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A2:CS - Second look at balance updates


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Pliant Giant Pliant Giant

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 04:24 PM #1 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Spells are so much better than weapons, it's not even funny.  Given the same skill, stat, and trait investment, weapon damage doesn't even keep up with spell damage against a single target, let alone with AoE spell damage.  You can surpass spell damage a little, maybe if you dump all your skill points into offensive skills and dual-wield.  (Note that the Flaming Sword no longer enflames an off-hand weapon, and there is no +8 Blademaster off-hand weapon, and there is an extra -15% dual-wielding penalty compared to A:EFTP.)  Bleh.

There are basically three sets of skills that matter:
1) Mage Spells and Priest Spells
2) weapon skills (for Adrenaline Rush)
3) Hardiness and Resistance (and Spellcraft along the way)

The return on those skills is just so much higher than anything else.  There's nothing particularly wrong with Parry, Blademaster, or Sharpshooter (or Lethal Blow if approached from the Sharpshooter side), but their impact is minute given the balance issues above.

There's still a place for tanks, but physical attacks are almost not worth bothering with, and priests can tank just fine.  Actually, so can mages.  (Spellcasters also reach 90% mental resistance on their own pretty early, due to Intelligence, which is nothing to laugh at.)

Correspondingly, since most of the first screen of skills is irrelevant without physical attacks, this means that you don't lose that much by investing points directly into Tool Use (already useful), Arcane Lore (with a bonus 4 pts of Resistance, though 13 might be hard to reach), and even Cave Lore.

Speaking of Cave Lore... what's better than a skill point?  A level up!  No, really: even if the skill points and traits disappear at level 30, level ups continue to give small amounts of HP and SP, preset stat increases, and half a die of damage/power to all your abilities.  Once you've maxed out the best value skills, and taken the best value traits... that's really the best value.  And that means Cave Lore, which nets you extra Wisdom Crystal herbs more conveniently than in A:EFTP, is a good value, period.

What's more, there is tons and tons of money.  Those of us who played v1.0 of A:EFTP remember that while money wasn't scarce, there still wasn't enough to do everything you wanted.  The reduction of spell and training costs made a big difference, and I think A2:CS just has more treasure in general.  So spending 8800 on Cave Lore for a return of less than 8800?  Truly fantastic!

The huge amount of money also means that spending a little extra to get something significantly earlier is dandy.

Also, note that you can steal a lot of stuff that looks unstealable by being thoughtful about where you stand, devious about which doors to open, and very patient with wandering NPCs.  Some of this stuff has a pretty big value.

Humans are obviously the way to go, especially in light of weapons sucking.  With so few skill points in demand (with casters) and so many traits available, I think the two XP-raising traits might actually be useful.  They are probably the equivalent of two Wisdom Crystals each, but with 24 skills, you eventually get to the point where half a level up (see above) sounds better than all the options left.

Adrenaline Rush is still really, really good.  It's a bit harder to get it early, but not that hard.  You can get a +2 to weapons item in Almaria right away, and the big +5 item is in Gaddika's fortress.

Divine Retribution is the best attack spell in many circumstances, but Call the Storm is not; whereas Lightning Spray is probably the most overall useful attack spell in the game, with its 10 SP cost.  Fireblast is also great and ultimately the most damaging attack.  Daze is useful early.  Simulacrum is great.  Haste is brokenly good, as is Mass Healing.  Cloak of the Arcane and the damage Wards are still unnecessarily awesome.  Protection and War Blessing are useful, Sanctify is nice.  MM and DB are obvious.  Many of the other spells are not worth bothering with, even useful-sounding ones like Slow and Divine Restoration.

After the demo ends, you can get Magi Clearance without visiting any more dungeons by visiting all the towns and being very thoughtful about which quests to go after.  At that point, you can reach Crown Clearance through a large handful of low difficulty, high reputation-payout quests.  At that point, you have access to enough goodies that you should be able to coast for a long while.
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Bonam Bonam

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 04:57 PM #2 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Are there no encounters of note that have magic immune (i.e. can only be damaged by physical attacks) enemies in A2:CS?

Triumph Triumph

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:04 PM #3 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Outstanding yet succinct analysis.

Bonam, since mages / priests can deal out (among their different spells) energy (magic), cold, and fire damage (and, oddly, physical damage with Move Mountains), although you'll run into enemies that resist certain things, I don't think you'll ever face a situation where a magic user can't inflict good damage.

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mikeprichard mikeprichard

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:08 PM #4 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Just from reading the forums (I'm holding off on starting a "real" playthrough until version 1.0.1 comes out to fix the remaining reported glitches, missing level 3 spellbooks, etc.), I'm slightly disappointed that Jeff seems to have taken another step in the wrong direction in terms of melee/pole/ranged vs. magic damage balance. He does seem to have made poles and (maybe?) bows slightly more viable, but - although dual-wielding is still probably the best non-magic choice for damage - the new 90% (vs. the previous 95%) to-hit chance cap (yuck) coupled with the increase in initial dual-wielding penalties seems a strange choice when faced with the fact that magic remains just as powerful - and maybe even more powerful, with the new Capture Soul/Simulacrum spells, for example.

That said, I've always run parties in A4-A6/A:EFTP of two dedicated melee tanks (dual-wielding in A:EFTP), one dedicated priest, and one dedicated mage on Normal difficulty. I know the crazy Torment min-maxers often prefer an optimal party with only one tank and more priests/mages, but I generally like to avoid the micro-(ok, milli-)management of more magic users (e.g. positioning, SP management, etc.). But the continued nerfing of non-magic damage now has me considering changing up my original planned party build by throwing a lot more mage and priest spells into the mix (see below for new build). I also precisely planned the distribution of utility skills below: 12 total Cave Lore skill points counting the quest point on the first character - I do know you only "really" need 10 total to get all caches due to the Forager's Boots and First Expedition Ring, but whatever; 18 total effective Arcane Lore skill points through 4 Sage Lore, 2 Arcane Lore, and 4 Vahnatai Lore, allowing access to almost all spellbooks - except Spray Acid, Blink, Cloak of Blades, and Ward of Steel, as those require "pure" Arcane Lore, and except the Resistance teaching crystal, as I don't think the +1 Resistance from the crystal is really that amazing and I'd rather spend the Arcane Lore points elsewhere; 15 total Tool Use skill points including 7 (8 with the Tinker's Gloves) concentrated on one character for the Icy Rain level 3 book. Thoughts?

EDIT (NEW PARTY BUILD):

Human Fighter/Priest:
8+2 Melee
+2 Poles
+2 Bows
+2 Thrown
10+2 Hardiness
10+2 Parry
8+2 Blademaster
+2 Quick Action
+2 Lethal Blow
8 Priest Spells
7+3 Spellcraft
10 Resistance
2 Arcane Lore
+2 Cave Lore
+2 First Aid
+2 Luck
Strength x5, Endurance x5, Recovery, Mighty Blows x3, Parry Mastery x2, Health Traits x3, Nimble Fingers x2, Fast Recovery, Sage Lore, Negotiator

Human Priest/Mage:
8+2 Melee
+2 Poles
+2 Bows
+2 Thrown
10+2 Hardiness
+2 Parry
14 Priest Spells
7 Mage Spells
7+3 Spellcraft
10 Resistance
7 Tool Use
+2 Cave Lore
+2 First Aid
+2 Luck
Intelligence x5, Endurance x5, Recovery, Swordmage x4, Elemental Focus x1, Health Traits x3, Nimble Fingers x2, Fast Recovery, Sage Lore, Negotiator

Human Mage/Priest 1&2:
8+2 Melee
+2 Poles
+2 Bows
+2 Thrown
10+2 Hardiness
+2 Parry
16 Mage Spells
8 Priest Spells
7+3 Spellcraft
10 Resistance
2+2 Cave Lore
2+2 First Aid
+2 Luck
Intelligence x5, Endurance x5, Recovery, Swordmage x4, Elemental Focus x1, Health Traits x3, Nimble Fingers x2, Fast Recovery, Sage Lore, Negotiator

Bonam Bonam

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:14 PM #5 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Slarti, based on the OP, are you basically recommending a pure spellcaster party of 4 characters each of which have:

17 priest OR mage spells (probably 2 chars with priest, 2 with mage)
10 spellcraft
10 resistance
10 melee
10 hardiness

leaving 24 total party skill points for:
1 cave lore (8 can be trained, 2 from items/quests to reach 11)
14 tool use
13 arcane lore

That's 4 points short, which means sacrificing 4 hardiness or 4 resistance to get those 13 points of AL to get the 4 points of resistance... so may as well drop AL and use sage lore.

That leaves, 24 total skill points for:
Char A: 6 parry (front line character)
Char B: 4 tool use, 2 free points
Char C: 4 tool use, 2 free points
Char D: 5 tool use, 1 cave lore

The free points could go to parry, or maybe luck? first aid?

With this build, you'd have 4 spellcasters, all with early access to adrenaline rush, all quite tanky.

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:17 PM #6 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Bonam - just note that the max priest/mage skill necessary in A2:CS (unlike in A:EFTP) is now 16, not 17 - so you might save a couple skill points there. Otherwise, my above priest/mage builds sound pretty close to what you're suggesting for your whole party.

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:19 PM #7 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostMikus MacFrenchy, on 23 January 2015 - 05:08 PM, said:

the new 90% (vs. the previous 95%) to-hit chance cap (yuck) coupled with the increase in initial dual-wielding penalties seems a strange choice when faced with the fact that magic remains just as powerful
The hit chance cap applies to spells, too.  Since spells are by default more accurate than weapons, the lower cap maybe even has more of an effect on them.  That was an interesting choice.  I haven't decided if I like it or not.  I don't think it upset any balance, though.
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:23 PM #8 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostSlartibus, on 23 January 2015 - 05:19 PM, said:

The hit chance cap applies to spells, too.

Hmm, interesting. Does this apply to all targets for AoE spells, or only on a target-by-target basis? E.g. if you target 3 enemies with a Cone of Cold, would the 90% to-hit be tested for each enemy individually (resulting in hitting 2 and missing 1, for example), or would you either hit all 3 or miss all 3?

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:28 PM #9 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Something close to that, Bonam, but

1) Not only is the max to cast all MS/PS 16 in this game, you don't even need everyone to get there.  Mages probably do want 16, but priests can easily stop at 14 or 15.  16 gets you the utterly useless Divine Host, and 15 only gets you Divine Restoration, which I haven't actually found necessary.

2) 8 points in Melee Weapons, not 10.  You train the other 2 to 10, for Hardiness's sake.  (Or alternately you put the points into Pole Weapons.  You'll be wearing lame defensive knives, not spears, it's true, but you won't really need to attack, and pole weapons training is both cheaper, and available much earlier than melee weapons training.)

That leaves about 34 party skill points for 1 CL, 14 TU (but much of that can easily go into traits if you desire), and 13 AL.  You can also use traits for most of the AL, but because the last two points of Vahnatai Lore are late game points, you'll delay a few nice level 3 spells for a long time with that route (as well as a few less amazing level 3 spells in the Formello area, when you can't access Sage Lore yet).

3) Also, because Spellcraft is good but less essential, and there is a Spellcraft trainer, plus a free point of it, you could stop Spellcraft at 7 if you really want the points for some other skill.  You probably don't, though.
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:29 PM #10 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostMikus MacFrenchy, on 23 January 2015 - 05:23 PM, said:

Hmm, interesting. Does this apply to all targets for AoE spells, or only on a target-by-target basis? E.g. if you target 3 enemies with a Cone of Cold, would the 90% to-hit be tested for each enemy individually (resulting in hitting 2 and missing 1, for example), or would you either hit all 3 or miss all 3?
Individually.  Play the game, man, you could answer that for yourself :)
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:33 PM #11 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Yeah, but like I say, I'm still waiting for version 1.0.0.0.0.1... ;) Thanks for answering the lazy question, all the same.

So back to my original meta-question - do you/others find it at all tedious to play mostly/only mage characters when it comes to having slightly more micro-management in terms of party placement and SP management (compared to more dedicated tanks that can just walk up and kill single targets)? Or maybe I'm making too much of the issue. Like I say, I've always done two tanks/one priest/one mage, but I'm thinking of mixing in more magic this time around.

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:36 PM #12 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

I don't think there's any more micro-management at all.  Yes, I take maybe 2-10 seconds to position my mage before throwing a lightning spray.  He also deals in one turn what a dual-wielder deals in like 8 of his slightly shorter turns, soooo...

SP management in this game?  Not much of it.  Mages have zero need for it and priests can just throw Smite or buff when their big guns aren't needed.
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:40 PM #13 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

OK, I'm becoming more convinced to switch one of my DW tanks over to a mage(16)/priest(8) combo. Last thing - how useful do you find First Aid and/or the Fast Recovery trait in the mid/late-game? You'll see I'm considering the 8 trained points of First Aid, plus one FR trait for each player, but curious how that would eventually play out in terms of post-battle SP recovery.

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:41 PM #14 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

The only magic immune monsters are in Garzahd's Fortress until you break the ward with Demonslayer and then you can use magic on them.  With 20% minimum to hit chance instead of the previous 5% chance you don't even need to raise strength to hit better if you can heal for a few rounds until you do hit.

I did get through the game on torment difficulty with a two priest and two mage party. When all of them get to adrenaline rush you can have 12 overlapping area effect spells in a single round.
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:49 PM #15 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

So, something like:

Priest 1 (main tank):
14 priest spells
10 spellcraft
10 resistance
8 melee
10 hardiness
10 parry
1 cave lore

Priest 2:
14 priest spells
10 spellcraft
10 resistance
8 melee
10 hardiness
7 TU
3 free points

Mage 1:
16 mage spells
10 spellcraft
10 resistance
8 melee
10 hardiness
3 TU
1 AL
5 free points

Mage 2:
16 mage spells
10 spellcraft
10 resistance
8 melee
10 hardiness
4 TU
1 AL
4 free points

Options for the 12 free points:
- could do 13 in AL to get the spells early + 4 resistance
- could do parry on all those characters for more survivability
- could get first aid for SP recovery
- could get luck for more resistance
- the free points on the mages could go to priest spells for extra flexibility in healing/buffing

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:54 PM #16 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Keep in mind that you need at least 2 AL (not Sage Lore and not Vahnatai Lore) to get Dispel Barrier maxed, and there are 4 points of VL.  So it's really a question of

2 AL + 2 traits
2 AL + 3 traits -- get level 3 spells on time
13 AL -- get level 3 spells on time, get some earlier than above, and get everyone to 11 Resistance.

Thus, you exchange 11 skill points for 2-3 traits, 4 Resistance, and some earlier spells.  I do think that an 11th point of Resistance is worth at least 2 points of most anywhere else you'd put that skill point, so I think it's a fair trade.
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 05:56 PM #17 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostMikus MacFrenchy, on 23 January 2015 - 05:40 PM, said:

OK, I'm becoming more convinced to switch one of my DW tanks over to a mage(16)/priest(8) combo. Last thing - how useful do you find First Aid and/or the Fast Recovery trait in the mid/late-game? You'll see I'm considering the 8 trained points of First Aid, plus one FR trait for each player, but curious how that would eventually play out in terms of post-battle SP recovery.
That's reasonable.  The 8 trained points of First Aid are certainly reasonable, eventually.  I'd just save, buy them and test it out.  If you wait for a level up you can test out the trait with them as well.  If the trait really does mean 5% then I'm not sure it's worth buying -- at least not if it's 5% of 8, that makes it worth much less than the trained points.
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 06:00 PM #18 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Bonam - a completionist will also want 8 TU on one character for the level 3 Icy Rain book - so your Priest 2 would need to take Nimble Fingers x2 (EDIT: or tinker's gloves + Nimble Fingers x1 - thanks Slarty) for that. Or not, if you don't care about the book.

Slarty - great, thanks. I'll mess around with the trait, though I frankly can't think of any other urgent place to put my excess crazy 24 trait points within my above plan.

In general on this topic, I personally need to have at least one DW tank in my party - it might not be "optimal" (especially on Torment) in terms of the ridiculous power of magic damage, but having one dedicated double ginsu knife is just too damn fun. :)

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 06:04 PM #19 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Only 7 on one PC, you can get 1 point from gloves.
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 06:05 PM #20 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

With 8+3 first aid and no FA traits, I get about 10 spell points back after a typical fight in a dungeon. In said typical fight, my casters (in my current 2 melee 1 priest 1 mage party) will usually use 40-60 spell points. So you're talking about a ~20% increase in how long you can spend fighting between town runs by getting ~10 first aid.

This might have more of an impact in the 4 caster parties we are discussing, since each caster would only cast half as many spells before all the enemies were dead. If one was to dump the 12 free points mentioned above (subtracting 2 for the necessary AL Slarti mentioned) into first aid, get 8 trainable points, and run with the +9 first aid available from items, you might get ~30 SP back per typical fight, which with 4 casters might work out to almost being SP self-sufficient.

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 06:08 PM #21 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

If you run 3 mages (give one 8 in priest spells, sure) you can rely on Lightning Spray, and cut your SP use by quite a lot with no further investment of skill points needed.  I might prefer 2 priests, but I think I'd do 3 mages before putting actual skill points into First Aid.

(I mean, keep in mind, most dungeons you can just leave and go to town when you feel like it, and for the few that aren't like that, epots)
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 06:10 PM #22 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostSlartibus, on 23 January 2015 - 05:54 PM, said:

Keep in mind that you need at least 2 AL (not Sage Lore and not Vahnatai Lore) to get Dispel Barrier maxed, and there are 4 points of VL.  So it's really a question of

View PostMikus MacFrenchy, on 23 January 2015 - 06:00 PM, said:

Bonam - a completionist will also want 8 TU on one character for the level 3 Icy Rain book - so your Priest 2 would need to take Nimble Fingers x2 for that. Or not, if you don't care about the book.

Thanks, good points. Updated above.

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 06:13 PM #23 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Thanks, Bonam - that's a useful reference. I'll do some testing when I get to the point of access for the FR trait. And I forgot about the tinker's gloves; right you are, Slarty.

So I think I've pretty much settled on my tank/priest x1.5/mage x2 party - updating my prior post. Thanks for the advice folks.

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 06:21 PM #24 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

That's actually what I'm running now, and that convinced me there was no point in bothering with melee.

View PostMikus MacFrenchy, on 23 January 2015 - 05:08 PM, said:

Human Fighter:
7+2 Quick Action
8+2 Dual Wielding
7+2 Lethal Blow
Negotiator, Strength x5, Endurance x3, Health Traits x3, Mighty Blows x3, DW Traits x2, Parry Mastery x2, Riposte Mastery x2, Sage Lore, Recovery, Fast Recovery
QA is really not worth it.  QA by itself is all but useless, and while DW and LB are both decent, they aren't worth the point-and-a-half cost they essentially half while buried behind QA.  But if nothing else, take a point of QA and put it into LB :p

Why Riposte mastery?  Riposte doesn't block hits, and the damage it returns is pretty pitiful.

Quote

Human Priest:
10+2 Melee Weapons
Negotiator, Intelligence x5, Health Traits x3, Elemental Focus x5, Healing Focus x5, Nimble Fingers x2, Sage Lore, Recovery, Fast Recovery
Why not 8+2?
Healing Focus seems totally unnecessary.

Quote

Human Mage:
Negotiator, Intelligence x5, Health Traits x3, Elemental Focus x5, Summoning Focus x3, Swordmage x4, Sage Lore, Recovery, Fast Recovery
You may find you don't need 4 Swordmage.  It's 10% allowance a pop on top of the base 5%, and I'm currently struggling to find compelling uses for even two levels of Swordmage.

Quote

Human Mage/Priest:
10+2 Melee Weapons
9+2 Hardiness
MW over Hardiness?
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 06:27 PM #25 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Slarty - great feedback; I was unsure about some of those traits.

1) I'll dump Riposte Mastery x2 in favor of the extra Endurance x2 traits to get to max Endurance - otherwise, I can't think of anything more important for the fighter's traits.

2)&3) I see your point on the Healing Focus/Swordmage x4 seeming somewhat unnecessary, but again, I don't see much urgent need for trait points elsewhere (unless maybe in Endurance?).

4) I was trying to get 15 in weapons for all characters to get Adrenaline Rush without having to rely on equipment bonuses - so that's the reasoning behind the 10 in melee for all. But I guess if money is as plentiful as you say, maybe I can just train everyone in thrown weapons +2 as well to make up for dropping melee to 8+2 from 10+2 and still get that "natural" AR access (assuming in A2:CS, each point in bows and thrown counts as a full battle discipline point, and not only a half point as in earlier games)?

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 06:42 PM #26 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Blessing Focus is useful for whoever is your Haste caster.  It can have an actual impact on duration, and BF's is short by default, and you care about it.  I'd take Luck over some of those traits too.  And though I might be crazy, I'd consider the XP traits.

I think the half point thing was only in A5-6?  I only vaguely remember it, anyway.
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 06:51 PM #27 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

I'm definitely confusing my Avernums these days - good to know bows/thrown contribute fully to disciplines now (as they should!). I also noticed Lethal Blow is now (apparently?) no longer applied to magic damage, so I removed those unnecessary Lethal Blow +2s from my three magic users.

As for traits, hadn't thought about the XP traits - they generally weren't too great an investment in older games. So which of my current traits (I've edited my original post) would you suggest switching out for Luck x2 and XP x2?

And looky, this thread done got stickied. :cool:

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 08:43 PM #28 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostBonam, on 23 January 2015 - 04:57 PM, said:

Are there no encounters of note that have magic immune (i.e. can only be damaged by physical attacks) enemies in A2:CS?

Nope. There are enemies with specific immunities, but none that are immune to all three of energy, fire and cold. (In fact, I don't think there are even any that are immune to both energy and fire, and energy immunity is rare in general.) As previously mentioned, though, there will be one endgame area that's a pain if you don't have at least one character who can hit things reliably with swords.

View PostSlartibus, on 23 January 2015 - 05:54 PM, said:

Keep in mind that you need at least 2 AL (not Sage Lore and not Vahnatai Lore) to get Dispel Barrier maxed, and there are 4 points of VL.  So it's really a question of

You've got your wires crossed a little here: the 2 AL is for the other book in that area, the one that's mandatory for a main plot quest. So it's actually even more important to fit in those two points of Arcane Lore. Might as well get at least one of those points early so you can learn Ritual of Sanctification before leaving the demo area.

View PostSlartibus, on 23 January 2015 - 06:21 PM, said:

You may find you don't need 4 Swordmage.  It's 10% allowance a pop on top of the base 5%, and I'm currently struggling to find compelling uses for even two levels of Swordmage.

Two levels of Swordmage are pretty easy to get some use out of: a breastplate plus a heavy shield will already get you to 30-35%. 4 is almost certainly overkill, though.

View PostSlartibus, on 23 January 2015 - 06:42 PM, said:

Blessing Focus is useful for whoever is your Haste caster.  It can have an actual impact on duration, and BF's is short by default, and you care about it.  I'd take Luck over some of those traits too.  And though I might be crazy, I'd consider the XP traits.

Maybe not all that crazy: there was a point in the early game where my whole party didn't have anything better to use a trait slot for than Improved Endurance, because all the other traits I wanted were either bought up to the maximum rank for my level already or just not available yet. If the XP traits make a difference of even one level than they'll be better than an extra point of Endurance in the long run.

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 09:17 PM #29 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Sulfras is immune to fire and energy attacks, but not physical and cold.
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 09:29 PM #30 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostLilith, on 23 January 2015 - 08:43 PM, said:

Two levels of Swordmage are pretty easy to get some use out of: a breastplate plus a heavy shield will already get you to 30-35%. 4 is almost certainly overkill, though.

I'm not quite clear on how Swordmage/casting mage spells in encumbering armor works. If you start with the ability to cast mage spells in up to 5% encumbering armor, and each Swordmage trait adds 10% to that, how would only two Swordmage traits (10% + 10% + 5% = 25% encumbrance as max for mage spells) allow you to get to 30-35% encumbrance without incurring a spell penalty?

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 09:29 PM #31 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

My strategy is very similar to what's been described here.  Everyone's a human caster, everyone gets hardiness and resist (although one character will only hit 9 resist by level 35), everyone will have access to adren rush.

But beyond that there's enough skills/traits to try some things just for "flavor".

So I've got an Armored Mage locksmith; a somewhat pacifistic Tank Priest healer/buffer/porcupine-wannabe; a Lucky Priest; and a Berserker Mage acrobat/archer.  (Will have 2 arcane lore, and full cave lore.)

Hoping that will make it a bit more interesting...

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 09:33 PM #32 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

If anyone takes an XP trait on some but not all of your characters, PLEASE keep track of how it does and report back.  I know in the past those traits worked a lot better on big chunks of XP than the tiny chunks that most XP comes in, so it would be good to know how much difference it makes each level.
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Lilith Lilith

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 09:34 PM #33 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostMikus MacFrenchy, on 23 January 2015 - 09:29 PM, said:

I'm not quite clear on how Swordmage/casting mage spells in encumbering armor works. If you start with the ability to cast mage spells in up to 5% encumbering armor, and each Swordmage trait adds 10% to that, how would only two Swordmage traits (10% + 10% + 5% = 25% encumbrance as max for mage spells) allow you to get to 30-35% encumbrance without incurring a spell penalty?

It wouldn't; you'd need 3. But if you can use 3, you can definitely use 2. Even a single Blessed Breastplate is enough to bring you over the limit with 1 Swordmage.

By the way, while the proliferation of to-hit bonuses on items has been greatly cut back compared to EftP, to-hit bonuses from waveblades do still count toward reducing encumbrance for mages. This is probably more relevant in theory than in practice, since you'd normally rather just take an extra level of Swordmage and use a shielding knife instead.

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 09:36 PM #34 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Keep in mind that there are a few (well, at least one -- and I think another later) gorgeous, full-protection sets of armor that don't encumber at all.  So your first mage will have his Swordmage needs reduced quite substantially.
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Posted 23 January 2015 - 09:48 PM #35 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Thanks, Lilith; I get it - so I'll probably max at Swordmage x3. And Slarty, I'll look out for those armors; they might free up another trait or two to test out the XP bonus traits. Again, I vaguely recall they only added barely another level by the endgame in A:EFTP (nothing to sneeze at, but not mind-blowing) due to only tacking 5-9% onto the diminishing monster XP returns, but I could be misremembering and/or they could be better this time around, depending on how XP is distributed.




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