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Kelsier Offline OP
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Right, so I've spent many hours trying to find the best composition to even do decently in this mod, and I think I've found something that works somewhat well in combat. This is only for combat, mind, so it won't take into account thievery or anything like that. Let's first take some matters into account;

1) Rangers are currently useless due to the incredibly low damage from Snipe and the scarcity of good weapons.

2) Smarter combat AI can now actually utilize their superior everything to crush you, if you're not careful and just rush into them when you're lower level than they are, like was possible in previous patches.

3) Survivability is an issue; lack of decent gear and price hell with merchants makes getting your armor ratings high really hard.

So, here's how I made my game a BIT easier.

Party Composition

2 melee tanks (1 Knight + 1 Fighter is what I did)
2 mages (all elements, so an Enchanter and a Wizard seem to work fine)

I suggest making one of the mages (the Enchanter) as your player character, and picking Armor of Frost for one of his/her starting skills. Since it's unlikely that you will get that skill during the game, it's infinitely better to start with it. Fighters are necessary due to their Fortify ability and tankiness. MA and PA are vital to the survival of your party.


Strategy

Your general idea of "how to strategy" with this composition is simple. Ground effects, ground effects and ground effects. You milk the shit out of ground effects and you don't care if it hits your own tanks as well. They should have their armours up regardless. Just remember: if it damages the NPC, it's good.

In short, this build is based around heavy tank + heavy CC.

Let your mages hang far back and put your melee characters in front; space them away from each other so that they won't get caught in the same CC. Buff the Knight with Armor of Frost. ALWAYS open the fight with your mages. Fossil Strike / Rain into a group of enemies, followed by Searing Daggers or Electric Discharge. I've found that stunning enemies with rain + aerotheurge spells is better if you're in a pinch, whereas FS + SD is better for opening fights.

Once your melee characters are in range, have your Fighter cast Contamination and engage the biggest, toughest NPC. Your Knight will move closer to the Fighter now, and your aim is to 1) get the NPCs PAs low and 2) use Cripple on as many of them as possible.

Tip: have Red Prince be the Knight! He's a great tool with his Dragon's Blaze racial ability to just light up any oil surfaces your enemies are standing in. A strategy I always found satisfying was sneaking up to the always abundant oil barrels, placing them into a chokepoint and then luring in all of the enemies who, naturally, will go and stand next to it. Then just Armor of Frost your tank and cast Dragon's Blaze. BOOM!

Useful skills to have Vital; Recommended; Situational

Armor of Frost
Fortify

Rain + ED / FS + SD


Teleportation (save it for teleporting their melees back to your own melees)
Battle Stomp
Crippling Blow
Haste


Rage
Battering Ram
(this does damage and knocks down, yes, but it also gets your fighters out of position as you don't engage with your melees. Battle Stomp is a better alternative to this, but BR can also have its uses.
Hail Strike (can be useful when coupled with Rain, but its high AP cost makes it only situational. ED is a better alternative.


Don't take this as gospel or anything; I'm basing this guide on my own experiences as a player and what has worked for me. Even this composition didn't get met out of some bad situations. Still, I wanted to share this, see what people think, if it works for them or not. It's probably futile to make posts like this for alpha versions, but I do it with the hope that someone will find it useful in tackling the challenges of this current version.

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1) Rangers are currently useless due to the incredibly low damage from Snipe and the scarcity of good weapons.


If Rangers were only good because of one skill, Snipe, then either they were very underpowered to begin with, or Snipe needed a nerf to make Rangers more in line with the power of the rest of the party.

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Kelsier Offline OP
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They really didn't have much going for them. They were either OP due to too many special arrows (by killing all Magisters) + Snipe, Guerilla, etc. or severely underpowered due to lack of special arrows. But tbh, I did also say scarcity of good weapons.

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Snipe was nice but it was never the only reason to use an ranger, for me it was more the cherry on the top. Ricochet was far more important and Tactical retreat for high ground. Archer could do far most base damage with good weapon, high ground and high crit chance.

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Ranger is fine, you need to take advantage of all the height point.

Put 1 point in Huntsman then every single point into Ranged weapon to boost basic ranged attack damage, also don't use crossbow since it cost 3 AP, use bow 2 AP so you can attack twice every turn, use ranger to destroy the enemy armor then warrior to knock them down, your ranger will most likely move first.

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I also disagree that Ranger is useless. I made a custom Warfare Ranger with Sebille for this play through. This allowed me access to rage and warlord, and I easily mopped up groups of enemies even with the nerf to Rangers as a whole.

Shields were amazing for survivability early on when I had little armor. Then I switched to dual wielding or staffs as needed once I made it further. But the shield recover ability remained amazing for dealing with the heavy incoming damage.

The ability to choose what class our companions start as was also huge. I made the Red Prince into a Wizard and then went Pyro with a splash into warfare for Rage/Warlord to combo with Savage Sortilege. Lohse was an enchanter that specialized in damaging magic armor and supporting the party. Then I made Ifan into a tank with some Geo utility spells to keep the opposing party slowed as much as possible, along with Fortify.

This party worked well, I never lost any of the fights. I did come close in the last battle due to the fire mage up on top of the fort having significantly more range than should be possible. There may be a bug/oversight allowing the AI to have more increased range than is possible for the player.

The biggest difficulty was the increased cost to skill books. Thievery did not receive a buff to value either, making it a much more limited option than it was before. Bartering is much more valuable than it was.

As a whole, the gear that was available from merchants or which dropped also seemed to be much weaker. Much fewer blues and purples being sold by the undead merchant. Though I'm sure it would have been difficult to afford any of them anyway.

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Pre AI 2.0, my primary was a custom lizard ranger (rip Sebille. Killed her every game) that spec into self-buff, Wit+Finesse and he was really ridiculous to play with.

Current AI 2.0, he's still ridiculous and breaks the game. Start the game off with Houndmaster crossbow atm, making all the early game encounter ezpz and atm, I'm in the marsh with a level 4 bow at level 5 and he still breaks the game.

Outside surprise ambush, Ranger always get the preemptive strike and with high Wits, the amount of time you shoot before the enemies gets to act is ridiclous.

"OOO I see the (end) appearing on my conversation that initiated on my Red Prince who I intentionally walk at the front with"

-Ranger into position-
-Buff haste, buff everything-
-Walk-in-Shadow-
-Snipe-

Combat Start

-Shoot 2 more times with bow-

Level 5 and I'm already dealing 140ish+ damage at the start of the fight with a low level bow even starts and the next time he gets to act, he shoots 3 times. When I reach Seeker camp and gets a new bow, he's gonna be even more ridiculous since he can just 100-0 the enemy mage alone before they even get to fireball or CC.

Mage is the one I always feel is useless because Lohse is my only mage and that means her damage alone will never be able to break the above average magic shield before something dies from 3 physical stomp. The only thing she ever does in both playthrough, is haste the Red prince, teleport a range into a melee near Red prince and have him Rage + Crippling + Tornado. Even the whole "Earth + Fireball" combo thing just feel bleh even with high Int so I just stop at the Impale/Fossil to leave the oil field around for the slow.

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At this point I feel like it's prudent to mention that my guide was heavily coloured by the slog up of levels 1 through 3 - later on, I certainly began to find new ways of appreciating rangers, once I finally got decent gear. Got to agree on mages; mainly I just equip poison/fire wands for Lohse who dualwields them for that extra elemental effect damage. I really feel like this game needs a dedicated MA-destroyer-spell, though. Now I just spam CC and hope it's enough to whittle down MA.

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Originally Posted by Kelsier
At this point I feel like it's prudent to mention that my guide was heavily coloured by the slog up of levels 1 through 3 - later on, I certainly began to find new ways of appreciating rangers, once I finally got decent gear. Got to agree on mages; mainly I just equip poison/fire wands for Lohse who dualwields them for that extra elemental effect damage. I really feel like this game needs a dedicated MA-destroyer-spell, though. Now I just spam CC and hope it's enough to whittle down MA.


Once you know the trick, it takes less than 20 minutes to go from level 1 to level 3.

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Originally Posted by Kelsier
At this point I feel like it's prudent to mention that my guide was heavily coloured by the slog up of levels 1 through 3 - later on, I certainly began to find new ways of appreciating rangers, once I finally got decent gear. Got to agree on mages; mainly I just equip poison/fire wands for Lohse who dualwields them for that extra elemental effect damage. I really feel like this game needs a dedicated MA-destroyer-spell, though. Now I just spam CC and hope it's enough to whittle down MA.


Right now we only have Aerotheurge to increase damage to MA, while Aerotheurge itself has only a few damage spells. The most effective build I've been able to create so far invested heavily into Aerotheurge and used hail strike and impalement for heavy AOE MA damage. I also needed a minor investment into wits/initiative gear to make sure this character took its turn before my pyromancer.

It worked, but wasn't anything to write home about. I'm hoping this dynamic will be changed up when we get access to the new skill trees.

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Originally Posted by Ellezard
Originally Posted by Kelsier
At this point I feel like it's prudent to mention that my guide was heavily coloured by the slog up of levels 1 through 3 - later on, I certainly began to find new ways of appreciating rangers, once I finally got decent gear. Got to agree on mages; mainly I just equip poison/fire wands for Lohse who dualwields them for that extra elemental effect damage. I really feel like this game needs a dedicated MA-destroyer-spell, though. Now I just spam CC and hope it's enough to whittle down MA.


Once you know the trick, it takes less than 20 minutes to go from level 1 to level 3.


Frankly I doubt this. I don't know every nook and cranny of the system, but I'm still a veteran player - and it takes me hours.

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Originally Posted by Kelsier

Frankly I doubt this. I don't know every nook and cranny of the system, but I'm still a veteran player - and it takes me hours.


-Create a char with Pet Pal (who doesn't love Pet pal?)
-Play to Fort Joy and get through the gate
-Get Lohse
-Do the Elves vs Thug
-Go get Ifan
-Go kill Sebille or stop her (I just kill)
-Give alcohol to Doctor Leste and talk about the potion. Heal the guy if needed since they say he also gives ton of exp for doing this on every character
-Go into the Elf Cave
-Play hide and seek, get into the Wither area

-Level 2. Level up Ifan sneak to 1

-Promise to help Wither
-Go outside, talk to buddy with pet pal, mention how you will help Emily (he will give you Buddy's Key anyway with most dialogue options)
-Go inside the secret passage, steal the prison key with sneak Ifan
-Go upstair.
-Go into the hound room, mention buddy, Easy exp
-Go into the Birdie cage room, talk to birdie, free Birdie, persuade (lizard easy persuasion), more exp and Houndmaster crossbow.
-Go inside Souljar secret area
-Break souljar
-Also has 15 wits on your ranger so you can get Bacchus legging for your fighter.

You're pretty much level 3 from only 3 fights (Help the elf, that one zombie and the 2 voidwokens) with a Houndmaster Crossbow ready for extremely easy early game because you always start every fight with 2 Houndmaster Shot (pre-battle and 1st turn) which does tons of damage. Grab snipe early, sneak, shoot, shoot houndmaster and you just start off every early game fight with nearly 100 damage. I start my game with Pyro-huntsman so I can have Haste as well and the 2nd turn I shoot will be a double crossbow shot. Look up my tip and trick to have thousands of gold asily in the early game. (And ends the game with like, 10k)

You can also try to push to level 4 by going into all of the secret areas like the Ancient sword, Frog cave, The kid hideout at the elf cave and the inner left cell with the skeleton using the Teleporter glove. Also use the "Pre-cast Teleport on Gawain" and drag him back to kill him to finish the quest without having to find his dead body for another easy thousand of exp.

Last edited by Ellezard; 08/02/17 08:40 AM.
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I tend to go about that a bit differently. Up to Level 2, we're mostly the same - but then I start doing the random content in Fort Joy, such as Griff's quest, the Sparkler Card and the fight with the card-playing thugs, Magister Yarrow's quest, crocodiles, then teleporting up to Orivand's Chambers and stealing everything there, then selling to buy better gear... and only then I start progressing, usually by doing the Teleporter quest and sneaking into the cell, doing the Houndmaster fight etc.

Tbh I did teleport to the inner left cell, but no skeleton spawned strangely.


Last edited by Kelsier; 08/02/17 02:07 PM.
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Originally Posted by Kelsier
I really feel like this game needs a dedicated MA-destroyer-spell, though.
It does have such a spell - Infect. It does double the damage to MA compared to anything else.

Of course we are a bit limited on source points now.

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Well, yes, it's not a dedicated MA-destroyer-spell, then. Source skills by definition are kind of hard to get, and they're not something you can rely on for constant use.

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Chloroform is focused on destroying MA and putting the target at sleep afterwards. But like the mage skills this skill isn't that strong either.

With skeleton he means the dead bodies (skeletons) lying around, my guess.

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Yeah I'm just talking about all the dead bodies around to loot, no spawning battle.

And what we need with mage is a piercing spell for direct health damage. Right now, the most effective damage spell is mosquito simply because it's physical and actually contribute to the fight if you're using Ranger-Fighter-Knife trio physical damager abusing backstab crit or Warfare rage crit.

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Originally Posted by Kelsier
1) Rangers are currently useless due to the incredibly low damage from Snipe and the scarcity of good weapons.

This isn't true at all.
No class is useless, it all depends on the synergy with the rest of your party.
A Ranger purpose is to take out high priority target that your melee characters cannot reach without moving out of position.

1. They are the only ranged Physical damage dealer aside from hybrids.
2. The most important reason why Rangers are good is that Bows and Crossbows are the only weapons that can have the Piercing (Bypass Armor) extra damage on them (Correct me if I'm wrong, but after 56 hours of play, I havn't seen it on anything other than Bow and Crossbow). This may not mean much early in the game, but as soon as you get your hand on one of those killer, your Ranger can kill enemies without even breaking their Physical Armor because...
3. Marksman's Fang is one of the strongest ability in the game by very far. I shouldn't even need to explain why it is. You can fight any type of enemy with a Ranger because you don't care about whether they have high Physical Armor, high Magical Armor or a mix of both. They'll die all the same when you can ignore their Armor or switch from Physical to Magical damage with the simple use of cheap Fire or Poison arrows.
4. Bow and Crossbow wielders are the most versatile characters because of special arrows offering such a wide variety of utility, damage and control. Even if special arrows are scarce. That's why if you aren't using a Ranger, you should have at least one of your caster using 1 point in Ranger for First Aid, Tactical Retreat and special arrows instead of using wands or a staff.
5. You can actually one shot an Intelligence enemy (And even some Finesse enemies) with a single critical Snipe (Yes, the very Snipe you said was doing incredibly low damage). Only other abilities that can effectively one shot in the game require source point. It is meant as a fight initiator that can take out a priority target or make them an easy picking before the fight start. With enough Wits, you can even keep nailing arrows/bolts on that enemy to kill it before they can even have their turn.
6. High ground. The key to a good Ranger is the high ground, which is why 1 Scoundrel for Adrenaline and Cloak and Dagger on top of your Tactical Retreat from Ranger is a must to reach those high points fast. If you don't use high ground, naturally, Ranger is gonna suck bad.

Last edited by snap; 09/02/17 12:08 PM.

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