Currently playing: 7 mages, Drive to Moscow, Ravenloft: Stone Prophet

February 17, 2015

Lords of Xulima - Reflections

I have just completed Lords of Xulima the 17th of February. It has been a long and tough journey on old school veteran difficulty. Without going into spoilers there are several very important items that must be gained by destroying some real tough opponents. My party completed the game at around level 55+ 

I have some general comments about the gaming system and also some tips and hints I thought I could share based on my own gaming experience. I have only played one time with the same party all over so I can only speak of how I have managed my party consisting of one warrior, soldier, thief, mage and priest.
  • Items found are almost always much inferior to those you could buy at any shop. This means exploring and finding items - even very hard to get items - is a disappointing experience. There is room for much improvement. It is a major part of an CRPG to feed the curiosity, exploration and development of the party by rewarding a player with good items from time to time.
  • The game difficulty at the old-school veteran level is very well done and balanced. You have to manage your skill- and attribute development of the party well to be able to be strong enough for the challenges you meet. 
  • When it comes to experience points I find that midgame- to lategame quests give you far less experience points than it should. Good missions give you around 5.000 - 8.000 xp but random encounters often give you at least 2.000 points each. Not very well balanced in my opinion. You should be rewarded more to complete quests. XP for completing quests should give you up to 10 times the XP of random encounters to be worthwhile.
  • The economy in the game works very well. You have a constant shortage of gold but that is mainly due to the fact that you have to spend most of your gold on trainers to buy you skillpoints and not for buying equipment or potions until the later stages of the game where you cannot afford trainers anymore. To be able to defeat the tougher bosses I had to invest tens of thousands of gold into strong mana- and healing potions. The economy works exceptionally well to the bitter end which you cannot say for the majority of RPGs.
  • The game are so very well balanced at old-school veteran difficulty that I had to use all means to complete it. The last fourth of the game I had to buy huge amounts of powerful health and mana potions just to stay alive long enough to defeat the tougher opponents. Many of them could only be killed by slowly draining them - over time - from poison, burning or bleeding. I also had to build up my resistances to endure long enough and visit all the statues and sacrifice the correct item to gain permanent bonuses. Without all of this I would not be able to complete the game.
  • For tougher opponents it could sway the tide of combat by using the blessings offered by the priests in towns.
  • I always used the amulet of golot to give all my party members one skill point each. I think I might have been given up to 10 extra skill points that way. 
  • Always build up your thiefs´shuriken skill to max as soon as you can. My thief has been extremely important for winning tough combats. It not only does great damage, often over 100 but also give dozens of bleeding points each turn.
  • One tactic is to use all draining skills and spells to its full effect and then just use your rounds to stay alive by drinking powerful healing potions. The end battle was won this way. The whole group except my thief was destroyed but she kept drinking a strong healing potions each turn whiel the end boss lost 300 hp/turn.
  • Lockpicking, trap disarming and perception is essential. Almost all chests are locked, traps does huge amounts of damage and perception allows you to discover secret doors (there usually are several at each castle/temple) and occasional treasures in the wilderness.
  • I always prioritzed the learning skill for all my party members before any other skill assignment.
  • I always kept a high stock supply of herbs to be used when I needed them. In the end I never exhausted my supply.
  • I almost never bought more that 3 days of food - the perfect economical balance in my opinion, except for when I had to travel regions with extremely high drainage like the desert or ice.
  • Knowledge of herbs is very useful as well as knowledge of terrain.
  • I never found any special use for mercantilism, object identification, object evaluation, exploring (convenient but not essential).
  • There are several places in the game where you will have to use problem solving of some sort. A few of them could be quite tricky and I admit I had to be given hints for those.
  • Hunting was convenient but not essential. Since money is never ample, hunting could help you decrease your food spending costs.
  • A high Mend bleeding skill is totally essential to survive in the game. I never found any way to stop burning damage though.
  • There are certain skills I would choose anytime again if I had to start over. I thought I would mention them for each class
    • Explorer
      • Envenomed strike made the explorer one of my four front fighters. He also became a pretty proficient warrior having good attack, strength and hitpoint values.
    • Priest
      • Without maximising health regeneration for the party I would never be able to win the game.
      • Also Divine Armour for your whole party is very useful.
      • All types of light ray like Ray of the gods spells (double damage to demons and undead) had also saved me when trying to complete the Vilak region. They could do as much as 1.000 points of damage.
    • Mage
      • Even the low level Icy touch has been used in late game battles with great success. 
      • Inferno affects all creatues and give them lasting burning damage. Very powerful for draining enemies.
      • Lords of the Thunder is powerful when maxed out but not essential.
    • Warrior
      • I maxed out Powerful attack but it does only direct damage. I would prioritise bleeding instead to drain enemies.
    • Barbarian
      • My best fighter with the highest hitpoints. Maximise Rage. The weak part is that my barbarian used mace and never gave any draining damage. The stun effects don´t affect highlevel creatures noticably.
In the end Lords of Xulima was a very good game that lasted to the very end. Sure it did get tedious in the last fourth of the game when I had to grind a lot to increase levels and gain better spells to defeat certain monster. But the good news is that it always pays out to do that. A few extra levels could be all there is between a total failure and success in a combat. 

In my review I did not rate the games music high enough. Since then I have carefully listened to each track of the game and now have several favourites. No one is exceptionally good or strong but they are very atmospheric and fitting for the scenes. I thought I would share a few of them here;



I am already looking forward to a sequel but now Wasteland II awaits my attention.