Anyone playing in absurd difficulty?
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chaos-tse
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:46 am    Post subject: Anyone playing in absurd difficulty? Reply with quote
I've played pretty much straight through to West Ascension (chapter 9?) with a party of two musketeers and a priest. I'm stuck here though.

In my best attempt so far I came to the last battle but was still probably a good 40 seconds too slow. Anyone made this? What's your strategy?
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Rogue
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I have an extremely good strategy for beating it with a musketeer,knight, and priest party that involves pumping up my knight with Bless, Empowder, and Charge to do over 2000 damage to all enemies with a single Thunderstrike. I can beat it easily with around 100 seconds left on the clock. You might be able to bless your attacker, use Lucky Shot, bless your empowderer, empowder your attacker, then use Lucky Shot for a pretty powerful attack, and repeat empowdering your attacker and using lucky shot until bless runs out, bless again, and repeat. I'm not sure if the effect would be as good, what with the damages being reduced separately, especially against the knights. I had all the attacks and abilities that I was using maxed out, as well as health, lucky lady, and chosen. Health and Lucky Lady are important so you can attack as long as possible without needing to heal or play defensive.

I also beat it with a team of 3 priests, so it should be possible with your team. With the priests, I knew that part would be tough, so I made sure to level up to level 85 before beating Ick Thelloth. I'm not sure if it was necessary, but it certainly helped. And I wanted to get to the elusive level 92 anyway(I think it might be the highest possible level). If you have a save game before chapter 9, then you might want to go back and level up. I also had a bunch of damaging items like the Rolling Ring of Skyfury, and the Skull Twist, as well as damage boosting equipment.

With the priests, I basically damned the front guy (I had Damn trained to the max with Enshadu), used Sprite Summon with my other guys, and then attacked with everyone making sure the front guy is taken out before they change formation. I didn't have anything to consistently damage the riflemen, so a lot of that was left up to luck. You might want to use blackbullet on them, as they don't have much ethereal resistance, and poison can't be dodged.

In the second battle, the priest was pretty vulnerable to my magic attacks, but only if I used damn. Bless might have a similar effect. All my characters were trained with Wrath, as it's the best priest attack for the last part of the game. If you have a more physically inclined team, you might just attack him with piercing or concussive attacks, as his physical defense is pretty low. Hold the line can be helpful too.

I was having trouble with the third battle. The knight is tough to take down, and the riflemen behind him do a lot of damage. This is where I use the cavalry, but you might not need to. I made sure to use damn on all three of them before using it to get the maximum amount of damage. Aside from that I just used the same strategy as the other guys.

The fourth battle can be tricky. You have to beat two knights with high defense, who can heal themselves, and a priest, who can also heal them. The good thing is that they can only attack the front row. I had to attack them so that I took them out before they had a chance to heal back up or change formation. Their armor can make it difficult though. If you don't need the cavalry for the third battle, this is a great place to use it, as it doesn't have any chance of missing anyone. If you have damn, hold the line can give you an edge as well.

The last battle was pretty simple for me, as long as I have enough time left on the clock (100 seconds or so usually does it). I just used the same strategy I used in the first battle. Just try not to let anyone get knocked out, as that can slow things down considerably. That goes for the entire thing really. Try not to get any one character especially weak in the battles against the riflemen, as they will start using High Fire against them. If you still have Hold the Line or Cavalry, use them here, as they will help out quite nicely.

I don't know if this will help (or if you've already beaten it), but it works pretty well for me. You can probably do lots of other things with the musketeers with Lucky Shot and High Fire to pick off weakened enemies. I didn't need to heal once, but it might not be a bad idea to put up a smoke screen or some powdered imps and heal every once in awhile if your characters are getting weak. I find there always seems to be some way to squeeze out a little more damage, or keep my characters a little safer, whether it involves battle strategy or equipment/stats.
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iamyum-tse
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Joined: 24 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Actually you can get to beyond level 92. I'm on my three-knight absurd run now. When fighting West Ascension, which I'm stuck now, I am at level 94. A few levels really don't help that much and it's all about strategy.

The three knight absurd mode had been challenging in various places, and the West Ascension is no exception. My current failing strategy is to have two knights performing charge+thunderstrike, the other one brace. I'm stuck in the third one with 2 riflemen. If I'm lucky and they don't dodge, the thunderstrikes hit them at about 500 and 1000 damage with proper equipment. Otherwise, I go all out too fast and they usually kill one of my knights. Then my plan essentially fall apart.

What was your sucessful strategy? I'll keep trying until I get through this.

[edit: I did it!!!! Wow..... amazing feeling. It *seems* that the random number generator is not truly random. It "seems" that the first hit to the rifleman will hit, and so I charged up and thunderstriked to knock off 1100 every 2 rounds, and luckily in a few rounds they all knocked off!)
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ROD
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hey, Iīm doing the same, and found the same stragedy (no other way past these 2 rifles)!

But now I got stuck at the final fight - the knights never survive the first stage, Brace seems to be no help here...

Do you succeed - maybe it does help to level up, as Iīm on Lvl eightysomething

I first tried absurd with three Musketeers, due to Smokescreen the last fight was rather easy. Knights worked better throughout the earlier worlds, but now...
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Mark Pay
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
This is very interesting to read. I haven't completed the game on 'absurb' difficulty myself.

Dodge is, I think, the only place in the game mechanics ( besides monster skill choice ) where any random numbers are rolled. It's using the MMF random function, which I assume is properly seeded. However, I added some code to weight the actual dodge result towards its correct number over time. Sometimes dodges aren't rolled very often in a single combat. It could be very frustrating to, for example, fail 4/4 50% rolls in a row, which this system almost entirely prevents.
The first roll always failing seems to be an unusual side-effect. Wink
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iamyum-tse
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Unfortunately I'm also struggling in the first section of the last fight. It seems that the phase transition is hard-coded at ~29000 health regardless of difficulty. The pace is going to be much slower after the first phase.

I'm pretty sure offensive isn't going to work in the first section. I'm still struggling and I'm only able to knock 6k health, down to 37k. I'll keep trying different strategies. Good luck to you!
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Rogue
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yeah, I made the mistake of leveling up to the max level that normal enemies can get you after the battle with Ick Thelloth's Illusions, so I only reached level 92. If you level up before then you can get to level 96.

My party was well set up for west ascension so I didn't have any trouble there. My strategy was to have all three knights use charge and thunderstrike. Kaltos was seriously tricked out for charged thunderstrikes, and with his anger bonus he dealt around 1780 damage to the riflemen. I had Ferwin and Denever take the first attacks and rotated my party and they went down before I did.

Batiste's first form was pretty tough though. It inflicts lots of damage in the form of multiple hits to the front character, and causes lightning bolts to hit your entire party. A defensive strategy is necessary as far as I know.

Kaltos still has his anger boost, so I used him as my attacker. I used refund points to him 23 Fortitude, 24 Recover, 24 Charge, and 24 Might. I equipped him with Early grave (for massive charge boost), Grim Harvest (awesome boost to slay, and excellent defense), Titan's Hammer(Good defense and awesome boost to thunderstrike, which is useful in the later phases), Bloodfirm Talisman (Compensates for the health reduction of early grave and grim harvest somewhat, and gives good healing), Skull Twist (deals damage even when the shield is up and heals a bit), and Berzerker's Ring(gives a good boost to charge and slay).

Ferwin is nervous, giving him an excellent boost to fortify, which is very useful for this battle.I gave him 24 Fortitude, 24 Recover, 24 Fortify, 24 might, and 2 Brace. I gave him Sarlephantine(gives a great dodge boost and an incredible boost to Recover), Aulder Plate(great boost to fortify, as well as even more boost to Recover),fortress shield(awesome defense, Ferwin isn't going to be dealing much damage anyway so the piercing penalty isn't an issue), Flower of the North(against most enemies this prevents more damage than healing talismans heal, It's a bit hard to tell whether it works on his first form, it does definitely up his damage multiplier though). Steel Ring (good defense that goes well with Fortress shield), and Lucky Leaf Ring(along with Sarlephantine this brings his dodge to a respectable %11).

Denever doesn't get any bonuses or penalties for mood, so he kinda acted as a backup defender and attacker. I gave him 24 Fortitude, 24 Recover, 24 Might, 14 Brace, and 8 Charge. I gave him Colossus(big powerful sword), Rose Thorn (Awesome armor that self heals), Scythe shield(good defense with no penalties, trick is helpful in the later phases, though Field Emblem might be a better choice for the first and second phases), Twisted Talisman of Major Party Healing (good healing), Azure Blue Ring of Magic Protection (excellent magic protection), and Ambassador's Ring (Incredibly good self healing and a boost to Recover).

The strategy for the first phase is to have Ferwin use Fortify whenever it's off. Do not use brace at all in this phase, with Fortify on the amount of damage brace will protect will be much smaller than what Recover heals, even if brace is maxed out. Have the character in front constantly switching out to keep the damage multiplier low. About a turn before the shield goes down (you should be able to pull off about three or four moves prior) have Kaltos charge and then attack when the shield is down, heal up, then repeat. You should be able to heal plenty more damage than it can dish out. The next three phases are pretty easy, though the battle will last a long time. Just Brace, Fortify, and Recover until you have enough health to attack without threat of being knocked out, then repeat.

This strategy is pretty reliable. My characters were level 96 at the time but I think that a level eighty something party should be able to win with proper equipment and skills (though it may take much longer). There are probably better variations for the equipment and strategy as well. Like you said, it's more about strategy than level.
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iamyum-tse
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
That did it! This defensive strategy is strong enough and it worked. I was close with maxing out fortify and might, not using brace, and used Altos as my attacker. What I missed, and helped a lot, was the mood modifier and to assign Ferwin, instead of Denever, as the main defender. Probably stuck in the TSE 1 mentality, I haven't even crossed my mind that I can refund my main attack slay! Thank you Rogue, your strategy was rock solid.

Onto my 3 Musketeer absurd run!
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ROD
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks Rogue!
I completely forgot Fortify (hardly used it so far), I will try it (my max lvl available is 22, letīs see if thatīs enough...)


Edit: YESSS!!
Great strategy. Finally found some time to try and it worked! Even on Lvl 89 and not enough refund points left, but I managed to only let Ferwin perform Fortify and with the best armour and defensive boost, 10 points on Recover was enough for him (and some Brace skills left came in handy later on). The whole battle took at least half an hour...I love that Smile

So three knights on absurd have been possible without any "extra" levelling. With musketeers only, I had to level up both in chapter 7 and 8, but then, as experienced now, maybe I didnīt find the right strategies.
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Rogue
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Glad I could be of help. Though I can't guarantee that there is absolutely no need for extra level ups for any party, as not every party has been tested on absurd mode without extra leveling. At the very least some parties might need more refund points than you get normally.

Mark Pay wrote:
This is very interesting to read. I haven't completed the game on 'absurb' difficulty myself.

Dodge is, I think, the only place in the game mechanics ( besides monster skill choice ) where any random numbers are rolled. It's using the MMF random function, which I assume is properly seeded. However, I added some code to weight the actual dodge result towards its correct number over time. Sometimes dodges aren't rolled very often in a single combat. It could be very frustrating to, for example, fail 4/4 50% rolls in a row, which this system almost entirely prevents.
The first roll always failing seems to be an unusual side-effect. Wink


So basically you made the gambler's fallacy true for your game? Not cool man. Ah well.

Recently I've been fascinated with the possibility of using randomness as a balancing factor in statistics based games. If there's no randomness in a game like Spirit Engine, a party and strategy either has a %100 chance of working or a %0 chance of working. Unless you go out of your way to make the game accommodate every possible party on the hardest difficulty (which would probably end up making the game really easy), there is a chance that a party simply might not have the proper equipment or stat distribution to be able to use any strategy successfully, giving them a %0 chance of winning. With a chance that an enemy might miss lots of times in a row, or the player get a bunch of critical hits, etc, there is always a chance to win for even the most poorly designed parties, however small. So they could keep playing until they win. Balancing the game might be a matter of keeping the chance for a poor party to win at least %5 or so. On the flip side, there might be a chance that the enemy could hit or dodge lots of times consecutively, or get critical hits, giving a well built party a small chance of losing, or otherwise making it so they have to adapt to an unlikely situation, adding excitement for them.
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Mark Pay
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The corrective effect is only strong on the initial few rolls. As more rolls accumulate, the system should settle into its natural ratio and the weighting falls off towards nothing.

I do a moderate amount of tabletop gaming, and I don't enjoy systems where, for all the players' efforts, the entire outcome of a game is decided on a handful of dice rolls. ( So that's pretty much all of them! ) I'm weary of playing games where I win or lose by chance. I don't find that enjoyable or satisfying.

There's also players who will grind relentlessly at an impasse if they know there is a tiny chance of winning by luck alone, and I don't believe it's in their greater interest to allow or encourage this.
I do think it's good to keep a very real possibilty of failure for any team. But I think this pressure usually exists without overt randomisation, and can be improved by balancing rather than dice rolling.

There's so many different theories on game system design and none of them are completely right. I'm comfortable with my own stance but it's always interesting to read other opinions so thanks for exploring the issue Rogue. Very Happy
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iamyum-tse
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Absurd difficulty never ceases to provide challenge. On my three musketeer run, I am currently stuck at Ick Thelloth, a boss that I had a tough time dealing with even in easy mode. Due to the inability to heal and the absolute damage dealt to the party for any damage dealt to the boss, I have trouble keeping my party alive. The best I can do is drop the boss health from 19k to ~5k before dying. I have all the life drain equipment, major party healing amulet, and the major self heal necklace. On my easy run, I got through this part by a tigh-locked flashbang, which if executed properly, limits the damage to party to only the fractional damage dealt to the boss. In absurd mode this is my way to get to 5k. How can three musketeers survive this fight?
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Mark Pay
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
There is even code in the game to detect a 3-musketeer party and drop the musketeer damage feedback percentage from 52 to 34 percent. That fight is incredibly difficult without a lot of healing. Sad I wish I had some useful advice to help you.
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ROD
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thatīs one of the fights where I had to turn back for a level up.
I also went back to storage room to buy all the items against etheral damage.
That helped, and Smoke Screen was essential, naturally
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iamyum-tse
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ick has the following ways to damage our party:

1) Burst out 4 magic projectiles, one of which is at too high an angle to be caught by powder imps.
2) Thunderstrike
3) Feedback from our damage to it.
4) Poison -> 0% etheral resistance results in about 700 (or more?) damage.
5) Just directly deal absolute damage for ~350 damage.
6) It also boosts the damage modifier for the next damage.

Smokescreen mitigates 1,2,6. Etheral resisting equipment helps with 4, thought there is only one sinister stash. I guess, theoretically, I can use a tight-locked flashbang strategy when it targets my low etheral resistance members. Type 5 I'm completely helpless with. The best I can do is, again, use flashbang to preempty this attack. This is a timing and luck thing.

How did you attack this beast sucessfully?
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