1. SPS Accounts:
    Do you find yourself coming back time after time? Do you appreciate the ongoing hard work to keep this community focused and successful in its mission? Please consider supporting us by upgrading to an SPS Account. Besides the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting a good cause, you'll also get a significant number of ever-expanding perks and benefits on the site and the forums. Click here to find out more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
You are currently viewing Boards o' Magick as a guest, but you can register an account here. Registration is fast, easy and free. Once registered you will have access to search the forums, create and respond to threads, PM other members, upload screenshots and access many other features unavailable to guests.

BoM cultivates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We have been aiming for quality over quantity with our forums from their inception, and believe that this distinction is truly tangible and valued by our members. We'd love to have you join us today!

(If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you've forgotten your username or password, click here.)

Comparison of ECL races

Discussion in 'Icewind Dale 2' started by Pyroreaver, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. Pyroreaver Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate


    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm trying to figure out which concept is better overall considering all things; using races where 1) the actual lvl = ecl (all races except drows, deep gnomes, and aasimars) or those where 2) act lvl < ecl in a party of 6, especially for spellcasting classes.

    The argument for 1 is that you get to higher lvl spells, which naturally have higher DC, higher BAB, etc. much faster.

    The argument for 2 is that besides the nice abilities for higher starting ecl races (i.e. spell resistances, extra attribute points...), the lower actual lvl aren't really all that bad becuase you might get extra XPs for lower lvl parties, somewhat like that of level squatting, so that by the end of the day the extra XPs will, to an extent, offset the lower actual lvl. Also if we are able to get enough XPs, all the classes end up at lvl 30, which is another argument for 2

    Basically I am thinking of using a party that entirely consist of higher starting ECL races, and that this might not be too bad given the argument above. has anyone done some quantitative comparison?
     
  2. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Messages:
    1,348
    Likes Received:
    64
    ECL races > all in terms of both exp and power, EXCEPT for your party's main nuker(s) and debuffer(s) who need to advance to high levels fast. Those should stay with ECL zero races.

    Having all zero or all above zero ECL races is pretty much the same thing in terms of advancement - even a party with nothing but deep gnomes get (almost) to level 16 by the end of Normal since they receive so much more exp from kills, rather than 13-14 you'd expect from their ECL. I've playtested this myself.

    However, if you have an ECL zero nuker in a party with high average ECL, they'll receive the same extra exp as similar all-ECL party would, but since they are ECL zero themselves, they'll push to higher level than they would in an all-zero ECL party. Conversely, a main nuker with ECL penalty in an otherwise low ECL party will lag behind badly.

    In other words - consider making your non-caster dudes Deep Gnomes, Drows and/or Grey Dwarves, while keeping (at least pure) casters as anything without ECL penalties. That way you get the best of both worlds. :)
     
  3. Pyroreaver Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate


    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the advice rechet, i think i'll do just that.
     
  4. Acrux Gems: 8/31
    Latest gem: Skydrop


    Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    It's nice to see a new batch of IWD2 players coming around!
     
  5. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Messages:
    1,348
    Likes Received:
    64
    Even if anything else fails, make sure you have at least one character with sizeable ECL penalty so that you can take advantage of the "..but since one of you guys lacks a bit, I'll consider ALL of you one level lower for the sake of calculating your kill exp" clause.

    The original UPP by Egervari had this, although he didn't explicitly highlight it. Instead he went on a long ramble on the advantages of having all zero ECL, when in fact it was the lone Drow (ECL+2) Rogue/Wizard amidst them that made the party reach such high levels. Good idea, just not for the reasons he stated. :)
     
  6. Pyroreaver Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate


    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    0
    I read that article in which he glorifies humans. That and JUPP (that even combining classes that give 20% penalty on a 4 man party is ok, especially when they are all deep gnomes) is actually what got me thinking which races are better.

    In UPP, he was also wrong about one thing; he made the claim that spell resistance only works on spells cast directly at the person, does not work with area effect spells, and that statement was wrong. So all in all, it seems that the positives of lower ecls races outblows the negatives in the long run.
     
  7. kmonster Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


    Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    1,917
    Likes Received:
    24
    While ECL races are superior if you cheat up your level to 30 or use exploits to level up faster I'd prefer a party of 6 non-ECL races over 6 characters with the same ECL penalty any time.
    You get more combat XP with lower level characters and there are moments in the game where you get 0 combat XP and the ECL party will catch up, but you still need more XP for the next level up.

    While ECL races get only little bonuses which help in a few situations they will be lower level many times and levels are everything, hitpoints, saving throws, skills, feats, hit chance, attacks per round, available spells, casting level, ... .
    Even a single level of a single party member can make a big difference.
     
  8. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    985
    Likes Received:
    12
    Care to explain this part more? I'm not sure I understand you.

    The only things I find invaluable from ECL races is their stat bonuses and the Deep Gnome's +4 to AC. I dont find magic resistance all that helpful - enemy spellcasters dont use magic all that often, and when I bombard my own party, it doesnt work reliably. I never take any of the spell penetration feats if anyone is wondering. Evasion seems to be far more reliable for bombarding your own party members.

    You could argue that the game is actually unbalanced in favour of ECL races because the average party level calculation takes the actual character level instead of the effective character level. Theoretically, a level 5 Drow is as powerful as a Level 7 Human, so the experience gain from encounters should be the same. But in practice, the game treats a level 5 drow as weaker so it awards the Drow more experience (comparatively speaking of course).
     
  9. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,090
    Media:
    10
    Likes Received:
    102
    Gender:
    Male
    I find magic resistance useful, since your party is particularly vulnerable to spells in normal. A stray spell cast on certain party members (casters, in particular) can quickly degenerate to a reload. I'm not sure about using it to tank your own spells though.

    I always mix ECL with non ECL races. You don't need a lot to be all set for normal, and for the most part you just need to have a plan for dealing with early game. Exchanging edged weapon blows/blunt weapon swings/ranged fire with worgs, orcs and golbins at level 2-4 is sheer agony of you don't have some sort of ace up your sleeve. The most obvious trump card is the early AoE - Fireball is a favorite.
     
  10. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Messages:
    1,348
    Likes Received:
    64
    You DO realize what you just claimed? That you'll deliberately take a full -1 level penalty on the majority of your team just so that the last member can match the rest?

    Care to elaborate?

    Or are we to assume you're ONLY comparing parties with everyone having the exact same ECL value.. only then does your claim make any sense whatsoever. :)
     
  11. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    985
    Likes Received:
    12
    It is somewhat useful. You tend to be higher level than the enemy spellcasters so you can resist their spells better. In fact, maybe ECL is why my spell resistance doesnt work that well? My casters are usually higher level than my non casters, purely because the casters (at least sorcerers) are usually Aasimar or human. My decoys are usually drow or deep gnome, except for a human monk/dreadmasters/druid X. Thats probably why its not that effective for me in terms of bombarding my own party.

    I also tend to mix ECL and non ECL races. I think the advantages that humans have in terms of flexible multi classing without penalties is hard to beat, although obviously it depends on the purpose of the character. Sorcerers should be human or aasimar, etc.
     
  12. kmonster Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


    Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    1,917
    Likes Received:
    24
    Just an example:
    a human needs 10,000 XP to get from level 10 to 11
    a tiefling needs 11,000 XP to get from level 10 to 11
    a drow needs 12,000 XP to get from level 10 to 11
    a deep gnome needs 13,000 XP to get from level 10 to 11

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 13 minutes and 9 seconds later... ----------

    I wasn't aware that my post could be understood differently.
     
  13. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    985
    Likes Received:
    12
    Okay I understand you now. However, if all of those characters were level 10, the Deep Gnome would be the equivalent of a Level 13 character I think. So there would be a good reason for him taking longer to level up.
     
  14. kmonster Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


    Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    1,917
    Likes Received:
    24
    A level 10 deep gnome is just a level 10 character with the XP non-ECL races would have at level 13 and some racial bonuses, he's much closer to a level 10 gnome than to a level 11 one.
    The game developers knew this so they took average character level, not average ECL when determining the combat XP for balancing reasons.

    If you play without exploits 5 non-ECL and one +1 ECL (aasimar or tiefling) character, eventually 2 +1 ECL or 1 +2 ECL character if you want to use the "How To Be An Adventurer" book are optimal, an all-SR party consisting of 4-5 drow (+2 ECL) and 1-2 (+3 ECL) deep gnomes is not that powerful and would give a hard time to beginners (6 characters with identical ECL would be even worse on the long run).
     
  15. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Messages:
    1,348
    Likes Received:
    64
    It's worth noting that the absolute average ECL doesn't really matter all that much - there's only about one level of difference between ECL 0 (all human) and ECL 3 (all deep gnome) parties at the end of normal. Yes, I've playtested this. You actually can gain almost as much by making sure the modulo of the party's average level (ie. you're at average level X plus two thirds rather than level X sharp) is kept as high as possible all through the game. THAT, my friends, is as general "free levels" as it gets. :)

    However, there's a lot to be gained to play with the RELATIVE ECL values, comparing the characters to each others. Some characters gain a whole lot by being able to push to 9th level spells (level 17 for most, 18 for sorcerer) while others aren't terribly hampered by staying at level 15 or so. You can mix'n'match this by optimizing the ECL usage alone, even WITHOUT resorting to the funky stuff such as starting with a party with less characters in the beginning and adding fresh level 1 newbies along the way.
     
  16. NguyenGiaThai Gems: 3/31
    Latest gem: Lynx Eye


    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    As a non-HoF player, there's a few things of note:

    Your wizards are limited by the spells you can find and buy. If you cant find level4 spells before the warrens, or level 5 before the village, level up only help your wizards' spells DC, you will have blank slots of your highest level. Which will bug you like there's no tomorrow. And you will have to createitem some spells just so there's no blank wastes.

    So If you play non-HoF, like the hardest difficulty, it's not a bad thing to have your wizards of ECL+1 races. Aiming so that they are at level 7 after they finish the horde fortress, or level 9 after the Ice palace..

    Mind you, this situation also happens because I squat my Deep Gnome rogue/scouts and rogue/bluffer. If their firepowers are enough, no need to level them up. So it could be why the rest advance like crazy (wizard, bard, cleric).
     
  17. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,637
    Media:
    13
    Likes Received:
    121
    Gender:
    Male
    I missed a great thread here.. Sir Rechet & kmonster have the bases covered though, so not much I can add.

    As far as ECL races go, the Drow come out quite powerful, since they have 2 good favoured classes, which allows for a lot of combinations with mix-ins. Don't dismiss ECL races as casters. Sir Rechet said it perfectly: nukers and debuffers must level fast, but things like healing clerics and buffers don't need that. In fact I used my 2 drow clerics as frontline battleclerics, leveling their CON instead of WIS. It mitigates their -2CON at the start, and frontliners really benefit from spell resistance. It was a sweet deal: ECL gave a relative bonus in XP to my damage casters, while the clerics covered melee duties, buffing and healing. If you're interested in detailed analysis of races and classes, you could take a look at the guides people wrote. Mine is IWD2_4dummies:p
    They're in the stickied modlist on the forum page. :)
     
  18. NguyenGiaThai Gems: 3/31
    Latest gem: Lynx Eye


    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    On the note of high level spell for wizard.

    The placement of those spells in shops and drops meaning that you will be limited. Even if you can level up to level 13, for example, it'll be long before you can get level 7 spell, so you will waste high level slots.

    However, the random reward of Rank of Battle Square may include those respective level of wizard scroll. So if you are diligent in harvesting BS, you may get as much as all the spell of level 9, though that require so many reload it took the fun out of it.

    So yeah, no need to limit yourself much in term of race for your caster.
     
  19. JT Gems: 12/31
    Latest gem: Moonstone


    ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2005
    Messages:
    496
    Media:
    11
    Likes Received:
    9
    Gender:
    Male
    Note that sorcerers don't have the scroll availability problem, so that's yet another reason to use them over wizards.
     
  20. NguyenGiaThai Gems: 3/31
    Latest gem: Lynx Eye


    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorcerer is skill-limited, not any spare point out of Concentration, Spellcraft. Wizard can afford to invest in Alchemy, Arcana, and Search.

    An Intelligence character is of necessity.
     
Sorcerer's Place is a project run entirely by fans and for fans. Maintaining Sorcerer's Place and a stable environment for all our hosted sites requires a substantial amount of our time and funds on a regular basis, so please consider supporting us to keep the site up & running smoothly. Thank you!

Sorcerers.net is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on amazon.com, amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.