A guide to help filthy casuals win this brutal game.
Waaah! I Can’t Win Right Away! Dis Gayme is Unfair!
If you really care enough about improving to read this guide, congrats. You aren’t a complete filthy peasant who ragequits a game at the first sign of trouble. Keep in mind that WazHack is a roguelike. A real roguelike, not that cheap easymode roguelite crap that people are calling “roguelikes” these days. Classic roguelikes only have one difficulty: brutal. Most are particularly hard early in the game, including WazHack.
Persevere and one day this will be you!
Money Lost, Little Lost; Honor Lost, Much Lost; Pluck Lost, All Lost
The title of this section is a true rumor from NetHack, the game which WazHack is heavily based on. The most important difference between a bad hacker and a good hacker is that a good one won’t let little things like death stop them from pursuing the Amulet. In other words, you will die a lot. Stick with it. Even I die most of my games with over 700 hours and thousands in other roguelikes.
Here are a number of ways you can improve at WazHack and other roguelikes:
- Stick with it. Everyone dies once in a while out of nowhere. Random criticals wiping you from full health are not fair nor balanced, but roguelikes aren’t supposed to be fair. Besides that only happens at very low levels, so not much was lost.
- Slow the hell down. The tagline of this game is “All the time in the world. Permanent death.” because you are supposed to carefully consider your decisions, not hold down a single button and slash everything in your path. There is a reason there are a bunch of monsters that cause bad effects when you hit them in melee. Only dead hackers fight fairly.
- Read spoilers. Roguelikes are not the kind of game you want to learn by exploring. The smallest things can screw you over if you are unaware of them. Rumors in the game help a little, but it is barely explained why you, a valkyrie, can never land a hit with the +1 katana you just picked up when monsters can hit you every time with their -1 club. (Reason: valkyries have no backsword skill, and katanas are classified as hard-to-use weapons, so you suffer a massive to-hit penalty when unskilled, and almost all monsters have a higher naked AC than the player.)
- Be crazy overprepared. WazHack is a sidescroller and thus provides few directions to run from monsters. Always keep multiple methods of teleportation around in case you get cornered but end up teleporting uncontrolled into a worse place or your wand is exploded by lightning or scrolls blanked by water elementals, have a way to lock and unlock doors but be prepared to handle strong monsters bashing them down, make sure to be able to engage disenchanters using spells or junk items without being at risk from others, etc. All of your plans should have backups in case they fail, and a second backup is far from overkill.
- When in doubt, flee or hit your panic button. You don’t have to kill everything in your path, and although WazHack’s sidescrolling format makes it difficult to avoid creatures in your way, you can always teleport around them, teleport the monsters away, or let your pet kill it. Almost everybody ascends with a bunch of wands of death/teleport, frost stones, and potions of full healing, but dying when you had them is your own fault. Remember that the RNG is very, very cruel. Just because you think you have enough HP to survive one more melee attack doesn’t mean the monster won’t get a random critical and wipe you after your death ray misses. Individual monsters only roll the dice a few times before they die, but you have to roll them thousands of times to ascend, and even a negligible risk will kill you in the long run if you take many of them. In addition, a lot of monsters in the game are so annoying/dangerous to fight that you are better off avoiding them entirely.
- Let your pet fight/carry stuff for you if you are weak. There is a very good reason you start with a pet, and kittens/puppies are absurdly strong, and only get better with levels. Make sure to use the pets/people menu to explicitly order them to attack.
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