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

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  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    edited November 2014
    @Lord_Tansheron‌ Asked and answered, Druids can do spell DPS better than any other character. This is occasionally useful and worth a slot in my limited experience. I'm not sure if it's worth noting but Druids have 6 level 7 spell slots when clerics only have 2 and even at level cap Druids still have 2 more 7th level spell slots. This would be more significant if there were HLAs; without it I'm not sure.

    I hear also that you can get very high damage resistance in water elemental form so I'm interested to try that out when I get access to it.

    The rest of the time they are still competent as a party member contributing comparable melee damage, being a good tank (especially against foes with very low THAC0?), some of the best summons and some unique buffs that other classes don't have.

    The 2 classes that I'd consider in place of my kensei/Druid are an archer and a sorcerer. I started with a sorcerer but she seemed so useless and replaced her with a kensage - 5 melee seems better than a second wasted slot, don't you think?

    I noticed your comment regarding improved haste which seems a good point. I picked up an improved haste scroll from necromancers tower, is this the only one? If it is then it'll take until my Swash/Mage is level 21 to be able to IH all of the party and that will be it for her level 6 slots unless there is a source of +spell slots for level 6?

    Archer does seem a good alternative to Druid. I just wasn't keen on it. Archer does seem quite OP in IWD. Overall I've found ranged combat to generally be "win more" in IE games though I can concede that this is a personal bias and not necessarily based on anything.

    @TvrtkoSvrdlar‌ really? I must be doing it wrong because I've found HoF from level 1 to be quite challenging. Feel free to enlighten me on some tips and tricks to speed up my run.

    Edit: @Lord_Tansheron‌ Druids get entropy shield as well so they can tank with AC and massive DR.

    Edit2: I was also considering this discussion and comparing a kensei/cleric tank vs a berserker/cleric tank the main differences to tanking ability are the use of a shield and a helm as spirit armor or barkskin are fine substitutes for armour. In this case a kensei/cleric is inappropriate as even if you can manage the necessary AC you'll still take big crits that could force a reload. On the other hand, a kensei/Druid tank can have similar AC but have the added benefit of DR and ironskins to soak up any crits that come through. How the damage of a kensei/Druid compares to a berserker/cleric I'm unsure but having a kensei/Druid as your tank gives the possibility to have 2 DPS focused clerics utilising each of the fast flails. If you take the fast flail from the zerkcler the kendru should be quite competitive in DPS with an offhand scimitar of action. In this case you have 3 party slots left for thief skills and arcane (I have a kensage, swashmage and skald for example).

    How useful is your sorcerer once a party Mage has 5 uses of IH?

    Post edited by Wowo on
  • lroumenlroumen Member Posts: 1,905
    Ah right, never mind. You are a powerplayer. That has nothing to do with general viability of druids in HoF at all. For me a druid or fighter/druid (dual or multi) is fine with moon blade/star metal cudgel, static charge, entropy shield and occasionally animal rage.

    For you I guess the best party is 3-4 f->c with fillers for buffing with improved haste and emotions and some other (so bard and/or sorc), only because there are only 2 action weapons for clerics you in reality only have two f->c.

    ShikaojackjackJuliusBorisov
  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    lroumen said:

    Ah right, never mind. You are a powerplayer. That has nothing to do with general viability of druids in HoF at all. For me a druid or fighter/druid (dual or multi) is fine with moon blade/star metal cudgel, static charge, entropy shield and occasionally animal rage.

    For you I guess the best party is 3-4 f->c with fillers for buffing with improved haste and emotions and some other (so bard and/or sorc), only because there are only 2 action weapons for clerics you in reality only have two f->c.

    I'd generally think that Level 1 HoF runs are only for "power players" as you call them. I can't imagine that it'd be all that fun doing it with anything but heavily optimised characters.

    On the other hand if you're talking about HoF mode after completing the main campaign or something similar then anything works, right?

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    So I'm starting to get into the swing of things a little bit and a Druid in the party gives a cool option. Currently my rest cycle looks like this:

    Phase 1: improved Haste on DPS characters - carve enemies up!
    Phase 2: righteous wrath on party - slightly slower but still steaming well!
    Phase 3: with fatigue intruding I drop some summons and clean out another heap of trash with Druid spell DPS
    Phase 4: Rest
    Repeat

    Certainly the last phase is a little slow but it's another 6-12 enemies dead without taking damage or using any resources besides some low level spell slots. The Druid with entropy shield and Ironskins is an awesome tank who still has plenty of room to improve.

  • TvrtkoSvrdlarTvrtkoSvrdlar Member Posts: 353
    edited November 2014
    @Wowo said:

    Phase 1: improved Haste on DPS characters - carve enemies up!
    Phase 2: righteous wrath on party - slightly slower but still steaming well!
    Phase 3: with fatigue intruding I drop some summons and clean out another heap of trash with Druid spell DPS
    Phase 4: Rest
    Repeat

    Oh man, resting every 2 pulls? Grrrrr....

    Have you tried running a DD as your main tank?

    No need for time-consuming self-buffing, AC in the high negatives, physical damage resistance out the ass, and the ability to equip that +DR shield and one-handed axe. Slap Chaotic Commands on him later on, and he becomes pretty much unstoppable (really, the only thing that can muck him up early game is the odd mind-affecting spell, and even those are rare due to the low number of mages in the game). The DD in BG[2]EE isn't all that special simply because it takes a lot of effort and buffing to protect him from the hilarious amounts of debilitating spells that every mage and their cousin throw around like confetti, but in IWDEE, DDs are kings.

    And with the way AI works in IWDEE (ie., not at all, since mobs just stick to the first target they spot), he can tank group after group without much trouble while the rest of your frontliners carve through the mobs. Improved Invisibility takes care of AC troubles if you're having shitty luck with random gear drops; Glitterdust also works wonders.

    I used to run pseudo-caster setups in the tank slot, but once I tried the DD, I've never gone back.

    The amount of survivability and flat-out resilience the class has at its disposal is just amazing.


    EDIT: Also forgot to mention that as powerful as Righteous Wrath is, IMHO it's not really worth it. Yeah, you mow down a group or two, but the fatigue that sets in is just plain debilitating (what with the way it's set up in IWDEE, and the 1round/level duration of RW that only becomes somewhat tolerable at higher levels). If Unfailing Endurance was an AoE spell with a low-ish cast time, then it *might* be worth it, but since it's not (and has a cast time of 9!), Righteous Wrath pretty much forces you to rest. The overall drop in efficiency is simply staggering, as you can't clear out more than 2 or maybe 3 packs in between resting pauses. And that means re-buffing every time you wake up. Cumbersome, hindering, and terribly inefficient. It's even worse in that regard than Haste, though one can see why the two put together give the party that extra punch when they need it most.

    I'm not dissing the RW+ImpHaste combo because it's amazingly powerful in clutch situations.

    But running it constantly against scores of trash mobs will hamstring your level-clearing speed.

    Abel
  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    Can clear 2 or more pulls in each phase. IH is 13 rounds which is enough to clear a couple of groups. Same with RW. Phase 3 can clear as many as you dare pull ...

    I thought about having a more dedicated tank but I was possibly a bit naive and went with pure DPS. DD loses huge amounts of DPS compared to a kensei/caster with GM and I'm fairly convinced that my duals will all be very resilient once finished off. Still waiting on stoneskin scrolls but in the meantime Entropy Shield and summons works well.

  • lroumenlroumen Member Posts: 1,905
    Wowo said:

    I'd generally think that Level 1 HoF runs are only for "power players" as you call them. I can't imagine that it'd be all that fun doing it with anything but heavily optimised characters.

    On the other hand if you're talking about HoF mode after completing the main campaign or something similar then anything works, right?

    no I'm talking about hof straight from the start with a level 1 party. The early goblins and orcs take some time but after that you level so fast that it does not matter what party you have.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    lroumen said:

    Wowo said:

    I'd generally think that Level 1 HoF runs are only for "power players" as you call them. I can't imagine that it'd be all that fun doing it with anything but heavily optimised characters.

    On the other hand if you're talking about HoF mode after completing the main campaign or something similar then anything works, right?

    no I'm talking about hof straight from the start with a level 1 party. The early goblins and orcs take some time but after that you level so fast that it does not matter what party you have.

    Well the advantage of that is that you can often discover interesting combos overlooked by theory crafters so feel free to chime in with useful and insightful information.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    edited November 2014
    So just completed as much of HoW as I can as I think there's a bug on ipad that'll prevent me from returning to the main campaign afterwards if I continue to the sea of ice.

    At this stage the xp breakdown is as follows:
    Kensei 9/Druid 18, 30% of party xp, 845k
    Kensei 9/Cleric 17, 31% of party xp, 860k
    Kensei 13/Mage 15, 17% of party xp, 470k
    Priest of Lathander 12/Fighter 16, 13% of party xp, 360k
    Swashbuckler 10/Mage 16, 6% of party xp, 170k
    Skald

    I was quite surprised by that. While the other heroes had access to +3 weapons from "Enchanted Weapon" quite early the Druid still only has a +1 dagger mainhand (gloomfrost scimitar offhand). The huge amount of xp he's acquired has undoubtedly been from his offensive spells clearing out drowned dead and wailing virgins.

    Currently I'm not worried about his DPS (though it will improve dramatically with a better mainhand dagger and a scimitar of action). My 3 other characters can all hit 10 APR with my swash's 3 casts of IH which she can do 3/day via project image. Meanwhile he has 3 uses of Entropic Shield which gets his AC down approaching -20 with 5 uses of Ironskins to soak up any crits.

    Additionally, the Druid can change into water elemental which, when combined with shield of faith and the 5% necklace, gets his DR to 100% vs pierce, slash, missile and 95% vs crushing.

    GG game?

    JuliusBorisovShikao
  • jimmysdabestcopjimmysdabestcop Member Posts: 74
    A Druid with Iron Skin can tank a couple levels before a Cleric. They both need to be dualed from some kind of fighter class first.

    You can easily dual wield with daggers. If you play HOW early enough Dual wield +4 Scimitars is pretty easy.

    A Druid has a whole mess of Summons which I found useful in HOF mode. And Druids can still get Entropy like Clerics. Basically have the same party buffs as each other. A Cleric does have DUHM though.

    Druid Level 7 summon Stalker for the 2 Shambling Mounds absolutely beast opponents. Those 2 can pretty much take on all of HOW and ToTL even in HOF except for the Castle they are too big for most doors. Such use your Heal spells for the Shambling Mounds instead of your party members.

    I kind of like both in a party. Either both Dualed or one multi and the other dual. Prefer two dual unless I pick multi for some kind of RP reason.

    JuliusBorisovShikao
  • alaundoalaundo Member Posts: 131
    What are your thoughts about avenger druids? Thinking about creating one for my party. As druids can use only non metallic armor anyway their restriction of only leather armor isnt too bad imo or am i missing something?

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    alaundo said:

    What are your thoughts about avenger druids? Thinking about creating one for my party. As druids can use only non metallic armor anyway their restriction of only leather armor isnt too bad imo or am i missing something?

    In what sense are you talking?

    Avenger is an interesting and likeable kit but if you're looking for efficiency in HoF mode then it's hard to pass up the opportunity for Grandmastery at any opportunity.

    Kensei -> Druid all the way I think. Avenger doesn't really add anything that compares to +2 attacks per round and +8 damage. Barkskin and Ironskins really shore up the native weakness of the kensei kit (no armor, no helm).

    If Druid had the same spell progression as BG I'd offer the option of Avenger 15/Fighter x. It'd be a long dual class but with the 6 level 7 slots a Druid gets at level 15 (or is it 14?) in BG and no HLAs in IWD there'd be a compelling argument to go that way (after maybe fudging some xp by kicking party members before some big quest rewards - only not possible if the character in need of xp is in the first slot).

  • kensaikensai Member Posts: 228
    edited November 2014
    Some new thoughts about druids in HOF.
    Stalker (7 lvl) is great. Two shambling mounts are very hardy and lived in final battle with HOF Belhifet longer than even Deva.
    Heal is great as ever. Don't underestimate Heal in HOF.
    Star Metal Cudgel (4 lvl) is great. My bers\druid was very surprised then his scimitars was'nt effective against cornugons and Belf. But cudgel is treated as +4 and even has a +2d6 damage bonus against them!
    Shapeshifting to Elemental gives a fists treated +4 too.

    Post edited by kensai on
    JuliusBorisovShikaojackjack
  • B4nJ0B4nJ0 Member Posts: 93
    edited November 2014
    1 point totally forgotten in this discussion is the fast lvl progression of the class. In my 4man run I wanted to try a melee user with long range and I went for staff since imo its the best tipo (crush).

    I wanted to dual at kensai 13 to Gain yet another half apr since it is optimal for 2 hand users and the fast lvl progression of the druid helped a lot.

    Also all u Gain from a 2nd cleric is not that much, just better buffs rotazion imo. Druid has Iron Skin with a cast time of 2(!) and I think its quite op and he still has all the top Self buffs off the cleric class aside Duhm (but I prefear 1 Iron Skin + 1 Duhm over 2 Duhm users to be honest) and better summoning later on.

    If Im going for a dual kensai I still think that druid is better then cleric, Even in Hof

    To be honest, before dropping the ken>druid I would drop the thief class in iwd since with out UAI it doesn't do anything u can not do otherwise (forcing chest and tanking traps)

    Im still unsure what is the top 6 man set up, but since Im into 4 man run atm (I found the game more balanced with less ppl and with out a sorc spamming IH all they long) I believe that my next run will be without a thief indeed.

    Bers7>cleric (this is the only true must have in Hof to be efficient IMO)
    Ken13>druid
    Ken9>mage
    Archer

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    B4nJ0 said:

    1 point totally forgotten in this discussion is the fast lvl progression of the class. In my 4man run I wanted to try a melee user with long range and I went for staff since imo its the best tipo (crush).

    I wanted to dual at kensai 13 to Gain yet another half apr since it is optimal for 2 hand users and the fast lvl progression of the druid helped a lot.

    Also all u Gain from a 2nd cleric is not that much, just better buffs rotazion imo. Druid has Iron Skin with a cast time of 2(!) and I think its quite op and he still has all the top Self buffs off the cleric class aside Duhm (but I prefear 1 Iron Skin + 1 Duhm over 2 Duhm users to be honest) and better summoning later on.

    If Im going for a dual kensai I still think that druid is better then cleric, Even in Hof.

    It's faster to dual a fighter 13/cleric than a fighter 13/Druid. The fast Druid levels are only up to level 10 or so, then the xp increases dramatically to match up with cleric again.

    Kensei 9/Druid is amazing build.
    Kensei 13/Druid is too slow.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    B4nJ0 said:

    1 point totally forgotten in this discussion is the fast lvl progression of the class.

    That's because it's only fast at early levels. It tapers off eventually, and then druids need the same amount of XP as clerics per level, BUT they are behind clerics by one whole level all the way to the end.

    Of course it does mean that druid duals regain their original (fighter) class very quickly. That is certainly worth considering.

    To give an update on my own thoughts, I am planning to investigate the possibility of a druid tank again, but likely sometime in the not-so-immediate future. Lots on my plate etc. For damage, I'm pretty convinced at this point that druids are not better than any of the alternatives.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058

    B4nJ0 said:

    1 point totally forgotten in this discussion is the fast lvl progression of the class.

    That's because it's only fast at early levels. It tapers off eventually, and then druids need the same amount of XP as clerics per level, BUT they are behind clerics by one whole level all the way to the end.

    Of course it does mean that druid duals regain their original (fighter) class very quickly. That is certainly worth considering.

    To give an update on my own thoughts, I am planning to investigate the possibility of a druid tank again, but likely sometime in the not-so-immediate future. Lots on my plate etc. For damage, I'm pretty convinced at this point that druids are not better than any of the alternatives.
    Druid melee DPS is second tier alongside thief duals and mage duals. In IWDee it goes:
    Tier 1: cleric duals with GM
    Tier 2: most everything else

    However, there's only enough fast flails for 2 tier 1 melee DPS characters, after that might as well investigate other possibilities.

    Despite early doubts and misgivings I'm quite behind my line up of:
    Kensei 13/Mage x battle axe and bastard sword
    Swashbuckler 10/Mage x longsword and tensers (caps APR despite no filter levels)
    Kensei 9/Druid x scimitar and club (I took dagger but that was a mistake)

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    2 fast flails are probably enough, I doubt you can cram in more than 2 F->Cs anyway considering you want things like mage buffs etc. as well. That doesn't leave too many melee spots, since I'd say an Archer is useful enough to be taken along and a tank is better than relying on summons. Then there's a Skald, too, which is probably better than an extra DPS considering how much damage the song adds at the end (in a full party). Leaves 3 slots, one of which probably should be a mage of some kind, so that's only 2 possible slots for Fast Flail DPSers. Unless you want your tank to be a dual-wielding F->C instead of a shield user, which may be a consideration late in the game when your AC is high enough without a shield. Still thinking about that.

  • MrGoodkatMrGoodkat Member Posts: 167
    One issue that I see coming up repeatedly here is the question of who's the best tank.

    Imho when it comes to tanking you simply *cannot* beat 'Stoneskin' and 'Ironskins', the former of which can be easily coupled with 'Mirror Images', especially considering the practical non-existence of magic damage in IWD:EE.

    Why?
    - Assuming we are playing on 'Insane' difficulty and/or HoF mode there are huge amounts of enemies and as per D&D rules there is always at least a 5% chance to get hit no matter *how* good your AC is. You *will* get hit.

    10 enemies with 3 attacks per round => 30 APR*[1/20] = 3/2 APR
    => That means you get hit 1.5 times per round on average for huge amounts of damage('Insane' difficulty) *assuming* your AC is so high that *every* enemy only hits you on a natural 20.

    Conclusion #1: AC *alone* is not an efficient way to avoid (physical) damage.

    - With 'Stoneskin' and 'Ironskins' however coupled with only a decent AC value (as opposed to a maxed out AC value) you will receive no attack damage for rounds and rounds of combat. Even if they wear off you can instantly re-cast them.

    Conclusion #2: As soon as Fighter/Mages or Fighter/Druids get 'Ironskins' or 'Stoneskin' they basically stop taking damage except from spell-casters. That's not even considering they have other "tank"-spells at their disposal. There is *no* way any kind of character that solely relies on AC/HP/DR can top that.(DD, Barb, etc.) You could make an argument that they progress faster in levels, but especially on HoF/'Insane' that's not going to be an issue. Eventually you even *lose* XP when your pure class character reach the cap.

    Conclusion #3: Fighter/Druid is always going to be viable in any kind of scenario as one of *the* best tanks in the game while still dealing good damage. Pure druids may lack in some departments but solely because of 'Ironskins' they are never going to be useless. Imho it's a huge waste not to multi-class though.


    TL;DR: Due to the lack of magic damage and magic removals in IWD Fighter/Druids are one of the best tanks in the game, including HoF. Especially on 'Insane' difficulty they outclass everything that cannot completely absorb damage by far imho.

    ShikaoJuliusBorisov
  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    MrGoodkat said:

    One issue that I see coming up repeatedly here is the question of who's the best tank.

    Imho when it comes to tanking you simply *cannot* beat 'Stoneskin' and 'Ironskins', the former of which can be easily coupled with 'Mirror Images', especially considering the practical non-existence of magic damage in IWD:EE.

    Why?
    - Assuming we are playing on 'Insane' difficulty and/or HoF mode there are huge amounts of enemies and as per D&D rules there is always at least a 5% chance to get hit no matter *how* good your AC is. You *will* get hit.

    10 enemies with 3 attacks per round => 30 APR*[1/20] = 3/2 APR
    => That means you get hit 1.5 times per round on average for huge amounts of damage('Insane' difficulty) *assuming* your AC is so high that *every* enemy only hits you on a natural 20.

    Conclusion #1: AC *alone* is not an efficient way to avoid (physical) damage.

    - With 'Stoneskin' and 'Ironskins' however coupled with only a decent AC value (as opposed to a maxed out AC value) you will receive no attack damage for rounds and rounds of combat. Even if they wear off you can instantly re-cast them.

    Conclusion #2: As soon as Fighter/Mages or Fighter/Druids get 'Ironskins' or 'Stoneskin' they basically stop taking damage except from spell-casters. That's not even considering they have other "tank"-spells at their disposal. There is *no* way any kind of character that solely relies on AC/HP/DR can top that.(DD, Barb, etc.) You could make an argument that they progress faster in levels, but especially on HoF/'Insane' that's not going to be an issue. Eventually you even *lose* XP when your pure class character reach the cap.

    Conclusion #3: Fighter/Druid is always going to be viable in any kind of scenario as one of *the* best tanks in the game while still dealing good damage. Pure druids may lack in some departments but solely because of 'Ironskins' they are never going to be useless. Imho it's a huge waste not to multi-class though.


    TL;DR: Due to the lack of magic damage and magic removals in IWD Fighter/Druids are one of the best tanks in the game, including HoF. Especially on 'Insane' difficulty they outclass everything that cannot completely absorb damage by far imho.

    Very good write up.

    I would add:
    - Druid (pure, multi or dual) can hit the 5% hit rate easily with Shield of Entropy and Barkskin
    - can also hit 100% DR situationally with water elemental form (which has a conveniently huge hit box)
    - considering the above and Ironskins doesn't even need a helm so can be a kensei 9/Druid for better melee DPS, higher AC and faster levelling

    MrGoodkatShikaoJuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    edited November 2014
    @MrGoodkat‌: Interesting summary, but I disagree on a fundamental premise, namely that you get hit as much as you think you do. The reality is that in a pack with 10 enemies you are NOT getting hit by 10 enemies each round. You get hit by 2-3, because the rest are stuck and can't get to you, or are in the process of getting to you. Add to that the fact that you don't actually have 10-enemy packs all the time, that they don't all have 3+ APR, and that you can savagely abuse terrain in many spots to bottleneck enemies, and you end up in a situation where you actually only take very few hits. Those hits I personally like to simply deal with via The Giving Star heals, which keeps me at a comfortable enough HP total to live through most anything.

    I don't disagree that SS/IS is amazing at mitigating damage (BG2/ToB is all about that), I simply think that in IWD they are not as effective as they could be, because AC tanking is very good without ToB-style crazy THAC0 progression. As a consequence, having access to those spells as a tank may not be worth the opportunity cost - I say may because I haven't exhaustively tested this, and it's still on my agenda. I'd be surprised to be proven wrong, but pleasantly surprised of course.

    MrGoodkatShikao
  • MrGoodkatMrGoodkat Member Posts: 167
    @Lord_Tansheron: I can respect that point of view. One thing to consider though is that SS/IS also opens up *more* ways of tanking compared to AC tanking. It might even be beneficial for enemies to cluster up around one character to maximize the amount of enemies affected by debuffs for example.

    You may be right about not getting hit by 10 enemies each round if you actively avoid it. However it is the nature of most calculations to deal in averages which might look completely different in a real scenario. Even with only 2-5 enemies hitting you each round there will be fights where you don't get hit at all and then there might be fights where you receive a serious of 4-5 hits which can very well kill you on 'Insane'.

    With SS/IS there won't be any surprises - you just don't take damage and that's the whole story.

    "Access those spells *may* not be worth the opportunity cost"
    Hard to say but I'm leaning towards "worth" =)

    Shikao
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    MrGoodkat said:

    One thing to consider though is that SS/IS also opens up *more* ways of tanking compared to AC tanking. It might even be beneficial for enemies to cluster up around one character to maximize the amount of enemies affected by debuffs for example.

    I'm not sure what you mean exactly. Even if you only get hit by very few mobs, the others are still close to you (they're just out of range, standing behind other monsters stuck etc.), certainly in range for pretty much all debuff effects. I can't recall any debuff that has such a very small area effect.
    MrGoodkat said:

    You may be right about not getting hit by 10 enemies each round if you actively avoid it. However it is the nature of most calculations to deal in averages which might look completely different in a real scenario. Even with only 2-5 enemies hitting you each round there will be fights where you don't get hit at all and then there might be fights where you receive a serious of 4-5 hits which can very well kill you on 'Insane'.

    This also seems a bit artificial. Of course we're dealing with averages and probabilities, and there's nothing to stop enemies from rolling ten natural 20s in a row - but that remote chance doesn't make me want to change my strategy. If the planets do align one day and the shining light smites me from the heavens then so be it. Hitting low probability negative outcomes does not invalidate a strategy of going for maximum positive EV. Especially when a reload is all it takes to wipe that result out and start fresh.
    MrGoodkat said:

    With SS/IS there won't be any surprises - you just don't take damage and that's the whole story.

    True, but this doesn't just come for free. The opportunity cost is not only part of the discussion, it's part of the very core issue. Are SS/IS good? Absolutely, no question. But are they good ENOUGH to warrant use of a druid over something else? THAT'S the question. And I believe (for the reasons outlined above) that SS/IS, while good, are not necessary and not worth the cost.

    I respect that you disagree, and as I said, I've not had a chance to do thorough testing of the issue. Still, the principal systemic issues I see with SS/IS in IWD are something I can judge from general play, I think, even not having a druid around. The reality just seems to be that a lot of the time you can tank in a way that minimizes exposure and incoming hits; at least that's what I've managed in my two HoF playthroughs so far, fairly consistently. There are a few spots where it's tougher, but most of the time both the terrain and the high unit numbers are extremely conducive to bottlenecking, which in turn means very low incoming hit counts.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058

    MrGoodkat said:

    One thing to consider though is that SS/IS also opens up *more* ways of tanking compared to AC tanking. It might even be beneficial for enemies to cluster up around one character to maximize the amount of enemies affected by debuffs for example.

    I'm not sure what you mean exactly. Even if you only get hit by very few mobs, the others are still close to you (they're just out of range, standing behind other monsters stuck etc.), certainly in range for pretty much all debuff effects. I can't recall any debuff that has such a very small area effect.
    MrGoodkat said:

    You may be right about not getting hit by 10 enemies each round if you actively avoid it. However it is the nature of most calculations to deal in averages which might look completely different in a real scenario. Even with only 2-5 enemies hitting you each round there will be fights where you don't get hit at all and then there might be fights where you receive a serious of 4-5 hits which can very well kill you on 'Insane'.

    This also seems a bit artificial. Of course we're dealing with averages and probabilities, and there's nothing to stop enemies from rolling ten natural 20s in a row - but that remote chance doesn't make me want to change my strategy. If the planets do align one day and the shining light smites me from the heavens then so be it. Hitting low probability negative outcomes does not invalidate a strategy of going for maximum positive EV. Especially when a reload is all it takes to wipe that result out and start fresh.
    MrGoodkat said:

    With SS/IS there won't be any surprises - you just don't take damage and that's the whole story.

    True, but this doesn't just come for free. The opportunity cost is not only part of the discussion, it's part of the very core issue. Are SS/IS good? Absolutely, no question. But are they good ENOUGH to warrant use of a druid over something else? THAT'S the question. And I believe (for the reasons outlined above) that SS/IS, while good, are not necessary and not worth the cost.

    I respect that you disagree, and as I said, I've not had a chance to do thorough testing of the issue. Still, the principal systemic issues I see with SS/IS in IWD are something I can judge from general play, I think, even not having a druid around. The reality just seems to be that a lot of the time you can tank in a way that minimizes exposure and incoming hits; at least that's what I've managed in my two HoF playthroughs so far, fairly consistently. There are a few spots where it's tougher, but most of the time both the terrain and the high unit numbers are extremely conducive to bottlenecking, which in turn means very low incoming hit counts.
    Power Word: Blind is a good example of a small AoE debuffs that I'm very find of.

    Bottle necking strategies are very effective but they usually have as negative an outcome on party DPS as they do on incoming damage. A monster that is trying to get to your tank is liable to change targets forcing you to pull back your DPS and actually having the opportunity for all your DPS to attack in such a situation is unlikely.

    In any situation in which you feel the need to bottle neck you could just as easily have a Druid shape change to water elemental (or earth el or boring beetle before 15) and allow all the enemies to attack him letting your DPS do their work without fear of target changes.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    Wowo said:

    Power Word: Blind is a good example of a small AoE debuffs that I'm very find of.

    But do you really hit more enemies with it when they're all around the tank vs. when they're all clustered around and between each other? Most of the time that should hit the same number, if not more.
    Wowo said:

    Bottle necking strategies are very effective but they usually have as negative an outcome on party DPS as they do on incoming damage. A monster that is trying to get to your tank is liable to change targets forcing you to pull back your DPS and actually having the opportunity for all your DPS to attack in such a situation is unlikely.

    That depends on the number of melee DPS you have. I'm running with 2 + tank, which means I can have them stand shoulder to shoulder and hit the 2-3 mobs that are in front of the tank. When one of those dies, another from the pack behind usually moves up to close the gap again. You're absolutely right though that this sort of tanking can lead to trouble once more than 2 melee DPS are involved, because they stand in each other's way. You can still do it by letting through more mobs, but that'll usually increase pressure on the tank as well. With 3 melee + 1 tank I found a V-formation with 2 to each side works best, but that usually lets 1 extra mob into range, and also increases the risk of a non-tank taking hits. It can also make it difficult to focus-fire effectively. But with 2+1, I've really not had many problems maximizing DPS uptime.
    Wowo said:

    In any situation in which you feel the need to bottle neck you could just as easily have a Druid shape change to water elemental (or earth el or boring beetle before 15) and allow all the enemies to attack him letting your DPS do their work without fear of target changes.

    It's true, and that's what I intend to test once I get to it. I'm not sure whether that sort of tanking really does increase damage by significant enough amounts, but it's entirely possible. It also depends on overall party makeup, which in itself is something still up for debate in many ways.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    @Lord_Tansheron‌ I think the step for you is to give up on Sorcerer. They really don't bring enough to a HoF game when the alternative is another DPS. Grab Project Image and Improved Haste from Burial Isle and a Mage or bard can keep most of the party under IH for many many fights.

    That said, the exact break down of who should have PI/IH is tricky. Bards have at most 4 level 6 slots which leaves one DPS out in the cold - probably the tank (you can hit a Druid tank with normal haste along with his summons as he's immune to exhaustion anyway as an option). A kensage seems the best choice to cast PI/IH and then just kill the image so they can get into the fight. I made the mistake of giving the combo to my Swash/Mage for the benefit of sooner rather than later but now she has to choose between keeping IH on the rest of the party or Tensers on herself.

    I think the ideal party is something like:
    Kensei 9/Druid scimitar and club
    Kensei 9/Cleric mace and flail
    Kensei 9/Cleric flail and hammer
    Swashbuckler 10/Mage longswords of action
    Skald
    ?? (I have kensage with axes and bastard swords)

    This might be tricky at the dual point but there's some huge easy quest rewards available in HoW that you can pick up to ease the transition. Just kick from party any party members that have already completed their dual and the skald to speed things up for the slower ones. Maybe head all the way to 13 on one or both of the clerics to be able to equip defenders in the offhand rather than fast flails without losing an entire APR.

    Shikao
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,154
    Wowo said:

    @Lord_Tansheron‌ I think the step for you is to give up on Sorcerer. They really don't bring enough to a HoF game when the alternative is another DPS. Grab Project Image and Improved Haste from Burial Isle and a Mage or bard can keep most of the party under IH for many many fights.

    That's definitely a possibility. You want the mage buffs, but you don't want a character that can't attack effectively. Rolling it all onto the Bard could be doable, but you need over 2m XP for four 6th level slots, which is quite annoyingly high. K9M could be a replacement.

    I'm also strongly considering dropping the Thief. Locks can be bashes/Knocked, traps can just not be stepped into or tanked. PP can be done via Bard or familiar. Thief sure is convenient, but I have a feeling you could replace it.

    No love for Archer in your setup? I find them to do quite consistently high damage, and the ability to absolutely trivialize any sort of caster is quite useful. You also get a +APR bow very early in the game, meaning it's easy to get them to 5 APR.

    I personally don't do kick/reinvite XP shenanigans, and I stand by my conviction that 13 duals are not worth the XP cost. I'm also still not in love with using defensive weapons on DPSers, that seems to me to just be an excuse for subpar tanking.

    Anyway, with 2 F/C (B7C or K9C), 1 Skald, 1 Archer, that leaves two slots. Could be a tank + a melee, likely with mage dual. Or the B7C could be the tank, so I have two melee slots left, one of which would be mage. I also haven't tested Blackguard yet, which could be an option. I guess that leaves my next testing run to see about: druid tanking; thiefless play; K9M; Blackguard. Probably Skald/Archer/K9C/K9C/B7D/BG then. I'll have to see, likely not going to be able to play a lot until the weekend after next, but who knows.

    Shikaojackjack
  • B4nJ0B4nJ0 Member Posts: 93
    Bottle tanking is super strong and the main point to go with 2 hand weapon users over main hand + off hand for your dps characters imo.

    When I did my 1st run with 3 melee users I lost a lot of damage due to short range of 1 hand weapons. Even if I just tryed a monk for rp reasons I was happy with her manly for the long range of the fists. Same for the kensai staff user.

    The only pain is that u should dual at 13 over 7/9 if u want the optimal atk/round and its a problem for 6 man run but having a better range can be a game changer while fighting in all these small dungeons imo!

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    B4nJ0 said:

    Bottle tanking is super strong and the main point to go with 2 hand weapon users over main hand + off hand for your dps characters imo.

    When I did my 1st run with 3 melee users I lost a lot of damage due to short range of 1 hand weapons. Even if I just tryed a monk for rp reasons I was happy with her manly for the long range of the fists. Same for the kensai staff user.

    The only pain is that u should dual at 13 over 7/9 if u want the optimal atk/round and its a problem for 6 man run but having a better range can be a game changer while fighting in all these small dungeons imo!

    I can see GM Axe being useful for this as there are two handed varieties for this to use without missing out on the superior damage of 2wf'ing.

    Overall though the DPS loss of large weapons is too significant in a HoF run unless you can get the Ring of Reckless Action soon enough to be useful.

  • lroumenlroumen Member Posts: 1,905
    Have you considered removing the bard in favour of the sorceress? You get all the important spells sooner (emotions, improved haste, projected image, summons etc) and with projected image you don't run out of spells fast while also having access to higher level spells than the bard.
    Granted once buff/debuff is done you don't really need to cast that much during fights, but there is less time delay to obtaining the spells you want compared to bringing a bard and dualing a warrior to a mage.

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