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Old February 5, 2011, 21:33   #1
NotMorgoth
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YAWP - Sangband 1.02 beta

My first winner in the new version of Sangband.

Thoughts, observations and possible bugs/weirdnesses...

1. The shapechanging skill definitely made some parts of the game easier - serpent (rPoison) and cheetah (speed) were the most useful throughout the game. However, I went into the final fight in dragon form, as breathing force was useful for knocking Morgoth back and opening up a clear path to shoot at him.

I'ts certainly a powerful skill, but then again it is also fairly expensive to learn (comparable with armor forging, so it should be powerful..) I would definitely have had a lot more trouble through the midgame without cheetah form as I did not find a permanent source of speed until about DL 75

2. I was very impressed with the effectiveness of my crossbow - the combination of fast shooting with the eventual +2 might from OoI meant I think damage was probably comparable with wrestling. Of course it also suffered from the inventory space and weight penalties from all the ammo I had to carry, as well as the weakness of all missile weapons against summoners. (You can't shoot at the summoner if all the summoned monsters get between you and it - unlike spells/devices which have ball/beam effects so can hit a monster behind the others.)

What was interesting was how much noise archery makes - For most of the game I had very high stealth thanks to Hithlomir and various cloaks, and could melee without making much noise. But as soon as I started shooting, the noise indicator went almost immediately red and everything woke up. This reinforces my theory that triple crossbows are really machine guns in disguise.

3. Fighting high level undead uniques without rNether is very painful - I did not find a usable source of rNether until beyond DL 90, and had to keep running away from Cantoras who would hit me with nether bolt after nether bolt.

4. I did not find Infusion very useful, as I never had enough essences of the right type to infuse the powers I really wanted (rChaos and rNether being the most important ones.)

5. There seems to be a bug with shapechanging, where if you use a temporary shapechange, then later use a permanent change, you are thrown back into your natural form when the temporary change would have ended.

6. This is my lowest-scoring winner despite finishing on 99 power with a significantly lower turncount than any previous winner. Maybe that's because I avoided fighting many uniques until very late because of lack of resistances.
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Old February 6, 2011, 00:18   #2
camlost
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1. So, how does it compare to armor forging or devices? I figured it was as potent as either, hence the cost.

3. Smart monster

5. I'm pretty sure this is fixed in SVN, but I've been lazy and haven't been working on it, so no new betas yet.

6. Score has to do more with number of skills than with power. The really high scoring players make do with a small set of skills.
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Old February 6, 2011, 20:09   #3
NotMorgoth
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1. it's a bit difficult to figure out, especially as it needs at least one other skill to get full effectiveness (note, I have much less experience with the necromantic shapechanges as I haven't yet had a character get to high level using them.)

I would say it's not as much of a no-brainer as magic devices as it does not have anything like the versatility/range of effects as devices. However, it would be quite tempting for a range of characters to get just enough shapechanging/nature lore to get serpent form, just for that rPoison.

If there is any balance issue, it's probably that the power of the skill doesn't seem to scale up very well with the amount of experience invested in it; some awesome forms are available at quite low level, and the high level forms don't seem that much better. I know there is some stuff in the code to reward high level shapechanging by improving some of the forms, but I'm not really sure how this works and didn't notice it much in play.

6. Hmm, I did have rather a long list of skills, mainly because I wanted to test what was possible with infusing missile weapons and armor, as well as try out shapechanging.

I've never really thought much about maximising score, but always assumed that it depended on the total amount of XP spent rather than whether they were split between a lot of skills or concentrated in a few - and obviously those characters with only 3 or 4 skills have crazy high scores because they finish way before they get to 100 power.
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Old February 14, 2011, 18:40   #4
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Ooh, missed this one. Verymuch beat me to the punch even if I win soon, and with a nice shapechanging-based win too! Congratulations, NotMorgoth!

Is it time to say that Infusion is underpowered? (I hope it is.) I think this is one of those cases where the designer made an awesomecool skill and immediately turned around with a look of horror and said "this will be totally broken if I don't nerf it," and then delivers the nerfstick blow of an angry god. And one of those cases where the potential for brokenly-powerfulness is so obvious that people are afraid to touch it even years later.

I'm also not too impressed by Alchemy (I know there are other opinions, but I gotta run with mine), and that's as much about Infusion IMO as it is about Alchemy.

Meanwhile, I'd say Armor Forging is if anything too strong. So here's a rough draft solution proposal. It's primitive, but it's something.

1. Nerf Armor Forging. Perhaps the cost can still go up a bit, though perhaps the cost can't go too much higher without feeling absurd. In that case the rest of the nerf can go into the power output per amount of skill. Reducing chunk drop rates, meanwhile, is probably not a good idea, since we already had a case where a new player found rates too low -- not to say that they really are too low, but they obviously feel that way until forging's power is clear.

2. Buff Infusion, by making essences more common, especially earlier. This has the added benefit that it'd mean less delay until the fun of finding essences, fun in its own right. Well for me at least it is.

Ideally any changes should leave the scary Forging+Infusion combo about as powerful as it now or only a little stronger.
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Old February 14, 2011, 19:00   #5
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Quote:
If there is any balance issue, it's probably that the power of the skill doesn't seem to scale up very well with the amount of experience invested in it; some awesome forms are available at quite low level, and the high level forms don't seem that much better. I know there is some stuff in the code to reward high level shapechanging by improving some of the forms, but I'm not really sure how this works and didn't notice it much in play.
I haven't spent much time on figuring out reasonable levels/powers for various forms. I'd love some specific suggestions on which forms should be more powerful, and which should be less powerful. Which should be available early, which late. Unfortunately, we'd need to add some complexity to scale some of the forms that come from spells.

As for splashing the skill, I had hoped that the form duration limits would decrease the desirability of small increases to the skill.

Quote:
So here's a rough draft solution proposal.
So what I'm getting here is that you want the raw power of armor forging reduced, making some of its power to infusions. I think I can get behind that. Let me know what you think?

http://code.google.com/p/skills-angb.../detail?id=162
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Old February 16, 2011, 20:40   #6
NotMorgoth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camlost View Post
I haven't spent much time on figuring out reasonable levels/powers for various forms. I'd love some specific suggestions on which forms should be more powerful, and which should be less powerful. Which should be available early, which late. Unfortunately, we'd need to add some complexity to scale some of the forms that come from spells.
Ok, you asked for it: here are some suggestions.

Note first:

1. It is entirely possible that I am overvaluing some of the forms' abilities and undervaluing others. Looking at my character and seeing rPoison makes me think 'ooh, I can fight that AMHD while still wearing both Con rings,' while things like to-hit bonuses are less obvious in their power.

2. I am just pulling these numbers out of my head, so take them with a pinch of salt.

3. It may not even be necessary that high level forms are more powerful - maybe it's enough that a shapechanger gains versatility (by having more forms available) at high skill level...

Serpent:

I think this form already gets some improvement with skill level; keep the stat/stealth bonuses as they are, don't give a wrestling bonus until later,(40%?) and the rPoison later again (70%?)

Cheetah:

Maybe make the basic form available earlier, (30%?) but start with only +2 speed and scale the speed bonus up with skill level, reaching the maximum at around 65-70%. This would be different enough that it might cause confusion with the druid spell, so maybe it should get a different name (fox perhaps?)

Dragon: (this is when I get really extravagant.)

I agree with the proposed change to let anyone find essences without infusion, allowing anyone to make use of the breath ability (which is currently the cool thing about dragon form.)

My additional proposal is: When shifting into dragon form, allow the player to choose a colour of dragon (from the basic 4 plus green.) This would give opposition (cumulative with equipment-based resistance) to the appropriate element. Then at skill 100% you get to turn into a multi-hued dragon and get opposition to all 5.

Or even, give multi-hued opposition straight away when you gain the dragon form ability...

This would not affect breathing, which would still be based on essences. Potions of dragonform would either give a random opposition, or let the player choose.

This seems very powerful, but it is a level 90 ability. It also shouldn't really make that much difference, (at least to anyone who plays like me), as I always tend to stockpile potions of resistance then carry them as I approach the endgame, so a character who intends to get high level shapechanging would be able to avoid doing this or use those potions earlier. It also shouldn't have that much effect on druidic shapeshifters as they get spells to oppose elements + poison already.

I haven't yet thought of anything for the other forms (except maybe that Maia should eventually get better stat bonuses, and maybe eventually sustains?)

Anyway, feel free to comment on this suggestion or tell me it's a very silly idea...
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