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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor, confused spoilers for Reaper’s Coast areas in Divinity: Original Sin 2

Butch:

Somehow managed to play, but it was one of THOSE days. Play an hour and a half, move the “played” clock sixteen minutes.

Five times. A bitch of a fight, five times. One of those fights you’re close enough, you think you see a path to victory so you keep at it….and lose.

But I eventually won! Which is good! But I might have borked a quest. Which is bad.

See one tactic I tend to use when outnumbered is the “draw them towards and through a small opening” and use that to my advantage. This particular fight took place in this ruin with a doorway into it (well, an archway, anyway), so the last time, the victorious time, I sent in Lohse and immediately withdrew through the doorway and much of the fight happened outside the ruin. Fine. But I kept backing up and must’ve gotten too close to a couple of friendly NPCs, because, in the middle of things, two allies join the fight! They have names! They’re up at the top of this hill in a tent or some shit, but it’s cool cuz here they come and they have healing and they’re badass!

At first I think “HOORAY! HELP! MIGHT WIN!” Then I think “Wait, shit, they have names. They’re likely important. If they die, this’ll bork the quest.” Then they don’t die and I think “Hooray! I’ll just talk to them and-” and then they say “I need a drink. We’ll be in the tavern in Driftwood if you need us” and they run away and I’m all “Wait! Wait! Who are you? GIVE ME YOUR QUEST FIRST and they’re gone.”

And no journal entry, nothing.

This can’t be good.

But no fucking way I’m doing that fight again. Already took me over an hour of real time.

So if you bump into a couple of friendly dwarves who are chilling in a fucked up camp on a hill across from a weirdass ruin filled with baddies, fill me in.

Then I found a cave and this weird shrine that has a new red flag and I found exactly zero waypoints that was that.

Still. No. Waypoint.

Anyway, that was my night. Hope I didn’t bork a quest. You meet those dwarves?

Feminina:

We love the “pull back and make them come to us through a narrow entrance” tactic! We just did that last night with the possessed dwarves in that big ruined fort. Worked a lot better than the “run in and bash stuff” approach we took a couple of times in the past.

So we killed them all (felt kind of bad about it, but there you are) and destroyed the statue and got to the entrance to the cave on the other side, which we will proceed to explore next time we play.

We have not met those friendly dwarves–and at this rate any dwarves we meet are going to run away from us, given how many we’ve killed lately–but maybe you just have to go to the tavern in Driftwood to talk to them, to get their quest? Sometimes NPCs do that.

“Thanks for the help, come talk to me at [place] later if you’re looking for quests/romance/things to buy/money in exchange for things you sell.”

And you’ll certainly be back in Driftwood at some point, if only to sell things. I wouldn’t worry about it.

Butch:

Get. The. Fuck. Out.

Get the actual fuck out.

THAT’S THE FIGHT I DID LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!

That’s the cave I found!

I guess I pulled back just a tad farther than you did and got close to the helpful dwarves.

Anyway, if you don’t want to do the cave, just go out that very door and go up a hill. There’s a shrine up there, too.

So OK, gotta ask: The hell was with that statue? What was it doing? I couldn’t figure out what it was accomplishing with its weird in combat mumbling.

Or anything it was doing. I noticed that someone in my party said, when the fight started, each time, “We have to shut that statue up,” so one try (try three, perhaps?) I just said fuck it and focused all my fire on it, thinking “if I destroy it, the dwarves will no longer be possessed and I can just stop fighting.” Nope. Destroyed it mid fight, dwarves still possessed, still killed me. So it wasn’t possessing them. The fuck was it doing?

I even tried “using” it, both in combat and after. Nada.

The fuck was it doing?

But also, a bit of a rant on that fight and the game in general, and it’s related to “the fuck is it doing?”

This game is, no doubt, based heavily on the D&D experience. The problem is, it’s not D&D. When you play D&D, and someone does something, or is about to do something, or can do something, there is usually a portly bearded fellow in the room who will enthusiastically tell you what that thing is and EXACTLY what it does. I never thought I’d miss that portly bearded fellow, but I kinda do in fights like this. Why? Because, all during that fight, the baddies were using skills and I had no idea what the fuck they did. Not the “light shit on fire” skills or the “poison wave” skills. Even without having them, I kinda figured those out. But those two dudes who kept doing “reflective shot” and all that? The big shiny ring around them thing? What WAS that? See, they do that, and I’m there, mid combat, wondering what I can do, what I can’t, if I do X will it come back at me or not, and there’s no bearded fellow filling in the blanks. It’s hard to plan your tactics when you don’t really know what the baddie is doing unless they’re setting shit on fire.

Big strong enemies and good level design making a fight hard is fine. That’s a good game thing. Sheer confusion making it harder? Unfair.

I can’t believe we’re in the same place. Again. STILL!

Feminina:

What? WHAT?!

We did the same fight? On the same day??! Unbelievable.

But yeah, that fight was nasty. Remember a week or so ago I said we’d spent an entire playing session on one fight and never did win it? That was these guys. We crept away in defeat that time, and only just got around to returning last night. Last night was a lot easier, because we’re now level 11 and they were only 10, but also, we came in around the back and fought them on top of that one tower off to the left (if you’re looking through the archway. We also tried luring them out through that archway at one point! It didn’t go well. But we never did run into any friendly dwarves, maybe we should have pulled back even farther).

It took the ones up on the battlements above the statue several rounds to reach us on top of the tower, giving us some time to beat up on the ones who got there first, and the statue was too far away to do…whatever it was doing…so it went a lot more smoothly.

As for what the statue was doing, we thought it seemed to be buffing up the possessed dwarves…healing them a bit? Kind of like ‘encouragement’ maybe? (We also did one attempt where we just poured all our energy into attacking the statue, and finally destroyed it, but the dwarves were still possessed and kept attacking us and, well, you know how it went because you also did this.)

And the big reflective shot ring that one guy did…as best I could determine, he’d set it up around an area, and then if someone in that area moved, he’d get a free shot on them. I think. Maybe. Not a bad trick, and one Lohse should probably pick up, but confusing since we hadn’t encountered it before.

Butch:

SAME FIGHT DUDE! SAME FIGHT!

And yeah, those two winged dudes were BASTARDS.

Ah, see, I backed out the arch. That’s where the friends were.

But yeah, see, you’re all “Maybe? I think?” And in such a tactical game, maybe and I think make things VERY difficult.

I think this is where they’re too loyal and too much in love with the old Baldur’s Gate games. I’ve said before these are right out of that mold, but Baldur’s gate WAS D&D, right down to magic missiles and THAC0. In Baldur’s Gate, if you were a D&D player, you knew pretty much everything that was happening and, if things got hard, you could just dig into the books and voila, so this confusion wasn’t a problem (for the majority of people playing it cuz, let’s face it, in the 90s, if you were playing that you most likely had played some D&D). Here, that isn’t the case.

Anyhoo…..

So you broke the statue anyway? I don’t know what I ended up doing in the save I have. I think I just left it be. It didn’t seem to be doing much of anything after the fight.

Oh, and another game question that I could figure out myself but where’s the fun in that?

Do dead characters get XP? This fight was pretty good in the XP department, but Sebille was dead for a whole lot of it (she got turned into a chicken, ran off, died, and was out of range of resurrection scrolls forever) and was certainly dead for the end when everyone got killed and we got XP. This is gonna put her a ways behind her party mates, and that would be irksome. She helped some! She should get XP!

Feminina:

I think they all get XP, even if they’re dead when the fight ends. We seem to all be on the same track in terms of getting to the next level.

As for the unfairness of introducing tricks we’re not familiar with…hm. It’s definitely a challenge, but on the other hand, dealing with unfamiliar and unexpected challenges could be considered part of the activity. “What is this?! We don’t know! Are we going to die?! Probably!”

If we can’t tell, we usually just plunge ahead until we see a direct negative result of something that tells us it’s not a good idea to do that. Like, don’t drink a healing potion while you’re decaying! Or, “hey, that guy just shot me even though it’s not his turn!” You do stuff and sometimes it works and sometimes it backfires catastrophically and it’s all part of the process.

But it’s definitely annoying when failure is part of the process 10 fights in a row. I admire your determination in actually sticking it out–we gave up after about the 5th defeat and went away to get more levels.

Which is also what we’re doing with regard to the whole north area of the map, where we keep getting wiped out by everything.

Butch:

Jeez, so much of the map kills us and yet there’s still so much of it AND I think that Arx is gonna be yet another map.

Game is large.

I dunno, though, about the unexpected challenge thing being consistent with the other aspects of gameplay. You can examine any baddie and get its stats, resistances, its chance to dodge, what its immune to, etc. If you can get that, it only makes sense that your character should know what other stuff means/does.

Just last night: I examined the dwarves and it says “Possessed.” OK, I know what possessed means. It also says “Umbral link.” As does the statue. The fuck is that? Now, in the game, Lohse or whoever has loremaster can look at the statue and say “Ah ha! Umbral link! Totally has umbral link!” Right? That’s why it’s on that screen. But if I, the player, has no idea what that is, then that’s a disconnect between the smarts of the characters with loremaster and me. If THEY can recognize it, then I should be able to recognize it.

If something is unexpected for the characters then fine; it should be unexpected for the player. Happens in games all the time. It’s exciting! But if something is known by the character, then the player has to know it, too.

Feminina:

Well…yeah. I mean, maybe the character with loremaster could be thinking “I can tell there’s some sort of link with that statue, let’s call it ‘umbral’ because why not, but I’m not sure what it does.” Naming a thing doesn’t necessarily mean fully understanding it.

But I get what you’re saying.

Along those same lines, have you fought anyone with totems? They summon totems that sit there and apparently have a turn and we don’t know what the hell they actually do but they creep us out on principle, so we destroy them.

The totems must do something, or why bother, but I don’t know what! Absorb damage? Buff attributes? I could look it up, but screw that.

Butch:

I have not, but I have noticed in skill books that there are skills that say “Your summons and totems get this bonus/do this thing,” so I know they’re things that do things. It’s all under summoning, though, and I don’t have anyone who has any ranks in summoning (I think, maybe Ifan does) so I haven’t tried it out.

But I am aware that they are a thing that does things.

This game can get confusing.

Anyway, if you really want to be in the same place, find friendly dwarves and a weirdass shrine. They’re very close to where you are, just a tad south.

Feminina:

Is that the shrine with the torches that won’t stay lit? We found that! But no friendly dwarves.

I wonder if our friendly dwarves were possessed and we killed them, but yours were freed by Lohse’s Mystic power or whatever.

And we don’t have a lot of summoning power either, although I do have a staff that lets me summon a fire slug, which is pretty great.

I need to increase my summoning, actually. I loved it last game. My Undead Decapitator was renowned throughout the land. That dude was so awesome.

Maybe I’ll add a point, and learn more about summoning totems and what they do. Besides draw enemy fire, which honestly is useful in itself sometimes.

Butch:

Yes! I’m standing by that shrine now! This is so weird.

The dwarves were right there, dude. And I don’t think Lohse or anyone else had anything to do with it. They just showed up when I got close to their camp.

I still think there was some trick we missed. There was a source pool right there, after all. That usually means there’s a source trick.

We shall never know.

Right! I miss that undead guy. He was cool.

Ifan’s wolf does in a pinch. But he needs a source point. Ol’ decapitator was a skill. A wonderful skill.

Maybe he’s necromancy. That would rock. My Sebille is ALLLLL about necromancy.

Feminina:

I think he’s likely necromancy, given the ‘undead’ aspect. We must have faith! Our undead decapitator is out there, waiting for us to summon him into battle once more!

I got ‘raise bloated corpse’ on a couple of scrolls, which is DEFINITELY necromancy, but raising corpses just isn’t the same. Even when the corpse is one of your fallen comrades.

Hey, I needed another body in the fight! Literally.

I don’t know why we haven’t met those friendly dwarves. We wandered all the way down that path and along that edge of the map. Oh well. Mysteries.

Butch:

You had to make a circle from arch to shrine back to arch. There’s also a thing, cuz you wander in and you say “What happened here? Looks like a slaughter.”

But the two dudes there were very nice.

Sebille, right now, is level seven necromancy. Way to go gear bonuses!

Of course, I can’t afford any good skill books, but bonuses are good.

Feminina:

Yeah, bonuses are good, but only go so far without the spells. Necromancy has some good spells, though. I love the healing mosquitoes. And Shackles of Pain.

“Looks like a slaughter”…hm…that wasn’t the campsite where you could find a couple of dwarves hidden from the slaughter in a hole? We tried to convince them to come out, but I seem to recall they just told us to go away.

Maybe if we’d left them alone and then gotten into a fight, they would have come out to help us.

Butch:

Well, I found no hole. Sounds about right, though. Two of them? Couple of tents? Poisoned pumpkin parts?

If that is it, weird.

“We are terrified! We shall not come out! OOOO! Fight with evil dudes! Run right towards it.”

Feminina:

It IS weird. But yeah, tents, pools of blood. I think I ate a body part that gave me a memory of the camp being attacked by something horrible (probably voidwoken), although that could have been another time since voidwoken are kind of causing trouble all over.

They really didn’t seem in the mood to run towards a fight, though.

Butch:

Glad they did. Saved my bacon.

Poisoned pumpkin part. That was memorable.

Feminina:

Hm. That does sound familiar. I’m don’t vividly remember it myself, but vaguely recall Mr. O’ finding something odd that might have been that.

It sounds like the same location…but the difference in attitude of the two dwarves there is most peculiar. Most peculiar indeed.

Ah well. Maybe there’s a Random NPC Attitude Generator aspect to the game.

Perhaps we shall never know.

Butch:

Or it was a glitch. I don’t think the game expected that fight to get so far afield. That sort of thing will happen.

Feminina:

That is true. Players mess up the best of plans!

Maybe, too, they came out to help you because of Beast. Fellow dwarf and all.

Although that should have held true for Gannibog as well. But maybe the glitch was that they didn’t recognize a from-scratch character as a fellow dwarf?

We could muse all day.

But instead, I’ll stop now.