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Thread: Classes and Ratings!

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    Default Classes and Ratings!

    Between being busy with other things and feeling like doing something else for entertainment, I've yet again returned to Wizardry 8. While I can't say I'm improving the mod with as much zeal as I used to, I'm definitely doing tweaks, and as usual, I needed a new testing party for new additions the old one has gone long by. And here came the catch.

    Lately I've been using very similar parties for testing. The generic party consisted of a Fighter, a Rogue or another Fighter, a Bard, a Gadgeteer, and two Bishops. Admittedly it was not very creative, but what it lacked in variety it made up in efficiency. Considering that the bard and gadgeteer can be safely retrained to fighters relatively early and the bishops can follow suit eventually, by the endgame the party has a potential to become an utter powerhouse and just destroy everything in its path with sheer force if necessary.

    The thing is... It got boring. So I decided to change a few things, or at least try to. Eventually I went with Fighter, Rogue, Ranger, Monk, Mage, Bishop. The pure casters may or may not be retrained eventually; I'll see what I'll do about that. But this is not the point, either. It got me thinking. Over the years with this game I've formed a certain set of preferences about character classes. It's not set in stone, of course, but sometimes either the balance is off or it's just about my playing style. In part to bolster my enthusiasm and in part just for fun, I thought this might be an interesting thread, so here it is! Rating the classes one by one. Based on the unmodified game, of course; or at least I chose to do it so. That way everyone can relate.

    Onto the topic, then!

    Fighter: 10/10
    Best one, hands down. Phenomenal damage and hit points (even with largely neglected Vitality as I usually go), access to the best weapons and armour, berserk attacks, what's not to like? Increased stamina regeneration is just the tip of the iceberg, and while the profession-specific knockout triggers very rarely, it can be useful at times. A class of low requirements in general and one of the two with the highest possible number of starting bonus points as well. It is the one and only class that - aside from a very limited number of experimental parties which were rather short-lived - I never, ever went anywhere without. The only thing I've seen brought up against the Fighter is that it can't cast spells, but seriously - with a character like this you don't want to cast spells, just get to the front line bash around.

    Lord: 6/10
    I'm not a great fan of hybrids in general, Lords aren't as nice as they could be. The fact that there are barely any good off-hand weapons in the game doesn't help their case (Diamond Eyes, however, could make a decent pairing with pretty much anything else, but it's still very limiting). Health regeneration isn't all that great, either, but it's better than nothing. They're still fairly sturdy, though.

    Valkyrie: 6/10
    Lord with polearms and without health regeneration. Sure, they can cheat death, but unless you're going for statistics, it makes little to no difference. Resurrecting a dead party member takes the exact same amount of action it takes to awaken an unconscious one (weird, huh?), whether you're using Smelling Salts or Resurrection Powder, or casting Resurrection (by the time you actually get the spell the cost should not be a problem, especially that it does not scale). There are some nice polearms in the game, too, but I doubt they could match a combination of The Mauler and Diamond Eyes, for example.

    Ranger: 8/10
    One of my favourite hybrid classes. Amazing with the bow and decent in melee (as good as any Lord or Valkyrie), Rangers already have an edge over them. I'd take Alchemy over Divinity any day, which is one more point for the Ranger (even if due to being actually a decent ranged combatant, the Ranger doesn't need to resort to spells that often). Permanent scouting is nice if not irreplacable, and Rangers are still fairly durable, if not as much as the professions above.

    Samurai: 5/10
    As much as I'm quite fond of the Samurai in terms of atmosphere, it's one of the classes I found the least use for. The class-specific weapons aren't too great, unless you're willing to hunt for hours to get your Muramasa blade. The lack of a decent offhand weapon is even more prevalent than in the case of the Lord. Sure, you could always go with Zatoichi Bo, but who wouldn't give a Samurai swords, honestly? Lightning Strike sounds awesome as a concept, except it's awfully unreliable and of course my luck factors in and it only triggers when the enemy dies from the first hit anyway. Fearlessness isn't a disadvantage, either, but fear is the least of your worries later on. Critical hit is a good skill, but better classes have it. Wizardry is my favourite school of magic, but the Samurai progresses slowly, and if I'm taking one only for its magic, then I'm better off with a Mage anyway. The only option I can imagine for a Samurai is retraining a Mage into one in the endgame so the character doesn't lose the ability to develop in magic and still becomes better in fighting.

    Ninja: 7/10
    So versatile it hurts, but still decent. Their prowess with thrown weapons makes them really neat with the Boomerang Shuriken, but the selection of melee weapons is a little lacklustre (for some reason they can't use Zatoichi Bo, which I'd find the best option). Or maybe double sais or stilettos (the damage of the daggers in the game is just awful, though). Alchemy is a good school of spells, too bad that the other hybrid with it also happens to be more of a specialist in ranged combat. Lockpicking and its friends are always welcome, however.

    Monk: 8/10
    My other favourite hybrid class. One where no matter how many I've had before I always face a painful dilemma: Martial arts or staffs? They're equally lethal with either, and it's far better than anything pretty much any other hybrid class can muster. They're a great candidate for that Boomerang Shuriken if you're not using a Samurai or a Ninja, and while they can barely wear any armour, I generally have little trouble keeping them alive. Being effectively immune to blindness isn't the greatest of boons, but blindness is still much more of a concern than fear, so it wins out over the Samurai yet again; having actually decent weapons for a change (Zatoichi Bo if you're not going with hands and feet) helps as well. Even with Psionics not being overly great, the Monk can still end up using it, seeing their limited choice of ranged weaponry. And let's admit, putting up a Soul Shield or Haste at the start of the battle can never hurt before beating everyone up with a staff.

    Rogue: 10/10
    Ouch. These guys hit much harder than even a Fighter, relatively speaking, and that certainly is saying something. One of the classes that has a story, I initially developed one as the game suggests (dexterity+speed, as Myles seems to be), and was quickly disappointed. Eventually I decided to give them another go, prioritising strength and dexterity this time, and the Rogue left me absolutely awestruck. They may not be as durable as a warrior, but stealth definitely helps them survive. The requirements are fairly low, they also have the chance to get the magical sixty starting attribute points. Their utility skills are very welcome, and a Rogue with Bloodlust and Thieves Dagger, both available as early as the first visit to Arnika, is definitely one of the most devastating forces the game has to offer.

    Bard: 9/10
    Rather unappealing early in the game, I found that the Bard really shines later on. There are multiple advantages to having only one magic-related skill rather than having them dispersed into at least six; it's easier to develop regardless of what you're actually casting. Bards have access to some of the best spells in the game, including Heal All, Freeze All and Haste. The Bard can be safely retrained to a Fighter or a Rogue without losing the ability to use magic via their instruments, losing only access to some of the class-specific equipment in the process; however, I'd say it's definitely worth the trade-off for the highly increased melee damage when their spells can't hurt foes as reliably as they used to.

    Gadgeteer: 9/10
    Even more unappealing early in the game, they become just as good in time as Bards. They actually have a lot in common. The Omnigun is fun, but generally not enough to hold me back from retraining these guys into Fighters, too. (Especially because I avoid any weapon with blinding effects like the plague, one of the most annoying things ever to happen in the game is accidentally inflicting fear or blindness on an enemy.) They can still put their prowess with modern weapons to use with a Blunderbuss, which is a good weapon but without the chance to blind, and they too have an arsenal of good spells, like Heal All or Superman. Just like in the case of the Bard, the selection of spells is rather limited, however.

    Priest: 3/10
    Just no. There are only a few spells I'd consider essential from Divinity. Heal All is covered by both the Bard and the Gadgeteer. Superman is also very good, but our Gadgeteer friend has it taken care of, too. Restoration could possibly redeem the Priest if it weren't for that pesky Renaissance Lute. The Bard also has Magic Screen and the Gadgeteer can put up Armorplate. The Priest is better with durability and melee weapons than the specialist colleagues, but why not take a Lord or a Valkyrie then while at it? Or even a Fighter, if you have both a Gadgeteer and a Bard.

    Bishop: 9/10
    The ultimate caster. The only drawback being the slow progress, I think that there isn't even any need to explain how great these guys are. The extremely slow development put me off for a long while, but once I learned to hold back level-ups at times I gained an invaluable ally. Or two, because any party can easily take two of them. Better yet, they too can be safely retrained after they're finished with learning everything they need, but that's a process way too tedious and lengthy, sadly, so not really feasible in the unmodified game.

    Mage: 8/10
    The only specialist caster worth taking, at least if you're asking me. They surely drop in utility in the endgame, but they too can be retrained by then. A Mage may be flimsy, but Lords help any enemies getting in one's way. I found they're the only class capable of overtaking the Fighter in killcount, even if temporarily (but by the endgame at the very least). They have some of the most important utility spells, which, unlike those of Divinity, are not covered by anyone else (Missile Shield being the most prominent example).

    Psionic: 5/10
    The grandmaster of another less helpful school of magic, I never really found taking a Psionic worthwile. Their spells have a few amongst them that I wouldn't like to miss (Haste, Soul Shield) and many others that are fairly fun and exclusive or nearly exclusive to them (Eye for an Eye, Prismic Ray, Prismic Chaos). Still, I'd say it's more than enough to take a Monk or Bishop instead; especially that Haste is covered by a Bard. Immunity to mental conditions is a very interesting addition to the class, but it feels wasted on one that isn't really any threat to other party members when under the effect of insanity or turncoat.

    Alchemist: 7/10
    The one specialist caster that puts up a fight to the Mage. Two words: Toxic Cloud. Quite probably the best offensive spell in the game, and then there's Death Cloud, too, which makes long fights (I'm looking at you, Rapax Castle) immensely more tolerable. Alchemists are also capable of performing a number of fun or useful magical feats, such as summoning elementals, healing and resurrecting. Nothing a well-trained Bishop can't do, however; and mine tend to be really good at Alchemy (as a result of mixing and my own affinity to the school of magic, no doubt). Therefore I wouldn't take one, personally. Mixing potions can be done by anyone with the skill, and while brewing consumables while camping can't, I never found it a steady or formidable form of income (which would be its only function, as I rarely or never use consumable items).
    Last edited by Frostguard; 02-14-2015 at 05:33 PM.

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    I seem to agree with you. My parties will often include a Bard, Bishop, Rogue, Ranger, Fighter and Bishop - in that order. The first Bishop is a fast Mage/Psionic attacking one and the second Priest/Alchemist. I did train my party in W7 and have used that party ever since. Starting in W8 would be harder, but I still think that with some extra training here and there, I would still feel that the Bishops will develop. Buffcasting, for example, is evenly divided between my Bishops and the amount of bonus points it provides does always amaze me.

    I would give 10 to Rangers. They are amazing fighters. My statistics are from mods, but anyway, Ranger gets the highest score - if it's about 460, Rogue will have about the same score and Fighter will have 100 kills less. Alchemy is also the easiest magic school to develop (mixing potions is tedious, but once the Knock knock spell is acquired, things become easy). I would perhaps prefer Rogue over Fighter, since Fighter will miss when berserking, but Rogue does always double damage.

    I must admit that I started using Fighters only in the tougher mods. I still think that Hybrids are more fun. With my playing style I didn't need tanks. I had the spellcasters incapacitate the enemy and then hacked the poor defenceless monsters to pieces...
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    Strangely enough, my Ranger is lagging behind in terms of killcount, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Monk. I find it curious that their number of kills is nearly identical, give or take a few. (I check it regularly and so far it's always been the case.) That in no way means that they're bad, however. On one hand I believe it is because they are by far the party members with the highest initiative, due to the Ranger's high Senses score and the large initial Speed of the Monk. (The Rogue is quickly catching up, however!) The facts that the Fighter and the Rogue are absolutely butchering everyone and both the Mage and the Bishop rake in dozens of kills effortlessly with their area-of-effect spells don't help, either. (I jinxed it, by the way, for the first time in the history of my parties, the Bishop definitely overtook the Fighter and ascended to a close second place behind the Mage.)

    To be frank, I've never imported a party from Wizardry 7. I got the game once, and dived into it with great enthusiasm. I enjoyed it incredibly (and was surprised to find out that in some aspects it was actually superior to Wizardry 8), but then I got stuck. I'm not sure about the exact circumstances but I'm fairly certain it involved the Funhouse. Considering that I found that the game had quite a few annoyances as well (the most notable one being the sloth-speed recharging during camping) I gradually lost interest. It's a shame, really. I'm weak, I know.

    Back when I used two Bishops in my parties I generally went with one Mage/Alchemist and one Priest/Psionic. Looking back, this setup has painfully glaring drawbacks (including the one that since Wizardry and Alchemy are my favoured schools, I felt that one of them was always vastly superior to the other). Buffcasting was still fairly even, though, for what it's worth.

    Generally I don't play Expert in the early game (again, I know I'm weak), but even on Normal I didn't notice a drastic decrease in the hit rate of the Fighter when going berserk. Later on absolutely none. The increased consumption of stamina is more of an issue, one that I had with dual-wielding Fighters in modded games. They exhaust themselves rapidly. This might be a result of neglecting Vitality (I go for Strength and Dexterity first, then Speed and sometimes I even choose Senses over Vitality), which probably gives better chances for hitting early on. I also noticed that the backstab damage modifier for the Rogue seems to vary. At times I didn't even get a multiplier, but on the other hand I've seen it rise up to four (bonuses from incapacitated enemy and such not considered). I have no idea what it depends on, but I guess that's just another of the game's mysterious uncharted mechanisms. (Uncharted by me, at the very least.)

    That said, on Fighter versus Rogue, I may prefer the latter as long as we're talking about one or maybe two. (While two or three Rogues may feel like overkill, I've mentioned that by the endgame most if not all of my characters tend to end up as one of the two aforementioned classes, so it's not as implausible as it sounds.)
    Fighters are better tanks with all the health and the armour, but just like you, I generally don't use tanks. (For similar reasons, too.) So it's a neutral point. Fighters also deal more reliable damage, but with a potentially lower multiplier. It'd be pretty much a draw, but what tilts the balance towards the Fighters in my case is the variety. Rogues can only use daggers and light swords, and when you have two or more, it's a little less interesting seeing them all attack with daggers. With Fighters, on the other hand, I have all the options on the world - swords, axes, halberds, whatever I like. When it comes to endgame with numbers of these characters, I go with more Fighters even if only because of this.

    I agree that generally hybrids can be more fun, but also much less efficient. I believe it's a general problem in game design and balance, and not restricted to Wizardry 8. If a hybrid is as skillful in both of its fields than the specialists of that respective field (or even in only one of them), then there's absolutely no reason to go with a specialist. With this one not being a viable option, hybrids need to be less efficient than their specialist counterparts. However, that means that in every particular situation there's a specialist you're better off with. Particularly in Wizardry 8, where hybrids can't cast spells and attack at the same time, meaning that you're better off with a purist caster for spells and a Fighter or Rogue for melee, too. Or so I find. Which is why I also thought that only unique traits could elevate certain hybrids to viability. Such as in the case of the Ranger. And I don't really know what makes the Monk as great as it is, but somehow it's much more powerful than almost any other hybrid in my experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostguard View Post
    To be frank, I've never imported a party from Wizardry 7. I got the game once, and dived into it with great enthusiasm. I enjoyed it incredibly (and was surprised to find out that in some aspects it was actually superior to Wizardry 8), but then I got stuck. I'm not sure about the exact circumstances but I'm fairly certain it involved the Funhouse. Considering that I found that the game had quite a few annoyances as well (the most notable one being the sloth-speed recharging during camping) I gradually lost interest. It's a shame, really. I'm weak, I know.
    Funhouse IS mind-boggling, they should not have made it SO complex - it is more frustrating than interesting. You are advised to use hints or/and CF for assistance there.
    Also the latest CF has a number of patches that might improve the game for you, including the new Resting patch, which makes Resting actually an viable option.
    When I was playing long time ago, I just ran to the nearest fountain to heal up.

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    Newbie Erkilmarl's Avatar
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    I remember that, too: to be able to beat the NPC:s in the race for the maps you had to travel, say, from Rattkin Ruins to Orkogre Castle fountain to replenish your mana and stamina. (Someone may remember that only mana is replenished. You have to cast spells for stamina.) Traveling took much less time than resting. I did the Funhouse few days ago while preparing a party for Reforged mod. I have the original cluebook and I used it for the map, to see where something happens. That way the Funhouse is almost doable. I just wonder, was there ever a way to logically solve the lever positions by the waterway there? And of course, they don't make games like that anymore. You have to try various items, you have to do things precisely in right order, you have to wait for the right time of the day etc.

    Of the original topic there isn't much to say. I wondered if my opinions were dependent on my playing with imported parties and started suddenly a new game with a newbie party. I must say that this really confirms my opinion that W8 is meant to be played with imported parties. If you don't, you have to spend a long time in the Lower Monastery seeking skill increase. I can tell more later.
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    The only part i don't agree with is psionics being 5\10. I found they are amazing early to mid game with the insanity spell. I was able to do tough fights that would not have been otherwise possible.
    Once my psionic is maxed in its special skill then I turn it into a monk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erkilmarl View Post
    I remember that, too: to be able to beat the NPC:s in the race for the maps you had to travel, say, from Rattkin Ruins to Orkogre Castle fountain to replenish your mana and stamina. (Someone may remember that only mana is replenished. You have to cast spells for stamina.) Traveling took much less time than resting. I did the Funhouse few days ago while preparing a party for Reforged mod. I have the original cluebook and I used it for the map, to see where something happens. That way the Funhouse is almost doable. I just wonder, was there ever a way to logically solve the lever positions by the waterway there? And of course, they don't make games like that anymore. You have to try various items, you have to do things precisely in right order, you have to wait for the right time of the day etc.

    Of the original topic there isn't much to say. I wondered if my opinions were dependent on my playing with imported parties and started suddenly a new game with a newbie party. I must say that this really confirms my opinion that W8 is meant to be played with imported parties. If you don't, you have to spend a long time in the Lower Monastery seeking skill increase. I can tell more later.
    Back then, where I haven't had internet access in Russia, I beat the Funhouse's streams puzzle myself, but it really was not that 'FUN' and I've got some help for feather potion from one of my friends.
    With these streams and levers you just have to be VERY diligent and write down every flip of the switch and where the streams lead you.
    Not too bad if not for too much backtracking, though I didn't mind fighting rakkin bands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DoddTheSlayer View Post
    The only part i don't agree with is psionics being 5\10. I found they are amazing early to mid game with the insanity spell. I was able to do tough fights that would not have been otherwise possible.
    Once my psionic is maxed in its special skill then I turn it into a monk.
    I agree...the big plus for psionics and monks is that most of their spells are concentrated in just a couple of spellbooks. I like to do a few levels as a psionic to get some initial skill with Mental and Fire spells, then switch over to Monk and split skill points between magic and melee.

    I would give the 10/10 to Bards. Bloodlust + Horn of Insanity + Arresting Aria is basically cheating.

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    I'm not sure, generally I'd count being specialised in a few realms a disadvantage. As a Psionic, come across one group of enemies resistant to Mental magic and you're pretty much done for. Even more if they also resist Fire. Sure, you can still put up a few buffs, though...

    I agree that Insanity is quite great, but Freeze Flesh is in most aspects better. If it works, there'll be no chance that the enemy attacks in spite of its condition, it'll be much easier for your party to hit and deal great damage, therefore they'll be dispatched more easily. I suppose it's possible that due to the extreme focus on Mental Magic a Psionic can more easily pull Insanity off successfully than a Mage do the same with Freeze Flesh... I'm uncertain. And of course Monk is better than Samurai, so there's that.

    Bloodlust to a Bard is an interesting choice. I think that a Rogue or, surprisingly, a Samurai would do better with it (the auto-berserk combines interestingly with backstabbing, and lightning attack would be devastating).

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    Newbie Erkilmarl's Avatar
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    Just for the record, I took a non-imported party to Arnika (can't remember when was the last time I did it), mainly to see how two Bishops would develop. Both had their main magic schools Alchemy-Divinity and Wizardry-Psionics at about 30 when they reached Arnika. I choose Identify and Web as the 3rd and 4th spells (that means I must have a Bard for support). I prefer Web as the main delibitating spell. It comes early and has synergy with Knock Knock, which both my Bishops can learn.

    The only deaths occurred, BTW, when I tried to attack Gregor at level three, which reminded me of the importance of level differences.
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    Generally I choose Identify Item and Web, too. Web is an excellent spell in the early and middle game, and Identify Item would just be too annoying to wait for until Arnika.

    I don't really like holding back levels, so I only do so when I need to. That generally means waiting with getting to the fifth level, as that proves to be the most critical.

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    I'm generally a lone voice in this but I'd rate the Bard, Gadgeteer and Bishop 5/10. As you noted in all three descriptions they are weak early on. The early and early/mid part (of the unmodded) game is the hardest, and these three classes are below par through that part. By they time they start to shine it doesn't really matter any more.

    For the same reason I'd rate the Priest 8/10. During that critical early stage, no other character will be better at keeping the party on it's feet and fighting fit.
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    In the vanilla game, the bard and gadgeteer don't do much for me either. I personally rate the monk over the fighter, especially as a dwarf. I soloed a dwarf ninja->bishop->monk to have both the dwarf and monk damage reduction, and I maxed his Vitality for Iron Skin and the increased stamina. Most tankalicious!

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    While your notes about the Bishop are true, from my experience by reaching spell level four (around eighth character level) Bishops can already be very decent and almost match a specialist caster in aptitude. Considering this and the painful amount of time it takes to reach the eleventh level (in the unmodified game I generally reached level eight on my first visit to Arnika, then went to pay a visit to the Umpani, back to the Monastery, to Arnika, Trynton and then to Marten's Bluff - where I generally got to level eleven with specialist casters) it's almost certain to get the spells of the fifth level immediately. Which is what matters, because in my experience Heal All is what makes Priests that good, and Bishops will have access to it almost as soon (only the experience difference counts, which admittedly isn't little, but I believe it pays off in versatility).

    As for the Bard and Gadgeteer, I can agree that early on they aren't all that impressive, and the order of visiting the locations really matters. Additionally, the original game doesn't have too many great weapons, either.

    Yes, I imagine that a Dwarf Monk could be a small miracle at times. I generally prefer high damage output to high armour and health, so it matters less to me, but it's impressive nevertheless.

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    For me Bard is the best character in the beginning stages of the game. Later she still has the right spells: Haste plus both shields from the Bishops are my regular starting spells then.
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanmcl View Post
    I'm generally a lone voice in this but I'd rate the Bard, Gadgeteer and Bishop 5/10.
    Not a lone voice, well for two thirds anyway. Never rated Bard or Gadgie either.

    I run small parties and the Bishop is a must have for me (unless soloing). Fighter + Bishop is the supremo duo (IMO of course).

    Also never rated Hybrids in Wiz8, with the exception of Bishop, and in some ways Bishops arent real Hybrids, unlike the hybridisation of Melee + Spellcaster of Ninja, Lord etc - hybrids take too much developing and become jack of all trades, master of none. They level up slower as well.
    And specialist spellcasters, Mage etc, the worst of all - pretty weak for much of the game and when they come into their own many of the tough monsters are magic immune.

    I feel there is a first tier of classes: Fighter, Rogue, Bishop.
    Big gap to...
    Second tier: Bard, Gadgie, Ranger
    Small gap to...
    Third tier: the rest

    Of course any class can get very powerful, and thats one of the greats about Wiz8, there is no right way, or even best way, you play to your style.

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    I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm not really fond of hybrids in games, either. In general. Wizardry 8 perfectly illustrates why, too.

    One character can only do one thing in a round. No matter how fancy a hybrid you have, it'll either swing a weapon or cast a spell. If it's swinging a weapon, you're better off with a specialist, like a Fighter or a Rogue. If it's casting a spell, you're better off with a specialist caster or a Bishop. It's basically trading efficiency for versatility. And of the two I've always been leaning towards efficiency.

    I'd say that specialist casters are stronger in the early and middle game, but lose most if not all of their edge by the endgame. Their quicker development gives them an aptitude in casting second to none. And that's what they're going to do all the time anyway, so nothing else matters. It's by the endgame that Bishops have a chance at becoming as good in all four schools of magic as a specialist in only one, due to the decelerating development, and for hybrids to reach the prowess of specialists in casting and pack a bigger punch with weapons as well.

    Bard and Gadgeteer are special cases. They develop their related skills much faster than hybrids and still are fairly good in combat. Their selection of spells is heavily limited and that makes them much less fun, though.

    Overall I agree, though. My ratings reflected personal preference only, not some kind of absolute truth I intended to declare.

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    Me and Lightning Strike.

    It was quite the exalted moment, the very first Lightning Strike of my Mage-turned-Samurai! (I was too lazy to check back to find the actual values for the brackets, if they still exist in the logs, anyway.)
    The sword strikes with the speed of lightning!
    [Name] swings [Sword] six times
    Hits [Body part]
    [Number] Damage
    INSTANT KILL!

    Yes, that pretty much sums it up. Make no mistake, I like instant kills, but one of the main things deterring me from the Samurai back in the day was that Lightning Strikes proceeded to happen almost exclusively only when they went to waste. For the record, the second Lightning Strike from the same character didn't cause an instant kill, but only because the health of the target was so low that the first blow finished it off anyway. It's a shame because it's not the fault of the class. I guess it's Murphy.

    On the other hand, the Ninja seems quite decent. Or rather, even more decent than I initially thought it was. I'm using one as an RPC in my previously mentioned testing party. With throwing weapons in each hand it happened (even if rarely) that he threw one at an enemy, scored a critical hit, then threw the one in the other hand at another, and scored another critical hit. Before you'd all think that I'm some sort of cheater who gives obscene instant kill chances for the weapons, one had 3% and the other 1%. Another fun case was when he threw one at a target, accidentally hit another enemy, insta-killed it, than threw a second one at the original opponent and killed it, too. These are very rare occurrences, of course, but amusing.

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    Newbie Erkilmarl's Avatar
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    I once wrote this down about my Samurai: ... goes berserk with Light Sword at Nessie 7 x
    112, 77, 48, 66, 81, 74, 83 damage. That's 541 altogether. Even with a Bushido Blade he would have done a lot of damage.

    I've always liked both professions and I have only given their places to a Fighter and a Rogue in the tougher mods. I have fond memories of Rangers and their criticals, something like killing two out of three Cloud Demons at Ascension Peak.

    PS. Samurai and Ranger are always Narvaez and Lyon and I chose those names for their sound only before I knew that both were to have a voice just perfect for them.
    Not Aelfinn or Eelfinn, but Realfinn

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    Yes, I'm quite fond of rangers too. I have happy memories of one of my playthroughs of Flamestryke's mod, and Sparkle was ripping the bejeesus out of the monsters before I even got her the special ranger outfit

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    Ouch. That's more than half of Nessie's health, at least in the unmodified game. That had to hurt. To quote the one and only Don Barlone: Bam.

    As I might've mentioned, I really like Rangers (though I never found Sparkle really good, personally, but it seems to be a general experience in the game that other than RFS-81 and maybe Saxx RPCs are quite a little inferior to starting party members). And I think that the only reasons why the Samurai can't excel in the game are not even the fault of the class itself. It's the selection of available items. I mean, they have that daisho-greatness going on, except they don't have any decent off-hand sword for the endgame (Enchanted Wakizashi is the best, as far as I remember, with 5-13 damage if I recall correctly... Really?) and the only suitable katana requires massive reloading to get (though let's admit, it is amazing, what with 15% instant kill chance on the top of the Samurai's skill?). And of course Murphy for Lightning Strike. Other than that, I'd say that the Samurai is still outclassed by the Monk. Which is a shame, because I like the Samurai as a character. Probably one of my favourite classes in the game in that regard.

    I have to give it to you, though, the change in the party is most welcome. Right now four out of eight members of the party have fairly decent chances for critical hits (Ranger and Monk in initial party, as well as a Mage who turned Samurai, and a Ninja RPC) and it's showing well. Battles can be much shorter and more fun at times, too. The one problem that I'm going through Undead much more slowly - the only type of enemy who seem to be absolutely immune to instant kills rather than just highly resistant. (I've seen critical strikes on golems, even!)

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    Newbie Erkilmarl's Avatar
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    Monks become powerful with hands and feet; I saw once somewhere the calculations the game uses for that. And everybody knows RFS. If only playing a RPG wasn't about finding fancy weapons and other stuff and upgrading them...
    Not Aelfinn or Eelfinn, but Realfinn

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    That resembles how I feel, too. Characters fighting only with hands and feet are intriguing, but collecting weapons is an integral part of an RPG. Nevertheless, in my experience Monks grew very powerful with staffs, too. That might be only because Zatoichi Bo single-handedly outperforms almost all swords, axes, spears and maces out there, however. I'm not sure. It might be wishful thinking or even the subconscious glorifying of the past (for this happened many, many years ago), but the party I discovered Zatoichi Bo with (which, incidentally, is the same I first got Excaliber with as well, out of pure coincidence - I was so thrilled) had a Monk in it, too. I used a Dread Spear with it back then, and the improvement Zatoichi Bo provided - in spite of the much lower skill level - was simply too significant to explain only with the statistics of the items. Obviously I might be imagining things, but I've always had the impression that Rogues simply do better with daggers than with swords. They can backstab with both, but they don't seem to rack those multipliers up with swords as much as they do with daggers.

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    I have always found the bard to almost be cheating in the early game. Casting sleep with only stamina as a penalty was just easy. I have only played with a rogue when I had myles in the party. But I have been thinking about what my next party would be.
    Bard
    Bishop
    NInja
    Rogue
    Priest
    ???
    No plans to have any RPC in my party longer then necessary for certain quest. I have never played with a priest and am curious to see what effect "praying" has during battle. As I mentioned I have not used rogues. So I thought this time through I would try some of the classes I just never got around to using. In the MOD's I really like a ninja for it's auto penetration. With all the extra throwing weapons in the MOD's the ninja is much more usable as fighter. Often my ninja would be the only character doing damage.
    In the early years I played W8 very methodically and always strived to get as many experience points as possible and to die as little as possible. I would often end a vanilla game having reached levels in the mid to upper 20's. Now my style is the exact opposite, I don't mind restarts or ending the game with party members having 30 or more deaths With the party above I would class change the bard to fighter after maxing skills. I might class change the priest to a Lord, have to see how it goes but don't plan to class change the others. Now I just need to decide on who that last character will be......
    my favorites in vanilla were dwarf monks, fairie bishops, gnome gad, dracon sam. In the MOD's I found a fighter almost a necessity. I also found myself enjoying a valkyrie (when pushing a low level party into battles they have no business being in often the valkyrie would be the only survivor to resurrect the dead). I find the Lord less useful than the Valkyrie and the samurai just doesn't do criticals or lighting strikes enough to select them over a fighter. Alchemist and Mages, as mentioned by others, are great early to mid game and lose their usefulness by end game.
    I have always played on expert and recently wanted to experience a MOD I had not played. Sincee I was playing the MOD just to see what it was like I played on novice. I was amazed at how often my teams special skills came into play. Far more criticals, lighting strikes, hits in general and how little my team members got hit. Spells worked better..quicksand would take out almost everyone but in expert games I found quicksand a useless spell.
    Last edited by mauddibatreides; 03-22-2015 at 05:00 PM.

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    I never felt it to be cheating, personally, mainly because Sleep is a good spell, but not that good. As early as level three Web provides a much better alternative. Even up until then, almost all of my parties relied on the front-line shock troops to dish out melee damage fast, which meant that Sleep was not much more than a one-time damage multiplier. Not bad at all, don't get me wrong, but not amazing, either. (It's another question that apparently an enemy will miss its entire round even if it falls asleep and wakes up immediately afterwards, which comes handy later on.)

    Personally I think that Myles is a terrible Rogue, and is one of the best examples of how I find the pre-defined development of most RPCs generally very inferior to a properly trained party member. He simply doesn't have the strength to be effective. As melee combatants, Rogues simply need Strength.

    Minor spoiler about praying follows.
    Spoiler!

    I generally don't like Priests, all of their really essential spells are covered by others and they lack offensive capability, too. Of course, I don't mean to discourage you from trying it. As pretty much everything I've ever written in this post and thread, it's strictly an opinion; it might suit your style of playing much more than mine.

    The Ninja's auto-penetration coupled with thrown criticals and critical skill bonus makes it one of the most veritable killing machines indeed. The one in my party is already catching up fast to the original party members in terms of killcount despite having joined much, much later.

    That is familiar to me, too. I've always been going for maximum experience points. I quickly had to realise that I wouldn't complete the game without party members dying, though, so I've come to terms with it. My real quirk is that everyone must be alive by the end of the combat. It doesn't matter how many times they die over the course of the battle itself, but in the end they need to be all alive. I always try to achieve that everyone gets the experience points, and reload even the toughest and most tedious battles if someone isn't resurrected. The six initial party members simply have to have the same amount of experience earned. (I went as far as editing Brekek to give zero experience points.)

    I generally didn't like Faeries, I found that the advantages they had simply weren't enough by far to offset all the drawbacks of not being able to use pretty much anything. A Dwarf Monk is formidable, but generally I have attack on my mind rather than defence, and prefer someone with more strength, dexterity and speed. I also thought that a Lord and a Valkyrie were basically of the same use.

    As for some amends for my initial post, with proper weapons a Samurai is at least as good as a Lord or a Valkyrie, due to critical strikes. Lightning Strike is still a rarity, but their combination of dual weapons and critical strikes makes them very dangerous. Lately I've been thinking that even in the unmodified game with Muramasa Blade they could reap foes pretty quickly.

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    What I think is most interesting, is that everyone has different ideas on rating the classes. My first party to ascend was Lord, Samurai, Ranger, Bard, Gadgeteer, Bishop.
    I hardly ever used a Fighter or Rouge until I started some of the mods. Now I almost always have a Fighter and Rouge in my party.

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    Your recurring nightmare Lord Shield's Avatar
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    I like rogues but, as Frostguard says, Myles starts quite weak, so if I have him I'm chucking levelup points into his strength to make his daggers worthwhile. Generally speaking, I don't like any of the vanilla RPCs with the exception of Saxx, Sparkle and sometimes Myles. I used to use RFS a lot, but that wraparound mental resistance when buffs were up was an irritating bug. Also I tend to remove all of the "cannot enter this area" $#@! via the CF, because there are always LOADS of those places which would make the RPC level up quite slowly compared to the normal party

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    What I find great about the game is that it is winnable playing a solo faerie ninja or a full 6 man party plus two RPC. While party mix can compliment or challenge the personal style of the player no matter what you pick you can finish the game. My below party might not be balanced the best for some peoples playing style, heck it is not even balanced for my playing style, but I know I will be able to finish the game. And along the way to end game I will enjoy the play because I will be forced to follow a different path through the word and have a different tactic during battles because of the party of choice. That make the game replayable after over a decade of play. I must say that even with all this built in replayability the vanilla did get stale. The many different MOD's have provided many more years of enjoyment. My thanks goes out to each and everyone involved with their creation.
    Bard
    Bishop
    NInja
    Rogue
    Priest
    ???

  29. #29
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    Class rating in vanilla Wiz8 mainly depends on how much players are willing, or able,
    to adapt their playstyle and also strategic approach in the game
    to the advantages of the characters in a party.
    And of course how the party is composed.

    e.g. a fighter is unable to shine if 5 casters kill most everything before he is able to act
    a caster among 5 fighters is obsolete if he only casts dmg spells ...

    Classes may háve higher differene in rating in very small parties,
    especially in pure solo runs,
    where magic protection or the ability to crit/kill very fast due to insane dmg
    may help to avoid instant kills by the death cloud or quicksand.


    "mental resistance wraparound of RFS-81":
    run CF, open the game info editor, select races
    and change mental resistance modifier for androids from 100 to 75.
    As compensation(also for being unable to cast;) set Divine modifier from -50 to -25.
    Remember to use the 1.26 exe to remove the speed wrapround.

    btw, did i mention that Speed can be extremely important in this game?

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    Your recurring nightmare Lord Shield's Avatar
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    Can't remember if you mentioned Speed, townltu, but I certainly paid it a lot more respect the first time I played through White Wolf's mod. Since then, it's higher up on my list of things to improve than it used to be

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    I've found Speed incredibly important, too. Due to that (or despite that, rather), it's pretty much always the third attribute I increase with characters. Fighting classes (including most hybrids) go for Strength and Dexterity, and then Speed replaces the one maxed out first (I believe that both are fairly self-explanatory, Strength for sheer damage and Dexterity because it improves the character in pretty much every aspect - and then both their expert skills are great), whereas for casters Intelligence is always first with a secondary attribute for casters (Dexterity for Mages and Alchemists, Bishops generally get Piety - they need those spell points - although Wizardry/Alchemy Bishops increase Dexterity instead). Then Speed, and onwards to other magic-related attributes (for Bishops) or Strength in preparation for their future as warrior-mages.

    On another note, I neglected the game for a little time and when I returned for now (I'm unsure how long it can last) to my party I had to see I'd forgotten just how brutal some classes could become. I only had a few fights and I'm not even kidding, I barely had any non-critical kills. The Ninja topped the race for now, achieving as many as four kills in a single battle - out of seven. All four criticals.

    Related to that, I'm fairly convinced that some monsters are more susceptible to it than others. It might be dependent on level, but a particular group of five monsters barely endured two or three hits each before inevitably receiving a critical strike, not only from the Ninja or the Ranger but the Monk as well as the Rogue (with a firearm, no less). I'll look into the stats. These critters were level twenty-five, but other enemies of that level weren't murdered that easily. (Party level is 34-36, by the way.)

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    In W7 death resistance played role against criticals for monsters (lifeforce resistance for characters). This is in addition to the level adjustment.

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    I'm back for now, and, admittedly for little more than messing around (FOR SCIENCE!), I had an idea.

    Back when I was very, very young, I believed that there were three classes that were necessary to have in a party of six: Fighter, Mage, Priest.

    Eventually (rather soon, actually) I had to realise that Priests aren't even that good or essential (or, to say my honest opinion, any good at all). All of their essential spells are easily covered by the Bard-Gadgeteer combination, which, while being two characters instead of one, are both vastly more effective and versatile than a Priest. Much later on, I found out the power of the Bishop, which was the coup de grace for the Priest. Not to mention that the poor guy has very little in the way of offence, which is half a death sentence in my case; it's not even a matter of personal preference, I just can't play characters properly if they don't have a few good ways of hurting opponents.

    The Mage held out much longer. While I was slowly beginning to see that he's not as much vital as just incredibly handy and powerful early in the game, it was the Bishop who finished him off for a time, too. Only for a time, however; the Mage is going through a resurgence right now. Recently I've switched from the double-Bishop setup to a Bishop-Mage one for two reasons. One is that the Mage helps vastly in early-game survival; another is that I can retrain a Mage to a Samurai, which I'm fond of due to ambience if nothing else. Still, I could easily go through the game without one.

    And so I was left with Fighter. I think that the Fighter's appeal is very easy to see; he's simplicity incarnate. He hits hard and he stands firm. There's little else to him, but what else do you need?

    Still, a little while ago a thought emerged in my mind and hasn't left since. What about a party without a Fighter? It's the last class I deem more or less essential, how would I do without it?

    I thought there was one way to find out.

    I hastily made a new party of a Lord, a Samurai, a Ninja, an Alchemist, a Mage and a Bishop. (Ah, good old triple-caster party, I haven't had one in ages.) And surprises abound! I didn't expect half the things I've witnessed. (I more than expected the other half, however.) For a point of reference, I'm around level nine, on my way back to the Monastery from Arnika.

    The Samurai, despite using weapons only from the original game (Enchanted Katana and Wakizashi) easily matches the Lord in terms of damage, despite the Lord being equipped with substantially more powerful weapons. It's a pleasant surprise, really. Actually, I think I've seen much harder hits from the Samurai than ever from the Lord, though obviously those were dealt to incapacitated enemies.

    The Ninja isn't doing too impressively yet; that might be because I haven't found enough thrown weapons and due to switching from staffs to daggers. (I find daggers more favourable for Ninjas, due to the highly increased number of attacks going together well with the Critical Strike skill bonus.)

    Much more surprising yet is that the Alchemist has the highest killcount by far, almost having twice as many as the Mage in the second position. I'm convinced it's at least partly due to being slower than the mage and being able to conveniently finish off those whom the Mage has softened up, though. I've watched it happen way too many times.

    Now for the less shocking part:
    Lightning Strike has triggered three times so far. All three times on a heavily wounded enemy who died from the first attack. I'm not even kidding, it's not even funny anymore.

    Obviously, the path onwards is pretty much set forth; going through the game, with the Mage eventually becoming a Samurai (maybe even continuing to wield a staff) and the Alchemist being retrained into a Ranger (I've never done that one before). Now the fate of the Bishop is uncertain. Retraining him to a Fighter very late in the game when it matters little anyway is what I think will happen; there's little else to do with a full-fledged Bishop.

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    10/10 Bishop: since there is only 3 spots available in the rear - I usually want no more than three casters. therefore, a bishop can work in tandem with other spellcasters(or not), and do well in small or large parties. learning how to mold a bishop to what a party needs is one of the finer arts of wizardry.

    9/10 Fighter: high hit points, armor class, and damage. extended range weapons.

    8/10 Rogue: the best at traps and very high physical damage. bloodlust + thieves dagger is a large powerspike. rogues limited offhand weaponry, armor choices, and close melee range limit their numbers, though.

    7/10 Mage, Psionicist, and Alchemist: fairly effective due to ease of training and leveling. One or two of these with a bishop for the rear.

    6/10 Samurai, Ninja, Monk, Ranger, Bard and Gadgeteer: niche skirmishers with interesting abilities and itemization. If critical is based on your level vs the mob, then the critical strike classes do better in smaller parties since they will be higher level. bards are good in kill-with-magic parties and gadgeteers in ranged parties.

    5/10 Priest, Lord, and Valkyrie: front line healers can get hit from behind, which tends to have these classes overshadowed by bishops, partially due to divinity's lack of offensive power.

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    disregarding which npcs can join you:

    valkyrie 10/10 only class that can prevent you from loading a save in the event of total bull (crushed by elevator, falling off the world and zoning down to your death, overpowered modded boss that 1 hit kills everyone)

    fighter 9/10 rogue 8/10 that weird fighter/rogue/minmax 10/10

    bishop that grinds 10/10 bishop that doesn't grind 3/10

    mage/priest/alchemist/psionic let's say 4, 3, 3, 3 (in the late game a lot of enemies will feel overly resistant and in the early game your skills will be low unless you've grinded, and if you're a grinder why aren't you using a bishop?)

    lord 1/10 because why not just make a valkyrie?

    ranger 6/10 scouting isn't very good unless you somehow need it in which case it is!

    samurai 5/10 there isn't much synergy between attack spells and attack damage even if lightning strike is cool

    monk 7/10 nice combination this is similar to what I'd give a valkyrie if the game wasn't buggy and didn't sometimes kill your entire party for no reason

    bard 8/10 really nice abilities useful all game. gadgeteer 6/10 a slightly less good bard weird bard/gadgeteer hybrid 9/10 because even though this is godmode you'll run out of stamina too fast

    ninja 8/10 very versatile and powerful but not that much fun to grind up. makes for a really fun party of 1 though.

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    That's interesting, dbouya, I did not know a valkyrie could save herself from that type of situation. So, I was interested in possibly adding valkyries to my parties. However, I am having difficulty reproducing the effect. The easiest place to test that, that I know of(I don't see it mentioned often, either), is the door that separates the trang teleporter from the trang transporter. The ooze on the floor slides you into the closed metal door, and if you are moving forward when the door opens for the trang to come through the door, you fall through the world. I added Vi to my party and went to the spot and 10 out of 10 times testing it was a total party kill?

    On a side note: I swore by bards and gadgeteers for a long time. However, failed castings by them due to the inability to control casting level has slowly made me drop them from my parties more. It is really annoying when you need the bard or gadgeteer to do something, and they goof it.

  37. #37
    Newbie Erkilmarl's Avatar
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    If your party falls from the map, they will be crushed and Vi has never helped me there either. You must try a fall down that will only kill everyone, eg. the hole in the floor in the Tynton temple where you kill some Rapax. Vi will stay alive, but of course it isn't much help, since it is very possible that some wandering monsters will attack her. I have once survived a fall through dungeon levels the same way. It might have been an interesting turn of events, if I only had had a chance to resurrect other party members.
    Not Aelfinn or Eelfinn, but Realfinn

  38. #38
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    I'd rate Divinity users way higher. Also pure casters are pretty bad, especially psionic and mage due to the equipment. Also Ninjas should reflect on the special case of a Fairy Ninja imo.

    Now I only know the basic game w/o mods so that maybe one major reason for these differences I assume?
    Besides that I'd mostly rate characters based on games with few characters since full parties blend over the classes' weaknesses anyway.

  39. #39
    Newbie Sirius's Avatar
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    Divinity users as in Lord, Priest, Valkyrie? Bishop does what they do better..except melee, but you don't need them to melee because you got three fighters and a rogue lawn-mowering in the front row. Unless you are talking about some type of powertrain/powergame, but in that case you would max out your divinity users school/realm skills and class change them into fighters.

    Pure casters are bad..relative to what? They have the highest skill in their schools, and they don't ever get hit in the back row with missile shield and your back to a wall with your melee protecting them. Blending over a classes weaknesses is essentially what party building is about. As special as a case is of faerie ninja, I'd still take a rogue dealing massive backstabs over it, unless you need the alchemy. But why would you need the alchemy when you took a bishop. You did take a bishop?

    I only play vanilla; I do not use mods.

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