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Are druids in HoF viable (compared to clerics and other classes)?

JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,646
By the request of @elminster‌ , this discussion was created from comments split from: IWD:EE and Heart of Fury Difficulty Level.

So, ladies and gentlemen, share your thoughts on druids in HoF here.

jackjackShikaoStarflower2525elminster
«1345

Comments

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    @Klorox I basically agree on 3/4, but I just can't find a proper use for a Druid. Got any strategies to share? I really want to make them work somehow.

  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 780
    I use them as lightly armored mages. They have so many offensive spells that really shine in this game.

    jackjackJuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    edited November 2014
    Klorox said:

    I use them as lightly armored mages. They have so many offensive spells that really shine in this game.

    Like what? I already don't use Mages because damage spells aren't that great most of the time, and I really only pick a Sorcerer for buffs, CC, and summons. What does the Druid bring to the table, specifically? Because I really never could make Druids work for me, even in BG2; and as a result I'm not good at playing them, and don't know what makes their spells good (if there are any actually good spells for them...). Could you give some examples of things you find useful, and why?

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    Spike Growth is 20D4 AoE damage no save. Can be layered.

    Granted it takes an entire turn for all the damage to resolve, but in HoF it's not that long.

    Position melee characters just outside the AoE so they can still hit things without getting hurt.

    JuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    It looks like most of the the spells you mentioned are direct damage spells, which scale fairly poorly into HoF. I suppose I can see their usefulness in regular games, but in HoF all that just doesn't look impressive in any way :(

    I mean, 2d4 damage per round? That's 5 damage per round on average. That is literally nothing on a 200HP monster. 4d10 on the Wave is also a mere 22 damage on average, even hitting everything on the screen that is scarcely worth spending a round and a spell slot, don't you think? All the while arcane casters have things like Hope/Courage, Improved Haste, Slow etc. What buffs/debuffs does the druid come with? I'm really not well-versed in the class... I constantly keep confusing what is cleric and what is druid only.

    Abel
  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    20d4 AoE isn't literally or practically nothing.

    Monsters in HoF having huge HP also translates to battles taking long. Dealing 50 damage to every monster that survives for 1 turn (as well as whatever damage that monsters that die before Spike Growth is done take) is pretty good use of a Fighter/Druid's round.

    JuliusBorisovjackjack
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    50 damage is like two melee hits, that doesn't sound very impressive over 10 rounds - during which the enemy has to remain in the area for the full duration, and your own girls have to avoid getting hit by spikes, too. Yes HoF battles can take longer than a turn for sure, but not with everything alive. And every mob that drops early is wasted damage on the spell, further hampering efficiency.

    I can see what you mean and the spell definitely sounds cool, it just looks straight worse than a weapon-damage alternative.

  • AbelAbel Member Posts: 740
    edited November 2014
    I'm with @Lord_Tansheron on this one. I really don't see the added value of Druid over Cleric.
    And you didn't mention the only spells I deem useful: Static Charge, Iron Skins, Insect Plague, Stalker.

    Druids excel in summoning. But in my current game, I see I use summons less and less because they tend to obstruct my characters and are, unless enemies are scattered, usually not needed.
    So, I'm not sure the remaining spells have enough value to justify the Druid. It's true spell casters are a top threat in IWD, so Insect Plague comes handy. I can't the deny the extreme usefulness of Iron Skins either.

    Still, the same question remains. I'm still not convinced Druids deserve a slot in my party (though I have a Cleric/Ranger).

    And Spike Growth isn't impressive indeed. To use it effectively, you either need to stack AoE spells or position your character in such a fashion that the enemies stay in the area while your team members themselves avoid entering in it. In the end, it's just a bothersome strategy and not so efficient spell.
    And yes, though it's only one target, you can easily get you 50 damage in two hits.

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    edited November 2014
    And how many swings can a Fighter/Druid do in one round?

    Also with the number of enemies per battle in this game, which HoF boosts, it's fairly easy to always have a target to hit in melee even if all your characters are sitting on the edge of a spell AoE.

    Also keep enemies in the AoE? Most battles in this game don't involve enemies running around everywhere. Enemies find a target then just sit there swinging.

  • lroumenlroumen Member Posts: 1,905
    With all the confined spaces and passageways AOE damage is really helpful I found. Add some webs, chaos, emotion hopelessness and you're good. But ymmv

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    edited November 2014

    And how many swings can a Fighter/Druid do in one round?

    Right, so you lose only 4 attacks for the round spent casting, or about 80 or so damage. So you'd need to hit enemies 16 times to make Spike Growth worth it in terms of equalizing with a pure fighter.

    What about other hybrids, though? Like, say, a Fighter->Cleric instead of a Fighter->Druid, who can have 25 STR a surprisingly large portion of the time spent fighting. That's another what, +10 extra damage per swing (assuming the F/D has 18/76 - 18/90 STR)? That should be pretty hard to make up for, not to mention all the other buffs you have access to then.

    I'm of course not saying druids are BAD or useless or anything like that - I'm simply questioning whether they are better than the alternatives (from a powergaming point of view, naturally).

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,968
    edited November 2014
    If I had to guess I'd say Fighter/Druids would be better at absorbing physical damage (and perhaps elemental damage) but clerics would be better at dishing it out (as well as buffing and debuffing).

    Iron Skins has a casting time of 1 in IWDEE (not the 9 it has in BGEE/BG2EE). So that would help quite a bit. Another thing they have (late game) for absorbing damage (besides their Boring Beetle form) is their Water Elemental form (which has 75% physical damage resistances). Between that and Armor of Faith they end up pretty well protected from physical damage.

    Another thing is that a lot of enemies in the game probably use either normal or +1 weapons. From what I recall Heart of Fury doesn't change that. So their fire elemental and earth elemental summons could be useful.

    So basically they serve different roles.

    jackjackJuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    edited November 2014
    I just find them redundant. A Fighter->Cleric tank may not get all the resistances, but they get Entropy Shield which makes them very hard to hit even at endgame, plus all the utility buffs for the party and themselves. A Fighter->Cleric damage dealer does more than the druid spell damage through the STR buffs alone, plus again the party buffs. Not to mention that the weapons allowed to a druid are all significantly worse than the ones allowed to clerics (Fire Flail for example is one of the best weapons in the game, while druids have... uh...). Do the druid restrictions to armor also apply to dual class?

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    edited November 2014
    Spike Growth hitting 16 times is ridiculously easy to achieve.

    There's a Scimitar that grants 1 attack. You can't stack the same buff twice, so a second Fighter/Cleric's party buffs won't be as useful as the first's

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154

    Spike Growth hitting 16 times is ridiculously easy to achieve.

    There's a Scimitar that grants 1 attack. You can't stack the same buff twice, so a second Fighter/Cleric's party buffs won't be as useful as the first's

    The 16 times hitting was just to equalize with a pure fighter - but what about another hybrid?

    As for the weapons, there's also 2 flails that give +1 APR (1 random 1 fixed), so that's not really an argument. What about main hand weapons? Is there anything decent for druids? I can't remember, maybe that vanilla club+5 or something?

    It's true that the buffs don't stack in magnitude, but having multiples means it's easier to achieve higher uptimes. With two clerics you can be under virtually constant Prayer + Recitation for significant periods of time.

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    edited November 2014
    There's a sure +4 Scimitar

    If we're going to talk about min/maxing, then it's fair to assume every Fighter is a dual class.

    So everyone has GM, is dual wielding, and has +.5 APR from Fighter 7. So 4.5 APR with a single +APR weapon. Meaning a second APR weapon will only give .5 APR.

    Also 16 hits is pretty easy, meaning more hits is feasible.

    Given 10 enemies, 2 rounds already gives 20 hits, say 2 enemies die in the next round, that's 28 hits. Another 2 die. 34 hits. Another 2 die. 38 hits. Then the remaining 4 die. A Druid in a single round contributed 190 damage.

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,968
    edited November 2014
    @Bengoshi could you maybe split part of this thread (about druids vs clerics in HoF) off into a new topic? OP never mentioned if they even had a druid.

    jackjack
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    @elminster You're right, we're derailing the thread. I'll stop for now, and see where the whole druid discussion ends up before I continue. Sorry! I do have a tendency to focus on specific issues...

  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
    So… Thoughts on Druids?
    I'm rolling with a Fighter/Druid wielding a quarterstaff. She has about 33% of the party's kills, leading the pack by far.

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,646
    jackjack said:

    So… Thoughts on Druids?
    I'm rolling with a Fighter/Druid wielding a quarterstaff. She has about 33% of the party's kills, leading the pack by far.

    My totemic druid can beat that. She has no kills at all :D
    her summoned spirits killed everything they met.


    But speaking seriosly, this thread is about druids in HoF.

    jackjack
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    First of all, thanks @bengoshi‌ for splitting this!

    There's a sure +4 Scimitar

    If we're going to talk about min/maxing, then it's fair to assume every Fighter is a dual class.

    So everyone has GM, is dual wielding, and has +.5 APR from Fighter 7. So 4.5 APR with a single +APR weapon. Meaning a second APR weapon will only give .5 APR.

    Fighter 7 = 3/2 APR
    Dual Wield = +1 = 5/2 APR
    GM = +3/2 = 4 APR

    That means a single +APR weapon will add +1 APR and get you to 5 APR, i.e. the maximum. But you're right, most damage dealers (and the tank) are likely to be a Fighter dual in HoF, because GM is just that powerful in IWD. (Notable exception is the Archer, which gets GM despite not being a Fighter)

    Given 10 enemies, 2 rounds already gives 20 hits, say 2 enemies die in the next round, that's 28 hits. Another 2 die. 34 hits. Another 2 die. 38 hits. Then the remaining 4 die. A Druid in a single round contributed 190 damage.

    They did that "in a single round", but not OVER a single round. To compare, do the same math with a F->C that is at 25 STR thanks to DuHM and/or RM: that's +10 damage per hit (over a Fighter->Druid with 18/76 - 18/90 STR). At 4 APR over 5 rounds, that's +200 damage - regardless of how many enemies there are, and how many die in the meantime. And that's not even counting the damage added by things like Prayer/Recitation to the entire party, nor the fact that at 25 STR you pretty much miss only on critical misses, while a F->Druid may have more missed rolls due to lower THAC0.

    It should probably also be mentioned that Spike Growth deals piercing and slashing damage, the two types which are most commonly resisted (piercing especially), while a F->C will be dealing mostly crushing damage (which is the least commonly resisted). Spike Growth also damage your own team, which can be highly annoying to deal with and can cost you net damage (because you lose time positioning, for example). As with most spells, the damage really only shines in very large groups - but you don't always face the 10-mob packs. Very often it's 3-5, in quick succession. That's a bit awkward for spells to deal with, both because the number of enemies is fairly low and because you run out out of spells more quickly if you have to spend them on low number packs. Pulling more packs to get a large one isn't always feasible, and can cost you damage while getting into position etc., and also puts a strain on the tank due to taking unnecessary hits.

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    They did that "in a single round", but not OVER a single round.
    Which doesn't matter.
    And that's not even counting the damage added by things like Prayer/Recitation to the entire party,
    Neither does this. It only takes a single Cleric to cast these buffs
    nor the fact that at 25 STR you pretty much miss only on critical misses, while a F->Druid may have more missed rolls due to lower THAC0.
    25 STR requires level 21. That's already late game even in HoF.

    If we're going to talk about late game, then Sorcerers are horrible because Mages and Bards get those spells in the late game anyway.
    As with most spells, the damage really only shines in very large groups - but you don't always face the 10-mob packs.
    And with small mob packs it doesn't even really matter what spells these classes have because those will get wiped out quickly with a bunch of Fighters with GM.

    And DUHM and any other short term buffs won't matter in these battles either.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    edited November 2014

    Neither does this. It only takes a single Cleric to cast these buffs

    As I'm sure I've already mentioned somewhere, while it only takes one cleric to cast them, having more than one increases the time they are active. Spending more time under these effects is a net damage gain in the end, and that's what matters.

    25 STR requires level 21. That's already late game even in HoF.

    If you're only using DuHM, yes. If you're using both DuHM and RM, you can get it much earlier. Lvl F9/C10 is already +3 on both, so 24 STR. F9/C12 is 25 already. At 21 you are at virtually 0 downtime of 25 STR because DuHM alone is enough and you can cast tons of it. It also increases DEX and CON, by the way, making you significantly tougher.

    And with small mob packs it doesn't even really matter what spells these classes have because those will get wiped out quickly with a bunch of Fighters with GM.

    Which again raises the question, why Druids? Only to be marginally more effective in the few scenarios where you actually face huge packs? If you even are more effective. You're also constantly ignoring the problem of friendly fire and positioning, which can be a significant annoyance and detriment to damage efficiency.

    And DUHM and any other short term buffs won't matter in these battles either.

    Why? It's about efficiency in the end, not about win/lose dichotomies, right? You can probably beat the game in any number of weird setups, it's not very challenging even on HoF. But that doesn't mean that setup A isn't more damage/time efficient than setup B or C or whatever.

    And by the way, DuHM lasts 1 turn, that's not exactly short. At high levels you can finish many fights in that time, and given that it's basically the only useful lvl 2 spell anyway you can fill your spell book with it until you've got DuHM dripping out the ears. It's also a speed 2 cast, meaning it's very easy to refresh mid combat.

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    edited November 2014
    18 WIS already gives enough slots to keep Prayer and Recitation up for an entire battle

    Small mob packs are handled fairly quickly. And since your strategy revolves around recasting every buff for every encounter, Sorcerers are already going to be demanding rest fairly often if they're going to keep up Improved Haste.

    And if the hassle of recasting buffs over and over isn't an issue then casting multiple layers of Spike Growth then luring mobs to them shouldn't be an issue either

    Efficiency wise, Druids start dealing damage before the battle starts even if the earlier Spike Growths deal less damage it's still enough to make up for their turn. So 4-5 layers of Spike Growth would practically leave mobs with threads of HP. So efficiency wise multiple Druids layering up multiple Spike Growths then resting inbetween each battle is the way to go.

    Also this topic isn't about maximum efficiency, it's about the viability of Druids opposed to Clerics. Druids have a 20D4 AoE spell with no save which they get at an incredibly low level. That makes them extremely viable.

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    I find druids most effective for Ironskins tanking and summoning. Don't underestimate druid summons. They're fantastic. One of the bug piles Creeping Doom summons tanked Belhifet no problem, and the spell summons like 5. Things like Spike Growth are good when you're sitting on a choke point (and if you're not, why aren't you?), where their damage can easily multiply over the entire enemy pack. I used to think this spell was bad, too, but the truth is it adds up. Nymph's Beauty is a no-save AoE blind, and Insect Plague shuts down casters in an area (even if it isn't party-friendly like in BG). If you go Totem Druid, not only will you have that many more HoF summons, but they'll be straight-up immune to attacks from a large percentage of enemies. Basically, druids are really good, including in HoF.

    ShikaoJuliusBorisovjackjack
  • sorcerinsorcerin Member Posts: 58
    Jarrakul said:

    If you go Totem Druid...they'll be straight-up immune to attacks from a large percentage of enemies.

    I keep reading this on the forum, but I don't see it in their kit description in-game or in the manual. Can you please explain this immunity?

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,968
    sorcerin said:

    Jarrakul said:

    If you go Totem Druid...they'll be straight-up immune to attacks from a large percentage of enemies.

    I keep reading this on the forum, but I don't see it in their kit description in-game or in the manual. Can you please explain this immunity?
    Level 10 versions of their totemic summons will be (among other things) immune to normal weapons. A lot of enemies earlier on in Icewind Dale use normal weapons.

    jackjackNonnahswriter
  • ShikaoShikao Member Posts: 376
    Here you have a very detailed post about Totemic Druid summons from my favourite source aka @bengoshi‌ The Knowledgeable ;)

    JuliusBorisovjackjack
  • sorcerinsorcerin Member Posts: 58
    edited November 2014
    elminster said:

    Level 10 versions of their totemic summons will be (among other things) immune to normal weapons. A lot of enemies earlier on in Icewind Dale use normal weapons.

    So the summons are immune to normal weapons but the druids are not?

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