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Old June 7, 2008, 02:09   #1
sethosayher
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What variants are worth my time?

There's an entire world of Angband Variants...what are the diamonds in the rough? I've tried Zangband, ToME and vanilla...what others should I try? What are the ones to avoid? What are your favorites, and why?
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Old June 7, 2008, 03:38   #2
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It totally depends on your taste. What are you looking for in a variant?

Is my solemn and biassed duty to tell you that my variant is worth your time (as it is for anyone who's made their own variant), but look at the last announcement post for DaJAngband and see what my variant is about and see if that's what you want in a variant.

The other variants I've tried are: UnAngband, ToME, Ironband, Steamband, Sangband, and OAngband, so I'll give my opinion of each of those.

UnAngband: Added a lot of great Tolkien flavor and story, but I didn't like the gameplay as much because it's more complicated and I don't like having multiple dungeons.
ToME: I didn't play this for very long, mainly because it seemed to take awhile to get a character ready to go adventuring and it took a lot less time to die. Also what I said before about multiple dungeons.
Ironband: A variant centered around Ironman mode with no town, making it not quite as hard but still a considerable challenge from playing in normal mode. I liked what Antoine did with Ironband, but didn't play for very long simply because any Ironman game is beyond my skill level (also because I wanted to focus on developing DaJAngband and had less spare time to try out other variants).
OAngband: I spent very little time on OAngband. It seemed very similar to vanilla except that it was harder and had a different system for combat. Not what I want in a variant.
Sangband: I only played one or two games of this one, for the same reasons I didn't play OAngband for long. Also, I like the idea of doing skills different from V, but I didn't really like how Sangband did it either.
Steamband: Completely different flavor than Vanilla, but generally has more flavor than V. Although I'm pretty unfamiliar with the sources of the flavor of the game (steampunk/pulp/Victorian era novels..), this is my favorite variant (besides V and DaJAngband of course). I like what Valis did with the gameplay, and I like how Steamband handles skills (it seemed like, with skills, it took the premise of Sangband and handled it much better.) I don't play it much anymore only because I have less free time than I used to, and what gaming time I have I spend playing and develping DaJAngband.

The only two of these that I will likely go back to and play some more (when I get more free time ..if that ever happens), would be Ironband and Steamband.

Oh I also tried Discband because I'm into Discworld books, but that's one you definetly shouldn't waste your time trying. It's buggy and really doesn't seem well done or finished to me at all.

While I'm saying stuff about variants, I really should say something more about mine. DaJAngband focuses on adding flavor while keeping the gameplay mostly pretty similar to vanilla. I like the gameplay of vanilla except for one thing: the money and selling focus of the early game. Which is addressed in DaJAngband by using an early version of the patch by Eddie Grove which adds pseudo-ID for jewelry, automatic ID of average items and artifacts and removes selling to stores. (In DaJAngband, selling to stores is a birth option, so you can turn it back on if you want. I think it's better without it, but I wanted to let people choose.) DaJAngband has an almost completely redone monster list (though still with Tolkien flavour), and more races, character classes and spell realms than Vanilla. (Two spell realms are largely borrowed from OAngband.) It's current release is stable but unfinished. I have more classes and a few more modifications planned.
(1.0.95 should be out soon (I hope) with four more classes than the last released version: the necromancer, assassin, tourist, and barbarian.)
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Old June 7, 2008, 04:09   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sethosayher View Post
There's an entire world of Angband Variants...what are the diamonds in the rough? I've tried Zangband, ToME and vanilla...what others should I try? What are the ones to avoid? What are your favorites, and why?
Hmm...most of the ones that I would want to avoid, haven't been maintained recently (you'd have to look pretty hard to find them). You really couldn't go badly wrong with anything with a live website.

To put things bluntly: which of Zangband, ToME, and Vanilla did you like best?

ToME: try out the total conversions, either the stable 2.3.x series or the alpha 3.0.x series.

Zangband: I'd consider both Hengband and Entroband.

V: Well, as I am a variant maintainer myself, I would recommend mine (Zaiband) if your frustration with V was the AI (or lack thereof); that's what I've been working on fixing, since forking off of V3.0.6. I haven't added much (if anything) in the way of content yet. Current release is Zaiband 3.0.8 alpha.
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Old June 7, 2008, 06:16   #4
sethosayher
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Thank you for those very detailed and informative responses!

As for what I'm looking for...well...

I enjoyed the classes in ToME, for one thing. I loved the idea of there being an anti-magic class, for example, and some of the other unique races/occupations really made ToME a fun experience for me.

I only played a bit of Zangband....actually, I was wondering what makes this variant so popular? What I did try out seemed cool, but why is it called the "single most influential variant of Angband ever released" on your site description? I'm just wondering.

i'll also check out the variants that you two are currently maintaining.
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Old June 7, 2008, 06:37   #5
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OAngband: a dozen games, one down to Balrog depth.
Really liked it alot. I could ennumerate features, but rather I will say that there are a bunch of changes, some small, that accrue to play quite different from Vanilla. Try the rogue which can actually build traps, a completely new dimension in game play.

scthangband: several dozen games, one that covered 75% of the game
REALLY liked this one. This one is out of maintenance (for the moment) but the most recent version is completely playable. I have been turned off by multiple dungeons in other variants, but it worked really well for me here. Also, it is set in the world of 'Dream Quest for Unknown Kadath', which is a very special story.
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Old June 7, 2008, 07:18   #6
Antoine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sethosayher View Post
There's an entire world of Angband Variants...what are the diamonds in the rough? I've tried Zangband, ToME and vanilla...what others should I try? What are the ones to avoid? What are your favorites, and why?
Try Ironband, http://angband.oook.cz/ironband/.

To quote myself,

Why should you play Ironband?

1. No more 'game of shopping' - you never need to pick stuff up just to sell it.
2. 'Too much junk' is pretty much fixed (with changes to item probabilities, all characters able to use all items, some crap items removed, changes to identification, etc - and with no shops you need to keep a lot more of the stuff you find!)
3. Many of the problems which make normal Ironman games very challenging are fixed in Ironband (for example, stat drain is a problem but not a huge one, and spellbooks are more resistant to fire).
4. No more warriors wielding whips - go for a heavy weapon to do more damage (if your Strength is high enough).
5. No more boring stat gain period - your stats increase throughout the entire game without needing to collect potions.
6. Having nine stats is cool especially when you can decide which ones to raise. No more 'all endgame characters look the same'.
7. Lots of interesting resource allocation issues because your SPs only regenerate when you go downstairs. Will you use your precious SPs for a big fight, or to create some food for later, or to identify the items you found, or...?

A.
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Old June 7, 2008, 09:55   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sethosayher View Post
I only played a bit of Zangband....actually, I was wondering what makes this variant so popular? What I did try out seemed cool, but why is it called the "single most influential variant of Angband ever released" on your site description? I'm just wondering.
First variant to have a wilderness, I believe; also introduced a lot of new features, many of which have now made it into Vanilla and other variants. Also, it spawned ToME and Hengband, which have both been huge.

As for what to recommend (apart from FA, obviously), I'd probably go with Steamband and Posband to give the most different experiences. It's really a personal thing, though; one thing you could do is have a look at some ladder dumps and see if anything catches your imagination.
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Old June 7, 2008, 15:17   #8
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I have enjoyed NPP, Z, and FA so far, and have liked all of them. I also played Posband for a while and greatly enjoyed it simply because of the ability to play as monster races. After going through some variants, you start to wish you could mass-summon goons at will like the baddies always do, and Posband lets you play as a Quylthgg (sp?) Also playing the Possessor class is very different from any other variant's play simply because you have to jump from creature to creature and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.

I am loving FAangband right now, though
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Old June 7, 2008, 16:00   #9
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Install every variant you can get, and then start
deleting the ones you feel you didn´t like after
a few plays
I did that.

I currently alternate between: OAngband, FAngband,
Sangband, Entroband, want to re-play POS and UN and
get heavy into Mang at home, but there are so many games
i have to play at home
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Old June 7, 2008, 18:43   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sethosayher View Post
There's an entire world of Angband Variants...what are the diamonds in the rough? I've tried Zangband, ToME and vanilla...what others should I try? What are the ones to avoid? What are your favorites, and why?

have been hooked on the Angband + variants via the Angband competitions
http://www.angband-comp.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/
this way i've been (in the 1.5 odd yrs i've been with Angband) trying all the Angband + variants

so far

Steamband,Unangband, NPP, O, Sangband.


the thing is , if you're the kind to put your fist through a wall at dying, you'll have to play a munchkin in your starting games.

experiment! its more fun than asking for advice , which really is a matter of personal preference.

regards,
dD.
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