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A2:CS - Second look at balance updates


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Nobear Nobear

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 12:25 AM #71 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Just think about how the health traits compare to Endurance. They're not worth getting early in the game because they will add less health than a point of Endurance. When you hit 100 health, 5% = 5 HP so they're equal. When you get above 200 HP, that 5% becomes more than twice as valuable as a point of Endurance.

mikeprichard mikeprichard

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 06:13 AM #72 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

I'm still trying to nail down my final trait loadout (I keep editing my party build in the fourth post in this thread). Considering Sage Lore is apparently pretty bad in A2:CS (doesn't work for several spellbooks or the Resistance crystal), I'm switching out a couple Priest points on my main priest to get down to 14 from 16 (the last two spells are underwhelming anyway), as well as 2 Spellcraft points on all three casters (assuming the Resistance crystal adds points as a trait, and not as a trainer when it comes to the 10-cap?) to get to 13 AL. I'll then switch Sage Lore (and maybe Fast Recovery - not sure it's even as good as a single point in First Aid?) for the extra Health trait(s). Good/bad idea?

Also, Slarty - I stuck both XP traits on my priest at levels 10/12 (better late than never); I'll compare her advancement through the rest of the game to my non-XP trait characters and report back.

Unawares Unawares

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 06:28 AM #73 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostSlartibus, on 24 January 2015 - 08:45 PM, said:

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...

I had already seen your analysis (in lots of detail) on how some of these things combine...  kudos on that work, by the way.  Still I was determined to find a way to make good use of that BF discipline.

So I finally ran the numbers myself, coming at it from a slightly different angle.  And I have to disagree with you Slarty.

It's actually much WORSE than you've described it here. :p

You only break even in round 4 if there is no haste, and you have no action point items / gym skill in play.  That's the best possible case.

For every meaningful case with haste in play, it takes until round 5 to break even.  By round 6 (last round of the BF discipline's effect) the BF discipline does pull ahead by a respectable amount (typically about 0.7 actions more overall).

EXCEPT!  In round 7 you can trigger the Adrenaline Rush again.  With the BF discipline you still have to wait another 4 rounds to trigger again (assuming recovery of 1 fatigue per round).

In summary, my Berserker Mage is still cool, because Avernum ladies dig the whole Berserker thing.  And when Battle Frenzy and haste are on, getting three actions per round a quarter of the time is like "waa hooo!"  Just don't tell anyone he actually gets his Frenzy from a bottle instead of using the discipline.....  :whistle:

mikeprichard mikeprichard

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 07:25 AM #74 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

My initial testing indicates "Fast Recovery" is probably useless. I fought the same battle in the Deep Rapids area against the eleven chitrarchs/larvae in the hellhound lair with both 4 First Aid + 3 Fast Recovery, and only 4 First Aid. I saved the game into two slots just after the battle but before hitting "space" to trigger the first aid/recovery results in the message log - using the editor, one game had the 3 FR traits, and the other didn't (long story short, I know this kind of editing will correctly update the battle message log recovery results). My results for both scenarios (after checking 20 times for each scenario) averaged about 40 health/8 energy restored, with no significant difference between the two (with 3 FR, I maybe had an extra 2-3 points of health and 1 point of energy on average). So that extra "5%" recovery per the FR tooltip is probably not worth it, especially when there are more attractive traits left to pick. In my case, I'm ditching it for another health trait (see my prior post).

Nobear Nobear

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 10:08 AM #75 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Yeah I didn't expect Fast Recovery to be worth it. I'm not sure, but I think it's 5% of the effect you get from First Aid, which is not huge to begin with. It makes sense that it would only be a drop in the bucket.

Juan Carlo Juan Carlo

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 05:12 PM #76 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

What's the best way to get Adrenaline rush on casters?  I'm already level 18 and haven't spent any points in weapons skills for my mage/priest.  Training can get you to 8, but considering items, how many skill points would I have to spend to get there?

Lilith Lilith

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 05:17 PM #77 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostJuan Carlo, on 26 January 2015 - 05:12 PM, said:

What's the best way to get Adrenaline rush on casters?  I'm already level 18 and haven't spent any points in weapons skills for my mage/priest.  Training can get you to 8, but considering items, how many skill points would I have to spend to get there?

You want to raise either Melee or Pole to 10 anyway so that you can pump Hardiness. Don't worry, casters have more than enough skill points to go around if you don't waste them on things like Magical Efficiency.

Items that give bonuses to weapon skills can still be handy, though. The Discipline Blade in Gaddika's fort is good for +5 levels of weapon skill bonuses, and there are various other items with smaller effects.

mikeprichard mikeprichard

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 06:12 PM #78 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Juan Carlo - as Lilith mentioned, your magic users should try to plan for 10 Hardiness anyway, so you can try something like this in their combat skill trees, where the "+X" indicate purchased training (see also my character builds in the fourth post of this thread). It's an investment, but it will get you to 15 discipline points without having to rely on items, and allow for max Hardiness as well.

8+2 Melee
+1 Poles
+2 Bows
+2 Thrown
10+2 Hardiness

Lilith Lilith

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 06:15 PM #79 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

It's probably better to go for Pole than Melee as your combat skill, since the trainer is cheaper and available earlier.

mikeprichard mikeprichard

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 06:16 PM #80 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Good point, but I like to stick shielding knives and shields on my casters. I guess since I'm almost never using them to melee attack, though, poles would be OK too.

Agitproprioception Agitproprioception

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 06:25 PM #81 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

The Shielding Knife is my favourite hand weapon too, but that only tells you how bad physical attacks are in this game.  Casters aren't doing meaningful damage with the Shielding Knife, 10 skill or no 10 skill.

Also, the poles trainer is available SIGNIFICANTLY earlier, which means you can finish pumping Hardiness earlier.  Since both the Hardiness trainer and the free +1 to party Hardiness are available early to semi-early, that's a worthwhile thing.
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mikeprichard mikeprichard

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 06:35 PM #82 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

True, something to be said about getting access to the Hardiness/Poles trainers as early as Draco and Silvar. I still tend to pump Melee for no particularly good reason, and I've also been spreading my money and skill points around elsewhere in the early/mid-game anyway, but poles would be the fastest way to max Hardiness and get your 15 points for AR on your magic users.

Jerakeen Jerakeen

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 08:59 AM #83 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Okay, this is not exactly what Slarty requested, but it is a data point.

I gave every member of my party of four both XP traits at the first opportunity. Luckily, I had a convenient save of a previous party just before the Dark Waters for comparison.

Result: an extra 909 xp for all four characters combined, which is an average of 227 each, or about 1/4 of a level by that point. It may not sound like much, but it was the difference between hitting level 10 before or after confronting the hidden ogres. The fact that I didn't have to use any consumables in that fight this time may be partly due to that, and partly to the fact that the second party consists of all casters.

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 09:10 AM #84 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Cool.  That's about as expected.  Do you know if you did anything else differently?  I'm running 4 XP traits now as well, but have changed a few other things, like getting Sanctify immediately as opposed to putting it off (which makes a surprising amount of difference, like close to half a level on its own).
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Jerakeen Jerakeen

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 02:18 PM #85 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

In my first playthrough I forgot to go after the rats under Ft. Draco, so I missed a bit of xp there, but in the second, I invested more in CL, and I think I might have had fewer outdoor encounters.

Other than that, nothing that could have made much difference. All doable quests done.

Edited by Jerakeen, 27 January 2015 - 08:17 PM.
Just realized how unclear that was.


mikeprichard mikeprichard

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 03:09 PM #86 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Interesting. Especially considering how relatively easy it is to farm wisdom crystal ingredients toward the late-mid-game, those 8 XP traits seem a pretty poor investment IMO. They're not complete junk; they just don't seem to be a clear "must-have."

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 03:21 PM #87 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Again, the question is not if they are must-haves, the question is, find me more than 22 traits that a single character cares about more than 1/4 to 1/2 (the exact amount is unclear) of the many bonuses that come with a level-up, including earlier attainment of all level-up bonuses in the game, and including further bonuses if you do farm wisdom crystal ingredients at the end of the game.

If you farm to whatever the actual max is (61?), different story.  But it doesn't even sound like Randomizer has done that, and he's the king of the crystal-grinders.
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Posted 27 January 2015 - 03:25 PM #88 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

I do see your point. Still, I've decided to skip the XP traits in favor of some endurance/recovery/swordmage traits, as I've started (with my level 18 party) stockpiling wisdom crystal herbs now to more than compensate XP-wise at the end game. (Especially compared to A:EFTP, this is surprisingly easy to do with the patch NW of Formello, including the graymold/mandrake - and it only takes a couple crystals per character to beat out those two whole traits, if the traits really do only give you about half a level extra at endgame. And I haven't even started farming the Moldy Cave yet; with that, it'll be almost too easy.)

Randomizer Randomizer

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:17 PM #89 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

I haven't reached level 61 because Jeff tweaked the game engine so I could no longer do circular area of effect spells around corners where I didn't have a proper line of sight.  I had to restart my game to see if it made a difference and I'm only at level 45 with the singleton and clearing the giants that infest Avernum.
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Agitproprioception Agitproprioception

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:22 PM #90 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Wait, he tweaked the game engine on targeting circular AoE spells?  Why are they still insanely exploitable in ways that could not have been intended?
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

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Randomizer Randomizer

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:36 PM #91 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

It was even worse.
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Agitproprioception Agitproprioception

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 05:05 PM #92 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Currently, I've been able to break AI scripts (so that monsters do nothing) by abusing AoE's lack of targeting limitations.  It's still pretty bad.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

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Jerakeen Jerakeen

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 05:28 PM #93 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

It used to be that you could target any mapped space, even if it was in another room, as long as you couldn't see an enemy on it. There could be an enemy there, as long as you couldn't see it.

Now you have to be able to see the spot you're targeting, though if it's empty there's no range restriction.

Nobear Nobear

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 11:13 PM #94 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

So what's the final verdict, does Lethal Blow affect magic or not in A2:CS? I'm wondering because I just got Assassin's Shield, and wanted to know if the LB made it an upgrade or not for a magic user over a Steel Shield.

Lilith Lilith

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 01:33 AM #95 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

I just did a little more testing and it seems Slarty's hypothesis is correct: Lethal Blow affects the critical hit rate of single-target spells, but not AoE spells.

Nobear Nobear

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 08:23 AM #96 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Ok, so it'll make my priest's smite do slightly more average damage :p, thanks.

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 08:55 AM #97 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Still up in the air, unless Lilith also tested for it, is whether or not the LB bonus applies to AoE spells for the target creature you click on (if any).  In A5 and A6 the clicked-on target of an AoE, and other AoE targets, were treated differently for some purposes, like the more functional battle disciplines from those games, so it's plausible that's also the case here.  It doesn't make a big difference since some of the best uses of AoEs often involve most or all of the damage to squares you didn't click on, but it would be useful to know at least.
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Unawares Unawares

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 04:30 PM #98 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Very minor point, I noticed my human characters ended up with a total of 23 traits (that were trained), not 24.

I undervalued swordmage a bit in my character planning, one or two points for my back row casters was needed to make use of the best equipment options (and I may decide one of them should even have 3).  In the front I have an Armored Mage (swordmage 4) and a Tank Priest (no swordmage required).

Recovery could be useful for a tank.  My Tank Priest is able to maintain Blade Shield full time, thanks to a total of 50% increase in fatigue recovery time.  All items, no points in Blademaster, this is just enough to make it work (reduces fatigue time from 6 to 4).  Getting 10% from the trait would allow a bit more equipment choice.

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 06:06 PM #99 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

Fatigue reduction doesn't work like that, unfortunately.  Every piece of fatigue reduction you have gives you a separate percent chance to recover an extra point of fatigue, each turn.  Thus, on average 50% fatigue recovery will shorten a 6 turn wait time to a 4 turn wait time, but sometimes it will be faster and sometimes slower.
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Juan Carlo Juan Carlo

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 06:28 PM #100 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

What does quick action do exactly regarding fatigue?  Does it have a chance of penalizing more in terms of fatigue lost, or does it have a chance of decreasing fatigue lost?

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 06:34 PM #101 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

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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Laertes Laertes

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 11:09 AM #102 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

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.

Randomizer Randomizer

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 12:44 PM #103 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

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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Kreador Kreador

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 04:35 PM #104 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostRandomizer, on 21 February 2015 - 12:44 PM, said:

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... ;-)

Laertes Laertes

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 06:20 PM #105 A2:CS - Second look at balance updates

View PostKreador, on 21 February 2015 - 04:35 PM, said:

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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