I have ascended once in 3.6.0 as a Wizard, thanks to this wiki and the advice of people on freenode #nethack. I may have ascended as a Valkyrie in the 1990's, but don't remember the details. Currently I'm experimenting with other roles.
Thoughts for improving Nethack:
Have an option to show weights and sort by weight in inventory, so that instead of the usual Weapons, Armor, Comestibles, etc. order, they would be sorted from whatever category is heaviest, to whatever is lightest. Same thing in your bag. I would want to turn this on temporarily, in-game, when I was burdened, then turn it off again after dropping a cache somewhere.
- Tools #106
* K - pickaxe #126 * U - unicorn horn #20 * t - towel #5 * k - key #1
- Comestibles #90
* F - 4 uncursed food rations #80 * T - tripe ration #10
Few things are as tedious as looking up the price of each scroll, wand and potion in a table based on your charisma, version of nethack, etc., then renaming the items in your inventory based on what you discovered in a shop. This is something computers do much better than people. I'd love to see the game keep track of this information for you so that once you've seen an item in a shop, it will say, "Base price 100" next to the item description or something. You could make this a game option, and even report it as a conduct if turned on.
Simplifed UI for polearms
Just like there is "f = fire" for projectiles, there should be a "p = attack with polearm" or "l = attack with lance/polearm" for polearms. Apply, remember the letter of the (already wielded) polearm, don't mistype, respecify that I want to hit the only nasty in range, or same monster that I hit last time... It's just a pain. Pole arms are great weapons and a great idea, but I'd rather throw daggers for sheer convenience. Maybe even interpret direction keys so that if you go toward a nasty with a pole-arm wielded, you get, "attack this nasty (y/n/c)".
It just isn't very fun picking up every little piece of junk and making 7 huge piles, with groups of less than 5 items, trying to mix up the composition of each pile... Having done this a few times now, I will place a bigger premium on accumulating magical armor and tools, so maybe it will get better. Maybe one monster would pick up magical armor around the level and horde it next to some certain item or dungeon feature. The same monster or a different one might do the same with magical tools. Another monster could make and sort piles in a line near that feature. You could either find and tame these monsters and set them loose on a level. Or wish for a "blessed figurine of an obsessive-compulsive hoarder." Maybe they attack once you poly the piles?
Maybe a giant electro-magnet or vacuum, or dangerously-dry polyester garment that sucks appropriate items from everywhere on a level to a single spot. It could be heavy and/or cost a charge to use. Some items could hit you as they flew past.
A "neurotic yip dog" could dig a hole, then run around arranging all the items at the bottom of the hole, perfect for polypiling? Hey, there's already a woodchuck. There could be a pack-rat. Bring it down to the Castle level and clean up!
Surely someone in the Inadvisably Applied Magic department can come up with some way to make this more fun and/or less tedious.
More multi-tile monsters
It's cool that the long worm takes up multiple squares. It would be neat if other monsters took up 2 or 3 squares as well. This is the least important item on my wish-list by a mile.