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cross3yed0ni: Jeez. All this talk of optimal party comps is making me rethink my Knight, Paladin, Cleric, Sorcer party. Is this viable? Or should I just start over?
Any party can win. But as you get familiar with the game, people get favorite type of attacks. Me, I like elemental magic more than most, especially earth magic. So Druids work for me.
The Party you have has more muscle than most with both a Knight and a Paladin (and more hit points) which is good for a first walk through. Also with a Paladin, you have a healer in both the Paladin and Cleric.
Your Cleric will be your primary healer, but will give you some extra attack power with "Harm" and "Mind Blast" early on.
And with Cleric and Sorcerer you have two casters for Light and Dark Magic.
(Thinking about it, I would use the Paladin for healing and use the Cleric's Harm for early attack. The Paladin's attack is not that great early on, and Harm is not a bad spell up to about Level 10.)

So, you are fine.
And remember--- everybody is equal with a blaster which is your end weapon. They are like Colt 45 in the Old West, the great equalizer.
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cross3yed0ni: Jeez. All this talk of optimal party comps is making me rethink my Knight, Paladin, Cleric, Sorcer party. Is this viable? Or should I just start over?
That will do just fine. The "optimal party" talk tends towards how to butcher monsters fastest, and I gather that casting Shrapmetal point blank with high skill in Master Dark is the way to do that, preferably with 4 people doing it. Most other considerations tend to be glossed over.
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macAilpin: And remember--- everybody is equal with a blaster which is your end weapon. They are like Colt 45 in the Old West, the great equalizer.
Do it right, and it's more like a sub machine gun in the Old West. Sure, you might get hurt if there are a lot of them, but your enemies are grass before your lawnmower.
Post edited April 28, 2019 by Bookwyrm627
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cross3yed0ni: Jeez. All this talk of optimal party comps is making me rethink my Knight, Paladin, Cleric, Sorcer party. Is this viable? Or should I just start over?
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Bookwyrm627: That will do just fine. The "optimal party" talk tends towards how to butcher monsters fastest, and I gather that casting Shrapmetal point blank with high skill in Master Dark is the way to do that, preferably with 4 people doing it. Most other considerations tend to be glossed over.
Just for fun, I decided to check what parties are used in speedruns, and here's the result:
* For an any% good ending speedrun, (as seen in SDGQ 2017), the party used was Druid, Cleric, Cleric, Sorcerer, and a 5th glitch party member.
* For something like a 100% No Major Glitches speedrun, the party was Sorcerer, Cleric, Sorcerer, Sorcerer.

(For these runs, the primary consideration is what will get you to the end of the game fastest; this is not the same as being able to kill enemies fastest, as it may often be best to avoid killing enemies unless killing them is faster or will save time (or be required, if that happens in this game?) due to XP awards).
ABOUT PARTIES:
I always viewed knight as a class that can have utility skills since they dont have magic. I dont know how many thousands of items my knight has fixed over the years and playthroughs.

I think many parties can have 2 paladins for good damage, HP and survivability. Spamming power cures and shrapmetal in Clanker's lab brings back memories.

Cle/Sor/Sor/Sor is of course also insane for the "shoot first, ask never"-parties

For other MM-games I can add that druid seems to be the most OP class ever in MM9. GM unarmed/dodge/body building + expert armsmaster = insane single target damage + insane HP, and master elemental = chain lightning for AoE damage. If I ever play MM9 again it will be with a 4 druid party.

STRESSFULNESS AND QUALITY OF GAMES:

Disclaimer: the next part is about MM6-9. I have never played 1-5 and thus, I pretend they dont exist:

In terms of stressfulness, I would say that MM9 is the most stressful MM-game (so much inventory management, money issues and long winded, buggy main quests), followed by MM7 (game turns into a chore after you make "the choice").

MM6 and MM8 are the least linear and best MM games in my opinion (I know people love MM7 and like to throw "mehs" everywhere at MM8, but I think it's 8 is better than 7. I think the story of MM7 is really bad (especially the incredible cheesy plot twist that forces you to work with the advisors near the end). The story of MM7 is about the same quality as that of MM9.

Spoiler alert for MM7 and 9 coming up:
If you think about it, MM7 and MM9 are very similar in terms of story and story quality. They are both about playing around rivaling factions for most of the game, where the faction talk is suddenly abandoned completely (everyone forgets the Tularean/Erathian war after you pick light/dark and everyone forgets Tamur Leng/the Jarls after the whole "Writ of Fate" business starts). After the faction talk is done, the focus is on some new metaphysical realm (Celeste/Pit vs. Arslegard) and then at the end of both games you get the "HAHA, that dude/those dudes werent who you thought they were"-moments.

MM6 has the best story, has the best soundtrack, has the best world (actually fun to explore) and is thus, IMO, the least stressful game.

I rate MM6-9 from best to worst:
6>8>>7>9
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Lars_Rakett: STRESSFULNESS AND QUALITY OF GAMES:

Disclaimer: the next part is about MM6-9. I have never played 1-5 and thus, I pretend they dont exist:

In terms of stressfulness, I would say that MM9 is the most stressful MM-game (so much inventory management, money issues and long winded, buggy main quests), followed by MM7 (game turns into a chore after you make "the choice").

MM6 and MM8 are the least linear and best MM games in my opinion (I know people love MM7 and like to throw "mehs" everywhere at MM8, but I think it's 8 is better than 7. I think the story of MM7 is really bad (especially the incredible cheesy plot twist that forces you to work with the advisors near the end). The story of MM7 is about the same quality as that of MM9.

[section with spoiler removed from quote: see the post being quoted if you're interested]

MM6 has the best story, has the best soundtrack, has the best world (actually fun to explore) and is thus, IMO, the least stressful game.

I rate MM6-9 from best to worst:
6>8>>7>9
I am not familiar with the later games, but I *am* familiar with 2-5, and I have seen videos of the NES version of 1 (but wouldn't consider myself familiar with it, as I haven't actually played it).

In terms of linearity, it seems that the linearity decreases as the series progresses through these games. In particular, 5 is less linear than 4, as many areas are not so easy to explore at low levels, most areas in the game require specific items to enter, and the endgame (the portion of the game where the non-linearity stops and you have to do things in a specific order) is longer than in other games in the series.

What I can say about the games is this:

MM2: Has the best combat of the early series IMO (the only one that could possibly compare is MM1, actually). In particular, you can actually see things like how much damage your attacks are doing, and spells feel worthwhile throughout (unlike in 3-5 where they're not so great at higher levels). There is a transportation network that lets you easily reach all the towns early, and you can get access to spells like Teleport that let you reach various key locations easily. (As a side note, the Etherealness spell is more useful in this game than in 3-5 because the walls are thin rather than a full square wide.) One other nice thing is that encounters respawn and events are repeatable, unlike in later games in the series. There's also the fact that *all* aging is reversible, not just magical aging. The main problem is having to split your party for mandatory quests. There are also some enemies that can destroy *all* of your gold, gems, or food, and that I believe can even steal your items. Also, this game has the nastiest troll I've seen short of a "dead person walking" situation or deliberate softlock; if you take Murray's treasure, you are punished harshly for it, and the game does not make it apparent right away.

MM3: Has some interesting spells that didn't make it into the Xeen spells (albeit Half for Me's implementation has a couple issues, one making it less useful for its intended use, the other allowing for unbounded exponential HP growth (watch out for integer overflow!) of the character knowing the spell). The biggest problem is that one of the necessary spells, Walk on Water (expecially important in a game where the world consists of islands), is not learnable by anyone in the default party. I actually consider this game to be less stressful than the Xeen games, even if a few areas can be nasty (hint: an enemy attack that fails to do any damage can't do anything else, either; try Power Shield if multi-target death attacks are posing an issue). It's also interesting in that you need only slightly more than a third of a specific key item to complete the game, meaning that you can choose which areas to explore and which to skip.

MM4: This game is different in that your level won't rise that high; you can't train past level 20 (without going to the Darkside, at which point you're no longer playing MM4). The slower scaling means there's a bit more freedom to exxplore, but unfortunately many dungeons require items from previous dungeons to explore, making the game structure consist of a couple main linear "threads" instead of being fully non-linear. One interesting aspect of this game is that Teleport works nearly everywhere, and is in fact mandatory (which makes the fact that druids and rangers don't learn it even more vexing, as it further limits what parties can beat the game without getting lucky with random item drops).

MM5: Probably the most stressful of the early games, actually. As I mentioned before, most areas, including even the towns, require certain items to enter. If you try to explore, you will encounter some very strong enemies (like those armadillos; if you've played this game, you know what I mean). Furthermore, while you have control of the order in which you do the towers and a few other areas, you still need to do most of them, and from the time you restore the castle (arguably earlier, starting with that labyrinth with all the minotaurs) to the end, the game is linear. (One oddity is that Castle Alamar, where the end of the game takes place does *not* require anything to enter.) There's also issues with gold supply later on; the game showers you with millions of experience like it's nothing, and it's even possible to train up to level 200, but the game basically stops giving you gold needed to train, while the amount gold needed per level continues to increase (while XP requirements do not). If you go for the World of Xeen ending, the problem becomes even worse, as there's a dungeon that requires millions of gold just to not take absurd abounts of damage, and if you've spent your money in order to actually make use of the XP you've earned, you won't be able to pay this.

In any case, I would say that MM2 is the least stressful of thest 4 games (even with certain nasty enemies present), while MM5 may be the most stressful.
I read about MM6 Castles and realize than I still know them by heart :)

Out of all 9 MM Games I think that MM6 is the most rewarding. It might be a bit too stressful in the beginning, but not to the point of MM1/MM2 and, to a degree, MM3 (if you decide to start your adventure by clearing 1st city from Moose Rats, unlucky couple of those can quickly kill entire party). And when you become powerful, it really feels like that.

It is also one of two MMs (the other being MM7) which had no level cap. But unlike MM7, it doesn't have skill limitations and Light/Dark restrictions and it also has much more content.

The most stressful, in my opinion, is MM2. All encounters are level scaled, and you can save only in towns. When you encounter groups of 50+ mobs, with each of them being capable of one-hit-killing
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dtgreene: MM5: Probably the most stressful of the early games, actually. As I mentioned before, most areas, including even the towns, require certain items to enter. If you try to explore, you will encounter some very strong enemies (like those armadillos; if you've played this game, you know what I mean).
MM5 wasn't supposed to be stand-alone game, it was somewhat late decision by JVC to make it standalone and test how it could work with merging. It can be clearly seen in Shangri-La and some other places in MM4, with whole dungeons being locked by keys from MM5. MM5, on other hand, is soft-locked by weak starting party vs monsters who are stronger than what you encountered in Castle Xeen. I mean, Armadillo hits 3 times harder than Lord Xeen (final boss of MM4), has double of Lord Xeen's AC and has 60% more HP than Lord Xeen. And such creatures are roaming a bit outside first town. That's not difficulty spike, that's difficulty wall and it is insurmountable unless you have party from MM4.
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Sarisio: The most stressful, in my opinion, is MM2. All encounters are level scaled, and you can save only in towns. When you encounter groups of 50+ mobs, with each of them being capable of one-hit-killing
Not quite true.
* Only the size of the encouter scales. You might fight 50+ enemies at higher levels, but they individually won't be any stronger than those you would fight at lower levels in the same ares.
* Only random and placed encounters scale at all. Fixed encounters (like the various dragon encounters in that one dragon dungeon, as well as boss fights) do not scale.

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dtgreene: MM5: Probably the most stressful of the early games, actually. As I mentioned before, most areas, including even the towns, require certain items to enter. If you try to explore, you will encounter some very strong enemies (like those armadillos; if you've played this game, you know what I mean).
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Sarisio: MM5 wasn't supposed to be stand-alone game, it was somewhat late decision by JVC to make it standalone and test how it could work with merging. It can be clearly seen in Shangri-La and some other places in MM4, with whole dungeons being locked by keys from MM5. MM5, on other hand, is soft-locked by weak starting party vs monsters who are stronger than what you encountered in Castle Xeen. I mean, Armadillo hits 3 times harder than Lord Xeen (final boss of MM4), has double of Lord Xeen's AC and has 60% more HP than Lord Xeen. And such creatures are roaming a bit outside first town. That's not difficulty spike, that's difficulty wall and it is insurmountable unless you have party from MM4.
The Armadillo is weak against status spells, however. (In praticular, the spell that puts beasts to sleep works pretty well on them.) So, using only spells buyable in Castleview, you can put those armadillos to sleep and then jump over them to avoid starting combat in the first place.

Also, there's still the whole money issue in the late game, where the game gives you tons of XP, but doesn't give you enough money to actually use that XP. In fact, the game is actually quite stingy with money at that point, particularly if you compare it with MM3 (which used the same formula for training costs, but had much more money available in the game).
Post edited June 07, 2019 by dtgreene
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dtgreene: Not quite true.
* Only the size of the encouter scales. You might fight 50+ enemies at higher levels, but they individually won't be any stronger than those you would fight at lower levels in the same ares.
* Only random and placed encounters scale at all. Fixed encounters (like the various dragon encounters in that one dragon dungeon, as well as boss fights) do not scale.
But you still have to deal with random encounters. Level scaling by number of enemies is still level scaling. And while some monsters aren't that hard even if they are 200+, the others are deadly even if they are only a few, nvm the whole armies of them. That also made game barely playable for short sessions. I remember I couldn't move anywhere in realistic time frame, so I cheated and made my character be Lv. 255. It didn't help, quite the opposite, it made me constantly battle hordes of monsters.

I see why MM2 can be loved, it definitely has its charm, but I think that limited saving and level scaling are a huge stress factors, much bigger than those in MM6.
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dtgreene: The Armadillo is weak against status spells, however. (In praticular, the spell that puts beasts to sleep works pretty well on them.) So, using only spells buyable in Castleview, you can put those armadillos to sleep and then jump over them to avoid starting combat in the first place.
And after them you start encountering Minotaurs, Giants, etc. who are even stronger than Armadillos. Basically, Armadillos are gear check at that point. If you can't kill them, you won't be able to kill anything after them (we don't include various exploits here).
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dtgreene: Also, there's still the whole money issue in the late game, where the game gives you tons of XP, but doesn't give you enough money to actually use that XP. In fact, the game is actually quite stingy with money at that point, particularly if you compare it with MM3 (which used the same formula for training costs, but had much more money available in the game).
IIRC there was repeatable semi-quest to replenish gems in caves and then you could craft nice gear with those gems and sell for money. Even without this, the game was quite easy at Lv.100+ and the only challenging fight was optional super boss Mega Dragon, but he was not required to be killed in order to finish WoX.
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dtgreene: The Armadillo is weak against status spells, however. (In praticular, the spell that puts beasts to sleep works pretty well on them.) So, using only spells buyable in Castleview, you can put those armadillos to sleep and then jump over them to avoid starting combat in the first place.
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Sarisio: And after them you start encountering Minotaurs, Giants, etc. who are even stronger than Armadillos. Basically, Armadillos are gear check at that point. If you can't kill them, you won't be able to kill anything after them (we don't include various exploits here).
By the time you encoutner Minotaurs, the lack of experience isn't as much of an issue, as by that point you have earned enough XP on the Darkside that the lack of XP from Clouds isn't really an issue.

Also, Giants are actually easier to deal with than Armadillos wtth poor equipment and spells; Armadillos have 800 HP and 50 AC, while Giants have 500 HP and 25 AC. So, you can actually deal with Giants before you are ready to actually fight Armadillos. Then, once you reach In fact, you can realistically reach Necropolis without being strong enough to kill Armadillos, ad which point you just need to learn Implosion and can just implode every Armadillo you see, getting all of that XP. (There's also Mass Distortion, which can make certain high HP enemies (the ones with 5,000 HP in particular) manageable, and exploring the area can lead you to Castle Alamar, where the enemies fall easily to Implosion.)

You might need the help of some fountains, but that's not a problem, especially since you can actually buy Lloyd's Beacon in the first town.

In other words, Armadillos are actually an anomally, an out-of-depth monster to use a roguelike term. Being unable to kill them is not an indicator that you will have trouble with other enemies from then on, and then you can come back when you are more powerful and get them to implode on themselves.

Maybe I should try doing a Darkside-only run alone at some point and see how it goes. (IIRC, if you rename or delete a specific file, you can convert a World installation into a Darkside-only one, which will start you with a level 5 party.)
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dtgreene: Maybe I should try doing a Darkside-only run alone at some point and see how it goes. (IIRC, if you rename or delete a specific file, you can convert a World installation into a Darkside-only one, which will start you with a level 5 party.)
You might also be sure that you choose "Warrior" mode, as "Adventurer" mode greatly increases chance to hit and damage of characters.

You might want to compare Darkside flow of game with Clouds' flow of game. In Clouds, after you are done with Vertigo and Dwarf Mines quests, your characters feel quite free to wander and explore. On Darkside, after you clear first city and its close surroundings, you quickly find yourself surrounded by extremely high level creatures. And while you might persevere through that difficulty wall, it is definitely not the way to play it.

And with so much content being locked in "World of Xeen" merge, I don't think it is even worth it to go for such challenge, you need Clouds side to fully complete game anyway.