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Berseker or Kensai: which one is better as a single class?

#1lorddrago88Posted 3/14/2012 1:00:16 PM
Kensai can do lots of damage, but lacks AC and the ability to use Gauntlets/Armor/Helms.

Berserker can berserk, making him immune to most everything, but can't use ranged weapons (OH NOES!)

If I don't dual them, which single class fighter kit between these two is superior for:

- Typical BG2 game (normal/core difficulty, no crazy mods)?

- Solo game?

- BG2 on hardest setting with Ascension mod?

- Overall?

I personally like the Kensai since he's good at chunking things, but berserk is a very nice ability.
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#2atakdougPosted 3/14/2012 1:16:38 PM
Kensai damage output will be somewhat to quite a bit higher, depending on the circumstances: initially a raged berserker is about even with a kensai, but the kensai pulls ahead with kai; over the course of SoA the kensai slowly pulls farther away, though equipment keeps it moderately close; eventually the berserker gets an extra half attack with the GoES and goes ahead in damege; but around then you start getting HLAs and if you choose greater whirlwind (which makes a great deal of sense if you're soloing, much less in a party) the gauntlet advantage is nullified and the kensai winds up far ahead.

But that's just damage. At all points the berserker is far, far easier to keep safe.

Opinions will vary because of the multi-variate character of it. Mine is: For a solo, berserker is much better. In a party (at any difficulty), kensai gets feasible, and more feasible the bigger the party (because equipment gets divided more thinly so your damage-dealer not using the GoES is not a big deal, and you're more likely to have someone who can restore lost levels without great inconvenience). I prefer the berserker for <charname> under all circumstances in part because his rage prevents so many [game over]s and so much frustrating micromanagement.

I've soloed a kensai and a kensai/thief pretty much so I could say I'd done it, and darn, could they kill stuff fast, but it was annoying how much care was needed at times.
#3atakdougPosted 3/14/2012 1:24:04 PM(edited)
Incidentally, in case it's not obvious the berserker's "disadvantage" is irrelevant in SoA it is never best for your warrior (solo or otherwise) to use a missile weapon. So choosing berserker is always a good choice, as it is strictly better by a lot than unkitted fighter. (That certainly isn't true of kensai.)

Note if you solo you must have a hurled weapon handy, because it is impossible to finish the make beneath Spellhold without the ability to kill something (very minor) at a distance. And there are a couple battles in ToB that are made easier if you have and can wield Klogarath (a throwing axe). But berserker can, so it's fine.
#4lorddrago88(Topic Creator)Posted 3/14/2012 1:49:28 PM
Sounds like you favor the Berserker and I can see why. Do you think the Berserker is significantly better than the Kensai or only slightly?
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Ulfric is not racist. He is a nationalist. If he's racist, why is my Dark Elf warrior allowed to join the Stormcloaks?
#5atakdougPosted 3/14/2012 5:28:57 PM
For me, the berserker is considerably more fun, which is what I consider most relevant. I think the power when optimized by an experienced, careful player is pretty close (though hard to compare directly because they have such different strengths).

Berserkers stay alive longer a LOT longer if you're not planning on being very, very careful, a little longer if you are. Kensais do more damage, but not as much more than people think at first glance because they forget things like the extra half attack from the GoES, the +2 to damage from a couple different gloves, and (particularly early on) the +1 to THAC0 from the helm of balduran.

It's a practicality thing. An example: A berserker, even a solo, can take on Kangaxx pretty straightforwardly, and thereafter benefit from the ring. A kensai can also take Kangaxx, but it requires pretty careful planning. If you like the planning, cool enough, so now it's close and the kensai has some definite advantages; if not, berserker wins easily.

Same sort of thing for the unseeing eye quest. Same sort of thing for tackling vampires early, and yuan ti mages, and the confusion-casting mushrooms, and on and on.

I don't like to micromanage and don't find some of the kensai-optimizing strategies fun, so for me berserker wins easily, but a whole lot of this is personal preference.
#6mikel123456Posted 3/14/2012 6:35:50 PM
Solo kensai vs Kangaxx? Do tell!

I vote for the berserker. Takes longer to kill bad guys, but requires far less reloads and planning, as doug said.
#7red255Posted 3/14/2012 8:34:38 PM
- Typical BG2 game (normal/core difficulty, no crazy mods)?
Beserker.

- Solo game?
uh, Barbarian. which is sorta like a beserker I guess, except better. I'd dual class them hell a FMT with level cap removed.... How DOES a pure fighter deal with traps and locks and stuff? Kensai is better than Beserker at higher levels, but I'd probably dual class both of them.

Beserker is better because its better at going to mage or cleric, whereas Kensai goes to thief which is aslo pretty good.

- BG2 on hardest setting with Ascension mod?

temptation to play on Ascension 0%.

- Overall?

Depends how much you want to babysit your hero on a playthru, Beserker works just like a normal fighter except you can give him useful immunities and damage in pinches.

as such he requires less babysitting, but becomes more annoying late game when you have more things to buff him with
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#8WaffIeElitePosted 3/14/2012 9:03:19 PM
I vote Berserker, simply because I'd put the survivability on a higher level than the raw damage, as well as the benefits/immunities of the rage.
#9LatronisPosted 3/14/2012 9:15:28 PM
Don't forget at the highest levels, especially in solo play most of the berserkers advantages do disappear.

Immunity gear, "unfailable" saves, high damage reduction and healing cover most of the armor and rage perks.

At lowest levels

Berserker > Kensai, no contest

At middling levels kensai starts to pull ahead offensively but berserker is still defensively superior

At the higher levels Kensai is pretty much better all round
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#10Zeran_kariashiPosted 3/14/2012 10:21:02 PM(edited)
Kensai....cause splattered body parts aren't very threatening....

Sure Berserker has more defenses, but the instant you get Slayer, that's out the window, and yes kensai's +damage/hit also applies in slayer form.

Who cares about extra thac0/damage from items? The Kensai's + hit/damage is like +13 or some at 39 or 40...that's more then triple any combination of helm/gauntlets you could stick on (and I'm pretty sure there's an ioun stone that gives +15% hp and +1 hit that a kensai can get early on), the extra half attack from the gauntlets is a joke, the berserker however can't deal max damage for a round, so that extra 1/2-1 attack still might not much difference, and when you take into account that a kensai will usually insta-gib most enemies in under 4 attacks (which they'd get naturally) anyway, you don't even need a lot of attacks, since once that enemy dies, you're gonna waste several attacks moving to the next one.


I mean really...except for demi-liches, Ravager, DG, and Big M, I dropped every boss 1 greater whirlwind (Except Sendai, obviously and Abazagal was instant killed by AotU on the first hit after he transformed, so he might've lasted longer otherwise)