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1  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Character Builds / Re: Epic Resistances on: 07 January 2014, 11:46
That is, completely forgo Str (and therefore damage) and even AB if necessary (unless going for Fighter widget proc.) and focus completely on AC, Evasion, Resistance and Hit Points. Of course, I had not thought of the problem of a Dex based Tank being flanked by mobs.

A thought though....Dwarven Defender gets Defensive Awareness II at level 5. Would this not mitigate the flanking issue?

I think it's the puzzle solving aspect of character building that has drawn me to it lately. I am convinced that hiding somewhere within the mix of "Fighter - Rogue - Shadow Dancer - Dwarven Defender - Harper Scout," there is a class combination using Dwarf or Halfling with the potential for a genius dedicated Tank build.

I agree - somewhere in that mix is a great tank build waiting to be found...

I didn't realise you intended the F/SD/HS to be a tank build - it seems obvious in hindsight, considering the topic, but I just don't normally associate high fighter with tanks. In those circumstances...well I honestly can't say. I think the lack of sneak and crit immunity could seriously hurt it (wouldn't be able to tank Elrond, I don't think), but on the other hand if you COULD get high ac and enough ab to proc fairly often then you might actually have something there - you'd be pretty much dodge capped with HS+Shadow evade, plus your conceal would be solid and you'd still have the HS ab boost... and when your widget procs, you'd immediately make it much easier for the other hitters to start dealing damage - a shield drop or an ac penalty might be all it would take to pull some of them apart.

You'd only be able to single-wield, really, because the ac boost from a shield would be too useful to pass up, so your APR would be quite low...though you could always dual-wield most of the time (with high fighter I can't see it being feat-starved) and swap to a shield when you REALLY need it.
 
You might even be able to get Improved Whirlwind Attack (a lot of prerequisite feats and 23+ dex required, but it stops you being flanked and allows you to try and proc on everything 10 feet around you at full BAB). That would certainly remove the issues with only having 5 or so APR...

Definitely worth taking that one for a spin in the test area, just to get some rough estimates.
2  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Character Builds / Re: Epic Resistances on: 06 January 2014, 22:18
Your Epic Dodge - Fighter Widget combo is a very neat idea. If only you could get a fighter build that can hit AND get Epic Dodge. I've already begun toying around with some...I doubt it will be possible in the end though.

While I would love to be able to claim credit for it, because it really is a great idea, that one was all Sest. Shadow tanks are even more dependant on gear than other types though (you need loads of stuff with Disc to avoid KD, while still getting the important DR and immunities for the un-dodgable things like IGMS), so until you have a pretty good collection of items it's really hard to make one work.

That being said, I admittedly do not know much about Dex based builds as I've rarely ever played them. How does a Dex based tank work? How does a SD tank work? I'd love an explanation and some examples. Do you think it is possible to get a Ftr/SD/HS or close variant that can hit, proc. and epic dodge?

I don't play any tanks, and I no longer have any of my dex toons (haven't made any on the new mod), so I'll have to leave most of this for other people to explain. DR tanks work by reducing the incoming damage, while Shadow tanks just straight-up avoid it altogether. High dex = high AC, plus you have both IE and a high concealment from Shadow Evade and you basically just stand there dodging until your evades run out. The original build had Parry as well, just for a final line of defence... but you can't use both IE and Parry at the same time, and Parry is terrible. 100 AC means you can comfortably sit there under a barrage of 80 ab hits and only 5% even have a chance of hitting you, and then to have 70% of those just miss outright makes you very sturdy indeed. Of course Ice Storm, Neg Burst, Horrids, and IGMS will all rip the tank to shreds, so enemy mages tend to be the priority.

I actually haven't considered F/SD/HS...it'd be something like a 25/10/5 spread, to get maximum procs while still getting Epic Dodge.
The problem is that dex-based toons are really weak in terms of damage because, unlike Str, Dex only contributes to AB, and only with Weapon Finesse (and limited weapon types). This is why sneak toons need to have large amounts of sneak damage to actually kill anything, and it's also why no one takes them on raids - the majority of bosses are sneak or crit immune, so your damage ends up being really low. With the Epic Dodge Fighter, you'd have a dex-based fighter with no sneak attacks - you would certainly be able to hit and proc, but it wouldn't really help you because you would do barely any damage, and in anything other than a straight 1v1 situation you'd still die because of the other things attacking you.

This is the same reason no one really plays archers, even though they can get 70 ab and 80 ac. They can't compete with hitters in terms of damage (and good arrows are SUPER rare and hard to get, so each miss really hurts), and they aren't nearly as tough to kill as a tank.
3  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Character Builds / Re: Epic Resistances on: 06 January 2014, 16:00
Based on some of the responses I get on the forums, I would just like to clarify that because I ask for build help or advice, does not make me a complete incompetent moron when it comes to NWN.

Sorry - it's always safer to assume that the person you're talking to has no idea what you're talking about, rather than immediately launch into a detailed explanation and confuse the hell out of them. I didn't intend it to seem like I was talking down to you or anything. In your position I'd be snapping at me too, so don't worry about it.

As for warding vs EDR - you'd definitely be better with both, especially on a DR tank. Warding only absorbs 50 damage per level - it's best used once all the trash has died, to prevent wastage, and it won't stand up to someone like Baragor for very long, much less Aragorn or the BD bosses. Don't forget, you also have to deal with the crippled caster level (you might get 20 or so caster levels, if you have a heavy focus on PM or RDD) as well as the fact that you're taking massive hits from these bosses.

Also - if SC is Self-conceal, it IS virtually impossible to get it (30 dex is an insane requirement). It's also 100% not worth it, because you can match that level of concealment with potions of displacement, wands of imp invis...whatever you want. There are also quite a few spell and class mods that grant more than 50% concealment: epic transmutation focus and camoflage gives you 55% I believe, and shadowdancers and assassins can push it up towards 80% (undispellable by everything except Fairie Fire, too) with heavy focus. Shadowdancers also get the AC boost from Shadow Evade, which is why the Shadow-tank is such a good build.

Epic dodge, however, is fantastic. Combine that with a single enemy (say, Smaug, or the Balrog) and a high-level fighter with the widget, and they literally cannot hit you (it's possible to drain many bosses down to 1 attack per round, which epic dodge then evades).

Speaking of end-mod content - if you're going dex-focus, you want to take Blinding Speed. It's been modified, and it now grants you 50-round undispellable haste, twice per day. For the cost of one feat, it's well worth the investment.
4  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Character Builds / Re: Epic Resistances on: 06 January 2014, 09:45
While I'm on the Bard spell bit: one thing I found annoying about that Bard/RDD/PM build was that I went with Dwarf for the Con boost, helping in the EDR and HP department, however to start as a Bard there is a minimum Cha requirement and with the Dwarf racial modifier you have to dump a frustrating amount of points into Cha at creation.

Let's say you wanted starting stats of 18 con and 11 cha.
You get 30 points. Humans must put 3 of those into cha, to get to 11. Dwarves lose an extra two points, because they have to make up the -2 deficit from their racial mod.
That leaves you 27 points for a human to spend, and 25 for a dwarf. To get to 18 con, for a dwarf, costs you the same as getting to 16 con for a human, which is 10 points. Getting 18 con for a human costs 16 points.
This means you have 11 points left as a human, and 15 points left as a dwarf. You lose out on the bonus feat and skill points from being human, but you have better starting stats (as long as you don't try to raise your starting cha above 12). Whether that's worth it or not is up to you. As another example, getting 18 con and 14 cha would cost the same number of points for both races - dwarf has to pay 2 extra on cha, and saves 2 on con.
(http://nwn.wikia.com/wiki/Point_buy)

I did understand how EMA worked on GvM, however I had never thought of removing items after casting it. That is an interesting trick, although it sounds a bit annoying and time consuming. The only reason I took EMA was because I figured EW would be a bit redundant with EDR III.

It's not that annoying - you just put your items in the front of your inventory, put the AC boosting ones on while you rest, then cast EMA as soon as your rest finishes, and then right-click-equip the non-AC items from your inventory. As long as you queue EMA before you right-click-equip the items, it will wait until the spell has been cast to swap them. If you try to swap them from quickslots (aside from being a waste of a good quickslot) it'll just swap them immediately.

As for EW...you really want both, if you can get them.
Let's say you have 9/- DR from EDR III, 10 DR in all Phys types from your armour, and no % immunities to anything.
A random boss hits you for 100 slash damage. With that setup, you'd take 100 - 9 (EDR) - 10 (armour) = 81 damage.
With Warding up (+50/20 damage reduction) you would take 31 damage, because the spell would block 50 damage from anything except a weapon with +20 enhancement (which do not exist in this mod - even maxed AA only gets +15). So basically, Epic Warding is a blanket reduction of 50 physical damage from every single attack that hits you.

If you're also immune to critical hits, you've got very little to fear. They have to hit enough to penetrate your DR from feats and armour (which is probably gonna be around 15-19, if you have the right gear - maybe more), THEN they have to do another 50 damage on top of that, just to see any damage at all. If you have a % immunity as well, that gets applied first.
Warding is your trump card - when your health gets a bit low because a boss is hitting harder than expected, you put up Warding (which can't be interrupted, counterspelled, or dispelled) for some breathing room.

If you can only pick one though, pick EMA. It's vastly more useful.
5  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Character Builds / Re: Epic Resistances on: 06 January 2014, 02:29
... and Epic Energy Resistance: Acid II, Sonic II, Electrical I, Cold I.

Just weighing in on the hypothetical choices: you could probably drop the acid DR, take more elec and cold DR, and wear an Oiled Cloak from Stingers (20/- acid and immunity to 4 acid spells - EVERY melee hitter should have one too) to counterbalance. It depends on what cloak you had plans for, if any.

That's the thing about DR tanks - you have to tailor them very closely to the gear you plan to wear to make sure you maximise your DR against the rarer-item elements (cold and elec DR especially can be hard to find on anything decent, whereas fire is easier to find and that cloak is nearly essential to take down some NPCs).

You mentioned EMA - I just want to make sure you're aware of the changes made to it:
If you cast EMA, it takes your highest bonus in three types of AC (Natural, Deflection, and Armour), adds 1 to it, and applies that for two minutes per caster level. It also still gives you the 5 Dodge AC that it always did.
This means if you have +6 armour, +7 amulet, and +6 ring...you can cast EMA (gaining 8AC assuming you aren't dodge-capped), remove or swap your armour, ring, and amulet (if you have better items with lower AC bonuses), and not lose any ac because the spell has applied the higher values. In that case (my mages both get this result), you would have 8 Natural AC, 7 Armour AC, and 7 Deflection AC.

It doesn't apply to AC granted from other spells however - so high level clerics with Shield of Faith and Barkskin can give you 8 natural or deflection ac, but you can't boost that any further with EMA.
6  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Character Builds / Re: Epic Resistances on: 05 January 2014, 12:19
FYI the extra damage vs PM is still in the mod, but a couple of years ago some stuff got changed so it is not as extreme as it use to be and only a handful of bosses have it.

Well...that's more reasonable, I suppose. I do remember watching it absolutely tear through our best tanks when it was first introduced - two or three rounds and they were completely out of it. As long as it's only low damage, and only in a small number of places, any build you make will still be viable even if it can't go there specifically.
I never did understand why NPCs would need extra damage vs PM, when they already get so many other things they need to take them down (how many bosses have extra damage bludge, or use bludge weapons, or have magic/divine/pos damage, for example?) They really don't need the help...though Baragor was the worst offender. Double-digit APR, super strength, extra magic damage (like 2d10 or something too) to hit through DR, and his bull lord champions have extra damage bludge and positive damage on their axes too...

It's no wonder only shadow tanks and shifters could take him on =S
7  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / Admin Announcements / Re: Updates part I - bug fixes on: 05 January 2014, 12:11
Try unequipping and requipping your weapon from a quickslot, that might fix some of it. You SHOULD get 7 ac from parry (and it was working for me when I tested it a while ago), same with the deflection ac.
You won't get it from a 2h weapon like Baragor's axe though, because it's only when dual-wielding (so, two-bladed sword, double axe, dire mace, two kukris, etc) that you get those bonuses.

In other news, I can confirm that Thrall does indeed give a 5% exp boost when you kill him. I just killed with Tono about an hour ago. ^_^
8  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Character Builds / Re: Epic Resistances on: 05 January 2014, 10:44
(I'm looking at you Sestidoc).

Made me laugh, anyway - if there's anyone I'd query before making a build, this is the man to do it.

So yeah, tanks...you have the right idea. They don't need to hit anything, because their job is to stand there and take the beating. EDR I'm not sure about (though if building a tank I would probably say any DR is good DR), but EER is definitely viable in GvM. When you combine a few EER feats with the great DR you can find on items, you can make yourself almost untouchable by anything except non-feat damage types. That said...divine, magic and positive damage are all pretty common on the really high level bosses, so a large part of being a tank also means getting the gear to do those as well.

The advantage is - if you're willing to play tank (and you have one that can do the job) you're pretty much guaranteed to be taken along. As long as you actually learn how to tank (and don't ask me because I'm a terrible tank).

I haven't seen many DDs around, but that might just be because no one has taken advantage of some of the great boosts they have - I honestly can't say. RDD is nice, because you get that extra con boost, but PM is usually better for a tank. RDD does however get fire/sleep/paralysis immunity and a few bonus AC.
At one point there was a script that ran which gave loads of bosses a lot of bonus damage versus PMs. I don't believe it still exists (because it was stupid, unfair, and annoying, and everyone hated it...), but that's just a heads up in case you do try a PM build and get absolutely torn down. No one has built a PM tank to test it, because that would just be suicide (that change singlehandedly made PMs one of the worst tanking classes...and what else are they supposed to do, exactly?).
As it stands now, I think they only get the 10% (that the right value?) bludgeoning vulnerability and 25% divine vulnerability when they hit level 10, to help balance the immunity to critical hits (which cannot be overestimated in its usefulness).

Baragor is a really difficult example. He's not the hardest boss to tank because of his ab (70 ab is actually below average for bosses - most of the really "important" ones have 80+) but because he gets like 10 attacks per round and usually does 80-120+ per hit without resistances. Most of the ways of fighting him consist of either getting a toon with super resistances (usually a shifter, because so many shapes have awesome DR benefits) and a reliable way of healing, getting a toon with high enough ac and concealment that he just can't hit you at all, or just zerging him and dropping him before he has time to kill you. You can chip away at his health but it takes forever.

Good on you for making this post though. Hopefully some of the better tank builders will be more use than I am.
9  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Future Talk / Re: Ideas and wishes... on: 01 January 2014, 06:23
 However, I very much dislike how this AI tends to snoop toward you when you are invisible or otherwise hiding.  Also, the way NPCs don't respond to darkness sometimes.  Darkness used to be incredibly effective way back when.

This. Especially when you're in GS, which immediately dispels you (and roots you in place) when you touch the majority of NPCs. You can cast Greater Sanctuary, stand still, and be not only visible but debuffed and unable to move in a matter of seconds. Not only that, sometimes it doesn't even catch the Sanc effect. Which means you have to wait till it wears off, move a bit, then recast GS and run away.

Also Blind - acts just like darkness, in that they almost completely ignore it and still randomly run towards you, like they've spotted you for a second. It's good for disengaging and running away though, because you can get out of their tracking range and they won't move towards you again.
10  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Future Talk / Re: Ideas and wishes... on: 31 December 2013, 19:50
Think I write my newyears wish here ....  Grin

Server is hardcore now is it?
AI is now quite hard ... lots of times a bit too hard ... is it possible to change difficulty to normal again?
this one is also a wish from Angel-Angels.

Oh and happy newyear to all who reads this  occasion14

Happy New Year to you too Grey, and thanks again for hosting the server for us ^_^

The difficulty setting isn't actually anything to do with the AI ability, it only affects things like damage (you take more and deal less), critical hits, death magic effects (petrification is non-permanent in normal mode), daze and dominate effects, etc. That said, we ARE playing Hardcore, which is the next level up from Normal. Here is a list of what each level means, with changes from the previous level bolded.

The AI in vanilla is really dumb (never casts dispels on anything, for example). I seem to remember being told we have an upped intelligence AI from an outside mod we use (because that's something you can do), and that's why it sometimes does things that are really annoying (like hips spam, or instantly recasting spell mantles) - it's actually too clever for its own good.

The problem is we can't remove the annoying features without also making the AI so criminally stupid that it wouldn't even be worth playing the mod. Not without re-coding the AI, anyway.

You could possibly give someone a copy of the modified AI and have them edit it to remove or change some of the more difficult things, but I imagine that would be more complex than anything any of our coders have tried so far, so it might take a long time (or it might just be way outside their ability).
11  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Future Talk / Re: GvM Concerns on: 30 December 2013, 00:39
The 5-man thing was just an example - there's no true standard for party play, and what you need in the team (or what you can actually get) can vary wildly depending on which boss you're killing and who's online. For example:

Balrog doesn't need a mage because he's immune to virtually every major spell and has amazing saves. A healer is almost mandatory though, because his aura inflicts massive fire damage (plus he will just straight-up hit you for 100+). In his case, what you really want is your healer, one or two tanks (if you don't have a healer, so they can swap for healing/rebuffing), an archer or two (because they don't have to worry about the aura), and the rest as hitters (preferably RDD for the fire immunity).

Saruman on the other hand can take any number of hitters if they aren't either super-powerful with awesome gear, or don't have irresistable damage (Divine Might/Favour/Battletide etc) to throw at him, because he's crit immune with great DR, and has good ab and ac. It's no use having 70 ab and a massive crit range for him, because you won't kill him any faster than somebody with 60 ab and divine might (in fact you might not be able to hurt him at all). You also probably won't need a healer (if he's going to kill you, it's usually straight-up saving throw failure), but you WILL need someone who can tank spells effectively. Mages or breach wands are also nice, to dispel his damage shields etc.

The trick is learning what you need for each boss, and deferring to those more experienced than you when it comes to making choices on what to make or bring.

An epic raid guide isn't a bad idea, actually. Most of the forum builds are now quite outdated, and there are better versions of most of them that have been developed over time, but not shared - if you have the best build, and you keep it to yourself, you're more effective than other people and have a bit more sway. If you tell them all your build, it pretty much guarantees you'll just see copy after copy popping up, played by people who don't always understand the build choices.

Some examples of builds I like - some of these you can find on the forums, some I don't actually know how to build:

Barb/Bard/RDD (28/2/10, mighty and thundering rage)
Pretty straightforward, it's a pure-power hitter. I think Wake posted a build design for this a little while back, which should be pretty up to date. You want as many Str/Ab/Damage boosting feats as you can grab, and your AC can generally go jump in a lake. I WOULD recommend heavy armour proficiency though, simply because there are many more good heavy armours available than medium ones. The great thing about this build is that it can work with virtually anything - baragor's axe or khamul's scythe, or another hard-hitting 2h weapon (Azog's sword, Sistra's Force of Nature or Balrog's sword are also good choices)...what you really want is a rare damage type so that it isn't resisted, because you get a massive number of attacks.

Ftr/WM/HS (28/7/5 or 30/5/5)
One of the most versatile and useful hitters I've ever played, because it makes virtually every other toon much more effective as well. Sestitodc posted his design for this on the forums, and it is ALWAYS welcome on a raid, no matter what you're after. The huge amount of fighter levels means the Fighter Widget can drain your opponents ac, disarm their shield, cause massive spell failure (no heals for you =D), and grant you bonus ab for a short time. The best feature is that it can actually lower their number of attacks per round, which improves the tank's chances like nothing else. This toon is a bit funny, actually; you trigger a single occurance of the fighter widget's AC drain or shield disarm, which leads you to start hitting way more often, which causes more widget tricks to trigger, which keeps crippling the boss. Very fun to play, but it does need quite good gear, and it has really low attacks per round if you don't dual-wield (double sided is best for using the widget and getting bonus WM ac, but you can use two separate weapons too).

Shadow Tank
I don't know the build for this one (I think this is also on the forums - might be a fairly old version though), but I know it involves a lot of SD levels, coupled with a lot of Dex and I think some PM as well. Basically, it makes use of Shadow Evade's super concealment bonus, as well as having high ac and crit immunity to make you virtually untouchable.
Downside is that it needs a lot of gear with specific immunities and such to counter the weaknesses it has (like the bigby spells), otherwise you'll just lose all your ac through being flatfooted and get torn apart.

Shifter Bard
Firecracker came up with this one I think, and it should still be on the forums somewhere - it's a Helmed Horror construct bard. It's not the BEST bard out there, but it is quite handy - I played it because I wanted a bard who was still useful in a fight. Looking back on it I'd probably try to find a non-shifter alternative, because if everybody dies you have a hell of a time raising them, but that doesn't mean this isn't a good build.

Healers
Healers are actually surprisingly easy to build (and fun to play). Take a Cleric (plant + travel domains for barkskin and haste) or Druid, pump them full of Wisdom, give them some useful Spell Foci (conjuration is good for healing spells, transmutation has a couple of good buffs) and make them virtually pure (usually with 1 or 2 monk levels, and not much else)...even if ALL you do is slot healing circle, mass heal, regeneration and such, you're going to be the tank's best friend. The best part? These builds need practically no gear at all, because their buffs can cover everything.
A high level cleric with plant domain can get more deflection ac (+7 or 8 from shield of faith, which also becomes an Area-of-Effect buff at 30+ caster) and natural ac (+8 barkskin) than any item in the mod, and both of these can be cast on other people - this frees up ring and amulet slots for better equipment.
Druids on the other hand get Barkskin too, plus the super-useful Aura of Vitality (you can get this on Clerics with Battle domain, I believe, but honestly Barkskin and Haste are much more useful). With Epic Transmutation Focus the duration goes through the roof and it gives you +8 to Con, Str, and Dex for almost 15 minutes.
That's 24 ability points that you no longer need to find on items. And did I mention it's an AoE spell?

Any of these are pretty solid choices, so you can pretty much make whatever you feel like and pick up how to play it later. When you're raiding with the people who created it.
12  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Future Talk / Re: Ideas and wishes... on: 28 December 2013, 10:52
I like the donation box idea.
Don't get me wrong, I love when high level players donate excess gear from their runs, but it can start to clutter up the place.

The way I liked to run it (WAY back) was that after a raid and drop rolls had concluded, a shout went out to group up for any exp rewards. During this time, any gear currently in the pocket/lounge was free for anyone who wanted it. Anything that wasn't taken within 20 minutes or so went into the party sell chest while everyone was still in one large party, usually bringing around 100k each depending on how much random "garbage" we picked up.

All gear was left next to the circle of hand-chairs in the lounge (boss drops/red letter drops in the center of the circle), where it was out-of-the-way enough that you simply wouldn't see it if you didn't go over there, rather than in the middle of the floor where it looks untidy.
13  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Future Talk / Re: GvM Concerns on: 28 December 2013, 10:37
This WILL be long, because I'm explaining my reasoning as I go, but I'll put a tl;dr at the end for those who just want the general idea.

The mod is at its best when the party is around 5 -8 people:
Any more than that and almost everything in the mod is a cakewalk, except for a couple of the super OP areas like Barad Dur or the Temple of Doom, which can and WILL cause wipes on huge parties of top-level toons (damn you, Improved Whirlwind Dev Crit 70+ ab spam...), and all it takes is a single bad roll. I have seen a party of over a dozen toons wipe in the BD throne room, just because something unexpected happened to keep the tank occupied (got stuck, enemy didn't target them, they got flatfooted and died somehow, etc), and something went around decimating everybody else.
Any less than 4 or 5 players and you risk not having enough healing/tanking/dps ability in your party to cope with some of the harder areas; bosses with 75 ab, 80ac,  and IKD, who will absolutely rip you in half if you're not set up for them (oh hi there, Eomer...have you met Baragor?).

...This is, of course, unless you build some OP shifter (90% of the time that's a dragon, but there are a few other shapes who have niches) who isn't at risk of being dispelled and gets enough ab, ac, attacks per round, stats, and hp to survive the super-powerful bosses. Even they can't solo everything (Rivendell is one of the hardest areas in the mod though, and I've seen most of that soloed), but that can usually be fixed by throwing more dragons at it. Or a healer or mage.
The only other builds who can even try to compete with shifters in solo farming ability are Mages (usually Sorcs, because they're so versatile), and they are SUPER dependant on individual spells and uses. If it's not vulnerable to a bigby spell, and/or it does more than 50 damage per hit, it's a fair bet that you won't be able to farm it solo.

Standard hitters and such have it even worse - they NEED a tank to take the hits for them, or they just can't do anything stronger than the standard mobs. Some can't even manage that, because they're so damage-focussed that a stiff breeze kills them. Obviously, any good tank build is gonna have massive ac and/or conceal and/or DR...and so they end up with ab and damage so pathetic that even weak mobs (some of the basic mobs at the Outpost, for example) out-heal their damage.

The issue we have is that the total playing population of the mod is probably only a dozen individuals at best. Most of these people multibox, so you end up with reliable combos who can quickly and easily take down most of the mod on various toons...with minimal risk to their drop chance, because they're still playing "solo".

Your basic drop chance is 1.75% for almost all bosses (and many stronger mobs, like the things in Osgil). That's small, for starters.
For every person you add, your drop chance goes up by 0.25%. That's good. Not awesome, but it's nice that partying has benefits.

Except it doesn't, because your drop chance then goes down by 1/(total party size), because they get a fair shot at a split of the loot with a dice roll afterwards.
Adding one person (duoing) brings your drop chance down to 1%, because you have a 2% total drop chance, but only a 50% chance of winning the dice roll. That's nearly HALF your solo drop chance, simply because now you're not soloing.
Adding two people brings you down to 0.75%.
Three is 0.625%.
Five? 0.6%. One third of your original drop chance, just because you chose to bring 4 other people along (Your standard 5-man is a tank, bard, some type of caster [for trash mobs/buffing/debuffing/healing], and two hitters)
Using the drop rate widget, which was designed to help encourage people to party up (because maybe only one person would have points to use), only increases the drop rate by 2% at best (solo). That's 0.4% each for a 5-man team.

You can see why people tend to farm solo if they can. It's simply less efficient to form big parties, when the item you want might drop, and you end up losing the roll for it.
This is ignoring ALL the other risks that come along with bringing more people along on a raid, such as them simply not knowing the tactics or tricks for certain areas (and causing an unwinnable situation that wipes the party), or getting in the way (bringing a mage along and casting party-hostile spells which kill the tank) or just doing nothing at all and being a leech, yet still getting a roll for loot because technically they contributed (even if they did nothing all fight, they gave +0.25% to the drop chance, and that might be the thing that gets you the drop).

This is the main reason why we're currently asking for a drop-rate increase. As soon as it becomes more efficient to take more people on raids, you are more likely to get invited even if it's just because you can stand there and use heal kits on the tank. When you get invited, you learn the tricks and you improve your gameplay, plus you have a shot at building up a gear stockpile. This lets you build toons which are actually USEFUL on raids, which then gives you a reason to be invited.

tl;dr
1) Mod is hard because parties are too small
2) Drop rate currently favours small parties much more than large ones.
3) Parties are too small because large parties are much less efficient.
4) Improving drop rates more for larger parties would make them more efficient.

Suggestion:
+1.75% drop chance for each person in party. 5 man party would have an 8.75% chance of getting any given drop, but it would still only be 1.75% PER PERSON because drops (usually) get evenly split after raids.
This would encourage larger parties, more raids, and would give people more useful gear so they don't feel so overwhelmed. You're still no better off (in terms of drop chance) than if you soloed the monster...but you don't HAVE to solo. The widget would be less useful as you add people to the party, but that would be countered by the easier time you would have surviving (and really, I don't think anyone aside from me actually USES the widget anyway) and the improved speed of kills.

Remember:
This mod has been around for a long time; the assumption that everyone has some decent gear stashed away that they can use to kit out at least one toon is no longer true, and the gear-gap makes playing anything less than a top-tier uberbuild (right now, that's a dragon) a pain in the ass.

P.S. I doubt this will come up, but if anyone wants to say something like "But when you increase the drop rate that much, if everyone decides to just let one guy have something they really need (Balrog's gloves, Wk armour, whatever), it makes it MUCH easier to get it..."
To which I say "OH NOEZ! People cooperating in a multiplayer game? Like they're friends?! How DARE they?!" [/sarcasm]

P.P.S. Gear improvements tend to affect shifters less than other classes (because it only really contributes to stat bonuses and immunities/DR), so dragons will, in general, benefit less than other builds from improved drops. The fact that they're HUGE will also make raiding with them in a large party unfeasable, because targetting becomes a pain when they're around.
Anything that means fewer OP Farmdragons on the server (and more of all the other genius builds people have come up with over the years) is a massive plus in my books - I reckon most people only play them because they have no other way of getting gear for the other toons they want to build. This will test to see if I'm right.
14  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Future Talk / Some spell change ideas on: 24 December 2013, 16:26
First off, this is just a post to throw around ideas and see if anything useful comes out. Feel free to chime in with your own ones.
Second, if you can't easily see a way to change the spell, it's probably not worth doing.
Third, some of these ideas will be terrible. That's fine, as long as the terrible ones don't get implemented. Just because I  (or anyone else) think an idea is great doesn't mean it actually is.

1) Speed up Wail of the Banshee. There's over 3 seconds of NOTHING that happens after you cast it, and it doesn't really serve any purpose. Considering you can instantly create a cone of flames or ice as soon as the spell is cast, I find it hard to believe that a sound wave would take so much time to appear.
I'm not even joking about the delay, either. I can cast Wail on a group of enemies, and then have my next spell (half a round later, with casting time on top of that) interrupted by someone who explodes into mist half a second later. IGMS has the same problem - if you cast it right after wail, you'll end up wasting a large number of missiles on people who are literally waiting to die.
Just double the speed (or halve the delay, if that's how it's coded) of the animation and sound effects (I know that was a fix that was implemented in one mod, but I don't know how they did it), or instantly summon the ghostly banshee thing rather than having the glowy particle shot that indicates a travelling spell (more like a summon creature spell than a burst-spell) - as long as it finishes before the next spell in the list is cast, that's good enough.

2) Try and fix the Mobile AoE bug. I know this one is hard and annoying, but even if you have to change what battletide/dirge/etc actually do then that'd be an improvement, as long as they're not ending prematurely. I don't know if this mod has been applied to the server (if we do, it doesn't completely fix the issue), but it claims to be a solution:
http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Scripts.Detail&id=2229

If you're going to change the spells instead, here's my suggestion:
Try and make them caster-only buffs and current-target-only penalties, depending on the spell (no AoE to walk out of = no more bug). So if you cast Dirge, the guy you're fighting will lose stats every round until you stop attacking him, and Battletide will boost your ab/damage and decrease the ab/damage of whoever you are currently hitting. This would also fix issues with things like BT breaking invis/sanctuary if a mob enters the AoE, allowing you to use them without making it impossible to then hide/run away should you need to.

3) I don't think Flame Lash is doing distance checks properly - it seems to let you cast it from further away than the actual range of the spell - you see the spell being cast, see the flames come out...and then nothing. No damage, no DR, no saves, just an enemy standing there completely unaffected.

4) Some of the cone-type spells trigger the caster's own defenses: I see my Cone of Cold hitting my Spell Mantle all the time (I know this also applies to things like Burning Hands, Prismatic Spray, etc) - is it possible to simply exclude the caster from the list of allowable targets, or possibly move the cone slightly further out so it doesn't include you in the area? It's annoying that I have to sacrifice my own protection just to use a spell which should otherwise be no threat to me (things like Neg Burst I can understand hitting you, but when the flames are literally coming FROM your hands, they should not be able to burn you), and it makes me even more hesitant to actually use some of those spells, in case they backfire (prismatic spray in particular. It's too random for me to use anyway, but the thought that it might insta-kill the caster is just nasty).

I had more, but this is getting long, and I can't really remember them. I'll tack them on if they come back to me.
15  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / Admin Announcements / Re: Updates part I - bug fixes on: 22 December 2013, 10:45
If you kill a Disciple of Orodruin after it shape shifts, you only roll on three pieces of gear, as opposed to thee ~10 normally.

The top one is his ring - that might give us an idea of why exactly those things are dropping, but not the rest. Maybe he has spare things in his inventory that aren't absorbed by the shift?
16  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Players Forum / Re: Drop rate increase? on: 21 December 2013, 10:29
If itīs not in use anymore we should allow our charakters to throw it into the trashcan...

It is in use, and it is usable - you have to kill other people to gain points though, and that's very hard to do fairly these days.
Besides, it's only 2 inventory boxes, and it weighs pretty much nothing - what would you possibly want to throw it away for, aside from on Mules? That's like throwing away the PC Emote wand...

I actually like the Call Out feat, and the keen-senses-from-awareness thing...it's just hard to factor into a build when sneaks really don't work outside of PvP, and no one PvPs - it's doable on NPCs but your timing needs to be PERFECT, or you'll miss the window =S
If we had more people, I'm fairly sure someone would bring a sneak along on raids (maybe just for minor mobs or something, since most bosses are immune), and then we would actually see a benefit from call-out. There are very few hipsing enemies worth killing though, because they can be so damn cheap with their attacks - some don't even fade out, they just break your attack cycle and start sneaking you.
17  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / Melee Builds / Re: Barbarian(28), Bard(2), Red Dragon Disciple(10), Half-Orc on: 19 December 2013, 11:04
I wanted to try and get Epic Damage Reduction (which stacks with Barbarian DR). Why not with all that Con?!
I ended with 2 less AB (46) and no thundering rage, but netted EDR III. If I could get another AB or 2 out of it and maybe Epic Skill Focus: Taunt I would be much more pleased.

That's exactly why - though of course you should always play to your tastes. If gaining DR, AC, or something like Taunt means sacrificing AB (or an attack per round, from Thundering for example) on a dedicated hitter, I'll keep the AB and attack. Obviously if you want to make something less specialised and with a bit more survivability, that's great, but it will be less effective as a hitter (because EVERYTHING is focussed towards getting the highest ab/damage possible, they're the only things you have to lose).

On the other hand, if you can't survive the trash long enough to get focussed on the boss, you're not much use as a hitter anyway. Survivability has its place too - it was the basis behind the Barb/Bard/PM Antagonist build (20/4/16) that Daccid posted on the forums a while back - it gets EMA, Epic Warding, and still has pretty good ab. It can't tank anything major for long, but it certainly takes more of a beating than most hitters could hope for. Of course, it loses out on pure power to do this.
18  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Players Forum / Re: Drop rate increase? on: 19 December 2013, 10:53
No matter what happens, could you try and fix the description on the widget so that it at least reflects how effective it actually is? It could originally boost by 600 points (6%), but that was dropped down to 125 points (1.25%) sometime after due to (as Sest said) everyone widgetting everything and the description wasn't fixed.

The problem with the widget, as it stands now, is exactly as you said:
With a limited player base, hilariously unbalanced class matchups (either you will absolutely dominate your oppponent, or they will rip you in half - there is very little middle-ground where anyone could win, because every toon is so specialised), and just generally not wanting to be a tremendous ass all the time...there are virtually no opportunities to gain points short of multiboxing and killing yourself (which is technically exploiting the system, as well as just being the saddest thing ever). Reinstating the 6% increase would have been enough, pre-crash, to increase the drop rate to usable levels - except no one really PvPs.

I've had a few kills so far, but they're generally about as opportunistic as you can get (literally "Oh, there's an easy kill, I'ma kill him!" *bang* "Yay points!") because there's no real fun in hunting people when you're the only threat walking around. I remember being legitimately on-edge when mid-range toons would log onto the other faction, I didn't know if they were coming for me, or training, or what...now it's pretty much guaranteed they'll be in my party in the next minute or two, so even if I did want to hunt them down I have to isolate myself before they join.

I like hunting, but it's no fun if I just feel like I'm inflicting it on people who couldn't care less about PvP.
19  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / Archer Builds (& Other Ranged Weapons) / Re: Elf Bard 16 AA 19 HS 5 on: 16 December 2013, 10:24
Been trawling the forums, decided to check up on archer builds, saw this....decided it could be improved a little.

First point - maybe it's just me, but I feel that when taking any dex-based class (definitely this) you should take blinding speed.
It's 50 rounds of uninterruptable, undispellable haste, twice per day. Save your bard spells for the other peons. (I would drop Armour Skin for that feat, since you won't miss the 2 ac as much as you would miss the 1 ab/ac from losing two Great Dex, and nothing else can really be dropped).

I was going to suggest listen over spot, but to be honest the chances of either making much difference outside of PvP are slim, and in general spot is the more useful option (because it renders enemies fully visible, not just partly). Clairaudience/Clairvoiance is a good spell because it gives a bonus to both - it's just a shame amplify only amplifies the caster's sense of hearing, not their other senses (though you would think if it did that they would develop a vulnerability to sound...a future spell change, perhaps?).
20  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / Admin Announcements / Re: Updates part I - bug fixes on: 16 December 2013, 07:14
Rangers and rogues with more than 18 combined levels in those classes gain +2 ab when dual-wielding - if you go from one shortsword (or any other light weapon) to two, your ab shouldn't change.

As it stands, the bonus isn't working properly - I have 30 ranger levels on my test toon, and 47 ab unbuffed, with a normal shortsword. Equipping a second takes me to 46 ab (so I lose one ab, instead of the usual two).

Just something I found while testing some things.

EDIT:
So today I logged onto my cleric who was having that Greater Wisdom bug...and all my spells were still slotted.
Maybe it's because I had wis-boosting gear on (so my wis was always above the score required, even though the BASE wasn't) or maybe you found a way to fix it...thought I'd mention it anyway. It was weird.
21  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / Admin Announcements / Re: Updates part I - bug fixes on: 10 December 2013, 07:29
Right you are sir!

Apologies, I had a brain fart and mixed up my Sorcerer based character with my Wizard based character.
 Embarrassed

I'm actually curious about it now, but I really can't be bothered testing it...it would probably be the most terrible sorc ever though, if it did indeed get stuck with defaults upon login.
22  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / Admin Announcements / Re: Updates part I - bug fixes on: 09 December 2013, 22:14
The only bug I have come across before with trolls and flame weapon is that when using on a shifter or summon, sometimes the property doesn't merge/fire and therefore the flame weapon is lost, will check it out though.

Yes the spell slot bug is a very old game bug not a mod bug. Would probably require a game patch to fix.

Good to know - I'll just have to get used to reslotting my spells every time then.

I've been experiencing this as well on my Charisma based Sorcerer, whom also has a couple Great Charisma feats.

Unless your Sorc has really low base cha (lower than 19 before Great Cha), you shouldn't really be having this issue, and it will only be on login. [EDIT: In fact, I'm not actually sure what would happen if you logged out on a sorc with only 15 cha and great cha feats - they have to level to take their spells so you might actually be assigned default (terrible) spell choices on login]. Sorcerers (and bards) have the best spell allocation of any type of casters, in that they pick which spells they want when they level up and can then mix and match what they want to cast on the fly. Unless you're losing access to a spell level by losing the great cha feat (ie, when you relog), you shouldn't have to reassign

I usually start resting, then cancel it as this removes my CHA buffs, I can then re-slot the proper amount of spells, then do a full rest. I noticed though that sometimes I would go into my spell book and my last slot on a couple spell levels would be empty again. I hadn't paid enough attention to notice if it was doing this during play, or only upon logging in and out.

Edit your spellbook when you have just finished resting (because those are the minimum number of slots you will have, and any gained while buffing are useless), and then don't edit it again unless you either gain levels (and potentially more slots) or permanently change your equipped gear (eg, find a new item with bonus spell uses per day on it) - obviously you will then need to rest again to finalise your spell choices. Sorcs don't have slots, and buffs are removed at the start of rest (and spells are fully restored when it ends) so you won't need to do this for them. You shouldn't be losing Sorc Spell casts unless you're removing items with +charisma bonuses.
23  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / Admin Announcements / Re: Updates part I - bug fixes on: 09 December 2013, 01:49
EDIT3: Just to say that I did manage to kill Cave Trolls with darkfire, so if there is a bug on this it's to do with flame weapon itself rather than the trolls.

Hey Fire - another bug for ya. Not quite so urgent this time, because it's only on login and it has a workaround. [EDIT: getting quite urgent to either fix that, or the Booting/dispelling bug that was posted. I've been booted half a dozen times in the last half hour, having to reslot my spells every time....it's very tedious, but the booting is the worst part.]

Great Wisdom seems to be bugged. I have a cleric who has 15 base wis, and 2 GW feats, and he loses all his 6th and 7th level spells from the slots when he logs in. I get the slots back straight away, but I have to remember to reslot them. I think the character is loading before the feat list registers, so it doesn't realise I actually have high enough wisdom.

As I said, not urgent, but it might also happen with other Great feats, I'm not sure. Maybe somebody try a Great Int Wiz?

EDIT2: After talking about it some more, I don't actually know if this can be fixed. It looks like it's an issue with NWN loading the info on which spell levels can be cast before it loads the info on which feats you have. So it loads my base stats of 15 Wis, decides I can only do level 5 spells, and then loads my Great Wis feats that allow me to cast higher.
Regardless, the main problem is this booting issue, which seems to be due to the bugged toon (presumably someone hasn't fixed their firewall issue). Reslotting my spells every time I log on would be nothing, compared to my current predicament or having to reslot them every 15 minutes.
24  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Players Forum / Re: Shifter tenser bug on: 01 December 2013, 10:53
Three examples: the way players can get thru doors without opening them
[All I know about that one is it's called "ghosting" and it gets you through doors. I have no idea how it's done. As far as I know it's been around forever, and there was just no fix for it, so it's one of the bugs which is just banned by that rule in the journal

using the tailoring models to gain massive damage bonuses to shifter forms [That's a thing? Seriously? I knew they were used for item duplication at one point (which is why they were removed for a while)....but damage bonuses?]

and using shifters and server crashes to clone entire inventories. [I can't decide whether that explains a lot, or whether it raises a million more questions...]

Thanks for the...everything, guys - I've apparently been on a hair-trigger recently, but I didn't notice it myself till re-reading this post and the responses.

Anyway...apologies for the overreaction. I tend to forget that just because I've been around a long time, and have learned a lot about the mod, doesn't mean everyone else who's been around longer knows the same things. Another thing to check, Fire, is that it responds properly to uses from items (sequencers, that serpent belt that casts it) as well as scrolls - thankfully that won't interfere with the polymorph checkign script, because you don't get tenser potions.

My temper gets me in trouble IRL as well - I had a blazing argument with a coworker about counting rolls of labels (we have to keep track of how many we use every day) - I was counting what was there, and he insisted on counting the missing rows and subtracting from the number in a full box - he just never learned not to make needless assumptions, apparently. It was when I realised I was about 10 seconds away from punching a guy in the face because 7x24 is 168 that I just walked away - that'd be horrible to try to explain to people:
"So yeah, I got fired from my last job because, uhh...maths."
25  Gondor vs Mordor 1 / GvM1 Players Forum / Re: Shifter tenser bug on: 29 November 2013, 12:06
On the one hand, I'm sorry. I didn't mean that to sound as harsh as it does, I was sleepy and angry, and more than a little hasty. I didn't even think about putting it in the right forum, either, so that's my fault.
To allay your worries a bit - I'm still putting off my threat, because I honestly can't be bothered right now (I really don't want to have to go that far just to get people to stop abusing an exploit).

On the other hand, in my experience (not just here, but in general) asking nicely gets you platitudes and promises, but no actual results. Complaining loudly and unreasonably, oddly enough, seems to solve them. If you offer a much worse deal than what you actually want, people are much more willing to give you your original goal as a compromise. Or they flip out, which is always funny.

Honestly, I expected this to be one of the first things that was fixed (along with a couple of the weirder bugs, like the sentries in XR not despawning at all and just endlessly congregating at the end of the bridge) if the server was actually brought back. From what I understood, the only reason this exploit hadn't already been fixed is that too many people would have lost their superpowered farming toons, coupled with the fact that everyone apparently got bored with them and stopped playing them - it was actually funny that people would keep coming up with clever builds (Shadow tanks, DR tanks, super-focussed high-DC spellcasters, extreme ab/damage hitters, PM tanks, you name it...) and they would keep being nerfed for the sake of game balance, and yet the dragons were left pretty much alone despite even a badly built dragon easily hitting 60 ab and 85 ac, with loads of attacks per round thanks to monk attack progression, and undispellable high-level buffs (including the concealment from Imp Invis). Probably their only (rather glaring) flaw is that they're terrible to play alongside - aiming around them is hard, they can't unshift to rez you (or they get smashed to mush pretty fast), and they can't use the drop widget.

The bug (I don't know exact specifics, but I've heard enough over my time on GvM to get an idea of what's happening) is that you can trick the game into letting you cast Tenser's Transformation after morphing into another shape (any shape, though it's only really game-breaking with dragons) who couldn't normally cast that spell, thereby bypassing the spell failure aspect of tensers (which would not normally allow a shapechange after using it) and adding the superb tenser bonuses (with the massive druid+shifter caster levels) to your already undispellable shifter buffs and the supremely OP dragon combat bonuses.
An example of those OP bonuses would be their dragon breath: it has unlimited use, a much higher DC than most "normal" spellcasters can reach (mid 50s I believe? Even the most specialised non-shifters could only hit about 50 with their DCs), it can't be interrupted, and it has damage comparable to some of the best spells going (routinely hits triple digits and has a decent AoE), with variable elements (different type of dragon) to suit the weakness of the boss you're facing. That ALONE would make them viable - kit your tank up in a way that the breath won't hurt them too much (massive DR/immunities/saves) and just unload.

It's probably not actually that hard to fix, if you know how to code - as I said, you can work around it by crippling either the ab or ac of dragons, so they can't SOLO anything (because no one would bother using the exploit if it didn't provide some massive advantage over other builds), or remove tensers from the shifter spell list (that would make a lot of the other shapes unusable too, and really the only issue is that dragons in particular are superpowered even without it, but it IS a bug), or leave everything as it is and fix it so shifters can't delay the spell until after the shift (if that's even possible).
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