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Old June 26, 2021, 10:13   #1
Voovus
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Late-game

I'd like to open a can of disenchanter worms. Specifically what, to my taste, is a serious problem with late game Angband, viz it's tedious and loses the atmosphere present in the early game. Yes, I'm sure it can be exciting the first few times when you are seeing lots of new things, but I'm speaking as someone who has beaten Morgoth times too numerous to list.

The first 2500' or so are fun. The second 2500' - meh. In the early game Angband encourages "good playstyle", such as diving rather than grinding. Unfortunately, late game Angband seems to do just the opposite. I find myself regularly using TO, teleport self, abusing LoS, pillar dancing, using anti-summoning corridors, spamming banishment with a mage and spamming detection with everyone - not because they are fun, but because the alternative is worse. For example, is there a good playstyle with which one is meant to take on summoners who can effectively clone themselves (greater undead, greater demons)? Or to fight monsters that wreck your consumables, without then having to grind for those consumables? In the early game, the monsters play nice and I play nice, and all is fun and friendly. Then they begin to fight dirty (instakills, summoning, stat drain, disenchantment, item destruction). So I end up fighting dirty. But they started it!

Do others find that this is an issue? And does anyone have constructive suggestions how to make Angband encourage good playstyle in the late game? (Ok, playing a stealthy character does work, though it still relies on constant TO, TS and detection). I'm not looking for the game to be easier, I'm looking for it to be more fun. Fighting Azog is way more fun than fighting Ungoliant. My impression is that the main problem stems from an overflow of annoying monsters, but I would be happy to hear other opinions.

Apologies for the moaning.

And thank goodness for randart loot.
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Old June 26, 2021, 15:36   #2
Selkie
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I do agree with you and I think most players admit enjoying early game the most.

My biggest annoyance in the late game is the gear swap challenge and my insistence on THE PERFECT @. This is more down to me than the game though.

I like playing mages because the end game is much quicker. In fact as soon as I get mana storm I start thinking about killing Morgoth. Playing as a warrior is the most painful end game, IMO.

For me all of the peaks and troughs are just part of the adventure and part of the game that I love. If the end game gets a bit dull then I'm always raring to get started with a new character and go again.

Maybe one day I'll manage to win as a druid
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Old June 26, 2021, 16:10   #3
Julian
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Yeah, it’s a problem. Angband has a lot of mechanics that never really changed from Moria; they just became bigger.

Fixing that requires a lot of rethinking of how all the bits of Angband fit together. (I have A Lot of thoughts; it remains to be seen if something will ever become of them.)

IMO, the biggest two are the sheer depth of the dungeon, combined with the proportionally low level cap, and all the "have this resist or die" walls that discourage steady descent in a normal play style.
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Old June 26, 2021, 16:16   #4
ewert
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Yep I do agree, I find playing up to statgain/20+ speed to be the most interesting part of the journey.

I think the monster density goes up just too much compared to how dangerous a single monster in the endgame can be. Two mobs in LoS often mean chance of instant death. Then you have summoners that can summon anywhere from couple to what seems like a dozen(?), any which of them might be as dangerous.

Even in the end-game, I find fighting a single mob carefully to be enjoyable often, pushing the limits and covering your resists vs them, knowing what to fight etc. Summoners who summon trash to fill up the space are also kinda ok IMHO, but summoners who summon comparable monsters just force you to cheese it.

The bigger baddies, even the non unique ones, already force you to balance the cost vs reward. And many will just skip the fights unless they are uniques and want to kill them, because floor has more rewards...

Maybe a direction of:
less reliance on floor loot at end-game levels
change summons to be "here be trash mobs to make it more annoying for you"
boost big baddies loot drops so instead of shooing away mobs from vaults, the vaults have the big baddies that you really want to kill (vault big baddies have boosted drops?)

On another note, this would also change the value of banishments that was talked in the other thread...

Thematically:
Bigger the baddies, more territory they claim
Bigger and smarter the baddies, less chance loot is on the ground
While the bigger baddies have minions, the minions are not the same level as they are

As for the unique summoners, the worst ones could still summon quite tough minions, to force people to fight the biggest unique summoners with current antisummon tactics. But it should be reserved for limited amount of uniques, and I think the summon lists should be pruned to avoid situations where often the only option is to just use 1 round safety items ...

Actually, all of this stuff is something I'd probably enjoy balancing. Might have to crack out a devkit again ...
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Old June 26, 2021, 19:52   #5
NCountr
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There are better ways to make the 2nd-half more enjoyable.

But this has always been the nature of the beast of Angband---once one attains max-stats and has decent gear with few holes, the path forward is one of management, not making abrupt errors. For some, this can be tedious, but aside from boosting mobs to ridiculous levels, just silly ridiculous (like beyond Black Reaver ridiculous), there isn't much to be done with mobs themselves.

I think the answer is actually to make more items, more types of spells & abilities for all classes. Make the player actually choose which spells to learn or not learn. Which abilities to master or not master.

Oangband had mob AI that was nearly impossible to beat, but, they did do player classes / abilities quite well.

If the mage class had 40, 60, or even 100 total spells in the game, but any given mage player could only ever learn a maximum of say 50 of the 75 or 80 defined in the game, wouldn't that make the end game that much more enjoyable? You don't have to modify how mobs behave, you make the game more interesting by expanding the options for the player on the way down past 2000'.
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Old June 26, 2021, 20:10   #6
archolewa
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Quote:
If the mage class had 40, 60, or even 100 total spells in the game, but any given mage player could only ever learn a maximum of say 50 of the 75 or 80 defined in the game, wouldn't that make the end game that much more enjoyable? You don't have to modify how mobs behave, you make the game more interesting by expanding the options for the player on the way down past 2000'.
In theory, this sounds like fun, but in practice you just end up with the same problem you have with *every* open-ended character building system: 90% of all builds are utter trash, 9% of the builds are well-balanced, and 1% are overpowered. So you end up in the same situation you are now with experienced players: every mage looks the same, but with new players they end up slamming their heads against the wall trying to figure out if they keep dying because they make bad build choices, or poor tactics.

One of the things I *love* about Angband is that its character development is simple, and mostly gear-based. Simple character advancement means I can focus on short-term tactics without worrying about making dumb errors that I couldn't possibly know are dumb. Gear-based means it's relatively easy for me to tweak my build if later I realize things aren't working the way I expected.

I'm always down with more gear though. Really, I find the core source of variety in Angband is what gear you get and when you get it. Few things are more tense than entering Drolem territory, without rPois! Best spam that Rod of Detection.

I don't think we'd get much mileage out of adding additional consumables though. Inventory space is so tight (especially if you play without the town) that most of the new stuff is going to be left on the floor in favor of good old CCW, Magic Mapping, Detection, Speed, etc.

I don't like the idea of reducing floor drops and shoving them all into unique drops. One of the things that makes Angband unique compared to other roguelikes is how strongly it *disincentivizes* killing everything.

Personally, I'm fine with the endgame where it is. To me, it's a playground, a chance to enjoy that powerful build you sweated for over the past 80 floors or so. Once I get bored in the playground, I go kill Morgoth.

If there's anything that needs tweaking, it's the early game (first twenty floors or so). Now *that*'s a dull slog.
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Old June 26, 2021, 21:02   #7
NCountr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archolewa View Post
In theory, this sounds like fun, but in practice you just end up with the same problem you have with *every* open-ended character building system: 90% of all builds are utter trash, 9% of the builds are well-balanced, and 1% are overpowered. So you end up in the same situation you are now with experienced players: every mage looks the same, but with new players they end up slamming their heads against the wall trying to figure out if they keep dying because they make bad build choices, or poor tactics.
If you are limited to choosing which spells to learn versus which NOT to, its akin to a your Gear Buildout you refer to below. You have to know which spells are critical and which are optional. Early on some spells like Lightning Bolt / Electric Arch [i]seem[/] good, but later on, with higher level mobs resisting a lot or having higher HPs, it's not as useful. But, you can't dump it like you can a Wand of Lightning Bolts. It's stuck in the mind. There's also no guarantee one would find scrolls of higher power spells later on, say a Chaos Strike or Word of D (for priests, say) or Mana Storm.

Quote:
One of the things I *love* about Angband is that its character development is simple, and mostly gear-based. Simple character advancement means I can focus on short-term tactics without worrying about making dumb errors that I couldn't possibly know are dumb. Gear-based means it's relatively easy for me to tweak my build if later I realize things aren't working the way I expected.
You will still have the same challenges; can you find the appropriate gear to suit your character's current situation.

Quote:
I'm always down with more gear though. ... I don't think we'd get much mileage out of adding additional consumables though. Inventory space is so tight (especially if you play without the town) that most of the new stuff is going to be left on the floor in favor of good old CCW, Magic Mapping, Detection, Speed, etc.
More choices will only present more dilemma for the player. Those choices are indeed what make the game interesting. Increasing those choices will (okay, there's always a threshold .. to over do those choices to be ridiculous) make the game more enjoyable. Let's bring in Wands of Cave-ins, to rubble-up a hallway for defense... Potions of Half-speed (+5), mixed weaponry (+5, -3), a variety of Shield spells for many of the spell-casting classes, have *Slay* weapons with more varied bonuses (*Slay Orc* that bolsters Intelligence as well or in stead of Dexterity, or +1 Str, +2 Dex, -1 Con).

[QUOTE} I don't like the idea of reducing floor drops and shoving them all into unique drops. One of the things that makes Angband unique compared to other roguelikes is how strongly it *disincentivizes* killing everything. [/QUOTE]

Agreed.

Quote:
Personally, I'm fine with the endgame where it is. To me, it's a playground, a chance to enjoy that powerful build you sweated for over the past 80 floors or so. Once I get bored in the playground, I go kill Morgoth.

If there's anything that needs tweaking, it's the early game (first twenty floors or so). Now *that*'s a dull slog.
Also agreed. But that dull slug is where you find out whether you've got a winner in the making or not. By 1500', you tend to know.
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Old June 26, 2021, 21:09   #8
archolewa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCountr View Post
If you are limited to choosing which spells to learn versus which NOT to, its akin to a your Gear Buildout you refer to below. You have to know which spells are critical and which are optional. Early on some spells like Lightning Bolt / Electric Arch [i]seem[/] good, but later on, with higher level mobs resisting a lot or having higher HPs, it's not as useful. But, you can't dump it like you can a Wand of Lightning Bolts. It's stuck in the mind.
And this is precisely what makes it *completely* different from being gear-based. If you're allowed to unlearn spells to make room for new ones, then sure, I'm ok with being able to pick spells. But so long as you're stuck with spells forever, you're not just littering the ground with a few newb traps here or there, you're creating a newb minefield. Some people enjoy navigating those. I don't.

If a player makes a critical mistake, they should find out *real* fast. They shouldn't find out seventy floors later when they find Mana Storm only to realize they can't learn it because they were inexperienced enough to think Electric Arch was a good idea.
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Old June 26, 2021, 22:31   #9
Pete Mack
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Hmm. It seems to me that if spells are bound to spellbooks as they come, the limiting factor is spellbooks and appropriate scrolls. It's also a sure recipe for too much junk.
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Old June 27, 2021, 02:14   #10
Selkie
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@NCountr I think you make some very sensible and refreshing in these two threads.

I've long thought that spell casters should find individual spells on scrolls and then after casting them for 100 times they can commit them to memory.

I love the idea of having a vast pool of spells but only have the memory capacity to learn 60-70 per cent of them.

To counter the idea of there being ONE single OP mage spell combination I'd have to say I can't see it happening. There are spells some players rave about but I never use - anything that destroys the dungeon for example like Grond's Blow only ever gets cast once by me for the XP.

I like the idea of mages getting ever single elemental offense spell but only having the ability to learn one or two of them. The player has to decide which monsters it wants to focus on. Do you go frost bolt to assassinate hydras (for all that filthy cash) or do you go fire bolts to fry vampires or huorns? I know which element I'd choose.

Time attacks really need to go. They're zero fun. If I see time hounds on a level then my heart sinks, often I'll just insta bail.
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