Saturday, March 12, 2016

Tales of Maj'Eyal: Summoning and Failure

As mentioned previously, I am terrible at this game. I finally managed to get a character to the max level of 50, though, and got all the way to the final area in the original campaign. And then, of course, I died.
Yemoner the Yeek Summoner (adventure mode, normal difficulty) was born a week or so ago after his predecessor bought the farm. Summoners in Tales of Maj'Eyal are able to call various creatures to their side to fight off the bad guys. The summoner himself can't fight much, but his minions do most of the battling anyway. At least, when things are going well.

The different creature types give a summoner a pretty decent variety of options to handle various situations. Some creatures mostly use ranged attacks, others are mainly melee. Some are damage-dealers, others work best for defense. My favorites are the Minotaur (heavy single-target melee physical damage) and the Fire Drake (big area-of-effect physical and fire damage). I used all of the creatures at various times, though - none are useless.

As you move up in levels and gain access to advanced skills, your creatures get better as well. For instance, picking up the Master Summoner and Grand Arrival skills add effects whenever you summon a new creatures. War Hounds reduce enemy physical resistance, Minotaurs slow them, etc. There are also "wild" versions of your creatures with additional skills. It's nice that you can keep using the same creatures as you get further into the game, rather than having the early ones become useless as enemies get stronger.

This is the first character I've ever gotten all the way to level 50 in Tales of Maj'Eyal, and it went fairly easily. At least, compared to my many other attempts. I did die once somewhere in the 20s, due to a really unlucky teleport - from a bad situation to a worse one. But other than that, Yemoner made it all the way into the high 40s without serious trouble.

It wasn't fast, though. Takes a lot longer to clear out enemies by proxy through your summons, compared to killing them all personally via the sword or spell. I spent a lot of time checking around corners and maneuvering creatures so that the enemies would see them first, rather than attacking my personal self. It got much easier once I found a set of gloves with the Track skill, which shows where every enemy in a range of 25. Even with that advantage, though, it still takes longer to summon a few creatures than to just walk up and stab something.

By the time I got to the final portion of the campaign (clearing the four Orc Prides and the High Peak), Yemoner was in the upper 40s, and hit 50 on the second Orc stronghold. Died once to a level 61 boss that teleported me into the Fearscape, which is an alternate dimension filled with fire that just destroyed me. Can't hide while your minions do battle when the floor is on fire! I never did kill that one. Ended up having to run past him to the zone exit. There were several more bosses that I escaped in a similar fashion, either because they killed my minions so fast that they weren't taking any damage, or because the boss would hit Yemoner so hard that he was going to die before the minions could make the kill.

The fact that I had to run like that several times was a warning that the final fight would be a major problem, and this was the case. The final area is fairly small, so nowhere to run and hide. There are two level 75 (!) bosses plus many smaller creatures. I had three remaining lives, which did not last me long. The bosses were doing so much damage and applying so many bad status effects (blind, stun, etc) that I'd only manage to summon three or four creatures before dying. All the defensive and escape measures that I'd used through the rest of the game were pretty much useless due to the small area and sheer amount of damage.

So, that was disappointing, to make it all the way to the end but have no chance in the final fight. Still, at least I saw it. That's probably the last I'll play the original Tales of Maj'Eyal campaign for a while. I've seen it all (even if I didn't actually win), so it feels like my next character should try the new second campaign. That may be a while, though, as I've got some other gaming to do before heading back into Tales of Maj'Eyal.

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