Larian Studios
Posted By: galneon Tactician mode: How free am I? - 07/11/15 05:01 AM
Last week I played D:OS for the first time. I'd been waiting since Winter for the patch which then became the EE. I played the first battle with three different pairs in Tactician mode. One took two tries, one took three, and one pair I was unable to get through the battle with at all. I then tried the battle once on Classic mode and got through it without taking a single point of damage.

My first impression: Where's hard mode? These seem like two extremes and I'm wondering where the middle ground is, but that isn't my point.

Anyway, if I play at all, it will be in Tactician mode, and my question involves character design. I don't like min-maxing. I play most games on the highest difficulty with deliberately subpar builds. I don't play MMOGs so I'm not competing with anyone and I do whatever I can to make games challenging. I don't intend to generalize my characters to the point of obscurity, but I would like to put points into fun stuff like telekenesis, speaking to animals, charisma, lockpicking, etc.

Is Tactician mode hardcore to the point that I can't screw around and hope to get through it? Do I have to invest in every skill according to its usefulness in battle? I only intend to play this game once, like any other game. I know I can't see it all in one playthrough no matter what, but by diversifying a bit I can probably see more of it than with pure combat builds. Assuming I'm a competent player (though one who absolutely won't be reading strategy guides or wikis to find tactics or exploits), can I play the way I'd like to?

I'm hoping to really start playing tomorrow and would be grateful for your opinions. No build suggestions, please, as I'm going in as blind as possible--I just want to avoid a restart if I find myself permanently stuck several hours into the game.
Posted By: Vardis Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 07/11/15 05:17 AM
I picked an enchantress and rogue my first time at tactician, and got slaughtered. The teleport didn't drop the skeleton on the others like I'd hoped, and the rogue's daggers and bleed attack weren't much good against 5 skeletons. 5 con each didn't help.

Since then, I haven't had any problem (I restart way too much). I take a wizard with summon spider, a knight with both knockdown skills, and a point of leadership on both chars for the initiative, and it's been easy. Other combos of characters were fine, but there are definitely some that are going to hurt, especially if they hit you both with the poison grenade, and you don't have a form of healing.

Later on, I don't think it's as bad, but then I use crafting and blacksmith to make sure I have good gear for my level.
Posted By: Stabbey Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 07/11/15 05:39 AM
Judging the appropriate difficulty to play at based entirely on what is literally the first battle in the game is probably not the best gauge. On Normal/Classic, you're not supposed to be seriously challenged by those three starter skeletons.

Generally speaking, Tactician is intended for those who have already finished the game and are looking for a greater challenge. Tactician expects you to know and understand the systems of the game. People who have never played D:OS before are going to have a much harder time than playing on normal.

If you're playing for the first time, even normal difficulty can be a challenge. This game is difficulty by design and enemies are no slouches. Even on normal, you cannot sleepwalk casually through the game.

I won't offer you build advice, so I will suggest is that you build a balanced party of four.
Posted By: Tiggerdyret Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 07/11/15 06:53 AM
If you are challenged by the first battle you are gonna have a hard time. Remember you are gonna mess up your build at some point if you aren't killing the fun with a build guide. It gets a lot tougher, when you get to the first town. Another thing is the the enemies don't level with you so you can stumble on a high level very early on if you don't know where you are going. I think it could be frustrating to play tactician and not knowing if you are the correct level or if the enemies are just that tough. When you play classic you can always go for a higher level area to test out you skills once in a while.
Posted By: Gyson Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 07/11/15 07:30 AM
I don't feel that it's necessary to have finished the game (or even played D:OS) to play through at the tactician difficulty setting. You just need to be decent at these types of games, have a little patience, and be prepared to try out different strategies. The weaker (combat-wise) you build your characters, the more outside the box thinking you'll need in combat. Heck, I think you'll have more fun that way.

Honestly, there are so few options available (compared to everywhere else) when you reach the first fight, I think it's more difficult than some of the battles that follow it.
Posted By: Sotanaht Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 07/11/15 08:41 AM
Tactition mode basics:
Warrior and/or Ranger for damage
Crafting
CC* as much as possible
Don't neglect initiative

If you can handle that, then you can play around with combining builds as much as you want. As long as you can still equip your crafted weapons the rest of the stats are free game. 5 crafting and blacksmithing are a must, but with gear, traits and talents you can get that with only 1 crafting and 2 blacksmithing.

The main use for crafting is making and enhancing your weapons. Crafted weapons do a lot more damage than found ones (with some type exceptions), so it's pretty essential for making a strong character. It's also needed for enhancing your armor (resistances) and making special arrows for the Ranger. I could go into more detail but I think you want to learn it on your own. I will say that I think crossbow crafting is bugged (bad) so stick to bows.

That initiative part is something I found out the hard way. I used to figure "whats it matter when you get the same number of turns/actions either way?", but getting the first turn lets you CC your enemies before they have a chance to CC you. It often means the difference between dying before you get a turn and never letting the enemies attack you at all.

*Crowd Control, especially referring to Stun, Knockdown, Petrify, Freeze, and Charm
Posted By: aguds Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 07/11/15 11:07 AM
Originally Posted by Gyson
I don't feel that it's necessary to have finished the game (or even played D:OS) to play through at the tactician difficulty setting. You just need to be decent at these types of games, have a little patience, and be prepared to try out different strategies. The weaker (combat-wise) you build your characters, the more outside the box thinking you'll need in combat. Heck, I think you'll have more fun that way.

Honestly, there are so few options available (compared to everywhere else) when you reach the first fight, I think it's more difficult than some of the battles that follow it.


10 times I died at the start. 2 additional archers, and the fact that you only have 2 characters at that point - leaves no room for mistakes.

Then it is a bit difficult up until lvl 4 or 5, but from there you have so many options there is always a way to win.

Point: Just push through the start even if it seems a bit hard, the fights further into the game are much more diverse then on vanilla.
Posted By: gGeo Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 07/11/15 01:13 PM
Tactician mode is interesting. I definitely go for Honour after few patches.

I have just picked up a knight and a Inquisitor to give it a try. Out of box, no particular modification. (which is a waste)
I was wandering around and get 6th level. I was wiped only 3 times at all.

I watched few youtube letsplay on Tactial, most people surrender the play. Or switch to lower difficulty.
Also I have find an topic on Steam like: " I suck in game, so can you make tactical easy enough for me?" think

Thats it, it is hard. It ment to be hard. And its done great way, not simply add HP as usual dumb game, but more emey, new nemy, smarter enemys. It is for completest and skill professors. hehe
Tactical is great. I think that this will give DOS:EE long, long popularity for RPG positive fans.


Play on standard first then for next run choose other clasess and higher diff, the game now has a great replay value.
Posted By: galneon Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 07/11/15 04:39 PM
Thanks for all the input. The game is only new to me once and that's a large part of why it's Tactician mode or nothing for me. I've never finished a game and thought "gee, I really should have played on a lesser difficulty and then played the whole thing again on a harder difficulty." Maybe I'd do things that way if I was seeking to suck every last bit of value out of the games I play, but my queue is long enough that I'd have to live to 120 to get through all the games I'd like to play. Dying doesn't interrupt the flow for me. I like dying. If I'm not dying some, the game isn't trying hard enough.

It sounds like I'll have the toughest time before I reach the city when I'm only a party of two, but once I put together a full party it should be manageable. I know I asked for no build tips, but the points of leadership for initiative is useful advice, and I would have guessed crafting in general wasn't very useful and was there for novelty (and I would have been very wrong about it), so thanks for that :P Looking forward to starting in earnest later today.
Posted By: Dr Koin Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 07/11/15 05:25 PM
I will agree with Stabbey that the game is not as easy as a lot of people tries to say, especially in Tactician. Or rather, depending on your builds, it will be very hard, hard, or okay.

Tactician imo brings forwards everything that is wrong with DOS:EE by widening the gap between the abilities usefulness and generaly aggravating the game balancing issues. Sure, it is possible to stumble on the right builds by yourself, but it is easy to waste points, and points don't come in a large supply. You are tempted to put some points in Lockpicking : definitely don't. The talent was useless and is still useless. You may not have been tempted to put some points in Leadership, do it, but maybe not too many. Sneaking received a huge nerf compared to vanilla that may render it very useless too : you may have wanted to make a stealth based rogue based on your experience throughout other games, it may not be a good idea here.

All this make for a somewhat non intuitive and unforgiving Tactician experience especially in the first chapter. You may get enough skills and spent points later on that may help you even the odds, but chances are that you will suffer in Cyseal. Another thing that may require you know what you're doing is that it's very unadvised to wander out of town before having done everything you could - which should bring you to level ... 4 or 3?

And as Stabbey said : gather your team of 4. Don't even think about Lone Wolf for a very first attempt at Divinity : Original Sin Enhanced Edition session in Tactician mode.
Posted By: Horrorscope Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 07/11/15 06:08 PM
So far it feels maybe like a Hard should. Once you get the feel down I think it opens up a lot to a new player. When I hear min/max I hear stats, esp the basic attribute ones. Well that doesn't mean you can't have bows/special arrows for fighter types to start at range, which imo makes them pretty much mages in effect. Your mage(s) should have multiple schools. To me between everything melee skills, range skills/arrows, schools, grenades, wands, scrolls. You should have so many choices (too many imo) that really I've been able to spell rather easily, whatever is put in front of me. It doesn't seem all that difficult... so far. Early game still. My modded D:OS game was harder than Tactician.

Now if you don't want to use all that is available to you, well then you are making your own difficulty level and well I'm not sure we can help answer. The more you restrict stats, items etc, that is you, but I don't feel the Attributes have to be a certain way to have success.

I would go tactician, you will get a lot better and then you'll still have 2/3 the game to go and wish there were more challenge. Not a fan that you can't change in our out of Tactician, it's a not a mmo, lets us do what we want to here.

Back on the specialty arrows. It seems reducing them to only Poison, Fire, Knockdown, Cloud would be plenty of utility options and they seem a bit more based in reality. There are like 10 now, they have basically everything that it makes one feel like a mage but with a arrow delivery system. Arrows like Charm, Electricity, doesn't seem all that realistic for an arrow.
Posted By: Hassat Hunter Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 10/11/15 07:47 PM
The bad thing about Tactician so far IMO is the first battle relies entirely on luck. Since you can't find weaponry or items to supplement whatever you might have gotten at the start (oh look, sword+shield for my dual-wielder, not weapons!) your up for the grabs. Later on you atleast got some basics from the the tutorial dungeon and beach.
Posted By: CK1 Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 11/11/15 01:04 PM
Originally Posted by Hassat Hunter
The bad thing about Tactician so far IMO is the first battle relies entirely on luck. Since you can't find weaponry or items to supplement whatever you might have gotten at the start (oh look, sword+shield for my dual-wielder, not weapons!) your up for the grabs. Later on you atleast got some basics from the the tutorial dungeon and beach.


It does and it doesn't. I can reliably beat the first battle without luck but it requires me to customize the characters in a min/max way. Max strength, dual wand inquisitor with max int respeced with regen and spider. I have done it with other minor variations but it is hard to start with the rogue classes and certain stock items.

I could experiment more to find other ways to open it, but don't care strongly to find out as I don't think the game was meant to be fully balanced initially in tactician/honor modes.
Posted By: Stabbey Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 11/11/15 02:14 PM
The first fight is quite hard because you have no resources except what you start with. It does almost seem to force one of you to take some kind of healing ability (Cure Wounds, First Aid, Regeneration). But after reaching Cyseal, Tactician gets a lot less tricky.

It also doesn't help that the tutorial dungeon does not contain any health potions.
Posted By: Koan Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 11/11/15 02:48 PM
Originally Posted by CK1
[quote=Hassat Hunter]The bad thing about Tactician so far IMO is the first battle relies entirely on luck. Since you can't find weaponry or items to supplement whatever you might have gotten at the start (oh look, sword+shield for my dual-wielder, not weapons!) your up for the grabs. Later on you atleast got some basics from the the tutorial dungeon and beach.


The very first decision i suggest during character creation is to pick a class that looks like it has the equipment you want.

*Tactician difficulty tip, not for RPG beginners.

Don't pick a class based on spells, skills, starting attributes, abilities, talents... these can all be changed. The name of class can be ignored as irrelevant. The only use of the suggested classes is the starting equipment for beginning encounter survivability.

Special Note: Take care to double check choices you make as you flip between your two characters as some choices get reset as you go (bug i guess). The voice choice definitely gets reset as you change classes so be careful.
Posted By: galneon Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 11/11/15 08:00 PM
Originally Posted by Koan
Don't pick a class based on spells, skills, starting attributes, abilities, talents... these can all be changed. The name of class can be ignored as irrelevant. The only use of the suggested classes is the starting equipment for beginning encounter survivability.


That's helpful, but I've heard the ability to respec comes very late in the game. Was this incorrect?

It seems to me because of the lack of resources and reliance on luck that the pre-Cyseal content gives people a false impression of what Tactician mode is. I imagine that leads to many people restarting from Classic into Tactician mode later in the game, or restarting from Tactician into Classic mode only to realize the game becomes far easier after the first few hours.
Posted By: Koan Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 11/11/15 08:08 PM
I may have not been clear. I'm only talking about changes made in character creation (before game start). When you choose a preset class, everything can be edited during character creation except for starting equipment.

I haven't made it too far into the game and have done my best not to read any respeccing details (spoilers).
Posted By: galneon Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 11/11/15 08:10 PM
Ahh yes, I see what you mean. Sorry if I spoiled anything (I'm usually the one to avoid spoilers :P).
Posted By: Koan Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 11/11/15 08:14 PM
No worries. It's a fine line that we spoiler-avoiders walk in this modern day and age of broken-game-making to browse forums for hints and tips ;-)
Posted By: galneon Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 11/11/15 08:16 PM
Haha, indeed...
Posted By: Mikaelion Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 12/11/15 09:28 AM
Started Tactician mode yesterday with my brother. I went for a knight-type of character, without any points in leadership, with the Lonewolf-talent.

He went for a wizard with no wands and his spells were flare, boulderbash (?) and Oath of Desecration.

We've both played the original game and thought that Tactician would suit our needs perfectly and so far, the difficulty level is exactly what it seems like. The first fight against the 5 skeletons was a close one, but we managed to do that simply by playing like someone who has touched a game before this one.

This game, this difficulty mode, requires you to think quite a bit, it doesn't allow you to just "Yea, I'll just go there and whack him", but it doesn't require min/maxing at all. And blacksmithing/crafting isn't as needed as people make it to be. You can play the game just fine without putting any points in those. There are plenty of items that give blacksmithing and/or crafting, you need to utilize those. Only thing that I've crafted so far are a few potions and special arrows, but those things only need 1 or 2 points.

Tactician mode is hard, it's unforgiving and it requires you to constantly watch out for the environment. There are oil barrels, ooze barrels, water puddles, etc..., along the way that you have to utilize to win the fight. The game may be hard, but it does not require you to do anything that you don't want to. You can complete the game by using two rogues, it's just going to be harder. But like I said; you can manage if you've ever played anything like this game before. Everyone knows that a good balanced party will be a lot better.

But, still, it's up to you how to play the game. There are multiple ways to get that much wanted CC. Grenades, scrolls, arrows, skills, so no character is gimped to the point of no return. P
Posted By: Everfades Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 12/11/15 03:08 PM
Originally Posted by Mikaelion
Started Tactician mode yesterday with my brother. I went for a knight-type of character, without any points in leadership, with the Lonewolf-talent.

He went for a wizard with no wands and his spells were flare, boulderbash (?) and Oath of Desecration.

We've both played the original game and thought that Tactician would suit our needs perfectly and so far, the difficulty level is exactly what it seems like. The first fight against the 5 skeletons was a close one, but we managed to do that simply by playing like someone who has touched a game before this one.

This game, this difficulty mode, requires you to think quite a bit, it doesn't allow you to just "Yea, I'll just go there and whack him", but it doesn't require min/maxing at all. And blacksmithing/crafting isn't as needed as people make it to be. You can play the game just fine without putting any points in those. There are plenty of items that give blacksmithing and/or crafting, you need to utilize those. Only thing that I've crafted so far are a few potions and special arrows, but those things only need 1 or 2 points.

Tactician mode is hard, it's unforgiving and it requires you to constantly watch out for the environment. There are oil barrels, ooze barrels, water puddles, etc..., along the way that you have to utilize to win the fight. The game may be hard, but it does not require you to do anything that you don't want to. You can complete the game by using two rogues, it's just going to be harder. But like I said; you can manage if you've ever played anything like this game before. Everyone knows that a good balanced party will be a lot better.

But, still, it's up to you how to play the game. There are multiple ways to get that much wanted CC. Grenades, scrolls, arrows, skills, so no character is gimped to the point of no return. P


Exactly this - my wife and me played the not enhanced edition and we think the difficulty of tactician mode is right where it needs to be. You won't need to min/max your stats but you will have to pick your fights carefully and prepare before starting it. Knowing your enemies weaknesses, spells and elemental type makes battles a lot easier. Don't forget to use anything you can see to your advantage. For example hiding your mage behind a barrel to block a ranged shot or using water to fight off exploding and burning enemies. (for example those suicide units won't explode while they are wet) And don't forget you can use items and scrolls in battles, not just weapons and spells.

Some basics should still be clear though! If your group doesn't have anyone who can soak some damage you will have a really hard time fighting high HP monsters who can get into closecombat range before you kill them. In our Enhanced Edition tactical run my wife played a ranger type character with many special arrows and a handful of scoundral skills to get out of danger quickly. I played a fire/earth mage to buff the party and creating combos for the special ranger arrows. We used the warrior NPC and the scoundrel NPC in our party. We didn't min max our stats, but you obviously need to consider that you are playing on a really hard difficulty. You can't just put 10 intelligence into your warrior just for fun. But there is enough room to get things like talking to animals, some bartering or other not combat related additions. In some fights we had to try out half a dozen strategies before one of them finally worked. But that's what a hard mode is good for. A real challenge. Minmaxing might have made the midgame easier but if you pay attention you will find out many ways to defeat opponents without actually fighting them and you will grow strong enough eventually to take on the really tough guys without perfectly skilling your characters. I doubt you can reach a point where you can get stuck if you have a savegame before such battles at hand. Maybe your party can't fight this group yet but what if you go back to the first town and grab a scroll of x/y/z ? What if you change your weapons elemental stats by crafting? What if you change your NPC followers because they might be the weakest link in your party? You have a lot of options and almost every quest has a different way of doing it. (In the Enhanced Edition there are even more quest options. We encountered one quest which was in the original which already had 2 different outcomes and ways to win it and now it has one additional path you can follow instead - if you have a specific item with you and talked to some specific people who will do the quest for you if you give them that item)

One last thing: The skeletons at the start might be really hard for you with specific character combinations. Especially because skeletons have some natural strengths/weaknesses and some starting character weapons deal 50% of damage against them. This will change later on when there are many different types of enemies. Just don't forget that every unit has a weakness (piercing damage, an element, etc.) and some strength. (immune to element x, gets healed from y, receives half damage from z) Due to that the first battle can be really hard if your characters both only have weapons and spells which deal low damage against skeletons. They are in no way impossible to win though, don't forget you can find some stuff on the beach. You can use some of it to your advantage if you place it before the fight starts. wink
Posted By: CK1 Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 12/11/15 03:40 PM
Yeah, I'm playing on honor mode so... I'm going to use as much "prep" cheese as I can. smile You are right that you don't need to min/max, although you might need to use up some spare resources. I'm doing some fairly aggressive moves to ensure I don't start over yet again (took me 15 tries to stay above level 9) and I really don't want to hear that stupid imp talk again.

That said, I was a pseudo save game scummer in my previous runs. Now that I can't really save the game to test different things and I don't really remember the game 100% (haven't played for a while), it makes for a VERY different sort of game.

Loremaster is INCREDIBLY useful, but counter intuitive to use! It used to just show the information with mouse over. Now you must right-click over the minion and "examine". It gives you a HUGE run-down on the weaknesses of the enemy. This is a must if you want to play "no-reload" and it works from "infinite" distance which I think is FAIR for honor mode players.

Fleeing is incredibly useful too if the battle is going awry. I haven't had to use it in my current run through but in the previous ones it is useful to get a feel for what is going on and if you must, to slowly whittle down the enemy forces. While escapist with some body building / willpower can usually save your character, all it takes is one bad combo and it is over.

Constitution is very useful. Unlike the usual diminishing or linear returns of most games, it appears to get STRONGER the more you put into it. Very useful if you are playing honor since the cost of going down is quite a few total AP (or less if you have "morning person").

Bosses are incredibly risky. If not for my vague knowledge of how they worked, I'd probably have reloaded again by now. I put off fighting some bosses because if you aren't careful, you can get wrecked pretty badly.

Spending money for survivability and certain skills rather than saving for a rainy day is a good idea since there might NOT be a rainy day to go back to!

Splitting the group with a vanguard and using pyramid tricks to maneuver is a must. I think this is slightly counter intuitive but the AI is so stupid with traps + groups that you really have to do this or cry like I did when your team dies to a TRAP.

Anyway, I'm still alive at level 13 or so and I'm sort of liking this honor mode. I don't know if it is for everyone (mostly due to the traps and hokey pyramid tricks) and I'm sure you could "cheat" death by keeping your main at home at all times. When played along the spirit of the game, it is a different experience for sure!
Posted By: galneon Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 16/11/15 11:05 PM
I'm only at level 6, but Tactician feels just right so far. I know I would have restarted had I played Classic. The toughest battle was the very first. Unless you can AoE the group of three right away, including the poison bomb thrower, that's a rough fight, and depending on the skills you pick, it may not be possible to prevent the bomb from going off. I imagine that fight has given a lot of people the wrong idea about Tactician. I'm not sure it's the right introduction to the game...

I've taken a lot of non-combat skills so far and am only having to restart battles when individual party members die (which I'm treating as a game-over--with a finite amount of experience in the game, this probably isn't a
bad idea?). I have a very generalized mage, a two-hander (with crafting/blacksmithing), and the Cylean ranger and rogue whom I have no intention of ever replacing.

Self-handicapping is usually annoying and breaks immersion, but it isn't hard at all in this game. 1. Only the mage is capable of using scrolls, 2. Only the rogue is capable of throwing grenades, 3. Only the ranger is capable of using arrows, and 4. Because I can see how special arrows could trivialize everything if over-used, the knowledge of crafting arrows has been entirely lost on my party. wink
Posted By: yupper Re: Tactician mode: How free am I? - 17/11/15 07:40 AM
I am playing through tactician mode with lone wolf ATM. Since the tactician mode's improvement is not to the enemy AI, but to the enemy build (more abilities, +20% health), you are correct that the most efficient (although not necessarily the most fun) way of coping with it is to enhance the build of your party. This means at least some degree of min/max is required, and party synergy becomes even more important.

My characters are 1) hybrid mage/warrior (aiming to build a tank mage) specializing in witchcraft (buff and close combat spells) with some points in other magic schools that grants buff spells (ie earth: fortify) and CC, and ;2) hybrid mage/rogue. The mage/rogue is given +initiative equipment, which combined with haste makes her the perfect person to CC and perform "set up" spells like rain, boulder, and midnight oil, so my mage/warrior can be the damage dealer. Even though none of my character have points in dual wield, my mage/warrior use wands for range attacks and habitually use earth wands to summon solves. Since I am playing lone wolf, I have to rely on summoning for throw away tanks. There is no improvement to enemy AI, which means mobs will habitually go after my spiders, elementals, and wolves. The summons are weak and don't do much damage, but they buy enough time for my mage/rogue to cast CC and "set up" spells, and allow my mage/warrior to clean up.

My battles usually unfold in the follow manner:
- summons
- CC and set up spells
- damage
- rinse and repeat when necessary
© Larian Studios forums