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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General RPG » NWN 2 » Storm of Zehir

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December 10th, 2008, 00:49
One thing to note, Maylander, is that many skills are used in detecting treasure on the overland map. If I ran my ranger as lead (survival, hide, spot, listen, search). he missed almost all of the large crates that my thief with a high appraise skill spotted. Even if the ranger detects these treasures I've noticed that the person with the highest relevant skill seems to get better rewards if they're lead when the treasure is clicked on. My cleric will get +10 health kits for example, whereas my ranger might only get a +3 or +6 kit. I didn't really study this in-depth, it's just how it seemed….

'nut
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December 10th, 2008, 04:21
Yep, lots of skills get used. Magic item use, healing, lore…. gives you good reason to go back over an area with another character leading.

The party AI has just about killed the game for me, though. I switched something off so the party didn't initiate combat which fixed the problem of everyone running around like idiots after a battle and picking a fight with any major demon within bowshot. However, now the idiots will stop fighting mid-battle, especially if I switch character with focus. It's like they hear a follow command and decide to follow instead of fight.

Honestly, this hasn't been an adventure at all for me. It's been one long struggle to find some party AI settings that aren't horrible.
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December 10th, 2008, 09:50
I experienced the same - the AI is rubbish, even compared to what it used to be in NWN2. I've found a way to work around it for now, inspired by good ol' Baldur's Gate:
1. When entering a battle, press space (pause).
2. Select your offensive spellcasters, and make a 4-spell queue for them.
3. Select every melee/ranged attacker that uses a weapon, and click a single target to attack it.
4. Press space again.

Then you just continue to have all the attackers selected, and focus your attacks on one enemy after another. If you need some healing, pause the game, select the healer(s), and put a big queue of healing spells up. Then re-select all the attackers once more, and continue the attack.

If I don't do it this way, no matter how I tweak the AI, my partymembers will run around like mad (getting tons of attacks of opportunities their way). Even when I shut the AI off, they seem to stop attacking at random.

At any rate, I'll keep on selecting everyone for now, as it works quite well. I also put up commands on the UI - press V and then combat/exploration commands (follow me, stop, attack, etc). These commands are useful for getting people to follow a certain character or stop their intended assault on a nasty dragon.

And now for something completely different:
Indeed, I did notice that my alchemist kept findig herbs and what not to make potions out of. However, walking around without survival/hide/move silently means you'll fight a neverending wave of monsters, with almost no way to avoid them. That can get pretty annoying.
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December 11th, 2008, 12:44
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
That's a good idea! It seems to me that the needed skills on the Overland Map are:
- Survival (increases speed)
- Spot and Listen (to detect enemies and secret items/places)
- Move silently and Hide (to avoid enemies)

Five skills in total, which is certainly not impossible, even if it's not one of the skilled classes (bard, rogue, ranger).

I'm thinking either an Eldritch Knight or a Bard at the moment, with two Ranger levels for the free two weapon feat.
AFAICT Move Silently and Hide are interchangeable — you only need one.
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December 11th, 2008, 13:55
Well, move silently can be discovered with a listen check, while hide can be discovered with a spot check. Not sure how they both work on the Overland Map though, but I thought it was the same there as elsewhere.
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December 11th, 2008, 18:04
See the manual, page 13: "The Hide or Move Silently skill of your party leader determines whether hostile encounters will detect your party."
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December 12th, 2008, 01:19
I've just seen this game at EB yesterday and I wasn't sure if I should pick it up or not. I believe it's more like BG1/IWD than BG2? It's kinda annoying me cause I can't be bothered picking up another game when I already don't have enough time to play as it is… but reading at what you guys are saying and looking at improved graphics is making me want to get it. ARGH!

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December 12th, 2008, 09:30
It's certainly not like BG2 at all. From what I've gathered, you're big on intra-party relationships and exciting quests, that sort of thing; if so, SoZ is definitely not for you — it's made for spreadsheet-gamers, pure and simple. It consists of a set of challenges loosely tied in a sequence, and the fun comes from constructing parties most interestingly (and effectively) able to meet these challenges. I haven't really played any game that does exactly this, but from what I've gathered without playing it, this is more in the spirit of ToEE than BG or IWD.
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December 12th, 2008, 09:41
I agree, it's something of a party creation simulator, where the story is not the focus at all. Exploration, trading and adventuring with whatever party you create is what SoZ is all about, so if you don't like that sort of thing, stick with MotB or wait for Dragon Age.

Truth be told, there are a few interesting cohorts to recruit, but generally they have very little to say/do.
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December 12th, 2008, 16:26
It's also strangely reminiscent of my first PnP D&D campaigns, like, a quarter-century ago. The whole concept of "story" didn't really enter into it; we cared about killing orcs, getting loot, and leveling up. It was good, clean fun, too, for a quite a while.
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December 13th, 2008, 18:45
Spoiler – Warning: Final battle difficulty
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December 14th, 2008, 13:57
Regarding AI:

Have you tried to set behaviour of your companions in the behaviour tab in the character sheet?

Otherwise I am satisfied, I like the re-implementating of free open map where one can go anywhere he wants to. I like the Overland map per se too.

There's a lot of "mini-stories" or "mini-histories" which are associated with quests or NPCs one can encounter during his travels throughout the Overland Map. And it behooves to recall that a player, willy-nilly, must undergo these side quests scattered on the map, or at least some of them, or the travelling by itself in order to advance the main plot (in order to improve his or her merchant position which is necessary for the main plot to advance…at least from the beginning… I'm still relatively at the beginning of the game but I can say already that I enjoy it much more than MoB and that I didn't expect. It reminds me the good old days of era of BiS games.. true roleplaying where a man is completely free and where the game doesn't force player virtually into anything..

edit: and when I am playing just now I have realised that I forgot to mention a great music that helps the atmosphere very much..



Last edited by shadow_hk; December 14th, 2008 at 14:28.
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December 23rd, 2008, 23:29
Well….as shadow suggested me somewhere else, I ll share my experience with the others about SoZ.
Firstly..I will say that I am playing nwn2 since its release so can compare how the proggress on the game was made. Tried both OC and MotB in cooperative multiplayer and it was rubbish, mainly dialogue system was just terrible, confusing and causing chaos if there were more than 2 players connected. I am playing this game on one PW since games release, so picked 3 of my friends from there and started playign SoZ with them and the experience so far is ….absolutely amazing.

The more open nature of SoZ compared to the previous sequels from the series is cool, however, there had to come drawback in NPC char companions not being that "deep" like they were in previous game (good comparsion is IWD vs BG wher SoZ is more IWD-ish), so by inviting 3 real players which actually can RP, I got rid of this slightly annoying thingie. The gaming system is much more multiplayer-campaign friendly than previous games, dialogue system is finally made clear, good looking and most importantly in small window, which helps the smoothness a LOT. Also, chars can type normally while you are thinking about your answers..adding some nice flaw and atmosphere by reacting to what NPCs says + all players can answer the NPC ..not just one, and dialogue options varies depending on chars bluff, diplomacy, intimidate etc…skills. Well done Obsidian on this !

Another thing I was interested in…how that "oh-so-stylish" and fresh Overland map will work in multiplayer and again, I was pleasantly surprised, party leader enters the overland map and can "give" the leadership to the other member of the party ..so basically if you are playing some char with bad spot,hide and MS, its good to give Overland leadership to your party rogue, who should have these skills as highest possible (avoiding most of the random encounters is rather nice..and you can always choose to attack them if you want in the end..). As I said, well done again.

Storywise I am pretty hooked up ..as I did not finish the game before starting the multiplayer, I am enjoying it a lot..my party members all finished it before ..but they dont spoil and adds nice atmosphere + another good thing about this is that they do not act so stupid in combat like AI usually does. Yes, still its NWN2 and Bugsidian, so everything is possible and AI ( from their experience) acted just wrong in many situations, so best bet if you are going to play it solo is to turn puppet mode on and handle the combats good ol' baldurs gate way where you have every move of your party members under your control. Except that, game is stable, smooth, they worked a bit on the crapiness of coding in the engine (but still shadows are _VERY_ performance consuming, mainly on ATI cards), so its not that power demanding like original nwn2 were.

So far (as I dont have finished game yet) I can give 8/10 as my personal rank, but maybe it will even improve after finishing it, as I really love to play the game currently. One of the best RPGs I have played this year so far. Great job Obsidian in finally bringing us _usable_ RPG from FR setting which allows entertaining experience even while playing with friends..thats how it should look from the beginning :-). So as its pretty obvious from my reactions, I can only recommend buying this game, get bunch of good friends together play and enjoy!:-)
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December 28th, 2008, 10:03
Originally Posted by shadow_hk View Post
Regarding AI:
Otherwise I am satisfied, I like the re-implementating of free open map where one can go anywhere he wants to. I like the Overland map per se too.

There's a lot of "mini-stories" or "mini-histories" which are associated with quests or NPCs one can encounter during his travels throughout the Overland Map. And it behooves to recall that a player, willy-nilly, must undergo these side quests scattered on the map, or at least some of them, or the travelling by itself in order to advance the main plot (in order to improve his or her merchant position which is necessary for the main plot to advance…at least from the beginning… I'm still relatively at the beginning of the game but I can say already that I enjoy it much more than MoB and that I didn't expect. It reminds me the good old days of era of BiS games.. true roleplaying where a man is completely free and where the game doesn't force player virtually into anything..
Woo you appeal me (already bought it but not installed since) that seems to have some relationship with Realmz scenario. When I was playing one of them I got flashback from plays of Pool of Radiance or Curse of the Azure bound at the end of 80's or beginning of 90's. When I was reading your short description I definitely saw relationships with some Realmz scenario or even with Realmz general approach.
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December 28th, 2008, 13:42
I haven't yet played this pack but from what I read here and from my plays of NWN2 OC and MoTB the team that took in charge NWN2 and its packs is amazing me by its freedom and imagination in gameplay design. I don't only find them inventive for the gameplay design but also feel they are much less influenced by the current main stream than any other PC team that I see repeat and copy each other.
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May 28th, 2009, 16:40
After finishing MotB (which I didn't like at first, but about halfway through it got better), I started SoZ. I AM LOVING IT!
Sure, gone are the inter-character interactions, I'll miss them, but I feel so liberated not being 'the chosen one with a great destiny' for once! and starting at almost level 1 is a fresh thing too, I really never liked the epic levels.
I'm still very early on, even thinking of recreating my party (I also forgot how fun this part was). One question, is there a way to choose your level 1 skills/feats?
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June 2nd, 2009, 01:58
Hm, what do you mean? You start with level one characters of your own creation (meaning you do get to choose lvl 1 feats and skills) and you're given enough XP to level up to four before the game really starts.

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June 2nd, 2009, 15:00
Originally Posted by KazikluBey View Post
Hm, what do you mean? You start with level one characters of your own creation (meaning you do get to choose lvl 1 feats and skills) and you're given enough XP to level up to four before the game really starts.
No I figured it out. I never noticed the 'Customize' button when you're creating your characters for level 1, so the skills/feats for level 1 were just what the 'standard' class would be.
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June 2nd, 2009, 21:56
I finally decided to give this another expansion chance - I've endured the excrutiating slog that is the overland map - I have a thief with high spot, hide, move silently etc and ended up trying to fleel from pursuing monsters when I was spotted. Still had way too may pointless encounters. So, finally,I get to the 'end game', back in the S. lands…and suddenly everything becomes harder!? EL17 monsters everywhere - my party is only level 12 even though I have done everything required.
So, what level are you supposed to be when you head towards the final show-down? Surely the game designers should put enough XP to get you to that level? Always worked before. I then continued and experienced an even more profound form of 'whippin' than Maylander had above - I am not at the final, final showndown, but the enemies are already too numerous and more powerful than my characters. What level are you supposed to be? And how are you meant to get to that level? By having endless wilderness encounters? By getting XP's for setting up yet another friggin trading route? By my reckoning I should have at least another 3-4 levels under my belt. It's almost as though I've missed a whole section of the game. I don't mind a challenge but as it is now, I can only kill monsters by dealing with them in (very) small groups…but they are mobbing me, running in from all over the complex. So, any suggestions as to the level I should be and what I have missed?

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June 2nd, 2009, 22:35
If I recall correctly, my parties are usually at level 15-17 or so. This is *not* from random encounters or whatever, in fact I almost never get into them at all. There are quite a lot of quests in the Sword Coast especially to do.

I'm not sure if you need any convo skills for the final dungeon if you want to avoid confrontation. I guess maybe in that first convo you get when you enter. Other than that, I left my party behind (told them to wait in place) and sneaked through the temple. You will still need to fight for the final encounter, and it is *hard*.
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