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DarkProphet2019

Returning Player Questions

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So, once upon a time, I was a huge fan of the Exile trilogy. I was still a pre-teen at that point, and didn't really have a good enough grasp of strategy to be very successful at that point. I am coming back now, more than 20 years after I first played Exile I on a Shareware floppy, and I am finding that apparently, it wasn't just my undeveloped battle planning skills that were the problem; this game is notably tougher than many RPGs I have played in the decades since. In particular, I am having difficulty coping with Slithzerakai; nothing seems to work that well on them. They shrug off melee attacks, spells appear to do half or even quarter damage against them... they are a pain. Also, does anyone know what the point of Detect Life is? I thought that the spell description said that it highlights enemies on the map, but while using it to try to prevent getting ambushed in the Bandit Fort with my last low-level singleton, it failed to operate until the door was already open... and I was faced with five bandits who quickly slaughtered me; I don't think I got a full turn that combat, I just tried to run and then died.

 

Survival issues aside, I still love this game with a passion, and I can't wait to beat it again and get back to reliving the others. Also, since I have been out of the loop for so long, what are "original" players' opinions on Avernum? On the one hand, I have no problem giving SW more of my money; the cash I shelled out for the Exile Trilogy all those years ago was well worth it, but since my discretionary budget is small at the moment, I am going to hold off until later in the year if they are not qualitatively improvements upon the original games.

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Detect Life works the way you think it does, however and this is a big problem, it doesn't help with hidden parties of monsters that don't appear until you do a triggering event like open a door or walk past a certain location. Some places have enemies that don't appear until you are on the way out. Just when you are weak and wounded, they pounce to block the way to the exit.

 

Slithzerakai are just plain tough and I found out like you that almost nothing works on them until you are several levels higher. There are just certain places that even two levels more will make a difference. You run into monsters that are 90% or worse 100% resistant to some attack types that you commonly use.

 

Avernum is different in you only get 4 characters instead of 6 from Exile. Spells are fewer and depending upon First Trilogy, Second Trilogy, or Remake of First Trilogy, they work differently. First Trilogy gives extra or different effects when you get a second level. Second Trilogy just adds levels to damage or duration with extra spell levels. Second Trilogy and Remake added battle disciplines that give you extra abilities in combat that mostly aid fighters.

 

There are usually sales either from third party distributers or the Fall Sadness sale here where you can get them cheaper and in bundles if you aren't in a hurry. Also there will be the first in a new trilogy called Queen's Wish coming in September that is similar to Avernum.

 

Welcome back to Spiderweb Software. Please leave your remaining sanity at the door. We are taking up a collection. We don't know what we will do with it, but we'll figure something out eventually. to do with it. :)

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Also, the actual combat mechanics behind the numbers are completely different in each of the three incarnations.  And as you've probably figured out by now, there are indeed three:

 

Exile

Avernum (remakes of Exile)

Avernum Remakes (remakes of Avernum)

 

2 hours ago, DarkProphet2019 said:

Also, since I have been out of the loop for so long, what are "original" players' opinions on Avernum? ... I am going to hold off until later in the year if they are not qualitatively improvements upon the original games.

 

It varies.  Before the modern set of remakes, this was often discussed.  Most people had a preference for one of the other but few hated either.  Often (though not always) this was a preference for whichever one a person had played first, developed an attachment to and nostalgia for, etc.

 

A lot of this boils down to macro questions like how you feel about top-down versus isometric graphics, how much you care about having an enormous list of weird niche spells, whether you prefer combat mechanics that feel very vaguely AD&D or very vaguely modern CRPG.  Each incarnation definitely has a distinct visual style, with Exile being particularly distinct.

 

The modern remakes are definitely the most polished of the bunch, particularly in terms of user interface.  Lots of people love them.  Some of us still prefer the older games, though I'm not sure I've heard anyone say they like both older incarnations better than the most recent one.

 

(There's also Avernum 4-6, which are the continuation of the story, so to speak, and fall sort of in between Avernum and the Avernum remakes in terms of how they play -- although they have some other differences, too, which is why I didn't include them above.  Also, they've never been remade.)

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Thank you all for your input! I am still getting roughly used by the learning curve, but I seem to be doing better. I purposely went with singletons when I came back, because I DID remember from all those years ago that it was a lot easier for me keeping one character alive than it was six, and while I see why I thought that back then (Haste cheese is a thing), I am now debating actually creating a party and trying to learn more about group composition. I was thinking of trying a team of one fighter, one utility/archer, one utility priest, one healing priest, one utility mage, and one blaster mage. What are some other people's favorite teams in X1?

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Years and years ago when Exile was regularly discussed here, singletons were a very common preference among regulars.  Honestly, I'm not sure I've used a party in any Exile game this millenium.  Haste cheese is a thing, but Bless brokenness is even stronger and more absurd, and it's a lot simpler to do that with a singleton -- in addition to all the other conveniences of not juggling six characters.  Not having to pass a bunch of times in a row every time you're fighting in a corridor (or just have nothing to do with your mages when they're conserving SP), etc.

 

The thing that really irked me about parties in Exile, personally, was the XP imbalance that always became quite heavy if any characters were better or worse at dealing damage.  Your utility/archer PC, for example -- a sensible enough idea -- is likely to level half as quickly (if that) as the blaster mage or the lead fighter.  And then that just compounds the difference in effectiveness, since the already weaker character gets fewer skill points to play with...

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Well then, perhaps I will stick with the one character then. I am building him as a mage/priest hybrid so I can take advantage of all the spells. Though I did drop 4 points into strength to start to help with HP gains and to make sure that if my butt was completely against a wall, I could go physical with a vague degree of not-complete-inefficacy.

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Detect Life was one of those cool spells that wasn't really that useful (like "Scare", say).  The idea is nice, in practice no real reason to cast it.  Always wondered if it'd be possible to make a BoE scenario and try to recreate that scene from Aliens where they are counting down the range of the movement and it gets inside the room.

 

Never saw a particular problems with sliths.  Any monster (or monster type) is going to be too tough is you are too low level, but at some point you'll reach the point where you can defeat them, and later when more or less always will.  Those Ruby Skeletons, though.  Gah.

 

Never really got into any of the games later than BoE.  The earlier ones just seemed more user friendly, I liked the aesthetics more and the later ones seemed more of a grind.  Also, graphics harder to mod myself.

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So what exactly IS BoE? I have never looked into it; I only ever played the original three games (though I have downloaded BoE now, since people keep talking about it so much).

 

For anyone who is curious, my singleton is doing well so far. I started him as a straight mage (have to do a lot of resting between battles, but most things just die when they show up, and those that don't, I can easily flee from thanks to Haste). He is level five now, and really starting to be ready to face bigger challenges now that his MP pool is bigger. I never tried a mono-mage game before, but so far, it's actually pretty easy.

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BoE, Blades of Exile, is a group of scenarios starting with 3 from Jeff Vogel and more added by players over the years using a game editor he created. A few years ago Jeff made it open source so some people have upgraded it to to run on more recent operating systems and fix bugs.

 

The scenarios are basically short games that can take an hour or days to play through. Also you can usually import characters from another scenario for ones that require a higher level party at the start. They vary in quality, however there are player reviews to help you decide.

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17 hours ago, DarkProphet2019 said:

Once I have played through the classic games again, I will have to give it a whirl.

 

Do give it a try!

 

Blades of Exile was extremely popular back in the day. Very, very many scenarios were made for it – well over 300 in total. A very decent chunk of these scenarios are of excellent quality. If you shop around, you’ll find lots of high quality scenarios waiting for you to play!

 

Some of these scenarios are absolutely superb. Indeed, several have been held up as comparable in quality to the Exile series itself. I can recall seeing scenarios justifiably attracting the label ‘Exile 4’, and even ‘Exile 5’!

 

If you enjoy the original Exile trilogy, I would very much recommend that you give Blades of Exile a try. You won't be disappointed!

 

On 6/25/2019 at 2:13 AM, Concentration No_Pun_Fits_Here said:

Bless brokenness is even stronger and more absurd

 

I feel that this is worth highlighting. Bless, and especially repeated applications of Bless, is extremely powerful in the Exile engine. If there was any one thing that really helped me get to grips with battles in Exile, it was this!

 

On 6/24/2019 at 10:04 PM, DarkProphet2019 said:

Also, since I have been out of the loop for so long, what are "original" players' opinions on Avernum?

 

This has already been answered very well by others in this thread. However, I feel it's worth pointing out one more small thing.

 

Generally speaking, the Avernum games are very faithful recreations of the original content in Exile, albeit it presented and optimised for a new engine and a slightly different video game landscape. However, Avernum 1 makes one small, but very interesting addition. The game has an extra dungeon: Lost Bahssikava. It expands on a story point that is mentioned in Exile I, but never really dwelt upon. I wouldn't use this dungeon as the sole reason to recommend Avernum 1 – it's only a tiny percentage of the game, after all – but if you were thinking about possibly playing Avernum, it's something to bear in mind!

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Seconding playing BoE, with the caveat that some scenarios are better than others, and it's not easy to keep a consistent difficulty curve between scenarios.

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