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Nobear Nobear

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 10:10 PM #36 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Question - Does Summoning Focus affect the level of creatures summoned by Simulacrum? Might it be worth it if it does, for the pure mage in a party similar to Mikus's?

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 10:17 PM #37 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Good question - I was also wondering whether that trait pick was worthwhile compared to maybe the Luck traits or something else. 2 extra summoned monster levels per Summoning Focus trait sounds really good if you actually use summons, but I'm not sure how it works out in practice - or if it works at all with Simulacrum.

Nobear Nobear

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 10:44 PM #38 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Mikus, I mostly like your template, but I tweaked it a bit.

The biggest change I made was to give both mages 8 Priest Spells, so I dropped the TU and luck on the first mage. I kept the priest with 6 TU, but I took Nimble Fingers on all PCs. To do this:
a. for the fighter, I dropped Recovery and Fast Recovery.
b. for the mages, I dropped 1 Swordmage and Fast Recovery.

If Summoning Focus doesn't apply to Simulacrum, I might drop those traits, another in Swordmage and Recovery, and put 5 in Endurance instead. Endurance is just as valuable a trait as Int, since it frees you to assign more Int with the same health pool if you want.

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 10:54 PM #39 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Nobear - great ideas; I'm stealing them! :) Recovery on the fighter is probably redundant with his QA, and the loss of Fast Recovery on everyone except for the "main" priest (it makes sense for him at least to have that from a roleplaying perspective) is more than compensated for by having 3 Mass Healers. I'm updating my older post with your suggestions; good one.

Nobear Nobear

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 11:10 PM #40 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Actually, I decided I'm going to give the Discipline Blade to my first mage, so I can save money on weapons training and only put 6 points into Melee Weapons, and those extra 2 points can go back into luck.

And thanks, I'm glad you liked it, and I'm glad you inspired me to make a great party in the first place! Starting it on Torment now :D.

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 11:14 PM #41 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Have fun - I'm just starting on Normal, but I think that group should see you through Torment. Later!

Nobear Nobear

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 11:26 PM #42 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

What I really like is that, since the luck points are kind of spare points, if I find myself wanting to read a spell book earlier, I can just put one or two extra in AL. Later!

Pliant Giant Pliant Giant

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 06:27 AM #43 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostMikus MacFrenchy, on 23 January 2015 - 10:17 PM, said:

Good question - I was also wondering whether that trait pick was worthwhile compared to maybe the Luck traits or something else. 2 extra summoned monster levels per Summoning Focus trait sounds really good if you actually use summons, but I'm not sure how it works out in practice - or if it works at all with Simulacrum.
I see no reason it wouldn't work with SImulacrum, but that would be pretty time-consuming to test.

Summons are basically never going to be as effective at dealing damage as your party members are, so you are basically getting slightly better survivability.  Maybe worth it; not sure, but not high priority.
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Posted 24 January 2015 - 07:05 AM #44 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Right, I was planning on using summons more as meatshields for tough boss fights, but I still might change up a couple of those traits; I'm only at level 3 so far. Going back to the XP thing, it'd be great if anyone who's further along could post some data - or I'll just test out the XP traits myself later (comparing characters with one and both XP traits to characters with no XP traits). If I do and nobody else has come up with much in the meantime, I'll post what I found.

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 10:00 AM #45 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Some XP results, done with new parties running through Fr Ganrick and bits of pieces of surrounding areas for a few on-level enemies:

One trait (+5%) earns nothing extra that I could see on overlevelled kills, but got ~17 exp extra from Vidican's exp reward (at level 3).  This was a few hundred exp so that's not too far behind the 5% claim.

Two traits (+9%) earns maybe a tiny bit extra on overlevelled kills (unclear) but after some more rewards and on-level kills, ended up ~21 exp ahead on, again, a few hundred exp.

Let's assume that maybe half the bonus exp goes away due to tiny amounts and rounding down.  That's less kind than the data, but maybe there are more tiny exp amounts in reality and fewer chunk rewards?  (Or maybe the opposite is true, but let's be conservative.)

If one PC is higher level than the others, they will SLOWLY close the gap, but it's pretty slow.  A lot of us have seen that from the Dahris-Bok segment.  It seems that even given a big gap, about half of it will remain by the endgame.  This dwindling effect is presumably smaller on smaller gaps because the PCs will spend proportionately less time at different levels.

So, somewhat conservatively, in terms of exp that stays with us to endgame, let's reduce the expected +90 exp per level to +45 and then to +30.  (For the levels with just the first trait, that's +17.)  And let's gradually reduce the lost-over-time penalty, so let's wildly estimate:

level 3-5: +17
level 6-10: +30
level 11-15: +33
level 16-20: +36
level 21-25: +40
level 26-30: +45
any levels from wisdom crystals at the end: +45

That gives us an expected exp advantage around endgame with both traits, of just about 1000 exp or 1 full level, possibly with a tiny further advantage if you do wisdom crystal alchemy.

Some of my assumptions here could turn out to be incorrectly but I'm going to tentatively suggest that these traits are about half a level each, conservatively, and therefore *are* worthwhile for humans, given that you will eventually reach the dregs of traits and skills.
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Posted 24 January 2015 - 10:07 AM #46 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Also, money.  I tracked the actual amounts of money I gathered, and spent, during different game segments.  I was going to wait till I finished for this, but I'm debating a new run-through to watch certain things closely, so here's what I have so far, in case it's useful for anyone's estimates:

Chapter 1
Gathered just about 14,000

Chapter 2
Gathered about 3800 more

As of reaching Magi clearance (mostly without dungeons)
Gathered about 12800 more

As of reaching Crown clearance
Gathered about 23600 more

Currently have gathered about 17000 more and haven't really touched any higher-level dungeons or outside areas, plus still have some mid-level ones to do
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Edgwyn Edgwyn

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 10:16 AM #47 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Slartibus, is that with the Negotiate trait?  Also, does that negotiate trait stack, where it makes sense to not sell anything until your whole party is level 8 and you have given each of them Negotiate?

Thanks

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 10:20 AM #48 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Yes, yes, and yes.  Always negotiate.
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Triumph Triumph

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 11:00 AM #49 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Is there a maximum on the amount of gold you can carry?  I know in past games I've had to be careful not to waste gold by selling a huge pile of stuff while I was carrying full wallet.

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mikeprichard mikeprichard

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 11:03 AM #50 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Thanks for the XP trait data, Slarty! Barely one extra level at endgame is about what I expected (that's also how the traits worked out in A:EFTP), so IMO they're not really worth it - the difference between (say) a level 33 and a level 34 party isn't enough for me to justify bumping two other traits, even for humans. But of course, that all depends on your party build. Anyway, good to know.

And Triumph - I remember gold having a max carry amount back in the original Avernum trilogy, but I didn't think it's been like that for the past several games. Best to let the experts weigh in, though; I'm still only at level 6.

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 12:01 PM #51 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

30,000, Triumph.

Mikus, you're putting 2 points of trait-based Endurance ahead of an extra level, that gets you 1 stat point plus 5 HP (the equivalent of a point of Endurance, mostly) -- at that point they break even, and that's before even looking at the extra damage die that level might get you, or the 5 SP, or possibly the better effect of Lethal Blow if that's level-based, or the fact that you'll be getting other level ups and therefore skill points slightly earlier throughout the game...
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Posted 24 January 2015 - 01:01 PM #52 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Hmm, good points, but it does seem to be kind of a close call/subjective (2 extra points of Endurance - which gets you the real stat bonuses beyond just the level-up 5HP - ain't that bad).

But I did want to ask why you were so down on Healing Focus, and so up on Blessing Focus earlier. Even with BFx5, your blessing spells would only be 5x5% = 25% more effective, so with Haste (the example you used earlier), even at spell level 3, the 3-turn duration would maybe become 4 turns, and you'd possibly get a chance of Battle Frenzy closer to 40% compared to the original 30%. Of course, that's just one spell example, but investing 5 whole traits just for that kind of return seems incredibly bad. I'm sure I'm missing something here.

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 01:09 PM #53 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

The "real stat bonuses" of Endurance are not tremendously meaningful.  5 HP is the real bonus.  That's sort of like a few extra percentage points of take-any-damage-type-once-each-battle which is pretty good.

But that's not how blessing bonuses work.  They don't affect probabilities; they DO affect duration, but they affect the AVERAGE duration at that percent -- the maximum duration goes up significantly more.

25% on 3 turn BF means it will on average, last close to a turn longer.  3 turns isn't long, especially since it's likely to be cast by someone acting late in the turn order, and therefore the first turn is going to get wasted.  (Avadon seems to do that differently, btw, for whatever reason -- in Avadon statuses decrement on a character's turn, here they seem to decrement with each new round.)

A turn of BF status for the party is a fairly big impact, whereas everything else we're talking about, with these dreg-traits, is a small difference.  *shrug*
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Posted 24 January 2015 - 01:30 PM #54 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

So as long as you use Haste a lot (and most players probably do), you're saying the benefits from the 5 Blessing Focus traits would outweigh the benefits from most any 5 other traits? Or are you not taking all 5 Blessing Focus traits? I guess I don't see investing 5 traits to get 1 more turn of Haste being too overwhelming (though I admit it's not too shabby, either).

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 02:09 PM #55 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

No, I'm saying that the benefits from the 5 Blessing Focus traits could well outweigh the benefits from most other bottom-of-the-barrel traits, and I include Improved Endurance in that category.

It's not 1 more turn of Haste, it's 1 more turn of BF.  This is a particularly important distinction because, unlike Haste and War Blessing and Protection, there is no way* to call up BF on command in the middle of a battle.  Whereas you can cast it consistently just before a battle, because you can keep recasting (or, yes, reloading).

*Consumables can go quaff themselves :p
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Posted 24 January 2015 - 02:32 PM #56 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Are you talking about "BF" as in the Battle Frenzy discipline? You saying that's also enhanced by Blessing Focus (which is what I had meant when I said "BF" above - I changed it to be clear)? If so, that'd be pretty slick, but a bit strange, as the Blessing Focus trait requires Mage/Priest skill points, and its description refers only to enhancing "blessing spells"; if it really also enhances battle disciplines, you'd think Jeff would make it easier to stick it on a non-magic fighter. Besides, I'm only currently planning to take those 5 Endurance traits on my magicless fighter, who won't have access to Blessing Focus anyway.

Languorous_Maiar Languorous_Maiar

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 02:51 PM #57 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Btw. elemental focus works at all for smite and other priest dmg spells?

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 03:41 PM #58 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Level 3 Haste has a 30% chance of also granting Battle Frenzy. Which is stupid, but there ya go.
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Posted 24 January 2015 - 03:53 PM #59 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Nalyd - thanks, I didn't notice that. I'm just trying to see which traits I'd want to replace with Blessing Focus for my two mages so they can get use out of it with Haste. I'd like to try out Summoning Focus, and the Intelligence/Extra Health/Elemental Focus traits seem pretty powerful too, so I'm not sure.

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 04:01 PM #60 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostSlartibus, on 24 January 2015 - 01:09 PM, said:

25% on 3 turn BF means it will on average, last close to a turn longer.  3 turns isn't long, especially since it's likely to be cast by someone acting late in the turn order, and therefore the first turn is going to get wasted.  (Avadon seems to do that differently, btw, for whatever reason -- in Avadon statuses decrement on a character's turn, here they seem to decrement with each new round.)
Status effects in Crystal Souls happen/decrement on a character's turn, the same as in Avadon.

Dikiyoba.

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 04:36 PM #61 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

I think I've found a good compromise: for my priest, I'll replace Healing Focus x5 (I agree the 3% healing boost per trait is weak) with Blessing Focus x5, and for my two mages, I'll replace Summoning Focus x3/Swordmage x1/Recovery with Blessing Focus x5. 6 extra levels per summon would've been cool, but it seems like blessings are probably more universally useful than I thought originally. Edited my prior party build post.

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 04:38 PM #62 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Whoops.  Diki is right.  I'm confused.  I blame... lack of sleep due to too much playing of this game!  :D

The Battle Frenzy discipline remains unplayably bad, unfortunately.

LM: It works for all magic damage.
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Languorous_Maiar Languorous_Maiar

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 05:10 PM #63 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

By the way Slartibus, what would be most optimal party?
Like priest-tank and then 3 offensive mages? Right now I have warrior-mainly tank, 2 mages for dmg and 100% priest, but it's early in-game so i can still use cheat to change everything.
(I already went full reset from my hard walkthrough, so I dont want want to repeat everything third time, but EQ is still kinda bad and same for everyone so i can swap everything.)
Considering your post, best offensive party for torment would be priest in first line and 3 mages?

Edit:
I'm slowly starting to love this in my mind. Tank-warrior is still useless against most bosses with low hit rate, and often 100% priest is just wasting his turn on healing tank, so i got instead of 2 AoE per turn, 3! Damn. But i need confirmation from some best man here.


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Posted 24 January 2015 - 05:10 PM #64 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

I'm also considering ditching the 3 "extra health" traits on each character in favor of something else (I'm thinking Fast Recovery and Luck). Is the 12% HP boost at endgame really worth those 3 trait picks? Probably not.

And yeah, I'm addicted (in case you couldn't tell). Shudder to think what's going to happen when my favorite Spiderweb game of all timez (Exile/Avernum 3) is re-re-made in a couple years...

Languorous_Maiar Languorous_Maiar

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 05:12 PM #65 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Quote

I'm also considering ditching the 3 "extra health" traits in favor of something else. Is the 12% HP boost at endgame really worth those 3 trait picks?

From my exprience, it is worth because you need pick extra health or extra endurance and first one wins. In late game when you party can clear everything it doesnt matter that much, but in mid-game it can really help.

My tank from A:eftp looked like this and I dont know what I could pick instead of extra health.

Posted Image

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 05:17 PM #66 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

At least the first 1-2 health traits are good.  The third one is +3/109 of your health which is still decent though.

LM: My vote is that 4 magic-users is optimal.  I'm starting 2 priests and 2 mages on Torment now.  I think you could do okay with 1 weapon user and 3 magic-users, though.  And Lilith is running 2 fighters, a priest and a mage now without any real problems.  There is room for different builds at least to that minimal degree.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 05:25 PM #67 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Thanks LM/Slarty - and that screen's almost identical to my own fighter build in A:EFTP. I'm still tinkering around with the traits, but I might throw in at least the first health trait level.

As for Torment, it sounds like you could get by fine with a party build similar to mine, but it seems the "real" optimal power party is pure magic (no melee tank), as Slarty suggested. I just need to have at least one melee character in my group to get proper use out of the awesome mid/late-game swords, and I find an all-magic party pretty bland roleyplay-wise. Then again, I'm one of those wimps playing on Normal. :)

Jukai Jukai

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 05:35 PM #68 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

First Avernum game where I have to redo my party. I can probably power my way through, but it just won't be fun.

My Slith tank actually is fine (If things get too tough, he throws on his shield) but everyone else is just f'd.

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 08:21 PM #69 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostSlartibus, on 24 January 2015 - 02:09 PM, said:

It's not 1 more turn of Haste, it's 1 more turn of BF.  This is a particularly important distinction because, unlike Haste and War Blessing and Protection, there is no way* to call up BF on command in the middle of a battle.  Whereas you can cast it consistently just before a battle, because you can keep recasting (or, yes, reloading).

*Consumables can go quaff themselves :p

View PostSlartibus, on 24 January 2015 - 04:38 PM, said:

The Battle Frenzy discipline remains unplayably bad, unfortunately.

I have an idea for Battle Frenzy, testing it in my current playthrough.  My Berserker Mage will have something like 8 melee, 4 bow, 6 gym plus trainings and will wear Mercuric for torso armor.

If I can't set up BF with haste, a manual trigger is a nice option to have.  And in a long fight starting with BF I might choose to wait for BF to expire and then manually renew it, as opposed to leading with an Adreneline Rush.

That's the theory.  We'll see if I actually like it in practice...

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 08:45 PM #70 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

I wasn't thinking of the Battle Frenzy discipline, because it is indeed unplayably bad.  But it doesn't really call up BF in the same way, either -- it uses an action, so it takes a full 2 rounds before you actually get more actions than you'd have had without using it -- and FOUR rounds before it beats Adrenaline Rush on total number of actions.  Technically that might be BF, but...
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