Forum:Playing for 15 years . . . still no ascension

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While being blown away by some of the high scores on I noticed that ascensions appear to happen pretty frequently. I realize there are some exceptionally skilled players who can manage a successful run with nearly any character. I was wondering what's the longest anyone's played before achieving a victorious run.

I ran a Yahoo search in 2003 for a free rpg and have been playing nethack ever since. I made it past the quest one time as a monk. One of my characters battled his way down to the last level of Gehennom before being killed by a master mind-flayer. I didn't discover much about surviving . . . I was completely clueless about everything from advancing skills to BUC testing at altars until I found this wiki and it blew my mind :)

I play on NAO only (so I can't cheat.) It's been 13 years and counting and still no success.

I've had some excellent runs but invariably I blow it. Most recently I was completely prepared to take down the Wizard as a level 23 Valkyrie and choked on a wraith corpse (I deserved that one - ) I'm on my way down to Lord Surtur right now with the +7 Excalibur, reflection, boots of speed and a -18 AC, I feel pretty confident this time. Buried (talk) 13:22, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

On reddit recently, one player said he has yet to ascend after playing for 20 years. Funcrunch (talk) 16:21, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

While somewhat reluctant to admit it, I have been playing since the days it was just 'Hack' and have yet to ascend. I have won several other roguelikes, but not NetHack or any of its variants. It probably does not help that I have been sadomasochistically playing SLASH'EM much more than NetHack the past 10 years (I just like all of the added levels, techniques, etc.). That said, I am rather close to ascending 3 characters in SLASH'EM (Archaeologist, Knight and Rogue) but am taking my time. Also, I am darn close to ascending a Valkyrie in 3.6.0 and a Priest on my phone (3.4.3).

My problem with not ascending is mostly attributed to my bad habit of playing NetHack like it is a live action game and not the chess match turn-based game that it really is. I have been able to be more thoughtful in my games lately however. I have probably had 100+ ascendable characters over my lifetime, but always seem to goof it up somehow . . .

--User (talk) 20:54, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

I have never ascended on NAO. I did ascend a couple of times 25 years ago playing an earlier version on my non-networked home PC - so the only Bones I ever found were my own, for example - and the characters who ascended were a barbarian and a samurai. Since discovering NAO I have played exclusively Tourists, which start with significant fighting and defence disadvantages but do start with tripe (to train the pet for shoplifting) and 4 scrolls of magic mapping and a lock-picking tool. My reasons for repeated failure are numerous, ranging from overconfidence (leading to YASDs) to ridiculously poor luck (a game a few days ago ended when a relatively puny monster on a lower Mines level walked over a polymorph trap and became a mastodon, one of the rarest but also strongest monsters in the game). It would appear that ascending a Tourist is very, very hard ... but that's why I keep playing as a Tourist. I think when I do achieve an ascension with my Tourist it will be that much more satisfying. Darcyj (talk) 23:49, 7 May 2016 (UTC)

And may I just add, there is no defence at all, no matter how carefully and methodically one plays, against a booby-trapped door that kills you in one blow. RNG strikes again. Darcyj (talk) 08:23, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
you're right, but this page would suggest that that is much less common than casual play would suggest. --Evilkolbot (talk) 12:22, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

I first played Hack on an old Unix TRS-80 back in 1986. I ascended my first character on 3.4.3 (on a local machine, not NAO) about a year ago. TWO THINGS factored into that ascension immensely: I stopped playing NetHack like it was Duke Nuke'Em and this wiki. Mannc (talk) 21:20, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

I first played Rogue in 1981 at Purdue. I've played several roguelike games since. I first played NetHack on an Amiga in 1988. My first ascension was last year, 2015, on NAO. That was 27 years of NetHack for my first ascension. I had only retrieved the Amulet of Yendor once before in all of those years and didn't make it out that time. I've not ascended a second time yet. --Mcowper (talk) 15:18, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

Thank you for this post. I hit the forum to ask the same question and saw this. On and off for a couple of years and nowhere close. Usually level 10 and die. Almost every time I can look at my inventory or recent strategy and see my mistakes. There was almost always a way to stay alive. Oh, I almost ascended once. Ran through in wizard mode and sacrificed to the wrong altar at the very end. Chose not to die 50 something times after wishing for everything I wanted. I may be at this for a while. Count ````

Playing lawful human valkyries exclusively for the past couple months - I figure it's the easiest class to ascend and I really enjoy hacking away in melee - I've managed to get myself killed in the castle on three separate occasions since first posting. I'm there right now and have no levitation capability so I'm taking it much more slowly than I usually do. I find I'm generally more than physically strong enough to handle anything by exp. level 15 as a valkyrie so YASDs account for nearly all my deaths. At least I'm consistently (slowly) improving my game.

I'm tempted to save scum my way through to an ascension locally but I can't imagine I would learn very much. Sometimes I make up a wizkit.txt dream file for fun and start a character then quit :) I remember playing rogue on a 3.5" and feeling the most supreme sense of accomplishment when my 9 year self made it down to the 16th or seventeenth levels once or twice.

I'm not alone, I will ascend one of these days, I just beat my old high score and surpassed a million points. If it takes another 15 years, I'm determined to succeed.

Buried (talk) 16:47, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Yep, I'm in the same boat, also for around 15 years. I've only ever once made it to whatever the special level is that's beneath the entrance to Sokobahn. It was full of soldiers, if memory serves. I'm somewhat relieved to hear I'm not the only one to go so long without ascension (or even getting remotely close, in my case.) I comfort myself with rumours I hear that the early game is the hardest part, in some ways.

I have a peculiar view of what I consider 'allowed' spoilers. If I can understand how to accumulate a table of values or outcomes from my own play, then I try to. For example armour AC, scroll price identification, results of eating different corpses. But for things that seem totally opaque to me, I'll look it up online.

Tartley (talk) 18:46, 16 August 2016 (UTC)