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How to Avoid Sucking at Avernum: Escape from the Pit (SPOILERS)

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Other players may have different advice depending upon how they like to play.

 

Character Building

 

Plan ahead with your party so you don't have to edit it or worse restart because you tried to use jack of all trades or ones that have difficulty hitting the monsters. It's hard to build a bad party at the start, but later on in the game bad decisions will reduce your chances of hitting.

 

The most important stat is for your primary attack . Melee fighters need strength, range fighters need dexterity, and mages and priests need intelligence to do more damage and increase their to hit chance. Each point in that stat increase your damage by one level and your to hit chance by 5%. This is more important than increasing the related combat ability in the skill tree because that only increases your to hit chance by 1%.

 

The next most important stat is endurance since this game uses the same system as Avadon where your health increases by 5 when you gain a level or raise your endurance by 1. Endurance is the most important stat for the first character in your party since during outdoor encounters that character is usually attacked by the monsters and can easily die in the first round even on normal difficulty. The exceptions are area attacks that hit more than one character and a knockback attack that moves the first character so the next one gets hit by other monsters. For those the second character needs some health.

 

Your other two stats will increase automatically with a point being added as you level up starting with strength at level 2, dexterity at level 3, intelligence at level 4, and endurance at level 5. Then it repeats. If you want to increase strength to avoid encumbering your character you can or wear lighter armor until your strength goes up on its own.

 

Unlike Avadon, you can't successfully make a character that will evade attacks by maximizing dexterity even on normal difficulty. There is always a minimum 5% chance to hit and most boss monsters have an even better chance. Even specializing in dexterity won't work. Like Avadon it appears that dexterity evades physical, fire, and energy attacks, intelligence evades mental attacks, and endurance is used to calculate evading cold attacks and resisting poison and acid.

 

Above level 30 when you level up your assignable stats and skill points are now every 5th level and no you longer get traits. The fixed increased stats, health and spell energy increase still occur. There is no level cap in the game if you have the patience to grind to higher levels using crafted wisdom crystals. However with only 16 traits per character and some only available at higher levels, you need to plan ahead. You will probably finish the game in the mid 30 levels depending upon how many quest you complete and wisdom crystals you use. Above level 40 it's hard to get experience from monster killing.

 

Abilities in the Skill Tree

 

When getting abilities in the skill tree you only need one of the prerequisite abilities below and you can't increase it more than the highest level below. There is also a cap on raising the abilities above the lowest tier beyond 10. Cave lore is capped at 10 and luck at 5.

 

Trainers can be used at any time with no increased cost and they don't count against the 10 cap for higher tier abilities. So you can reach 12 in some abilities before items. Money is tight, but trainers are very useful for less important abilities. However if you use the trainer for a higher tier ability, you may not be able to raise it later using skill points if the lower skill is capped so hold off on trainers until you have used all the skill points you are planning for that skill. This is important for Parry, Spellcraft., Resistance, and Sniper.

 

The first character,, the meat shield, should aim on getting parry as soon as possible. I would recommend getting the column of melee weapons, hardiness, and parry as soon as possible to 10 in each. This will give you 30% parry against melee and missile attacks, but not magic attacks. The trait parry mastery can be gotten twice to make it 36% parry before items that add more. A late game trainer can give you two more levels for 42%. There is a sword that give 5% and a shield that gives 1% parry.

 

Being able to avoid getting hit makes a big difference and will keep the meat shield alive to protect the rest of the party. In outdoor encounters this may be the time to buff the party and start a strong attack.

 

Fighters

 

A melee fighter with a sword should then get quick action and dual wielding. The use of a second sword drops your to hit chance by 15 to 19%. Each level of dual wielding reduces the penalty by 2% and decreases the damage penalty. The traits Ambidexterous and Dual Weapon Mastery also reduce the penalty.

 

A pole weapon fighter will do more damage per blow than a melee weapon fighter, but will never get the extra attack that will more than make up for lower damage per blow of a dual wielding sword fighter.

 

A range attacker should probably go with bows, gymnastics, and sniper at the start. Thrown weapons do more damage because they 1 to 4 points of damage per level compared to a bow's 1 to 3 points per level. However there are a limited number of thrown weapons in the game especially the better ones. Gymnastics gives you a 10% chance per level of getting extra action points in a round, Sniper gives you a 5% chance per level of getting a bonus shot. It's easy to get three shots a round on different targets.

 

So while a range fighter will do less damage per shot than a melee fighter there will be a chance of getting in extra shots per round and being able to direct them at different targets which you can't do with dual wielding.

 

Hardiness increases per level:

-- 3% armor

-- 3% magic resistance

-- 3% fire resistance

-- 3% cold resistance

-- 1% poison resistance

-- 1% acid resistance

 

All combat skills: melee weapons, pole weapons, bows, and throw weapons, count as 1 level towards battle disciplines. You need 5 levels of combat skills to get the lowest battle disciplines and 20 for the highest.

 

Spell Casters

 

You only need a maximum of 17 in mage or priest spells to be able to cast all of them. After that intelligence is the main way to improve damage and to hit chance.

 

Concentrate on either damage avoidance with parry or increasing action points using gymnastics. Combine an increased action point item with gymnastics and you can get two actions a round. Add a haste at level 3 and/or a speed potions or scrolls to get battle frenzy and haste for the chance of three attacks a round. The Haste spell can reduce action point cost from 9 to 5 on either the first or second action.

 

Getting spellcraft and resistance is the way to protect your spell caster from damage. Spellcraft only increases the damage by 2% per level. Resistance increases the resistances by 3% per level for all hostile magic, damage and curses. Since you will have lighter armor on your mage this becomes very important.

 

For mages get the sword mage trait to wear bulky armor that reduces your to hit chance so you can have higher physical armor and resistance. You start out being able to wear -5% to hit chance bulky armor. Items that increase your to hit chance can counter bulky armor penalties.

 

To read spell books to get level 3 you will need arcane lore. Some spell books only count the arcane lore in the party and not the adjustment for sage lore trait. The total maximum arcane lore is 12 and can be split up in the party

 

Other Abilities

 

In this game the total for all player characters is used for arcane lore to learn spells from books, cave lore to open caches and sometimes get past obstacles, tool use to open doors, containers, and remove traps, and first aid to restore health and spell energy after combat. In this version the total amount in the party is used so you can spread it around so there is no need to put all the tool use in one character.

 

Traits

 

Traits become available depending upon your abilities and level. So the strength trait needs two levels of melee and/or pole weapons, dexterity needs two levels of bows and/or thrown weapons, intelligence needs two levels of mage and/or priest spells.

 

Make sure you get all three Health traits to get a bonus percentage of your total health. After 100 health that extra 5% is better than more endurance and the other two still add a bit more.

 

Mages and priests should also get the three Mana traits to increase maximum spell energy after 100 spell energy. Also it appears that they sometimes give immunity to mental attacks, but I haven't seen in always happening.

 

Backstab is useful if you fight in a group or with summoned pets adjacent to a target.

 

Sword mage allows mages to still cast spells in bulky armor and each level negates 5% to the to hit chance penalty. You start at being able to cast with a -5% penalty armor. This helps because some of the best armor is -20% to hit chance.

 

Negotiator is available when your character is higher level and gets you 10% more money on items you sell. Money is tight in this depressed economy so if you plan to use trainers or buy spells, then consider getting it.

 

 

Fighting and Spells

 

Be sure that you can do all of the four main damage types in your party: physical, fire, cold, and energy. There are some monsters that are almost or completely immune to at least one type and sometimes with high resistances to more than one. It's not how much damage you can do, but how much penetrates.

 

Early in the game, daze is very powerful in keeping monsters from attacking. The most important tactic is to keep from being swarmed. So anything that can reduce that is helpful. Howl of Terror is supposed to work on higher level monsters, but you need more than level 1 and some are immune.

 

Indoors take advantage of terrain. Doorways are you best friends since if you can force an enemy to stop in the doorway the rest of the monsters on the other side will usually stand idly by while you can attack the monster and lob area effect spells into the room. Move your characters adjacent to the door on either side, but not in line of sight of monsters in the room. Then when you kill the monster usually the next one will run up and get stuck in the door. This forms a conga line of death (Knights of the Dinner Table reference).

 

Advance slowly in new areas so you can encounter just one monster at the edge of a group. Then buff and hit the space bar to see if you go into combat mode when the monster sees you. Back off and lure that monster to its death, then repeat until their numbers are reduced.

 

Overlapping area attacks are effective in killing quickly on normal difficulty. Even on harder difficulties taking out the monsters quickly is helpful.

 

Combining spells can help avoid damage. Daze at level 2 also can ensnare monsters so they can only move one space before stopping. Add Call the Storm to knockback ensnared monsters and melee attacking monsters won't be able to reach you until the ensnaring wears off.

 

Level 3 versions of some spells are very useful. Healing spells give regeneration, Icy Rain immobilized foes, Daze can stun them, and others have bonus percentage damage added to original damage.

 

The mage spell Blink acts like the Avadon Shadowwalker ability Shadowstep to ensnare nearby monsters while you move to a new location. This allows repositioning the mage so his attack spells is more effective. For instance using the cone Arcane Blow on a clump of monsters.

 

If you can before a fight, then buff the party with haste (at level 3 there is a chance of battle frenzy for bonus action points), war chant to hit better (at level 3 there is a chance of spine shield), and protection (at level 3 this is a chance of regeneration). When you first see a monster there is usually time before combat starts to cast one buff before going into combat mode.

 

Remember the old human saying:

 

"He who fights and runs away, lives to run another day."

-- Worf, Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Encounter at Farpoint" novelization by David Gerrold

 

Moving away from a swarm of monsters may keep the farthest ones from attacking. Just creep up to lure them away one by one to their deaths instead of yours. In almost all encounters you can come back later, so picking them off instead of charging in to fight can work to your advantage.

 

Also outdoors when the monsters are tougher this can give you a round to buff if your party goes first. In the demo area you can just daze and slaughter the easier monsters.

 

Playing on Torment Difficulty

 

As Brocktree said about Avernum 6, there is a 36% penalty in physical armor and resistances so maximize them as quickly as possible especial for your meat shield with armor. Steelward and spellward cast before entering a dungeon or leaving down will counteract some of the penalty. The bladeshield battle discipline (combat skills 16) gives a 30% bonus resistance to all attack types. Combining them all can reduce damage until you reach the 90% cap.

 

Parry is more important since that isn't affected by game difficulty. It only works against melee and missile attacks, but not magic.

 

Health should be much higher than normal difficulty so have more endurance. This will also reduce acid and poison.

 

When all else fails, come back a few levels higher than you would on normal difficulty.

 

 

Singleton - Or Who Needs a Full Party

 

A single character goes up almost twice as fast as a party of four. Eventually the decreasing experience as your level exceeds the monsters does take it toll and by level 30 you will notice the effects. After level 40 it's quests and wisdom crystals to get significant experience.

 

When creating the character get melee weapons (two levels), mage spells (two levels), and priest spells (one level) at the start. This will let you fight, cast daze on monster swarms, and heal yourself. As you level up you can choose what type of character you want.

 

I went with fighting from the start to get 10 levels in melee weapons, hardiness, and parry as soon as possible. This allows you to avoid getting hit. With Parry Mastery twice I got 36% parry against melee and ranged weapons. Tool use for unlocking doors and traps can wait since you need less money for one character.

 

Go to Fort Dranlon to buy a second level in Daze, Minor Heal, and Curing since you use them the most. Eventually you will need more levels in mage and/or priest spells to deal with monster swarms and monsters that are highly resistant to physical damage. Locate the Minor Heal spell book to get regeneration for 2 rounds to reduce the need to heal.

 

Use the trainers to get abilities especially Cave Lore. Cave Lore of 5 will allow you to find energetic herbs to make speed and energy potions. Cave Lore of 10 is needed for mandrake root the last ingredient in wisdom crystals. You will spend lots of time circling Avernum to get ingredients. Since there is no level cap, you can eventually make a character extremely powerful.

 

Tool use will help you get more loot and deal with some hidden switches that let you into certain places. Use the nimble fingers trait to get two levels. Items will give you two more. There is a trainer for tool use late in the game, but it is very expensive.

 

The priest/tank is probably the easiest build since you can use heavier armor when daze isn't effective. Priest spells use up more spell energy than mage attack spells, but the heavier armor will reduce damage and you can use spells to block damage. Reduce damage enough and you won't need to heal as often and you won't need to use speed potions for fights.

 

Mage spells will require swordmage trait so you still can wear bulky armor. However using bolt of fire and icy rain will use less spell energy and give you more choices when attacking. Eventually you will probably want some mage spells with dispel barrier needing mage skill 11 (there are items for two levels and a trainer for 2 levels).

 

Get to 16 combat disciplines using trainers and skill points so you can get Bladeshield. That 30% damage reduction is very useful. In the mean time you can use Well-Aimed Blow at 5 combat disciplines to do extra damage in melee.

 

Endurance is even more important since damage won't spread out to other characters. You need health and quickly to survive.

 

The worst things for singletons are the mental attacks of stun and terror. You will at some point fail them and if you don't have enough health then all you can do is watch as you slowly die. At least with terror you have a chance of fleeing your attackers.

 

After switching over to magic as your main attack, increase intelligence to hit better and do more damage. You will find magic is your range attack and sword for melee. Pick the one that does the most penetrating damage. Magic can also let you deal with swarms and you will face them in the final fights where you can't waste time fighting them one by one.

 

For some boss fights near the end you will need to be tricky. Combining bonus action point items and speed consumables will give extra action points to move into better positions to maximize damage to the most monsters and/or move to a place where fewer monsters can attack you.

 

For the final fight to Slay Hawthorne you won't be able to fight all the Royal Guards as you race through the Royal Spire. There are always more spawning behind you and enough ahead to allow them time to catch up. The mage spell Blink should help you get past the ones in front, but you will have lots behind you when you finally reach Hawthorne. I don't know if mental attacks like Domination and Howl of Terror will be effective enough in keeping them busy while you slay Hawthorne.

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I'll just throw out that this game finally made me give up on mage-priests. The value of your skill points is flat, unlike previous Avernums. There's limited synergy between the two, and you don't have enough skill points to be an expert in both without substantially hobbling your characters' ability to survive attacks. I still give mages a few points of priest for healing and priests a few points of mage (mostly for the beginning and the low-hanging buffs), but it's now too suboptimal even for my tastes.

 

—Alorael, who otherwise noticed that on normal difficulty it's hard to make a bad character unless you're making obviously bad choices. All the melee skills are helpful in melee. Not equally, yes, but adequately. Not all choices in the magic tree are equal, but just wanting to cast higher level spells will get players to put points where they need to go.

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Recommend: dual wielding for your fighters. Dispense with the shields and pole weapons entirely. By later game with quicksilver items adding action points, you can have two PCs dealing 8 strikes per turn without hasting and this is way more damage than poles can deliver. It's kind of insanely over-powered, if you ask me, but hella fun. Or you can have two magicians able to cast two spells each per turn. Or one of each. Knock yourself out.

 

-S-

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So, looking over this info, dual-wield melee trumps poles again, and it's best to have one each of a Mage and Priest, rather than trying to train hybrid mage-priests.

 

Are archery or thrown weapons worth bothering with as a dedicated character? Or is it more like Archery in A6, where you splashed those first few cheap points onto each character for occasional incremental damage?

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I tried running a party with a fighter and three archers in the testing. It was so much harder, but not imposible (besides not having level 3 dispel barrier). I wouldn't recommend for new players.

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Archers do decent damage, but it is a weapon doing 1 to 3 points of damage per level versus melee where you get 1 to 4 points of damage. You start off doing similar damage but quickly fall behind as you gain levels.

 

Also you can't use missile attacks in melee range so when swarmed you have to use a melee weapon or spell.

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Alright, im here and so far i have a great idea for a party of 2 fighters/hybrids. After reading the long list of stuff for what to do, ive come to the realization that 2 characters where both can fight and have defenses might be more possible than i thought.

 

1#-The first char will specialize in strength and intelligence and spend his first 2-3 traits in endurance to maximize points for resisting cold/poison.This char will be the tank that uses polearms for brutal damage, along with hardiness and parrying that is high as well. He will use priest spells for both buffing/healing and later for offensive spells.

 

2#-Now for the 2nd char i will be using a rogue/evasive/finesse fighter that wields swords. Now after playing a sample party before, with 7 quick action you are better off than putting it into blademaster. Why? because with 7 blademaster i barely got any return. Quick action at 7 gave me almost instantaneous use of some of the early disciplines. He will be going after enemies as the aggressor and not getting tired while the 1st character will be buffing/healing/offensive casting and fighting. This char will specialize in dex and endurance.

 

The only thing i am unsure of is whether the 1st character (priest/tank) would be better as a priest/archer)

 

Anyone's thoughts who beat it?

 

 

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The choices are hardiness and parry to reduce/avoid damage or gymnastics to gain extra action points. I tried both and still prefer taking less damage or using the extra action to heal. This becomes more significant when you are stunned or terrorized and can't get healed or have the mental effect removed. I had the two of my four characters that both could remove mental effects get terrorized at the same time.

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I'm confused...which are you arguing is superior, the Hardiness / parry emphasis, or the Gymnastics route?

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I liked hardiness/parry better. They both work well but for different player types. Spellcasters that don't get attacked would like extra actions from gymnastics. Swordmages and fighters that are on the front lines in melee want hardiness/parry.

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I found that on normal play hardiness/parry was not necessary as armor is able to protect the melee fighters for the most part with a few heals here and there.

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Another build question: it sounds like a need a dedicated D-W melee / parry / endurance tank in the lead, and I need a dedicated mage (maybe get just a level or two of priest for the free first four spells), and a dedicated priest (maybe get just a level or two of mage for the free first four spells). And it's okay to splash just a few levels of archery on guys, too (but avoid a dedicated archer character).

 

But what do you recommend for the fourth character slot? Another tank? Another mage? Another priest?

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It's very early yet, and I'm playing on normal, but so far my dedicated archer rocks. She does more damage and hits more reliably than my tank. I expect the balance to shift at some point, but I'm planning to give her some melee eventually.

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I liked having to melee that would D/W. The second one I gave backstab too and it worked out nice for a damage dealer.

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Originally Posted By: Rowen
I liked having to melee that would D/W. The second one I gave backstab too and it worked out nice for a damage dealer.

Yes, two DW melee that complement each other is useful. As the game progresses, the melee-related upgrades result in a ton of damage.

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What's a bit weird about this thread is how it gives the feeling the class system get totally screwed up and there's no real choices but just one path, well 4 paths.

 

EDIT: Hit is a central problem in the game and dual weapon is the advised choice despite the hit penalty? That's strange.

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Originally Posted By: Vent
What's a bit weird about this thread is how it gives the feeling the class system get totally screwed up and there's no real choices but just one path, well 4 paths.

EDIT: Hit is a central problem in the game and dual weapon is the advised choice despite the hit penalty? That's strange.


The hit penalty for dual-wielding is less than 20%. Between, say, one hit at 80% accuracy and two hits at 60% accuracy, dual-wielding still clearly wins out in terms of average damage.

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The way the game has been playing, 60% to-hit means 40% of your attacks miss - which is a lot. Even 80%+ still misses regularly.

 

Previous games I never worried about wearing bulky armour but I'm finding that any to-hit penalty means I miss considerably more often.

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Duel wield is not the only option. I played through with a party made up of a shield tank and three archers with no magic or priest skills on normal. It wasn't easy, but that was due to not have magic dish out big damaging numbers.

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Well, it also depends on the point in the game. I find pretty much everyone's accuracy early in the game is quite low (especially on higher difficulties), so it's more a difference between 40% and 20%. So the damage is about even, but with less defense (compared to shield) or damage (compared to pole). This is similar to A6 where dual wielding wasn't that great early on, but in this case it takes a lot longer for dual wielding to hit its stride. In A6 I found it took 'til about 10-20% of the way in for dual wielding to beat out the other options; in AEftP dual doesn't really shine until a third to half way in.

 

I also find archery is better in AEftP than in recent Avernum games. Not as great as in Avadon, but not crappy either. It still does the least damage per attack, but snipe and gymnastics mean that my archer consistently gets the most attacks per round. Still a bit weaker in damage, but I like dex better than strength: the former isn't the god stat that it was in Avadon, but encumbrance is a complete non-issue after about 10 strength, while bonuses to evasion keep being useful as dexterity increases. And attacking at range allows one to skim a few points off endurance into dexterity, closing the damage gap a bit. The bow options in the early game are a bit disappointing, but the fact that a straight archer is a viable build is still a departure from A5-6.

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In A6, dual wielding was fine early on; the difference in A6 was that you had very early access to very high level halberds, whereas in AEFTP you find great melee weapons before you find good pole weapons.

 

If your hit rate is 40% when single-wielding, you're not very well optimized for combat. Probably it means not enough points in Strength, or points into weird skills, or wearing acc-lowering armor that isn't worth it -- or all three. There are exceptions, but for the most part chest armor is the only the only kind of armor that is worth wearing if it lowers your accuracy. Acc-lowering greaves, helmets, gauntlets, and the like are a recipe for Casey at the bat.

 

I know this works because I've been running two dual-wielders for the whole game, and their accuracy has never dropped below 50% except when I wander further than I need to and find high level foes -- and at that point even my magic-users are missing, too. Usually, the dual-wielders have an accuracy between 75-95%, and that's BEFORE War Blessing.

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War Blessing is only +2% so it's better to have the opponent cursed for -10%.

 

Dual Wielding is better because of the extra damage outweighs the lowered chance to hit. I do usually start with sword and shield if I don't know how hard it will be to hit since you can switch to two swords for one action point.

 

Archery is better than in the more recent Avernum games. Jeff did keep the arrow area attack from Avadon, but only the monsters get it. frown

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Originally Posted By: HOUSE of S
The tooltip on the War Blessing effect says +10%.

I've never seen it do more than +2% when I used it including at level 3. I think it's a holdover from Avernum 6 that didn't get fixed.

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Originally Posted By: FnordCola
The bow options in the early game are a bit disappointing...


The Cavewood Longbow is almost a nuclear option for the very early game, and can be found in Ft. Avernum if you have 5 TU, or purchased in Ft. Duvno.

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Woo War Blessing providing 2% instead of 10% I won't waste money to learn this spell, too bad because it's typically good stuff to help in stronger fights.

 

About Dual Weapon vs Weapon+Shield vs Two Hands Weapon, it's really a classical of RPG, and there's always a tendency too look at it only from the offensive/damages point of view, and only too look at the final result of the build and forgetting the long time before to reach the final state.

 

For Weapon+Shield in Avernum there's also Hit penalty from the shield once you start get more worthy shields, so for Hit penalty it's sort of close to Dual Weapons. The real difference between 2W vs W+S is to put points in Dual Weapon skill or put them elsewhere, and if you do so, you still can switch from 2W to W+S.

 

You not only need put points in Dual Wielding to not suffer the higher To Hit penalty, but also need invest at same level the Skill Quick Action which is in my opinion a skill for later levels. That's a lot of skills points you could put elsewhere, at least during first levels. Now if later parts are significant problem of difficulty it could worth the penalty during multiple levels.

 

I don't say 2W isn't the best option, just that it's not that clear. Also suffer many penalties during most part of the game, just to get the most powerful build during the end of the game is often illusionary. Now from reading the posts of this thread it is supposed to happen quite sooner than the end, but even for last 30% of the game, there's area to argue about that and nothing that clear.

 

The comparison with Two Hand weapons ie Pole is more direct because it's separate skills and you can't seriously train both Poles and Swords.

 

Well, 2HW don't have any range bonus. Some have a "AOE" effect somehow increased, 20% instead of 10%. The damages tend be slightly higher, will depends a lot of all weapons found and I don't know yet the set available. For now a Slith Warspear is clearly the best damage input and you can find it rather soon, but it has none AOE effect which is replaced by some fire resistance.

 

So 2W vs 2HW ends more or less in much less skills point spend for 2H and better To Hit vs More damages for 2W and the option for W+S and trade More damages with more protection and a slight improvement of To Hit.

 

Well, clear math on damages would help to compare, but also will depend a lot, not of the class and skills choices, but of the weapons available. For a Tank ie my current main warrior I feel that 2W options not good, better sink points into more protection.

 

For my secondary warrior, that would be a nice option, but I'm looking at something different than what suggested by this thread, mix of Pole and Bow, for now it works, it seems from this thread that later I'll regret because of lack of specialization. But really if the game can be played only with pure choices, Bows OR (exclusive) Swords/Poles, that is a little sad. At Normal I doubt it's a necessity, on Hard I bet it's not and I'll see if I regret later.

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Actually, the DW skill just reduces the damage penalty by 2%; it does nothing for the hit penalty. Which makes me think *it's not worth bothering with. The trait Ambidextrous does help, though.

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It's really not that complicated. Have you noticed that nobody has advocated using pole weapons, and the same people who complain about dual wielding seem to have very low hit points for single wielded melee weapons, too? Dual wielding is not the problem.

 

Turtle: Did you actually test this or are you just going off the tooltip text? If it's just the tooltip that would indeed make the DW skill atrocious, not to mention objectively worse than Blademaster, which is a bit confusing.

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Mister House is nobody learned you it's not a well educated behavior to talk with someone else about someone who is present? Ok let say you have learned something today.

 

Otherwise my Tank and my Pole/Bow warrior hit quite well without following the very restricted advices quoted in OP, ok Hard difficulty and I have to see later in the game.

 

If OP is right, Avadon remake class design is a quite huge design failure, I'm surprised Jeff felt in such trap. That some class choices are better that is sure and it's rare RPG provide good balances everywhere. But that only a restrictive path is well playable without a lot of pain, that's something else.

 

There's so many RPG where there's plenty fans arguing and explaining with a mass of details that Two Weapons is the most powerful choice. It's such a classical that I always look at those sort of thread with a lot of suspicion.

 

In DAO there was plenty quote like that about Two Weapons being uber, expect that in later updates it's Two Weapons class that got some skill coming from 2 Hand Weapon class.

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Originally Posted By: Vent
Mister House is nobody learned you it's not a well educated behavior to talk with someone else about someone who is present? Ok let say you have learned something today.


?????

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Tooltip. I could use the editor to test it, I guess.

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Given that the DW skill in A6 reduced both the to-hit penalty and the damage penalty, and that most of the skills function similarly to their A6 counterparts -- and that we already have other examples of tooltip text being 100% inaccurate -- and that there has been inaccurate tooltip text in pretty much every SW game -- I'd say the skill is innocent until proven guilty.

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You're right, it gives a straight 2% to-hit per point. Grrr, tooltip; yay, dual-wielding.

 

In related matters, it seems significant that warrior skills have four tiers, while everyone else has only three. The upshot of this seems to be that auxiliary skills are best left to the other characters. And warriors are more interesting. And it's easier for non-warriors to max out their skills.

 

Does anyone want to speculate as to why Jeff chose to do the skill tree this way? Is it for balance? I haven't progressed far enough into the game to see how it plays out.

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You know, the more I look at the skills, the more it seems to me that most of them provide a very poor return on investment. The 4th tier combat skills are OK but not better than the stuff below them, and sometimes weaker. Quick Action is not as great as it looks, and Gymnastics is too expensive unless you are already doing bows. Likewise, Spellcraft is fairly weak, and Magical Efficiency seems less necessary than ever.

 

There is one good side to this: you really don't have to handicap yourself to get plenty of Tool Use, Arcane Lore, and Cave Lore. You just delay your power slightly.

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@The Turtle Moves: True. The problem is that the Cavewood Longbow stays the best bow until a decent way into the great cave.

 

@Vent: Except that until you get a substantial number of points in Dual Wielding, two weapons give a larger accuracy penalty than a shield (19% vs. 5-10%). While I can't speak for commentators on the Dragon Age forums, many people on here do pretty involved research (Slarty especially). I've also found that in the second half of the game dual wielding is the overwhelmingly superior choice.

 

@Slarty: agreed on many of the upper tier skills. Magical efficiency in particular is pretty bad; not just because of its actual effects (which are decent but not incredible), but because one can only raise it as high as arcane lore. Once one has enough lore to get all the spellbooks (assuming two characters with AL and the sage lore trait, this would work out to 4 per character), it's pretty much useless, so getting ME above 4 requires pumping an essentially useless skill. Spellcraft is useful, but it takes quite a while to match the basic casting skill. By the end of the game, with a casting skill in the twenties and intelligence in the thirties to forties, 2% is a substantially greater bonus than another level of spell effect. It gets good earlier if one is playing a mage-priest, but consensus seems to be that these are less viable than in previous Averna.

 

On combat skills: yeah, many are pretty underwhelming. I actually like gymnastics, primarily because unlike in previous Averna, the bonus AP actually stack. Or at least such seems to me the inevitable conclusion when my archer with maxed gymnastics (12, thanks to the trainer) and one +1 AP item occasionally gets as many as 18 AP, while my other characters at most get around the low teens. Sniper and parry are also pretty good. Dual wielding is nice for a dedicated dual wielder because of the higher accuracy bonus, but still isn't great. Hardiness is respectable. I don't have much use for the rest.

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Dual Wielding is by far the most damaging option against single targets. If your accuracy is high anyway, it is overwhelmingly better even with the accuracy and damage penalties. This is true in the early game as much as the late; the difference is that if you do not focus on Strength with at least your stat points and avoid encumbering armor, it's easy to have bad aim early on.

 

The DW skill seems not so great to me. The 2% increase in damage is worse than Blademaster's 3% increase, and by the time you have the skill available, the 2% improvement in to-hit is probably not necessary -- it pales next to the 5% bonus from each point of Strength.

 

Agreed about ME. The nice thing is you don't even need it. Despite spamming AoE spells, I seem to run out of SP 0-1 times per dungeon, and that's what energy potions and runs back to town are for.

 

I think Mage-Priests are theoretically viable, in terms of points, given the lack of skills a spellcaster needs to invest in. The thing is that they aren't really helpful. e.g., who cares if you are using Divine Fire instead of Fireblast, or one summon instead of the other. Likewise you don't need multiple casters for buffs or dispel barrier, and once you get group heals and cures there is no real need for multiple healers. I think I just covered the entire grimoire. You just don't get anything out of dual-schooling.

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Originally Posted By: FnordCola
I actually like gymnastics, primarily because unlike in previous Averna, the bonus AP actually stack. Or at least such seems to me the inevitable conclusion when my archer with maxed gymnastics (12, thanks to the trainer) and one +1 AP item occasionally gets as many as 18 AP, while my other characters at most get around the low teens.


Yet another example of a misleading tooltip. I was assuming that for each point invested you got a stacked 10% chance to get just 1 AP, not a separate 10% check per point, to get up to as many AP as you have Gymnastics points. Not that that would happen very often.

I can't remember how to do this kind of statistical calculation, but some testing with characters cheated up to GYM 10 resulted in:

8 AP: 34.5%
9 AP: 37.5%
10 AP: 18.5%
11 AP: 8.5%
12 AP: 1%

I didn't get anything higher than 12 in 200 trials. This was with no special gear.

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Vent, I wasn't talking about you, or anyone in particular for that matter -- several people have complained about not being able to hit while dual wielding. I apologize if you felt offended as that certainly wasn't the intent. I was simply pointing out one of the main observations suggesting it is a general hit chance issue and not a dual wielding hit chance issue.

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Originally Posted By: FnordCola
@
...
@Vent: Except that until you get a substantial number of points in Dual Wielding, two weapons give a larger accuracy penalty than a shield (19% vs. 5-10%). While I can't speak for commentators on the Dragon Age forums, many people on here do pretty involved research (Slarty especially). I've also found that in the second half of the game dual wielding is the overwhelmingly superior choice.
...

Test of what? Just looking at pure math means few except if all math is better on one side. You wrote "overwhelmingly superior choice" which would mean all stats are better with a 2W build, which I doubt a lot.

We get a build with many details around 2W but nothing else for a different approach, where is the comparison?

Second Half? Suffer weaker play in First Half to get easier play in Second Half? Why is this better? For me it looks like a very bad advice to most players if they get a tougher play in first half when they learn the game.

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Yeah, upon further inspection I think the 18 probably came from battle frenzy or something (I don't always notice immediately when level 3 haste confers this as well as the normal haste status). A quick and dirty test of 20 instances of each of the following configurations resulted in:

 

12 gymnastics, no +AP items: 9-12 AP, average 10.15

12 gymnastics, +1 AP from items: 10-14 AP, average 10.85

4 gymnastics, no +AP items: 8-10, average 8.55

4 gymnastics, +1 AP from items: 9-11, average 9.5

 

Now, that's not all that thorough, but the sample size isn't entirely trivial. What I observe from this: at the maximum gymnastics achievable without items (10 from skill points, 2 from trainers), the highest observed increase in AP was 5, which only occurred once across 40 trials with 12 gymnastics. It's possible that it can provide even larger bonuses than that, but if so the chance would be vanishingly small. Still, these results indicate an average increase of 2 AP at 12 gymnastics, and 0.525 AP at 4 gymnastics. Both of these are a fair bit higher than the expected AP gain (1.2 and 0.4 respectively), which lends credence to my argument that gymnastics is better than it looks at first glance.

 

@Vent:

Quote:
You wrote "overwhelmingly superior choice" which would mean all stats are better with a 2W build, which I doubt a lot.

 

No. I'm sorry, but that's a patently foolish argument. By your logic, a build that does an average of 200 damage per attack and blocks 50 damage is not overwhelmingly superior to a build that does 1 damage per attack and blocks 51. Nowhere in the dictionary definition of "overwhelming" does it list "in all conceivable ways." Specifically, the definition I used here means "so great as to render resistance or opposition useless." i.e. a method that strongly and consistently outperforms the alternative(s) overall, even if not in every individual way. In this case, dual wielding does dramatically more damage while losing only a small amount of defense when compared to sword and shield, and no disadvantages compared to pole weapons except when facing enemies with very high evasion.

 

Quote:
Second Half? Suffer weaker play in First Half to get easier play in Second Half? Why is this better? For me it looks like a very bad advice to most players if they get a tougher play in first half when they learn the game.

 

I never said dual wielding was worse in the first half. I said it wasn't obviously better. What I said was:

 

Quote:
In A6 I found it took 'til about 10-20% of the way in for dual wielding to beat out the other options; in AEftP dual doesn't really shine until a third to half way in.

 

In which "doesn't really shine" means "doesn't [clearly] beat the other options. I find it's worse in the first 10-15% (whereas it was about equal in the early stretches of A6), around equal from around 15-40% through or so, and overwhelmingly better from then on. At first, I find the accuracy penalties kind of hamstring it against the sorts of enemies you want to hit with all that extra damage. In that middle period, it does the most raw damage, but hits less reliably than pole (important for enemies with high evasion and direct attack battle disciplines, since they now cause fatigue whether or not they hit), and offer less defense than sword and shield. By the end of that period, accuracy has mostly caught up for dual wield, meaning that it straight-up deals more damage than pole weapons (and two swords tend to give more passive bonuses than one spear), and while it does offer a bit less defense than sword and shield, the huge damage increase more than makes up for it. Seriously, even with having fewer skill points to spend elsewhere because of dual wielding skill, we're still talking *1.8-1.9 damage as compared to taking maybe *1.15-1.2 damage from physical attacks and *1.08-1.1 damage from magic. In overall performance, there is absolutely no competition here.

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Originally Posted By: HOUSE of S
Vent, I wasn't talking about you, or anyone in particular for that matter -- several people have complained about not being able to hit while dual wielding. I apologize if you felt offended as that certainly wasn't the intent. I was simply pointing out one of the main observations suggesting it is a general hit chance issue and not a dual wielding hit chance issue.


Well I'm tired, you make me feel the idiot I'm sometimes. Ha well, I'm sorry.

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Okay, all of this arguing over dual wielding is getting a little ridiculous. I am going to make some very simple statements that I hope everyone can agree with:

 

1) IT IS MUCH HARDER TO GET 95% HIT CHANCE IN THIS GAME THAN IN PREVIOUS GAMES. This is true no matter what you are attacking with.

 

2) HIT CHANCE COMES MOSTLY FROM YOUR PRIMARY STAT (STR / DEX / INT). If you don't invest in it your hit chance will be very bad.

 

3) HIT PENALTIES come from fighting high level monsters, and to a lesser extent from wearing armor and dual-wielding.

 

4a) IF YOU INVEST IN STR / DEX / INT it is possible to have great hit chance so long as you do not fight monsters WAY ahead of your level.

 

4b) IF YOU DO NOT INVEST IN STR / DEX / INT your hit chance will go even lower when you fight high level monsters, wear armor, or dual-wield.

 

I think this lays the matter out very fairly and clearly. Now please let's stop fighting about it.

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Mm. My 200 tries averaged out to 9.04 AP each, with 10 Gymnastics, if you want to look at it that way. Perhaps there's a hidden bonus for skill level above 10.

 

Edit: Slarty, we've moved on and are now arguing about Gymnastics.

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smile

 

How many times did you only have 8 AP, with 10 gymnastics? What about with 12?

 

The consistency really does make a difference.

 

Either way, it seems like it's an easy sell for an archer, but for anyone else to spend 18-20 skill points to get to 10-12 gymnastics, that's a hard sell.

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With 12? Never, out of the 40 trials...well, half of those would have only been 9 AP because of the item bonus, but the point is that with 12 gymnastics there was no instance in which I didn't receive a bonus of at least 1 AP.

 

With 4 gymnastics I got no bonus about 50% of the time, 1 AP bonus about 40%, and 2 AP about 10%.

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Do the AP bonus items give 1 AP every single turn, now? If they don't, you need to test without them.

 

And honestly, this data is not well-behaved enough for 20 trials to be credible.

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Originally Posted By: HOUSE of S
smile

How many times did you only have 8 AP, with 10 gymnastics? What about with 12?

The consistency really does make a difference.

Either way, it seems like it's an easy sell for an archer, but for anyone else to spend 18-20 skill points to get to 10-12 gymnastics, that's a hard sell.


Originally Posted By: Me
...some testing with characters cheated up to GYM 10 resulted in:

8 AP: 34.5%
9 AP: 37.5%
10 AP: 18.5%
11 AP: 8.5%
12 AP: 1%

I didn't get anything higher than 12 in 200 trials. This was with no special gear.


So even with 10 GYM, you still get 8 AP roughly a third of the time. Subsequent testing with 12 doesn't show a huge difference there*, though I did see a five-point jump in instances of 10 AP. Might be a blip, but again I did 200 turns.

Still, that means you get at least 1 extra AP about 65% of the time, without items. I have no idea what the odds are for getting the extra one from an item.

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