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30,000, Triumph.

 

Mikus, you're putting 2 points of trait-based Endurance ahead of an extra level, that gets you 1 stat point plus 5 HP (the equivalent of a point of Endurance, mostly) -- at that point they break even, and that's before even looking at the extra damage die that level might get you, or the 5 SP, or possibly the better effect of Lethal Blow if that's level-based, or the fact that you'll be getting other level ups and therefore skill points slightly earlier throughout the game...

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Hmm, good points, but it does seem to be kind of a close call/subjective (2 extra points of Endurance - which gets you the real stat bonuses beyond just the level-up 5HP - ain't that bad).

 

But I did want to ask why you were so down on Healing Focus, and so up on Blessing Focus earlier. Even with BFx5, your blessing spells would only be 5x5% = 25% more effective, so with Haste (the example you used earlier), even at spell level 3, the 3-turn duration would maybe become 4 turns, and you'd possibly get a chance of Battle Frenzy closer to 40% compared to the original 30%. Of course, that's just one spell example, but investing 5 whole traits just for that kind of return seems incredibly bad. I'm sure I'm missing something here.

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The "real stat bonuses" of Endurance are not tremendously meaningful. 5 HP is the real bonus. That's sort of like a few extra percentage points of take-any-damage-type-once-each-battle which is pretty good.

 

But that's not how blessing bonuses work. They don't affect probabilities; they DO affect duration, but they affect the AVERAGE duration at that percent -- the maximum duration goes up significantly more.

 

25% on 3 turn BF means it will on average, last close to a turn longer. 3 turns isn't long, especially since it's likely to be cast by someone acting late in the turn order, and therefore the first turn is going to get wasted. (Avadon seems to do that differently, btw, for whatever reason -- in Avadon statuses decrement on a character's turn, here they seem to decrement with each new round.)

 

A turn of BF status for the party is a fairly big impact, whereas everything else we're talking about, with these dreg-traits, is a small difference. *shrug*

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So as long as you use Haste a lot (and most players probably do), you're saying the benefits from the 5 Blessing Focus traits would outweigh the benefits from most any 5 other traits? Or are you not taking all 5 Blessing Focus traits? I guess I don't see investing 5 traits to get 1 more turn of Haste being too overwhelming (though I admit it's not too shabby, either).

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No, I'm saying that the benefits from the 5 Blessing Focus traits could well outweigh the benefits from most other bottom-of-the-barrel traits, and I include Improved Endurance in that category.

 

It's not 1 more turn of Haste, it's 1 more turn of BF. This is a particularly important distinction because, unlike Haste and War Blessing and Protection, there is no way* to call up BF on command in the middle of a battle. Whereas you can cast it consistently just before a battle, because you can keep recasting (or, yes, reloading).

 

*Consumables can go quaff themselves :p

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Are you talking about "BF" as in the Battle Frenzy discipline? You saying that's also enhanced by Blessing Focus (which is what I had meant when I said "BF" above - I changed it to be clear)? If so, that'd be pretty slick, but a bit strange, as the Blessing Focus trait requires Mage/Priest skill points, and its description refers only to enhancing "blessing spells"; if it really also enhances battle disciplines, you'd think Jeff would make it easier to stick it on a non-magic fighter. Besides, I'm only currently planning to take those 5 Endurance traits on my magicless fighter, who won't have access to Blessing Focus anyway.

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Nalyd - thanks, I didn't notice that. I'm just trying to see which traits I'd want to replace with Blessing Focus for my two mages so they can get use out of it with Haste. I'd like to try out Summoning Focus, and the Intelligence/Extra Health/Elemental Focus traits seem pretty powerful too, so I'm not sure.

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Dikiyoba   
25% on 3 turn BF means it will on average, last close to a turn longer. 3 turns isn't long, especially since it's likely to be cast by someone acting late in the turn order, and therefore the first turn is going to get wasted. (Avadon seems to do that differently, btw, for whatever reason -- in Avadon statuses decrement on a character's turn, here they seem to decrement with each new round.)

Status effects in Crystal Souls happen/decrement on a character's turn, the same as in Avadon.

 

Dikiyoba.

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I think I've found a good compromise: for my priest, I'll replace Healing Focus x5 (I agree the 3% healing boost per trait is weak) with Blessing Focus x5, and for my two mages, I'll replace Summoning Focus x3/Swordmage x1/Recovery with Blessing Focus x5. 6 extra levels per summon would've been cool, but it seems like blessings are probably more universally useful than I thought originally. Edited my prior party build post.

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Whoops. Diki is right. I'm confused. I blame... lack of sleep due to too much playing of this game! :D

 

The Battle Frenzy discipline remains unplayably bad, unfortunately.

 

LM: It works for all magic damage.

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By the way Slartibus, what would be most optimal party?

Like priest-tank and then 3 offensive mages? Right now I have warrior-mainly tank, 2 mages for dmg and 100% priest, but it's early in-game so i can still use cheat to change everything.

(I already went full reset from my hard walkthrough, so I dont want want to repeat everything third time, but EQ is still kinda bad and same for everyone so i can swap everything.)

Considering your post, best offensive party for torment would be priest in first line and 3 mages?

 

Edit:

I'm slowly starting to love this in my mind. Tank-warrior is still useless against most bosses with low hit rate, and often 100% priest is just wasting his turn on healing tank, so i got instead of 2 AoE per turn, 3! Damn. But i need confirmation from some best man here.

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I'm also considering ditching the 3 "extra health" traits on each character in favor of something else (I'm thinking Fast Recovery and Luck). Is the 12% HP boost at endgame really worth those 3 trait picks? Probably not.

 

And yeah, I'm addicted (in case you couldn't tell). Shudder to think what's going to happen when my favorite Spiderweb game of all timez (Exile/Avernum 3) is re-re-made in a couple years...

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I'm also considering ditching the 3 "extra health" traits in favor of something else. Is the 12% HP boost at endgame really worth those 3 trait picks?

From my exprience, it is worth because you need pick extra health or extra endurance and first one wins. In late game when you party can clear everything it doesnt matter that much, but in mid-game it can really help.

 

My tank from A:eftp looked like this and I dont know what I could pick instead of extra health.

 

wxn3xv.jpg

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At least the first 1-2 health traits are good. The third one is +3/109 of your health which is still decent though.

 

LM: My vote is that 4 magic-users is optimal. I'm starting 2 priests and 2 mages on Torment now. I think you could do okay with 1 weapon user and 3 magic-users, though. And Lilith is running 2 fighters, a priest and a mage now without any real problems. There is room for different builds at least to that minimal degree.

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Thanks LM/Slarty - and that screen's almost identical to my own fighter build in A:EFTP. I'm still tinkering around with the traits, but I might throw in at least the first health trait level.

 

As for Torment, it sounds like you could get by fine with a party build similar to mine, but it seems the "real" optimal power party is pure magic (no melee tank), as Slarty suggested. I just need to have at least one melee character in my group to get proper use out of the awesome mid/late-game swords, and I find an all-magic party pretty bland roleyplay-wise. Then again, I'm one of those wimps playing on Normal. :)

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Jukai   

First Avernum game where I have to redo my party. I can probably power my way through, but it just won't be fun.

 

My Slith tank actually is fine (If things get too tough, he throws on his shield) but everyone else is just f'd.

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Unawares   

It's not 1 more turn of Haste, it's 1 more turn of BF. This is a particularly important distinction because, unlike Haste and War Blessing and Protection, there is no way* to call up BF on command in the middle of a battle. Whereas you can cast it consistently just before a battle, because you can keep recasting (or, yes, reloading).

 

*Consumables can go quaff themselves :p

The Battle Frenzy discipline remains unplayably bad, unfortunately.

 

I have an idea for Battle Frenzy, testing it in my current playthrough. My Berserker Mage will have something like 8 melee, 4 bow, 6 gym plus trainings and will wear Mercuric for torso armor.

 

If I can't set up BF with haste, a manual trigger is a nice option to have. And in a long fight starting with BF I might choose to wait for BF to expire and then manually renew it, as opposed to leading with an Adreneline Rush.

 

That's the theory. We'll see if I actually like it in practice...

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I wasn't thinking of the Battle Frenzy discipline, because it is indeed unplayably bad. But it doesn't really call up BF in the same way, either -- it uses an action, so it takes a full 2 rounds before you actually get more actions than you'd have had without using it -- and FOUR rounds before it beats Adrenaline Rush on total number of actions. Technically that might be BF, but...

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Nobear   

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

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

 

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

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Unawares   

I wasn't thinking of the Battle Frenzy discipline, because it is indeed unplayably bad. But it doesn't really call up BF in the same way, either -- it uses an action, so it takes a full 2 rounds before you actually get more actions than you'd have had without using it -- and FOUR rounds before it beats Adrenaline Rush on total number of actions. Technically that might be BF, but...

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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Nobear   

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

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

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Lilith   

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

8+2 Melee

+1 Poles

+2 Bows

+2 Thrown

10+2 Hardiness

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Lilith   

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

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

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

 

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

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

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Jerakeen   

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

 

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

 

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

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

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Jerakeen   

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

 

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

Edited by Jerakeen
Just realized how unclear that was.

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

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

 

If you farm to whatever the actual max is (61?), different story. But it doesn't even sound like Randomizer has done that, and he's the king of the crystal-grinders.

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

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

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Jerakeen   

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

 

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

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Nobear   

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

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Lilith   

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

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

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Unawares   

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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