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Sarevok underpowered

RooksxRooksx Member Posts: 57
Sarevok is typically regarded as one of the better NPCs both for RP reasons and his excellent stats. But I seriously think he's a liability in combat.

The problem is that as a pure Fighter, he can't cast Stone/IronSkins. As getting hit is unavoidable in ToB, particularly with SCS, I have sometimes found it a struggle to keep him alive. Yes, he can dish out a lot of damage and has plenty of HP but his survivability is still limited. You could pick Hardiness a lot but that means less GWWs, which are useful for a 2h character.

I'm currently playing through ToB on Insanity with SCS and Item Revisions (among other mods). For this playthough, I Keepered Sarevok at the beginning to turn him into a Zerker/Mage. Having Stoneskin has made such a big difference. I'm really not sure how I would have kept him in one piece during the battles against SCS-improved demons dealing double damage if he was just a Fighter.

This has made me think that generally speaking, melee in ToB is suicidal for any build that can't cast Stone/IronSkins, with the possible exception of a Monk as their AC can become very low. I've read that the Zerker/Cleric is thought of as a good build but my experience with Sarevok makes me skeptical, particularly as that build won't even be getting Hardiness.

Or am I just doing it wrong?

Post edited by Rooksx on

Comments

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    The key to surviving in a high difficulty environment is utilizing your offensive power correctly. You need to know how to deal the maximum damage, and who to deal it to. Yes some characters are more vulnerable than others, and that is where micromanagement comes in. You need to constantly be on the lookout for who is taking damage from where, and move/attack around in ways that minimize your exposure while maximizing damage uptime.

    In practice, that means that you want to engage with the more "tanky" characters, mages with skins for example. Of course in SCS you can't just tank stupidly like in IWD where mobs will stick to you like gum to a ponytail. You'll need to switch targets frequently, and keep moving and repositioning.

    Luckily, actual AC-based damage isn't all that common, and when you do face it, it's usually from fairly weak mobs (random soldiers or whatever). The big, hard-hitting enemies like bosses etc. you can usually maneuver properly and get them to hit who you want them to hit.

    If you do all this right, then Sarevok becomes a huge asset. His Deathbringer Assault is LUDICROUSLY powerful, albeit a bit random. With some luck you can completely take some dangerous enemies off the table, and make hard fights a cakewalk.

    That being said, I agree that a pure fighter is not the best thing you could have. I personally do enjoy Keepering the NPCs to whatever I want them to be, but Sarevok is almost too good if you make him a power class ;) Of course, that is your own decision to make.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,800
    I think most people would agree that a Berserker/Mage is a better tank than a pure fighter, since it gets the best of both worlds: high HP, access to shields, helmets, and armor, AC spells, and Mirror Image, Stoneskin, and PFMW. But the fact that a Berserker/Mage is overpowered does not mean plain fighters are underpowered, and it certainly doesn't mean Sarevok is underpowered. Sarevok has excellent stats and has what amounts to an instant kill effect on 5% of hits. That's not underpowered.

    DJKajuru
  • hisplshispls Member Posts: 166
    Apparently straight fighter class doesn't cut it for powergaming mods in ToB. Really even un-modded a straight fighter hits about the top of his power curve late SoA. Beyond that he gains very little. One could even argue that straight fighter really only shines in BG1 and begins to lose the arms race to mages and split class characters as soon as you get into SoA.

    Play the normal NPCs in the non-modded game, or if you like the mods, play all powergaming character classes.

    AD&D 2nd edition character classes really were never intended to reach level 20 PCs so the power level becomes unbalanced even with the addition of HLAs. Even then the game developers did the best they could to keep all classes playable through the whole trilogy, but the power levels of none of the classes were considered in the original games, much less by people who modded to make a "challenge" for their 20/20/20 FMT with all 18+ stats and all the best equipment.

    IIRC it was suggested in the original DM Guide and Players Handbook that characters at a certain point would simply retire or manage a stronghold where they could become NPCs in later campaigns, but would largely be just so busy with administrative duties that their adventuring days would be over.

    In the Deities and Demigods book Zeus, Ra, and Cthulu only had 400hp, minor gods had 200-300. The Demogorgon of Monster Manual 1 had a mere 200hp. The intent of AD&D was fight kobolds, orcs, bugbears, slimes, ogres, etc. etc. until you can take down a dragon, pillage it's hoard then retire. Super high level PCs become silly because there simply is no challenge written into the game for them. They either slaughter everything in their path, or you have to make more and more ridiculous enemies for them to face which are still easily slaughtered with the absurd powers PCs will get, either way the game ceases to be fun.... but to each their own.

    toolargArthas
  • RooksxRooksx Member Posts: 57

    I think most people would agree that a Berserker/Mage is a better tank than a pure fighter, since it gets the best of both worlds: high HP, access to shields, helmets, and armor, AC spells, and Mirror Image, Stoneskin, and PFMW. But the fact that a Berserker/Mage is overpowered does not mean plain fighters are underpowered, and it certainly doesn't mean Sarevok is underpowered. Sarevok has excellent stats and has what amounts to an instant kill effect on 5% of hits. That's not underpowered.

    It's not his ability to kill things which is a problem; it's his tendency to take a lot of damage while doing so. Plus Item Revisions significantly reduces everyone's damage output.

    Tansheron makes some interesting points. I micromanage quite a bit but I expect my melee NPCs to be able to handle themselves without too much interference. I don't switch targets as much as Tansheron suggests.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    It's all a matter of preference and play style. I play VERY offensively, and naturally that requires more babysitting of characters. If you're running with a more resilient team, you can afford to just right-click attack and watch. Won't be as fast and as efficient, but it'll be easy and low-maintenance.

    The great thing about BG is that with mods etc. you have so many customization options, you really can play EXACTLY the way you like it best.

    hisplsBalrog99
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

    Ygramulsarevok57Balrog99StummvonBordwehr
  • RooksxRooksx Member Posts: 57
    edited March 2015
    Yes I know all that. This is my fourth time through BG2 and during the course of those playthroughs, I've tried all sorts of combinations of difficulties and mods. I'm playing Insane+SCS now because I'd got to the point where I found the game too easy. That's not because of some great skill on my part, just that I know the game pretty well by now. Any discussion about balance is a little meaningless unless it's context-specific; a solo Wizard Slayer or Cernd could finish the saga depending on the difficulty setup.

    [Deleted User]
  • NatenNaten Member Posts: 138
    edited March 2015
    So you wanted the game harder, but changed Sarevok to a berserker/mage to make it easier...
    What is the point of making things harder then?

    hisplstoolargBalrog99
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    You can make the game harder by not equipping any gear, too.

    Like so often, it's not about absolutes; you want the game to be harder, but harder the way you like. There's a gazillion of degrees out there, and finding the one you're most comfortable with can take some fiddling.

    semiticgoddesshisplsNatenBalrog99
  • brunardobrunardo Member Posts: 514
    Just finished BP Ascension on insanity and Sarevok did great just pumped him with best gear and tons of HLA Hardiness, GWA and was a tank especially hitting deathbringer...better on the offensive for sure

  • toolargtoolarg Member Posts: 178
    edited March 2015
    Naten said:

    So you wanted the game harder, but changed Sarevok to a berserker/mage to make it easier...
    What is the point of making things harder then?

    I too find the thread sort of puzzling.
    So basically you modded the game and adjusted the difficulty slider to make it ultra difficult and now you wonder why only the cheesiest builds work...

    @hispls gives a good insight on the system itself, I'll add that Bioware/Black Isle never intended the enemies to behave like they do in SCS, so they didnt adjust high level Fighters and other classes because there was no need for it, they knew the AI was limited and that the player would not have that many problems defeating it, even with an underpowered class.

    HeindrichNaten
  • DelvarianDelvarian Member Posts: 1,232
    In my sleepy state I read this thread name as "Saervok Underpants." Of course I was very excited.

    HeindrichNatenBalrog99
  • Son_of_ImoenSon_of_Imoen Member Posts: 1,802
    I thought this thread was about the endbattle of Baldurs Gate 1 to be too easy, when I read the thread title.

    joluv
  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    Delvarian said:

    In my sleepy state I read this thread name as "Saervok Underpants." Of course I was very excited.

    You mean the Adamantine Pettipants? They take the BMU to a whole 'nother level.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    I agree that simple number tweaking is a somewhat cheap way to increase difficulty (hence why I stopped playing IWD:EE until it gets TTT).

    However, it's not entirely useless. Having everything deal extra damage forces you to actually avoid stuff that you can avoid. Yes it sucks that tanking focuses too much on complete avoidance, but it also means you can't simply take any random fireball or stand in a cloud or whatever. On Core you can, it's easy to ignore a lot of stuff and just take it to the face.

    Of course Insane isn't perfect, but it's something. I find that between difficulty setting and mod options, you can configure the overall challenge quite well. Certainly TONS better than in most other games, people tend to forget that :P

    Yannir
  • ArthasArthas Member Posts: 1,091
    as a pure Fighter, he can't cast Stone/IronSkins

    Yes, he can dish out a lot of damage and has plenty of HP

    I Keepered Sarevok at the beginning to turn him into a Zerker/Mage. Having Stoneskin has made such a big difference. I'm really not sure how I would have kept him in one piece ... if he was just a Fighter.

    This has made me think that generally speaking, melee in ToB is suicidal for any build that can't cast Stone/IronSkins,

    Or am I just doing it wrong?

    I mean... you don't *have* to play on insane and with every SCS so-to-speak "tactical" component. Yes DavidW to some extent designed that thing to be for a party of 6 zerker/mages ShadowKeepered to have 6 Staffs of the Magi wielded one-handed with Belm/Crom Faeyr/FoA alternating in the off-hands... basically the most puke-inducing head-desk-banging cheese-fest imaginable.

    But... you don't *have* to play that way. You can run a traditional F/F/C/T/M party and just use the basic SCS AI components. You can drop the difficulty. This is a story-driven RPG, there' no pride involved in playing it. There's no way to do it "well" or "poorly."

    Or you can play full insane+SCS with the traditional party - lots of people seems to be able to do it just fine. So maybe you are doing it wrong. I don't play that way, I wouldn't know. But to say that Sarevok is "underpowered" in the context of the above... that just seems nonsensical to me.

    Can I ask you what do you mean by basic scs? It seems to me that you either go hardcore or not. There is no "middle" . You either get:
    > better ai
    or
    > improved fights
    or
    > both

    So..?

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,800
    @Arthas: I think basic SCS refers to the better AI stuff without the improved fights stuff--so, "basic SCS" would mean the non-hardcore install. That's how I normally use the term. I don't think there's a word for any "middle ground" for SCS installs.

    These days, SCS v32, the new update, will have difficulty components scale with the difficulty slider, so there won't be such radical differences between SCS installs. The thing we call "basic SCS" would just be SCS on Normal mode or maybe Core difficulty.

    Arthas
  • DavidWDavidW Member Posts: 817
    as a pure Fighter, he can't cast Stone/IronSkins

    I mean... you don't *have* to play on insane and with every SCS so-to-speak "tactical" component. Yes DavidW to some extent designed that thing to be for a party of 6 zerker/mages ShadowKeepered to have 6 Staffs of the Magi wielded one-handed with Belm/Crom Faeyr/FoA alternating in the off-hands... basically the most puke-inducing head-desk-banging cheese-fest imaginable.

    I really didn't design it that way. I didn't design it for Insane at all (I don't like the hardcoded damage multiplier, mostly because it breaks the symmetry between party and enemy abilities - SCS ignored the difficulty setting until it became possible to disable the hardcoded effects). And my most recent test party was: PC Undead Hunter; Haer'dalis; Aerie; Minsc; Anomen; Imoen, and was chosen as much on RP grounds as anything else (though I was paying attention to party balance, which does matter in SCS - just as in AD&D).
    semiticgod wrote: »
    These days, SCS v32, the new update, will have difficulty components scale with the difficulty slider, so there won't be such radical differences between SCS installs. The thing we call "basic SCS" would just be SCS on Normal mode or maybe Core difficulty.

    That's only half true. The "tactical challenge" components of SCS basically ignore the difficulty slider. It mostly replaces install-time fine-tuning of the AI components, e.g. which mages get HLAs, how much prebuffing there is, whether illithids can see through invisibility (albeit that last one is broken on RC10).

    gorgonzolaNeverusedsemiticgoddessBalrog99
  • AasimAasim Member Posts: 591
    Arthas wrote: »
    This has made me think that generally speaking, melee in ToB is suicidal for any build that can't cast Stone/IronSkins

    This isn't true. Ofc, if you focus on two-weapon or two-handed style, you won't be able to get decent enough armor class to avoid getting hit. Otoh, if you use shields, Pro Evil, Def,Harmony, Imp.invisibility etc. you'll notice a dramatic increase in your fighters' ability to stay alive.
    AC does matter even in ToB, contrary to popular belief. There are enemies which will hit you often regardless of your AC, but they are very, very rare (Ascension Illasera comes to mind).

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited May 2019
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,282
    If the safest, most straight-forward and combat oriented class is underpowered then the problem is not on the class itself.

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,888
    edited May 2019
    If I take Sarevok I usually dual him to mage or thief right away. Either dual make him a veritable juggernaut of destruction once he gets his fighter abilities back...

  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 785
    Even with SCS, melee fighters come into their own in ToB. Ranged reigns in BG1, area damage reigns in SoD, disablers reign in BG2, and melee damage reigns in ToB. Levels are high enough that disablers can be ignored with a few items, and trying to disable the bosses is irritating as all getout, with high saves and high MR. Death becomes the best crowd control, and the characters that can start to hit with 10 APR tend to become the powerhouses, with mages and clerics become backup and support instead of the game-enders. Mazzy is perfectly fine in SCS ToB, and Sarevok is almost a direct upgrade in anything but saves so... Yeah, fighters don’t lack any power in ToB, and it’s actually difficult to get a mage to function at a fighter’s level in my opinion!

    semiticgoddessDJKajuru[Deleted User]ThacoBell
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited May 2019
    I can not talk of SCS, but even with mods like the tactics mod that make the enemies more powerful and in some cases smarter but use the vanilla spell system, i disagree about the vanilla mages loosing power in tob. for me it is the opposite.
    tob level mages can lower the high MR easily, even the crazy one of tactics fire giants, and have all the redundancy they need to be sure that the enemy does not save, as a tob mage can cast so many spells in the same round. with the vanilla settings a mage can still in tob turn an enemy into stone, feeblemind him, kill him with a barrage of low level damaging spells that don't have save or win in many other ways, it depends on what the enemy is not immune to.

    in my (not scs) experience a tob mace can be both the real engine of the party, improved hasting and protecting the fighters in a really short time, thing that is important as a fighter, even at high level, has only a very limited number of GWW, so of 10 apr rounds, at disposal or can win many battles alone, using his spells in an offensive way.

    now if scs change this or it is only due to different styles in using a mage it is something i surely can not tell as i lack of knowledge about scs.

    i agree that the fighters can be very effective in tob, if you have enough of them to kill the enemy before he kill them and if you micromanage them in the right way and use at the best the items at your disposal.

    in a hard difficulty setting, does not matter what mods are used, point and click does not work, good tactics, quickly reacting to the conditions as they change (a fighter that start to loose too much hp, or that focuses his attack on a protected enemy before the protection is disabled instead of use that time to kill helpers and so on) and good positioning are the keys.

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