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JackEKnoff

Geneforge 4: Infiltrator > Servile?

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Looking at the artifacts and training available, it seems a melee infiltrator would be more viable since there are more combat stat boosts than magic. I still see people praising the servile though. What exactly makes the servile so good?

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Concentration No_Pun_Fits_Here said:

http://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/9361-slartanalysis-classes/

 

What it boils down to is that if you're playing a melee-based character, while you'll obviously still use magic, you don't need huge magic scores.  So the servile's other strengths are actually relevant in that scenario.

So 15 battle magic and mental magic would be mundane?

Edit: To clarify, I'm planning on going magic heavy but paying for melee training and artifacts so I can have more damage types. Might go with a mental magic heavy servile though. Can't decide

Edited by JackEKnoff
clarification

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Mental magic is still potentially useful.  15 battle magic is an extreme waste of skill points in a character who relies on melee for damage.

 

If you're going heavy magic, you do not need more damage types.  You already get multiple types from spells.  And there are vanishingly few enemies that don't have less damage reduction in at least one easily accessible magic element than they do in physical damage.

 

The thing is that while it sounds useful to have that versatility, your damage output with your "secondary" attack type will end up being pretty puny compared to your regular attack type.  So even if resistances favor it against a certain enemy, it's rarely if ever going to do more damage in the end.

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37 minutes ago, Concentration No_Pun_Fits_Here said:

Mental magic is still potentially useful.  15 battle magic is an extreme waste of skill points in a character who relies on melee for damage.

 

If you're going heavy magic, you do not need more damage types.  You already get multiple types from spells.  And there are vanishingly few enemies that don't have less damage reduction in at least one easily accessible magic element than they do in physical damage.

 

The thing is that while it sounds useful to have that versatility, your damage output with your "secondary" attack type will end up being pretty puny compared to your regular attack type.  So even if resistances favor it against a certain enemy, it's rarely if ever going to do more damage in the end.

Alright. I was thinking of using melee as a secondary damage type when I run out of spell energy on an infiltrator. Would 15 bm and 15 mm still be useful on an infiltrator, or would it make more sense to pump sc after I reach the spell requirement? Also, would it make sense to get melee skills past 10 for a melee servile? Sorry about all the questions but I'm trying to see which class I'll prefer and it seems you have extensive knowledge of the game

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There are very few places in Geneforge 4 where a magic-heavy character will be running low on spell energy. When I've played a Lifecrafter, I've only ever had issues with spell energy right after learning and switching to ice spray, and Infiltrator gets even more spell energy than the Lifecrafter does. Do you mean essence?

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10 minutes ago, TheKian said:

There are very few places in Geneforge 4 where a magic-heavy character will be running low on spell energy. When I've played a Lifecrafter, I've only ever had issues with spell energy right after learning and switching to ice spray, and Infiltrator gets even more spell energy than the Lifecrafter does. Do you mean essence?

No, I meant spell energy. Haven't played Geneforge 4 in a few years and I was just going off my experience in my recent gf3 missile agent run where I found myself low on SE more often than I'd expect. Before you ask, I pumped intelligence but it seemed I was usually short on SE.

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How does a missile agent run out of spell energy?  The description "missile agent" doesn't make it sound like you're casting spells all the time...

 

For Infilitrator magic splits, you can pretty much play it any of those ways.  Personally I find that pumping Mental Magic makes more of a difference, since you experience diminishing returns with Battle Magic.  YMMV.  For Spellcraft vs specific magic skills, even if you're only pumping one specific skill, you'll generally want to increase both and favor whichever is cheaper.

 

Magic-attackers don't really need a secondary attack type, because Firebolt is so incredibly cheap.

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14 hours ago, Concentration No_Pun_Fits_Here said:

How does a missile agent run out of spell energy?  The description "missile agent" doesn't make it sound like you're casting spells all the time...

 

For Infilitrator magic splits, you can pretty much play it any of those ways.  Personally I find that pumping Mental Magic makes more of a difference, since you experience diminishing returns with Battle Magic.  YMMV.  For Spellcraft vs specific magic skills, even if you're only pumping one specific skill, you'll generally want to increase both and favor whichever is cheaper.

 

Magic-attackers don't really need a secondary attack type, because Firebolt is so incredibly cheap.

It was a mental magic heavy missile agent, and towards the end of the game I ended up using a lot of energy when dealing with rots to keep them dazed or terrified. I only really ran out on the longer, more drawn out battles like when I was attacked by multiple rots in the Monastery of Tears.

Last 2 questions lmao

Whats the soft cap for battle magic?

What's more viable, melee or missiles?

Thank you for helping me 😁

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There isn't a soft cap for battle magic (well, except in G1 when everything had soft caps).  The diminishing returns are because each point in battle magic adds a static amount (1 die) to an attack damage pool that starts out larger, the higher your battle magic is (+ spellcraft).  Going to from 4 battle magic to 5 is going to make a much bigger difference proportionally than going from 24 to 25.

 

With mental magic on the other hand, each point is just a flat +5 (I think) to the % chance of success.  Since enemy resistance is subtractive and also increases with their level, increasing MM is just as relevant later in the game (at higher MM + spellcraft) as it is earlier in the game.

 

Anything is viable... but if you want to know what's optimal, missiles are sub-optimal.  Compared to melee, they don't benefit from Quick Action.  Compared to magic, they don't benefit from the investment in magic skills that every character is going to make.  They also have the disadvantage that you want to save your best missiles for when you really need them, so most of the time you aren't attacking at peak effectiveness.  This is especially true with the very best stuff -- Reaper Thorns and the like are good enough to compete with melee and magic, but they are too rare to use very often.

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The only advantage that missile fighters have is you don't have to close with your foes to hit. This is great when you want to pick off foes at the edge without triggering a swarm attacking you. It isn't as sub-optimal as Slarty thinks, but it does have problems. You need to put points into missile weapons and dexterity which means less for strength to carry all your equipment. This is why an agent using battle magic works better for range fighting.

 

You need to burn through the worst missiles first to reserve the next better damaging ones for later. You may have to reload and replay zones when you are at the point to upgrade to the next type. There are never going to be enough except for the worst type.

 

It costs some money to buy the better missiles that you would rather spend on other things. Thorns are available, but there are a limited amount of them especially Reapers, the best ones. Also in GF1 there is an action point cost for reloading the batons. I forget if that got eliminated in later games.

 

Missiles have weight and that can lead to encumbrance problems, so you always need to consider how many to take with you into combat. It means leaving stockpiles behind for when you run out.

 

The only way to deal with swarms is to use crystals and there are a limited number of them.

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1
38 minutes ago, Concentration No_Pun_Fits_Here said:

There isn't a soft cap for battle magic (well, except in G1 when everything had soft caps).  The diminishing returns are because each point in battle magic adds a static amount (1 die) to an attack damage pool that starts out larger, the higher your battle magic is (+ spellcraft).  Going to from 4 battle magic to 5 is going to make a much bigger difference proportionally than going from 24 to 25.

 

With mental magic on the other hand, each point is just a flat +5 (I think) to the % chance of success.  Since enemy resistance is subtractive and also increases with their level, increasing MM is just as relevant later in the game (at higher MM + spellcraft) as it is earlier in the game.

 

Anything is viable... but if you want to know what's optimal, missiles are sub-optimal.  Compared to melee, they don't benefit from Quick Action.  Compared to magic, they don't benefit from the investment in magic skills that every character is going to make.  They also have the disadvantage that you want to save your best missiles for when you really need them, so most of the time you aren't attacking at peak effectiveness.  This is especially true with the very best stuff -- Reaper Thorns and the like are good enough to compete with melee and magic, but they are too rare to use very often.

On my gf3 run, I ended up hoarding reapers and barely ever used them. The damage is amazing but as you said, they're way too rare to compensate for the lack of damage most other missiles deal. The only real benefit I found to missiles was submission thorns because of the stun, but they still had sub-par damage. Wands and crystals were quite useful but I hoarded most of them until end game and barely got to use them. I was hoping they would've balanced missiles better in gf4 by adding more reapers but from what you said it sounds like they didn't.

I'm assuming Jeff bumped up the melee die from a d4 since you said it was optimal in gf4. Looks like melee/magic wins again. Anyway thank you for all the information; You really helped me decide how I'll be playing this time around. 😁

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2 minutes ago, Randomizer said:

The only advantage that missile fighters have is you don't have to close with your foes to hit. This is great when you want to pick off foes at the edge without triggering a swarm attacking you. It isn't as sub-optimal as Slarty thinks, but it does have problems. You need to put points into missile weapons and dexterity which means less for strength to carry all your equipment. This is why an agent using battle magic works better for range fighting.

 

You need to burn through the worst missiles first to reserve the next better damaging ones for later. You may have to reload and replay zones when you are at the point to upgrade to the next type. There are never going to be enough except for the worst type.

 

It costs some money to buy the better missiles that you would rather spend on other things. Thorns are available, but there are a limited amount of them especially Reapers, the best ones. Also in GF1 there is an action point cost for reloading the batons. I forget if that got eliminated in later games.

 

Missiles have weight and that can lead to encumbrance problems, so you always need to consider how many to take with you into combat. It means leaving stockpiles behind for when you run out.

 

The only way to deal with swarms is to use crystals and there are a limited number of them.

I learned to play like that on my missile agent but it wasn't that fun, especially considering I was only able to do 50ish damage to most end game enemies with 18 dex and 13 mw (with item buffs). Strength was my biggest issue though. It got so annoying having to bring my huge item stash between islands that I looked through all the gf3 threads on the internet trying to find any good strength boosting items. Once I found out about the talisman of might I made a thread a few days ago because I was so desperate to make one. If I remember correctly, they changed the weight system in gf4 so that wouldn't be as much of an issue. I didn't notice the ap penalty for reloading so Jeff might've removed it. Never had to reload a zone for wasting missiles since I stuck with regular and venom thorns through most of the game; because of this, I had 50 acid thorns by the time I started using them frequently. Missiles worked well with mental magic, but I'm fairly confident I could get similar if not better results with melee if I play it right. 

I found that daze worked really well with swarms once I had 10 ap. I could just apply acid to a different enemy every turn, keep casting daze, and watch my troubles dissolve 😈

Rots were the only enemies where I really needed to use crystals.

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2 hours ago, Randomizer said:

The only advantage that missile fighters have is you don't have to close with your foes to hit. This is great when you want to pick off foes at the edge without triggering a swarm attacking you. It isn't as sub-optimal as Slarty thinks, but it does have problems. You need to put points into missile weapons and dexterity which means less for strength to carry all your equipment. This is why an agent using battle magic works better for range fighting.

 

Uh.  When it comes to attacking from a distance, it is 100% sub-optimal, because magic.  As you yourself say at the end of this quote...

 

This is obviously an advantage over melee, but magic has the same advantage over melee.

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2 hours ago, JackEKnoff said:

I'm assuming Jeff bumped up the melee die from a d4 since you said it was optimal in gf4. Looks like melee/magic wins again. Anyway thank you for all the information; You really helped me decide how I'll be playing this time around. 😁

 

What?  I definitely didn't say melee was optimal in G4.  It's a better option in G4 than G3 entirely because of the existence of the Servile.  Damage dice for melee weapons are d4 and d5 in all of G3-5, IIRC.

 

The best game for melee is easily G2, because melee dice are still d8, and Parry is so OP (and therefore the Guardian).  It's also good in G1, where you get the d8's, you get Anatomy, and importantly, there are very few magic spells, making magic a lot weaker.  

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Concentration No_Pun_Fits_Here said:

 

What?  I definitely didn't say melee was optimal in G4.  It's a better option in G4 than G3 entirely because of the existence of the Servile.  Damage dice for melee weapons are d4 and d5 in all of G3-5, IIRC.

 

The best game for melee is easily G2, because melee dice are still d8, and Parry is so OP (and therefore the Guardian).  It's also good in G1, where you get the d8's, you get Anatomy, and importantly, there are very few magic spells, making magic a lot weaker.  

I thought it was implied. Whoops. And in gf1 my agent was hitting harder with a shaped blade than magic so I can definitely agree on that one. Glad Jeff changed the melee die but he should've gone with a d5/d6 or put in a bunch of d4s to make it effective but with a smaller range. Melee in gf1 was so broken because you could take no damage from an enemy just to get one shot by the same enemy next round.

This thread has taught me one thing: Magic almost always wins.

Edit: Forgot to ask, how does the servile suddenly make melee viable?

Edited by JackEKnoff

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Melee was already viable.  (It just wasn't optimal.)  The servile makes it better.

 

See the thread I originally linked for a lot of discussion of how it does so.

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Posted (edited)

Everything is viable more or less with the right determination. Including probably a Servile that focuses ONLY on Shaping battle creations or a Shaper (shaper class) that focuses only on melee combat or a Guardian that focuses only on battle magic if you enjoy a huge challenge while fighting with one arm tied behind your back, finding other ways around some battles etc. 

 

For magic-and-melee I believe infiltrator is better because he's magic first. For Melee-and-magic then I believe Servile is better. 

 

 

Personally, believe 15 battle magic is a waste of skill for every kind of character. I mean those tons of skill points you will sink there will give you like +15 damage on kill or something. 

Edited by alhoon

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On 6/28/2019 at 3:14 AM, alhoon said:

Personally, believe 15 battle magic is a waste of skill for every kind of character. I mean those tons of skill points you will sink there will give you like +15 damage on kill or something. 

So a pure magic infiltrator wouldn't be that good?

 

Also, I got 3 questions based on my where I'm at right now.

  1. Could someone reassure me I didn't mess up my oozing blade? I put a runed onyx on it hoping it would slow my opponents, but it doesn't seem to be doing anything.
  2. Should I use the guardian claymore I got from Shaftoe or the shaped blade?
  3. Does anyone know what the best sword in the game is?

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1. Golden crystal gives 6 dice more damage & to hit in weapons. Nothing else comes close.

 

3. Should be puresteel something from the titan which means the game is effectively over. Realistically the oozing blade is the sword to go for the vast majority of the game.

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39 minutes ago, JackEKnoff said:

So a pure magic infiltrator wouldn't be that good?

 

Also, I got 3 questions based on my where I'm at right now.

  1. Could someone reassure me I didn't mess up my oozing blade? I put a runed onyx on it hoping it would slow my opponents, but it doesn't seem to be doing anything.
  2. Should I use the guardian claymore I got from Shaftoe or the shaped blade?
  3. Does anyone know what the best sword in the game is?

Pure magic infiltrator could be very good, but it's not the 15 battle magic that would make her good. For starters to get battle magic from 10~>15 it would probably be cheaper to raise spellcraft by 5 and it would add to everything. 

 

However, I am not an expert on these kind of things. I always played a Shaper and had my troops do the heavy lifting. 

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1 hour ago, Nim said:

1. Golden crystal gives 6 dice more damage & to hit in weapons. Nothing else comes close.

 

3. Should be puresteel something from the titan which means the game is effectively over. Realistically the oozing blade is the sword to go for the vast majority of the game.

I know the golden crystal is best but I got the oozing blade really early and figured runed onyx would be useful. Does it even do anything?

 

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1 hour ago, alhoon said:

Pure magic infiltrator could be very good, but it's not the 15 battle magic that would make her good. For starters to get battle magic from 10~>15 it would probably be cheaper to raise spellcraft by 5 and it would add to everything. 

 

However, I am not an expert on these kind of things. I always played a Shaper and had my troops do the heavy lifting. 

Assuming I upgraded spellcraft when it was at the same cost would 15 be a waste by end game?

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24 minutes ago, JackEKnoff said:

I know the golden crystal is best but I got the oozing blade really early and figured runed onyx would be useful. Does it even do anything?

 

Afaik it has a chance to put slow on the enemy (25% ?) but that might not even kick in until the next turn ? If you haven't seen much of an effect yet then yeah, looks like it's that useless.

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5 hours ago, alhoon said:

Pure magic infiltrator could be very good, but it's not the 15 battle magic that would make her good. For starters to get battle magic from 10~>15 it would probably be cheaper to raise spellcraft by 5 and it would add to everything. 

 

However, I am not an expert on these kind of things. I always played a Shaper and had my troops do the heavy lifting. 

 

Yeah, this is not quite accurate.  Spellcraft 0 to 5 would be cheaper, sure.  Spellcraft 10 to 15 would be a LOT more expensive.  Remember that the cost difference between individual magic skills and Spellcraft is actually greatest for the strong magic classes.

 

Pure magic infilitrators are great.  They are close enough in effectiveness to melee/magic serviles that I don't really have an opinion about which is better.  (Lifecrafters will still be stronger, ultimately, because the game is about shaping and shaping is deliberately super strong.)

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Posted (edited)

True... I was thinking Spellcraft 2~>7 without items vs BMagic 10~>15 without items

 

Question: Is Battle Magic really capped in GF4? Or it's only for Shaping?

Edited by alhoon

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Would it be possible to go into the game code and remove the item enhancement? I just got a golden crystal and I'm irritated I used the runed onyx on my oozing blade. I understand it could possibly corrupt my save but I'll make a backup.

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2 hours ago, alhoon said:

Question: Is Battle Magic really capped in GF4? Or it's only for Shaping?

I'm not sure what you mean here.

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5 hours ago, Damp Annals said:

I'm not sure what you mean here.

I assume he's referring to the soft cap on stats, which I believe is only present in Geneforge 1.

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Ah, right, the 10-cap.  It's only universally present in G1, but it persists for some stats for a varying number of games -- notably for the three shaping skills, which lasted through at least G4 IIRC.

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6 minutes ago, JackEKnoff said:

Does anyone have an answer to my question?

 

In regards to your questions about crystals, take a look at this post.

 

In regards to your question about spellcraft, I do not believe it would be worth it to pump it up to 15. The stat that scales best is mental magic, and once you have a decent grounding for your other magic skills, you should put your points into mental magic as a primary-magic character.

 

In regards to your question about editing the save, we don't know a lot about the save format and it would take a while to figure it out. It would be easiest for you to just edit the scripts (see one of the posts in my signature if you want to learn about that) to give you a new copy of the sword and then just discard the old one. However, there are better weapons than the oozing blade and you may want to save the golden crystal for one of those.

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1 hour ago, TheKian said:

 

In regards to your questions about crystals, take a look at this post.

 

In regards to your question about spellcraft, I do not believe it would be worth it to pump it up to 15. The stat that scales best is mental magic, and once you have a decent grounding for your other magic skills, you should put your points into mental magic as a primary-magic character.

 

In regards to your question about editing the save, we don't know a lot about the save format and it would take a while to figure it out. It would be easiest for you to just edit the scripts (see one of the posts in my signature if you want to learn about that) to give you a new copy of the sword and then just discard the old one. However, there are better weapons than the oozing blade and you may want to save the golden crystal for one of those.

Okay. I have a guardian claymore and shaped blade. Should I gcrystal the claymore?

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I would personally go for the Guardian Claymore, but it really depends on whether you want the extra 2 strength/quick action or not (assuming I am recalling correctly - I believe that the shaped blade has higher damage). If you already have high strength and quick action, you may want to use the shaped blade instead (although I would recommend waiting until you can kill Koerner in Poryphra for his puresteel blade). If you're using the infiltrator, you'll definitely want to use the Guardian Claymore.

 

Also, in regards to your question a little ways back in the thread about the best sword, the Puresteel Soulblade does the best damage in the game, but it is only found in the endgame challenge area in the Pit of the Titan, which requires having already reached Northforge.

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On 7/2/2019 at 8:14 AM, TheKian said:

I would personally go for the Guardian Claymore, but it really depends on whether you want the extra 2 strength/quick action or not (assuming I am recalling correctly - I believe that the shaped blade has higher damage). If you already have high strength and quick action, you may want to use the shaped blade instead (although I would recommend waiting until you can kill Koerner in Poryphra for his puresteel blade). If you're using the infiltrator, you'll definitely want to use the Guardian Claymore.

 

Also, in regards to your question a little ways back in the thread about the best sword, the Puresteel Soulblade does the best damage in the game, but it is only found in the endgame challenge area in the Pit of the Titan, which requires having already reached Northforge.

Sounds good. Any tips for killing Koerner?

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15 minutes ago, JackEKnoff said:

Sounds good. Any tips for killing Koerner?

Being a warrior main, I find the best way to kill Koerner using melee weapons is to use every pod available and beat him down as fast as you can before you sustain too much damage.

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2 hours ago, Vinlie said:

Being a warrior main, I find the best way to kill Koerner using melee weapons is to use every pod available and beat him down as fast as you can before you sustain too much damage.

I can't even get close because alwan and all the other shapers form a rebel lynch mob as soon as they see me. I tried charming the guards but they die really quick against all the spellcasters.  Is it possible to pick them off one by one?

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You'll want to get a little later in the game, where Alwan has left (otherwise he's actually unkillable). I've had success baiting a few enemies into my party (admittedly playing as a Lifecrafter with a bunch of wingbolts) and killing them before running out of the zone. You'll eventually kill them all and be able to grab the sick loot, bro.

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Yes, bait them so you can fight them in small groups. If you deal enough damage to Alwan and Miranda they'll flee, but there's really no point unless you want the extra challenge. They leave the zone permanently when you open the next chapter.

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3 hours ago, JackEKnoff said:

I can't even get close because alwan and all the other shapers form a rebel lynch mob as soon as they see me. I tried charming the guards but they die really quick against all the spellcasters.  Is it possible to pick them off one by one?

If you haven't specialized in anything creation-wise, but have specialized in magic, what i find works extremely well is creating a legion of fyoras for very cheap that can act as targets for the enemies, so they aren't focus firing on you. Pick off the enemies slowly and try to get out of combat frequently to make a quick save to you'll slowly but surely make progress. 

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On 7/6/2019 at 6:37 PM, Vinlie said:

If you haven't specialized in anything creation-wise, but have specialized in magic, what i find works extremely well is creating a legion of fyoras for very cheap that can act as targets for the enemies, so they aren't focus firing on you. Pick off the enemies slowly and try to get out of combat frequently to make a quick save to you'll slowly but surely make progress. 

Meant to respond sooner but I never got around to it. I decided to rush into the next chapter just to get Alwan and Miranda to disband the rebel lynch mob. Once they were gone I lured Grim around a corner and he met a swift end. Koerner and the remaining guards were no match for my absurdly high mental magic skills.

Continued towards Northforge with my shiny new sword meeting little resistance along the way. I even managed to kill Miranda and Alwan in their little hiding spot in the power core, although the machinery killed me quite a few times. The only thing I wasn't able to do was the corrupted unbound. Haven't gotten around to the challenge dungeon yet but I'm not looking forward to it considering how much trouble they gave me in previous games. Gazak-Uss was the only one that wasn't hellish to get through.

Anyway, big thanks to everyone on this thread for answering my questions and giving me advice for my build. Can't wait to move on to Geneforge 5. I'm thinking of playing an infiltrator or shocktrooper for G5, but I'll probably just make another thread to pester you guys with my mundane questions. 😜

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9 hours ago, JackEKnoff said:

Can't wait to move on to Geneforge 5. I'm thinking of playing an infiltrator or shocktrooper for G5, but I'll probably just make another thread to pester you guys with my mundane questions. 😜

Looking forward to working with you!

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On ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 12:04 PM, JackEKnoff said:

I'm thinking of playing an infiltrator or shocktrooper for G5, but I'll probably just make another thread to pester you guys with my mundane questions. 😜

 

Go for Shocktrooper IMO. Why? Because I think it would be more interesting. 
Shocktroopers are good in Shaping and the blessings for your creatures when needed, you can get from items. It would be a little tougher than with a Shaper (because magic > fighting) but not much. If you use Gamerman's mod for the artifact weapons and batons, it would be easier and it would give you something to look forward to. 

 

Also, in case you're interested in mods, my mod about Shapers\Lifecrafters could be used with a Shocktrooper without problems. It's meant as a mod for "Shaping primary" types.

Edited by alhoon

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"It would be a little tougher than with a Shaper (because magic > fighting) but not much"

 

No, that will be way more than a little tougher.

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8 hours ago, Damp Annals said:

"It would be a little tougher than with a Shaper (because magic > fighting) but not much"

 

No, that will be way more than a little tougher.

 

Than Shaper? Why "Way more" than a little tougher if I may ask?

I have played GF5 as mostly a "Shaping Shaper" with items and artifacts that boost the Creations, no mind magic at all except the 3 points to use "unlock", not those boots that give Action Points etc, mostly relying on the creations to do the fighting and it was... easy-ish. Easier than GF4 I would think.

So since at least in my experience all you need is Shaping and a bit of blessing magic, I would expect Shaper to be just a bit more powerful than a Shocktrooper.

 

What I mean is that I have found that in normal difficulty at least, in GF5 a Shaper\Lifecrafter acting as nothing more than an "Inventory" and staying completely out of the fights is able to nicely deal with the whole game without a hiccup. So, since a "person focusing on an army of powerful creations without spending more than a few skills in blessing magic" is enough, I don't see how buying those few levels in blessing magic 2 skill points more expensively will make a great difference.
In the end, you'll end with 2-3 blessing magic below a Shaper and perhaps 1-2 levels less in a Shaping talent. I don't see how that would be much more difficult.

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In normal difficulty, you can pretty run anything and if it's at least half-baked it will work.

 

There have been numerous threads and posts here dumping on Shock Troopers.  I'm not going to reiterate years of abuse, but basically, it's not that you can't do OK with them, it's that they are strictly worse than other options, without providing any kind of additional playstyle or anything like that.

 

Also, I'm pre-emptively exiting the argument now, due to the history of these things going on forever...

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7 hours ago, Damp Annals said:

There have been numerous threads and posts here dumping on Shock Troopers.  I'm not going to reiterate years of abuse, but basically, it's not that you can't do OK with them, it's that they are strictly worse than other options, without providing any kind of additional playstyle or anything like that.

We the jury, find the defendant [Shocktrooper] guilty on the charge of being underpowered and mundane. She will be sentenced to 2 years of replaying the inner shaper crypt from G1. 

Seriously though, you guys must really dislike the shocktrooper. I spent a bit of time reading through G5 strategy central and I found maybe one post that praised the shocktrooper; point taken. Normally, I wouldn't have a problem with it being slightly underpowered but I plan to play on hard or torment this time around.

Now Im debating on the traditional shaper, or the agent/infiltrator. In one thread I think Damp Annals mentioned there was a difference between the agent and infiltrator. Something about extra resistances. I loaded up one of each on G5 and found that the infiltrator had more spell energy to start off with, but I didn't see any difference in the resistances. Enlighten me.

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Unless it changed in a version update at some point (I don't think so, but I am the wrong person to check with about that), in G5, the three original classes (Shaper, Guardian, and Agent) had significant, permanent, built-in armor and resistances that the six rebel-type classes did not have.

 

This was not intentional.  What happened was that in G4, Shapers, Guardians, and Agents existed only as NPCs, and so their base creature types were given all the regular sorts of damage resistances that NPCs with fighting ability tend to have.  (Because NPCs don't manually add skill points the way the player does, of course.)  Jeff just forgot to take these resistances back out when those creatures became available for use as the PC again.

 

Especially if you play as an agent/infiltrator with few to no creations, this can make a noticeable difference in how easy or hard the game is.

 

(Also, I can't remember if these baked-in resistances display on the status screen or not.)

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8 hours ago, Damp Annals said:

basically, it's not that you can't do OK with them, it's that they are strictly worse than other options, without providing any kind of additional playstyle or anything like that.

 

Also, I'm pre-emptively exiting the argument now, due to the history of these things going on forever...

 

Oh oh... before you exit that argument, just one sentence:

So... it's not that they're "too weak", it's that they are not fun to play which is downright damning by itself since this is a game. That IMO is much more important than questions of balance.

 

Back to JackEnOff:
Shaper is better in hard because... magic is better. You also don't have to divert as much to strength as you won't wear as heavy armor. Still, if you plan to go with "Creation army with PC minor support" perhaps you could try a Shocktrooper for the slightly extra challenge ... although if the Shocktrooper is more boring to play that would be a problem. I cannot in good conscience suggest you to play a class that will be boring.

 

Random question: While Servile is better as fighter/mage, would it be viable to have an Infiltrator Fighter/mage build? Without much mental magic and only temporary creations when needed that is?

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Quoted: So... it's not that they're "too weak", it's that they are not fun to play which is downright damning by itself since this is a game. That IMO is much more important than questions of balance.

Back to JackEnOff: Shaper is better in hard because... magic is better. You also don't have to divert as much to strength as you won't wear as heavy armor. Still, if you plan to go with "Creation army with PC minor support" perhaps you could try a Shocktrooper for the slightly extra challenge ... although if the Shocktrooper is more boring to play that would be a problem. I cannot in good conscience suggest you to play a class that will be boring.

I'm probably not going to play a shocktrooper after all the bad things I've heard. It seems interesting, but I wouldn't want to bore myself if what you say is true. What exactly makes it boring?

Quoted: Random question: While Servile is better as fighter/mage, would it be viable to have an Infiltrator Fighter/mage build? Without much mental magic and only temporary creations when needed that is?

For G4 the infiltrator is probably better. You can get the gloves of savagery early on, and you can get combat training in the fens. The only magic trainer that I know of only trains spellcraft. Assuming you'll use mental magic, and want charm to be effective at end-game, you'll want 30 to 40 combined mental magic and spellcraft, which would be easier to achieve on an infiltrator. At 16 mm and 15 sp (gear and charm bonuses included) I couldn't reliably charm most end game creations. Mass madness was more effective but still lacking. Without mental magic, it wouldn't make much sense to be a melee infiltrator. If melee was your main damage type you wouldn't need to invest in battle magic, and if you don't use mental magic then blessing magic would be the only school left, which would make picking the servile more optimal for that playstyle since blessing magic doesn't require much investment.

Please note that everything I just said was observed in my previous run through G4 and you may disagree with some things.

Edited by Damp Annals
Edited to fix page-breaking errors that made it into the post

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