YAVP: Faithful heart, healing and fire.

The tower awaits!

Re: YAVP: Faithful heart, healing and fire.

Postby Remora » Sat Feb 12, 2022 10:55 pm

Well, I did make it to Tower:27, and there I perished to the first enemy group.

Image

It was a mob of succubi, yuki-onnas, and probably something else. Anyway, a bit before I had a feeling it would be a bit of a ballsy move to go without Calm and just Mindwatch. This did turn out to be a bit of an issue, even with Ammit having Discipline (replacing Swiftness); Ammit is really powerful, but it is a big liability for your party whenever she is charmed. I was running out of pure stones at this point, and so my run ended here.

To elaborate on what happened before then: Baba Yaga's Sanctum wasn't too difficult for me. The first shikome encounter wasn't great. I did manage to recruit a yuki-onna and modified her with Ninkasi's brewmaster, making her a partially supportive and partially offensive ally. The next few floors maintained a moderate level of difficulty, but nothing too bad for me. Ammit's Sanctum had a really rough first fight, though. It was a group consisting of a couple thrones back up by various rulers and angels, which would leave me with just an impundulu and shojo out. Fortunately, I did run into Ammit's group next, and I got her with a gold offering obtained within the previous few floors (how convenient!). I gradually managed to recover my party over time.

However, I did have a rough run in with a group consisting of rulers, powers, and dominions within the next few floors; I at least managed to recruit one of the dominions, and so I hanged on with a couple allies who were healthy enough to fight. I think I would also still have trouble with shikome groups, and my first encounter with wechuge was a rather rough battle. I've come to find them one of the most difficult late tower enemies to fight. In this game my party had good offense against them, but it was lacking in defense against their kinds of attacks. I managed to recruit an ijiraq on Tower:26, modifying it with my impundulu's ionic (I had noted by then my party's weaknesses were centered around the fire-ice-electric trinity). It didn't get to see much use with its given Wrath and Cleric's Mien, given that it was one of the last demons encountered before my final battle. I figure that I would have replaced my civatateo and dominion if I made it any farther.

My last upgrade was Alter Self; I actually invest in agility for quite a while, given the use of Ice Dart early on. I did find a brand early on that would give some extra speed and vitality in exchange for having agility equal to or above a certain amount, but I was still increasing agility for a while after disregarding that brand. When I started boosting magic from the reallocated stats, I started to do lots of damage; even Cold Embrace could do quite a bit of damage alone, most notably against enemies with a defense debuff. Icebreaker did trigger sooner often, and even Malice itself was a good finisher in several fights.

As for my brands, I did use that one > level 24 for +2.8 extra SP per turn one for a bit before finding a brand that would reduce SP costs by 5 in return for less cunning. This was a great brand for my PC, given that it meant free Malice attacks all the time and my other attacks were so cheap that I would hardly have anymore SP issues, so long as my character wasn't infected. I still held on to Mobility, though, which I think was still helping a bit.

>Icebreaker is one of my favorite skills
It does have an interesting synergy with attacks like Snuff Out, I've found: it pretty much bypasses Diehard, given that the initial attack does significant damage which is likely to force Diehard into cooldown, triggering Icebreak to cause a swift death. It helps out in those fights against gorgons, at least. I figure it could also be a decent anti-summoner combo, if it ever comes up.

>countering status conditions
I don't get them very often but I do think the "iron x" abilities are actually pretty good. I've found Iron Mind especially useful, as the benefits of Charm and Panic being halved is really noticeable. It would have likely been good for my ended game on Ammit at least, on top of Mindwatch support from my dominion. I think the aura abilities can also be pretty useful. Of course, they're really strong with copy spam, albeit it's probably just worth having it on two characters (one likely being the PC). I think uncurse aura in particular is really good (its inverse is also incredible, especially against Guadium users and self-buffers/cry buffers). The Anti passives are perhaps the "trickiest" lot, but I can at least say that Anti Hex on a power is pretty noticeable now that bruchas can inflict hex. I figure those really depend on play style the most, and the resistances and immunities within a party, of course. For instance, I can imagine Anti Infection being a great means of basically always having SP recovery on a character that isn't body-immune, and some others like Anti Chill do deny a lot of attacks and passive effects like the "lord" abilities. I haven't experimented much with them yet, but I figure they can make certain fights easier to weather by entirely denying options to the enemy, if you're willing to invest in such abilities.

Anyway, this was a pretty fun run. I think I'll try to finish that ole "Pursue" game I still have and see how it goes. I'll probably be playing the Tower:30 build within the upcoming week once that game ends, success or failure.
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Re: YAVP: Faithful heart, healing and fire.

Postby Ferret » Sun Feb 13, 2022 11:53 pm

Tower:27 isn't a bad run by any means, so some congrats are still in order for making it that far!

Shikome figure heavily into many tales of late Tower woes. You say you have trouble with them, but for many folks they turn into run-enders, so walking away at all isn't all that bad of an outcome. The same could be said of late "holy" packs, especially those with high numbers of Powers (and extra especially if they're modified or have a serious Brand.) A group of modified Powers can bring a low durability summoner to the brink of death almost immediately, and their existence alone pretty much demands trying to find a way to become immune to Stun and/or get Lifewatch on an ally if you're going to run around with low Str and low Vit in the late game. (Pierce resistance can work too, but this is risky: if they get a physical modifier and gain an unexpected attack type you'll be in trouble.)

Alter Self's proven to be pretty popular since it popped up: I think most people use it just to reshuffle any of the initial 10/10/10/10/10 spread they don't have any use for (which was part of the design, I wanted it to be potentially useful even if you weren't actually changing your build mid-run), but it is always nice to see it used for its primary purpose too. :)

Finding Brands that flat boost SP regen or reduce SP costs can be pretty amazing for opening up new abilities to be spammed, especially when combined with similar passives. Pretty much any build benefits from being able to spam a stronger class of abilities, so they tend to be some of the more reliably useful brands, even if they aren't as exciting as finding a major stat boost or a double resistance.

Re: Status cleansers, you reverse engineered the design of them pretty accurately. :) The Anti- series are the newest ones, but they were basically added as a way to absolutely ensure a specific troublesome status effect can never, ever land on the target, even for a single turn. They are usually best combined with a target who has a resistance or immunity covering the other troublesome ones, such as a Mind immune healer being given Anti-Mute. Anti-Stun can be a literal lifesaver on low durability summoners, since it is the only means other than Mind Immunity of 100% stopping the autohit Stun charge attacks apply. The mind ones other than Stun might oddly be the weakest, if only because all of Mind's effects are so bad you'd probably rather have Iron Mind for some protection against all of them instead of just becoming immune to one of the four.

Congrats again on the solid run, and thanks as always for the detailed reports. :) I look forward to seeing what you think of Tower:30 once you're on that build and get there. :)
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YAVP: "Persue" [sic] game FINALLY COMPLETE

Postby Remora » Mon Feb 14, 2022 11:25 pm

Alright. I've finally completed that ole "Persue" game.

Final party and score. I managed to assemble the Pleiades on the final floor.

In spite of being a "problem for future me" run, it actually wasn't too bad to recover in the mid Tower. I got through Baphomet's Sanctum without too much trouble, having my ooze clean house for many enemy groups, it being supported by my healer demas and Ninkasi. It would turn out that I would have items aplenty in this game; I would have enough heal and pure stones to use often in later battles without having to worry about running out of them so long as I played cautiously.

I did have mid-late Tower allies like Ninkasi, a healer civatateo, and Ammit, to name some key players. I did recruit Charlie in this game and I fused him into a charun, but I ended up keeping none of that around. Ammit was recruited via negotation, consuming some party members I found disposable, and I also got a dominion in her Sanctum. I also linked with a nuckelavee and gave it corrupt from a ben nefilin. I did run into my "Snowgrave" wraith on Tower:27; at first it was by corpse, and then I summoned it twice with ghost chimes. However, my last few ghost chimes had no results. I guess my PC had a level too high to encounter it anymore. I did manage to recruit the ionic ijiraq from it; I actually got it twice, but the first one became heavily wounded from the second wraith battle going sloppily on my behalf.

On the final two floors I managed to recruit all but one of the meamei that I encountered (that being 5 out of 6, being in 3 groups of 4 demons). I had two bronze offerings and two silver offerings and so I just used those for the first four recruits. That meamei link is still pretty risky! I figure that the main issue for my PC is that Gaudium is good for it, but at the same time it will be stuck on cooldown for the next fight because the enemies summoned for the link don't count for experience, which affects the Miracle cooldown. That aside, Tower:29 wasn't too hard to clear. I did use Call Demon to recruit the last two meamei. I recall the "gelidus" one getting its modifier from an eye killer that was summoned from her link. I had five mirror chimes, and Ammit, as per usual, did the culling of the wraiths. However, for the final mirror chime, I decided to replace her with another meamei; I had to settle for the "Ravager" modifier from an abbey lubber because I fused solid onto Ammit earlier. As a consequence, the final mirror wraith battle was more dangerous than the previous ones, mainly because of my party's lacking of dark immunity to weather the corrupt meamei's Miasma Aura. Funnily enough, the mirror Ammit-like meamei went down very quickly, but I figured the Gaudium buffs helped with that.

So yeah, that's another high vitality character that has made it through the Tower before the true endgame once more. I do know that I found that +speed and +cunning brand earlier in the game. I never took advantage of the cunning boost, though. I just find the high speed nice for escaping, albeit my character didn't have all that much else use for it. Rousing Cry is decent support, but maybe worth replacing. Refresh is good support but I think towards the end my party didn't have many SP issues. Guardian Boon seems okay.

Now I'm finally playing the 11-11-21 build. Whether or not if I will make it to the end soon remains to be seen.

P.S. On the note of "Anti" abilities, I do think that they might be the most useful for a character with the Aux upgrades (so generally Titan's Fist characters) who also have access to Translator and/or Copy Saver. Multiple allies can have this or that specific passive and for their relevant battles they can be copied onto the PC in a pinch for a cheap cost. I imagine that such a strategy could make a lot of fights go much smoother. I figure that it's especially good with the Aux upgrades because the offense, defense, and SP usage buffs may make some passive abilities more redundant and unnecessary so investing in Anti abilities becomes much more viable than for other characters. It's especially valuable because the Aux upgrades encourage smaller active parties, which means slightly less options for better status effect defense beyond the Aux buffs.
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Re: YAVP: Faithful heart, healing and fire.

Postby Ferret » Tue Feb 15, 2022 9:13 pm

Congrats on another win. :D

Yeah, if you're overly successful in your ghost hunting, it is possible to outlevel the available ghosts, especially towards the end of the game when there isn't necessarily a supply of higher and higher level ghosts. Ghosts who may have been underleveled due to dodging fights/floors will be more vulnerable to filtering out due to this (Snowgrave was L33 on Tower:27, Persue ended at L41 on Tower:29, for comparison.)

I'm curious though: You described how you got all the meamei, but you never said WHY :D I guess there doesn't have to be a reason, but I'm curious if there was one. :P

Anti-abilities do make good temporary sub-ins as you describe, especially if you're already covering many bases with resistance/immunities, which will both limit how many Antis you need to carry in "demon storage" and how often you need to actually swap them in. It isn't a bad plan even for key demon allies in some cases, such as making healers/supporters immune to a particularly nasty fight's flavor of lock down.

Thanks again for the report, and good luck on the 11-11-2021 build. :D I look forward to hearing how it goes. :)
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Re: YAVP: Faithful heart, healing and fire.

Postby Remora » Wed Feb 16, 2022 11:57 pm

>WHY
For the fun of it. With the spare offerings and three enemy groups spawning with two of them, I managed to get a party being 5/7 meamei with ease. Like I've said, I decided to replace Ammit for once for a little extra challenge against the final mirror wraith (Mirror Chimes cannot spawn uniques, after all). I figure it wouldn't be viable for Tower:30, but I think some runs and little challenges I do wouldn't fit anyway.
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The first true victory post: Good ole all vitality buffer

Postby Remora » Sat Feb 26, 2022 9:56 pm

It took me long enough, but I have managed to complete the game! After about six years of playing Demon, I am so happy to finally play through the true endgame.

In this run, I did go with the familiar buffer that only invests in the Vitality attribute. At this point, it's what's most familiar with me. I did have several other runs before this one; the next best recent run would be "Wrapper," a high agility and cunning character who would have abilities like Distract (then Wither), Wrap Up, and Mind Blank. It was a character with disruptive abilities that turned out to be a pretty reliable combo. It ended when I failed to escape Tremaine on about Tower:22 or wherever he spawns. I did get a grootslang which I fused Anansi's Wise onto, making it a highly powerful ally. Wrapper's ghost was encountered in my "Guardian" victory run and was defeated.

I'd say that the game was fairly typical for me overall. I decided to go for Vodun Mask for this game because of its Enemy Lure, which grants a lot of extra experience along with making it much more likely to encounter rare enemies. I went with Item Sense for the first upgrade, followed by Fast Dismiss and Nightingale. My latter upgrades were Alter Self and the copy and fusion savers. Refine Brand was also acquired; I ran into a lot of great brands in this game, the first being a speed brand for my PC which was kept for nearly the entire game. I also had those (non-)unique specific brands which had wonderful stat boosts. I only used a handful of the great brands I had out of the several in the end.

In Ninkasi's Sanctum, I was fortunate enough to nab an asura via the usage of a bronze offering; in fact, right before I encountered it, I found a bronze offering! IIRC, I already had two by that point, and I would find a few more later in the Tower. I decided to give it Adept to help fight against those pesky mind status effect enemies. Beyond it, I managed to get Bigfoot and Slenderman via Enemy Lure; the former helped out a lot in the link fight against Slendy alongside my Asura. With such a team, Tower:20+ mind-heavy groups weren't too bad for me; nonetheless, I also had a umdhlebi, and with all these mind-immune allies, I still put Calm on Slenderman just to protect my own PC from mind status effects, as it would definitely be focused down on by enemies. Even with extreme vitality it is an issue. Later on, I fused that umbdhlebi into a meamei for a higher level healer (given Enemy Lure, I would be outleveling many potential healers). I also got a marmoo and jorogumo on Tower:28, the latter recieving Ninkasi's Brewmaster from a modified nuckelavee. On Tower:29 I used Call Demon to give Slenderman Vorpal. I will note that because of my high level unique allies and Asura, I didn't shift my party too much in the 20s floors. I also ran into Ammit and decided to slay her because I wasn't willing to sacrifice any of my highly valuable allies. Usually I don't pass up Ammit, but without a gold offering I felt like it wouldn't be worth the negotiation. I did run into Mothman on Tower:29 via Enemy Lure, but unfortunately I failed his link.

SPOILERS FOR THE ENDGAME AHEAD:
With Tower:29 clear, there was only one thing left to do: go to Tower:30!

I'll note that I was playing on an older build with the Item Sense crashing bug,
so I was wary about triggering it. Fortunately, I wasn't all that close to it.

I chose to explore the floor manually. It would probably the best way to do it, anyway.

Tower:30 is quite the challenge. I first ran into Joan of Arc; I didn't bother to fight her off, choosing to flee and try my other initial route choice. I did run into that Brazilian healer fellow and his Japanese caster friend that would prove to be too tough a duo for my party to fight off. Off in a branch to the west would be Heracles, who would end up being the first hero I would defeat because it turned out that my Asura and Slendy would be dealing a lot of damage to him; Charm via Pink Whisper did help with keeping in one spot a lot. Flame glyphs helped with finishing him off.

The western halls turned out to be a dead end area, and so I would have to go north of the area of the aforementioned duo. Next up is Guan Yu and his many phantoms. He actually wasn't too bad to fight either for me. I would find the portal in the northern area, with Merlinus nearby. He did a lot of damage- in the few turns he was alive. Slendy and Asura were more than capable of taking him out quickly along with their disabling maneuvers. I also encountered that one Nigerian lady as I wandered towards the south for the fun of it; she was alone with a rather supportive moveset, and so she went down quickly. I got Boon of Energy from her, replacing Vigorous Aura.

Given the toughness of the remaining three heroes, I wasn't willing to defeat them, and so I would press onward.

I like the Apex floors a lot. "You are filled with a warm feeling of courage..." Indeed I was! It felt like a great victory lap after all of the rest of the tower.

I didn't negotiate with Loki. The einherjar guys were pretty tough, but my team managed to pull through.

I did link with a daeva for the fun of it, but it didn't amount to anything.

Woden did some big damage, but went down faster than the previous fights, I think.

Ba'al wasn't a hard fight for me. I decided to link with him when he was almost already dead; I fused him onto Bigfoot for the fun of it.

Hastur was a bit scary for my PC and meamei healer, but once again my Adept Asura and Slendy overpowered it, not capable of being affected by Panic.

The Demiurge was also capable of big damage, but I decided to link with it when it came into view. It replaced my Brewmaster Jorogumo, which didn't see much use, especially NOT in the final several floors.

Prometheus was actually pretty damn tough! I wanted to link with him, but I failed it. I know I had to swap out among multiple party members, but it would turn out that the Demiurge can put an end to him after a few turns.

With all of that done, I have completed the game. What a great way to end it all.

Guardian party + end screen and score.
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Re: YAVP: Faithful heart, healing and fire.

Postby Ferret » Sun Feb 27, 2022 12:25 pm

Congrats on your full game win. :D

That's one of the more subtle things about resistances/immunities: if only *most* of the party covers a particular resistance, anyone who doesn't will be targeted more. :D The old school status cleaners tend to be best for handling it, as you did, since they can be spammed and if you stick to the element-specific ones, aren't toooo expensive. Any other option either takes multiple ability slots or isn't full protection.

Yeah, the Item Sense bug was annoying. Completely slipped my mind to check that on the one floor in the game with no item spawns, so of course it doesn't work. :P At least (I think?) I got the fix out before it locked anyone out the endgame!

--- ENDGAME SPOILER DISCUSSION BELOW THIS POINT ---

Joan of Arc is probably the hardest to kill out of all the Tower:30 folks. I think it is actually more common for people to dodge her than to actually defeat her.

One fun note for if you go again: the healer fellow appears at random with one of the others; he isn't always with the onmyoji. Generally whichever pair he forms ends up becoming a very tough fight: no surprise I guess since you have Hero-powered healing combined with some flavor of Hero-powered offense at that point.

Heracles is probably the easiest, if only because he's the most straightforward. Pretty much all the rest have some sort of new-to-them mechanic or set of abilities that, depending on your party makeup, might make things rough. Merlinus is a good example of this: you had plenty of disables it sounds like, which makes it very difficult for him to consistently pull off his Omen spells (which require 2 turns of not being disabled.) He can be crazy dangerous if you aren't able to keep him off balance.

The debuffing expert is probably second easiest after Heracles, but she can be difficult for parties with very strong resistance tables (which her Debuff-type damage bypasses while exploiting the lower HP those resistances bring) or low damage (due to her defensive/regenerative setup.)

I dithered for a bit on whether or not to do the heal bit. Ultimately I felt I had to mostly because the structure of the Apex levels can make even trying to just run for it extremely dangerous. But, in compensation, I also made each individual fight tougher than a normal fight is allowed to be in terms of levels: after all, I know you're coming in fresh. :D That said it sounds like you handled them pretty well.

I'm glad you enjoyed the endgame sequence. :D Really, I am. Endings are tough, for a lot of reasons, especially in a roguelike. You want to provide a satisfying challenge, and yet, if someone actually dies there, they're probably going to be a bit frustrated... and this will go double if they die to some new mechanic they didn't understand properly because it was the first time they'd seen it. At this point based on the feedback, I think I actually managed a pretty decent job of it. Most people who get there find it satisfying and are capable of beating it, provided they continue to use the good judgment that got them that far (running from fights their build isn't suited for in particular is an important skill.)

You know, I don't think anyone has actually taken Loki up on his offer yet. :D Or I've being old and forgetful. :P Maybe you will next time?

At any rate, congratulations once again and thank you for the report. :D

PS: Having finally looked at the image you posted HOLY CRAP those are some good Brands! :D
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Second true victory post: Eye of the Dragon

Postby Remora » Sun Mar 13, 2022 3:06 am

As of a few days ago, I managed to get another win on the latest build, this time with an Eye of the Dragon character. I do think that is the relic start I have some of the least amount of wins with. Memory is imperfect, but it seems like for the longest time I just don't win with EotD. At least not until recently.

This character "Pierce" had the Piercing start, fittingly enough. This character's stats would favor agility and cunning, with lesser strength and vitality following. However, later on I found a good brand that ended up reducing my pc's strength, and so I made vitality level while agility and cunning would have better increases going onward. For much of the game Distract was used before getting into fights, with it being a good ability to go with my character's high agility. I also managed to get Poison Breath early on, emulating the classic Eye of the Dragon starts, which I don't think I ever managed to win with. This character also had on-hit passive abilities, starting with Infectious and a bit later Accursed. The latter does go really well with Piercing Thrust, and Infectious is always a nice thing to have. Juggernaut was used for getting around. I eventually upgraded to Wither from Distract. Later on I used Hinder Host as a fight opener to help get in damage. I also grabbed Mindwatch as a supportive ability; my final brand made my character very resourceful with SP, and so I could safely disregard SP saving/recovering abilities.

I think the early game was fairly typical. I can't remember what I skipped by now. I do remember that in Ninkasi's Sanctum I had something of a rough encounter with modified onis and chachapumas, which I think was pretty close to causing a lot of max hp draining for my PC. In that level I noted a group consisting of only two entities via Enemy Sense, suggesting either a jotunn duo or a gorgon with sura/asura. It was asura, and so I gave it Python's chthonic. With Ignore Pain and Oppressor, it proved to be a pretty damn tough hitdude. I managed to find an awesome brand for it that would make it crazy fast with a bunch of extra strength at max HP, at the cost of having costly abilities (+40% SP costs). With Ignore Pain and healer support, however, it would have plenty of rapid heavy-hitting turns. Funnily enough, looking back, it seems like such a combo would be arguably better for a sura, given its better form at high HP.

Asura would prove to be a powerful addition once more, albeit I'd say this game wasn't as easy as the last one. Without Enemy Lure, this character and its allies wouldn't be as highly-leveled. That would also mean that powerful potential recruits like Bigfoot and Slenderman would have very low chances of spawning otherwise, and they didn't. I do remember Relic Preservation kicking in for my asura a couple times; I don't remember when, but I think it happened at least twice. Nonetheless, I was still able to get some other good allies. I made a civatateo into a healer; early on I found an awesome brand that would greatly reduce SP costs and grant body immunity at max HP. I also managed to get Anti Infection (probably from a solid chindi, amusingly enough), which is still good even with the seeming redundancies (at this point with civatateo's natural body resistance) as it means that my healer should always be recovering SP in most battles. Aside from mass AoE attacks and damage over time, my civatateo would be able to use abilities with greatly reduced costs, and with stronger reliable healing abilities like Repair Flesh it could reliably get back to max HP anyway.

I did put well fed on an alma early on and later a barbegazi. The final demon to get it would be a cherufe. It would be a slightly redundant ally resistance-wise, given its fire immunity and physical resistances compared to my chthonic asura, but it still had its niches, especially in fights against electric enemies. I had a brand that would grant massive stat boosts for being a non-unique demon at the cost of losing a bunch of strength which I gave it around the final levels. I guess I'd prefer a slow downside, given the better scaling and not having to be limited by the loss in strength, but it was fair enough for making a really tough ally. I've come to find that Ignore Pain is a really good ability! No wonder why I have trouble with golems typically.

My other late tower allies varied as I wasn't as focused on building up other ones later on beyond copying various abilities from replaced allies onto them, like dart attacks I've had since having a haietlik early on onto a yuki-onna. On the last few Tower floors I did squander my opportunities to recruit allies of higher origin levels; I think I wasn't as impressed with what I saw, but it could have been somewhat worth it as my allies would start falling behind in levels. At least there's still several more floors to go...

I can say that valkyries gave me a lot of trouble in this run. Peculiar, given that they didn't seem as bad with my electric-weak asura and Slendy running around in my previous victory. Perhaps the latter's disruption helped a lot then.

Image

This is my party before entering the Apex floors.

SPOILERS FOR THE ENDGAME AHEAD:
I saved a magic map for Tower:30. Since I have seen the following floors before, I've come to learn that it's at least worth saving one magic map for Tower:30; I think I had five or six magic maps gathered throughout the game, and so I used up most of them in the late Tower.

On Tower:30 I only defeated the onmyoji fellow (he was a pretty easy fight by himself with my party) and Ogboinba, who was a bit tougher to fight this time around but being up against a slash-resistant and overleveled asura wasn't a good fight for her after some time. I got Steal Grace from the latter; it turned out to be not all that great with my current ability set, given that the accuracy debuff can discourage Wither. Guan Yu managed to invoke relic preservation for one of my allies and I managed to sneak to the portal in the north, nearby Joan of Arc and her lot. The healer hero was paired up with Merlinus, the latter who did manage to massively harm my civatateo healer.

On Apex:1, given the Eye of the Dragon start with its Item Sense as well as SEPI, and some credits-saving upgrades taken down the line, I was confident enough to attempt the Loki link. It turned out well enough for me! His negotiation is now my favorite of the game, so he'll likely be something I'll attempt at in the future. Loki aside, the einherjar fellows and their valkyrie allies proved to be a bit of a rough fight, but I prevailed decently enough in the end. I put Loki's Trickster modifier onto my lampad and then I revived Loki to put it back onto him along with a brand that increases his cunning and agility at max SP.

Once more I managed to recruit a daeva. They were noticeably more nasty this time around. I did decide to attempt the Ahriman link too; I find it a good callback, but given the enemies summoned, it is surprisingly difficult. I ended up failing it, favoring to reach the exit when things were starting to look bad. I figure the key here is to have area of effect attacks and disruption, which are things I don't favor all that often myself. Ahriman himself does have that, but given how troublesome some of the spawning enemies are (even if they may seem underleveled for this point), he could probably use another master blaster helping out.

On Apex:3 I had a bit of trouble. I examined Woden's link conditions this time around, and I figured I wouldn't be able to succeed at it. It took a retreat or two, but I managed to slay him and his valkyries.

Ba'al was defeated with relative ease again. I figure that having physical resistance hitdude allies is the key to fighting him, given my success with him so far. That and minding your positioning so he's locked down by your party's physical melee fighters.

Hastur was recruited. I think I was a few turns away from failing, but it looks like I wouldn't have to be too dependent on mind immunity to defeat him like last time. I kept him around and gave him well fed and a brand on the last floor.

I ended up having to skip defeating the Demiurge. It causes so much damage and its Vitae proved to be incredibly effective for its recovery this time around. Even Hastur turned out to be not great at fighting it.

Prometheus proved to be one tough dude once more. While he's not as deadly as the Demiurge, he can take a serious beating pretty well. Nonetheless, I managed to have him killed. I would end up messing with Call Demon for a little while before finally ending the game.

I figure now that level 27 demons may be the lowest level demons viable for the final levels, albeit unless if you're a rather clever player or just playing an incredibly powerful build, you'll need allies with higher origin levels than that to make it through the final levels reasonably well. The potential difficulty of the Apex floors was much more noticeable this time around. An overleveled asura can't do it all alone! Even then, I still would say I did decently overall. My healer civatateo was still great so late in the game. Maybe I should just hang onto Ba'al if I want to recruit the other super uniques. That sounds like a plan. I don't know how I'd recruit Ahriman or Woden yet without gold offerings, and I figure that with Prometheus having the three uniques that come before him would do the job.

EDIT: I may as well include the final party image.
SPOILERS END HERE

On another note, I've come to find the tuofei and bmola groups some of the hardest to deal with around the Tower:8 to 10 floors, including Anzu's Sanctum. They do so much damage and probably cause relic preservation more often than other enemy groups around that point of the game in recent memory. Them aside I'd find the atua groups the most deadly for those floors, followed by mandrakes.
Remora
 
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Re: YAVP: Faithful heart, healing and fire.

Postby Ferret » Mon Mar 14, 2022 1:45 pm

Congrats on another win. :D

I think this is the first time in awhile I've read of Distract and Hinder being used heavily: their effects are more subtle than Weaken and Expose, which has always made them a bit tougher for folks to get behind. But, they do come out to a good result on average over time, and Hinder in particular is a favorite of mine because it pretty much eliminates misses assuming the attacker and defender are both around average Agility and the same level. If you end up using them again, it can be fun to combine Distract in particular with Chill: that can cause the miss rate to go up very noticeably. :D

Grabbing early out of depth friends is always nice, especially if it's a nice straightforward brawler who can be relied on to tank heavy hits and dish them back out. Throwing a good modifier and a good Brand on them is usually an easy ticket to at least the midgame (this is old news to you of course, but hey, we do still get a fair number of views per day around here even if posting is rare, so worth underlining for other folks. :D )

Ignore Pain is a favorite ability of mine, design wise: it was one of my attempts to help make high Magic melee and hybrid Strength/Magic melee a bit more viable, since those usually struggle without the higher defense granted to full Strength builds. :) But, as Golems demonstrate, it's still not a bad defensive ability even for characters with high Strength and iffy Magic, since while it will heal less, those HP it does heal are harder to lose, in that case.



** SPOILER DISCUSSION BELOW HERE **



Magic Map is definitely nice for Tower:30: an accidental double encounter would be very bad, and it also gives you a fair chance of being able to spot the "double Hero" encounter (or at least to confirm it is with one of the Heroes that comes with minions.) By the by, Merlinus is potentially one of the most dangerous partners for the healer Hero: when Merlinus is alone, you can potentially rush him down if you're high damage and/or use control effects to disrupt his "last used ability" reliant strategy, but with the healer present, the second is the only option and most parties don't go super heavy on control effects which can leave many with no way to stop him.

I think you might be the first one to attempt the Loki link, or at least the first one I know of/remember. :) Congrats on succeeding at it, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

The danger of the Ahriman link is the ridiculous synergy present among the demons it calls forth. You're correct in that it can go fairly easily if your party has good multi-target nuking/disruption, but if they get a chance to throw down their buffs and establish themselves, it can be hard to deal with them after that, and someone-other-than-Heaven help you if the next group shows up while you're still trying to wear down the previous one.

Prometheus' recruitment assumes you'll have at least two of the "bigger" uniques from those before him. It can be done without them, but the number of parties/builds that could do it that way is much smaller.



** END SPOILER DISCUSSION **



Tuofei (with help from their Bmola friends) have been quietly killing summoners and their demons pretty much from the moment they were introduced. They're probably one of the first serious problems Anomaly survivors come across, and are probably a hard avoid for anyone who had to escape Anomaly without clearing it and is missing the goodies/allies/XP from there. I don't usually hear Atua mentioned in the same vein, but I can believe it: they have access to three nasty status effects, and will severely punish allowing one of them in particular to stick around.

I know you'd mentioned them in the write up and they weren't just in the image, but sometimes seeing a Brand makes it easier to see how wild some of them get than just reading about them. :D +39% Speed and +55 Strength is crazy nice, even with +40% SP costs and a HP=MaxHP requirement. Same for -49% SP Costs and Body immunity at HP=MaxHP and for non-unique demons. Though the king of your brands, in my opinion at least, has to be the -40% SP cost and +53 Max SP one your summoner has. -24 Strength is a trifle in exchange for basically never having to worry about SP. :P

Thanks again for the report, and congrats on another full game win. :D
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Ferret
 
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YAVP: Eye of the Dragon buffer

Postby Remora » Tue Mar 22, 2022 12:48 am

A few days ago I got another victory with a vitality-centered buffer character, this one having the "Eye of the Dragon" relic. I do think it was a mostly smooth game. I didn't have any overleveled allies for the final floors this time around, but I did fine for the most part.

I think I wanted this character to use one of the low damage AoE ice attacks (e.g. Sudden Chill) alongside buffs, hence the name "Flurry," but I was lucky enough to get Might early on so it remained a pure buffer. I also put Draw Wounds on my PC early on, and so for the entire game it was used for healing support. Guarding Cry was picked up for the "presence" buff ability, and Grace was acquired later on to compress Focus and Alert into one ability, freeing up an ability slot for something else. This game really made me wish I could get Empower; characters with easy access to both can be so strong. Later on I was fortunate enough to get Boon of Energy, which was put onto my PC and some of my allies. It is an incredible passive for SP regen, especially when multiple buffs can be applied via the likes of Grace.

Enemy Sense goes along very well with buffer characters, and so I would buff up for various battles ahead of time. Boon of Energy goes along very well with this, as I can put it onto my PC to recover SP from the more expensive Grace faster before putting it onto my allies. My later healers were given Boon of Energy; I had slowing brands for other demons that greatly reduced SP costs, making extra SP regen somewhat redundant. I did take advantage of Warrior Boon (10 less SP costs with might buffs) and Hunter Boon (20% more damage with focus buffs) later on on my allies. They proved to be very strong passive abilities.

A few floors into the game, I found a brand that would remove dark weakness (eventually becoming immunity) and give HP regen at the cost of agility, summoners only. This is one of those brands that is so incredible that you figure that you're going to win the game with it. Well, I did. I do like how the acquired resistance and later immunity can open up tactical options, mainly blocking off non-direct attacks to help allies. I acquired Refine Brand at level 16 and at that point it would give dark resistance; from then I would upgrade it once it gave immunity and perhaps if it gave enough more regen.

Well, now that I think about it, I do figure that the shojos that can spawn in Ninkasi's Sanctum can be considered overleveled. They're not as devastating as jotunn or (a)sura, but they are very reliable. I had one replace my druj nasu healer and made it into a pure healer. I did wonder if it would be a viable endgame ally because of it being recruited at a decently high level early enough; however, I replaced it once I came across an ibong adarna, noting that the two had like levels at that point. The latter would be given most of my former shojo's abilities, but it kept Stone because it's such a strong ability; even with the lifegiver modifier, it still had high cunning after all.

A favored brand later on was one that would give a lot of vitality along with big SP cost reductions, at the cost of being 30% slower. It isn't too bad on ibong adarna, becoming the base speed, but I don't think it's too bad on characters going to 70% speed either. For the late game I recruited a mulassa, which would end up being the earliest member of my final party. Given Vital Spells on it, that one brand would give it a lot more magic power. I modified it with Pele's Volcanic, and it kept her Rain of Fire at least. I also put Calming Rain on it, which had quite a bit of use for the later floors. It was also given Envenom, an ability which I think I had carried throughout the entire game, perhaps given to a freybug first. I also recruited Ammit, disposing of some allies that weren't as favorable as my mulassa and shojo, even if the others had abilities I had copied multiple times throughout the entire run up until that point. She was strong enough to be given a brand that would give her more speed and ice immunity when having more than 50 SP, at the cost of magic she wouldn't need. This was a very strong brand indeed. Warrior Boon would help her keep above 50 SP for longer.

I did have a power which did a lot for the Tower:20+ floors. With its standard Warrior Boon, acquired Hunter Boon, and pre-battle buffs it made for a strong opener and likely finisher for battles. Even then, I ended up replacing it and using its modifier for a meamei; it originally had Anti Hex from it as well as Anti Panic from the fusion. My meamei had Alluring Veil copied from the power (originally from Pele) too. Emit Bolts and of a blue man and Vile Dance from something were also given. My other final allies that were acquired were a marmoo and a kaliga-on.

I remember having another brand which reduced SP costs by 8 around level 35 along with greatly increasing SP amount, also for 30% less speed. It wasn't as favored because the one I used was even better for more costly abilities and the huge vitality boost is great too. I guess it would be a good brand for the most costly abilities, given that unless if affected by SP reduction abilities a character would be able to use something like Hell's Breath for three turns in a row.

Image

SPOILERS FOR THE ENDGAME AHEAD!

I would say that without an overleveled ally for the final levels, the difficulty of them stood out much more.

On Tower:30 I would run into Joan of Arc first; I wouldn't have the patience to deal with her, so I figured that I'd rather not try to defeat her, not even by Ammit cheese (which would take an extended period of time). The floor layout had some hallways, a few small chambers, and a huge chamber that took up the northeast of the map with the Apex portal. I took one of the hallways into an area in which I would encounter Heracles (who was surprisingly finished off by my marmoo by itself while I wasn't paying attention, some turns after dismissing Ammit and other allies) and Merlinus. Merlinus wasn't too bad to fight for me; Ammit chomped him down, but I did take note of the action log so I would know when to time my dismisses. Mr. Onmyoji was in the western edge of the large chamber and was defeated without too much trouble. However, Guan Yu and his phantom party were hanging out near the portal out of Tower:30, and I ended up dragging them towards the hallway I went through to get away from Joan of Arc and her lot; the problem here is that the latter's group was in the chamber south of the hall, but thankfully after some waiting Guan Yu and his phantoms moved away. By this point I only had my mulassa and Ammit not drained, and I had less than 20k credits due to frequent usage of Call Demon in the late tower. I did manage to sneak beyond Guan Yu's group thanks to enemy awareness and so the Apex floors began.

I did recruit Loki again. I attempted a link with one of the einherjar, but even with fire-blasting allies I just couldn't get the guy down in time.

I did successfully link with a daeva, but I wouldn't keep it this time. I attempted the Ahriman link again, but I once more failed to keep him alive. I linked with a seraph for the fun of it; naturally, being a negotiation link, it is the most straightforward of the Tower:30 and onward links, even if it is highly demanding because it is such a high level demon.

My party cleared Woden and his valkyries very fast this time around; that was much less trouble than the last run. I don't have a definitive plan for how to perform his link yet.

Baal was successfully linked with thanks to Ammit and Loki; unlike the past two games posted on here, I didn't use him for fusion material immediately. I ended up keeping him around to perform the next few floors' links.

Hastur was the most dangerous fight this time around, I would say. I decided to give Loki Calming Rain (replacing Nemesis from marmoo which replaced Charisma before) to help with that, and even then I would have to be wary of Loki becoming muted. Nonetheless, Baal managed to defeat Hastur in time. Even though I succeeded at the link, I deleted Hastur without using him for anything.

The Demiurge was taken care of with relative ease this time around. I figure that being able to reliably stun it every other turn could perhaps help, given that Baal has Stunning Blow. The Demiurge was also a noncontributor for my party after being successfully linked.

This would be the first time I get to complete the link for Prometheus. I put Wraith Bite on Baal to help with the fight as giving Prometheus less HP for regen would make it easier to defeat him. My meamei and her Vile Dance also helped out by denying Prometheus regeneration. After the successful link, Baal was replaced by Prometheus. I went out of my way to get Revive Demon (I didn't upgrade at level 41 right away) so I could put Firebringer onto Prometheus himself, letting him have Hell's Breath. I would mess around with Call Demon for a while before finishing the game.

Flurry party and final score.
Remora
 
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