Complete N00b's Journey: The Series

Nov 2, 10:56 pm
#1
Joined: Nov 2, 2019
Posts: 16
Complete N00b's Journey: Prologue

Hello everybody. This is a n00b who is here to re-start my roguelike tour of duty after I gave up on Elona due to the difficulty understanding the mechanics as well as the inability to deal with its stupid thirst mechanic. Below is my roguelike resume:

Outstanding Nethack experience: Managed to ascend every role at least once in 3.4.3, and still have an excellent playing record in the 3.6 versions.

Exceeds Expectations ADOM experience: Achieved several ultra endings back when it was free and before Steam came into the scene. Haven't played the Steam version due to pricing though.

Exceeds Expectations DoomRL experience: Fully won the game several times, but only up to the Ultra-Violence Difficulty (I like being able to save my games, thank you very much, so hard pass to Nightmare) and even managed to obtain two Diamond Medals from my efforts there.

Acceptable Angband experience: Killed Morgoth after 5 attempts (all 5 characters of which were generated with random states rather than a point-based roller).

Acceptable ZAP'M experience: Won a couple of games, but I got bored of that real fast.

Acceptable Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup experience: Escaped with the Orb in a 3-rune game as a Demigod Fighter after 4 attempts with randomly generated characters.

Acceptable Brogue experience: Escaped with the Amulet of Yendor once after 10 tries.

Acceptable Rogue experience: The deepest I got was level 16 I think.

Poor experience with PRIME: Haven't made it into the robot town.

Poor experience with Elona+: The farthest I made it was in Act 1 to Lesimas: 30 after four tries in Loss mode.


So now I am starting a my new tour of duty with IVAN, under a series titled "Complete N00b's Journey" where I create a character and hope for the best. Something new that I am trying here is that I will only be making four attempts in this game, as I feel that is a sufficient number of tries to see a game’s capabilities. In this series, the number before the hyphen will signify the attempt that I am playing, and the number after the hyphen signifies the goal that I have completed. The first goal for this game that all characters will focus on is to finish the first two levels of the underwater tunnels. This series will continue until I either finally achieve a freedom ending or die four times. If the latter happens, I will be giving my overall impression of this game and be thanking anyone who has helped me in these four runs.

My questions before I begin playing:

Do monsters pursue you if you go up or down levels? The way that monsters pursued me in games like Brogue when you went up the stairs often led to some pretty cheap deaths there.

Which pieces of weapons and armor should I look for in the early game? I heard that large swords like longswords and arcanite alloys for armor are the best option. Or should I look for something else?

Should I train my character in any way before doing the underwater tunnels? I heard that a tactic called banana kicking is not a valid training option.

Is there a way to export your character’s stats in a readable format for other players to consult like you can in Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup or Angband?

Any other tips are appreciated!
Nov 2, 11:44 pm
#2
Joined: Sep 8, 2010
Occupation: Petty Functionary
Location: Drinking pea soup in the world map
Interests: Mangoes
Posts: 1,134
I recommend you try both IVAN 0.50
for the so-called vanilla experience, and the latest community built update, IVAN 0.57.
Nov 3, 7:15 am
#3
Ischaldirh's avatar
Ex-Tyrant of the IVANers


Joined: Dec 8, 2007
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wizard44 wrote
Do monsters pursue you if you go up or down levels? The way that monsters pursued me in games like Brogue when you went up the stairs often led to some pretty cheap deaths there.

No.

wizard44 wrote
Which pieces of weapons and armor should I look for in the early game? I heard that large swords like longswords and arcanite alloys for armor are the best option. Or should I look for something else?

I can't speak too much for the most recent build, but in 0.50 short swords were a very strong option. In general, 0.50 favored lightweight, fast weapons over slower heavier weapons for the most part. (With exceptions naturally. Any named weapon is totally viable.) My experience in 0.57 is more limited, but again, if you can find something with a name, you're probably set. Just ... be careful with Turox.

wizard44 wrote
Should I train my character in any way before doing the underwater tunnels? I heard that a tactic called banana kicking is not a valid training option.

The UT is pretty much fine for a beginning character. No training necessary. That said there is a (semi-spoily) strategy which is popular for turning UT3 into a training ground for future use.

wizard44 wrote
Is there a way to export your character’s stats in a readable format for other players to consult like you can in Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup or Angband?

I don't believe so. Typically we just take screenshots around here.

wizard44 wrote
Any other tips are appreciated!

You're already an experienced rogue, so this probably goes without saying, but... losing is fun
Nov 3, 1:43 pm
#4
Joined: Apr 2, 2014
Location: North Tyris
Posts: 615
Wow, that's a pretty impressive track record!

Is the Loss mode in Elona the one with permadeath? If so, you're a madman. I enjoyed Elona for a while, but could never bring myself to try it with permadeath.

Ischaldirh wrote
wizard44 wrote
Do monsters pursue you if you go up or down levels? The way that monsters pursued me in games like Brogue when you went up the stairs often led to some pretty cheap deaths there.
No.

To specify, they will follow you if they are near you while you go up the stairs, like in NetHack, but won't follow after you later like in Brogue.

wizard44 wrote
Which pieces of weapons and armor should I look for in the early game? I heard that large swords like longswords and arcanite alloys for armor are the best option. Or should I look for something else?

Equipment in IVAN is often about trade-offs. Plate mail offers exceptional Armor Value, but penalizes your Dex and Agi. Chain mail is the middle ground, while cloth/leather armor gives less AV, but with no stat penalties. Similarly heavy weapons will be more damaging but less accurate, and light weapon will do less damage, but strike much more often.

Dual wielding is strong, as it gives you two attacks and two block chances. Two-handed weapons, on the other hand, have much higher damage. I personally also think that shields are quite viable nowadays, as they give you a boost in AV and a high block chance.

wizard44 wrote
Should I train my character in any way before doing the underwater tunnels? I heard that a tactic called banana kicking is not a valid training option.

You should be fine with no exploits or grinding.

If you find any bottle of can with ommel stuff inside, drink it for sweet stat boosts.

wizard44 wrote
Is there a way to export your character’s stats in a readable format for other players to consult like you can in Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup or Angband?

Sorry, not yet. It's been sitting in my TODO list for a long time...

wizard44 wrote
Any other tips are appreciated!

Unlike in other roguelikes, you total HP is not that important to keep track of. You can have your head cut off while your HP are still high if only your head is damaged. Have a look at the body part mannequin in upper right for color changes: bright red means the limb is dangerously damaged, striped grey means it's likely to be destroyed if you don't do something about it right now.

It's good to have either fire resistance, searching or levitation as you go to the Gloomy Cave.

Golems are often more dangerous than they look, but they tend to be slow and cannot see invisible.

Explosions and some monster attacks can break wands, and wand explode with their corresponding effect when broken. It's better to have all but your emergency wands stashed in a small chest, as a cascade of exploding wands can cause a sudden YASD.

Have a look through the starting village and later Attnam, you might find some useful NPCs.
Nov 3, 3:09 pm
#5
Joined: Oct 9, 2016
Posts: 29
I can't really say much without having to repeat what everyone already said since they know more about the game then I do. But I can at least give you some advice that I took when playing IVAN.

1. Jump straight into the underwater caves. The village is more of an optional thing. There's a few shops there. But you don't have much gold to buy anything helpful other then food. Which you can find scattered around the caves to begin with.

2. Grab whatever you can find. Some weapons are either better then others while some you can't even equip in the state you're in at the start. So I recommend just grabbing a one handed weapon. When the time is right (aka you get enough experience), you can go straight to two handed stuff which is more powerful. This may change though since I remember one time finding a very powerful weapon in a previous game. So I guess if you can equip it/hold it, then it's perfect for you until you find something more powerful. This also applies to armors.

3. Like other games (mostly dwarf fortress), loosing is fun! Expect to die allot or not get that far on your first playthrough. Learn from your previous fallen men who entered the dreaded pits below. Aka, the more you play, the better you'll probably be. Since you have allot of experience from other roguelikes, I'm sure you won't have any trouble!

That's really all I can say. It ain't much but I hope it helps. Have fun!
Nov 3, 7:52 pm
#6
Joined: Nov 2, 2019
Posts: 16
Thanks for the input folks. All games will be played on version 0.57, since that is the newest version I can find. I will also be choosing a random name to begin each character.

To red_kangaroo: Yeah, loss mode is the permadeath mode in Elona+. No game is a true roguelike without permadeath, and I refuse to play any game that pretends as such without that option. Anyway, my first character has at least survived the first two levels of the underwater series, so check it out in the other thread, which can be found below:

https://attnam.com/topics/Complete-N00b-s-Journey-Character-...
Nov 4, 4:06 pm
#7
Joined: Nov 2, 2019
Posts: 16
Alright, so my first character got killed on the third level of the underwater tunnels due to a stupid lightning wand accident. I then went ahead and started another character by the random name of Tongha Ghae. The particular thread for that character can be found below:


https://attnam.com/topics/Complete-N00b-s-Journey-Character-...
Nov 5, 2:12 pm
#8
Joined: Nov 2, 2019
Posts: 16
Second character bit the dust as well, so now it’s on to the third character, who has randomly been giving the name Skelroth Honoe. Unfortunately, this character had the lifespan of a mosquito and got killed on the first level of the underwater tunnels by a zombie.

YASD #3: Who knew zombies could be so fast?

So I almost clear the first level of the underwater tunnels, but a zombie does a number on me with critical hits and kills me before I can retreat back upstairs. So there’s only one try left. After that, my journey will come to an end and I will post my overall experience in this thread. Call it a review of some sorts. My prediction is that my last character won’t make it past the first level of the Gloomy Caves, which would rate my performance a solidly Poor one, based on how many levels that need to be “cleared” to receive the standard “freedom ending".

What is the roadmap that you guys follow to get a standard freedom ending? I know that some of you guys have posted helpful advice to carry out for some landmarks, but I would highly appreciate the mindset that you guys get into when starting a run.
Nov 5, 4:00 pm
#9
Joined: Apr 2, 2014
Location: North Tyris
Posts: 615
wizard44 wrote
What is the roadmap that you guys follow to get a standard freedom ending? I know that some of you guys have posted helpful advice to carry out for some landmarks, but I would highly appreciate the mindset that you guys get into when starting a run.

This might be helpful, if you don't mind spoilers and some reading.

Unfortunately for your limited attempts, I think IVAN is the kind of game where you're expected to sometimes just die in the beginning - you start very fragile and with no options for solving impossible situations, but restarting is quick and easy.

I quite like that the early game is a bit of a toss up - I tend to play rather fast in UT, either surviving or trying again. If I find a good early item or once I get to Attnam, I try to slow down, get some treasure to sell, close the most glaring gaps in my equipment, maybe polypile if I have a wand of polymorph.

Once you get to the GC or TX, you tend to have a selection of options for most situations, so surviving there is more about not screwing up than about praying that the RNG won't screw with you.
Nov 5, 6:21 pm
#10
Joined: Nov 2, 2019
Posts: 16
Alright, so for this fourth and final try, I’m being super careful all of the way. I generated a character by the name of Itat Quao, and although there were some tense moments, this one has made it past the first two levels of the underwater tunnels. The thread for this last character is below:

https://attnam.com/topics/Complete-N00b-s-Journey-Character-...
Nov 5, 7:58 pm
#11
Joined: Sep 8, 2010
Occupation: Petty Functionary
Location: Drinking pea soup in the world map
Interests: Mangoes
Posts: 1,134
DEATH, is the essence of all good IVAN victories.
Nov 6, 8:05 pm
#12
Joined: Nov 2, 2019
Posts: 16
Complete N00b's Journey: Epilogue

So my fourth and final character died in one of the goriest ways possible, which brings my time with this game to an end. And with that comes my perspective on playing the game.

I like the idea of limbs having their own HP, which is certainly how IVAN stands out with other roguelikes. However, it makes checking the character’s overall status counterintuitive, since you can’t just look at your own HP alone. I know that there are indicators on how each limb is doing, health-wise, but I really wish that I could see the *exact* HP that each body part has just so I can gauge exactly how much I am in danger in one time.

Another problem is that some clouds of raw magic are barely visible, and I end up mistakenly walking into them when fighting magic mushrooms. I know that the varying degrees of visibility is supposed to measure how thick these clouds are and how close they are to being dissipated, but I think the visibility of these clouds should be more obvious.

One other important opinion is that I think food rots far too fast in this game for my liking. When I was eating a group of 7 bananas that I just bought from the New Attnam store, I found that about 2 of these bananas has already gotten to the slightly spoiled stage. I also think that the corpses and food items don’t really give enough nutrition, as I was often forced to make several trips to the New Attnam store. On that note, I feel that the player gets exhausted far too easily. Even when I stop to take a rest, the exhaustion doesn’t seem to really go away.

And finally, I think there should be a way to remove scars from the player character, since getting scars on the arms just permanently decrease arm strength in a way that will handicap the player’s progress by too much of a degree for overall survival. It doesn’t need to be common, but I think a scar removal item (like royal jelly in ADOM) would be beneficial. And when I drank a healing vial in an attempt to regrow my limbs, I thought that would be enough to get at least one limb back, given the overall rarity that these potions seem to have.

So in conclusion, I think the game is pretty good, but it does have its flaws that make the learning curve a tad too difficult for some players to enjoy. My overall progress in the game, however, falls squarely on the Poor category, since I only reached the gloomy caves once. I would like to thank all of you for giving me tips and support for playing the levels. The community is certainly a great one to get involved in, and I wish you all the best of luck in the future.

As a final show of appreciation, I will allow you to select the next game that I should play in my roguelike tour of duty. The choices are as follows:

Pixel Dungeon
Sil

Which game do you think I should tackle next, and do you have any input on how to survive on these two games?
Nov 6, 8:41 pm
#13
Ischaldirh's avatar
Ex-Tyrant of the IVANers


Joined: Dec 8, 2007
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I vote for Sil. It's sad to see you go! You'd make a great addition to the community

I think we can all appreciate your in-depth review of the game from a complete outsider's perspective. Some of us have been playing this game on-and-off for over a decade, and many of the less intuitive elements seem so old hat to us we don't even notice. Take the food, for example: The New Attnam food store is a special case. It is actually designed to be a rip-off. The bananas sold there are not only on the verge of rotting already, I believe they have been Hasted to make them rot faster. Food found in the dungeon - corpses, lumps, and the like - rots much slower, and there are methods of preserving food for longer. (Food is rarely an issue for me until after the UT.) But, there is no way a new player would know all this!

Perhaps this can be addressed, however. As cliche as it may sound, it might be helpful to compile a list of one-line tips that can be displayed during loading screens, death screens, menu screens, etc...?

Also, a meta-strategy FYI in case you ever come back to IVAN: It's common practice in this community to murder Kenny the Puppy as one of the first actions in the UT. This provides an instant meal, a bit of practice at fisticuffs, and also prevents him from running around eating that valuable food / drinking those valuable potions as you progress.
Nov 7, 1:36 am
#14
Joined: Apr 2, 2014
Location: North Tyris
Posts: 615
I'd vote for Sil, too.

You really had some bad luck there, it's sad to see you go after only getting a glimpse at everything the game has to offer.

Thank you for doing this, though.
Nov 7, 5:02 am
#15
Joined: Sep 8, 2010
Occupation: Petty Functionary
Location: Drinking pea soup in the world map
Interests: Mangoes
Posts: 1,134
Thanks Wizard for gracing our community with your adventures. I found your playthroughs fun to read about and have input to.

It's a very cool idea, going on a grand tour of the roguelikes. I think you're the first to do it? Maybe I should go do this some time, definitely something more people could do.

I vote Sil, an exceptional roguelike experience.

Will you be compiling your experience in a blog somewhere?
Nov 7, 10:58 am
#16
Joined: Dec 17, 2007
Occupation: Taking Names, Formerly Kicking Ass
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 901
wizard44 wrote
Complete N00b's Journey: Prologue
Any other tips are appreciated!

Discretion is the better part of Valor
Nov 12, 6:53 pm
#17
Joined: Nov 2, 2019
Posts: 16
Thank you so much for your help and your replies. Once again, I'd like to state that this community is a great one to know, and I wish you all the best of luck.

Ischaldirh: I think this information should be added to the wiki if it has not already.

Fejoa: I don't have a blog, so I do not imagine that I will be doing such a compilation.

Anyway, since the unanimous vote is to go to Sil, that is where I will head next. If you are interested in following my journey there, below is the link to the thread:

http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=9669
Nov 13, 10:40 pm
#18
Ischaldirh's avatar
Ex-Tyrant of the IVANers


Joined: Dec 8, 2007
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wizard44 wrote
Ischaldirh: I think this information should be added to the wiki if it has not already.

The bit about New Attnam's banana shop selling fast-rotting bananas is already there.
Nov 14, 2:02 pm
#19
Joined: Nov 2, 2019
Posts: 16
Ischaldirh wrote
The bit about New Attnam's banana shop selling fast-rotting bananas is already there.

Overlooked that part. Whoops.
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