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Harder than a Pillar: A Fighter's Handbook

Fighter Optimization Tank

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#1
Vadász

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This is a WiP thread you'll always get the most updated version of this guide here: https://docs.google....dit?usp=sharing

Harder than a Pillar: A Fighter's Handbook

Warning: Be prepared for a long read.

In this guide I'll try and help you build the best fighter possible for party play, and and while this guide is not made with RP in mind, i think even roleplayers will find at least some of the advice useful.

I only plan to write about the tank fighter for now, however I'll add advice for DPS, hybrid and even ranged builds in time.

I doubt most of my advice is useful for solo play, but if any of you guys have any luck beating the game as a solo fighter I'll gladly add your tips here if you want to. I'll also add any builds you send me to the guide.


Updates

18/04/2015 - Expanded race and attribute descriptions and tweaked the sample build a bit based on feedback.

Color Coding

Red: Don't pick this, this is a poor option.
Orange: An ok choice. Can be useful in some situations but not often enough to recommend it.
Green: A good choice.
Light Blue: A must have, usually the best possible option.


Class Features

Bonus Talent: Constant Recovery
Skill Bonus: +1 to Athletics, Lore, and Survival.
Endurance: 42 +14/level (High)
Health: Endurance x5 (High)
Deflection: 25 (Very High)
Accuracy: 30 (Very High)

A great starter pack you are accurate, you are hard to hit, and even if you do get hit you have a nice hp tank to absorb it. Constant recovery is just awesome for non tank builds, however, tank builds will still find it useful in the early game since their deflection and DR are not that high yet. The bonuses to skills is not bad either since you get a bonus to both Lore and Survival are useful in combat.


The Tank Fighter

The job the fighter was born to do, abilities like defender and his natural resiliency means he can tank like few else can, and while your damage is low, your accuracy is good enough to be able to hit your actives so you still have some degree of battlefield control. This is a character you can send into a room full of enemies alone and he'll still be standing even after minutes of fighting, enabling your party to buff themselves in the mean time. Still this is a character that is only really needed in PoTD since you really need the extra deflection this character brings to the table, people playing in other difficulty levels will get a better millage from a hybrid fighter.


Races

While you can pick any race and still be a relatively good tank even in PotD. Still this is an optimization guide and since some races are still better than others.


Aumaua (Costal): Attribute bonus is bad, but the racial is nice for a tank since your health can drop fast while you are prone or stunned and many enemies may also decide to switch targets.

Aumaua (Island): Might bonus and the ability are near useless. Better for those that like to open with a ranged weapon.

Dwarf (Boreal): Might bonus is useless and damage bonuses against certain enemies are not something you need. The con bonus does not help but in the current meta no build ever maxes con.

Dwarf (Mountain): Might and con bonuses don't help you do your job better. The racial actually it's too situational to actually choose him for this.

Elf (Pale): Bonus to perception is useful and the ability is nice to have. I don't rate it better because of the propensity of the AI to target your squishier party members instead of you with special abilities (ie shades and their cold attack).

Elf (Wood): Bonus to perception is useful but the ability being a ranged attack bonus is useless for a tank.

Human: Bonus to resolve is nice, but the extra accuracy from the racial only helps if you still have actives remaining by the time you reach 50%.

Orlan (Hearth): Nice attribute bonuses and while the ability at first may seem useless for a tank, a crit also give double duration for a knockdown, the way the ability is phrased it should also give the bonus even if your ally is attacking with a ranged weapon.

Orlan (Wild): Best race for a tank, attributes in the right places and and awesome racial ability that helps you evade some of the worse status effects.

Godlike (Death): Attribute bonuses are useless. Ability is best suited for a damage dealer and you are not a damage dealer.

Godlike (Fire): Attribute bonuses are bad, but the racial is nice for a tank, nothing better than becoming more resilient when your are getting a pounding.

Godlike (Nature): Attribute bonuses are useless. And while the racial ability gives you some extra con when you are damages the extra life will not help you that much.

Godlike (Water): Attribute bonus are bad, but the racial is one of the best ones for a tank. Most of the times you get hit hard it's because you are suffering from a status effect like stun or para, so you cannot really defend yourself or your party members.

Attributes

Res > Per > Int & Con > Might & Dex

Might is not needed, you have low base damage since you are using mostly fast weapons, an extra 20% damage from a good might score is a waste of points. Either dump it hard or leave it at 10 since it helps in the early game.

Dexterity is not a really useful stat but sometimes you may want to get two knockdowns fast and a really low dexterity score can be detrimental in this situation.

Constitution is not really important but you should not dump it unless you want a really bad fort save. You have enough endurance even for the hardest fights so you don't need to any points here unless you are dumping might.

Perception is mot as important as resolve since your ref save is high thanks to a sword and shield style talent. You may wnat to lower this a bit if you don't want to dump dex.

Intellect is important, i find that the extra prone duration allows the rest of my party to kill one or two mobs you are not engaging without taking a sweat. A 14 second prone on a crit is just glorious.

Resolve is your most important stat, it adds deflection and will save, should be maxed.



Fighter Abilities

Armored Grace: A waste of a talent for a tank.

Clear Out: It's one of you few limited resources, but a great opener for fights with many tough enemies since you can disable 2-4 enemies and engage the remaining ones.

Confident Aim: Even if your accuracy suffers for the heavy shield you can always swap to a high accuracy set to use an active ability.

Critical Defense: You are not gonna get many crits with you high deflection,

Defender: The bread and butter of the build, take this ASAP.

Disciplined Barrage: It's not a bad ability per se, however there is usually a better choice every time.

Guardian Stance: Forces you deactivate Defender.

Into the Fray: Useful to pull and debuff an enemy harassing your party without having to move.

Knockdown: Your only other choice at lvl 1 is disciplined barrage, so this one is a no brainier. Useful to help your damage dealers to position to beak engagement or even to drop an enemy that decides to ignore you and hit your party.

Unbending: I recall only one fight where this talent could have been useful.

Unbroken: Take this if you you don't have any item that grants second chance. You are not gonna die a lot, but when you do it's nice to have some kind of backup.

Vigorous Defense: Useful to avoid a nasty spell or ability that's about to hit you. Also helps turning crits to hits.

Weapon Specialization: Even if you pick this you are not gonna do significant damage so you might as well skip it.


Fighter Talents

Constant Recovery: An extra hp every tick is not worth a talent.

Bonus Knockdown: An extra knockdown is cool, however only pick it after getting more useful talents.


Offensive Talents

Weapon Focus: The extra accuracy is nice, for hitting with your actives. Peasant is the best choice since you get both spear and hatchet, Adventurer is good too for the flail.

Extra Damage Against X Talents: You base damage is pitiful, so that extra 25% will not help much.

Gunner and Marksman: Even if you use a ranged weapon every now and then i wouldn't spend a talent to improve those few attacks.

Interrupting Blows: Tank weapons usually have low interrupt and even if they are fast you low dex and heavy armor make you attack slow enough to make this talent worthless.

Bloody Slaughter: Your crits are a joke.

Modal Abilities: They all force you to deactivate defender, so not one of them is useful.

Envenomed Strike: A nice ability for anyone who ain't a tank.


Defensive Talents

Superior Deflection: Extra deflection is always nice.

Weapon and Shield Style: +6 extra deflection just for using a shield is good enough for a talent, the bonus to reflex is just the icing on the cake.

Hold the Line: You already have defender. While the extra enemy engaged could be useful, there are a couple of items that grant this talent too.

Save Boosting Talents: Many are just plain useless, but Bull's Will and Mental Fortress are useful since many effects that target will actually take you out of the fight.

Cautious Attack: Useless since it cannot be used while defender is active.

Graceful Retreat: The only reason to reposition is because you lost the aggro of many mobs, that also means that probably not many enemies are engaging you.


Utility Talents

Elemental Talents: Since base damage is not good enough to benefit from the bonus, getting the talent for 5DR vs an element is not worth it imo.

Shoot on the Run: Since we can't throw our shields we have no use for this talent.

Fast Runner: Tanks work best when stationary.

Deep Pockets: 4 slots are more than enough.

Arms Bearer: The Island Aumaua racial is considered one of the weakest ones. You can pick this to make them feel even worse about it, but that's it.

Quick Switch: If you learn to time your switch you'll never gonna need this talent.

Wound Binding: The only reason to use this is that your health is really low, but then if you are at that point you might at well rest before getting into another fight.

Field Triage: Worthless. One of the reasons to pick Kana early is so he does not get this.


Items

Since I'm trying to make this guide as spoilerless as possible I'll avoid mentioning specific items. Remember not to be stingy with consumables they are cheap and easy to craft.

Armor: The best quality plate armor you can find. Second chance is nice. Resolve or perception bonus are nice too. Crushing or Lightning proofing help to increase the armor lower resistances.

Weapon: While any Expectational or Accurate weapon will do, you may want to have both an naturally accurate weapon like a dagger, spear or rapier and a hatchet for the extra deflection, a flail is nice too.

Other Slot Items: Extra saves and deflection are a must but you'll usually use your rings for that. Get bonuses to perception and resolve first, and constitution and intelligence second. Bonuses vs ugly abilities like prone stunned or charmed are useful.

Food: Drakest Rauatai Cookies and Ixamitl Ricepan are you default food. Dragon Egg Dish is good for longer and tougher fights.

Potions: Keep the best endurance and regen potions you find in your quickslots. Any potion that grants extra endurance, DR or deflection is useful too.

Scrolls: Any defense buff is good for you. Scrolls of revival are a must for those times that you end up as the only party member not downed.

 

 

Sample PotD Build: The Tiny Smart Fighter

Race: Wild Orlan
Class: Fighter
Region: Aedyr or Ixamitl Plains (Bonus Resolve)
Background: Slave (Bonus to Athletics and Survival)
 

Might             8 
Constitution     10   
Dexterity        10  
Perception       16 
Intelligence     14 
Resolve          20
Lvl           Ability              Talent
 1           Knockdown
 2                           Weapon and Shield Style      
 3           Defender
 4                                Wary Defender
 5        Vigorous Defense   
 6                             Weapon Focus (Peasant)
 7           Clear Out
 8                              Superior Deflection
 9         Into the Fray
10                               Bonus Knockdown     
11       Disciplined Barrage
12                               Mental Fortress 

This build will tank your party though PotD with authority since he is extremely hard to and hit boasts really nice saves. His accuracy is good too while using his spear and his actives have a nice duration thanks to the Int bonus. With defender active an exeptional heavy shield and a hatchet, you reach 140 deflection for hard fights, for easier battles you can use a light shield and a spear which gives you enough accuracy to get a crit or two if you are lucky. Depending on party composition you may be able to tweak the build (ie priest buffing deflection for tough fights).


Edited by Vadász, 17 April 2015 - 09:43 PM.

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#2
b0rsuk

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You contradict yourself in a few places:

 

- you say this is a tanky build, but you recommend Hearth Orlan, whose ability is essentially more damage

- you list humans as good choice, but their Fighting Spirit simply adds damage.

- island Aumaua useless ? In description of Confident Aim, you say you can swap weapons for better accuracy. What about a fighter which opens with an Arquebus shot, then goes into melee with a large shield, and switches to small shield or no shield if more damage is needed ?

 

Finally, I don't understand why do you spend so much time discussing attributes. The only thing the bonuses really affect is MAXIMUM attribute level, because you can reallocate stats. For instance I have a Coastal Aumaua monk with 10 Might, despite having +2 Might bonus. Is this a roleplaying guide ?



#3
KDubya

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Not sure if you are wanting constructive criticism but for me anyway I'd prefer if you listed the various options sorted into good, Ok, and avoid lists instead of the multiple color scheme.

 

 

As in something like

 

Tanking Best race

Orlan - reason why this is so.

 

Tanking Good Race

Pale elf - reason why this is so

etc.

 

You get the idea, also the reasoning as to why something is good or bad is what I want to see. Why are island Amaumau bad while Coastal are good? Why are dwarves bad choices? Why choose Aedry for a starting culture?

 

If spec'd for damage the advice for talents and abilities would pretty much be opposite from what you have here for a deflection tank.


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#4
Vadász

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you say this is a tanky build, but you recommend Hearth Orlan, whose ability is essentially more damage


Hearth Orlan also allows you to reach 20 in both perception and resolve.
 

you list humans as good choice, but their Fighting Spirit simply adds damage.


Resolve is the most important stat for a tank and humans can reach 20 resolve, also the racial also gives accuracy that can help you knock down a tough foe.
 

island Aumaua useless ? In description of Confident Aim, you say you can swap weapons for better accuracy. What about a fighter which opens with an Arquebus shot, then goes into melee with a large shield, and switches to small shield or no shield if more damage is needed ?


Yes but i found you rarely need more than 2 weapons. The arquebus opener can help in certain parties, yes but that also means you have to wait for recovery to act again, also i prefer opening with a rogue or someone who has higher damage than me.
 

Finally, I don't understand why do you spend so much time discussing attributes. The only thing the bonuses really affect is MAXIMUM attribute level, because you can reallocate stats. For instance I have a Coastal Aumaua monk with 10 Might, despite having +2 Might bonus. Is this a roleplaying guide ?


In my experience reaching those maxiums in character creation does make a difference.
 

Is this a roleplaying guide ?


No, but you are free to use it that way if you like.



#5
Vadász

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Not sure if you are wanting constructive criticism but for me anyway I'd prefer if you listed the various options sorted into good, Ok, and avoid lists instead of the multiple color scheme.


As in something like

Tanking Best race
Orlan - reason why this is so.

Tanking Good Race
Pale elf - reason why this is so
etc.


I used the scheme we use in in dnd and pathfinder charop forums because i just don't imagine charop guides in another way. I do understand your point though and i might be able to port it to another format once i finish it, that way the community can read the one they like the most.
 

also the reasoning as to why something is good or bad is what I want to see. Why are island Amaumau bad while Coastal are good? Why are dwarves bad choices? Why choose Aedry for a starting culture?

If spec'd for damage the advice for talents and abilities would pretty much be opposite from what you have here for a deflection tank.


As i said the guide is a WiP, there is roughly enough info to build a def tank, but i hope i get to expand it/modify with user feedback. Oh, and the talents are only meant for def tank, DPS and hybrid will get their own guides.



#6
Zwiebelchen

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This build is over-tuned imho. You don't need those ridicolous PER and RES scores. With the right talent choices, you will hit 100 deflection soon enough to render tanking trivial. Instead, better invest into getting DEX back to 10. Also, a hatchet should only be used if you fight against high-accuracy mobs. And even then it doesn't make much of a difference. Flails are a much better main weapon choice. You definitely want that grace-to-hit conversion. And mind you that enemies that have a high enough accuracy to do anything else but minimum damage are extremely rare (pretty much only lions).


Edited by Zwiebelchen, 17 April 2015 - 12:29 AM.


#7
Vadász

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How much accuracy would you say is enough for PoTD, finding that number would really help me fine tune the guide. Also i do have some doubts about the weapons, hatchet is the king in early game, and then you can trade it for the spear that is in the same group. I'm not really sure if grace to hit is actually better than the extra accuracy, i could be wrong though.



#8
Zwiebelchen

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A 30% Grace-to-Hit conversion is comparable to 12 accuracy, unless you are fighting very low deflection mobs. Default grace range is 15-50, so basicly the total range is 35. This means a 30% increase equals 12 accuracy. This is much better than the flat +5 accuracy on precise weapons. Also remember that you can stack this with other +accuracy enchants like fine/exceptional/etc.

 

Mind you that this only applies if the enemies have high deflection scores. As soon as you "hit" your attacks frequently, it practically does nothing. However, all mobs on PotD have bonus deflections, so you'll get a better mileage out of this than a flat +5 accuracy.


Edited by Zwiebelchen, 17 April 2015 - 01:00 AM.


#9
Akimbo

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Graze* the word is "Graze"...not "Grace".

 

On topic:

 

This build sacrifices too much. You're over-tanking. Having a meat-sack who can't do anything other than get hit isn't really helpful.

 

With all the deflection talents you can pick up, you'd probably be better off dropping PER and RES to around 15 each, Dump INT (The duration increase isn't that useful for a Fighter), possibly dump CON (If you're taking all tank talents, you should be avoiding most hits), raise Might and Dex.


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#10
Eos

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You should probably mention somewhere that the guide is minmaxing for maximum effectiveness on PotD. And then you should take out anything that's adding to your offensive capabilities (i.e. hatchet is pretty much the only weapon choice, weapon focus is useless because you don't hit for any significant damage, etc.)



#11
omgFIREBALLS

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This build sacrifices too much. You're over-tanking. Having a meat-sack who can't do anything other than get hit isn't really helpful.

I disagree with all my heart. One of those in front and five glass cannons in the back. I "sacrifice" even more on my fighters.



#12
dukefx

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This build sacrifices too much. You're over-tanking. Having a meat-sack who can't do anything other than get hit isn't really helpful.

I disagree with all my heart. One of those in front and five glass cannons in the back. I "sacrifice" even more on my fighters.

 

You better listen to Akimbo because he speaks truth.



#13
Eos

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This build sacrifices too much. You're over-tanking. Having a meat-sack who can't do anything other than get hit isn't really helpful.

I disagree with all my heart. One of those in front and five glass cannons in the back. I "sacrifice" even more on my fighters.

 

You better listen to Akimbo because he speaks truth.

 

 

 

Seems to me that Akimbo isn't playing on PotD, where the damage your fighter tank puts out is completely negligible. On everything up to hard, yeah.. no need to minmax. No need to even create your own fighter because Eder can tank just fine.


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#14
Seramus

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I wouldn't go down to 15s, because that is 10 deflection lost. That makes the time it takes to become nigh unhittable longer. Yes, even missing 10 deflection on PotD you will eventually become unhittable, but the sooner you reach that point the better.

That said, 2-4 defense does not edge out powerful racials like Wood, Pale, Fire or Moon.
Seriously. You can get 20, 18 on a Pale and only be down 2 deflection. Rock 29 frost resistance before you get out of Gilded Vale, Stand in wizard AOE like a boss, and laugh at PotD specters and phantoms all day long.

Edited by Seramus, 17 April 2015 - 03:09 AM.


#15
dukefx

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This build sacrifices too much. You're over-tanking. Having a meat-sack who can't do anything other than get hit isn't really helpful.

I disagree with all my heart. One of those in front and five glass cannons in the back. I "sacrifice" even more on my fighters.

 

You better listen to Akimbo because he speaks truth.

 

 

 

Seems to me that Akimbo isn't playing on PotD, where the damage your fighter tank puts out is completely negligible. On everything up to hard, yeah.. no need to minmax. No need to even create your own fighter because Eder can tank just fine.

 

No idea if Akimbo is playing on PotD or not, but I can speak out of experience. Fighters are reliable damage dealers. Edér has a sabre and a small shield with all related talents. His tanking capabilities are sufficient, his damage is quite alright.

 

If you are so concerned about PotD then why didn't reply to the idea of 1 tank and 5 glass cannons instead. 1 tank can't keep them save 99% of the time. That 1% being some kind of bottleneck with no teleporting shades or confusion spamming casters around.



#16
Crucis

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This build sacrifices too much. You're over-tanking. Having a meat-sack who can't do anything other than get hit isn't really helpful.

I disagree with all my heart. One of those in front and five glass cannons in the back. I "sacrifice" even more on my fighters.

 

 

And I disagree with you completely.  Creating a tank whose only purpose is to suck the enemy into attacking him uselessly to "protect" the glass cannons behind him is total cheese in my book.  All you're doing is turning the AI against itself.  Any "realistic" enemies would quickly realize that trying to attack the unhittable tank was pointless and just turn to go after the other party members.

 

Frankly, it's not that hard to create a tough to hit tank who can also deal respectable damage as well. For crying out loud, Eder fully armored up with a 1H weapon and a shield and various other buffing items can be a very difficult to hit tank while still making most enemies who dare to engage him pay for doing so.  And he's a lot more "realistic" in my book than some excessively min-maxed, next to no offense, aggro magnet tank whose only purpose is to abuse the AI.



#17
Crucis

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island Aumaua useless ? In description of Confident Aim, you say you can swap weapons for better accuracy. What about a fighter which opens with an Arquebus shot, then goes into melee with a large shield, and switches to small shield or no shield if more damage is needed ?


Yes but i found you rarely need more than 2 weapons. The arquebus opener can help in certain parties, yes but that also means you have to wait for recovery to act again, also i prefer opening with a rogue or someone who has higher damage than me.

 

 

 

 

I have to disagree.  I tend to think that any front line combatant can benefit from having a 3rd weapons slot.

 

Firstly, I'm of the belief that all party members should carry a ranged weapon, because I believe in firing off a single volley at range as the enemy charges at me, before my front liners switch to melee weapons.  Thus, this requires one weapon slot.

 

Secondly, I think that it's worthwhile to have a couple of different melee weapons that have different damage types, i.e. crush, slashing, piercing, so that if you run up against an enemy with a particularly high defense in one, you can switch to another weapon.  And if you're carrying a shield, this would require a slot for each weapon.  Of course, you could just dual wield 1H weapons of different damage type, but only at the cost of a shield's defense.

 

Third, it can also be worthwhile to have a 2H melee weapon (in addition to one's 1H weapon and shield slot) for the occasional really tough enemy that needs that little extra punch to get more damage past his DR. 

 

Frankly, I think that having a 3rd weapons slot is VERY worthwhile.



#18
omgFIREBALLS

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If you are so concerned about PotD then why didn't reply to the idea of 1 tank and 5 glass cannons instead. 1 tank can't keep them save 99% of the time. That 1% being some kind of bottleneck with no teleporting shades or confusion spamming casters around.

It's not failsafe but 99%, lol. It's not anywhere near anywhere near anywhere near anywhere near being that problematic. Am I clear enough?

 

I send my tank in alone while I buff up, cast Returning Storm, etc. I also summon stuff - summons alone do enough of a job with the offtanking. Any monster who decides to run past my tank to my backline will be happy to stop if engaged by a summon. Too, I use my cipher to paralyze these brave souls. Then my druid and wizard just unload on the crowd swinging futilely at my tank. Sometimes even hitting him if need be.

 

As for teleporting shades. You can outrange it. Lategame shades obviously aren't a problem but early on I just back the cannons off when I see the purple icon over the shades. Hell, they can even get bored of chasing.

 

These are the damage stats of a PotD party that just reached level 12.

Fighter, dedicated tank hatchet4lyfe: 6k

Rogue: 40k

Priest, mostly buffing: 3k

Cipher, CC/utility in hard fights, Mind Blades in easy ones: 30k

Druid: 70k

Wizard: 34k

 

Like those 6k would become something meaningful on a tincan using sword and board and not sporting any damaging abilities. What's more, like they would be worth the tradeoff when his job is to just soak hits while the cannons unload.



#19
Crucis

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Not sure if you are wanting constructive criticism but for me anyway I'd prefer if you listed the various options sorted into good, Ok, and avoid lists instead of the multiple color scheme.

 

 

As in something like

 

Tanking Best race

Orlan - reason why this is so.

 

Tanking Good Race

Pale elf - reason why this is so

etc.

 

You get the idea, also the reasoning as to why something is good or bad is what I want to see. Why are island Amaumau bad while Coastal are good? Why are dwarves bad choices? Why choose Aedry for a starting culture?

 

If spec'd for damage the advice for talents and abilities would pretty much be opposite from what you have here for a deflection tank.

 

I agree 100% that sorting this way is FAR more useful than the color coded system used, which I found more distracting than informative.  I want to see the best items grouped together, not the items in the group in alphabetical order with color coding, though if you want to sort the items within each rating group (best, above average, average, below average, worst) alphabetically, that's fine.
 

Also, the "why" you (the OP) thinks that things are good or bad is at least as important as whether you think that they're good or bad in the first place.  After all, we may disagree with your reasoning.  But if you don't say why, then your opinion carries less weight.



#20
omgFIREBALLS

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And I disagree with you completely.  Creating a tank whose only purpose is to suck the enemy into attacking him uselessly to "protect" the glass cannons behind him is total cheese in my book.  All you're doing is turning the AI against itself.  Any "realistic" enemies would quickly realize that trying to attack the unhittable tank was pointless and just turn to go after the other party members.

I can't tell you how to enjoy the game :) I'm just saying it pays off. I would like it if there were some threat system so that tank damage wasn't almost irrelevant, and so that the tank could keep melee safe too.


Edited by omgFIREBALLS, 17 April 2015 - 04:00 AM.






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