Shouldn't this be moved to "Role difficulty"? --Seen 04:31, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, you're right. I moved it. --Jayt 11:00, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Starting Difficulty Versus Ascension DifficultyEdit

I thought it would be good to clarify the difference between the two, instead of a one-dimensional difficulty model. 05:35, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Role Difficulty Chart Edit

I created the Role Difficulty Chart and I know that no one is going to agree with each other on the order, but I really wanted to see something like this the first time I came to this page instead of just a description of each role's difficulties. Also since I have yet to ascend a Monk, Rogue, Ranger, or Healer I'm not sure where to put them so I kind of grouped them near the bottom where I thought they might be. Spazm 01:09, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

I think it puts a good stick in the ground, and the disclaimers make it perfectly clear you're not trying to be definitive. I'd quibble with you on Valkyrie vs. Barbarian if you're trying to ascend, rather than just survive a few hundred turns longer as a noob--Excalibur, Mjollnir and the Orb of Fate make one hell of a great package. But it's obvious that your list is pretty solid.
I edited the chart slightly, putting Archaeologist above Healer. I wouldn't nitpick on which role is more difficult, except that I thought it would be better to make the chart more consistent with the main article. Action 52 06:44, 11 March 2008 (UTC)action
I don't like the role difficulty chart as it's listed. Having ascended close to 10 times now (and haven't ascended more because I get bored) I'd say it's something like this from easiest to hardest:
1/2. Barb/Valk (if I had to choose, probably Valk as easier)
3. Ranger (yes really this high, ranged attacks dominate melee early on especially)
4. Rogue
5. Samurai
6. Wizard
7. Knight
8. Monk
9. Caveman
10. Tourist
11. Healer
12. Archaeologist
13. Priest
Since this is such a radical change I'm not going to change the chart in the main article. I'd say 1/2 are close, 3-5 are close, and 11-13 are close. Tourists are notably better than the four roles below them IMO, simply because Tourists have good ranged attack options (darts are GOOD), while the three at the bottom have terrible ranged options.
Rangers are only hard if you equate "boring" with "difficult" and think that ranged combat is boring. Multifire arrows plus Elbereth is pretty much unstoppable for the entire game--it's good enough that you don't even really need a melee weapon if you don't want to bother with one.
Every class is more-or-less equally easy if you make it to the castle, and in vanilla I'd say you should never die once you grab the castle wand unless you simply run into something you don't know about that instakills you (like green slime). 18:44, 12 November 2008 (UTC) crate (too lazy to make an actual account)
Tourists and wizards are equally hard to play in the early game if you stick to Elbereth, daggers and lots of armor. I'd move tourists up in the scale, but I don't know how far because I specialize in wizards. --Tjr 17:53, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
I have come to agree with a lot of what crate is saying--Tourists are a lot easier than they get made out to be. Their starting darts are quite good for that stage in the game, due to the +2 enchantment. They also have lots of food so you can take yor time, and pretty much any weapon you come across can be raised to basic. Plus their starting gold makes it easy to buy good stuff you find at stores. Unless you are really unlucky with finding weapons and armor in the first few dungeon levels, they're actually not too hard even in the early stages.

Action 52 06:44, 11 March 2008

I would actually say that Healers and Archaeologists are easier than Tourists and Monks. With both roles, you can go for early protection by 1) having a lot of starting money as a Healer and 2) by identifying and selling a few gems as an Archaeologist. I find it far harder to succeed as a Monk. I would definitely vote that Priest is the hardest role as Tourist starting equipment is more powerful.

Now the article says "Cavemen can be considered a more difficult version of Barbarians" and the chart has Caveman as easier than Barbarians. This is a mess. I'm assuming that the reasoning for making Cavemen easier is that they have a guaranteed source of MR? The barbarian certainly seems to have an easier time at the beginning, though maybe I'm not taking proper account of the sling.

Anyway, with a subjective chart like this, I think a little more discussion might be warranted before we make any drastic changes. -- Slandor 17:26, June 20, 2010 (UTC)

Ugly ChartEdit

Why is the chart so ugly? Can we please go back to the original thing without any "disclaimers"?

We can include details of how difficult/easy a role is in their own articles, that's what they're for after all. Let's keep the chart clean.

Rank Role
1 Barbarian
2 Valkyrie
3 Wizard
4 Samurai
5 Monk
6 Knight
7 Priest
8 Caveman
9 Rogue
10 Ranger
11 Archeologist
12 Healer
13 Tourist

Gneek 18:44, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Constitution Edit

It seems to me that although constitution is relatively easy to raise, having a higher constitution at the beginning will correspond to a lower ascension difficulty because you will gain more MAXHP during the easy run of experience levels--one through ten.Ih fek 19:31, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Knights Edit

Slandor asked me to justify knights being the second easiest class? Points in their favour:

1) They get a good starting AC and good weapon. This AC can be improved further by obtaining mines armour of course, but this helps them *get* to the mines

2) Obtaining Excalibur is easy and straightforward. This means they have a strong weapon throughout the game.

3) After obtaining level 3 or so, they can #ride their horse (if you don't mind about dying a couple of times before trying this you can do this at the start of the game). This not only means they can joust it means they can run quickly (and therefore get away from early enemies), as well as counteract their starting strength/ring mail combo which puts them close to the burdened limit.

Casmith 07:27, July 4, 2010 (UTC)

These are good points, especially the AC, but I'm not sure they mean that Knights are the second strongest role for relatively inexperienced players (which is what this should focus on). Knights require pretty careful horse management; I think you have to dismount the pony to allow it to get kills and level up, which brings you back to the problem about the burden limit.
Stats are also a problem; not only is there the burden limit, but if Dx is low (the knight I just started had a Dx of 8) it can be hard to hit monsters. Once you have Excalibur that should be less of a problem, but that means being sure you can water moccasins with a very rusty sword. Food can also be a problem, since you have to save treats for your horse, but I find I have to keep stashing food rations because of that pesky burden limit.
Overall, knights seem like they require a fair amount of subtle strategy that goes beyond the "walk into them and they fall down" strategy that works for barbarians and samurai (as well as valks). There's a lot more pet management, and decisions about when to ride and not; not to mention that mithril is hard to get if you don't like attacking peaceful dwarves. That may make them more likely to ascend if played well, but not the easiest class, if you see what I mean.
It'd probably be a good idea to split the table up, into roles ranked by early-game/mid-game/late-game difficulty, to take account of the roles that are easier to play from the very beginning versus the roles that get some significant advantages pre-quest (like Excalibur or Magicbane) and those that get significant advantages post-quest (PYEC, Eye of the Aethiopica). Or just ditch the table, which seems like it's going to be the opinion of the last person to edit it. Purely subjective tables don't work in an article like this; we can just list the pros and cons of the role and leave it at that.
Oh, and I think it's not true that "Most agree that (dwarven) valkyries are the strongest class, followed by knights and samurai." Most people seem to think that barbarians and valkyries are the easiest classes -- they may not be right, but that's what they seem to think. In a sentence about peoples' opinions you should probably just stick with valks. Slandor 01:41, July 5, 2010 (UTC)
I was assuming that the table is "easiest to ascend/least likely to die if the class is played well". Is that not the case? Your comments seem to suggest a bias towards "how far can you get if you don't know too much strategy" (ex: knights seem like they require a fair amount of subtle strategy). This is not meant to sound aggressive, sorry if it does. Casmith 00:06, July 6, 2010 (UTC)
No problem. Honestly I don't know what the table means anymore, since it's undergone a number of edits by people with different opinions and agendas, but I was thinking that the article was more about which classes are easiest to ascend for a not-too-experienced player. After all, a really good player (not me) can ascend any class pretty reliably, which means that all classes are pretty much equally likely to ascend if played well. As David Damerell says in the linked RGRN thread, "Well, our player is "spoiled", but presumably no Marvin - otherwise the difference between ascension rates with classes are too small to pick out." Not to mention that people who are experienced enough to max their ascension rates will have figured out their own preferences, and don't need the table. So I was thinking of "easiest to ascend" as "easiest to ascend for people who don't quaff fountains but still aren't experts." (In line with that, the article used to discuss Barbs and Valks specifically as recommendations for new players.)
Another thing is that by "subtle strategy" I really meant "subtle strategy that's specific to knights"; the riding, herbivorous pet, and lance all require specific strategies that other classes won't be using. It's easy to imagine someone who's pretty good at the other classes and has trouble playing knights. Insofar as playing a knight requires more different strategies than other classes, I'd say that makes them harder, even if they can be ascended more reliably once you've mastered all those strategies.
As I said before, though, I think the table may just be too subjective at this point, and the best thing about the article is the discussion of the specific pros and cons of each class. Slandor 01:50, July 6, 2010 (UTC)


Since role difficulty is so subjective, let's turn those perennial arguments into a poll. I'd fancy a box in an unobtrusive corner, like the monster template. However, my attempts end up very ugly. Would someone with more wiki wizardry please make prettier polls? (w:c:Help:Polls) Tjr 16:19, July 9, 2010 (UTC)

<div style="float:left;width:60%;min-width:200px;">

Poll: which is easiest? (No rerolling, no conducts)

The poll was created at 16:03 on July 9, 2010, and so far 19 people voted.


<div style="float:left;width:60%;min-width:200px;">

Poll: which are easier? (No rerolling, no conducts)

The poll was created at 02:16 on July 10, 2010, and so far 11 people voted.


I like the idea of a poll, a lot, but I think we might need to be asking a more complicated question -- something like rank order of roles. The disagreements aren't so much about which role is easiest (I think Valk may have stayed on top through all the edits) but how to order them in the middle. Are Cavemen really easier than Barbs, for instance? (The reasons given seem pretty weak to me.)
Also, for the second poll, should there be a third option for "ranged fighters"? Slandor 19:39, July 9, 2010 (UTC)
If you find a way to poll the rank order of roles, I'd be delighted. Tjr 02:16, July 10, 2010 (UTC)
The polls I was thinking of were done through the Condorcet Internet Voting Service. They probably couldn't be set up on-site, though. And... yeah, it looks like anything more complicated than what you've got can't be done through the built-in polls, and I don't even know enough to help you with that. Oh well. Slandor 18:21, July 10, 2010 (UTC)