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Huey, Dewey, and QE

A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

130 posts in this topic

Each round you have a single additional chance of losing 1 pt of fatigue, equal to 5% per point of QA.

 

AKA, it sucks.

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How useful is the mental resistance ward? I usually kept that one on throughout the game, since getting one of my party charmed/terrified/stunned was more annoying than pretty much anything else.

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I've seen characters with 90% mental resistance fail mental attacks. It's better to just have a priest stand back to remove them.

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I've seen characters with 90% mental resistance fail mental attacks. It's better to just have a priest stand back to remove them.

Until the time your tank gets charmed and one-shots your priest into oblivion... ;-)

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Until the time your tank gets charmed and one-shots your priest into oblivion... ;-)

 

What's even worse is when your priest gets charmed. It can happen even to a high INT character, even with a mental protection ward up.

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Until the time your tank gets charmed and one-shots your priest into oblivion... ;-)

Yet another reason why defense is everything.

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What's even worse is when your priest gets charmed. It can happen even to a high INT character, even with a mental protection ward up.

 

I split all of my unshackle mind crystals (and scrolls of sanctification) around my party, so that everybody had a shot at uncharming. Fortunately only my first PC ever got charmed, and her attacks never connected - she always targeted PC2, who was a missile user with a ton of dex.

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A suggestion:

I came here looking for general party building tips but what I found is a min-maxing guide eliminating most "non-optimal" ways of playing the game. While it is not bad in itself - efficiency is fun - perhaps the thread/the link to the thread should be renamed accordingly?

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I'm not sure I follow. Doesn't "general party building tips" basically mean "tips about what's more useful and less useful"?

 

I guess there's less said about the less useful stuff. Do you think it would be improved by something like, e.g., "Archery is generally not especially strong, but if you decide to have an archer, Sharpshooter gives you a decent damage increase, while Sniper is of questionable value since it doesn't combine well with the Haste spell that most any party can use effectively."

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I think that the title is accurate enough. And while I disregarded a fair amount of the advice in it because of the way that I choose to play the game, the fact of the matter is that what Slartibus lays out is the way to build the most powerful party. in the A:EFTP strategy central, Randomizer did a post on "how to avoid sucking at Avernum" which might be closer in tone to what you are interested in Mouton. I suppose that Slaribus' topic could be renamed as "how to excel" at A:CS and then someone could write "how not to suck" at A:CS and we would have the middle and the right end covered. To truly complete the topic we would then need a post on how to build your party to fail at A:CS.

 

Ultimately, while Slartibus' stuff is backed up with a lot of math, all of these posts on party building are just guides and people with different play objectives will disagree with them. For example in Randomizer's post on A:EFTP I do not think that he emphasized getting the Negotiator trait enough, but my personal style is somewhere on the continuum between casual role player and Min-Maxer.

Huey, Dewey, and QE likes this

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But they are general tips. The fact that magic is so much more powerful than weapons is pretty much as general as it gets.

 

In many games, "magic is many times more effective than weapons" would definitely be a specific strategy, maybe a way to min-max, but definitely not something general. Here, though, it really is just a heads up about the way the game is balanced.

 

And FWIW, the stuff in this thread mostly isn't min-maxing, either. There's no exact point distribution or numerical analysis, very little "wait through 2/3 of the game so you can trainer this skill before you manually upgrade this other skill", etc. It is what it says on the tin, a discussion of balance updates. It's in Strategy Central where it is because we don't have a better place to point people for said concrete and robust info.

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A:EftP had monsters that were 95% or more resistant to magic to make having a physical attack useful unless you were able to take the tedium of chopping down monsters with a herringbone. But in this game there aren't any like that so magic is overwhelming better.

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I've searched for a bit (a bit = a minute or so) and couldn't find a good look at traits. Are they about the same as in Escape from the Pit, and this guide is still usable, or are there any major changes?

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I've searched for a bit (a bit = a minute or so) and couldn't find a good look at traits. Are they about the same as in Escape from the Pit, and this guide is still usable, or are there any major changes?

 

That list is mostly still fine as far as traits go, although some of the information is a bit off. The health bonus traits (Good/Robust/Perfect Health) become significantly better than Improved Endurance by the midgame, since Improved Endurance is a flat +5 to health plus some minor poison/acid resistance bonuses while the other traits are proportional to your total HP. Challenger supposedly works better in A2:CS than it did in A:EftP, but it still isn't really necessary -- you can usually manipulate enemies into attacking who you want them to through careful positioning and understanding their AI (they'll usually try to target whoever attacked them most recently before their turn if that character is reachable, otherwise they'll tend to pick the nearest target).

 

The biggest caution I'd add is that Sage Lore is a little buggy/unreliable in A2:CS; there are a number of places where it doesn't count toward your Arcane Lore total, including a few level 3 spells (some of which are pretty good, some not so much) as well as a couple of plot-important events (fortunately, none of the plot-related ones require more than 2 Arcane Lore). It's arguably worth buying up the Arcane Lore skill to a total of 13 in your party rather than bothering with Sage Lore at all, especially if you're a completionist when it comes to collecting spells.

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Interesting. Some notion about which order to train stuff in, so that you generally have the right balance of combat skills and tool / cave skills to kill everything and loot everything? I went with a 4 spellcasters party (pretty much one of the builds on the first page of this thread) and while I'm killing pretty much everything I encounter, there's a whole bunch of interesting doors and chests I can't pick atm.

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Interesting. Some notion about which order to train stuff in, so that you generally have the right balance of combat skills and tool / cave skills to kill everything and loot everything? I went with a 4 spellcasters party (pretty much one of the builds on the first page of this thread) and while I'm killing pretty much everything I encounter, there's a whole bunch of interesting doors and chests I can't pick atm.

 

15 is the highest Tool Use you need for any door or chest that can't be opened by other means, and 10-12 is about the highest that gets you anything you'd be really sad about missing. Get to a party total of 10 as soon as you can spare the skill points and then maybe throw a few more points in if you feel like it.

 

You can buy 2 points of Cave Lore per character with money after doing the sidequest at Tor's farm, so you don't need heavy skill point investment for that. 12 is the maximum Cave Lore requirement to find any of the hidden outdoor treasure caches in the game, so you can just put one point on each character and buy the other eight. Try and get to a total of 6 before leaving the demo area via the tunnel in Formello, since there's a one-way trip after that with a few caches in it -- nothing vitally important, but you might as well get them.

 

Sounds like you're doing okay for yourself as far as combat skills go, but here's some advice anyway. For spellcasters you want to invest mostly in Intelligence plus enough Endurance that enemies don't one-shot you (a 3:1 ratio is probably good, although you could try ignoring Endurance entirely if you're feeling lucky. You can also choose to make one character into a pure healer/buffer and invest entirely in Endurance for them, since healing, buffing and summoning spells aren't dependent on your Intelligence; I personally wouldn't do this because it makes that character a little boring, but if you feel the need for a tank it's an option.

 

Get your primary magic skill (Mage Spells or Priest Spells) to 17 ASAP, and then pump Spellcraft and Resistance. Weapon skills are also worth investing in just so you can unlock battle disciplines and the all-important Hardiness and Parry skills, although you can eventually buy weapon skills with money as well so don't go too overboard with them; 8 points of skill point investment in either Melee Weapons or Pole Weapons (not both) is a sensible number to stop at, since that lets you get to 15 to unlock Adrenaline Rush once you can afford training and also lets you get your Melee or Pole skill to 10 once training is factored in, which in turn is enough to max out Hardiness and Parry. Also, it's not a bad idea to get your mages a few points in Priest Spells when you can, since being able to heal a little and cure status effects is useful for everyone.

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Hi,

I,m at level 8 in the Motrax/Formello area. I know it's early. But in the Motrax Cave there are a couple of areas where it says I need "clearance". Is this Magi Clearance? And you mention with careful planning you can get it early (after "demo" area). I don't have a demo so not sure what that means, nor what kind of careful planning I need. My reputation is around 10 I believe and I noticed people have said you need like level 22-25 or so right?

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Clearance depends on reputation and going to the Castle to get a higher clearance level. You don't get to the Castle for a while.

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Hi-

Question to the OP, whatever your handle may be this week...lol

 

Does Escape from The Pit have a more balanced combat as opposed to the obvious superiority of Magic in this one? Like melee actually is important? I would have thought the newer games would be more carefully balanced no?

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Magic is still generally superior in A:EFTP. Conditions are good for one (and only one) melee fighter per party due to the existence of two truly amazing swords and the slightly lower dual wielding penalties. Beyond that magic is better and the existence of the Cloaks, which give you a very strong and long-lasting party-wide buff to one and only one attack type at a time, further incentivize a party that mostly uses one attack type.

 

In general, the newer games are better balanced than the older games, but it's not just a linear slope upwards. I think Jeff was most successful with game balance in the period that ran from Nethergate: Resurrection to Avernum 6 and Avadon 1. Those games had the fewest broken abilities and saw the most nerfs to OP abilities. Jeff went out of his way to create new abilities for lackluster melee characters (Battle Disciplines and better Battle Creations). That was also when Spiderweb games stopped letting you double the whole party's action points with a cheap mage spell you could learn at the start of the game :)

 

Since then we have had a swing in the other direction with stuff like Tinkermages, Charge Weapons, Adrenaline Rush, and monster resistances that universally reward magic. But I'm not sure these are any worse than Haste, Bless, and Vlish were in older games.

 

Avernum 3: Ruined World is the sort of game that could really go either way, based on its predecessors. So I guess we'll see.

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Avernum: Escape from the Pit has a few combats where monsters are almost completely resistant to magic. However even without having a character specializing in melee, you can still finish.

 

It's just like chopping down the tallest tree in the forest with a …. herringbone.

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Hi,

I,m at level 8 in the Motrax/Formello area. I know it's early. But in the Motrax Cave there are a couple of areas where it says I need "clearance". Is this Magi Clearance? And you mention with careful planning you can get it early (after "demo" area). I don't have a demo so not sure what that means, nor what kind of careful planning I need. My reputation is around 10 I believe and I noticed people have said you need like level 22-25 or so right?

 

The demo area is in general terms the part of the map that you can get to while the barriers are still up. After you succeed in getting the barriers lowered, you will be able to travel to the castle to get clearance. That said, I believe that doing to right without knowing the game can result in more fights that your party is not yet ready for, so I personally would wait a little bit on getting to the castle.

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Do the skill levels of Arcane Lore stack together from a group perspective? e.g. having 2 mages with 3 points each in AL is equal to having 1 mage with 6 points in it?

 

Thanks!

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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.

When you say "traits" are you talking about Sage Lore? So this would mean:

2 AL + 2 Traits (Sage Lore) = 8 AL

2 AL + 3 Traits= (Sage Lore)= 11 AL

 

Not counting the Spray Acid, Blink, Cloak of Blades, and Ward of Steel, as those require "pure" Arcane Lore, (From Mikus post)

 

Not sure how to get the Vahnatai Lore as I only got it offered to me once somewhere so far in my game- but it also counts as an AL for spell learning purposes right? Isn't that like $1000 each time or something?

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There are two places in the Vahnatai Lands where you can buy a level for some money. (Egli and the ruins to the east) There are other places where you can learn more.

 

There are a few places where you need pure Arcane Lore and not trait (Sage Lore) or Vahnatai Lore to learn things. For harder difficulty levels it is better to get them like Resistance.

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There are two places in the Vahnatai Lands where you can buy a level for some money. (Egli and the ruins to the east) There are other places where you can learn more.

 

There are a few places where you need pure Arcane Lore and not trait (Sage Lore) or Vahnatai Lore to learn things. For harder difficulty levels it is better to get them like Resistance.

Like resistance?

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There is a spell book that with enough Arcane Lore gives everyone in the party one level of Resistance that reduces damage taken.

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