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Derael

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About Derael

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  1. Probably worth mentioning that Frozen Blade scales with INT instead of STR. Hit chance is also affected by INT (my mage had 95% vs giants at level 20). Damage with 35 INT and a few % magic damage bonuses is 75-270. While Steel Broadsword on my Warrior does 73-292 damage (with 39 STR).Overall a decent weapon for mages if you are fighting in melee for some reason and want to conserve mana (damage is slightly lower than icy rain, comparable to fireblast). Good vs fire immune enemies. But if you don't have problems with mana better use something defensive in weapon slot.
  2. Important notice: Drath's Knowledge DOES NOT work like Sage Lore. Even though every party member gets the trait, it decreases total requirement by 1, not 4. So the best way probably is getting 8 sage lore with skill points, 1 from Drath Knowledge and 3 from 1 Sage Lore trait. Drath Knowledge can be recieved rather early (level 12 or so) as long as you have 1 piercing crystal/Dispell barrier spell. But I'd advice to wait till ~ level 16, because fights can be very long if you go there earlier. Also, Fireblast in game says it needs Sage Lore 9, but it needs 10 actually, as described in this thread. As for Stagnant Caverns, you can get spellbooks as early as level 20. I deliberately avoided buying any spells to check if I can take lich on. With lots of reloads I won on Hard difficulty at level 19, but one member died anyway.
  3. Derael

    ANALYSIS: Min-Maxing A:EFTP

    Well, it's legit point about damage, but bows also have higher bass damage and shot more attacks. But I can see how magic will deal more damage nevertheless. As for min-maxing, you can min-max different classes, melee, mage or archer. I think everyone will agree that full mage party is the strongest, but warrior is still included into recommend setup for some reason. You can min-max archer party just as well, and it will be a good one.
  4. Derael

    ANALYSIS: Min-Maxing A:EFTP

    Well, I can see why you wouldn't like gymnastics or sniper, but calling them useless or bad is unjustified on my opinion. Naturally it's very hard to compare single target and AoE damage, because it heavily depends on environment. If you are fighting several equally dangerous foes, AoE is much better, because you can wipe them all at the same time. If you are fighting boss and a few minions, single target damage might be better, because you can either qucikly kill the minions and focus on boss or just ignore the minions and kill the boss. Unless you can wipe most enemies with spells before they do anything impactful, single target damage will still be better, because it can wipe most dangerous foes first. That's why I don't think archers will perform significantly worse than mages. In late game mages certainly are devastatingly strong, because damage modifiers for spells are simply too high compared to weapons. And energy is not a big problem because in worst case scenario you can return to town after every battle. But as long as archers CAN win battles, they will be more efficient, since amount of returns to town will be significantly reduced. As for gymnastics, it's efficiency is low for non DEX characters without AP items, because you only utilise half of the effect (AP), ignoring evasion, and you only very rarely get extra action. But for DEX users with Sniper and 1 AP item it becomes more efficient due to synergy. It all adds up together, effectively giving 1 extra action with very high probability. The cost is significant (20 talent points), but you also get 20% evasion chance (which is better than 20% parry) and 30% chance to apply debuffs (which is essentially a freee cloak of curses, even though less useful than damage cloaks, still helpful nevertheless). So if you are looking at the strongest party and don't care about constant returns to town, the optimal way is using 4 mages. But if you want the best party utilising archers, 1 mage and 3 archers with gymnastics and sniper is a way to go. They will be more than capable of finishing the game and winning every encounter and might even spend less time doing this because they will spend much less mana on the way. Losing in raw power they will have advantage in versatility. Another important factor is, they will need signigicantly less gold to get everything they need, so extra can be spent on training every useful skill to max level/buying wisdom crystals/etc. Finally, it may be more fun to play, because 4 mages party is a bit too overpowered even on torment, I doubt there will be any tough encounters as long as you have corresponding AoE spells.
  5. Derael

    ANALYSIS: Min-Maxing A:EFTP

    Well, first of all, reload strategy is much easier to implement when you have 95% chance of success than when you have 55% chance, because you will rarely ever need to reload. Without Sniper you will have to reload ~50% of the time, and even more if you want extra attack for everyone. Well, the average damage increase is indeed only 9% or so, but it's much more consistent. So if you are not using reload strategy without Sniper, you get almost guaranteed extra action. So you will always get 5 actions while without Sniper only 33% of the times (because as you've said, using anything but AR on turn 2 is very risky). You don't want to reload every time haste doesn't proc on one of your characters, since it will be tedious and time consuming, and in no way optimal. And well, even if it does proc, you can only utilise it if you have 15 AP or more, so you either use 2 AP items or gymnastics. For anyone with more than 9 and less than 15 AP haste is useless (you never get extra actions). Since AP items are limited the best way is to combine 1AP item with gymnastics, it will let you achieve 15 AP with good probability on every character. You need gymnastics on 3 characters to achieve it. And on one of them you can get gymnastics level 17 in late game. Yes, others will only have 72% chance to get 15 AP, but it's still quite consistent and you will get more extra actions per team than if you use only AP items and skip gymnastics. And with Sniper having 15 action points basically means almost guaranteed extra attack. TL;DR: With BF active haste is useless on anyone without AP items/gymnastics. It has 33% chance to be used on turn 1 with 2 extra AP from items/gymnastics (still unreliable). It has 95% chance to be used with Sniper. So if you compare sniper + gymnastics to someone without Sniper or gymnastics, you get 1 extra attack with AR (on average). Since you never get extra attacks without them with 2 AP items it's only 33% chance. Good on mages, not worth on anyone else. But you can only equip 5 extra AP items for your party. So only 2 mages can utilise 33% extra attack chance. While with 3 archers and mage everyone can utilise it, and for archers it's close to 70% instead of 33% (taking into account that 1 AP from gymnastics is not guaranteed). If we compare 2 parties, we get 2.4 extra attacks on turn one compared to party not utilising this strategy. Or 1.8 compared to party where mages wear AP items. The downside is, 1 arrow attack is significantly weaker than 1 spell if there are more than 1 enemy. But vs bosses it's almost as good and doesn't cost mana. Yes, it is true that this character will only shoot arrows in the early part of the game, but shooting arrows is efficient enough at that stage. Even my mages are able to deal decent damage with arrows, and archers can be at least twice as effective. And obviously I was talking about late game team. For early game purposes you can upgrade more useful stuff first, and get sniper later, though I won't do it, level 10 sniper is good enough for early game, in particular because debuffs work much better there. The biggest problem is lack of tanks and AoE, but mage can actually tank decently well if it's going hardiness+resistance route (especially if it uses shield). (I was able to clear most of the Drath crypt on hard with warrior at level 11, without resistance and with 0 points in endurance). To be honest there is not much point in using warrior, since mage with parry will be more useful because it can use shield. So lack of tanks is not a problem. Lack of AoE is, but mostly in open world encounters. But then again, as long as your tank can endure for one turn, every encounter is trivial, because it can always be healed to full, while archers will quickly dispatch any threats. Next, about gymnastics defensive part. I said not strong enemies, but overwhelmingly strong enemies, that's a huge difference. It's only true about enemies who are several levels higher than you, and you probably don't want to fight them if that's the case. As long as your chance to hit is more than 50%, your chance to dodge will be significantly higher than 5%, because full DEX build + gymnastics will give you enough evasion to cover enemy chance to hit. Against equally levelled enemies you will probably have 95% chance to dodge (with the exception of bosses), taking everything into account. Yes, ice damage will still hurt, that's why you ideally want either hardiness or resistance, but not both. I prefer resistance, since any attacks that are reduced by armor you CAN dodge, and resistance will give you some useful stuff. You need 38 points for archery and 26 points for resistance to max everything (lacking 1 point at 30). But you don't really need to max resistance on every character, level 10 + items will be enough to survive any hit later on, and then just heal to full. You can also drop a few points from sharpshooter, since it won't affect your dps by much as long as you are using cloak of bolts. So you actually need 60 points or less to be good. I'd also consider luck, since it improves chance to dodge, iirc. Overall the weakest skill is sharpshooter since it only slightly increases damage but won't bring any quality changes, so I'd prefer luck over maxed sharpshooter. Together with level 12 gymnastics it's extra 30% chance to dodge, which is totally not worse than parry (you can't party cold attacks either, can you?). Basically if you can survive one stray hit from anyone you don't need any more protection, since very few things will be able to hit you in the first place. Just don't fight vs too strong opponents before you can consistently hit them, since your hit chance will be close to your dodge chance. You said that character won't function the way I won't them, but it is not true. Priest doesn't need INT for anything but AoE attack spells. Bow attack certainly does more damage than smite. It does almost as much on my full INT priest, so archer will probably do twice as much due to double dice from dex. And heal is only affected by priest spells level. So DEX priest is much better than INT priest early on, because it can heal just as well, but also dodge often and deal more damage. You just level him up as normal priest but go for Sniper instead of hardiness and DEX instead of INT. You lose some defense but get more damage, evasion and sometimes even extra attacks. I'd skip sharpshooter on priest archer, or at least level it up last, because cloak of bolts will cover damage problems, extra attack is more useful than a bit more damage, since there is no flat damage resistance in this game. Priest build will be: 16 Priest Spells, 6+2 spellcraft, 8+2 resistance, 8+2 bows, 10+2 gymnastics, 10+2 sniper, 5 luck. Any extra points will go to sharpshooter. Early game is just priest spells + bows for heal and max damage. Secondary attack archer will be: 28 sniper tree, 22 resistance tree, 5 luck and team skills+sharpshooter depending on what you need. Main attack archer will go full offense with 28 sniper tree, 10 lethality, 10 sharpshooter, 5 luck, and extra points in team skills + extra bow levels. This one will simply attack most of the time and will equip the best archer gear and has to be heavily protected. His single target output should be relatively high with very high crit chance, 50% chance to debuff on hit with level 16 sniper and level 17 gymnastics. He WILL be very fragile, and will play pure DPS role. I can't tell how good it will be in reality, it will depend on debuff that sniper can apply, but it certainly won't be weak. Regarding comparison of hardiness Vs gymnastics for classic setups (fighter + 3 mages), it's really hard to judge which is better. It certainly isn't that great on turn one (only barely 1 extra spell in addition to 12), but it's very impactful on following turns (more than 1 extra spell compared to normal 6). So as long as you don't die on turn one, your advantage will snowball, resulting in more dead enemies with every spent turn, and less threats. Even one extra spell at turn one can help to finish some enemies with low hp, so your tank will be able to block the rest. While resistance alone should be enough to protect your mages. Sure, resistance + hardiness is safer, but not necessarily quicker. With careful positioning you shouldn't be hit with devastating AoE attacks multiple times to wipe out your mages. And they certainly can withstand one AoE attack with resistance and good gear. And yeah, I should mention that I played on hard, not on torment, where you gave -30% all resistance penalty. On torment Hardiness is much more important indeed, because you risk being oneshotted even with maxed resistance, if you don't pump CON a bit (but well, you probably should, if you play torment). Finally, about usefulness of bows, I use them very often Vs low tier enemies of the same level. It helps to conserve a lot of mana and damage is almost as good as level 3 fire blast. And I have 0 DEX and 0 bows at that. Hit rate was around 50% up to level 12. But certainly not vs bosses. Bows help to save most of my mana for them, so I don't have to run several times to town when clearing dungeon. And I use only bows in open world encounters because hp is irrelevant there since it will regenerate on world map. So I just kill stronger enemies with my melee fighter and weaker enemies with my bow team. 3 attacks usually finish anyone. So yeah, bows are not completely useless while melee weapons certainly are useless, and put you in danger. So gymnastics vs hardiness is a decent tradeoff on any team, but it's even better looking on archer squad. They can compensate lack of AoE with some precise crippling strikes. I won't argue that this setup is better than mage setup, since it probably is not, as long as mages are overpowered and their only real weakness is need to replenish mana reguralry. But you can just make a team consisting of only mages and/or priests, and it will probably be the best team, since mages are tankier than melee fighters (due to shields), have higher accuracy and resistances, do more damage and can buff. They can even get swordmage and wear heavy armor if they want (without having DW penalty). Warriors are just weaker version of mages. While archers ARE different, they have unique advantages mages don't have (debuff on hit, evasion, extra attacks, no sp cost). So archer + mage party is an alternative way of playing, probably better than 3 melee + mage party and obviously worse (but not overwhelmingly worse) than full mage party. I can only say that conventional party of warrior/mage/priest/archer is as bad as it can get, anything else will work better, due to cloak mechanics. Archers specialise on single target ranged damage, mages on AoE and warriors even more on single target damage, but less versatile than archers. Archer/mage can do 3 attacks without moving while melee fighter often needs to waste ap to get into position. So even though dual wielding deals more than double damage of bows, the latter can compensate with much higher attack rate and precision (attacking only important targets first). Priest with bows can heal just as well as normal priest but also use extra actions to deal really good damage from afar and dodge most attacks. And it can use summons to distract enemies since they don't care about INT either. The biggest question I have about this party is how good actually sniper on hit effects are. If you can get something really good that will affect the boss, it's simply priceless, since chance is quite high and you have a lot of attacks to do it. But if it's on the level of cloak of curses or worse, the concept is less interesting.
  6. Derael

    ANALYSIS: Min-Maxing A:EFTP

    Well, it's indeed a bit different than I though, but the part where I was talking about Battle Frenzy and NO Adrenaline Rush covers it. Basically, with Sniper AND Haste, chance that one of the 2 procs in 2 attacks is 96+%, so It's pretty reliable (fail is comparable to miss chance). In the worst case scenario you will indeed fail to activate AR at first turn, but you will still be able to do it on 2nd turn or reload save and try again, because it's critical fail with very low chance at the very beginning of the battle, no real reason to not use reload. So it will basically guarantee an extra attack on turn 1 (in addition to existing 3 attacks), if you got at least 15 AP at turn 1. With 1 AP item and high enough gymnastics level you pretty much always get 1 extra AP, and if not, you just bear with it, and NOT get extra attack. Chance to fail is not 5% there, but still low (maybe 10 or 15% at most). So you can make 2 attacks (Haste or Sniper will most likely proc there), and then you use Adrenaline Rush AND make extra 3 attacks after using Adrenaline Rush (So 5 in total). AND you get 1 extra attack almost every turn after this (as long as you start it with 15 AP or more 3rd attack is pretty much guaranteed). So you do indeed trade quite a lot of skill points (that also give chance to apply debuff on attacks) for extra attack every round and high chance for extra attack when AR is used. In my opinion Gymnastics + Sniper combo is totally comparable to Parry + Blademaster combo, since gymnastics adds chance to dodge which is always effective, except when fighting overlwhelmingly strong enemies, so it's not much worse than parry, and Sniper basically adds AT LEAST 25% extra damage on turn with AR and 33% on turns without AR. Well, to be precise, it's a bit less, since Haste by itself has a chance to proc, but this is much more reliable. If you use 2 AP items Gymnastics is much less useful, because it will only add movement in full buff fights, since you already have 15 AP and you don't really need more. Well, if you somehow get 19 AP, you will be able to step back from enemy without losing attack, but that's very minor advantage and chance is quite low. The situation would be much better if Sniper and Haste could proc separately, but you said they can't both proc at the same turn so I tend to believe it. Still they significatly amplify chance to proc so that's good enough. Optimal in terms of resources strategy is as follows: Using 3 archers and 1 mage. 1 archer will be specialised as priest with high level priest skill for heals/buffs, 2 others full DPS. Each one has one AP item. The one with lower level gymnastics might want 2, but better use them on mage. At level 12 you have 72% chance to get extra AP, at level 17 83%. Your thoughs on Haste are correct when we are talking about non archer characters, then gymnastics are indeed nearly useless, since evasion bonus is wasted and extra ap only give minor advantages since chance for haste to give extra attack on turn 1 is only 33% (it's still useful on turn 2 onwards, where chance to proc raises to 55%). That's why AP items work so well on mages, with 2 you have 33% chance to get extra attack on turn 1 and 55% to get extra attack on all other turns. On average it's 8% overall increased dps on turn 1 and 27.5% increased dps after turn 1. (basically, 4.3 attacks on turn 1 compared to 4 and 2.55 attacks on following turns compared to 2. That's huge difference. With 1 AP item and gymnastics level 12 (if you go this route) it's a bit worse, resulting in 24% chance to get extra attack on turn 1 and 40% chance to get extra attack on following turns. Is it worth using Hardiness? Well, it depends on what you want and how often your mages get hit. This will also let you use bows more efficiently, and it's much better weapon for mages than melee weapons. Basically, if all your mages use 1 AP item + Gymnastics instead of Hardiness, you have 56% (1-0.76^3) chance to get at least one extra spell at turn 1 and 15% chance to get at least 2, which may or may not be signigicant, I can't judge. And it's much more efficient after first round of the battle, giving you 78.4% chance to get at least one extra spell per turn, 35.2% chance to get at least 2 and 6.4% chance to get 3. So average number of spells per turn will be (12.72 compared to 12 at turn 1 and 7.2 compared to 6 spells during following turns on average). Since hardiness might be an overkill on mages (they already have resistance and armor is not that important stat since only AoE attacks are the most dangerous, which can't be physical). Overall that extra spell can help you to kill dangerous enemies before they can even act, so trade off might be worth it. But again, with Sniper it's much much better, because as I explained before, extra attack is more or less guaranteed. It WILL give extra attack with Adrenaline Rush in play and without as long as you start with 15 AP. But since AP items are very rare it's better to spread them over your party and compensate the loss with gymnastics. It will result in slightly less chance for extra attack (70-80%), but everyone will have it. It's hard to judge who will benefit from it more, mages or archers, since archers have a pretty much guaranteed extra attack while mages have much more impactful attacks (cuz AoE).
  7. Derael

    ANALYSIS: Min-Maxing A:EFTP

    Well, all my math was based on the assumption that Haste and battle Frenzy are active, but didn't include adrenaline rush since it's a one time bonus. With Frenzy and adrenaline Rush you get 8+5+11=24 AP, 3 attacks with haste proc need 5+9+9=23 AP, so you should be able to do 4 attacks 70% of the time. While with Sniper and Haste basically 100% of the time, so the advantage is not that big. Without AR (but with BF) you get 13 AP, so for 3 attacks you need 5+9=14, thus extra 2 AP either from items or gymnastics. With Sniper and Haste chance to get reduced attack is 96%+, without Sniper ~55%. Without Haste (though you always fight with Haste on), it's still around 90%. Now, without BF but with AR you get 19 AP. So you need extra 5 for 4 attacks, and always get 3. You can get 3 from items and 2 from Gymnastics with decent chance (>50%), but it's irrelevant since in tough fights you can reload until your haste applies BF. Finally, without bonuses you need extra 7 AP for 3 attacks or extra 2 AP for guaranteed 2 attacks. But chance for 2 attacks is very high even without extra AP due to Sniper. But again, why would you fight without buffs? So only 2 cases that matter are Haste + BF and Haste + BF + AR. In first case you get obvious advantage at 2 extra AP, and some extra movement at more. So 1 AP item + high level gymnastics do the trick to get 3 attacks most of the time. In second case you get 3.7 attacks on average without Sniper or 4 with sniper. Increase in overall damage is small, maybe 8%, but still quite good. Finally at 4 extra AP (from either items or gymnastics) with BF and AR you can still move away from enemy and attack without losing extra attack, so gymnastics are situationally useful. Overall main advantage of gymnastics are evasion and flexibility, it will barely affect DPS. But if you are looking at archer party, it may be tough to find 2 AP items for everyone, thus gymnastics kick in. Not sure how Haste interacts with Spells and other actions, but if it works for any action that costs 9 AP you probably want 2 AP items on everyone in your party even without Sniper for 55% chance to get extra attack (70% with AR), so it might be wise to use 2 items on mage and compensate 1 AP with gymnastics on archers. Biggest breakpoint for most situations is 2 extra AP, achieved by any means. In classic setup might as well opt out for using bows+gymnastics on mages instead of hardiness for extra damage if they rarely face danger. I just wish lethal blow was connected with gymnastics instead of Sharpshooter, would make this build much more viable. I noticed that I used bows a lot at early stages and in easier fights, since cavewood longbow deals almost as high damage as fireblast even without mastery and helps to conserve mana especially it's good in global map encounters where hp doesn't matter as much but mana is still valuable. But bows are less viable at 10+ since lack of accuracy becomes devastating, and I'm playing on hard, not torment. When I fought envoy protector at level 9 I couldn't land a single ranged attack by mages, though spells never missed, and I assume disparity only becomes worse later on, but probably disappears as you fight underleveled enemies (at 30+). So yeah, talking about sub-optimality, setup of 3 arches really is not suboptimal. Early on it will be much stronger than melee + 3 mages, but later it will be a bit weaker if one mage is not enough to clear minions quickly. Probably won't lose much power vs bosses because single target damage and cc on hit coupled with lots of attacks per turn is where archers shine (with some priest skills included). Might even be worth it to use level 3 cloak of curses instead of cloak of bolts, but need to check its effectiveness. So my verdict is: archer won't really fit into any party that doesn't use cloak of curses of cloak of bolts, but in archery focused party it may shine and actually be good. At least it has some obvious strong points that other classes don't have, such as evasion and even more attacks per turn + on hit debuffs. This party will need a tank (at least till the time when you can survive 1 boss hit even if evasion fails), but mage can probably play this role since it has similar build to warrior (excluding parry) and if you move first you can prevent most dangerous enemies from attacking you altogether. Might be worth investing a few points into quick reaction on mage to always act first. So how good this party is compared to classic party is an open question, since it has some obvious shortcomings (few AoE/no dedicated tank) but also some obvious strength (sky high evasion/lots of cc on hit/field control/extra attacks/energy conservation).
  8. Derael

    ANALYSIS: Min-Maxing A:EFTP

    Yep, I was writing this post at 3 AM and forgot to clear old statements after I learned how AP works. Majority of analysis is done without assuming that AP carry over. Also I took into account that Sniper and Haste don't stack additively (though they still stack multiplicatively, resulting in wooping 1-(0.67*0.2)^2=98.2% chance to trigger AP cost reduction once per 2 attacks (if Sniper level is 16). At Sniper level 14, the chance is 96%, still quite good. So 2 attacks will cost 14 AP in total, and if we get at least 15+ AP, it means you will attack 3 times with 96-98% chance. While Haste alone has 1-0.67^2=55% chance to trigger one per turn, so melee fighter loses less than 0.5 attack per turn on average (2.5 instead of 3). Considering more than double damage melee fighters are obviously superior in terms of damage and their only disadvantage is having to spend AP for moving, which is rarely relevant since most enemies come to you on their own accord. Armor is obviously useful, but Archer will naturally recieve much less hits, and more importantly, will have significant evasion chance, so enemy archers will have very small chance to hit at 40 DEX and 17 gymnastics.As long as you don't get hit for more than 50% of health, you are safe. The downsides are obvious: First of all, lack of good bows. There are zero good bows in the game. Secondly, less resistances/armor, because Hardiness/Resistance are hard to get on archer. You need 38 points for core build so have only 25 points spare. So it's either dropping Lethality and 1 point of Sharpshooter to get Resistance, or going for hardiness + luck, but not both. Another option is going all damage with 10 points in Lethality, 5 luck and 20+ points in bows. It could work very well for 3 Archers + Mage party with Cloack of Bolts for some neat storm_of_arrows playstyle (with 3 archers each doing 3 attacks every turn), if there were good bows in the game.You could even spec one of the archers in priest spells with all the spare points, to get a dedicated healer, since buffs and heals don't need INT. Itemisation will be a bit problematic, but with high enough gymnastics you don't even need to use all 3 quicksilver items, since chance of getting extra AP will be over 80%, so with Fury, 1 quicksilver item and gymnastics you will get 15 AP, enough for 3 attacks with Haste/Sniper proc. Even at Sniper level 12 with Haste on chance to get 3 attacks is 93% if you have 15 AP. To be honest Gymnastics really do almost nothing with 2+ Quicksilver items, but evasion chance and extra AP for movement still matter. By stepping back from the enemy I mean exactly that, with 3 qs items and level 17 gymnastics you have a decent chance get enough AP to step back from the enemy and STILL do 3 attacks (you need 19 AP for that, and chance to get 19+ AP is almost 25%. Still not very reliable but quite neat. Overall I feel that party of archers works better than single archer, because they work so well with Cloak of Bolts in late game and Cloak of Curses early on and have synergy advantage of being able to suppress enemies with covering fire by sniping priority targets. Well, actually, I now want to try this party with 1 full damage Archer + 2 Hybrid Archer/Priests + Mage. They will be immune to melee enemies with double Call Storms, and you can get it very early with 7 arcane lore. AND they don't need that much money, only enough to buy necessary buffs, so majority of gold can go to upgrade every single talent you want to upgrade. I guess I will try this party in 2nd game.
  9. Derael

    ANALYSIS: Min-Maxing A:EFTP

    Sorry for necroposting, but I have some questions about game mechanics. 1. First of all, is Lethal Strike actually 3%/level or 5%/level? Because the difference in usefulness is huge. If you indeed get around 25% crit chance in late game as Hume said, 3% is only 1.33 increase in overall damage with 1st point invested (or less, depending on how it works with Flame Blade on hit effects). And it goes all the way down to 1.16% increase in damage from 9 to 10 points invested+2 purchased. Which is worse than Dual Wielding (~1.33% overall damage increase at 150% modifier). But 5% varies from 2.22% overall damage increase to 1.78%, which is better than blademaster (~2% damage increase) with moderate investment (at 150% damage modifier). Basically, at 3% it's never a good idea, while at 5% it's worth getting to level 5 at least (50% crit chance is a good breakpoint). 2.Another question about Dual Wielding. I've seen some contradicting descriptions, some say it only increases chance to hit, but NOT damage. Even at 2% extra damage and chance to hit it's still bad though. If I understand correctly how chance to hit works (everything just stacks additively), bonus from STR will overwhelm any other bonuses, and you easily hit 95% cap with 40 STR, so any skill bonuses are irrelevant, unless you invest heavily in END/DEX. If there are some multiplicative stacking involved, it's different story though. Couldn't find any info on that part. 3. Regarding weapon mastery, it's quite simple. With 40 STR, weapon mastery 10 and at level 30 (including 5 STR from traits and some from items) you get item level of 66 + item level, which I assume varies from 20 to 30 for late game items. So at item level 20 you get 1.16% extra overall damage per point over 10. At 30 barely over 1%. But the advantage is, you save money wasted on levelling unnecesary weapon masteries. So it is slightly less useful than DW mastery but also save you ton of gold (6400 compared to version with 8+2 weapon mastery). So at least it's obvious choice over DW, but just to get enough for Bladeshield, after that DW is superior. Not sure if Battle Frenzy is worth it. 4. Gymnastics. Now, this one is tricky. I'm not sure how exactly action point system in this game works, but if unspent action points carry over to next turns, it's pretty useful with minor investment (2 bows + 2(+2) gymnastics). With certain items, which seems to be best in slot for warrior (First Expedition Greaves and to lesser extent Lightspeed band, though seemingly inferior to Mauler's Ring), you can get gymnastics quite high (6-8) for some good chance to get extra action point per round and even small chance to get 2. At 6 it's ~35% for extra AP and ~10% more for 2 AP. At 8 it's almost 40% for extra AP and ~15% for 2 AP. I don't quite get how the AP system works, but according to ingame manual, you have 8 points and if you have 10 or more, you can attack twice. Adrenaline Rush gives you 20 AP for one round (so up to 3 attacks at 19 points). Battle frenzy gives 5 extra AP each round and Haste has 33% chance to reduce AP cost of attack by 4 (once per turn?). So if you get 2 points, you get guaranteed extra attack without buffs (if enemy is next to you). Which is not bad for a 10-15% chance. If you are under battle frenzy effect from level 3 Haste (so 13 AP), it does basically nothing apart from giving you some extra movement EXCEPT if you get Haste proc with one of 2 attacks (55% chance). This paired with 2 extra AP will let you attack 3 times without moving. So gymnastics paired with one or 2 extra AP from gear may bring some significant results, greatly increasing your chance to double attack without buffs and triple attack with buffs. Basically, at 6 points of Gymnastics it's like 10% crit chance to deal 2x damage without buffs (and it can even be spread to 2 targets of your choice). With full buffs 8 points in Gymnastics is like 15%*0.55=8% chance to deal extra 1.5x damage, which is 4% more overall damage. And with 1 extra AP gear it becomes MUCH better, since they have great synergy. Now looking at archer, it actually looks a bit better. (Though, it depends on how Haste and Sniper stack). If they are additive, it's insanely good, so all you attacks cost 2x less. If they are checked separately, it's not that good, but still great resulting in 87% chance to decrese the cost to 5 (80% if using quicksilver plate instead of Sniper west). With quicksilver plate and all AP items you get 3 extra action points (with certain chance or every turn?). With Battle frenzy buff you get 8+3+5=16 action points (15 with max sniper). That's 2 attacks at least (at full cost). With Gymnastics level 17 you get 1-3 extra action points with 80%+ chance and 5% chance to get 4. But on average you get ~2 (1.7 to be precise). So 16-19 action points most of the times, up to 20. (15-18, up to 19 with sniper). That's already potential 3 attacks (at 19) WITHOUT Sniper procs. With Sniper/Haste proc (96-98% depending on your sniper level) you can always get 3 attacks no matter how much extra AP you got. IF it could proc several times per turn, you could get 4 attacks. With at least 2 Sniper procs (64-76% chance) you can get 4 attacks if you were lucky. And with 3 Sniper procs (51-66% chance) you can get 4 attacks with any amount of extra points above 0. So Sniper vest would be superior to Quicksilver Plate in terms of damage, but the latter gives more armor and evasion even though chance for 4 attacks is lower with it. But since Sniper and Haste can only proc once per turn (if it's true), we will only get 3 attacks with 96% chance, so no point going for Sniper vest. Overall extra action points will affect mostly movement, becasue chance to get 3 attacks is high enough even with just quicksilver items. Basically choice of using Sniper vest vs Quicksilver plate is about 20% to hit chance, 1 hit dice, even less chance to lose 3rd attack and 6% less chance to apply debuff (not sure how useful it is) vs bunch of extra armor and movement, since evasion and action points are more or less equal. One important notice: if you actually plan to tank melee oppoents with this character, you want extra AP to be able to step back from enemy and still get 3 attacks (achievable at 19 AP). If you don't, you probably care about chance to hit more than about armor so Sniper Vest is superior (more damage, more consistant, but less mobile). Depending on how good Sniper debuffs are (you can get 48% chance with several attacks per turn), it's even possible to make mage + 3 archers party and use cloack of bolts for some really good kiting. But if required items are unique, it won't be very efficient. Comparing dual wielding damage to bow damage, former is obviously superior, but bow has an advantage of being able to attack priority targets and kite. Dedicated melee damage dealer has 2.5 attacks per turn with buffs, each dealing 5x damage, with modifier up to +100% (with all maxed damage skills and falcion). Archer on the other hand has 3 attacks with buffs, each dealing 2x damage, with modifier up to 70% (no Falcion for 24% extra damage) + extra skill points and ton of evasion. So like half damage of DW warrior.
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