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powergaming party (BG2 TOB,NPC and multiplayer)

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Comments

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,364

    I think you're biased towards your part of the argument. It's not like you have a steamroller vs. a tricycle here. Yes you have an early game advantage, but it doesn't take long for it to be overcome. Plus, my argument isn't a 6-man party of full duals or anything - it's a 4-man party. They will be powerful quite quickly, too.

    it would be really cool if you could record your powergaming party or at least make some screens and walkthrough so i can see it

    players are most of the time record just plain baldur's gate with npc so watching it for the 10th time is kind of boring ;d

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    I play far too infrequently for anything coherent. I'll post results of my testing here periodically as I've done before, but I basically play in 30-minute bits right now because I'm a little pressed for time. Not exactly good material to record...

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,364
    it is still some material to watch if you are just rescuing cats from trees i can skip that part but killing demons in Watcher's Keep could be good

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,364
    Faster Melanthium Planar Sphere mod final boss

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    edited July 2013
    Some updates on my testing!

    Archer

    They can do some amazing things in the early game! With their ridiculous THAC0 and access to cleric spells before my duals got there, they quickly became the dominating force in my party. Doesn't help that you have access to the best ranged weapons so laughably early (Light Crossbow of Speed, Tuigan Bow, Firetooth), it's almost TOO good... Even their APR limitations aren't as great as I feared: with the speed-xbow you get to 9/2 APR (with GM), with the Tuigan bow you even cap!

    The single biggest limitation, though, is the available ammo, and enemy resistances. It seems that there's several enemies either immune or HIGHLY resistant to missile damage, and it's quite annoying. And then there's the ToB enemies that need +4 or better to hit, restricting you entirely to Firetooth (or Gesen Bow) - which in turn hurts your APR. Additionally, even with the innate Archer damage bonus, you just don't seem to hit as hard as the melees. So weaker hits with lower APR = not very effective, sadly. That means you have to resort to using GWW to get your APR to max, though that's admittedly not as dramatic given your enormous THAC0 and subsequent diminishing returns with CS (which you would otherwise pick). Still, being restricted in damage output to a one-round duration spell is annoying, especially in fights where there's a lot going on - nothing like popping GWW only to have the enemy put up PfMW!

    Conclusion: Difficult choice. An Archer makes the early game significantly easier, but effectiveness drops off about midway through the game. They remain useful, but not as good as melee. The cleric spells are also most useful early on, and become mainly QoL additions later.


    Fighter/Thief

    I am pretty sure now that using multiclass in a full party setup is not very good. While very flexible, I found myself babysitting the F/T a LOT throughout the fights. They are squishy and not exactly spectacular in their damage output, except for backstabs. It's nice to have the option of just one-shotting certain enemies out of the fight (primarily clerics), but that ability is quickly overshadowed by a lack of power in regular combat. I suppose if you micro intensively and chug Invisibility Potions like mad, you can get a lot more mileage out of a thief - whether that actually saves you time in the end is debatable. I prefer characters that can stand on their own, and my F/T just seemed to be constantly in danger and/or the wrong spot.

    The more I try this out, the more convinced I am that you don't need thieves for powergaming. I haven't found a single relevant lock or trap that couldn't be handled otherwise, and while it sucks to lose the ~1m or so XP from popping all the traps/locks, you can live without it.

    The ONLY reason for a thief is Scarlet Ninja-to. To be fair, it is a quite compelling reason; the damage added by 1 APR is significant enough to offset the higher maintenance of a thief character. However, my solution to this dilemma is simple: make the party small enough that you don't need SNT. Which brings me to...

    Party Size

    6 is too big. Even if you hoard massive amounts of XP solo and then recruit everyone with higher levels, you will still lag behind significantly if you run lots of duals. This can be dealt with, of course, but I think it adds enough of a hassle that a smaller party comes out ahead in the end. More importantly, a smaller party can make multiclass very viable, instead of a burden. Add to that the aforementioned SNT problem, and overall XP/level advantage, and it's pretty clear that additional slots are somewhat redundant.
    That's not to say that a 6-person party doesn't end up with more damage at the end - it all depends what you mean by "end" and how you get there. What matters, really, is OVERALL efficiency. And while you likely want to focus on endgame simply because the hardest fights are there, you can't entirely dismiss the early and mid game. Spending an extra 2 hours in SoA isn't exactly worth it just to beat ToB 1 hour faster.

    There's a "sweet spot" somewhere, and right now I believe that spot is a party size of 4. Which 4, that's still up for debate. I still believe an Inquisitor to be powerful enough to always warrant inclusion, because the value of Dispel and True Sight is central to almost all the difficult fights from the very start to the very end (not to mention that Carsomyr is indeed quite powerful). Kensai->Mage, too, remains a fixture simply because you "need" two mages to be most effective in the SSC/Tac/Asc setup and K->M remains the best arcane caster.
    That leaves only the divine caster slot up for debate (as I'm trying to run thief-less for now). I am a big fan of the Barbarian->Cleric, but with a small party I do have to worry somewhat about early/mid game flexibility. I can't really afford a THIRD dual-class, I think, or I'll be stuck with too many fighters for too long, only to replace them by too many casters. Conveniently, I also want to test multi-class, so the choice is either F/C or R/C. Given that I have little experience with druid spells, I chose the R/C for this run; I am not sure it is actually better than F/C, especially since a smaller party will mean damage output is more important, but we will see. Tanking capabilities with Ironskins are an interesting factor that I'd like to explore more, as well as the effectiveness of some of the other spells (particularly in the early/mid game).

    So, this is the current test setup:

    Inquisitor
    Kensai 13->Mage
    Kensai 13->Mage
    Ranger/Cleric

    I hope to see considerable improvement in the early/mid game, and hopefully a lot of flexibility later on with more (and sooner) access to higher level abilities. I haven't been timing my playthroughs, but I think I have a general feel for how fast/slow I complete my games so I'll see if it's any better than my last, with 6 people.

    As always, I'll report back here once I've gotten some testing in!

    Klorox
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 648
    I love this thread!

    At what point does flexibility and convenience outweigh efficiency in powergaming? Does it ever do so?

    I realize that this may not be a powergaming argument, but the F/T just makes the majority of the game so much easier that in my book it is worth the babysitting. I love how flexible the character is. I love how they can use the weapon du jour that may not warrant devoting GM in another character, e.g. CF (I am physically incapable of playing SOA w/o CF!). As you pointed out, while they do not replace all of the XP that would otherwise go to other characters, they do add quite a bit.

    I grant you that I am not playing at the difficulty level that many of you are talking about with the mods you have added, so maybe this is all moot.

    One thing I can't get past: I just can't imagine how annoying it would be to play without trap removal!

    Again, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread and look forward to reading more insights!

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    I thought very much the same thing, that the convenience of a thief would far outweigh the downsides. But when you get to think about it, what do traps really do against you? 99% of containers you can safely skip because they hardly contain anything relevant (and those that do you know after a few playthroughs), and 99% of floor traps you can simply move around. There are very, very few unavoidable and repeating (i.e. firing more than once) traps in the game. Most of them are simply a bit of damage. There's only a few truly scary traps, namely petrification and Maze, that can force a reload if you happen to trigger them with CHARNAME - and that's about as bad as it gets. So simply cast Detect Traps with your cleric, and sidestep around the red plates!

    Locks are even easier. The ones you can bash through take but a cast of Knock, and happy looting. The most annoying part, really, is the lost XP. But in the grand scheme of things, I think you can live without a few hundred thousand extra. Just rest a bit and trigger random encounters in dungeons if you really want to make up for it.

    Pickpocketing is something I didn't mention, and it can't really be replaced; luckily (or sadly!) there is nothing worth pickpocketing whatsoever in BG2, at least nothing irreplacable. Not counting double-Ring of Gaxx or double-Ring of the Ram hax, of course, which are probably fixed in most modded games anyway.

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,364
    gax - familiar pickpocket

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    Oh you're right, familiars can do that can't they. Well, doesn't really change anything, nothing is worth pickpocketing. Maybe the Ring of Regeneration off Ribald if you're using ItemUpgrade mod? Very minor thing either way.

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,364
    i mean that you don't need thief for pickpocketing when familiar can do it

    Klorox
  • VishnuVishnu Member Posts: 66
    For a party of four, I'd run with :

    Kensai -> Mage
    Berserker -> Cleric
    F/M/T
    Sorcerer

    or

    Kensai -> Mage
    Cleric/Ranger
    Sorcerer
    Illusionist/Thief

    Maybe I'm just too in love with sorcerers.

    One without sorcerer :

    Fighter/Cleric
    Fighter/Druid
    Fighter/Mage
    Fighter/Thief

    Klorox
  • calerabcalerab Member Posts: 1
    I'm currently running through BGEE with the following party:

    Blackguard
    Ranger/Cleric
    Wizard Slayer (->thief in BG2EE)
    Kensai (->mage in BG2EE)
    Swashbuckler (->fighter in BG2EE)
    Archer

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    It's amazing how people still overrate Sorcerers... Their amazing solo-powers must be blinding indeed ;)

    I've never seen much use for a F/M/T outside of solo play. Too much of a sacrifice for unnecessary flexibility.

    Likewise, I'm not very fond of F/M either. You really don't want fighter levels past 13; getting fighter HLAs is nice enough and all, but they come at the cost of more spells, which is not a trade I like to make (not even for Critical Strike). F/C has a similar problem, with the added downside of a weak Turn Undead. It really is the fighter's fault for capping so early... nothing they gain past lvl 13 is significant in any way, at least until they get HLAs, which are nice, but not overly powerful when compared to the skills of the second class in the combination.

    I haven't really given Wizard Slayers their due, I feel. I've done some testing, but no full run yet - maybe I'm underrating them, but they seem pretty bad outside a dual-class combo and I'm not sure what to pair them with (I guess they can't be mages?). Another item for my to-do list, I suppose.

  • AnaximanderAnaximander Member Posts: 191
    Wizard Slayer dualed to Thief for "Use Any Item", and Wizard Slayer dualed to Mage ... these guys seem to break their ethos and likely gonna get slapped hard by the Dungeon Master and/or getting dirty looks from other players. But these options work perfectly well in the game engine, so powergame away ...

    The last party idea I had listed in this thread has arrived in bg2 and is nearing 700k each in xp. I really like the three wizard slayers so far :D

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    Wizard Slayer dual into mage does seem pretty ridiculous, though to be fair it's not exactly a huge difference, powergaming-wise, to any other Fighter->Mage. WS->T I suppose adds more power to the class, but in my opinion the real downside of Wizard Slayers has never been their inability to use magical items but rather the fact that they aren't Kensais (or Berserkers). Not sure how useful the WS interrupt is, really, for obvious reasons (refer to the WS thread for details) but I think I'll give them a shot in the future anyway just to see them in mid/late game action.

  • SchneidendSchneidend Member Posts: 3,190
    This thread seems redundant. I don't think I've ever seen a party on this entire website that didn't dual and multi-class the entire party and optimize it into oblivion.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    edited July 2013
    Just using duals and multis an optimal party does not make. There are LOTS of variations and combinations, the vast majority of which are far from optimal. People often decry duals and multis as "powergaming" characters, but the truth is it's incredibly easy to screw things up and end up with something not at all powerful.

  • VishnuVishnu Member Posts: 66

    It's amazing how people still overrate Sorcerers... Their amazing solo-powers must be blinding indeed ;)

    I hate the Vancian magic system with passion since my old days of AD&D gaming. A sorcerer is a beacon of hope in the long Vancian night...

    Klorox
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    It's true that it's convenient, but powergaming in itself implies so much meta-knowledge that you pretty much always have what you need. Still, I'd never touch mages again if I could only dual into Sorcerers...

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,364
    tansheron did you see my firkraag fights? that is how wizard slayer works he is not bad

  • cbarchukcbarchuk Member Posts: 322
    Geez my half-orc fighter/thief in my recent game was a beast. Had 5 APR unhasted and 10 with improved haste dual wielding spectral brand and scarlet ninja to. One of the most powerful characters I've played so far. So its odd to hear, that in your experience Tansheron, he was squishy and needed constant baby sitting. I know you guys are playing on a higher difficulty so I guess my experience can't really compare.

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,364
    fighter/thief with jan's armor + hardiness is like 65% resistant to damage with every single weapon/armor/item available for him this character is pretty strong i would say

    not like kensai/mages
    berserker/clerics
    or other are weak ;P

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    The thing is, you need to get there. Once you reach high levels yeah, it's no big deal. You control the fight so well that you can deal with the F/T well enough. But in early and mid game, it's a pain to have to manage one, since you have your other duals to deal with, too, and really want someone with a bit of beef to carry.

    Either way, it's not an insurmountable disadvantage - I'm simply questioning whether having a thief is even worth going through that to begin with. If it was, you could deal with the early/mid game issues; I don't think it is, though. As I stated above, traps and locks are no big hindrance, pickpocketing is irrelevant, and if you keep the party small then SNT is lost, too. That doesn't leave a whole lot of upside, and so it doesn't take a huge downside to make you question whether it's worth an inclusion.

    @zur312 I certainly get that WS can do nice things, but is Firkraag really something you need to be concerned with? I found him a fairly easy fight even pre-Underdark. How do you fare against other casters? Liches? Are bosses immune? What about the SCS/Tactics scripted spells?

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,364
    liches can't be touched unless you destroy the pfmw so wizard slayers are not that great
    boss that depend on what is boss is firkraag a boss?

    tatctics/scs scripted/contingencies are working fine

    i am unsure if demogorgon had any problems with wizard slayers

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    By "are working fine" you mean they fire and cast, or that the Wizard Slayer interrupt is working and stops them?

    I guess you're right, "boss" is a bit of a vague term. What of the actual caster bosses, Irenicus, Sendai, and so on?

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,364
    edited July 2013
    haven't left main city+location's yet dunno about irenicus and sendai

    interrupted dragons and large demons even liches but this was not fully because only 1-2 hits before contingencies get off with pfmw
    for not liches mages they are great mages can't do jack

    so i had easier time fighting some enemies but liches were still a problem early game that is why i would think really small party with faster progression

  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 810

    This thread seems redundant. I don't think I've ever seen a party on this entire website that didn't dual and multi-class the entire party and optimize it into oblivion.

    That's because one character with more than one class is better than a single classed character. There are exceptions, like Paladins, Sorcerers, and some kits (although dual classing with a kit is great).
    zur312 said:

    liches can't be touched unless you destroy the pfmw so wizard slayers are not that great
    boss that depend on what is boss is firkraag a boss?

    tatctics/scs scripted/contingencies are working fine

    i am unsure if demogorgon had any problems with wizard slayers

    I always keep non-magical weapons as backups in BG2 to use when somebody casts PfMW. Not sure if this works with a Lich though, as they probably can only be hit by magical weapons.

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,364
    "probably can only be hit by magical weapons. "
    this is true

    Klorox
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    Using non-magical weapons is a good strategy for some games, but most "smart" mages will put up so many layers of Stoneskin in addition that it's a bit of a moot thing. The one notable exception is Firetooth with non-magical bolts, as it will still deliver its bonus fire damage and pierce Stoneskin.

    Additionally, as you mentioned, some enemies just can't be hit by non-magical weapons (or weakly enchanted ones) to begin with, like Liches, some bosses, etc.

    Klorox
  • AnaximanderAnaximander Member Posts: 191
    edited July 2013
    Sitting at 3.7 mil xp per char just outside the door of the demi lich in Watcher's Keep. 6 player party no issues there, I recommend the throne card yes ;D Charname is 3-400,000ish xp from using Carsomyr. Damn that dungeon is sooo sweet! Irenicus is gonna get his ugly face torn off!

    Klorox
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