No Stranger to Adversity

Quite the opposite really.

I recently finished Divinity: Original Sin, which, despite its flaws, was an incredibly enjoyable RPG that provided the opportunity to build many varied characters. It was quite a refreshing experience. I’ve not encountered many RPGs released in the last five years that allow you to freely customise your party- building both their strengths and their weaknesses- and I find that significantly diminishes the experience. I personally prefer it when characters are not automatically proficient in every skill, talent, or ability ever.

Or, at the very least, I prefer it when my choices actually have consequences.

For instance, in Divinity: Original Sin I was quite concerned about the way I chose to build Cornelius. He was a typical ranger with some magical capabilities, but it quickly became apparent that he used magic more than he used his bow in most encounters. However, the two governing attributes were completely different. It also meant his ability points were spread quite thin.

That said, despite initial concern, and with clever use of Geomancer summoning skills, he was able to reliably contribute in a meaningful way to most encounters. Later in the story he actually became one of the highest sources of damage in the party. But it was a very long road reliant on many later skills. I’m glad I stuck with that particular build, though. It definitely provided many unique benefits that I didn’t get elsewhere and was quite enjoyable. What was more enjoyable was the fact that I had the opportunity to ruin that character. It seems like an odd thing to find enjoyable, but it was nice to have to think about how best to develop his abilities in order to best utilise his unique benefits. To consider different options and possibilities.

See? These are what spawn when you call upon Source magic.

That was one of the more disappointing mechanics in Diablo III. It was also one of the more disappointing mechanics in Fallout 4. In both cases, you weren’t necessarily completely proficient at everything but you could have been. Long gone were the days of committing to being good at Small Guns due to having high Agility. Or being better acquainted with cleaving because your Strength was higher and afforded more close combat perks. Or even being able to build a unique Barbarian that combined unusual or interesting skills.

It definitely helps the longevity of the experience.

But it also definitely hurts the enjoyment you get from the experience. There’s no real reason to want to build a new character, and in turn experience the earlier struggles (and feeling of accomplishment in overcoming those struggles) due to a lack of something. One of my favourite Fallout 3 characters was the one that used exclusively Energy Weapons.

Mostly because that almost completely useless laser pistol in the Super Duper Mart was their only friend. Which meant that they needed to invest much more into every shot they fired, as each one was an expensive purchase (at that time) and only degraded the condition further. I was quite happy that my choice had consequences, though. It felt like I’d actually built a character that was at least somewhat unique in their experiences. Following Divinity: Original Sin, I started the main story for Divinity: Original Sin 2 and I’m glad to see that character builds are still a possibility. I’m also glad to see more complex (and better developed) mechanics for some aspects of the experience. I just wish there were more opportunities to have these experiences.

Have a nice week, all!


Guild Wars 2: Tyrian Travels (Pt. 8)

“Now you see me, now you don’t- now you’re on fire.” -Kairn

While we’ve spoken at length about the current state of (and future plans for) the guild, the locations I’ve searched for while levelling, the character professions I’ve chosen, and many other things while on these most humble Tyrian Travels there’s one thing missing- the characters themselves. So, let’s get to know the various builds I’ve chosen for the characters who have been making the push to Lvl 40 (and beyond) where they will be starting their personal story chapters soon.

Kairn (the Mesmer) uses a scepter and torch to provide mid-long range offence, which, with the Illusions traits, allows for chain shattering to blanket foes with AoE condition damage. His affixes afford him greater health and toughness allowing him to switch to a sword and trade blows toe to toe. Likewise, Auri (the Guardian) uses a staff for decent AoE damage and pairs this with her Virtues to cause severe burning damage. However, she also has bonuses to healing power and her buffing capabilities allowing her to fill a support role. Gaen (the Ranger) pairs a longbow with pet related skills to allow them to fight as one, taking slight advantage of condition damage, but going straight damage mostly with increased power and precision.

Daxi (the Elementalist) has shuffled her weapons around a lot. However, I finally settled on a combination of Earth and Water with a scepter and dagger. She also employs two different elementals along with a whole heaping of buffing capability. Kaendar (the Warrior) employs a mixture of close-long range brute force. His hammer skills allow for control of opponents, and, with the Defense traits, he becomes even tougher and harder to kill. Likewise his second set rifle gives him the ability to snipe enemies from a distance. Both are built for straight damage output.

"This far, no further."
“This far, no further.”

The above builds only apply to the five core character slots so far.

I’m still in the process of levelling the Necromancer and figuring out what I want from that profession. The Thief falls somewhere between the five core characters and the Necromancer, in that, I know what I want from her, but I need to spend a little longer with the profession building that same confidence and rhythm the others have. Still, not bad so far.

Other major developments include the Chef crafting discipline reaching its maximum level recently. Now I can cook anything I want! If only I knew what I wanted to cook. Then again, upon reaching 400, a lot of recipes still exist but they’re all for you to discover by bringing together maximum level crafting ingredients. While the other crafting disciplines all fall between 250-375 with the Jeweler nearly at maximum level as well. Most of these recipes (and the ingredients required) are now Lvl 60 which sets up nicely for the next levelling runs.

Kairn reached Lvl 80 recently, too.

Equally, I’m nearly done with his personal story. However, for the time being, I am going to hold off until I can either make or buy a full Lvl 80 set of armour and weapons as I think going in to the final chapter with my current gear would be a mistake. Not a little one, either. But that’s a pretty big development as I can finally farm any material found in levelling zones now. Which is going to be incredibly beneficial to levelling the remainder of the crafting disciplines to 400, as, to be honest, I think 400 is a good stopping point as I’m pretty sure after that there’s only ascended recipes.

Have a nice week, all!