Larian Studios

Vom's adventures in Rivendell

Posted By: vometia

Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 29/11/19 04:35 PM

Rivendell? I think I lost my way. Dingley Dell, maybe. Or was it Avalon? No, Rivellon, that was it: the ancient name meaning "Land of Many Cheeses".

So, er, anyway. Where was I? A bit of a stupid question as I clearly don't know where I am now. Where am I, then? I think I've just about figured that out.

After attempting to address some questions about The Divine's Best Divinity Game I realised I'd forgotten more than I could remember. And one of the things I'd forgotten is just how long it is since I've played it. No wonder I've forgotten so much stuff. So there it is, lolling at me in the most cheesy way, and as I have literally nothing else to play (this seems to be more true than is reasonable, even if it is largely due to my not-very-particularly gaming requirements) and the past couple of games I've played had no current capacity for modding nor general interference, how could I say no?

For the record, "the last couple of games" being The Outer Worlds and Greedfall: both thoroughly enjoyable; and at a glance both of which seem conspicuously amenable to modding and general interference, but nobody has figured it out yet. True, there was little progress with ED/DKS but it is possible and I've just written reams of crap about how to do it, but now my head hurts and I'm not in the mood to figure out anything else, including which way is up.

[Linked Image]
"argh, I seem to have landed amidst a pile of flailing limbs!"

So here I am. I remember bits of it but realise I have forgotten most of it, so it's just like RL, then. So far I've ambled around Farglow and wimbled around Broken Valley leaving a certain degree of chaos in my wake. In hindsight I've realised I've screwed up several times already, which is again like RL. The various screw-ups include but are not limited to telling the simultaneously over-zealous but apparently also quite bone idle town guard superiors that the bandits are in the well-known bandit hide-out. Who'd'a thunk? Well not me, apparently, as I'm now stuck with various useless crap in my rucksack that I can't get rid of and I'm now down a trader. Unless the trader is that scruffy woman who smells of armpits who unexpectedly turned up on the 2nd floor of The Boar's Arse (I think the floor numbering works for both English and US audiences in this case as it's a weird sort of grotto place).

[Linked Image]
"Argh, I'm feeling unexpectedly skinny! Why couldn't I have
landed in a place that specialises in cheeses, pies and beer?"

Let me count the ways in which I have screwed up. Actually I can't, and not just because my numbering scheme is mostly limited to "none, one, some". Mostly because my career is careering about from one unplanned disaster to the next. See also not using the scrying globe, for instance, though I did feel like it was looking at me funny.

[Linked Image]
"Are you looking at me funny? Also please note that I did not say 'argh' this time. Argh."
"No, I am looking at you in East European. Which means suspiciously, at least in your case."

Er anyway. Things happen, things don't happen, and many of the things that did or didn't happen shouldn't've had have done.

After very much dithering I am now on Sentinel Island.

[Linked Image]
"Nice pillar. Nobody seems to be making much use of it so can I take it
home and use it as a pedestal for my cheeseboard? You can keep the mood
lighting though, that sucks."

Er, ANYWAY. I am now on Senile Island having dithered a lot as I'm not especially looking forward to either The Decisions nor The Aftermath. But there's only so much traipsing I can do. I've already taken the decision with Lord Lovis (why is part of my brain now playing a miner's brass band trying to insist that Horde Hovis would be amusing?) and have cast his very being into the eternal soup of damnation thanks to being a complete rotter. I did want to think that maybe I could go for another approach but he seemed way too much "lol I got away with it lol. Also lol. An eternity of fun debauchery and torturing for me. lol!" so I reloaded and had him pwned.

But now I have the much more difficulter decisions about who I need to deal with on Sentinel Island. I know it ultimately doesn't make that much difference, not least as, now I'm playing the revised version, I'm dying very much less on normal difficulty than I was on easy with ED, so it really comes down to who gets a chance. Kenneth never got a chance and I recall his story is actually very sad. I've always chosen Hermosa but tbh she seems slightly desperate. Well, I meanshe is. Then there's Barbatos and Allan. But I recall from previous games that if anything after hiring, Barbatos was actually more personable. Wesson and Radcliff... well I always choose Wesson. Radcliff may be better at weapons but I need to maintain my armour, and how can I deal with Wesson's missus pleading with me in Brummie? And I'm feeling like I'm not fulfilling my duty of care with the two necromancers but I've chosen the one who didn't have a penchant for poisoning people.

Anyway. The main difficulties for me at the moment are Allan/Barbatos (more inclined to go with the latter as I have a vague and possibly inaccurate memory of Allan seeming a bit "lol I got away with it" whereas Barbatos really got into the role) and Hermosa/Kenneth. I think I really need to give Kenneth a chance as I've never picked him before.

[Linked Image]
"Oh, just make your bloody mind up. I have a glorious adventure in cheese
awaiting if only you'd get on with it."
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 30/11/19 06:41 AM

Still exploring randomly while I'm putting off making The Decision (well, and more pointless modding and... pretty much anything to prevaricate: this has to be the worst bit of the game in terms of not really liking the enforced moral dubiousness).

Anyway, one thing that's been bugging me is that plateau area south-east of the Tribal Shrine: there's nothing there and though technically it should be explorable someone's put an invisible wall in the way. But the map makes it look as if it should be a playable area so I'm assuming that it was intended that there'd be something there that was either cut or never started?
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 30/11/19 04:52 PM

Well I have made The Decision. I wouldn't say so much out of sheer ruthlessness but that it is pretty much foisted on you unless you decide to take pot luck and deal with the experience etc hit that results. In this instance I'm still feeling I was a bit ruthless as I decided to go for the options that would give me the best outcome, in spite of the fact that DKS is nowhere near as difficult as the original incarnation of ED: I found myself being pwned constantly when I first played, even on the easiest difficulty setting (and I happily admit that I'm crap at combat, but that's not really the point: the point is that the consistent factor is me, and I doubt my tactics have especially improved, especially after years of forgetfulness) whereas on the normal difficulty setting it's not really happening: the few times I have died have been mostly due to sheer clumsiness. Well, and misadventure, but y'know.

So the choices were: Barbatos: poor Allen, but his attempt to rubbish Barbatos albeit enormously inflated ego weren't great, and I need that +5 INT because hurrr. But I still feel bad because Barbatos is various words that sound like his name and are less complementary whereas Allen is a kid out of his depth and may have great potential (for the record, I've previously hired both of them). Edit: and I also recall that Barbatos was very much less rude later on.

Hermosa, again. Poor Kenneth, I feel more sucky about this than anything. But Hermosa's training is more useful to me as are the various benefits and forfeits of their respective quests. But I have made a permanent save.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee: I chose the one who wasn't quite so enthusiastic about poisoning his superiors, neighbours and anyone else in his way.

Strait-laced Welshman vs. unruly Irishman: Wesson got chosen yet again. I found him and his Brummie missus much more amenable and he does better armour, which is quite important for the likes of me who goes wading in without thinking and then needs to quickly bugger off with some protection from being pwned.

I've also had the warning to finish any unfinished business. I don't think there is anything, given the amount of traipsing, though a final visit to the Derelict Tunnels revealed all sorts of stuff like deposits I'd missed and that I hadn't obtained the albeit not very useful Amulet of the North. I dare say there's other stuff that's passed me by.

But what did strike me is the "hour by hour, the skies darken" comment, or however it went, which I suspect was as literal as it was melodramatic, and it reinforces my belief that the citizens of Broken Valley would've had fair warning of what their future held and many would've buggered off while the buggering off was good. I recall from the cut-scene that there was a lot of anguish and I dare say many would've resolutely stood firm, but I reckon a good number would've got away, especially with the Zep parked right outside. I also realise I'd forgotten about the handy shrines and wonder why the various travellers didn't use them more. Maybe they did, but needed (or just wanted) to visit other places on the way.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 03/12/19 03:06 PM

At this stage what I would really like is the enormous informational popup in my inventory to kindly not pop up unless I ask. Is there any way to turn it off? It's quite hard to do a comparison with equipped, erm, equipment when all the stats are covered with Ye Olde Wall O'text.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 04/12/19 02:12 PM

Originally Posted by vometia
At this stage what I would really like is the enormous informational popup in my inventory to kindly not pop up unless I ask. Is there any way to turn it off? It's quite hard to do a comparison with equipped, erm, equipment when all the stats are covered with Ye Olde Wall O'text.

And to answer my own question, I found out by accident: click on the slot in the paper-doll bit and it gives a selection of the relevant bits of equipment whose popups no longer obscure the stats.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 05/12/19 06:29 AM

Another really "obvious" thing I never realised until now: I can ditch all my ingredients and stuff in my storage chest and still access them from the crafting stations/people/etc so I don't need to lug them all around cluttering up my inventory.

Meanwhile, outside of the tower I've just done Orobas' tomb and dealt with the group of pillocks. For a bunch of idiots, I needed a lot of health potions to get through that encounter... I'm sure that's another one that must've been ramped up in DKS.
Posted By: Raze

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 05/12/19 06:48 AM

Charms need to be in the character inventory to use; alchemy and enchantment ingredients do not (I kept malachite gems on my character, though, to more easily keep track of them).
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 05/12/19 08:50 AM

I assumed (those two words are already guilty of so much, so I shouldn't) that anything in the consumables tab needs to be in your inventory so fortunately I didn't have to traipse through the throne room to go and collect them again! But I have just been reminded that there's a divine category of charm, having just blessed all of my equipment with the sub-standard sort. Well that's not really true, I did so a long time back and it's been a lot of help so I can't really grumble about it too much! I'm assuming there's no way to remove a charm, as permanence is part of their, erm, charm.

I'm also assuming there's no way to remove Tagos' axe and the assortment of other detritus I've collected. I'm tired of seeing the ugly green specimen in my inventory!
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 05/12/19 12:07 PM

I've spent much of the morning mooching around Stone's fortress. Well, by "mooching" I mean "killing things". And sometimes being lightly killed myself.

But all that time spent in the ruddy darkness with the Serious Business™ music blaring away at me... I have a headache now and my eyes have gone all funny. Still, I've collected several levels and more loot than you can shake a stick at: much of it very good so now I have the additional headache of deciding what I want to keep and what I may as well flog, which always makes me feel uncomfortable as I keep on getting the "are you sure?!" thing and I'm not sure why. Talking of which, does unenchanting stuff before selling do anything useful other than learning recipes you don't yet know? I suppose I should also check to see it's not adversely affecting the sale price for no benefit.

Going back to the subject of stuff I can never remember, the arena battle with Stone. Or rather with Stone's mates: first round with the troll and demon was easy enough, second with the floating-goblin-head-orb-thing and the memory-eater was much less so, with me being repeatedly one-shotted until I remembered to summon my creature who got one-shotted instead. Poor thing. It does have some disgusting habits though. Er anyway, Stone himself was trivial in comparison.

I feel somewhat driven to do the other forts but it's too much and I need more greenery. I need to at least come up for air a bit more often. But now I have inventory hell. Still not as bad as Mass Effect.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 05/12/19 02:17 PM

Hmm, getting the same problem with Ba'al that I had with Stone's arena fight in that I'm getting one-shotted right at the beginning. Except this time the summon doesn't work because he just does it again once it's been wiped out.

I'm curious what sort of attack this is: I have almost 1,000 HP and (IMHO) very good armour yet I'm being hit with a series of blasts in very quick succession which reduce my health from 100% to zero. Is it really meant to be this difficult? I don't remember it being a problem previously, not even with DKS.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 05/12/19 03:53 PM

Hmm. I know that the Divinity series has a deserved reputation for being difficult for the unwary, and I admit I'm kind of the definition of "the unwary" as well as being unprepared, not tactically-minded and a bit rubbish at combat, but I'm finding myself being repeatedly one-shotted (or at most two-shot) across several different encounters, e.g. Zagan or rather his minions, Stone's second set of arena guests and now Ba'al. I'm honestly flummoxed: I don't think I'm at too low a level and my HP and armour seem decent so I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. Here's my stats box in case anyone can spot what I'm just failing to see, but I can't last more than a couple of seconds in any of these encounters even taking maximum-strength health potions and preparing myself with the "extreme" armour potion.

[Linked Image]

Edit: these are the dual-wielding stats, the ranged ones have more dexterity and HP and less strength, but make absolutely no difference to the outcome which is certain death should I come out of hiding long enough to take a single shot.

Also worth mentioning that, though I've used my actually hard-as-nails creature as a sort of "bullet sponge", even he gets insta-killed and the next one will take me out too.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 05/12/19 04:13 PM

Seems like it's a known bug and the answer is to use god mode. Hmm. Oh well, at least it confirms that I'm (probably) not doing something (very) wrong but I am uncomfortable about the idea as I won't necessarily know what's a bug and what just needs more preparation...
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 05/12/19 04:32 PM

I took the recommended approach of using god-mode but as mentioned I'm not totally happy about doing so even if it is a bug. My observation is that the bug seems to be not so much in the attack being overpowered but that there's so many of it, something like 6-10 in quick succession. Whatever attack it is it seems to be bugged in that it keeps on being executed instead of stopping after it's been cast. The same is true of both the Ba'al and Stone's battles but I think Zagan's minions are just OP as they don't have the same "machine-gun" effect.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 06/12/19 02:55 AM

Thinking about it afterwards, it seems that the nature of the bug is that the spell keeps being recast on "full auto" with no cooldown until the caster's mana pool is empty. Conjecture, but it seems to describe what's happening. One blast is kinda serious but in line with combat; many blasts are really OP and few players are going to survive it. Hard to say if it's an actual bug (I'm guessing it is if reports are inconsistent, though that "until the mana pool is drained" could also explain that) or if someone had a "maybe this would be cool" idea and "actually, no it wouldn't" was lost in the post.
Posted By: Raze

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 06/12/19 09:12 AM

Yes, charms are permanent.

Since you didn't return Tagos' axe, I think you can stash it in the battle tower chest... if you didn't try that already.

If you don't need the recipe, unenchanting equipment doesn't do anything for you, and I'm pretty sure it reduces the sell price.

For the bugged attack (most common with Ba'al, Laiken and the flying fortress generals: Ba'al. The Impossible foe?), some people reported it working fine if they left, did other things for a while and went back, or even just reloading the same save the next day and trying again.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 06/12/19 11:20 AM

No wonder I've spent so long being skint if I'm devaluing all my equipment before selling it! I'd sort of optimistically hoped that I might get some of the ingredients back when doing so but I guess not. I haven't been doing so well on that front, especially with malachite gems in that I gave two to the blind dude (I always do, seems mean not to) and didn't mindread the woman at High Hall (Beatrice?) when accepting the quest because I, er, thought it would be confrontational. But if you do it afterwards you don't get the extra gems.

I suppose at least I got that one from Nightwinkle and her mates, a couple from traders and have found a couple more in seams and the odd chest; I think they only appear in chests with fixed contents rather than random loot though.

Tagos' axe is a pain. If you don't do the quest where it's returned to him, it's stuck in the inventory forever, it seems: can't be sold, destroyed nor stashed. Same deal with the rum, various keys and an increasingly large number of other quest items whose quests are long since finished but I'm stuck with the random tat in question...

I hadn't thought about saving, exiting and reloading. Which fixes so much stuff in so many games, and other programs for that matter.
Posted By: Raze

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 07/12/19 05:45 AM

In the original release of Ego Draconis it wasn't too hard to get 3 gems with moderate reloading, and 4 with a lot of reloading or getting very lucky (I think I only got 4 once).
In the Dragon Knight Saga / Developer's Cut, though, those numbers drop by 1. After trying a fair bit to get 3 gems on the first malachite vein, I put a time limit on reloading, and would generally take 2 as good enough.

In the Flames of Vengeance section of the game, any quest that gives gems has a chance to give malachite gems (3 or 5, depending on the quest). I usually reloaded a few times to see if I could get malachite, but had a time limit.

I acquired about 30 malachite gems in the D2:ED section of the game (used a couple for healing auras on jewellery and 2 for Simeon), and at the end of the game had 65. If I play again, I'm going to have to be less stingy using level 10 enchantments and healing auras, or not bother reloading for malachite veins or FoV quests.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 07/12/19 10:39 AM

I haven't even used any for healing auras yet: I guess I view them as "wasted" if I don't have a level 10 enchantment recipe, which at level 35 I still don't. I have used two in +100 damage and another in level 10 melee armour but decided that was profligate enough for now! I haven't been keeping count of how many I've acquired but I'd guess probably 10 in total (would've been 12 had I mindread Beatrice). Unless there're some I don't know of, I guess the main reason is that I'm too impatient to reload at the seams so I've been considering one gem from a malachite seam to be "lucky": nothing quite like aiming low! biggrin

Anyway, I think I'm done with the Fjords now, unless I've missed something. Which is certainly possible: I mean the moment I left Broken Valley I realised I hadn't finished Sosostra's fortune telling (mainly as I mistook the flying for becoming a dragon rather than Bellegar's mischief) and neglected to go back to wind Lovis up. Talking of Lovis tower, I wonder why Carlin is no longer available, what with being somewhat undead and above the level of deathfog you'd think he'd enjoy the company. Probably other stuff too, when I reloaded I immediately discovered various books lying around Broken Valley Village that I'd completely failed to see in all the time I was hanging around.

But I dealt with Raze (more of that elsewhere) and babysitting Zandalor was either much easier at a high level or I was unusually lucky. I left Svadilfari to last as I didn't want to lose his merchant Timpuk; as it is, I snuck off via the battle tower so I didn't have to enter combat with him but I suspect his annoyance is permanent.

I think I may cheat the flying bit of the HoE as I didn't really enjoy that bit and just end up losing my sense of direction!
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 07/12/19 01:26 PM

So now I'm in Aleroth proper. Getting here seemed to be a lot more trivial than I remembered: either my memory exaggerated how difficult and tedious the flying section was (it may have been eaten by a memory eater, after all) or it was made a lot more straightforward at some point.

The arena battles were never really a sticking point but again they were easier: mostly due to having my handy creature around, though. I need to give him a name, and I can't just keep calling everything "Dave". Er... Nigel? Nigel seems a good name for a peeing, scratching undead thing who seems more faithful dog than whatever else it is he's made of.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 07/12/19 07:35 PM

Oh well, sad to see the Lanilor Lane gossips aren't the same pair as the Broken Valley Village ones, unless Sue and Peggy changed their names to Rhona and Hedda. Poo.
Posted By: Raze

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 08/12/19 06:31 AM

I found healing auras to be handy for topping off HP while exploring, etc (though if I hadn't stopped distributing attribute points after level 15, my natural healing rate could have been faster). I mostly relied on random levels on loot, but when replacing a belt with the only healing aura I had at the time, I added level 10 to the replacement; IIRC I tried it without the healing aura for a while, decided to add it, then not long after found a better belt.
I got a level 10 healing aura on level 24, after taking over the battle tower (after entering the Master's chambers, picking up the 'Note from Maxos' completed a quest, and one of the optional rewards was a bracelet with a level 10 Healing Aura).
I bought a few pieces of equipment to get the enchantment formula, as well, selling them after removing it.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 09/12/19 03:13 AM

I just did pretty much that, i.e. buying a weapon and a piece of armour for their enchantments and potentially paid less for them than I would had I found the actual recipe for sale somewhere! atm I have just the one healing aura and I seem to be finding life a lot less difficult in Aleroth, which is strange because I thought I'd played FoV post-DKS patch, but maybe not. Maybe later I'll start getting pwned again! I'm not objecting particularly, dying constantly wasn't much fun, and that was on easy rather than normal. Maybe I'm just a bit more clued up about where to invest my skill points, though it all feels a bit arbitrary.

Yesterday's adventures included the dungeons under Madam Eve's (who also got a pair of (in)appropriate spiky heels on the way) and the encounters with Folo and especially Prince Michael were even funnier than I remembered; and the wonderfully-named chef Bourdain (I didn't know about the late, great American chef and presenter back in the day) and his coq bourré, which I'm guessing is some sort of cultural in joke.

[Linked Image]

I'm also wishing I could remember more about playing DD as I'm sure there're various references to the old Aleroth, and heard the moany, layabout builders in the Ministry confirming that the city took 50 years to build ("We built this city! We built this city on Gor-gom-beeeeerrrt!" How did Jefferson Airplane sink so low?)

Edit: I just realised I can see a lot of the coastline the Orobas Fjords area and beyond from the battle tower (though on at least one platform the compass directions are messed up) which I may attempt to incorporate into my map. I'm not entirely sure how and I may need to just roughly sketch it as best I can, but I think it fortunately matches (well, in the broadest sense) the lumpy bit I added between Sentinel Island and Luculla which still needs a lot of work anyway, at the least to make the Dark Forest look a lot more substantial.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 09/12/19 08:42 AM

That's curious: I was convinced Talana was voiced by the same actress who did Malady, but turns out that Sally Willis and Amelia Tyler just sound the same. Though others may disagree, my idea of "the same" is often its own thing. Maybe I just have weird hearing: I was also convinced that Greedfall's deSardine was voiced by Alix Wilton Regan because I apparently think she and Cassie Layton sound the same.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 09/12/19 03:58 PM

For once I thought I'd try the save/reload thing with a malachite vein but it just came up with the same stuff every time, i.e. 8 pieces of ore and no gems. Even going back to the autosave at the start of the area (the Maxos Shrine in Aleroth) still produced the same stuff.

My experience of malachite veins is that fewer than half produce any gems at all, and none has ever produced more than one. Is this by design or am I just really unlucky?
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 09/12/19 05:47 PM

I also noticed in my "Heels!" screenshot a book I didn't pick up, so I finally went back and read it. Although it's officially(?) inspired by Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue, "Murders in the Rue Lanilor" always made me think of Iron Maiden's song of the same name. Sure enough, the book mentions Charlotte the Harlot, a song from the previous Maiden album. I always preferred the Paul Di'Anno stuff anyway.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 10/12/19 10:42 AM

Hmm, the sky's gone red; is it supposed to do that?

Edit: it's stopped being red now. That was quite unpleasant so I'm glad it's gone away!
Posted By: caninelegion

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 11/12/19 02:08 AM

Funny how this sort of thing can happen; sometimes it's fun instead of unpleasant. In Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, on the Santa Monica beach, on one play-through, I actually saw a large smiling face in the clouds/sky. I checked it from different angles, etc - it was there. Now, if I had indulged in certain things, that may have explained it but I hadn't. I never saw it again. I sometimes wonder if developers don't have something like that pop up on occasion at some low odds just because. smile
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 11/12/19 02:53 AM

tbf, it's the sort of thing I might do to randomly wind people up!
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 11/12/19 02:00 PM

Well, just about finished. I'd left the Gula, playhouse, asylum and House of Secrets sidelines until the end thinking they were all bigger diversions than they were: I guess they all seemed quite prominent but didn't take that long! Can't really complain, Aleroth is a well-realised city with lots of interesting nooks and crannies and plenty to do, and tbh it's probably about he right length: it's left me with the feeling that I really enjoyed it and I'll finish having wanted more rather than eventually running out of steam, feeling meh and not finishing the game, which often happens. Though that isn't an argument in favour of shorter games!

What I really wish was the case is that it didn't totally and permanently close off entire areas, both in terms of the game's built-in restrictions and storyline because sometimes I just like to unwind after the end of the MQ and mooch about in the places I came to know and love. Though I'm not generally a fan of random quests I think some respawns and crappy fetch quests from a still accessible Broken Valley would've been really nice. I guess I'm still hoping for a Mended Valley at some point in the future.

I think I have stretched the game out a lot with my assorted pointless modding which is so inconvenient that even small alterations are time-consuming. biggrin I've written a few utilities for modding stuff which make life a lot easier, including finishing Blender's NIF exporter (well, kinda: it's still quite tedious), my DDS-into-NIF repacker and a DV2 extractor. I'm currently working on expanding the latter to also create DV2 files and it's largely complete, though as I suspected it's unlikely to happen before I finish the game. I may attempt to finish the DV2 writer anyway as nothing immediately comes to mind in terms of what I can play next and I need something to fill my time! I kinda wish I'd done it earlier as the one I downloaded years ago is quite slow, though I dunno how much of that is the program vs Windows/NTFS: my extractor is very fast, but that might just be because FreeBSD with ZFS has much better file handling than Windows. But I digress as usual.

Unless I've forgotten something, I don't have much else to do with myself. I'm most of the way through the dungeon leading to, er, Berlin's prison (can't be bothered to look up the weird spelling of his name) and after that I think it's just the notorious Zeppelin escort mission and the final showdown with Ygerna.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 11/12/19 07:52 PM

Ugh, Zeppelin escort mission. Although I'd remembered that it was tedious and not at all enjoyable, I'd actually forgotten how bad it is: the human mind is not capable of comprehending something so frustrating. Although I'd played through with a sort of confident bravado that even if all else failed there was F11, even F11 won't save me. I suppose I knew it would end like this.
Posted By: caninelegion

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 12/12/19 01:39 AM

The funny thing is, if it weren't timed (via surviveability of the zeppelin), you'd probably be able to eliminate the entire armada. So, back to my original argument - why the heck couldn't they wait until I cleared the way then deploy the zeppelin?
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 12/12/19 03:39 AM

I think the implication is that you're travelling into the centre of Damian's territory so any path you clear would simply be closed up by his overwhelming numbers which may as well be an infinitely large horde; the path you take is most likely the most vulnerable to his forces. But I admit it isn't depicted that way.

I think the aerial battles are one of the game's few weaknesses: I feel weak and vulnerable as a dragon compared to being in human form, and the Zeppelins seem ridiculously fragile given that they're actually extremely heavily armed flying gunboats. It could be the case that however seriously lethal they are otherwise, they still fulfil basically civil duties as their job is to transport goods and people as much as it is to patrol whereas a warmonger like Damian instead pours his entire efforts into going on the offensive so his fortresses are going to outgun it no matter what, but again the depiction seems to be more on the vulnerability of the Zeps, not helped by them even being brought down by goblins who seem to be more of an irritation than a credible threat.

That aside, the cinematics of the opening part of that section were very impressive with the Zeps emerging from Aleroth's aerial "ports", and confirmation (well, reminder, but I'd utterly forgotten) that the thing about Champion Harbour is in fact a viaduct-of-sorts through the mountains to get to Aleroth: the cutscene after Farglow went through the deeper part of the fjords as Farglow's obviously a diversion from the usual route.

Also interesting that the "shipyards" where they're made is in Rivertown: as a town with no rivers (! As it was shown in DD) obviously they would have a vested interest in alternative modes of transport, necessity being the mother of invention and all that.

I'll likely have a few other sweary attempts to escort the Zep. Reading the online guides, other suggestions were to use F11 to turn off cooldown times so if that applies to the Zep as well I can just get it to blast its own way through. Not sure if lowering difficulty will help as it's not clear whether it only lowers the damage and armour of enemies or if it's all non-player characters.
Posted By: Raze

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 12/12/19 04:59 AM

It took a couple of tries, but ultimately I found it relatively easy if I flew out in front of the zeppelin and took out everything on the platforms along the way (I even forgot about the dragon dash function, which would have helped). Even if you don't disable cooldowns, using the nuke skill as soon as possible on the largest group of targets nearby is key to clearing enough structures to safeguard the zeppelin (they can deal with flying opponents themselves, though I did try to keep the summon up as another distraction for them). Part way through you get a skill to direct the zeppelin's attacks, but I never used it (figured they could use it better themselves, and if they were close enough to help me, I'm wasn killing stuff fast enough).

Did you review That Zeppelin mission...?
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 12/12/19 07:14 AM

Well-remembered! I recalled moaning about it but had entirely forgotten I had done so in an actually useful amount of detail! I remembered I had done it (twice, as I also remember trying again to see if I could save the Zeppelin) but have long since forgotten the techniques. I'm not so shy about using God-mode etc this time through, partly as I know I completed the mission without it and partly as I've had to use it anyway for the bugged boss battles. Talking of which, I still wonder if that bug is level-dependent as I only saw it a couple of times.

I think not using the nuke skill was one of my failings, and not being diligent enough with clearing a path, mistakenly assuming that making a dent in their defences is enough. My main problem is that my RL speed and dexterity are not awesome and definitely aren't assets when time is of the essence...

But so far today I've only done a load more coding for my "simple" DV2 packer. I'm not sure it really needs such a functional directory tree walker as I've just written: my rationale is that I can then use it elsewhere, but the precise reason it's taken much longer to code is that I'm hopeless at keeping a repository of handy code fragments I can reuse so everything ends up being written from scratch. Which is very tedious in C, often leaving me feeling I'm getting too old for this, but it's really just a case of being too disorganised.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 12/12/19 03:04 PM

Meh. Spent all day finishing my DV2 creator only to find that the compression doesn't work. Well it does work, but DKS doesn't like it for some reason. OTOH it likes my DV2 files just fine as long as I leave them uncompressed.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 13/12/19 10:19 AM

I did the Zeppelin thing last night and actually once I knew what I was doing it didn't seem so difficult. I did leave god-mode on even though it probably wasn't strictly necessary because I am aware of how quickly you can lose health as a dragon, which means dying if you don't keep a constant eye on the health-bar, and I simply don't have enough concentration for that and the Zeppelin's health bar and the wyvern's status and keeping an eye out for stuff I may have missed and seeing what I need to deal with and checking the Zeppelin's route and keeping an eye on the Zeppelin's current location and trying to do all that in three dimensions when I can't remember which way is up at the best of times.

For some reason the magic "no cooldown" button didn't seem to work, butit turned out to not matter. I also forgot to turn off god-mode when I encountered Ygerna but it didn't seem that difficult a fight anyway. I saved right at the start so I can go and redo it if I want.

I'm still spending way too much time buggering about with my DV2 program. I still can't figure out what's the problem with my compressed version, but the zlib stuff is quite poorly documented and example code I've found to date is often poorly written and seldom very clear so I don't really know what I'm doing. I can decompress my own but DKS will CTD whether before the menu and on load. Might be a bug, more likely that it's expecting a particular compression scheme and I've no idea how to analyse the vanilla files to see the schema used to compress them in the first place. But it is properly happy with my uncompressed ones, finally, since I realised I needed to put the component files on 32K boundaries. I think it's probably time to stop faffing about with it, no point in being perfectionist about something that'll see such limited use from now on. Well okay, "perfectionist" is a bit much since it's quite far from perfect!

Dunno what to do with myself now. I guess I'll use the developer mode to go and explore to see if I missed anything cool. Which is very likely tbh.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 13/12/19 12:00 PM

As I couldn't simply leave it alone, I now have the compressed version working properly too: turns out it was programmer error as I was clueless about using zlib. This is the offending code should anybody be interested. It's probably crap and may well have bugs lurking as I rewrote it so many times to try to get it working and I now have too much of a headache to properly sanitise it. It also doesn't compile on Linux (at least not mine) because of either an old compiler or flags that I really can't be bothered to figure out: when I have to start setting things like -D_XOPEN_SOURCE=whatevs I figure life's too short.

static int copyzfile(filelist_t *fp, FILE *fo)
	FILE *fi;
	z_stream zs;
	char filename[BUFSIZ];
	unsigned char deflate_in[DV2_BUFSIZ], deflate_out[DV2_BUFSIZ], *ptr;
	int zr;
	int bytes, bytesin = 0, bytesout = 0, zbytes, flush = Z_NO_FLUSH;

	snprintf(filename, sizeof(filename), "%s/%s",
		fp->f_dir->d_name, fp->f_name);
	if(!(fi = fopen(filename, "r")))
		syserror("unable to open %s for reading", filename);
	memset(&zs, 0, sizeof(zs));
	zs.zalloc = Z_NULL;
	zs.zfree = Z_NULL;
	zs.opaque = Z_NULL;
	if((zr = deflateInit(&zs, DV2_COMPRESSION)) != Z_OK)
		error("deflateInit failed: %d", zr);
	while(flush == Z_NO_FLUSH) {
		bytes = fread(deflate_in, 1, DV2_BUFSIZ, fi);
		bytesin += bytes;
		zs.next_in = deflate_in;
		zs.avail_in = bytes;
			flush = Z_FINISH;
		do {
			zs.next_out = deflate_out;
			zs.avail_out = DV2_BUFSIZ;
			if((zr = deflate(&zs, flush)) < Z_OK) {
					warn("deflate error: %s", zs.msg);
				error("deflate of %s (%d bytes) failed: %d",
					filename, bytes, zr);
			for(zbytes = DV2_BUFSIZ - zs.avail_out,
				ptr = deflate_out;
			    zbytes -= bytes, ptr += bytes, bytesout += bytes)
				if(!(bytes = fwrite(ptr, 1, zbytes, fo)))
					syserror("fwrite(3) failed for %s",
		} while(zs.avail_out == 0);
		syserror("fread(3) of %s failed", filename);
	if((zr = deflateEnd(&zs)) != Z_OK) {
			warn("deflateEnd error: %s", zs.msg);
		error("deflateEnd failed: %d", zr);
	if(bytesin != fp->f_size)
		error("%'d bytes does not match declared size of %'d for %s",
			bytesout, fp->f_size, filename);
	debug("deflated %s: orig=%'d, new=%'d",
		filename, bytesin, bytesout);
	return bytesout;
Posted By: Raze

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 14/12/19 06:19 AM

I mostly ignored the zeppelin's health, once I figured out the strategy for that section. There are several gaps in the Black Ring forces, so I would pause each time I finished a section and check the zeppelin; if its HP were down, I missed a tower / ballista / nest, and probably needed to reload and redo that section (being more careful), otherwise I could save and forge ahead. After starting to fly out ahead of the zeppelin, I think I only had to reload twice for missing something that could do a significant amount of damage.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 14/12/19 07:45 AM

I think perhaps some of our respective differences come down to how methodical we are in our respective approach! Mine sometimes being to just throw myself at a problem and hope for the best, at least when it comes to gaming, so I'll go "argh!" if it doesn't work and maybe come back (much) later. But I think even though I now understand the basic strategy for getting through this stage, there're still way too many variables for me to ever be comfortable with it.

Now I need to find a useful save point to go and explore the rest of the world in the dev console. The final one in Aleroth doesn't seem so useful from that point of view and I did wonder why my previous "exploring" save was at level 35, which is because there's nothing much to explore otherwise.

In other developments, my dv2 program now compiles on Linux, so it's also usable by anyone not using a FreeBSD system: I'm aware Linux is a lot more commonplace and "most" people probably have one handy. It involved having to write my own version of nftw(3), so this morning saw the creation of vftw ("Vometia's file-tree-walker") which is mostly compatible and importantly it compiles and runs correctly on Linux! Thanks to that, the program now weighs in at over 2,000 lines of code which is slightly larger than I'd anticipated, but it seems to work nicely. Benchmarks on my FBSD system for just over 600MB of data (the contents of Patch.dv2 and various things I've fiddled with) are 0.37 seconds to read the files (as there're almost 1,000 of them that's probably just the OS time to deal with them as my drive array isn't that quick!) and 0.31 seconds of CPU to generate an uncompressed archive, 9.65 seconds' CPU to compress them all, based on a Ryzen 2700.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 16/12/19 06:37 AM

Visiting various areas through the console, I've just found the otherwise inaccessible memorial. That was rather poignant.
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 20/12/19 04:33 AM

Rather late in the day as I've now finished playing, I decided to reshade DKS. I normally avoid Reshade like the plague as it mostly just seems to cause a gigantic FPS hit to make some questionable alterations to the way the game is presented, but this time I wish I'd done so earlier as it fixes some of those annoying jaggies that have been a not-very-aesthetic feature of DKS-era Gamebryo.

[Linked Image]

Of course I should've left it at that but I included the other four or five things as suggested on the old Steam guide to reshading ED, which I find can cause the usual problems, i.e. they can make the game look awesome but it's very hard to make it look awesome in all circumstances. It's hard to say how much of a negative effect it has as it also means I'm viewing the graphics much more critically than before.

The two "this is awesome when it's not sucking" components are MXAO (ambient occlusion) and FakeHDR, which give the graphics much more presence but even on very low settings they can still tend to be too much, so I dunno.

The FPS hit sees it drop from 60 (I use vsync, and my monitor goes no further than that) to a lower but stable 45. If anything it seems to look smoother so I dunno if Reshade has a sort of adaptive FPS thing going on, but it's less bad than I'd expected. May have been inspired to play it again if the Steam version (which just got downloaded) has any achievements but it doesn't, sadly.
Posted By: artofday

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 21/03/20 01:32 AM

so i faund something of interest if you know something please contact me [img][/img]
Posted By: vometia

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 21/03/20 02:45 AM

I'm not sure what I'm meant to be looking for; the link just brings up a generic image search for ED, unfortunately...
Posted By: Beeber

Re: Vom's adventures in Rivendell - 08/04/20 12:54 PM

Hi Vometia.

I still gotta read all of what you've written, but I just wanted to say YO! YOU EARNED AN AUDIENCE!

I'm busy playing right now but I'll be around to read your adventures.
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