The Dark Heart of Uukrul is a good game, and I'll probably end up spending most of the next couple weeks on it, but I wanted to get in a little more NetHack play while I still had the bug plus all the new information I got from you in my last posting. I allowed myself to explore with "explore mode" for a while, which is identical to regular play, except when you die, a box comes up asking "Die? (Y/N)." If you say "N," you get all your hit points back. You can also see your intrinsic abilities at any time with CTRL-X (I discovered this by experimenting with CTRL-anything). This helps a lot with figuring out what eating various creatures does. I prefer to "explore" with a healer, whose stethescope can tell me a lot about various monsters.
Through this mechanism--which does feel a bit like cheating--I've uncovered things I never would have gotten from just playing to win, including the intrinsic abilities conferred by eating various monster corpses (and the associated dangers), monster hit point levels, uses of various objects within the game, and (finally) a list of scroll effects resolved to scroll names.
|"Explore" mode makes me a lot bolder as to what I eat.|
Since my "explore" hiatus, I've played two regular characters. One, a priest named Joktan, died at the jaws of a soldier ant on Level 5. The second, a cave-man named Almodad, is on Level 9 and presently still alive. I wasn't going to tell you this, because every time I tell you one of my characters is doing well, he dies soon after. Then I remembered that, to date, 100% of my NetHack characters have died, so it's not like I can correlate it to my blog postings specifically.
|The second Lord of the Rings reference for Almodad. This might be the first "named" weapon I've found, and it does indeed glow blue when orcs are close. And it's at times like that that I have to be extra careful.|
Through my research and analysis, I've compiled the following list of major "dos" and "dont's" in the game. I make it a point to review these before each session to keep them fresh in my mind. I welcome any comments, corrections, or alternate viewpoints on any of them.
- Drop all unidentified stuff on altars to at least see if its cursed. This is especially useful for armor, because you can tell by the AC whether it's better that what you already have, even if you don't identify it. You can also often figure out what rings and amulets do by putting them on. As long as you know these items aren't cursed, they're at least safe to experiment with.
|This means the scroll was cursed. I had a cursed scroll of "remove curse." Does that mean they just cancel each other out? (Yes, I did get a lot of mileage out of this dungeon level.)|
- Use holy water for blessing things. Blessings augment whatever the item already does. I particularly like blessed scrolls of identify, which will identify multiple unknown items instead of just one. I'm curious to see how a blessed scroll of genocide acts, but scrolls of genocide are rare and I haven't found one in forever.
- Try to engage as many foes as possible in ranged combat, keeping daggers, bows, arrows, lances, spears, rocks, and other throwing items for this purpose. Too many enemies have attacks that really suck at close range, include blue jellies (cold!), gelatinous cubes (freeze), floating eyes (freeze), leprechauns (steal gold), nymphs (steal other items), acid blobs (corrode weapons and armor), were-creatures (inflict lycanthropy), and innumerable enemies that poison you. Many of these foes either don't move at all or don't necessarily make a beeline for you, so you have a decent chance of destroying them at range if you can avoid blundering upon them.
|This character's inventory includes plenty of stuff to throw.|
- Carry a junk weapon to use against things like rust monsters and acid blobs, so you don't ruin your good weapon.
- Use the diagonal key to cut corners. Every step you save in corridors is a step that monsters don't get closer to you.
- Eat whenever there's fresh food available unless already satiated. You never know when you'll get another chance, and I haven't found any good reasons to ration.
- Test scrolls and potions in controlled environments. I find shops are good places after I've picked up an item or two, since the shopkeeper blocks the door. No enemies can suddenly appear while I'm temporarily blinded or stunned.
- Use the buying and selling price of items in shops to help figure out what they are. I think this varies based on charisma, so I haven't been able to map prices to items perfectly yet, but I keep meaning to analyze the effects of charisma and come up with a solid table.
- Use the "repeat" option instead of holding down the SPACE bar (to wait) or the S key (to search). "Repeat" interrupts you when something happens. I'm embarrassed how long it took me to master this.
- Go downstairs the moment you find stairs. Pop right back up again if you want to, but since the creatures encountered on each level are at a level equal to the average of your level and the dungeon level, and since they generate when you first appear, you'll get easier monsters if you go down right away. Combined with the following, I think it maximizes your chances.
- Try to reach a level equal to the next dungeon level before heading down permanently. At least, this seems to work best for me early-game and mid-game (or am I naive for even thinking I've reached "mid-game" yet?).
- Wait for hit points to recharge unless you desperately need to move forward (e.g., to find food).
- Hold onto items in shops if inflicted with teleportitis. If you suddenly teleport out of the shop with unpaid merchandise, it counts as thefts, and a battalion of police officers swarms you.
- Eat anything that confers teleportitis unless you have a way to control it.
- Eat things that sound like they would be trouble, like dead spiders or acid blobs.
- Go charging down hallways. Pause between each step. Monsters come out of nowhere.
- Let yourself get impatient and frustrated until after you die. If you have to save and take a break, do it.
- Drink from fountains. Hardly anything good happens.
- Wear armor or weapons that you want to keep while reading unknown scrolls. They can diminish or destroy anything you have on. (On the other hand, if it's a scroll of enhance weapon or armor, you'll lose the benefit if you don't have anything on.)
- Eat when already satiated. You can choke and die.
- Waste potions of Extra Healing on hit point regeneration if you have any other options. They also cure sickness, poison, and blindness, and you're more likely to need them for those conditions.
- Ditch your dog or cat. They help, even if they make navigation annoying.
- Waste time and energy (read: hunger) searching for secret doors unless you really need what's on the other side (i.e., the stairs).
- Trust anything while under the effects of hallucination.
|This is embarrassing. It looked like a yeti while it was killing me.|
- Feel like you have to engage every enemy. If they're not bothering you, you may want to leave them alone.
- Throw harmful potions at creatures right next to you. You get splash-back.
- Try to wander around when confused, stunned, or blind. You step into traps, rouse monsters, and accidentally kill your allies.
- Forget about "ELBERETH!" It can buy you a couple of moves when you need them most.
It was probably still to early in my NetHack career to narrate a video of the game, but I did the one below (also here) a couple of days ago. I thought it might be an epic adventure, but I ended up dying after about 20 minutes. In the post-game analysis, I realized several things I could have done to save myself, including escaping sooner and a more intelligent use of ELBERETH. I'm curious what other gameplay mistakes that you find, but watching the video is probably going to be more useful to those who haven't played NetHack than to those who have.
There are a few things I'm confused about for which I wouldn't mind some hints if you have them:
1. I'll just be sitting around, minding my own business, and suddenly I'm "blinded by a blast of light!" What the hell is that? How can I get it to stop?
|What yellow light?!|
2. I don't really understand the different colors the corridors turn as I play. I can't really tell color anyway, but as I explore, the corridor seems to turn white, but then it degrades to gray later on. Then, suddenly, individual squares will turn to brown (or red) or yellow (or orange) somewhat randomly. Is there something I can do with this information?
3. Every few characters, when I start the game, it tells me that there's a "new moon tonight" or a "full moon tonight." Does this actually mean anything when it comes to gameplay?
|How should I be careful?|
Okay, back to Uukrul for now. But my average character and dungeon level attained is slowly increasing, and I have until June 2013 to "ascend" and still meet my goal.