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I recently started this game after finishing A:EFTP and have been looking at guides and party building mechanics. If I am a casual player on Normal difficulty, could I get away with using melee instead of an all mage/priest party? I understand that all spell casters seem to be stronger but would it make a significant difference on Normal difficulty?

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I completed the game multiple times on normal with a sword and shield fighter, a pole arm fighter, a mage and a priest.  It was not a problem.  For A:CS there is some goodness in dual wielding and adrenaline rush if I remember correctly, but that wasn't the route that I took.

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An all spell casting mage/priest runs into some problems in the final Garzhad fight that I stopped at for torment difficulty since it is a scripted fight that works better with a melee fighter in the party.However I saw I had enough unfinished quest to get another 5 party levels, so someday I might go back and finish them to see how much difference that makes and better equip the party with more consumable items.

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An all spellcasting party definitely isn't necessary, even on Torment.  On Normal any sensible party will work fine.

 

The Garzahd fight goes fine with an all-spellcaster party.

 

Adrenaline Rush remains OP in A2:CS.  Dual wielding, not so much -- it's OK, but it's truly outclassed by spellcasting.

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Jeff/Spiderweb makes it so that you have to pretty much deliberately screw up your party to not be able to finish/survive while on easy or normal settings.  Having a traditional melee meat shield in your party is pretty far from deliberately screwing up.

 

/although I'd give him at least one level of priest skill so that he can heal/cure if the assorted others' time could better be used dropping serious spells on the monsters that need thumping

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