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bg2 run with weaker parties

CvijetaCvijeta Member Posts: 56
I currently roleplay with weaker party. All my party members are casters, how to beat this game with Jaheira, Aerie, Nalia and protagonist bard.... Maybe I add Viconia or Anomen or Jan or Haer-Dalis.

Comments

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,043
    I don't think there IS a weak party. Literally every npc in BG2 can be gamebreaking if used the right way. Charname bards are especially ridiculous. For a weak party, I would recommend 6 player made characters with deliberately low stats and maybe personal restrictions.
    tbone1OrlonKronsteenproghead3createaccount
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 339
    @ThacoBell makes a good point; even Cernd can be useful. I recently did a run as a FMT with Aerie, Nalia (before heading to spellhold), and Imoen. On paper, it wasn't an OP group -- the FMT was the best tank unless Aerie was kept hyperbuffed, and splitting XP three ways didn't help, either -- but it was great fun.
    OrlonKronsteen
  • proghead3proghead3 Member Posts: 50
    edited April 12
    I too agree that pretty much all the characters are useful if properly geared and specced. Let me give an explanation of my 5 weakest party members.

    First is Viconia. Anomen absolutely blows her out of the water. She pretty much needs a strength belt, her constitution is trash, she gets only one attack per round with poor thaco, and she requires reputation management. Her dexterity is nice, but Anomen can just use gauntlets to rectify his score. Her MR is largely pointless because you will have death ward and chaotic commands on at all times anyways (or you should).

    Next is Aerie. Her HP total is sooo bad. I feel Cleric/Mage is underrated by new players and overrated by veterans. I really dislike splitting XP for caster class. If you ignore EE content, you barely will get 6m XP and a 9th level mage spell with Aerie. Also her cleric level is low so her turn undead is useless and her duration spells wear off too quickly. Yeah you can do some tricks with her by sequencing cleric spells, but her downsides are too severe.

    Haer'Dalis is OP in the late game because of broken rogue HLAs, but you will suffer early on because of his garbage HP and thaco.

    Jaheria is actually really good to start but is one of the weakest characters late. The ridiculous Druid leveling progression lets even a multiclass get quick access to summon fire elemental which trivializes a lot of chapter 2 content. Later on her weapon restrictions and the slow leveling of later Druid levels make her relative weak late game. Also her best weapon, Spectral Brand, is not a guaranteed drop, which is a killer for me (no reload player).

    Naila, would be my final character. I figured you'd want a thief, so here's the worst one. :) If you already have another thief, she actually outperforms Imoen.

    I would not include Cernd in the worst party (maybe him and Valygar would be in the worst personality party). If you treat him as a full caster he is actually pretty useful. I didn't consider EE characters because I don't consider them part of the game.
    tbone1
  • proghead3proghead3 Member Posts: 50
    edited April 12
    Yes that was a little harsh. He's just a bit boring. He's a good dude though, even if I don't bring him along for the long haul, I'll release him with the Celestial Fury because he deserves it. :)
    tbone1Blackraven
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 295
    edited April 12
    @SomeSort is right, it's not about NPCs, but a team. You can try party exclusively fighter party, that could be pretty rough - create four paladines and go on crusading against vile magic and dishonourable thieves. ;)
    Aerakarjackjack
  • CvijetaCvijeta Member Posts: 56
    You got me all wrong. I would like tips and tricks how to survive with current party since I'm underpowered. If you can solo this game with a sorcerer, I want to know how to finish this game with four caster or five casters.
    DJKajuru
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 289
    Cvijeta said:

    You got me all wrong. I would like tips and tricks how to survive with current party since I'm underpowered. If you can solo this game with a sorcerer, I want to know how to finish this game with four caster or five casters.

    Your party isn't really underpowered. In fact, it's quite powerful, especially if you add Anomen!

    I like to think of party composition less in terms of classes and more in terms of roles. If you want to make things easiest for yourself, you probably need 1-2 tanks, 2+ top-level physical damage dealers, someone who can deal with traps and locks, someone with access to divine spells, and 2+ arcane casters, (at least one of which advances as a pure mage).

    The tank is there to spare your party from damage. You want to get all enemies attacking the same character, and then make that character as hard to hit and as hard to hurt as possible to minimize the amount of healing / interruption you have to deal with.

    Physical attackers are important because physical damage is the only unlimited damage resource in the game; if you want to kill things with spells you'll only be able to get so many before you have to rest. Physical attackers not only deal more damage to individual enemies and small packs than pure spellcasters, but they let those spellcasters save their spells for when they're needed.

    Traps and locks are pretty self-explanatory. Locks can be dealt with by the 2nd-level mage spell Knock, but only a thief can disarm traps. Divine spells, (cleric or druid), are useful for certain spells like Chaotic Commands, which can be an absolute lifesaver when fighting Mind Flayers or Umber Hulks.

    Finally arcane casters are important because at high levels they're the most powerful characters in the game, and you want at least one of your casters to be a pure-class or dual-class mage so you get access to those high levels faster.

    Depending on what type of bard you are, you either already have all of those bases covered, (if you're a blade), or only need to add Anomen, (if you're anything else).

    In the early game, "tanking" is best done with fantastic Armor Class values. Equip Jahiera with the best armor you can find, (non-magical Full Plate plus a ring of protection is usually your best bet). Give her the biggest shield you can find, too; Fortress Shield from the Adventurer's Mart gives the biggest AC bonuses, but Shield of Harmony from Tradesmeet carries with it a host of really nice immunities. Add in Iron Skins and most enemies will very rarely hit Jahiera, and even when they do, the damage gets negated. With low enough AC, Iron Skins will last for a long, long time.

    Anomen can also make a solid tank once you finish the Unseeing Eye quest, which includes a pair of gauntlets that boost his dexterity to 18, (the equivalent of 4 extra points of Armor Class). The bad part is that the quest is very tough unless you're willing to use cheese, (there's a shield available for purchase which totally trivializes it). With the Defender of Easthaven flail and the Armor of Faith spell, Anomen can negate up to 50% of all incoming physical damage, which on top of his huge AC makes him very survivable.

    For physical damage output, both Jahiera and Anomen have enough fighter levels to really do some damage. Jahiera can reach level 13 as a fighter, which gives an extra half attack. Anomen can reach grandmastery in a weapon, which also gives an extra half attack. All told, either character can get 2.5 attacks per round with a single weapon or 3.5 attacks per round while dual-wielding. Jahiera can also equip Belm, a +2 scimitar found during the Trademeet quest that gives her an extra attack, boosting her to 3.5 with a single weapon and 4.5 while dual-wielding.

    Anomen doesn't have access to any of the "speed" weapons, (weapons that grant an extra attack per round), but between Flail of Ages and Crom Faeyr, he can still equip some of the best weapons in the entire saga. Also, Armor Class becomes less important later in the game so you'll usually transition your fighter-types from 1-handed weapons and shields over to dual-wielding, and Defender of Easthaven is the best defensive weapon in the game to equip in your off-hand.

    People rag on Nalia, but she's actually pretty great. With the Ring of Danger Sense, (which is located in the Planar Sphere, unfortunately one of the tougher Chapter 2 sidequests), Nalia gets over 100 points in Find Traps, which lets her find/disarm anything in the game. Her 60 points in Open Locks isn't great, but there's a Ring of Lock Picks in Chapter 3 which can bump that up to 85%, enough to open almost all locks, and she has the level 2 spell Knock for the stuff where her lock picks is insufficient.

    (Picking locks is nice because there's no penalty for failure, so you can go around as normal picking locks and if something doesn't work, put on the ring of lock picks really quick and try again, and if it still doesn't work just cast Knock.)

    Between Jahiera, Aerie, and potentially Anomen, you'll have no shortage of divine spells. Anomen's Turn Undead ability can also be super-useful at parts, (Aerie's will be lower level and not as useful).

    Finally, in terms of arcane casters, Nalia will zoom up in levels and your bard / Aerie will provide good backup caster support. That's more than enough spellpower for you. If you don't find your mages/bards very effective, I'd suggest switching over from damage-dealing spells to buffing/debuffing spells. Haste + Slow, for example, will do a lot more for you in most encounters than a pair of Fireballs.

    If you're finding the early game to be too much of a struggle, I'd prioritize getting good gear for your tank, since in my experience that tends to provide the biggest power increase at lower levels. There are a couple of sets of Full Plate up for grabs right away; if you are up for a tough battle, Mencar Pebblecrusher is upstairs in one of the inns in Waukeen's Promenade, or else Tarnor the Hatchetman is in the sewers in the Temple district, and both of them pack a set. Like I said, the battles can be tough unless you're willing to cheese them a bit, but they're also pretty rewarding.

    (If you really want to cheese them, any of your mages who are level 9 will have access to 5th-level spells. Have them learn "Feeblemind" and cast it on Mencar's party before starting the battle. Warning: this takes all of the difficulty out of the fight and may rob you of the fun of figuring out how to beat them "fair and square".)

    After that, provided you're able to kill trolls, (i.e. you have a reliable source of fire or acid damage), I'd go investigate the animal troubles in Trademeet. That questline will get you the Belm scimitar and Blackblood/Gnasher clubs, the three best weapons for Jahiera outside of Watchers' Keep. It'll also get you the aforementioned Shield of Harmony, which gives you 1 AC less than some other shields, but makes you immune to pretty much all of the most annoying status effects in the game except level drain.
    ArtonacreateaccountAerakar
  • proghead3proghead3 Member Posts: 50
    @SomeSort I find your critiques of my "worst characters" somewhat bizarre. Which is fine, you're entitled to your opinions. First off, I prefaced my comments by saying all the characters are serviceable, so we're splitting hairs to begin with.

    Your initially explanation as to why Viconia is good is that she can control vampires summoned by limited wish. lol, I mean, come on, that had me laughing. I often use Viconia and Anomen together and it's not unusual for Anomen to have 6-7x the kill count by endgame. Yeah he needs the dexterity gauntlets, but killing enemies at a 3x faster rate (a conservative lower bound) tends to mitigate damage better than 4 AC points. And, as I explained, her MR is completely pointless as death ward and chaotic commands will be on all your characters at all times.

    Yeah Jaheria can be very good, but again, pretty much all the BG2 characters are. We're faced with an embarrassment of riches, and she, by my estimation, is a bit worse off than other PCs, particularly in the late game. Also the club of detonation is a rough one to build, that ring of fire resistance is tough to give up.

    Again, with Nalia, she is the worst thief in the game, that was the point I was making. Is she serviceable? Yeah, all the characters are.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,043
    Cvijeta said:

    You got me all wrong. I would like tips and tricks how to survive with current party since I'm underpowered. If you can solo this game with a sorcerer, I want to know how to finish this game with four caster or five casters.

    Thats kind of my point though. You have some of the most powerful NPCs in your party. That many casters will take different tactics than a "balanced" party, but you are far from "underpowered". I don't run a lot of casters in my games, but summons will probably be important to soak up enemy attention/damage. Invisibility is your friend as well.
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 131
    SomeSort said:

    If I were to rank NPCs in BG2, I'd say:
    Edwin
    Nalia
    Imoen (2nd if you rush Spellhold)
    Keldorn
    Korgan
    Jahiera
    Mr. ToB
    Anomen
    Mazzy (assuming you get her at level 8)
    Haer'Dalis
    Valygar
    Aerie (higher in small parties)
    Viconia
    Jan
    Minsc
    Yoshimo
    Cernd

    /popcorn at that impressive wall 'o text.
  • proghead3proghead3 Member Posts: 50
    Let's just agree to disagree then, I have a very specific approach to the game which serves me well, but is clearly different than yours and consequently we're going to value NPCs differently.
  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 218
    @SomeSort You can consider thieves underpowered... until they get HLA. UAI, Spike Trap and Time Stop Trap hardly are weak abilities... And I'm not even talking about about Mislead backstabbing cheese.

    In ToB, the power of Jan is really high. No way in hell he's weaker than Valygar. I agree about Yoshimo though, because without mods, he'll never get to HLA. Considering that, he should be classed as the weakest NPC.

    Other than that, pretty awesome analysis of the NPCs. I personnaly think that, at the end of the day, playstyle defines which NPCs are the best, though.
    AerakarBlackravenjackjack
  • ybducuybducu Member Posts: 10
    edited April 14
    Can't resist commenting on power levels of npcs :)
    Imo Haer'Dalis is the most powerful npc in the game. (after pure mages :| )
    - He's a blade, which makes him a faster leveling F/M
    - He's a bard so he levels faster than a mage, so till level 20 he'll be your most powerful caster.
    - His dispel magic will get more powerful past level 20 so is only second to the Inquisitor.
    - He's insanely good throughout the whole game. Something 'power gamers' sometimes overlook. Your theoretical endgame optimized build might not be that effective for about 75% of the time your run actually takes.
    - Defensive spin gives -10 ac. No really, let that sink in... + mage defenses. Together with his fast leveling he's practically the best tank throughout the game.
    - Offensive spin adds 1 apr and does max damage. That's almost as good as a fighter with twice the apr doing on average half that damage. (ok not really, there are damage modifiers that don't get doubled. But still, let's say 2/3 as good :D )
    - He's the best lich killer the soonest. He has spell immunity and good melee abilities.
    - He gets thief hlas, so now you have a kai-ed, simulacrum-ed, black blade of disaster wielding monstrosity in a single fastest leveling class. Oh and also he has spike traps :p
    - He gets the enhanced bardsong hla, which damage contribution alone is almost good enough to justify bringing him to just stand and sing and do nothing else. Now you do it on a simulacrum and have the blade wreaking havoc like listed above.. And in the original game you can have a choir of them :)
    ArctodussemiticgodAerakar
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 289
    Arctodus said:

    @SomeSort You can consider thieves underpowered... until they get HLA. UAI, Spike Trap and Time Stop Trap hardly are weak abilities... And I'm not even talking about about Mislead backstabbing cheese.

    In ToB, the power of Jan is really high. No way in hell he's weaker than Valygar. I agree about Yoshimo though, because without mods, he'll never get to HLA. Considering that, he should be classed as the weakest NPC.

    Other than that, pretty awesome analysis of the NPCs. I personnaly think that, at the end of the day, playstyle defines which NPCs are the best, though.

    For sure. There are no "bad" NPCs other than Cernd, (who has the worst stats of any NPC in the game *and* arguably the worst kit in the game). But even Cernd is totally playable and fills a role as the only pure-class druid in the game. (He'd just be a lot better if he got bonuses from something other than Wisdom and he was an Avenger or Totemic Druid, instead.)

    Thieves are a tough one for me. You kind of have to ignore find traps and locks for a minute because you really need some way of dealing with those, which means you're kind of locked into bringing some flavor of thief along. They're one of the most "necessary" classes, but that doesn't necessarily make them one of the best.

    If you're really abusing their traps, they're arguably the strongest class in the game. Insane damage delivered risk-free that is nearly impossible to resist or avoid. Just ludicrously good. But on the other hand, if you're not abusing traps... they're probably the worst class in the game, unless they have some fighter levels to them, too.

    M/T is probably the class that benefits the least from UAI, since you've already got access to the best armors and weapons, so it's really just an upgrade at helm and possibly gloves. Mislead backstabs are fun, but he doesn't really have the THACO or APR to do much with them, meaning even without Mislead Valygar is probably a better backstabber.

    Eventually he gets high-level mage stuff, and high-level mage stuff is the most powerful stuff, (aside possibly from traps), but it's a long time to unlock it, which makes him more of a late bloomer / better in small parties kind of guy, (much like Aerie).

    But I can totally see him being higher, even as high as 4th overall if you really go to town with those spike traps.
    Arctodus
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 289
    ybducu said:

    Can't resist commenting on power levels of npcs :)
    Imo Haer'Dalis is the most powerful npc in the game. (after pure mages :| )
    - He's a blade, which makes him a faster leveling F/M
    - He's a bard so he levels faster than a mage, so till level 20 he'll be your most powerful caster.
    - His dispel magic will get more powerful past level 20 so is only second to the Inquisitor.
    - He's insanely good throughout the whole game. Something 'power gamers' sometimes overlook. Your theoretical endgame optimized build might not be that effective for about 75% of the time your run actually takes.
    - Defensive spin gives -10 ac. No really, let that sink in... + mage defenses. Together with his fast leveling he's practically the best tank throughout the game.
    - Offensive spin adds 1 apr and does max damage. That's almost as good as a fighter with twice the apr doing on average half that damage. (ok not really, there are damage modifiers that don't get doubled. But still, let's say 2/3 as good :D )
    - He's the best lich killer the soonest. He has spell immunity and good melee abilities.
    - He gets thief hlas, so now you have a kai-ed, simulacrum-ed, black blade of disaster wielding monstrosity in a single fastest leveling class. Oh and also he has spike traps :p
    - He gets the enhanced bardsong hla, which damage contribution alone is almost good enough to justify bringing him to just stand and sing and do nothing else. Now you do it on a simulacrum and have the blade wreaking havoc like listed above.. And in the original game you can have a choir of them :)

    Haer'Dalis was the toughest to rank, and is probably the one NPC whose ranking can vary the most. Basically, where he ranks is directly proportional to how much you're willing to micromanage him.

    He *can* be a great tank using mage spells and defensive spins... but defensive spins root you in place, so you've really got to finagle him to make sure you draw aggro first, and then work hard on the rest of your party to make sure you're not drawing it away.

    He *can* be decent offensively, though never on par with a real fighter. Offensive Spin doesn't "double" his damage, or really come anywhere close. Depending on his weapon, it's anywhere from +2.5 (short swords) to +4.5 (katanas) damage per attack. Basically, the difference between a weapon's maximum damage and its average damage.

    2.5-4.5 extra damage per attack is a solid bonus and not to be scoffed at, but, say, Grandmastery adds +5 damage per attack and doesn't need to be turned on to work. The biggest drawback of Offensive Spin, though, is that it prevents Improved Haste, which is kind of a dealbreaker since Improved Haste is by far the best offensive buff in the game.

    Haer'Dalis also can't do a whole lot about his THACO, which will lag the true fighter-types. And he's pretty dependent on speed weapons for extra attacks, which means he's not using Foebane and Blackrazor and Axe of the Unyielding and some of the other crazy 1-handers.

    So Haer'Dalis is pretty far behind a true fighter offensively, and even behind hybrid fighters like Jahiera and Anomen because of Improved Haste not working with Offensive Spin. (Though a point in HD's favor: he can cast his own improved hastes!)

    He's a beast defensively if you don't mind micromanaging him, but a Barbarian / Dwarven Defender Charname, Keldorn with Defender of Easthaven, etc can be just as tanky with less work.

    He gets fast level progression, which for spellcasting purposes means he's usually a couple levels ahead of a true mage, but not a huge deal, (at the absolute maximum, there's a 50k XP range between 2.20m and 2.25m where the Bard hits level 20 while the mage is still level 15, but for the most part it's going to be a ~3 level edge). He's still getting his spells slower, even if he can cast them at a slightly higher level.

    With a lot of micromanagement, Blades are great defensive characters, decent offensive characters, and useful supplemental spellcasters. It's a handy package, but I tend to think they're worse than a straight F/M at both fighting and maging.

    Bardsong HLA is a great ability, and really the biggest selling point for someone who wants a Blade but doesn't like micromanagement. And like I said with Jan, if you're willing to abuse HLA traps, you can really break the game in a hurry, which will shoot Haer'Dalis way up the rankings.

    At the end of the day, I think there are very good arguments for having Haer'Dalis a lot higher. I think there are also good arguments for having him a little lower. He's one of those guys who will give back in proportion to how much effort you put in. Personally, he's just a bit too needy for my tastes; I generally don't feel like putting in that level of effort for anyone except Charname.
    ArctodusAerakarjackjack
  • ybducuybducu Member Posts: 10
    Keep in mind we were talking about in game NPCs so comparing him to Barbarians and F/Ms is not really fair. Also, again only considering in game NPCs, black blade of disaster with the Blade's kai-like ability is especially effective because of the weapon's huge damage range. And his lagging thac0 is easily remedied by tenser's and strength spells/belt. Also he has fire shields which contribute to his overall damage output when meleeing. And like you also mentioned, the hla bardsong on a clone does not only boost the Blade's own numbers but also does of his meleeing team mates, which easily puts the Blade's total damage contribution per round on par with a pure fighter, if not above.

    But yeah, solo before HLAs he won't reach the damage numbers of a pure grandmaster fighter and I also agree he needs more micro. For me though it's fun and rewarding using all his abilities.
  • dockaboomskidockaboomski Member Posts: 420
    If you're interested in the results of running a casters-only party, check out @semiticgod 's spider run: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/38312/the-party-of-spiders-no-reload-scs2-run/p1
    semiticgodAerakarjackjackArctodus
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 289
    ybducu said:

    Keep in mind we were talking about in game NPCs so comparing him to Barbarians and F/Ms is not really fair. Also, again only considering in game NPCs, black blade of disaster with the Blade's kai-like ability is especially effective because of the weapon's huge damage range. And his lagging thac0 is easily remedied by tenser's and strength spells/belt. Also he has fire shields which contribute to his overall damage output when meleeing. And like you also mentioned, the hla bardsong on a clone does not only boost the Blade's own numbers but also does of his meleeing team mates, which easily puts the Blade's total damage contribution per round on par with a pure fighter, if not above.

    But yeah, solo before HLAs he won't reach the damage numbers of a pure grandmaster fighter and I also agree he needs more micro. For me though it's fun and rewarding using all his abilities.

    Black Blade of Disaster is just another great example of how if you're really willing to put in a lot of effort, Haer'Dalis can shine. BBoD is a level 9 spell, which means he can't cast it naturally. I think there are maybe four scrolls available in the game, not enough to actually use it as a long-term strategy unless you're abusing Simulacrum. But Simulacrum is a level 8 spell, so HD can't cast that naturally either, which means you need Vhailor's Helm, (and UAI to equip Vhailor's Helm).

    Now sure, you can trigger Vhailor's to summon a clone, have him use a BBoD scroll and activate Offensive Spin, and as a result you get a character that gets an average of +11 damage per attack. But that's a lot of work! And crucially it also uses up your Vhailor's Helm, which could otherwise be put to use somewhere else, and it's not even really better than triggering Vhailor's and having the clone pop a Time Stop scroll, instead.

    Compare to someone like Korgan, where "using him to his full potential" is basically "equip Axe of Unyielding and Crom Faeyr, attack. If you want more damage, trigger your Vhailor clone and have him attack, too. If you see something with status effects, pop Berserk."

    If you want to turn, say, Minsc into a defensive tank, it's "put Defender of Easthaven in your off-hand, cast Armor of Faith, activate Hardiness, tank". All of that gets you more than a turn with 90% physical damage reduction, and you'll have plenty of Hardinesses to go around.

    You talk about using Strength belts and Tenser's to fix HD's THACO, but neither of those is a solution. Warriors cap out at 0 THACO, but Bards cap out at 10 THACO. 22 strength, the best you can get from a belt, gives a +4 THACO bonus, which still leaves HD six points behind a comparable fighter in ToB. (And this assumes the fighter doesn't get any +THACO bonus from strength, which is a bad assumption.)

    Sure, Tenser's can solve that THACO problem, but Tenser's introduces a whole host of problems of its own. Not only does it lock you out of spellcasting for its duration, it also locks you out of your offensive and defensive spins, (unless this behavior was changed in a recent patch). No bueno.

    Fire Shields can contribute to damage output, but only if Haer'Dalis is getting hit, which (a) should be rare while in tank mode, and (b) isn't really sustainable given HD's low hitpoints. Now, of course, there are workarounds for this, too; Stoneskins, most crucially. Of course, Fireshield and Stoneskin both compete for level 4 spell slots, so... again, micromanagement.

    HLA traps are potentially game-breaking and the HLA bardsong is good enough that even if you brought HD and kept him in the back singing the whole time he'd be a very solid contributor to your overall party. But as for the rest of it... like I said, you get out what you put in.

    An optimally-played Haer'Dalis might be on par with an optimally-played Korgan or Jahiera, but it's a lot easier to play Korgan and Jahiera optimally than it is to play Haer'Dalis optimally.
    Arctodus
  • ybducuybducu Member Posts: 10
    edited April 17
    Well sure Korgan and Minsc are awesome. I never said they weren't. I just think the potential of Haer'Dalis is sometimes overlooked.
    One point I'd like to stress again though is not his "abuse" as you call it of hla enabled tactics but his very strong performance throughout the entirety of SoA and ToB. I think that's horrendously overlooked in general and what makes him for me one of the, if not the most powerful in game NPC.
    Edit
    One more thing. You made a point about micro, but in any diffuclity/mods setting where this entire discussion about power rankings becomes relevant I'd argue you kinda need to micro everybody.
    Post edited by ybducu on
    ThacoBell
  • ybducuybducu Member Posts: 10
    edited April 17
    heh it's kinda weird, people seem emotionally invested in not liking HD. Not accusing you of that SomeSet, but I've read some old gamefaq forum posts where people thought it was not 'manly' to like him :p As in it's manly you like your ac number to go down by an item and your thac0 to go down because of your manly class... This game brings out a lot of weird emotions. :P
  • NuinNuin Member Posts: 347
    edited April 17
    It's rarely that. You'll find just as many other weird reasons for why people won't play certain NPCs.
    HD gets a lot of flak because he doesn't fit the traditional party - tank, damage dealer, support. He's a little bit of everything, and he mostly only fits parties that are built on synergy more than roles.

    In practice his THAC0 is always somewhere near other NPCs' thanks to level scaling and spells (especially if you go Melf's Minute Meteors + Offensive Spin, the blade's signature combo) and you'll have plenty of ways to further decrease that by late game (for example, HD is the ultimate recipient of Potions of Heroism/Power, since warriors already get 0 base THAC0 by epic levels). His magic is always going to be useful (strongest nukes early on, best utility with stuff like early access to Skeleton Warriors by mid-game and you can't have too many buffs/debuffs when other casters finally catch up with to his casting level by end-game). He can pick pockets, steal items and use most class-specific items like wands from the outset, which in practice means MUCH smoother sailing from early-mid game. He gives you bonus XP from scribing scrolls, and finally there's a lot of other specific setups you can do with him.

    Unfortunately, none of those things say "best tank" or "best support" or "best damage dealer", which for a lot of players seem to be what the "best party" is made of. Even if you argue that best is subjective, it's hard to connect HD with any one of these roles.
    In the end he usually gets shoved in the sidelines except for people who like to get a bit more creative with party composition. The stigma that comes with micromanagement doesn't help much.
    Fact is he does fine even with limited micromanagement, at lower difficulties you can just slap on basic buffs like Stoneskin and spam those Offensive Spins and at higher difficulties you generally DON'T want anyone to be hit by anything anyway.
    ArctodusThacoBell
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 289
    ybducu said:

    heh it's kinda weird, people seem emotionally invested in not liking HD. Not accusing you of that SomeSet, but I've read some old gamefaq forum posts where people thought it was not 'manly' to like him :p As in it's manly you like your ac number to go down by an item and your thac0 to go down because of your manly class... This game brings out a lot of weird emotions. :P

    I know you weren't accusing me of it, but I don't dislike him at all. I think his romance with Aerie is substantially better than charname's, I think he's very well-written and like how cogent and consistent his philosophy is, he's well-voiced, has some interesting interactions.

    I'm just trying to rate him as objectively as possible on a power scale. In fact, he wound up just one slot behind my favorite NPC in the game, and one slot ahead of another personal favorite. On the other end, Imoen and Keldorn, who I don't really care for, came in 3rd and 4th. I like Nalia in SoA but am not a fan of hers in ToB, and she came in second.

    It's just, you know, single-class mages are ludicrously powerful in SoA/ToB. And Inquisitors with their broken dispels and steady stream of true sights make the game substantially easier.

    Blades, on the other hand, are *potentially* powerful throughout the saga, but it requires a ton of work to play them to their full potential, compared to a much more straightforward NPC like Keldorn, Korgan, Jahiera, Anomen, etc, where it's largely just a matter of gearing them up and activating their abilities in response to very specific situational triggers.

    But from the moment you get him until the final moment of the saga, I kind of feel like Haer'Dalis is very potent defensively (with a lot of finesse and finagling and general work) and decent offensively (but never on par with the real heavy-hitters), with a bit of general utility thrown in for good measure. It's a pretty good package that left him ranked one spot behind the exact median of NPCs, which I feel is pretty fair, (obviously, given that I ranked him there in the first place :wink: ).
    Arctodus
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,043
    Bards seem to be second most unfairly maligned class in these games.
    Arctodus
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