|Damned thing lived up to its name. You have to give it that.|
Things have been tough on the little @.
Paul the Priest, who I reported in my last posting on NetHack, was "doubtless my most successful hero so far," lived about five more steps after I made that posting. He stumbled into a nest of killer bees and died instantly at a poisonous stinger.
In my first posting on Rogue, I wrote: "Most of the time it takes to win Rogue involves playing, dying, screaming, and restarting at Level 1." This has not changed in NetHack. My adventures follow a reasonably predictable pattern. Two or three characters barely make it out of the gate, but then one starts to develop legs. She's going places. I get her up to character level 5 and maybe dungeon level 5 or 6. She's got some good equipment, spells. The future's bright.
I almost always see it coming before it happens. A couple of killer bees float down the hallway. My status changes to "weak" with no food in sight. The word "poison" appears in some context. A trio of orcs surrounds me when I have 10/40 hit points. I start mumbling the Litany Against Death: "No. No. No, no, no, no, nononononono...F&$%!" DYWYPI?
The obscenities that follow get creative. Shocking suggestions for the game's mother. The Christian messiah on an eclectic variety of conveyances. I think I used "God-sucking" at one point. Then a sigh. A brief contemplation of Phantasie III. And I restart.
NetHack is a better game than Rogue, but it's no less frustrating, no less punishing, no less fundamentally masochistic--and no less addictive.
Some things since my last outing:
- Food is a tremendous pain in the neck. I'd hoped with the corpses and the occasional monster dropping food, I wouldn't starve as easily as in Rogue. Nothing doing. I seem to have the worst luck with eating food that turns out to be spoiled or rotten, or corpses that turn out to drain my strength or poison me.
- Missile weapons strike me as effectively useless, although I need to play a little more to be sure. I don't notice many monsters until they're right on top of me.
- I notice that just when I most need to cast spells--when I'm hungry, for instance--the game tells me I'm too weak.
- I keep finding things that provide light, but I've yet to encounter a place where I'd need them.
- The game seems to save information about previous characters that have died. I encountered the "Ghost of Victoria"--my valkyrie--on Level 6, along with all of her stuff. I picked it up greedily but it turned out to be cursed.
|Thankfully, the game doesn't have you encounter ghosts of ALL your previous adventurers, or the dungeons would be choked with them.|
- I've noticed that some things can only be hit with magic weapons, including "fog clouds" and ghosts. Not all of my characters have magic weapons, even by Level 5 or 6, but fortunately the valkyrie starts with one.
- One level featured Larry, Curly, and Moe. Really? This is just the sort of non-sequitur I was talking about yesterday. They kept following me and engaging in slapstick. Unfortunately for them, they decided to bother me when I was playing a barbarian, and I had no qualms about bashing them to pulp.
- Praying only works once every few levels. Otherwise the gods get mad and give you a good walloping.
- Although I have some favorite classes--barbarian, valkyrie, and wizard--I've been letting the game pick for me at the beginning of each session. It keeps it interesting. I'm not a fan of the tourist.
- The lowest level I've reached so far is Level 8, and I've made it here a couple of times. I've been noticing that Levels 5 and 6 start throwing some really hard stuff at you. My last outing, Level 6 seemed to be on mushrooms--none of the objects were represented by their standard icons, monsters kept changing, and I was ultimately killed by a "hallucinogen-distorted centaur."
|I think this was actually all one creature.|
- One of the times I reached Level 8, I got hit by a "quantum mechanic" which teleported me into the middle of a throne room full of orcs. Naturally, I didn't last long.
|"Hi! No, don't get up!"|
- I've encountered stores of three different types: general stores, armor stores, and a book (scroll) store. I'm sure there are more.
- On one level, a leprechaun stole half my gold and teleported away. I chased the little bugger around from room to room until I finally killed him and got my gold back (wasting almost all of my food in the process). Then I spitefully ate his corpse. Soon I found myself inflicted with a condition whereby I would randomly teleport to another part of the level every 50 turns or so. Does this go away? It actually wasn't as detrimental as it sounds.
- The fountains are too dangerous to drink from. One spawned five or six pools of water in which I drowned; another released a water demon that killed me.
- I'm developing a long list of monsters I hate: acid blobs (for ruining your weapons), cockatrices (turn you to stone), leprechauns (steal your gold), nymphs (seduce you and steal your things), giant ants (damage your strength), floating eyes (freeze you so other monsters can pummel you). I can't wait to see how much worse they get on lower levels.
NetHack, I find, does not reward long play sessions--at least not for me. In a long playing session in which I started and lost 35 characters, I recorded at which dungeon level they died. The trendline definitely decreases over time as I get more and more frustrated and stop taking care with my characters.
I think I'm going to start tracking the classes, too, and see which ones I'm most successful with. Something about NetHack makes me think it requires analysis.
From the comments, I'm finding that most of you know a lot more about NetHack than I do. While it must be mildly amusing to watch a n00b blunder his way through the game, there are so many other sources for NetHack information on the Internet that my own blog is likely redundant. I think I'll get started with Phantasie III and return to NetHack occasionally for the next couple of weeks, letting you know if anything new happens.