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I like this game a lot.

 

Except when it throws hordes of fampyrs at your party, charms 4/6 characters, then every enemy rushes past your tanks and insta-kills Aloth and Grieving Mother.

 

How do you even combat this? I'm not losing fights against them, but I'm constantly down 2-4 party members due to charm and having 1-2 characters die per encounter. It's not a fun challenge, it's just play infuriating. I don't have Protection Against Whatever-the-name-of-it that grants defenses against charmed yet, and even still that's by no means a guaranteed defense, every bit as fallible as the other Protection Against... spells are - like when Prot. against Fear fails to defend any one of my characters against the fear aura of a dragon for the entire fight.

 

Fampyrs suck. The off-chance of them failing to charm a character, or the charm finally wearing off, and then they just relent and auto-attack for a bit... until I command a character to use an ability, of course, and then the computer decides to be an **** and micro-interrupt the spell before it finishes by charming the character again. 

 

Completely unrelated, I hate engagement. I absolutely hate it. If I tell someone to move, they wind up eating a chain of disengage attacks - when an enemy moves past me, I never perform a disengage attack. Eder has 3 engagement slots, yet he gets flanked nevertheless. Pallegina has 3 slots as well, yet she too without fail winds up flanked when fighting 3 enemies. And neither of those characters tries to stop an enemy from disengaging them, either. Engagement feels like one of those mechanics that works well in a grid-based, turn-based game, but just proves entirely frustrating to deal with and terribly inconsistent in a game like this.

 

And I hate to come and rant about this, but my God, there's a difference between a rewarding challenge and a cross-your-fingers-the-game-doesn't-****-you spike. It just feels like I'm playing D&D, only reverse-engineered so that nothing works quite how I'd expect.

Edited by 0rangekun
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Engagement has nothing to do with being flanked.

 

The key thing to remember is do not move out of melee unless all nearby targets are prone, stunned or something of the sort. If people are running past your frontline get a bigger frontline, instead of two use three or four. Also if you have three or four melee guys standing shoulder to shoulder you cut down on the chance of being flanked, think of it like an offensive line in football and your caster as the quarterback.

 

Fampyrs are hard. Either try and get better defenses like Paladins can get, CC them before they charm you, focus fire and kill them quickly or just be prepared to take some casualties.

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If you have a cipher, remember that by charming a charmed person, you can essentially dispel the charm. At 6th level, priests get a Prayer against Treachery spell or some such - if you send your rogue ahead, aggro the fampyres and quickly flee before they manage to respond, you gain a few precious seconds to buff your party before they reach you. Alternatively, you can use offensive crowd control spells outside of combat and disable them before combat even begins, then you have limited time to deal with as many of them as possible before they manage to come around. If you're having difficulties dealing with them, it might also not be a terrible idea to leave the location they are in and come back later on when you level up.

 

As for Engagement, it's always clearly displayed on the screen - whenever there's a red arrow originating from an enemy and pointing at your character, do not move that character unless you're willing to take damage. Enemies also have limited engagements and I believe you can exploit this using summons. Alternatively you can just disable them which always breaks engagement - but no, you can't just dance around in combat.

Edited by Fenixp
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Having recently started a new run, I can say that I love engagement and actually wish they'd done *more* with it rather than less.

 

That said, I'm for folks venting frustration about the game and all the little qualities that they personally dislike.  A big example is the lack of kill XP.  I much prefer getting XP from quests, but I know a lot of people who rail against it... or least used to rail against it.  Our Gftd friend hasn't been as vocal lately, but I'm not sure he's played since beta.

 

There's one specific problem I have with the game, and that's story based.  I've made short comments about it and had folks make reasonable and yet ultimately unfulfilling responses, but I just don't have the energy to undertake what would be a lengthy explanation that maybe two or three people would read.  Anyhow, that's a small thing and my problem with how they did it is considerably less of a problem than my problem would be if they had done nothing.  So, I chalk it up to you can't win 'em all.

 

Overall, I'm quite happy with the combat and the game altogether.  Inventory is a little clunky and battles can often be a bit clustered, but I've learned that games must be judged as their sum of their parts rather than piecemeal.

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Engagement has nothing to do with being flanked.

 

The key thing to remember is do not move out of melee unless all nearby targets are prone, stunned or something of the sort. If people are running past your frontline get a bigger frontline, instead of two use three or four. Also if you have three or four melee guys standing shoulder to shoulder you cut down on the chance of being flanked, think of it like an offensive line in football and your caster as the quarterback.

 

Fampyrs are hard. Either try and get better defenses like Paladins can get, CC them before they charm you, focus fire and kill them quickly or just be prepared to take some casualties.

 

Doesn't seem to matter how I position my party (which is, always, casters way, way far back - a mile away - with my two paladins and fighter playing roadblock, a fact which enemies seem to love to ignore, engagement slots be damned). Amusingly, I've regularly found enemies run right down the middle through my melee characters with no negative effect, yet the pathing for my characters is so terrible that telling them to move just a little bit has them decide to run in a massive circle that takes them right past every enemy - just to make sure they all get a fair shot disengage-attacking them.

 

How does flanking work, exactly, though? I understand how it works in D&D, but my understanding of it in PoE is simply when you're being engaged by more foes than you have engagement slots. I.E. It'd take 4 enemies to flank a character with 3 slots. That's just what I've read, well... everywhere. :\ Part of the reason I find the ruleset for the game (it's literally D&D; it's almost identical in every way save for the names of stats) so frustrating is that there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of consistency to some of the rules in it and, given how similar it is to D&D, I can't help but feel like it'd have been far better off just to be D&D exactly instead of D&D-but-not-really.

 

If you have a cipher, remember that by charming a charmed person, you can essentially dispel the charm. At 6th level, priests get a Prayer against Treachery spell or some such - if you send your rogue ahead, aggro the fampyres and quickly flee before they manage to respond, you gain a few precious seconds to buff your party before they reach you. Alternatively, you can use offensive crowd control spells outside of combat and disable them before combat even begins, then you have limited time to deal with as many of them as possible before they manage to come around. If you're having difficulties dealing with them, it might also not be a terrible idea to leave the location they are in and come back later on when you level up.

 

As for Engagement, it's always clearly displayed on the screen - whenever there's a red arrow originating from an enemy and pointing at your character, do not move that character unless you're willing to take damage. Enemies also have limited engagements and I believe you can exploit this using summons. Alternatively you can just disable them which always breaks engagement - but no, you can't just dance around in combat.

 

The fampyrs have a tendency of charming my cipher immediately, usually Durance as well and, if I'm especially unlucky, Eder to boot. Unfortunately, the fight in particular was a boss fight of sorts, so there was no way to sneak up on them or get the jump on them with a quick spellcast. I don't have a rogue, as I've stupidly elected to use NPCs rather than player-made drones, since my biggest issue with the Icewind Dale games were the characters or lackthereof. Quick shout-out: thanks a lot for killing off the prologue companions, Obsidian. :( I liked them, damn it. 

 

I do understand how engagement works (at least, I think I do). Seems like it works more or less exactly like attacks of opportunity, only being that this is a video game and not a turn-based one, my experiences with engagements have been wholly inconsistent. I rarely actually command my party to disengage, if only because every time it happens they wind up A) Being hit like a truck B) Stop moving the second they've been hit for some reason. The only time I provoke a disengagement attack is when the AI decides that it wants to take the worst possible path imaginable to a destination and I've forgotten to handhold it every step of the way.

 

The difficulty I'm having with engagement is that it never seems to work as advertised. I spend more time in combat paused than not, and a lot of that time is spent reading the combat log. I've never witnessed my characters making a disengagement attack. Ever. Doesn't seem to matter that Eder's set up to engage an army, it's usually just one foe that stops to fight him, and even if a second or third join in, they skip away to maul Aloth with Eder's full consent it seems. 

 

Having recently started a new run, I can say that I love engagement and actually wish they'd done *more* with it rather than less.

 

That said, I'm for folks venting frustration about the game and all the little qualities that they personally dislike.  A big example is the lack of kill XP.  I much prefer getting XP from quests, but I know a lot of people who rail against it... or least used to rail against it.  Our Gftd friend hasn't been as vocal lately, but I'm not sure he's played since beta.

 

There's one specific problem I have with the game, and that's story based.  I've made short comments about it and had folks make reasonable and yet ultimately unfulfilling responses, but I just don't have the energy to undertake what would be a lengthy explanation that maybe two or three people would read.  Anyhow, that's a small thing and my problem with how they did it is considerably less of a problem than my problem would be if they had done nothing.  So, I chalk it up to you can't win 'em all.

 

Overall, I'm quite happy with the combat and the game altogether.  Inventory is a little clunky and battles can often be a bit clustered, but I've learned that games must be judged as their sum of their parts rather than piecemeal.

 

In all honesty, I actually agree. I think that if engagement were handled differently, I'd like it. But it's an all or nothing mechanic, I think, and so with the extent to which its implemented, I'd prefer if it just didn't exist.

 

I'm overall pleased with PoE, but I've yet to actually finish the game (and I haven't started over, either) because I just wind up feeling downright exhausted by it quite easily. Like today, for example. After a long, grueling effort to do a sidequest where I fought a boss and a pack of like 7 or 8 fampyrs, I stopped playing. I might continue tomorrow, or I might go another month before I pick up the game again. I even won the fight, but I did so only by cheese tactics and a whole lot of RNG (on the winning attempt, the fampyrs FINALLY didn't charm my entire back line before I could so much as bend over and beg they be gentle). I didn't feel like I'd overcome a challenge, or in any way rewarded for my efforts (I got a unique suit of platemail that has 'okay' stats, I guess).

 

There are a lot of mechanisms (engagement, health/endurance, spells largely being combat-only - to name a few) that I just don't like. They might not be inherently bad decisions, but they're aspects which exist in this game that otherwise feels exactly like the Infinity Engine-inspired game I want it to be. If there were a mod to eliminate these aspects, I'd install it in a heartbeat. The music, the artstyle, and the general atmosphere of the game has me screaming yes, while some of the nitty-gritty of combat system has me tearing my hair out. I think that IE Mod at least lets you turn off engagement, but I don't believe the mod works with the current version of Pillars.

 

Thanks for the replies, by the way, the three of you. I really don't aim to come across as just another ranting negativity. If PoE didn't get so many things right, I wouldn't feel the need at all. I'd just write it off as disappointing and uninstall it (hello Wasteland 2). But it's because it comes so close to being exactly the game I've been wanting again since I was a kid that the parts I don't care for really grate me.

Edited by 0rangekun
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There's an option in settings which makes your characters auto-stop their movement when they're engaged. It'll prevent automatic disengagement attacks by your enemy.

 

Also, you don't get disengagement attacks because the AI rarely leaves engagement - how it works is that the AI will fill your engagement slots and then the rest of the enemies passing your dudes won't get engaged anymore (since engagement slots of your dudes are full) and therefore disengagement attacks won't be applied. That's why creating chokepoints via things like repulsive seal or powerful area denial spells is a very effective tactic - enemies can't pass trough each other and since they'll rarely leave engagement, they'll get stuck in lines.

 

Wait, are you talking about a certain fight taking place after you get delivered a challenge by a messenger in Twin Elms inn?

Edited by Fenixp
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Well, the good thing is, this is as frustrated as you are going to get. (Dragons excluded).

Fampyrs are the most annoying monsters in the game, the others that use domination tactics are much easier to take down. 

Use summons or figurines if you can, - it helps. And protect yourself, even if it's not full proof.

 

And yes, engagement is a terribly implemented mechanic. Get the IE mod from the Pillars Nexus (Don't know if it's updated for this patch). Get rid.

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What build is your 2 Paladins and Grieving Mother? I suspect that you are lacking some serious DPS.

 

Adding "some serious DPS" is highly dangerous in the case of enemies that can Charm/Dominate others ... as you don't really want to see the red circle appear around your melee/ranged damage dealers.  :ermm:

 

Aloth ... with the right spells in his grimoire ... can cause the Fampyrs in that well-known battle some serious problems ... provided that you do try to bump your defenses and try to hold up the enemies, too. A similarly tough battle is when almost the same group of enemies chooses to attack the stronghold. Then you cannot take the environment to your advantage.

 

There are still too many players, who min-max their attributes in hope of building "best" characters ... god-like heroes at level 1  :shrugz:  ... when in fact this increases the risks because of low defenses and low health. You only have so few points to spend ... so trying to raise multiple attributes to 18 or higher does not automatically make a hero better.

 

But any hero with Lore 6 can use the most helpful scrolls. Knowledge of consumables (food, potions, ...) and inn resting bonuses can be life-saving, too.

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At very munimum, suppress afflictions and liberating exhortations should work on charm / confuse / domination.

 

This is the main reason why these status are so much more annoying than any other hard CC.

 

Current setting is just lazy design.

 

Remember that WM part 2 will apparently be about Vithraks...

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There's an option in settings which makes your characters auto-stop their movement when they're engaged. It'll prevent automatic disengagement attacks by your enemy.

 

Also, you don't get disengagement attacks because the AI rarely leaves engagement - how it works is that the AI will fill your engagement slots and then the rest of the enemies passing your dudes won't get engaged anymore (since engagement slots of your dudes are full) and therefore disengagement attacks won't be applied. That's why creating chokepoints via things like repulsive seal or powerful area denial spells is a very effective tactic - enemies can't pass trough each other and since they'll rarely leave engagement, they'll get stuck in lines.

 

Wait, are you talking about a certain fight taking place after you get delivered a challenge by a messenger in Twin Elms inn?

I am talking about a certain fight, yes. I won it by placing a trap and a Seal spell on the stairs leading to the fight and had everyone but Eder hide way, way back. Then I made a literal impassable wall with Pallegina, Eder, and my PC. Between them bodyblocking and a line of sight issue due to the stairs, the fampyrs couldn't go charm-crazy before I got some spells off. Even so, Aloth, GM, and Durance all got KO'd eventually.

 

The thing I don't understand, in general, not specific to this fight, is that I have 2 tanks with 3 engagement slots (Pallegina getting a third from Shatterstar), along with my main character having one slot, but also being melee and having solid defenses (she actually has more defense than either true tanks save for Deflection). So there were plenty of slots, often more slots than there are enemies. I might just have a problem with actually getting enemies 'tagged' for engagement, though, but I'm not sure how.

 

 

So your party is: 2 Paladins, Eder, Aloth, Durance, and Grieving Mother?

 

What build is your 2 Paladins and Grieving Mother? I suspect that you are lacking some serious DPS. Also, I love your overuse of italics lol

 

Probably. My main character is a demon, especially on fights where I can use Sworn Enemy, when you take into account how resilient she is for a damage dealer but between platemail and a greatsword, she's more of a slow and reliable damage than proper DPS. Grieving Mother can be beastly as well, though I mostly use her for CC and whatnot. She definitely falls apart against single strong enemies (like being nearly incapable of hitting a dragon leaving her with no focus gain)

 

My party is definitely lacking for damage, but I can't help but feel that's at least as much Obsidian's fault as it is mine. They don't exactly provide you with damage-y party members. Sagani, perhaps? If rangers are really better now. I like the characters in my party, though, so it's that much harder to swap anyone out for another.

 

Text is a poor means of conveyance for tone, and I think italics help somewhat in that regard. :p

 

Well, the good thing is, this is as frustrated as you are going to get. (Dragons excluded).

Fampyrs are the most annoying monsters in the game, the others that use domination tactics are much easier to take down. 

Use summons or figurines if you can, - it helps. And protect yourself, even if it's not full proof.

 

And yes, engagement is a terribly implemented mechanic. Get the IE mod from the Pillars Nexus (Don't know if it's updated for this patch). Get rid.

 

Ironically I had a much easier time fighting a dragon earlier in the same day. I beat it on my first try. Just sort of stumbled into the area, didn't even rest beforehand. It wasn't exactly easy, but unlike the fampyrs nothing ever happened in the fight that made me feel I'd lost long before it was over. That fear aura, though, is insane. Even with Priest spells, it had 111 Accuracy. Literally everyone on my party except for my main character spent the entire fight terrified; -20 accuracy ruined a good bit of strategy I had for the dragon. Even without -20, a lot of my characters would've been hard pressed to do more than graze when all of its defenses were 100-120. I definitely miss buffs providing outright immunities to certain effects. Personal preference I suppose, but stronger buffs along with more powerful means of dispel (rather than suppressing buffs or debuffs) feels a lot more meaningful, to me.

 

I've used figures, potions, and various spells with mixed results. It takes time to use all of these things, and more often than not, ****'s hit the fan before I'm even halfway done buffing. 

 

Completely unrelated, I hate engagement. I absolutely hate it.

In case you don't know, the IE mod can remove engagement.

 

 

Yeah. I don't believe it's up to date for the current patches, though, but thanks for the mention all the same.

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At very munimum, suppress afflictions and liberating exhortations should work on charm / confuse / domination.

 

This is the main reason why these status are so much more annoying than any other hard CC.

 

Current setting is just lazy design.

 

Remember that WM part 2 will apparently be about Vithraks...

 

I haven't fought any vithracks in recent memory. Probably not since back in April when I first really got into the game heavily. Can't say I remember what they're like, but your mentioning them specifically now has me concerned, haha!

 

It would be nice if charm spells were susceptible to suppression, yes. It feels a bit unfair how devastating this type of CC is. Not only does it take a character out of your control, but it turns them against you (and most of the time has them waste all of their Knock Down uses, and switch to their firearm so that when Charm finally does wear off you have to waste a 'turn' swapping back to sword and shield, but by then they get charmed again)

 

I get that they're supposed to be powerful effects, though. But they're extremely difficult to counter. No outright immunity to the effect is available, and as far as I can tell there's no way to remove the effect (other than countercharming, which is hardly ideal). When you consider that enemies generally have such high base stats, it gets to the point of feeling unfair. It's hard enough getting my tank's defenses high enough to avoid being hit by Charm, and I can't even imagine raising Aloth, Durance, or Grieving Mother's defenses enough, which is made worse because those three are my only means of actually combating Charm.

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However, most of the time there are only a couple of ennemies who are able to charm, and they usually charm only 1 character at a time.

 

Only 1-2 Fampyr or Vithrack is not so annoying.

 

There are actually only a few fights in the whole game with several "charmers" : Raedric 2, the pale rider company in WM, Vithrack bounty and 2 or 3 fights Od Nua level 12.

 

Plus Thaos and his horrible area effect confuse / DOMINATION. Not sure if it is applicable only when scaled to lvl 14 or in PotD.

 

If you have a priest, protection against treachery would be OK for these few endgame fights. If uou don't have a priest, then...

There should be scrolls... (and against paralysis too).

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However, most of the time there are only a couple of ennemies who are able to charm, and they usually charm only 1 character at a time.

 

Only 1-2 Fampyr or Vithrack is not so annoying.

 

There are actually only a few fights in the whole game with several "charmers" : Raedric 2, the pale rider company in WM, Vithrack bounty and 2 or 3 fights Od Nua level 12.

 

Plus Thaos and his horrible area effect confuse / DOMINATION. Not sure if it is applicable only when scaled to lvl 14 or in PotD.

 

If you have a priest, protection against treachery would be OK for these few endgame fights. If uou don't have a priest, then...

There should be scrolls... (and against paralysis too).

I don't have access to the spell yet, unfortunately.

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The thing I don't understand, in general, not specific to this fight, is that I have 2 tanks with 3 engagement slots (Pallegina getting a third from Shatterstar), along with my main character having one slot, but also being melee and having solid defenses (she actually has more defense than either true tanks save for Deflection). So there were plenty of slots, often more slots than there are enemies. I might just have a problem with actually getting enemies 'tagged' for engagement, though, but I'm not sure how.

If you want more info on how engagements work, take a look over here - it goes in depth on why engagements were implemented and how do they work.

 

The only other thing I can really think of is that every character has an engagement radius - characters will only engage other characters which enter this radius. I'm pretty sure it's variable and can be changed via talents and equipment. Sadly, this is not displayed anywhere, so it's quite difficult to tell whether you should have already engaged an enemy or not (and I suppose it can happen that an enemy engages you but you don't engage the enemy in extreme circumstances)

Edited by Fenixp
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The thing I don't understand, in general, not specific to this fight, is that I have 2 tanks with 3 engagement slots (Pallegina getting a third from Shatterstar), along with my main character having one slot, but also being melee and having solid defenses (she actually has more defense than either true tanks save for Deflection). So there were plenty of slots, often more slots than there are enemies. I might just have a problem with actually getting enemies 'tagged' for engagement, though, but I'm not sure how.

If you want more info on how engagements work, take a look over here - it goes in depth on why engagements were implemented and how do they work.

 

The only other thing I can really think of is that every character has an engagement radius - characters will only engage other characters which enter this radius. I'm pretty sure it's variable and can be changed via talents and equipment. Sadly, this is not displayed anywhere, so it's quite difficult to tell whether you should have already engaged an enemy or not (and I suppose it can happen that an enemy engages you but you don't engage the enemy in extreme circumstances)

 

I think one area I have some difficulty in with engagement is with characters capable of engaging multiple enemies. If Eder has 3 engagement slots, how does the game determine which 3 enemies are tied to him by engagement? Say, for example, the battle starts and three enemies charge at my party. Despite having 3 slots for engagement, Eder oftentimes seems to only hold one of them, and the other two run by - like, right past him, they shouldn't be beyond his range, far as I can tell.

 

I just don't think engagement transfers itself very well to a game with real-time combat, unfortunately. In D&D, attacks of opportunity only really work when it's turn-based. Take games like Neverwinter Nights - rather than IE games, since the latter don't have AoOs from what I remember - and attack of opportunity didn't work very well at all. Fortunately in the case of Neverwinter Nights, an attack of opportunity doesn't have an immense bonus to hit chance and damage, so when the game behaves strangely or in a way you don't expect or anticipate, it might punish you, yes, but it doesn't devastate you.

 

 

It requires a high level chanter but They Shielded Their Eyes 'Gainst the Fampyr's Gaze is nice because you can have active immediately at the start of an encounter.

 

 

I don't quite have 4th level chants yet. I really like the chanter - it's basically a bard done better - but after a many hours with Kana in my party I've found that it's just not worth bringing one most of the time. Most fights just don't last long enough (I'm sure this is a different story on PotD) and, quite frankly, I'm just not a fan of the character. I was actually going to make my main character a chanter, originally, but I then felt I'd rather have a more active protagonist.

Edited by 0rangekun
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Might boost Chanters into the great classes, then. Chanter's right now are fine right now, balance wise, though perhaps a bit boring. The Flame Lash song boosts most forms of damage, even caster spells, by 25%, so replacing one class with a Chanter will boost most group compositions damages with just that. After that, the Chanter gets to add one lesser Chant to the team, a 12 second large aoe para to clean up what's alive after 20 seconds, and a warm body to do whatever with (Really, they don't dps/tank -that- much worse than a fighter, beyond the whole needing lots of Int).

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I haven't had that much trouble with fampyrs. Buff Will however you can -- items that buff it directly, items that buff Resolve, spells, chants, or other abilities that buff one or the other --, know who the strongest-willed character in your party is and try to get them to aggro that, and it's quite manageable. Also target them with your missile dudes so they interrupt them as much as possible.

 

Also you might want to level up a bit before hitting areas that have lots of them, like that one level in Od Nua for example. The difficulty in that dungeon is pretty spiky and ramps up faster than your party, so it's not easy to do at a go when you first get access to it, especially at PotD.

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In case this hasn't been clearly stated (I see a lot of different ways people use to describe Engagement), it's only purpose is to create a front-line that is hard to penetrate.

 

Sawyer mentioned this about a week ago:

 

It was designed primarily for the player to use to prevent enemies from bypassing the player's front line. I've said that from the first time I talked about it.

 

http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3706905&pagenumber=675&perpage=40#post453141440

 

Even up to last week, long time players of PoE still don't fully understand Engagement. Once you understand its purpose (and obvious limited use), it just becomes another tool to help increase party survivability. If all else fails... you can always resort to kiting! lol

Edited by Zenbane
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