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Old September 28, 2015, 06:26   #1
brbrbr
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What do I do wrong?

Hi guys.
I am very close to never play the game ever again.
My 14th high-elf ranger attempt died yesterday.

That makes me think:

1) What are the odds of winning the game?
If average player wins one in every 50 games, 14 does not sound too bad.

2) How much real time does it take to win the game on average?
I died mostly at dl 30-40, which takes me 10-16 hours of play.
I've seen someone mentioned 5 years to finally make it. Really???

3) Is it a game for masochists?
Spending weekends to carefully level-up a character and die instantly from out-of-blue breather is painful.
Is it pain just for pain, or is there really chance to learn something???

4) On deep diving.
My best run was with my very first attempt. I went to dl 43, and I played aggressively, dive deep. I played recklessly.
As I learnt more about Insta-Kill-you-Monsters in hard way, I started to play conservatively. Results become worse.
If I know game better, the results should improve, shouldn't they?
What do I do wrong?

My last character get permanent +15 speed and half of the inventory of artefacts, all 4 resistances on dl30.
I don't think I could ever get luckier. Guess what...
Ancient red dragon breathes fire. You die. And that dragon wasn't in line of my sight. And I didn't attack or attempted to attack him even once.
He just blew me out of the dark corner somewhere I could not see him.
Now, what do I learn from that lesson? Avoid getting anywhere close to Ancient dragons? Get two resistances before you come even close?
Detect monsters every other turn you make in the game? That is on level 30, how many other beasts like that all the way down to level 100?
To learn them hard way would make me play for years, that's for sure.

Some other mistakes
Casting phase door failed (10%), casting phase door failed (10%), using teleport stuff failed (7%), You die.
Mathematicallly, that is should be almost impossible to fail three attempts in a row. What do I learn from that??

Casting satisfy hunger (30%) failed, rest, failed(30%), rest, failed(30%), you are weak, failed(30%), faint, you die.
Again, mathematically that is almost impossible. What is the knowledge here?

Some other examples: 6 teleports right into middle of different monster packs. In a row. Of course you die.
Avoid maps with danger level higher than 3?

Drolem breathes poison: Ok, I get the sub-window open with all the monsters listed and I don't move until I look up all of them.
That makes game progress even slower.

Gravity hound: You feel slow -10. You die. Immediately escape any levels with gravity hounds??
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Old September 28, 2015, 06:44   #2
Ingwe Ingweron
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Take a break from playing and instead binge watch Fizzix's "Let's Play Angband" on YouTube. After seeing several series of these (including some that where @ dies), your chances of successfully navigating the challenges of the game will dramatically increase. At least they did for me.

Your @'s dying in the 30-40 DL range seems reasonable. I've noticed a shift in the game at about that point and my playing style has to shift accordingly.

Hopefully, when you start playing again you will have gleaned some helpful skills and tips that will make it fun again.

By the way, at least your @ died when it did. My last @ went all the way to the penultimate battle and died to Sauron. http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=18166
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“We're more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can't give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They're all blood, you see.”
― Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Last edited by Ingwe Ingweron; September 28, 2015 at 06:53.
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Old September 28, 2015, 07:28   #3
fph
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Angband can be brutal on beginners, I realize. One of the important lessons to learn is to avoid taking risks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
Ancient red dragon breathes fire. You die. And that dragon wasn't in line of my sight. And I didn't attack or attempted to attack him even once.
He just blew me out of the dark corner somewhere I could not see him.
Now, what do I learn from that lesson? Avoid getting anywhere close to Ancient dragons? Get two resistances before you come even close?
Detect monsters every other turn you make in the game? That is on level 30, how many other beasts like that all the way down to level 100?
To learn them hard way would make me play for years, that's for sure.
Lesson: detect monsters often. Not "every other turn", but often enough that things like this cannot reasonably happen.

Quote:
Casting phase door failed (10%), casting phase door failed (10%), using teleport stuff failed (7%), You die.
Mathematicallly, that is should be almost impossible to fail three attempts in a row. What do I learn from that??
That combo fails 0.7% of the time. If you use it once, it's fine. If it's your normal fighting tactics, and you are employing it hundreds of times in each game, things are bound to go wrong sooner or later. Lesson: if you are in a situation in which you are going to die if your escape method fails, don't use a staff of teleport, use something with 0% fail rate, such as a scroll of phase door, a scroll of teleport (still unreliable after a certain point, as it can land you in another dangerous spot), teleport level, or a CCW/Healing potion.

Quote:
Casting satisfy hunger (30%) failed, rest, failed(30%), rest, failed(30%), you are weak, failed(30%), faint, you die.
Again, mathematically that is almost impossible. What is the knowledge here?
Again, don't rely on things that can fail if it's your last hope. If you repeat this trick 130 times during your game, it is going to fail once (on average). Lesson: your last action should have been reading a ?recall, going to the 1 shop, and buying a ration, instead of resting and taking a risk. Alternatively, it might be a better idea to devote an inventory slot to ?satisfyhunger while your failure rate on the spell is still high.

Quote:
Some other examples: 6 teleports right into middle of different monster packs. In a row. Of course you die.
Avoid maps with danger level higher than 3?
After a certain depth, teleport becomes dangerous. Especially if you use it as your last change when you have very few hp left. Carry ?teleportlevel and/or !healing around for all the times when you really can't fail it.
With experience, you'll recognize dangerous situations and learn to teleport a few turns earlier, before things start going really wrong.

Quote:
Drolem breathes poison: Ok, I get the sub-window open with all the monsters listed and I don't move until I look up all of them.
That makes game progress even slower.
It is enough to check the monster window every time you detect monsters. And to detect monsters first thing after you enter a level (unless you can cast create doors, which is even safer --- for some strange reason, doors are the most solid thing in this game, even a gravity breath can't pass them).
For a beginner, I think it is much better to play with full monster spoilers: copy lib/gamedata/monster.txt into lib/user/lore.txt (on Windows, or ~/.angband/Angband/lore.txt on Linux, ~/Documents/Angband on OSX). In this way you can use monster recall and check immediately what can kill you.

Quote:
Gravity hound: You feel slow -10. You die. Immediately escape any levels with gravity hounds??
That's quite accurate. At some point you can take them one by one in a corridor, but before that you should gtfo asap when you see them. There are some monsters it simply isn't worth fighting. If you teleport away, keep in mind that successive teleports around the level aren't going to be safe.

Don't be discouraged. You will get better with experience. The one around dlvl 30-40 is the only big transition of the game. Once you get used to hanging around at these depths and carefully avoiding risky moves, the rest of the game is downhill.
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Dive fast, die young, leave a high-CHA corpse.
--
You read a scroll labeled 'lol gtfo' of Teleport Level.
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Old September 28, 2015, 07:33   #4
Carnivean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
As I learnt more about Insta-Kill-you-Monsters in hard way, I started to play conservatively.
I think this is where you've gone wrong overall. Diving fast, but avoiding the monsters that you can't survive is the way to go.

As for out of sight, there are 2 things to consider. Line of sight isn't symmetrical. Sometimes you can see them without them seeing you, and vice versa. The other is that detection in its various forms is vital. ESP, spells or wands/rods/scrolls will show you what is around you, allowing you to make informed choices.

Don't forget that resistances from items (permanent) and those from potions or spells stack. Resist fire on your armour would reduce the maximum damage from 1600 to 533. Still a lot for a level 14 character. Drink a potion of resist fire as well and that damage drops to 177.

I had more, but fph beat while I was typing it up.
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Old September 28, 2015, 08:45   #5
mushroom patch
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One thing that might help is to realize that almost 100% of items you find at depths less than about 75 are junk you won't need to win, yet monsters that can kill you in one shot appear much earlier than that. Meanwhile, the power of your character in angband scales more with the equipment, spellbooks, and consumables you have than with experience level. The conclusion is: The more time you spend at these middle depths, the more likely it is you'll lose through inattention/boredom/bad decision making.

If monsters like ancient dragons are waking up off-screen (not the same as out of LoS), you need to pay more attention to stealth and stop wandering around on levels just for the sake of it.
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Old September 28, 2015, 10:09   #6
Mondkalb
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Rangers are good with bows but lousy spellcasters. Don't rely on spells, umless your failure rate is zero (only mages and priests).
Use the spells for support instead (mainly detection). Don't use teleport spells if you are in a critical situation. As othes have mentioned, there are failsafe scrolls for emergency escapes.

It is usually better to dive fast. The longer you stay on a dungeon level the higher the risk that monsters will awake.

Half-efl rangers are not the easiest way to start the game. (I have done that over years without any wins ;-).) Try a high elf ranger; the XP penalty is a bit heavy, but with a good bow and enough arrows you can easily kill some monsters to make up for that. (It's nice to have see invisible right from the start also.)

You could also try a rogue (only rogues have the true detection spell) and benefit from the higher stealth bonus (particulary with hobbits).
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Old September 28, 2015, 11:59   #7
Werbaer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
1) What are the odds of winning the game?
If average player wins one in every 50 games, 14 does not sound too bad.
I started playing again this year after a long hiatus. I had a warrior, mage, priest and ranger winner with about 5 tries each (not counting the ones that died within the first half hour, before 500' or so). Now i just had my 14th elven paladin die. (note: this was 3.0.5. Difficulty might have changed).
But i considered myself a (very) good payer back when i played regulary, not an average one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
2) How much real time does it take to win the game on average?
Back in old days, i estimated 20-25 hours for a winner, not counting the failed attempts. But i started to play 4.0 recently, and at least the early levels seem to be much easier / faster. I think fast pseudo-id and auto-ignore helps a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
I died mostly at dl 30-40, which takes me 10-16 hours of play.
Try diving faster. I'm usual at dl 30 within 2 hours (faster with warriors, slower with mage / priest). Then i slow down due to to fear of gravity / inertia / impact hounds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
3) Is it a game for masochists?
Is it pain just for pain, or is there really chance to learn something???
You should learn something from each death.
It's not that bad if you played for 2 hours and get killed, and learn something new. Getting killed by some random unique at 4000' after 20 hours hurts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
4) On deep diving.
As I learnt more about Insta-Kill-you-Monsters in hard way, I started to play conservatively. Results become worse.
There are still a lot of insta-kill monsters you don't know about.
Current versions have the option to play with full monster knowledge; use it, and check the danger for unknown ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
My last character get permanent +15 speed and half of the inventory of artefacts, all 4 resistances on dl30.
Ancient red dragon breathes fire. You die.
Play with full monster knowledge. "May breath fire (293)". That's without resistence; with resist fire, it's 1/3 (about 100). So i guess you weren't at full health when he surprised you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
He just blew me out of the dark corner somewhere I could not see him.
Now, what do I learn from that lesson?
If you were at dl 30 (like your post suggests), it dragon was massively out of depth. It can't be generated normally at that depth, only in special rooms (vaults). Be very careful when dealing with vaults; there may be very deep monsters in there. Detect often near such rooms. Flee, if there are things you can't handle.
If you were deeper (dl 36+), 100 hit points is too low. Heal when damaged. Carry enough potions with you; even a stack of cure light wounds helps a lot these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
Mathematicallly, that is should be almost impossible to fail three attempts in a row. What do I learn from that??
1% risks are going to fail at some points, if you take them often enough. Always carry some fail-save escape (heal, *destruction*). Especially with a character with 5% fail or worse, think before casting if you can affort the spell to fail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
Some other examples: 6 teleports right into middle of different monster packs. In a row. Of course you die.
Teleport tries to move you the max distance. If you're in a big open room, and teleport away, chances are high that if you teleport again, you land back in the same room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brbrbr View Post
Drolem breathes poison:
The classic, infamous instand-death. At drolem depth, you don't have the hit points to survive their poison breath. Luckily, potions of resist poison exist now. But the smart move is to flee when you see one, until you have the resist and are *much* stronger.

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Gravity hound: You feel slow -10. You die. Immediately escape any levels with gravity hounds??
Until you're much stonger, yes. Or stay far away from them, detect often, and don't teleport around on the level.
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Old September 28, 2015, 13:01   #8
MattB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Werbaer View Post
If you were at dl 30 (like your post suggests), it dragon was massively out of depth. It can't be generated normally at that depth, only in special rooms (vaults).
I'm not sure that's strictly true...

(Although your advice about vaults is valid)
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Old September 28, 2015, 14:13   #9
Werbaer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Werbaer View Post
If you were at dl 30 (like your post suggests), it dragon was massively out of depth. It can't be generated normally at that depth, only in special rooms (vaults).
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattB View Post
I'm not sure that's strictly true...
(Although your advice about vaults is valid)
I stand corrected. It got changed at some point. Likely when the autoscum option was removed, to generate more interesting levels on average.

It used to be a 1 in 50 chance of up to 4 levels out of depth; the comment for get_mon_num() still tells this.

But now the code itself has a 1 in 25 chance for up to 10 levels out of depth (customizable in constants.txt) for dl 32 or deeper.
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Old September 28, 2015, 14:38   #10
Derakon
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My advice would be to play a half-troll warrior. No spells, no stealth, no nothing except a colossal amount of brute force. It turns out colossal amounts of brute force are quite helpful in this game, and not having access to spells does not lessen the depth of the gameplay. Most importantly, half-troll warriors are massively more durable than most other race/class combinations (especially newbie traps like high-elf rangers), which makes them a lot more forgiving of mistakes (including the "I didn't know this monster could hit so hard" mistakes).
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