Joined: Friday, 24th June 2011, 11:22
Before I knew it, however, I was picking up the first rune, then the second, and then the third. 'Oh, well, perhaps not a throw away game after all. Time to take things a little bit more seriously,' I thought. The road to this point was strange and had an almost roleplay like quality to it, as my character berserked and took my frustration out on mobs which had previously denied me, only to come out of the red haze holding three runes and a chance. And so I stood, before the entrance to Zot, and entered for the first time.
Up until this point I had honestly been pretty darn lucky with item finds. Acquirement scrolls were very kind to me, and gambling on unidentified artifacts at antique shops paid off more often than not, above and beyond pretty good luck at finding useful (even if only temporarily) things in the various vaults throughout the game. Trog was a little less kind, refusing to give me reasonable bardiches all game, but he made up for it with a hefty +9 damage bonus on an artifact glaive that served me well for almost half the game. So some pretty good luck certainly helped me stumble my tab spamming way to this point, but I'd never gone past this point, and what to expect was a mystery. Who knew if it'd be enough?
It was pretty rough going throughout Zot. While in general my character was up to the task, my damage being a little low, and defenses not quite to the task for every encounter led to frequent need for all of trog's abilities, as berserking alone frequently failed to clear rooms, my trusty glaive just not quite up to the task of dealing with the tougher league of enemies. That said, by comparison to the hordes of draconians and dragons throughout the floors the Zot Vault itself was much easier to handle. A couple of upgrades found along the way down (in particular, the Gold Dragon Armour), and the ability to carefully pull monsters in much smaller groups made a world of difference. That said, I continued to burn through both permafood and faith at an alarming rate. But thankfully, I had enough to see me through to the end.
The race to the surface was pretty crazy, with frequent close calls and "Teleport and pray" moments. But in the end, I made it, and got my first win. I very nearly didn't share anything about it, as it felt so accidental, that I did not feel I had earned the win at all, until... my second win.
Char Dump (MiBe): http://pastebin.com/9XmwuUKG
My second win occurred last night, with a Centaur Hunter. I like to bounce around a lot with the combinations I play, and mix things up a lot. Lately, I've been playing a fair number of vampires, most notably wizards and enchanters, and wanting a bit of a break from that style of play, I decided I wanted to play a giant wall of muscle that just made pincushions of the dungeon monsters. I had heard good things about CeHu, so I opted to try that out instead 0.11's version of the MDHu, the MiHu.
I more or less just straight trained bows to 27 and polearms to 14, only taking short detours to level a bit of invocations/evocations a bit. I made another exception to get 4 or 5 points in armour when I found some pretty nicely enchanted ring mail. After my weapons were done, I mostly just turned fighting, armour and dodging on and left them. I stayed in robes and light armour throughout most of the game, only making the switch to heavier armours around the time I started collecting runes, as I found it took a while to find a heavy armour strong enough to make the big drop in EV worthwhile, due to Deformed Body 1. Even so, the investment in Armour became well worth in the latter portions of the game.
I noticed that the ammunition situation is much improved upon from the past. Though I did run dangerously close to running out while clearing the lair, this was largely because I had cleared out an Ice Cave previously that ate up most of my arrows, rather than an aspect of standard gameplay. And of course late game, packs of centaur mobs were frequent enough that I was actually stashing arrows by the hundreds just to keep my carrying weight down. It was not entirely unwelcome, however, as arrow usage really ramped up towards the end. Zot itself mulched at least 300 arrows.
Nothing really threatened my character throughout most of the game. Orc 4 was a little close and I hit it earlier than I normally would (feeling a bit overconfident at that point), and Vaults 8 had a couple messy points but nothing unexpected or unreasonable. The biggest threats came in the form of Mennas, Mara, and Tiamat. Mennas I was thankfully able to evade with some carefully timed teleports. With Mara I ended up doing the stupid thing and decided to try and kill her. Thankfully, I barely managed, but it was admitedly a stupid thing to do. And lastly Tiamat, I more or less killed by accident. In trying to draw her and her pack away from the stairs I wanted to use to ascend, I ended up misjudging her speed, and was accidentally given the opportunity to drag her alone upstairs with me. I probably shouldn't have risked trying to kill her at that point, but feeling overconfident (as evidenced by the fact that I even tried to kill mara when I didn't have to) I decided to take on a unique I'd never fought before. Thankfully, she was much more manageable away from her pack.
This changed on Zot:5. Getting through the orb vault was brutal. The majority of those 300 mulched arrows were spent here. Ghost moths and moths of rage were common through Zot:4 and 5 making things more challenging that they should be, but the big obstacles here were the orbs of fire and a curse toe. I had by this point lost my potions of heal wounds despite using a cloak of conservation, and orbs being as fast as they are I was more or less left with only one option: My DPS Vs Their DPS. Thankfully, heroism and finesse evened the playing field so that I had a chance, but it got far closer than I'd like, more often than I'd have liked. The real trouble maker of the vault was a curse toe, however. One that it took me all my teleport and blink scrolls that I brought down, and a full wand of teleport just to get away from, never mind lure away from the vault full of guardians and shadow dragons and other nonsense (because blind teleport put me in uncleared areas of the vault several times in a row before finally getting me out of there on my last charge). It was an intense moment, but the rng relented on the last charge and let me get out of there.
So I left, regrouped, used up all my enchant armours on a shiny new item oka gave me (crystal plate), stocked up again, and headed back in. This time, better prepared, I was able to carefully draw the toe away so I could safely clear the rest of the vault. I didn't even entertain the thought of trying to kill it, it seemed to take no damage from my arrows whatsoever, much less the problems its summons could cause. Once that toe was dealt with however, things moved along much more smoothly. Much of the more dangerous mobs in the back two vaults had wandered off in that random teleport spam leaving those behind much easier to take out, and the orb was soon mine.
The run up was much less climactic than my MiBe's run. Between centaur speed, and a stack of 7 potions of speed I had waiting for me outside Zot, I made it to the surface far more quickly than I expected; in the end only seeing at most 3 or or so spawnings of monsters due to the orb.
Char Dump (CeHu): http://pastebin.com/0N29082i
In closing, Zot was really cool, and I also really enjoyed seeing the Snake lair for the first time. The run to the surface with the Orb feels amazing; like the orb of zot is truly that important. You're not just grabbing some little trinket, but something that the lords of hell and pandemonium themselves are determined to stop you from taking away. It really amps up the tension, and adds something special to what would otherwise be an unremarkable experience (just backtracking unchallenged).
P.S. As an aside, I would really recommend polearms to anyone who is getting bored of non-trunk axes (or whatever your mainstay weapon might be), or hasn't given them a proper try before. That inherent reaching brand is much more useful (to both a a berserker and a hunter) than one might first think.