Yesterday I promised you thoughts on each of the eight demigods in Demigod. For those of you who were just itching with anticipation, click for more words. For those who could not care less, this will not take up much of the front page; sorry if you are getting this via RSS.
I expected the assassin/general dichotomy to make a bigger difference. It did not. There is the basic difference, that generals get troops, but it is far from Starcraft. It is more like they have a posse that moves with them. I can think of more creative ways to use the troops, since you can dispatch them separately, but they do not do much on their own.
Assassins tend to have fewer support abilities and more damaging abilities. Generals generally have ways to support and protect those around them. There is some plus and minus to that. There is also some plus and minus to whether a general is better served by being an assassin with minor support or a supporter to his army of troops.
The vampire lord was so good that his Bite was the first big nerf. It is still a heck of a bite.
Lord Erebus and Oak are the generals that acquire their minions through death, killing opposing reinforcements in Lord Erebus’s case. (Technical terms: the NPC dudes who spawn at portals and run in a screaming horde are “reinforcements”; the dudes you control in support of your general are “minions.”) Enemies die, some of them rise as Night Walkers, and you can spend your skill points to improve them and get more. They are melee berserkers.
They are strangely ridiculous, given Lord Erebus’s dignity. He is a poet general, and he really does look graceful floating along or swinging his scepter majestically. His minions, however, are morons. They follow him rolling, bouncing, or running with their claws flapping in the air. They are cute and contrasting.
For me, Lord Erebus’s main skills were his bite and his teleport. DotA veterans know the value of Blink Strike, and his does nice damage. Now that you are in melee range, whack the enemy until you take some damage, then bite to drain health, a lot of health. It’s a nuke, it’s a heal, it makes julienne fries!
I spent the rest of his points on minions and increasing his regeneration. I could not really tell how much the minions were doing, but extra damage sources are always good, and they distract the towers while I am eating my enemy.
I originally was enthusiastic about his Mist ability. Invulnerability, AE damage, and AE healing all in one? Wow! It also east all your mana, and the damage is not spectacular. I should probably try to use his stun and other health drain more.
Entertaining, but not my favorite.
Oak is the paladin, with powers like a necromancer. He starts out as the weakest demigod, but given a little time to build up, he is dominating.
Oak’s power comes from spirits. Plant a flag, and your reinforcements that die in the area rise as your troops. They can fly across gaps in the map! Spirits are decent support, again without my watching their effects too closely, and Oak can get bonus damage for each spirit, putting him on par with The Rook in melee.
Oak heals. Kill an enemy: area effect heal. Cast a spell: area effect heal and damage. He can also put an invulnerability shield on someone.
I rather like his debuff-nuke. First, hit the enemy for a lot of damage. Then it slows them and makes them take more damage from all sources. And Oak walks around with a lot of damage source friends. Also, since Oak gains allies from dead reinforcements and heals the reinforcements around him, he tends to be in the midst of a reinforcement wave or two, and they build up because they survive longer around him.
Oak has the ability to turn a loss into a tie. If you take the skill, you keep going for 10 seconds after you die, with the bonuses of invulnerability, faster movement, and higher damage. Kill whatever killed you, or take it as an opportunity to destroy some defenses in a bad spot.
Oak is probably my favorite general.
Queen of Thorns
The fairy queen is a mobile artillery platform. She is our first ranged attacker and our first demigod with modes.
Let me explain modes. Everyone except Queen of Thorns and Torch Bearer can take four active powers. Everything else is a passive, support, on-death effect, something like that. Hence, everyone uses buttons 1-4 for their abilities. The two with modes have six active powers, with #4 being the switch between their modes. Each mode has three powers.
The Queen’s modes are open and packed, with her flower being what is open (or not). She rides around in a giant rose blossom, carried by giant beetles. When it is closed, she is a tank, with great regeneration. This is where her defensive abilities are. When it is open, she gets ranged AE attacks. Offense, defense, simple enough.
She summons her troops, and they are ranged AE attackers. Her Shamblers fire thorns in a line, like Lurkers. You summon them in packed mode, and at your cap, you can re-summon all four in a half-second with one keystroke. That’s not bad support.
I favored playing her in packed form. She can still attack normally, granted without her big attacks, and she gets her shield to absorb damage. You have your four Shamblers and your shop-bought troops, with an indestructible flower in the middle. It is not the greatest damage, but she just keeps going.
Unpack, and you get multiple area effect attacks, along with the Shamblers that you summoned before unpacking. One button, the enemy creep wave dies. She gains extra benefits from those deaths, because she composts, packed or not. She can also mulch buildings or her Shamblers.
I like being a tank with ranged AE damage, but I like burst damage more. Not a favorite.
Ah, ranged damage, my first DotA love. Regulus looks like he has a crossbow, but it is really a giant energy rifle. He combines two of my favorite abilities from DotA: the Dwarven Sniper’s greater-than-tower range, and the Goblin Techies’ mines.
Let’s note that first one: he can kill towers without taking any damage, and unlike the Dwarven Sniper, he can see for his entire range. By the time a melee enemy gets to Regulus, he will have knocked off quite a few hit points. Regulus can also upgrade his crossbow with a slow, adding more time-to-melee and enabling kiting.
If you want real range, he has a Snipe that shoots half way across the map and does more damage the further it goes. There is a fine line between kill stealing and keeping the enemy from getting away. To help you see that far away, Regulus also builds a tracking device into his crossbow/rifle, because we are not even pretending to be a fantasy game at this point.
More upgrades! Pull out the phantom wings to increase his crossbow damage, and make it AE. You become a lot more visible on the battlefield, but so do your enemies’ bodies. With all these upgrades, you can imagine that I focus on just shooting things. Play to your strengths.
I also love mines. They are invisible, and at max level he throws three at once. You can plant six, shoot the poor melee enemy, then throw three more once he walks through those. Poor fools.
Oh, and he can make enemies hurt themselves for using their powers, which is rude but funny. I believe it affects enemies around the marked one, which becomes super funny if you are using it on someone who focuses on minions or a base attack rather than active abilities, because that thing sticks around.
Regulus is a great favorite. He shoots things.
The Rook is my great melee love. You can see him on the game’s cover, the giant castle that is bigger than the buildings in the game. He is devastating in melee range, and he comes with other toys.
The Rook has two defining abilities, the latter of which some people skip. First, you can upgrade the castle. The Rook puts an archer tower on one shoulder, a laser tower on the other, and a trebuchet on his head. These all fire independently. You rain arrows on enemy troops and fling rocks at far away towers. If no one bothered you, you could safely kill towers while AFK. If you have life leech, the arrows are funny as a stream of green 1s flows from your chest.
Second, The Rook has The Hammer. The ultimate in melee destruction, The Hammer swings and kills everything. It does devastating damage in a small radius and decent damage in a larger radius. It has a long induction timer, so once you see the swing start, interrupt it or run for your life. All your minions and reinforcements are dead, but you might live. This is a slight exaggeration, but I got used to hitting the hammer button and leveling as waves of reinforcements died. A red letter moment was teleporting onto a flag where an allied demigod was being hit 3-on-1. Hit the Hammer button the instant I arrive, boom, double kill, with the third dropping very soon after. I love The Hammer.
Between hammer strikes, slap people. The Rook gets three passive upgrades to his melee attack: +50 damage, +50 damage, and +50 damage. These stack nicely. If you are not excited about The Hammer, get the 13,000 gold girdle that makes your melee attack AE (a much smaller AE) and just slap them all to death.
The Rook can also roll a boulder, but I’m not here for ranged damage. His two tower abilities are potentially interesting. He can raise his own defensive towers, which provide some decent support (but are worth money when the enemy tears them down). He can also eat towers, draining their health to heal himself. Stylish, although of situational use unless you are building a dedicated tower-killer.
I really like the combination of massive melee damage with uncontrolled ranged damage. The Rook smacks you down in melee combat, and if you run, he chases you while attacks from his shoulders continue to whittle you down.
I was shocked to learn how awesome the healer is. You know that I play support characters, but here she is, a general who can be one of the meanest assassins in the game.
As a general, she summons her troops like Queen of Thorns. Sedna is a meleer, as are her yetis, and a message board skim suggests a negative popular view of the yetis. They are good melee bruisers, such as it is for minions fighting demigods, and they are nice to help with towers. I did just fine against the computer while focusing on pets, but that is against the computer.
What I really like about Sedna is her survivability. Even without the heal, Sedna just does not die. She improves her regeneration and gets a regeneration aura. With no active healing, she keeps going and keeps the troops around her alive. Toss in some armor with a regeneration boost, and it takes some serious burst damage to knock her down.
What are we focusing on, if not her pets? Well, she rides a giant cat that can pounce on people. That’s nice. She also has an AE silence, which could stand to last longer but is still briefly debilitating.
Oh, and she heals. It is a big heal, and at the top level, it is also an AE attack.
Her damage is unexceptional, but she does not die, and she can help keep you from dying. Put her next to Oak, and your reinforcements become something better than cannon fodder. My #2 general.
Frost for life! His rain of ice is one of my favorite abilities: early AE damage that starts killing entire waves of reinforcements at level 4. No one farms faster than Torch Bearer, and many problems become moot if you are five levels higher than the enemy and have two more artifacts.
As mentioned earlier, Torch Bearer has two modes, fire and frost. When he switches, he gets a short-term buff, +50% mana regeneration or +50% weapon damage. That’s kind of big.
The intent is that fire is damage and frost is control. Fire does have a very nice, huge, quick-casting, area effect blast. It also has a nice AE DoT, although I prefer my creep waves dead now. Fire also includes the big single-target blast, Fireball, although it has a very long casting time.
Torch Bearer surprisingly adds support with an aura. His fire aura improves movement and attack speed. His frost aura improves mana recovery while slowing the enemy.
Frost is control, but it is also nice damage. As I said, one-click reinforcement destruction. Next, cash that in for more damage on any demigods in the area of effect, while slowing their cooldowns ridiculously. I have yet to make much use of the AE stun, which lasts a long time on non-demigods (up to 10 seconds), but then I could just kill them all with a different click.
If you like switching, and remember that gives bonuses, you can take a bit of fire and a bit of ice, then get a combined boost when you max out Fireball and Deep Freeze. More damage is always helpful, although that is a long-run consideration unless you focus on getting it first, and even then it is a late-game ability.
Like the 4th Edition D&D wizard, Torch Bearer specializes in wiping out all the little guys quickly. If he can pound on a demigod in the process, stellar. And as I said, if you have five levels and two artifacts on that demigod, things are in your favor.
I expected to like him more, since he shares a bit with my beloved Lifestealer from DotA. Unclean Beast is your fast melee attacker, with tools to keep the enemy from moving quickly, and he also has the biggest health pool in the game. He stacks DoTs instead of The Rook’s big booms.
That you take the passive boost to movement and attack speed goes without saying. You will also want the passive ability to make enemies explode when you kill them, which adds some useful AE for killing the little guys.
You probably want to be a melee killer, if you are playing Unclean Beast. He has two slows, one a passive in his claws, the other being Pudge’s Rot aura. Ooze, that aura, damages Unclean Beast while damaging everything around him. Stock up on health regeneration, but do not be too worried because the enemy will be taking far more damage than you.
For more melee killing and bigger booms, add a seven-second boost to damage. This is all pretty straightforward: a variety of ways to boost your ability to eat people while keeping them from getting away.
His other fun trick is spitting toxins. It is a big DoT, with only a little damage at the front. When you attack, it looks like you are hitting twice as the enemy burns down. If the enemy runs away, spit, and he better teleport to that health crystal, because the burning just keeps going.
If you like prowling up to your enemy and tearing its limbs off, Unclean Beast might be for you.
And that is my full set of 8 demigods. There are more to come. I could happily play any of them, and I look forward to seeing how we do at the LAN.