The quirks of Shields

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Kreador Freeaxe
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The quirks of Shields

Post by Kreador Freeaxe »

I've been building up this new character, whom I've now trained to level 39 in Shields (plus the Rook's Amulet makes it 41). I've noted some interesting behavior with the shield. First off, I just did the Sentinel Stalk room in Hammerlorne, and that was kind of fun. Hacking away at them one by one while I deflected everything they threw at me. I think, in the end, I took about 10 hits (and I can tell you that it takes a good while to hack those things down one-by-one, so they fired several hundred spines at me).

In other places, the shield is a bit less effective. Fighting the dwarves hand-to-hand on the way in I found the most interesting behavior. I would be fighting one dwarf, and my shield would never seem to block him, but if a second dwarf came up beside the first, all of the blows from that second dwarf would be blocked by the shield, even after the first was dead, as long as neither I nor the dwarf moved.
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Re: The quirks of Shields

Post by IJBall »

Kreador Freeaxe wrote:I've been building up this new character, whom I've now trained to level 39 in Shields (plus the Rook's Amulet makes it 41). I've noted some interesting behavior with the shield. First off, I just did the Sentinel Stalk room in Hammerlorne, and that was kind of fun. Hacking away at them one by one while I deflected everything they threw at me. I think, in the end, I took about 10 hits (and I can tell you that it takes a good while to hack those things down one-by-one, so they fired several hundred spines at me).

In other places, the shield is a bit less effective. Fighting the dwarves hand-to-hand on the way in I found the most interesting behavior. I would be fighting one dwarf, and my shield would never seem to block him, but if a second dwarf came up beside the first, all of the blows from that second dwarf would be blocked by the shield, even after the first was dead, as long as neither I nor the dwarf moved.
As I've suggested elsewhere, I think Shields should be capped at 50% deflecting/parrying (which corresponds to Level 27 in Shields - 99-100% parrying would correspond to Level 43 or 44 in Shields).

But I think from a 'balancing' standpoint, having shields parry 99-100% of incoming attacks is too much, even taking into account the 'quirks' you've come across with Shields.

As for the 'quirk' you found, I bet it's coming from the fact that Shields are still built around the idea of blocking incoming "projectiles" - the game mechanic for Shields must be reading those "secondary" Dwarves' 'attacks' as "projectiles"...
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Re: The quirks of Shields

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Actually, it gets weirder. The deflecting power in certain circumstances seems to have to do with diagonals. When I approach most of these monsters straight on, the shield stops working by the time I'm next to them, but if I shift into one of the diagonal spaces, it usually starts blocking everything again. There's something in the math BW is using to calculate distances and adjacent spaces that seems to be treating the diagonal spaces as ranged attacks. This works even with mobs that ARE ranged attacks, like the Shadow Assassins (and let me tell you that it's a lot of fun camping for assassins when you know that 95+% of their attacks will be deflected). Killing them takes a while, though. They keep stepping back, so you have to advance again.

Putting so many points into shields, though, detracts from doing some other things. I trained every skill Sonya trains up to 8, then read the books for 10 in each so I have lots of weapon feats, but it's a pain to keep swapping out weapons every other round (with parry mode and the Shield so high, I almost never get hit during the switch, though).

I'm about to go try Westwillow (really couldn't handle it the first time I went in. The shield, despite being around level 29 at that time, didn't seem to be blocking many arrows).
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Re: The quirks of Shields

Post by Evnissyen »

...And I, at level 7 now, was about to go and tackle the Westwillow question again. So you're saying I should wait until level... 15? Is that what you're at, by now? If you'd trained to up to 10 levels in shields: that means, minus the amulet, if you spent points only in shields (-1 point in something else) then it would've taken you 10 levels to reach 39.

Plus, it has to have taken you a while to pull in the amount of money needed to pay for all that training, it being so expensive and all.

At level 7 I still can't afford more than arrows and armor fixes . . . which is pathetic, really.

I really need to boost my Lore skill, somehow, since unknown items gain me 0 coins. (And some Mercantile points too, would be nice)

Instead of selling them: I'm going to have to start stashing them. It's been so dumb for me to sell them at 0 profit.


Honestly, though, Kreador: this Shield strategy is one I'll have to keep in mind for the future. Interesting... .

I guess from now on I'm going to pump all my stats into Bows. Perhaps tunnel-vision training is the key, in this game, strangely enough (for a game that's designed to be so challenging). If I get to 40 in Bows... perhaps I won't end up running through so many arrows?

I've got 17 in Bows, now, and I'm still going through lots of arrows, although it's now easier to find more arrows.
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Re: The quirks of Shields

Post by Kreador Freeaxe »

I took my Ranger into Westwillow much earlier, but did a lot of snipe and run stuff. And my mage waltzed through Westwillow around level 9. Not sure why, but I didn't take my cleric into Westwillow until a bit later, when he basically walked through it with Mass Boil and Mystic Hammer.

The current character, with no ranged combat, I kept out until now, as the skeletal archers were tearing her up the first time I tried to go in.

Oh, and I stopped upping shields at level 14 and have started upping my Piercing weapons now (my primary weapon of choice on this character for the Double-Strike feat, though I often start off with a Devastating Blow from my hammer to reduce the opponent's armor if they're tough).
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Re: The quirks of Shields

Post by Evnissyen »

Hmm... to go or not to go? At level 7, with such a lame character... maybe it's better to wander around and see if I can't build up her skills and get some more money and build up her skills again, and then go back to the damn dam.

But then again: I've only got one accomplishable quest left on my roster, and even that one I'm not sure of the difficulty of . . . and after that: not sure where my next quest/bag'o'loot will be coming from.

Guess I'll just have to scavange. Wander, and scavange. Find as many merceneries as possible.

But there don't seem as many in this game as in Book 1. In Book 1 they were everywhere. You couldn't camp for 2 hours without a bunch of them showing up: "Hey! We're here!" "Uh... okay. Let me just get my sword out, then. Really... are you sure this can't wait until daylight?"

You know... maybe I will go back to the dam, after all.

...Just after I finish that last quest and hit level 8.
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Re: The quirks of Shields

Post by Kreador Freeaxe »

Further my discussion of Shields, it appears that it is in fact when you are diagonally in melee range with an opponent (only the point of your square touching a point of their square), the game engine treats it as a ranged attack and you can deflect it with your shield, but when you are immediately adjacent, it treats it as melee and your Shield has no effect. This makes it tricky when you're surrounded, but it made dealing with the assault on Talushorn MUCH easier. I could take out the Taurax Legionaires at the main gate while the spears from the spearmasters all bounced harmlessly away. It takes a bit of maneuvering to keep opponents in diagonal spaces, but it isn't that hard in most places. And, it makes the character nigh on invincible. I took down Korren in melee because he could never touch me, and man did that take a while. He has a lot of health.

This sort of makes sense in that damage from things like powder kegs is halved for the diagonal spaces, so they're treated as "at a range" in other circumstances, too.

Anyway, this is a case where one of my game-writing and designing friend's insistence on a hex grid rather than a square grid would cure the problem (no corner-adjacent spaces).
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Re: The quirks of Shields

Post by IJBall »

Kreador Freeaxe wrote:Further my discussion of Shields, it appears that it is in fact when you are diagonally in melee range with an opponent (only the point of your square touching a point of their square), the game engine treats it as a ranged attack and you can deflect it with your shield, but when you are immediately adjacent, it treats it as melee and your Shield has no effect. This makes it tricky when you're surrounded, but it made dealing with the assault on Talushorn MUCH easier. I could take out the Taurax Legionaires at the main gate while the spears from the spearmasters all bounced harmlessly away. It takes a bit of maneuvering to keep opponents in diagonal spaces, but it isn't that hard in most places. And, it makes the character nigh on invincible. I took down Korren in melee because he could never touch me, and man did that take a while. He has a lot of health.

This sort of makes sense in that damage from things like powder kegs is halved for the diagonal spaces, so they're treated as "at a range" in other circumstances, too.

Anyway, this is a case where one of my game-writing and designing friend's insistence on a hex grid rather than a square grid would cure the problem (no corner-adjacent spaces).
This kind of thing might also explain the "quirks" some of us have seen with things like Cat's Eyes - that for mobs coming from certain directions a ToHit penalty is assessed on your character, while mobs coming from different directions a ToHit penalty is not assessed, even though the character is standing in the same grid square the whole time.

I think the phenomenon outlined in your post here should be reposted in a new thread to one of the Support forums, Kreador.

And I'm not sure anything can be done about it - it may just be a built-in, inherent limitation in the Eschalon (either Book) game-engine: something that can't be fixed without starting a new game-engine from scratch. But I still think it's worth mentioning in one of the Support forums...
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Re: The quirks of Shields

Post by Kreador Freeaxe »

It's all related to the same element of a square grid that allows you to put distance between yourself and a chasing opponent by weaving straight then diagonal then straight. It's a tricky bit as old as game design, and in wargaming groups and strategy game groups they use a hexagonal grid to eliminate the issue. For those who remember it, Champions also used a hexagonal system, and GURPS was built on it as well.

I don't expect that BW will wholly alter his system at this point to switch to a hex grid. I just want him to keep it in mind when he starts work on the next game after Book III--the SF based game.
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Re: The quirks of Shields

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Kreador Freeaxe wrote:the SF based game.
What?
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Re: The quirks of Shields

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Sand Fleas.
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Re: The quirks of Shields

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CrazyBernie wrote:Sand Fleas.
Do we get to play the Sandkings in that episode of the Outer Limits? That would be awesome...
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Re: The quirks of Shields

Post by Necromis »

Hey, I know this is an old thread, but I ran into something this weekend that matches up perfectly to your shield bug/quirk. Dense Nimbus does the exact same thing. I was fighting Thaurax javlins and axeman and had it up to deflect the javelins while I Mystic Hammered the melees and one got close at an angle and had his blows deflected. So I guess any range protection will do the same thing on the angled squares.
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