Darksun: Shattered lands Review

Discussion in 'General Chit-chat' started by Waterd103, Nov 27, 2008.

  1. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

    Darksun: Shattered lands
    WRPG- Isometric view, Turn based battles
    http://images.google.com.ar/images?...&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&resnum=1&ct=title

    Why i review this game?: Because i think the RPG genere is one of the weakest generes around. And this is a very old RPG that did many things right, but of course a lot more wrong. modern RPGS
    mostly do what this game did wrong ,and wrong what this game did right. So i woudl like to entice people to try this game to see things that were done right once but were forgotten.

    General- what the game is about?:
    The game is a WRPG, you create a party of 4 characters, and you are told that for different unknown reasons you were send to jail and it seems the king settled a new law where Slaves and prisioners
    should fight in the arena.
    (I would assume you didn't read the Darksun novels wich i loved when i was younger btw).
    Anyway your objective is to get freedom, as simple as that. In order to do that you must find your way exploring, talking and fighting.
    The fighting system is based on the (now) very old D&D 2nd edition.
    In order to find what the game did right and wrong i'm going to disect the game in the most important parts of a game.

    Gameplay:
    There is so much to talk about , that i don't know how to do it without boring the hell out of you.
    I think the most important issue is that there is no global timer, yes there is triggered timers that you have "to beat", for example, there is a situation when you try to escape, where a group of
    soldiers is sent to caught you, and if you don't escape from that place in time they will eventually caught you and you will have to fight them. Another example is when you are in the prision,
    there are several reasons to explore the prision, but after certain time, you will be called to fight again in the arena. And the arena comes harder and harder, so if you don't find your way out in
    the prision soon enough you will eventually face too strong monsters and be killed. There are Many situations like this in the game, and i of course appreciate it. But NOT all the game is like
    that, and of course, i don't appreciate that.

    On thing i liked in this game is how many ways you have to do some things. Escaping from prision is just incredible, there are SO many ways. And "quests" Also have different ways to complete, and
    different results and endings give different rewards. You can technically fail at EVERY QUEST in the game, and still finish the game. Of course you will be so underleveled and underequiped and
    underhelped, that you will need a godlike amount of skill and luck to succeed.
    Another nice gameplay feature, is that what you say is very important, you have to take decisions, sometimes verbal decision, and they definiltiy have an
    impact on the game.
    I think some people here is thinking "what about the grinding, i mean, if there is no global timer..." Grinding is a small problem ,not a big one and tell you why ,is a little long but i think it's
    worth it.

    1. Most fights have a meaning. That is, , on the sands, on a justified way that has some argument, you will find random monsters that you can avoid if you are fast with the mouse.
    But they represent a very small part of the fights in the game. you will probably have a max out of 10 fights of this kind in the whole game if you don't push it, and if you try to avoid them, you
    will be likely have no more than 3 or 4. They also don't give great amount of experience. Most of the monsters that give good experience, you fight them for a reason, they protect something or attack you for some very specific plot elements. And that's one of the pretty things on this game. I hate how on rpgs you fight meaningless over meaningless fight, or just more of the same. That definitly doesn't hapen in the game, there is a GREAT variety of enemies, and most fights are meaningfull to the plot. Not just "oh another pack of goblins in this huge fortress". I think that most RPG now a days completly broke this rule, and that's why i appreciate this part of the game so much.
    In a horrible event, Darksun 2:wake of the ravager, COMPLETLY forgot this concept and has in fact lots of meaningless fights,big mazes, and fortres with hordess of the same fucking boring monster
    that is just in the middle of the fortress.
    But back to our game: In the end,while grinding possible, it is a minimal problem , because most fights aren't grinding but actually worth to the plot.

    2. Level cap: I think that the level cap of this game is too low, you will find too soon that you reached it, so grinding after this point will be meaningless. That means that it's not worth it to do quest? not at all, because one of the major value of quests are help that you get and powerfull items.

    3. THe only monsters that pop up AGain and again are in a zone called the monster zone. If you REALLY want to grind, (wich as i said it's not very usefull anyway) you can go there and grind, but
    you can't accidentaly grind, because on every other place, monsteres are DEAD FOR GOOD.

    So why do you need the timer?
    Well you definitly don't need the timer as strong as other games, and that's an upside point. But it has to do with rests. You can't rest anywhere, but only on some places, and sometimes once you
    enter a "dungeon" you are in for good and there is no place to rest. Again a good thing, but there are some points in the game where in a fortress you have a place to rest. So you can fight, rest, fight, rest, fight, rest. And is pretty stupid when you can do that.

    But all in all, the timer and the grinding is better handled than most modern rpgs, and that's point up.

    Battle system:
    I think the game shines here. I think is the most fun battle system on any rpg. The reason is that it hit the exact middle point between "so simple that why thinking (99% of JRPG)" and "so complex
    that you need to read an encyclopedia to understand it (Temple of elemental evil, icewind dale)" The complexity of hte fighting system strikes right in what would be Warcraft 3 if you could play it
    turn based wich seems about right. I could talk more about the battle system but i think that the only real way to appreciate it, is to experience it.
     
  2. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

    Balance: Ok now the game goes right to the hell. The game is a mountain non sense of balance. I don't want to spoil to much, so i will give only a few examples.
    One is the caracter creation, you can throw a dice wich can completly screw you, or you can just put the stats you want!. The early one is too luck based, and can vary your game difficult TOO MUCH,
    the later, it's very hard to know what's "about right" and if you max it all, the game becomes completly unbalanced and stupid.

    The races are unbalanced, some races are incredibly much better than others. The Classes are a joke, since Fighter, ranger and gladiator are PRACTICALLY the same. And worst of it, the stats are
    very unbalanced. Strength and constitution are VERY IMPORTANT stats, Wisdom is meh, and intelligence and charisma rank a 10 in useless. Even the way it scales up it's completly stupid.
    9 Strenght gives you +0, 15 +0 16 +1 17 +1 18 +4, wtf?
    I rank it as the worst character creation ever created.

    Weapons- Shields are useless. two handed weapons are usless, in fact if it's not a sword, is useless. ON the ranged weapons , bows are just mediocre, but they have such a long range that have their
    uses, any other ranged weapon? worst than useless.

    Spells: Spell vary from "Incredible godlike power level" to "More useless than attacking with a club" So you may be thinking "ok you talk about level 5 spells being godlike, ok if you reach such
    level you deserve a godlike spell don't you?" OWned, there is not fucking level 5 godlike spells, in fact most godlike spells are level 2 or 3.
    So as you can see ,the balanced is so twisted that it's horrible. Luckily fidning the godlike spells can take a while (and that's the reason i didn't mention it, as i did with weapons, it's easy to
    see wich weapons own, you see, when you see a sword doing 8D1 and a club 6D1, you can easily realize the sword is better)

    GOLD: The gold in the game is a joke, there are very few stores that have something of value to buy. Most stores just have pure super cheap trash. But the few stores that have something decent it's too easy to buy it. The reason is that people Buy at the same SELL RATE. Something worth 30k, sells at 30k, and they buy it at 30k. And magic item are worth toooooooooooo much. But you will get most of them in quest. And there is plenty of Useless magic items. Just sell a few of those and you have enough money to buy everthing you want.


    So the balance kill the game? I have to say that for me and my friends, that we runned the game a couple of times (i did it like 10 times) i placed a set of rule sthat balance the races, classes
    spells and weapons, and i can post it if you are intersted in playing the game with this VERY LONG list of rules. Otherwise, as long as you don't completly abuse the godlike spells (maybe you don't
    even realize wich ones they are) the game is playable, but of course this completly ruins a lot from the experience.

    There is a last problem that i didn't know where to fit. so in the end seems nice.

    There is something i hate of WRPG that i understand why is there. IT's flavorfull i know. But it makes the game more boring, and i appreciate JRPG don't have it. (they have a million other
    problems, but not this one). i'm talking about Buffing your characters before a fight.
    I have a saying "If the best play in a game is BORING, there is a problem with the game design". The best play in a WRPG is to buff your characters before a fight. And the process is BORING.
    Games should lack that posibility or just have an automatic buff option or some crap like that. Or have so gameplay rule so that isn't the best play anymore.
    I have a rule to not do it, just because it's so boring.... Of course Darksun have this problem too.

    Fiuuu i think i did already with the most important aspects of gameplay and hope you aren't bored, if you are not bored yet i will bore you now talking abou the interface and atmosphere of the
    game. I will try to make it as short as possible.

    Interface:
    Another hit for the game. THe interface is beatifull, you have to experiment it, i can't say how simple, and at the same time sufficing interface the game has, so simple menus, easy to handle, and
    how the cursor works, the map, the information, everthing is so perfectly put , it's really a pleasue to control the game, and that's without a doubt one of the reasons i was able to play the game
    10 times. Really you can't do much better than this. Of course it fails sometimes. And here is what's wrong:
    The game doesn't track any kind of stats or diary with notes, it's not a killing feature, but it's always welcome
    The game lacks the information and explanation of some spells, and don't do a good work in explaining themselves, aditionally, it would be nice to see some effects on the battlefield, like ways to
    know insantly your character have certain buff or debuff without having to look at his chart. I'm aware that this was technological problem of 1992, that doesn't mean the problem isn't there.
    There is also a problem with lack of information in general on stats, races, etc, you have the manual yeah, but it's boring to read the manual really, and it's not that complete either and it's badly done.


    Atmosphere:
    I think that the atmosphere of a game is always hard to be objective. SInce it depends on people. A lot of people find the game graphics to cartoonish for a supposed so sad and harsh story.
    Personally i love the game graphics they are detailed, colorfull and nice. Yes, they are cartoonish, but i love it that way, i don't like realism in games. The sound is complicated. I love the
    music, but people use to tack it as overrepetitive. The sounds effect sound a little harsh but i like them too.
    And for the most important part of the atmosphere of a rpg, the story. I think the story is great.
    True is, it's not complicated, it's not deep, it's not epic. But is well told in my opinion and a lot of times funny. You won't fill full of emotion like in some JRPG, but i still find it
    interesting and doesn't feel really forced. As i said it's a matter of taste, but i really love the atmosphere of darksun.

    Conclusion:
    What did they right?- They implemented an excellent gameflow that should be an example in my opinon on how to make a good RPG, they also implemented a beatifull interface.
    What did they wrong?- Horrible character creation system, VERY UNBALANCED stats, spells, weapones, races and classes. NO global timer.

    So my score.
    Gameplay: 4/10
    Interface: 7/10
    Atmosphere: 7/10
    Personal Bias: 6/10
    Final score: 5/10

    In the end is a game that started things right, and did some things very well, but failed miserable at others, in the second part, darksun 2, they took everthing well done in this part, and
    destroyed it. It's shame more games didn't learn from this game, because that woulda mean a good future for rpgs. I think if you want to understand more how i thikn a good rpg should be done, you
    should play this game.
    (i could give my long list of rules to make the game more "balance to you" just need to ask, but it's ok to play the game as it is.)

    I appreciate any kind of feedback, even if it's the kind of "you suck and you deserve to die because of it" as long as you give me a tip on how should i improve.

    PD:(i want to note that the game is a little buggy, some things don't work, and there is a particualr annoying broken bug, there is a chance based on unknown factores, that in the end a trigger never triggers. if that happens to you you re screwed, you can't finish the game, owned, i have to say i don't want to measure the score of a game based on it's programming mistakes, but only on gaem design, that's why i didn't name this)

    EDIT:
    Reasons to play this game: If you want to see a different kind of WRPG, or you want to learn what i think is the best interface and battle system on any rpg, and also how i think the gameflow on an RPG should be.
    Reasons not to play this game: If you are actually interested on a game, and have no interest in the game design, and can't stand the horrible mistakes the game bring (horrible character creation, horrible balance, and the likely you find a game breaking bug on the endgame)
     
  3. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Staff Member

    Great review. I played it a bit of the way through, but my guys died.

    This part made me lol
    Owned


    Look forward to more reviews!!
     
  4. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

    Garcia, I'm glad you liked it.
    I added two lines in this review and in the crimsonland review, both at the end.

    What game would you like me to review? you can say any game that isn't a PS3 or XBOX game , since are the only two consoles i don't have access to.

    games i thought on reviewing (i know that my selection is bizarre but hey ...)

    Mario strike charged (wii)
    Big brain academy (wii)
    Captain tsubasa V (Snes)
    Dragon's curse (turbografx)
    Yu Yu hakusho(Genesis)
    Kunio kun nekketsu soccer league (nes)
    Castlevania 64 (To compare my vision to final slayer vision and also to give me an incentive to play the game :p)
     
  5. FinalSlayer

    FinalSlayer Banned

    At least I've played that one.

    I watched the anime when I was 13 years old. Never knew there was a fighting game associated with it....sure, why not?

    Yeah, go for it!
     
  6. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Staff Member

    Is this where you play soccer but you beat up the other guys? omg I played this game before. pls review!
     
  7. banewlf

    banewlf Well-Known Member

    Is that the Japan only release that had a somewhat turn based fighting system? You had a gauge and you could attack at any point in the gauge but if you wait until it maxes out to attack (and time the attack correctly) you get a big bonus to the attack? If so, I would like to see you review that. I had a great deal of fun with it once I figured out what everything did. It was a very unique "fighting" game (if you can call it that).
     
  8. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

  9. link6616

    link6616 Well-Known Member

    It's alot like the forbearer to Guardian Heroes and Bleach DS
     
  10. Voltrox747

    Voltrox747 New Member

    Dark Sun was one of my favorite PC games as a kid, and is still one of my top ten favorite RPGs of all time. I think most of the mistakes it made stemmed from the fact that it tried too hard to be D&D. D&D, or at least the version that existed at the time, is an absolute mess when it comes to balance. The game expects the GM to work around those flaws and balance the game himself to suit the players, but obviously a PC game shouldn't be designed the same way.

    Anyway, as Waterd said in the first post, one of the best things about this is the many possible ways to complete the game, or even individual parts of the game. This is the sort of game that I would hold up as an example anytime I complain about how little effort goes into RPGs nowadays.
     
  11. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

    Play Darksun shattered for first time or rerun:

    0.Introduction:
    I write this guide in order to help improve the experience of playing Darksun: Shattered lands to those that want to try this game for first time. It's an old game, with design flaws and a manual that is worthless for the most part, in addition is somewhat bugged. But I think some of the concepts of this game are top material and I think anyone interested in the design of RPG should experience DS:SL because it does so many things so well, even if it does many things so wrong. The main intention of this guide is to help new players to find a challenge in this game. DS:SL has many too overpowered stuff (as most RPG actually), and my intention is to point it out so players don't use that.
    In addition to provide some help in creating chars so the player doesn't end with a useless or boring group.
    Also commenting on things from the manual i thing are relevant as the Manual is very long but with a lot of incorrect information.

    1.The overpowered things: I will divide this in tiers from most broken stuff to thing that I think are kind of too strong but are not so to the point of making the challenge obsolete:

    Tier 1: Playing with this makes the game a right click game.

    a) Psionic power: Mass domination
    Explanation: Im not a master of d&d nor much less. However I think Dominate monster is a 9th level spell (wizard level 18) and its pretty good. I know some CRPG have the mass dominate spell which is broken no matter how you slice it. But at least you need a level 18 wizard or similar. However most version have a very small AOE or just can only target around 3 targets. Since it's a very high level spell, you are also limited on how many times you can cast them per fight or rest.

    Now imagine having mass domination in a level 3 character, and instead of 3 targets you have 5. Yes it's that broken, It's the most broken thing I ever saw in any RPG game, and I really would like to ask the designers what where they thinking. So just don't learn this power.

    b) Race: Half-giant

    Explanation: Here are the half-giant stats
    +4 Str -5 Dex +2 Con -5 Int -3 Wis -3 Chr. I will talk about stats later, but anyone with some experience in d&d will know that those stats cry op. But this just half the story. Half-giants get DOUBLE HP bonus from constitution. And we are talking about a race that get +2 in constitution. Half giants are just the power houses of darksun, and it pains me to say "don't use it" because with my experience with darskun players, half-giant are the favorite race of many. I don't know at this point if its atmoshphere reasons, or they just have fun to have someone that can smash everyone to pieces while being unkillabe tanks of destruction. This is just not about fighters. Half giant make the best race for
    any class they can pick.

    c) Weapon: Dual-wielding.
    I find in most RPGS dual-wielding is underpowered. Here is not like that, here dual wielding is the nuts. When you dual wield in darksun you get DOUBLE the attacks. The penalty? What penalty?.
    Add to that you can carry a heavy weapon and a normal weapon. It makes every other form of attack look like a joke and most of the game a joke in itself. Don't carry a weapon in each hand.

    Tier 2: Quite OP stuff, but if you want to use them, go ahead, it doesn't remove all challenge of the game unlike Tier 1 stuff, it just makes it quite easy.

    a) Cleric/druid spell: Hold person.
    This is the little brother of Mass domination, but is instead hold person. Holding is not as strong as controlling. But is still makes any human in the game just a joke. In every other CRPG I know this is a higher level spell that can target one creature or monster. Reasonable. Here you can target 4. Which is crazy, and you do double damage to paralyzed humans+less AC.
    So, if you use this spell, be prepared to make every humanoid creature a joke. The only reason this isn't tier 1 is because many powerfull enemies in the game are not humanoid.

    b) Preserver spell: Haste:
    This is the 3rd most broken spell. Making every ally have double attacks and double speed for practically infinite time. Just the way to go ahead and convert every PC in a killing machine. D&D now a days have haste and still a core spell, and it doesn't last as long nor gives DOUBLE attacks, just an extra attack.

    c) Psionic power: Dominate:
    Ok this is weaker than Mass dominate, still it's dumb. It's not so much for it's effect. Is it's Psionic cost. I think it's bugged. But the cost is only equal to the level of the creature you try to dominate, and there is no maintenance cost. This means the following, If you have a telepath in your team. The only move you will do non stop is Dominate. Because it's cheaper than almost everything, with the most powerful effect. According to the manual this power has a maintenance cost. In practice, it has none. It feels kind of dumb to have a telepath that can't dominate though. But fwiw you still have body control.

    Tier 3: Slightly OP stuff that I prefer not to use, but the game is still challenging using them.

    a) Multi-class:
    I will start saying that if it's your first time playing darksun shattered lands, go ahead and multiclass, the main reason is that I think some party composition are extremly hard (but still possible) to win with. If you multiclass you greatly diminish your chances of that happening.
    Multi-class is supposedly balanced around that you get half the XP or a third XP than you should. But since the cap is low that is not a big deal. And having a wizard with the HP and armor restrictions of a fighter (which means none) is just too good. For that reason I don't use multiclassing
    (except maybe for the thief class, more on that later). I think Multi-classing is slightly too good in darksun but I know a lot of people love to multi class and i don't think it's so OP as to not use it if you think its fun. Also you can make an exception for the thief and the cleric (because a pure cleric and pure thiefs sucks imo) However I think human dual classing may be ok (not sure).


    b) Rest scumming:
    When I play I think the best way is to use each rest spot and each heal spot (healing chambers and npc clerics) just one with the exception of prison rest (which I can use once per Arena visit). The problem with this is that you have to keep track of it (I do in a notepad but it can be a hassle to you) which is the only reason i don't recommend it, whoever if you want to add extra challenge to a second or third run. Go ahead.

    2. Creating your party:

    Ok Now that you know how to make the game more challenging by knowing what things break the game. Let's
    go with helping in making a party that can survive.
    If you want go ahead and use the prearranged party the game gives you (which is pretty broken btw with
    all maxed stats chars). But I think its more fun to create your own party.

    But to do that you need to know what each race and class do, more or less. I played many rpg and I think its very frustrating to be mid game to realize your monk is a piece of crap compared to your barbarian, or that you wonder why you have a wizard instead of a sorcerer. (generally making me start all over)
    So this is intended so you get what you expect.

    How you create a character?
    First pick your race, then go ahead and pick your class (or classes if you are gonna multi class), then
    roll the dice, set your character Psionics, Set your character elemental sphere (if he is Cleric, druid or ranger) finally Set your character name and you are ready to go (I think you can edit your character name at any point)

    First the stats:
    Str: Strength define your chances to hit on melee as well to help your melee damage
    Dex: Increase your chances to hit at range as well as increase your Dodge AC
    Con: Affect the amount of hitpoints you have as well as helps to determine the chances to successfully use most psychokinetic and pyschometabolic abilities without failing, also slightly affect your amount of psy points.
    Int: Pretty useless only slightly affect your ammount of psy points. Also it determines the chances of succeed of a very few telepathic abilities.
    Wis: Determine the amount of clerical type spells you can cast per level as well as being the major determiner on the amount of psy points you have. It also determines your chance of succed of most of the telephatic abilities. finally wisdom increase saving throws. (if constitution or Dexterity also influece saving throws I have no information)
    Chr: Pretty useless, if your leader has high enough chr he will be given a few extra options in conversations at some points in the game.

    Classes:
    Classes set what armor and weapons you can use, they also define some special skills, and what magic abilities you can use. Each class have different requirements in XP to level up. Finally Classes determine your minimum STATS. When you roll the dice, if you roll a number less than X, your stat is X instead. If you multi-class the minimal stats is the highest of any of your classes.

    Combat oriented:
    Fighter: M.Stats: 17/9/9/9/9/9. Fighters can use any type of armor or weapon. They get extra attacks at later levels. They get a Max of 10 HP per level. They reach 9th level at 250,000 XP.

    Gladiator: M.Stats: 17/13/13/13/13/13. Gladiators can use any type of armor or weapon. They get extra attacks at later levels. They get a max of 10 HP per level. They reach 9th level at 300,000 XP. They get an extra AC point when they reach 5th level. Gladiators can't multi-class.

    Ranger: M.Stats: 14/14/14/14/17/14. Rangers can use any type of armor or weapon. They get extra attacks at later levels. They get a max of 10 HP per level. They reach 9th level at 300,000 XP. They get level 1 clerical spells when they reach level 8.

    Comment: The combat oriented classes are very similar one to another, with very small perks or differences. It really doesn't matter which one you take, as long as you have at least one in your team.

    If you decide to go multiclass. Have in mind that you can use all armor and weapons anyway even if you pick restricted classed. Which makes multi-classing into ranger or fighter very powerfull.

    Clerical type:

    Cleric: M.Stats: 9/9/9/9/17/9. Clerics can use any type of armor. They are very restricted on the weapons they can use and it's defined by it's elemental sphere.

    Air: No melee weapons, Any ranged weapon.
    Earth: Obsidian, metal and wood weapons. (that is basically the most important types of weapons so it's almost everthing)
    Fire: Obsidian weapon
    Water: Bone or wood weapons.

    They get a Max of 8 Hp per level. They reach 9th level at 225,000 XP. Clerics can cast all non-elemental clerical spells up to level 3. They also are able to cast all the clerical spells of the sphere of choosing. Clerics get Turn undead ability. (which is one of the most powerful turn undead I've seen in a D&D game)

    Druid: M.Stats: 12/12/12/12/17/12. Druids can use any weapon, but they can't use any armor.They get a Max of 8 Hp per level. They reach 9th level at 225,000 XP. Druids can cast all non elemental clerical spells up to level 5. And the clerical spells of the sphere of choosing.

    Comment: Druid is gonna be the way to go. But some races can't be druid. However, being unable to cast non elemental clerical spells at level 4 and 5 is gonna be a bummer for most people (that means no cure critical wounds and the likes, isn't that the reason we pick these kind of chars?). Druids also get slightly better minimal stats.
    However druid unable to use armor is a pain. Also while turn undead is extremly powerful, the amount of undead in the game is way less than almost any other D&D I have played. I want to stress that most people will hate the cleric, so if you want a "cleric" go with druid unless you know what you are doing.

    The rest:

    Preserver: M.stats: 9/9/9/17/9/9. Preserver can only use quarterstaff, slings, daggers and some magical weapons. They can't use any armor. They get a Max of 6 HP per Level. They reach 9th level at 125,000 XP. Preservers are the only ones that can cast arcane magic.

    Psionicist: M.stats: 12/12/12/12/17/12. Psionicist can only use small/light weapons, They can only use leather-type armor. They get a max of 6 HP per level. They reach 9th level at 200,000 XP. Psionicst get psionic powers.

    Note: Generally psionicist will focus on Psychometabolism or telepathy. The first one is about autobuffing your char for melee combat, and the second is about ranged attacks. The truth is that the only race worth to focus on Psychometabolism is the thri-kreen. (since can't use armor and have 4 arms to mutate) A psionicst thri-kreen with Psychometabolism is pretty powerfull, but anything else really blows imo. However Telepatic psionics are powerfull regardless of race. However you should use powers of the 3 classes regardless.
    A notice is that Psionicist leaders are one of the three only thing that affects dialogs and options in the game (along with Charisma and Thief class).

    Thief: M.stats 9/17/9/9/9/9. Can use all weapons. Can only use leather-type armor. They get a max of 6HP per level. They reach 9th level at 110,000 XP. Thiefs can Backstab: If they attack a unit from the opposite direction that it was attacked the last time, he gets bonus to hit and to damage.

    Note: Thief along with psionics and Charisma are the only character traits that can affect dialogues and options. While there are traps and whatnot. There are a very few things that can't be solved in non-thief ways. I find thief's pretty weak. But I think many people enjoy the idea of playing a thief. For that reason, even if you decide to not multiclass. You can make an exception for Thiefs.

    Races:

    Humans: Stats: None Classes: all. Special: Humans can't multiclass, instead can Dual class which is a weird long to explain thing and I won't.

    Dwarves: Stats: +1 Str +2 con -1 Dex -2 Chr Classes: Cleric, Fighter, Gladiator, Psionicist, Thief.

    Elf: Stats: +2 Dex -2 Con +1 Int -1 Wis Classes: All but Druid. Special: The manual says that they can't be revived by clerical spells. But I don't know if its true, never tested it since I never pick elfs.

    Half-Elf: +1 Dex -1 Con Classes: All

    Half giant: +4 Str -5 Dex +2 Con -5 Int -3 Wis -3 Chr. Classes: Cleric, Fighter, Gladiator, Psionicist, Ranger. Special: Double hit points.

    Halfling: -2 Str +2 Dex -1 con +2 Wis -1 Chr. Classes: All but preserver.

    Mul: +2 Str +1 Con -1 int -2 Chr Classes: All but preserver and ranger

    Thri-Kreen: +2 dex +1 Wis -1 Int -2 Chr Classes: All but Preserver and thief. Special: Can't wear armor.
    5 AC natural armor. 4 natural attacks (instead of 1 of other chars). 1 extra Attack that has a chance to paralyze. 15 movement isntead of 12 of other races.

    3.FAQ:

    A) There are important bugs that I should know?:
    The game has a lot of bugs but few game breaking.

    The most important thing is a bug that happens around 5% of the runs, and forbid you to finish the game (!!!).
    There are 3 things that rumors say diminish the chances for it to ever happen
    1) Sometimes characters say they will leave a place, you should wait for them to leave the map.
    2) If you find any note in a body talking about "the army" you should pick it up in your inventory.
    3) Having the 1.1 version of the game (you can go to options with TAB and ABOUT to see the version of your game)

    Another bug that may be important is in the spiders cave. if you see black spiders save. There are 2 bug related to it. One has to do with a bug (though is recorded in the manual so some may call it a feature) that if you go too far away from an ally. The ally will just dissapear.
    1) the first one is after "saving" a group of black spiders, though for purpoose of quest, you save them even if you run like hell and lose them all, it's nice to have them to fight with you. However trying to save EVERYONE is almost impossible since they block each other out and they stop moving for one reason or another. However, try to get 1 or 2 spiders not get lost, is a reasonable goal that you should aim for.

    2) In that same cave The most important Spider that may help you is the Prince of spiders. Don't run too far from him or he won't help you.

    Finally a bug that may be annoying is the way spells that create objects work. They are unpredictable, yet extremely powerfull. You may end with a wall that doesn't cover anything or fog where everyone will see through. The only solution to that is reload :S.

    B) If I have an ally in battle, will he turn on me if I attack him?.

    Hell yes. Even if it's a mind controlled one. If you even dare to do slight damage, they will unleash the full wrath on you until you die. So be careful with that. This is specially important in the already named Cave of black spiders since it's very hard to know which ones are on your side and which aren't (There are 2 rules for that. Any Mage spider is enemy, and look what each spider attack. If they attack a spider that is known to be ally or you, they are enemy).
    The only exception to this are summons who will not care that you damage them.

    C) Is there a quest that if I fail, will make it impossible to finish the game?
    No, You can fail at every quest and still get to the ending. There are some quests that trigger the final quest. But that is they trigger the final quest regardless of if you complete the quests or fail. you have to succeed or fail to trigger it though.
    However I should notice that while you can theorically finish the game if you fail at every quest, your characters being able to win the proper fights is a different matter. Quests will give XP, but more important will give very powerful items and set some triggers that will make some parts of the games easier (in some cases a lot easier).
     

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