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thoughts on balance on torment


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So...obviously...enough anal-retentiveness can ruin any experience. That said, archers are without question incredibly overpowered in these games, and sword and polearm users are without question incredibly underpowered, and nonhumans are mostly useless compared to humans (although they're not nearly as garbage-ish as sword and polearm users are compared to other classes in general).

 

With that in mind, I've been using the editor to do what I see as balancing things, along with tossing in a few rules from the gods of Avernum. 

 

Sliths get +4 polearm skill and +3 intelligence. They've always been described as both good warriors and spellcasters, and back in the original Exile game (which was a precursor to the Avernum games, way way back) sliths both got extra strength and intelligence, so I figure this fits well. They can either be high intelligence spellcasters, or warriors.

 

Nephilim get +3 archer skill and +3 thrown weapons skill and +1 dexterity.

 

In this way, nonhumans are not necessarily better or worse than humans. Nonhumans get extra skill points to move up the skill trees faster, but humans get extra traits, so humans or nonhumans can both be the superior archer or polearm users, depending on how you want them built. For example, an archer mage with parry who wants to be great at blessing needs a ton of traits, but nephilim will have a higher maximum damage output than humans, and a little higher maximum dexterity.

 

A polearm user with riposte and parry and sage lore might be best as a human, who'd need more traits. A polearm user that just stabs things hard would be more likely to work out best as a slith.

 

A slith mage would start out with more intelligence than a human mage, and ultimately end up with higher intelligence, but a mage with parry and the summoning-improving traits, with  high health would probably work out best as a human.

 

Note that the nonhuman bonuses all are immediately available, whereas the human bonuses occur over time through traits. I think the idea has always been that sliths and nephilim have better inborne abilities than humans in some ways, but humans tend be better at learning, being creative, and adapting. That used to be shown through humans getting no experience penalty, and nonhumans getting experience penalties...so I think my changes follow along with the mood of the genre pretty well.

 

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In Crystal Souls, I still think archers are overpowered, but not game-breakingly so. In Crystal Souls everything has at least a 20% chance to hit, so dexterity is still way better than parry for increasing evasiveness, but you'll get hit once in awhile. In Escape from the Pit and Ruined World though, everything had a minimum of a 5% chance to hit, rendering archers pretty much immune to most attacks in the game. What was particularly broken was that...the more archers you had, the more this type of benefit was compounded, because the more archers you had the easier it was to just use adrenaline rush the first turn and blot out the sun with your rain of arrows, immediately rendering anything that could harm you no longer amongst the living.

 

I think they need nerfing. I think the gods of Avernum should deem it so they have various crippling rules applied to them, maybe not so much in Crystal Souls, but definitely in Escape from the Pit and Ruined World. I'd consider having it mandated that they get all the worst traits you can think of, or forbidding them from getting the health increasing traits, or mandating that they each get ten points of cave lore or something.

 

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like I mentioned earlier, I think magic users are pretty much fine as they are. and a fourth class that nobody talks about: high health, low intelligence walls are about equally decent too. Lots of people think magic users are the best class. Those people are very clearly wrong. Archers are without question the best class. It doesn't matter that archers will do a little less damage to groups if they never get hit by anything. They don't need mind control or creative spells. They're immune to everything that's still alive after the first turn.

 

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Finally we arrive at the garbage-tier known as dual-wielders and polearm users...and the sub-garbage tier who are the sword and shield users...although I do think, at least in Escape from the Pit, dual-wielding might be described as slightly above garbage, because of the lower dual-wielding penalty and great swords. They're more like the apple in the trash that you're tempted to eat because it doesn't have any bites in it. Now, in the other two games they're just regular trash...with sword and shield users actually being sub-trash. Sword and shield users are like the trash that's so gross that you bury it down beneath the other trash so as not to offend the garbage collectors. We're talking diapers/used kleenexes/etc.

 

Regardless of what type of trash they are, every sword and polearm user is one of many varying degrees of trash...and everyone who disagrees is very clearly wrong. I'm actually doubling their strength. Every time they get a point of strength, I give them 2 using the editor. That's keeping in mind that in Escape from the Pit there's a cap on the primary skills of strength, endurance, intelligence, and dexterity of about 40, not counting traits, and in Crystal Souls and Ruined World the cap is about 50 or so...so they won't be able to keep increasing strength forever. Eventually they'll have to spend a few points in endurance. They'll be highly accurate (and I think high accuracy makes sense for people who are trying to stab things right in front of them) and they'll have some extra health.

 

In regular game, they deal more damage than archers, but that doesn't matter because in order to deal damage to the only people it serves a purpose to deal damage to (mages/summoners/priests/bosses) they usually have to wade through a sea of minions, which archers are typically more or less totally immune to anyway, and archers and high intelligence characters can just fire projectiles right past. 

 

So, I figure this way they'll become the tanky, exceedingly powerful short range fighters they were always meant to be, that have enough skills to make up for their weaknesses.

 

That said...I wouldn't be surprised if things work differently on normal difficulty. From what I understand, these games were tested on normal difficulty. 

 

End rant. I feel better now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Clintone said:

From what I understand, these games were tested on normal difficulty. 

 

 

It's late & I'm heading off to bed so no time to do a deep response now.  However, on that one point I know for an absolute fact that beta testing is done on all levels.  Perhaps my first run through was on 'normal', but subsequent ones were generally on 'hard/veteran' & at least one on 'torment'.

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I need more sleep, but I usually do the beta test on torment. Jeff's view is normal has to work for almost anyone with even a poor build. Torment has to be possible and he doesn't care how you do it.

 

Magic has always been the easiest choice  and most games that works on torment even for a single character party.  Archery has never been considered a good choice, but I need to test it.

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16 hours ago, Randomizer said:

I need more sleep, but I usually do the beta test on torment. Jeff's view is normal has to work for almost anyone with even a poor build. Torment has to be possible and he doesn't care how you do it.

 

Magic has always been the easiest choice  and most games that works on torment even for a single character party.  Archery has never been considered a good choice, but I need to test it.

It's kind of too late to change anything now...but archery is without question absurdly overpowered, at least on torment. It's argue it's probably better than magic...so long as you do it right. All you need to do is get every possible dexterity-increasing trait, and every possible health-increasing trait, unless you want a glass cannon, in which case you might consider having endurance as a secondary priority after the archer damage increasing traits...noting that archer glass cannons will still be better tanks than most things. Follow those rules and the more archers you have, the easier your game will be.

 

I know I suggested mandating that archers all get 10 points in cave lore or the worst traits...but the real problem with them, the problem that has rendered my Ruined World game actually pretty boring the further into it I get, is the 95% evasion rate, and adrenaline rush. Really, after the roach plague it's been pretty dull. I have a party of 3 archers and 1 high intelligence priest/mage. The priest mage is a liability, more than anything else. Four archers would have probably been easier. Daze is useful, but characters with zero intelligence investment can cast daze just fine in the game's beginning before you reach that reliable 95% evasion.

 

 

There is a mod for Cystal Souls that I think fixed the problems with adrenaline rush - the gameplay mod by GiantFriendlyTalkingSpiderman. Between that and Crystal Soul's everything having a 20% to hit chance, I think archer's are just about as good as everything else if the mod is used. (the mod makes it so that adrenaline rush only gives 10-15 extra skill points, rather than 20, so you can only get 2 extra shots off rather than 3..maybe 3 if hasted).

 

Now, I have not played Crystal Souls very far at all...(still in the demo) and I've only played Escape from the Pit up to about level 30, but I've tinkered around enough that I'm pretty sure I understand how these games work. You're just not going to find much in the way of a good replacement for 95% evasion against most attacks in the game. 

 

Or...maybe stuff in the very late game hits more often than I think it will. Get gymnastics then. I bet it's going to be the same result. At bare minimum, there's going to be no other class that comes anywhere near being able to evade physical attacks as well, and the other classes aren't innately going to be any better against magic and elemental attacks...unless you have an ultra-high endurance tank that can't attack things. 

 

If archer's had significantly lower magic/elemental resistance, that might make up for their massive physical evasion...but one problem is they don't. They actually seem to be able to evade some magic/elemental attacks too...so they're even better against some mages than those ultra-high endurance tanks.

 

Were I remaking these games, I would make strength much more powerful, or at least much more accurate, too boost melee characters. I would give everything a minimum of, I'd say, a 30% to hit chance, and I'd make it so there are zero non-physical attacks that dexterity can evade, and I'd make Adrenaline Rush give 10-15 points, rather than 20.

 

With all that, archers would still be the best physical tanks by a lot...because you could approximately halve that 30% to hit chance by just spending another ten points on parry, (combined with parry traits, buying parry from trainers, parry-increasing equipment, etc.) 

 

 

Edited by Clintone
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So, in Ruined World my 3 archer, 1 priest mage party is level 32.

 

I just beat the three dragons Koth, Sulfras, and Athron. The only item I used was a single energy elixer, that I probably only had to use because I kept having to cast revive because I only had 3 archers, rather than 4, and couldn't knock out Sulfras quickly enough before death curses knocked out my characters. Other than casting revive, the main purpose of my priest mage was to try his best to hide (usually unsuccessfully,) heal himself, and be a cheerleader. He finally died while fighting my third dragon, Athron, and my archer priest didn't have enough energy to revive him, so I just left him unconscious and the remainder of the fight became considerably more relaxing, because I didn't have to worry about the remainder of my team (the three archers) being hit nearly as often.

 

Again, I fought Sulfras with only 1 energy elixer...that I probably wouldn't have needed with a fourth archer. It's also notewothy that part if the reason I needed that energy elixer was because I never went back to a town between dragons. i knocked them all out on a single run-through. This was all on torment.

 

Now, some of you may be wondering how my party fares against alien beasts too. Well, they have a very intricate strategy for dealing with them. First, they begin merrily skipping. Then they start singing songs, possibly being partly distracted by butterflies and flowers, and occasionally braiding each others' hair. While this is going on, they commence casually shooting down every alien beast they see at their leisure without breaking a sweat.

 

Now...what was that somebody said about archers being the worst class?

Edited by Clintone
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Looking over the games, Avernum Escape from the Pit and Ruined World both have monsters near the end that have 95% armor and some with 95% magic damage resistance. so you will have times where you are chopping down a tree with a herring bone, I mean killing a monster really slowly.

 

Avernum:EftP has a a final quest zone where you need to use a certain melee weapon to break monster's immunity to damage and especially the boss monster. While this is tedious at the start with a 5% to hit chance it is a game breaker for the boss. (I tried this with an all spell casting party.) Also there are endless newly spawning monsters in that fight so time is very important and characters get moved away from the boss to the back of the room.

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44 minutes ago, Randomizer said:

Looking over the games, Avernum Escape from the Pit and Ruined World both have monsters near the end that have 95% armor and some with 95% magic damage resistance. so you will have times where you are chopping down a tree with a herring bone, I mean killing a monster really slowly.

 

Avernum:EftP has a a final quest zone where you need to use a certain melee weapon to break monster's immunity to damage and especially the boss monster. While this is tedious at the start with a 5% to hit chance it is a game breaker for the boss. (I tried this with an all spell casting party.) Also there are endless newly spawning monsters in that fight so time is very important and characters get moved away from the boss to the back of the room.

Yeah...I actually think that priest/mage of mine might have been more useful than another archer...not most of the time, but especially useful in a few rare circumstances...mostly for daze in the mid/late game, which I'd argue is by far the best spell in the game. It was best against bosses, to keep them from approaching, and to keep things at range so the archers could hit them.

 

It would probably would have ,more been useful if I'd gotten to the alien beasts earlier. Now that I'm in the late game, I've got enough resistances, it seems like it'd be more useful to have another archer than a late-game daze-caster.

 

The thing about archers, in my experience, is that the only things they seem particularly vulnerable to are large groups of enemies that do nothing but non-physical damage. Those opponents seem pretty rare until very far into the game, by which time I've gotten all the endurance traits and tons of elemental/magic resistance so while I'm being hit by cryo-demons and such...I'm shrugging off their attacks enough to easily heal next round. If I wanted, I could also summon undead or something to distract them, but that hasn't been necessary yet.

 

There were exceptions to that. In about three areas I had problems with undead. I lost two parties and almost lost a third. I had to use lots of items to get through. These were large groups of outdoor, cold and magic-casting undead. They weren't part of the main game though. I just met them through going out of my way to explore, and those occasions were all before I got my resistances built up much, or all the health-increasing traits.

 

Most enemies, especially in the main game, are not large groups of purely magic/elemental attackers. Most enemies either use nothing but physical attacks, a combination of physical and magic/elemental attacks, or come in a group of opponents, some of which use magic/elemental attacks and some of which use physical attacks.

 

Against groups of enemies containing some opponents that use physical attacks and some opponents that use magic/elemental attacks, archers can just cast adrenaline rush the first turn and knock out enough of the magic/elemental attackers that they can shrug off what's left and ignore the physical attackers. Against opponents that use both physical and magic/elemental attacks, archers essentially halve their attack power, by being basically immune to the physical side.

 

Even against ice drakes...it's not like they're going to be totally helpless against them. They just lose their evasion...which other classes never had in the first place.

 

Like I mentioned, I've not beaten Escape from the Pit. I guess I'll see how that goes, although for that I am using melee characters....

 

I played one Ruined World game with 2 archers and 2 priest/mages. This current game, with 3 archers and 1 priest mage is definitely the easiest of these games I've ever played. It was are respectable challenge during the slimes. Past that, with the exception of a few spots away from the main storyline I reached through exploring, just about everything's been a cakewalk.

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15 hours ago, Randomizer said:

Looking over the games, Avernum Escape from the Pit and Ruined World both have monsters near the end that have 95% armor and some with 95% magic damage resistance. so you will have times where you are chopping down a tree with a herring bone, I mean killing a monster really slowly.

 

Avernum:EftP has a a final quest zone where you need to use a certain melee weapon to break monster's immunity to damage and especially the boss monster. While this is tedious at the start with a 5% to hit chance it is a game breaker for the boss. (I tried this with an all spell casting party.) Also there are endless newly spawning monsters in that fight so time is very important and characters get moved away from the boss to the back of the room.

Causing fast damage is useful in various points in the game. That's undoubtedly why things were so difficult for my 2 archer, 2 priest/mage party. That's never been a problem for my 3 archer party though. I wouldn't be surprised if they'd actually deal damage faster than melee characters in most circumstances...at least in Ruined World where you have the bless the land spell. It's kind of ridiculous what 3 archers, blessed, on blessed terrain can do to most bosses using adrenaline rush on turn 1. Generally it's been like...half their health or so is gone immediately.

 

Melee characters are going to have more problems with that. It usually isn't wise to have all four of your party members right next to a boss, and that's the main way you'd be able to have melee fighters fighting from blessed land.

 

Regarding damage of archery vs. magic...I haven't looked into that enough to be able to  tell which would cause more damage to individuals. I've heard magic does more damage against single opponents. Obviously, a bit difference is going to be what you cloak you have up . I'm also usually more interested in mind control spells like daze and domination than damage dealing spells, so I generally just never get arcane blow or fireblast. plus, I'm biased because I always have cloak of bolts up and haven't ever gotten the spell damage increasing cloak.

 

Archers could have sharpshooter and lethal blow and skills that let them fire twice per turn...none of which magic users would have. I know the higher spells have a pretty large damage multiplier though.

 

Regarding stuff like the circumstance in which a character was invulnerable until hit by a melee attack...I don't view those sorts of rare circumstances as worth changing the party much. Also, your mage party did it. I'm betting archers would, if anything, have an easier time because they'd probably be taking less damage while endlessly trying to reach that 5% chance of hitting.

 

My guess is that the primary reason this rumor has spread that archers are somehow weak...is just that people don't try them often. They'll probably have one, but they won't have more because they want a magic user, and they want a sword user, and a polearm user so as to make use of all the different character types in the game...because there's just something kind of depressing about selling off all these wondrously impressive swords and halberds. 

Edited by Clintone
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Mages just do massively more damage than archers. Most fights are against an abundance of enemies, and archers only being able to target a single enemy at a time puts them at a pretty significant disadvantage to the AoE potential of a wizard or even priest. They make good dodge tanks (except in CS where the accuracy floor is 10% and not against cold, poisons, or acid attacks which use endurance for dodge chance), but in terms of damage they're nowhere close to the potential of a mage. Maybe in Ruined World they can beat a mage in single target damage since the armor growth was lowered in a patch to be closer to elemental defenses for enemies, but in all the other games, they don't come anywhere close to the amount of damage a wizard can output.

 

Sniper is mostly irrelevant by the end-game since it doesn't stack well with haste, which, if you're playing on Torment, should pretty much always be up anyway. While it takes a little longer to get there, mages also have access to adrenaline rush and 2 mages casting 3 lightning sprays (or flameburst/arcane blow if you're feeling like spending more energy) each will neutralize most encounters on Torment. In my experience warriors eventually get to much higher damage than archers by the end game when you get a Flaming Sword. The amount of damage it does compared to other weapons is significantly higher due to the added elemental damage, which in the first 2 games, enemies will have much lower elemental resists than armor. Of course, archers will still have the advantage of survivability (except vs ice/acid/poison) and range, which is useful for taking out enemy mages/priests.

 

In short, I really wouldn't consider archers overpowered, although they're perfectly fine (even if I'm less inclined to use them as tanks in CS due to the accuracy floor). 

Edited by Mechalibur
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5 hours ago, Mechalibur said:

Mages just do massively more damage than archers. Most fights are against an abundance of enemies, and archers only being able to target a single enemy at a time puts them at a pretty significant disadvantage to the AoE potential of a wizard or even priest. They make good dodge tanks (except in CS where the accuracy floor is 10% and not against cold, poisons, or acid attacks which use endurance for dodge chance), but in terms of damage they're nowhere close to the potential of a mage. Maybe in Ruined World they can beat a mage in single target damage since the armor growth was lowered in a patch to be closer to elemental defenses for enemies, but in all the other games, they don't come anywhere close to the amount of damage a wizard can output.

 

Sniper is mostly irrelevant by the end-game since it doesn't stack well with haste, which, if you're playing on Torment, should pretty much always be up anyway. While it takes a little longer to get there, mages also have access to adrenaline rush and 2 mages casting 3 lightning sprays (or flameburst/arcane blow if you're feeling like spending more energy) each will neutralize most encounters on Torment. In my experience warriors eventually get to much higher damage than archers by the end game when you get a Flaming Sword. The amount of damage it does compared to other weapons is significantly higher due to the added elemental damage, which in the first 2 games, enemies will have much lower elemental resists than armor. Of course, archers will still have the advantage of survivability (except vs ice/acid/poison) and range, which is useful for taking out enemy mages/priests.

 

In short, I really wouldn't consider archers overpowered, although they're perfectly fine (even if I'm less inclined to use them as tanks in CS due to the accuracy floor). 

I without question agree that mages, and priests, do massively more damage against groups of enemies than anyone else, especially archers. I don't agree that puts archers at a significant advantage. With the majority of fights, with characters as evasive as archers it's less about wiping out entire groups as quickly as possible, and more about knocking out a few specific enemies early (mages/summoners/magic users/cold users/etc) so that you can easily recover from any damage. Archer fights always take longer than mage fights against groups. The difference will be, mages and priests will always be vulnerable until the fights end, whereas archers will pretty quickly reach a point early into the fight when they can't possibly lose. 

 

Now, there will be the occasional exceptions where you need to wipe out, or at least incapacitate, large groups of smaller enemies quickly or you'll be overwhelmed. In my experience, that's when my priest/mage has come in quite handy. He just casts daze to keep stuff at bay until the archers are done wiping out the boss. Summoning also helps with this.

 

Thing about sniper...is it's way better than haste, at least for groups that already mostly naturally get 2 actions per turn. Three out of four of my characters naturally, typically get at least 2 shorts per turn through gymnastics or sniper. Aside from that though...I've just never found haste to be particularly impressive, even with the chance for battle frenzy. I'd rather more reliably get multiple shots off. Everybody says it's the best spell in the game, largely because of the chance for battle frenzy. I could easily do without it. My glass cannon archer has a 100% chance to get a second shot in. That's particularly noteworthy because I know that before using adrenaline rush, I know there's a certainty I can get another shot off first. It don't have to lose out on that potential extra shot just because I wanted to make sure I could use adrenaline rush that turn...and I don't think it's particularly hard to get 80% sniper, and be pretty confident about being able to do that, so every single time I use adrenaline rush, I get at least four arrow shots. Sniper is a wonderful, frequently underestimated skill. It's just not useful for all character types...even all archer types. It lacks the evasion of gymnastics, so it's not as good for tanks, and you really shouldn't get it for more than 1 character, if you even get it for 1 character (I'll generally prefer the evasion of gymnastics for my tank) because you'll only have enough items to get a ton of it for one character. Another thing that sniper is great for is the high chance of some secondary affliction. When that ends up being "slow" that cancels out their next turn, so it's better than them having been stunned. It's like a free stunning blow, from a distance...or...at least sniper is quite a nice skill in Ruined world. I don't remember how many sniper-increasing items there were in Escape from the Pit, and didn't get far into Crystal Souls. Also...it's a skill that you don't need at all if you get gymnastics. It'll be better for getting multiple shots per turn than gymnastics unless you have an action-point increasing item...but it won't provide the evasion. 

 

And you're right that it doesn't stack well with haste. I just kind of only use haste when I have nothing better to do. I use it to cancel out the slow spell. I use it at the beginning of fights. I don't like having to cast it constantly though, and don't need it. It's nice being able to just do a lot of damage with or without blessings too.

 

What does stack okay with haste is gymnastics and battle frenzy. Now, I always prefer adrenaline rush over battle fury...but through simulacrum you can capture Haakai and eyebeasts and cryos demons, and if I remember correctly all three of them can give your party about 20 turns of battle frenzy, so alongside haste, oftentimes my two archers with gymnastics will get three shots off per turn, without adrenaline rush, if they're hasted and affected by that 20 turns of battle fury. Sniper does not mesh with that nearly as well though...but it still takes a few turns before those eyebeasts end up casting that battle fury blessing.

 

I note that you say that haste should always be up on torment. I think that says something about my 3 archer, one priest mage party...because I almost never need it. 2 of the three dragons (admittedly the easier 2) i definitely didn't need it. They were very, very easy. For the third dragon, it was useful to cancel out the slow spell and to give a couple more shots here and there. Sulfras would have been pretty easy if not for the death curses. My 3 archer party walked casually through the Tower of Zkal, and the pit of the wyrm, and that place with the legendary armor mostly without needing to be blessed, hasted, etc. It was pretty much just the bosses that were exceptions, and unless I was using haste to cancel out the slow affliction, or it was the start of the fight (because war blessing immediately before all your party caste adrenaline rush is generally a great idea) I always wondered if perhaps there was something I could have been doing better with my turn than blessing my characters...perhaps using the acid spell or a pool of whatever or domination or something, or healing my summons.

 

Edited by Clintone
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Although...the thing about my party is I'm confident that the reason why I'm finding things so easy is because I don't depend on the priest mage, but I have him there for specific situations when he can be useful. If he dies though, my party is immune to a huge number of attacks, and that doesn't hurt me much.

 

Back when I was using my 2 archer, 2 priest/mage party (which I recommend more than 3 archer parties because though it was more difficult, that made the game more enjoyable) if all my non-archers died, half my party's strength was gone.

 

So...if you don't have at least 2 archers, they're probably not going to be worth much beyond being a wall, and having that wall means having one less spot for a character that can take down enemies quickly. 

 

So, maybe it's not archers in general that are as godlike as I'm experiencing them to be...as it's just that I think I've found about the best possible party you can have. I think it would probably be slightly better than a 4 archer party too...because of those rare circumstances when the priest mage was quite useful for those high intelligence-requiring spells.

 

I think I'll brag about that for awhile. Neither-neiner-boo-boo! I made the best party it's possible to make! They nuked 2 of the 3 dragons without breaking a sweat! What was that sulfras? Humans are your inferiors? Well, these "inferiors" are going to go buy a very large mansion with your treasure hoard now. You should have just given me some of your cash like asked for originally, ya greedy old hermit.

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Come to think of it...I just thought up a way getting both maximum gymnastics and maximum sniper could be useful. It would be helpful early on, increasing the odds of getting a second attack. Then, by the time you get to the mid/late game and use simulacrum to capture an eyebeast or something else that can give you 20 turns of battle frienzy (or you could just use speed potions) and you've gotten 20 skill at sniper and over 10 skill at gymnastics, and probably an action point increasing item too, when you are affected by battle frenzy, could could get 3 shots off per round the majority of your turns, on turns you don't use adrenaline rush on.

 

That might be worth it...but it'd be a lot of resource investment and only situationally useful. I probably would not do that, and just, rather, stick to either getting sniper or gymnastics. Although...maybe if you had the most glass-cannon-ish glass cannon, that might work out, just through sheer nuking power. You could use a ton of speed potions before you get captured eyebeasts/haakai/cryo demons, or while you're waiting for them to battle frenzy bless you...but speed potions are easy to make. 

Edited by Clintone
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A few more thoughts.

 

*I'm not actually sure whether or not cryodemons can give you a 20 or so turn battle frenzy blessing. At some point I replaced mine with cryodrakes. I don't know if they can either, but they weren't doing it after a little bit if time which, by which time Haakai and eyebeasts have usually done it. 

 

*Actually, I could see giving 2 characters sniper. Sniper, really will almost always be better than gymnastics at getting extra turns, unless you really pile on a lot of equipment onto the gymnastics user...like all possible gymnastics increasing equipment you have, as well as an action-point increasing item. Without the action point increasing item, you're probably not going to get much better than a 50% chance of getting an extra action, and even with the action-point increasing item, you will fail to get an extra action a noticeable number of times. Sniper, on the other hand, just with ten skill points and 2 bought can automatically reach a 60% chance of getting an extra shot, and go up to 100% chance, or a pretty reliable 80% chance not too far into the game, with items

 

*Regarding sniper versus haste...after haste level 3 has been gotten so that it can provide battle fury: for characters without sniper or gymnastics who don't use the battle fury battle discipline, and who don't have 2 action-point increasing items, haste is going to be a great idea. However, not all threats are those big threats you can prepare for in advance. Sometimes, the little un-intimidating buggers will seem to not be a big deal at fist, but you'll find yourself overwhelmed. Passive skills like sniper and gymnastics can naturally whittle them down early without any energy cost or cost to you to help keep from being surprised by them...and that's why I love those types of things that don't require a cost, because you'll feel less hesitant about using them. I prefer sniper over frequently using haste for the same reason my favorite weapon in the old retro avernum games was the sling. It did less damage than everything else. They also had crossbows...but the sling took no ammo, so you'd never hesitate to use it.

 

Also, because my party seldom uses blessings, unless I know there's something big coming, after every fight I can exit combat and quickly get back my battle discliplines. Were I frequently using the haste spell, I'd have to choose between remaining in combat to keep the haste spell going, and having those battle disciplines possibly not ready to use in the next fight, or letting the haste spell wither away and having to re-cast it before every new fight. Sniper and Gymnastics let me both get 2 shots frequently, and get back my battle disciplines before every fight.

 

Also, because of how fast my party is, I prefer to wander around mostly in the non-combat state. In the combat state, things can rush right up to me without me noticing. In the non-combat state, I can more easily see opponents, hit the combat button, and knock them off from a distance before they come near me. Were I using blessings frequently, they'll all have faded away by the time I get into each new fight. (that won't work as well if you have a slower party...slower parties are often better off moving around in combat mode, because when their new turn begins they might not go first, so it's best for them to scout in combat mode so as to see their enemies and get a shot off before their turn ends.)

 

For those reasons, while sniper is not objectively better than lethal blow or sharpshooter (which just increase damage in a strait-forward sort of way) I personally prefer it over either skill. Sniper is probably my fourth favorite combat skill...right after mage skill, priest skill, and hardiness. Everybody thinks it's trash. If I could only choose one archer skill, it would probably be sniper. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Clintone
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