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MrPopo
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by MrPopo Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:40 pm

The game has a weird bit of balance to it. It adaptively balances the combats based on player stats. So at the beginning of the game you might run into 4 goblins in a particular encounter, but later on that same encounter would have 100 goblins. So grinding ends up being more of a "make sure you get to this minimum level" with drastically reduced benefits for going above that level. So while there is a fixed encounter that is grindable by using the wells to buff your stats up crazy high, grinding that fixed encounter for a ton of levels doesn't do as much good as you might think. But the encounter does have an amusing name, so I recommend you do it at least once.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by Ack Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:50 pm

Let me guess, is it a blender or a cat? Because I'm pretty sure I know which fight you're talking about.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by MrPopo Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:54 pm

Ack wrote:Let me guess, is it a blender or a cat? Because I'm pretty sure I know which fight you're talking about.

It is indeed the first one.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by Ack Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:35 am

Might & Magic 2

I still have yet to tackle the Elemental Talons, but progress was still made last night, because after checking my notes, I realized that I had indeed come across the location of the orb. It was in Dawn's cave hidden behind a wall. The reason I wasn't entirely sure was because I had faced off against the Orb Guardians and gotten my ass kicked, so I had walked away but noted the location. This time I returned with better gear and still got killed because it's in an anti-magic zone, but I managed to drop all but one before my last man fell. This meant I was close, so the next time, I walked in with two hirelings and chugged Skill Potions to prep.

Skill Potions add several temporary levels to your character, which has some factor in your offense and defense, including boosting additional attacks during your turn. Pumping Ack from 23 to 100 makes him go from doing around 5 attacks to around 20. Also, sometimes you'll discover you have a Skill Potion with around 50 uses instead of the usual 5. The Orb Guardians faced off against a party of characters who had been all pumped up to around level 100. They never stood a chance.

With the guardians defeated, I moved up and took the orb. Now there are four strange objects I had acquired and been holding onto from each of the four castles in the game with sci-fi sounding names. These had been eating up Noise's inventory space for most of the game, but I finally found their use: you need all four to take the orb. The orb also cannot leave the dungeon through normal means, so I stuck it in a hireling's inventory and dismissed him. It's a cheap trick, but it did the job.

With the orb secured, I was still concerned about my offensive capabilities, so I decided it would be best to seek out the rest of the spells that my characters are missing. That meant first making sure everyone had purchased all spells from all spell shops, and I realized that I had never actually gotten around to buying the sorcerer spells in the last city, so this was quickly remedied. I followed this by hunting down the Mist Warrior to learn Dancing Sword; previously this had been a difficult fight, but by now I had gotten strong enough that I dropped him before he got off an attack. Boom, another powerful offensive spell obtained.

Next up, I finally got around to getting Nature's Gate. This is a teleport spell that has one critical use on a certain day, to get what is perhaps the most powerful offensive sorcerer spell in the game. It involves a "falling star" which is basically a nuclear weapon. Getting Nature's Gate involves eating some chips and visiting a druid, but I still had some time to kill and one other key spell I wanted to get for Noise the sorcerer in the meantime. It's not offensive, but it's a critical piece of boosting power: Enchant Item.

There is a lot written on the walls of Might & Magic 2, and the note telling you where Enchant Item is taught happens to be scrawled on the walls of the Tundara Dungeon. I know because I misunderstood my own note and went back to the dungeon to make sure I hadn't missed it. Once there, I realized my mistake and instead headed to the spell's location, inside the Gemmaker's Cave. While I had almost fully explored this place, there was admittedly one small section that I had discovered I could not teleport into. Instead, I had to use the etherealize spell, but once inside, I managed to "purchase" Enchant Item...at the cost of 10 years on every character's age.

I returned to town and used Key's cleric magic to slowly rejuvenate everyone to be more youthful, then I bided my time until day 93 by casting Enchant Item. Why is this spell powerful? Because each cast boosts a piece of gear by +1. It is limited by your max spell points, so right now Noise can only get gear to a +7, but that is good enough. I first pumped up Noise's gear so his AC was in the upper 30s. I then boosted Prfsnl's, because now his AC was lagging behind. Prfsnl, Marurun, and Key all had weapons that were below the +7 threshold, so up they went. A few more characters had their armor pumped up, but I found myself having to stop before I could finish because day 93 had arrived.

I marched out to the location of the blast and cast Nature's Gate to take myself to the appointed time and place. Noise now has Star Burst, and I've acquired all Sorcerer spells. Key is missing only two Cleric spells, one of which is a needed transmutation spell to enter the elemental plains. I'll get it when I go for that plain, but for now I think it's time I try tackling the three others. Also, I went exploring the dragon's den area and found a fountain that gave everyone a permanent +10 to hit points. Hey, every little bit helps.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by MrPopo Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:58 am

Might and Magic has always been noted for party growth; unlike many contemporary RPGs you always are able to get something new or some increase in power at a pretty constant rate. It makes for a very satisfying drip feed of "yay!"
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by Ack Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:03 pm

Might & Magic 2 - The Final Post

And another one bites the dust.

My party of miscreants and ne'er-do-wells were getting itchy after successfully retrieving the orbs and getting all those spells, so I decided it was finally time to go grab the elemental talons.

I started with the Air Talon, and after navigating the map and getting ground down or resting and teleporting back to the starting town because there is no consistent way to leave these alternate timelines and planes of existence, I finally managed to secure it. Unfortunately, I had bad luck with the fight right before, so only two of my party survived the encounter, and after I rested about 20 times to finally kick me back to Middlegate so I could rest, restock, and save, I discovered somehow that the Air Talon had been converted to a Useless Item. I was unsure if this was intended, so instead of freaking out, I pressed on with my game.

Next up came the Fire Talon; for some reason, this proved to be significantly easier to acquire than the Air Talon had been, and I picked it up with relative ease. This was followed by the Earth Talon. Again, I found I had an easy time of things, and I even had an Earth Elemental run away from the big fight guarding the talon. Enemies only flee if you're at a certain level of power, so I was surprised.

Last came the Water Talon, which required a brief pit stop to snag the Water Transmutation spell so I could enter that elemental plane. With the spell secured, I stepped in and soon also had that talon. With three talons, the orb, and a useless item, I suspected that I was going to have to secure another Air Disk and get the Air Talon yet again, but before that, I decided to test if I was equipped enough to handle the encounter in the 800s.

Nope, that bug which turned the Air Talon into a useless item meant it didn't work.

I was frustrated at this point and decided to vent by killing dragons and exploring the Dragon Den area some more. I'm glad I did. Within a few secret walls, I found an Ancient Bow +9, a gold helm, shield, and plate mail all +7, and a +7 Photon Blade. The Photon Blade boosts might and is only equippable by knights, but that's fine because it's the most powerful weapon in the game, boasting a base damage range of 1-25 while most things cap out at 1-10. The gold gear is the best type of armor, and with the sorcerer's Duplication spell, I was able to make clone versions of the shield and helmet for my tank characters. Elkin got the bow, as it's the most powerful type, and only archers can use it.

With my new gear and experience boosting a couple of party members to level 24, I went back in time to the year 800 to grab another Air Disk. Then it was back to the Elemental Plane of Air to get the Air Talon. Finally, I returned to 800 with all the necessary gear and used it to defeat the Mega Dragon, thus changing history.

Upon return to Luxus, the now aged king gave me the password to the Square Lake dungeon. I rested, restocked, made sure to level properly, checked over my gear, and saved my game before advancing on the final dungeon.

The quirk about enemy encounters in the Square Lake is that they are apparently entirely random. Sometimes you'll find a group of absurdly difficult enemies, such as one run that netted an Ancient Dragon, two Kensei, and a host of Fire Elementals. Sometimes it's a group of weaklings, such as a group of Giant Lizards and a Hypnobettle. And then sometimes it's a weird mix, like when I encountered 150 lepers and an Orc God. The lepers couldn't hurt me and just kept running away, but the Orc God could knock out a party member in one hit. I eventually just ran from that fight, because while I could keep bringing people up after they were hit, Orc Gods have around 50,000 hit points, which is nowhere near the damage output I could produce; it was a match of attrition, and I could tell who would win.

With a combination of two-fisted talent and luck, I pushed through the fights to the final door, where 66 demon knights bowed to me. Instead of attacking, I accepting their bows and moved on to the ultimate goal: Sheltem. He came packing buddies. I slaughtered them so I could focus on my final prize, and while his defenses were high, he still had only 1/100th of the Orc God's hit points and fell to the might of my photon blade.

Then came the final puzzle: a cryptic with a cipher with a 15 minute timer. Look, Might & Magic 2 has a love for these, so I got to work with a notepad and scribbled out my answer. I will not go into details of how the puzzle is solved. Upon inserting my answer though, a splash screen appeared. Congratulations, I had beaten the game. I had a score and could continue playing if I so desired. Much like the first, I was given a ridiculous amount of experience, which pumped up my characters from level 24 to level 44. Now a champion, I smiled, saved, and savored the moment.

Might & Magic 2 is now complete, which means I have now bested the first 6 Might & Magic games. At some point I will turn my attention towards 7, but for now, I am content.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by BoneSnapDeez Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:15 pm

Just some random musings about Knights of Xentar, after my first couple hours of this replay.

The title screen proclaims "Shigeru Mabuchi's Knights of Xentar." I can't find anything else this guy worked on, besides this one game. Guess they really wanted to credit the developer.

When I played the game years ago, it was the adult version I downloaded from some abandonware site. The CD-ROM I have today is most certainly the censored variant. I'm okay with this. A lot of the sex scenes are really creepy and gross. Plus, I've seen my fair share of anime tiddies. Funny thing about the game: it predates and ESRB and thus has ratings assigned by the publisher: 13+ and 17+. If rated today the game would be slapped with M and AO ratings, respectively.

Most every character has lines with voice acting. The voice acting is stunningly bad. I'm not a fan of ironic humor or "so bad it's good" kitschy bullshit. But this..... I almost like this. I mean, I just can't get over the weirdness. It's not just terrible voice acting, it's oddly inappropriate as well. The "anime girls" mostly sound like middle aged women, for instance. It's so strange.

Character sprites are odd too. This is a game with character sprites and character portraits that pop up during conversation. The portraits are great, but the developers got lazy and used the same sprites over and over. So, for instance, there's an old man at the game's start who (in his portrait) wears glasses and has a mustache, but he's also given a generic game sprite that resembles the bearded wise men of Zelda. The anime girls are all blond, until spoken to, then their portraits are revealed showing different hair colors and styles.

The soundtrack is awesome. But hearing "JRPG music" in a DOS PC game is kinda surreal.

The battle system is interesting. It basically streamlines the "mash A" style found in typical JRPGs. Friend and foe alike attack automatically (and quickly) but battles can be paused to perform other actions (magic, items, etc.).

A very intriguing game, is this.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:29 pm

Found something funny in Knights of Xentar.

There's a nudist town (yeah.....) early in the game, and the party must remove their respective clothing to enter. Upon exit, the clothing is returned.

However, if you visit later in the game, after acquiring the mage girl who has a warp spell, you can enter, warp out, and then proceed playing the game clad in undergarments.

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Kinda hilarious, but ultimately unsustainable as the "clothing" removed consists of armor and weapons. Actually, unequipping everything might have the same effect but I haven't tried it.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:39 pm

Oh, I beat Xentar like a week ago.

Been sick and haven't done le big Games Beaten review.

Ever revisit a game and it's worse than you remember?

Well, this one sure qualifies. Think I was more amused by all the "erotic" bullshit in my 20s.

Today, it all just feels extremely corny and/or (may Allah forgive me for using this phrase) "problematic."

Also, the game world sucks hard. Like, the overworld is just a big flat green blob. There's no rhyme or reason to its layout, and it's thus easy to get lost. The dungeons kinda suck too. The fuckin' towns are the most interesting environments in the whole game.

The soundtrack rules though, and there are some fun moments. The banter between the characters is funnier than it has any right to be. Probs a 7/10 game.
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Re: RPG Progress Report

by Ack Tue May 26, 2020 10:49 am

Icewind Dale

I have a serious question for serious people.

I am nearing the end of Icewind Dale and am in the final chapter, Chapter 6. However, I have access to both expansions, Heart of Winter and Trials of the Luremaster. My party is now high enough level to access HoW. Should I leave off the main campaign before the final boss to go handle it, or should I beat IWD and import the party directly into HoW?
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