Lessons From Neoquest II
After finishing Neoquest II for the first time (and having almost completed it on evil), I found that throughout, there are a number of hints you can only get by going through the game. From kind mothers to mutated dragons, you'll be journeying through five worlds (or acts) to finally enjoy a trophy, prizes and bragging rights at the end; (and the opportunity to start it all again on evil then InSAnE.) This guide basically consists of rants about the various things you'll have to deal with in Neoquest, along with comments from my own game.
Make use of them. There are plenty of maps of the various areas in Neoquest out there, and it's going to make your journey a whole lot faster if you use them. If you don't want to use a map you can speak to the various NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) throughout the game to give you direction, occasionally just follow the only way you can go and, in mazes, use the trick of following the left wall. As a side note, if you're going to be finishing a bout of Neoquest in a place where there are no particular landmarks to tell you where you are and particularly if you don't trust yourself to remember if you had already gone north enough and now had to head east – as I did in the Lost Desert. I was trying to get to Akhten-Ka and it was only when I bumped into Waset Village that I realised that I had taken a wrong turning. And that was with using maps.
Some skills I found need to have been consistently built up throughout the game and others could be effective with just one or two skills points, even on the harder opponents. Your party can go up to level 60, therefore you can pick up to five skills to level up. Also, treat the members of your party differently to each other - use their individual strengths.
Rohane is your primary attacker. He has the highest HP and can also deal a pretty heavy whack to enemies. All of Rohane's skills need to be consistently levelled up throughout the game as they're all pretty much useless with only one or two skills points. For Rohane I found that his most useful skills were critical attack, damage increase and stunning strikes. The critical attack and damage increase will allow you to deal higher and higher damage to keep up with how much damage your enemies are dealing back. Stunning strikes will occasionally stun the enemy to stop them from hitting you, but, you will only need a couple of points on this one. Innate magic resistance and innate melee haste are also highly recommended.
Mipsy is a magician and is therefore rather good at her magic tricks. She has the lowest HP and is therefore (or for me, least) the most susceptible to dying. But she certainly isn't the weak member of your party. Direct damage will allow you to deliver up to 100 damage per hit – personally I prefer direct damage over group direct damage as it means hitting one opponent for a lot more rather than hitting all of them for less. Group haste and damage shields are also useful. As with Rohane, all of Mipsy's skills need to be consistently levelled up. Similar to Rohane, innate melee defence and innate casting haste are also useful.
Talinia, I treated as a secondary attacker. I found that you should be levelling up increased bow damage and shockwave. She can attack with up to 70 damage and has the second-highest HP in the game. Also focus on multiple targets, innate magical resistance and innate melee haste. Once again, consistent levelling up.
Velm – always a relief to see. Why? Because he's your healer and stunner. Make it his job to heal your party (I preferred using group healing) and use the celestial hammer and mesmerisation to stun your opponents to stop them having quite so many turns. You'll need to level up the healing and celestial hammer as both your opponents and party get stronger, but mesmerisation doesn't have to be. I found that even at the end of the game, only two skills points of mesmerisation was stunning an opponent for up to 20 seconds. Also, same as everyone else, level up innate magical resistance and innate casting haste.
This is just the way that I was finding the most useful – you can certainly experiment with other skill combinations and types to find the one that works best for you. That said, you should stick to five skills only, with perhaps a sixth that you only place one or two points on.
There are a few ways to heal your party: staying at inns, potions and Velm. You'll bump into inns and other places to stay the night every now and then on your journey. Some are free and others can cost you in excess of 1,000 coins. I found that staying one night at systematic inns was useful as it meant that I would never be sent too far back when one of my party died. Mainly use inns as a healing point when they're free and you're going to spend some time hanging around one point to train. Potions also have their own uses. You will pick up progressively stronger healing potions as you beat stronger enemies. Potions can be used in battle and heal the most damage (up to 180hp.) Velm should be healing your party as much as possible throughout the battle, particularly when faced with an opponent that can take out a character in two hits. You should never get to a point when you can only cross your fingers that Mipsy won't die. Check their HP regularly (all those small hits do add up) and heal to avoid a bad situation.
Now and again (though hopefully never) one of your party may die in the course of your journey. To continue on, you are going to need all the members of your party so you're going to want to resurrect them. You can do this in two ways. Firstly you can stay at an inn; this can either be very cheap or very expensive and can also be quite close or very far away. Failing that, you ought to always carry a few resurrection potions on you so you can revive your party wherever they are.
You will start off the game with a basic sword and armour. You must, however, continually upgrade your weapons. You can gain new weapons/armour in two ways. Firstly you can get them once you defeat bosses, which will give you two to three random items. These have the advantage or disadvantage of either giving you positive or negative points towards your skill point. Secondly you can buy them in towns for a price. This has the advantage of you being able to choose what items you want to purchase but will make no change to your skills points. When deciding whether or not to upgrade to a new weapon, simply look at how much more damage or defence you will receive. If it isn't much, don't bother. Also, consider what skills are being changed – some will be a welcome change, others will hurt your progress.
There are two types of enemies you'll need to fight. Enemies you'll come across wandering around and bosses. The general enemies come in groups of one to four, one being more common near the beginning and four more common at the end. When faced with only one enemy, you can focus on just whacking away at that enemy until it dies. With a group, focus on just one enemy, stun the rest and heal where necessary. You'll know when you are about to come up to a boss fight because NPCs would have warned you about it and it ought to be visible on the map. A huge dragon shouldn't be too hard to spot. And a word of warning – you will be attacked as you walk towards Fyora on the last level of the tower. Trust me on that on – I end up fighting the hardest boss at level 56. Basically just treat the bosses as a tougher, meaner version of one enemy.
Hunting vs. Normal
You will have two choices when walking around, hunting mode or normal mode. In normal mode you will come across enemies only every seven steps or so and in hunting every second step. You should try and be in hunting mode for most of the game. This will ensure you're always ready to fight a boss when you get to it and won't have to just wander around in front of it trying to gain five levels so you can beat it (did this with the Esophagor). You should be on normal only when the enemies are too easy and you're not getting experience from them or the enemies are too hard and you're sneaking away to train a bit more.
You ought to gain 60 levels throughout the game. I found that I could beat the bosses on lower levels than what most guides said, but I had to spend more time afterwards levelling up. It didn't take too long, though, so I'd just say try of the bosses whenever you're feeling reasonably comfortable about beating them. You should be able to beat the bosses reasonably easy. As a basic rule of thumb you should be level 20 at the end of Meridell and gain 10 levels for every act after that. Also, don't try to rush through, as you will end up under leveled.
Starting the game I automatically wonder how people manage to finish the game in ten hours. This seems very slow. Following the game guide I'm using, I get up to level nine before taking on the miner foreman. Nice and easy. Could have probably taken him on several levels before. I attempt to whizz up to Zombom before finding the monsters mid-way up too hard. The second attempt goes rather better (aside from one moment of panic with an eyrie spectre) and I manage to defeat Zombom a couple levels before the guide says I should be able to, so I start ignoring the suggested levels. This goes fine for most of the game, except where I start getting ahead of myself. Picking up Mipsy, the game speed suddenly picks up. Excellent! After a lot of wandering around and figuring out that I can walk on the mountains (couldn't do that in Neoquest I) I arrive at Ramtor and manage to beat him at level 20. On to Act Two!
I defeat the Leximp mainly for the experience and discover that getting that wordstone was a very good idea. Managing to get to the end of the valley, Mipsy dies. Managing to get midway through the Caves of Terror. Guess who else dies? I finally manage to get through on the third attempt. Still, it makes the rest of the act go rather quicker. That was fast. Aside from one or two hiccups at the start, Terror Mountain is the fastest level of the game. Woohoo!
I defeat Silicast and Gebarn II by going that bit slower. Very pleased to get Velm. A healer is always appreciated. Hopefully he can stop me dying quite so much. I start marking on a map where I am after I almost get lost trying to find the Revenant (Am I in that patch of sand or this patch of sand?)You've got to feel sorry for this guy. Found the Hermit okay and make my way across to Akhten-Ka. I somehow completely misjudge exactly which bit of rock and sand I'm looking at and end up at Waset Village. Once I finally find the place, no problems. Wasted a lot of time, though. Hmph. All the way to the pyramid. Can't these places be closer together? Three acts down, two to go.
No issues at the start. I suspect, though, I'm going a bit fast. Velm and Mipsy die the first time round and after levelling up a couple of times manage to beat them. I attempt to skip Hubrid Nox but discover that I'm way too under-leveled to fight the Esophagor. I wander around in front of him before deciding to back track to Hubrid Nox and fight him to gain the levels I'm going to need to beat the Esophagor. I'm regretting going fast in the beginning of the Haunted Woods act. Still, only one act to go.
Yay, avatars! I think that Cumulonimbus is the worst map yet. Stupid stone clouds. I wish I didn't have to chase the Faerie Thief around so much. Either that or there were teleports where I fought her each time so I didn't have to back track. Other than that, no issues here. Aside from Terask taking forever to beat, (Stop healing!) I'm feeling rather confident. Argh! No one told me he was going to burst through the roof! Still, I despite being under leveled I manage to beat the guy by pretty much healing with potions every second turn. Neoquest II – complete :) On to Evil mode...