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semiticgod

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Posts posted by semiticgod

  1. @Jaheiras_Witness: I didn't have Shields for the Faithful since my priest was level 7 and everyone else was level 8, but I used multiple Scrolls of Defense to keep our saving throws high. No dragon food; it seemed too expensive (even though I could have afforded it). I did have good shields for our fighter, priest, and druid, plus the shield talent for extra deflection bonuses, but I could probably also tack on some damage reduction against fire attacks, just to buy use a little more health to survive the opening fire spell.

     

    On an unrelated note, wouldn't Perception be the most important stat for a wizard in a no-reload run, not Intellect? Reliability is key for no-reload runs, and having an extra-strong blindness spell doesn't mean much if the chance of success is low. The odds will be especially low for the higher-difficulty fights that are most likely to end a run, when you most need those spells to work.

    • Like 1
  2. Done! My wizard, Gray Sidoh, just beat the main questline. Too bad I died like ten times in the process. Maybe the next run will be better.

     

    By the endgame, the party was decently optimized, I had adjusted to the new gameplay, and I had learned how to time my pauses and search through the dialog box to find key information about probabilities (I liked seeing that the judge in the final battle had low Reflex while the executioner had low Reflex and Will, which made conceptual sense). The opening fire spell at the start of the final battle was alarming, but the huge area and the numerous new magic items made it clear when I had to eat all of our food for the extra health bonuses, and by letting Eder distract the judge and executioner, the rest of the team was able to run away and heal up. Our archers, the Grieving Mother and Sagani, both got confused, but one of the last items we found was a ring that let Eder dispel or suppress the effect.

     

    Basically, both the judge and executioner kept struggling and failing to deal meaningful damage to Eder. Eder always carried the shield Ilfan Byrngar's Solace, which grants +50 defense while stunned or prone--which is actually incredibly overpowered because it means Eder was basically immortal whenever he was on his back. With that shield in hand, he was actually safer when he got knocked down. The enemy just couldn't touch him.

     

    Things were different when Thaos was on his own, since he had extremely fast-casting spells, but I made a point of chain-casting defensive spells and scrolls to make sure that all of our saving throws were high. Thaos' defenses were strong, but we had lots of resources and the party was in good condition by the time we reached that phase, which meant we were able to impose some modest penalties to his stats and grind him down. Accuracy is indeed very important; the toughest enemies can have extremely high defense values.

     

    I was afraid of the ending since @Alesia_BH suggested I might find myself doing something horrible, but things went well. I picked Hylea, the nicest-sounding god I could find in the in-game lore menu, and I did what she wanted. Raedric's entire hold went empty in a fit of violence, but ending the Hollowborn thingy seemed more important in the long run for the world at large.

     

    @Alesia_BH: I also came perilously close to dying against the druids in my first run. Druids have a cone-shaped Corrosion spell that deals area-effect damage over time, so I found my entire party taking heavy damage even though my tank was in place. I think druids can also get a party-wide Corrosion damage reduction spell, so a level 5 druid might be a great counter to that spell. Otherwise you'd need to have sturdy stats... or maybe split up the party into a fan shape, so the cone can only hit one or two people behind the tank at a time.

     

    I'll start posting on my Normal mode run sometime soon, but I'm concerned about the endgame. If Normal mode is just a more difficult version of Easy mode and the nature of the challenges aren't too different (that is, if the enemies don't pull completely new tricks on me), then the early game will be a bit dicey and the midgame will be tough but safe in terms of probabilities, but the final battle could get really ugly. I don't know how I'd deal with Thaos if I didn't have the shield Ilfan Byrngar's Solace, and I'm not sure I want to rely on that shield again. It seems too simple to just let the judge and executioner stomp on an unkillable tank while we shoot them down from afar.

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  3. I'm not sure I'm big on side quests in PoE, either, at least not in their normal order. On multiple occasions, I've found that it's better to progress in the main quest to gain XP and get strong enough to tackle side quests, rather than the other way around (as it is in most games). PoE is perfectly willing to throw huge optional challenges at you (Od Nua is multiple levels of crazy towards the bottom), and revisiting previous areas to tie up loose ends appears to be the safer bet. I did Raedric's hold at level 7 or 8 and it was the easiest quest in the game just because our numbers were so unbalanced for the quest.

     

    Then I went north to an area I thought was from even earlier in the game--but apparently was not. I ran into some mercenaries that had defense values around 100, equivalent to the Sky Dragon's defenses. Half the party died before the last one fell; the enemy just wouldn't go down.

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  4. I just died a couple times to the Sky Dragon. The first time, it was because I didn't know it was there and failed to placate it via dialogue; the second time, it was because I placated it, but then attacked it because I didn't see anything in my journal that suggested that placating it actually satisfied the quest requirement. When I looked it up, I realized I could indeed spare it. Eder had an item that granted +50 defense while prone, so he made a spectacular tank even though he got stun-locked constantly, but mismanaging our spells meant that we didn't have the resources to keep our accuracy high, which meant we only got the Sky Dragon to Injured using ranged attacks. At 100 in almost every defense, the Sky Dragon was nearly untouchable to my level 7 party, even with resting bonuses against Beasts. I appreciate that there are nonviolent options for encounters in PoE.

     

    Otherwise, things have been going great since we finally hit 6 party members. Even when we got accosted by ogres and blights recently, we came out ahead by recognizing the enemy's strength early and using our best resources before anyone succumbed to enemy pressure. The game is actually pretty easy on Easy when you're not a solo mage with zero game knowledge.

     

    Next run, I'll bump it up to Normal and try a no-reload with some custom characters. I've been itching to try out a high-Might Aumaua cipher and another Orlan mage (I like tiny mage protagonists) with better Perception than my current one, Gray Sidoh.

    • Like 3
  5. How important do you all think it is to work with per-encounter abilities? While I like having lots of camping supplies and I hesitate to use limited resources like per-rest abilities and expendables, it doesn't actually seem optimal from a no-reload perspective. It only takes a few moments to leave a dungeon and rest at an inn, and traveling long distances doesn't seem to result in fatigue penalties, which means you can get more uses out of per-rest abilities without worrying about having enough camping supplies.

     

    Stinginess with resources is the bane of no-reload runs, but I keep finding myself doing it. Doesn't it make more sense to be generous with per-rest abilities in PoE?

     

    On an unrelated note, what do you guys think about Dexterity? Having maxed-out Dexterity seems really useful, since having 20% faster action speed ostensibly means 20% more damage output as well as 20% more chances to use special abilities and expendables.

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  6. I actually dipped into non-D&D territory in my other no-reloads after BG lost some of its magic for me. I did no-reload runs for Morrowind, Oblivion with OOO (including a max difficulty run), Skyrim with SkyRe (including a max difficulty run), and even a low-grinding Dragon Warrior Monsters run. Morrowind was simple to break, while Oblivion required some art, Skyrim required grinding, and DWM involved number crunching and spreadsheets. Fun stuff, but gameplay wasn't as complex as it is with BG and PoE, so that only lasted so long.

     

    Some of the Oblivion runs were particularly hilarious. It required some work, but I implemented a trick of my own devising called Fatigue boosting, which involved artificially decreasing my base fatigue so that Fortify Fatigue effects multiplied arrow damage dramatically. My Breton was dealing hundreds of damage per shot with a crummy little shortbow. Imagine a tiny little British girl running around dressed in rags, one-shotting huge enemies with arrows that literally threw the enemies off their feet.

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  7. I see so many items I don't recognize, and I didn't even realize there were many weapons and shields that could grant immunities. There's a lot of technical know-how I still don't have. It's good to see that @Alesia_BH is still spotting some aura-independent defensive options despite PoE locking up equipment shuffling and banning most pre-buffs!

     

    I just got out of the cutscene at the Ducal Palace and I'm starting to get more into the plot. I barely knew what the story was even about until after I got to Defiance Bay, and now things are getting really interesting. I don't suppose there's a way to get through Defiance Bay without starting a civil war? Because now I feel kinda bad. Pillars of Eternity can get pretty dark.

     

    It's nice to be inexperienced again, and not really knowing how things work. I got really burned out on no-reloading BG (my solo LoB run basically destroyed the game for me). Now there are things to learn again, and I know that I'm going to fail off and on for a long time into the future. It really takes a lot of the pressure off to know that dying, rather than victory, is going to be the new norm.

     

    You've always said that humility is important in no-reload runs, @Alesia_BH. I think I have a shot at getting mine back!

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  8. I think I see the issue. In Baldur's Gate, disablers needed to be long-lasting to make an impact because you could only use so many of them. In PoE, disablers are short-lasting, but they can be used much more often. I've noticed that stun effects tend to turn the tide of battle, so I can see why Fortitude matters so much. It looks hard to maximize Fortitude, though--I don't see as many options to increase it as there are to increase Deflection, and both appear to be percentile rolls. If you're rolling a d100 in both cases, a +10 bonus to Fortitude isn't as meaningful as a +25 bonus to Deflection.

     

    It also means that disablers are less prone to good or bad luck in PoE. In Baldur's Gate, relying on a small number of high-powered disablers to win a fight was a losing strategy in no-reload runs, because you might have, say, a 10% chance of landing no disablers, and if you were counting on them to win, that amounted to a 10% chance of death. In PoE, having unreliable options isn't as dangerous because you get so many more chances for them to work.

     

    That might not seem like an important detail to you PoE players, but for a BG player coming to PoE, that's a huge difference in no-reload strategy. Investing in offensive status effects in BG1 was only good for no-reload runs if you could stack saving throw penalties, which took a lot of work. It's much more viable in PoE!

     

    I noticed some Xaurip Champions a while back using an area-effect disabler suppression ability that seemed incredibly strong, effectively negating all forms of status effects for many seconds, party-wide. I assumed those Xaurips were paladins, which gave me the impression that paladins could block most disablers for a fairly long time. Sounds like paladins are a very good choice for no-reload runs.

     

    @Alesia_BH: I remember having trouble against those Skeletal Wizards, too, since their high accuracy and range let them get past my tanks with magic missiles and whatnot. I had the same problem with enemy druids more recently; their damage output reached past my tanks. I also remember Xaurip Priests doing a lot to help their buddies survive. Bringing down enemy spellcasters seems very important, but they're not that much more fragile than enemy fighters, and while we can slow down their spells by interrupting them, we don't seem to be able to stop them entirely. Shutting down spellcasters doesn't seem feasible unless you're flat-out killing them.

     

    That also poses a positioning problem. Spellcasters linger at the back, but if you send your tanks out to get them, the disengagement will let the enemy's tanks get extra hits, and it also runs the risk of letting enemy fighters switch targets to apply pressure on your own spellcasters. And with PoE's low mobility, you tend to get stuck with a bad position; you can't wiggle your way out of it.

     

    Positioning and buffs make a huge difference in combat, and both of them are decided at the beginning of combat. Sounds like the first few seconds of combat really set the stage for success or failure; you need to establish an advantage early in PoE.

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  9. Maerwald is considerably easier if you use Bulwark against the Elements Potions and/or spells. Increasing reflex/fortitude defence is also very helpful.

    I've gotten the impression that Accuracy, Deflection, and Endurance were the primary factors in combat; I hadn't thought about the roles played by saving throws (I know they're not "saving throws," but they're called Fortitude, Reflex, and Will). In Baldur's Gate, disablers often lasted for 10 rounds, longer than most fights, which meant they were instant game-enders in many cases. I thought that since stun effects and so forth only lasted a few seconds in PoE, by contrast, they could generally be ridden out. How important are Fortitude, Reflex, and Will in PoE?

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  10. I'm still pretty early in the game, and it'll be a while before I'll be able to start my first no-reload run. I notice that you can create custom party members at the first inn--it seems expensive and the hirelings are low-level, but it looks like a great way to expand the player's options for the early game. Do many people use full-custom or majority-custom parties?

     

    I've considered starting over and experimenting with a more diverse party, but I'm right before Defiance Bay, and I've heard that gameplay gets much more complex in the next chapter.

    • Like 2
  11. Great! I look forward to reading about Ashoka's adventures.

     

    I'm a longtime no-reloader for the Infinity Engine, but I literally just started playing Pillars of Eternity today with a mage. I died several times already--probably in large part because I thought that dwarven woman's spirit was at the bottom of the temple in the Gilded Vale, instead of right next to the tree, which meant I only very recently recruited Eder, and was therefore working with two flimsy mages for most of the game. Turns out having a tank is very important; Aloth and I got overwhelmed numerous times when enemies came in groups. A few early findings:

     

    1. Disengagement is incredibly dangerous, and movement is very limited. Unlike Baldur's Gate, you can't avoid damage simply by running around and trying to get out of reach; the enemy gets attacks of opportunity. Fleeing from combat is, ironically, an excellent way to get killed. I notice several spells and I think a talent that can improve the chance of escape, but I don't know how feasible it really is to survive on mobility. I did manage to use hit-and-run tactics to kill some trolls, who have terrible movement speeds.

    2. Combat appears to be very much a game of numbers--if you can't deal enough damage, you're going to get ground down over time. I also have no idea how the formulas work, so I don't know how to maximize the numbers or gauge the reliability of a given option.

    3. This might just be an early game issue, but there appear to be very few healing options and very few escape or rescue options. You can't just run away from a fight if things are going badly--it even appears to be impossible to leave an area during combat. You kind of have to be prepared for the challenges the first time around.

     

    It's very different from Baldur's Gate, where I traditionally play evasive characters and use low-pressure strategies, relying on escape options to survive. None of that appears to be feasible in PoE.

     

    @Alesia_BH: Do any of my impressions match your experience? I'm in the early game still, so I'm guessing gameplay will grow more complex as time goes on.

    • Like 4
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