Saturday, 11 June 2011

Pool of Radiance: Maza is dead, long live Maza

All of my characters died last time, so instead of reloading, I decided to roll new characters. Of course they would all have to be members of my imaginary band of mercenaries called Maza. Having read the manual more thoroughly, and understanding the level caps imposed by the game, I decided that multiclassing is useful after all.

My reasoning is that mages (will never get used to calling them magic-users) start pretty weak and their spells empty too fast. Then they are useless for the rest of the battle. So it would be meaningful for me to multiclass them as fighters. This way, when they run out of spells, they will still be able to whack some enemies. And why not multiclass clerics as well? Also, thieves will benefit too. This might make leveling slower, but it can't get slower than getting the whole party killed and restarting every time. Everybody will pick-up the fighter class, and only the fighter will not multiclass. It was decided. It felt like cheating, and it certainly this isn't doable in later version of pen and paper DnD,

Another thing that helped me early on, was that I bought plate mail armor as soon as I could. Thanks to all my party members being multiclassed-fighters, they all could wear it. Their armor class (AC) was so low that they rarely got hit by low-level enemies. Besides, if it's allowed in the game, who is to tell that the programmers haven't assumed that players will use that 'feature' and built the game and enemies accordingly? If I didn't take advantage of this, wouldn't I be handicapping myself?

There are some thing that annoy me with pool of radiance. How hitpoints are displayed for example. You can never see you maximum hitpoints, unless you are fully healed. Otherwise, you can only see your current hitpoints and a color indication signaling that they are not full. But other than that, you can never tell how many you need until fully rested, so you have to guesstimate when using a cure spell if it is efficient to cast it, or if you are just curing a single lost hitpoints. Either that, or write your party's full hitpoints down somewhere.

An annoying thing is that you have to memorize again every spell you cast. It is not done automatically. I hope that they change this in later games of the series.

Battles tend to drag a long time, mainly because the computer is taking his time to move units that cannot affect the battle in any way. Usually this consists of choosing 'guarding' a action on units that are far away. I am practically blogging when it's the enemy's turn. I could turn the speed up (there is an option for this), but that would make reading the battle text impossible.

If you try to see a normal looking item that is in fact a magic one, the merchant will ask for a very large price, in effect betraying the magic nature of the item to you. I would expect the merchant to ask for the normal price, and only ask for a high price if you had ID'ed the item beforehand. Also, I am not sure if the magic bonus apply if you wear an unidentified magic armor.

It was irritating when trying to buy something that cost 100 gold pieces but you only had platinum pieces. For some reason the merchants would not take bigger denominations. I don't know if I am doing something wrong. One a similar note, my electrum pieces seem to be useless for the time being.
*update* It seems I am wrong on that one. I thought one electrum equals 100 gold pieces. Unfortunately one gold piece equals two electrum pieces.

Another small thing that bugs me. When I surprise, say, a band of kobolds and I chose to flee, I get the following message... 'The monsters flee.' Hmm. It's funny finding all these bugs, because modern gamers always whine about day one patches and then say 'old games never had bugs'. What they mean is 'old games never had day one patches (because there was no way to patch them in the first place)'. Also, why is there an option to attack a teammember? I don't have anything to gain from it. I am reserving my usefulness of this option, because there might, just might, be a possibility that my members get possessed or something. Then it might be useful, but I doubt that the programmers have thought of that.

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