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At first I thought Iconic Projections bounced, like a Rolling Flame or a Crackling Bolt, hence the occasional outsized damage. But after reviewing your screen shot I now think something else is going on. First, I'd like to do a little survey: Who else has seen Iconic Projection do outrageous damage?

 

Looking at the screenshot again, I think I see it, too. Looks like we got hit with 3 different projections at once (plus a 4th soon after). It's nice to have someone else thinking through that. I'm not sure what else there was to do to prevent that. It's almost impossible not to clump up if you're doing a doorway kind of strategy. Charging in and bursting down the casters or hard CC would work. You could also debuff them quickly enough to reduce their accuracy or might. Given my strategy of corner pulls and tight hallways, hiding behind a wall of melee, they punished me well. 

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Looking at the screenshot again, I think I see it, too. Looks like we got hit with 3 different projections at once (plus a 4th soon after).

 

 

Were there enough priests to cast four projections?

 

What I noticed was that you had autopauses active. You also mentioned pausing multiple times. I think that if you pause at the exact moment that an Iconic Projection crosses a target it causes the animation to stutter and the damage to be applied repeatedly. It's a bug. 

 

I just did a search and I found a report of the same problem. One poster offered a candidate explanation:

 

What I suspect might be happening is that something goes wrong with the collision detection. It's basically a special slow-moving projectile which triggers an attack / heal effect whenever it intersects with someone. It seems that sometimes this goes wrong and characters are recorded as entering and leaving the projectile area multiple times in a row; perhaps the projectile position is somehow not updating properly and the game sometimes thinks that it is somewhere other than were it's supposed to be (and then when it returns, it perceives this as a new collision with characters it overlaps with). Not sure if it's that exactly of course, but does look like something like that. 

 

That's consistent with the impression I'm under. My suspicion is that pauses are one of the causes of collision detection errors. I've gotten in the habit of refraining from pausing while Iconic Projections pass by, although I haven't done it systematically, since I'm still not sure that's what going on. That has seemingly reduced the frequency. I have still seen it happen, however.

 

I think that pauses are a cause, but that there is at least one other. I suspect movement. I think that if the target is in motion when the projection passes through the engine can record multiple collisions.

 

We should test both of these explanations.

 

Does anyone else have thoughts on this?

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Not sure on the number of priests. I was planning to research on another save, but my hard drive tanked again this morning while trying to update. I’m glad for those cloud saves.

 

I think there were 2 priests in addition to the high priest (maybe 3, but that seems too many, given the sacrificial pit fight only has 2 regular priests, iirc). Your collision hypothesis seems more likely. I’d love to test it out more.

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I've been messing around with various builds, restarted sometimes losing a party to a mistake. I posted I would start a Roleplaying run to setup for PoE and I got to about the end of act 2 when I got really bored with the party. Not so much the combat or the main character but just running four good parties through the game got me kind of tired of it. I did some solo run attempts to take my mind off it but I came back to the fact that I really liked RPing the "evil" out of themselves melee party I had which came to a quick end due to some mushrooms in the catacombs. So I decided to start a new run with a better party that wasn't so good or evil but more interesting (at least to me) to RP. I held off on posting till we were well into act 2 to see how it would turn about a bit later didn't want to start then abandon the run. Also using three normal NPCs, let me know what you think of the idea.

 

Our characters

Mira never knew how different she was growing up, her father being a woodsman for the local lord meant she was always far away from the people in the city. Growing up hunting with her father it never occurred to her the connection she had with other people. She always felt close to her father, often knowing what he would say or do before the thought would even enter his mind, but she thought this was because they were never far apart. That was until she met Kiran, he was the son of one of father's old friends from home, a rowdy boy strong but intelligent. He wemt hunting with Mira and while they were stalking their prey she felt that same connection as with her father, even more she found that Kiran was very susceptible to her suggestions not going against her once. Deciding to further investigate the feelings she was having she did some further testing back home with Kiran's father and he too was easily manipulated by Mira.

 

Over the next few years Mira went out hunting alone more and more, but little did her father know her prey wasn't found in the woods but rather in the nearby town. Mira there would charm and manipulate the minds of men and women alike to hone her powers and feed her ambition. These people would bring her money, secrets and pleasure, whatever Mira desired. When Kiran came to visit one winter he told her he found out what she was doing talking to people in town and he knew that she was a Cipher. Mira was worried what her father would think of this and considered using her powers on Kiran to prevent Kiran from telling him. Before she could however enter his mind Kiran said "I've been thinking about this for a while and I think together we can do things like no one can imagine, I will follow you wherever you lead me as long as you let my mind be my own.", Mira agreed and the pair left the woods behind.

 

During the next few months roaming the nearby lands Mira and Kiran heard about a place called Dyrwood where it seemed opportunities were plentiful. An evening while discussing their plans to head over towards this area at a local ale house they suddenly noticed a moon godlike at a nearby table focused intently on their conversation. The moon godlike saw they noticed him and walked to the pair "Magran needs me in Dyrwood strangers, I hear you are heading that way?", Mira immediately tries to read the strangers intentions but the moon godlike's mind is so unlike anything she's ever see it's hard to make out anything. "You will need to be a lot stronger cipher to be able to manipulate a servant of Magran" the man says, "I am Garragh and if you'll have me I'd like to join you on your journey to Dyrwood.". Mira and Kiran don't completely trust the strangers but he seems useful on the road and it gives Mira a chance to practice her craft on this strange man.

 

 

 

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Like I said this party is already quite a bit into act II as you can see by the levels. I have screenshots of most fights and some extra's. I'll post some more as I have the time, unfortunately this is a busy week as it's the last week of work before the Christmas break.

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Mira - Chanter

 

Mira isn't sure about this so called land of opportunity, so far all it's been is menial jobs for these villagers. Saving people from bears, or their own friends as it turns out, settling farming disputes and clearing out xaurips for charlatans to get a potion that won't even help. The only small bit of excitement were those bandits who robbed the smith's supply wagon, they put up a decent fight although our new friends Aloth and Eder proved they are worthy additions to our group if not completely voluntary. It was interesting manipulating this mind of this wizard, there seems to be a secondary presence there something Mira is definitely planning to investigate further when a chance presents itself. As for Eder, the simpleton is a competent fighter but a farm boy like him was no measure for Mira's tricks, she had him eating out of her hand by the second night.

 

 

 

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But wait, something interesting did happen in the town of Gilded Vale, Mira conversed with a dead dwarven animancer who told called her a Watcher and told her of another one of these Watchers who can teach her more about this. This was all very new to Mira but she took to her new powers quickly and planned to visit this keep of Caed Nua with haste. There the group only encountered the spirits haunting the place at first culmanating in a big battle with phantoms and shadows in the keeps main halls. Here Aloth proved his real worth with some excellent aim on his Fan of Flames spells, Kiran might still complain that he singed his cloak but he too couldn't do anything but nod with respect as the phantoms melted to Aloth's onslaught.

 

 

 

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Finally this old Watcher was within Mira's graps, she had been dreaming about seeing his mind the first moment she heard his name... Maerwald. The spiders in the dungeon were quickly dispatched by Kiran who's massive great sword cleaves groups of the monsters like they were made of tinder. And finally Mira is eye to eye with.... a madman. It seems this fool has allowed his power to succumb him, how someone with such power could allow himself to fall this far is beyond Mira. No matter though, someone too weak to command his own will could never have really helped Mira impose hers on others. Aloth bombards the fraud with missiles while Eder and Kiran handle the blights that he commands. Mira sneaks around the side and lays into the fake Watcher while she keeps him paralyzed his feeble twisted mind an easy puzzle to unravel for Mira.

 

 

 

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Mira contemplates their next move as she sits on the throne of her newly acquired keep. The fool was rambling about something called the Leaden Key, Mira saw in his mind that they were real or at least real to him. Maybe Defiance Bay and the temple of Woudicia was the logical next step it was in any case their only lead. As soon as Mira saw the city however she realized something, this would be an excellent place to first regroup and gather some coin and equipment to better outfit them and it was time to get rid of this singer they picked up along the way he was off little use during the siege of the keep.  And thus the party helped out the mostly affluent people of Defiance Bay, killing an imposter mage, finding a lost boy, raiding a ships chest, finding animancy research for a bunch of annoying knights and gaining a new ally in a strange birdlike paladin that Mira had to add to her collection to better be able to study these godlike like Garragh.

 

 

 

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Note:

I'm keeping it light on the combat explanations, to be honest I kind of breezed through this it being the 4th time I've played this part of the game in the last week. Also this party is quite powerful, Kiran does insane damage especially now that he has control of 6 charges of firebrand and Aloth and Mira add the same while also controlling the battlefield. I'm actually even quite happy with Eder who I build for Maximium Engagements (1 base + 2 defender + 1 hold the line + 1 weapon + 1 shield eventually) and Overbearing Guard. Finally our new paladin is amazing since she adds attack speed which is something Kiran and Mira especially like a LOT. The thougher fights I'll cover more in depth, if you guys think it should do the same for the smaller fights just let me know. Oh and a melee Cipher and Barbarian in the thick of it with Echtoplasmic Echo is amazing. One fight later on (no screenshot cause it was trash, assassins in the city) I managed to get the beam over 6 people in total, the way that melted away was amazing specially since Kiran is in the thick as well doing amazing work with Carnage and Firebrand.

 

Final note, I will most likely overlevel a lot of content later since this is a completionistish run, I'll most likely upscale act 3 but I doubt I'll upscale WM1 or WM2 since I've gotten the same opinion as Alesia about WM1 and I don't really like it, I don't think it's hard I just think the though mechanics aren't fun. WM2 will be blind for me so I'm most likely not scaling it just to be honest because if this party dies there I'm not sure I have another run in me, but I'll see that when I get there.

Edited by FNGRenegade
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Final note, I will most likely overlevel a lot of content later since this is a completionistish run, I'll most likely upscale act 3 but I doubt I'll upscale WM1 or WM2 since I've gotten the same opinion as Alesia about WM1 and I don't really like it, I don't think it's hard I just think the though mechanics aren't fun. WM2 will be blind for me so I'm most likely not scaling it just to be honest because if this party dies there I'm not sure I have another run in me, but I'll see that when I get there.

 

 

I just completed White March 2 for the first time. I did not upscale and I regretted it. I'll also note that I prefer WM2 to WM1.

 

If you'd like to play the White March safely, without totally trivializing it, I'd advise starting WM1 at L8, just before the upscale option becomes available. That will insure that your levels will be high relative to the content, but not super high. 

 

I'm not sure what the cutoff is for WM2. A little help here?

 

Best,

 

A.

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Final note, I will most likely overlevel a lot of content later since this is a completionistish run, I'll most likely upscale act 3 but I doubt I'll upscale WM1 or WM2 since I've gotten the same opinion as Alesia about WM1 and I don't really like it, I don't think it's hard I just think the though mechanics aren't fun. WM2 will be blind for me so I'm most likely not scaling it just to be honest because if this party dies there I'm not sure I have another run in me, but I'll see that when I get there.

 

 

I just completed White March 2 for the first time. I did not upscale and I regretted it. I'll also note that I prefer WM2 to WM1.

 

If you'd like to play the White March safely, without totally trivializing it, I'd advise starting WM1 at L8, just before the upscale option becomes available. That will insure that your levels will be high relative to the content, but not super high. 

 

I'm not sure what the cutoff is for WM2. A little help here?

 

I've experience only with upscaled WM1/2 and main plot whenever possible, so unfortunately I can't help with the matter.

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Yeah I'm not 100% convinced yet I might just scale it up anyway if I feel like it. I want to finish up act 2 before I head over to WM1 but that's nearly done (I'm quite behind on the reports here). When I've finished up the last of act 2 I should be around level 8 or 9.

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Quick Note on Alyssa's Game: Alyssa is currently at L13. She's ready to finish the adventure. I am, however, reluctant to post on her run, since I'm not entirely proud of it. I made too many RP sacrifices in the interest of power and I respecced our protagonists, Alyssa and Alora, multiple times. Their styles also shifted dramatically from one stage of the adventure to the next.  The run ended up being an exploration of mechanics, rather than a story driven adventure with tactical elements. That's not the way I like to play. This run no longer feels alive to me, although Alyssa and Alora do, technically speaking, continue to live.

 

Since I like Alyssa and Alora I do intend to re-run them- this time with RP friendly stats and stylistic consistency, leveraging what I learned in this run. But running them now would feel too much like a parallel save run, so I'll reserve that for a later date.

 

What I'd like to do now is start a new run, with a new character: a moon godlike priest. This appeals to me because I feel I have a lot to learn about priests, but that I also understand the class well enough to play without herky-jerky stylistic shifts.

 

I'll introduce my priest, Arya, shortly. Please consider Alyssa officially withdrawn (although you should expect to see her again at a later date!)

 

Best,

 

A.

 

Btw, apologies to everyone for my inconsistent coverage of runs in this thread. Consider it growing pains as I learn a new game. I do sincerely hope to get coverage right in Arya's run, covering events without undue delay, and with a balance of RP and tactical content. I've been a challenge founder who has been a terrible challenge participant. I'll try to set a better example going forward!

Edited by Alesia_BH
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 They also are quite capable candidates for a solo completionist kill-all-those-bosses run.

 

 

Precisely. In addition to completing party runs, for the joy to be found in it, in and of itself, I'm of auditioning builds for solo play. Priests seem to have excellent potential. I'd like to force myself to explore them further by making one my PC.

 

Best,

 

A.

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Arya, Moon-Godlike Priest

 

With sincere apologies to Alyssa,  I'd now like to introduce my new character: Arya, Moon-Godlike Priest.

 

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Game Version: 3.7.0.1318 with White March I & II

Difficulty: PotD

Settings: Maim Before Death: On; Injuries: On; Expert Mode: OFF 

Mods: None

 
Gaming Notes: I decided to abandon Alyssa and begin a new run with Arya because Alyssa's run felt broken to me. Alyssa's actions and movements in the game world made little sense from an RP perspective. Further, due to frequent respecs and stylistic shifts, the run felt sloppy to me, unworthy of sharing. With Arya I seek to explore a new class while maintaining greater stylistic consistency and RP plausibility. Her stats, which are, by my tradition, matched to her portrait, instead of being sculpted in accordance with power-gamer recommendations are a reflection of that objective. It is my hope that this will be first PoE run that I can be unequivocally proud of: one the combines good coverage, sound play, RP plausibility, and a bit of style. Wish Arya luck, as a character. But also wish me luck, as a player and poster. I've been flaky so far in the PoE world. My hope is that I've finally grown up.
 
Best,
 
A.
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Arya, Moon-Godlike Priest: Entry 1, Cilant Lis to Caed Nua

Good news, everyone! Arya's adventure is off to a fine start. Her team has navigated the early game, without suffering any knockouts. We're now ready to take on Caed Nua.

Cilant Lis

The opening area was, as usual, drama free. The only question was whether Heodon would make it through the first battle without a knockout. He did. I'd like to credit that to Armor of Faith. I like Armor of Faith.

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Guilded Vale: Wolves and Bandits

In her first level up, Arya took Incomprehensible Revelation. She put her +10 with quaterstaves to use soon after, helping Eder defeat the Valewood wolves in a per encounter ability battle. When she isn't casting, Arya spends most of time smacking things with her quarterstafff, standing behind the front line, wearing brigandine. That will change soon.

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Having spared our spells against the wolves, we had plenty at our disposal for the bandits. Aloth, Arcane Veil->Eldritch Aim; Arya, Armor of Faith; Durance, Blessing. That was followed by Chill Fog->Combusting Wounds from Aloth, while the priests used Divine Terror and Divine Mark.

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A Divine Mark and a Minoletta's finished it.

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Guilded Vale: The Eothasian Temple

Next, we headed to Caed Nua, picking up Durance and Kana along the way. I considered sending Arya into Caed Nua at this time, at L3, but eventually I decided to head elsewhere to pick up that last level. We started with the Eothasian Temple.

Level 1 was completed with limited use of per rest abilities. We skipped the large spider group, the large skuldr group and the will'o'wisp. Kana and Eder handled front line duties while Arya and Durance used their staves, standing just behind. Aloth stayed at range, using his scepter and Arcane Assault.

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The focal battle on Level 2 went wonderfully, save for some auto-attack foolishness (Is there a way to disable auto-attack; I absolutely hate it; it's my least favorite part of PoE). Once upon a time this fight posed significant knockout risk for my characters. No longer. We selected a safe sport and then sent Eder ahead. Eder, Kana, and Aloth are in the from line, Arya and Durance in the back. Buffs included Armor of Faith, Blessing, Holy Power and Consecrated Ground. Here we are, ready for battle.

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The plan had been to have Aloth step to the side where he could use Fan of Flames. Unfortunately, Eder charged off on a damn fool retaliatory mission against an ooze, messing up our positioning and precluding use of Fan of Flames.

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No matter. We had enough party friendly spells to get through with ease- partly due to the fact that the larger ooze never showed up. He/She/Whatever is usually the dangerous one. Not this time.

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Black Meadow: The Smith's Shipment

The Smith's Shipment got a little interesting- more interesting than I would have liked.

We got off to a good start. See here, for example: solid positioning, buffs in nicely layered, damage and disablers en route. We're looking good.

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The bandits cleverly charged out backline, but with Arya in Brigandine, Aloth Veiled and Durance next to Eder, there was little havoc. The invaded were dispatched with ease.

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But when Aloth's Arcane Veil lapsed, he was targeted with crossbow bolts. Choosing to pull back, out of range seemed like a good idea: his spells we're needed, after all. The problem was that went a little to far, pulling 4 trolls. That's a little much for us at this stage, with tapped books. What to do?

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We bailed. And let the tolls finish the job. We then swung back to pick up the crate. Good thinking, Aloth! That actually worked!

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Caed Nua is next.

Best,

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Arya, Moon-Godlike Priest: Entry 2, Caed Nua

 

Once the bane of our challenge, Caed Nua has by now been fully tamed. Arya's journey through the keep reflected standard methods.

 

In the courtyard we stealthed by the spirits and used the Hermit Hat for the will'o'wisp

 

 

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After harvesting the primal flames we headed inside. We upgraded Yenwood before beginning the fray, fighting from the left corner. Chill Fog + Combusting Wounds did most of the work here.

 

 

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The spiders went quietly, although they did force us to Withdraw Kana. Kana becomes a fine tank later on in the adventure, but he is comparatively flimsy in the early game.

 

 

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Finally, Maewald. Since we had found the Golden Celery this time, we had the pleasure of wasting a pair of Bulwark potions. We had given those to Kana and Eder, since they were the ones likely to take one for the team. Fortunately, that wasn't necessary. We used a Tanglefoot scroll tokeep Maewald in our Chill Fog for as long was possible. Fans of Flame from Kana; Minoletta's from Aloth; and Iconic Projections from the priests ended Maerwald quickly.

 

 

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I was happy with our performance until I reviewed the screenshots and realized that I had failed to refrain from pausing during an Iconic Projection cast, causing Arya's, but not Durance's, to hit twice. I need to get better with that if we're going to use Iconic Projection. I don't want it bugging out all the time.

 

 

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Time for some fun in Defiance Bay!

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Arya, Moon-Godlike Priest: Entry 3, Defiance Bay (Part 1)

 

Defiance Bay! Yay! Defiance Bay.

 

I like Defiance Bay. It's fun. It's easy. It's loaded will cool quests and great loot. What's not to like? It's a great place for a party to grow up. And that's what we did: We grew up. 

 

Upon arrival we completed Rogue Knight peacefully and then swung by the docks to pick up Pallegina. We handled that peacefully, too, just because I wanted to see what would happen, for future reference.

 

Built to Last

 

Our first battle occurred in Built to Last. We're using Kana as a tank in this run. Our intent is to let him use scrolls for additional damage. That's worked out well so far, as in this case with Fan of Flames

 

 

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We took little damage in this fight, thanks to Arya's buffs, Aloth's spells and Kana's scrolls. The only threat worth noting was the backline charging rogues, who jumped over our frontline. Targeted spells, including Divine Mark, handled them.

 

 

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The Parable of Wael

 

I'll admit to being a little disappointed with this quest. Our protagonist, Arya, is a Priest of Wael. I was expecting something extra, something special- some additional dialogue with Wael, or with our companions. Something -anything- to commemorate the occasion. Arya met her god; that should count for something. Sadly, very little changed. I was bummed by that.

 

With that aside, the quest went well. This group always looks dangerous to me, but they never really put up a fight. I can't imagine losing to them.

 

In prior runs I used a Scroll of Defense in the fight. I now realize that isn't necessary.

 

 

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Priest buff->Iconic Projection + Divine Mark from Arya, Chill Fog + Combusting Wounds->Arcane Assault +Concelhaults  from Aloth, Fans of Flame from Kana, and good old fashion melee from Eder and Pallegina won the day. Sagani chipped in with some timely arrows on Iben.

 

 

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You'll note that Itumaak is down here. The last time I used Sagani was in my blind run of the White March. There, I got in the habit of using Itumaak to detonate the unstable constructs and distract other dangerous foes. Apparently that has carried over to the beginning of this run. I need to stop doing that. It's pretty lame. There's no justification for marching Itumaak off to his death.

 

 

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His Old Self

 

His Old Self was next. Focused fire brought Nyrid down before he could cast.

 

 

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Pallegina, wielding a two-hander, and wearing her breastplate, required a precautionary Withdraw. The rest of the party emerged unscathed.

 

 

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The battle on floor two went smoothly as well. We had enough spells left over to win with ease.

 

 

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In the interest of building Arya's deceptive rep, and role playing a Priest of Wael (I guess), we didn't tell Kaenra about Purnisc's side job. I must say that I'm not super-pleased with the way deceptive options are implemented in dialogue. Many of them (although not this one) are pointless, transparent lies.

 

All Hands on Deck

 

Since one of our posters had a near miss in this encounter recently, I've come to handle it with care. We didn't have trouble, but I did see why other parties could. The Parable of Wael crew is weaker than it looks. These blokes are tougher than they look. The named enemies have some staying power, and the use of Escape can frustrate tactical positioning. Blindness (CF + CoBS), Divine Terror and Despondent Blows were all used to good effect here. 

 

 

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No injuries to speak of.

 

 

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The Queen That Was

 

As an experiment, in preparation for a solo run, we collected our woedica hood from the initiate, instead of the corpse. That works. I'm beginning to see a way forward for my solo rogue, Arista, now waiting in the Goose and Fox. We fought one troll and a handful of oozes. That was all. Arista could have stealthed by most of them, if not all.

 

 

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The Man Who Waits

 

Had I not used Itumaak for distraction -and had I found the Party AI Off toggle- we would have completed this encounter without damage.

 

Claiming Uscgrim's cell, and using wood beetles + Itumaak to buy us time to buff, put us on excellent footing at the start of the fight. By the time our enemies arrived we were ready to blast them. Chill Fog + Combusting Wounds from Aloth; Fan of Flames from Kana.

 

 

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We moved on to Fireballs and that's when things got a little messy. Kana, who had been hit by an Eyestrike, raced off on an AI retaliatory mission, putting himself right in the line of fire and sacrificing his strategic position. We Withdrew him immediately. All this time I've been fighting the AI. I'm looking forward to turning it off.

 

 

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Clandestine Cargo

 

Finally, Clandestine Cargo. This went well- better than it had in prior runs. We dispatched the adra animats before they could use corrosive breath and took little damage from the smaller animats, thanks to tactical positioning. Both fights were clean. Note that Pallegina is wielding Firebrand here. We bought her the Forgemaster Gloves just before the quest.

 

 

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Next, up: Raedric Hold. But first, a party status update.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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@Alesia_BH: I notice few of your characters have very high Lore. Why is that? I basically always invest heavily in Lore so all of my characters can use high-impact scrolls like Scrolls of Revival and Scrolls of Protection (skill costs are exponential, so I figured it was best to split them between Lore and Survival). I especially value high lore for Thaos so I can put Maelstrom scrolls in the hands of high-Accuracy characters who don't have other high-impact offensive options that can get past the Deflection of Thaos and the statues. What kind of character builds would you say most need high Lore at the expense of high Survival?

 

Speaking of which, how reliable can Arcane Dampener get against Thaos? He has sky-high Will, so I'd have figured that it would be very dicey to actually take down his shield.

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@Alesia_BH: I notice few of your characters have very high Lore. Why is that? I basically always invest heavily in Lore so all of my characters can use high-impact scrolls like Scrolls of Revival and Scrolls of Protection (skill costs are exponential, so I figured it was best to split them between Lore and Survival). I especially value high lore for Thaos so I can put Maelstrom scrolls in the hands of high-Accuracy characters who don't have other high-impact offensive options that can get past the Deflection of Thaos and the statues. What kind of character builds would you say most need high Lore at the expense of high Survival?

 

 

I used to emphasize Lore for all of my characters, from the start, but then I noticed that only a fraction of my characters were actually using scrolls in the early game.

 

At this phase of the adventure, we need one person to handle Scrolls of Defense and another to handle Scrolls of Protection. Those people should not be our primary casters, so as not to slow down our buffing and initial aerial assault. We're using Kana and Pallegina for those roles. That's why Kana and Pallegina are at Lore 6+ and 4 respectively.  

 

Scrolls are helpful for offense, too, but in the early game, factoring in cost, Fan of Flames is almost always the best choice and that only requires Lore 2. Kana and Pallegina are there. Eder will get to L2 soon. 

 

By the time we get to Thaos, our Lore scores will be higher. But as was the case in Arcadia's battle with Thaos (which went very smoothly, nearly damage free) I don't expect to make extensive use of Scrolls of Maelstrom. They're nice -I absolutely agree- but after I factor in all the things I need to keep everyone safe, there really aren't that many free slots for them. We'll have one character carrying a stack of Scrolls of Maelstrom. That character will probably be Kana

 

Speaking of which, how reliable can Arcane Dampener get against Thaos? He has sky-high Will, so I'd have figured that it would be very dicey to actually take down his shield.

 

That's a game time decision that should be made based on the buffed accuracy score of the individual who's casting, the number of available slots, and the best attacks available to your party members. Recall that in Arcadia's game we were rolling with 2 wizards. We also had the Sigil of the Arcane. Additionally, Arcadia's buffed accuracy was pretty high relative to Thaos's Will, since we reached Sun and Shadows at L12, just before the option to upscale is offered. With all that taken into consideration, it made sense to take Thaos's buffs down.

 

If the math is less favorable, when you arrive, I'd advise reserving you Arcane Dampener for the Headsman. His Will is low and his Deflection, post debuff is only 60. You could then use your Deflection attacks against him, freeing up limited use Reflex attacks for Thaos. 

 

Best,

 

A.

 

Btw, what are you up to Semiticgod? Are you playing?

Edited by Alesia_BH
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@Alesia_BH: I'm currently running a PotD party run with 2 priests, a cipher, a rogue, a wizard (our Watcher), and a barbarian. I'm using this run to explore Od Nua and White March, so I decided early on to continue even if we died somewhere along the way (otherwise I'd never get to learn much about the optional areas of the game).

 

I planned on posting on this run and even moved a bunch of pictures to Imgur to prepare for it, but I'm so behind that I think I might just post general remarks and discuss game mechanics, rather than do in-depth analysis of battles with screenshots to illustrate. So, I'll go ahead and confirm that we've already suffered one death to the ogres at Od Nua. Not Zolla, mind you, but the western ogres, whom we approached without the use of either type of beetle summons or food buffs. Plus, we approached them from the south, and I think it's better to engage them from the north, since that would push the two groups of ogres into one area (and might actually avoid triggering both groups at once!).

 

We did very well for a while, but we suffered some knockouts and very, very gradually got worn down. After I reloaded, we took them down with beetles and Confusion spells to minimize the pressure on the party. Slicken and Confusion are both extremely important for buying time to buff the party during fights with ogre druids; they both have remarkable range and are very reliable despite their short duration. Without them, I think putting Blaidh Golan and/or Ilfan Byrngar's Solace on a tank for the +50 defense bonus while prone (do the two items stack?) would be a silly but effective means of keeping the rest of the party safe. Prone effects are devastating normally, but those two items actually make prone effects beneficial for the party.

 

I think I'll start posting some image-less discussion of the run's progress. It's no longer a no-reload run, but I still have thoughts on the party's functioning that I'd like to share with the group.

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Sounds good! And I can reciprocate with some thoughts on my cipher, Alyssa, if you like.

Best,

A.

Btw, I agree: it's best to do the ogre area counter clockwise, approaching the druids from the north. Otherwise you end up with a mess, pulling two crews. That fight is harder than Zolla by far.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Right-o. Our Watcher this time is Frost, another Hearth Orlan with a re-used portrait and name. This is the first time I didn't use the blonde orlan portrait for my Watcher.

 

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As before, I've maxed out Perception, which I do for any character that's not a tank. Partly this is because of the offensive bonuses, but mostly I do this for the reliability. I think this is especially important for spellcasters, who only get so many chances to make an impact with offensive spells. If you can only spare a single Confusion spell, you want to minimize the chance that it will fail outright.

 

The money from selling Gaun's Pledge allowed us to purchase our five custom party members before tackling any important challenges, obviating the need for vanilla NPCs. Here's our party:

 

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We've got two tanky priests so we can set up defenses early, another ranged cipher, our Watcher mage, a barbarian with some balanced stats, and a rogue to strike from the sides.

 

I originally picked a monk because I thought monks and ciphers had special synergy: a low-Deflection monk would make a great target for a cipher's opening attack, granting multiple Wounds to the monks and lots of Focus to the cipher, allowing the monk to deal extra damage from a safe distance with staffs and pikes while the cipher got a reliable chunk of Focus even in fights against enemies with high Deflection.

 

When I discovered that having the cipher attack the monk gave us lots of Wounds but zero Focus, I replaced the monk with a rogue. I don't see much value in a monk unless it's a Moon Godlike or a party with consistent healing effects active, because it doesn't have many utility or defensive options and you have to lose 8 or 10 Endurance to use Torment's Reach.

 

Whisper of Treason neutralizes a LOT of early game threats (we actually took down the bears early thanks to Whisper of Treason), and Frost was able to use Concelhaut's staff to deal damage. Our rogue, Rius, also used Fan of Flames scrolls for bigger fights, like the Xaurip Skirmishers by the beach and the Phantoms at Caed Nua, and Frost's Arcane Veil let her tank the latter. Fan of Flames scrolls appear to be ideal for ending the Phantom fights quickly and safely.

 

With two priests, we didn't have much trouble with Maerwald, since we could cast lots of healing spells to counter the area-effect damage. We didn't do much else in Od Nua, but we did use Whisper of Treason and Mental Binding from our cipher to neutralize the queen spider.

 

I got the Forgemaster Gloves, but instead of giving them to our barbarian, I gave them to our rogue, Rius. I realize that barbarians can get more damage overall due to Carnage, but I figured that Firebrand would actually be more useful overall.

 

The critical factors in a fight, from what I can tell, aren't hordes of normal enemies, but single bosses and other tough targets. Therefore, wouldn't it be more important to have a rogue that can deal 150% damage to a single important enemy, than a barbarian that can deal 100% normal damage to that enemy and 66% damage to multiple, lower-value targets?

 

I decided to test it out, and found that the rogue can deal so much damage to make damage reduction practically meaningless at most values.

 

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Granted, barbarians get another +20% damage from One Stands Alone and another +12-18% from the Might bonuses of rage, but rogues also get some extra high-damage options like Finishing Blow, and their sneak attacks last longer than rage even without a cipher to use Phantom Foes to Flank enemies.

 

Instead, our barbarian dual-wielded weapons (we finally got the March Steel Dagger by roughhousing the little kid), relying on our priests' healing to keep her safe. With two priests, we had strong enough defenses to stand up to decent pressure, and for a very long time, Ectopsychic Echo smashed everything in front of us, including Raedric.

 

Raedric is a very profitable target. It looks like his castle nets you nearly 12,000 copper pieces in loose equipment.

 

We had trouble with the Skaen temple cultists, though. Those Mind Breakers and rogues are very difficult to handle; the firearms come out fast and the disablers really screw with the party's functioning, while the rogues apply consistent pressure. I don't know of a solid way to neutralize the key threats besides Slicken; other options don't always reach everyone, and attacking Will defenses provokes a stunning backlash from the enemy Mind Breakers, which can get really inconvenient. The rogues even use Finishing Blow, which just makes it even easier to suffer rapid knockouts.

 

I think the answer might just be to spam Slicken (honestly, it might even be worth it just to create a new custom mage so you cast it more often) and be generous with resting so you can always keep the enemy on their backs.

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