Decided to try another Shalore Archmage and I am finding some of the talents to be really bad. Displacement shield for instance is complete waste of a slot it seems. It has a huge cooldown time, lasts only one shot no matter how small and is consistently a wasted turn.

More when I encounter them.

And dead

Even found the blood but that didn't keep me alive. Lost quite a few lives vs the house boss. I see what people were complaining about. He's not hard if you have a good tank fighter but otherwise he isn't beatable without at least 1-2 deaths. Ended up again stripped of lives and unable to continue playing without dying so I chose to try and get the tempest unlocked. Forget that... will never happen. Impossible for someone of my meager skills.

Archmage is a tough class to play though having the versatility of lots of different spells is interesting it ultimately fails due to not being powerful enough ironically. I say ironically because it seems to me that the caster monsters in the game are the hardest most vicious unfair mobs. Where as it seems the melee monsters tend to be beatable though some are quite difficult like the (X) and (P) throwers.

Again frustration sets in. Makes me want to punch someone that I spent so much time leveling the character to only have it die all at once on one thing. So, enraging and aggravating. What is the point of the extra lives if they don't help? *shrugs* This is what I hate about roguelikes in general.

Everyone does not play at the same level. (Obviously.) Those who are expert tend to expect everyone else to be. And so the games get ever harder and more frustrating for those who aren't. Even after years I am still clearly a novice with these games. Shamefully dying to things everyone else just walks over.

Bitterness sets in.

Things to improve...

You are right, the archmage's shield talents are quite poor in beta18. There are already a few changes in the SVN repository, so we will have to wait and see how that improves the situation.

The entire concept of extra lives is still relatively new to ToME4, so don't take this experience as an expectation that you just need to improve. The current implementation of extra lives really fails when you resurrect close to your site of death (and whatever killed you), which I first saw in the Sandworm Lair and what I am assuming you struggled with versus the house boss. Maybe the house boss level should have the entrance/resurrect location be out of sight from the boss encounter?

Oh, and I wouldn't claim to "walk over" that boss... it was a treacherous battle my first time around (playing an Anorithil) and various other characters I have taken down there on Normal difficulty also lost a few lives. Hang in there. :-D