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Why do people say Shapeshifters are bad?

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  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    Did a shapeshifter kill your childhood pet or something?

    BelgarathMTH
  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 515
    No, but foxes killed both of our cats..

    Both of which I am sure could have taken out a shapeshifter.. the first cat was a real menace. B)

    Blackraveniosfrustration
  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 927
    So to sum and wrap it up.

    Playing a class/kit really depends on your play style and preferences. Any class and kit is a viable option if you know what you are doing.

    BlackravenPokotaThacoBell
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 851
    edited December 2020
    A shapeshifter is fine, can cast like a vanilla druid and fight like a half-warrior. Yes it not as good as a full time fighter or paladin, but in a party, it has its role as secondary fighter and caster. Support in all terms. Its a party game after all.

    Edit: i had in long time ago played shapeshifter multiple times, and after a whole play, i modified the paws to be +5 enchantment like in pnp. It solves some troubles in bosses but not op or kind of thing. The whole enchantment system is out from the later editions, because it was some kind of bad desing.

    BlackraveniosfrustrationStummvonBordwehrThacoBell
  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 515
    So what you're saying is that the shapeshifter is broken and needs a mod to function properly with +5 weaponry.. and even with modded to +5, it's "not op or kind of thing"..

    It really just makes it even clearer how bad it truly is.

    It's worse than a regular druid because of equipment restrictions and it's worse than all melee focused alternatives.

    It's bad, mkay? There's no point defending it or legacy producers, it's just plain bad.
    "Oh but it's viable.. " "you can complete the game with it.." yeeees, ugh.
    That doesn't mean it's not absolute garbage.

    The OP asked why people say they are bad. That answer has been very clearly given.
    I don't see why the fact that you can complete the game with it has any bearing on wether or not it's entirely crap at everything it does.. I can complete the game with a Strength drained to 1 Half-Dorc barbarian..

    A decently equiped, unkitted Druid is better at melee than this freak.. go figure.
    The HLA shapechanges obliterate it.. there isn't even an improved HLA werewolf shape.
    It's poorly designed, poorly executed and a complete downgrade across the board compared to it's unkitted class - given that you use the equipment available to you.. which seems an obvious thing to do.

    It has had a lease on life by finding bugs like dual wielding or trying to squeeze out a little more time from it by dual classing to fighter just to keep it competitive, but sacrificing druid HLA and spellprogression and ending up with ridiculous +2 weaponry anyway.. and the funny thing is, that by dual classing to fighter you'll perform a lot better in human form than in gww form :D:D:D This kit is so bad...

    Ya'll need to stop whiteknighting this. People dislike it because it sucks..

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,395
    You have spent many posts ragging on the offensive power of the werewolf form ... and not one sentence on its defensive power. That's the real reason to transform - fantastic AC and resistances. And those do get better with epic druid levels, because they stack with the class bonuses.

    Also, enemies that require high enchantment to hit are rare. Even in ToB. You can always use those HLA shifts or manufactured weapons when those come up, or just tank while the rest of your party deals damage.

    Grond0BlackravenThacoBellsemiticgoddess
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,221
    I might have missed it already in the thread, but I'm guessing a big reason for the knock on the shapeshifter kit is that fighter/druid is simply superior. A shapeshifter will level up faster, which can make a large difference with how Druids get a huge unlock of spells at one specific high level. But if you want druid spells + someone who can melee, fighter/druid is just going to be better by a pretty large margin. This becomes even more true in BG2 specifically because of the large number of powerful druid friendly weapons -- scimitars, clubs, daggers, staves.

  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 765
    jmerry wrote: »
    You have spent many posts ragging on the offensive power of the werewolf form ... and not one sentence on its defensive power. That's the real reason to transform - fantastic AC and resistances. And those do get better with epic druid levels, because they stack with the class bonuses.
    As someone who prefers playing purely defensively in other games, the underlying "the offense sucks" argument is a good one here for several reasons:
    1. Thanks to the Natural 20 Rule in the Infinity Engine games there is always a chance to get hit, regardless of how good your Armor Class is, and physical resistance is rare. In a long battle, you're always taking some amount of damage from physical attacks (even with taking the Hell Trial Evil Options, since after that point everything hits with +1 weapons or better anyway). The best way to mitigate this problem is to shorten the battle, and leaning on the Shapeshifter's defensive modes is not going to do that.
    2. Save-Or-Suck spells can still ruin your day if you have solid combat defenses. While Druids have some amazing anti-spellcaster spells at their disposal... you can't cast while you're a Werewolf. So you can either Soak Up Attacks or you can Shut Down Spellcasters, but not both at once.

    Khyron
  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 515
    And what exactly, jmerry, do you expect to be tanking with 0 physical resistances and a -1/-10 ac?
    Sure you got stoneskins.. but with a -1/-10 ac that's not gonna last you long.. then there's low hp and 0 resistances.

    What tanking capabilities do you mean to say this has got going for it?

  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 927
    I like these discussions. I almost always learn something new, and always widen my perspective. So thanks for the inputs.

    But perhaps the time has come lighten up the tone in this thread - in the Christmas spirit. We may play the game in different ways and see things differently. But that’s the beauty of the game, nothing more and nothing less.

    semiticgoddess
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,794
    edited December 2020
    Khyron wrote: »
    And what exactly, jmerry, do you expect to be tanking with 0 physical resistances and a -1/-10 ac?
    Sure you got stoneskins.. but with a -1/-10 ac that's not gonna last you long.. then there's low hp and 0 resistances.

    Those AC stats are before taking account of any equipment worn.

  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 765
    edited December 2020
    The fundamental problem with Armor Class in the Infinity Engine games is that there is always at least a 5% chance of taking damage. Got AC -20? You still take damage against a natural 20 from someone with THAC0 20, helmet or not.

    (the linked Order of the Stick comic is #417 "The Most Important Place to Be", and the principle involved is relevant for Icewind Dale, Siege of Dragonspear, and Throne of Bhaal due to the scope of the battles in those games)

    BelgarathMTH
  • lroumenlroumen Member Posts: 2,167
    Druids level better as a single class. An F/D will take 3M xp for level 14 and 6M xp to for level 15 for where the single class druid takes 1.5M and 3M, respectively. That makes quite a difference from mid SoA to mid ToB in spell power. Dispelling and buffing is quite better on a 6M druid than a 6M F/D.
    Shapeshifter may be worse in melee but the complement it gives in spell casting compared to the dual and multi versions is what brings the benefits.

    Blackraven
  • masteralephmasteraleph Member Posts: 136
    Fighter (Berserker even better)->Druid. But again, that's a BG2 piece.

  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 851
    After years, im not arguing these things anymore. I accept the games solutions, i can modify thins in near infinity if i want something to try. I just like the roleplaying aspect of all classes. I played shapeshifter in party and no problems at all. It gives what i expected and use its benefits and can live with it cons.
    If somebody not like the shapeshifter, than give a try or just not play it. Or use near infinity and create his own version if it matters what i did sometimes. There are a tons of classes and kits in the game after all. :)

    BlackravenStummvonBordwehr
  • ReklawenalpReklawenalp Member Posts: 3


    Having played the entire game (unmod) with a shapeshifter, I will like to say a few words in his defence.

    While I agree with many things about the SS written here, I feel most people dislike him because they are playing him wrong.

    The problem with SS is most players see him as a melee druid, which at the early levels, he is, what with the druid weaker melee attacks.

    However, I have found that, late game, the SS is THE BEST tank in the game, bar none. Better than even the dwarven defender. The reason being, unlike the DD, which a a focused physical tank, SS can tank BOTH physical and magical attacks.

    Here's why. In Greater WW form, a SS have 50% resistance to Fire, Cold, Acid and electric. Druid as a class, gets 10% each at level 19, 21 and 24. That adds up to 80%. While SS cannot wear armour, he CAN wear helmet. Pop a dragon helm or a helm of defence and you gets 100%! Without any complicating casting of many spells required! (potion of magic blocking and scroll of magic protection not counted)

    Granted, you cannot increase the magical resistance. No matter what spell you cast or gear you wear, it pre-set to 40% once you shift. But 40% is still better than most class (bar drow, high level monks and wizard slayers) who isn't heavily geared with magic resistance stuff.

    So with some spells like iron skin, flaming death, etc, your shapeshifter can now tank physical and magical damage like no others.

    Of course, it's a long wait until level 24, and a large part of the game your greater werewolf form are useless (my druid become a full time caster around the time I enter the underdark), but this is a style of play many people doesn't realised from the shapeshifter.

  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 851
    Of course it is a great tank. Use the mage enchant weapon spell and gives the SS +3 enchantment level for the duration.

  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 515
    Best tank bar none? Heh.. that's cute.

    Fighter/Clerics? Fighter/Mage? Blades? Swashbuckler?-yes really. Paladins/Blackguards? Rangers? Berserkers?
    Don't be ridiculous.. a few stoneskins gets ripped off easy in a few rounds.
    The protections given by Armor of Faith, Easthaven and Hardiness combined - which also lasts long makes stoneskins look like a cantrip.. also.. a Dwarven Def. can also use the Easthaven flail and combine with other strengths.

    40% magic resistance? For any char that wants MR, 40% is easily achieved by combining gear, Bhaal tear and Machine of Lum.. surpassing 40% is just as easy.

    I get it.. you liked it. But you can't say it's great when; everything it does - someone else does better by quite a stretch.

    It' a bad kit. I'm sorry about that, but it's true.
    Thac0 is bad, Phys.resist is bad, ac isn't great, low hp compared to most other physical tanks, low damage per hit, no whirlwind attack, no critical strike hla, no Hardiness, no Easthaven, no skills like Blur or PfMW..

    It doesn't tank well, it doesn't do damage well and it doesn't offer any other things like traps, special CC immunities or anything.. It's a druid with gear restrictions and a (BG1 exempt) fairly useless transformation.

    It offers a different playstyle to many other kits, but it does this at a cost of actual power.
    A Fighter/Cleric and Fighter/Druid are both comparable in their roles - divine casting with strong melee contribution.. and they just blow a WW so far out of the water that there's just no contest at all.

    I would argue that even a Priest of Helm and Priest of Lathander kitted single class cleric is better than a WW at everything, melee included. Level 1-4 exempt.

    Yes, you can complete the game with one. But it truly doesn't come out of a round of comparisins very well.. and that is why people don't like it.

    jsaving
  • lollerslollers Member Posts: 89
    Well, they'll never be able to do 40-50 damage attacks 10 times per round, or nuke the battlefield with a spell combo, so there is that...

  • ReklawenalpReklawenalp Member Posts: 3
    Khyron wrote: »
    Best tank bar none? Heh.. that's cute.

    Fighter/Clerics? Fighter/Mage? Blades? Swashbuckler?-yes really. Paladins/Blackguards? Rangers? Berserkers?
    Don't be ridiculous.. a few stoneskins gets ripped off easy in a few rounds.
    The protections given by Armor of Faith, Easthaven and Hardiness combined - which also lasts long makes stoneskins look like a cantrip.. also.. a Dwarven Def. can also use the Easthaven flail and combine with other strengths.

    40% magic resistance? For any char that wants MR, 40% is easily achieved by combining gear, Bhaal tear and Machine of Lum.. surpassing 40% is just as easy.

    I get it.. you liked it. But you can't say it's great when; everything it does - someone else does better by quite a stretch.

    It' a bad kit. I'm sorry about that, but it's true.
    Thac0 is bad, Phys.resist is bad, ac isn't great, low hp compared to most other physical tanks, low damage per hit, no whirlwind attack, no critical strike hla, no Hardiness, no Easthaven, no skills like Blur or PfMW..

    It doesn't tank well, it doesn't do damage well and it doesn't offer any other things like traps, special CC immunities or anything.. It's a druid with gear restrictions and a (BG1 exempt) fairly useless transformation.

    It offers a different playstyle to many other kits, but it does this at a cost of actual power.
    A Fighter/Cleric and Fighter/Druid are both comparable in their roles - divine casting with strong melee contribution.. and they just blow a WW so far out of the water that there's just no contest at all.

    I would argue that even a Priest of Helm and Priest of Lathander kitted single class cleric is better than a WW at everything, melee included. Level 1-4 exempt.

    Yes, you can complete the game with one. But it truly doesn't come out of a round of comparisins very well.. and that is why people don't like it.

    see? You're not reading it properly. MAGIC tank. MAGIC. Without any need to cast spells and only requires one helmet. All the above you mentioned requires spells AND gears to tank.

    ThacoBell
  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 515
    Yes.. of course, how could I miss it.

    Let's disqualify everything that isn't a Shapeshifter, perhaps then it'll look like a good option..

    For the record, Resist Magic HLA gives 40% MR, with no spells or gear.. all warriors have access to this.

    You're also forgetting Wizard Slayer who gets bonus MR..and which renders enemy casters obsolete with it's stacking spellcasting failure on each hit.. which is actually useful.

  • laszlolaszlolaszlolaszlo Member Posts: 1
    edited January 15
    The reason many gamers feel cheated (me included) about the Shapeshifter kit is either; 1. They had unrealistic expectations from the start, beliving the Shapeshafter would be as good of a warrior as the fighter, when in reality that would make it very broken. Or 2. They expected the kit to function exactly as the enemy werewolfs in the game.

    No matter how you feel about the kit, i think it's fair to say that it would have been a good idea to improve the werewolf form at later levels, just as the monk get bonuses to AC and fists.

    Balrog99semiticgoddess
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,738
    The reason many gamers feel cheated (me included) about the Shapeshifter kit is either; 1. They had unrealistic expectations from the start, beliving the Shapeshafter would be as good of a warrior as the fighter, when in reality that would make it very broken. Or 2. They expected the kit to function exactly as the enemy werewolfs in the game.

    No matter how you feel about the kit, i think it's fair to say that it would have been a good idea to improve the werewolf form at later levels, just as the monk get bonuses to AC and fists.

    There are mods that 'fix' Shapeshifter, Wizard Slayer, Jester (changing HLA - Improved Bard Song so it doesn't overwrite the jester song, you know, the ONLY reason you wanted to play a Jester in the first place!), and Beamdog added a familiar to Beastmaster. That implies to me that all of those kits left a little to be desired...

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,711
    The Expanded Classes mod includes a Shapeshifter fighter kit that scales better than the vanilla Shapeshifter class. It doesn't outclass other fighters in terms of damage output, but it does have magic resistance, high movement rate, elemental resistances, regeneration, above-average APR, and eventually gets some of the weapon immunities that people have complained the vanilla Shapeshifter druid kit lacks. The improved shapeshifting forms from SCS are another good antidote for folks who don't find vanilla shapeshifters appealing.

    Having played vanilla Shapeshifters since the pre-EE days, and having played almost every other class in the game, I can confirm that Shapeshifters are solid characters.

    Yes, a fighter does more damage than a Shapeshifter. But fighters can't cast druid spells. A Shapeshifter can.

    The utility of a character depends on playstyle, run restrictions, party composition, XP, item availability, mods, player knowledge, AND what the player wants out of a character to begin with. The question is not which character is best, because that question depends on the player. The question is what Shapeshifters can do, and the answer is "a lot."

    Saying "another class can do X better" is largely meaningless when every single class in the game can be unfavorably compared to another. Even an infamously overpowered build like a Berserker/Mage is worse at certain functions than other classes.

    If I told you that a rage mage is never going to have as many Wish spells as a sorcerer, or the damage output of a Kensai, or that it's never going to clean up SoD as easily as an Archer, or that an Inquisitor will always be a better dispeller, or that a Wizard Slayer/Druid will always be better at imposing spell failure, or that it will never be as low-maintenance as a Barbarian, or that it'll never be as safe as a Shadowdancer/Mage, or that its buffs will never be as hard-to-dispel as a Blade's, or that it will never be able to cast Chaotic Commands on a party member like a plain cleric could, it would hardly prove that the Berserker/Mage is a crummy character.

    Evaluate characters based on the full range of things they can or can't do, instead of just one or two data points, and Shapeshifters are good at a lot of different things.

    Grond0Adam_en_tium
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