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Lord Vicious

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  1. No one is saying companions should be perfect killing machines (although DoC's background suggests just that). Developers simply shouldn't go out of their way to cripple companions beyond reasonable means of recovery. The protagonist in PoE already gets some nice unique boosts (Watcher abilities, Priest disposition bonuses, quest talents and abilities, option to sacrifice companion for extra ability boost, etc.). Companions don't need to be utter crap gameplay-wise to make the player feel "special". That is just disrespectful to the players. In fact, companions could be examples of how characters should be designed for a reasonable level of optimisation, so that inexperienced players can look at them and see how they could make a better player character. E.g. "my wizard feels like crap, but Aloth kicks ass, let's see what makes him so special.... Oh, he has great Might and Dex, but dumped Con and Res, maybe I should do the same". Right now it's like "OMG these DPS companions all dumped their primary stats and pumped stats that are useless for their roles... are they stupid or something?" An entirely separate point is restriction on customisation. Non-removable armor (which is the single most important piece of equipment, both stats- and appearance-wise) is a needless and crippling limitation on player's ability to customise companions to suit his or her playstyle and aesthetics. Why developers feel the need to do this is beyond me - perhaps they simply wanted to impose on the player their own playstyle and aesthetic preferences (beyond what is already fixed in the game engine and setting), which goes against RPG spirit and legacy.
  2. First of all, calling people with other playstyles "stupid" is the kind of ignorant egocentricity I would assume you attribute to "min-maxers". So, pot calling kettle black. Second, the arguments provided, beyond making sense from gameplay perspective (which is important to everyone, not just those pesky "min-maxers"), also make sense from the point of view of the game's setting and narrative: a) Why would an accomplished killer like DoC have such weak attributes unsuited for killing? b) Why would a construct body be so weak physically? c) Why would DoC be unable to put on some armor? She has no trouble putting on helmets, boots, gauntlets and other items of clothing. d) Why would a killer use farming implements in her criminal career, instead of tools actually designed for the job of manslaying? She doesn't give off the demented Leatherface vibe. So, no, the developers really dropped the ball on this one. Shame, because her personality is fine. Yeah, but custom adventurers have zero character depth. Respeccing pre-made companions is the way to go for me.
  3. THIS. Why do developers so often feel the need to CRIPPLE player companions, making them weak and un-optimised from a whole variety of angles? The completely silly companion stat distribution has been plaquing PoE from the start. But, it was nothing that couldn't be fixed with a little console fiddling. However, now the devs have hit a few new lows in one fell swoop: 1) A "DPS" companion with NON-REMOVABLE ARMOR that imposes a steep 40% recovery penalty, and with a pathetic 8 DR? It's like the WORST armor ever imaginable: it doesn't give the recovery rate of lighter armors, while at the same time remaining far from the protection of full plate (with only 10% recovery rate difference), and it doesn't offer any of the unique armor abilities (such as Second Chance, Retaliation, Preservation, extra flanking damage, skill boosts etc). Not to mention the purely aesthetic "pleasure" of constantly having to look at DoC's C-3PO body. What, did the designers think it was so "appealing" they didn't want players to "hide" it under armor or clothing? ROFL. 2) "Living machine" has to be among the least useful racial traits to date. Not being able to wear armor of the player's choice would have at least merited a decent racial ability; however, immunity to disease and poison (how often does a DPS char - especially a ranged DPS char as rogues are wont to be - gets hit with one of those?) in exchange of being unable to use food, drinks and drugs? At best, this is a zero-sum trait; at worst, it is a penalty rather than a benefit. If there was also immunity to fatigue, it would have been decent (and far more logical); as it stands now, it is pointless. 3) Weapon focus: Peasant? Are you kidding me? Hatchet, Spear, Quarterstaff, Hunting Bow, Unarmed - truly "excellent" weapon selection for a rogue, not to mention "logical" for a mass murderer who's made a career in killing. Using farming implements. 4) And, of course, to round it all up there's the genius stat distribution. 15 Resolve and 10 Dex/13 Might on a DPS character? Sign me up... not. So yeah, all in all the DoC's gotta be the worst companion to date from gameplay perspective. Unfortunately, she's also the only "evil" companion, and her banter is quite enjoyable. I don't know if the devs went for the HK-47 (of KOTOR fame) feel, but it feels like a botched effort. Probably I'm still gonna be taking DoC for a ride (personality-wise she's a welcome diversion from the majority of PoE's milquetoast entourage), but it will require some heavy editing to make her into a reasonably optimised combatant.
  4. Again with the nerfs!!? Why? Why can't you just buff the weak instead of nerfing the strong? Screw this patch.
  5. Two-handed weapons use twice as much materials as one-handed, IIRC. As you mention, there are plenty of Superb unique weapons over the course of the game so that your damage dealers will be covered without the need for enchantment. Those weapons will be better than anything you could enchant by yourself from scratch, and are likely best for DPS purposes anyway. E.g.: Superb two-hander - Tidefall, Blade of the Endless Paths; Superb one-hander - Edge of Reason; Superb ranged - Aedrin's Wrecker, The Rain of Godagh Field; Superb dual wield - Vierina's Leaves, Drawn in Spring; etc. BUT: There is no Superb Blunderbuss. So if you've got a Cipher, then enchanting him a Superb Lead Spitter could be the way to go. Other good candidates for Superb are Spell-striking weapons. But there are very few of them, and they require focused builds to be used for maximum efficiency (e.g. Azureuth + Bleak Fang dual-wielding Barbarian). One other consideration may be that for role-play purposes you might want your protagonist to be equipped with the absolute best. I know I often do. Beast and Vessel are also good Slaying choices if you have no place for Kith, as these categories cover the most powerful and/or annoying enemies in the game. Slaying is always situational, of course, but I like having a Beast-slaying sword if only for the dragon encounters. Dragon Slayer FTW.
  6. Personally I prefer the following: 2 Retaliation Tanks (Fire Godlike Barbarians w/retaliation items and Spell Striking weapons; I Stand Alone, Savage Defiance, Frenzy, Barbaric Blow etc.) 2 Blunderbuss Ciphers (Death or Moon Godlike, CC/DPS; Draining/Biting Whip, Penentrating Shot) 2 Ranged Rogues (Death or Moon Godlike, Arquebus/Blunderbuss; Backstab, Shadowing Beyond, Blinding/Crippling/Envenomed Strikes) It's a fun and versatile party with no reliance on per rest abilities, big alpha strike potential and consistent AOE damage output. Moon Godlike may be preferable for PotD, Death Godlike is more suited for the "Hollowborn/Waidwen Legacy" roleplaying atmosphere. Regarding other classes: Priest, Wizard and Druid are too reliant on resting, especially during the first half of the game. You will always end up conserving your best abilites for a hypothecal big fight which may never come until your next rest stop, or you will have to use them up prematurely on some pointless mobs. Whereas with Cipher you're always free to use your best abilities every battle. Granted, Wiz and Druid offer some of the best burst DPS at endgame, but IMHO it's not worth the slog to get there, and anyway Cipher still may outperform them even there. Chanter is weak compared to other casters, especially after Ila's nerf. Paladin is just pointless when you can have Fighter (better tank) or Barbarian (better DPS) or Retaliation Fire/Moon Godlike Barbarian (better dps and in the end better tank as well, IMO). A pity, since this class has a big roleplay potential in PoE. P.S. I mostly use hired adventurers; if using pre-made companions, I remake them into decent builds.
  7. Use the Gwisk. +6 DR/+2 Might/Second Chance is still better than +4 DR/+2 Int/+10 Spell Defense, even for a CC-oriented wizard (which I strongly advise to change into a more blasty wizard anyway). Frankly though, I hate how all the robes look. My casters wear armor, and damn the recovery.
  8. Blood-Blessed Skaen Cultist robes come with Exceptional enchantment, and 2 enchantment slots for you to slap +Might/+Intellect and Proofing. They look pretty awesome with a Skaen Cultist hood or the Death Godlike heads. If you go for the blood-splattered unholy necromancer vibe, that is. Otherwise, the Gwisk has the best stats.
  9. Yet another reason (apart from bad stats, bland writing, annoying personalities and lack of romance) why PoE companions are not that great. Personally, I prefer sacrificing most them to the Blood Pool in return for attribute bonuses. However, I've been getting along rather decently with Durence and Aloth, despite all my "cruel" and "aggressive" deeds (right up to slaughtering villages etc.). You've got to do their personal quests, though. Or not... depending how you like your endgame to be.
  10. I strongly disapprove of RNG loot. It doesn't make the game more interesting - just more frustrating when you can't ever get the items you need and get doubles/triples of those you don't need. It doesn't make the game more atmospheric story-wise - on the contrary, getting several copies of a "unique" named item in a single run ruins the item's story, and you miss out on the stories of items "RNGesus" decided not to give you. From a gameplay perspective, named items with unique properties are an excellent way to stimulate the player to brave difficult dungeons and defeat powerful, unique enemies. E.g. in BG2, if you wanted Carsomyr, you had to defeat Firkraag - no mean feat. Advance knowledge of unique items' locations can work in the developers' favor, helping them lure players to great adventures. So, neither the players nor the game itself - story-wise and gameplay-wise - benefit from RNG loot. The only "benefits" of RNG are these: a) Less effort for developers to make unique dungeons/missions (why bother with thoughtful placing of named loot when you can just slap an RNG script on a chest); b) More time required for players to get the items they desire. MMORPGs love RNG crap for this single reason. So, down with RNG, I say. Specific, non-random placement worked great for Infinity Engine games and other iconic RPGs, like the Gothic series. So why follow in the footsteps of soulless MMOs and Diablo-clones instead of beloved classics which PoE purports to emulate?
  11. If you found Hard to be easy, and PotD with full party unchallenging but tedious, why go for another full party PotD run made even more tedious by the fact that all your characters are of the same class, and even less challenging by using a class that is already considered OP and a mod that makes guns even more OP? Seems like you're defeating your own objectives. This game will be fun... for like the first 5 minutes. How about trying a solo play or limited party (2-3) PotD? That way you can still use ciphers and the gun mod, but at least the game will be challenging and require some thinking, keeping it fresh.
  12. So you play the game so well the AI cannot win against you, but still continues to try... Is that equivalent to using a cheat code to give yourself God mode? Is the result any different? ...The result may be the same - winning the game. But the means to get this result are different - by personal skill, or by cheating. Developing an optimised character build and playing it well enough so the enemies rarely, if ever, hit you - that is personal skill, not cheating. And this forum is called "Character builds, Strategies...", not "How to play fair with the AI". If you want to role-play a "fair duel", then remove all tanks and glass cannons from your party (imbalanced builds!), seek a 1-on-1 engagement with a monster, do not use sneak/backstab, do not use any special equipment or items (unfair!), do not use any strategies like positioning (cheese!) or "OP" classes/races etc. But I would like to see how well this would go against the Adra Dragon on PoTD. Because, you know, the enemies have their own "cheese" going.
  13. Just to reiterate the already eloquently exposed "point" which you so sorely missed: Single-player game is not the same as multi-player game. For instance: 1. What other players do in their games does not affect your gameplay in single-player, as opposed to multi-player; 2. In multi-player you play 1 character; in party-based single-player you play several characters at the same time (up to 6 in PoE). Therefore, nerfing classes in single-player only frustrates people playing those classes, without any corresponding benefit for people playing other classes. In fact, these other people are also negatively affected, because the nerfed classes may include their favourite NPCs/adventurers. However, buffing "weak" classes (as opposed to nerfing "strong" ones) has a tangible benefit of not only satisfying people currently playing these classes, but also making the classes more attractive to other players that might want to try them out (at least by including an NPC in their party). In short: Multi-player nerfs: win-lose Single-player nerfs: lose-lose Single-player buffs: win-win
  14. Past experience tells me when they say "balance changes" they mean "nerfs galore". Rather than crippling existing characters, which people have invested time and effort in (including PotD, Iron mode etc.), by ruining their abilities that are somehow "imbalanced" (in a single-player game, yeah right), how about buffing classes that are currently made of suck and plainly uninspiring (looking at you, paladin)? TL;DR: instead of weakening good classes, how about strengthening bad classes? That way everyone wins!
  15. It's a real pity the editor project has been dropped. Even with the functionality it already had, this tool was could do more than the ones we have currently (e.g. change companion race and appearance, etc.).
  16. This bug has been plaguing the game since day 1 and still remains unfixed. It's a serious flaw that breaks immersion and ruins custom parties. Pity it doesn't seem to be high on the devs' fix list (they acknowledged the bug's existence in a recent hotfix, but did nothing about it).
  17. Yes, it would be so great if we could change the companion NPCs' appearance. Everything else is moddable (talents, abilities, skills, attributes, portraits) but not the appearance. The awesome OpenCharacterCreation and ModelViewer commands unfortunately works only on the protagonist. If only it were possible to make it work on companions as well... P.S. Such a pity that Bester's leaving the IEMod project. It's been incredibly useful.
  18. Same here, this bug is still not fixed, and it destroys the possibility of experimenting with various builds while progressing the story. Once you've created a full party, you're stuck - all new adventurers will be without voice sets, and any existing adventurers you swap via rosters will permanently lose voicesets. Which, of course, breaks immersion and thus blocks story progression, at least for this player.
  19. Big thanks to nemesis205bw for discovering, testing and sharing this great build/strategy. I am growing bored with my ranged cipher and itch to try out this awesome in-your-face battlemage.
  20. The Blunder's best for ciphers due to the 6 projectiles, each of which will generate Focus (as opposed to only a single shot from Arquebus). Draining Whip and Biting Whip are a must. Its weakness is low accuracy and low damage per pellet, which makes it an inferior damage dealer vs. well-armored opponents. Lead Spitter + Penetrating Shot can alleviate some of the DR malus though. The Arq's best for burst damage dealers, i.e. perfect for rogues. It has the highest single strike damage and carries built-in armor penetration. Sneak attack + Blinding/Crippling Shot + Backstab + Two-handed weapon focus = instant death. Use a Fine or higher Arquebus with a +25% damage enchantment for gibfest. Weakness - LONG recovery and reload time, so make that first shot count. Later on take Shadowing Beyond and Quick switch for multiple Backstabs in hard fights.
  21. This is just another example of why the "only in combat" spellcasting restriction is ridiculous. Infinity Engine games allowed you to use all those utility spells outside combat (like Knock, Friends, etc.), making you feel like a real wizard and not some kind of bound and gagged freak who is only released to wreak havoc at "appropriate times" upon "appropriate enemies". Deplorable encroachment upon player freedom.
  22. Isn't that the goal of every RPG ever? Improving your character by killing people? (and also looting their corpses and stealing their stuff, and maybe doing their stupid quests, but then also killing them for the loot and the exp and the amusement).
  23. You mean there's a way to get an actual tangible benefit from one of those annoying, horribly built, unromanceable, good-for-nothing-but-ballast, freakshow candidate NPCs? Point me to it, I'm gonna sacrifice the whole lot of them (except maybe Aloth, he's amusing). As to the size of the bonuses, I remember well the SELFISHNESS TEAR from BG2, when you got +2 AC for sacrificing a companion (and being evil). And who can forget the GRIMOIRE OF PESTILENTIAL THOUGHT which gave you spells for murdering your companions and selling them to slavery? Since PoE companions can't hold a candle to BG2 or PS:T NPCs, I am not disappointed by the size of the bonus.
  24. Nerf of Sure-handed Ila = no chanters in my party. I never did like the bard archetype, and was not a fan of chanters in particular (which fitted perfectly in the "mediocre jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none" mold), but this particular boost made chanter an efficient addition to my ranged rogues + ranged ciphers assassin party. Now the minstrel just does not pull her weight and was promptly replaced with another arquebus-wielding rogue. But honestly, nerfs in a single-player game are the pits. If not for IE Mod that allows character respec, things like this can simply break people's games once they find out their character no longer does what they expected it should.
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