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Old September 21, 2018, 16:47   #11
Derakon
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It sounds like you have a lot of levers to play with, in any event.
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Old September 21, 2018, 19:39   #12
Quirk
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So I've done a bit of playing around as of the other night.

First off I made a character somewhat close to bron's second winner right down to the big bow and Poison (+3) arrows and took him in against Morgoth, who got torn apart pretty quickly.

I dropped Rapid Fire and Precision and tried again; Morgoth lasted maybe twice as long but this was still quite short.

I removed half evasion, and this made a very substantial difference. It was no longer easy to wear Morgoth down beyond halfway.

I cranked Dedication up to 2 damage sides for not having a weapon and wearing a shield, but this didn't make much difference.

Testing against orcs near the surface showed some benefits from having early access to a couple more damage sides, but a few more arrows were missing than before. If I went with removing half evasion, I would probably need to rebalance other skills such as Crippling Shot as the number of criticals would rapidly diminish.

I am a fan so far of Deadly Hail; while less useful against uniques, it provides a tool for crowd control that makes the player consider their positioning carefully, which feels very Sil-like to me.

Last edited by Quirk; September 21, 2018 at 19:51.
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Old September 21, 2018, 19:44   #13
wobbly
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I'd also test 0 str Sindars to make sure they still work too
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Old September 21, 2018, 19:50   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ripforareason View Post
I think Flaming Arrows and regular poisoned arrows as drops should be the thing to go. Maybe arrows of piercing can be spawned more frequently instead. The flaming arrows/poison arrows combo is a bit overkill late in the game.
I thought poisoned arrows cropped up in the Lay of Leithian, but going back to check I find it's poisoned spears. I agree arrows of piercing are a bit more interesting.

I find Flaming Arrows hugely unbalanced as a skill, my main worry is that it's too popular and flavourful to cut and I feared the old guard would be against doing so. I am heartened that we're on the same page regarding overkill.

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Also, one of the things that's kind of overpowered for archers is being able to wield a weapon and shoot at the same time. Parry is a surprisingly good ability for archers since you can wield weapons that aren't that amazing, but have utility (Defender longsword for [+4] ev, Narsil for resists, Galadriel for [+6] ev, Dagmor) AND use a buckler of reflection [+1 or 2, 1d3]. Maybe you should have to wield a bow in your main hand and it should disallow shields.
My current approach is to provide a skill that provides distinct advantages for wielding the bow alone without sword or shield, and attempting to balance to make this a preferable approach for dedicated archers.

At some point soon I'll come out with a beta that will use some of the ideas discussed here and people can get to play with the changes and see what they make of them.
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Old September 21, 2018, 19:54   #15
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I'd also test 0 str Sindars to make sure they still work too
Early game they should be close to strictly better off with access to a skill that adds extra damage without requiring Strength. Late game I'm still rebalancing toward and adding skills to distribute extra damage over the curve.

It probably involves less rebalancing to remove Flaming Arrows than to drop half evasion though.
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Old September 22, 2018, 05:14   #16
ripforareason
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If you got rid of flaming arrows, poison arrow drops, and made bows 2-handed weapons, you might actually make archery underpowered. I think it'd be best to compensate by dropping more arrows of piercing. Maybe you could have a system where you'd have to "swap" to your bow by pressing a key which would take a turn and negate any protection/ev bonuses from your shield and weapon(s), but leave any resists or light intact. (think sheathing your weapon or putting your shield on your back to be able to draw your bow).
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Old September 22, 2018, 10:44   #17
Infinitum
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That. I exclusively play melee characters, but even so my 0-skill bow means free hits vs assorted lightly armoured enemies, which feels wrong thematically.

Also there's the fact that both V and most other lategame uniques/strong enemies are slowish melee fighters that can't interact with quickened archers unless they get surrounded. Removing quickness and rebalancing fom there might be an option.
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Old September 22, 2018, 15:25   #18
Quirk
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Originally Posted by ripforareason View Post
If you got rid of flaming arrows, poison arrow drops, and made bows 2-handed weapons, you might actually make archery underpowered. I think it'd be best to compensate by dropping more arrows of piercing.
Well, if I get rid of Flaming Arrows, I will replace it with a new skill or skills. I am currently churning through ideas. Here are a few I've tried or am about to try.

"Easy Draw" - your Strength provides no bonus damage, but your Dexterity gives a double bonus to your Archery. This worked very well on a high-Dex Sindar in the early game. However, it doesn't accurately represent actual archery mechanics (you definitely want a full draw if you're strong enough for the bow) which are quite strength-dependent.
"Penetrate" - my current replacement for Flaming Arrows: if a hit is non-critical, it becomes critical and gains a damage die. This is still just about strong enough to kill Morgoth with an overpowered character but it's harder than before. It also crops up at the same place in the tree where Flaming Arrows would give a boost. However, it's kind of a boringly named everyone-will-want this skill and it feels wrong to replace a skill as fun as Flaming Arrows with it.
Considering implementing two new skills instead:
"Steady Hands" - if you're too strong for your bow, the extra Strength provides an Archery bonus. This does reflect realistic archery mechanics, gives shortbows a little something, and can be placed low on the tree as an easy free skill for elves. Late game with potions it will translate into extra crits. It's not great for Sindar Doriath and is a little dull.
"Running Shot" - using a new key a la Exchange Places and 'X', when you press the new key you continue moving in the direction you moved last while firing at your current target (you will be prompted if you have none). I like this because it gives the player additional positional options, and that feels very Sil-like. Probably needs some substantial penalty to hit to reflect you're on the move, and this may be some very dubious Legolas-like film archery.

Dedication and Deadly Hail are already able to fill some of the gap Flaming Arrows leaves, though they make archers more vulnerable and require more positional strategy.

Poison arrows will stay in the game I think but be a bit fewer and rarer.

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Originally Posted by ripforareason View Post
Maybe you could have a system where you'd have to "swap" to your bow by pressing a key which would take a turn and negate any protection/ev bonuses from your shield and weapon(s), but leave any resists or light intact. (think sheathing your weapon or putting your shield on your back to be able to draw your bow).
I think it's actually currently very viable to take Point Blank and continue using your bow at close quarters, and I don't think this has changed. What I mean by this is that swapping to a weapon is mostly done in unusual circumstances where crits don't work e.g. hammering apart a Gargoyle.

So the actual main effect of this is to have the shield and weapon "half-wielded" where the protection and Evasion aren't there but other things are. I think I still prefer the approach of having a notable skill benefit you by their absence; I think most players will find this easier to adjust to.

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Originally Posted by Infinitum
That. I exclusively play melee characters, but even so my 0-skill bow means free hits vs assorted lightly armoured enemies, which feels wrong thematically.
This is a bit difficult to get right, I think.

With 0-skill in melee, you'll still get some hits into the mid-game, by the nature of the double d20 roll. Archery continues this much later because evasion is halved. From one perspective, this is justified because it's very hard to dodge arrows; from another it's also quite hard to fire arrows, so maybe an unskilled archer should be failing more from the start.

Realistic mechanics would make it very hard to dodge arrows, but you wouldn't have to dodge arrows unless the archer succeeded in getting it on target. Two opposed rolls aren't a great model for this. Then again similar issues exist if you're trying to accurately replicate melee - you need a much more sophisticated model.

From a game balance perspective though there would be much more tweaking to be done to move to a full-evasion system as more arrows fail to hit at all and skills like Crippling Shot that rely on criticals look bad. Half-evasion scales the additional power provided up the tree, and getting rid of it and keeping flaming arrows makes the chunkiness of that damage upgrade even more visible than before.

So, I have played with getting rid of it, but I think it's going to be easier to balance things by dropping Flaming Arrows instead.

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Originally Posted by Infinitum
Also there's the fact that both V and most other lategame uniques/strong enemies are slowish melee fighters that can't interact with quickened archers unless they get surrounded. Removing quickness and rebalancing fom there might be an option.
This also has consequences for melee, since melee fighters also turn to Quickness when things get tough; which is to say it could be done, but it would be potentially a larger rebalancing.
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Old September 23, 2018, 00:39   #19
Quirk
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I've put together an implementation with Steady Hands and Running Shot. The latter is powerful: getting to pepper enemies with arrows while remaining outside their reach is quite a game changer. I have accordingly given it a very steep accuracy penalty. It does have the drawback that you tend to end up quite far away from where you began so it's harder to collect your fallen arrows over the course of the fight.

I haven't embarked on a substantial rework of bows and ammunition yet, though Derakon's comments on the thematic weakness of slay bows remain with me and I probably will try to find a way to move them away from slays. Ammunition drop rates will in the longer run be tweaked to give more arrows near the surface, and more powerful arrows will be a bit rarer. I plan to release a testable version in the next few days, I may or may not do a little tweaking to bows and arrows first.
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Old September 23, 2018, 07:26   #20
wobbly
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Had the idle thought that flaming arrows could be a song. Not sure I like the idea, just putting it out there
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