Rescue from Shieldhaven Prison is utterly and blatantly unbalanced.

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by Kaerius, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Kaerius

    Kaerius Orc Soldier

    Now, some of the modules are on the difficult side, but this one is just off the wall crazy unbalanced in the worst possible way. You are outnumbered, by enemies that draw more cards than you(sound the alarm!), and do pretty extreme damage(often with backstab mechanics that are really difficult to avoid, cowardly attack does 10 damage, more than 50% of a hero's health in one hit). To top that off if you come back with an overleveled party and manage to scrape through battles 3&4, the boss and his dog is still going to beat you silly.

    I've failed this adventure at least 6 times, the latest go with a lvl 6 party(lvl 4 module), after breezing through slub'gut and woodhome.

    The damage the decks in this dungeon can put out needs to be toned down, and the extra card draw spam from the nobs/servants needs to be toned down. Oh and the boss is almost impossible to hit because he's got a ton of block cards as well, joy. Even after managing to kill that vicious kill-char-in-one-turn dog, the boss can wipe my party by himself, with just the servants card draw backing him up.
  2. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    I saw your post mentioning difficulty with Ruby Demon Portal as well as this adventure. Thought I'd reply.

    Because, again, I've done a run at Ruby Demon Portal and beat it my first try. This is 100% for me, whereas Farbs said it's looking like 20% overall. I'm guessing it has to be strategy; and if the demon one is "strategy," we have to determine if the prison one is "strategy" as well before we label it "madness."

    So: Ruby Demon Portal, apparently people are suffering in the last fight. My strategy for the earlier fights is to sneak up "undercover" and keep those ranged attackers from slinging spells, then pound on their undefended fleshy torsos. They are, in fact, pretty weak when they're standing still next to you. In the last fight, things change: they're standing still on the victory squares. This should make the last fight easier, not harder. Thus, I rush the victory squares and unload all damage I can. Once I'm hiding within the pillars of the summoning circle . . . I'm now "undercover" versus the rest of the demons flitting around the outside. I win.

    Next: Shieldhaven. I've played it exactly once, and that was a time I used pizza to get more retries. Nasty. But it's clear that you're playing a game of keepaway: it's like the Bronze Golem in The Wizard's Workshop, suffering Clumsy, where you want to get behind the thing. Blocks don't work if you're behind them; backstabs don't work if they're not behind you. Give up on straight assault and run circles around them.

    It's not perfect, of course, as evidenced by my number of retries. Someone else might be able to advise more.
  3. Dugrim

    Dugrim Orc Soldier

    On Shieldhaven the enemies have 10 HP(dogs and guards): 2 Big Zap or 1 Violent Overswing.
    Let them get close and then hit them as hard as you can, and don't let them go behind you.
    Use your maneuvers only to change facing, or to avoid encirclement.
  4. Kaerius

    Kaerius Orc Soldier

    I did beat the ruby portal eventually, I blitzed the victory squares and held them. Key was my cleric having tons of heals.

    I'm running a classic warrior/cleric/wizard party, perhaps some of the trouble is from that... the wizard is a dwarf, the other two humans.
    But yeah after wiping to the boss with an overleveled, well-equiped party, even after I blitzed the assassin pooch(on retry), not fun(first run of course the pooch wtfpwned my party with like 5 high damage attacks in a row when I was done and passing). That was my 6th run at the adventure, and first time I even made it to the boss(I've adventure-fail wiped on battle 3 and on battle 4 before).

    This adventure either needs to be seriously nerfed, or have its level adjusted(it's more like a lvl 7 adventure).
  5. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    I have a dwarf wizard, human warrior, and elf cleric. In my case, the human boss (after I lost twice!) didn't draw any defenses in the first round, and I had exactly enough damage to destroy him. Then I used the "avoid backstabs" strategy on the dog.

    This adventure is do-able, but it could, quite possibly, need to be labeled a higher level. I'm about to start a thread for this sort of thing.
  6. Jayce

    Jayce Hydra

    This was one of those ones that I think I managed second time through (that's counting all three retries as 1 failure, so probably 5 tries in total); it did seem tricky but I haven't found it as distressing as some of the others.

    If at all helpful, I pretty much took the same approach as Dugrim. I'm using one of each class, all human, I used my wizard like a glass cannon and stuffed him with AOE fire spells, essentially letting all the dogs+friends come running to me and trying to apply burning to as many as possible. Positioning to avoid the backstabs is key. My Cleric and Warrior were handy blockers/finishers.

    I think I got lucky with my card draws on the final boss level, I think he got in 1 hit at most, I'm not sure if the dog even got a hit in.
  7. Wozarg

    Wozarg Thaumaturge

    Sir Knight i wonder if many people like me try the ruby portal with the party still being 2,2,1 in levels in that case i understand it as not having any armor makes the damage ad up quickly as you try to force the middle. As for the prison break the dogs have too much mobility skills so its almost impossible to keep your back clear and if they get one attack in you are deeply screwed. That said i did clear the prison module in one set of retries and my change in strategy after getting torn to shreads the first time showed that its clearly not impossible, just probably much harder then it should be. Lets face it 10 damage from 1 attack is not fair when 5 mobs in the same room all have it and a bunch of dodge and movement abilitys and the hp of a full part is less then 50.
  8. Roshirai

    Roshirai Goblin Champion

    Just going to quickly jump in and say that Shieldhaven is the only adventure series so far that has given me a significant amount of trouble.

    I think that while there are a lot of tactics that help make the battles easier (avoid backstabs from the dogs, try to attack the Men at Arms from the rear, use AoE spells and attacks, try to take down the Servants whenever possible, etc.), the main stumbling point is the lack of margin for error. Basically, if a Guard Dog gets a Cowardly Strike off, or a Man At Arms lines up their super-powerful Hack, your party member is likely dead, and you now more than likely lose the battle due to being outnumbered.

    This isn't a huge problem, but it makes the series a bit difficult/frustrating for being a relatively early set of battles. I honestly wonder if the series wouldn't be just fine if the Men At Arms' decks had a lesser version of Hack in them, rather than the ~10 damage monstrosity they currently have. :D
  9. A Bear

    A Bear Goblin Champion

    Oddly enough, my "all glass" team of 3 elven wizards ran through Shieldhaven with little worry. I think it was the ability to keep away from backstabs, stay at range, and quickly dispatch the human draw machines.
    ParodyKnaveBob likes this.
  10. DarkDain

    DarkDain Goblin Champion

    Speaking of imbalanced... I finally finished the 'no death' challenge for Arena 1, the first bit was a POS nightmare, if you dont get a good hand to start with just give up immediatly because the slime and trogs will likely kill a guy before the turn is over, ESPECIALLY if the priest doesnt get his negative trait card, then he spams curses on everyone every time. Enemies consistently get the same powerful cards, potent stabs and such.
    Second round was a pain in the ass too, particularly without a mage. After 3 tries i finally went back w/ a mage and ended up using Firewall because i was lucky enough to pull it on round 1, 20 dmg to the tree instantly.
    Round 3 was super easy, did it first try no problem. It seems backwards..
  11. Kaerius

    Kaerius Orc Soldier

    Finally beat it with 3 dwarven priests(all lvl 5), packed to the gills with violent overswings. Got lucky with the card draws for the boss. But note that getting lucky is basically required for this battle, as well as being well equiped. RNG != Tactics.

    Oh and the guards and the boss have an 11 damage attack card that does not require backstabbing. Probably not many per deck(1-2) but it's way overkill for this lvl adventure, suggest replace with 6 damage attack(maybe let the boss keep 1).

    As to outmanoueving them, it's not possible on all of the problem fights(on battle 3 they outnumber you, you're out in the open, and they have team shift, good luck keeping your back clear, similarly it's nearly impossible to keep your back clear in battle 4, but at least somewhat easier, then again the guards have those 11 damage attacks).
  12. A Bear

    A Bear Goblin Champion

    The fight with all the dogs in the open yard is perfect for fire mages. I spaced my wizard trio (fire/fire/electric) 2 squares apart from each other and just went to town with fire spray & ember spray. With +1 or +2 buffs to DoT damage, I could manage to lay 5-7 damage on each guy at the start of a round. Meanwhile my electric wizard zapped out the card draw humans at range.

    Once the DoTs were on, it was a brief game of keep away. Maybe I just got lucky, but this was one of the times when my decision to play a crazy party seemed to let me run through a hard level with ease. Elves love open spaces, but most boards are too small to use their full advantage. Shieldhaven was a welcome counter to that.
  13. Kyrr Kax

    Kyrr Kax Kobold

    Shieldhaven is a tough adventure. The guards seem to have an uncanny ability to draw parry, and the dogs are crazy mobile. The winning solution for me was protect my wizard. His big zaps were the only way I could take down the guards since the parry every melee attack sent at them unless you can somehow get behind them, and his pyromancy fueled fire sprays were handy against packs of dogs.

    My biggest struggle in this adventure was the guards and their parry cards. With it's block any melee on 2 or higher, two of my party members couldn't touch them. On the few times I saw parry fail, they still had more parries in their hand. I'd send my fighter and my cleric after one guard, play 4-5 attacks on the guard in a round, and 1 attack might get through. If more than my wizard had been effective against them, this would have been much more doable.

    That said, when I finally beat Shieldhaven, I felt pretty awesome.
  14. Neofalcon

    Neofalcon Goblin Champion

    I have to agree with this one being overtuned - the fight with all the dogs in the open courtyard is just ridiculous. You basically just have to get lucky - you can't strategically keep your back clear because they have way too much mobility and their sheer numbers restricts YOUR mobility.

    The way to fix it would probably be to just nerf their individual mobility (take away their dodge cards, perhaps give them fewer cards with strike on it, or nerf their movement cards). They could further tweak the difficulty by making the environment you fight them in less open, or giving more movement-boosting cards to the dog handler if taking away the dog's mobility makes the fight too easy.

    Certainly they have to do something though - it's just not fun as-is, and whenever I lose it doesn't feel like it's even remotely my fault - I just got unlucky and a character gets bursted down from full health following a ridiculous series of movements
  15. Kaerius

    Kaerius Orc Soldier

    As a sidenote: The Compass of Xorr is very similar to this, only it's easier and lvl 8, and enemy mobility isn't quite so insane.
  16. Kaerius

    Kaerius Orc Soldier

    Found another very overtuned battle: The boss fight in The Throne of Stench, my lvl 10 all-human adventurer party(all classes) did not stand a chance, in this lvl 7 adventure. It's an armor challenge(4 armor, 3+, usually 2-3 in hand), stabby challenge(enemies attack from range 2), with a really mean spellcaster flinging ranged death at you from out of range of my ranged wizard. Joy. Oh and you haven't got a prayer to reach him before you deal with tank stabby flunkies first, unless you learn to fly/teleport. Major bottleneck.

    I might give it a go later with 3 dwarf priests, they probably can beat it by attrition, I think that very little else could.
  17. mightymushroom

    mightymushroom Goblin Champion

    I just now did Rescue from Shieldhaven Prison for the first time, and I don't believe that I had to retry any battle more than once. Mixed class, mixed race party, all level 4. Perhaps I got good draws, though except maybe in the last battle it seemed very standard.

    I ignored the Servants after I realized they gave no victory points. It's a bit contrary because enemy card draw is bad, but 1) focusing my damage on the "real" danger gets rid of it that much more quickly, and 2) most of the time they ran so far away it was pointless to chase them.

    What I did on all maps was to keep my party in a very tight group, watching each other's backs and using the terrain defensively. My item collection seems to have naturally favored Chops and Fire/Ember Spray so I was good in a crowd -- it was just a matter of using weak attacks first to flush out the counters. I also believe in good Armor; most attacks were simply too strong for my Weak Blocks. My cleric was busy with healing, and even then I didn't win without one character down after the first battle.

    The third battle, in the dog yard, I tried to get to the corner nearest my Dwarf. I never made it, but I did kinda get to one wall and that helped to keep the dogs where I could see them. Unlike Trogs, they will get close enough to use multi-target attacks to good effect.

    The fourth battle in the catacombs was probably the toughest for me. The second try I made an orderly retreat toward the right-hand side. My Elven Fighter died, though not without getting a couple of dogs. My Human Cleric and Dwarven Wizard found a dead-end notch in one wall. The cleric slipped in first, so that the tough little dwarf was outside facing the the brunt of the attack. The guards obligingly lined up three abreast and got a dose of Fire Spray. It took a bit of fighting my own cutthroat instincts not to finish off an enemy who would burn to death next round anyway.

    And against the boss, what can I say? Again, I played defensively, standing my ground (in fact moving back into the entryway because my healer was too far forward at start). I was able to discharge his defense in the first round and get in a couple nice bludgeons. Only then did the dog come join us and I conjured my Fire Spray. (I had two in the first round, I'll admit that was lucky.) The boss was down to 7 hp in the first round and his dog was hurting too. Because they concentrated on (successfully) taking down my fighter, the rest of the party were still hale. The next round focused on the boss again, with just 5 hp after burning he wasn't so tough anymore. The dog lasted one more round, but wasn't dangerous enough alone and in front of me to threaten a well-healed Dwarf. Win on the first try.

    P.S. Would you be jealous if I said I beat the last battle of Ruby Portal on the first try too? Charged forward (using cover) to slip into the victory area: the demons only got the first round point off of it. The second was contested, and I won the third, sealing the portal.
  18. Zoorland

    Zoorland Goblin Champion

    I've run Ruby Demon Portal and Rescue from Shieldhaven Prison each at least five times and think I needed a single restart the very first try at Shieldhaven, but that's it. The adventures are brutal, but are quite beatable.

    As Sir Knight suggested, in the final battle on Ruby Demon Portal, just rush the victory points. If you can't get in first turn, just use the blocking terrain to stay out of range of the enemies that are in there. The main enemy is pretty easy to take out in a single volley and the imps start running as soon as you target them. I've failed the battle a couple times, but never had to restart the whole adventure.

    Shieldhaven can be a headache, but only the Catacombs are truly deadly. The first battle is simple. The second falls quickly if you keep the two main groups from swarming one character; just block the dogs with one character while you block the men at arms with the other. Dog Yard is pretty straightforward, just pick the dogs apart and don't get surrounded. Catacombs, though... man... the only way I've found to reliably beat it is to run as fast as possible for a corner and use your beefier characters and some blocking terrain to keep them away from your wizard... and with that, I will say that a wizard is almost a necessity on the adventure. Men at Arms have little response to a wizard with sufficient movement and good firepower. You can win without one, but then the MaA become nightmares with those *** parries.

    Last battle against the warden and his dog has been quite easy for me. Charge the horrible-looking dog, cut it to ribbons first turn, then just eliminate the warden. Without his best friend, the warden has little means to run down my party. I've never seen this fail. I'm sorry I can't offer much more than that.
  19. Wozarg

    Wozarg Thaumaturge

    I'm with you on this one that is one overtuned module really i once lost all my guys by turn 2 since the wizard trog just rips you up so badly.
  20. Kaerius

    Kaerius Orc Soldier

    I think the solution to the final battle for Shieldhaven is to either:
    A) Turn Scar(the dog) into a minion, limiting it to one attack per turn. I just watched it churn out 17 damage, accumulated over several attacks, in one turn, on one character, then hit another character for 5 more. Didn't have a chance to save it. This is turn 1 in the battle.
    B) Detune Scar's deck so it's not such a chainsaw.
    C) Get rid of the servants completely so it doesn't have the card draw to go chainsaw.

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