 99 before I had a collection of gear with both rpoison and rconf at the same time. In the 70s, found gloves with rconf (Tirimrant), that acted as a swap with my poison resist, and two artifact crossbows found near 80 were carried as swaps to get rchaos-disenchant / rnether respectively. Also carried a heavy crossbow+1 shots to keep things interesting. rBlind from being a dwarf was huge for almost the whole game.

On 89, found the Exec. Sword Nivrim, with +5wis and con to get my fail rates down without my amulet and max my con without the ring of con, as well as some dragon scale mail and a better headgear. Enough to go down to 99 and start cleaning up high end uniques, and maybe sauron himself.

And then to make it certain, for the second time ever, got the one ring of power from a lesser balrog on 99 (while running away from sauron). A bit later, found a ring with +3 blows, - with the one ring already on, had limited speed available from my other items; finished off sauron with bolts of acid and a double shot launcher, and then dropped down to level 100.

First encounter with Morgoth convinced me I wasn't fast enough, but didn't want to give up the extra blows ring. Hung out on 100 killing uniques and searching for any non ring item or boots of speed for quite a while, I finally collected enough potions of speed, and some more bolts of holy might, to try it without. And then I found this:

The Heavy Crossbow of Talemnon (x4) (+6,+13) (+3)
+3 shooting speed.
Provides resistance to light, shards.
Cannot be harmed by acid, electricity, fire, cold.
Prevents paralysis.

In a Huge-Modified vault (pic attached). Set up a row of runes in between permanent rock, lured morgoth in, and he never got within a space. Only got off 1 or two manastorms and a few manabolts, and his summons breathed a few times. With the One and plenty of healing, not a problem. 4 shots per round, even with not great multipliers, and holy might / slay evil bolts, were doing around 330 per shot, or 1300 per round.

I love clairvoyance and alter reality, this is my first priest to ever get past level 20 or so. Not really any different than connected stairs, but cooler. Also, I used reasonably good stealth and probing to get a good idea of monster attacks to help with the resistance holes; this character did not have a thorough monster memory before. I would say priests are better than mages in endgame, although significantly harder at the beginning. About even in midgame, orb and GREAT detection balanced against elemental bolts for more damage to specific monsters.

Randarts are a lot more fun; I know the normal set way to well, and playing around with coverages was interesting. Simplified greatly at the end of course. +3 shots was insane, I loved it. But it probably shouldn't be that easy to finish off Morgoth. Fun game, now to take a break before going back and trying something completely different - maybe a kobold rogue. Intrinsic rpoison sounds good right now.

Details of the character on the ladder:
http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=10455

** On a side note: This exact vault caused the death of my previous character; I knew I couldn't take it, with no telepathy or tele other, but I wandered around "just looking". My brother came in the room, saw the monster list I had detected, and said "doesn't Maeglin have passwall?" Turns out he did, popped out of the wall just then, almost killed me, and summoned the Balrog of Moria. I had single digit health left, one chance to escape. As I read my deep descent, I regretted losing the vault and all the lovely treasure in it. Then I regretted staying even more as "You feel a tension in the air" - I had wrongly inscribed my word of recall with !! (for recharging rods) instead of !* for warn before use, and then fat fingered the wrong scroll. That was the end of that character, who had the best artifact gloves I have ever seen - Rpoison, rdisenchant, and immunity to lightning, found before level 30.
________
DIGITAL VAPORIZER
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Last edited by Taha; August 14, 2011 at 14:49.
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Old July 19, 2010, 04:22   #2
fizzix
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congrats!

Those randarts you have are silly powerful. I haven't found anything that good in a long time. Expect your next fight to be harder!
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Old July 19, 2010, 21:08   #3
Magnate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
congrats!

Those randarts you have are silly powerful. I haven't found anything that good in a long time. Expect your next fight to be harder!
The funny thing is that +3 shots isn't that much more gross than +2. The +3 shot ring really is grotesque though - need to make off-weapon shots a lot rarer.

It's unusual to get a set of gross randarts that work well together. Usually you have to make trade-offs. The funny thing about your xbow is that it had resists and FA on top of +3 shots - that I've not seen before. In fact I don't think I've ever seen a +3 shot launcher with any other stuff on it, let alone all that.
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Old July 19, 2010, 21:55   #4
Timo Pietilš
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
The funny thing is that +3 shots isn't that much more gross than +2. The +3 shot ring really is grotesque though - need to make off-weapon shots a lot rarer.
You mean blows I presume? 7 blows with priest is a bit much, when you usually can get only four. You almost double your damage output. If that had been with +2 blows weapon with warrior then it would have been 11 blows / round.

Of course shots would have been even worse when single shot power is as high as it is. Get a Buckland +2 sling and you have six shots / round with a +3 shots ring.

IMO non-weapon shots and blows should be removed. Completely. Not just made more rare.
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Old July 19, 2010, 22:08   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
IMO non-weapon shots and blows should be removed. Completely. Not just made more rare.
Yeah, I don't agree with you there. I have a strong view that one of the most important ingredients of interesting randarts is a wide range of things you *could* get - that mythical 9d10 trident with +3 blows/str/con/speed, the heavy xbow with +2 might and shots. Etc. IMO the challenge is to get the right balance between boring (uninteresting or un-useful combinations) and overpowered (sick combinations), and make sure neither happens too often. At the moment we're a tad too far towards overpowered, with +3 blows or shots occurring too often. A few weeks ago I opened ticket #1150 to make sure that this is rebalanced before the next release. I do plan on restricting off-weapon blows/shots to +1, I think - but they'll definitely stay.
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Old July 19, 2010, 23:36   #6
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In my experience (as I've expounded on in the past), randart games simply have a different difficulty curve than standart games. Standart games have a strong set of "mid-tier" artifacts, which most players end up finding somewhere in the 1000'-2500' area and which serve them well in the dive to the depths (and in extreme cases, cope decently as endgame gear). I'm talking about stuff like Cammithrim, Holhenneth, Celegorm, Careth Asdriag, etc. This smooths out the midgame difficulty significantly. There's no such guarantee with randarts, and in fact in my experience the vast majority of early-mid randarts compete poorly with the "strong" ego-items (Gondolin, Elvenkind, Holy Avenger, Lordliness, etc.). Thus players tend to end up either spending a long time scumming, or diving with sub-par equipment.

Of course, once they do find some of the nice randarts (assuming there are any available to find -- if all your good body armor artifacts are on PDSMs then you're out of luck), they'll be significantly more powerful for the endgame. I seem to recall reading that the randart set is designed to more or less match the standart set for total power, but with greater variance, which basically holds up with what I've seen: artifacts tend to be significantly weaker, or significantly stronger, than their standard counterparts. This is exacerbated by the fact that the standart set is in part designed to provide complementary abilities (e.g. Belthrondig gives a good source of disenchant resistance on an "off-slot"), while randarts have no such guarantee.
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Old July 20, 2010, 03:54   #7
Taha
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I love the randarts, despite most of the game being a struggle with resistance holes - always found that easier standard set in previous games. Playing with randarts is about always hoping for something better and not knowing you have the best. This game, all the necklaces were junk, would have traded all my artifact DSMs (found 3) for hithlomir or anything with speed at that slot, and cubragol for the +10 speed, while not quite as powerful, would have come close with my speed issues. Cloak, shield, helm, and gloves - Have done much better at all of those slots with fairly common standarts. It's hard to beat Thorin, and I always find that.

Speed was tight at the end, getting to 20 required every speed item I had, or I couldn't wear both rings. The blows ring was high powered, but wouldn't have even considered any of the others I found over a decent speed ring.

And the 3 truly powerful items were all found on 99/100; the uberbow was only just in time for Morgoth, and Sauron died to standard acid bolts and a +1xbow. Never meleed him at all. Getting Morgoth into a straight corridor with permanent rock and runes meant I was going to kill him easily with the +1 shots, +3 just made it faster. But no better than a level 40+ ranger with a bow of lothlorien +1.

I have always found that 40-70 is the most common time to die. It is pretty rare that I screw up the big fights, I prep well, have plenty of stuff stored and play them very conservatively...

Without the potential for incredible items, how do you offset the weak or badly matching randarts that can be the best available in many slots? I'm with Magnate all the way on this, maybe retune the frequency a bit, but don't take it away.
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Old July 20, 2010, 17:25   #8
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It's hard to beat Thorin, and I always find that.
This, in a nutshell, is the whole problem. I tried weakening Thorin once and got shouted down. While such an absurdly powerful item is so easy to find, it's hard to countenance much of the criticism of overpowered randarts ...
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Old July 20, 2010, 17:42   #9
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Thorin is extremely powerful for the midgame, but I think it is upstaged by a shield with
(+5,+5) +1 STR/CON/Blow/Shot
Even if it does aggravate.
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Old July 20, 2010, 18:31   #10
Taha
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That shield is probably better for the final battle, but for levels 30-98 I would prefer Thorin. Acid immunity, +4 str and con, and the other resistances are a bigger deal than bonus damage through that period.

My goal in the game is to have fun. To me, that is a combination of finding new stuff (flavors, powerful artifacts) whether well known (standarts, potions) or an unkown quatity (randart, ego with random resist), and building my character into one that doesn't have to run away as often. Standarts are nice, but most of them are second rate too, so you see it and say "Well, this will help for now."

With randarts, most semi decent items are useful now, and might end up being the key to covering your holes for the best end game kit. And every now and then, one should be truly amazing... At least a few in every set, just like the normal ones.

The rest of the discussion seems to be around overpowered archery, and that's a separate issue to overpowered randarts. My +3 hits ring (without having the one ring) isn't all that much better than vilya or nenya, I'm not going to try to pure melee Morgoth as things stand anyway.
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