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New Player, Party Build for A2 CS


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Villa Villa

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 01:47 PM #1 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

Hi, just got this game and played with the default party for 3 or 4 hours.
Not too impressed with that party.
I saw a sticky thread that supposedly has build info but it's almost 2 years old and not new player friendly.

So, can someone please advise a 4 player party composition, along with what skills to invest in.
I think that old sticky thread had comments indicating melee is useless and to go all casters or something? DUnno if still relevant.

Thanks.

Lilith Lilith

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 02:18 PM #2 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

Melee fighters aren't completely useless, they're just a lot less versatile than spellcasters; they do a bit more single-target damage under favourable conditions, but that's about all they do. If you're going to use a melee fighter at all, I'd recommend you just bring one and make them a sword user, since dual-wielding swords is generally the best option for physical damage and there is one point in the game where you need to have somebody use a sword. Archery is probably even worse off than melee, unfortunately, and I wouldn't recommend using an archer.

My recommended party for a new player would probably consist of one dual-wielding sword user, one priest and two mages. Feel free to give everyone a few levels of priest spells so they can heal in an emergency (getting enough points to use Mass Healing and Unshackle Mind is a good idea if you can afford it). When you use your casters, don't neglect buffs and debuffs: Daze is great for shutting down groups of enemies early in the game, and most support spells are pretty effective in general.

Make sure to focus your stat investment on a single stat for each character: melee fighters should mostly invest in Strength, archers (if you use them) should focus on Dexterity and spellcasters should focus on Intelligence. Endurance isn't super important, but you probably want a bit of it; a 3:1 ratio of your main stat to Endurance is probably a good balance.

Skills are a bit trickier to figure out. Melee characters should initially invest mostly in Melee Weapons, Blademaster, Dual Wielding, Hardiness and Parry, since those are the most useful skills for them. Riposte skill is pretty bad, and Quick Action and Lethal Blow are just okay at best. Spellcasters want their basic spellcasting skill (up to 17 points so they can use all spells), and they should also work toward putting points in Resistance for improved survivability. One thing to keep in mind is that battle disciplines are actually very good and so is the Hardiness skill, even if melee combat itself has its limitations. In the long run, you want to invest a bit in physical combat skills even on your casters so they can get access to battle disciplines (up to Adrenaline Rush if possible), Hardiness and maybe Parry.

You eventually want a total of 17 Arcane Lore and 15 Tool Use in your party if possible, so plan around that. You can get up to 4 points of Vahnatai Lore which can substitute. I'd personally recommend against buying the Sage Lore trait, as either through error or by design it . As far as Tool Use goes, 15 is ideal if you want to be able to unlock and disarm absolutely everything, but try for 10-12 early on and then put the rest in if and when you can. Cave Lore isn't too important: spend money to buy a couple of points for everyone from Tor's farm after doing the quest there and then forget about it.

Randomizer Randomizer

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 02:43 PM #3 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

Lilith's advice is pretty good.  Endurance becomes more important at difficulty levels above normal just because there are a few places where your lead character could die in one round, so having good armor and health means surviving.

Cave Lore and Arcane Lore can be bought for two levels for each character. So using money instead of skill points makes some sense even if it means going back to read level 3 spell books.

Tool Use is important just because it lets you past locked doors and traps to get to better loot.  There are items later in the game to give a bonus to Tool Use so after 10, you can wait a bit.
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Villa Villa

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 02:50 PM #4 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

Thanks Lilith, will experiment with that.

EDIT: For casters, should points be put into first aid and/or spell craft early on?

Randomizer Randomizer

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 03:07 PM #5 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

Spellcraft increases spell damage and duration. More useful and helps get to other skills.

First Aid can be bought and most of the time the health and spell point recovery isn't needed.  You need a lot to make it significant.
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Lilith Lilith

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 03:10 PM #6 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

Yeah, I never bothered with First Aid beyond the two points you can buy with money. Spellcraft is a must-have, though; it's beneficial in itself and you'll need it to work up the skill tree to Resistance anyway.

EarthPhantomTS EarthPhantomTS

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 08:03 AM #7 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

One thing that I didn't see suggested: go with humans only.  The human bonus traits are far better than the bonus to missile or pole damage and against certain elements, in my experience.  Especially since, as Lilith said, you shouldn't be relying on bows or spears.  In addition, to get spellcasters the requisites for Hardiness and Adrenaline Rush, it *might* actually be easier to go with taking Pole Weapons for them, since the trainer for Melee Weapons is unfortunately fairly late in this game and spellcasters should not be using physical attacks at all really.

Villa Villa

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 09:55 AM #8 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

View PostEarthPhantomTS, on 19 December 2016 - 08:03 AM, said:

In addition, to get spellcasters the requisites for Hardiness and Adrenaline Rush, it *might* actually be easier to go with taking Pole Weapons for them, since the trainer for Melee Weapons is unfortunately fairly late in this game and spellcasters should not be using physical attacks at all really.
I was going use Bows on my casters.
Is that a bad idea then?

Randomizer Randomizer

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 10:04 AM #9 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

Bows don't lead to the better combat skills of Parry and Hardiness which block and decrease damage.

Bows help with Battle Disciplines, but can be bought early in the game.
"I don't know how we can ever repay you!" - Rescued damsel in distress
"Oh, I'm sure we can think of something .... How much gold do you have?" - "Hero"

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Lilith Lilith

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 02:57 PM #10 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

Also, if you were planning on bows for your casters because you were thinking it'd give them a backup attack for when you don't want to spend spell points, keep in mind that beyond the early game your hit rate and attack power with bows are going to be junk unless you waste points in Dexterity, so it's not really worth it.

Edgwyn Edgwyn

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 06:29 PM #11 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

Lilith and the others are all providing excellent advice on how to make the strongest possible party.  You are unlikely to find that degree of optimization necessary on normal difficulty.  I personally enjoy playing with a substantially sub-optimal party that includes a Slith (with a pole arm) and a Nephil.  All four of my characters use bows as secondary weapons because I enjoy it.  The default party has multiple weaknesses, but a more diverse party can be interesting instead of the most optimal party.

Agitproprioception Agitproprioception

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 07:15 PM #12 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

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EarthPhantomTS EarthPhantomTS

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 05:20 PM #13 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

View PostVilla, on 20 December 2016 - 09:55 AM, said:

I was going use Bows on my casters.
Is that a bad idea then?

As everyone else said, that's really not gonna work.  You want Hardiness.  Which can't be qualified for with Bows.  And (strangely) you don't really wanna give your casters two-handed weapons either.  Have them wielding something like a Shielding Knife and a Shield of some kind, except for the early game before you take a level of Swordmage for your mages.  I just suggested Pole Weapons over Melee Weapons because the Pole Weapons trainer is easier to get to and they don't care about using physicals so it doesn't matter if the skill's not matching what they actually use.  That's all.

And no, you can't use Bows for secondary attacks either.  The hit rate will pretty well always be crap if you're min-maxing properly.

Blxz Blxz

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 01:16 AM #14 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

Suboptimal is a fun way to play on the standard difficulties since all the min-maxing can take the charm out of the game unless that is naturally your playstyle.

I like to theme my parties and make up a little bit of my own story. ie. a set of 4 slith just doing their thing (balanced classes of course - although an unbalanced melee heavy might be a fun roleplay I guess); 3 Nephil slaves and their human handler made for a fun bit of roleplay as well in my recent restart.

The possibilities are pretty varied if you try to get some themes going.

The Almighty Doer of Stuff The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 06:32 AM #15 New Player, Party Build for A2 CS

It's very easy to get the idea, reading all the min-max guides posted all over sites like Spidweb's and similar companies', that the game will be terribly difficult if you don't know what you're doing going in. Really you can be awful at games and still win, especially on the easier difficulties. I forget what Jeff said about it, something about balancing his games for seven year olds and then including harder difficulties for serious gamers I think. Your party doesn't actually have to be great unless you're playing a harder difficulty or certain Blades of Exile/Avernum user-made scenarios. Jeff Vogel deliberately left a lot of wiggle-room for roleplaying on the easier difficulties.




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