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Short bows or crossbows for a solo archer?

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  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,738
    Short bows are better because of Gesen and Tuigan. Tuigan's extra shot is killer with the Archer abilities and you have Gesen for those pesky immune bosses.

    Blackraven
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,396
    You don't have the Gesen bow until after the underdark. When you do, the massively increased damage and automatic elemental portion makes it worthwhile even when you aren't using the high-enchantment special ammo.

    Meanwhile, you can visit Watcher's Keep and buy Firetooth as soon as you have the gold.

    And then there's special ammo. Dispelling arrows can be remarkably useful. Bolts of lightning are great for dealing lots of damage. Fire and acid arrows can put down trolls and disrupt spellcasters even through stoneskins (and do lots of damage in BG1). Arrows and bolts of biting can poison mages for ongoing spell disruption; the latter are far more common. Kuo-toa bolts ... that's a save or stun on every attack. Ranged Celestial Fury, except that they have a low (+1) enchantment level and can be depleted.
    And when you get the ultimate endgame easter egg, the special bolts from that are unbeatable.

    Both have their good points. I'd go with bows in BG1 unless you have enough other archers in the party, but either way works in BG2.

    Non-warrior archers are much more likely to want to use bows, because the extra attack means more to them. I frequently give Jan a point in shortbows when I use him, ditching the crossbow stuff.

    Blackraven
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,738
    jmerry wrote: »
    You don't have the Gesen bow until after the underdark. When you do, the massively increased damage and automatic elemental portion makes it worthwhile even when you aren't using the high-enchantment special ammo.

    Meanwhile, you can visit Watcher's Keep and buy Firetooth as soon as you have the gold.

    And then there's special ammo. Dispelling arrows can be remarkably useful. Bolts of lightning are great for dealing lots of damage. Fire and acid arrows can put down trolls and disrupt spellcasters even through stoneskins (and do lots of damage in BG1). Arrows and bolts of biting can poison mages for ongoing spell disruption; the latter are far more common. Kuo-toa bolts ... that's a save or stun on every attack. Ranged Celestial Fury, except that they have a low (+1) enchantment level and can be depleted.
    And when you get the ultimate endgame easter egg, the special bolts from that are unbeatable.

    Both have their good points. I'd go with bows in BG1 unless you have enough other archers in the party, but either way works in BG2.

    Non-warrior archers are much more likely to want to use bows, because the extra attack means more to them. I frequently give Jan a point in shortbows when I use him, ditching the crossbow stuff.

    Damn, now you make me want to start a new run using two archers; one specializing in shortbows and one in crossbows. Yet another restart. 😒

    Blackraven
  • iosfrustrationiosfrustration Member Posts: 153
    edited December 2020
    As a single class archer you’ll have (edit)enough proficiency for both, especially without the need to sink points into 2 weapon fighting.

    Assuming you get 6 right out of the gate my points distribution would be 4 into crossbow and 2 into shortbow. From there I would max out crossbow before starting on shortbow.

    Fire tooth is available pretty much immediately for all your crossbow needs, and that sweet 5th proficiency point is not far away either

    Tiguan doesn’t really need grand mastery, the additional +1 APR for short bows in general, combined with +1 APR on the bow means you’ll be pumping out a lot of arrows early in the game.

    By the time you get Gesen’s you’ll have maxed crossbows long ago and should be closing in on grand mastery in shortbows just as you need to compensate for losing the APR from Tiguan.

    Question about the archer kit. With ranger as the base class you get an exception on proficiency to allow grandmastery in bows. But because the base class is ranger, and not fighter, does that 5th pip give the 1/2 APR bonus too?

    Post edited by iosfrustration on
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,396
    Yes, all warrior classes get the APR benefits of specialization and grandmastery, whether they can normally achieve the latter or not.

    iosfrustrationBalrog99Pokota
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,738
    edited December 2020
    Archers can also put two pips in darts and slings. They get the missile bonuses for them too. They also get the Archer bonuses for throwing daggers and axes but can only put one pip in them. They can be a one-man missiles of death launcher if played right! I like to start with 2 pips in shortbows, one in axe and one in daggers for BGEE starts and work my way to grandmaster in shortbows for BG2EE (Tuigan is an early grab and is just better than Firetooth imho).

    Edit: Axe pip is for Azureedge, btw. Only an Undead Hunter can hit as well with that awesome weapon!

    BlackravenStummvonBordwehriosfrustrationGrond0
  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 515
    Without cheats, without EE-keeping thousands of magical arrows and playing the game unmodden.. I would use the firetooth crossbow as my bread and butter weapon.. and possibly Tuigan for special encounters.

    The extra attacks from Tuigan aren't enough to off-set the fact that firetooth just spits out death without maintenance at all.. it even becomes +5, which is quite unique for a ranged weapon and thus can hit anything.
    Tuigan can hit whatever the arrows you've got let's it hit.. and then you need to organize and carry along a bazillion arrows and prioritize which you use and in which situation.

    Gesen? I don't know.. i hate that bow. Each hit is fairly low damage and the projectile speed is just stupid.. i guess it's good but it annoys me a lot.

    iosfrustration
  • BracchusBracchus Member Posts: 21
    The calculations were actually done here: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/63666/a-comparison-of-ranged-attackers-in-bg2/p1.

    About a month ago a twitch/YT streamer (the daveaornlol dude who does the all the BG spell guide videos) over on reddit's BG sub disputed the calculations that were done in that post and says he's spotted errors in them. His math ended up being Firetooth > Gesen and Tuigan using the same various conditions in the hands of an Archer. Rather than combing through the entire post I'll quote his 2 posts that deal with this topic:
    Strange, my data doesn't show that at all, in fact gesens is regularly outperformed by firetooth (xbow not dagger). I'm currently using SCS ascension and a few components from the tweak pack (none of which should be affecting range damage) and gesens is definitely the weaker of the two (also tuigan is nowhere near firetooth or gesen and yet he claims it's also better than firetooth just because of the added apr which is obviously fantastic with archer bonus and critical strike) I'll go double check at some point, but I was regularly hitting for upper 30s damage with firetooth and critting in the 70s on my archer and I wasn't even in late ToB yet.

    I just got on a level 15 archer in the underdark, I'm hitting for on average 32 damage + 2 fire damage per shot. I'm using kuo tuon bolts which hit for 2d6 (4 more top end and 1 more base than lightning) If he's assuming bolts of lightning are going to always fail, then he's not using the right ammunition and it's a disingenuous comparison. If we add an extra 5 damage (which I would have at the xp he's talking about) and popped GWW (if for whatever reason I was so inclined) I would be dealing 370 physical damage + 20 fire damage per round pre mitigation.

    390 dpr assuming no resistance to fire, otherwise 370 - Archer using firetooth +4 kuo tuoan bolts 360 DPR - Cleric>Fighter w/ Erinne Sling +5 355 DPR - Kensai w/ Fire Tooth +3

    I didn't even have crossbow +5 in my game, so in actuality that goes up by another 10 damage further putting the archer ahead. Obviously since he was quite off on his calculation for archer damage it's safe to say he's quite off on his calculation of kensai damage so I'll have to check that at some point.

    Just realized I'm also not using gauntlets atm so that makes the number go up by an extra 20 for GWW.

    I'm not sure if he forgot to equip the ammunition or something (that does make archer damage go way down) but I can't yet account for why his archer is not doing nearly as much damage as mine.

    and
    There isn't anything that should affect ranged damage in my mods so it's definitely not a modding issue. I think he just forgot to equip ammunition and is using the base value of firetooth.

    I considered apr that's what I was talking about, is that even WITH the additional APR firetooth still pulls ahead because it's base damage is so damn high and multiplies with actual ammunition (which it shouldn't but it always has ever since the original bg2)

    My data is showing firetooth being ahead in every situation, haste, imp haste, and GWW. At no point is gesen or tuigan competing with firetooth using kuo tuon bolts. I mean they're not doing NOTHING, they're just not doing as much.

    I don't use GWW ever, it's a pretty crappy ability when you consider that even solo you have multiple toys that can give you imp haste, so I'm not considering that when I'm saying firetooth is superior, aside from pointing out the very obvious discrepancy in the numbers he posted for GWW. Unless you're talking about kai and called shot which I still wouldn't consider, because if you're insisting on using an ability to boost your damage it should be critical strike, not kai or CS.

    The BEST comparison we can make for my numbers vs his is comparing the damage output during GWW because we know mods don't affect ranged damage. With 10 apr I'm doing a hell of a lot more damage than he is using kuo toan bolts, and im STILL doing more even if I equip the same bolts hes using but im also almost 15 levels underneath him. The only thing I can think of that would make sense here is that he forgot to equip the ammunition and is using the base value of firetooth. I'll make a kensai at some point and see where the numbers line up

    He did mention in another post that he may get around to doing a full write up for his stream at some point. I found the discussion interesting because everyone treats that post you link as gospel and this guy seems to have the "cred" to be able to argue it, and also nobody has ever seriously challenged those numbers until now

  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,482
    The calculations were actually done here: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/63666/a-comparison-of-ranged-attackers-in-bg2/p1.

    Summarizing:

    1) Gesen and Firetooth should be used with separate ammunition because they stack their bonuses onto them (some people may consider this cheating, but it's been in there since the original release).

    Is that confirmed? I think I remember reading somewhere that using ammunition makes it use the ammo's enchantment, so actually it's no longer +4 but less, if you use, let's say, +3 arrows? But I don't know if it was only concerning damage, or the critters that it can hit, or if my fuzzy memory is completely wrong.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,396
    Damage stacks, enchantment uses the ammunition's value. And sometimes that lower enchantment is a boon, like when you want to hit a mage with PfMW up and deal guaranteed elemental damage.

    Grond0
  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 515
    While we're on the topic of the Gesen.. does anyone know of a mod that speeds up it's standard projectile?

    For some reason it travels really slow compared to all other ranged weapons and it's just really, really annoying. It's probably my imagination, but it feels like it's slower to attack because of it.. certainly slower to damage it's target on first shot to get that interrupt in.

  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 851
    The problem is the oversight of arrows at all. Because the bows use the ammo-s enchantment and there isnt any +4 ammo and only a few +3 ammos, the only options is the automated enchanted arrows from gesen, firetooth etc. Yes they rushed TOB and nobody cares ranged combat. I would rather use the pnp method of using the enchantment level of the bow rather than the ammos.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,396
    You can buy +3 ammunition in ToB, and that makes the supply effectively infinite at that point. The problem is that the only way to get +3 ammunition at all in SoA is to find it inside Watcher's Keep. That's a limited supply.

    But ... the need for high enchantment values is overblown. There really aren't all that many enemies that need more than +2. And the number that need +4 to hit is downright tiny.

    Still, I'd make +3 ammo available in SoA. Start finding it in chapter 4, have a merchant selling it in chapter 6, and maybe also chapter 5. Then have +4 ammo available in ToB; there are +4 arrows and bolts already in the game files for Black Pits 2.

  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 851
    It is fine anyway in vanilla. I did an archer run with firetooth crossbow and was an easy run :)

  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 8,092
    What about longbows? Get a nice unlimited ammo longbow from a mod. Then use longbows.

  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 765
    Tresset wrote: »
    What about longbows? Get a nice unlimited ammo longbow from a mod. Then use longbows.
    What about console players forced to play Vanilla due to platform restrictions?

  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 8,092
    Pokota wrote: »
    Tresset wrote: »
    What about longbows? Get a nice unlimited ammo longbow from a mod. Then use longbows.
    What about console players forced to play Vanilla due to platform restrictions?

    *Shrug* If they wanted to mod their games they should have gotten a PC version? Not sure what your point is, really... The entire rest of this thread has plenty of info that is relevant for console players. Modders like me aren't going to stop making mods just because some people can't use them...

  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 851
    Tresset wrote: »
    What about longbows? Get a nice unlimited ammo longbow from a mod. Then use longbows.

    There is a fantastic mod in this forum that use the bows enchantment level rather than the ammos.

    Anyway, the newer version of wizard enchant weapon spell give us unlimited +3 enchantment arrows or any weapons under the duration of the spell :)

  • BracchusBracchus Member Posts: 21
    edited January 9
    Khyron wrote: »
    While we're on the topic of the Gesen.. does anyone know of a mod that speeds up it's standard projectile?

    For some reason it travels really slow compared to all other ranged weapons and it's just really, really annoying. It's probably my imagination, but it feels like it's slower to attack because of it.. certainly slower to damage it's target on first shot to get that interrupt in.

    Only one I've ever seen that specifically changes the animation also changes Gesen into a Longbow:
    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/33259/a-little-mod-that-converts-gesen-bow-to-a-longbow
    Danacm wrote: »
    Tresset wrote: »
    What about longbows? Get a nice unlimited ammo longbow from a mod. Then use longbows.

    There is a fantastic mod in this forum that use the bows enchantment level rather than the ammos.

    Anyway, the newer version of wizard enchant weapon spell give us unlimited +3 enchantment arrows or any weapons under the duration of the spell :)

    The lazy workaround for me was to simply set the enchantment level of Quiver of Plenty to 4 in NearInfinity. Allows you to hit any enemy without increasing the damage above what it's meant to be, and also prevents you from abusing specialty arrows on top of the raised enchantment because you have to have the quiver equipped as your ammo when fighting things like adamantium golems, liches etc.

    Grond0PokotaStummvonBordwehr
  • MendicusMendicus Member Posts: 3
    edited January 17
    An archer ends up with crazy low thaco, very early, so even with 1 pip in some weapons you will hit your enemy every time. Assuming you rolled a pc with 18+ strength, just put 1 or 2 pips in slings as a secondary weapon for those few encounters you can’t use Tuigan bow. By the time its needed more than once in a blue moon, you will also have greater whirlwind, which means you can just pull out the +5 sling with its own ammo and do 30 damage per hit at 10apr, and when done with that enemy you can just put it away again. It’s better to do this than A: play most of the game with a weapon you don’t like, just because 5 enemies in the game need it, B: playing a class you don’t like just because they can use a +5 flail.

    Archer with 5 pips in short bow for Tuigan and acid arrows for 95% of the game, 1 pip in a melee weapon you can duel wield for when you get surrounded, 2 pips in Slings for those rare enemies that need +5. Vhailors helm for OP damage output or if you want to nail two mages to the wall at once. Protection from magic scrolls and undead scrolls for immunity to some powerful enemies (only use scrolls from your clone so you don’t lose them).

    If that’s not enough, then start again with a fighter/mage multi and just become immune to all damage and hack everything to bits with flail of ages belm.

    Grond0
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