ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:32 am 
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Higher

Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:31 am
Posts: 45
I played two Necromancer characters who lived long enough to acquire Lich-form and I have to passionately agree with the points made above, both have seen large investment into minions and this was exactly what killed them both before they were able to unlive to level 30.

I can also add that Dark Empathy does not extend it's benefits for the minions' spellpower and their spell critical chance, making "advanced" minions pretty weak, granted that they were supposed to compensate for their melee weakness by their advanced magic ability, but presently they don't. Their propensity for killing each other notwithstanding, relying on your minions to deal damage to your foes also leaves your slower, more brittle and vulnerable to counter-attacks. Giving Surge of Undeath a boost to melee attack and spellcasting speed should help alleviate this for those, who sufficiently invested into the talent. Something along the lines of increasing minions' talent levels via the ANM talent line or D.Empathy would also work fine.

P.S. It is one of the most conceptually beautiful, yet poorly implemented classes of ToME. Correct me if I am wrong, but about every experienced player advising prospecting Necromancers to "go petless", whatever this means, should be a sufficient indication that mechanic in question is broken.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:00 am 
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Archmage

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:31 am
Posts: 393
Bahndriin wrote:
P.S. It is one of the most conceptually beautiful, yet poorly implemented classes of ToME. Correct me if I am wrong, but about every experienced player advising prospecting Necromancers to "go petless", whatever this means, should be a sufficient indication that mechanic in question is broken.


I wouldn't go nearly as far. I think it is very well implemented, and 2 things need changing. The advanced tree needs to be better, and there should be some sort of significant resistance to death gained from becoming a lich, something like doubling the power of blurred mortality. But to say it is poorly implemented is going too far.

It's not meant to be easy, and it's not meant to be easy to reach the theoretical minmax dream of keeping 7 liches risen at all times.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:21 pm 
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Wayist

Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:17 am
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The "advanced" undead do have some nice attacks among them, but overall it really is a downgrade.

Wights have Flameshock, Lightning, and Mind Disruption, which are all pretty nice, but they're usually too stupid to use them before they die. Bone giants are tanky as hell and have Stun, but that's literally all they have going for them--even a ghoul can out-damage them. Vampires have literally none of the spells that non-player vampires possess, a massive disappointment. Liches are the only real reason to take Minion Mastery with their huge array of spells, though their summoned shadows will attack any husks you create. Dreads move through walls, but it's a moot point because they have the "dumb" AI and will almost never bother taking advantage of this.

Other Necromancer problems: Retch from your ghouls will not heal you if you max Dark Empathy, and can still strip beneficial effects from you. Making husks out of oozes or anything else that splits is a terrible idea as you will quickly end up with a throng of invulnerable splitters.

Maybe if the Advanced tree had some bonus effect to give your minions tactical AI? Or just give that to maxed Dark Empathy (since you're sharing powers, why not share some common sense with them as well? :P ).


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:25 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
Posts: 5476
Keep listing problems and ideas, I'll code some stuff up this weekend.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:40 pm 
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Higher

Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:25 am
Posts: 57
I have to say the single biggest annoyance factor of the class is the fact that Dark Empathy doesn't extend to your minions amongst themselves. A huge percentage of my summoned minions were killed by friendly fire in corridors, by the skele mages in the back manathrusting my entire minion wall at once.

I'm actually okay with the bone giants not doing great damage, because they outstrip almost everything else in terms of "not dying" and you can only have one at a time. However, I second the advanced minions getting defensive buffs (as opposed to the switch to tactical AI, EXCEPT for dreads, who really need tactical AI to shine) to be more on-par with the skeleton-type creatures. Everything else was a 1-turn distraction while the skeletons got their shields up and actually did all the work.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:13 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
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Here is what I've coded up:

Bone Giants: Already buffed these a little, made them slightly tougher, added the ability to move to the front line.
Granted Vampires Invoke Darkness.
Granted Master Vampires Invoke Darkness and Circle of Death.
Gave both Wights Phase Door.
Greatly buffed Barrow Wight spell selection and usage.
Altered Grave Wight and Master Vampire spawn rates.
Improved Dread movement Ai and changed its 10ish invisibility to 40ish stealth like normal Dreads.
Minion Mastery also reduces interminion damage, unless it is Retch damage,

How does that sound?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:57 am 
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Archmage

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:31 am
Posts: 393
Hi HousePet

I think I read that part of the minion's problems is the use of a bad AI. Can you comment on that?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 11:37 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

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If it doesn't bother summoner, I don't see why it should bother necromancer.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:36 pm 
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Master Artificer

Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:53 am
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The problem is ally compassion. Summoner summons have it, necro minions don't. Which means summoner summons will avoid harming you, necro minions will happily (and infamously) fire beams blindly through you.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:32 pm 
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Higher

Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:25 am
Posts: 57
PureQuestion wrote:
The problem is ally compassion. Summoner summons have it, necro minions don't. Which means summoner summons will avoid harming you, necro minions will happily (and infamously) fire beams blindly through you.


Dark empathy and the proposed change to minion mastery eliminate or mitigate that problem.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:32 pm 
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Master Artificer

Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:53 am
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Sure, but I'm listing the current state. Dark Empathy helps but it's 5 class points being spent to solve a problem that other classes don't have to begin with.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:45 pm 
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Higher

Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:25 am
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Eh, if you made the heavy hitters not attack when the tanking guys are up front tanking, they couldn't attack ever, unless your front line was dead. You could only use half your minions at once, and not being able to control what gets summoned where would throw you to the mercy of the RNG on whether or not the dead mob you raised could actually do anything useful with the limited souls you spent.

I'd rather shy away from applying fundamentally different methods of another class to this one, for fear of it turning into "summoner with undead tiles." Other classes have 5-point mandatory investments to ideally function, I don't think DE should be an exception.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:53 pm 
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Higher

Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:31 am
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I realize I must rephrase what I said above: Necromancy is well implemented from the role playing and flavor points of view -- apotheosis of Lichform ceremony was, and still is, the most fulfilling and memorable point of any of my characters' careers in ToME, but it is presently lacking in polish and balance.

My chief grievance against current implementation of servant-enabled Necromancy is that it does not scale very well. Mages relying on their own ability to inflict damage soon find themselves increasing, however temporarily, their global or spellcasting speed, or power, or critical chances... frequently, all of the above and dramatically improves their efficacy and satisfaction of playing them. On the other hand, your minions cannot be granted any of this: Dark Empathy does not confer critical chance or spell power based on the master's, Surge of Undeath does not increase minions' speed and generally does not quite compare... and on top of that, you have to wait for some of your minions to close in melee rage, and your archers, even masters, become mostly harmless, as your spaces become more and more crowded and they, walled-in.

I imagine the former problem can be remedied by giving the better melee-oriented minions ability akin to the Chronomacers' Dimensional Step or Rushing, and archers, ability to fire arrows that pass through some the friendly targets, like the bolts from Channel Staff do, although I am not certain how much of a hit to the damage, if any, they will need to take to balance this. (Additionally, servants that can raise Barriers and Re-assemble themselves do so as soon as they are able when enemies are is sight, not after taking a reasonable amount of damage and being in danger of destruction, this leaves them vulnerable and brittle at times, due to their abilities being on the cooldown when they are needed.)

P.S. Dear HousePet, assuming you either have commit access or this patch can be accepted by the DarkGod, what you did there is amazing. Bitterness of my initial posting was in part explained by the belief that the status quo is not going to change soon and is based on a policy of some kind. I am glad I was wrong. Please take a look at what I wrote here on the topic, perhaps I said something that can be of use.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:39 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
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PureQuestion wrote:
Sure, but I'm listing the current state. Dark Empathy helps but it's 5 class points being spent to solve a problem that other classes don't have to begin with.

That is just a minor side bonus of the actual talent purpose.
Necrotic minions are braindead. If you can't handle danger you are in the wrong profession. :P

I don't actually have commit access. I just put it all in an addon. These changes will be placed in the Necromancy+ addon.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:19 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
Posts: 5476
Updated the Necromancy+ addon with those changes.
Tell me if its okay.

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