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Old January 15, 2019, 20:11   #36
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 243
Infinitum is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by Quirk View Post
Infinitum, forgive me for being impatient, but you are again making sweeping statements that are hard to reconcile with reality. [...]
Perhaps our viewpoints differ. I mainly play melee characters. The way I see it, the main difficulty of Sil is keeping ahead of the melee/evasion curve from ~350' through ~850'. Before that, a largeish investment in melee/evasion is usually enough to kill everything with minimum equipment, and once you've survived Kemenrauko/Cat territory one generally have enough good equipment, consumables and raw skills to trivialize every other encounter sans V.

In practice, I find this means every single skill and ability purchase prior to and during those depths have to be justified in place of another point of (functional) melee/evasion, since dealing and avoiding is what ultimately keeps melee characters stocked with consumables, safe, and alive. This changes somewhat in the lategame once melee/evasion becomes prohibitively expensive, but at that point everything else dies on contact anyway.

In light of that,

Smithing: Can be an equipment boost for a low investment until 500' or so, but any expenditure beyond that is actively counterproductive for the midgame. There are some lategame shenanigans to be had, but the lategame is nowhere near as punishing as the mid and mid-lategame. There's heaps of threads on this.

Song of Elbereth: Is an unreliable escape at best, and generally a worse combat song than Staying in situations where having a song matters (eg vs tough, high will opponents or when you're otherwise losing).

Song of Challenge: Is generally worse than Opportunist. Cheaper to get initially, sure, but some stealth isn't a bad investment to avoid some surrounds, and Opportunist still works in situations where you want a combat song (eg vs tough opponents).

Song of Silence: Is generally good for stealth/stabbing characters, obviously. It helps that Quick Study isn't that good for stealth builds.

Song of Freedom: Like you noted. Generally much worse than Staying. 10 extra will vs Slowing/Entrancement isn't as good as 10+ extra will vs everything, and between the 6 perception combat characters want for Bane and rings of perception traps usually aren't an issue. There is a small niche vs V since it can close pits/open up rubble, but that isn't worth the 1500 extra xp imo.

Song of the Trees: Is generally good. Elemental resists are never bad, one needs some extra light around shadow spider depth anyway, and this is cheaper than the 1500 xp for the jeweller/pray-for-mithril combo (assuming one also wants Staying, and nothing else in the song tree). Not to mention dropping Lamps later on is not always enough for multiple Amethyst S/Gwauthrauko.

Song of Delvings: Is cool and thematic and atmospheric and I'll leave it at that.

Song of Staying: Is good. For a 3 grace Noldor, it's effectively 10 points of Will as well as the protection bonus. I usually value [,+1d2] slightly above [+1,], so at 3300 xp this is a pretty good value once one can afford to stockpile the xp (at ~(+10)[+10]). 7 song/3 grace is incidentally where one gets +2 light from the trees.

Song of Lorien: Is good for stealth singers.

Song of Thresholds: Is situationally a (+4)[+4] by the time you get it, which is pretty good. It's also another 3200 xp on top of The Trees/Staying, which is quite steep. And it both requires and prohibits mobility in combat, which can be situationally bad (especially since you can otherwise use doors to lure the AI 1v1). And Staying + Dodging/Flanking is generally [+3,2d2] which is arguably better. The escape is cool, but requires you to create distance vs non-flitterers, which looks quite situational for melee characters.

Song of Overwhelming: Looks weak. Haven't tried it though. Does it work off another will modifier than Mastery (or does the stun remain longer)? Might be situationally good for heavy armor characters?

Song of Mastery: Suffers a bit from the Smithing problem. It's (very) strong later on, but the early-mid concessions to get there (eg dropping evasion to pay for it) are painful to play through. And I'm far from convinced it actually makes song better than evasion at equivalent values (RIP my singer-smiths. All of them).

So, looking at the songs from my perspective I'm seeing a pretty solid midgame combat boost at 3300 xp, a necessary answer to shadow critters in the late midgame at 1000 xp, and a bunch of interesting and situationally good abilities that aren't worth the 1500+ xp investment during the critical parts of the game.

Which is to say they're not all that different from most other ability trees in the game, except I think this one has a pretty intuitive way of addressing the problem without overhauling the ability system (and help make non-stealthy Singers into more of a standalone arcetype).

Anyhow, different strokes for different folks etc etc.
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