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Old 08-07-2012, 07:46 AM
MattCaspermeyer MattCaspermeyer is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 549
Default I think you made a good choice with Poison Cloud

You probably made a good choice with picking Poison Cloud because I found the stock Gizmo seriously lacking.

I'm actually currently working on the Gizmo routine in CW and the stock AI didn't really work very well there either.

I added a lot of "neat" descriptions to Gizmo when it uses its abilities (i.e. Gamma Destructo Ray or whatever its called when it attacks units), variable charges (i.e. in excess of 3, that animate its little "glowy" things on top of it properly), and figured since it was advanced technology, it should be able to not only heal but reanimate "primitive" tissue / creatures. I dramatically improved its AI, although I think I've made an even better improvement in the CW development (that will get rolled back in my TL mod eventually).

As far as Poison Cloud is concerned, the primary stock strategy for it is the way you're using it - it was effectively useless at damaging enemies. So I changed its capabilities in my mod making it more suited for what it was intended (i.e. damaging the enemy).

You'll find that my mod is replete with examples like this where I took what I thought were poorly implemented spells / unit / spirit abilities and made them more usefull.

Also the children give bonuses to units that you may not necessarily consider using and so I find that as I play my mod I use signficantly more units than I did when I played the stock game.

For example, if you marry Feanora, her human form gives bonuses to animals while her frog form gives bonuses to snakes, spiders, thorns, devilfish, dragonflies, and beholders. Her children draw mostly from the HOMM3 Fortress heroes and hence give more bonuses to snakes or dragonflies for example. You can also marry Diana (the River Fairy - she gives bonuses to forest creatures) and there is a new Orc wife (Orcelyn) to give bonuses to Orcs.

So if you have time in the future to play my mod, I think you'll enjoy it much more than the stock game!


Originally Posted by trentjaspar View Post
Ah, Gizmo only rezzes in your mod-- that's a huge distinction! I'm glad I didn't already get Gizmo. I'd rather upgrade the abilities I use. It's possible Gizmo might make more sense later when I have more troops with large HP (so that the healing is useful).

I did end up getting Poison Cloud because, when used carefully, it can help regain mana at the end of a fight, and I don't have any critical upgrades left to my other Sleem skills.

Always nice to hear from a modder-- thanks for replying.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:07 PM
Elbyron Elbyron is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by trentjaspar View Post
The main reason I don't like these skills is that I like to control and predict the battle as much as I can. Random = bad (obviously it can't be avoided, like damage ranges and %crit, etc.) But why add more randomness?
They may seem random, but there is a little bit of predictability with these two rage skills. Gizmo will ignore friendly units that don't need healing, or who only need a little bit of healing: less than 1/3rd of Gizmo's healing power. Once it reaches level 3 or 4 Healing skill, Gizmo can also target friendly units that have a negative spell on them, or who have no movement points left (a huge bonus since your unit could attack again). All enemy units within 5 spaces are also valid targets. Gizmo likes to move, and will switch to a new target even when currently over one with a probability of 66%. If the current target is the only one it can reach, it will only move away (toward the nearest other target) with a 33% chance. And if Gizmo has nobody below it, you know its going to move to the closest valid target. So yes, there is some randomness, but knowing a few details of the algorithm - thanks to the Russian fan manual - can help you make better use of Gizmo.

Poison cloud is even easier to predict. It moves 1 space in the direction that has more enemy unit stacks - but seems to only consider those within 2 spaces, with 50% more weight given to directly adjacent units. The manual says an adjacent space gets 1.5 points of weight assigned for having a unit on it (regardless of size or level) plus 1 point for each of its adjoining spaces that have a unit. When weighting is equal for 2 directions, the cloud generally tries to move upward and to the right. Knowing this can really help you prevent the cloud from hitting your own units when you don't want it to.

Specifically, sometimes I use a weak enemy to "block" a more powerful unit. I'd be dismayed to see Gizmo "help" me by killing him. Also, especially at the end of battles, I may try to keep a weak unit around so that I have time to rez troops and regain mana and rage. Again, I don't want Gizmo or Poison Cloud killing him off before I'm ready.
This is the main reason I don't like these two skills. At least Gizmo only lasts for 3 turns (though any turns spent just moving without healing/hitting don't count). The poison cloud lasts too long and can wipe out that final weak stack that you want to keep alive.

Another 'benefit' of not getting them is that it limits the options for upgrades at level so I have a higher chance of getting the upgrade I seek.
Very true. I only took Gizmo on the hopes that I'd get its healing to level 4, and be able to add valuable AP points to my units. And I'm in no hurry to upgrade any of Lina's other skills, so it seems worthwhile to accept Gizmo. But with Sleem, I regret taking poison cloud as I could have had more Shoal & Glot upgrades.

As for Lina having poor experience gain, I've found her easier to increase than the Reaper. Her abilities all start out giving 20 base experience per use (30 for the shards) and most improvements add +5 more experience per use. Whereas the Reaper only gets 7 base experience for the starting Soul Drain ability, and it only goes up by 2 with each damage enhancement. Rage drain and black hole also offer fairly skimpy base experience. Of course, this is just the base amount and there is the killing bonus to consider, which is an additional amount of experience equal to 1.8% of the leadership of the killed units (up to a certain max based on spirit's level). With enough upgrades, the Reaper's skills can do some pretty significant damage so I guess that will help later on, but at least initially I found Lina easier to level up.
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