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View Poll Results: What changes should be made to zephyr hounds in V?
None - leave them as they are 29 40.28%
Minor tweaking (e.g. increase rarities by one) 30 41.67%
Major nerfing (e.g. rarer, dumber AI, smaller packs, lower hp) 7 9.72%
Remove them altogether 6 8.33%
Voters: 72. You may not vote on this poll

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Old April 22, 2009, 07:45   #51
zaimoni
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marble Dice View Post
Smart AI is pretty annoying, but as noted you can almost ignore hounds and walk away (if you're not blocked or surrounded) since they won't pursue you into corridors. On top of that, you can rest as much as you want, as long as you don't get too low and trigger their critical health behavior. I still don't fully understand how to deal with killing smart AI hounds -- does this adaptation of the hockey stick work?

Code:
########
##.Z.ZZ.
##.#####
#.@.####
##.#####
That should work, yes.
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Originally Posted by Marble Dice View Post
Does anyone know how many open tiles adjacent to the player the hounds want before they'll pursue?
"Use the Source, Luke!"

A minimum of seven open tiles and/or room walls surrounding the player is required to convince the canine entities that you are in the open.
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Old April 22, 2009, 09:26   #52
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In Gumband (and my unreleased Dangband) the only monsters not specific to that variant that I can state will continue to be part of the mix are the zephyr hounds. So, I could see maybe a minor tweak in order bring them back in line after the game changes around them to create an imbalance, but I would not want to see a major change.

Thematically, while they are certainly not specifically Tolkienesque, to my mind they fit as the sort of thing Morgoth would have breed in the depths of Angband given half a chance. I've never found them jarring in the way that more specific-to-a-non-Middle-Earth-mythos monsters are.
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Old April 22, 2009, 17:20   #53
Marble Dice
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Originally Posted by zaimoni View Post
"Use the Source, Luke!"
Heh, I tend to balk at finding the appropriate source file when it's anything more complicated than tables.c or dungeon.c. I suppose I should just use MSYS grep to help narrow the search.

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Originally Posted by rdanhenry View Post
Thematically, while they are certainly not specifically Tolkienesque, to my mind they fit as the sort of thing Morgoth would have breed in the depths of Angband given half a chance. I've never found them jarring in the way that more specific-to-a-non-Middle-Earth-mythos monsters are.
Zepher hounds have always been representative of Angband to me for some reason. While they're not Tolkien, they are lore-neutral, and I feel like they embody Angband gameplay in a meaningful way - here's these enemies that usually have really unfair breath weapons - and they come in giant packs and chase you down from half-way across the dungeon. On top of that they're like elemental skittles, there's one for every variety of damage type. A large part of Angband gameplay is collecting the various and necessary resistances, and hounds are basically the adversarial embodiment of that system. They've always felt less like enemies to me and more like a fundamental extension of the dynamics of a world where powerful elemental forces dominate reality.
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Old April 22, 2009, 17:44   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marble Dice View Post
Zepher hounds have always been representative of Angband to me for some reason. While they're not Tolkien, they are lore-neutral, and I feel like they embody Angband gameplay in a meaningful way - here's these enemies that usually have really unfair breath weapons - and they come in giant packs and chase you down from half-way across the dungeon. On top of that they're like elemental skittles, there's one for every variety of damage type. A large part of Angband gameplay is collecting the various and necessary resistances, and hounds are basically the adversarial embodiment of that system. They've always felt less like enemies to me and more like a fundamental extension of the dynamics of a world where powerful elemental forces dominate reality.
Whereas I, by contrast, have always found them utterly incongruous and irritating. Huge packs of monsters not found in any lore or mythology (else they would be Cs), which are always awake, have insane detection range, cut you off from loot or stairs, wake other people up by breathing at you around them, and drop nothing. Only one V monster has ever been more tedious and annoying (the magic mushroom patch), though Sang has lucksuckers and stormcrows which are equally bad.

I'm not saying that every monster should have a drop, or even that monsters without drops shouldn't be dangerous or annoying, but Zs have always been waaaaay over the top IMO.

Good job we aren't all the same, or life would be very boring.
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Old April 22, 2009, 18:53   #55
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Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
Whereas I, by contrast, have always found them utterly incongruous and irritating.
Don't get me wrong, I hate the buggers. I just don't think they're that much out of place if mages casting frost and nether bolts and all the rest of the D&D influences aren't out of place in a Tolkien universe. I see that you don't agree, though. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I started playing Angband long before I ever read any Tolkien, so maybe that has something to do with it.

I do think they're a little extreme even for a game with infinite breeders, enemies that can summon enemies that can summon enemies, infinite paralyze combos, and breath weapons that can one-shot you. I think a few minor changes could bring them more in line with the level of "over-the-top" that the rest of Angband seems to strive for.

No other class of enemy in the game makes me exclaim "God, why are they here?" as often as Zs. Most enemies break a rule or two, and a lot of enemies try to teach you something, but hounds break all of the rules. They spawn in huge packs, they never sleep, they have a huge detection radius, they go through doors, they do not feel pity or remorse or fear and they cannot be stopped unless killed. Except that last part isn't even something you can rely on with smart ai. They require a completely different strategy, they can do lots of damage, they have elemental attacks, and the only "reward" for having your normal meta-game interrupted is the experience, which you usually pay for with heavy item and/or turn loss. It seems like most Angband enemies make you ask the question, "Is dealing with this necessary, and is the reward worth the risk?" and if the answer is no, then you avoid it or move on. Due to their excessive variety, commonness, pack size, and alertness, hounds don't really give you that option short of going down the stairs that happened to be close and not blocked by dogs.

All of this is why they've never seemed like enemies to me. If they show up (which they will), you have to switch to "hound mode." They're a common source of instant death (especially after teleport and stair climbing), and some hounds (gravity, inertia, time) remain dangerous long past the point when they can't possibly kill you themselves.
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Old April 22, 2009, 20:41   #56
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Originally Posted by Marble Dice View Post
Due to their excessive variety, commonness, pack size, and alertness, hounds don't really give you that option short of going down the stairs that happened to be close and not blocked by dogs.
This is why I edit monster.txt and increase all their rarities - I just find the game unenjoyable otherwise. I used to increment all the rarities by one - now I do it by two and still there are almost too many hounds.
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Old April 23, 2009, 05:37   #57
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Originally Posted by Marble Dice View Post
Don't get me wrong, I hate the buggers.

No other class of enemy in the game makes me exclaim "God, why are they here?" as often as Zs. Most enemies break a rule or two, and a lot of enemies try to teach you something, but hounds break all of the rules. They spawn in huge packs, they never sleep, they have a huge detection radius, they go through doors, they do not feel pity or remorse or fear and they cannot be stopped unless killed. Except that last part isn't even something you can rely on with smart ai. They require a completely different strategy, they can do lots of damage, they have elemental attacks, and the only "reward" for having your normal meta-game interrupted is the experience, which you usually pay for with heavy item and/or turn loss. It seems like most Angband enemies make you ask the question, "Is dealing with this necessary, and is the reward worth the risk?"
Exactly! Which is why they shouldn't be removed... Slightly smaller maximum pack size might be OK, but there's something invigorating about seeing a dozen Time Hounds around the corner, or a dozen Aethereal hounds coming at you through the walls.
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Old April 24, 2009, 09:03   #58
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To me it seems that the hound packs are somewhat larger in the newer versions. I'd tone them down a little bit.
If the overall goal is, to make Vanilla more appealing to new players, the hound masses don't satisfy this ambition.
I think after all this years I am a quite experienced player. I've always hated hounds, but they tended to be more of an annoyance. Nowadays they are a fun killer.

Edit
Just died because there were literally dozens of different hounds at 950' - managed to escape to one level up, just to run into a horde of fire hounds. That ist no challenge or fun, that's just cruel.
Let me know, if there ever is a new version with adjusted hound packs. Otherwise I will never ever have a look at them again.

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Old April 25, 2009, 21:56   #59
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Otherwise I will never ever have a look at them again.
What does that mean?

My 2 cents (yet again)

Yes, sometimes the dungeon can be cruel, that's intentional.
It doesn't happen EVERY time, that's balance.

... by the time new players start finding hounds annoying they are already hooked, and will learn to persevere, or die.
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Old April 25, 2009, 22:10   #60
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I'm with buzzkill on this one. Sometimes you die in an unfair manner. Wins wouldn't be so satisfying without the presence of painful, frustrating, or embarrassing deaths.

My personal favorite was this one.

EDIT: and speaking of misinterpreted ascii, I also prefer the same change be made for Glaurung that was recently made for Kavlax. He's way more dangerous than Smaug or a Dracolisk, but he looks the same as a light red 'D'.

Last edited by Pete Mack; April 25, 2009 at 22:17.
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