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Best Gameplay Strategies? There are 9 replies
Original Message posted by Kengon on 17/04/2012 at 11:22:23AM
I've played for upwards of 6 hours now and I'm still not quite which strategies give you the best advantages.

I'm doing things like staying one block out of a doorway and picking off each enemy one by one; only opening chests that do not have a chance to spawn something that attacks me (no tombs in The Mask of the Boy King; no statues in level 3 and 4); I'll range things from a decent distance in that quest with the Amazon; but I still always die before I can reach the boss.

I've heard of Kiting and such, but I have no clue.

Does anyone have any top tips? Movement patterns, who to kill first, what stats to emphasize, when to collect loot... Etc.
 Replies To This Post:
Dewi Morgan
"Helpful newbie"
on 11/06/2013 at 7:23:55PM
Total Posts: 0
More advice :)

Try different quests: they don't just have a different end-of-quest bad guy, they generate different styles of level, which require different playstyles to defeat.

Mask of the Boy King is the first I completed, which took me 14k turns, 23 deaths, 800 kills, and 12 hours. But instead of hammering a single quest as I did, maybe try a variety and see which works best with your play style. Other quests will become easier as you unlock other characters and artifacts.


Dying unlocks characters, one every so many deaths (ten deaths? not sure). Check your list of characters when you die, and see if there's a character with better stats that you could try.

Also (seems obvious but) dying rerolls the dungeon. So if you're getting totally pasted on the first level, and had no good drops after opening all the non-spawning chests and stuff, then dying quickly rather than dragging it out might generate a dungeon with better drops.
on 19/04/2012 at 3:54:10PM
Total Posts: 0
Dewi Morgan wrote:
> I might be wrong on this one (and a lot of my other tips!): but
> I've never seen a shadeformed monster drop stuff when it's in a
> wall. Ideally, the loot would appear in the nearest clear bit of
> floor, but it doesn't seem to do that.

Items dropped on a wall cannot be looted, period. You also cannot drop equips while you're standing on a wall. Dropping via death overrides this.
Dewi Morgan
"Helpful newbie"
on 19/04/2012 at 5:45:19AM
Total Posts: 0
Hah! Thanks :)

I'm not entirely convinced by crzydave's summary of the game, but I reckon you certainly can play it like that if you feel like it: just run around and kill stuff, see how it works out. But a little strategy goes a long way.

More strategies and tips:
1) Regen seems to respect haste, in that it can regenerate you in either half of your turn, which means it works "twice as fast" (by some measure) if you are hasted. But, so does poison. So, you don't get to run twice as far before dropping dead from the poison.

2) Poison is evil. Try to leave food and other healing items lying around if there are a lot of poison-wielding beasties about. Then, if you get poisoned, you have a cure... if you can get back to it in time.
I just died this way because I didn't leave any food around. D'oh.

3) If I'm fighting something that's standing somewhere that it might not drop loot (if it has shadeform and is in a wall, or if it's on the level exit), then I generally kite it to a blank bit of floor, and kill it there.

I might be wrong on this one (and a lot of my other tips!): but I've never seen a shadeformed monster drop stuff when it's in a wall. Ideally, the loot would appear in the nearest clear bit of floor, but it doesn't seem to do that.

And I've read some posts here that make me very leery of killing stuff on top of the level exit. In fact, killing stuff on top of the level exit sounds like something I need to try, now, just to see what it does.
on 19/04/2012 at 3:14:56AM
Total Posts: 0
Dear lord, Dewi. You've settled into this game so fast that even I'm jealous.

Guess I should try to beat Stormrise tonight just for brownie points.
Dewi Morgan
"Helpful newbie"
on 18/04/2012 at 6:38:09PM
Total Posts: 0
"Kiting" is a gamer term for "getting monsters to follow you as you run away". This has several uses in HSL.

1) If you have Haste, you can take two actions for every one of theirs. Take one step away, then fire with a ranged weapon or magic, rinse, and repeat. It's important to make sure your "haste" icon is bright, indicating that you're on the first move of your turn, not the second. If a companion starts to attack your foe, you can stop running and just pepper them with your two shots/round, as they will always(?) attack the nearest foe. When running away, try not to get trapped in a corner: make use of diagonal stepping!

2) If you have Shadeform, you can just back away through a wall and wait for them to walk around the corner, then pepper them as they approach, then walk back through the wall and repeat.

3) If you're at a door, it often pays to open it from an angle if you can (if you've mapped around it, go for the angle that will reveal the *least* of the room to you when you open the door). Backing away from the door, then circling around it at a distance until you see a foe, lets you reveal the contents of the room slowly, exposing fewer monsters at a time. Since only monsters you've seen will generally come after you (? sometimes not the case), this means you can lure them out at a slower rate.

This last strategy doesn't pay quite so well for fighters, but is still useful: if there's a powerful missile user in the middle of a room (eg a dragon), *don't* walk into the room! Back out around a corner, wait until it's right by the door, then leap in and start whaling on him with your most powerful damage-per-turn weapon.

Damage-per-turn is important in some cases. If you have a whip (low damage per turn, but has Haste) then you can do lots of kiting damage for no damage in return. But for use against missile users, a fighter will want to back that up with a high-damage weapon, especially one with Necrotic/Divine damage.

Enchants are *important*. Divine or Necrotic weapons are very useful to beef up your character. I didn't pay enough attention to the info page at the beginning, and didn't realize just how much of a permanent stat boost these things could give over time. Essentially, they are eventually close to a guaranteed 100 in both health and melee/ranged (whichever one you're using). If your foe has a resist, it's OK to "soften them up" with another weapon first, then finish them with the Divine/Necrotic weapon.

The chance of getting a permanent buff from these weapons seems to drop as the stat raises, so it's even worth using some items that have penalties in the stat you want to raise, in order to keep that skill below about 80, especially if you get some other good advantage out of the item (shadeform is a good example). Once you have enough skill that your best items will get your skill over 100, it's not really worth continuing to grind with the Divine/Necrotic weapon: it's time to put on your best buffs, grab your best weapon, and start really doing some damage.

While you're grinding Divine, it makes sense to cache your best items in a heap next to the level exit (a lot easier when you have Shadeform). When you change levels, pick the best gear to take with you.

Note that you can drop multiple items on a single square. I was scared of doing that at the start, in case I destroyed one item or the other. But then I saw that they stacked nicely.

You can drop regen items in your cache, if they're otherwise detrimental to you; if your health drops below your starting level, you can just return to the heap, pick up the item, and wait until you're back at your starting health. It won't regen above that, so is useless to you once you're as healthy as you started.

Keep track of the resistances, vulnerabilities, and damage types that the mobs have on each level. That way, if you die, at least you bring back the knowledge of what weapon types and vulnerabilities to bring with you for that level. As a simple example, Mask of the Boy King seems quite doable with one Fire weapon, and one Divine, defaulting to the Divine in order to boost stats. So if you find an item with a resist or damage that might be useful in the next level, but is useless on this level, then maybe drop that in your cache, too.

Altars generally seem to have a net positive effect, but mixed in with those are the devastatingly negative effects. Since altars can only enchant (or disenchant!) you, or the stuff you're wearing, drop any gear with enchants that you really want to keep before using them.

If you know (perhaps from previous deaths) that a certain type of explorable thing (eg caskets) has a good chance of spawning a monster, don't open them until the rest of the level is clear.

When exploring, make you way to the edge of the map, and work around. Less chance of being attacked from all sides, if you're at an edge!

Ain't emergent gameplay grand? :D
on 18/04/2012 at 11:08:02AM
Total Posts: 0

I don't think there is one exhaustive strategy thread, but if you skim the forum for 30 minutes you should come across plenty advice to get you started.

Just one thing most players seem to miss:
Always think on the margin. Sounds a bit odd, but it makes a huge difference. For example, if no enemy deals more than 15 damage, having more than 14 defense is useless. But going from 13 defense to 14 can almost half the damage you take. With tombs in "Boy King" and mimics in "Magus" this alone makes the difference between opening tombs and chests being a net positive or negative.

Another example of the same principle: You are archer with 60% cth. Monster is also archer and has 30% cth. If you stand next to each other you have a 2:1 advantage over it. But if you manage to be 10 tiles away, you have 40% cth to the monster's 10% cth. Congrats, you just doubled your advantage to 4:1. If you play caster it's even better.

There are literally dozens of these things that are totally independent of gear, luck or whatever and they just add up.

(Oh, and just in case you're wondering how to be 10 tiles away from monsters: If you open a door, never be in front of it. Always to the side. Then back away out of line of sight as far as possible. That way you can usually double and triple the distance between yourself and monsters so that melee monster can't even touch you and ranged monster suffer the huge distance penalty due to lower starting cth.)
on 17/04/2012 at 8:51:41PM
Total Posts: 0
crzydave wrote:
> Hack, Slash, Loot is essentially a glorified dice-roller, and the
> strategies you described are pretty much as deep as the game
> gets, quite unfortunately.

I disagree.  Those are not even most of the fighting strategies*.  But the bulk of HSL strategy lies in resource management: equipment and consumables (potions, scrolls, altars, glyphs, and so on).  A typical game has dozens of moments where you find a piece of equipment that's a "sidegrade" to the one you have: trading defense for damage, accuracy for a resist, a resist for a vuln, etc.  Likewise, there are opportunities to use (or pass up) unknown effects from altars and such.

The effect of a particular altar is 100% unpredictable, but the player who makes good choices about when to take the risk will have much more success in the long term.  Same with looting: the items available to you in any given dungeon are random, but if you make consistently good decisions about what to keep, you'll do better overall.

* In case you think I'm making it up, here are a few other fighting strategies from the top of my head: using doorways to trick cowardly monsters into losing the first strike, using a divine or psychic ranged attack to use an enemy you're resistant to as a shield, using swiftness to avoid taking hits from tombs and mimics, combining swiftness and shadeform to peek into rooms and duck out before any enemies can act, dropping items that gave vulnerabilities when facing that damage type.
on 17/04/2012 at 7:42:50PM
Total Posts: 0
People claim to be able to do a whole quest without deaths using only the starting characters, and I'm baffled as to how. I'm assuming they have a clever strategy, not just karma on their side!
on 17/04/2012 at 5:03:42PM
Total Posts: 0
Hack, Slash, Loot is essentially a glorified dice-roller, and the strategies you described are pretty much as deep as the game gets, quite unfortunately.

In my opinion, the game mostly serves as a distraction - something to do when you're feeling tired or mindless, and just want to see how a particular session plays-out for you (it essentially plays itself due to how chance-driven it is).

You'll be disappointed if you try to look for anything else in the game. (Though that's not necessarily a bad thing - maybe that's what OddballDave was aiming for.)