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Shapeshifter, can it be viable?

I think I've brought this up before so I'm bringing it up again: how can we make shapeshifter something useful in BG? Specifically I want to focus on the shapeshifter itself but perhaps the fixes made for the shapeshifter could be helpful to the avenger and the base druid.

elminster

Comments

  • CathiusCathius Member Posts: 18
    I think the shapeshifter I somewhat viable. I mean, it can be done sure.
    To be quite honest, I'm not sure how they changed the shapeshifter here in bgee, but back in the normal game they were very strong early, because their forms are pretty beefy. Problem is that they remain the same throughout the entire game and they feel kinda lackluster towards the end. Unfortunately.

  • Dragonfolk2000Dragonfolk2000 Member Posts: 347
    I would like to see the forms themselves be buffed up. If that is an issue then the forms should be given a duration (so we would actually have a reason to have multiple uses per day). I read somewhere that the two werewolf shapes are supposed to have better abilities but never received them in game. I would also like to see a HLA werewolf shape (some kind of werewolf lord or something) that is only available to a Shapeshifter if they reached the determined level for HLA.

    For shapeshifting I would also like to see the ability to cast spells while shapeshifted added in. As mentioned before, if these buffs are too powerful then make there be an actual duration for the shapeshifting instead of it lasting forever (and as a result make us have a need for more daily uses).

    If this were 3.5 I'd suggest that shapeshifting would add to the druid's scores instead of setting them at an actual number but 2nd edition has a built in cap for ability scores and this might make shapeshifting 'too' powerful.

    elminster
  • ZanathKariashiZanathKariashi Member Posts: 2,867
    They're already viable...hell you can solo with them, that alone confirms that.

    Are they going to be as useful as some other class? F no, they're a druid, they're utterly a waste of space as implemented, and their few unique spells in no way compensate for what you lose when bringing one, vs bringing a cleric, a mage, or even a thief...or god forbid some combination of the aforementioned.

    Are they viable in a party, sure. Not in anyway as good as a cleric, but some of their higher level spells are pretty useful (just their elemental summons and insect swarms, though some of their 7th level spells can kinda of sort of pretend to be certain mage spells)..and they can at least heal a little bit....and cast some less effective versions of other spells.


    The biggest issue was that they REALLY didn't think things through when making the shapeshifter. If anything, they should've doubled their daily transformations and gave them the avenger shapeshifts (the avenger is already over-buffed by getting some mage spells, where as the PnP version just gets a bonus weapon proficiency at creation and a reaction penalty when dealing with non-druids....and NOTHING else, over a basic druid)

  • Dragonfolk2000Dragonfolk2000 Member Posts: 347
    edited August 2013

    They're already viable...hell you can solo with them, that alone confirms that.

    You can solo the game with any class so that doesn't mean much.

    Problem lies with how limited their shapeshifting is. You can't cast spells and the forms do not improve as you level up. The werewolf shapes themselves lack some of the features that they were supposed to get, making them less useful than they could be. Being unable to cast spells while shapeshifted wouldn't be as bad if the forms themselves were able to make the druid a capable (or slightly less than) fighter. I can't exactly put proficiency points into my werewolf (or other shape's) attacks so better racial features (the ones we should have gotten) would compensate for that. Also, there's the fact that the werewolf's claw attacks need some kind of ability to overcome damage reduction.

    I also still say that HLA werewolf shape exclusive to the shapeshifter would be great but it appears that giving a specific kit a HLA isn't how the system works.

  • blackchimesblackchimes Member Posts: 323
    1. Fix the shapeshifting so that it adds stats, not sets them.
    2. Give him more Greater Werewolf shifts - i.e. one additional shift every 5 lavels above level 13.

  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    The way shapeshifting works in the engine is that it draws from another creature file and applies that creature's Strength and Dexterity scores, as well as damage resistances, any other abilities and effects, etc.

    So from a modder's perspective, if you want to beef up the shapeshifter all you have to do is beef up the relevant .cre files.

    I know that recently I discovered the Black Bear is slightly weaker than the Brown Bear, in all respects.

  • Dragonfolk2000Dragonfolk2000 Member Posts: 347
    Dee said:

    The way shapeshifting works in the engine is that it draws from another creature file and applies that creature's Strength and Dexterity scores, as well as damage resistances, any other abilities and effects, etc.

    So from a modder's perspective, if you want to beef up the shapeshifter all you have to do is beef up the relevant .cre files.

    I know that recently I discovered the Black Bear is slightly weaker than the Brown Bear, in all respects.

    Could we then potentially create a new creature file and redirect a shapeshifting ability towards that instead?

  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    You certainly could. That's pretty much what the current forms do.

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,303
    edited August 2013
    Dee said:


    I know that recently I discovered the Black Bear is slightly weaker than the Brown Bear, in all respects.

    Really? I always thought they were the same. The same STR, DEX, CON, HP, APR, etc. Just a different colour.

    Edit: I'll be darned you are right.

    Post edited by elminster on
    syllog
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 8,226
    I recently discovered that the shapeshifter werewolf forms are wielding the wrong weapons.

    Raduziel
  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,838
    If you're using the BG2 TweakPack, it includes a Shapeshifter Rebalancing component. It makes the Werewolf and Greater Werewolf forms give their proper bonuses and allows spellcasting while shapeshifted. The Greater Werewolf is extremely powerful.

    How powerful you ask?

    I usually make Cernd my party tank.

    Yeah thats right. I just said that. Look again if you want; you're not seeing things.

    Have a look at the table here for the bonuses you're supposed to get versus the ones you actually received.
    http://www.gibberlings3.net/readmes/readme-bg2tweaks.html

    booinyoureyesBlackravenlolien
  • MilesBeyondMilesBeyond Member Posts: 324
    Flashburn said:

    If you're using the BG2 TweakPack, it includes a Shapeshifter Rebalancing component. It makes the Werewolf and Greater Werewolf forms give their proper bonuses and allows spellcasting while shapeshifted. The Greater Werewolf is extremely powerful.

    How powerful you ask?

    I usually make Cernd my party tank.

    Yeah thats right. I just said that. Look again if you want; you're not seeing things.

    Have a look at the table here for the bonuses you're supposed to get versus the ones you actually received.
    http://www.gibberlings3.net/readmes/readme-bg2tweaks.html

    Yeah, the tweak pack rebalancing is pretty awesome. It does two things. First, it improves the werewolf forms (note: It doesn't really improve the forms so much as it implements them the way they were supposed to be. The Greater Werewolf form, specifically, was far weaker than the actual Greater Werewolves that you'd fight in-game). Second, and far more importantly, using your shapeshift ability now creates a Werewolf Token. Equipping this token as a weapon turns you into the respective type of Werewolf, removing it turns you back. The reason why Shapeshifters were so awful was that you were stuck between either a Druid or a Werewolf - and then, the Druid couldn't wear armour, and the Werewolf had no casting capabilities and wasn't strong enough of a fighter to be worth it otherwise. Now you can swap back and forth between Werewolf and Druid at will. Get some Ironskins and Righteous Magic going on, turn into Werewolf form, tear it up, go back into Druid form to Heal someone or to cast some offensive spells, then swap back into Werewolf.


    The Greater Werewolf is a bit too powerful now. Personally I think it would be better if it were available at level 14 rather than 13. Still, though, it's now a very viable kit, and while powerful, it's not quite as cheesy as Kensai->Mage, or heck, even Inquisitor.


    It also adds in a new Werewolf form, Lesser Werewolf, which is a much weaker version mostly in the game to make it a non-cheesy option for BG1.

    Fredjo
  • Dragonfolk2000Dragonfolk2000 Member Posts: 347
    Flashburn said:

    If you're using the BG2 TweakPack, it includes a Shapeshifter Rebalancing component. It makes the Werewolf and Greater Werewolf forms give their proper bonuses and allows spellcasting while shapeshifted. The Greater Werewolf is extremely powerful.

    How powerful you ask?

    I usually make Cernd my party tank.

    Yeah thats right. I just said that. Look again if you want; you're not seeing things.

    Have a look at the table here for the bonuses you're supposed to get versus the ones you actually received.
    http://www.gibberlings3.net/readmes/readme-bg2tweaks.html

    I'm kinda waiting to see if the devs are going to do something about it or not. I'm really hoping they say something first instead of me waiting until they announce "No more updates" or something like that.

    And yes, I love that particular tweak.

  • mylegbigmylegbig Member Posts: 292
    I prefer the improved shapeshifting from scs. Basically the same thing, but the greater werewolf's power was toned down.

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,366
    shapeshifter is the most bugged class

    can achieve easily 25% physical damage redeuction
    75% all res+
    75% magic damage reduction
    5-10 apr
    40~dmg per hit non critical
    hits like a truck
    +all good druidic spells while doing so

    how this is not viable?

  • MikaelMikael Member Posts: 33
    I just tried improved shapeshifting from scs, but I only received the lesser werewolf form. Ain't I supposed to get the normal one at level 7?

  • blackchimesblackchimes Member Posts: 323
    zur312 said:

    shapeshifter is the most bugged class

    can achieve easily 25% physical damage redeuction
    75% all res+
    75% magic damage reduction
    5-10 apr
    40~dmg per hit non critical
    hits like a truck
    +all good druidic spells while doing so

    how this is not viable?

    Because you're using the Rebalanced Shapeshifter mod from the BG2 Tweaks pack. And probably some Tactics-specific magical items too. 5+ APR? Really?

    Werewolf, vanilla BG2 "bonuses":
    - STR/DEX/CON set to 19/16/15
    - Magic resistance set to 20%
    - 1d6 piercing damage paw
    - 2 attacks per round

    Greater Werewolf, vanilla BG2 "bonuses":
    - STR/DEX/CON set to 21/20/25
    - Elemental resistance set to 50%
    - Magic resistance set to 40%
    - 1d6 piercing damage paw
    - paw is a +2 weapon
    - 3 attacks per round

    Not very impressive is it? A level 1 Fighter Half-Orc is comparable with a Werewolf, and you can become a Greater Werewolf only once per day. Imagine having to rest after every fight as a Fighter.

    Vanilla Shapeshifter becomes effectively obsolete at the beginning of BG2, the BG2 Tweak Pack Shapeshifter is just crazy overpowered and only really works in ToB. Overhaul needs to scale the Werewolf transformations with level like they did with the Totemic Druid's summons.

    booinyoureyes
  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,366

    zur312 said:

    shapeshifter is the most bugged class

    can achieve easily 25% physical damage redeuction
    75% all res+
    75% magic damage reduction
    5-10 apr
    40~dmg per hit non critical
    hits like a truck
    +all good druidic spells while doing so

    how this is not viable?

    Because you're using the Rebalanced Shapeshifter mod from the BG2 Tweaks pack. And probably some Tactics-specific magical items too. 5+ APR? Really?

    Werewolf, vanilla BG2 "bonuses":
    - STR/DEX/CON set to 19/16/15
    - Magic resistance set to 20%
    - 1d6 piercing damage paw
    - 2 attacks per round

    Greater Werewolf, vanilla BG2 "bonuses":
    - STR/DEX/CON set to 21/20/25
    - Elemental resistance set to 50%
    - Magic resistance set to 40%
    - 1d6 piercing damage paw
    - paw is a +2 weapon
    - 3 attacks per round

    Not very impressive is it? A level 1 Fighter Half-Orc is comparable with a Werewolf, and you can become a Greater Werewolf only once per day. Imagine having to rest after every fight as a Fighter.

    Vanilla Shapeshifter becomes effectively obsolete at the beginning of BG2, the BG2 Tweak Pack Shapeshifter is just crazy overpowered and only really works in ToB. Overhaul needs to scale the Werewolf transformations with level like they did with the Totemic Druid's summons.
    shapeshifter->fighter with original staff of ram from saladrex

    my shapeshifter was tanking shadalar and other liches alone without buffs he coulnd't do damage do to pfmw but who cares liches run out of spells

    if someone would remove every shapeshifter bug it would be really nerfed class but for now there are few and shapeshifter is a beast

  • ZanathKariashiZanathKariashi Member Posts: 2,867
    That isn't a shapeshifter though....that's a fighter who should've just went with F/C or F/M instead for much more benefit and a HELL of a lot less downtime. Assuming a 13 dual, that's roughly 40% more downtime then a 13 dual F/M or F/C would've had. And you don't even benefit from it. The shapeshifter adds nothing to a fighter because it completely over-rights your stats and equipped weapon and loses any benefit from specialization while transformed. You are literally making yourself weaker then a plain fighter by staying in GWW form. And druid spells are worthless, aside from their elemental summons, or situationally useful with their insect swarms. Ironskins is a godawful spell that is utterly inferior to stoneskin and realistically can only be cast once per battle, as a pre-battle buff.

    A even 9 dual fighter/Druid is utterly superior (largely due to not implementing proper restrictions..but i digress). And with basically 0 downtime, due to hitting 10 at 120,000 xp.

    It doesn't change the fact at all that their werewolf melee hits as +2...and while +2 is actually pretty adequate for most situations (75-80% roughly of enemies in the game, in fact), it's useless vs truly strong enemies and doesn't have an associated proficiency so you can't benefit from specialization. And the moment you drop out of GWW form, you're a fighter with no real advantages that can't wear armor, and is completely inferior to a cleric or mage.


    Does this change my opinion on their viability? NO. They're still perfectly capable as a single class to beat the game and are actually slightly more effective then a vanilla druid due to no being completely useless when out of spells and even though they can't damage worth a crap, they are fairly tough and decent tanks. They just aren't a min/maxed powerhouse for munchkins to use.

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,366
    no

    i am talking about bugged shapeshifter with dispelled claws
    he is better than all druids and there is no downtime unless your druid dies and you have to revive him becaues he can be still in GW form when leveling fighter

    gains 3 apr
    many resists
    AC
    other bugged things like valygar's armor

  • ZanianZanian Member Posts: 329
    @zur312 Going out of your way to exploit an error in the game engine, specific to a class, doesn't classify that class as overpowered. Play it as it was supposed to be played, and then you'll see how useless it is.

    The shapeshifter should be buffed (not tweakpack-buffed, but somewhere inbetween), and the possible exploits fixed.

    MilesBeyondmylegbigbooinyoureyes
  • MilesBeyondMilesBeyond Member Posts: 324
    Zanian said:

    @zur312 Going out of your way to exploit an error in the game engine, specific to a class, doesn't classify that class as overpowered. Play it as it was supposed to be played, and then you'll see how useless it is.

    The shapeshifter should be buffed (not tweakpack-buffed, but somewhere inbetween), and the possible exploits fixed.

    Seriously. Back when there was the potion exploit you could use that to have your Fighters use wands. Does that make Fighters overpowered?

    Vanilla Shapeshifters have only a brief window where they're viable. Before long, an F/D like Jaheira will be a stronger fighter without having to sacrifice any casting ability while doing so.

    And like I said, lack of casting ability is ultimately the reason why Shapeshifters suck. You can't cast spells when you're shapeshifted.

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,366
    edited August 2013
    Zanian said:

    @zur312 Going out of your way to exploit an error in the game engine, specific to a class, doesn't classify that class as overpowered. Play it as it was supposed to be played, and then you'll see how useless it is.

    The shapeshifter should be buffed (not tweakpack-buffed, but somewhere inbetween), and the possible exploits fixed.

    by using this exploit or bug i am buffing druid while not going for the "UBER OP" modded version i think it is very OK when you have 3x horrid wiltig on mages etc. druids are not godly characters

    booinyoureyeselminster
  • MilesBeyondMilesBeyond Member Posts: 324
    zur312 said:

    Zanian said:

    @zur312 Going out of your way to exploit an error in the game engine, specific to a class, doesn't classify that class as overpowered. Play it as it was supposed to be played, and then you'll see how useless it is.

    The shapeshifter should be buffed (not tweakpack-buffed, but somewhere inbetween), and the possible exploits fixed.

    by using this exploit or bug i am buffing druid while not going for the "UBER OP" modded version i think it is very OK when you have 3x horrid wiltig on mages etc. druids are not godly characters


    Yeah but fundamentally your argument is "This class is viable if you break the game" which is a worthless statement because it's true of any class. I could beat ToB with a level 1 Monk if I ctrl-y everything. The question is, can Shapeshifter be viable without breaking the game? Unmodded, no.


    Now, if you were to propose, for example, that we mod the game so that the exploited GW would become the normal GW, that would be more constructive.

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,366
  • blackchimesblackchimes Member Posts: 323

    Does this change my opinion on their viability? NO. They're still perfectly capable as a single class to beat the game

    Any class is capable of beating the game solo, even Wizard Slayer. Is this really the criteria we want to judge a class by?

  • ZanathKariashiZanathKariashi Member Posts: 2,867
    edited August 2013
    @blackchimes
    Yup....


    Are they op? No...but anything lacking arcane magic is inferior to anything with arcane magic, so that point is rather moot and renders every class that doesn't include Mage (or a specialist title) or bard somewhere in it's class title worthless from a powergaming stand point.

    Clerics are a close 2nd though, lacking the sheer gamebreaking ridiculousness but still way more powerful then any non-spellcaster can ever hope to be.

    Druids unfortunately though, lack pretty much all the spells that make a cleric good. And only their summoning spells are decent but are either situational or require micromanagement to ensure they stay alive long enough to deal gobs of damage. And due to being heavily loaded towards the 5-7 levels, you just don't get enough slots to go around (especially since Quest slots weren't implemented, forcing you to waste 7th slots on them, where as you should've had, by lvl 30 4 slots just for HL spells (same for clerics and mages too)...where as the cleric's good spells are spread pretty evenly from 1-7.

    Druids are supposed to be similar to bards, jacks of all trades at higher levels, but less effective in straight up magic asskicking like a Mage or Cleric, and while they can fight passably well (technically better then a thief in situations where backstabbing is crap (which in PnP, is 95% of time due to all the restrictions on when you're allowed to throw a backstab). Unfortunately, as implemented, they can't take advantage of any of that and are left with just mediocre spell-casting until very high levels, and still end up with a ton of wasted spell slots, where as mage/cleric slots under 4 remain useful through out the saga.

    The shapeshifter is a passable substitute for a F/D. While they can't cast while transformed, you don't really have any abilities that NEED or even can be cast realistically during battle (the vast majority of useful spells just take too long cast, especially if you're tanking..which as a shapeshifter, you should be. If you wanted to sit back and cast, play a totemic or avenger). Summons can be pre-summoned, Ironskins (blah) can be pre-cast, insect swarms can be tossed in as a pre-emptive strike. After that, transform and use your high health, high ac, and moderate resistances to keep the enemy's attention while the party handles the enemy. That's the core example of a tank right there. A tank that also deals more or equal damage to the rest of the party doesn't even need the party at all, and you wasted a huge amount of xp bringing those useless bodies along.




    If you want my opinion of the matter. I think they need to overhaul the Druid shapeshifting in general.

    Change the forms and allow them to scale. every 3 levels their effective HD goes up by 1 from it's base amount. Granting more hp and more thac0. Most forms already include multiple attacks. Add a panther form that has a base x2 BS and high stealth (raises to x3 at 12). Raise the wolf forms speed to +2 and give it's attacks a chance to slow the target for 2 rounds on a failed save (attacking at their knees and ankles), give the bear a small amount of bleeding damage per hit due to their rending claws, with a small chance of knock down if the enemy fails a save). A small flying bat that can fly stealthily and move across most traps without setting them off, as a passive chance to spot traps and see through illusions (40% base, +5% per 3 levels, doesn't include the ability to disarm them however).

    And once those forms are implemented, change the Shapeshifter to be closer to his PnP incarnation. Cannot wear armor (in place of his actual penalty, which would probably be a $%#^@ to implement), but can shapeshift at level one, with 1 use per day per level instead of the normal druid limit.


    The PnP shapeshifter is identical to a normal druid except they can shapeshift at level 1, and can do so as often as they like, but only get a small number of safe uses per day, based on level. For every shift they go over the limit they have to make a save with a stacking penalty for the number of times they've gone over their limit that day, or be stuck in their form for 24 hours, and after 24 hours have to make another save with the same penalty, or be stuck permanently in that form. Technically, killing them would restore them to their true form, but unless you used reincarnate, they'd lose permanently lose 1 Con and require a survival roll. Not to mention the ridiculous cost involved. Raise dead 5000 gold minimum, and Resurrection is 8000. Reincarnate is only a mere 500, but depending on which version you get cast you could end up as a completely random natural creature, though it does include player races as chocies (druid version), or at least a decent shot at a player race (mage version) (mostly player races with though it also has 1 option for any random humanoid race, and 1 option for any random living creature type).

    Post edited by ZanathKariashi on
    booinyoureyes
  • mylegbigmylegbig Member Posts: 292
    Mikael said:

    I just tried improved shapeshifting from scs, but I only received the lesser werewolf form. Ain't I supposed to get the normal one at level 7?

    The file isn't in the EE version of SCS for some reason. What I did was find the file from my BG 2 override folder (if you have SCS 2 installed) and copy and pasted it to my EE override folder. The name should be dw#shw2. Then give it to your shapeshifter through shadowkeeper.

  • MikaelMikael Member Posts: 33
    Hmm, I may be wrong (I uninstalled the mod), but I did actually find the item with the shadow keeper. That and the level 13 one. The problem was that I didn't receive it normally, in game :)

    Thanks for the answer though!

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