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Assassin or shadowdancer?

Hey guys. I just got bgee. I've tried bg a long time ago but never got to beat it. I did so with bg2 and had a blast with the assassin, I just loved stabbing people to chunks.

Now, I wanted to know how good does the shadow dancer come in terms of gameplay? In bg2, I could only later do multiple stabs per target by abusing the boots of speed or rings/potions. Is this class trade off worth the lower stab multiplier? Does the shadowdancer stealth mechanically work differently than chugging an invis potion? What about his progression into bg2ee? Do we get the option to go on with the same class as it wasn't available in the original?

Ultimately, I want to know from those that loved the assassin and tried the shadowdancer their impressions!

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Comments

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    Lots of people like shadow dancer, but I am partial to the assassin. Poison weapon takes care of mages like nobody's business, and you get one at level one. Hard to beat that. Only distributing 15 skill points per level up is more of a problem than you would think at low levels though.
    I would say shadow dancer if you plan to be your party's only thief, but if you will have more than that I would say assassin with most of his points in stealth.

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,366
    shadowdancer is the best backstaber in the game unless you use staff of magi with assasin and this is bg2

    shadowdancer can dual wield easily while backstabing while other can not without staff of magi or potions or other goodies or improved invis

  • FrozenCellsFrozenCells Member Posts: 385
    I think they're editing the SD in the next patch to make Shadowstep work and to allow stealth only once per round, so that will change the SDs playing experience quite a lot. Currently, you can restealth immediately after a backstab which is a bit ridiculous since there's almost no enemy in the game that can deal with this. In that sense, I think it's a good change, but I worry that there won't be much reason to play it anymore either since if you end up having to backstab and run away (to avoid being hit) then it's not much different to playing an Assassin but with a worse multiplier and no poison. Maybe it's easier to hide since you dont need to go around a corner or enter a building or use the boots of speed but is easier hiding worth losing the big multiplier? I really doubt it. Something needs to be added to make up for this.

    Also, in BG2 one of the best uses of backstab is to one-shot mages, who tend to be the more formiddable enemies you come across. With a x3 multiplier I'd imagine that the Shadowdancer will not be able to do this very well.

    @meagloth - Shadowdancer also gets 15 thieving points per level so it's no more a party Thief than the Assassin is.

  • InfiltratorInfiltrator Member Posts: 121
    - meagloth : I don't see how a SD can be the only party thief - like the assassin he gets 15 points/level and he needs to hide successfully. There's literally no way he can do anything but hide and maybe do one more thing, like finding traps, effectively.

    - zur312 : What makes you say he's the best stabber, and why do you think he can DW better than the others?

    - FrozenCells : yeah, I loved scouting ahead with my assassin and just taking a mage out of the equation. But can't a shadowdancer do so in like, 2 attacks? And then keep being relevant through the fight unlike the assassin, who relies on invis rings and potions, or being forced to run behind a corner every time?

  • FrozenCellsFrozenCells Member Posts: 385
    edited October 2013


    - FrozenCells : yeah, I loved scouting ahead with my assassin and just taking a mage out of the equation. But can't a shadowdancer do so in like, 2 attacks? And then keep being relevant through the fight unlike the assassin, who relies on invis rings and potions, or being forced to run behind a corner every time?

    If you don't like to use hit-and-run tactics or gulping invisibility pots then yeah it gives you more backstab opportunities for potentially more overall damage in longer fights. However, from my POV, this misses the point slightly. The power of backstab is being able to remove an opponent from the fight just like that, that's why mages are such great targets, because they drop easily and are otherwise a pain to deal with. In BG2 any halfway decent mage enemy will have spells like stoneskin, shadow door, etc. that activate (often in a contingency of some sort) as soon as they are hit or an enemy is sighted. The problem for the Shadowdancer is that after the first hit, the mage will probably be still alive and you wont be able to backstab again until you remove his protections, at which point he's probably already thrown some spells at your group. Plus it takes more time to kill this way, and the more time you give your enemy, the more damage you will take. X5 damage in one hit is generally better than x6 split over three rounds. Oh and of course, the Assassin has poison which makes BG:EE a walk in the park and helps with the beefier spellcasters who sometimes don't fall to noncrit backstabs (clerics and whatnot).

    The benefit of SD is mostly defensive: +1 to saves, Shadowstep to get you out of a rough situation, and hide in plain sight to neutralise mage spells targeted at you. If you want a backstabber with more opportunities to backstab (and backstab properly!) you want a multiclass M/T, F/M/T or C/T. There are all good backstabbers for various reasons.

    As a bonus, the Assassin isnt irrelevant outside of backstabs. Scout, go back, set a trap, backstab, draw enemies to trap, get some mage crowd control spells going on and finish off with poisoned darts or whatever you wish. Staple tactic and not cheesy unless you make it so.

    Infiltratordstoltzfusvladpen
  • InfiltratorInfiltrator Member Posts: 121


    If you don't like to use hit-and-run tactics or gulping invisibility pots then yeah it gives you more backstab opportunities for potentially more overall damage in longer fights. However, from my POV, this misses the point slightly. The power of backstab is being able to remove an opponent from the fight just like that, that's why mages are such great targets, because they drop easily and are otherwise a pain to deal with. In BG2 any halfway decent mage enemy will have spells like stoneskin, shadow door, etc. that activate (often in a contingency of some sort) as soon as they are hit or an enemy is sighted. The problem for the Shadowdancer is that after the first hit, the mage will probably be still alive and you wont be able to backstab again until you remove his protections, at which point he's probably already thrown some spells at your group. Plus it takes more time to kill this way, and the more time you give your enemy, the more damage you will take. X5 damage in one hit is generally better than x6 split over three rounds. Oh and of course, the Assassin has poison which makes BG:EE a walk in the park and helps with the beefier spellcasters who sometimes don't fall to noncrit backstabs (clerics and whatnot).

    The benefit of SD is mostly defensive: +1 to saves, Shadowstep to get you out of a rough situation, and hide in plain sight to neutralise mage spells targeted at you. If you want a backstabber with more opportunities to backstab (and backstab properly!) you want a multiclass M/T, F/M/T or C/T. There are all good backstabbers for various reasons.

    As a bonus, the Assassin isnt irrelevant outside of backstabs. Scout, go back, set a trap, backstab, draw enemies to trap, get some mage crowd control spells going on and finish off with poisoned darts or whatever you wish. Staple tactic and not cheesy unless you make it so.


    That all makes sense and I guess it raises the possibility that the Shadowdancer will be useless past a certain point (like level 9) where his 3x multiplier stops growing as well as his utility, unless I'm making a mistake.

    To me it would make sense that the SD receives normal thief multipliers, you're already giving up the hit points, the +1 dam/thac0, the extra multipliers and poison weapon from your offensive arsenal and trading them for a built-in staff of the magi, which can be made up for with potions and rings of invisibility.

  • BolekBolek Member Posts: 60
    Well, Shadowdancer should be able to hide in shadow even if somebody is in sight. Shadowstep is not working. Shadowdancer is not the best backstabber due to 2x until 9lvl. Moreover SD can put only one prof point at short sword/dagger. And can't use traps. Currently I've invested 50 point into traps and I dont know if i will be able to reinvest them after update.

  • magpiemagpie Member Posts: 79
    you know what would be cool? If shadowstep was more of an alternative to stealth, instead of a mildly useful escape trick. Unlimited duration, broken on attack (and allows attacks, enables backstabs). Throw out hide in plain sight for all I care. Instead you have a superior -but limited in uses- alternative. Allows you to put those thieving points in other stuff than stealth too.

    But well, that completely changes the class, so that won't happen :)

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    I see now that the shadow dancer also only distributes 15 skill points. My mistake.

  • ZanathKariashiZanathKariashi Member Posts: 2,867
    @magpie

    They made the shadow dancer, so they can do whatever the hell they want to it, remove it, completely make $%#^ up for it, doesn't matter, it's theirs to do what they wish with. They just can't mess around too much with previously existing kits (the ones from before BG:EE).


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


    I'm all for the assassin. While I feel they'd be much better as a dedicated poison specialist, like the PnP version, instead of BS/Poison, they're still a solid choice.

    And you have 2 schools of thought you can engage in.

    1. Largely forget that backstab exists for most of BG1 and focus on traps/locks/set trap or DI. Stick with bows, throwing knives or darts and use your poison when there's tough fights (preferably with darts to milk all the possible damage out of it). Their +1 hit/damage is almost specialization and gives them a little extra umph. Once you get boots of stealth/Shadow armor, you'll have a decent stealth for attempting to hide, when shadowed, and can backstab if you wish. Or use a ring of invis or potions. Once you get to BG2 and get DI or set traps fleshed out (which ever you didn't get before), you can start sparing points for MS.

    2. Focus on stealth/set traps in BG1, due to all the thieves coming out of the wood work, while they handle locks/traps/DI. And once you can hide reliably without the boots of stealth/Shadow Armor, start branching out to take over utility in mid BG2, if you don't intend to use Jan.


    In late game the assassin's poison is devastatingly strong and includes a slow effect after 15, if they fail the save. Giving them a potent ace in situations where setting traps or backstabbing isn't a viable option.

    JuliusBorisovBanex
  • DreadnaughtDreadnaught Member Posts: 92
    Go for the shadow dancer. It's a newer class and has alot of neat abilities.

  • DancingBugbearDancingBugbear Member Posts: 118
    It's useful for dual class. When targeted with a spell, you it allows ability to immediately disappear, or when caught next to something you want to get away from. But after backstabbing, it requires a wait length, instead of immediately turning invisible again with a potion of item. It seems like a generally low functional sort, with an odd practice. It seems like there could be a chance of something bad happening to it when changing planes, like taking damage, like wild surge.

    JuliusBorisov
  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,366
    edited October 2013


    - zur312 : What makes you say he's the best stabber, and why do you think he can DW better than the others?

    it was staff of magi comment
    staff of magi = 2handed weapon

    i agree with frozen

    assasin is great fighting thief with poison and sometimes backstab

    but shadowdancer is just great backstaber

  • nanonano Member Posts: 1,632

    In late game the assassin's poison is devastatingly strong and includes a slow effect after 15, if they fail the save. Giving them a potent ace in situations where setting traps or backstabbing isn't a viable option.

    Are you sure about that? I've seen it claimed in a lot of places but I can't say I noticed any improvement with a SK'd assassin and my impression using NI is that it's not supposed to. I think the poison damage is constant and this myth stems from someone early on misreading the information in NI, although it's possible that I'm misreading it myself.

  • ZanathKariashiZanathKariashi Member Posts: 2,867
    The BG:EE version does not scale (i've checked), but the BG2 version does.

  • nanonano Member Posts: 1,632
    @ZanathKariashi The BG2 version looks the same to me, and I did the SK bit in BG2 because of the exp cap in BGEE. Did you notice a definite upgrade? I only got more uses of the ability.

  • ZanathKariashiZanathKariashi Member Posts: 2,867
    I've seen the slow effect for 15+. The damage though is harder to notice, because it just happens slightly faster and for a little longer.

  • nanonano Member Posts: 1,632
    I suppose I'll test it again when I get the chance. So the damage ticks are the same? (2, 1, 2, 1 .... 1, 1, 1, etc if save failed, with 6 2s)

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,366
    i think both are super cool for some variety from fighter/mages and fighter/clerics opness

  • nanonano Member Posts: 1,632
    @ZanathKariashi There's definitely no slow effect (or any improvement at all) on my end, nor do I believe there's supposed to be. Maybe you were using a mod?

    elminster
  • toshirotoshiro Member Posts: 113
    edited November 2013
    Shadowdancer is dummied down version of Assassin, first off you shouldn't dual a vanilla thief in the game, only Swashbuckler's get more than one point in dualling, and has been stated if you don't get instant kill you're in world of trouble, the only advantage to shadowdancer is the fact that you use stealth even when seen, but it's not instant, you can not use stealth while doing something else the action has to stop before can use it.

  • KurumiKurumi Member Posts: 520
    edited November 2013


    Now, I wanted to know how good does the shadow dancer come in terms of gameplay? In bg2, I could only later do multiple stabs per target by abusing the boots of speed or rings/potions. Is this class trade off worth the lower stab multiplier?

    From my pov.. yes, if you want to have more tactical options - also vs. bigger groups.

    Does the shadowdancer stealth mechanically work differently than chugging an invis potion? What about his progression into bg2ee? Do we get the option to go on with the same class as it wasn't available in the original?

    No, it works similar and yes, you can continue with the same class.


    Ultimately, I want to know from those that loved the assassin and tried the shadowdancer their impressions!

    I really love both classes a lot and find their different approaches quite interesting.. to me the Assassin is THE damage dealer among the Thief classes while the Shadowdancer is more about tactics, crowds and has better survivability. That said, I really have a blast with my current Shadow Mage (Shadowdancer/Mage). HIPS is great.

  • syllogsyllog Member Posts: 158
    Assassin: All Offense; minimal utility
    Shadow Dancer: All Defense; moderate utility; minimal offense

    Shadow dancer dual's really well with anything you want to keep safe (e.g. mage; archer, etc.).
    I actually think it's a little OP - especially if you switch to a non stealth action before attacking (e.g. find traps/illusions) which starts the countdown timer for stealth early allowing you to restealth after attack.

    It's a neat idea and I love shadow step! (I play no reload)
    But I think it's OP for a powergamer - it's just so easy to abuse that I actually avoid the class. :/

    Of course - it's strongest benefit comes when working alone - it can slowly whittle others down; rather than add a quick punch to a group assault.

  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,251
    I love my Halfling Fighter/Shadowdancer, (Jerrol), but he does seem ridiculously powerful :/

  • GamingFreakGamingFreak Member Posts: 639
    edited December 2013
    Shadowdancer is Backstabbing for dummies, and Assassin is pro-backstabber kit. If you got your backstab hit-and-fade strategies down, there's no reason *NOT* to go Assassin if Backstabs are what you want. Shadowdancer on the other-hand has one of the things I consider horrifying for a pure thief not to have: NO TRAPS! Instead of awesome HLA traps you get some weird abilities that aren't even that great, honestly (well there's one that's decent but... meh.) This is basically traded off for a weaker, yet easier to pull backstab due to HIPS.

    Assassins have their own weakness in that it takes forever to get their thief skills to high enough levels to matter, and really besides your stealth skills you're going to probably take maybe one more skill. Of course this means you can just bring Jan/Imoen in your party so they can cover the other important stuff and still do other stuff while casting spells so you don't carry 2 full thieves in your party.

    So yeah in terms of pure thieves, go assassin, unless you're totally new to the whole backstab game, then just go shadow dancer.

    Also should note that Shadow Dancer would probably be a decent dual class option for a Thief/Mage, maybe even a Thief/Cleric, but that's all your call.

    Blackhawk
  • Cthulhus_MumCthulhus_Mum Member Posts: 9
    My google-fu is particularly weak today... what ARE the Shadowdancer HLA's?

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,205
    edited December 2013
    @Cthulhus_Mum

    o SHADOW FORM: This ability temporarily transposes some of the
    Shadowdancer’s tissue with shadow-material, making the subject partially
    incorporeal. For the next 5 rounds, all physical attacks directed against the
    Shadowdancer deal only 50% of their normal damage. During this time the
    Shadowdancer is also under the effects of Improved Invisibility and cannot be
    directly targeted by spells.

    o SHADOW MAZE: This ability opens a temporary gateway to a small pocket
    within the Plane of Shadow. All enemies within 10 feet of the Shadowdancer must
    make a saving throw vs. spells at a -4 penalty or become trapped inside a shadowy
    labyrinth, as per the Maze spell.

    o SHADOW TWIN: This ability creates an almost exact duplicate of the
    Shadowdancer for 2 turns. The duplicate is created at 60% of the level at which
    the Shadowdancer is currently on. It has all the abilities that the Shadowdancer
    would have at that level. It also has 60% of the hit points of the Shadowdancer.
    The duplicate is fully under the control of the Shadowdancer.

    Plus the usual non-trap thief HLA's (use any item, etc)

    DeltaslayervladpenT2av
  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,251
    Can't wait to try out these new HLAs. Currently only have about 1.3 million XP.

  • EudaemoniumEudaemonium Member Posts: 3,199
    I think its kind of a pity that Dark Moon Monks don't get some of these, since Shar's dominion is the Shadow Plane.

    jackjack
  • DarkDoggDarkDogg Member Posts: 598
    edited December 2013
    First of all I'm a big rogue\thief fan (not just in RPG games). I like traps and backstabing. Also I like poisons - poison weapon ability or poisoned throwing daggers. Thats why I always loved Yoshimo and ... Eldoth (lol), even if he's not a thief.
    Well what can I say about this class... Shadowdancer.
    I'm currently in Ch 4 BG2EE with my elven shadowdancer girl with a good alignet party. Played through Bg1EE. Shadowdancer is the most useless thief class in the game. The only good option for this class - is going with dual class -> MAGE. But I'm an elf and can't dual. I simple wanted to check the pure shadowdancer class (because I thought this class is good and interesting to play). Well it's really very uncomfortable to play with this class as a THIEF. My role in the party is to pick locks, find traps and shoot some arrows (there's no need for me to go melee) and thats all. First of all you can't set traps at all. Secondly my BS ability is absolutely useless. Even Valygar is better. So there is absolutely NO use for hide in shadows or use HiD only for scouting (Rasaad is better with this role).
    In BG1EE there is no need in his hide in plain sight ability - for what purpose you would like to hide in shadows in a battle if you have a x1 BS multiplier for example? Flee from the battlefield? Also his ability shadowstep is only useable only to avoid some tough situations. Really???
    20 skill points per level - is a joke. You're ending BG1 only with 100's in lock pick and find traps and some points in other abilities. Less if you're a human (I have 20 DEX).
    Actually you don't need the hide in plain sight ability at all, because of:
    1. You can't backstab at all.
    2. To the time when you'll have 100 in HiD and MS there will be a lot A LOT OF items with invisible abilities, your mage with the invisible spells and scrolls and a LOT OF potions. Even at the end of BG1EE I use only potions and the ring of invisibility or casting Neera invisibility spell on me. But keep in mind that you can't backstab.

    The only advantage is the slipperly mind bonus +1 saving throws. LMAO.

    Honestly I though it's a very good class, before I've tested it for myself in the game. It's completely useless and I don't recommend to pick this class or go dual to a mage (swashbuckler FTW). You can't even compare this class with the assassin class. Compared to the shadowdancer the assassin is a God.

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