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Old April 6, 2009, 14:37   #1
TJS
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Playing without returning to town

I've started a game recently as a half-troll priest deciding that I'm not going back to town once I've left. It's actually a lot more enjoyable up to a point (round about lvl 30 onwards), but then things started to stagnate somewhat.

Things I've noticed:

1) Scrapping around for any equipment lying about is really great fun. It forces you to make use of all the things that you wouldn't normally bother with and makes you change tactics depending on what you find.

2) There aren't many restore points/mushrooms about. I got 'touched' by an invisible monster to reduce dexterity to 3 near the start of the game and had to play with this all the way through. When I got breathed on by a nexus hound to reduce strength from 18 to 8 I knew I was in real trouble.

3) Food and light sources are frequently dotted about for the first few levels, but after a while they seem to run out. If I hadn't found the phial early and wasn't playing a priest with satisfy hunger prayer I would have been in trouble.

4) Jewellery is really hard to work out what it is without a source of identify. You try them on and then you take them off without any noticable difference. Only half the time they are cursed so you can't. The only one I managed to work out what it was, was an amulet of inertia due to the speed penalty. I seem to remember someone doing a patch that had pseudo-id for jewellery (Eddie perhaps?) and thought it was a great idea. Any plans for incorporating it into V sometime?

5) There aren't many remove curse scrolls about (I didn't find any at all as far I was aware, although I could have missed them), so again if I hadn't been playing with the prayer of remove curse I would have been in real trouble, especially with all that cursed jewellery.

6) Missiles are few and far between. I found two piles of around 20 arrows in the whole time I was playing. I like not having unlimited arrows, but it seemed that I had a bit too few.

7) I found a grand total of one scroll of identify for the whole game (and no staves).

8) Wands, staffs, potions and scrolls are quite easy to identify by trying them, but weapons and equipment are much harder. I had special armour and excellent equipment in all other slots without any idea what any of them were. The only one I could work out was my weapon of Westernesse from the bonuses. Eventually it automatically identified the weapon (which I knew anyway), but never did for the other items even though I was wearing them for a long time. It would be nice to be able to work out what things are through playing rather than relying on identify all of the time.

9) There were very few scrolls of phase door, teleportation and teleport level so if I hadn't been playing a priest with access to the portal prayer I would have had very few methods of escape.

All in all it was enjoyable, but soon became a bit too difficult to survive. I suspect that reducing the number of drops has made this sort of attempt much more difficult than it was before. I know the game isn't really designed to not return to town, but it would be good to have it balance so it is just about possible to win the game without doing so.

Perhaps having it marked when you win the game how many times you returned to town would encourage people to return a bit less. Personally I'd quite like to see only one Word of Recall scroll being guaranteed in town and you have to find one to return back if you wanted to (with an increase in the number of them appearing in the dungeon), although I realise not many people would agree with this.
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Old April 6, 2009, 15:27   #2
Donald Jonker
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I agree that while the town is essential to the experience of Angband, the more time spent in the dungeon, the better. I'd likewise like to see less reliance on ?id and more on test-trial.

By the way, I assume you know about Ironband.

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Originally Posted by TJS View Post
Personally I'd quite like to see only one Word of Recall scroll being guaranteed in town and you have to find one to return back if you wanted to (with an increase in the number of them appearing in the dungeon), although I realise not many people would agree with this.
Would only make sense if ?WoR were fireproof and theft-proof. And why the hell not?

Sounds like an interesting sub-game.. if you could balance it and get around the townscumming.
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Old April 6, 2009, 15:40   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Jonker View Post
I agree that while the town is essential to the experience of Angband, the more time spent in the dungeon, the better. I'd likewise like to see less reliance on ?id and more on test-trial.

By the way, I assume you know about Ironband.
Yes I tend to start to lose a bit of interest in the game once I've returned to town a couple of time. I like to feel I've earned the items I've got rather than just bought them from a shop.

I know about Ironband, but I've not really tried it. I tend to avoid most of the variants since I like the UI and other changes to vanilla so much that I can't really play without them. Do you know if it is updated to the 3.1.0 codebase?

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Would only make sense if ?WoR were fireproof and theft-proof. And why the hell not?
Well the idea was really that the ?WoR would be for getting back down to the deepest depth, but you'd have to find one before you could get back up again. I was only really toying with the idea though rather than seriously suggesting it.

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Sounds like an interesting sub-game.. if you could balance it and get around the townscumming.
Well I'd say you could make turns when you are resting not count towards town restock times. Or even more dramatically ?WoR only works when you are in the dungeon. When you are in the town the down stairs take you to the deepest level you have been to.
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Old April 6, 2009, 16:08   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJS View Post
I know about Ironband, but I've not really tried it. I tend to avoid most of the variants since I like the UI and other changes to vanilla so much that I can't really play without them. Do you know if it is updated to the 3.1.0 codebase?
The source is available so you could always roll your own.
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Old April 6, 2009, 16:20   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJS View Post
I've started a game recently as a half-troll priest deciding that I'm not going back to town once I've left. It's actually a lot more enjoyable up to a point (round about lvl 30 onwards), but then things started to stagnate somewhat.
This is the way I'd like to play, but the drops prohibit it. Why identify isn't more common in the dungeon I'll never know. No one is ever going to find enough ID's to identify all their items, even if the ID drops were to increase 10x. It's extraordinarily important (esp for classes with weak pseudo, non spell casters, and because of a similar lack of remove curse), but I guess that we're just expected to buy ID in town. A practice which is nearly impossible in the early game, and unnecessary in the late (when we can afford it).
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Old April 6, 2009, 16:42   #6
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...but I guess that we're just expected to buy ID in town. A practice which is nearly impossible in the early game, and unnecessary in the late (when we can afford it).
You're playing the game wrong. The design clearly aims at having you get a shovel and dig out magma and quartz veins after filling your pack until everything pseudos and you have enough cash to buy ID for everything good or better.
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Old April 6, 2009, 16:50   #7
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Originally Posted by buzzkill View Post
This is the way I'd like to play, but the drops prohibit it. Why identify isn't more common in the dungeon I'll never know. No one is ever going to find enough ID's to identify all their items, even if the ID drops were to increase 10x. It's extraordinarily important (esp for classes with weak pseudo, non spell casters, and because of a similar lack of remove curse), but I guess that we're just expected to buy ID in town. A practice which is nearly impossible in the early game, and unnecessary in the late (when we can afford it).
Yes it does become annoying having to buy a load of identify and then go through all your stuff seeing what it all is. Most the time I recall to town is because my pack is full of unidentified stuff, rather than a need to restock.

I would personally like the game to move away from using identify in this way though. You could gain equipment knowledge in the same way you gain monster knowledge.

So for example if you have equipment wielded with resist acid, you will realise when you are attacked with acid. Once you recognise resist acid then you will see it immediately on any other items that have it.

Sustains could be discovered when a monster tries to reduce your stat. Other things like stealth can be discovered upon using it for a while.

Identify could still be in the game, just quite rare and will identify and teach you to recognise everything about a particular piece of equipment.
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Old April 6, 2009, 17:13   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJS View Post
I know about Ironband, but I've not really tried it. I tend to avoid most of the variants since I like the UI and other changes to vanilla so much that I can't really play without them. Do you know if it is updated to the 3.1.0 codebase?
It's not. Good news, though, is that it's based off of NPP (can't remember offhand which version), which prior to V3.1 was the posterchild of UI excellence (and in many ways still is). The game is balanced for Ironman runs, and would probably be right up your alley. I'm getting more and more interested in it, myself.

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Well the idea was really that the ?WoR would be for getting back down to the deepest depth, but you'd have to find one before you could get back up again. I was only really toying with the idea though rather than seriously suggesting it.
IMO, it's an excellent idea (I hope that came across) - and I'd say toy with it some more. It would add massively to the element of suspense in the game, and really disrupt the player's feeling of safety. ?WoR would certainly have to become more common (which might be a good idea anyway), and theft-proofing and fire-proofing considered... but maybe not necessary. I think this has real potential.

Re: store-bought ?WoR, As you say, making ?WoR only work in the dungeon, and having the stairs or a shop service zip you to your lowest depth would probably be simplest. The idea being that you wouldn't need to have ?WoR in the stores at all.
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Old April 6, 2009, 17:17   #9
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Originally Posted by TJS View Post
So for example if you have equipment wielded with resist acid, you will realise when you are attacked with acid. Once you recognise resist acid then you will see it immediately on any other items that have it.

Sustains could be discovered when a monster tries to reduce your stat. Other things like stealth can be discovered upon using it for a while.
I've experimented with this kind of thing. The first question is whether learning a ring of resist fire should translate into knowledge that a dagger provides fire resistance. It is not clear how best to balance gameplay. I certainly agree that once you learn rFire on a shield, you should recognize it on all further shields. I call this approach "rune-based", where each object flag is a rune that is visible on an object when you pick it up.

Learning sustains by trial and error is not feasible, at least in the 309 world with separate rings for each sustain. I got around this by making them pseudo as average, and then when a ring pseudos as average I would squelch the flavor not caring whether it is sustain int or slow digestion.

I have code based on 309 with no doc and some bugs that I am not planning to update. I hope to port to 31x, and then work off the 31x branch. You do not notice repeated flags, but you do learn rFire when you are hit by a fire attack. Anyone capable of compiling on their own and desperate enough for ways around id can send me mail, except developers who should definitely not snag the code in its current state. I think I managed to play a game through once without using any form of id, but it has been months since I had a chance to play.

To the OP -- IMO a starting ironman style char should begin the game with a potion of restore str and huge amounts of food and light. Don't waste money on inessentials. However, keep in mind that the game is balanced on the assumption you can buy spellbooks in town.
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Old April 6, 2009, 18:08   #10
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Originally Posted by Donald Jonker View Post
It's not. Good news, though, is that it's based off of NPP (can't remember offhand which version), which prior to V3.1 was the posterchild of UI excellence (and in many ways still is). The game is balanced for Ironman runs, and would probably be right up your alley. I'm getting more and more interested in it, myself.
Cool thanks for the tip, I think I'll give it a try.

Quote:
IMO, it's an excellent idea (I hope that came across) - and I'd say toy with it some more. It would add massively to the element of suspense in the game, and really disrupt the player's feeling of safety. ?WoR would certainly have to become more common (which might be a good idea anyway), and theft-proofing and fire-proofing considered... but maybe not necessary. I think this has real potential.

Re: store-bought ?WoR, As you say, making ?WoR only work in the dungeon, and having the stairs or a shop service zip you to your lowest depth would probably be simplest. The idea being that you wouldn't need to have ?WoR in the stores at all.
Yes I always feel full of suspense when I start the game, but gradually feel safer as time goes on. Once I know I have enough money and/or ?WoR to go to the town and back whenever I want I really start to get a bit bored of the game. Running out of scrolls of phase door, !CCW or arrows is really a minor inconvenience and it means I have no incentive to conserve these resources. It is also less interesting when I find these vital resources on the dungeon floor.

I like using up things that I know I'm going to throw away when my pack gets full, like staves of sleep monster or wands of confusion. It is one of the reasons I prefer the early part of the game to later parts, because you have limited resources and a lot of the magic devices are still useful (later monsters tend to resist things like confusion more often).
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