Gimmicky Combat

Each act in Divinity 2 has at least 1 fight that includes some really gimmicky combat, the type that makes my blood boil. There’s a reason people save scum in RPGs and this is the BIG reason for it.

In RPG parlance, these battles mean that a TPK (total part kill) is all but guaranteed, and often, there’s a OHK (one hit kill) mechanic included. The only way to beat these battles is through preparation and understanding the enemy AI for better tactics. Often this requires using skills that you would never use otherwise, and a deep understanding of game mechanics in this weird rock/paper/scissors model.

I will point out that one of DOS:2’s weaknesses in this aspect is party formation. You’re always in a tight bunch, effectively melee range from each other. Means that 90% of fights, the first move of the enemy will be an AE attack that hits everyone.

On Reaper’s Coast you can fight a witch that will OHK you if you’re not sporting some amazing fire resist. If she doesn’t do it, then the 4 fire totems will. So you can either cheese it by teleporting her away and chain stunning her to high heck, OR build a character that is a damage amplifier (reduce HP to 1 and reflect damage on caster). The damage reflect is so rare because there are so very few targets that deal out so much damage that it’s worthwhile.

A fight in a nook of Arx is similar, entirely covered by Deathfog. As the name emplies, if you’re alive and you’re in that fog, you be dead. Getting rid of it is a major pain, and only 1 spell does anything decent – Tornado. This spell deals no damage, just clears ground effects. You can imagine it gets zero use anywhere else but this single fight – and then all of a sudden you find it sticking in the hotbar.

As you get stronger, and therefore more access to abilities, these challenges are less about preparation and more about rolling with the punches. You can’t really chain stun someone at level 8, but you certainly can at level 20. Who knows, maybe one of those specific tactics becomes part of your regular rotation (rain scrolls… oh my goodness those are liquid gold).

Reminds me of the various lich and dragon fights from BG2, though those were LONG telegraphed ahead of time. Throne of Bhaal went to the deeep end on these types of fights, which felt like half the content. Even Pillars of Eternity’s “secret boss” was telegraphed ahead of time – and still required a solid 10 tries to clear.

I’m not against these fights – in fact I’m more for than against. They act as a solid challenge and change of pace from the rest, a spike of excitement. DOS:2 does an even grander job on this because it will often (I wish it was always) auto-save before hand. I’ll end up running it blind to see what I’m up against, then a reload to better prepare the more unique aspects of my builds. That they are frequent, rather than end-game activities is AWESOME.

And really, it’s a great feeling taking down a fight that originally seems impossible through trial and cunning. That it forces creativity is a great thing. That the game allows it is even better.

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