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Strategy/tactics for Path of the Damned difficulty? Companions or Adventurers? Builds?


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Hey folks! I would like to play this game on PotD difficulty. I have been reading guides and believe that I have a good understanding of the combat system now. I have some questions/thoughts I wanted to run by you.

Strategy
I've read that it's best to avoid tough fights until my characters have reached a high enough level. Unfortunately, I don't know what that is. I suppose I just try to complete all non-combat based quests and only then go back and attempt the big fights. Agreed?

Tactics
I've read that combat should go something like this:
  1. Send in the tank to draw aggro and have him at a choke point. If there is no choke point, use the off tank to help build a wall.
  2. Buff your group with accuracy, then other (e.g. DR)
  3. CC the enemy, targeting their weak defence.
  4. Debuff the enemy, targeting their weak defence.
  5. Focus fire each enemy, one at a time, targeting their weak defence.
  6. Rinse and repeat

Question: when should you typically use consumables and scrolls? Only in really tough fights?

Companions vs Adventurers
The companions start at a few thousand XP, about a level and a half, above hired adventurers. They also start with some decent equipment. This seems to be a significant benefit early on. And do companions not have their own quests which adds to XP, thus we level faster?

But with custom adventurers, I can min/max their stats so they would eventually outshine the companions later in the game, I'm assuming. But is it worth it compared to what the companions bring to the table?

Party Composition and Builds
The consensus seems to be that there should be one main tank, one off tank, a buffer, a du-buffer and some DPS. With this in mind, here is my plan for my party:
  • Warrior: Tank / Melee DPS. 1H+shield for tanking, 2H for DPS. Heavy armor. High PER and RES, medium MIG and CON, low DEX and INT.
  • Paladin: Melee DPS / Off-tank / Buffer. 1H+shield for tanking, DW for DPS. Heavy armor. High MIG, PER, average the rest.
  • Priest: Buffer / Healer / CC. Ranged weapon and switch to 1H+shield when engaged in melee. Light armor. High MIG, DEX and INT, low CON, PER and RES.
  • Wizard: CC / Ranged AoE DPS. Ranged weapon and switch to 1H+shield when engaged in melee. Light armor. High MIG, PER and INT, low CON, DEX and RES.
  • Cipher: CC / De-buffer / Ranged DPS. Ranged weapon and switch to 1H+shield when engaged in melee. Light armor. High MIG, PER and INT, low CON, DEX and RES.
  • Druid: Ranged AoE DPS / De-buffer. Ranged weapon and switch to 1H+shield when engaged in melee. Medium armor. High MIG, PER and INT, low CON, DEX and RES.

Thoughts on this party and their build?
Edited by frugivore
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5 hours ago, frugivore said:
Strategy
I've read that it's best to avoid tough fights until my characters have reached a high enough level. Unfortunately, I don't know what that is. I suppose I just try to complete all non-combat based quests and only then go back and attempt the big fights. Agreed?

The early game is actually the hardest part. It's smart to try to do all non-combat quests first - but in Act 1 those are rather limited so you will have to do some tough fights. After Act I, when reaching Defiance Bay, there will be a ton of non-combat quests and therefore the encounters will be easier if you solve most of the non-combat stuff first.

5 hours ago, frugivore said:
Tactics
I've read that combat should go something like this:
  1. Send in the tank to draw aggro and have him at a choke point. If there is no choke point, use the off tank to help build a wall.
  2. Buff your group with accuracy, then other (e.g. DR)
  3. CC the enemy, targeting their weak defence.
  4. Debuff the enemy, targeting their weak defence.
  5. Focus fire each enemy, one at a time, targeting their weak defence.
  6. Rinse and repeat

Question: when should you typically use consumables and scrolls? Only in really tough fights?
 

Sounds solid. Summons are very impactful and mind control (charm, dominate and often also confuse) as well. 

I never use consumables unless I do a PotD solo run. So youcan totally do without. But they can help of course. I guess you will feel when it's time to use some. :)

5 hours ago, frugivore said:
Companions vs Adventurers
The companions start at a few thousand XP, about a level and a half, above hired adventurers. They also start with some decent equipment. This seems to be a significant benefit early on. And do companions not have their own quests which adds to XP, thus we level faster?

Correct. In the early game the higher level is an advantage. And yes, the added quests give a bit more XP for the party. But there's plenty of XP in the game, more than you need to bring the party to max level. Companions are more interesting imo. They have quests and also banter. Some quests give the official companion special abilities that custom adventurers cannot get. 

5 hours ago, frugivore said:
But with custom adventurers, I can min/max their stats so they would eventually outshine the companions later in the game, I'm assuming. But is it worth it compared to what the companions bring to the table?

Also correct. I personally prefer the official companions because they are absolutely viable even for PotD difficulty and they bring some special vibes you can't get from mute custom adventurers.

5 hours ago, frugivore said:
Party Composition and Builds
The consensus seems to be that there should be one main tank, one off tank, a buffer, a du-buffer and some DPS. With this in mind, here is my plan for my party:
  • Warrior: Tank / Melee DPS. 1H+shield for tanking, 2H for DPS. Heavy armor. High PER and RES, medium MIG and CON, low DEX and INT.
  • Paladin: Melee DPS / Off-tank / Buffer. 1H+shield for tanking, DW for DPS. Heavy armor. High MIG, PER, average the rest.
  • Priest: Buffer / Healer / CC. Ranged weapon and switch to 1H+shield when engaged in melee. Light armor. High MIG, DEX and INT, low CON, PER and RES.
  • Wizard: CC / Ranged AoE DPS. Ranged weapon and switch to 1H+shield when engaged in melee. Light armor. High MIG, PER and INT, low CON, DEX and RES.
  • Cipher: CC / De-buffer / Ranged DPS. Ranged weapon and switch to 1H+shield when engaged in melee. Light armor. High MIG, PER and INT, low CON, DEX and RES.
  • Druid: Ranged AoE DPS / De-buffer. Ranged weapon and switch to 1H+shield when engaged in melee. Medium armor. High MIG, PER and INT, low CON, DEX and RES.

Thoughts on this party and their build?

This would be a very solid party composition. But honestly all kinds of party compositions work. A Priest is a very useful party member. Not taking one is a bit like nerfing yourself. Can still work of course, but it will be harder without a Priest.

 

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9 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

The early game is actually the hardest part. It's smart to try to do all non-combat quests first - but in Act 1 those are rather limited so you will have to do some tough fights. After Act I, when reaching Defiance Bay, there will be a ton of non-combat quests and therefore the encounters will be easier if you solve most of the non-combat stuff first.

Sounds solid. Summons are very impactful and mind control (charm, dominate and often also confuse) as well. 

I never use consumables unless I do a PotD solo run. So youcan totally do without. But they can help of course. I guess you will feel when it's time to use some. :)

Correct. In the early game the higher level is an advantage. And yes, the added quests give a bit more XP for the party. But there's plenty of XP in the game, more than you need to bring the party to max level. Companions are more interesting imo. They have quests and also banter. Some quests give the official companion special abilities that custom adventurers cannot get. 

Also correct. I personally prefer the official companions because they are absolutely viable even for PotD difficulty and they bring some special vibes you can't get from mute custom adventurers.

This would be a very solid party composition. But honestly all kinds of party compositions work. A Priest is a very useful party member. Not taking one is a bit like nerfing yourself. Can still work of course, but it will be harder without a Priest.

 

Boeroer - thank you for the feedback! I tried a few runs just to see how it worked out and I do feel very underpowered with hired adventurers in the beginning. I think the benefits of the companions are too great to skip them. I suppose the question now is what to choose for my main character and which companions to have in my active party. I've read that Durance is the least optimally built for his class (low DEX). And so it might make sense to have a priest as main character so Durance can sit out. 

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It's normal to feel underpowered in the early game. The encounters there are often very hard and one level can make a lot of difference because we're dealing with overall pretty low numbers - so that impact of one level (which adds some fixed numbers) is a lot higher than later. Same with DR - so the heaviest of armors is best used in the early game, not later. Same with Accuracy bonuses of a somewhat fixed range: big effect in the early game, not so much in the late game. Example: one handed weapon usage (+12 ACC).

14 hours ago, frugivore said:

I've read that Durance is the least optimally built for his class (low DEX). And so it might make sense to have a priest as main character so Durance can sit out. 

He has high(ish) Resolve. If you give him a shield and use him for buffing/healing mostly the lower accuracy from a shield doesn't matter and you can then give him light or no armor which balances his low DEX out a bit. I think he's a very interesting character and imo it's a loss to not bring him.

You could still bring a Priest as main character - Priest of Eothas fits nicely. :) Two Priests are very nice as well. First of all you cut down buffing time in half - and also "Inspiring Radiance" (+10 ACC to everything) stacks with everything, including with other Inspiring Radiances, meaning two Priests can boost the party's accuracy by +20 in every encounter which is a huge advantage that early in the game.

I personally really like Monks in PoE. They have awesome starting values which makes them easier to play in the early game, they can be sturdy (good offtank), have nice CC options, summons paid with replenishable resources (wounds), dish out a lot of melee (or ranged) damage and their "power curve" doesn't fall as flat as that of most other martial classes (while casters' start flat and skyrockets at some point). Also good class to pick as main character because an official monk companion would come pretty late (White March DLC). That last point is also true for Rogue and Barbarian. 

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On 6/15/2022 at 8:08 AM, Boeroer said:

It's normal to feel underpowered in the early game. The encounters there are often very hard and one level can make a lot of difference because we're dealing with overall pretty low numbers - so that impact of one level (which adds some fixed numbers) is a lot higher than later. Same with DR - so the heaviest of armors is best used in the early game, not later. Same with Accuracy bonuses of a somewhat fixed range: big effect in the early game, not so much in the late game. Example: one handed weapon usage (+12 ACC).

He has high(ish) Resolve. If you give him a shield and use him for buffing/healing mostly the lower accuracy from a shield doesn't matter and you can then give him light or no armor which balances his low DEX out a bit. I think he's a very interesting character and imo it's a loss to not bring him.

You could still bring a Priest as main character - Priest of Eothas fits nicely. :) Two Priests are very nice as well. First of all you cut down buffing time in half - and also "Inspiring Radiance" (+10 ACC to everything) stacks with everything, including with other Inspiring Radiances, meaning two Priests can boost the party's accuracy by +20 in every encounter which is a huge advantage that early in the game.

I personally really like Monks in PoE. They have awesome starting values which makes them easier to play in the early game, they can be sturdy (good offtank), have nice CC options, summons paid with replenishable resources (wounds), dish out a lot of melee (or ranged) damage and their "power curve" doesn't fall as flat as that of most other martial classes (while casters' start flat and skyrockets at some point). Also good class to pick as main character because an official monk companion would come pretty late (White March DLC). That last point is also true for Rogue and Barbarian. 

I've started a game now on PotD and decided to use adventurers, but also recruit the companions and swap them in to hear their backstories and do their quests. I've also "lent" their equipment to the adventurers. This helps offset their lower levels. I was able to gain enough experience to bring the party to level 3, which seems to be a good level to do the Eothasian temple. 

I ended up swapping a paladin for an aumaua chanter who brings a lot to the table with the phrases and invocations and I've made him my off-tank. The phantom summons is very useful really on and I just span it whenever available. 

My main is a human warrior with DEX/PER/INT/RES at 16 so that can access most dialog choices. Built mainly for defense but does decent damage

I have a dwarf cipher who has great CC. An elven priest for healing/buffing. She has 18 points in DEX, MIG and INT, 8 points in the others. As most of her spells are on the party, I'm assuming her low perception won't be a problem. Thoughts?

My orlan wizard does both CC and damage. I'm picking mostly defensive skills and talents for her.

Lastly, my nature godlike druid is frail but has some great spells. In particular, I like the one that AOE charms beasts. Great for handling a big group.

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19 hours ago, frugivore said:

I have a dwarf cipher who has great CC. An elven priest for healing/buffing. She has 18 points in DEX, MIG and INT, 8 points in the others. As most of her spells are on the party, I'm assuming her low perception won't be a problem. Thoughts?

Then it won't. :) 

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