Diving and grinding

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Diving and grinding are the two basic strategies of gameplay. In grinding, the goal is to reduce risk at the expense of (early) rewards; while in diving, the goal is to accept some added risk early in order to win the game quickly. That said, the added risk must be modest--even a 1% risk is too high, if it is repeated more than a handful of times.

The canonical risks

  • Free action. Paralyzing attacks become more common after DL 20. They are likely to be instantly fatal to any character without free action.
  • Poison. Instantly lethal poison attacks appear around dl 50. The Winged Horror (dl48) breathes poison for 340HP; the ancient green dragon for 500HP. Such attacks--and worse--become more common quickly as you descend below this point.

Thoughts of a top player

Lay Siege or Dive Fast

There are two schools of thought in mountain climbing. Both are all about risk reduction. Laying siege strives to reduce risk by having every conceivable piece of equipment to deal with any situation that may arise, but it requires a lot of time and exposes the climber to severe risks repeatedly over that time. The alpine speed method strives to reduce risk by carrying only what is necessary for the most common risks and racing to the summit, thereby limiting the time for risks to occur. In taking on the Big Bosses in Angband, it is much the same.

It is easier to deal with Morgoth alone than Morgoth AND uniques together. Well, all other things being equal, ...yes..., BUT, things are not equal! To kill all the uniques @ had to be exposed to a very large number of risks. Also, uniques are not the only thing Morgoth summons, nor are all uniques all that dangerous to @ in the end-game. If @ has sufficient means to handle Morgoth's summons (with TO, Banishment, Mass Banishment, and Destruction), has sufficient hit points, has sufficient healing, and has sufficient ability to inflict damage, then there is no reason to continue exposing @ to risks. Go to guns on the Big Bosses immediately. The longer you're on the mountain, the greater the risk of being caught in an avalanche from which no amount of gear or preparation in the world can save you!

When you are fighting a unique by itself, you have more opportunities to be in control of the fighting environment, often to the extent of making the kill easy or virtually guaranteed. You have less control over the fighting environment when Morgoth is involved, because he can change it in many ways, from its physical nature to the number of combatants involved. Your contention about fighting uniques is true only if the conditions are right, e.g., @ has the right resistances, the right damage dealing ability, the right speed, and the right terrain. Otherwise, @ is simply being exposed to greater failure opportunities from the RNG or from making a mistake. I view uniques as targets of opportunity. If @ has the right conditions, take them out. If not, avoid them. A case in point is the Tarrasque. Sure, if @ has found The One Ring, or is double fisting Narya and Nenya, and has big damage dealing ability, and has sufficient healing and hitpoints, and has sufficient speed, then the Tarrasque is a "target of opportunity" otherwise, the mean "R" is a recipe for large risks of consumables wasted and @ death. Much easier to simply TO or destruct the sucker if Morgoth happens to summon him.

It is a good thing to be as in control of as many factors as possible when fighting Morgoth. I'd say it's good to be in control of enough factors to win. You don't need to control every possible factor. You don't need to kill every unique. You don't need to have every resistance hole covered. You don't need to have every stat sustained. You don't need to have 40 potions of life! What you need is whatever is sufficient for a particular @ to win. Anything more than that and it means @ has to be exposed to greater risks of failure and death from the RNG. It is this ability to sufficiently control the terrain of battle that makes hunting down all those uniques a waste of time and an unjustifed risk. UNLESS, you are hunting down all those uniques simply for the fun of it, regardless of the risks. That is the only reason you gave that, in my opinion, had merit. When you get tired of doing that and start entering competitions where turncount matters, you simply won't want to waste the time.

— Ingwe Ingweron