optimal branch timing

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Halls Hopper

Posts: 88

Joined: Wednesday, 22nd January 2014, 02:22

Post Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 22:29

optimal branch timing

Apologies if this has been asked before, but I'm wondering when the best time is to enter and complete particular branches.

For some reason I tend to clear D10 before I enter lair. And I tend to clear lair before doing anything else, but it's possible that the bottom floor of lair is actually more difficult than orc 1 or D 11-12.

I tend to clear orc after clearing lair, though sometimes I might do another level or 2 of dungeon, but this is probably suboptimal (orc 1 is certainly easier than D11 or L8 I think)

Also I tend to clear D15 before entering any lair branches, but I'm unsure if this is optimal and I'm unsure what the relative difficulties of the 4 branches are. I think snake is easiest, then spider, then swamp then shoals.. And again there is probably an argument for clearing snake 1-4 then doing some swamp before returning.

SO... in an average game, what order is optimal to complete each level?


Tomb Titivator

Posts: 909

Joined: Thursday, 3rd January 2013, 20:32

Post Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 23:18

Re: optimal branch timing

it's optimal to go wherever the monsters are least likely to kill you

(edit: to be less obtuse, the branch/depth order indicated by the above guideline can be somewhat different from one character to another but it sounds like you're handling it pretty well already)
Wins (Does not include my GrEE^Veh 15-runer...stupid experimental branch)

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Halls Hopper

Posts: 65

Joined: Tuesday, 1st November 2011, 20:16

Post Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 23:36

Re: optimal branch timing

"Optimal" is poorly-defined, which is the cause of so much confusion around here. I'll assume you're optimizing for win rate, which is probably a decent default assumption, although there are other ends that could reasonably be optimized for (turncount, score, wins per real time, tournament score, etc.).

Optimizing for win rate, you normally want to be in whatever branch is least dangerous at the time. If you draw an early Lair, you might well be better served continuing to level in D rather than possibly facing a pack of blink frogs or an L1 hydra. If you get a late Lair, you might be feeling pretty undersized for your D level and Lair will be a relief.

Rule of thumb: If the branch you're in is easy, stick with it, If it gets hairy, try another branch for a while and come back later.

Of course it is fine to take a break from Lair partway through and do something else. It's also fine to do all of Lair at once as long as you don't die in the process. As long as you're not burning consumables, it doesn't even matter if Orc is easier since your theoretically suboptimal decision isn't even incurring a cost. This suggests that rate of consumable consumption is a good indicator of when it's time to try an easier branch.

There is also the issue that some characters find certain branches easier. Hexers have an easy time in orc, for example. The same rule of thumb applies, however.

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Tomb Titivator

Posts: 771

Joined: Tuesday, 25th November 2014, 02:47

Post Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 23:38

Re: optimal branch timing

Orc is easier than lair on a short list of characters (most notably venom mages, there are a few others)

Going into lair the moment you see it is usually optimal. D difficulty varies wildly. Difficulty of O1 vs L6/8 is rarely a concern. Lair threats may be dangerous but are rarely deadly (just walk away.)

Standard 3 rune is Dungeon to Lair (all), Orc (all), D15, Both S-Branches, Vaults 1-4, (optional Elf), Depths, (3rd rune), (optional crypt), zot.

I usually do elf. I nearly never do crypt unless setting up for extended.

Vaults5, Abyss, and Slime are all common 3rd rune choices, in roughly that order of popularity.

Edit: so, when evaluating branches, consider the danger of exploring the black. What could be there? D has a huge possibility of things that may be in the next black tile, some of them are quite nasty the moment they are in LOS. Lair has a shorter list of things, some of which are dangerous, but rarely are they dangerous the turn they see you barring you turn a corner. Orc is more similar Dungeon in potential dangers in unexplored territory (stone giants throw, ogre mage banish, wizard paralyze, smite, confuse, drain, ranged attacks.)

Someone once described Lair as walking bags of XP. I've always found that an apt description.

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