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TES Marathon

Discussion in 'The Elder Scrolls 1-4' started by Ziad, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Could you list a few of which ones you chose, Ziad?

    I use Glenvar as my main stronghold, but it takes a bit more to aquire it. Battlehorn is OK (it's really easy to aquire), but not really necessary if you have Glenvar.

    I take it you decided against Oscuro's? I will say that the combat leveling in Oscuro's is a bit harder than both Francesco's and the regular game.

    I'm using both equally in my current game. I always like spell-casting, and have played Imperial and Breton mages, but I also like to enchant my own blades and build a personal collection of magical swords that I aquire and that I craft myself.

    There is a mod you can download that will allow you to place these into display cases in your strongholds, as well as books onto shelves and other items you wish to collect.

    My current character is a Breton Spellsword, one of the best character combinations I have found outside of the custom classes. He's a really nice balance between mage and tank, so I can use my spells and still do well with my magical blades - Nice magic resistance as well. My current sign is The Lady and I have +10 endurance and +10 willpower, which is nice for magic, but I also like to use The Mage sign in some of my other characters for straight magic. Since I installed Francesco's, The Lady also has a bump in paralysis resistance, which is helpful, but not really necessary in most situations.

    I don't find it very useful, but it's still a bit of fun to listen to the negative comments from NPC's...and it's quite easy to use.

    Do you mean light or heavy armor? Or do you mean armorer? I would not do armorer as a major skill. It will cause you to level up way too fast at the beginning. Alos, if you do a lot of close combat and if you wear the armor of your major skill you will level up too fast and your character will be too weak at the beginning. So say, your major skill is heavy armour, wear light armor sometimes to slow down your leveling, plus it will raise your speed level, since you are intersted in that attribute. Since heavy armour is a major skill for me, I sometimes wear my arena light armour in close combat to slow down my leveling.


    I get it now. Light armour sucks at the beginning since it's usually just leather or fur, which will cause you to die fast in close combat, unless you use magic protection spells to augment the lightness. Heavy armour during the first stages of the game will save you quite a bit. I use alteration as one of my major skills so my protection spells are strong, so I can wear light armour in all kinds of combat, since the different spells "stack." So if I use a low-level protection spell like "defend" and it gives my guy 15 percent shield, and if I cast "guard," an additional 30 percent, it's a total of 45 percent in shield from damage. The same thing with pack skills (another alteration skill): If I use an "ease burden" spelll + cast "lighten load," I can carry almost double the load (if I need to), but most of the time my partner carries all the loot. Alteration is very useful, IMO, and I always have it as a major skill.

    Never bother with it much, myself.

    Ditto. There is a daedric shrine quest that will take care of that one....

    Good strategy, IMO. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
    Ziad likes this.
  2. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    [​IMG] I like the Lady as well. ;)

    Regarding your skill choices, I'm not so sure about Alchemy. It should go up very quickly like Armourer so making it a Major skill is perhaps not the best choice.

    I'd take Speechcraft though because it helps and unless you're really fond of the minigame (which I find incredibly boring) raising it will be a pain.

    Taking passive skills as major brings up the problem of being unable to time your level up.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but in Oblivion the difference between major and minor skills is that major start with a bonus, increase faster and level you up. Minor skills will take more time when they get to higher scores but that is not such big a deal when you use them all the time (like armourer, restoration, alchemy, armours, acrobatics and the like).

    I bet you do. I had forgotten how bad the face generator is in Oblivion (at least Bethesda improved it in Fallout 3).
     
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  3. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Wow, once again thanks for all the comments. This is really very helpful in refining the choice of character.

    I might as well list them all and their load order.
    - Oblivion main file
    - Francesco main file (can't be moved for some reason)
    - Shivering Isles
    - Official plugins
    - Knights of the Nine
    - Unofficial Oblivion Patch
    - Unofficial Shivering Isles Patch
    - Unofficial Official Plugins Patch
    - No Psychic Guards
    - Francesco's Optional Files (namely Leveled Quests & Arena, House Chest Loot and Day Length Rescale). I really liked the length rescale, as otherwise days seemed FAR too short.
    - Quest Award Leveller. I may not keep this one if it turns out to be too cheesy. We'll see.
    - Harvest Flora
    - Harvest Containers. Turns out close containers is incredibly easy (activate an open container in sneak mode). I like this one, it's great to mark containers that contain something I don't want to carry now but want to return to later
    - Toggleable Quantity Prompt. This one really should have been there by default. Considering it was in Morrowind there's no excuse.

    Naturally my load order in OBMM looks much longer than this because some of these are in fact half a dozen ESPs, but I've grouped them together for the sake of sanity.

    Yeah Glenvar seems really really good, but I want to stay away from content mods for my first time. From your and Nakia's praise of the mod I'll definitely have it on a second play.

    Fran's seemed to me the more newbie-friendly of the two (Oscuro's seems more geared towards experienced players), and I liked some of its other changes which I don't think are in OOO. The real point that made me pick Fran though is that OOO doesn't have SI content implemented.

    Seems you've got a pretty balanced character with him. However he seems more geared towards the magic side of things, whereas I would prefer a mainly-fighter with magic as backup, hence why I was thinking along the lines of a Redguard. The way magicka bonuses from birthsigns work in the game also makes the boost much more useful early on than later in the game. +50 from the Mage is amazing at first, but it's not such a big boost once Intelligence is maxed.

    Noted, thanks. I was wondering if I should take Armorer, as it levelled up very slowly in Morrowind, but it seems they changed it for Oblivion. Switching armour types (or mixing them) to control levelling also seems like like a good idea. I was thinking that taking Block, Armorer and Heavy Armor all as Major was probably a very bad idea anyway, since it would leave me with no Endurance skill that doesn't raise my level! I may still drop Block, as it is...

    OK, so if I've got this right Heavy Armor is better in the early game, and better in the end game (where they both have the same protection and are weightless, but Heavy has more durability). Seems like we have a winner :)

    Keep in mind I'm not reading walkthroughs, so I may either find this very late in the game or not at all. I wouldn't want to base my skill selection on this :)

    I like it, and in fact if Thief wasn't so ridiculous it would be my choice (it was even more amazing in Morrowind - +25 to Endurance!). I just cannot resist the +10 to Luck though. That's the equivalent of 10 level-ups. Nothing quite like this in any of the other birthsigns.

    Noted, thanks. Like with Armorer I was going by the Morrowind rate of increase. That game didn't have magicka regeneration either, so making Restore Magicka potions was incredibly useful. I may leave it out this time.

    Mmm, Chandos says it's not needed, you say it's useful. Choices choices :p I think I'll keep it, I don't mind the mini-game that much but it'll probably get irritating at some point.

    Was this in reference to Heavy Armor? I'm aware this could be a problem, but I thought having the armor skill as Major was pretty essential to get it to a reasonable level without standing there for hours while letting rats hit me. Unless it also levels up very quickly...

    Yeah, I think that's pretty much it.

    Revised list of Major skills: Blade, Heavy Armor, Security, Marksman, Speechcraft, Destruction, and... Restoration/Mysticism? Can't decide. Restoration looks good but I'll probably be using it a lot to heal myself anyway, so it's not very controllable. Mysticism would be great for Reflect and Absorbtion, but I don't think I'll be using it for other things and these 2 require high levels in it. Also, what specialisation should I go for? I'm tempted to take Magic just because it's the one I'll be using the least, so it balances out having most of them as Minor. What do you think guys?

    Anoter note concerning mods (forgot to mention it earlier). I found the precursor to DarNified UI, BTmod. It doesn't change as many things as DarN, and it's not as customisable, but I like the fact it changes fewer things. Also, DarN is not customisable for some things that do matter to me, including font size (it's too big in vanilla, but it's awfully small with DarN). BTmod fixes the map size (essential!) and reduces scrolling by shrinking items in inventory and stats menu, but doesn't shrink them as much as DarN, so they're still clearly visible. I may use it instead of DarN. Both seem intercheangeable at any time anyway. I may also add the Keychain mod, but this will depend on whether my inventory gets cluttered with billions of trillions of keys.
     
  4. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    It's good as a minor skill. For instance, soul trap is something you will use a lot to recharge your magical weapons, and you will be using it for life detection as well (at the higher levels you can detect enemies through dungeon walls). So say on a paticular level you want a +5 for intelligence - You can't get that with restoration or destrcution, so you can just keep hitting the minor life detect in a stroll around the Imperial City, and you will gain 10 levels in nothing flat (conjuration is even faster at the early levels, but uses more magic), and it won't cause you to level up because you have mysticism set as a minor skill. Since you are using Restoration as a major, it will take much more use to level up using it to heal (and you will gain in willpower from restoration or destruction increases). Because restoration is a major skill for me I can cast expert level healing spells, which require only a few casts to completely restore my character and saves me in close combat (lower level spells require a LOT of casting).

    So, in answer to your question, I would choose restoration as a major skill and myticism as a minor.
     
  5. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    My characters tend to get hit a lot so raising Armour skills is never a problem. I prefer to take Block as a major and getting it high fast enough so I can protect my character with it and put down the shield when I'm getting close to a level up and still need to increase my mulipliers.

    I hate passive skills as major because if you don't pay attention they will level you up faster than you can say Jack Robinson... But it's hard not to take any since the choices are somewhat limited.

    Chandos certainly knows what he is talking about. It depends whether or not you can deal with a wimpy start with less useful skills as major and go through the hassle of increasing more useful skills by getting hit and constantly healing yourself.

    Regarding Speechcraft taking it as a major is more a matter of convenience, skip it if you are sure you can deal with the persuasion wheel without being bored to death.

    A valid option is to take the specialisation that will increase your major skills the less to balance your skill levels. But there is more to it as by not increasing your major skills you'll have more level ups in game (since those depends on the number of major skills that can be increased before reaching the cap).

    I'm not a big fan of this system because it is geared toward powergaming and senseless uses of skills (getting hit by rats is a very good example).
     
  6. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Looking at my skill selection I noticed I have 2 attributes with 2 skills (Agility and Willpower) and 2 with no skills (Speed and Intelligence). Is this bad? Will it be more difficult to get good multipliers for Agility and Willpower because I have only one Minor skill to rely on?

    Based on your comments I have re-revised my skill selection: Blade, Block, Security, Marksman, Speechcraft, Destruction, Restoration. My only concern is the 2 skills per attribute, but aside from this does it look good? There are no passive skills in there, so by being careful I can fully control when I level up. I think there's also a good spread between combat, magic and misc skills, so if I get to a point where I want a level-up to happen quickly it should be relatively easy to force on without grinding too much (if I'm in a town I can go around raising everyone's disposition, if I'm in the wilds I can go fight with both sword and magic, and so on). I think I'll go for a Magic specialisation; Stealth is out because it'll raise the most skills, my Combat skills already get a boost from the Redguard and they'll get a lot of use anyway.

    The system in Oblivion does seem more geared towards powergaming and grinding than in Morrowind or even Daggerfall; then again in both of those games there were some loopholes that made it far too easy to abuse the system. It seems Bethesda were trying to close these loopholes, but they may not have made the best changes when doing so.]

    I'll probably start the game over the weekend.
     
  7. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    I think it looks fine. You should have alteration as a minor skill, so you can raise willpower +5 without leveling up.

    Same here, but they are easily rasied with minor skills. I usually alternate either one of those on every level. Speed is very easy to raise as a minor skill, espeically if you set your guy to run everywhere and choose light armour in the Imperial Arena (you will take a lot of hits there).
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2009
  8. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Doesn't Alchemy raise Intelligence? If it does then there is no problem. ;)
     
  9. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    It does. :)
     
  10. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    I was more worried about the attributes with 2 Major skills, as they only leave me with one skill that I can fully control for multipliers and I don't know if that'll be enough to max the attribute. I guess I'll just need to pay attention to what I'm doing and what skills I'm using.

    I started the game yesterday and went through the tutorial. I thought it was far too long (I much prefer the way Morrowind did things). But, first things first. The introduction was very good. I wish they had made the Emperor look different because my mind was constantly superimposing Patrick Stewart's head. The whole thing is pretty Hollywood-ish; scenes of doom, sweeping vista, "these are the last hour of my life" immediately followed by the rousing music and the title... it's a bit over the top but it's well done and I can't say I didn't feel a tinge of excitement.

    Straight away we're dumped into the face generator, which is the most complex and most useless part of character creation. There are just too many sliders, and some of them change the same things, but the worst is that moving slider 1 may also change 2 and 3, but then moving 1 back will leave the others in their new position... and of course there's no undo. There are also some oddities: pushing the skin tone too much for a Redguard results literally in white skin (looks more like a scary alien than anything), there's always a mismatch between the body and the face (I guess there's only one body per gender per race). I very quickly just gave up and modified the age only.

    Upon gaining control the game very quickly establishes a way to allow scripts to take over and move along the plot: take control away from the player and lock him in place. Very convenient to make sure the Emperor gets killed without your interference. I'm hoping the game only pulls it off in the tutorial, because if it's going to become a fixture of the plot I'll have a few choice words to say about it.

    The writing so far is hilarious. In Morrowind it went from bland to good to excellent, depending on who you're talking to (and which writer did it I guess), but here it's flowery, over-the-top melodramatic, and generally just bad. Again I won't be too harsh yet, not until I've seen what it's like elsewhere.

    The piecemeal character creation is a little irritating and the cavern-crawling part is a little too long, but there's one thing it does well: atmosphere. The tutorial hints are not as annoying as I thought they would be: they come up and mention a feature, but they don't keep nagging you until you use it (like some other games do). About the worst complaint I would have about the handholding would be the quest compass, but BTmod promptly took care of that. Combat is generally better than in Morrowind, especially in terms of flow and magic-use, but it's also much more action-y and reflex-based, something I'm not too happy about. I'm also having trouble picking between weapons - when a short sword and a long sword both have the same base damage and the same health, is there any reason to pick one over the other?

    I'm at the door to freedom now, about the start the game proper.
     
  11. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Because it was his voice it's probably hard to avoid thinking of him. I do the same thing.

    I completely agree and I use the auto face generator instead.

    Say it's between a steel short sword and an iron long sword - I take the iron long sword because it has more reach in combat. But blade is your major, so be sure to use a mace or hand-to-hand so that you can increase your strength quickly. If you used your major skills in the tutorial you should be ready to level-up, but if not, be sure to raise all your targetted skills before you level-up. It's really crucial to get +5s at the beginning, and less important as the game goes on (I'm still new to Francesco's leveling and it may be a bit different from what I'm used to).
     
  12. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    I'll have a more in-depth post later on, but there's something I need to find out: are there safe and unsafe containers in the game? In Morrowind just about anywhere was a safe container, whereas here the cells reset rather often and when they do the containers in them reset as well. I'm guessing that any house I buy will have safe containers, but are there others? What about containers in guild halls, especially if I have joined the guild?
     
  13. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    There are both. You have to discover which ones. Even in guild halls I've lost some items, while in other containers I've lost nothing. But all the containers in the houses you buy and Battlehorn Castle are safe. Here's an example:

    http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:Greyland
     
  14. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Thanks Chandos, good to know before I started leaving stuff that I want lying around. I looked through UESP (trying to avoid spoilers) and found that Jauffre's chest is safe, so I'll be using it until I have my own place. I'll be passing through the Priory again when I find Martin anyway, and I guess it could become the base of operation for some time (like Caius's house in the previous game).

    Moving on to some comments about the game, I'm afraid most of them won't be very positive, starting with something that I forgot to mention back in the tutorial: the big plugin dump as soon as the Emperor dies. Put simply, it's the stupidest way I've seen of starting plugin quests. Morrowind had already done this very well: the quests are integrated into the game world as if they're regular ones, and for those who have already started a game or want to make sure they don't miss them there's a mention of where and how to initiate them in the readme. Here Bethesda decided to just start them all at once when you either reload or finish character creation, and it's just silly. I'm deep inside a secret passage under the Imperial Prison and I heard a rumor about Mehrune's Razor, saw a note about horse armour, and even managed to get a deed to an old wizard's tower delivered? If Bethesda wanted to make sure players wouldn't miss the plugins, why didn't they make all of them start the way Knights of the Nine does - ask about rumors and someone mentions the chapel and the prophet. Ironically this is exactly how Bloodmoon initiates too, so it's not as if they didn't have a working model that they had already used successfully!

    Another annoyance is the minigames. The Speechcraft one isn't so bad but it's pretty pointless and not much of a challenge (I'll skip comments about the ridiculousness of the concept itself if you think about it too much). The lockpicking one, on the other hand, is a whole other level of annoying. My sense of timing with such things was never great and gets worse every year, so I tend to break half a dozen lockpicks even on a Very Easy lock (I'm not even going to try harder ones until I get to skill level 50 or so). Good thing I took both skills as Major, otherwise the minigames would have driven me nuts. Now I wish I had taken the stealth specialisation too.

    Combat is another sore point. The whole system seems to have shifted more and more towards action-based after Daggerfall, but while I could live with it in Morrowind it's really gone too far here. It relies far more on player reflexes than character skill and seems to have a great deal of luck thrown in (either that or I really suck at Oblivion combat). I don't mind the "always hit regardless of skill" mechanic in and of itself, but it seems to also apply to enemies and here's where it becomes a problem. Combat becomes a boring game of move back while enemy attacks, hit him quickly while he's exposed, then move back before he attacks again. Rinse and repeat. Even blocking isn't that useful because of the damage taken and the staggering, which means there's never enough time for me to hit them just after I have blocked their attack. Naturally they have no such problem, as they recover instantly from attacking, blocking or taking damage. I've only had to take the difficulty down for one fight so far, but if all of them continue to be such a chore I may do it permanently. To be fair there are some improvements, such as being able to cast without putting away weapon and shield, but even here all they had to do was fix a silly implementation in Morrowind by reverting it back to the way it was in Daggerfall, to the way it should have stayed in the first place. Is this really an improvement?

    There's something to be said for the end of the tutorial. Getting out of the sewers, into the great outside world. Bethesda picked a good landscape too: the lake right ahead, the mountains in the distance, a clear sunny day... it's a very pretty scenery. The feeling that comes with it, of all the potential, a huge world with so many things to do, so much to-

    MY EYES! IT BURNS!

    I've never been a big fan of Bloom. Nothing against it per se, but I've yet to see a game that uses it properly and, most importantly, doesn't overuse it to death. Oblivion unfortunately does the latter, and it's really blinding at first. What makes it worse is that the graphics and textures seem to have been designed with Bloom as a requirement: turning it off makes everything look incredibly drab, grey and ugly. Using Bloom to disguise the fact your colouring and texturing is bad does not score good points in my book. There are other problems with the graphics too: when I get the face close-ups during conversations, environmental lighting on the face looks really weird, as if it's heavily pixellated or it's highlighting the polygons on the head. I'm not sure if this is an issue with the game or with my configuration, I may need to play with some settings.

    The whole open world full of possibilities feeling also fell apart very quickly when I went to the Imperial City, spent several hours exploring and talking to people, and managed to find a grand total of two quests. Seyda Neen, the starting village in Morrowind, had four, and let's not go into how many there were in Vivec. I hope this is not representative of the whole game because right now I'm thinking of following the main line because I can't find much to do outside it - something I haven't experienced since Arena. Not a good comparison to make.

    To the game's credit, the two quests were interesting, and one (Unfriendly Competition) was very good and original. Fewer quests but with this increased level of detail would not be a bad thing. Also, despite problems with combat, walking around the countryside is still pleasant. The graphics are pretty and the increased viewing distance makes for some nice scenery. The game's not off to a good start, but there's still a lot of potential and I have good hopes for it.
     
  15. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    I warned you. :p :)

    I noticed that it got harder with Francesco's leveling, which seemed kind of wierd to me. Just save and use the auto. It will save you some grief, unless you enjoy picking locks. I use my magic skill to open almost all locks anyway. If you run out of lock picks, see Shady Sam, since he always has a supply and they are cheap.

    If you are using Francesco's leveling it is somewhat different than the regular game. In the regular game, the weapons and armour your opponent uses makes a significant difference, just as it does for you. Using block at a low level skill is much easier against an arrow or a short sword, then against a big warhammer or double-axe.

    I never use bloom but only HDR. Here is a rather dramatic comparison:

    http://www.gamespot.com/features/6147127/p-4.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  16. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    OK, so some of the things I'm complaining about are caused by Francesco's? I may have to disable it and see how it plays without it. As much as I hate the level-scaling I may have to live with it if Fran's introduces other annoyances. Besides, if I'm going to be fair, I don't want to criticise the game for things introduced by a mod.

    I called it Bloom but it's actually HDR that I have enabled. Looking at some of those screenshot comparisons I may actually revert to Bloom. It seems less eye-searing and the image is sharper, not to mention I'd then be able to turn on AA (maybe that's why the image is sharper with Bloom...). The website does illustrate nicely the point I made about turning off Bloom/HDR entirely: all the colours become incredibly dull.

    Yeah, I know you warned me about the Speechcraft minigame (don't rub it in :p), but that's precisely why I took it as a Major, so I wouldn't have to endure it as much as if it was Minor. I really should have taken the Stealth specialisation though... I'm thinking about restarting the game with Stealth, maybe without Francesco's, as much as going through the sewers and the early game again pains me.
     
  17. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Francesco's is more realistic in that a goblin is a low-level creature and minotour is a high-level one, like most other RPGs. All you have to do is uncheck the box in start-up to disable it. You can try them both to see how they are different and which one you like better. I like Francesco's because it is more realistic, but I use a lot of magic to augment my combat, so it's not very difficult. My advice, still, is to use magic to help some.

    The bloom setting is far worse regarding glare than HDR. When you place the mouse pointer over the comparison screen shots HDR is like putting on a pair of polarized sunglasses...
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  18. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Thanks for the clarifications. I thought HDR was brighter because of that big blob of light where the sun should be, but looking closer I noticed the lighting on the tower itself is much better with HDR (and as you said it does seem like a polariser, especially the sky colour).

    I think I'm going to restart the game anyway, to pick the Stealth specialisation and to make some changes to the way I've been leveling (I've been using Speechcraft uselessly a lot in the Imperial City trying to find quests, and I'm not happy with the attribute distribution I have so far). I'm also going to try the game without Francesco's and make some comparisons (last time I played it "properly" was 2 or 3 years ago)
     
  19. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    You are missing a few quests in the Imperial City. One of the first things I do is join a guild - but that's just me. Let me know if I am giving too much advice (I won't be offended). :)
     
  20. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Illusion magic can do most of the things stealth and speechcraft can do. Invisibility spell is faster and more efficient than stealthing and so are charm spells instead of that boring wheel.
     
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