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Default Might & Magic X - Review Roundup

February 6th, 2014, 06:53
Going to drop my "solid 7.5" down another half point at the very least; this progression is so erratic to the point of being plain annoying… spend 20 minutes battling one really tough group acting as some quasi-gatekeepers… only to be ambushed out of nowhere right past them by enemies likely 10 levels lower than the first. There's no rhyme or reason to this "balancing." The reverse happens much too often as well: doing fine and dandy in one specific area and, out of nowhere, you get annihilated…

I'm not asking for linear progression, but a senseless mixture of enemies for which you have to flounder about seeking the correct progression path (and for which game reloads are the only option for missteps) is pretty horrible design.
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February 6th, 2014, 07:05
But it is also very dependent on your group.
The one group which was easy for you might have been harder for other players and the harder group might have been easier for others depending on the setup.

Balancing wise I had the problem that there wasn't any challenge anymore after reaching level 20 or so. The only way to die from that point was if Gasts or similar enemies stack attacks by dodging my attacks so that they could then instakill my healer.
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February 6th, 2014, 08:02
I'm talking specifically about encountering a group of Militia Captains + Brigands immediately after fighting off a large group of Black Guards; that's practically an order of magnitude difference in difficulty, regardless of group makeup. Or running into that pair of seemingly innocuous (but not) pair of ravenous ghouls on the second level of the lost city. It's all very haphazard and contrived at times.

Speaking of party makeup, it's also terrible design that some skill master trainers are in Seahaven, while some are in the Crag… my Blademaster has been stuck at Expert Daggers for the past 10 levels, while other melee weapons experience no such penalty…

Gameplay balance and progression was just very poorly implemented across the board.
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February 6th, 2014, 09:36
Imho the two mob groups arent that far away from each other in difficulty and it could have been story based, like you could encounter easy rats in some games later on if you enter the sewers. And when encountering the Gasts in the lost city it felt pretty clear to me, that this isn't where I should be at this time. Same goes for the bandits in the forest north of seahaven where I got a bloody nose pretty fast.

Also the crag isn't really that difficult to reach (reached seahaven after 11h and the crag after 26h), but I agree that some trainer locations are irritating. Especially in the beginning, where you don't even find expert trainers for some skills in Sorpigal. There is also one GrandMaster trainer which can only be found deep in a dungeon which is connected to the main plot. I reached him after 55h of the game (out of 60). They could have had a much clearer structure with the trainers, also it doesn't help that the game doesn't log anywhere which trainers you already found. So once you missed to note down where you found a master/grandmaster trainer you are screwed if you don't want to look it up on the internet.
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February 6th, 2014, 09:50
You can write notes on the map - trainer locations should be noted.

To find certain trainers at unusual locations is part of the fun

The problem of running too early in badass enemies could have been solved better IMHO:
a) the party could have the option to give up and loosing gold and/or equipment.
b) after loosing a fight (3 party members dead), the last one can escape to the nearest city (again with a gold penalty)
c) an expensive spell (2000 Gold ) can teleport you to a city during a fight

with these techniques you can easily avoid reloading and the immersion is not broken.

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February 6th, 2014, 10:05
Well, after a few false starts without knowledge about classes and mechanics, I think I've finally settled on Crusader, Bladedancer, Druid and Freemage.

Game is getting better and better, and I've decided to live with the odd performance drops.
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February 6th, 2014, 10:19
@HiddenX: The notes on the map aren't really good to give you an overview though…luckily I had a second PC running where I noted down everything in an sheet
Wouldn't have hurt to have mechanics like you mentioned, but tbh - I would have loaded anyways if there was a penalty. In my walkthrough I had no single death and except of the first couple of hours where I can't say for sure all my party members always got the XP from mobs and were never knocked out at that time.
Well…I am a minmaxer to a certain degree.

@DArtagnan: Sounds like a good setup, a lot of potential heal though. I guess you will use the Freemage for Damage only?
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February 6th, 2014, 10:22
@DArtagnan: Sounds like a good setup, a lot of potential heal though. I guess you will use the Freemage for Damage only?
Yup, he's dedicated to damage for the moment, except I made sure to get identify asap - and that secret areas spell.

Seems to be very efficient and almost too easy on Warrior difficulty. I completed the bandit area and the lighthouse - and I'm now well into Castle Prom?!?! whatever

The Celestial Armor spell is pretty great
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February 6th, 2014, 10:51
Drithius, avoid level 3 of Lost City those two abnormally tough ghouls are guarding!
Clean other three levels, but level 3 is loaded with hard to kill mobs. You will return to it later as you'll get a quest to nail crystal spider which resides there.

Spoiler

Toka Koka
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February 6th, 2014, 19:11
I gathered as much after dying again and again, Joxer. But that's a major part of my complaint: repeatedly bashing your head against the wall to no avail shouldn't be the only indicator to a foe's relative difficulty and placement in the story. It's very artificical… and it would be one thing if it was a progressive difficulty curve from which you could form some basis of judgment, but that's not the case whatsoever - everything is intermixed.

Still enjoying the game, but the progression irritates me. It's likely not so unabashedly stupid and erratic in Adventure difficulty.
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February 6th, 2014, 19:18
Well…. Part of these games is realising you're outmatched and moving on. So far, I've had that happen a couple of times - and I just come back later.

Naturally, I'm not even through Act 1 yet, so I don't know how much it changes later on.
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February 6th, 2014, 19:24
Act 1's pretty easy and straight-forward (minus the two caves); difficulty in act 2, however, is an unpredictable rollercoaster.
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February 6th, 2014, 20:02
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
Act 1's pretty easy and straight-forward (minus the two caves); difficulty in act 2, however, is an unpredictable rollercoaster.
I see your point, but I honestly love the way you can run into really hard enemies all of a sudden. I understand that you find it immersion breaking, but I think it's so damn rewarding when you can go back and kill mobs that you didn't stand a chance against. And finding trainers is also part of the fun.

I think this game is one of the most entertaining I've played in quite a while, my only BIG complaint is the fact that you don't have party formations, and that's quite a big issue. Tanks serve no purpose when they can't stand in front of your squishie mages. If they fix that in the next iteration I'll love it ten times more, because then different party builds will actually be viable, now it's only DPS or Healing characters that are of any use (at least that's what I've found).
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February 6th, 2014, 20:03
Originally Posted by tomasp3n View Post
I think this game is one of the most entertaining I've played in quite a while, my only BIG complaint is the fact that you don't have party formations, and that's quite a big issue. Tanks serve no purpose when they can't stand in front of your squishie mages. If they fix that in the next iteration I'll love it ten times more, because then different party build will actually be viable, now it's only DPS or Healing characters that are of any use (at least that's what I've found).
That's strange, I find my "tank" to be invaluable.

I don't know the other classes, but the Crusader is extremely useful for defense and protection - exactly like a tank should be.
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February 6th, 2014, 20:35
I agree with tomasp3n here. The tanks are more like the 5th wheel of the wagon. Yes, they can add some stability in some situations, but they don't really add much.
And in the cases which matter (bosses) they can't taunt anyways because the opponents are immune.

Especially the paladin is much, much more effective as healer than as tank.
For tanking he would also need a high weapon skill. Because otherwise he won't hit a thing. Instead you can max him on holy and use him for magical shields and healing spells. That way he becomes an undestructible healer.
And he cannot learn the area taunt (GM Warfare) nor the ranged shield deflection for group members (GM Shield) anyways. Also the additional spells he gets when he is promotes are extremely well, especially if you have a Blademaster in the party.
First I tried to use the paladin in combat to do damage there but after act 1 or so I just dropped that Idea and while I continued to rise swords I went fully on Mana and Magic. Also GM Arcane Discipline is quite powerful compared with the advanced class skills.
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February 6th, 2014, 21:17
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
That's strange, I find my "tank" to be invaluable.

I don't know the other classes, but the Crusader is extremely useful for defense and protection - exactly like a tank should be.
You're right, the Crusader is a decent pick for a party, since he can GM light magic. But I would call him a beefy healer rather than a tank. The problem lies in the fact that no matter how much punishment your "Tank" can take (a dwarven defender with max shield and heavy armor for example) the enemy can just as well hit your freemage and one-shot kill him. And once the other characters are dead there's nothing the defender can do. The Crusader on the other hand has both healing, resurrection and shield spells at his disposal, making him a much better choice. But then you'll want to put loads of points into magic and spirit, practically making him a caster instead of a fighter.

Am I making any sense or just rambling? The bottom line is, if they had formations implemented you could have two tougher guys in the front taking the hits. This would also make flanking mobs more interesting and dangerous in comparison.

Did the original series have formations? I *think* they did, but I could be thinking of Wizardry, which i know has formations.
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February 6th, 2014, 22:00
I'm playing with two pure tanks (without healing magic) and two magic users (with healing magic) -> works like a charm.
My mages can fight too, and have enough life points.
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February 6th, 2014, 22:12
Guess you are having quite long fights?
From the screens you posted I can see that the both melee characters have much more XP which either mean that they are getting all the killing blows - or your mages lose quite a lot of XP by dieing all the time. Are you using them for damage?
Also your potions are almost used up. Another indication of very long, drinking-intensive fights.
I mean, not a problem as long as you manage to beat everything. But "like a charm" sounds quite relative then.
I guess you are already past the Crystal Spider? I don't think there were any other "higher" damage races, though the last parts of the game are much of a fighting marathon.
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February 6th, 2014, 22:47
I'm not using many potions - in this picture I have more than I usually have -
mostly I'm buying 5/5 healing/mana, before going to a dungeon.

My mages got beaten a lot in the early/mid game -> not anymore.

Yes I'm past the spider.

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February 6th, 2014, 22:50
Originally Posted by tomasp3n View Post
You're right, the Crusader is a decent pick for a party, since he can GM light magic. But I would call him a beefy healer rather than a tank. The problem lies in the fact that no matter how much punishment your "Tank" can take (a dwarven defender with max shield and heavy armor for example) the enemy can just as well hit your freemage and one-shot kill him. And once the other characters are dead there's nothing the defender can do. The Crusader on the other hand has both healing, resurrection and shield spells at his disposal, making him a much better choice. But then you'll want to put loads of points into magic and spirit, practically making him a caster instead of a fighter.
As I said, I don't know the other classes. My Crusader can use his "taunt" skill to draw aggro from the worst damage dealer - but I don't know what comes later.

I think he's an excellent tank - but then again, I don't expect a tank to be a miracle.

Am I making any sense or just rambling? The bottom line is, if they had formations implemented you could have two tougher guys in the front taking the hits. This would also make flanking mobs more interesting and dangerous in comparison.
Sure you are, but I don't feel competent to comment on the overall design. All I can say is that my impression based on ~10 hours of play is that there IS tanking in the game, and I'm finding the Crusader very useful.

I expected the other "tanking" classes to function in a similar way, but I could be very wrong.

Did the original series have formations? I *think* they did, but I could be thinking of Wizardry, which i know has formations.
Well, when you think about it - tanking is a terribly gamey concept.

I actually like that it's not formation-based - because it seems so contrived. But obviously, it needs to have a reasonable balance - and all damage-soaking classes should be able to draw aggro or protect the party in one way or the other.
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