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Lord Backael

Lord Backael's Geneforge 3 Guide to Guardian: The Master of Patience

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I've seen a lot of people talking about the different possible Guardian builds for G3, but a lot of them seemed to talk about super lategame aspects and not a lot about what actually makes him work/not work. I wanted to try my hand at a guide because, frankly, I'm quite proud that I made a Torment Guardian work in G3, and wanted to share my experiences. 

 

For reference, this guide assumes playing on Torment difficulty. 

 

Who Is The Guardian?:

If you want to get down to brass tax, Guardian is a tankier Shaper with a different damage profile. While Shapers start and end as a support class with a secondary offensive magic complement, Guardians evolve from a purely supporting class, to an actual physical threat in the lategame, capable of obliterating physical-weak enemies and tanking for allies. They work well with DPS-based creations, usually with magical damage, that help offset Guardian's limited damage spectrum. Late-game Guardians are juggernauts and perfectly suited for front line fighting, using AP boosting items to heal teammates, close distances, and alpha strike threats. 

 

Why Choose Guardian/Is He Viable?:

Is a Torment Guardian viable? Yes, with a smart build. Is he optimal? No. 

 

The days of the old, god-like solo Guardian from G2 are over. An entire re-balance of the damage system (lower physical damage, parry nerfs down to a 20% cap from 50% in G2, and the addition of elemental resistances) means that Guardians take almost 3 whole islands to power up to a point of relevance. On the first two islands, where they have to ramp up their leadership, mech, and intelligence heavily, they'll be doing almost no damage by themselves and have a highly limited access to buffs. It's only halfway through island 3 that they can begin pumping up your melee & health stats, which become deadly somewhere around island 4. In the lategame he feels exactly like he should; a super tank that can output great physical DPS, accompanied by a powerful group of creations. But the first few islands will be super painful for him; every character has to pay the two island tax in terms of mech & leadership, but Guardian suffers the most from not being able to output damage reliably while doing so. 

 

With that said...

 

"Not being optimal" can easily be spun into "a game with more challenge". Guardians require a higher skill cap than Shapers & Agents, because they have no unlimited use "forget this I'm out" panic button in the form of mental magic dazing. Guardian teams are in a constant state of re-positioning, risk-reward calculating, creation-based elemental tanking, and occasional ass hauling if things go badly. The result is a more tactical-based game, where the player has calculate the potential damage from a dozen different enemy types in a single turn, create plans within plans, and occasionally lay bait-and-switch traps to lure priority enemies into more favorable kill zones. 

 

Guardians feel like true generals, tactically commanding forces and having to actually work for their victories. They take the longest to ramp up out of the 3 character classes, but when they finally get there, they're amazing. Compared to Agent and Shaper, they're technically weaker due to the lack of disruptive tools via Mental Magic, and limited damage spectrum in the form of physical damage. But I consider them more skill intensive, and thus more fun to successfully pull off.

 

Brief Creation Guide:

In short, Guardians seem to benefit the most from 1 tank creation (Thahds -> Thahd Shades -> Rotghroths) and multiple DPS-based ranged creations (Fyora/Artila -> Drayk/Searing Artila -> Gazers). 

 

Island 1: Get 1 Thahd; he's durable, but tank with him wisely. 2 Fyora to round out your DPS, possibly an Artila if you want, just don't expect it to be relevant for long. The two island tax will be in full effect, though raising Intelligence once you hit 8 mech & 6 leadership comes around 2/3 the way through the island, from what I remember. 

 

Island 2: A trainer will give you immediate access to all the improved versions of the tier 1 list, though you'll be constantly essence capped from trying to juggle intelligence and mech/leadership increases. Replace either your Thahd with the Thahd Shade, or a Fyora with a Searing Artila, then get the other one later on when you have more essence. Both will last you at least until the beginning of Island 4, where they start falling off in terms of power and accuracy. Replacing your last Fyora is a toss up between a second Searing Artila or a Cryora. The latter is more economical as the Searing Artila's base level is twice that of a Cryora, and what I went with on my run, just be aware that the energy-immune Glaahks and Submission Turrets on Island 3 will be harder to take out. With that said, you still might not have the essence and thus the decision might not matter.

 

Island 3: The two island tax is finally paid, though your Guardian will still take half the island to start finally powering up. A singular Drayk canister can be rushed as soon as you get to Dhonal's Keep, and gives you a good way to deal with the energy-immune enemies listed above. With that said, a much higher essence cost and the need for a full level up commitment to Fire Shaping might make it less appealing. I still recommend it though; I went with a second Searing Artila and had some troubles with energy-immune enemies, and by the time I had the essence for a new Drayk on top of my existing party, he was under-leveled and now irrelevant as I traveled to Island 4. So if you can spare the essence, try to get a Drayk ASAP.

 

Island 4: Searing Artila and Thahd Shades start losing accuracy and relevance here. Luckily this island focuses heavily on Rotghroths via canisters, and trainers if you're a Loyalist. Replace your Thahd Shade with a Rot, and breathe easy; you've just unlocked the lategame tank that'll carry you to the end of the game. Use him to tank Golems & other Rots, and watch out for Gazers, or rarer Drakons. Your Searing Artila will start becoming less reliant here, but you can't really do anything about it until Island 5. Luckily, your Guardian himself will start really becoming a threat now, which will help compensate a bit.

 

Island 5: Gazers are now your endgame. Sacrifice both your Searing Artila to get one as soon as you can. You can get a second one right before you do the Monastery Caves, or the Geneforge finale/Dhonal's Keep assault areas depending on faction.

 

 

As a side note, because I know people are going to ask: why not get Vlish? In truth... I never really tried them out.

 

My logic was that Vlish started at a lower level than Searing Artila, and thus had a shorter relevance lifespan. They also say that the best form of crowd control is death, so the acidic properties of the Searing Artila's attack seemed more meaningful than the slowing properties of Vlish, which took 1 turn to kick in anyway. Searing Artila are also surprisingly durable, and have stupidly high resistances to energy-based attacks & thus make great pocket tanks against mages. Vlish don't have the same durability, and Terror Vlish are just bad, with an even worse essence cost.

 

With that said, maybe there's some secret meta of mass spamming Vlish. To me though, I don't see how they'd stay relevant into Island 4; my super leveled Searing Artila were barely keeping up as is, I can't see how an even lowered leveled Vlish army could do any better.

 

The Artifacts - Team Boosts vs Self Durability:

There are two separate arguments when it comes to the artifacts: Crystalline Shroud vs Creator's Belt, and Essence Aegis vs Infiltrator's Ring.

 

Crystalline Shroud vs Creator's Belt

The Shroud vs Belt argument will be the biggest decision of the game, and whether you value team stats vs self durability. In a vacuum, the Creator's Belt seems like the most sensible choice; you get full stat boosts for your creations, the +20 armour gives you better tankiness, and getting the Emerald Chestguard on Island 4 becomes a natural transition (giving you a very helpful +2AP, but more importantly +50 armour, for +70 total from those two items alone). With that said, let me make a counter-argument for the route I went:

 

Strength is the singular most important creation stat, because it effects hit % as well as damage, and as stated before, Guardian relies heavily on creation support, especially for the first 3 islands. Having +2 for each creation stat from the Creator's Belt might seem nice, but the boosts themselves are rather small; on an old 100% Loyalist Shaper run, my creations lost maybe 7% health from removing the belt (as an example, a 620 health Gazer only went down to 580, and an Eyebeast went from 828 to 784). The other boosts are even more negligible. 

 

Getting the Crystalline Shroud, on top of giving you and immensely useful +2 AP a whole island earlier, also gives you +3 creation strength (roughly 15% higher accuracy and +3 damage dice rolls, IIRC). The +2 creation strength from the Creator's Belt can furthermore be replicated with the Girdle of Strength, also available on Island 3, for a grand total of +5 from those two items alone. This is a huge boost and should not be taken for granted. With that said, this route also means giving up the Emerald Chestguard, and the loss of armour will make you noticeably squishier. 

 

At the end of the day, the argument comes down to this: 

-Creator's Belt gives you better self-tankiness and naturally transitions into the Emerald Chestguard for an even bigger tankiness boost, at the cost of lower creation strength and delaying guaranteed double actions until Island 4

-Crystalline Shroud gives you a much earlier +2AP boost, and a huge +3 creation strength boost. A Girdle of Strength replicates the +2 creation strength boost from the Creator's Belt and thus ends up giving you +5 creation strength overall, which can't be ignored. This build makes your Guardian significantly less tanky, however

 

Essence Aegis vs Infiltrator's Ring

This one's truly a matter of preference, and how much you value going into the Monastery Caves will probably affect your decision. I, personally, am biased towards the Infiltrator's ring, but I'll list the benefits of both.

 

The Essence Aegis gives some critically helpful stats, giving very useful spell-craft and healing perks for significantly better team support, and an always helpful Intelligence boost for more essence. If you have no intention of going to the Monastery Caves, than this one becomes a more appealing option. 

 

With that said, the Infiltrator's Ring is easily the best in-slot ring, and one that can be worn at all times, as the other rings in the game either don't match it's power, or come far too late to be truly useful. The boost to dexterity helps out with combat priority and the occasional gem throw (if you're still using them by the endgame), and the luck boost also provides priority and some nice elemental tanking. With the ring though, you'll never have to worry about mech or leadership for the main part of the game. The biggest consideration, however, is it's usefulness in reaching the 20 mech goal for shutting down the otherwise permanent spawner in the Monastery Caves, something which you really need to neutralize if you want to take out the Alpha Creator. 

 

Further arguments for the ring are that the All-Protector or even Infiltrator's Shield are perfectly usable on their own, with the All-Protector being completely free regardless of what other artifacts you choose. The Infiltrator's Ring also gives you a safe item to put a golden crystal on, something which the shield can't do.

 

At the end of the day, the argument comes down to this: 

-The Essence Aegis gives you some very appealing boosts, and will make you much better at supporting your team. If you don't care for the Monastery Caves, this option becomes a lot more convincing

-The Infiltrator's Ring is the best ring in the game, giving you higher combat priority, decent elemental resistance, and the ability to ignore mech and speech checks for the rest of the main storyline. If you plan on taking down the Alpha Creator, this ring also helps a lot in reaching the 20 mechanics requirement. And finally, choosing the ring gives you a safe item to use a golden crystal on, as well as freeing up space for the perfectly usable All-Protector or Infiltrator's Shield. This one's my personal recommendation of the two

 

Items to Use Golden Crystals On + In-Slot Recommendations:

Armour (Golden Crystal): Crystalline Shroud, Emerald Chestguard

Legs (Golden Crystal): Gazerskin Vambraces, Puresteel Vambraces

Boots (Golden Crystal): Gazer Skin Sandales, Clover Boots

Belt (Golden Crystal): Creator's Belt, Girdle of Strength

Ring (Golden Crystal): Infiltrator's Ring, Avenger's Ring, Forbidden Band, Shaper's Boon

Cape (Golden Crystal): Symbiotic Cloak, Infiltrator's Cloak

Weapon (Reviving Crystal or Ivory Skull): Guardian Claymore, Oozing Blade

Shield (NA): All-Protector, Essence Aegis, Infiltrator's Shield

Gloves: (NA): Ornkskin Gauntlets

Necklace (NA): Talisman of Might

 

Faction/Ending Guide + Canister Usage:

In terms of endings themselves, both are good enough to play through and don't require any special hoops to jump through, though Rebels require a little bit more finesse when it comes to min-maxing. Your decision will likely be based on companions.

 

Loyalists are the easiest to play as, since you can go 100% on Shaper comments from the get-go and never look back. The Loyalist ending is perfectly fine and treats you respectfully, though this ending is technically non-canon as it prevents the events of G4 and G5 from occurring. 

Alwan, however, is a sub-optimal companion for Guardians as he overlaps damage wise, can cause mobility/body-blocking issues, and falls off heavily compared to Greta. Alwan is decent in his own right, and hits his stride on Island 3 when he reaches the critical threshold of strength & health vs an otherwise un-boosted enemy lineup. He begins to fall off on Island 4 though, when Rots start being coming into play and you realize that max stats don't mean squat when you have 0 parry and no resistances (especially to acid). In the end he becomes too squishy for what he's worth, and his usability falls off greatly.

 

Rebels are still fine to play as but require a bit of finesse influence-wise. To get access to the Island 2 trainers you need at least a decent Shaper reputation, thus it becomes worthwhile to choose 2 Shaper-based conversation choices for every 1 Rebel-based on you make. This will be enough to get your upgrades for tier 1 creations, and lets you spend money on training quick action and parry from the combat trainer. On Island 3, still being on the loyalty fence is no longer acceptable for the Loyalist Faction, but by this point you can give Scintle his book on Island 1 and Lankan his uber-canister on Island 2 to give yourself full Rebel influence. By this point you can go full Rebel dialogue options without repercussion. 

Greta perfectly compliments the Guardian build by adding in a magic damage option to the party, and later on an AOE magic ability which the team will otherwise be missing. It's interesting to note that, if you don't/can't get a Drayk on Island 3, it's worthwhile to not immediately upgrade her fire bolt attack to searer via the magic trainer until the end of the island, as her damage profile gets changed to a magic-based one and thus magic-immune Glaahks & Submission Turrets will cause you more headaches.

 

In terms of canisters, how many is too many?

None. Go crazy.

 

G3, while technically having changed dialogue if you use too many canisters, doesn't give you a "bad end" if you're a canister junkie while playing as a Loyalist. As a wise man once said "Is it better to be feared, or respected? I say... is it too much to ask for both?"; the Loyalist ending still gives you full rights and freedoms, with none of the exile/execution garbage from G4. They'll fear, but respect, your heavily modified appearance and abilities in the end. The "backlash" is barely a speeding ticket, so go nuts. 

 

The Build, Island by Island:

So hopefully I don't mess this part up too badly: I didn't write any of this down when I was playing through it, so now my Guardian's standing on the final docks, trying to remember how the hell he got here. If any of my numbers end up being obscenely incorrect, someone please let me know.

 

Island 1: Give yourself at least 4-4 mech & leadership, +1 intelligence, +1 blessing magic, +2 missile weapons, and either +2 luck or another mech level depending on preference. Outside of getting up to 6 missile weapons, you'll be completely forsaking your warrior heritage until Island 3. Channel your inner Shaper here, because you'll be cosplaying as one until halfway through the game. Some things to note: do not touch any other combat skill except for missile weapons, as we'll be trainer boosting them later (even though the 1-point costs are super tempting), don't touch any of the other magic skills (except for the initial +1 blessing magic) for the same reason. On this island, your goal is to get 8 mech and 6 leadership, then get 6 missile weapons and pump Intelligence for the rest of it. Again, ignore the low-cost combat skills, as we'll be training them later. You can do maybe 1 or 2 levels of strength if you need carry weight for armour, just don't try to over pump it for the Essence Vambraces; leave them for later and stick to Leather Pants.

 

Creation wise, get 1 Fyora, 1 Thahd, and another Fyora after that. Just stick with base-level double intelligence for them, no need to get fancy.

 

Influence-wise, follow the previously mentioned points: loyalists just go full Shaper conversations from the get-go and never stop, while Rebels should choose 2 Shaper-based options for every Rebel option they choose, so that they end up with probably 60% or 70% Loyalist approval, enough for the trainer on Island 2, but not enough for Island 3 influence checks, which won't matter anyway. Also, keep the Shaper tome from the Scintle questline for now, as it'll be used later to help win Rebel support.

 

Island 2: Rush straight to town to the south, so purchase all your upgraded Tier 1 creations. As stated before, replace your Thahd with a Thahd Shade, or a Fyora with a Searing Artila, then get the other one later. Raise your shaping skills to the minimum levels when required. From there, you'll be clearing out objectives, gaining experience, and juggling your level ups. 10-10 mech & leadership is my goal, though you could maybe get away with 8 leadership. Money-wise, you should be looting everything of value to get enough for the combat trainer; get 2 parry points, then focus on quick action. I don't remember if there was enough money for both quick action levels, but it won't matter beyond that. Just be sure to keep up with the 2 to 1 Loyalist-Rebel conversation thing to maintain enough goodwill to keep the trainers open. 

 

By this point, your own damage will be so negligible that you'll have almost forgotten you were a Guardian. This is totally fine; your creations will continue to carry you, so continue dedicating yourself to supporting them, keep up with paying that two island tax, and pump Intelligence whenever you can. 

 

Killing the two servant minds lets you leave the island, though be sure to get and keep Lankan's uber-canister, regardless of your loyalty. Don't try to visit him again once you have it, otherwise you'll be forced to either destroy or let him use the canister, neither of which you'll want. Both factions will result in Litalia being displeased with you; Rebels shouldn't worry, as there's plenty of time to win her back.

 

Island 3: The biggest of the 3 islands, and the most important in terms of what path you choose to walk. Here you'll choose between the Creator's Belt and Crystalline Shroud artifact paths, and confirm what faction you're in. Loyalists will have the most acceptance here, while on-the-fence Rebels will have troubles winning over both sides, however the Island 2 loyalty-based trainer no longer matters now, so now that you've gotten all you can from him, turn in your Island 1 tome and Island 2 uber-canister to instantly gain full rebel approval. Loyalists will instead want to turn in both items to the Shaper purifier in Dhonal's Keep for nice rewards. 

 

As soon as you land, you'll want to rush towards Dhonal's Keep to the north. From there, you'll gain a ton of quests, some XP, some money, and gain access to magic & shaping tutors. This is the second stage of the game where money matters, as every gold piece will be going towards buying improvements for your magic skills (after getting all relevant spells, of course). Your goal is first to get the last level for your blessing magic, then spellcraft for better overall spells, and finally mental magic solely for the Unlock spell. That last part isn't 100% required, because there's far more living tool pickups from shops and such that you'll never be running out, but you're really not going to be spending your money on anything else, so you might as well. Anyway, once inside the keep, sneak into Rahul's private shaping area and sleeping quarters, for a create Drayk canister and Guardian Claymore respectively. The Claymore in particular is important, as it becomes your endgame weapon due to the +2 personal strength and +2 creation strength; no other sword in the game can match these stats. The Drayk point has been discussed already; replace the last Fyora with it ASAP, if you can, otherwise get a 2nd Searing Artila and forgo Greta's magic improvement until the end of the island, if you're a Rebel. 

 

Halfway through the island, you'll suddenly stop in your tracks, and remember something... a detail lost to time, something you had at the start of your journey, then lost... and now regained. With renewed strength, you'll cast aside your flimsy baton, raise your sword towards the sky, and let out a warrior's battle cry. Congratulations Guardian, you've survived the early game, and can now start down your journey as a warrior in earnest. Start pumping up your combat skills, and let the enemy taste the fury of your blade. 

 

Island 4: By this point, your team will be slowly becoming less and less reliable, as newly buffed creations start making your creation strength bonuses moot. Your casters will have to suffer though the whole island, however your Thahd Shade can now be upgraded into a Rotghroth, the best endgame melee creation and 100% crucial for tanking enemy Rots and Golems. Rebels will likely want to make one as soon as they get the canister from town, however Loyalists may want to rush through the mech areas towards Khyryk's Tower, as he gives training for them, and the +2 level boost (and thus +2 to all stats upon creation) will make your acid zombie that much more powerful. Both Loyalists and Rebels should mech rush to the tower anyway though, as valuable loot and the Emerald Chestguard's Demon Claw (for those who went the Creator's Belt route) make it a valuable target. The next target should be Khor's Deeps, where the last ingredient for the Infiltrator's Ring lies. If you're under-leveled, you can AP cheese your way past the Shaper there and snatch it without anyone noticing. After that, just do quests, loot everything, and get stronk. Loyalist's storyline is pretty straightforward, while Rebels have more additional side quests, and can optionally go to Maker's End and kill the trapped Shapers there for extra XP (once they've gotten all their training from Khyryk... don't do it before that though, as you'll miss out on Greta's final magic upgrade). 

 

It's interesting to note that you have a decent chance of being able to clear the first Monastery level, albeit with more pronounced damage & accuracy difficulties. Waiting until the beginning of Island 5 before trying it is completely acceptable too. 

 

Island 5: Here, Rebels have their first (slight) advantage in that they can rush toward town and pick up a Create Gazer canister immediately, then get another Gazer level from Orois Blaze's modifications, while Loyalists will have to fight the whole of Icy End to get the canister. Regardless of your path, as soon as you reasonably can, sacrifice both your ranged DPS creations to the alter of science, and create your first Gazer. Congratulations, you now have your second endgame creation. Your next goal will be getting enough essence for a second one, by which point your party will be complete.

 

A couple interesting things here: money becomes valuable again, as two trainers become available who are able to raise your base stats & creation abilities respectively. The biggest sell for Monastery explorers is that both sell Mech level boosts to help reach the 20 cap, though the improved base stats are awesome in their own right.

 

For Loyalists, this is your endgame, as reaching the Geneforge is your final goal. Rebels have a longer & harder journey, as they have to clear the only faction-exclusive area of the game, plus wipe the entirety of Dhonal's Keep on their own (have fun with the patrolling Golems), before they get to retire. Both endings are satisfying on their own, and each warrant a playthrough. Again, canister usage doesn't affect either in any meaningful way, so go nuts. 

 

Monastery Caves: This part gets it's own section, as it requires the most preparation and is easily harder than anything else you'll face in the main storyline. If you made the Infiltrator's Ring on Island 4, than you've got a huge advantage here. Bring enough mech-boosting items to reach 20, then head in. With 20 mech, you can rush the reaper-infested middle area, and disable the otherwise infinitely generating Rotghroth spawner, then clear the rest of the areas at your leisure.. though make sure you leave the NW area for last. 

 

If you didn't get the Infiltrator's Ring, then you've either had to waste levels pumping mech to compensate for the 2 point loss, or you're hoping to rush Ratlord Eye for the last remaining ingredient for it. If you're the latter, than may the lords of war have mercy on your soul, because facing the 5+ prerequisite Gazers with the constant threat of ambush Rots is a punishment in and of itself. I'm sure it's possible, but again, I wouldn't recommend it. 

 

Your final goal is the Alpha Creator in the NW corner, easily the hardest boss you'll fight in the game. Let me be perfectly clear here: if you've not disabled the unlimited spawner, don't even attempt this part. You're not a Shaper, you can't blast this thing down in 2 waves, you're going to be fighting all 3 waves of uber creations and then tanking hits to boot. Having unlimited spawning Rots on top of that will be too much for your party to handle, so don't try it.

 

The fight itself will be the culmination of all your positioning abilities up until this point. I won by having both my Gazers covering the two side corridors, while my Guardian tanked the harder creations to the north, Greta staying behind to blast the Alpha Creator itself, and my Rot right in it's face to prevent it from using it's otherwise obliterating magic barrage. There will be a lot of tanking in this fight, and likely some harrowing moments in terms of healing and positioning. I won after only a single reset (in which the Alpha Creator blasted Greta into oblivion one turn), so it's very possibly, just tricky.

 

 

 

And that's it. If there's any blatant mistakes (or if anyone wants to politely argue how much I'm under-appreciating Vlish), please let me know. Otherwise, thanks for reading. 

Edited by Lilith
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3 hours ago, Lord Backael said:

As a side note, because I know people are going to ask: why not get Vlish? In truth... I never really tried them out.

 

My logic was that Vlish started at a lower level than Searing Artila, and thus had a shorter relevance lifespan. They also say that the best form of crowd control is death, so the acidic properties of the Searing Artila's attack seemed more meaningful than the slowing properties of Vlish, which took 1 turn to kick in anyway. Searing Artila are also surprisingly durable, and have stupidly high resistances to energy-based attacks & thus make great pocket tanks against mages. Vlish don't have the same durability, and Terror Vlish are just bad, with an even worse essence cost.

 

With that said, maybe there's some secret meta of mass spamming Vlish. To me though, I don't see how they'd stay relevant into Island 4; my super leveled Searing Artila were barely keeping up as is, I can't see how an even lowered leveled Vlish army could do any better. 

 

Impressive. However... Vlish can tank. They have their poison stinger too for those death stuff. They are also dead cheap. In the 2nd and 3rd island you have both Greta and Alwan so IMO even a guardian can concentrate on Vlishdom. They will level up and bless helps them hit.

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Do you have a screenshot of your Guardian's final stats? I want to compare them to my own personal Guardian.

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FYI, added a link to this in the G3 strategy central post.

Thanks for all your work on this! I love seeing new fan-made content like this for older games!

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This is a very interesting perspective.  I appreciate that you state at the beginning that Guardians aren't an optimal, powergaming class -- although of course they are very playable -- and I love the "suboptimal really just means a better challenge" perspective.  There are maybe a few exaggerations in describing Guardian capabilities ;) but I suppose they deserve the love!

 

One thing about the "two island tax" is that you don't have to pay it right away -- and if you plan on using creations in any capacity whatsoever, you will permanently cripple yourself by boosting those skills before shaping skills and Intelligence.  I appreciate your honesty about not having tried vlish -- here are the key points of mechanics that you're missing:

 

1) G3 is by far the most generous, of all Geneforge games, in terms of the rewards your creations receive for sticking around with you.  Your creations receive a flat portion of the XP that you do (around 75% with a full party), regardless of what level they're at.  All SW games scale XP down quite sharply as the PC rises in level.  This means that if you make a creation early in the game with a high starting level -- quite easy to do when you pay attention to your shaping stats, which literally just give +1 level at creation for the first 10 points -- that creation can end up progressing in level both further and faster than it would if it were a PC.

 

2) All creations have nearly identical stat progression.  Some of them do have flat additive bonuses to HP, for example, but those are pretty modest compared to the natural increases that come with levelling up.  (The HP formula is something like Level * Endurance -- I forget exactly -- but since creation Endurance also goes up every other level, the growth is essentially exponential.)  Since all core creation stats rise with level, raising their level matters more than anything else -- see point 1 for everything that incentivizes.  Of course, there are meaningful differences between creations in damage dice, in attack elements (as you note), and sometimes in resistances (though less often than one might think, especially in those early games).

 

3) What makes a bigger difference than dice and elements, due to point 1, is how soon creations become available, and how much they cost in Essence.  It's not that Vlish are head and shoulders better than other creations on a 1-to-1 basis (although they are better than many): it's that they are incredibly cheap for how good they are and how early you can make them.  Check out the table here:

 

http://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/5111-broken-vlish-a-too-long-analysis/

 

Anyway, as you can probably guess, I disagree with the bulk of your creation suggestions :)  It sounds like you never pumped your Shaping skills above the bare minimum, which is why you were able to jump around between shaping types so much, but also why you saw much more significant base level differences than are really the case.  Also, since you kept making new ones, they didn't have time to power up.  Creations can be many times stronger than the ones it sounds like you had following you around; and when that happens, Thahds actually aren't more durable than other options, Searing Artilas are not actually more efficient for DPS, etc.

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I would like to say that with my shaper and suboptimally not raising Vlish-making and Shaping fast enough, the Vlish are awesome, head-and-shoulders better than other creations for their cost.

I had raised Fire Creations a bit because I like Drayks. But when in the 3rd Island I made my newly minted 24 lvl Drayk, with probably a hit bonus as it hits more often than Vlish... it was barely able to keep up with my 19-20 lvl Vlish. I kept the Drayk around for the extra hp and the Fire damage, but for a serious hit in essence that was limiting a bit my ability to cast boosting spells and heal.

At the time, I had 3 Vlish, both Greta and Alwan (don't ask why, I just liked them) and the Drayk. I was... 16th lvl? 17th? Something like that. Alwan and Greta despite the "Free" upgrades and being with me since the first island were worse than Vlish and the Drayk. They were essence free though and I wanted them for the dialogue. The Drayk had +100-110 hp on the Vlish, did a little more damage (fire) and ... was worse than the Vlish in close combat because it didn't have poison.
It also cost much more essence. With intelligence 2, it cost probably as much as 3 Vlish with intelligence 2. It was far less effective than two Vlish, let alone 3.
Frankly, powerwise, I would be better if I absorbed the Drayk right back, kicked Alwan or Greta out and got 3 Vlish. 3 newly minted Vlish. Or kept both NPCs and made 2 Vlish and kept the extra essence for group heals and blessings.

 

All the above are for normal difficulty and with creation-boosting equipment.

Edited by alhoon

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I did a Vlish build and remembered the only problem was needing to use their melee attack against shades that were immune to their range damage. I don't remember how far I went with them in the game, but they were quite effective if you didn't mind herding them.

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Just to speak my own personal opinion, yeah, Guardians (Warriors and Shock Troopers(YMMV on this one)) aren't exactly the most "optimal" class to play with. Mostly because of the transition from G2 to G3 nerfing a number of things that made Guardians in G2 the utterly OP characters (from what I've heard, since I don't play G2). Parry and melee weapons being not so hot. Basically durability and firepower getting heavily nerfed. Shapers and Agents have other methods to fight, and in the case of the Shaper, didn't affect him that much.

In the end, unless you're a pure min-maxer, Guardians are less of a "oh he's terrible don't use him hurr", and more like what you said OP: A game with more challenge. For some, perhaps the challenge is appealing. Or perhaps you just like the idea of being this guy in armor, blade in hand, ready to fight alongside your creations. Everyone has their own tastes. Me? I would probably play Guardian in G3, though I might mod him here and there for my own enjoyment. I am not a pure min-maxer, but I am not a challenge seeker either. 

Also, I will admit, I am disappointed with how pathetic Alwan is in G3. Scaling wise, he's absolutely horrible IMO compared to Greta, who at least gets noticeably stronger over the course of the game. In all honesty, modding the game to give him a baton and some resistances, which scale over the course of the game, felt less of a mod and more of a QoL fix. But that's just me. :D

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Damn, you're right... Alwan is like a leveled up Thahd. Not a Battle Alpha, a Thahd. At least Greta is like a powered-up Artila.

 

Gameman, should we look forward to perfected batons in GF3? Or a Perfected batons \ Alwan mod?

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I thought Alwan's final upgraded weapon in G3 would've been his acid baton-like attack in G4, where he could attack at range. If that were the case, Alwan would've been a lot more optimal in G3.

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Posted (edited)

Haven't been modding for a long while, but my skills haven't gone to waste. One of the primary issues with Alwan is that his weapon upgrades don't scale very well. His first upgrade only upgrades his weapon from:
ab_effect_base = 5;     ab_effect_per_level = 4;     ab_accuracy_adjust = 50;
to: 
ab_effect_base = 7;     ab_effect_per_level = 5;     ab_accuracy_adjust = 60;
His second upgrade only gives his attack the acid effect. No damage boost, no damage multiplier increase, nothing. Yeah. His attack upgrades overall is pathetic. Greta's first upgrade turns her into basically an NPC Agent attack wise (pretty good with the Searer), and her second upgrade makes her more like her GF4 incarnation (Essence Orbs). Now that is worth it. Alwan meanwhile is utterly pathetic. He doesn't get attack OR defense boosts for up close combat.

The other problem is that he lacks ranged damage. G3's AP system is unforgiving for melee attackers. Greta has magic attacks that she can use at range, so she'll be able to keep throwing attacks til she needs to recharge. Alwan on the other hand has to charge in, which means he'll waste his first turn, and then he'll get wrecked cuz he lacks the ability to tank, and he won't be able to throw hard hits back cuz he doesn't scale well. Throw in the fact most skills for Guardians are nerfed, yeah. Alwan being weak isn't a surprise since the whole system is designed to rail against him, just like how the G3 system makes Guardians a "suboptimal" character in the grand scheme of things.

I could try and mod Alwan in G3, though I will admit G4 and G5 have spoiled me for the most part. Wouldn't be hard per se to make him a little better, though I don't think it's possible to alter weapon upgrades in the sense of like, he starts out with a regular baton, then his first upgrade gives him an Acid Baton, then he gets access to a Submission Baton with the second upgrade, along with all his usual weapon upgrades, with some tweaks. Perfected batons could also be a thing, maybe.

Edit 1: Also, giving Alwan access to skills like Parry and Quick Action would help; it does make a lot of sense for Guardians to have access to stuff like that. Greta, I could give her buffs too, though it makes losing her more painful if you're one of those people that follow the Shaper path. Keeping Alwan isn't really worth it vs keeping Greta with you.

Edit 2: I think someone long ago was already giving Alwan access to Thorn Batons, cuz they thought the same thing like a number of us; he is weak, he scales horribly, and is overall not worth it.

Edit 3: Can't say I'm much of a fan of G3 tho, mainly cuz boat mechanic + I don't care for the rebels cuz they're not really proving to be any better IMO + very lopsided loss in terms of partners(Losing Greta is more painful than losing Alwan) + various other mechanics.

Edited by Gameman112358

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If you could fast travel between islands without having to return to the docks each time G3 would be so much more bearable lol. Can't say I didn't enjoy G3 though, it's my 2nd favorite Geneforge game.

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Posted (edited)

I have made a mod that makes melee attacks stronger for everyone in the past for GF3-5. I need to fish it out from somewhere. Never really cared for melee combat personally, so I didn't use this mod aside of testing it.

 

EDIT: Here it is

Edited by alhoon

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Melee damage boost, giving Alwan resistances and armor right off the bat (he's not *that* underequipped...), a thorn/Javelin attack, etc. All would help make Alwan less of a trash character (like the Guardian lol) and more of a viable one. Also gives you a better reason to stay Shaper, if you swing like that.

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Posted (edited)

*shrug* Who you choose is up to you. In the case of G3, I'm just thinking of ways to make both paths give you relatively good stuff. Greta is better than Alwan by a long shot in G3. I don't care for the factions. XD

Edit 1: Also I must say, I find both the GF4 and GF5 Geneforges to be... what's the proper term? Absolutely lame? Seriously they're weak. I understand them being weaker cuz they're not the real deal, but come on, they don't sound or seem *that* weak. I find myself modding those things to give you more stuff, as well as giving extra stats to certain characters based on what their strengths and play styles are supposed to be. Is it unbalanced? Definitely. Fun and immersive (at least for me)? Also definitely. :D

 

Edited by Lilith
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Posted (edited)
On 10/3/2018 at 1:39 PM, Gameman112358 said:

Edit 1: Also I must say, I find both the GF4 and GF5 Geneforges to be... what's the proper term? Absolutely lame? Seriously they're weak. I understand them being weaker cuz they're not the real deal, but come on, they don't sound or seem *that* weak.

In the fluff (i.e. the lore of the game, not the mechanics), the Geneforges in Geneforge 4 are not intended to make you extremely powerful but simply to give humans and serviles the 'ability to Shape'. From the game we also learn that having been Shaped by the Geneforge lets you learn how to Shape new creations much more easily. Clearly their purpose is simply to give the user the ability to acquire new powers more easily, while canisters are used to further augment power (as all the most powerful characters throughout the series become powerful through the use of canisters, not a Geneforge).

 

In Geneforge 5, it was quite explicitly stated that Rawal's Geneforge was restoring you to an earlier template from before your mind was wrecked by being overly Shaped. The power you get in the game comes from having stuff 'reawakened', not from actually being given brand new powers. As a result, we actually don't know what Rawal's Geneforge would do to unaltered humans, although we get a basic idea of what it may do from the obviously Shaped female Guardian (the 'special aid' Rawal gave her to become a Guardian) in Isenwood's Spire. I assume that Rawal's Geneforge was more like the original in augmenting physical characteristics (although the original did also increase Shaping abilities).

Edited by Lilith
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The thing I love about G3 as opposed to G4 and G5 is that you have the choice to never be augmented. In G4 and G5  you're warped right from the beginning because of the Geneforge and everyone sees you as a freak. In G3 you have the choice to use the canisters or not and you can virtually remain a normal human, which I love.

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3 hours ago, TheKian said:

In the fluff (i.e. the lore of the game, not the mechanics), the Geneforges in Geneforge 4 are not intended to make you extremely powerful but simply to give humans and serviles the 'ability to Shape'. From the game we also learn that having been Shaped by the Geneforge lets you learn how to Shape new creations much more easily. Clearly their purpose is simply to give the user the ability to acquire new powers more easily, while canisters are used to further augment power (as all the most powerful characters throughout the series become powerful through the use of canisters, not a Geneforge).

 

In Geneforge 5, it was quite explicitly stated that Rawal's Geneforge was restoring you to an earlier template from before your mind was wrecked by being overly Shaped. The power you get in the game comes from having stuff 'reawakened', not from actually being given brand new powers. As a result, we actually don't know what Rawal's Geneforge would do to unaltered humans, although we get a basic idea of what it may do from the obviously Shaped female Guardian (the 'special aid' Rawal gave her to become a Guardian) in Isenwood's Spire. I assume that Rawal's Geneforge was more like the original in augmenting physical characteristics (although the original did also increase Shaping abilities).

Don't get me wrong, from a fluff and lore standpoint, it's not hard to explain away why Geneforges in GF4 and GF5 seem so weak, aside from gameplay reasons. For example, both of them are just imitations of the original; they likely do not know the original "formula" that made the Geneforge in the first game capable of giving massive amounts of power to those that use it. They're definitely much weaker, since in the original you needed special gloves to survive, whereas the ones in GF4 and GF5 you just have to touch them with your bare hands and you gain powers. I suppose though I just feel a little bad that the Geneforge, this supposedly extremely powerful device is getting weaker and weaker and less focused on over the course of the series. But that's just my opinion. Changing the Geneforge and the stats it gives you when you use it is not hard, thankfully, but that's for my own personal use. I suppose I just like altering stuff as I please. :D 

It does sound like though the Geneforge Rawal has is more potent than the one in GF4, if the female Guardian was really Shaped by it. Again though, modding it so that it gave more stats after using it wouldn't be too hard, thankfully. 

1 hour ago, Vinlie said:

The thing I love about G3 as opposed to G4 and G5 is that you have the choice to never be augmented. In G4 and G5  you're warped right from the beginning because of the Geneforge and everyone sees you as a freak. In G3 you have the choice to use the canisters or not and you can virtually remain a normal human, which I love.

I wouldn't really call being a Shaper, even if you are "just" an apprentice, "normal", but I get your point. XD

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, TheKian said:

In the fluff (i.e. the lore of the game, not the mechanics), the Geneforges in Geneforge 4 are not intended to make you extremely powerful but simply to give humans and serviles the 'ability to Shape'. From the game we also learn that having been Shaped by the Geneforge lets you learn how to Shape new creations much more easily. Clearly their purpose is simply to give the user the ability to acquire new powers more easily, while canisters are used to further augment power (as all the most powerful characters throughout the series become powerful through the use of canisters, not a Geneforge).

 

In Geneforge 5, it was quite explicitly stated that Rawal's Geneforge was restoring you to an earlier template from before your mind was wrecked by being overly Shaped. The power you get in the game comes from having stuff 'reawakened', not from actually being given brand new powers. As a result, we actually don't know what Rawal's Geneforge would do to unaltered humans, although we get a basic idea of what it may do from the obviously Shaped female Guardian (the 'special aid' Rawal gave her to become a Guardian) in Isenwood's Spire. I assume that Rawal's Geneforge was more like the original in augmenting physical characteristics (although the original did also increase Shaping abilities).

 

 

About the female Guardian etc, Rawal has no problem Shaping people directly without the Geneforge. The guys he sends to meet you here and there are Shaped but they can't Shape except that one Servile on the mountains.

However the female Guardian trained on her own, passed the tests despite the illegal changes Rawal did to her and then kept on training and learning the normal way. We can't simply say "Ohh, Rawal's Geneforge made a full fledged Guardian!"
The GF4 geneforge made Shaila to something great even if broken. The purpose of the GF4 geneforge was to create lifecrafters that would have a lower chance to go crazy and if they did, they would be containable.

 

The GF in Geneforge 4 is weaker than Lankan's Canister to bring the discussion back in GF3.

Edited by Lilith
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Posted (edited)

The GF4 Geneforge definitely made some insane Lifecrafters at times. Shaila and that Geneforged Servile locked up in Southforge Prison Cell are examples. The Geneforged Servile is more or less left locked up even after the rebels left, more or less to die in the cell. Shaila... welp, she escaped, and became a thorn in the rebels' sides. I do not know though why you say the Geneforge made Shaila to something great but broken; she seems like a novice Lifecrafter from a gameplay perspective. Nothing particularly special. Could you explain?

And yeah, Lankan's canister, that thing is weird AF.
1) It hurts you if you tried to use it. Only Lankan can use it. Very unusual for a canister.
2) It grants Lankan a hell of a lot of power, if his in-game character after being Shaped is any indication. 
Seems a bit strange that Lankan's canister is more powerful than a "full blown" Geneforge. Whoever made that canister must've been quite skilled to be able to pack more power into that thing compared to other canisters, as well as adding safeguards so that *only* Lankan can use the bloody thing.

Edited by Lilith
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Quick question; was Lord Rahul (G3) shaped at all? The dialogue does say the man was almost 7 ft tall lol

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Posted (edited)

Doubtful. He's a high ranking Shaper; if he Shaped himself the alterations would be detected *very* quickly, and he'd be in deep trouble. Considering he seems to be of the Guardian sect (IDK, I'm just basing it on his character model), it's probably just natural height and bulk. Would make some sense if you ask me.

Edited by Lilith
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Vinlie said:

Quick question; was Lord Rahul (G3) shaped at all? The dialogue does say the man was almost 7 ft tall lol

 

I would be very surprised if he was.

On the other hand, the Shapers know their biology. If he was from a good family of strong and loyal people etc, he could have been eating protein day and night from young age, with exercises etc to become as massive for him to serve as a soldier or guardian.

 

6 hours ago, Gameman112358 said:

The GF4 Geneforge definitely made some insane Lifecrafters at times. Shaila and that Geneforged Servile locked up in Southforge Prison Cell are examples. The Geneforged Servile is more or less left locked up even after the rebels left, more or less to die in the cell. Shaila... welp, she escaped, and became a thorn in the rebels' sides. I do not know though why you say the Geneforge made Shaila to something great but broken; she seems like a novice Lifecrafter from a gameplay perspective. Nothing particularly special. Could you explain?

 

From story perspective, she was quite formidable. Not close to a veteran or a serious shaper, but still head and shoulders above how you are after you use the Geneforge.
She escaped confinement, managed to set up her base and made machines etc too. All in all, she became as troublesome as a bandit leader with a moderate gang. And that with a touch of a pool.


Regardless, the Geneforge in GF4 had the purpose to short-circuit a few years of intense study. Land you at the level of a Shaper apprentice before the test to become prospective. It didn't seem to have the purpose to make you equal to a Shaper with 10 years of service and training under his or her belt. That would have been too reckless for the human side of the Rebellion (Drakons have a very different opinion about that though).
Anyway, using the "tame" Geneforge of GF4, Some people die, some people turn mad and some make it. But we're talking about grabbing farmers here and turning them to Shaper apprentices. That was (I think) what Southforge GF was made for.

Edited by Lilith
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Posted (edited)

Shaila backstory wise is a toss up. Same for the other prospectives. Some seem like plain civilians, others seem to already learn some magic or Shaping abilities. All of whom are, yes, brought to the Geneforge to make Lifecrafters. Shaila, alright I can see what you mean. She is definitely stronger than you are, even in gameplay; her HP is pretty decent, she has Ice Spray, can produce creations pretty quickly, etc. Yeah, her backstory is up for interpretation. I was curious how she escaped imprisonment, but's that's another story.

Drakons very clearly didn't care for the human side of the rebellion; giving the human rebels a strong Geneforge variant would probably be something the Drakons wouldn't do, lest they make the human side strong enough to make the Drakons less "needed" and more problematic to keep "control" over.

And yeah, Rahul probably had heavy training and natural bulk to justify his height and such. Canister use, seriously doubt it.

 

Edited by Gameman112358

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Posted (edited)

Well, I thought we have all agreed that GF gameplay doesn't really reflect the story. In GF5, the top soldiers of the starting areas are a drop in the water compared to the soldiers of Derra reaches. Same for the random bandits. Some things are done for game balance.

1 hour ago, Vinlie said:

 

Ah, the lore of Geneforge is so deep and rich.

 

If I may, the lore of Geneforge is rich and obscure. We never learn "fluff" stuff like how big Terrestia actually is and we have to surmise it from discussions here and there. How many people live on it, how many Shapers or how many Drakons etc. We don't learn about the previous rebellions as the Shapers keep them secret, whether "Lords" like Lord Rahul are common and not mentioned or he's just an one-of-a-kind exarch-kind because the Ashen Isles are so far from the mainland, and stuff like that.

Edited by alhoon

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Everyone, please remember that swearing is against the forum rules even if you bleep out part of the word:

 

Make people feel welcome, especially new members. Don't use obscenities in any language, including masked or abbreviated obscenities, or post links to inappropriate material. Please avoid strong language on topics that are sensitive to others. Above all, do not make posts that that harass, belittle, humiliate, threaten or cause embarrassment to any member and any hate speech against a certain group of people, due to their religion, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.

 

I've edited several posts in this thread accordingly.

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G1 takes place on Sucia island, G3 takes place on the Ashen Isles, G4 & 5 takes place on Terrestia. Where does G2 take place? I feel like I should remember because I played through G2 a few months ago, but I don't

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G2 is an isolated area that you pass through in the southwest of Terrestia in G5.

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From GF5 map, I would think GF2 area would be one or at most two open-air zones in GF5.

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14 hours ago, Vinlie said:

G1 takes place on Sucia island, G3 takes place on the Ashen Isles, G4 & 5 takes place on Terrestia. Where does G2 take place? I feel like I should remember because I played through G2 a few months ago, but I don't

Geneforge 2 is set in the Drypeak Mountains, an area of Terrestia believed to be located between the Turabi Gate in the southwest of the Geneforge 4 map and Gazakii-Uss in the southeastern area of Geneforge 5. The area is most likely fairly close to Gazakii-Uss in Geneforge 5, due to the existence of the original Gazak-Uss in Taker lands there.

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On 9/25/2018 at 6:06 AM, Lord Backael said:

Crystalline Shroud gives you a much earlier +2AP boost, and a huge +3 creation strength boost

 

You are aware that item bonuses to creation strength are bugged in every game except G5?

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34 minutes ago, utelektr said:

 

You are aware that item bonuses to creation strength are bugged in every game except G5?

 

Can others confirm this?

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6 hours ago, Lord Backael said:

 

Can others confirm this?

http://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/17985-creation-str-boosting-items-in-gf3/

http://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/9791-best-weapon-for-a-shaper-focusing-on-creations/

http://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/9639-a-problem-with-creature-str-and-hit/

 

And by word of Jeff himself,

On 2/27/2007 at 10:17 AM, Spidweb said:

This is a bug, and it will be fixed in a future update. Until then, I'd avoid relying on items that give strength to creations. (Items that improve other pet stats appear to work.)

 

No time frame available on a patch, I'm afraid. So far, this is the only known bug of note, and I'm pretty swamped.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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OK, I think I found a solution to the items not giving strength to creations problem. I'll mod the items that give strength bonus to creations, so that they would give directly levels on damage and attack.

 

EDIT:

I made the mod. Here is the link if anyone is interested

Aside of changing strength bonuses to creations (that doesn't work) to extra damage dice and to hit increases this mod makes Alwan slightly better by giving him +2 Action Points and after the first blade upgrade, a slight increase in damage.

 

To install:
Simply unzip the folder inside the Geneforge 3 Folder and allow the program to overwrite the 2 files required.

 

Since there are only 4 possible stats an item can affect, items (like Shapers boon) that give bonuses to all stats give bonuses to attack, to damage, to dexterity and intelligence but not in endurance. To compensate for the lack of those endurance points, these items give increased dexterity bonuses to make creations be hit a little less (so be more durable).

I.e. Shaper's Boon now gives +1 level to hit, +1 dice of damage, +2 dex and +1 intelligence.
 

Edited by alhoon

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