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Juan Carlo

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Posts posted by Juan Carlo

  1. More specifically, what protects against it?  I assume it's a curse, but do mind resist items protect against it in addition to curse resist items?  What about the Ahriel passive skill that has a random mental cure chance or the evade magic protection spells?  Do they provide any protection?


    Taking on the infernal scorpion and he's really destroying my party with this annoyance. 

  2. Geneforge 1, 100%.  I really love the Avernums, but I always warn people that playing and finishing an Avernum is an 80 hour affair, whereas you can finish a Geneforge and do just about everything in 30 hours.

  3. As a full disclosure, I play a ton of RPGs and have since the late 1990s.  I didn't discover Spiderweb until 2012 or so, and Avadon was my first Spiderweb game.  I didn't love Avadon as I found it way too linear and generic, but there was something about its bread and butter approach to gameplay and storytelling that hooked me, so I very quickly went back and played everything Vogel ever did after finishing it. 


    I don't think I got around to playing and finishing the Geneforges until, maybe, 2013 or 2014, but even playing them a full decade after they were originally released, they quickly became a top 5 all-time RPG series for me (Geneforge 5 is maybe my number 4 or 5  all time favorite RPG behind stuff like Darklands, Dark Souls, and a few others), and I'd personally say it's the best RPG series of the 2000s (I think 2000-2009 was a dry spell for RPGs, personally, as only a few bigger studios were doing them and Steam had yet to revive the indie scene).  I even like them way better than the Fallout series which they were supposedly emulating.  I could write volumes about why they are such great games, but for me, the most amazing thing about them is how they use such a simple, and almost formulaic, structure to create worlds and moral choices that suggest a complexity that's light years beyond the content that's actually there.  These games completely hooked me in a way that few games have, which surprised me.  I'm an OCD masochist who has to play everything on torment, and I recall more than a few times reloading battles to make sure all the NPC Serviles survived.  Why?  There were no rewards for doing so, and there certainly weren't any achievements attached.  I just couldn't bear to see any of them die.  


    It never ceases to blow my mind how a fairly large company like Obsidian can kickstart a multi-million dollar RPG like Pillars of Eternity and set about creating it with scores of developers and writers, yet have the end product seem so small and empty compared to the universe that the Geneforge games suggest with so much less of everything: way less money, incredibly crude graphics, way less writing (if you judge by word count), and etc.  I remember the plot to the entire Geneforge series, including various moral choices I made along the way, but I can't recall jack [censored] about Pillars of Eternity even though I played through the whole thing (like, it was about rebelling Gods, or something, I think?).


    To be perfectly honest, though, in hearing Jeff Vogel write about them after the fact over the years, I'm not  really sure that even he realizes how great the Geneforge games are, or more importantly, why they are so great.  I've liked all of the games he's done since in varying degrees (not crazy about the Avadon universe, which is kind of dull, but I really liked Queen's Wish and think he's finally doing some stuff with it to shake up his formula a bit), but I really don't see him trying terribly hard to replicate the lightning in the bottle he caught with the Geneforges.  Honestly, that's fine.  He's talked about how he was a different, younger, person when he made them, which makes sense and I understand.  However, whenever he does one of his many, "These are all the reasons why my games have been successful and people like them" blog posts he occasionally does, I always want to write my own counter to them, as I'm not sure he realizes why his games have been successful.

  4. Also, what does luck do?  I haven't invested in it at all, but as I approach the endgame and I started deciding what to do with (in some cases) an excess of skill points, it would be good to know what specifically luck does.  I know in many spiderweb games it can affect to-hit and damage significantly, but it's always impossible to tell what it does just from the interface.

  5. I am currently level 28 in a torment playthrough with 1 archer, 1 priest, and 2 mages, so it's probably too late to be asking this question, but which is better for archers: gymnastics or sniper? 


    I have been investing in gymnastics, and it seems to be working.  I don't know if it's the gymnastics or the dexterity, but my archer rarely gets hit.  I haven't put a single point in Endurance for the entire game.  Instead, I've been maxing dex for my archer and int for my mages/priest, and while this made some of the earlier levels tough going, at level 28 with +8 - +10 hardiness for everyone, my entire party can now take several hits without dying.


    However, I have, around, +4 sniper just from items, and it triggers enough to be noticeable.  So I'm curious how useful it is, especially factoring in that I have all of the battle disciplines and always have haste active.


    Also, given that I have invested in Gymnastics on my archer, would it be worth equipping him with +Action Point items to make it more effective?  Or would the action points not be enough to matter?.

  6. I'm sure it will be fun, but this has to be the ugliest game SW has released in over a decade. The sprites all look like they were designed by 12 different artists with conflicting instructions on what the game was supposed to look like, so nothing seems to match.  The character sprites all seem like they were designed for isometric, but were forced into this top-down perspective, so they all awkwardly stand at angles.  The roofs of houses just look strange and the new character portraits look like they were created for an entirely different game circa-1997. I kept thinking that the screenshots up until now were placeholders or something, but nope. This is the game in its highest form.

    I don't mind ditching isometric for top down, but they really should have taken more of a simple, board game, type aesthetic to the graphics.  Just ditch realism entirely.


    Still can't wait, though.

  7. I love Spiderweb. I like the Avadons. But the factions in the games never made much sense to me. Mainly because the games give you zero reason to care about any of them (and yeah, the Wyldrylm are the most cliched, tedious, one note, faction of all of them. So it's a shame Jeff spent so much time on them). The Geneforge factions worked beautifully (perhaps the best faction based RPGs I've ever played), just because each faction was connected to immediately perceivable issues regarding human rights (exemplified in the game via the Serviles) that were immediately translatable into real world situations. So you knew what each faction stood for and what was at stake instantly.


    But I could never move myself to give two #$%#s about the Avadon factions. It's all digital squabbles over digital land in a digital universe, which has little connection to anything real (apart from the whole "freedom vs security" issue, although I never thought it was explored as well or as nuanced as the human rights issues in the Geneforges). It puts me to sleep. I still like the games, just because they are bread and butter Spiderweb. But I'm incredibly happy that Jeff is finally done with them and can move on to something else.

  8. The simple addition of friendly fire on torment has made sorcerers much more fun to play. Or it makes me more aware of them and their position in reference to other party members, anyway, whereas in the past I'd take them for granted. Rolling with a two mage party is pretty interesting as a consequence. And yeah, Nathalie, no contest. Especially since she's slightly older, so it's interesting to see her in contrast to Avadon 1.

  9. Aw, I like reading about bugs, though. Huge game breaking bugs are no fun (and irrelevant given that SW games never have them), but this sort of more obscure balancing minutia is fascinating to me. Most devs these days have dedicated bug threads just so they don't get the same issue reported 1,000 times. I know Spiderweb is a tiny company and the sorts of bugs that some here are finding are pretty obscure issues that you'd have to do some more extended testing to discover (so I doubt SW will be getting 1,000 outraged e-mails that a Tinkermage's turrets don't seem to scale from STR), but I don't think it's a bad mark on Spiderweb if the bugs are posted on and discussed on the forum. Nor do I think doing so would mean that the bugs will be seen as persisting forever, given that many of the more dedicated players here will no doubt go over 1.01 with a fine toothed comb upon release and correct the record. The sort of deep analysis of game mechanics that goes on here only comes from a place of love and over the years I've come to look forward to it as part of the ambiance of playing any new SW release.

  10. Yeah, I noticed it seems way easier too. I died twice on first discovering Vid, then got it 3rd try. And it seems like there are fewer fights overall (which I'm not complaining about as I think Spiderweb games could all do with about 1/3 less combat than they have, although more so the Avernums and to a lesser extent the Avadons. I think the Geneforges are about right).

  11. I started playing this and the friendly fire definitely makes it interesting. Also, it seems like abilities take longer to recharge (almost absurdly so....lI've rarely had the chance to use an ability more than once in a single fight). I know Jeff said he wanted to change up torment by making it less, "exactly the same as hard.....only with even more hitpoints, resistances, and to-hit chances on enemies," so I'm wondering if anyone knows how the difficulties compare in this game. Does torment increase difficulty over hard via hit-point bloat, resistances, and to-hit, or is its biggest difference from hard (which also has the friendly fire) just the longer cooldowns on abilities?


    I ask because I always play Spiderweb games on torment and would much prefer it if Jeff started focusing on things like friendly fire and other tactics type remedies to increase difficulty, rather than just endless hitpoint bloat. I'm a total difficulty masochist, but even I admit that playing the Avernum remakes on torment can get downright absurd when you find yourself beating away on a trash mob of rats for 5 minutes straight because their resistances are so high.....only to encounter 20 more of that same mob of rats before exiting what ever dungeon you're in.


    Thus far, Avadon 3 doesn't seem to have that problem, but I'm pretty early in the game.

  12. The first was great. I've played it 3-4 times, although all over a decade ago now.


    I played "Invisible War" just once on release, so I honestly can't remember much about it just that it was a disappointment.


    Human Revolution is a solid shooter/stealth game, but I didn't love it as much as some people seemed to and I think it's kind of overrated. The storyline and protagonist were dull and while much better than "Invisible War," the world still seemed limited in scope compared to the original. And, yeah, it did seem too polished for its own good. It does what it does well, but it definitely doesn't reach anywhere near as far as the original.


    In fact, if you want a modern game that comes close to living up to the original "Deus Ex," I'd say that "Dishonored" comes closer than any of Deus Ex's sequels. And its universe is way more interesting than anything in the Deus Ex sequels (definitely play that if you haven't). I'll still probably play the new Deus Ex eventually, though. It's just not really a day 1 purchase for me. More of a "once the GOTY is half off a year from now" purchase.

  13. Pillars of Eternity is more than anything else a very deliberate throwback to Baldur's Gate. It's not D&D, but it plays very similarly and has a very Infinity Engine style in both gameplay and story. That should really tell you whether you want to play it or not.


    —Alorael, who enjoyed it very much but then ended up not finishing it. He got distracted, and then he got distracted from his distraction, and now he contemplates diving back in and doesn't.


    PoE is worth completing, but it takes a while to get interesting. I didn't find it particularly compelling until the very end when there is a major universe twist that actually kind of made me want to replay the game with the twist in mind. Up until that point it didn't really grab me, but that's probably just because I was too daft to realize what the game universe was until the ending spelled it out. It's strictly lore stuff, as opposed to plot, but I'll tag it anyway:

    the universe is more or less an RPG version of Gnosticism, where the gods are all various levels of demiurges bent on masking the truth of spiritual reality from mankind and controlling its essence, which I find really cool. Especially since the game doesn't railroad you in to one perspective on this or religion in general, allowing for a bunch of different stances toward it from outright atheism, to demiurge worship, to maintaining the possibility that there might be a higher more mystical power above the demiurges

    . Now that the universe is set up, I think the sequel could be really awesome depending on where they go with it.

    Bring on Gnostic Jesus rebelling against the gods, please.


  14. Age of Decadence is great. Play that before you play anything else people have mentioned. I'd second Underrail and also recommend the Shadowrun games. Especially the last 2 (the first recent reboot, "Shadow Run Returns," isn't as good as "Dragonfall" and "Hong Kong"). Plus, the Shadowruns have more sci-fi elements and a neat blade runner aesthetic, which is a welcome change of pace from the usual fantasy tropes.


    I found the Eschalons to be incredibly dull, so I wouldn't bother with them. The first might have been great 6 years ago before the indie boom, but now there are just too many better games to play and the sequels didn't improve much on the first,

  15. I really loved the 2005 film, "The Descent." It's a strange combination of a spelunking film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Aliens. Didn't have much impact in terms of film, but the new "Tomb Raider" reboot ripped it off liberally, stealing its main plot arch and a certain scene where the main character is baptized in blood:



    The French also had a really great run of very nihilistic horror films in the 2000s. My favorite of the lot was "Inside," about a woman stalking a pregnant woman. One of the most intense thrillers I've ever seen:



    Not really a slasher film at all, but the last truly great horror film I saw was "The Witch." Worth seeing if you like horror:




    Otherwise, too many to list. I'd have to sit down and think some more.



    Proverbs of Hell

    In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. 26 Drive your cart and your plough over the bones of the dead. 27 The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. 28 Prudence is a rich, ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. 29 He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence. 30 The cut worm forgives the plough. 31 Dip him in the river who loves water. 32 A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. 33 He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star. 34 Eternity is in love with the productions of time. 35 The busy bee has no time for sorrow. 36 The hours of folly are measur’d by the clock; but of wisdom, no clock can measure. 37 All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap. 38 Bring out number, weight, and measure in a year of dearth. 39 No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings. 40 A dead body revenges not injuries. 41 The most sublime act is to set another before you. 42 If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise. 43 Folly is the cloak of knavery. 44 Shame is Pride’s cloak. 45 Prisons are built with stones of Law, brothels with bricks of Religion. 46 The pride of the peacock is the glory of God. 47 The lust of the goat is the bounty of God. 48 The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God. 49 The nakedness of woman is the work of God. 50 Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps. 51 The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man. 52 The fox condemns the trap, not himself. 53 Joys impregnate. Sorrows bring forth. 54 Let man wear the fell of the lion, woman the fleece of the sheep. 55 The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship. 56 The selfish, smiling fool, and the sullen, frowning fool shall be both thought wise, that they may be a rod. 57 What is now proved was once only imagin’d. 58 The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbit watch the roots; the lion, the tiger, the horse, the elephant watch the fruits. 59 The cistern contains: the fountain overflows. 60 One thought fills immensity. 61 Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you. 62 Everything possible to be believ’d is an image of truth. 63 The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow. 64 The fox provides for himself; but God provides for the lion. 65 Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night. 66 He who has suffer’d you to impose on him, knows you. 67 As the plough follows words, so God rewards prayers. 68 The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction. 69 Expect poison from the standing water. 70 You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough. 71 Listen to the fool’s reproach! it is a kingly title! 72 The eyes of fire, the nostrils of air, the mouth of water, the beard of earth. 73 The weak in courage is strong in cunning. 74 The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall grow; nor the lion, the horse, how he shall take his prey. 75 The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. 76 If others had not been foolish, we should be so. 77 The soul of sweet delight can never be defil’d. 78 When thou seest an eagle, thou seest a portion of Genius; lift up thy head! 79 As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys. 80 To create a little flower is the labour of ages. 81 Damn braces. Bless relaxes. 82 The best wine is the oldest, the best water the newest. 83 Prayers plough not! Praises reap not! 84 Joys laugh not! Sorrows weep not! 85 The head Sublime, the heart Pathos, the genitals Beauty, the hands and feet Proportion. 86 As the air to a bird or the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible. 87 The crow wish’d everything was black, the owl that everything was white. 88 Exuberance is Beauty. 89 If the lion was advised by the fox, he would be cunning. 90 Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of Genius. 91 Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires. 92 Where man is not, nature is barren. 93 Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believ’d. 94 Enough! or Too much. 95



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