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All Tomorrow's Slarties

Avadon 3 game balance & other impressions

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1. Classes:

 

Tinkermages are still the strongest class, but for a different reason. Turrets are weaker, but Charge Weapons is one of the strongest abilities in any Spiderweb game ever, considering that it's basically free to use and free to access, and mean that Tinkermages will usually just deal twice as much damage as other classes. They lack area attacks compared to some other classes, but scarabs offer better versions of player AE's anyway. Additionally, Tinkermages continue to have a good passive defense skill, so they are sturdy against most attacks (poison and acid less so).

 

(Update for v1.0.1: Charge Weapons doesn't last as long, so it is less convenient, but it is still incredibly powerful.)

 

Blademasters still have Call of the Frenzy and other good buffs (and Sharpshooter Spray) so they are still great. They remain the most enduring class against ST attacks, but continue to be less well protected against physical/poison/acid area effect attacks, due to their passive defense skill focusing on Parry.

 

Shadowwalkers are still basically Tinkermages without their OP ability. They do continue to have the best passive defense skill, which makes them the most consistent at surviving against all attacks. They do have some alternate ways to rack up damage and manipulate the battlefield, but they don't have turrets, either.

 

Sorcerors remain a niche class, with lots of AE attacks, a reliance on vitality renewal and ability recharges, some inconsistently situational ability to do that on their own, and a weakness to physical attacks. Their bladeshield ability has improved somewhat (it sometimes gives you a free action when you use it) so they may be a bit better than in Av2.

 

Finally, Shamans have been nerfed. This isn't immediately apparent, or expected, or probably intentional -- Shamans have always been an interesting but weak class, due to their variety of abilities (summons, heals, buffs, and personal magic resistance) but their significant weakness to physical damage. In Av3, the shaman gains some more interesting abilities in an MT bless/regen field and the chance to auto-heal, recharge, or sanctify the party each round. Unfortunately, this last ability replaced the shaman's passive defense skill, which gave them extra HP and great defense against all non-physical attacks. Shamans, thus, are now by far the weakest class against all forms of attack. "at least by healing the rest of your party they can make sure they're the first to die" -- Lilith

 

(Update for v1.0.1: Shamans now have their HP bonus back, but at the cost of their bonus to magical damage. They are now less squishy (but still the squishiest); on the other hand, they are now the weakest attackers. They are a bit more usable in a supporting role now, but their lack of resistance to all damage types is still the biggest problem any class faces.)

 

2. Torment is not as painful as it used to be, but it is more interesting. Changing Torment to not just create piles of powerful HP was great.

 

3. Although I'm enjoying the game a lot, the beginning didn't have very much energy, and if I hadn't played the first two games, I don't think there would have been much to draw me in. I know not every opening can be G4's, but, eh.

 

4. Some quite smart use of NPCs from previous Avadon games.

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"Charge Weapons is one of the strongest abilities in any Spiderweb game ever."

 

Apparently I've been overlooking Charge Weapons. Is there value in spending points to raise it, or is it just something to use in battle every chance I get?

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Adding levels only extends the duration and by mid game it lasts through almost any fight.

 

If you are using a tinkermage to fight, then it's great because that double damage extends to scarabs, wands, and scrolls.

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Int increases its duration as well, and it starts out at an OK level, so you don't need to pump it. Looking at the defs, I think it was only intended to last for 1 attack per skill level of Charge Weapons, which would be less ridiculous (though still ultimately overpowered).

 

You can also use it before battle, rather than during battle. This is not always possible with Call of the Frenzy because it has a pretty short duration, but with Charge Weapons, even if a round or two wear off before you're in battle mode, it doesn't matter.

 

If you have a Tinkermage early on, pump Dex and give them the Cone of Fire scarab. Turn 1, Charge Weapons. Let the enemies approach. Turn 2, Cone of Fire. This will end a surprisingly large portion of the fights you encounter in a single attack, even on Torment. Really puts Nathalie to shame.

 

It's a pity Silena is so much less fun to have around than Alcander was.

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Ahh Shamans. Already the least reliable (and for me, least interesting) class. If anyone deserved a buff it was the Shaman class. I can safely say they have gone from "I swear I'll bring a shaman this time. It'll switch things up and make it more interesting" and changed to "Ahh, so we are back to 4 different class choices again".

 

At the very least has Jeff changed what felt like an absurd number of enemies that seemed to resist their standard attack?

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At the very least has Jeff changed what felt like an absurd number of enemies that seemed to resist their standard attack?

 

Seems no but now there are more enemies imune to other kinds of damage.

Sorcerers are still a better option as they have very varied attacks.

Im making a shaman run though. Early level they seem the most reliable.

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I agree with the OP analysis, but don't forget the power of the Shadowwalker's maxed Steel Discipline, which after skill level 7, gives 8%/skill level chance to enter Battle Frenzy when "struck in melee". I've confirmed that the frenzy actually triggers when struck by ranged physical attacks as well, and I'm pretty sure (though I could be wrong on this one point) I've seen it trigger often even from magic/elemental/curse cone/AOE attacks. I've been running a party of me (Shadowwalker), Botan (Shadowwalker), and Nathalie (Sorcerer) with the "Efficiency" skill rows maxed for all three, and have been destroying almost everything on Normal up until the Temple of Velusa so far. Granted, I am playing on Normal, but the OP-ness of the Shadowwalker's access to two attacks/actions per round via Battle Frenzy (which is active practically every round for at least one of my shadowwalkers using my builds) can't be discounted.

 

That said, I haven't used Silena much, but the fact that maxed Charge Weapons skill along with maxed Dexterity makes Tinkermages potentially even more OP seems pretty clear. And yes, Shamans... interesting, but more of a "challenge" class.

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You can get through the game as a shaman on torment difficulty. You won't like all the dying and having to heal, but you can get through. :)

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Confirmed: Botan just got struck by magical damage from a Shock Turret in the northeast area of Beraza Woods, and received the Battle Frenzy status as a result. So it's either a bug, or a typo in the Steel Discipline tooltip, which as of game version 1.0 indicates Battle Frenzy only triggers on "melee" damage. My testing indicates it actually triggers upon receiving any damage. (There are many other issues with incorrect information in the tooltips, as noted in another topic, so I'm thinking it's just a typo - but if it is, maxed Steel Discipline as intended is even more OP than I initially thought.)

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Granted, I am playing on Normal, but the OP-ness of the Shadowwalker's access to two attacks/actions per round via Battle Frenzy (which is active practically every round for at least one of my shadowwalkers using my builds) can't be discounted.

If it weren't for

(1) the Blademaster's ability to make sure every PC has Battle Frenzy as of round one (the most critical round) of every battle; and

(2) the fact that Battle Frenzy matters twice as much on Tinkermages, since they deal essentially twice as much damage as Shadowwalkers;

then I would pay more attention to it.

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True, but my backstabbin' duo has served me just fine without the need for bringing a Blademaster along with her weaker resists - Blademasters never really appealed to me anyway. But to each their own.

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There's certainly no one way to play the game, and any party can be successful -- even (as Randomizer said) with Shamans. However, "what is the balance of class power like?" and "what's stronger?" are very different questions from "what classes are viable if you like them and want to use them?" Let's just be clear for anyone reading that "to each their own" is a good answer to the last question there, but not to the first two.

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Sure, your intent is clear from the OP. I don't think Blademasters are necessarily objectively "stronger" than Shadowwalkers, if that's what you're implying, but as far as the facts in the OP are concerned, I'm on board.

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In the context of Tinkermages with their obscenely OP Charge Weapons ability, the first Blademaster in a party is definitely stronger than the first Shadowwalker, due entirely to Call of the Frenzy and other party buffs. This is pretty hard to argue with.

 

Outside that context, a.k.a., in a vacuum with no other PCs present, that would not be true. Which is why, although the classes were more closely balanced in Av1, Shadowwalkers were generally considered to have a bit of an edge there.

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OK, that makes more sense now. I might have to put Khalida and Silena in the party together again just to see how crazy the damage can get at high levels when Silena's buffed both with frenzy from Khalida and her own charged weapon attack. I imagine it's pretty cheesy.

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I will look at shamans for v1.0.1. Any specific comments about issues with them are welcome. They are intended to be a support class, but I don't want them to be painfully bad.

 

Edit: Is fragility the key issue? Having the basic effect of Nature Mastery be protection from damage might be a worthwhile change. Any particular form of damage worse than others?

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Shamans have always been bad versus physical damage unless you increase strength to give them the best shield and make them wear titan steel chain mail.

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Personally, my problem with Shamans is their fragility - they're the only class that doesn't have a "damage resistance" skill set in their Efficiency tier. By end game, this makes them extremely fragile across the board (including to both physical and magic/elemental attacks) compared to every other class. I think your suggestion to tweak Nature Mastery to include damage protection would be welcome.

 

As far as their weak damage output, I haven't used Shamans much at all (mostly because of the above issue), so maybe others can add to that.

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Fragility is definitely the key issue.

 

Every other class has protection from most (or all) types of damage via their passive defense skill. If they are going to lack protection against any major damage types (especially physical) they would benefit from a different defensive bonus, like the +5% HP bonus they used to have.

 

Another option would be to give them REALLY strong protection against a more limited set of damage types, which would make them situationally powerful.

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I am reverting Nature Mastery base ability back to its role in Avadon 1 & 2, giving shamans more health.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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I am reverting Nature Mastery base ability back to its role in Avadon 1 & 2, giving shamans more health.

 

- Jeff Vogel

 

I appreciate that you are responding to changes and I don't want to be a whiner. However, have you considered something else to make Shamans a little more interesting?

 

Something as simple as a reduced cooldown on their healing abilities so that they can more reliably heal a party - the tradeoff being that they will obviously chew through vitality. Currently the cooldown seems too long so that they tend to lose some of their 'supporty-ness' when I can only heal so rarely.

 

The other issue was what I mentioned earlier in the thread. Enemy immunity to their attack type. I lack the experience with Av3 shamans so take this with a grain of salt, but previous iterations of Avadon (especially the Av1 Redbeard fight) turned me off their damage output. Since their support is also so lacklustre I am left wondering why I wouldn't put a (much) more competent class in one of the very limited party slots instead.

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