Chaosforge Forum

DoomRL => Discussion => Topic started by: Sylph on October 24, 2020, 06:36

Title: Special levels-Pass or play?
Post by: Sylph on October 24, 2020, 06:36
Remember Horos' awesome 'nightmare advice (http://)' topic from a few years ago?
I wanted to edit my post in there with a 'years later' update, but the topic is locked.
Now, as I thought a bit more about it, I decided this place was quiet enough to justify revisiting it.
During one part of the discussion, I talked about how I tended to play N! Conqueror runs as a 'standard' playstyle. This moved the topic into a discussion about special levels on N!, and I posted a lists of which ones were always beneficial, which were situational, and which usually left me closer to game over than I was going in.
Now, only 3 years later, I've got a N!, Conqueror; 100%kills; Full Win (JC) with almost every master trait. I just did it with scavenger, which was loads of fun!
As such, I thought posting a new list would be a great demonstration of how much the skill in the community has increased in the last 3 years!
(I'm including my original list below, for comparison's sake)
Here's my new list:

Always beneficial:
- Hell's arena - Nowadays this level usually takes me 1 or 2 medpacks. Easy-ish, average rewards
- Military base - Shellbox(~50%), medkits++, modpacks, envirosuit! Very easy, good rewards
- Basic Chained court - Very easy, good rewards - Using 0-1 medpacks, leaving with mods, chainsaw, and berserk for days.
- Hell's armoury - Clear level from second-leftmost doorway, farm overcharged plasma guns to ease shambler battle. Quite easy, awesome rewards
- The wall - Deadly on low ammo. Worth doing if you bring extra ammo in! Easy-ish, poor rewards
- Halls of carnage - I now use (homing)phase device to skip this level! Worth it for BFG+xp+bulkpack. Average difficulty, average rewards
- Limbo - I still just don't struggle with this level, but consensus suggests I'm an outlier here! Somewhat hard, Incredible rewards
- The lava pits / Mt Erebus - Rocket jumping: great. I think the nuclear BFG trivialities these levels. Very easy, average rewards
- Phobos lab - A tricky level, but there are *so* many medpacks, you can almost guarantee coming out stronger. Hard-ish, good rewards.
- City of Skulls - Ok, I realised that the shell box completely trivialises this level! Yeah, I was stoopid!! Very easy, poor rewards.
- The vaults - Zero healing  = health deficit. If I've got the staff, I'm always game, but bring extra medpacks! Hard-ish, unpredictable rewards.
- Deimos lab - Some builds are in mortal danger from 2xshambler. At least supercharge is accessible with rocket dig! Somewhat hard, Incredible rewards.
- Chained court + - Years back I thought 'close to a deathtrap'! These days I lose 1, maybe 2 medkits on it and it feels much less 'chancy'. Somewhat hard, great rewards

- Containment area - The only level I graded up! Barons can be inescapable, where not even rocket jump extricates. Hard, underwhelming rewards.
- Plains of torment - Shell box trivialises the (otherwise hard) ambush, but disappointing rewards = 'situational' level. Somewhat hard, poor rewards.
- Spider's Lair - Tricky at times, but BFG+battery is good, and with decent time-management, spiders aren't too deadly. Hard, average rewards.
- Unholy Cathedral - Obv. great for melee build. Otherwise it's XP+artifact for a cost of medpacks + speed mods / traits. Hard, poor rewards.

Not worth it
- Mortuary - It's not that I leave the mortuary worse-off than I entered it... It's that my chance of dying in the mortuary is *significantly* higher than the entire rest of the run put together! Extremely difficult, incredible rewards.

It really shocked me, just how differently I categorise them now, with only a few years of practice passing by!!
(The old list:)
Always beneficial:
- Hell's arena (if you're not fussed with conquerer, and health packs are running out, only say 'yes' once... You get a lot of medpack as a reward for an easy level, and you'll have a super-easy chained court!)
- Military base for sure.
- Basic Chained court for sure.
- Hell's armoury for sure
- The wall - pretty basic.
- Containment area - but I use most of the rockets I get there!
- Halls of carnage. BFG nice!
- The lava pits / Mt Erebus - If you have envirosuits or cerb boots, the lava element you get from here is like an extra life.
- Limbo : Not too tricky, and great rewards. The nuclear BFG is just beautiful! <3

- Chained court + is close to a deathtrap, but the modpacks and staff are great later on, so it's a 'die now or be strong later', and the extra experience often pushes me into enough experience to get hellrunner in time for phobos lab!
- Phobos lab if you are fast enough to outrun a nightmare demon, if not it's a deathtrap.
- Deimos lab is pretty much always beneficial if it doesn't kill me. There's a very real chance of having hell's armoury or deimos lab make the rest of your run *far* easier. From *any* rare modpack, you can assemble a tower shield, gravity boots, nano(machic) weapon of your choice, plasmatic shotgun, or demolition ammo pistol, and every one of those items it worth risking your life for.
- Unholy Cathedral. This is great for melee characters, and possible for most non-melee character, but certainly not worth it - you will be expending modpacks and maybe even traits specifically to get your character able to, and your reward is a melee weapon and some experience! For ranged characters with juggler I'd not-worth-it . Without juggler it's awful! For melee characters it's incredible.
- The vaults - For about the last 10 runs, the only items I've carried out of the vaults (WITH key) have been ammo boxes. Maybe it's bad luck? The lack of health here makes it situational.

Not worth it
- City of Skulls - Huge ammo drain, and the reward you already collected from the wall! I for one think this level needs a better reward! The skulls are ok for the mortuary, but most BFG owners have other answers.
- Plains of torment - Pretty dangerous but nothing too taxing. Terrible, terrible rewards though. At least this one has supercharge!
- Spider's Lair - Absolute deathtrap. Nice reward (particularly the energy cell pack), but yeah, deathtrap.
- Mortuary - I clear corpses with skulls or the BFG, wait until I'm getting overrun, then homing phase to the nuclear BFG, bunker in the corner until all cover is destroyed, then bunker in the closeby corner until all the cover is destroyed there too. After that, sometimes I manage to clear the level. I die here a lot, certainly more than anywhere else.