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(Avernum 5) Am I doing something wrong?


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I've generally beaten the prior Avernum games on Torment difficulty without too much trouble, especially if I plan out my party beforehand and have some idea of what I'm doing. Avernum 4 on Torment was practically a cakewalk with a 3-person party of DT/EW Nephil, DT/PS Slith, and DT/NM Nephil. Nothing was very hard after the first 1/4 of so of the game, and even then it wasn't too bad. Blades of Avernum was really the only game that gave me trouble, because I didn't like the timed scenario (I'm a completionist, and you can't really be a proper completionist when your time is limited). The first two scenarios were no problem (except for the vampire fight in Valley of Dying Things, which I'm pretty sure is not even possible on Torment—I killed the vampire once out of dozens of tries, and then promptly died to his summoned minions).


That said, Avernum 5 is approximately a thousand times harder than Avernum 4. I read up on Slarty's party guide, and I'm relatively certain I optimized things pretty well. My party members are, in order: DT/EW Nephil tank, DT/EW Nephil archer, DT/PS Nephil priest, and DT/NM Nephil mage. From the beginning until getting a boat at the Harston Docks, I have had significant problems actually being able to survive, as well as to kill enemies. I've had to leave things for later and try to remember where they are when I come back, something that I did not have to do in any prior Avernum game. Enemies seem to have about three times as much health and do twice as much damage as on Torment in Avernum 4; cave slimes were one-shotting my tank when I first found them. This is not normal behavior, in my experience.


So, what's going on? Am I doing something wrong? Is it widely known that A5 is significantly harder than previous Avernum games? Am I expected to come back later to finish up side quests? Because if so, I'm going to have to just call it quits on this game right now, which is very frustrating. I can't play enough to remember where everything is when I've progressed significantly past in the main storyline, since by that point I may not have been back there for several weeks.


As of this point, I've completely nearly everything around New Harston, including Dirty Desiree, Rat Lord, and Hirickis, but to even get past the Darksider ambush leading up to the Docks, I had to skip past Hasen, which meant I didn't get the shielding dagger. :( But trying to go up into the waterways now, anything I attempt seems even harder than what I've already done.

Edited by Llyrellenya
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The fights at harder difficulties are really harder with monster capable of killing you in one round. So summoned monsters and taking advantage of choke points in the terrain are very important. Retreating to a better position and taking them down a few at a time is very important.


Pretty much you have to skip and come back later for some areas. Even on normal some places are just a bit too hard if you try to do everything the first time that you can.

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19 hours ago, Llyrellenya said:

I'm not playing SW games anymore, not if Jeff can't be remotely consistent between them.


I hope that you change your mind sometime! There are some really nice moments in the later Avernum games, and I feel that they are well worth playing.


Just because this hasn't been said yet, the way in which the Avernum games are structured underwent some significant changes in the second Avernum trilogy. In particular, Jeff started to experiment with a new idea: that new areas may not necessarily be fully completable when they are first encountered. This is not so evident in Avernum 4, but it becomes much, much more obvious in Avernum 5. Khora-Vysss is the most memorable example (where the player is actually warned about the difficulty), but many of the early segments of the game contain fights and events that were intended to be too hard to deal with when the player first encounters them. It sounds like this is the problem that you are coming up against.


Unfortunately, this probably doesn't help too much. To play the game on Torment, you'll probably need to leave a lot of fights and side-areas until you're stronger, and that doesn't fit with the time you have available. You could, I suppose, always keep a quick text file on hand as a reminder about what you need to go back to, but that is a little extra faff.


If you're not a fan of hard sidequests, and you don't want to continue with Avernum 5, I would still suggest trying Avernum 6. Sidequest difficulty is much more manageable in the sixth game, so your experience may match up more with what you're used to from the first trilogy.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Began to replay A5, as I don't remember a lot from it.


Made an Elite warrior/Frail frontline tank priest Slith and a Deadeye/Frail backline mage Nephil. Chose to play on Torment. An unorthodox and not a meta party, but challenge = fun.

Currently, I'm quite close of leaving Exodus. I did have to skip the dagger as well in the ambush before the Docks.


Compared to A4 and A6, A5 might have the hardest early game. But as I'm now level 19 and 20, things have slowly began to smooth out.


In conclusion, keep on going. It is worth it.

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