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I've decided that I'm going to focus on doing a lot of Quest mode, trying to get a party to max level quickly and blast through these random scenarios quickly and reliably. I've worked on the best general approach, and then tried looked into what sort of team could get that job done. More characters lets you temporarily close more locations when you find the villain, and a bigger party has more versatility. On the other side of the coin, a bigger party is slower to manage and has less turns to work with. A party of 3 is a good choice, enough to cover everything you need to do without creating too many Locations (or spreading the Blessing deck too thin). I've found that with a compact team, the best quick strategy is to spread out to close a couple locations as fast as possible before occupying the last 3. That means a team that can close everything reliably and where everyone can churn through the location decks on their own. I've spent time analyzing the closing requirements, and ignoring the things everyone can handle (fights, banish a card, etc...) what's needed is mostly Dexterity (Acrobatics and Stealth, Disable might help) and Wisdom (Divine, Survival, and occasionally Perception). Intelligence is close, though (mostly Arcane with some Knowledge, Craft rarely pops up). Then Charisma (Diplomacy), which is generally useful on its own. Finally there's Constitution (always Fortitude), and Strength in last place. First team: back to basics It just so happens that the starting characters, Merisiel and Kyra, are the best at Dexterity and Wisdom. Meri even has all the useful skills. With those two as the basis, you can also handle Strength (Meri with a crowbar is very handy) and Constitution (Kyra only has a D6, but with Fortitude +3 she's one of the best to close with that stat). That leaves Intelligence and Charisma, which are both rather important. Ezren is the only character in the game with more than a D6 in Intelligence, but he's no better at Charisma than those two ladies. Thankfully you can handle Arcane with Charisma by using Seoni or Lem. Lem and Lini are the only ones who have a Knowledge skill to add to their D6. That makes Lem the best choice to round out our closing abilities. However, a bard isn't the best at working solo and Seoni already covers most of what we need with some of the very best Arcane and Diplomacy in the game. Overall, Seoni works much better than Lem for that tactic, being a good explorer with lots of killing power. She can even enjoy the occasional heal from Kyra. That makes Merisiel, Kyra, and Seoni a very good and straightforward team to blitz through random Quests. Final verdict: Merisiel's skills makes her exceptionally good at handling obstacles while her backstabbing prowess lets her slaughter monsters when going solo. Her main weakness is that she doesn't have much to accelerate the exploration. If worse comes to worse, she can Evade a bad encounter. Kyra isn't usually outstanding in battle, but her Melee skill and spells and many blessings means she can handle herself just fine. Obstacles can be a problem but Detect Traps can help a lot. She has plenty of blessing to accelerate exploration, too. If things turn sour, she can usually soak up damage very well with armor or heal herself enough to go back into the fray. Finally Seoni kicks ass (as long as she has cards to burn) and has a ton of cards to accelerate exploration. Second Team: Triple Threat If we decide to start by finding the best character for this tactic, we're pretty much guaranteed to build around Seelah. For starters, she has at least a D8 in most stats and can a D6 to any check, and a D6+D8 is roughly on par with a D12+2, which is pretty much the highest someone can be at the start. But the kicker is her Crusade power which makes her amazingly good at rushing through a location deck to find the Henchman (or maybe even the Villain). On top of that she has a lot of cards to explore often and access to the important Divine skill. The areas her teammates need to cover are Intelligence and Dexterity. Ezren handles Intelligence like no one else, and once again Meri is the best at Dexterity (and is generally great at working solo). Final verdict: Seelah is a powerhouse that can nearly solo the game, and here's she's assisted by the best specialist in each of her two weak areas (Dexterity & traps, Intelligence & Arcane). That's amazingly powerful. However, Seelah is rather bad at dealing with Obstacles and cannot take a single set of Masterwork Tools or Mattock or any of these items good at handling these things. Thankfully Meri can bring a bunch of these and Ezren can use spells like Stride to deliver the package without wasting a single exploration. Third Team: Dream Duo So what if you don't think Seelah is the best at quickly closing a random Location? That's probably because you're thinking of Lini. Her Animal Trick is not as powerful and available as Seelah's Inspiration but it's still really good. Her stats aren't as generally high, but her Beast Form more than make up for that. She can get to D10+D4 on half the stats (on par with Seelah), and D8+D4 on two other (still pretty good), leaving her weakest area Intelligence where she's very skilled in Knowledge. That makes her somewhere between decent to very good at closing everything but Arcane (and her Charisma is quite good but maybe not enough for how important it is). Seoni is thus her perfect match. The two of them can close pretty much anything in the game with ease. Their main problem is probably that they have issues fighting without burning cards. Also of note, the most common type of closing (Dex) requires Lini to burn a card. Overall, their least strong area is Fortitude. With Harsk as support, they get a much needed boost to their base fighting power and the very best character at Fortitude, and they can all roll at least D8 on Dex. Final verdict: Lini and Seoni can handle everything and kick all kinds of ass. However, they both burn through cards rather quickly (good thing the druid can pack a few Cures). They have options for the third member of their team, depending how what you find the most troublesome to handle, Harsk is merely the best answer to the most obvious issue.
After some games with my best 6 characters i've come to realize that the other characters where fresh from start (in terms of Basic cards and equipment). But in the other hand I was forced to chose between good cards to discard after game runs with my Advanced 6-team. So I devised kindda weird strategy: - When you finish a scenario, and you are at the map screen, you can click the party composition button, and exchange 1 character with a newbie one. Then you fill the newbie with best cards for him or the best cards you got (no matter if they aren't the most usefull for him, he is gonna be a "backpack character" for now). - Then you exchange again the newbies, and get back your "Top Dog" party (not as well equiped like previously or optimal but, as they are experienced, you can carry on...) As you are going to make AD3 runs with them, you'll encounter nearly the best cards availabe again in a few games, and now you don't care dropping that basic loot from the newbies. - After a couple of runs, i got my newbie "from-scratch" characters very well refurbished, and able to overcome most scenarios easier than fresh from start. - Also i got some of my best cards well preserved for future builds, with no need of being forced to discard those "good-but-not-top" cards that I want to include later (when a given character gets the proper power feat, as for a Heavy Armor or a Weapon, for example). I'm amazed how fast i refurbished the "ugly ones" (the other 5 characters), and how pretty did they get. Give it a try.
Spell / Ability system
cealicu_ca posted a topic in Pillars of Eternity: Stories (Spoiler Warning!)Hi there, I've put my TLDR in the Cooldown 2.0 thread but i really want to expand a bit. Seeing as there is much discussion around this cooldown thing i would like to propose a mechanic that seems pretty good to me (or course it does, duh!, i'm proposing it lol). Ok, let's get to the point. 1. Basics Each ability or spell has two components: Proficiency and Efficiency. Proficiency is gained (points) through the use of abilities/spells or combos, and starts to decay naturally (percentage of the current number of points) after a fixed amount or time. It stops decaying once you use the ability/spell or a combo that uses that ability/spell. Efficiency is lost (percentage of the current number of points) through the use of abilities/spells or combos and starts to regenerate naturally (points) after a fixed amount of time. It stops regenerating once you use the ability/spell or a combo that uses that ability/spell. 1.a. - Proficiency is measuring how skilled is the PC in using that ability/spell. It goes up each time you use an ability/spell against and enemy that is not below a certain level compared to yours and scales with that level difference. For example if you use an ability on a target that is 3 level below you (or more), you will get no Proficiency points, if you use the ability/spell against a target that is the same level as you, you get 5 Proficiency points and if you use the ability/spell against a target that is 3 levels above you (or more), you get 10 Proficiency points. Of course, some other game mechanics (like the ability/spell is saved against or blocked completely) might be used when fighting against targets way above your level. Proficiency is used to advance your ability, either by directly applying a buff to the effects of that ability/spell, or by simply moving towards the next tier (so using Bash will slowly gain you Proficiency points towards Improved Bash). The latter would mean that the PC only learns the most basic spells/abilities from external sources, and the more improved abilities/spells he discovers by actually using the related lower tiered ones. Also, Proficiency slowly decays (at the same time as the Efficiency goes up) but it will never reach 0 (it decays by a fixed percentage of the total points that you have, so the more time passes the less it decays). 1.b - Efficiency is measuring how that ability/spell is performing, considering on how many times it has been used, successfully, over a certain period of time. The Efficiency is regenerating naturally (or through other means like drinking from a well, whatever), slowly, over the course of time. Each time you use an ability/spell however, it drops by a percentage (let's say 5%) so that if you use it 5 times in a row it will only be at 77% Efficiency. This translates into reduced effects (for the sake of simplicity only direct damage or damage over time, or direct protection/healing or protection/healing over time). So if a certain ability does, let's say, 10-20 damage, after it's first use it will drop to 9-18 damage, after the second use it will again drop to 8-17 damage (rounded up) and so on. As you can see, it's not going to be a liniar drop so you don't get to use it only 20 times before reaching 0. You will actually never reach 0 as it will always go down by 5% (of the total Efficiency points). The first time you use it it will drop by 5 points, the second time again by 5 points, by the time you reach 80 points (out of 100) it will only drop by 4 points. All numbers are rounded up, so if it drops by 4.6 it actually drops by 5 points, as opposed to 4.2 that would translate into 4 points. There might be game mechanics or skills/perks that either reduce this decay per usage or rise your maximum Efficiency to more than 100 points. It's really open to any kind of tweaking, just like the Proficiency. EDIT: I forgot. Just like Proficiency, the Efficiency percentage that decays with each use should be calculated using the same rules, related to the level difference between the attacker and the target. 2. Combo I know that this is not really related to the system, but it would work great with it. The system lets the PC combine any previously learned ability/spell. At first you will be able to only combine 2 of them, but maybe as you get better and better you might combine more than 2. The effects of the combo are the added effects of the basic constituent abilities/spells calculated at their current level of Proficiency and Efficiency. The Proficiency and Efficiency system works in the following way for combos: - Each time you use a combo you will gain some proficiency points just like using an individual spell/ability but those points are divided equally towards each basic constituent ability/spell. - Each time you use a combo you will lose 5% (again just as an example) from the Efficiency of each constituent ability/spell. 3. Conclusions Such a system, at least in my intention, would do away with resting and cooldowns, mana or stamina. Every PC will only have those two resources (when talking about abilities/spells or combos), the stats only adding the the effects of those. The complexity of it comes from the two diverging directions. PCs are free to use whatever ability/spell or even combo in their arsenal. The advantage is that the more you use an ability/spell or combo you will slowly advance towards better abilities/spells and of course combos, the drawback being that if you abuse the system you will soon find yourself with really weak abilities/spells and combos. Moreover, the PC must decide weather to use a "strong" combo (strong because it has the added effects of the base constituent abilities/spells) or a more basic ability/spell. You wouldn't want to get caught with your pants down (low Efficiency) when encountering a strong hostile NPC because in your last encounter you "wasted" your best combos on some low level critters. The system could be tweaked and tested, and those numbers that i threw here are definitely not the best, they are only used as an example. The beauty of this system is that it no longer requires a cooldown, no longer requires a rest (or maybe you could regain the Efficiency but lose Profficiency through rest). Such a system means that the player really needs to use an ability/spell in order to advance (so encourages him to abuse it) but also means that the more it abuses it the weaker that ability/spell it will get (for the moment). Such a system would mean that the PC will have overpowered combos, but it also means that the player will surely not want to "waste" those OP combos on critters and will always try to save them for when it matters. This would add so much complexity to any fight (imho) as you will always try to "balance" the rewards of killing the opponents as fast as you can with the risk of not having your best combo at top efficiency for the next encounter. Also, in longer fight this would mean that the PC must rely on a well rounded and diversified arsenal, because if he uses the same abilities/spells and well as combos that use those abilities/spells as basic constituents he will soon lose all of those due to them being weaker because of low Efficiency. On the other hand he is encouraged to use them as often as possible in order to make them better (gain Proficiency). I'm pretty sure this is not perfect, some of you might just think it's rubbish (and by the way it's somewhat inspired from Rage of Mages 2, the Proficiency part at least) but i like it (again duh!) and with some tweaking and/or refinement i really think it would work. There's at least one person here that would, in theory at least, be excited to see it implemented. 4. Expanded The game could play with such a system, by adding skills that lower your Efficiency decay but also lower the Proficiency gained (you get a PC or companion that is able to use the preferred abilities/spells more often while not being able to advance that fast), or by adding items that will tweak any of those components (or by adding Max. Efficiency points). You could get abilities (non PC, or even PC) that would temporarily raise your Efficiency (PC) or temporarily lower your Efficiency (hostile NPC). And probably much, much more than that. P.S. Oh darn... lvl 10 Fire Dragon... where's my Ice Shard + Stun combo? Oh sh!t, Ice shard is at 65 Efficiency... what do i do, what do i do. Why did i used Ice Shard on those lvl 7 Rogues?!?!