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An opinion: Neriscyrlas is pure BG2-type cheese. What do you think?


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Some people on these forums have -- quite justifiably -- criticised Baldur's Gate II for its cheesy fights where you have to know just the right things, otherwise you're doomed. I just came across a dragon called Neriscyrlas and noticed that it is pure BG2 chesse through and through. Reason being: it uses a very specific super-powerful ability to make itself quite invulnerable, and you have to know beforehand that it does so if you want to have a good chance of survival. When you start the fight, it'll take some before its strategy becomes obvious, and at that point your resources are likely to have diminished quite a bit. Also, if you do not have the right spells and/or scrolls prepared, you have to run around the map (or otherwise waste time) rather a lot.

My solution was to give up on the third time it did its "yo! you can't hit me now!" type of thing, and set the difficulty real low. Grinding it out is just not worth it, I can't see how there could be a proper reward.

 

Worst-planned fight in the game, hands down. It's cheese, through and through, because you have to meta-game (i.e. know your tricks beforehand) in order to get a good chance.

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First of all:
What difficulty? If PotD - then asking to know how the fights go, and what to watch out for isn't asking too much: after all PotD shouldn't be for the first playthrough. 

I beated her twice on Veteran and... it wasn't too bad? (My BoW PotD was cancelled due to a bug). If I remember well she casts a generic spell (Llengrath's Safeguard?), so by that point in the game I would expect you know what that means (you are also ahead of time informed that Neriscyrlas wields magic). Even so, there are ways of making the spell end quicker. 

Fights added late in the game tend to be HP focused, which I don't like, but at the same time I have no idea how to create a challenging enemy, while having per-encounter system, and being beatable by various builds.

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Veteran. First and only playthrough -- it's obvious to me that the game has zero replay value.

 

There are ways of making the spell end quicker, but these entail having the right stuff available (as you can't switch spellbooks or scrolls during a fight). Also, the power Neriscyrlas gets on the spell (90 seconds or so, and it can add to it by using its siphon, so maybe 120 seconds or so per casting) is a lot longer that what you can get on your dampeners or insectoid stuff, for instance.

 

What I'm saying is that it's doable if

1) you meta-game, i.e. check out what you need to do, or

2) you just happen to have the right stuff equipped, or

3) you are willing to grind it out by running around for at least three castings of that spell (given how unlikely it is that you can interrupt the casting -- and yes, I know the thrust of tattered veils, for instance, but you'll have to have some luck to get everything work at the right time).

 

And so, to me this combinations spells CHEESE in capital letters.

 

I agree with your last point. The way the game is made doesn't really lend itself to properly challenging enemies, only HP stuff.

 

BoW has been excellent so far. The Bridge Aflame in particular was superb -- boy that was well done. So, Neriscyrlas after that was a huge disappointment.

Edited by xzar_monty
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If you are really "Good", there is an alternative to simply HP'ing him to death... I have used it... check your stats after looking at too low attributes...in the dialog with this dragon... and retrain to open new opportunities....  Sometimes diplomacy is the best answer, in this case it does not prolong the inevitable; (war anyway)  Just my 2 cents... 

OBTW, the design of the Beast of Winter is top notch the quests are well thought and very complex, My God, I can only imagine a

POE III !!!!!!!

 

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The trick that never fails is to hit the dragon with the Inquisitor Chains right before she would fly off and power up, doing this with interrupts (Swashbuckler) keeps her unable to really buff.

I also hit her with the God Bomb and normally I keep Marux Amanth on hand so once I get her Near Death, which with her hitpoints means she can still take a good amount of damage I use Worthy Sacrifice - works like a charm (fyi - this works pretty consistently too).

“How do you 'accidentally' kill a nobleman in his own mansion?"

"With a knife in the chest. Or, rather, a pair of knives in the chest...”

The Final Empire, Mistborn Trilogy

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There are plenty of ways to beat this boss.  You can interrupt the casting of Llengrath's Safeguard one way or another or dispel the effect once it is in place.  Alternately, you can just fight through Llengrath's Safeguard going into effect if you boost your crush penetration and reduce the boss's armor, use weapons or abilities that deal the "Raw" damage type, and boost your party's accuracy while decreasing the boss's improved defenses with abilities and modals.  Which is not even taking into account the special bonuses you can activate during the battle, which to be fair I never bothered with, but they are right there.  Also, as far as I recall there is nothing stopping the player from leaving and trying to level up their party if the difficulty here is a huge roadblock.  

So no, this is not a cheesy fight ala Kangaxx from BG2 (although there were actually quite a few ways to handle that fight with Spell Immunity: Abjuration, Berserkers, Minsc, Scrolls of Protection Against Magic) as there are plenty of ways to approach this battle, and as far as I am aware, I think this battle can be feasibly soloed with every class or multiclass combination.  

However, this battle in particular does seem to come up a lot in terms of it being criticized as being very difficult or unfair.  I think this battle definitely represents a difficulty spike compared to the base game and the rest of BoW, and if I had to guess why its because for most of the game there is very little incentive to really engage with some of the combat subsystems, like stacking, interrupts and  armor penetration.  So yes, this fight is probably overtuned, and the most economical solution would have been to slightly reduce Neriscyrlas's stats to compensate for the usage of Llengrath's Safeguard, as opposed to balancing the entire game to be even more challenging.  Plus, if I recall correctly this fight was designed before the developers changed Veteran difficulty to buff enemy defenses, so there may be a bit of unintentional stat bloat there.  

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45 minutes ago, DozingDragon said:

There are plenty of ways to beat this boss.  You can interrupt the casting of Llengrath's Safeguard one way or another or dispel the effect once it is in place.  Alternately, you can just fight through Llengrath's Safeguard going into effect if you boost your crush penetration and reduce the boss's armor, use weapons or abilities that deal the "Raw" damage type, and boost your party's accuracy while decreasing the boss's improved defenses with abilities and modals.  Which is not even taking into account the special bonuses you can activate during the battle, which to be fair I never bothered with, but they are right there.  Also, as far as I recall there is nothing stopping the player from leaving and trying to level up their party if the difficulty here is a huge roadblock.  

So no, this is not a cheesy fight ala Kangaxx from BG2 (although there were actually quite a few ways to handle that fight with Spell Immunity: Abjuration, Berserkers, Minsc, Scrolls of Protection Against Magic) as there are plenty of ways to approach this battle, and as far as I am aware, I think this battle can be feasibly soloed with every class or multiclass combination. 

His armor goes up to 19 with the Safeguard. Even with meal boosts (which I had), it is very difficult to bring penetration close to that. You can bring his armor down with Rusted Armor scroll, for example, but given that he has the Safeguard for at least approximately 300 seconds (he casts it at least three times), one scroll is going to reduce his armor for approximately 5% of that time. I had two of those scrolls equipped before the battle (and you cannot re-equip in battle). One of them hit, and the other missed, so their effect was close to nil. I was able to deactivate the Safeguard with the arcane dampener (was that was it called?) spell, twice, but again, these amounted up to for about 10% of the spell's duration.

 

I would still argue that this is cheese because you need prior meta-game knowledge before you can make even close to optional choices. Like with Kangaxx. I agree that there are multiple ways for both, but the fight is still designed in a way that is not so much challenging, it's just wildly annoying. Hands down the worst fight in the game (so far) in this sense. It's not the difficulty as such, it's that without those optional choice made before the battle (either by chance or through meta-gaming), the battle is such a huge grind.

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I found this boss quite easy - even at the first time without me knowing it would have Llengrath's Safeguard. Once you employ all the help from the three NPCs it's not difficult at all in my opinion. With our without Safeguard. I don't use consumables with party most of the time and only the cheapest food. 

Right on my second try I did it without the NPCs' help and it still was fairly easy. Basically you just have to watch the weaknesses and if you don't have supernarrow powerbuilds that can only do one thing really well you'll have no problem I'd say. Her deflection isn't that high and her burn DR is lowish. 

I don't think it's very cheesy. Unless the Megabosses. Or flame nagas. Those you will bombard with fire spells once you meet them because their burn DR is super low. Only to realize after several hits that they have a passive that lets them heal from fire... :) I liked that.

Of course it helps a lot if you know about Safeguard right from the start.

Edited by Boeroer

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As I said: if you don't have narrow builds which focus on one single thing it shouldn't be a problem. Priests have many burn abilities, Paladins as well, Druids, too. Wizards have grimoires - so even if you didn't pick certain spells you can still cast them if you arranged your grimoire selection for versatility.

Of course you will run into problems if your party members are all taylored towards one special thing - like Tekehu only doing shock damage galore but not much else. Or focusing on Chillfog and Freezing Rake because it's so good in general.

I mean sure - there can be situations where your party isn't well equipped for a certain foe - like this. But this is a thing with a lot of RPG encounters, isn't it? Fampyrs are a real pain if you have no countermeasures for gazes and/or INT afflictions, Flame Blights and Skeleton Warriors are so difficult if you use a gun - and so on. Part of the challenge is to see what the enemy does, fail and then come back - better prepared. So for me Neriscyrlas is not very special. You have to run through the whole DLC to get to her. If one didn't realize by then that burn damage is good agaist all those snowmen and stuff then the player didn't pay any attention I'd say.

I don't call that cheesy at all. It's not that you have to know special single trick that lets you defeat the boss (although this can also be a nice mechanical challenge on its own and doesn't mean it's cheesy as long as any party composition can do it somehow). You only have to know that burn damage is good against her (which isn't a surprise given that you already "killed" her right at the beginning of the DLC) and that you need AR debuffs - which also isn't a surprise because... dragon. :)

Edited by Boeroer

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I've got no Paladins or Druids in the party. Grimoires can't be switched in battle. None of my party members specializes in one special thing.

Interesting what you say about fampyrs: I haven't had any difficulty with them whatsoever. Not using guns on skeleton warriors is obvious, given their structure, and besides, even if I do have a gun equipped (which I do), I can always switch to a melee weapon when skeleton warriors come around.

The big cheesy thing for me is the (at least) thrice-cast Safeguard which changes the complexion of the battle completely. And in this, the main thing is that it happens when you've already spent a lot of resources without knowing that that's what the dragon's gonna do. I mean, it's perfectly ok that it uses it, but the amount of time that it casts it and the amount of the time the spell lasts per casting turns the battle into a heck of a useless grind. If you come perfectly prepared, things are going to be a lot easier, but that's meta-gaming again.

So, when you come into battle the first time, chances are it's going to turn into a huge grind midway through, and that's just cheesy. Or, then you come in knowing what to expect and prepared for it, and that's cheesy too.

I don't think it's a good fight.

 

In PoE, the Alpine Dragon battle was poor and cheesy, but not because of the difficult dragon itself. It was because of those spirits suddenly teleporting in -- it looked like pure cheating from the game developers, and that was disappointing.

Edited by xzar_monty
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I don't think you got my point. Every encounter can be like that. If you meet a Flame Blight and have a stiletto and an Arquebus you are screwed. You'd have to reload and equip something else. 

If you meet a Dracolich and realize you are now well equipped (e.g. don't have a grimoire with fire spells in a Quick Slot) and see that you need interrupts (so maybe put some slicken-grimoire into a Quick Slot) then you would reload and do that. 

This fight is not very different from several other fights in that regard. For me that doesn't feel cheesy. It would be if the game would expect you to beat the enemies with your first try. But it doesn't. Except if you do certain challenges. And there you need meta knowledge anyways.

So tl;dr: the Dracolich doesn't feel more cheesy to me than several other enemies. Example again: Flame Nagas. If you meet then the first time and want to be smart you will most likely fail very profoundly. Reload with new metaknowledge and it's easy. 

Also: Grimoires can't be switched in battle??? Sure they can. Put one in your trinket slot and 4 into your Quick slots and you will have a very, very broad spell portfolio during an encounter. If you didn't have any fire spells available when going into a fight with a frosty dragon... that's not the fail of the designer I'd say. 

Edited by Boeroer

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Well, for me, with my experience of the game so far, I would maintain that the difference between Neriscyrlas and everything else so far is huge. No difficulties with flame blights, flame nagas or anything else like that. With those, for example, the combination of what's available (like, for instance, there's no way all five of my group have the equivalent of stiletto and arquebus equipped) has always been good enough.

 

Also: nearly all monsters you can get a look at, think about and even retreat from to gather your resources or refine your strategy. Not so with Neriscyrlas.

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I'd call it BG2-like not in the way of the illithids or Kangaxx or the Demogorgon or other fights that you have no chance at without supreme metaknowledge, but in the way of Draconis.  That was the dragon fight about 2/3rds of the way through ToB where the baddie (who was named after a BIS forum regular) tended to cast Improved Invisibility and Heal once you got its health past a certain point. 

Which was... good? 

I mean, ToB was all kinds of epic-level cheese nonsense.  At the point when the player can summon literal demigods to fight their fights for them, it counts as a nice change-up to see the enemy AI pull a trick that the player probably learned to do 10 levels ago. 

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11 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

His armor goes up to 19 with the Safeguard. Even with meal boosts (which I had), it is very difficult to bring penetration close to that. You can bring his armor down with Rusted Armor scroll, for example, but given that he has the Safeguard for at least approximately 300 seconds (he casts it at least three times), one scroll is going to reduce his armor for approximately 5% of that time. I had two of those scrolls equipped before the battle (and you cannot re-equip in battle). One of them hit, and the other missed, so their effect was close to nil. I was able to deactivate the Safeguard with the arcane dampener (was that was it called?) spell, twice, but again, these amounted up to for about 10% of the spell's duration.

 

I would still argue that this is cheese because you need prior meta-game knowledge before you can make even close to optional choices. Like with Kangaxx. I agree that there are multiple ways for both, but the fight is still designed in a way that is not so much challenging, it's just wildly annoying. Hands down the worst fight in the game (so far) in this sense. It's not the difficulty as such, it's that without those optional choice made before the battle (either by chance or through meta-gaming), the battle is such a huge grind.

Armor of 19?  I think that means you are playing on Veteran, as that provides a flat +1 bonus to all enemy armor ratings.  So that means Neri's maximum crush armor rating is two points lower, at 17.  Any superb mace has 12 penetration (and you come across a superb mace during the course of the dlc), which can be boosted to 14 with Hot Razor Skewers.  The mace modal can reduce enemy armor by one point, so that would take the enemy armor down to 16, and it can then be brought even lower with other abilities like Expose Vulnerabilities, Hel Hyraf, Rusted Armor, and the passive aura from the Blackened Plate which actually stacks with the aforementioned abilities.  The only real meta knowledge here is that it is generally wise to boost the penetration of your melee characters as well as bringing along items and abilities that decrease an enemy's armor.  And you don't even need to bother with any of this if you focus on interrupts, raw damage, or certain afflictions.  

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Yes, DLCs are much more challenging - should I say, they have properly designed and balanced fights. Even now on Veteran you can push yourself through most fights without really being properly prepared to counter - it is much better then it was on launch. 

Its not cheese - being ready to interrupt enemy, suppress/remove buffs, raise your PEN, lower enemy PEN and core basics of Deadfire combat - it’s just too easy to over level most of the content in the base game without changing XP gain. DLCs bring it up to a good level. From what I have seen Megabosses are more annoying - you have to get to know them, and prepare for them - but it is why thy are there, and are skippable if someone doesn’t find this kind of challenge fun. You can and should swap Grimoires - having couple in your item slots for different needs is wizard ABC.

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There is a good chance you won't like SSS ... some of those fights make Narcissisc (sp) seem pretty cake walk.  I think SSS has one of the only fights in the game that I needed to cheese - and I enjoyed figuring out how to beat it.  I really enjoy having to figure out tough fights :)

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“How do you 'accidentally' kill a nobleman in his own mansion?"

"With a knife in the chest. Or, rather, a pair of knives in the chest...”

The Final Empire, Mistborn Trilogy

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13 hours ago, DozingDragon said:

Armor of 19?  I think that means you are playing on Veteran, as that provides a flat +1 bonus to all enemy armor ratings.  So that means Neri's maximum crush armor rating is two points lower, at 17.  Any superb mace has 12 penetration (and you come across a superb mace during the course of the dlc), which can be boosted to 14 with Hot Razor Skewers.  The mace modal can reduce enemy armor by one point, so that would take the enemy armor down to 16, and it can then be brought even lower with other abilities like Expose Vulnerabilities, Hel Hyraf, Rusted Armor, and the passive aura from the Blackened Plate which actually stacks with the aforementioned abilities.  The only real meta knowledge here is that it is generally wise to boost the penetration of your melee characters as well as bringing along items and abilities that decrease an enemy's armor.  And you don't even need to bother with any of this if you focus on interrupts, raw damage, or certain afflictions.  

 

A monk has better unarmed penetration than a superb mace at the point I am in (or maybe equal, and can definitely be bettered with Haymaker). And yes, I know all about Expose vulnerabilities, Rusted armor etc., but the point sort of is that their duration is negligible compared to the duration of N's safeguard. It's something along the lines of 120 seconds versus maybe 10 seconds. As I said, I had two Rusted armor scrolls, and one of them missed; the other lasted for about ten seconds, which isn't much.

 

I have checked SSS a bit and indeed didn't enjoy it very much: there was very little storytelling but plenty of fighting, it seemed. I'm totally fine about skipping much/most of it, that's no big deal.

 

I have now finished BoW, and I thought that apart from N, it was excellent. Really well written. Funnily enough, btw, the very last fight against a big bad boss was a lot better, less cheesy and more interesting than the dragon fight.

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Their strategies are the same to an extent, but I suppose some of the messenger's relevant stats and/or defences must be significantly lower because that was not a concern. It is possible that I destroyed it before the safeguard even came on, or I may have been able to interrupt its casting without noticing it was about to come on.

 

As I said, the safeguard (that is cast at least three times in succession for a total of about 360 seconds) does not make the fight that much more difficult, it only turns it into a grind that doesn't feel worthwhile. Running around and waiting for the NPC assistants to come on again feels fairly naff.

 

The DLC is excellent, no question. It's just that this one fight seriously sucks, in my view. I did a bit of googling, and it appears that this is a fairly common opinion.

Edited by xzar_monty
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On 6/16/2019 at 11:53 PM, LotharVI said:

If you are really "Good", there is an alternative to simply HP'ing him to death... I have used it... check your stats after looking at too low attributes...in the dialog with this dragon... and retrain to open new opportunities....  Sometimes diplomacy is the best answer, in this case it does not prolong the inevitable; (war anyway)  Just my 2 cents...

 

I don't like to play this way at all. I don't like to see the dialogue options I'm not qualified for. It is very immersion-breaking for me, because the underlying mechanisms of the game become too obvious and highlighted. I prefer to "go blind" in this sense, it's much more enjoyable for me.

 

Apparently there is way to deal with N without fighting, but either I didn't have high enough attributes or I didn't choose the right options. That's fine with me: I chose what I felt was best, and if that leads into a fight, I'm fine with that. (I wasn't looking for a fight.)

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13 hours ago, Wormerine said:

You can and should swap Grimoires - having couple in your item slots for different needs is wizard ABC.

 

Oh, I completely own up to my ignorance on this point, no question. But you know, in retrospect this feels pretty weird: I have never felt any want or need to be able to swap Grimoires before. If anything, Aloth knows many more spells than he ever uses, and the ones he uses are very good indeed. I believe this, once again, reflects the perhaps-overly-balanced system of the game in general: everything is as effective as everything else. The same goes for items: for the most part, everything works just as fine as everything else.

 

As I'm probably nearing the end of my playthrough, I'm beginning to feel that the storytelling in the game is good, it's very enjoyable, but the mechanics side is a little bland. There's no loot that gets you excited, because everything is as good as everything else -- my inventory is full of unique items I have never used that make me go ho-hum at best. It's not that anything is poor, it's just that everything is roughly the same.

Edited by xzar_monty
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I have played it both ways and have simply beat N down, through continuous interrupts (magic and serious thumping) , and I found that boring... I much prefer in this case, the "option" of the diplomatic/bluff on this dragon... makes it interesting. I enjoy the many aspects/choices made available.  All of what I read here I agree with... everyone has their preferences.  The main thing is, did you enjoy this?  If you didn't, try it another way...  diplomacy and bluff are powerful and can provide interesting options.

The game gets for more interesting with all of the dialog options available... opens opportunities...

just my 2 cents....

Edited by LotharVI
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I agree: beating N down is most of all boring. That's the thing. It's such a grind.

 

Incidentally, I am now at Bekarna's observatory, and there's a pretty tough fight there, too. But it's really interesting! How can you use the architecture to your advantage, and so on.

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