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Custom Party Breaks the balance of the game?


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So, after a lot of fiddling with multiple builds I decided I could not bear playing just ONE character I wanted and instead chose to play a custom party of 5 hired adventurers and...

 

...It just made the game SO MUCH EASIER that I wonder if it is going to be fun.

 

Now I have (in TB mode):

1. a 100% boring AF Unbroken/Shieldbearer crusader with spear and board for maximum engagements and lots of HP. Moon Godlike as well for auto-healing boost.

2. My Death Godlike Sharpshooter/Assassin for DPS

3. a Nature godlike SingleClass Lifegiver for AoE and Healing

4. a Beguiler/Trickster for Debuffing and CC

 

And that party just made short work of fights that I once had to really think about. I am on PotD and while I cannot just mindlessly attack, I got really worried about the steep decrease in difficulty. Everyone is great at what they do and I wonder if the game was balanced a LOT around companions. Does anyone else find this to be true? Or did I just set up a really great team and kinda broke the game by doing so?

 

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If this is your second run then most likely you are experiencing the immense positive effect of meta-knowledge - not so much the increased power of custom adventurers. Also because your party doesn't seem like overly optimized in terms of party synergies and crazy class combos.

Custom adventurers start 1 level below official companions which def. balances out the somewhat unoptimized stats and class choices of the latter. So at least in the early game it doesn't make a lot of difference. At least for me who's not experiencing the effect of increased meta-knowledge anymore. 

Later in the game there can be big differences of course because the difference in levels is gone and certain multiclass- and party synergies start to really have an impact. 

One thing that really can make a  good impact in the early game is an Assassin who's opening fights from stealth with his +25 ACC. This is a huge increase that early in the game and can tip the battles right at the start.   

Edited by Boeroer
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On 11/2/2020 at 4:12 PM, pblack476 said:

Everyone is great at what they do and I wonder if the game was balanced a LOT around companions.

i kind of expect this to be true, which is why in general i limit myself to only one custom companion (just so i can flex my creative muscles a bit each time without overpowering game balance). the obs-made companions are not super-optimized, even for ones that have particularly strong unique aspects (e.g. tekehu druid or maia ranger subclass). they are also in some ways suboptimal (xoti, vatnir, pallegina don't get reputation scaling. i will forever hold that serafen as a cipher is terrible.)

it is possible to put together a custom party that is min-maxed worse than what OBS made, but even the one level penalty that boeroer mentions (which is not much of a penalty if you hire them right out of the gate in port maje) a modicum of thought will supercharge your adventures IMO.

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Pallegina is the worst IMHO when compared to a full custom build.

Her race is bad (not worth a helm slot, especially since you can get the resist from abilities) and her Paladin subclass is arguably worse than no subclass (bar the access the Sworn ennemy upgrade for a super bad effect). Not to mention her temper.

At least Serafen can go single class Barb ^^

Vatnir, Maia, Tekehu and Eder (with Berath Blessing and bonus from self-quest) are the ones with good feature that custom NPC can have.

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15 hours ago, Elric Galad said:

Pallegina is the worst IMHO when compared to a full custom build.

What about Fassina? It's quite possible that I'm simply not a very good player, but what do you think about Fassina? My admittedly brief experience with her left me with a feeling that she was missing a lot of excellent spells and has essentially nothing to replace them with. I will be happy to be proven wrong.

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I'm getting ready to do a sidekick only run, as soon as I figure out what I want my Watcher to be.  After I do that, or even during it, I may be able to give thoughts about Fassina.  I do have a plan in mind for here, focusing on Decay/Acid spells, since most are conjuration or transmuation, and that's a spell school I've wanted to explore for a bit.

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7 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

What about Fassina? It's quite possible that I'm simply not a very good player, but what do you think about Fassina? My admittedly brief experience with her left me with a feeling that she was missing a lot of excellent spells and has essentially nothing to replace them with. I will be happy to be proven wrong.

this is an issue with all the mage subclasses. you really have to lean hard into their particular subclass - if you do so, then you're basically a wizard with +2 PL and a free perk. if you don't, you're going to feel extremely limited because of all the missing spells and the extra recovery.

personally, conjurer is one of the main wizard specializations i would pick up anyway (evoker is probably the other one): the conjure familiar bonus spell is really great - guaranteed +1 generic PL on top of miscellaneous other bonuses [so even with the spells you have at +10% recovery, you can cast them at +1 PL which is a trade-off i'm happy to take; +1 generic PL also helps item usage]; have simultaneous access to slicken and deleterious alacrity of motion; and the recovery downside is only half-strength since many enchantment spells have no recovery. so fassina is an easy pick for me.

Edited by thelee
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What is good, or at least not worse with a Conjurer :
- Citzal Spirit Lance +2PL, one of the best weapon of the games
- Phantom Conjuration +2PL (with Spirit Lance if cast before)
- General Enchtment self-buff, which often does not even have a recovery
- Flame Wall +2PL+ Combusting Wounds
- No mirror Image ? What about Arcane Veil +2PL + Wall of draining +2PL ?
- The only calss/subclass of them all with acces to a generic stacking +1 PL (familiar, a bit slow to cast for its HP but that's about it)
- Death Ring +2 PL
- Binding Web +2 PL for the lulz

Don't hesitate to use Transmutation when versatility needed. +10% can hardly be felt.

Missing Chillfog on PL1 is sad for a main character, but by the time you get Fassina she would have plenty other stuff to do at this tier such as support buff.

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@Elric Galad: Strangely enough, I have never used any of those spells you mention (except Chill Fog).

This, in a way, reminds me of Baldur's Gate II: of all the spells available, I only use a certain few, which are extremely efficient. The wizard spells I used in Deadfire tended to be Minoletta's Minor Missiles (rarely, but to finish off enemies), Necrotic Lance, Curse of Blackened Sight, Expose Vulnerabilities, Fireball (not at enemies, but to destroy sigils), Ryngrim's Enervating Terror, Gaze of the Adragan, Tayn's Chaotic Orb, Wilting Wind, and that's about it. Rarely any others. A conjurer lacks many of these.

And it worked extremely well.

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49 minutes ago, xzar_monty said:

@Elric Galad: Strangely enough, I have never used any of those spells you mention (except Chill Fog).

This, in a way, reminds me of Baldur's Gate II: of all the spells available, I only use a certain few, which are extremely efficient. The wizard spells I used in Deadfire tended to be Minoletta's Minor Missiles (rarely, but to finish off enemies), Necrotic Lance, Curse of Blackened Sight, Expose Vulnerabilities, Fireball (not at enemies, but to destroy sigils), Ryngrim's Enervating Terror, Gaze of the Adragan, Tayn's Chaotic Orb, Wilting Wind, and that's about it. Rarely any others. A conjurer lacks many of these.

And it worked extremely well.

Exactly, and as in BG2, the obvious spells are not necessarily the strongest ones. There is also less trap spells than in BG2 (but less spells overall), bar a couple meh or situational ones.
It's like missing Modenkainen Sword, glitterdust or Spook potential.

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41 minutes ago, Elric Galad said:

Exactly, and as in BG2, the obvious spells are not necessarily the strongest ones.

For a cRPG veteran, the most obvious wizard spell is, quite naturally, fireball, and I have to say it doesn't generally feel powerful as an offensive spell against enemies. It's handy for destroying sigils, though.

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26 minutes ago, xzar_monty said:

For a cRPG veteran, the most obvious wizard spell is, quite naturally, fireball, and I have to say it doesn't generally feel powerful as an offensive spell against enemies. It's handy for destroying sigils, though.

Fireball was already meh in BG2. (was good in BG1 though due to 10D6 damages cap)
I used it all the time when I was young.
Not used it for a while when replaying. True cRPG veteran should be prudent with this spell.
It was good in PoE1 due to super fast cast though. 

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4 hours ago, Elric Galad said:

What is good, or at least not worse with a Conjurer :
- Citzal Spirit Lance +2PL, one of the best weapon of the games
- Phantom Conjuration +2PL (with Spirit Lance if cast before)
- General Enchtment self-buff, which often does not even have a recovery
- Flame Wall +2PL+ Combusting Wounds
- No mirror Image ? What about Arcane Veil +2PL + Wall of draining +2PL ?
- The only calss/subclass of them all with acces to a generic stacking +1 PL (familiar, a bit slow to cast for its HP but that's about it)
- Death Ring +2 PL
- Binding Web +2 PL for the lulz

Last time I tried (which was a long time ago admittedly) those green ones where mutually exclusive. Which is really mehhhaaargrblfxrraah for a subclass specialized in conjuration. The familiar shouldn't count towards the summon limit - but it does (or did?). I once proposed to give Conjurers a higher summon limit (so they could for example summon two phantoms or familiar + phantom). I still like that idea.

Also bonus PL doesn't do anything to summoned weapons and creatures (I'll call that "summonings") except raise the duration. So even if you had +100 PL your summonings would just stay for longer since they are not scaling their values with PL but char level instead. This is not well balanced for all the drawbacks you are facing. I still don't know why Obsidian took this route with the scaling of summonings. Same with the Animal Companion - but that's another topic. Alternatively to mutiple summoned creatures (see above) it would be okay if all summonings would use char-level+2 for stats on top of the longer duration via PL.
 
But besides the meh impact of PL on summonings: for me the biggest loss when picking a Conjurer is not being able to use Misma of Dull Mindedness - which is one of my all-time favorite spells. Only Enchanter is worse for me because I will not only lose Miasma but also Pull of Eora (the other one of my all-time favorites). Of course this last point is very subjective.  

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6 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Last time I tried (which was a long time ago admittedly) those green ones where mutually exclusive. Which is really mehhhaaargrblfxrraah for a subclass specialized in conjuration.

I use a familiar if I plan on casting, and I use a summon if I plan on weapon summoning and brawling. It’s a little bit of a micro/overhead but it works out pretty well for my purposes 

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Sure - you can work around that. But nevertheless it's a bit frustrating that you can't summon a phantom if you don't want to lose the little advantage your familiar is giving you (and for which you pay with a spell use - it's not free like some of the other subclasses' perks like Reflexive Mirror or Evoker's doublecast etc.). If the familiar was implemented like a second pet the conjurer wouldn't have that problem. 
And this little nuisance only comes on top of the other quirks I mentioned above: that PL bonuses don't have a lot of impact on summonings. You're not raising PEN, ACC, damage... only duration. 

So you get a familiar which either blocks a space for other summons or you can't use - and you get very little impact from the +2 PL for a good amount of your spells while facing the same drawbacks as all the other wizard subclasses. I don't think the Conjurer is a subclass that was well thought through.

Same with the Transmuter's special perk by the way. Form of the Fearsome Brute is a nice idea but the implementation is rather bad. It's neither worth building around nor does it help you being a better Transmuter. It's just a gimmick. But at least most transmutation spells scale well with the bonus PL.  

Edited by Boeroer

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you know, i wonder if it's worth an @Elric Galad-type to look at the conjurer pet and implement it kind of like the "pelt of many kinds" rebalancing effect where a random familiar is automatically spawned at the start of fight as a pet.

 

i don't know how to fix the transmuter special though - that transformation is pretty bad, even if it didn't cancel your spellcasting ability.

Edited by thelee
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10 hours ago, thelee said:

you know, i wonder if it's worth an @Elric Galad-type to look at the conjurer pet and implement it kind of like the "pelt of many kinds" rebalancing effect where a random familiar is automatically spawned at the start of fight as a pet.

This is a good idea, I haven't thought about it.
But this is a big change. It's especially tedious to remove the ability to cast Familiar.
I do not wish to study this for now, but it's always good to gather technical possibilities.

I went with only setting casting time to 0,5s/0s in BPM. 
Summoning Familiar is useful in the context of BPM because... Brilliant is limited to regenerating Tier 3 spell. So this is the only Wiz Summon that can be infinitely regenerated.

10 hours ago, thelee said:

i don't know how to fix the transmuter special though - that transformation is pretty bad, even if it didn't cancel your spellcasting ability.

BPM change log :

Transmuter :
Form of the Fearsome Brute changes :
- Form of the Fearsome Brute Armor : +100% Recovery -> +20% Recovery
- Form of the FearsomeBrute Fist : 13-25 damages, 6 PEN -> 18-24 damages, 7 PEN
- Form ofthe Fearsome Brute duration : 30s -> 20s
- Form of theFearsome Brute duration : +1 Engagement -> +3
Note: these changes also apply to Form of the Fearsome Brute Potions

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