Claws 3 vs Staves


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Lair Larrikin

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Post Monday, 17th November 2014, 23:33

Claws 3 vs Staves

I'm currently playing a Demonspawn Wizard with Claws 3, and I wanted to know... For melee, should I go for a elemental staff, or train unarmed combat? I've never gone into unarmed combat, and wanted to get some else's opinion.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 17th November 2014, 23:40

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Unarmed requires very high XP investment. As wizard you are already training many skill so I would suggest to use a weapon with low investment and fast speed (elemental staff, quickblade, demon whip ect.)

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Post Monday, 17th November 2014, 23:54

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

I'd still argue for unarmed, the exp investment is not that high at reasonable levels, and it will be much more powerful than 1h weapons. You will still focus on your magic as usual, when you decide "now's a good time for a melee weapon", take unarmed to ~11 skill. That just slightly passes the 8 aut attack speed, and sets you up with a 20 base damage weapon (because claws 3). This is very strong for a backup weapon for a mage. It's basically like a claymore that's +1 damage but 1 aut slower (and doesn't get additional damage from weapon skill). For 11 skill. Is 11 skill too much to train? Demon whips require 12. Quickblades are less at 8, but they suffer vs AC and he probably doesn't even have a quickblade to begin with.

At any point later in the game you can throw another 5 skill into unarmed and become vastly better at it. Repeat as often as desired.

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Post Tuesday, 18th November 2014, 00:08

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Yes, tasonir is right. 11 levels in Unarmed is better than 11 M&F with demon whip or 8 Short Blades with quickblade.
Tested with Tr who has claws 3 too (vs Yak):

  Code:
           AvHitDam | MaxDam | Accuracy | AvDam | AvTime | AvSpeed | AvEffDam
Attacking:     10.3 |     36 |      74% |   7.7 |    80  |  1.26 |      9.7
Attacking:      5.8 |     35 |      74% |   4.3 |    55  |  1.82 |      7.9
Attacking:      1.9 |     21 |      75% |   1.5 |    30  |  3.33 |      4.9

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Post Tuesday, 18th November 2014, 00:21

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Did you test with +0, unbranded demon whip and quick blade, or one with slaying and a brand?

Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 18th November 2014, 00:23

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

The point still stands, but do note that those fsim results are (unless I am mistaken) from two-handed unarmed combat melee, which benefits quite a bit from claws with the offhand punch.

In relatively light (but non-robe) armor with a bucker/shield and the usual amount of shields skill, 12 skill in unarmed will be about on par with or slightly better than a +0 vanilla demon whip at 12 skill in M&F (which is min_delay for demon whip).

That's pretty good (which is why I said tasonir's overall point still stands), but whether or not you want to go for that will depend on what weapons are available to you when you want to start training for a good melee option.

Also, yes, those fsim results are from +0 vanilla demon whip (and so I assume also +0 vanilla quick blade).

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Post Tuesday, 18th November 2014, 00:37

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Jeremiah wrote:Did you test with +0, unbranded demon whip and quick blade, or one with slaying and a brand?


+0 weapon without brand/slaying.

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Post Tuesday, 18th November 2014, 01:14

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Lots of various things could tweak it one way or the other, comparing two weapons (especially one as different from weapons as unarmed is) is as much art as science. You're still a fairly low level character, looking to get a starter melee option going, you probably don't have a demon whip at all, let alone a +9 electric one. How much slaying do you have? Slaying will benefit the unarmed more at 0 skill, but 0 skill is dumb, and the whip will benefit more at 12 skill. But then again at 27 skill, it's equal (aka, they both attack at 5 aut. But wait, if you're using a shield, unarmed is 5.5 aut! etc etc. You can get really, really in depth.

Instead, simple guidelines!

Unarmed is generally a bit weaker than a good weapon. There are two cases where unarmed is a superior option: You have claws, or you're going to use transmutations. Claws 1 is kind of a either way is fine thing, but that only applies to ghouls, trolls/demonspawn have 3 and felids can't use weapons anyway. In any form spell you want to be using unarmed 99% of the time. Most of them force you to, the one where you have options is statue form, where it's reasonable to pick something else if you have a good reason (ie, Ogres can use giant spiked clubs + statue form).

There are those of us (and I am one of them) who use unarmed a bit more often than we probably should, because it's just so nice starting the game with your endgame weapon, we don't have to worry about brands, enchanting, etc, and like the very powerful damage at level 27. Or are extremely fond of shields. But this paragraph is primarily emotional reasons, only the above paragraph is actual advice :)

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Post Tuesday, 18th November 2014, 03:40

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

fyi claws 3 is roughly like having 5 free levels of unarmed combat in usual situations

Snake Sneak

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Post Tuesday, 18th November 2014, 04:42

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

To give accurate advice would have to see the character file, typically I'm a fan of just using a staff. For my playstyle melee is a backup backup weapon on a mage, usually use elemental evocables and/or some source of chanelling before going to melee or just retreating. Claws 3 is wonderful if you plan on going statue form for some reason though.
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Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 18th November 2014, 14:49

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

+1 for a character dump.

In general, though, if part of your character build is "kill lots of things with elemental conjurations" an elemental staff (and probably a buckler) is a pretty safe way to go. You're already investing in your element and the staff investment is cheap. You'll want to train evo as well, but evokables are pretty great these days. And the spell power boost from the staff is very worthwhile.
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Post Tuesday, 18th November 2014, 23:37

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

If I'm going to choose to play a demonspawn, it means I want to adapt my build to whatever the random mutations happen to turn up. Claws are at least competitive with other weapons, so why not use them on the minority of demonspawn that actually get a body slot mutation that interacts with unarmed combat? You also have the luxury of not having sunk a bunch of xp into another weapon before you find out about the claws.

As far as optimization goes, one key factor in favor of claws is the fact that you definitely have your claws. You weren't guaranteed to get them, but now that you do they are guaranteed to be usable. Unless you actually already have a relevant elemental staff or top-end low-investment weapon, on the other hand, you aren't guaranteed to get what you want at all.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 01:45

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Concerning optimization (assuming this means "maximizing chances to win") it is hard for me to see a situation where training UC/melee weapon is optimal for a mage, barring races that shouldn't be playing as mages (troll, ghoul, mino, ogre), or hybrids like skalds. As a mage you kill stuff with spells, barring a good branded weapon (venom, distort, elec) early on. There is something higher priority to train than your melee weapon for a long time (for me virtually the whole 3-rune game), and by the time you get to where the xp cost to make your melee weapon effective is minor melee primarily serves as a killer of popcorn.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 02:26

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

It's hard for me to see a situation where to maximize chances to win, training more damage spells is better than training melee with most races after Lair. With a DsWz getting claws I would start training UC as soon as I got the 1st claw mut if it happened before I started training a weapon skill and wasn't with Kiku and maybe Ash.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 02:58

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Wahaha wrote:It's hard for me to see a situation where to maximize chances to win, training more damage spells is better than training melee with most races after Lair. With a DsWz getting claws I would start training UC as soon as I got the 1st claw mut if it happened before I started training a weapon skill and wasn't with Kiku and maybe Ash.


Do you really start training UC if it happened at D5 or so? It can lead to situation when both spells and melee are too weak. I usually start training melee when I am happy with my spells (Throw Icicle for IE, Sticky Flame for FE, Stone Arrow for EE, Summon Ice Beast for Su) AND with my defense (8+ Dodging, 5+ Fighting) because melee is just a backup option, you are not going to melee dangerous monsters at this point any way and you don't want to hurt your main offense. Early melee is just a convenience tool when you don't want to lure a pack of green rats one by one.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 03:13

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

@Wahaha

You misunderstoond my argument. I'm only criticizing training a weapon skill. I train fighting+dodging+shield+general spell schools (tloc, charms, spellcasting for mp/slots) + evocations + invocations (if applicable) + stealth (even firestormers should train a bit of stealth at some point) before a weapon skill. By the time I get around to training the weapon skill I've almost won the game. I make an exception for a nice branded short blade/whip early on, as they're very powerful and work better than spells in the early game.

If you want to argue that training a weapon skill relatively early on is ideal for a mage, then explain your argument. Not sure if this is what you're arguing, however many do advocate training a backup weapon on a mage too early imo.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 03:22

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

SaidTheAlligatorKingToHisSon wrote:By the time I get around to training the weapon skill I've almost won the game.


Could you please clarify what you mean here?
After getting 3 runes? Or after reaching Lair? (some players claim you have won game if you reached Lair)

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 03:34

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

@SaidTheAlligatorKingToHisSon
I don't think I misunderstood. You said you don't think it's optimal to train melee as a mage and I think it is (at the expense of offensive spells that you're obviously getting if you're not getting melee). In my opinion training offensive spells after Lair is worse than training a melee skill. There is an assumption that if you're thinking about training offensive spells after Lair, you have trained offensive spells before and during lair (if not then that decision is even worse). If you have trained offensive spells before and during lair then in my opinion they are strong enough to transition to melee easily. In my opinion melee is a lot better than spells later in the game. Spells are more powerful per turn spent but not worth the skill exp in my opinion because there are less difficulties and exp investment associated with melee than with offensive spells.

Given the above, which you may disagree with because it's mostly my opinion, I think that getting melee right after Lair (or more likely during Lair, but somewhere around there in any case, depends when spells become castable) is important because the character can't kill things as easily as it would like yet, so getting more offense is good.

@Sandman25
I said DsWz specifically so the perfect time to start training UC is when you have meph cloud which happens even before D:5 I think. So my post is a little wrong because I would get meph first but yeah. With other spellbooks doing what you described is good.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 04:35

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

@Sandman25: 3 runes. I've had games where I just wield an elemental staff at zero weapon skill because it's kinda funny bonking stuff on the head with zero weapon skill and owning (fighting provides to-hit), though typically I do train a bit of weapon skill before Zot. Also I'm in the "if you get past lair you've won" camp, barring mistakes or extreme bad luck.

@Wahaha: Once I'm comfortable blowing stuff up, I train defensive melee skills but not weapon skill. Quoting myself:
SaidTheAlligatorKingToHisSon wrote:it is hard for me to see a situation where training UC/melee weapon is optimal for a mage

If you're saying that training weapon skill is more important than other priorities like defense, utility spells, evocations etc. that I would disagree with.

Concerning DsWz specifically, imo training UC at level 5 is wrong unless you plan on transitioning into melee. If you got something crazy like monstrous and claws or nightstalker+elec dagger early on then it could be optimal to transistion into melee play. However there's always a period when you're transitioning where your character will be relatively weak and you only have to die once to lose so a build is as weak as its weakest period.

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 06:33

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Luckily when you get meph the character is the opposite of weak. Meph is the highest level spell in the wz book so there's no reason to train spell skills further. What a character like that wants is a good way to do damage that isn't magic dart, so melee. There is no falloff of character strength in this case and it sets you up to being able to handle everything easily later.
If you're saying that training weapon skill is more important than other priorities like defense, utility spells, evocations etc. that I would disagree with.

Not entirely, there's enough exp to get a lvl 3/4/single school 5 spell, train dodging to 10 and some fighting and have around 15 melee skill at the end of Orc. There will be a certain falloff of character strength before you can wield a decent weapon but since you're doing Lair and then Orc the difficulty doesn't increase by much. I think that's better than going for a lvl 6 bolt spell or something like that because I prefer to rely on melee later in the game.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 10:05

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

SaidTheAlligatorKingToHisSon wrote:Concerning DsWz specifically, imo training UC at level 5 is wrong unless you plan on transitioning into melee. If you got something crazy like monstrous and claws or nightstalker+elec dagger early on then it could be optimal to transistion into melee play. However there's always a period when you're transitioning where your character will be relatively weak and you only have to die once to lose so a build is as weak as its weakest period.


If you start a demonspawn wizard, you should probably plan to hybridize into some sort of melee fairly early on regardless of what your mutation set ends up being. The odds of getting a good early book drop is not nearly as guaranteed as the odds of getting a good early weapon drop, and it isn't like it takes a whole lot of xp to get Mephitic Cloud and Conjure Flame up. Nor is there any point in increasing the spellpower of most of your starting spells beyond the minimum to get those two spells usable, so further magic training is strictly a waste unless you got lucky with drops.

Wizard is typically a hybrid start. If you want a pure conjurations build, you're better off going with something like conjuror or fire elementalist.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 12:38

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

SaidTheAlligatorKingToHisSon wrote:@Sandman25: 3 runes. I've had games where I just wield an elemental staff at zero weapon skill because it's kinda funny bonking stuff on the head with zero weapon skill and owning (fighting provides to-hit), though typically I do train a bit of weapon skill before Zot.


And how do you deal with Ghost Moths in Spider? Have you ever been teleported by permanent trap/Naga Mage or surrounded by Guardian Naga at low MP? Or do you always have staff of energy? Seriously, 12-14 skills at -1 aptitude are almost nothing when you are training Translocations for Phase Shift or Charms for Haste. Even if you go for Bolt of Cold/Fire, you will have lots of XP to spend before even reaching Vaults. Utility spells are less useful than melee because they are more expensive and use the same MP pool which you could spend on your main offense tool. Also important point of utility spells is to make your melee stronger when you cannot kill everything with spells so players just activate Phase Shift or Haste and kill everything with weapon.
Do you have a typical dump of your book background character after getting a Lair rune or in Vaults? Because I still don't understand where you put all that XP. 20+ Fighting and Evocation but no weapon skill?

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 13:39

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

If your goal is to create a strong character that can retrieve the orb and escape without getting fairly lucky, training melee is a great idea on almost every character. If your goal is to create a character that does not use melee, well . . . okay, fair enough. Having enough melee skill to wield a decent weapon well (12 to 18 skill IMO -- basically demon whip through great sword) greatly increases the range of situations you can be in without being in danger and lets you best utilize the widest variety of consumables and buffs. 12 skill isn't really that much to spare, and in particular, it'll give you much better returns on survivability than getting a few more points of spellpower.

Defenses are, of course, important. For book starts I generally go with "get the good spells from your starting book castable, then buff fighting/dodging/armour as appropriate to moderate levels, then get a weapon skill to a decent levels, then work on any new spells you've picked up."

It's possible to choose to play a pure conjurations build -- in a relatively small number of situations it might even be your best choice -- but generally those builds are much more fragile than a well-rounded build that includes both melee and conjurations, and the range of situations where they're not in danger is more limited. These builds are intentionally limiting their options, and as such they're generally leaving a lot of power and flexibility on the table.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 20:12

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Sandman25 wrote:And how do you deal with Ghost Moths in Spider? Have you ever been teleported by permanent trap/Naga Mage or surrounded by Guardian Naga at low MP? Or do you always have staff of energy?

To deal with moths tyically use invis (can't drain MP when you're invis). In snake being teleported is rarely an issue, I just blow mages up at range, if worried about teleport I burn a tele scroll/wand charge to cancel the teleport. Often have enough MR to avoid tele anyways. Suppose could hit a tele trap and get very unlucky (can't remeber this happening), if it happened I'd teleport out or flee if able. Fighting with mediocre melee wouldn't be an option anyways.
Do you have a typical dump of your book background character after getting a Lair rune or in Vaults? Because I still don't understand where you put all that XP. 20+ Fighting and Evocation but no weapon skill?

Since I've wasted too much time playing this game, got a decent number.

1) typical, dsvm (very tiny bit of early wep training, probably venom brand)
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/keyma ... 230403.txt

2) typical, tewz (8 weapon skill, think had disto whip, maybe elec, also maybe went stupid at 36439?)
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/keyma ... 143320.txt

3) no wep skill, mucj
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/keyma ... 032821.txt

4) 15 rune, teie. This one was goofy as it relied heavily on a melee weapon at zero weapon skill until after clearing zot. It was a zero-skill weapon that owned just about everything up to around vaults I think, and even then was still decent. Thanks yiuf :D
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/keyma ... 062313.txt

5) no uc, feae. Unless going transmute route better to keep training defense/spells as a felid, since can just kite most monsters.
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/keyma ... 075856.txt


@others: Usually I worship Vehumet (unless an ie, then dith is also good), and you get a decent conj spell (say searing ray/mystic blast/battlesphere) early on. Would rather get the spell online early than train wep skill. Feel free to look at morgues and comment.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 20:38

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Well, I am not sure Vehumet with Wucad Mu (first 2 characters) can be called typical but at least now I see why you don't train weapon. Though I would definitely train weapon much earlier (4th character - XL 27, Fighting 27 and you reach skill level 1 in M&F after having used the hammer at least 1500 times :shock: ). Your 5th character made me want to try it too.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 21:35

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

The thing is, if I am using something 1500 times over the course of the game, including at the point of the game in which I can very cheaply (relative to the amount of experience I get from an average kill at that depth) train that skill a bit to make that thing stronger and better, then why wouldn't I do it?

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 22:44

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

@Sandman25: Eh the wucad mu games are why I trained over 15 evoc. Even without wucad mu still try to get at least 15 evoc to get max summons from elemental evocables, sometimes go for more evoc if I've got a lot of phials, sack gets really good too at high evoc. Also I noticed that I don't train charms, usually have plenty of haste so guess I don't prioritize it, though still good for regen maybe deflect missiles though that needs extra xp in air.

@and into: Yeah should have trained at some point before pan due to insane cheapness of first few levels, just remember that I was owning everything at zero skill with the hammer. Maybe I was waiting for a staff to crosstrain? If the general philosophy is "train offense until you kill stuff comfortably" and this happens at zero skill, meh?

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 22:51

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

I can't believe I am saying this but we definitely need more Ghost Moths in the game.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 22:53

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Eh, I might despise pure casters with a passion but in the end, if people are willing to play that and are successful, good for them. I don't think Crawl needs more constraints like "if you don't have X, you're screwed".

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 23:44

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Two games without wucad mu so guess more typical:
opee, another 0 wep skill. Seems I used a short sword a lot, don't know what the deal with that is.
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/keyma ... 114228.txt

dgwr, looks like I found early conj books so stopped training weapon fairly early:
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/keyma ... 142444.txt


For variety here's a mffe game where I transitioned into melee from the beginning, guessing found a spear right away. +4 apt is too good:
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/keyma ... 093043.txt

@Sar: My casters usually train lots of defense and use evocables as backup instead of a weapon. Personally I wouldn't call that a pure caster, for me a pure caster trains minimal defense and rushes very high-level spells. After a point though all characters hybridize somewhat. Even Trog worshippers branch out and get evocations.

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Post Wednesday, 19th November 2014, 23:56

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

SaidTheAlligatorKingToHisSon wrote:Two games without wucad mu so guess more typical:
opee, another 0 wep skill. Seems I used a short sword a lot, don't know what the deal with that is.
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/keyma ... 114228.txt


I guess crawl might display something like "You attacked with short sword 1000 times. Consider training Short Blades" :)

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Post Thursday, 20th November 2014, 00:13

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

There are plenty of ways to win crawl.

I think that for most players, having decent melee will be beneficial for winning (as opposed to putting the xp elsewhere) since it means you will be much less likely to end up in a situation where you do not have a decent offense. It is entirely possible, and not even necessarily difficult, to use only spells for offense and do just fine (or spells + evocations etc.), but I think that most players are significantly more likely to make a mistake if they play that way.

Getting melee on a book start is basically giving up a bit of overall power in exchange for having a bit of mistake forgiveness, and I think the mistake forgiveness is more valuable in general.

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Post Thursday, 20th November 2014, 08:42

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Unless you are stopping at 3 runes, it's not even giving up on some power. There is an obscene/infinite amount of XP waiting to be had in the later branches.

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Post Wednesday, 10th December 2014, 12:33

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

correct training is necessary even before you get infinite XP, you know
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Post Thursday, 25th December 2014, 18:34

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

Slap and stab wrote:correct training is necessary even before you get infinite XP, you know

especially before you get infinite XP
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Post Thursday, 25th December 2014, 20:29

Re: Claws 3 vs Staves

SaidTheAlligatorKingToHisSon wrote:@Sar: My casters usually train lots of defense and use evocables as backup instead of a weapon. Personally I wouldn't call that a pure caster, for me a pure caster trains minimal defense and rushes very high-level spells. After a point though all characters hybridize somewhat. Even Trog worshippers branch out and get evocations.

There are still defenses; they are just of a different form. Things like blink or swiftness for rapid escapes, cloud spells to prevent things from coming close to you, and the ever popular approach of spending extra mana so that things are dead sooner rather than later.

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