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Clintone

Anyone else think melee and pole weapons are underpowered? (one slight spoiler)

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Posted (edited)

I think Avernum: Ruined World is a very good game. Magic doing damage to one's own team on hard and torment helps keep it from being quite as overpowered as it was in past games. Thrown weapons are better too. They used to be not very useful at all in prior games. Until this game, I hadn't seen any value to thrown weapons after the old, retro Avernum games. They're much more useful now, thanks to that chance to get extra damage and immobilize enemies. . 

 

The one negative issue that I see as remaining though, is that melee and pole weapons-using characters don't seem  as useful as either archers or magic users. This is a big change from earlier Avernum series'. I remember this being the case in Escape from the pit too...how melee and pole weapons don't seem particularly useful compared to bows and magic.

 

*If I put all my points into dexterity, including traits, on torment, so long as I get gymnastics skill and wear armor that helps evasion enough, by level 30 I can have tank archers, with maximum hardiness and resistance, and alien beasts will have a 5% to hit chance when trying to hit these tank archers, on torment difficulty. I tested this. All that dexterity will also, of course, help their damage a lot too. I can can give it challenger and send it into a pile of physical attack-using enemies, and so long as it has the 3 health % increasing traits, and maybe a couple points of endurance from traits and the best armor, all the enemies on screen that hit with weapons suddenly cease being a problem. It won't be able to evade cold or certain other attacks that don't depend on hitting someone with an object, but it'll still have an impressive amount of cold and elemental resistance due to max hardiness and resistance. If I really want to make enemies' physical attacks completely useless, I can replace half my resistance and spellcraft skill with parry, (I'd have enough points to do that by level 30, if I only focus on increasing the defensive skills of gymnastics, hardiness, and resistance) turning that 5% to hit chance into about 2-3% to hit chance, because even if the archer's evasion fails, there'll still be about a 50% chance for parry to  work.

 

*If I put all my points into dexterity and get all the damage-increasing, and action point-increasing skills possible, and maybe have the character be a nephilim, I can have a glass cannon archer that hits like a truck. Combined with adrenaline rush and that above tank archer for back-up damage, this character can be really, really good at sniping mages and summoners hiding behind their crowds of minions. Most physical enemies will miss it 95% of the time. When something does hit it, it'll take a lot of damage, but I can put it behind tanks with the challenger trait so that hardly anything ever wants to hit it.

 

*If I put a third of my points into endurance and a 2/3 into intelligence, I can have a fairly bulky tank mage,priest, or tank mage. By level 30 I can give it max hardiness, max resistance, and max parry and still have 17 more points to spend on mage spells, priest spells, magical efficiency and arcane lore, luck, or maybe riposte. I can have it dive into a pile of enemies and slow them all and use terror to send them scattering, and if one of them isn't terrified, it'll be bulky enough to shrug off most attacks. If I put all or the vast majority of my points into intelligence, I can have a glass-cannon priest, mage, or hybrid that dazes fairly high level enemies and does all sorts of neat stuff, and both these characters will have 90% mental resistance pretty soon into the game, which would be particularly useful for the tank mage/priest, if it's a leading character. 

 

*If I put all my points into strength, I have a slightly-tougher-than-glass-cannon melee or pole-weapon user, because it'll probably have hardiness too. If it gets mind-controlled, the first thing it'll do is turn around and lay waste to the rest of my team. If battle frenzy is going on, which there'll be a good chance it is, the rest of my team will be more or less screwed. When this slightly-tougher-than- glass-cannon melee character comes to its senses, battle frenzy will probably be gone, along with the rest of my team, and it'll pretty  quickly die too, because it doesn't have much in the way of defenses, and it's not close enough to an enemy to get an attack off, because it's been focusing on hunting down the rest of my team. Also, this character will probably be in front, so it'll probably be the first one brain-washers try to brainwash, and unless I have an archer quick action will probably make it so that it'll be able to chop down at least one other member of my team before anyone has a chance to do anything about it. It will, on the bright side, do a great deal of damage against enemies. However, enemies will also do a great deal of damage against it due to sacrificing health for strength, and maybe sacrificing a shield for the greater attack power of duel-wielding or pole weapons, which in my mind kind of defeats the purpose of having it be a leading character. If I have a tank archer, and have the button turned on that makes your characters take their turns in the order they're placed in, then I could have the not-quite glass cannon melee character attack, and then have the tank archer go next. I could have the tank archer replace him and take damage from enemies instead. That might work well,  but still, I don't usually see attacking the enemies closest to my characters as being nearly as useful as attacking the summoners hiding behind them. 

 

*If I put half my points into strength, and the other half into endurance, or intelligence, I have a character who can either be bulky, or strongly resistant towards mental attacks, but not both. The spells of a weapon-wielder mage will be less useful than a pure mage, and its attacks less strong than a pure melee/pole user, and its weapon will still only be able to hit things in front of it. Rather than this character, a tank mage without any strength could still hit things in front of it with smite, maybe for less damage, or maybe not, but with better accuracy for much of the game, and it could hit far away things too. If I put half my points into endurance and have a shield, then the character is bulky enough to survive things, and when it gets brainwashed my team will be much more likely to survive it...though he'll get mind-controlled frequently.  However, I could have a tank mage that almost never gets mind-controlled, who can also run into a mob and cast terror. 

 

So, that's why I don't like melee and pole-weapon using characters, and this annoys me, because the game is filled with really tempting-looking melee weapons, and my players are just selling them all. I feel almost like Jeff just put them all in there...Smite the legendary halberd/fine slith spears/all that neat-sounding stuff, mostly just to tempt people into making their game harder than it needs to be.:)

 

What are other people's thoughts? 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Clintone

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Posted (edited)

I ran an all-human party of one swordsman, one polearm-wielder, one cleric and one wizard. For my two fighters, up until level 30 I put one point in Strength every even level, and one point in Dexterity, Intelligence and Endurance every odd level for five. I prioritized Dexterity and Endurance and only started putting points in Intelligence around level 20, which worked out fine since mental effects like Charm were quite rare until then, and the extra Dexterity allowed them to use Javelins quite effectively during the early part of the game. As for my cleric and wizard, I put one point in Intelligence every even level and one point in Endurance and Strength or Dexterity respectively every odd level up until about level 20, whereafter I focused on Intelligence (which gave about 6 extra points of Endurance and five extra points in the other stat). This kept my cleric an effective close-combat fighter until the mid-part of the game and my wizard kept using his bow over single-target spells until the very end (the damage was about equal, and he didn't even use Bow of Fury). Additionally, I made sure everyone took all five of every stat-increasing trait.

 

While my cleric and wizard were quite capable of causing large amounts of damage to multiple enemies, especially my wizard since his high Initiative allowed him to hit the enemy while they were still clumped together at the start of the fight, my two fighters were still my main damage dealers. The swordsman in particular was able to cause hundreds of point of damage with every attack once he moved on from sword & shield to dual-wielding the Radiant Soulblade and the Icy/Flaming Longsword. The spearman (later halberdier) outclassed the more defensive swordsman early on, but fell behind once the latter switched to two weapons, though he remained a solid damage dealer for the entire game (particularly since the Black Halberd and Quicksilver Plate go well together). Aside from the normal challenges at the start of the game (like being taken down by a single blow from a goblin or rat), despite starting out on Hard, once things got moving I had no difficulty at all finishing the game and doing pretty much everything (except fight the dragons, which I didn't really feel like). Additionally, aside from healing potions and elixirs, I only used about a dozen energy potions and a handful of energy elixirs over the course of the entire game (mostly ones I found lying around, hardly had a single potion made), barely used any speed or armour potions/scrolls until the very end (so they wouldn't all go to waste), and didn't use a single invulnerability potion or elixir.

 

PS: My fighters did get hit a lot less and were only rarely charmed or dazed, so those extra points in Dexterity and Intelligence appear to have paid off. Also, having your wizard always go first unless the enemy is a far higher level than you was a real help since it allowed him to take control of the battlefield field with Daze or soften up/take out large clumps of enemies with area damage spells (or both).

Edited by Minion

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Electrons are Eigenmetric Solitons said:

You were able to wield radiant soulblade & one of the elemental swords?  Did Jeff remove the broadsword classification for the elemental swords at some point (v1.01?) then?  Even recently I was unable to equip both.

 

Radiant Soulblade has Basic Attack: Sword and can be wielded in your off-hand, which my swordsman has been doing since before the patch was released.

Edited by Minion

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Minion said:

I ran an all-human party of one swordsman, one polearm-wielder, one cleric and one wizard. For my two fighters, up until level 30 I put one point in Strength every even level, and one point in Dexterity, Intelligence and Endurance every odd level for five. I prioritized Dexterity and Endurance and only started putting points in Intelligence around level 20, which worked out fine since mental effects like Charm were quite rare until then, and the extra Dexterity allowed them to use Javelins quite effectively during the early part of the game. As for my cleric and wizard, I put one point in Intelligence every even level and one point in Endurance and Strength or Dexterity respectively every odd level up until about level 20, whereafter I focused on Intelligence (which gave about 6 extra points of Endurance and five extra points in the other stat). This kept my cleric an effective close-combat fighter until the mid-part of the game and my wizard kept using his bow over single-target spells until the very end (the damage was about equal, and he didn't even use Bow of Fury). Additionally, I made sure everyone took all five of every stat-increasing trait.

 

While my cleric and wizard were quite capable of causing large amounts of damage to multiple enemies, especially my wizard since his high Initiative allowed him to hit the enemy while they were still clumped together at the start of the fight, my two fighters were still my main damage dealers. The swordsman in particular was able to cause hundreds of point of damage with every attack once he moved on from sword & shield to dual-wielding the Radiant Soulblade and the Icy/Flaming Longsword. The spearman (later halberdier) outclassed the more defensive swordsman early on, but fell behind once the latter switched to two weapons, though he remained a solid damage dealer for the entire game (particularly since the Black Halberd and Quicksilver Plate go well together). Aside from the normal challenges at the start of the game (like being taken down by a single blow from a goblin or rat), despite starting out on Hard, once things got moving I had no difficulty at all finishing the game and doing pretty much everything (except fight the dragons, which I didn't really feel like). Additionally, aside from healing potions and elixirs, I only used about a dozen energy potions and a handful of energy elixirs over the course of the entire game (mostly ones I found lying around, hardly had a single potion made), barely used any speed or armour potions/scrolls until the very end (so they wouldn't all go to waste), and didn't use a single invulnerability potion or elixir.

 

PS: My fighters did get hit a lot less and were only rarely charmed or dazed, so those extra points in Dexterity and Intelligence appear to have paid off. Also, having your wizard always go first unless the enemy is a far higher level than you was a real help since it allowed him to take control of the battlefield field with Daze or soften up/take out large clumps of enemies with area damage spells (or both).


 

I have a saved game at level 20 in the troglodyte temple. The game is at hard right now. There's a cave demon. My glass cannon nephilim archer with maximum sharpshooter just hit the cave demon with three arrow shots. The highest damage was 135 points of physical damage, with 489 damage blocked, without getting a critical hit, with the lemonwood longbow. 

 

On second thought, I could see melee/pole using characters being valuable compared to other character types. My group tended to do really well in just about every situation except ambushes that end up with my characters being surrounded by magic users and summoners who aren't grouped closely enough together that I can daze them. That's when their magic users kill off my archers and their physical attackers move in to take out my magic-users. Mostly that's because I don't have enough resistance skill built up yet, but for now that's a problem. When you're surrounded like that, I could see melee characters being quite useful because of how much more damage I know they are capable of dealing.  

 

 I still wish there was more of a defensive advantage to strength though. I'm trying to get through a game on torment without losing a party. I'll reload if I need to, but I'm trying to plan ahead enough that I don't need to do that. I'm going to have one duel-wielder, for those ambush-type of situations. I'm just not convinced it will be worth it, because of how archers are pretty much valuable all the time, and my melee character will have to just sit in the background sometimes so as to avoid dying, but we'll see. My last party died due to careless lack of preparation in the zombie/spawner ambush part of the slime caves near the beginning of the game. That was irritating, given how relatively non-difficult that part was in my original game...but the reason why my party died was because them being all archers and mage priests meant they couldn't destroy all the summoners fast enough, so I got overwhelmed. That could have easily been solved by better preparation, but it might be nice to have a back up plan of a powerful duel-wielder who can just stab everything to death quickly.  

Edited by Clintone

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13 hours ago, Clintone said:


 

I have a saved game at level 20 in the troglodyte temple. The game is at hard right now. There's a cave demon. My glass cannon nephilim archer with maximum sharpshooter just hit the cave demon with three arrow shots. The highest damage was 135 points of physical damage, with 489 damage blocked, without getting a critical hit, with the lemonwood longbow. 

 

 

At level 20, my well-rounded dual-wielder with the icy or flaming longsword and Radiant Soulblade (both easily obtainable at that point) for about 75-100 with both swords and does an additional ~50-75 in elemental damage (or something, it was probably a bit more than that) with one hit, meaning that with Adrenaline Rush or Battle Frenzy, he will be dealing two or three times as much damage per round as said archer. He also has plenty of HP, great initiative and decent mental resistance, and Parry and Hardiness.

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On 3/2/2018 at 12:39 PM, Bounde Uppe the Mystic Estate said:

I thought you were playing on Torment for that glass cannon archer?

I was playing on torment that game. I just re-loaded it and temporarily switched to hard. 

 

I'm leaving that game behind now, because I want to try to get through a game without losing a party. I still have most of the world to explore. I've only beaten the cockroach plague and the slime plague and started into the troglodyte quests, so there's still plenty to explore. 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/2/2018 at 6:12 PM, Minion said:

 

At level 20, my well-rounded dual-wielder with the icy or flaming longsword and Radiant Soulblade (both easily obtainable at that point) for about 75-100 with both swords and does an additional ~50-75 in elemental damage (or something, it was probably a bit more than that) with one hit, meaning that with Adrenaline Rush or Battle Frenzy, he will be dealing two or three times as much damage per round as said archer. He also has plenty of HP, great initiative and decent mental resistance, and Parry and Hardiness.

So, what it sounds like is:

 

Option A: a character who hits like a wrecking ball smashing into an origami crane, but can only hit what's in front of it. 

 

Option B: Something that hits about half to a third to half as hard, but can hit whatever you want, that is more or less immune to most physical attacks

 

It sounds like they both have their advantages.

 

 

Edited by Clintone

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I played my 1st game w/ a sword/shield fighter; a Nephil archer; a priest; and a mage. Normal difficulty. Good balanced game, and so I didn't pay attn to the effectiveness overall of melee dmg.

 

In my 2nd game, on Hard, I have an all-human party: sword/shield guy who became a dual-wielder; pole weapon user; archer; priest/mage. I was worried that having only 1 offensive spell caster would gimp me, especially on a more difficult setting. Not so much! Having the 2 front-liners (w/ Backstab of course) side by side, or coming to the rescue if something's threatening the spell caster (good luck hitting my high Dex archer!)...this game has been an absolute blast w/ this set up.

 

So, no, theory-crafting aside, I do not find that physical dmg is underpowered in the slightest. Keep in mind that w/ 1.0.1 Jeff lowered the resistances of enemies to physical dmg, too.

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2 hours ago, BenS said:

I played my 1st game w/ a sword/shield fighter; a Nephil archer; a priest; and a mage. Normal difficulty. Good balanced game, and so I didn't pay attn to the effectiveness overall of melee dmg.

 

In my 2nd game, on Hard, I have an all-human party: sword/shield guy who became a dual-wielder; pole weapon user; archer; priest/mage. I was worried that having only 1 offensive spell caster would gimp me, especially on a more difficult setting. Not so much! Having the 2 front-liners (w/ Backstab of course) side by side, or coming to the rescue if something's threatening the spell caster (good luck hitting my high Dex archer!)...this game has been an absolute blast w/ this set up.

 

So, no, theory-crafting aside, I do not find that physical dmg is underpowered in the slightest. Keep in mind that w/ 1.0.1 Jeff lowered the resistances of enemies to physical dmg, too.

That is the only real way to "beat" the game: enjoying it.

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30 minutes ago, Clintone said:

I wonder if the best strategy is, if you only have one weapon-fighter, making a melee/pole user of some kind would make the most sense. If you have two weapon users, archers might be better because you could snipe off summoners and the remaining minions won't usually be much of a problem anyway.  

 

In my case, archery worked out fine as a side skill for my mage, particularly since the extra points in Dexterity helped him act first in combat (with the help of a bit of Quick Action, including from items), but I don't think I would ever have benefited particularly from having a full-time archer over any of my other characters. It was a long time since I played Nethergate and the original Avernum trilogy, but I believe archery was a useful complimentary skill for adding a bit of ranged firepower to your fighters, especially since the range was slightly longer than the first-turn movement range of most enemies. I'm thinking that perhaps archery was more useful that way, as an additional skill for non-casters to pick up with it's own tactical advantages, but not necessarily the focus of an entire character build.

 

18 minutes ago, BenS said:

In my 2nd game, on Hard, I have an all-human party: sword/shield guy who became a dual-wielder; pole weapon user; archer; priest/mage. I was worried that having only 1 offensive spell caster would gimp me, especially on a more difficult setting. Not so much! Having the 2 front-liners (w/ Backstab of course) side by side, or coming to the rescue if something's threatening the spell caster (good luck hitting my high Dex archer!)...this game has been an absolute blast w/ this set up.

 

I ran this party setup for the remake of both Avernum 1 and 2, and I found that not having a separate priest and wizard made a lot of tough fights too difficult without the ability to both heal and cast offensive spells, even forcing me to occasionally switch to Normal instead of Hard, and I was never really able to up the difficulty to Torment. Otherwise it's a fun party that allows you to fully utilize all the great equipment you come across.

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4 hours ago, Minion said:

 

In my case, archery worked out fine as a side skill for my mage, particularly since the extra points in Dexterity helped him act first in combat (with the help of a bit of Quick Action, including from items), but I don't think I would ever have benefited particularly from having a full-time archer over any of my other characters. It was a long time since I played Nethergate and the original Avernum trilogy, but I believe archery was a useful complimentary skill for adding a bit of ranged firepower to your fighters, especially since the range was slightly longer than the first-turn movement range of most enemies. I'm thinking that perhaps archery was more useful that way, as an additional skill for non-casters to pick up with it's own tactical advantages, but not necessarily the focus of an entire character build.

 

 

I think it used to be best as a secondary skill. It wasn't powerful enough for much else...unless you wanted to have a very expensive character who constantly used arrows that could otherwise be sold.

 

If you're talking about a archery as a side skill for your mage in this game though, I'm surprised it could hit anything. I had a halberd-wielding mage with almost half its points into strength and the other half into intelligence and I remember it getting really bad accuracy against about everything except the smaller, easier enemies. Against bosses and tougher enemies it'd have under 40% to hit chance. It did get better with time though.  

 

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Archery has been changed in the recent remakes to no longer use arrows, but assume infinite arrows with the bow.

 

Dedicated archers do decent damage and have the advantage of range attacks against single targets for hitting those pesky spell casters and boss monsters. But because it's single target, they will never do as much in a single round versus spell casters using area of effect attacks hitting several targets.

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4 hours ago, Clintone said:

If you're talking about a archery as a side skill for your mage in this game though, I'm surprised it could hit anything. I had a halberd-wielding mage with almost half its points into strength and the other half into intelligence and I remember it getting really bad accuracy against about everything except the smaller, easier enemies. Against bosses and tougher enemies it'd have under 40% to hit chance. It did get better with time though. 

 

The bow remained my wizard's most effective choice of single-target attack for most mid-level enemies, like giants. ursags and cave demons, throughout the game. Against more powerful enemies, the lower hit chance made Acid Spray or Firebolt more reliable for serious fights (otherwise I just had him use his bow because it was faster, and caused a bit more damage when it hit).

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Randomizer said:

Archery has been changed in the recent remakes to no longer use arrows, but assume infinite arrows with the bow.

 

Dedicated archers do decent damage and have the advantage of range attacks against single targets for hitting those pesky spell casters and boss monsters. But because it's single target, they will never do as much in a single round versus spell casters using area of effect attacks hitting several targets.

 

I'm guessing what character types are most useful depends highly on your party build. If you have two or more powerful melee characters, they'll presumably be able to work together quickly enough to stab things before it can do much damage. If you have a pair of archers, you can pick off mages quickly and daze becomes more valuable than if you instead had melee users or sword/pole wielders. If you have a couple powerful magic users, you'd be better at nuking a whole area quickly. I found I seldom needed to nuke whole areas. I played a more Ghengis Khan type of way: sneaky sniping/picking people off on the edges of my view, then watching their buddies run at me, but not quite reach me, so I can launch another volley into their foreheads before they can even touch me. Parties with two archers and two mages are definitely less about doing as much damage as possible as slowly picking things off and keeping them from touching you, and quickly getting rid of only the specific enemies you need to get rid of immediately to make it so, after that, you can just pick them off at your leisure because you'll have prevented them from being able to do much against you anyway.

 

It often works pretty well, too. Particularly because of how strong archers are against physical attacks, you can usually win the fight before you've actually won the fight just by knocking out the right types of enemies. Archers and daze go together like...I don't know, two things that really go together well.

 

That is why I'm still wondering if melee weapons are underpowered. Melee weapons can kill things a lot faster than bows, but bows can probably win the fight faster in many cases through shooting down the only enemies that really matter. Also, dexterity is better than parry in every way. It blocks the same attacks, but ten times as well (literally about ten times as often) without having to sacrifice any attack power like you might have to for parry, so archers are probably  more durable than warriors most of the time too..but I doubt anyone could say either class is definitely, always better though.

 

Also, I'd be very surprised if two magic users would be as skilled at killing single, important enemies as a pair of archers are too.  They could use dominate to mind control it though, which is almost the same thing.

Edited by Clintone

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Just finished my first play on normal.  Built a naive party, and did just fine, aside from a few wipes when, well, you know what happened.  Sword and board, halberd, archer, and mage/priest.  Only invested in primary stats.  The frontliners could both take a pounding, max hardiness and parry, and endurance/health traits.  Sword and board would run up, Andrenaline Rush, hit three times and maybe kill a tough opponent.  Halberd run up to two targets, AR, usually kill both.  Archer takes out 2-3, or softens up 4 (once 5 shots in a turn) for the mage, who wipes out everybody who's been softened up, is usually how it would go, many first turn victories, and most of the rest of the time at most a few opponents left.  Handled waves fine.  Frontliners got some priest spells for buffing or would pop a haste or quaff a battle frenzy often later in the game as I kept to the edge of a large battle area and worked the opponents in waves instead of all at once, letting them come to me.  Well, except when one of the frontliners gets charmed and one-shots my archer and mage... 

 

Recognizing that's there's nothing I can do to prevent this happening on occasion doesn't sit well with me.  There's no way this party could have made it through without a wipe.  So I was thinking about a second party to try on Hard.  Was considering just one frontliner with challenger and no intention of doing much damage (and so no big deal when charmed) so more Dex and End, with some Int as it would still be annoying to have my meat-shield piss his pants and run away every time somebody goes boo...

 

Then I read this!  Great analysis!  I think mage-tank, archer-tank with a side of priest, DPR archer, and mage-priest.

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On ‎3‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 10:37 AM, jeffgoddin said:

Just finished my first play on normal.  Built a naive party, and did just fine, aside from a few wipes when, well, you know what happened.  Sword and board, halberd, archer, and mage/priest.  Only invested in primary stats.  The frontliners could both take a pounding, max hardiness and parry, and endurance/health traits.  Sword and board would run up, Andrenaline Rush, hit three times and maybe kill a tough opponent.  Halberd run up to two targets, AR, usually kill both.  Archer takes out 2-3, or softens up 4 (once 5 shots in a turn) for the mage, who wipes out everybody who's been softened up, is usually how it would go, many first turn victories, and most of the rest of the time at most a few opponents left.  Handled waves fine.  Frontliners got some priest spells for buffing or would pop a haste or quaff a battle frenzy often later in the game as I kept to the edge of a large battle area and worked the opponents in waves instead of all at once, letting them come to me.  Well, except when one of the frontliners gets charmed and one-shots my archer and mage... 

 

Recognizing that's there's nothing I can do to prevent this happening on occasion doesn't sit well with me.  There's no way this party could have made it through without a wipe.  So I was thinking about a second party to try on Hard.  Was considering just one frontliner with challenger and no intention of doing much damage (and so no big deal when charmed) so more Dex and End, with some Int as it would still be annoying to have my meat-shield piss his pants and run away every time somebody goes boo...

 

Then I read this!  Great analysis!  I think mage-tank, archer-tank with a side of priest, DPR archer, and mage-priest.

 

thanks.

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