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The Nightmare Mode (Legacy of Bhaal) Thread

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Comments

  • BiffTheUnderstudyBiffTheUnderstudy Member Posts: 7
    edited February 2016
    Thanks for your quick answer, it's nice to talk with a fellow obsessive powergamer.

    I like your setup, especially the dual archer, but I have some reservations:


    1- mid game (I am at 2M xp), my inquisitor is just not that great, and I suspect that it will not get much better until I can get him boots of speed to manoeuvre (my FMT needs them since she still is a really fragile character that dies in seconds as soon as she loses her buffs) and GWW to get those damn APR. The reason is that she has no magic buffs that are crucial considering how brutal enemies are, and compared to my F/C she gets destroyed way too fast. I can't see that getting better.

    I took her anyway because of DM and Carsomyr, but otherwise my RC is performing wayyyyy better. Why did you take both an Inquisitor and a Blackguard?

    2- That gets me to my second point, you don't have a real tank. Four of your characters can go to melee, but they all have weaknesses. I noticed than my multi were extremely efficient but quite fragile because enemies display compulsively and once your protection are gone, your character is gone too. That's where I like my R/C. Even in NM, it tanks amazingly, because it has a very low AC (that still helps in SoA), a loooot of HPs and damage reduction. In general, I find it incredibly robust. Much more so than both my Inquisitor and my multi mages.

    3- No bard. Seriously, bards make all your characters behave as if they were buffed to death, whether or not you decide to abuse stacked songs and those buffs can't be displayed. Which is more than brutal. And they are fantastic secondary mages. My bard summons power skeletons really quickly in the game, his level is so high that he can use remove magic against lower mages (not as well as in non NM, that's true, but still useful in some battles with lots of minor magelings...) and is taking care of the breaches when Gotrek and Ulrika are busy hacking stuff. In general I like the fact that in mage battles, the bard is your main debuff caster, leaving your multi do their job at fighting stuff (one of your multi will anyway basically not fight and cast breaches and so on), and in melee battles he sings, making your fighter OP. On top of all of that, the two harps you get early game are really useful. You have 6 instant chaos per day, one of which throw your enemies away (pandemonium rocks in those ambushes we were talking about).

    Seriously, having a character with -8AC, 12-16 damage and 3 TACO and having a character with -12AC, 16-20 damage and -1 TACO are two VERY different things. And think that you also boost summons. And that's without opening a cheese shop and abusing stacked songs. Because in my example you reach -20AC, 24-30 damage and -9 TACO. Essentially going from a very good chapter 3 fighter to a late ToB monster.

    Ok, I guess it's question of taste, the argument about stacked song is a minor one because it's really abusing an oversight and even I try to avoid it, but I think as a powergamer that regardless bards are just compulsory for an optimal group.

    4- That's a minor point, but no level 9 spells at all. Seriously, time stop on a fighter mage is just ridiculously brutal and I am absolutely certain that in NM it will be even more crucial. Since you take damages VERY quickly, being able to take down enemies before the battle even starts is going to make a big difference in some of the late battles. It's mostly not for taking down bosses, rather to steamroll their minions.

    Of course in the Vanilla version, you don't need any of that because ALL your enemies die like flies if you have built your party well, so winning time with a TS is not that important. I think it might be different in NM. Let see...

    5- Your archers. It must certainly be amazing to have two archers. My Magdalena chick took down Firkraag without a reload basically by herself in no time. But here is the thing: you can Vailhor archers. And a Vailhored archer is just as good as the original, because you don't lose half your spells, and quickly you still have 5 attacks with a stupidly low TACO even with 2/3rd of your level. Of course you would tell me, you can then get 3 archers with your build. But I am not sure it's not a bit overkill, and I would worry about the fact that archers lose a lot in efficiency by the end of ToB. Stuff to ponder. I am both really tempted, I recognize it must basically break SoA where archers are absurdly good, but for the battles that really matter, I think a more versatile character might actually be a good idea... Especially considering that a late ToB fighter with range attack is not that much worse than an archer, which tends to plateau from mid SoA onward. On the other hand it can do many many more things if your build is good.


    Then again, right now I would love that second archer and I bet your FMC must offer some interesting options even though I am not that fond of MC mix.



    One last thing: I assume that mod maker fix stuff that are possible to abuse so I am totally shameless. I think the "I don't like to exploit this overpowered spell / item / tactic" gets us away from powergaming. Powergaming actually kind of means abusing everything you can. Otherwise one can play Vanilla, not max min stats (that's a bit of an abuse), not playing ideal classes, not pre-buffing by metagaming to death etc etc.

    Maybe I am trying to make myself feel a bit better about abusing so many features, but I like the "no shame" approach :)

    Post edited by BiffTheUnderstudy on
    FinneousPJ
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084

    1- mid game (I am at 2M xp), my inquisitor is just not that great, and I suspect that it will not get much better until I can get him boots of speed to manoeuvre (my FMT needs them since she still is a really fragile character that dies in seconds as soon as she loses her buffs) and GWW to get those damn APR. The reason is that she has no magic buffs that are crucial considering how brutal enemies are, and compared to my F/C she gets destroyed way too fast. I can't see that getting better.

    I found that one way to effectively deal with NM is to emphasize tanking more. Controlling who gets hit can do a LOT to mitigate damage on squishy characters, and works reasonably well. Not nearly as well as in IWD, of course, where the lack of SCS makes enemies into dumb focus-hitters, but using the terrain and positioning it works reasonably well.

    I took her anyway because of DM and Carsomyr, but otherwise my RC is performing wayyyyy better. Why did you take both an Inquisitor and a Blackguard?

    Mostly for testing purposes. The BG is essentially a sort-of F/C with added bonuses (Poison/Aura), and the Inquisitor is there to use Carsomyr. It's entirely possible that Inq + F/C or R/C is a better setup, I just haven't had the time to fully test it yet and I'm curious about the BG's capabilities.

    2- That gets me to my second point, you don't have a real tank. Four of your characters can go to melee, but they all have weaknesses. I noticed than my multi were extremely efficient but quite fragile because enemies display compulsively and once your protection are gone, your character is gone too. That's where I like my R/C. Even in NM, it tanks amazingly, because it has a very low AC (that still helps in SoA), a loooot of HPs and damage reduction. In general, I find it incredibly robust. Much more so than both my Inquisitor and my multi mages.

    Interestingly, I've not had that experience so far at all. Both the Paladins and the multis can take hits fairly well, and I've actually not found enemies to go rampant with dispels. Also, you can actually block a lot of dispels through smart movement/positioning (move the one targeted by the dispel far away, or have only a specific character trigger it if it's scripted). I tend to put a lot of emphasis on offense, so tanking load is reduced somewhat; but I haven't gotten to the end stages of the game yet so maybe it'll end up a problem? Dunno. The FMT and FMC are both Stoneskin/PFMW-ready, though, so I don't foresee many problems.

    3- No bard. Seriously, bards make all your characters behave as if they were buffed to death, whether or not you decide to abuse stacked songs.

    I don't abuse Mislead, meaning the Bard would have to be a full buff-bot. I can't believe that to be worth it in BG2, where individual weapons are just too friggin powerful not to be using them. It's different in IWD because you run out of premium gear easily in a 6-man party, but in BG you get +5 stuff left and right. Also, not using summons plays a role here as the buff would only extend to my party. With extensive summoning (which I won't do until the HP values are fixed) it's a different story.

    4- That's a minor point, but no level 9 spells at all. Seriously, time stop on a fighter mage is just ridiculously brutal and I am absolutely certain that in NM it will be even more crucial. Since you take damages VERY quickly, being able to take down enemies before the battle even starts is going to make a big difference in some of the late battles. It's mostly not for taking down bosses, rather to steamroll their minions.

    I play without an XP cap, so multis will get lvl9 eventually. Also Timestop is overrated. Essentially stunning 5 members of your party lowers your damage output drastically, and I don't feel I need defensive TS. The spell I'd actually want most is Black Blade of Disaster, as it's completely BONKERS with SR, but as I said, no XP cap. YMMV depending on your individual setup, as always.

    5- Your archers. Of course it must be amazing to have two archer. But here is the thing: you can Vailhor archers. And a Vailhored archer is just as good as the original, because you don't lose half your spells, and quickly you still have 5 attacks with a stupidly low TACO even with 2/3rd of your level. Of course you would tell me, you can then get 3 archers. But I am not sure it's not a bit overkill, and I would worry about the fact that archers lose a lot in efficiency by the end of ToB.

    Keep in mind that many of my choices are because of my mods, in this case Item Revisions. There are some stupidly good bows available, covering both early game and +4 enchantments later on. There is no overkill on awesome, the two Archers are WRECKING things left and right. Also there is no Vhailor's Helm in my game, due to mods.
    I am curious though, what you MEAN by "overkill"? What sort of diminishing returns are there for having 2 Archers instead of 1, specifically?

    Then again, I would love that second archer and I bet your FMC must offer some interesting options even though I am not that fond of MC mix.

    Also experimental. I'm not entirely sure how good it is yet, but I do find DuHM rather attractive and want a second mage for buffing purposes. May just be a mod issue again, changes a few things (like making Haste single-target, for example, meaning you want more mages).

    One last thing: I assume that mod maker fix stuff that are possible to abuse so I am totally shameless. I think the "I don't like to exploit this overpowered spell / item / tactic" gets us away from powergaming. Powergaming actually kind of means abusing everything you can. Otherwise one can play Vanilla, not max min stats (that's a bit of an abuse), not playing ideal classes, not pre-buffing by metagaming to death etc etc.

    There's always lines, somewhere. Powergaming or not, in the end no one polices you but yourself. I have plenty of things I could be doing but am not. Spike Traps, Mislead-Backstab, Aganazzar Deathlaz0r... all entirely possible and "valid" tactics I simply refuse to use out of personal preference and nothing else. That's the only metric you need to concern yourself with in this game.

    semiticgodFinneousPJ
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 8,990

    Spike Traps, Mislead-Backstab, Aganazzar Deathlaz0r... all entirely possible and "valid" tactics I simply refuse to use out of personal preference and nothing else.

    I really need to break out the Death Ray Zorcher again. I barely used it all in my other runs; just the scorcher loop. But with SR and IR, the only way to use the scorcher loop is to nab a Ring of Spell Turning from both Matron Mother Ardulace and Saerk Farrahd, and they won't work with the WoL trick (instant casting time for the ring), so no Death Ray Zorcher.

    FinneousPJ
  • PteranPteran Member Posts: 388

    Spike Traps, Mislead-Backstab, Aganazzar Deathlaz0r... all entirely possible and "valid" tactics I simply refuse to use out of personal preference and nothing else.

    I really need to break out the Death Ray Zorcher again. I barely used it all in my other runs; just the scorcher loop. But with SR and IR, the only way to use the scorcher loop is to nab a Ring of Spell Turning from both Matron Mother Ardulace and Saerk Farrahd, and they won't work with the WoL trick (instant casting time for the ring), so no Death Ray Zorcher.
    I've never heard of this before. What exactly is this "death ray" and how does it work?

    FinneousPJGozeta
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 8,990
    @Pteran: It involves using spell turning effects to bounce Agannazar's Scorcher spells. The scorcher projectile counts as a single-target spell and is therefore affected by spell turning, but it also hits all critters in between the caster and target. (Minor) Spell Turning can multiply the damage dramatically, dealing dozens or even hundreds of damage per second. I call this the scorcher loop. And if you use the Wand of Lightning trick, in which you target yourself with all 6 bolts from a Wand of Lightning before using an on-self spell or item, the loop can deal thousands of damage before it burns itself out. I call this the Death Ray Zorcher.

    I describe it in more detail here:
    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/42982/agannazars-scorcher#latest

    JuliusBorisovFinneousPJAndreaColombo
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084

    I don't understand your point about stunning 5 members of your party and losing dpr. It's really about one character having three extra round while nobody can do anything. You don't "lose" anything since your enemies are not doing anything at all either. And in three rounds with 10 apr and assassination or critical strike, a FMT or FM can kill almost anything that is not buffed to death.

    That's the thing, though, you'd be dealing that damage anyway PLUS the damage the rest of your party deals. All you are removing is enemies fighting back, hence it is a DEFENSIVE move, not an offensive one. Overall in those three rounds you take no damage, true, but you also deal less damage than you would with a whole party. That is pretty much the definition of defensive.
    Don't get me wrong, it's a very useful spell. There's many situations where it can be highly beneficial. But it's not the super "I win" button some people make it out to be, nor is it usually a damage increase for a party (it is for solo, though).

    You need your dudes to be able to go to contact as much as possible I find

    I don't understand what you mean by that.

    Everyone does insane DPR past a certain point anyway, so having two ranged dudes specialized in dealing a lot of them is maybe missing a more polyvalent character. Thats' something you really notice when you chose your HLAs. They are a bit underwhelming for archer, while every hardiness, GWW, CS and so on make a melee fighter that much better. The only thing about those two archers is that is must simplify enormously the first 2,5M xp of the game which is the ones where NM is very, very difficult. (Well. Let's wait and see the end of ToB.)

    You've summed it up fairly well there. Archers have a lower ceiling, but they get there more quickly. Early and mid game is DESTROYED by them, and that is where, as you rightly put, things are often the toughest. As for the HLAs, GWW is *amazing* for my Archers since SR does away with x2APR from IH. It increases the damage output significantly, and can be taken over pretty much everything else (no need for Hardiness on Archers) except maybe a Critical Strike or two for certain enemies (Beholders for example).
    It's a trade-off in power to be sure, but the game is asymmetric in its difficulty curve anyway. Late ToB everyone is a god-level character anyway, missing a bit of power there hardly matters; but being a god when everyone else is ants? That's where Archers truly shine.

    FinneousPJsemiticgod
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,214
    @BiffTheUnderstudy if arrows are in short supply, does that mean you are wielding a bow that does not make its own ammo, and you did not clear out the appropriate part of WK for the quiver? Or simply that you need a large supply of arrows of greater enchantment than you can generate for free?

    FinneousPJ
  • BiffTheUnderstudyBiffTheUnderstudy Member Posts: 7
    edited February 2016
    GreenWarlock, thing is that until ToB the quiver of plenty is only +1, which isn't really enough for many of your opponents. You can use Tasheron but your damage output is REALLY meh. And +2 arrows, arrows of piercing, elemental arrows and so on run out at the speed of light when you fire 110 arrows per millisecond and need anyway to transform every gibberling into a vodoo doll to hope to get rid of it.


    LT, with all due respect, this "defensive" argument is utter nonsense. According to your definition, everything could be defensive since in every strategy one of the idea is not to die (because guess what, otherwise you have lost) or to put it another way, take as little damage while you deal as much of it as possible. My point is that any spell that allows you to get rid of almost anyone for free (by free I mean, without taking any damage) is worth taking, especially if you have absolutely 0 downside to it. You might not like to use it, but that's definitely one of the very, very, very best spell or indeed, option available in the whole game, which is actually why the main baddies are immune to it. And every time an enemy casts successfully time stop I mutter "oh geez" and let the storm pass hoping that I would still be afloat at the end of it.

    I did yesterday the Twisted Rune. I put a time trap with my FMT and killed our beloved liche when he teleported with assassination before he had time to buff or do anything indeed. Call defensive a spell like pfmw or stoneskin, call defensive anything you want but not a spell that gives one of your character three whole rounds to go and murder absolutely anyone without the target being able to rebuff, cast, drink a potion, or hope for his mage OP mate to nuke your party from orbit.

    So anyway let's move on to more interesting stuff, I don't think that is really worth discussing.

    By "going to contact" I mean that in many fights in NM, you face a lot of enemies that don't actually die in a heartbeat. They will surround your characters and if you have SCS, target the weakest of them. Having a solid party able to go to melee is a big advantage. With you 2 archers, you have two characters that you want to keep away from the melee at all cost and that will be fairly useless the moment they get engaged. That's fine most of the time, but not always. ESPECIALLY if you don't want to use summons.

    Melee fighters offer more tactical options, divide the damage taken, can engage archers etc etc. In general melee fighters with boot of speed allows you to dictate a bit how the fight goes, who do you want to fight with whom and so on. That's what I don't like about the archers, you just deal damage but don't really chose what goes on geographically if I may say.

    I'm aware it's not a very strong argument and that it's strategy dependent; but in most fights, I'd rather have my RC with 80% damage reduction or my fighter mages with pfmw and stoneskin engaged in the melee rather than archers shooting things from afar while less tanks are getting hammered and surrounded.

    FinneousPJ
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084

    LT, with all due respect, this "defensive" argument is utter nonsense.
    [...]
    (by free I mean, without taking any damage)

    Uh-hum. Do you know what "defensive" means?

    I feel you are misunderstanding me fundamentally. I am not against TS, nor am I saying it isn't very useful in places. I'm just saying that people tend to look at it as "free damage", when really, it's PROTECTION at the COST of damage. But all that being said, that is a trade well worth making in many scenarios. Just don't delude yourself into thinking TS will increase your damage output, because it won't; not unless the damage you would take without TS actually matters for the bottom line.

    By "going to contact" I mean that in many fights in NM, you face a lot of enemies that don't actually die in a heartbeat. They will surround your characters and if you have SCS, target the weakest of them. Having a solid party able to go to melee is a big advantage. With you 2 archers, you have two characters that you want to keep away from the melee at all cost and that will be fairly useless the moment they get engaged. That's fine most of the time, but not always. ESPECIALLY if you don't want to use summons.

    Perhaps it's a difference in meta-knowledge that's at play here, but I don't actually find myself in that position very often. There are very few true ambushes in BG2, and while they can be tough fights indeed because of it, the vast majority of encounters can very much be planned for. Terrain is a huge part of this. In fact, because of things like choke points, Archers' value goes UP - after all, they can just pincushion the enemy without actually having to reach them in melee.
    Also, while SCS does indeed use smarter targeting, it's not impossible to tank enemies. They can be controlled by movement to quite a degree, and even when they do focus on an Archer, that is often a desirable thing: because you can stutterstep-kite fairly well as an Archer, you can avoid a lot of damage. It's actually a strategy I use a lot on those early game city ambushes, where an Archer can take 1-2 enemies out of the equation simply with stutterstepping; it works doubly well with two Archers, obviously, although it is very micro-intensive.

    I'm aware it's not a very strong argument and that it's strategy dependent; but in most fights, I'd rather have my RC with 80% damage reduction or my fighter mages with pfmw and stoneskin engaged in the melee rather than archers shooting things from afar while less tanks are getting hammered and surrounded.

    BG isn't IWD, it's rare to be fighting 5+ enemies of significant power at once (not counting things like Goblins or Kobolds for obvious reasons). I never found myself overwhelmed except in very few choice scenarios where other options are available (e.g. trolls in DAK where you should use doorways etc.). The only fight I can remember that doesn't allow for positional play and quickly has you surrounded is the slaver ambush in the wilderness with the orcs/orogs; everything else pretty much always has things you can do to control positioning and incoming damage through use of terrain etc.

    FinneousPJ
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 8,990
    @BiffTheUnderstudy: This isn't the first time the Time Stop thing has come up. @Lord_Tansheron gauges the effectiveness of the spell by real time, not in-game time, which is why using Time Stop for three spells at once "paralyzes" the party while using Chain Contingency, Improved Alacrity, or Spell Trigger for three spells at once does not. Most people measure power using damage per in-game round, not damage per real-time second. LT uses the latter, hence the disagreement.

    There is a disadvantage to Time Stop, though. Spell durations keep running out during Time Stop, which can effectively remove your party's PFMW spells and Greater Whirlwind Attacks.

    FinneousPJJuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    edited February 2016

    @Lord_Tansheron gauges the effectiveness of the spell by real time, not in-game time, which is why using Time Stop for three spells at once "paralyzes" the party while using Chain Contingency, Improved Alacrity, or Spell Trigger for three spells at once does not. Most people measure power using damage per in-game round, not damage per real-time second. LT uses the latter, hence the disagreement.

    Not quite correct. I gauge time by rounds passed, at least when it comes to efficiency metrics (RL time is a concern for things like frequent pausing to micro etc. but that is too contingent on player APM to be a useful measure). I don't see a reason to not count passage of time simply because some characters can't act; being stunned or paralyzed doesn't magically "freeze" time for that character either. The only reason there is this conception of "free" time under TS is the flavor of the spell. Mechanically, it's almost exactly how I portray it: it makes everyone else unable to act. You rightly mentioned that durations on spells keep on ticking etc., as do per-round effects like True Sight - another reason I view it that way.

    semiticgodFinneousPJJuliusBorisov
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,214
    @BiffTheUnderstudy I was thinking the majority of damage would be coming from the Archer bonus, so having an infinite ammo (spammo?) bow would be useful for clearing the cannon fodder, allowing you to hoard the more precious arrows for when they matter. All speculation on my part though, I was just curious why this was not working out for you?

    FinneousPJ
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    edited February 2016

    I would in the late game again rather have a bard that inflicts exactly 20 damage x average dpr of your team per round, which is actually a lot.

    Why would the DPR be multiplied when it's a flat bonus per hit? Do you mean APR? I guess you do, then the math works out.
    I question whether it's "actually a lot", though. Assuming you replace the Bard with someone that has at least the average APR in your party, you are essentially dealing 20 damage per hit. That's not bad, but it's well below what a properly equipped character deals per average hit. You do make up for it a bit via the THAC0 bonus, but you're very likely ending up short on the bottom line compared to just taking an actual hitter along over the bard.
    That is, unless you up the multiplication factor via extra party members (summons) or extra bards (Mislead etc.). Since I do neither, bards are out for me. But it's entirely possible that a bard is worth it for some setups.

    About time stop, I see it as just two rounds added to the game for one character

    I realize you do that, I just can't see why. Let me ask this way:

    Two scenarios. One with party fighting, one with TS cast by one party member.

    Scenario 1: Three rounds pass. Party deals 3 * 6 * X damage (X being average damage of 1 character in 1 round)

    Scenario 2: Three rounds pass (in Time Stop). 1 Character deals 3 * 1 * Y damage (Y being the average damage of that character in 1 round).

    Now your solution is to simply say that... what? No time passes in Scenario 2? Clearly it does. Buff durations are 3 rounds shorter. Effects that do something each round will have happened 3 times. You as a player will have sat through 3 rounds of combat. The only differences to Scenario 1 are that only 1 character can act, and that all spells cast in those 3 rounds resolve at the same time afterwards.

    "Losing" something has a meaning if your opponents can exploit that time in any way.

    They can. They take less damage than they would have if a full party had wailed on them for 3 rounds. They also deal less (i.e. 0), so it's essentially a defensive move for your enemies as well.

    To make it clear: imagine that BG is a soccer game, and Messi can cast time stop. He uses this time to score (it's EXACTLY the same). Your reasoning is that it's a defensive spell and that you lost team efficiency because Christiano Ronaldo was frozen. Well, that makes no sense. You have scored (or in BG killed a couple of dudes) and when that's done, your opponents are at the exact same point in their actions than they were if you hadn't stopped the time. Except they lost a couple of dudes.

    Very bad analogy. In soccer, the team effort isn't a sum of identical achievements from the individual players, i.e. you're not having 11 players each score goals and then add them up, you only score in single units as a team.

    If you insist on a soccer analogy, it would be more along the lines of something like this: if both teams play regularly, Home (Party) scores 18 (1 goal per player per round. 6 players) and Away (Enemies) scores 6 (1 damage on everyone) goals [values are not proportionate, just illustrative]. Now with Time Stop, it would be something like this: Home scores 3 (1 goal per round for 1 player over 3 rounds) while Away scores 0 (doing nothing). So the end result would be that yes, you did not take any goals from the other team, but you also scored less goals - and when you account for the difference, you're still behind 9 goals in the end.

    I played the illithids from WK yesterday and got steamrolled the first time because something like 10 of them teleports next to your party and are much longer to kill than they were before. I put a time trap. They teleported, and I got three of them during the time stop. Fine. At the end of the time stop, the situation was EXACTLY the same than at the beginning than the previous attempt, but with 3 illithids missing. I'm sorry, but how is the story of me missing party attacks because my 5 other party members couldn't move? That's totally irrelevant.

    That is exactly my point. You were doing that because the enemies are dangerous, and you do not want to take their hits. That's a DEFENSIVE move. If defense wasn't an issue, you wouldn't use Time Stop. For example, would you use TS to kill a pack of 10 Kobolds that can't really harm you? If you think TS is an offensive move, then yes, you should. But it's not, you'd kill 3 Kobolds in 3 rounds or whatever, while your entire party outside of TS would kill all 10 Kobolds in those same 3 rounds. The only reason you think you're coming out ahead vs. the Illithid is that they are dangerous to you and you want to avoid that danger - which is the very definition of "defensive".

    FinneousPJJuliusBorisov
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,214
    @BiffTheUnderstudy so one archer can work well, but two are hard to keep stocked? That makes sense and answers my curiosity, thanks :)

    FinneousPJ
  • OtherguyOtherguy Member Posts: 157
    edited March 2016
    Hard as bhaals mode sounds lovely.

    Sorry for asking but:
    1. How do you enable it? For someone who never uses EE keeper or dabbles in codes..
    2. Is it SCS compatible? I can't imagine why it wouldn't be though.
    3. Bugs? Would it break the game for someone who never uses the console?

    And I don't want to sound like a total (and ignorant!) jerk but:
    Why enable a mode that makes the game harder if you make a cookie cutter party to play it? Is it really needed? If everyone needs to be able to bring damage to the table why not go archer (1-2), skald, fmt (SNT user), any combination of multi or dual mage x 1-2 (belm and kundane with suitable MH (love me some crom) and 1 multi/dual cleric or dwarved defender with FoA/DoE combo? I'm sure you can invent lots of different powerparties of the same calibre who will just break a beefed up demogorgon plus anything, unless the mode itself adds casters to debuff you in every important fight...

    FinneousPJLoldrup
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 8,990
    @Otherguy: @Lord_Tansheron has argued that NM mode weakens blitzkrieg tactics and prolongs battles, which shifts the strategy rather than simply making things harder.

    It also screws with level progression, making characters reach milestones at different points of the game and increasing the power of multi-classes. Finally, it makes spells with level or HP requirements almost useless, weakens damage spells, strengthens disabling spells, makes spell durations more important (since they're more likely to run out during battle), and rewards investment in damage output and tanking ability.

    That's the long and short of it. It does narrow your options more than it increases them.

    JuliusBorisovFinneousPJ
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    Otherguy said:

    Hard as bhaals mode sounds lovely.

    Sorry for asking but:
    1. How do you enable it? For someone who never uses EE keeper or dabbles in codes..
    2. Is it SCS compatible? I can't imagine why it wouldn't be though.
    3. Bugs? Would it break the game for someone who never uses the console?

    1. You enable it in the Baldur.ini file. Check this thread for detailed instructions. In a future patch, it will get its own button in the game, similar to how it works in IWD:EE.
    2. Yes. In fact, I very much recommend SCS because without it, all you do it make things take longer. See IWD:EE for how fun that is, i.e. not very.
    3. There are a few bugs, but none of them break the game. When NPCs join your party, their stats will be scaled up - they reset back to normal if you load the game once (so just quicksave -> load once someone joins and you'll be good from then on). Also player summons currently gain the monster stat inscrease, meaning they have huge HP pools and can tank for ages. No real fix other than using summons at your own discretion.
    Otherguy said:

    And I don't want to sound like a total (and ignorant!) jerk but:
    Why enable a mode that makes the game harder if you make a cookie cutter party to play it? Is it really needed?

    For me, NM was a godsend. In fact it did much of the opposite of what you describe, it forced me to play NEW things and NOT the old cookie-cutters. As @semiticgod rightly pointed out, much of my old strategy involved full offense, shoot-first-ask-no-questions-later approaches that don't really work well in NM. I find NM a lot more interesting and fun to play than regular, simply because you have more things to worry about. In fact, I'm even considering manually upping the HP even further on certain enemies (e.g. dragons/bosses) to make the fights more epic and more demanding.
    Otherguy said:

    If everyone needs to be able to bring damage to the table why not go archer (1-2), skald, fmt (SNT user), any combination of multi or dual mage x 1-2 (belm and kundane with suitable MH (love me some crom) and 1 multi/dual cleric or dwarved defender with FoA/DoE combo?

    Certainly one approach, and I heartily invite you to give it a go.
    Otherguy said:

    I'm sure you can invent lots of different powerparties of the same calibre who will just break a beefed up demogorgon plus anything, unless the mode itself adds casters to debuff you in every important fight...

    I do strongly recommend not using NM exclusively, but rather using it as a base for other difficulty mods. SCS is non-negotiable for me, and I've also come to greatly enjoy the Item Revisions and Spell Revisions mods, which help further diversify builds by curbing some of the more blatant power (like IH doubling APR etc.). Ultimately, the goal is to find the combination of mods and options that is the most fun FOR YOU. I can relay what I enjoy, but that doesn't have to mean you will like it in the same way. That's fine. I encourage you to experiment and see what you enjoy best.

    It does narrow your options more than it increases them.

    That's a matter of perspective, I think. Personally, I feel quite the opposite. Many tools and utilities you have in regular BG2 are just superfluous. You can literally just plow through everything eyes half-closed and hardly even bother to use all the various spells at your disposal. In NM, I find myself using a lot more different tools, and a lot more often. It also changed my approach to party optimization, item selection, etc.

    Of course, that is just my playstyle. The game doesn't restrict you in anything per se after all, it just makes certain approaches more effective than others. If you consider redundancy, you may however find yourself with MORE effective approaches in NM in the end - after all, in regular BG many min/max options are almost pointless because the game isn't nearly difficult enough for them to come to full, noticeable effect. We've had a lot of discussion on this in the past, where many optimizations were largely academic, and hardly had real, practicable impact. With NM, I feel some of that at least has changed, and I enjoy it more for it.

    But as always, the experience varies as much as your expectations and preferences. The infos we share are only an inspiration, not a strict guideline. In the end, you have to make the choices.

    JuliusBorisovOtherguyFinneousPJ
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 8,990

    We've had a lot of discussion on this in the past, where many optimizations were largely academic, and hardly had real, practicable impact. With NM, I feel some of that at least has changed, and I enjoy it more for it.

    That was actually my point regarding whether NM mode increases or decreases your options. In a high-pressure environment, the weaker options become less and less viable. I did a run not long ago in which I restricted myself from my favorite spells and items, using the ones I normally neglect. My Fighter/Mage used Power Word: Sleep instead of Mirror Image, Improved Invisibility instead of Stoneskin, and Cone of Cold instead of Spell Immunity. That just wouldn't fly in Nightmare mode.

    It is the nature of difficulty mods and settings to decrease options, favoring the most optimal. It's just that some give you new options to compensate, like SCS buffing shapeshifting, IR/SR strengthening underused spells and items, and Nightmare mode granting more levels. I just don't think it quite balances out.

    FinneousPJ
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    edited March 2016
    True, but the expansion of options depends on your perspective as well. For me, I focus on optimal strategies, sort of the top of the pyramid only, if you will. There's a pool of various approaches there, obviously without a clear winner (due to the large amount of variables involved). I feel that pool is larger in NM than it is in regular. But it's definitely true that many of the less optimal strategies become even less so in NM. If you like using those, you'll find yourself more restricted. But I think that's fine, NM is pretty much meant for people who like to optimize.

    FinneousPJ
  • TredvoltTredvolt Member Posts: 62
    I can't believe I missed this discussion! Just a few comments because most of my thoughts haven't changed from my earlier posts in the thread.

    @Myrag - You are basically using my setup. R/C Archer F/M/T Skald - you just tacked on a kensai and a sorcerer which I feel doesn't actually improve the party that much.

    My current setup is

    K->T (dual at 7 or 9)
    Skald
    F/C (lose stoneskins over r/c but gain in every other way)
    Archer

    re:Two Archers - I think this can work well, archers are undoubtedly the strongest class in the game for consistent damage output. Just look at everyone's powergame setup - we ALL include archers. Ammunition concerns are valid but I think there is enough if the rest of your party does enough damage.

    re:Skald - I will never play a party without a skald. I cannot stress enough how powerful this class is. Its overall contribution exceeds any other class. I'm actually REALLY happy that they made bard songs not stack so that this class actually gets nerfed a bit. Regardless of this nerf I will never play without.

    re:Charname - I really like charname being a tank (namely f/c or r/c - and sometimes dwarven defender). I use all the tomes on him in the first game and getting 21 wisdom gives extra high level spells very early on. Enemies tend to target your charname first and so I find it convenient that its your tankiest person.

    re:Timestop - Defensive vs Offensive is an interesting way of looking at it. In the case of twisted rune you kill an enemy in 3 rounds (while stopped) that would otherwise take more than 3 rounds (due to spell protections) even if your whole party was focused on it. In this case you are increasing the offense of your party by applying more valuable damage. Electing to stun your whole party in order to apply damage from one character is essentially saying "I value this this offensive action higher than the offensive action of my whole party while enemies are able to react". This is by definition offensive. HOWEVER in many situations with my friend who plays the K->T he stuns the whole party to do damage when we don't really need it. Hes using this primarily in a defensive capacity because during the stop my party can't be hurt but hes slowing the battle down. I feel this second scenario happens quite often and I do feel it is DEFENSIVE move. The battles end slower but we get a bit more up front damage.

    Ultimately there are many ways to categorize actions - higher damage parties tend to be more resilient because enemies disappear before they can do damage. Does that mean they are more defensive? My full tank party takes way more damage, dies more and goes through the game slower. AC is higher, hit points are higher, heals are higher - is that more defensive? I'd recommend not getting caught up too much on the words or analogies.

    FinneousPJJuliusBorisov
  • OtherguyOtherguy Member Posts: 157
    @Lord_Tansheron thank you for one of the most informative and polite responses I have ever seen on the internet.

    I have never even started a multiplayer game but maybe this is just what I need after a few failed no-reload attempts. I am very much used to at least half the group being useless in any given situation though, so it will be different to say the least!

    I would not say Time Stop is offensive or defensive, I would say it's broken. Simple solution. Don't use it. Time traps are way beyond broken. Again, don't use them.

    FinneousPJJuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    edited March 2016
    Tredvolt said:

    re:Timestop - Defensive vs Offensive is an interesting way of looking at it. In the case of twisted rune you kill an enemy in 3 rounds (while stopped) that would otherwise take more than 3 rounds (due to spell protections) even if your whole party was focused on it. In this case you are increasing the offense of your party by applying more valuable damage. Electing to stun your whole party in order to apply damage from one character is essentially saying "I value this this offensive action higher than the offensive action of my whole party while enemies are able to react".

    Certainly one scenario where TS is indeed offensive. However, that's fairly uncommon. It requires all enemies to actually have reactive protections, and for those protections to take longer to remove with a full party than it takes one character to deal the damage the party would do in the same time frame. It's probably a rare occurrence, but it's not nothing. Good to keep in mind! I do on occasion use TS in such a manner, to take out things like Liches etc. and you are entirely correct in that this is an example of offensive TS.
    Tredvolt said:

    Ultimately there are many ways to categorize actions - higher damage parties tend to be more resilient because enemies disappear before they can do damage. Does that mean they are more defensive?

    The best defense is a good offense! ;)

    Jokes aside, the distinction comes into play only when there is CHOICE involved. A defensive play is one that sacrifices offensive output in order to reduce incoming damage. An offensive play is the reverse. If you're already on full offense and as a result happen to take less damage, that's still offensive (you did not make a sacrifice in output). Of course, this is largely an academic debate. What something is called has little bearing on what you do in the game (though of course the two are connected, on a theoretical level).
    Otherguy said:

    @Lord_Tansheron thank you for one of the most informative and polite responses I have ever seen on the internet.

    Thanks! Don't hesitate to ask more things if you have questions.
    Otherguy said:

    I have never even started a multiplayer game but maybe this is just what I need after a few failed no-reload attempts. I am very much used to at least half the group being useless in any given situation though, so it will be different to say the least!

    Note that you can make a party in multiplayer, then copy the save from the MPSAVE folder to the SAVE folder and load up the game in single player.
    You can also do what I do, which is use EEKeeper to edit the stock NPCs to be whatever you want them to be. This allows you to create what is essentially a custom multiplayer party, except it's still the NPCs with their story, dialog, romance, etc. Much more exciting than a band of 6 mutes that don't banter at all ;)

    FinneousPJOtherguyKaigenJuliusBorisov
  • KaigenKaigen Member Posts: 1,567
    A couple things to note from the 2.0 Beta: The first is that you can create a custom party in single player without having to mess with multiplayer mode or copying over saved games. The second is that "Legacy of Bhaal" mode, unlike Nightmare Mode, does not increase your XP gain rate, which might make for a rough curve for starting level 1 parties.

    semiticgodFinneousPJJuliusBorisovKlorox
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 8,990
    Kaigen said:

    "Legacy of Bhaal" mode, unlike Nightmare Mode, does not increase your XP gain rate

    That just seems unplayable outside of a narrow range of exploits.

    FinneousPJ
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    How hard is it to edit the modifiers for enemy HP and XP gain scaling factors? I'd love to tinker a bit and find a ratio that fits my personal preference. More of a %HP increase than in NM currently with less XP (but still more than regular) could work nicely.

    FinneousPJ
  • TredvoltTredvolt Member Posts: 62
    I always hated the extra experience we got from Nightmare Mode - It just seemed like the bonus levels you got overwhelmed the added difficulty within a couple hours of play. I went so far as to manually lower experience levels and avoid quests to keep things more difficult.

    I realize it is not an opinion shared by everyone by I couldn't be happier that they removed the bonus experience!

    I can't wait to play the new Legacy of Bhaal mode!

    FinneousPJGotural
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    I agree that the increased XP is probably too much, but you probably do need some extra to not make the early game super annoying.

    FinneousPJGreenWarlock
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    Speaking of increased XP - now that I finally got to play LoB under 2.0 (or rather, 2.1 I guess) I noticed that LoB does indeed not give any bonus XP anymore, none at all. Not sure if that is a 2.0 feature or a 2.1 bug, but it's interesting to consider nonetheless.

    Without extra XP, I am rethinking my idea of going multi instead of dual. Having oodles of XP was definitely a factor in that decision, but it was not the only one. I also wanted to go Monk because of the bonus XP, as that would allow you to essentially get weapons of a higher power level earlier (since Fists scale with XP).

    Overall, I'm not that happy with 0 bonus XP. The reasons mentioned above are one part, another is that many enemies are now simply not worth fighting AT ALL. I only got to play a little, but quickly realized the utter folly of plowing through hordes of Kobolds, Goblins, Hobgoblins, etc. who now take significant time to kill (at early game) for LUDICROUSLY low rewards. I think Kobolds are worth 7xp (!!) each, which means spending 2 minutes killing 10 of them is a complete and utter waste of time. They can't exactly hurt you either, so I started to just run and ignore them. Without LoB, you can mop them up as you go with stray Archer shots or the odd Fireball, but with LoB it's just so not worth it to stand there clubbing them.

    I think the best solution would be to just have a static +XP bonus. No multiplier, just a fixed value. That way, Kobolds actually reward something, while Dragons don't suddenly give 150,000xp. Maybe +500? Or +1000 even? I guess I should look into where the LoB modifiers are stored, surely it can't be that hard to edit the values.

    semiticgodFinneousPJArdul
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