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Old February 15, 2019, 07:52   #1
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Exclamation "Nick is going to butcher the game"

Angband’s lore destruction

There were loads of new awesome stuff came in Angband: new ID, traps, curses, new light effects etc. All this enhancement of the gameplay made Angband a bit different, but the better game overall. I know some guys (eg in Discord) who like old gameplay mechanics more, buy most of players enjoying evolution of the gameplay mechanics (and I'm among them).

But currently there are coming changes to monsters and races (game's lore actually) which are NOT liked by a lot of players. This changes pushed by huge Nick's authority, which he absolutely deserved by his work on the game. But what is more important: Nick's authority or Angband itself?

What made me to write this post? New LORE-based changes in Angband:

Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Healer replaced by tamer (novice druid)
Bandit replaced by ruffian (novice blackguard)
Easterling warrior renamed warrior
Master rogue renamed rogue
Black knight tweaked and renamed blackguard
This is just a small drop. If it was the only changes in games LORE - I won't created this thread. But it's a long lasting job on game's lore transformation. Loads of monsters changed depths (eg all nazguls now >75 lvl monsters.. Uvatha ), renamed, revamped.. NOT rebalanced, but revamped

So the question now - could we save vanilla Angand from destroying?

Why monsters are lore?

Overall I liked a lot of stuff Nick's doing, but all past monster revamp is really bad - when he just throw away monsters which were with us FOR YEARS. I understand that Nick got his own vision on the game, but it feels like a destroying the game which we knew. New version would certainly be not an oldschool classic Angband anymore, it's a new variant. I do not know why other players are silent or only approving Nick's changes to monsters.. It can not be that I'm the only one who can't bear it. I know some people who also said that "Nick is going to butcher the game" and they do not like this stuff. Why are you silent, guys?

Certain stuff shouldn't be changed. Angband doesn't have 'lore' like some other RPG's which got a static map and a rich storyline. The only 'lore' and 'spirit' of this game is concluded in monsters. Monsters in Angband - it's LORE, A WORLD. It's a CORE of the game. It should be preserved and threated with huge respect. It should be great cautious to put our dirty fingers at any of classic monsters, which loved by thousands of players.

Traps mechanics - alright. They were boring with trap detection. Curses.. Yeah - it was annoying not to be able to drop stuff. ID system.. New one made gameplay more rich. All this stuff is an enhancement of gameplay, but the game itself stayed the same. Because it had a) roguelike concept and b) WORLD (lore)

With changing WORLD you change the game. It's becoming not an 'Angband', but something different. It's not right to do this to ~30 year old game. People loved and KNOW the monsters. They recognize them by tiny sight and they understand what to expect from them because they played Angband for years.

I've created this separate topic, cause if I'll just a reply to 'feature/monster' topic, it would be quickly buried by Nick's supporters messages. I myself got HUGE respect to Nick, his work and his personality, he is great leader. But game design, coding and game's lore is different areas of responsibility. Maybe there should be different persons in charge for this particular game component. Let's Nick would be lead gamedesigner and coder, but someone else would take lore-based decisions in their hand - some of Angband veterans. Or even create a 'council' of veterants - like 3-5 past V-maintainers who would vote for LORE-based changes.

What else could I add.. I have my own variant which would preserve classic stuff in it. I won't ever touch any respectable monster, because I'm in love with them. I know each and everyone there. Of course, monster's itself should be rebalanced sometimes, but their LORE - names and depth where you find them - wouldn't be changed. It shouldn't be changed. It's a core of the game.

Angaband is RNG-based game; I mean when each dungeon levels is created - we do not know what to expect there. The only things which we expect - is certain monsters. Each one is good known and got it's own special place. You won't meet Nazguls at -50, you know it and it's one of small static things in absolutely RNG game. The only thing which we have is lore and our knowledge of it. Please don't take it away.

The right way - is to add new stuff and to enhance the game, not to cut it's parts. How come that I'm as a huge Tolkien fan (damm I even runned in the forests with wooden sword in real life) - do not like current Angband tolkienization? Because it's a conflict of interests - Tolkien lore VS Angband lore. Sorry, but Angband is not a fanfic Tolkien website to bend it like this. In Angband 'game' it's lore and traditions more precious then Tolkien heritage. Nick doesn't feel like this it seems But even Gandalf was mistaken a lot of times. Let's go back...
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Old February 15, 2019, 08:10   #2
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This is absolute nonsense, you haven't even played vanilla angband and no right to act like you own the game. Nick is a fantastic maintainer and is extremely open to other people's views and ideas, and to upholding the spirit of Angband. If you had been around the main Angband community (not the tomenet one) for more than a month you would realise how many times a discussion about "don't develop vanilla" has come up and how embarrasing this topic looks.

Last edited by clouded; February 15, 2019 at 08:16.
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Old February 15, 2019, 08:27   #3
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Originally Posted by clouded View Post
This is absolute nonsense, you haven't even played vanilla angband and no right to act like you own the game. Nick is a fantastic maintainer and is extremely open to other people's views and ideas, and to upholding the spirit of Angband. If you had been around the main Angband community (not the tomenet one) for more than a month you would realise how many times a discussion about "don't develop vanilla" has come up and how embarrasing this topic looks.
Thanks for a feedback. But it seems that you do not have anything to say about the subject of this topic, you only speaking about my personality. I'm touched with such attention, but still I kindly ask you to do not distract attention from the subject of this discussion.

Also please read my message more carefully one more time (if you actually bothered to read it once, which I doubt); then you would see that I respect Nick greatly, but do not agree with his past decisions. I have all rights to express my feelings in this direction; I'm sure that Nick himself would approve having alternative vision on this matters.
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Old February 15, 2019, 10:01   #4
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long-time lurker here (7 years??), player of Angband since 1995 or so, done my Nethack, ADOM etc...

I made an account just to come here and post my couple of cents. What the OP wrote is in my opinion completely wrong.

I'm not bothered by the mixing of different ages of Middle Earth - what irritates me is the mixing of religious mythology, D&D monsters, David Eddings and who knows how many other sources to Middle Earth context.

Angband to me represents Tolkien's world. Removing all the outliers, D&D monsters and "funny" monsters just enhances the game - makes it more coherent and unique experience.

Going through the monsters, giving epic Tolkieny villains (for example Nazguls) their rightful place at the top of the monster food chain instead of just being pushovers is exactly the right choice.

What Nick has done to the game is great! It feels vibrant, evolving game once again, not stagnant pit that tries to preserve "a mix of bit of everything".

So I say go for it Nick! Realize your vision while taking feedback like you have done so far - those who want to stay with the old Angband can do so, but it's my opinion it's high time this great, classic game got someone with your vision to maintain it
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Old February 15, 2019, 10:21   #5
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As reminder. No one will change what is already released. Anyone can make new forks and variants. Nick has no exclusive rights for this. However, he does have very strong support from the community because of being careful, open and listening. Now, if let's say AC/DC were to publish a new album I don't like, would it be reasonable to claim they are ruining my acdc record collection? Some albums (or versions of *band) may not be the thing for me. But, the alternative - no releases is not appealing. And again, anyone is free to pickup the source and publish the "right" version.
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Old February 15, 2019, 10:37   #6
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I, uh, recommend checking out how other maintainers have fundamentally changed the game (complete with lore) in the past.

Anyway, I find the past maintainer council probably the funniest and most revealing of your suggestions. First, generally, maintainers stop being maintainers because they stop having the time or inclination it on V. Therefore, I would not expect them to actually participate very much. Most of the past maintainers are unreachable at this point. However, Takkaria is still around, and seems to approve of Nick's activity. Derakon used to be part of the dev team, and not only does he apparently approve of most of the changes, he comments when he does not, and his opinions are taken into account. Lastly, past maintainers have in fact frequently made significant changes to the game, and I would expect them to more or less automatically vote in favor of whatever the current person wants to do, out of solidarity if nothing else. As for a non-maintainers council, that's all of us in the forum. We don't have any formal power, but Nick does listen. He put back Ochre Jellies and Gelatinous cubes because Derakon and I asked. If you find that you do not have much influence, perhaps you ought to look at your conduct and see if there might be reasons for that.

The current monsters are not some sort of perfectly designed ecosystem. They are more like a pile of individual statblocks, with perhaps some level of internal consistency at the genus level. The fact that they are the current monster list and that the game is fun does not mean they are a good monster list.

When you assert that a lot of people do not like these changes, and then ask why nobody else seems to be complaining, I think maybe that contradicts your assertion?
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Old February 15, 2019, 10:50   #7
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I'm happy to see everything change 🤷*♂️
Glaurung, Father of the Dragons says, 'You cannot avoid the ballyhack.'
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Old February 15, 2019, 11:07   #8
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I'm rather fond of my current signature, otherwise the title of this thread would make a perfect new one

Seriously, I'm glad that these changes have provoked a bit of discussion. Not everyone is going to have the same vision for the game, and what we end up with will be a compromise. The more views are out there, the better chance of it being a compromise everyone can live with.

I have thought fairly hard about the monster changes, but they are certainly not perfect. I'll say some more on specifics in the feature/monster thread, but the general point is that this is a first attempt at revision of the monster list. I'm intending that some more things will change, and I'm sure that some things will change back. What I would like to see, though is more feedback from people who have spent a decent time playing with the new monsters in place (I have had quite a bit already, which I'm very grateful for).

In the end this is the community's game, and any changes I make that aren't acceptable to the community won't last very long - either I will take them out or someone else will. I certainly will not be maintainer for ever.

PS debo see how everyone else loves being chased by a million acid monsters?
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
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Old February 15, 2019, 15:26   #9
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I haven't played vanilla in a while - I've been meaning to, but I've been busy with other projects, but I wonder if the examples you gave might be a bit weak. I understand that monster that are individually forgettable can still add to the whole of the experience, but the examples of name changes you gave mostly don't change the feel.

Now, the Healer to Tamer and Easterling Warrior to Warrior do seem to be noticable flavor changes, and I'm curious as to why they changed. I'll probably need to read over the 20 page feature/monster thread unless someone knows why they changed.

For Bandit and Master Rogue, if I recall correctly, there are multiple monsters with those names. Were they all changed or just some? If it's just some, I can see reasons for this. Renaming a lower level Bandit to Ruffian can clue the player in that the later Bandits are are different, stronger monster. For Master Rogue, I remember that several of the monsters named after classes get a Master version later. Did the Rogue switch to Master Rogue earlier than the others? If so, having it switch names around the same time make sense.

For the Black Knight becoming Blackguard, I think most players who encounter a Black Knight don't think about a knight with no heraldry and likely no alliegance, probably turned to brigandry. They think of the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which doesn't seem the be the feel the game is going for. Blackguard still maintains the feel that the term Black Knight used to have.

With the Nazgul, being some of Sauron's most powerful servants, why shouldn't they be deep? A lot of them were rather non-threatening considering what they were supposed to be.

Of course, as I said, I have played the latest versions, so my memory may be way off the mark. Grain of salt and all that.
I'm trying to think of an analogy, and the best I can come up with is Angband is like fishing for sharks, and Sil is like hunting a bear with a pocket knife and a pair of chopsticks. It's not great. -Nick
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Old February 15, 2019, 16:44   #10
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I liked the "kitchen sink" mythology of past versions, but the game should evolve over time. Past versions are still available so its just more options imo.
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