Monthly Archives: August 2014

Guild Wars 2 – new player tips

GW2-logoTips for new players

Since one of the main things that can put players off Guild Wars 2 can be how complex the game to grasp in the beginning, I decided to put up some useful tips for new players, a sort of simplified guide.

Contents


User Interface (UI)

GW2-UIMost of the things you will need on a daily basis are linked on the Menu bar, such as your bags, the trading post and all the settings.


 Skills, talents and weapons

GW2-toolbarWeapons
Different classes are able to wield different types of weapons.  You can check which weapons your class can use by checking here:
Menu Bar > Hero > Skills and Traits > Weapon Skills

  • When you first try a weapon, you won’t know how to use it, but the more you use a weapon, the more of the skills you unlock in it.  Once you have unlocked the skills on that character, you will always know them.
  • Different classes that can use the same weapon have different weapon skills related to that weapon.
  • Most classes will unlock weapon swapping at level 7. Elementalists and Engineers do not have this because their learned skills have a similar effect.

Healing
Every type of class has one main healing skill, this is always shown as the 6th button to the right of the health circle.  You can learn several healing skills from the selection listed, but you can only have one active at a time.
Menu Bar > Hero > Skills and Traits > Slot Skills

Slot Skills
Slot skills become active as you level up, the first one opens up at level 5.  Using the Skills and Traits page, you can pick slot skills to learn, but to learn one costs skill points.
Menu Bar > Hero > Skills and Traits > Slot Skills

  • The more advanced slot skills will use more skill points.
  • You gain skill points through levelling up, or finding Scrolls of Knowledge from rare chests found from defeating very strong enemies.
  • Like healing skills, you are limited in how many you can have active.  You can have a maximum of 3 slot skills active, and the slots for these will activate as you level up.

Toolbar
The toolbar skills will change depending on what class you are, and what healing and slot skills you have active.

Traits
Traits will start to unlock at level 30.  These will allow you to choose some passive buffs, that will help boost your chosen skills and abilities.
Menu Bar > Hero > Skills and Traits > Traits


 Chat tips and useful Chat commands

You will generally find that depending on what map you are on, map chat tends to move quite fast, and you can miss when guild members, friends or people around you speak with you.  I find adding new tabs and customizing them for different circumstances works well.  I have one set up to show any items I pick up, as well as party chat and whispers, having map chat on a different tab.  Play around with it until you find something that works for you.

Here are some useful basic chat commands.  For a full list, check out the wiki page here.

Shortcut Command Channel Seen by
/s
/l
/say
/local
Say All players nearby your character. (Appears to be 2000 weapon range)
/g /guild Guild Active guild.
/p /party Party Current party.
/d /squad Squad Active squad.
/t /team Team Active team (PvP and Keg Brawl only).
/m
/y
/map
/yell
Map All players in your current Zone or City.
/w /whisper
/tell
Private Sends private message.

Guilds and Banners

In Guild Wars 2 you can join up to 5 guilds, but you can only represent one of them at a time.
Menu Bar > Guilds

Joining and representing a guild may give you some benefits such as some passive bonuses, the ability to do special guild events and so-forth. There is also the guild chat.

A guild that has levelled up their perks will also have the ability to put down different banners that will give anyone (including non-members) the chance to click it for different buffs, such as increased resource gathering, increased Karma gain and increased magic find.  You may come across these banners while out and about as they tend to linger for quite a while, but the most likely place you will see them is around Boss events where guilds will put down banners to increase the chances of getting good loot.


Bags, sorting and bank space

Bag upgrades
You can upgrade the space of your bags by buying larger bags to add to your backpack.  Drag and drop these to the slots on the left side of the bag to increase the size.  You can buy larger bags from the trading post, by crafting them from some professions, or by finding them from some more difficult monsters or sometimes even from quest rewards.

Bank SpaceGW2-bankicon
Everyone has a bank automatically, and the bank space is shared between all your characters.  You can access it via a Bank Teller in major cities and some outposts, or from any crafting station.

Collections
In addition to the bank space, each character has a collections space.  This is where crafting items and miniatures can be stored.  You put items into your collections space from your bag, by right clicking on the item and choosing ‘Deposit collectable’, or opening the drop-down list at the top right of the bag, and select ‘Deposit all collectables’.  You can access the collections once more from your bank or from any crafting station.


 Sweet loot

Changing your settings to loot things easier is always a good start:

GW2-lootMenu Bar > Game Menu > Options

  • AoE Loot On Interact (loots more than one corpse within an area)
  • Autoloot (loots all items without you looking through them) 

Selling Loot

Any vendor will buy loot from you, but you will get more for it if you trade it to other players on the trading post.
Menu Bar > Black Lion Trading CompanyGW2-tradingicon

GW2-tradingpost

Remember that you can put any of your items up on the trading post, or buy items no matter where you are through the menu bar, but you have to actually visit a Black Lion Trader in order to pick up any items or gold from trades.  These can be found in all major cities, but also sometimes at outposts.  The vendors always have a little scales icon above their heads.  The same icon will show on your map and mini-map.

    • Sell junk to npc vendors
    • Soulbound or Account bound items cannot be traded to other players
    • Small bags that have random items in will generally sell for more than the contents are worth
    • Cloth armour and cloth salvage items will generally sell for way more than their base price

Currencies

There are several currencies in the game.  You can see your different currency amounts at:
Menu Bar > Hero > Wallet

  • Gold / Silver / Copper – the standard and most used currency
  • Karma – this currency is used instead of gold by karma vendors for special items.  Doing renown heart quests, random events and boss events earn karma
  • Laurels – got from doing daily achievements, rare and high level items on this vendor.  There are laurel vendors in all main cities.
  • Gems – the cash shop currency
  • Badges of Honor – pvp vendor currency
  • Transmutation Charges – used to change the look of your weapons and armour
  • Dungeon currency (various) – used for special items relating to each dungeon

 Quests

Quests in the game tend to come in two main areas:
Personal Story Quests
This is the first type of quest that a player will come across, because the start of their personal story is the start of the game. Your personal story will generally be shown on the top right of the screen, or alternatively you can check on your hero page for more details:
Menu Bar > Hero > Story Journal

  • Your personal story is dictated by the choices the player makes at character creation, and then later the decisions he/she makes in the game.
  • Your personal story will continue as you level up, bringing more content and exploration right up to level 80.
  • When you complete your personal story, you open up the new Living World story content that goes after it

Renown Heart Quests
These are quests that are scattered throughout the world.  Instead of there being random npcs with a quest here and there, you have Renown hearts showing up on the map, where you have npcs needing things done for them.

  • Do items in the area of the heart to fill it.
  • When you have it filled you get a reward of karma, gold and experience
  • When you have filled it the heart npc will have things to sell to you

Travel and Exploration

Exploring can be both useful and profitable!  Each map in the world has a certain number of items in it that you can find and explore.  Finding each will give you experience, and finding all the items in the map will give you a chest filled with loot!

  • Vistas – shows a view of the surrounding area
  • Points of Interest – places of note
  • Hearts – quests/tasks given by npc
  • Waypoints – travel locations
  • Skill challenges – completing these gives you a skill point

Waypoints are the fast way to get around Tyria.  They let you travel instantly from anywhere to a waypoint you have discovered.  Waypoints in a city cost nothing to go between if you are already in that city, but travel anywhere else by waypoints will cost you money.  That cost will increase as your level does.


 Achievements

Achievements give you more things to do in a game, but in Guild Wars 2 they can actually give you loot, special weapon and armour skins and permanent account buffs.  You can view the achievements page here:
Menu Bar > Hero > Achievements
The ones that players should take note of the most are the Daily Achievements:
Menu Bar > Hero > Achievements > Daily and Monthly > Daily
Doing five of the daily achievements each day will give you loot, as well as a laurel.  You can buy some of the best accessories and jewellery in the game on the laurel vendor, so it is worth doing.  The daily achievements change each day so there is always variety.


 Customizing your Weapons and Armour

In Guild Wars 2, you can change your weapons and armour into any other look that you have already unlocked the skin of.

Unlocking SkinsGW2-unlocked
To unlock a skin of a piece of armour or weapon, you can Soulbind it by putting it on, or you learn the skin when salvaging the item with a salvage kit.

  • You will know you have unlocked the skin of an item by the tooltip changing from ‘Skin Locked’ to ‘Skin Unlocked’.
  • Once you have unlocked a skin on one character, it is available for all your characters.

Changing your look
To change the look of any weapon or armour you have, you can go to the Wardrobe panel:

  1. Menu Bar > Hero > Wardrobe
  2. Click on the item you want to change, this brings up a list of the skins for that item on the left
  3. Select the skin you want to change your item to look like
  4. A box will appear on the right allowing you to apply the change/changes to your armour and weapons GW2-transmute

 Useful Links

Guild Wars official News page
This is generally good to keep checking, as it can list useful information, links and point out when they have certain promotions or free items when you might have missed them.

Guild Wars 2 wiki
If you are looking for information about, well, anything to do with guild wars 2, the chances are that information is going to be listed in this wiki.  It is very well maintained.

Dulfy.net
If you are looking for information on the newest events, cash shop items and different guides, this is the one-stop-shop.  They are super fast at getting new information up, as well as great guides.

Boss Timers
Dulfy.net timer – Allows you to get audible reminders
Guild Wars Temple timer – has a more visual representation of the bosses

Guild Wars 2 Armor Gallery
This is a very handy page for seeing how different armour will look when searching for that -perfect- look for your character.

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Guild Wars 2 – review (PvE)

GW2-logoGuild Wars 2 – game review

For all the posts I have done, I have actually never posted about the game that I play the most; Guild Wars 2.  Part of this is because I find it difficult to absent myself enough to make an unbias review of a game when I am playing it so much, but I will do my best here to give some basis for others to decide if this is the game for them.  I am going to focus mainly on the PvE content of the game, since I do not engage in the other aspects and cannot therefore comment much about it.

Brief Summary

Good Points Bad Points
1. Excellent gear customization
2. Lots of varied PvE content
3. Really good trading post system
4. Varied combat and builds
1. Crafting not useful until end-of-game
2. Lagg during boss events
3. More difficult for new players to grasp
4. Weapon skills not moveable

Free-to-play

I felt I should tackle this first.  Guild Wars 2 is a free-to-play game, and free-to-play games have a rather (read: very) bad reputation.  However, readers may be pleased to hear that out of all the different free-to-play games I have tried, Guild Wars is undoubtedly done the best.

I would not know, playing this game, that is free-to-play.  There are no adverts, there are no insidious prompts within quests to buy from the game store, there is no requirement to purchase things in order to get quests or achievements done, there are no items for sale that give you an advantage in combat.

All they sell in the shop are fluff items, and items that make the game a bit easier to play.  You want more bank space?  Sure, you can buy gems and get more.  You want some nice armour skins?  You can buy those to.  You want some fluff items for fun?  Yup, you can buy those.

If you want something from the cash shop, you spend your money and you buy a pack of gems.  All the cash shop items are sold in gems.  However, you can also trade in-game gold for gems, so if a player plays long enough, and saves their in-game gold, they can get the same items that a player that spends real-life cash can.  How does the game make their money then?  Many people will pay for gems for the convenience to buy something they want now.  Time is money.  I have bought gems.

Putting it simply, Guild Wars 2’s free-to-play system works.  It works well.  You get a game that has lots of content, and other than the retail price copy of the game, you get to play it for free.

Character Creation and customization

When first creating a character in the game, you will find that there are many options for you to choose from.  There are five different races in the game, Human, Charr, Sylvari, Asura, and Norn, and each look different, as well as having their own character animations that change the feel of how each of the races play.  Each race will start in their own local map, and have personalized story quests that give insight into each of the races as well as help build immersion for the player.

There is a fairly good customization of your character available at the start of the game in terms of the face, hair, body-build skin-tone etc, though more variety would be welcome (and is actually available with special items in the game later for editing).

What else is customizable in the game is your clothing/armour.  No matter what items you put on, you can change their appearance and colour if you have unlocked armour/weapon skins of that type and have charges (got through story quests etc) to do so.  In this aspect Guild Wars has outdone itself, because there are literally thousands of variations, and in general, no two characters I have met have ever looked alike.

Skills, Talents and Levelling up

The skills in the game are a little different to other mmos and rpgs I have played.  The skills your character can get are split up into three different areas.

    • Weapon Skills – different weapons give you different skills
    • Slot Skills – as you level up, you get skill points to spend on skills to add to your toolbar
    • Traits – at certain levels, you gain talent points, the ones you choose will buff your slot and weapon skills

At first the weapon skills can seem a bit restrictive, especially since you cannot switch the places of the different skills within your toolbar as you can in other games.  However as I played the game more, I forgot all about it, only noticing it when a new player might mention it.

When you level your character up, the addition of more talents and traits allows you to build a great diversity of different types of character and playstyles, added to by the diversity of gear choices.

UI, Bags and Bank space

The UI in the game is fairly straight forward.  Most of the pages a player will need to look at are located in tabs on the Hero panel, such as armour, personal story quests, achievements and so-forth.  The only slight irritation about the UI has been since the addition of the player wardrobe feature, as it has added more options to the hero panel that was already pretty full to begin with.  However, the addition of the wardrobe feature means that this small gripe is an easy price to pay for the functionality.

Bags are also fairly simple, as you have one starter bag, and you can add other bags of varying sizes to it to increase the bag space. These can be found on some monsters, crafted, or bought from other players via the trading post.

Each player has a bank space, which is fairly well sized, (and can be upgraded using gems), and the bank space is shared by all the characters on your account.  In addition to your bank space, you also have a collectables tab (shared by all your characters) which is the place where almost all your crafting materials can be stored.  You can deposit collectables from your bag from the drop-down menu from anywhere and can access them again from a crafting stand or your bank.

All-in-all I really have no problems with the storage offered by the game.  The collectables tab in particular is highly useful.

Trading

Wanting some logs?

Wanting some logs?

Trading in the game is done through the trading post.  Players will put up items they wish to sell, and other players will purchase them. It is not an auction system, as the items have a set price. Trades do not have a time limit or an item limit, they stay up until they are sold, or they are taken down by the seller.  There is a listing fee and a if the item sells then the trading post takes a portion of the profit.

One of the things that sets this trading post apart from ones in other games is the sheer amount of players using it, and the amount of items listed.  For instance, you want some Soft Wood for crafting, then there are literally hundreds of thousands of them listed on the trading post.

Crafting

I would like to say first that I actually do like the crafting in the game.  It is varied and interesting, unfortunately it is mostly just a pure money-sink and fairly useless.  If you, like myself, are merely doing general open-world PvE then it is really not worth the time, and here is why:

  • Levelling up crafting costs a lot.  To get to 500 crafting in a profession, you are literally going to be spending well over 100 gold, not to mention the gathered resources you could have sold for a profit.  Crafting materials sell for a lot.
  • While you can craft stuff to use while you are levelling your character, the chances are that you will be able to find that gear, or even better, on the trading post for less than the cost of initially producing it, but certainly less than the production of it plus the cost of levelling that profession.
  • When you get to the top level (level 80), doing open world PvE, you can buy Exotic gear that will do you very well for all the open-world content in the game. You can buy a full set of Exotic level 80 gear for 15-20 gold.  This is a fraction of the cost of levelling a single crafting profession.

The only reason you would need crafting is to craft Ascended gear.  That is the step up from Exotic gear, and it is currently some of the best in the game in terms of stats.  You cannot buy Ascended gear (except for jewellery and accessories) because it is always account-bound.  If you want to do really hard dungeons, then sure, by all means invest in crafting, but for general pve, it really isn’t necessary.

Combat

The combat, although I do a lot of it, I do not profess to know that much about.  From this point of view you can readily assume that even someone with very little know-how can survive through the game without too much difficulty depending on whether they find a class and set of skills that work for them.

Don’t get too complacent though, as there are plenty of builds, classes and fights that I, in my combat novice attitude, have no clue how to even approach.  It is for this reason that I avoid doing many of the more difficult dungeons etc.  I know my limits, but it is also a sign that the game has more challenging combat than someone like I can take on.

More than the combat abilities and builds itself, there is variety in the combat you come across.  Some fights will require a basic tank-and-spank setup, while others will require you to carefully manoeuvre your group to doing certain things, or avoiding others.  Even the open-world boss fights can have much more demanding tactics required than others.  The difference, for instance, between doing Shadow Behemoth and Tequatl the Sunless cannot be more different or difficult.  No need to guess the one I avoid going to.

Party and multiplayer dynamics

There are four types of multiplayer within the PvE of the game.

  • Party – as in other games, this is a small pre-made group that can go and do content together.
  • Small Events – a dynamic event where players work together to complete a localized goal, such as an escort or defence event.  These players are not partied.
  • Boss Events – a timed event that requires lots of people to complete. Between 10-100 players may all be attempting this event.  These players are not partied.
  • Dungeons – A pre-made group that does a dungeon instance together
Killing a boss event without name tags

Killing a boss event without name tags

Killing a boss event WITH name tags showing

Killing a boss event WITH name tags showing

The events are the most noticeable place you will work with other players, because so many come together for large boss events.  There can be between 10 and 100 players (at a rough estimate) all on the same map hitting on the same boss.

These events give some of the best loot, but can also cause the most lagg due to the number of players (and player animations) in the one area.  See the full sized image above for an idea of the number of people at this event, and this was in the middle of the day on a weekday.  People can change various graphics options for boss events, such as the number of players visible, to reduce the amount of lagg they might get.

Quests

There are two main types of quests that players will come across in the game.
Personal Story Quests
This is the first type of quest that a player will come across, because the start of their personal story is the start of the game.  This personal story is dictated by the choices the player makes at character creation, and then later the decisions he/she makes in the game.  Your personal story will continue as you level up, bringing more content and exploration.
Renown Heart Quests
These are quests that are scattered throughout the world.  Instead of there being random npcs with a quest here and there, you have Renown hearts showing up on the map, where you have npcs needing things done for them.  These will generally be themed around whatever is going on in the region.  When you have done enough to satisfy the person, your heart is filled with gold and you get a reward.

Living World Content

This is generally a content update that brings events where you have a section of an ongoing story plot that will have special rewards and loot associated with it, but only is available for a set time.  Some of these are for all levels of players to enjoy like the wintersday event, while others (more recently) have been much more a continuation of your personal story that coincides with new lands, and being for level 80s only as a result.

The living world content tends to have a variety of different types of things going on, including PvE quests, event-specific dynamic events, fun pvp events, time-limited crafting items, special loot, achievements and vendor items.

Conclusions

I don’t really think it takes a genius to figure out that I think this game is well worth your time, that was a foregone conclusion.  There are drawbacks to the game, but it is whether you feel those drawbacks are enough of an issue to not play it is really up to personal taste.  Some people don’t find the game quite immersive enough, especially early on where the personal story has that two person dialogue thing going, while others felt the game was a bit too complex early on to get into.

Unfortunately there generally are not free trials offered, but once in a while the game is put out on discount if you keep watch on their news page.  Personally, I find the retail price very reasonable considering the amount of time you can spend in the game.  Most retail only games (like single players) give you perhaps 15-30 hours of game play, more if it is a sandbox like Skyrim. I was shocked, and somewhat horrified at how long I have spent in this game.  Embarrassed certainly.  Shamed.. maybe.

Here is my secret shame.  They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step, heh.

Here is my secret shame. They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step, heh.

I would also say that if you have not already purchased Guild Wars 2, and wish to, the game has released the pre-purchase of their first expansion, Heart of Thorns (no release date as of yet).  This expansion, although pricy, comes with the original game included for free if you don’t have it, so if you are considering getting the game, I would suggest you perhaps get the expansion, rather than paying for the game, then having to make a second purchase.  You can find information on the link below.

www.guildwars2.com

 I think the expansion is pricy, but for what you get for it, it will indeed be worth your money in comparison to other games, especially if you are a new player.  As always though, do some research into any game you are considering buying.  Check on YouTube for videos of gameplay, graphics and overall experience in the game before purchasing.

Divinity: Original Sin – review

divinity-logodivinity-button3divinity-button1

Game Review

After a friend bought me this game, I have found myself playing it quite a lot.  But I found myself, when asked about the game, not really knowing initially whether it was a good or a bad game, and so in the interests of clarity, I am going to write a review of my experiences here, and then write other posts on getting the most out of the game (links at the top of the page).

Brief Summary

Good Points

 Bad Points

1. The game is interesting
2. The world is engaging
3. The quests are varied
4. Puzzles and treasure add interest
5. Combat is fun and challenging
1. There are a lot of quest bugs
2. Crafting is about as non-intuitive as you can get
3. Exploring too far can block useful features until near end-of game
4. Bag sorting is a pain
5. Not enough combat for level 2-5

Character Creation

Although there are many options in character creation, it gave me a bad first impression of the game because it stopped short on features.  Although most are there, you cannot, for instance, change the bodyshape of your character, other than male or female.  You cannot make a slender male, for they are ALL a standard hulk size, while the females are all curvy and busty.  Hair and beard you can change, but you cannot change the shape of the face itself.

While these give an annoying first impression, it should be noted that while in the game, you actually don’t see your characters that close up again, and so such things are not really to be noticed.  It really doesn’t affect the game after you get out of the character creation screen.

UI

The UI in the game is fairly well done and straight forward.  I didn’t really have too many issues with it, although the map could certainly do with having the names of the different portals on them to make navigating them easier.

Skills, Talents and Levelling up

The skills and talents you get have been fairly well thought out and in combat they work well.  I do feel however that players are sort of limited if they want to do a pure non-mage character.  It seems like you are meant to supplement whatever skills you choose with mage skills.  While mages tend to have a feast of spells to choose from, Warriors, rogues and rangers I feel could have done with having more choice.

In the most part, I havn’t had many problems with levelling up, except for a brief time between the levels of level 2 and level 5.  When you get to level 6 and onwards there are plenty of mobs to fight and questing goes naturally through those.  However before that time players are likely still trying to find enough people to fill their party, and without that you are going to struggle with even the very limited number of mobs at your level.  This means that you tend to be stuck trying to do quests in town for a long time trying to level up and get useful skills, which limits gameplay.  However once you get to level 6 and have a full party things will go much smoother.

Party Dynamics

You start out with your two main characters, but as you progress in the game you can pick up up to two more party members (assuming you do not pick the ‘lone wolf’ talent which will decrease your party size by one for each character with the talent).

There are currently two npc’s you can pick up in a town to join your party, and then later there is a place to get hirelings.  The npcs you find have some interaction with your characters, while the hirelings are completely silent and have no discernible personality.  I hear more npcs are going to be added with future updates of the game.  Personally I found the current npcs annoying, so I was more than happy to have silent hirelings.

Quests

I have found the quests fun and interesting and the variety of types of quests is good, although there are bugs that are evident.

Because the game doesn’t actually hold your hand through things, sometimes it can be difficult in telling whether something -is- a bug, or whether you just have not quite searched enough.  This is not helped by the fact that the journal does not clearly demarcate whether quests are side quests, or part of the main quest, and whether that side quest is map-specific. Some quests span over several maps and cannot be completed immediately, while others are just difficult to figure out.

Overall though the quests are good, and I expect the bugs will be improved upon in later patches.

Puzzles

There are various puzzles within the game.  They are not critical to the plot for the most part, so you can skip most of them should you so desire.

It should be noted that the game does not hold your hand through these puzzles.  In fact in some cases I feel that they could have given a little bit more information or ways to get hints as to even what direction you should be looking.  While half of the time I knew vaguely what to do or I found it fairly easy to understand, the other half I didn’t even know where to begin (‘Talking statues’, I am looking at you!) and ended up asking google for tips.

The puzzles are quite interesting though.  There are parts of quests that you have to puzzle through how to get from A to B, and those are interesting, especially since in general many of these quests have offered up a couple of ways to complete them.

Combat

divinity-combatI really like the combat.  It is turn based and so you can really take your time (should you wish to) to work out the best strategies of winning.  Some of the fights can be really long, but thankfully the game allows you to quicksave during combat, so should the fight suddenly turn against you, you don’t need to start from the beginning again.

The combat lineup is based on each character/npc initiative, you can use the environment surrounding you to make line-of-sight and tactical decisions, or create your own with spells.

Overall the combat is fun and challenging.  Because the game does not have respawning mobs, they have ensured that the combat itself is challenging enough so you can’t just steamroll through it.  For me, the combat is one of the main strong-points in the game.

Crafting

Where do I even start trying to explain the crafting?  It has to be the most non-intuitive crafting system I have ever come across, and it is pervasive through the whole game because of the extraordinary amount of loot you gather that is related to it.  Sometimes it gives the impression of being logical, then it turns around and laughs at you.  I will hold up my hands and say that this is the first game that I have had to constantly and consistently use a player-made cheat sheet on how to combine things for crafting, and even those are not complete.

I won’t go into it more here, as I am writing another page here on some tips on how to get the most out of your crafting, but suffice it to say that while the crafting is fun and interesting, it is ultimately an exceedingly frustrating and annoying experience as well.

Bags and Bag space

Bag space in this game is not limited to item numbers, but the weight of the loot you are carrying.  This is definitely a good thing, however sorting your bags could have been designed better.

If you have an item of the same type (usually crafting items or potions) it will generally automatically stack with the items already in your bag (but not always), which is good.  The issue comes when you try and sort your scrolling bag of loot into more manageable sections using picked up crates, barrels and bags.  You cannot drag and drop items onto the icon of the crates etc, you have to open it first and then drag it into the space provided here.  There is also no way to name your bags or otherwise mark them.

A lot of time can be spent organizing bags because the sheer amount of random crafting materials you get is pretty staggering, and selling the raw materials isn’t a good way to maintain your coinage.  Items are not always marked clearly as being useful or not, so if you want to be sure that say, that book, is not going to be needed at some point, then you had better find a space for it.

While there is a way to remotely store loot later in the game, it has the same rules of engagement as your current bags, so having good organization tends to be key if you don’t want to be swimming in weird items trying to find that one thing you need right now.

Economy and Loot

In general, I think the money you make in the game is more than adequate and just about properly balanced, however any loot you get is random, and because of that it can be an ultimately frustrating experience.  The creators seem to also have put in place a ‘solution’ to people reloading saves to try and counter this, in that the loot gets worse over time if you reload the same save to reroll for more useful loot.  It can be got around by having a few newer saves done before the one you are using, but it is a pain that wouldn’t have been necessary should the loot be more tailored to the current group.

There has been quite a lot of discussion about the random loot drops, and while I am fine with loot this random in games where the monsters respawn, the monsters here do not, and so your chance at loot is limited.  I therefore feel very little guilt in re-rolling.  The only thing that stops me doing this a lot is the long loading screen times.  Pick your fights 🙂

Conclusions

For all that the game has its frustrations and bugs, I have indeed spent a ton of hours playing it (steam tells me 137 hours).  You can’t really argue with the fact that a game that keeps you engaged for that amount of time despite being riddled with bugs and annoyances is indeed worth your money.  Not many games these days will keep you playing for this amount of time, and most of that time was on one play-through.  So my advice is that it is indeed good value for money and if you like strategy combat, or rpg, then this game is indeed likely worth your time.

 

Divinity: OS – Tips: Crafting

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Game Tips: Crafting

One of the most time consuming, interesting and yet vastly frustrating things in the game for me was the crafting.  Unlike in many other games, the crafting in Divinity Original Sin is not logical in it’s setup and even when many things are done logically, you will often come across things that defy that logic.  I have tried to list below some of the things that I feel that might benefit players who want to do some crafting in the game.

Contents

 

 

Tools and their uses

divinity-crafting
Identifying Glass – Used on unidentified loot items.  You need Loremaster skills for better gear
Cooking Pot – Used in combination with a bonfire to make a (not so) portable cooking station. This is a one-use item, but it does tend to stay there for future use. Used for some cooking items.  Also used to upgrade leather items.
Water Bucket or Cup – used for cooking. An empty cup can also be used for making juice.  Using a cup to add water to food does not consume the cup, but drinking juice from a cup does consume it.
Mortar & Pestle – used to grind herbs, mushrooms and bones for potions and making dust for other crafting.
Pickaxe – used for mining ore.
Hammer – used for blacksmithing, also useful for making lockpicks (hammer + nails)
Shovel – you need this to dig anything up, like graves or treasure.
Axe – any axe will do, its useful for turning logs into branches and woodchips
Knife – any knife will do, used on hides, branches, and other things for crafting
Shears – not shown in the image above. Have these in your pack on a character that has Pet Pal talent and it will give you some wool when you talk to sheep.

In addition to this, I would say that having extra bags and boxes of different sorts in your bag is super useful for sorting.  Just drag and drop them from the world into your pack.  Most will only weigh 5, however larger chests will weigh 50, so watch out.  Items in bags will not show up on traders screens, however the bag/box itself will, and you can sell the entire thing which saves time, assuming the vendor has enough gold.

Crafting general useful items – (crafting skill)

There are some commonly used items that are useful to know the recipes for, especially if you go in for crafting.  Here are some of the ones I found the most useful.

  • Leather Scraps = Animal Hide + Knife/dagger
  • Backpack = Leather Scraps + rope
  • Lockpick (x4) = hammer + nine inch nails
  • Lockpick = soap + key (key is not consumed)
  • Bonedust = skull/bone + mortar & pestle
  • Stardust = Stardust plant + mortar & pestle
  • Pixie Dust = bonedust + stardust

Crafting Food – (uses crafting skill)

In general, I have not really found food to be that useful in the game, but should you wish to make use of the items you find, even just to sell them, then you will first need a cooking station and oven depending on what you want to make.
Cooking Pot + campfire = Mobile Kitchen
To cook items, drag different ingredients together in your bag to make different combinations (some may work), or onto the mobile kitchen or oven.

Crafting Potions – (uses crafting skill)

I didn’t find potions that useful early on, but later in the game they become more useful, especially since your crafting will be higher which makes your potions stronger. Empty potion flasks or bottles + ingredients = potion
These potions can then be combined to create different ones.  These are the ones I found to be most useful:

Mushrooms & Plants Combinations
  • Penny Bun Mushroom – healing potion
  • Bluegill – water resistance potion
  • Jellyshroom – air resistance potion
  • Guepinia – fire resistance potion
  • Earth tongue mushroom – earth resistance potion
  • Drudana – poison resistance potion
  • void essence – invisibility potion
  • small potion + small potion = medium/large potion (depending on crafting skill)
  • potion + Augmentor = larger potion
  • healing potion + whisperwood = magical armour potion
  • magical armour potion + Air resist potion = invisibility potion
  • fire resist + earth resist = resist all
  • air resist + water resist = resist all

Crafting Arrows – (crafting skill)divinity-arrows

Arrows are fairly logical considering the rest of the crafting

Log + Axe = Wood Chips + Branch (x2)  
Branch + Knife = Arrow Shaft
Arrowhead + Arrow shaft = Arrow

You will accumulate many different arrows and arrowheads if you compulsively loot crates and barrels etc.  Have a bag set aside for arrows only to stop insanity from occurring.

You can make your own special arrow heads by dipping plain Arrowheads in different things, such as Barrel/cup of oil, Ooze barrels, debuff potions and some resistance potions.

You don’t actually need arrows in order to use a bow.  Keep special arrows only for difficult boss fights or situations.

Crafting Spells – (crafting skill)

Crafting spell scrolls and spell books is actually fairly straight forward and logical to do, however the game does seem to have increased the crafting required recently.  If you are playing a spellcaster, I would highly recommend getting high crafting for this alone as it is super useful.

Note that you cannot craft man-at-arms, scoundrel or archer spells or books, only the others.  Also, there are some scrolls that cannot be made into books, like the magic unlock spell and resurrect, however you can buy some of these from vendors if you are lucky.

divinity-scrollsMagic Quill & Ink Pot
You only need one of these, they are reusable.
Pillow + Knife = Feather
Feather + Knife = Quill
Quill + Ink Pot = Quill & Ink pot
Quill and Ink Pot + Pixie Dust = Magic Quill & Ink Pot

Paper
You can make paper or loot paper/parchment, but you can also use pre-written paper from quests you have completed.  Make sure the quests ARE done though, as it is easy to destroy quest items that way (I did it).  Quest items are not immediately obvious in this game.

Log + Axe = Wood Chips + Branch (x2)  
Wood Chips
+ Water (well/barrel of water/cup of water) = Wood Mush
Wood Mush + Furnace/oven = Blank Paper

Scrolls and Books
Paper/parchment + elemental essence/pixie dust
= Blank spell scroll
Blank Spell Scroll + Magical Quill & Ink Pot = Random Spell Scroll
Blank Spell Scroll + Blank Spell Scroll = Blank Spell Book
Blank Spell Book + Scroll = Spell Book

The elemental essences will start dropping in loot and appear in vendors as you progress through the story/your level improves.  Elemental essence for fire/water/earth/air scrolls, pixie dust for witchcraft scrolls.

The level of the spell scroll you craft is dependant on your crafting skill.  It is also random, so you might want to do a quicksave before making it.

Crafting Jewellery – (crafting skill)

This is where crafting starts to get pretty .. frustrating.  There are so many items that could potentially be used to craft auxiliary items and it is difficult to tell what may work and what won’t, no matter how logical it seems.

The following is generally true:

item + pixie dust = magic item
magic item + Jeweller’s ring kit = magic ring
magic item + leather helmet = magic helmet
magic item + thread/bowstring = magic amulet
magic item + rope = magic belt
rabbit foot = lucky charm
chicken foot = initiative
Claw = strength
Eye = perception
Feather = dexterity
Rat tail = lesser poison resist
Skull = intelligence
Starfish = HP
Tooth = charisma
Tusk = loremaster

You will find better items than the ones you can make here, but for the early levels, especially when equipping other party members, these are pretty decent.

Crafting Weapons and Armour – (crafting and blacksmithing skill)

There is really no logical or simple way of explaining how to make different weapons and Armour without actually listing them all.  They don’t even all require the same skill, for some are crafting (wood based items) while others are blacksmithing (metal based items).  To spare repeating things already listed on other websites, I shall instead merely point you in their direction.

Overall, I never actually crafted any weapons or armour, since the loot I found was generally better than the ones I could craft.  Upgrading is another matter however.

This link doesn’t have everything on it, but it has a lot.  Many recipes listed on this post have come from the compilation here.

Upgrades and Enhancements – (crafting and blacksmithing skills)

There are different ways of upgrading your weapons and armour, even some ways of doing the same upgrade different ways.  Some items seem not to be able to be upgraded as well, so my basic advice is to try different things until you find something that works for you.  I have tried to list the main ways of upgrading items below.
Note: the name of the item doesn’t seem to change when you improve items, despite the fact it is meant to.

The higher your crafting/blacksmithing, the better the result.  Thanks again to this page for the main information.

Armour Weapons
  • Any Apparel + Void Essence = + Sm, Sneaking
  • Any Footwear + Nine Inch Nails = + Immunity to Falling/Slippery
  • Any Cloth Armor + Leather Scraps = +Sm, Def
  • Any Cloth Chest Armor = Metal Scraps = +Med, Def
  • Any leather Armor + Mobile Kitchen = +Sm, Def
  • Leather Armor + Metal Scraps = +Med, Def
  • Any Metal Armor + Anvil = +Sm, Movement
  • Plate Armor + Plate Scraps = +Med, Def
  • Any Armor + Pearl = +Gold Value
  • Any Chest Armor + Ruby = +Sm, RES All
  • Any Helmet + Ruby = +Sm, RES All
  • Any Chest Armor + Elemental essence = Elemental resist
  • Any Wooden Shield + Metal Scraps = Boosted Wooden Shield
  • Any Metal Shield + Anvil = Boosted Metal Shield
  • Any Shield + Elemental Essence = +Sm, Elemental Resist
  • Any Metal Weapon + Grindstone/Whetstone = Boosted Metal Weapon
  • Any Weapon (Except Staff) + Tenebrium Bar = +Tenebrium Effect
  • Any Weapon + Tormented Soul = + Sm, STR & Sm, DEX
  • Any Bow/Crossbow + Bowstring = Boosted Bow/Crossbow
  • Any Bow/Crossbow + Sextant = + Sm, PER & Sm, DEX
  • Staff/club + Moonstone = +Med, Dmg
  • Any Weapon + Poison = +Sm, Poison DMG
  • Any Weapon + Elemental Essence = + Sm, Elemental damage
  • Any Weapon (Except Staff) + Joshua Spice = +Lg, Fire DMG

Useful Links

Steam Forums – Crafting and Cooking FAQ and recipes
This has a good FAQ for people starting to craft

Larian Forums – Crafting Recipes & Guide
This has most, if not all of the recipes listed.  Use the browser ctrl + f to find items you have in your inventory

Game Pressure Website = Crafting and Blacksmithing
Although the layout of the crafting information is annoyingly split over many small snippet pages, I have found this website a treasure-trove for non-crafting hints and tips, including quests and maps.

Divinity: OS – Tips: Skills and Talents

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Tips: Player Skills and talents

 Attributes

These are fairly self explanatory.  I would like to mention that having a character that has good perception can help avoid instant-death via traps. I have one hired character that has excellent perception.  This also helps her find extra treasure once in a while.

Abilities

Weapon skills
Weapon skills only seem worth it if you are actually hitting an enemy with your weapon.  This usually applies except for mage types who are casting spells, so I -think- that adding ‘two handed weapon’ skill to a mage is worthless unless you are physically hitting them with the staff in melee.

Defensive Skills
All these are useful, but I would say that they are most useful to melee characters who are going to take the brunt of the damage.  Ranged characters are likely going to find better use of their skill points.

Spell Skills
All your characters will want to have most of their points in these (with perhaps the exception being a tank (the character who tries to take the most agro and keep mobs away from the other players in the group) who may well have more in melee weapons and defensive skills.

What I would say is that it seems useful for most of your party to have at least one skill point in Hydro, because I found it super useful being able to throw up a ranged heal to a struggling party member when needed.

Other than that, be aware that spell skills, everything from pyro to man-at-arms, limits how many spells you can learn depending on your skill level.  Once you get to level 5 however you can learn ALL of the skills of that line should you wish to.

Personality Skills
Leadership – This is worth one party member having.  I put mine on the tank as it buffs all your characters.
Charisma – worth it only if you want to avoid extra fights
Lucky Charm – Not worth it.  Only gives you a small chance at extra basic loot, not a chance at better loot for the ones you naturally find I don’t think.
Bartering – This decreases the sale price of items from vendors automatically.

Nasty Deeds Skills
I have not had much chance to test out the nasty deeds skills to be honest.  I have a couple of points of lockpicking (one natural, one via gear) on a character, but most chests I have found actually have keys nearby, or you can blast them apart with spells.

I am guessing pickpocketing might give you more loot, but I have had little need for extra except in the beginning, although sneaking might well help a rogue type character during combat.. I just don’t know.  Not tried it.

Craftsmanship Skills

As you progress in the game, you will get loot with bonuses to craftsmanship skills.  Don’t sell those, as swapping out gear for crafting etc will save you skill points.  Keep a bag with crafting/blacksmithing/lockpicking/loremaster gear in it.

Blacksmithing – Being able to repair your gear is useful, but you need some smithy to do that.  So far though I have found far better gear than the ones I am able to make, and I was able to upgrade high level gear with only Blacksmithy level 4 for the most part.  Overall though I found Crafting a far more useful skill to have.
Crafting – I have found this one super useful.  You need crafting to craft spellbooks, which I use a LOT.  You also need it to make potions and upgrade other types of weapons and gear.  Having level 5 crafting is highly recommended.
Loremaster – You need this to identify items.  Most of the good loot is unidentified, so yes, a great skill to have.  I seem to find +loremaster gear the most frequently of all the skills, but you will likely need at least one point in order to identify that gear.  Make sure you get up to level 5 loremaster, because without that you cannot use the best gear that you get as loot drops.
Telekenisis – This skill is sort of useful. It lets you pick up items and move them without being physically near them.  This is useful for a character disabling traps or picking up loot from hard-to-reach places.  Putting it on a character with high strength would likely be the most useful as they can pick up heavier items anyway.  I didn’t use this skill much though, and any points were through gear bonuses.

Talents

Many of the talents in the game are worth it depending on your playstyle.  I have listed a couple below that I felt were worth mentioning.

Lone Wolf – Be aware of this talent. It decreases your party size.  Without this skill, you have a potential party size of 4, if one character has it you have a party size of 3, but if both your characters have it, you only have the two main characters.
Pet
Pal
– some animals can help you find loot that would be near impossible otherwise, sometimes they give hints as to where things are etc.  Not a critical skill, but it can be useful for one of the team to have
Leech – This is super useful for melee characters.  You get health when you stand in blood, and if you are in the middle of the action, this is free health.
Opportunist – Great for melee characters. If a mob is beside you and moves away to attack another player, you hit them for free.
All skilled up – 2 extra ability points.  Super useful since each upgrade to a skill increases in cost
Bigger and Better – 1 extra attribute point.  Super useful
Far out Man – useful for spellcasters, increases the range of spells and scrolls

Dialogue Traits

Depending on how your characters speak with each other, you get certain character traits, such as Compassionate, Righteous, Blunt etc.  These give you certain buffs.

Thanks goes to http://divinity.wikia.com/wiki/Divinity:_Original_Sin_Traits for the table below:

Left bonus Left Right Right bonus
+1 Willpower Independent Obedient +1 Willpower when an ally with Leadership is in sight
+3% Critical Chance Compassionate Heartless +20% chance to hit when backstabbing
+2 Reputation Altruistic Egotistical +1 Bartering
+1 Leadership Righteous Renegade +1 Pickpocketing
Immune to Charmed Blunt Considerate +1 Charisma
+1 Initiative Bold Cautious +1 Sneaking
+1 Crafting Pragmatic Romantic +1 Lucky Charm
Immune to Cursed Forgiving Vindictive +20% chance to hit on attacks of opportunity
Immune to Fear Spiritual Materialistic +1 Loremaster

More information and useful links

Game Pressure Website – Divinity Original Sin
I have found this website a treasure-trove for non-crafting hints and tips, including quests and maps.  Beware though that it has very easy access to all the maps, quests and secret locations etc.  Use only if you are stuck or it can ruin the exploration experience.