Tuesday, 7 January 2014

New Angband Release

My brother came to visit over the holiday season, so I missed the exciting announcement of the release of Angband 3.5.0 on Christmas Eve!  It apparently has the longest changelist in the history of the game, and marks the end of the current lead and the start of a new one.

The most obvious change is the removal of Charisma, an attribute that has long been realised as just less important than the other five.  In D&D, where the attributes come from, Charisma had real importance with non-combat interactions an important element of gameplay.  That's really not the case in roguelikes, especially in Angband, so it finally got the chop.

I'm more looking forward to a different change, though.  The 3.x series of releases has seen a significant improvement in the user interface; together with the removal of curses and items like potions of death, pushing away from tedious gameplay to avoid instant deaths that only hit beginners.    As a side effect, the game got a lot easier, with 3.2 generally agreed to be the easiest version ever.  But with the difficulty of roguelikes being part of the appeal, since then there has been a conscious push to make the game harder.  In particular, the number of items available was heavily cut back, but in 3.4 they went too far; the early game ended up lifelike and empty.  In 3.5, things have been adjusted so that while the amount of stuff you find is pretty much the same, it's more reasonably spread out throughout the game.  I played some of the development versions a little, and that was obvious, making the game between 500 and about 2000 feet less boring.  So I'm looking forward to playing the stable release!

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