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Old June 7, 2013, 13:00   #1
Ripplez
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Sil : Playing this game for a couple of days, feeling frustrated, looking for advice

Hello. I'd like to ask for advice for this game but first relate why looking at the video tutorials seems to not be useful.

Whenever I play, between 100 to 200 feet, I seem to wind up in a situation where I have multiple orc warriors (or soldiers) and canines trying to fight me, they always surround me, they cannot be killed unless I allow myself to be surrounded (because of their A.I., they won't get closer), they won't die quickly (for whatever reason, I just seem to always roll poorly on damage or accuracy), if I get them low they start to run away, because they're running away and then coming back and then running away again I cannot rest to heal, and then I just die.

This happens several times over the course of getting to like 200 feet but it eventually catchs up with me and I just die. This is a very frustrating sort-of death because it happens every single run, nothing I do seems to prevent it and nothing new seems to happen, resulting in what is ultimately a waste of upwards of 6 hours of my life. This is why, while I normally try to figure out things for myself for a roguelike, I've realised I'm making no progress whatsoever in this regard so I'm asking for help if anyone wants to give it.

This is the starting build I usually try on a Noldor Feanor :

[A]
3 Str
1 Dex
3 Con
6 Grace

XOR

[B]
3 Str
6 Dex
3 Con
1 Grace

I use [A] with the following starting skills :

[A1]

1500 Melee
1000 Evasion
2100 Smithing

400 left over to get to 500 to take two skills in Smithing, either :

i) Armoursmithing + Enchantment : for armour and boots and cloaks with enchantments on them
ii) Weapon + Artistry : for better weapons to do more damage since I realised I am not rolling anything of value

with 2100 in Smithing to reach skill 11 in Smithing so I can make enchanted shortswords if I want to.

[A2]

1500 Melee
21001000 Evasion
1500 Smithing
1000 Song

I take Jewellry so that I can make 1 rings of protection, 1 ring of accuracy and 1 necklace of see invisible which I've never used but I just figured it's better to guarantee I have it if I'll ever need it (never have so far).

I took Song to get Elbereth because that's the only way I've been able to survive later (still dying though).


[B1]

2100 Melee
1500 Evasion
1000 or so Smithing

Remaining EXP. to put into abilities sooner. Smithing if I feel like taking Jewellry or something. I've tried Charge, it helps but it doesn't seem to help much. And more importantly, it's boring as hell. If I wanted to just nudge monsters to death, I'm open up DCSS, make a Berserker, find a monster vault or go to the Bailey and just kill them all.

I usuall try and wield a Long Sword as much as possible because it seems like a straight upgrade to the Curved Sword. I usually skip Studded Leather Armour, Greaves and all Helms. I wear all other Armour.

I've not tried Stealth because, to be honest, I don't like the Stealth mechanic much and I wanted to see why I'm failing with this so much. Archery seems pointless if I can't even guarantee I will have a Bow like, at all.

It has gotten to the point where it is just boring to start the game at all - yet I WANT to like the game. I like some of the mechanics and it is interesting but the following is essentially a conversation with my friend and it sums up exactly why I'm asking for help :

Friend : How's the new roguelike coming along?
Me : I've spent over two days on the same 10 minutes of the game, over and over again.
Friend : Oh..... that sounds bad. Are you figuring it out though?
Me : No. It is just dying pointlessly with no idea what to do to make it winnable. It is literally the same 10 minutes over and over again.
Friend : ....Do you think I should get it? What do you think of it?
Me : Based on my experiences? It's a boring shallow game where all your abilities cost too much EXP. to make getting them anything you can bank on, nothing dies when you try to kill it - it takes forever to kill any given monster no matter what weapon you pick up, all fights are essentially fought at a disadvantage to you and while that makes alot of sense, it means that every fight is a slog where even if you could come out on top you won't do damage fast enough to just be done with it. So, you're either left with combat against enemies that you can't beat or enemies so easy that it's no longer boring and difficult just boring and tedious, like chasing orc scouts or trying to kill orc warriors for 20 turns just to have more orc warriors come up the stairs to fight all over again. If I figure out what to do, I might change my mind but right now? This game is not worth the effort.

And this is basicly what I've felt about it. I really like the ideas and parts of it (like the character building, the smithing, the A.I. of the monsters seem really nice and intriguing). But I have to merely guess that that's true, it certainly hasn't come up much in the 3~4 floors I've gotten to.

Any and all advice (barring "quit the game") would be appreciated alot.
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Old June 7, 2013, 13:41   #2
Scatha
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I'm sorry to hear that you've been having a frustrating time with the early game. It's definitely possible to reliably avoid these deaths, but I wonder if we should be better at flagging new players towards how to do this. Anyhow, here's a grab-bag of thoughts on things you might try:

Your [B] looks better than [A]. In the early game Dex is by some way the best stat (probably followed by Str).

Wolves will follow you into corridors, and orcs will if you're injured enough. You can make use of this. If you do have to emerge you can often fight from a doorway to give yourself an escape route.

Helms and studded leather (and greaves if you have no boots) will help quite a bit. Stacking protection really increases your resilience against these packs, which outweighs the evasion penalty.

Consider taking the melee ability Power to increase your damage output and therefore kill things faster (you can do something similar with Finesse, but this strategy becomes about maximising criticals). Because they have armour a 10% increase in your stated damage will always increase the rate you're actually hurting them at by more than 10%, and sometimes much more. Consider using a big two-handed weapon, at least as a swap.

Remember that you don't have to fight everything. You can try to chase orcs up or down stairs, or just ignore them after they run. You can leave the level if it gets too clogged up.

It's definitely possible to do fine without stealth, but there are some benefits to even a modest investment, without playing the 'stealth game'. Monsters won't hear you from so far away, so you're less likely to drag half of the level into one huge fight.

Good luck!
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Old June 7, 2013, 13:47   #3
Derakon
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I certainly get the impression that Sil is a lot more "thinky" about its setup, and that while you have a lot of options for how you can build your character, many of them involve important tradeoffs that the player really needs to be aware of.

Put another way, different monsters will encourage different build types; having a highly-specialized build means that monsters that encourage the things you're ignoring will be unusually difficult to deal with. You cannot blindly throw together a build and expect it to do well in all situations. Not to say this is what you were doing.
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Old June 7, 2013, 14:29   #4
Patashu
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Quote:
Whenever I play, between 100 to 200 feet, I seem to wind up in a situation where I have multiple orc warriors (or soldiers) and canines trying to fight me, they always surround me, they cannot be killed unless I allow myself to be surrounded (because of their A.I., they won't get closer), they won't die quickly (for whatever reason, I just seem to always roll poorly on damage or accuracy), if I get them low they start to run away, because they're running away and then coming back and then running away again I cannot rest to heal, and then I just die.
A few things here:
-Canines don't have smart AI, they just flit (25% chance of making a random move.). Orcs do have smart pack AI.

-Orcs have the numbers advantage on you. Even though everything about them sucks, their damage output does not suck, and eventually the more orcs you fight one will land a lucky blow or series of blows on you. Think of fighting orcs as taking an x% chance of being put in danger, and if you don't gain anything from doing so see if there is a way around it.

-Orc AI is not perfect. It's possible to lure them so far that they decide to follow you, then back them up against a corner in a hallway or other chokepoint, to the point where they become more inclined to fight than to flee (or it's too congested to properly flee so they don't).

-You can tell how much Orcs feel like chasing you vs hanging back by having one targetted and looking at its 'mood' on the left side. Things like taking damage and time passing make them more confident and things like causing fear, killing orcs, killing orc leaders, having an orc slaying weapon in your hands, etc make them less confident.

-If you are waiting in a corridor and orcs are waiting in the room, it is possible to do a kind of 'back and forth dance' that makes one orc move next to the doorway, let you hit the orc and before any more orcs can come in to flank you you step away and you can repeat the process. Takes practice.

-Throwing weapons and bows work to attack orcs.

-Don't forget your most powerful weapon - not fighting to begin with! Stealth and all of the stealth mechanics (play the tutorial again to refresh yourself) are super effective against orcs since their 'Perception' is very low. Since there are so many orcs, they can be suddenly very dangerous due to their high max damage and numbers and there's not much worth to fighting more than 10-20 of each kind, the more you can not fight the better. They may even path to the stairs and excuse themselves from the level. (By the way, you are wrong to ignore Stealth outright, it is on purpose the most powerful mechanic in the game, to mimic the lore it is based off of)

-Don't forget your second most powerful weapon - Run awaaaaay! The sooner you run from opponents you can't fight, the better. The longer you wait, the more likely it is something will come to block off the other way, and then the orcs will detect you are flanked and move in for the kill. Also consider Sprinting, Listen and Exchange Places as tools of aiding your escape.

-Don't forget that Murky Brown potions are ALWAYS Orcish Liquor, the stun (which is, what, -2 to all checks?) means they're not useful if you're flanked and thus every orc is getting huge bonuses on you, but for moderately safe situations where you just happen to be low on hp they're a lifesaver.

-Try 'sprint cheese' - Sprinting gives you two moves for one every other move while it is active (on turns where, at the start of your turn, green Fast was shown). Whether or not you'll get the extra move now or in a move is 'remembered' by the game between Sprints, which allows you to time when you will get free moves and free hits. You can use it to attack things without them being able to attack back, approach that final step without getting hit, get the first hit on something, etc if you are willing to practice, time and remember one counter.

-Learn ways to move that exploits orcs' desires to flank you. Group monsters have a certain tendency to want to move to make flanking you easier instead of attacking you depending on how everything is laid out. You can use this to trick monsters in to not attacking you and get free hits. ESPECIALLY useful if you get the skill Flanking, which lets you make a step AND attack in the same turn (plus the Dodging +3 evasion on top, nice!)

-Be hyper-aware of where the staircases are. In this game, monsters can only spawn from the staircases (and 'spawn' from areas of the map you haven't proven to be monster free yet, in a manner of speaking). If your 'back' is up against a place where you know no monsters will appear then you have a safe retreat. Otherwise, you need to be very wary. Of course, there's a dilemma in that the stairs are also how you get off the level, which is an interesting dynamic at times.

-Be hyper-aware of doors on the map. Due to a limitation in the map engine on which Sil is derived, discovered doors update their state even if they are not in line of sight - if you see a door that is closed (or that you have closed manually) open then something stepped through. If it is moving into a place where it might flank you, respond appropriately.

-Don't forget about door dancing and pillar dancing. Pillar dancing - if you have a loop of corridor on the map you can run away from a pursuer endlessly while healing, just as long as you don't get flanked. In fact, in Sil, there is an extra bonus - if you attack an enemy that is in a pack just after turning a corner, it will move into the elbow of the corner so his friend can attack you, forefiting his counter - then of course you keep on running and his turn was wasted. Door dancing - If a door is between you and a pursuer, close it and it will waste its turn opening the door. Doesn't work for monsters that would rather bash doors down of course.

-Don't play when you're in a bad mindset. If you're low energy, feeling impatient or anything like that, you'll want to just mash your face into orcs and you'll die super fast and feel worse. (Applies for roguelikes in general really ^^)
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Last edited by Patashu; June 7, 2013 at 14:39.
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Old June 7, 2013, 14:32   #5
HallucinationMushroom
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I had a dislike for the game first at too, chiefly stemming from all the sexy abilities that I wanted, but quickly finding that I couldn't sustain them. As you play, you learn the tradeoffs that Derakon is right about.

I recommend for new players a Feanor 2/5/4/3, and buy 8 evasion, 4 melee. As you find, wear -1,1d4 armor, 1d1 boots, -1,1d2 helm, 1d3 shield, cloak, wield longsword or curved sword.

Playstyle advice... fight in 1v2 scenarios, at the bend in junctions, or any place they can 1v2 you. When you get 500 spare experience, get crowd fighting. As you get more experience, increase evasion and melee about at same rate.

You will survive a long time this way, and they will always attack you in 1v2 scenario. At 400' you get new wrinkles. 1100 points for keen senses then about a 2000 investment for inner light.

This is kind of like toast. Maybe boring, but, I think pretty effective beginner advice.
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Old June 7, 2013, 16:25   #6
Nomad
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I died a lot in my early games, mainly because like you I was dead set on playing a smithing character, and investing a lot in smithing makes it hard to get other skills that are big butt-savers. (Charge and Sprinting as a pair are extremely useful in the early game.) I'm only a middling player now, but two things I'd suggest that might help you out in the early game:

1. Try distributing your points 3/3/6/1, which will give you:

STR: 2
DEX: 4
CON: 5
GRA: 3

Having CON 5 is a great help if you're fighting rather than relying on stealth, since it gives you 49 health points instead of 41.

2. Make your first two smithing skills Armoursmith and Enchantment. If you've got those and 500 EXP to spare when you find your first forge, you'll be able to make a pair of Boots of Speed, which give you the Sprinting skill for free. That should help you a lot with getting away from groups of enemies and/or catching up with ones that are running away.

It's probably also worth trying playing a non-smithing character for a couple of games, so you can get a feel for the benefits of spending more points on various different skills. These days the 'standard' character setup I tend to use for my best chance of surviving is to play Noldor Fingolfin with 3/3/5/3 or 2/4/5/3, and get Charge and Dodging at the start of the game and Sprinting as soon as possible.
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Old June 7, 2013, 17:32   #7
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This thread is producing some great advice -- even for expert players.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patashu View Post
Whether or not you'll get the extra move now or in a move is 'remembered' by the game between Sprints, which allows you to time when you will get free moves and free hits. You can use it to attack things without them being able to attack back, approach that final step without getting hit, get the first hit on something, etc
This is pretty advanced! The part about approaching so that you get the first hit is pretty natural though. Normally in roguelikes people just wait a turn when the enemy is nearby so that it steps up to you. If you have Charge, you ideally want to it to step next to you, but to have moved the turn before. This may happen naturally, or you may need to pass a turn to get the parity right. A bit gamey, but just part of a spatial tactical turn-based computer game really. Getting this to work with Sprinting can be harder, but as Patashu says, you can get extra benefits such as allowing you to get a Charge *and* the next attack (at least I think this is possible).

There are also interesting combinations with Knock Back and with Flanking that let you do all kinds of fun things, like repeated Knocks and running in a circle to keep Sprinting going while still attacking. I don't really count any of this as cheesy -- it is pretty core play in a positional tactical game, and most of it has real world analogues.

Quote:
You can use this to trick monsters in to not attacking you and get free hits. ESPECIALLY useful if you get the skill Flanking, which lets you make a step AND attack in the same turn (plus the Dodging +3 evasion on top, nice!)
I haven't mastered this in rooms. Their attempts to surround me definitely help them out more often than not. Truly understanding their behaviour and using it against them here sounds like some really satisfying and pretty play.

Quote:
if you attack an enemy that is in a pack just after turning a corner, it will move into the elbow of the corner so his friend can attack you, forefiting his counter - then of course you keep on running and his turn was wasted.
I'd never heard of (or thought of) this. Neat. If you have a chance of killing in one turn (e.g. big two-handed weapon), it could be quite useful.
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Old June 7, 2013, 19:00   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripplez View Post
Whenever I play, between 100 to 200 feet, I seem to wind up in a situation where I have multiple orc warriors (or soldiers) and canines trying to fight me, they always surround me, they cannot be killed unless I allow myself to be surrounded (because of their A.I., they won't get closer)
It's worth spending a little time working out when an orc will follow you in to a doorway & when it wont. If you back into the doorway, so only 3 can come at you, well 3s better then 6. When you get injured step back & see if it follows you. When your injured to a certain point (someone else can probably tell you the exact figure, I just look & say that's about right) they will follow you in to the corridor. Also keep in mind that wolves & spiders can't open doors & it's sometime easier just to close them in.

A couple of builds that may not be the best long term but got me far enough to get a feel for the game. (All Feanor):

Str 3, Dex 4, Con 4, Grac 3. 2 points in smithing (weaponsmith), rest in melee, archery, evasion. Build a 3 pd bastard sword, 3 pd longbow, arrows & just shoot down the bastards.

Str 2, Dex 4, Con 3, Grac 5. 7 pts smithing ( armoursmith, enchanting). Enough for a cloak of protection, +2 round shield of evasion & a helm of brilliance (eat the lembas wafer to regain the pt of grace) aim to pick up blocking.

Picking up song of elbereth & making orcs run if I got in trouble.
or
Picking up song of silence (you can actually make a fair bit of noise with this one, I bash down doors singing it) - stops monsters yelling to each other & you can sometimes pick them off 1 on 1. Especially if you take disguise as well
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Old June 7, 2013, 19:59   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wobbly View Post
When your injured to a certain point (someone else can probably tell you the exact figure, I just look & say that's about right) they will follow you in to the corridor.
Hint: look at the color of the @
(or is that an option to have it change color based on the remaining HP?).
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Old June 7, 2013, 20:44   #10
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Don't get surrounded.

Close doors. (Early wolves can't open doors. Also less enemies will be aware of you.)

Try without smithing or minimal smithing for a change. Put the points in Evasion / Melee. Also trying without any ability only a lot of skill during the 1st 400' is an interesting experience. I tended to overspend in abilities and smithing and had too low melee/evasion/archery to do sth. as a result - when I first played Sil.

Try stealth. (You don't need it, but try it. Take a character with only stealth + disguise ability and try creeping around and descending without killing anything - if anything you will see deeper depth than you have seen now. Stealth has good synergy with archery too. Moving consciously - waiting, hugging walls - helps even with low stealth characters.)

Use archery (there is a guaranteed forge at the 2nd level and the investment is minimal for weaponsmith as a feanor, but most often there are plenty of bows and arrows around, stealth helps you to get by until you find some).

Use throwing weapons. They use your melee skill and you already attack the opponent before he can fight back. 1-2 thrown spears can make the difference. Even with low stealth you can often score large hits because your opponents are still sleeping / unaware from the door frame.

Use armor. (I am playing a fighter, but I don't wear helmets is a luxury you can't afford. I mostly go for light armor too, but at least get the basic light equipment.)

Don't try to kill everything. Pick your fights.

Flee.

Be patient.
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