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So are ranged weapons still useless in Crystal Souls?


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just started Crystal souls with steam version (15% cut f yeah!) and when i played Escape From The Pit my bowman fell short compared to my sorceress, priestess and berserker towards the end of the game. the archer is nice at low level, but unable to keep up with the other classes

 

weapons wise ( maybe i wasn't thorough enough ) i never find an awesome bow, my best weapon is poison enchanted bow iwth attack little less than limewood, while my berserker got demon slayer, my spellcaters have crazy massive damage spells with magic and mana enchantment

 

javelin and chackrams are useless since there's ammo for it, and bow doesn't really get better skills than warrior. right now i just went with a sorcerer, shaman, berserker and warrior

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"Useless" is overstating it, but they still fall behind melee combatants in terms of physical damage and lack both the versatility and power of spellcasters when it comes to ranged damage. They could be useful if you specifically needed to make ranged physical attacks, or attack from range without spending spell points, but you don't often need to do either of those things.

 

There have been some minor improvements to thrown weapons. Javelins now have a moderate chance to immobilise their target, and razordisks have a chance to cleave an adjacent foe in addition to the primary target. The game does scatter a generous number of javelins around most dungeons with humanoids in them, and some enemies (sliths in particular) have a chance to drop throwing weapons when killed. I don't know whether or not that'll be enough to prevent you from running into ammo issues if you have a character use thrown weapons as a primary attack form, though.

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There are plenty of crude javelins and even over 300 iron javelins. The better weapons are still rare.

 

Range attacks are useful because you don't need to move so much. Fighting the Empire, you can fire over the soldiers to get the mages and cultists. Dexterity as the primary stat means you are less likely to be hit so you can wait to get parry.

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Just finished a playthrough on hard with a nephil archer. Because of the skill tree arrangement, archers can put a bunch of points in skills like Lethal Blow and Sniper, which adds a bunch to their damage. Unlike melee fighters they can also pick off high priority targets like cultists and hraithes. They don't need to invest much into endurance, and high dex helps the whole party go first in combat. They fall short compared to casters, but everyone does.

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I don't think archers are that bad, even on torment. They make up for their lack of damage output with range. It's necessary that they will do less damage than melee, lest they be grossly overpowered. If archers did as much damage as melee characters they would probably be game breaking.

 

And dex builds were nearly game breaking in Avadon 1. I think with A:CS Vogel is finally reaching the correct balanced sweet spot with them.

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I don't think archers are that bad, even on torment. They make up for their lack of damage output with range. It's necessary that they will do less damage than melee, lest they be grossly overpowered. If archers did as much damage as melee characters they would probably be game breaking.

 

The problem with archers isn't the relative damage.. it's their lack of any useful role in a party.

 

A melee character stands in the front and prevents enemies from attacking your softer casters, as well as doing damage

A mage pumps out massive AoE damage, buffs your group, and curses enemies

A priest heals and blesses your group, and also provides AoE damage

An archer... does damage

 

An optimized group will have at least 1 melee, mage, and priest. From there, the choice is usually whether you want your last character to be a 2nd mage or a 2nd melee, either to hugely boost your party's survivability or to hugely boost its AoE damage.

 

Given that the archer's role is nothing but damage, and they can only really do single target damage, I'd really only consider an archer if they did at least 2x the single target damage of other character types.

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I use an archer as a high evasion meat shield that can do damage to the back row without having to move. It's a buffer for the softer casters that supplements the melee fighter since it usually doesn't have to move. Facing large groups the melee fighter gets bogged down with other melee attackers and can't be as selective on where to deal damage like an archer.

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skills like Lethal Blow and Sniper, which adds a bunch to their damage

Lol. Lethal Blow is OK, but Sniper is an absolute trash skill unless you don't ever plan on casting Haste. Sniper, like Haste, gives you a chance of recouping up to 4 AP's when you make an attack. Here's the problem: that chance can only activate once per character's turn, PERIOD. Thus, while having both Haste and Sniper does make it mildly more likely to activate, it's a very small benefit for the investment of so many skill points. The status effect chance from Sniper is inconsistent and rarely useful, especially later in the game.

 

Additionally, not having easy access to Hardiness is a significant disadvantage. Hardiness is easily among the most powerful skills; arguably it *is* the most powerful skill (besides Mage Spells and Priest Spells). This is due to the fact that its damage reduction is multiplicative with other defense sources, whereas the damage adding skills add their % of damage additively with other bonuses.

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Sniper was really useful for me. Yeah, I have haste up frequently, but because of the 10 (+3 or so) points he had in sniper, his chance of getting the extra attack was 65% instead of haste's 33%. Definitely a noticeable difference. The status effects are also useful, even late game. War Curse and Weakness Curse are decent bonuses (War curse especially against heavy hitters like Sulfuras), Slow is usually great, and the only bad one really is poison, but even that's a slight increase in damage (the poison damage over time was around 10% of the base damage).

 

Edit: I also don't always have haste up. It has a relatively short duration, and sometimes my mage needs to start off with a damaging spell to kill off an enemy instead of casting a buff that will sometimes add DPS. You could make an argument for casting buff spells before every single fight, but that usually requires prior knowledge of the area, or using tactics that trivializes most encounters anyway (like reloading until your haste gives battle fury).

 

Hadiness is incredibly useful, yeah, but the great thing is archers, if positioned right, are rarely in danger. My archer had the least amount of defense overall, but died the least.

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I use an archer as a high evasion meat shield that can do damage to the back row without having to move. It's a buffer for the softer casters that supplements the melee fighter since it usually doesn't have to move. Facing large groups the melee fighter gets bogged down with other melee attackers and can't be as selective on where to deal damage like an archer.

 

How effective is evasion on torment in A2?

 

Anyway, I feel like it's almost always magic attacks that pose the greatest danger to my tank, and that's with an investment in hardiness, which the archer can't easily access.

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I usually position my melee fighters or tanks to the left, right, or behind enemies that use magic attacks. This makes them direct the cone at whoever is in melee range, causing them to aim it away from the back row. Also, a lot of the cones are fire attacks, which uses dex to avoid. Cold and acid are based on endurance, but most of those effects are area based, so the archers/mages shouldn't get hit by those.

 

The biggest threat to archers seems to be other archers, and even then, it usually requires 2 or 3 hits to kill them (4% chance of two 20% accuracy attacks hitting, < 1% of 3 hitting). My archer died the least out of my party, but that was partly due to aggressive positioning of my mage (he has to get fairly close to hit as many people as possible with the cones. Worth the risk if half the people die at the end of his turn :p)

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Evasion is fine of torment unless you are fighting boss and mini-boss monsters that almost alway hit anyway. Against regular monsters it can drop to the minimum to hit chance of 20%. I regularly see a melee fighter getting hit at 90% chance and range fighter getting hit at 20% by the same monster type.

 

After getting an archer to a decent skill level, I switch to raising the sword/hardiness/parry for extra protection.

 

 

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There are plenty of crude javelins and even over 300 iron javelins. The better weapons are still rare.

 

I'm currently working on a torment playthrough with a Nephil thrown weapon user (in addition to a slith pole fighter/tank, a human mage, and a human priest). So far, I've found no supply problems, and the thrown weapons do more damage than bows. I did equip the nephil with a backup bow (high DEX makes the bow effective enough even without points in bows), which I sometimes switch to in easy fights, just to make sure I have plenty of ammo - but I'm not even sure that is necessary. I do save the better thrown weapons for the harder fights, though. Evasion from DEX has helped defensively as well, even on torment.

 

I am still working through the play-through, but so far thrown weapon nephils seem viable and able to contribute to the party on torment. But I would never do more than one in the party, as I'm pretty sure that would start to hit supply issues.

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It's true that there is not a big difference between the weaker and stronger thrown weapons... but isn't it a big enough difference that stronger bows will outdamage crude javelins by a bit, even if fine razordisks outdamage most of the stronger bows?

 

And then there's the Heartstriker...

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It's true that there is not a big difference between the weaker and stronger thrown weapons... but isn't it a big enough difference that stronger bows will outdamage crude javelins by a bit, even if fine razordisks outdamage most of the stronger bows?

 

And then there's the Heartstriker...

 

Looking at the math, even the crude javelins, in the hands of a thrown specialist, can out-damage most of the top bows in the hands of a bow specialist.

 

The javelins do more average damage per level. Borrowing from your analysis in the balance updates thread:

 

2.00 - Dagger, Bow

2.50 - Bow of Dark Rot, Bow of Storms (50% chance to do 150% damage, chance of ancillary effects)

3.00 - Possessed Bow (50% chance to double damage)

...

3.13 - Javelin (50% chance to do 150% damage, chance of ancillary effects)

2.50 - Razordisk (50% chance to cleave at 1-4)

...

Counting cleaves as always available:

3.75 - Razordisk

 

If you look at the base levels in the scripts, you get:

 

Crude Javelin: 5

Iron Javelin: 9

Steel Javelin: 14

 

Razordisk: 10

Fine Razordisk: 15

 

Crude bow: 2

Cavewood bow: 5

Lemonwood bow: 8

Yew bow: 11

Ever-Rotting bow: 12

Bow of Storms: 13

 

Possessed bow (heartstriker): 8

 

So, if you take character with 30 points combined between dexterity and thrown, the crude javelin will do an average of 3.13 x (5 + 30) = 109.55 (not counting other bonuses, e.g., sharpshooter or nephil). If you instead allocate the thrown points to bows, the bow of storms will do less than even the worst javelin: 2.5 x (13 + 30) = 107.5.

 

The possessed/heartstriker bow will still do more than crude javelins, though: 3 * (8 + 30) = 114. But, on any fight that's difficult, you'll be using something better than crude javelins. Even just switching to iron javelins brings the damage to 122.07, beating heartstriker.

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You left out longbows. Javelins also have a base damage of 2, and longbows (also a 2.5 multiplier) have a base damage of 10. Longbows also have that +10% crit chance, which will apply to every single attack type *except* thrown weapons -- because then you don't have a bow equipped. In the example scenario, with 30 points between Dex and Bows/Thrown, this actually gives us:

 

Crude Javelin: ( ( 2.5 * (5 + 30) ) + 2 ) * 1.25 = 111.875

Yew Longbow: ( ( 2.5 * (16 + 30) ) + 10 ) * 1.05 = 131.25

Heartstriker ( ( 2.0 * (8 + 30) ) + 0 ) * 1.5 = 114

 

I don't think there are enough Steel Javelins to have them equipped in every tough fight. Iron, maybe. But here they are:

 

Iron Javelin: ( ( 2.5 * (9 + 30) ) + 2 ) * 1.25 = 124.375

Steel Javelin ( ( 2.5 * (14 + 30) ) + 2 ) * 1.25 = 140

 

In this scenario, the bow does more damage except when using the top of the line thrown weapons, which are in at least somewhat limited supply. What about at higher skill, though; it's plausible for ranged attackers to put just about everything in Dex, so 40 will come about with plenty of play hours left. Also, the damage formula also adds levels of damage equal to half your level plus 1. So let's try this:

 

Yew Longbow: ( ( 2.5 * (16 + 40 + 11) ) + 10 ) * 1.05 = 186.375

Iron Javelin: ( ( 2.5 * (9 + 40 + 11) ) + 2 ) * 1.25 = 190

 

(Heartstriker: ( ( 2.0 * (8 + 40 + 11) ) + 0 ) * 1.5 = 177)

 

So non-crude javelins will eventually come out ahead, but it will take till mid-game; and crude javelins are going to remain worse than good longbows probably for most or all of the game. Also the Heartstriker now sucks -- oops?

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Well, that was an embarassing omission of longbows, thanks for correcting that, and for the more and accurate analysis.

 

My general conclusion still stands: thrown weapons offer better damage potential than bows (especially the rather under-powered heartstriker, ugh!), but you need to save the better ones for the difficult battles. Steel javelins will do still more damage than iron (205.625 vs 190 in your example), as will razordisks if the enemies are positioned right for cleaving. As long as you pay attention to which weapon you use in which fight, I don't think supply management will be too difficult, but I will update this if I discover differently as I work my way through the game.

 

Depending on your stats, though, it may in some cases make more sense to use a longbow rather than crude javelins as backup for the less difficult fights - particularly in the early game when you only have a few points in thrown weapons, and your other stats aren't high enough for the higher javelin damage multiplier to make as much of a difference. The only available long bows in the first two chapters appear to be crude longbows, though ...

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To confirm: if I have a longbow (+10% crit chance) equipped, but then attack with a sword/polearm/spell(?), is my sword/polearm/spell attack boosted by the longbow's +10% crit? If so, sounds like a bug (but probably a useful bug for those annoying late-game 90% armor enemies).

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I don't see the point in an Archer. It's a ranged damage dealer. Ok. A Wizard can do that as well but so much better; on top of everything else that they can do. Rather take that extra Mage instead. I never found mana to be an issue either so that's not an excuse either, really.

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Slarty - woah, I forgot that's how that works... again, I'll take that as a bug that I'll be happy to take advantage of. As for whether crits actually pierce armor/resists or simply add flat damage, it seems to be the latter, but I'm not sure.

 

Hobo Elf - magic being vastly overpowered (and not too difficult to manage SP-wise, especially with a few points of First Aid thrown in) in A2:CS and in the Avernums in general compared to melee/pole/ranged is definitely the consensus. I'm running one DW tank, one priest, and two mage-priests, and finding the mages dominate in terms of damage. Torment players have even reported a 2-priest/2-mage (i.e. no dedicated melee/ranged character) party being perhaps "optimal," and I'm not surprised.

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Crits do 150% of normal damage, applied separately from other damage boosts. This is stated in the docs and game behavior conforms to it. No piercing.

 

The "overpowered magic" thing is significantly worse this time around because Jeff decided to fix the "dual-wielding is too strong" problem by nerfing dual-wielding (which was the about right strength to compete with magic, IMO) instead of improving the other weapon styles. It's not awful, the game is still great, and I wouldn't even call it the game's biggest flaw. But it definitely takes away from replayability.

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About bows - I noticed a yew bow is much more valuable (something like 500-700 coins) than a cavewood longbow (130 coins), even though the cavewood longbow does vastly more damage and also has the +10% crit compared to the yew bow. Is this an oversight on Jeff's part, or does the yew bow have some practical advantage over the cavewood longbow (or "standard" bows vs. longbows in general) that I'm not considering?

 

And on the crit rate - I forget whether the +10% crit chance is additive or multiplicative with other bonuses; which is it? (I.e. does an existing crit rate of 10% with a longbow added give a total crit rate of 20%? Or does it become only a total crit rate of 10% + .1(10%) = 11%?) Thanks!

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And on the crit rate - I forget whether the +10% crit chance is additive or multiplicative with other bonuses; which is it? (I.e. does an existing crit rate of 10% with a longbow added give a total crit rate of 20%? Or does it become only a total crit rate of 10% + .1(10%) = 11%?) Thanks!

 

It's additive. The only multiplicative bonuses in the game are armour/resistances.

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That's what I thought, but thanks for the confirmation, Lilith. Any idea about the cost difference between the yew bow and cavewood longbow? My only guess is the costs are simply skewed due to the difference in materials, but the cavewood longbow is nevertheless better/stronger than the yew bow in combat as indicated in the tooltips.

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About bows - I noticed a yew bow is much more valuable (something like 500-700 coins) than a cavewood longbow (130 coins), even though the cavewood longbow does vastly more damage and also has the +10% crit compared to the yew bow. Is this an oversight on Jeff's part, or does the yew bow have some practical advantage over the cavewood longbow (or "standard" bows vs. longbows in general) that I'm not considering?

 

And on the crit rate - I forget whether the +10% crit chance is additive or multiplicative with other bonuses; which is it? (I.e. does an existing crit rate of 10% with a longbow added give a total crit rate of 20%? Or does it become only a total crit rate of 10% + .1(10%) = 11%?) Thanks!

 

Perhaps the price is tied to the wood and not the strength of the bow? Yew being a lot rarer than cavewood in Avernum. It'd be a nice touch if that was the case.

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That's what I thought, but thanks for the confirmation, Lilith. Any idea about the cost difference between the yew bow and cavewood longbow? My only guess is the costs are simply skewed due to the difference in materials, but the cavewood longbow is nevertheless better/stronger than the yew bow in combat as indicated in the tooltips.

 

You're almost certainly correct. Pricing has always been kind of an unreliable indicator of item quality in Spiderweb games.

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OK, that's what I thought - thanks again, folks.

 

And last question (really) on the +10% crit chance from equipped longbows - does equipping a longbow also increase your magic spell critical rate by 10% (apparently it does so for melee/pole attacks)? It seems like it does, which again would seem to be a very useful "bug."

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