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Tigranes

Let's Play: Divinity II

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After the grand adventure of the Obsidianites in Icewind Dale and Icewind Dale II, we now turn to a next-gen East-European Gamebryo neglected bastard child, Divinity II: Dragon Knight Saga! :p

 

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Divinity II is the sequel to the isometric ARPG Divine Divinity and its braindead, crapola kind-of-sequel Beyond Divinity. It uses the infamous Gamebryo engine for a third-person, one-man-party adventure as a Dragon Knight (not to be confused with Knight Commander, Grey Warden, Last Jedi Knight, Child of Bhaal, Knight Warden, Warden Commander, Commander-Knight or Knight-Warden-Commander-Jedi-Rock Star.) We will play through Ego Draconis, the main game, then the expansion pack, Flames of Vengeance, hopefully. This is a blind run on my first time with the game. Now let us be discovering.

 

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We begin with some cutscenery. Old man, packin' steel. Reminds me of Garland in FFIX, actually. He broods like all good cutscene actors do, fingering some large jewel as he examines the world below the floating platform.

 

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We also have a short sequence with Jungle Fonzi here who, ah, tries to sneak up on a dragon armed with a longsword. Then the dragon runs away. >_<

 

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After that it's time for character creation. Now I hardly care overmuch about editing character appearances in ARPGs like these, but the options are really odd in Div2. When you choose a different hair type, for instance, you also change your hair colour. I'm assuming that the world of Div2 is a totalitarian nightmare where you are heavily discriminated by genes and blondes are only permitted a single hair type. We wanted a Black Books Manny look going, but long hair is a luxury in this harsh, Big Brother world.

 

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Enough talkin'. We have another short cutscene where our big fancy Dragon ship lands in a peaceful valley, and off we go. We are to complete some new-age tutorial crap to become a Dragon Knight. I guess that means we can bet several thousand pounds that we will never get to use this ship or any of its various amenities, as it will go down in flames after 2 hours. :lol:

 

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Div2 doesn't look too much like Oblivion, its gamebryo buddy; I'd compare it more to Arcania, Risen and the like. The graphics are set on medium-ish here for my poor laptop. We are delighted to see that Larian has given us our first crate of the game about seven seconds in, but it's empty. :rage:

 

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This confusing design continues as we test whether the world of Div2 can truly be explored free-form, or it is full of idiotic walls and barriers like Arcania. We're delighted to find that we can wade into a nearby stream and check out a shipwreck in the distance, but less so to find that we can stand at the precipice of a freaking waterfall and feel no danger. No, you can't jump off. :( Truly, this game giveth and taketh away.

 

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Never mind. Let's check out our first town, a typical collection of pseudo-medieval hovels.

 

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How curious that Aravir the Ranger would have exactly the same accent as Aragorn the Ranger. Inbred twins, perchance?

 

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We are told that we will become a Slayer (=Dragon Knight, I think) by magically receiving all the memories of the Dragons.

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Apparently, the devs thought this was a clever way to show how the character starts from Level 1. I don't see the point of the contrivance, but fair enough.

 

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We are also given basic mind-reading powers - one of the unique parts of Div2. It costs some XP, I believe, but is well integrated into the world and quests from what I hear. We will see.

 

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Another interesting mechanism is the quest rewards - at the bottom you have set quest rewards, but then you can also choose a limited number from the options above. Later it seems to include weapons, potions, etc. too. Sounds like it makes the game easier to unbalance, but I like the choice it provides. Early game, we go for XP every time.

 

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We can talk to Aragorn II and pick up a basic bow skill (poison arrow), Gawain (actually named Gawain) for whirlwind attack, or this crazy hat for a fireball, to kick off our Slayer career. We can only choose one to start off with, but then can branch out as we wish. We generally like the sneaky bowman type in these games, so go with Aragorn...

 

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...but, uh, this is retarded. You can't really see, but basically you stay in third person and only have a crosshair to go by to aim your bow. And you can't control the pullback - you left click once and you just shoot once. So not only is it impossible to aim, firing a bow is essentially running around spamming left clicks. I set the game on Hard difficulty, and nearly died to this very first goblin. SHUT UP THIS HAS NO IMPLICATIONS ON THE LENGTH OF MY MANHOOD

 

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We try with melee, but fare little better. At this stage I was disappointed by the melee system - you only seemed to have one type of attack, and the jumps and rolls have such big animations you can't really use them all the time. It does get better as you pick up skills, though. In the end, we decided to start with the fireball, then combine melee and magic as we go along.

 

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As a mage, we are stripped of the sword in the previous SS and given the magical weapon of mass destruction, My First Mace. One day, long after our adventures have concluded, historians will write long and elaborate weapon descriptions for the MFM, and many a player shall scroll down like mad to get to the bloody weapon stats. Forsooth.

 

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We return to our boss, who says we need to go through some rituals so we don't go mad... but we won't, because there's a dragon around somewhere we gotta hunt. Good to know we've got our priorities right.

 

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After a short cutscene to another generic village, our boss gives an inspiring pep talk.

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Our job is to speak to the villagers to see where the Dragon has been sighted. I thought there would be some wild rumours and contradictions going around, but sadly, everyone screams at you THE OMINOUS TEMPLE. At least there's no quest compass. We also find a sentient... hot dog bar? It wants a password but we don't have one yet.

 

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The more we explore the more we see that screams of serious psychological deviancies. Geoff apparently thinks it's a great idea to confess about his theft outside the chapel.

 

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We also encounter a pig farmer who... also keeps pet pigs, and now needs them rescued. You can't separate eat-pigs from pet-pigs, man! That's the very beginnings of class conflict! You are just creating an untenable situation from which the pigloteriat will rise up and take power unto themselves!

 

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We also check out the local mill, which is suspiciously well furnished. Apparently everyone bathes in flour in Broken Valley. You can't interact too much with the environment indoors - you can open chests, flick a few switches, but for the most part it's just decor.

 

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If this were the Witcher, we would totally have "4. Some rough and tumble in the family flour is what I'm saying.", but we won't pick up a boobie card tonight :lol:

 

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Finally, we hit the tavern. While exploring the town, we've run across two types of mercenaries: the New Order's Seekers, which is apparently a tight religious sect but with a big focus on practicalities (i.e. stabbing things), and then the 'Old' one that is more for the traditional, I-ain't-thinkin'-bout-it stabber. At the tavern we see some Seekers seeking their way towards alcohol intoxication.

 

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We were asked to get rid of them by the innkeeper, and I thought I finally had my first real combat; but just as soon as they had a couple of swings at me, the big man turned up and told them off for being naughty. It's almost as if he was waiting for it to happen. Bloody stalkers.

 

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Anyway, after all that hoolabaloo we've levelled up. This is the skill chart - as far as I know there are no dependencies, though the bottom half has level requirements. Div2 seems to be very skills-oriented; you just hack&slash as a warrior unless you pick up things like Rush Attack and Jump Attack, for example. There seem to be some interesting things like summons, confusion, mind reading, split arrows. For now we pick up Lockpicking and Rush Attack (and soon after, Hide, which is just a short-duration Invisibility).

 

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We report back to our boss with the information. She says I need to visit the tomb in the chapel to face the undead - the 'adrenaline rush' will help stabilise my mind after the recent memory infusion. I'd argue that there are about seven thousand better ways to give myself an 'adrenaline rush', but the game makes its point by giving Manny a splitting headache.

 

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Finally, we accept one last sidequest from the local lieutenant. They're looking for a bandit hideout, and have captured a bandit who won't tell tales; he wants us to find him, help him escape, earn his trust, etc., etc. This one sounds interesting enough, we will see how it turns out.

 

----------------

 

OK, so we'll probably keep going at a brisk pace. I wasn't impressed with how simplified combat was and how idiotic the bows are, but after an hour or two the game starts to pick up pace and combat starts to get fun. It's also very challenging at Hard. I'll make the screenies better next time so the text is readable.

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Don't forget to mindread or you might miss out on quests. Also, max out this skill... at level 15 it costs 0 XP which is quite significant in the expansion.


The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

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this is one of the best lets play's i've read. keep up the good work.

 

piglotariat... awesome.


The Internet: A place where everything is literally binary and the only shade of grey is the one seen by angry nerds when imagining what their ideal Diablo screen-shots look like.

Killing is kind of like playin' a basketball game. I am there. and the other player is there. and it's just the two of us. and I put the other player's body in my van. and I am the winner. - Nice Pete.

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Way ahead of you in this game buddy. Puzzles (if you can call them that) are a bitch and no quest map marker its a pain in the ass.


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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Awesome, Tig!

 

I'll be following this one.


Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.

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Don't forget to mindread or you might miss out on quests. Also, max out this skill... at level 15 it costs 0 XP which is quite significant in the expansion.

You seriously put 14 levels into mindread?

It's one of the most useless skills in game.

Not only are majority of quests are solvable without it, the XP-for-equipment trades will usually screw you over as they produce items for different classes.

And even when mindread is at level 1 your XP debt is usually worth no more than few trash mob kills.

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I got to Sentinel Island, it's awesome! :grin: it spoke to me and brought me slaves. I want to marry my island! :(


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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ooh, great timing! I almost went and got this game but now I'm going to just read this and save some monies


Let's Play The Temple of Elemental Evil (Complete)
Let's Play Neverwinter Nights and Hordes of the Underdark

Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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Don't forget to mindread or you might miss out on quests. Also, max out this skill... at level 15 it costs 0 XP which is quite significant in the expansion.

You seriously put 14 levels into mindread?

It's one of the most useless skills in game.

Not only are majority of quests are solvable without it, the XP-for-equipment trades will usually screw you over as they produce items for different classes.

And even when mindread is at level 1 your XP debt is usually worth no more than few trash mob kills.

Getting the best armour in ED requires mindreading. In the expansion you also need to mindread to get the complete set of the best armour for each class. It's also nice to be able to mindread everyone in the expansion when otherwise it would cost 10,000 XP at the very least, which you otherwise have to make up for by grinding through respawning mobs of undead.


The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

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Don't forget to mindread or you might miss out on quests. Also, max out this skill... at level 15 it costs 0 XP which is quite significant in the expansion.

You seriously put 14 levels into mindread?

It's one of the most useless skills in game.

Not only are majority of quests are solvable without it, the XP-for-equipment trades will usually screw you over as they produce items for different classes.

And even when mindread is at level 1 your XP debt is usually worth no more than few trash mob kills.

It's best skill in game together with Fireball. Of course you can solve quests without it, what kind of an argument is that? But you miss plenty of alternate and far more rewarding solutions without using it.

 

 

And Tigranes you're a Dragon Slayer for now, pay attention, Dragon Knights are evil. :grin: And you can have all hair styles in all 3 colors <_< Just go to the first Illusionist you find and change your appearance.

Edited by Majek

1.13 killed off Ja2.

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Getting the best armour in ED requires mindreading. In the expansion you also need to mindread to get the complete set of the best armour for each class. It's also nice to be able to mindread everyone in the expansion when otherwise it would cost 10,000 XP at the very least, which you otherwise have to make up for by grinding through respawning mobs of undead.

All of which is largely pointless as the game will cut your kill XP the moment you start to out-level monsters.

The XP debt is meaningless - it's pretty clear the game was balanced to a non-wisom/non-mindreading character.

It made some sense when damage was level scaled as 2 extra player levels made a huge difference in combat but in DKS I can't see any point.

Especially in the expansion where most of my skill points came from books generously given away with completion of every quest.

And I can't see why would you care about armor, the biggest problem I had was doing too little damage.

It's best skill in game together with Fireball. Of course you can solve quests without it, what kind of an argument is that? But you miss plenty of alternate and far more rewarding solutions without using it.

Solutions that cost you XP and rewards that can have little to no use.

That doesn't sound like reasonable trade.

Edited by pmp10

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Also keep in mind you get tons of free skill & stat points for mindreading certain NPCs. This alone makes up for any loss in XP.

 

If there's any skill that's completely worthless, it has to be Wisdom.

Edited by virumor

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

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Unique items that make you much more damage are of no use eh? It's not like you can enchant them further right? And all the dozens of STAT and SKILL points you get from Mindreading are also of no use right?

 

And i got plenty enough XP to cover all my debts from mindreading and still level up fine.

 

And i did 300-900 damage way before the end of Divinity II, in the expansion i double that damage. Infact i would have done much more damage sooner had i paid attention and disenchanted weapons i threw away and put better enchantments on my primary mostly unique weapons. I had level 8-10 damage enchantments on weapons i picked up before level 20.


1.13 killed off Ja2.

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What a condescending Let's Play. Pointless. Why even bother when it's obvious you're set out to dislike this game from the beginning?


Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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Unique items that make you much more damage are of no use eh? It's not like you can enchant them further right? And all the dozens of STAT and SKILL points you get from Mindreading are also of no use right?

Did they change the skill so that you can't mindread everyone without point investment?

If so I retract my statement.

Otherwise you can do all that without retarding your combat skill progression.

It's only a matter of cost vs. benefit and I don't believe the potential gain of a smaller XP debt justify putting a single skill point into mindreading.

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wow, you guys make this game look unnecessarily complicated. now I'm actually glad I never bothered to play it.


Let's Play The Temple of Elemental Evil (Complete)
Let's Play Neverwinter Nights and Hordes of the Underdark

Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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Unique items that make you much more damage are of no use eh? It's not like you can enchant them further right? And all the dozens of STAT and SKILL points you get from Mindreading are also of no use right?

Did they change the skill so that you can't mindread everyone without point investment?

If so I retract my statement.

Otherwise you can do all that without retarding your combat skill progression.

It's only a matter of cost vs. benefit and I don't believe the potential gain of a smaller XP debt justify putting a single skill point into mindreading.

My combat skill progression wasn't affected by skill points i put into mindreading.


1.13 killed off Ja2.

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What a condescending Let's Play. Pointless. Why even bother when it's obvious you're set out to dislike this game from the beginning?

 

I love the game so far, mkreku. It's fun, it tries some cool new things, and it doesn't take itself seriously. Doesn't mean I can't laugh at it. :p We'll see how it goes, because it's not a party RPG I inevitably end up poking fun at the gameworld. But I should point out things it does well, definitely think it's worth a buy so far.

 

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Finally venturing out into the great wilderness, we discover some odd looking goblin things. Finally critters that look a bit different, the tight, firm buttocks of the rightmost specimen is the highlight. Mmm.

 

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We stop by at a nearby farm, to free the pigloteriat from the oppression of the religious pigs... uh, mean people. In true RPG fashion, the NPC appears staggeringly ready to believe my fib about beautiful naked ladies. But then, it works in real life, so...

 

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We have been warned about puzzles, and we might have hit the first one. In the farmhouse, you can see a glittering key on the ceiling - y ou need to push crates round till you can jump up and grab it.

 

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I did it mommy, I have spatial reasoning abilities!

 

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The key opens up a cellar, and within we find a farmer's diary. We discover that in true village crime fashion, he killed a man for lusting after his wife several years ago. Actually, this appears to be the same farmer's wife that we've been quested to deliver a love letter to, from the village blacksmith. Lady must be hot.

 

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Moving on, we chop up more gobbos left and right. On the way, we rescue a town guard who had been abandoned to his fate by another guard. I'd feel some righteous anger around here, but this hilarious pseudo-Brit accent everyone in the town uses is cracking me up. One reason to play for yourself sorophyx.

 

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And finally, some proper action. We sneak up on this gobbo camp with three shamans and several mooks, and a big glowing thing in the middle. Even on Hard we haven't had much of a challenge so far, and I think I can take them on. Using my Hide skill I turn myself invisible, and creep up on the shamans...

 

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No, Magic Glowing Ball! Don't talk to me! I'm not here!

 

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Screw you, magic glowing ball.

 

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Let's try again. Since the convo trigger dispels my Hide, I have to approach in the open. The shaman's magical powers are no match for my acrobatic rolls.

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Little harder when the mooks are meleeing you too, but if you can see throught he leaves I can jump and evade the magic. Remember kids, gymnastics is the key to a long and successful life in the terra arcana.

 

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Even harder when I find a new type, gobbo chief, who is in fact stronger than me in mano y mano melee combat. I have to kite and run while throwing fireballs, but then manage to attract a stray boar. I gulp most of my limited potion supply away here.

 

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Phase Two of Magic Glowing Ball: It's Payback Time. We approach the MGB from the rear, covered by a gobbo-hut. We expect that we can simply lob fireballs from behind this cover and take it out...

 

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...except it moves. It rolls. It rolls around and hits you and shoots fireballs at you. The MGB has paid back our payback!

 

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We eventually took it down, but standing gloriously over its fallen corpse, another MGB from across the stream fired a pot shot and nearly got us killed. I will come back for you some day, Son of MGB. I will beat you so hard until you can't pay back my payback.

 

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Level up is pretty fast in this game - ARPG style I guess. We also picked up this nice ring from the MGB. We also take its harness thing, even though it has no discernible use. I suppose kill enough MGB and you can string them together for a stackable set of drawers.

 

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A couple more challenging gobbo fights later, we finally reach the secret passage that the Lieutenant marked out for us. If you remember, we're meant to use it to locate the jailed bandit and earn his trust. The skeletons here are as high level as us though, pretty much, and take some beating.

 

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Our first trap: open a chest, two skelly mages spawn behind us. And, as I found out, lock the door behind them. That's a pretty damn spiffy trap, probably required several metric tons of silly string and duct tape to arrange it all.

 

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Thankfully, it seems Div2 sometimes suffers from the pathfinding problems that nearly all open world RPGs share. The mages seemed content to shoot at rocks all day while I slowly whittled them down. I don't think I could have taken them down otherwise, impossible to dodge in the small space.

 

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Eventually, though, we realise that this cave is just too much. As much as Manny detests retreating in the face of evul, he shall have to come back later. Skellies, wait for Manny. Don't breed any more of you or something. Play poker. Hell, play Russian Roulette. Don't breed.

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So, Manny needs to buff up more. Luckily, it seems that Div2 gives out hefty XP rewards for quests - much better than grinding. I can get behind that. We locate the guard that left his colleague to die. He warbles some in a broken English accent and gives himself up. We focus, at the moment, on getting Level 3 Fireball & Lockpick, while putting up some Strength - still can't decide whether to go magic or melee, or whether you can do both.

 

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And, back at the farm, we confront Jackson the Farmurdurer with the diary. Given the choice between extortion and sympathy...

 

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...look, we're dragon slayers, not Buddha Knights (amazingly awesome as that would be).

 

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For the completion of this quest, the game offers as a possible reward... a spoon. What are you trying to say, Larian Studios? That I'm a filthy blackmailer and I deserve a spoon? Is the spoon a metaphor for moral atrophy? Are you saying that I am greedy? Are you? :p

 

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Well screw you Larian Studios, because you gave me the option of blackmailing Jackson about murdering someone that lusted after his wife, then immediately after delivering a secret love letter from the village blacksmith to Jackson's wife, thus making them elope, and earning myself a hefty discount at the blacksmith's! How's that for spooniness, huh? (Actually, someone tell me - did I misread the diary or something? Because if I've understood the two quests right, it's pretty weird.)

 

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We also decide to advance the main plot a little bit as part of our Buff Up Manny Programme (B.U.M.P). The local chapel looks pretty nice indeed. They must be trading in flour, too.

 

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Even the catacombs are pretty opulent. If you remember, our mission was to... get an adrenaline rush for our brain by smashing up some undead.

 

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Well I got an adrenaline rush alright. The big ghost chasing me round here deals about 50 damage per hit. If you look at my health bar, you can see how deadly that is. He also came with a couple of mooks originally. I had to hop around dodging fireballs, then furiously hit the mooks for a bit, then jump and roll away. Then the ghost chased me round and round and round the column until I could kill it. My character's probably underoptimised or something, being a blind run, but this game really kicks your arse on Hard. Good stuff.

 

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The good part is that the ghost turned out to be the ghost of some ancient dragon slayer, who now bequeathes me his sword. Look at the stats on that baby. Seems a bit too good to be true, actually. It'll increase my max damage from 14 to 88, if I only get up to Level 12?

 

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Oh. I won't fight the Dragon. You guys will. And you'll want to use the big sword I just found. Yes. Of course. No, it's fine. The sword I have now is long enough anyway. No, I don't have any problems with women...

 

--------------------------

 

Yep, so Manny gives up his big fat sword, but we've buffed up enough now and can probably take on the cave we abandoned earlier. Question to other Div2 players is - (a) skill books, use now or is there a point in saving? (b) am I right in that you can't actively block in Div2?

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Melee isn't going to work in the beginning at all. Stick to bows & magic missile. In fact, melee isn't going to work until after level 15 or so.

 

I noticed that levelling is much faster in DKS than the original ED in the beginning as well. Too many kiddies complained about getting raped by skeletons pretty hard once the world opened up, hence Larian softened things up a bit.


The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

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The skellies can still rape you when you wonder to the ruined tower, especially if you think running from the work and you manage to run the wrong way xDD


1.13 killed off Ja2.

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