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#1 2012-10-01 05:17:10

camb
Member
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 708

Arena quest balance

The Arena quests are good (especially the rewards!) but perhaps could do with a bit of balancing.

I just lost a CL 38 character to an arena in which things were going well until an Ancient MHD was quickly followed by a Lesser Balrog which was quickly followed by a Great Crystal Drake. Each one alone could be dealt with safely over a number of rounds, but being in the exposed arena room meant that all three had range attacks on me most rounds, and I didn't have resist chaos or resists shards so the combined attacks from all three were potentially fatal every round. I fought to the end and died gloriously.

So the monsters weren't overly strong compared to my character, it's just that they all spawned in quick succession to overlap and all had strong range attacks. The problem is that monsters at this level take a few rounds to kill, and if the next monster spawns during the battle and is similarly tough then you're in trouble.

Possible solutions:
1) Don't spawn strong monsters if there are already one or two strong ones in the arena.
2) Set the spawn delay based on monster strength, i.e. if a Cold Hound is spawned then you can expect the next monster to arrive in a couple of turns, but if a Power Wyrm is spawned then the next one won't arrive for say a dozen turns.

By the way, what are the escape options apart from the central staircase (which can be hard to get to). Do Word of Recall, Create Stairs, Teleport Level, Destruction and Mass Banishment all work in arenas?

Cameron

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#2 2012-10-01 05:18:16

camb
Member
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 708

Re: Arena quest balance

camb wrote:

Do Word of Recall, Create Stairs, Teleport Level, Destruction and Mass Banishment all work in arenas?

If Destruction/Mass banishment work in arenas then this isn't an issue (I just assumed they wouldn't work).

Cameron

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#3 2012-10-01 16:10:49

NPPAngband
NPPAngband Maintainer
Registered: 2004-07-01
Posts: 1,647
Website

Re: Arena quest balance

Most of the traditional escape options work(Word of Recall, Create Stairs, Teleport Level).  Teleportation and phase door should work, and at least take you over to the other side of the dungeon.  Destruction and Banishment/Mass Banishment will kill any escorts (when group monsters show up, only 1 is marked as the quest monster.  The rest are ordinary monsters that can be banished), but neither won't affect the quest monster.

Edit: I should also mention that the fame penalty for failing an arena quest is significantly less than other quests. You keep 80% of your fame if you fail an arena quest.

Could you have repeatedly teleported 2 of them away, kept shielded from them by pillars (which are permanent rock, BTW) and tried to kill them one at a time?

I had something like what you suggest, but I just changed it to make it a little more clear:

After every 5 monsters, the map expands.  Monsters 1 and 2 will be normal, monsters 3 and 5 will be slightly weaker (monster level 75% of normal), monster 4 is kind of the "boss" monster (game generates 3 monster races, then chooses the most powerful one and puts that in the arena.

But everything is at normal game turns, so that is where speed helps.  If you are at normal speed, it is 4 turns in between monsters.  If you are at +20, it is 10 turns in between monsters.  So if you are deep enough to draw a great power wyrm, you should have a high speed so you have a dozen turns or so to deal with it.

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#4 2012-10-01 16:48:08

camb
Member
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 708

Re: Arena quest balance

NPPAngband wrote:

Could you have repeatedly teleported 2 of them away, kept shielded from them by pillars (which are permanent rock, BTW) and tried to kill them one at a time?

I did, repeatedly, but they were back in line of sight next turn. It wasn't possible to isolate any one of them for enough time to make an impact. The arena doesn't offer many places to hide.

NPPAngband wrote:

You keep 80% of your fame if you fail an arena quest.

That's good to know thanks -- definitely a viable option smile

NPPAngband wrote:

But everything is at normal game turns, so that is where speed helps.  If you are at normal speed, it is 4 turns in between monsters.  If you are at +20, it is 10 turns in between monsters.  So if you are deep enough to draw a great power wyrm, you should have a high speed so you have a dozen turns or so to deal with it.

Sure, but my character was at the cusp (CL 38) where he was in the vicinity of the really tough monsters but hadn't maximised his speed yet. I still think it makes sense to give the player a few extra rounds for especially tough monsters before spawning the next one. Otherwise arenas will be certain death/failure beyond a certain level and not worth taking.

Cameron

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#5 2012-10-01 18:19:38

Sethos
Member
Registered: 2010-12-03
Posts: 80

Re: Arena quest balance

Personally, I'd hesitate to start nerfing the arena quests, simply because I feel that quests should always be at least a little dangerous.

however, I DO like the idea of the arena spreading out the potentially more deadly enemies... maybe the arena could preroll all of the monsters and then distribute them to show up with the danger ramping up and then dropping back down every 4-5 monsters?

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#6 2012-10-02 05:18:26

NPPAngband
NPPAngband Maintainer
Registered: 2004-07-01
Posts: 1,647
Website

Re: Arena quest balance

Sethos wrote:

Personally, I'd hesitate to start nerfing the arena quests, simply because I feel that quests should always be at least a little dangerous.

I do want arena quests to be hard enough that players can't always win them.  That's why the fame penalty is as low as it is. 

Sethos wrote:

however, I DO like the idea of the arena spreading out the potentially more deadly enemies... maybe the arena could preroll all of the monsters and then distribute them to show up with the danger ramping up and then dropping back down every 4-5 monsters?

Not a bad idea, except I would have to break savefile compatibility to do this.  I think the changes made yesterday should work.  The player might occasionally get several hard monsters in a row, but that is what the stairs are for.

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