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Everything posted by try2handing

  1. For the record, I agree that PS:T has a brilliant story with top-notch writing and I'm not going to pretend that BG2 beats it in this department. As for Irenicus vs Thaos, it appears to me it's just the way you look at it. I see nothing bad in "Irenicus was some dude who wanted to be a god for some reason so he was kicked out and became a creep who wanted to steal your god powers", per se, even though you're omitting a few key details there. That's one way of putting it, but there are other ways too. Purely a matter of taste, though, so I won't argue. A big issue with Throne of Bhaal is how the main plot is progressed, and dialogues with the main antagonist are a pain in the ass to go through, true enough. But saying it "should be wiped from this world" is still a bit much. It adds a few nice things and definitely has its moments. Now you totally have the right to say "mods don't count", but the fact is that there were quite a few bits of content being cut from the official release of ToB, AFAIK, whatever the reasons. This was why David Gaider created Ascension - to bring it closer to what they originally had in mind. The mod did a really good job, IMO, seeing as it couldn't have had a whole lot of room to make changes. Just another thing with BG2. It's definitely not bad by itself, but mods do wonders for that game.
  2. As far as pacing and "sense of urgency" are concerned, you need only to think of games like The Witcher 3, or Oblivion, or many others. I mean, in TW3, your adopted daughter is in huge danger, and what do you do most of the game? You go to every corner of the world, hunting for treasure and stuff, collecting cards while trying to look for new players all over the world to play against, horse racing with nobles and thugs alike, whoring, etc. etc. Once you've finally done everything you can possibly do within your level range, you decide "alright time to move on to Skellige and continue looking for my adopted daughter who has been being hunted by one of the most dangerous things out there all this time". Does all this stop it from being one of the most highly rated games out there? No. In my experience, the Velen and Novigrad portions can take up a huge chunk of your playthrough, but once you have brought Ciri back to Kaer Morhen and have to prepare to defend against the Wild Hunt, the pacing suddenly picks up really fast. I went straight from level 30 to level 35 in one sitting for the end game portion, without even spending skill points because during that part you can proceed really quick from one main event to another. I still thoroughly enjoyed TW3. Thing is, I doubt many players would like to have a sense of urgency to be forced upon them for any extended period of time. It's an RPG. We want to explore the world. We want to do side quests. We want to douche off and fool around. It's as simple as that. The real question is: do I enjoy doing the things the game has to offer me? If yes, sense of urgency can go screw itself. If no - I'm probably playing the wrong game. As a side note, the Underdark portion in BG2 can be *really* short if you know what to do. As in, you don't actually have to do anything the game tells you to do. It could take just a few minutes and you're out of there. I mean no offense, and I respect your opinion, but I have to say, you're probably in the minority for every single point you said there.
  3. I liked doing stealth backstab for some time after I first got that passive, cause it definitely was cool. But I admit after that I didn't bother with it much, for a couple of reasons: 1) if you use the smoke bomb skill as your stealth tool (like I did) then you can't do it too many times, especially since you have other skills to spend guile on (I suppose you could spam potion of invisibility, but never tried myself); 2) rogues already always have the passive sneak damage anyway, which becomes always active once you take the distracting engagement passive or whatever it's called; 3) game was getting easier and easier anyway :\. The constant sneak damage itself already reduces the incentive to do stealth backstab, but the recovery time mechanics reduces that even further. Going invisible repeatedly just slows down your attack rate, so I doubt there is a big difference between "basic attack + sneak damage" and "repeated stealth backstab" in the long run, especially if the rogue is dual-wielding. Stealth backstab is probably good only when you want to one-shot someone. Like when you scout and spot a group of enemies, want to one-shot the mage, then stealth back out to basic attack. So anyway, the nerf makes little difference to me personally, cause I never relied on it all that much and chances are it's like that for most players.
  4. Is it the passive +100% damage when attacking from stealth? How was it nerfed again? Sorry haven't been keeping up with updates for a while.
  5. BG2 IS considered one of the greatest RPGs ever - pretty close to the top - and mods are NOT why that is so. Whenever "mods" is mentioned all we have ever said is how they make the game(s) better. They are worth mentioning cause if you really play those games you know that mods are a big thing that is tied to the existence of the games. It's not that mods are the one reason why BG2 might be considered better than PoE2, and we all know this. The questions I was throwing out earlier is: is there going to be the same kind of wonder in PoE2's case? How mod-friendly will it be? Will there be a dedicated modding community that will eventually transform the game into something much more amazing, polishing it to a much, much higher degree of shine? Because, from my point of view, how strong the modding community of a game is demonstrates how much of an impact the vanilla game makes. How much potential the game really has, which can be recognized by players/modders who are willing to put time and effort into bringing all that potential out. Basically, how much players really love the vanilla game. Look at the TES games or Bethesda's Fallout games, or The Witcher 3. I wasn't doing any comparison, and you don't have to COMPARE their modding activity with the IE games, how advanced or how big it is or whatnot. The common thing about those games AND the BG games, is that they all made a huge impact in gaming in general, and a large number of players love them. It's much, much easier to mod the BG games, compared to the others, that is true, but if people didn't love them, they wouldn't have cared about modding it so much even if it's easy as hell to do so. After 10 years, 15 years, people still work on modding the BG games as well as the modding tools. THAT is the kind of impact the BG games made. So what kind of impact does PoE2 really makes? How easy will it be to mod it, if "modding" will even become a thing? And will we care enough about it to invest time and effort into polishing it? Will we be asking ourselves questions like "So what mods should I use with PoE2" or "What are the essential mods for this game" two, three years from now? I'm not challenging anyone to answer these questions, because time will answer me and I'm eager to find out.
  6. Yeah the mod's called Virtue. It adds a "virtue" scale which represents how "right" you are. Party members will mostly react to this scale instead of the reputation scale. And reputation only mostly affects neutral NPCs' reaction. IIRC evil companions still get annoyed if your reputation's too high, but they only leave if you're too righteous. Vice versa for good ones. Basically you can do evil things and no one will know about it except your party members, so your reputation does not go down, but your virtue does. There was a slight problem with party member's current action being interrupted by a reaction to virtue (pretty big problem during combat, actually), but generally it's a very well thought-out and well implemented mod. I really liked it. One of the best things about BG2 is how mods can rectify almost all problems with it to an amazing degree, implementing new things, transforming it to a completely different game. Many modding techniques are easy to learn and you can mod your game according to your personal taste. Makes you wonder about the future of PoE2. Let's say mods are coming to it, but to what extent can they change this game? Is it possible to make it a whole different game like what people have done with BG games, or TES games, or Fallout games?
  7. Yeah I was just pointing out that we use the same word to describe different things. In this case, "one-dimensional" might be used to describe the straight stick that has "good" on one end and "evil" on the other, measuring how nice of a guy you are in the game, and how much companions like/dislike you hinges solely on your score on that stick. This rule is not affected by the fact that someone's alignment can be changed to something else. It's not a word that I would use to describe companion personality in general. A nice thing about PoE2 (and maybe PoE1 too but I never finished it) is how the game takes companions away from this good vs. evil dimension. Your companions can like you because you make a funny joke in a certain situation even though you're essentially being a prick. They might like you if you're being kind to animal (only Eder?). They might like/dislike you if you display good attitude toward certain groups or organizations. And so on. Other than that, I agree with most of the stuff you pointed out about BG2 companions.
  8. The "one-dimensional" thing stems from the Alignment system. If someone is "good", they will always be wholly "good", more or less. Anything that is slightly underhanded will upset them, there's no two ways about it. There's no explaining "given the situation..., it's necessary that we do this", or something like that. Or if you do nice things, they like you more. You could say it's the classic "black and white world no gray areas". Basically whether how much a companion likes or dislikes you revolves solely around whether you are a nice guy or a jerk. Edwin is probably the only one that is somewhat more nuanced than the others in this regard. Even though he is Lawful Evil, sometimes he would display a side of him that is actually "cute", funny, and amusing. Unlike Korgan. Definitely unlike Keldorn or Mazzy. On the other hand, companions in PoE are not simply "good" or "evil". They like certain things, dislike certain things. A generally good character might let something underhanded go and not make a fuss over it. There are multiple facets to their personality. They feel closer to an actual person. So personally, if I ever use the term "one-dimensional" to describe characters from BG2, this is what I mean. It's not about how many dialogues you can have with them during the game, or what could possibly happen between them and other companions. So, just pointing this out, I'm not implying which is better than which.
  9. Such a function doesn't even make sense. Pausing the game means exactly that. You stop time in the game world from advancing. It's like trying to walk while standing still at the same time.
  10. Knowledge is knowledge. By knowing, stronger I grow. Irrelevant my being interested or not is.
  11. I like quite a few of the ideas actually. Very innovative. Especially "Confused Monks begin to doubt their own existence and abandon the party to write F-Tier philosophy and bad fanfic". Some of these need further elaboration, though, like "my dad's expectations".
  12. The video's not available in the US? I listened to the live performance instead. I'm liking their sound so far. Started listen to Von Liebe, Tod und Freiheit on YT and at the intro of the first song I knew I'd heard that tune in a Leaves' Eyes song. Turned out to be "To France". Like, exactly the same tune. Funny, huh.
  13. These guys turn out to be pretty fun to listen to. Glad I stumbled into this thread.
  14. I'd also take Ashley's narration over Laura's accent for Xoti any day. No idea why Laura decided to go with that accent, instead of her normal one - was it her decision alone, or developers'? I don't know. But Xoti's voice drives me nuts (that "Yeah?" when you select her OMG). At least you can mute the game when the narrations come up and just read through them.
  15. Ascension is pretty much a must for ToB, IMO. Even I found the dialogues with the main antagonist excruciating, because you have no choice but to be an idiot. At least Ascension expands your options so you can prove to the game that you have a good idea what's really going on. With Ascension's expansion to Balthazar's role, I'd never go with convincing him to sacrifice himself. I'd either choose to fight him to have one hell of a fight, or go with the third option. I also think "death traps" adds to the memorability of encounters in games - if done right. To me, "most likely your party will get wiped the first couple times" is not automatically a bad thing. As long as legit ways to beat the traps are provided to the players, either easily to get your hands on, or maybe requiring a bit of extra thinking and leg work. Making it so that the chance of you succeeding first try is always high is like playing it too safe. Nothing really wrong with it, but it takes some of the fun away. We need to take advantage of the fact that "certain encounters are OPTIONAL". Their being optional means devs shouldn't hesitate to make them unforgiving, even a little bit on the "cheating" side (just a little bit). In exchange, you get super cool stuff for beating such encounters. In this regard, PoE2 has been playing it too safe, I'd say. I would like to see a global increase in difficulty of encounters, as well as some select encounters being bumped to even the next level. Extremely tough encounters give players the opportunity to exchange and share their ideas as to how to overcome the challenges, finding out the coolest ways available. That is exactly what makes these encounters more memorable. Otherwise, we don't really care how others approach the problems, cause "meh I beat it first try too, no big deal"; we just move on and forget about the whole experience.
  16. When the topic is "Something > Something else", usually what we need to look at is the overall score of each (which is subjective, of course). But as with most discussions of this nature, we tend to go down the path of "speaking as if one or two good (or bad) things about one contender completely represent everything about it". I mean, if your argument is something along the lines of "just because you COULD do this" or "because you COULD do that", "so the WHOLE thing must be bad", personally, I don't find that very convincing. Having a couple of cheese tools in the game hardly makes the whole combat system bad. It's not like every single player playing that game abuses those things, and not like they have to force themselves not to. Not to mention, you could apply this kind of argument to pretty much every single game out there. You could say that in BG2 if you're a fighter you don't do much aside from basic attack and quaff potions. That is essentially true. BUT traditionally, the concept of the "fighter" is that it's supposed to be simple and "user-friendly". So I don't find that a bad thing. Now in PoE2, I agree that even the "supposedly simple" fighter has quite a decent number of skills they can use. However, from my experience playing the game, I find that all those skills only give me an illusion of playing a "complex" and "deep" class. How so? Someone posted this some time back and I still remember, he said his tank had 124 Deflection un-buffed, and every single fight he just threw that guy in, letting him tank everything until combat ended. There was no need for that tank character to do ANYTHING, because it is your back line that is the one doing EVERYTHING: dealing damage, crowd-controlling, healing, supporting. I had essentially the same experience late in the game. All those "fancy" active abilities Eder had really made it feel like the class was just trying hard to be complex, while there wasn't much point of that at the end of the day. From this angle, I actually think the fighter being simplistic is a "might as well" kinda thing, less pretentious, and avoids unnecessary hassles. At least in BG2 my frontline never became near invulnerable; I still had to move them back every once in a while, quaffed a potion, waited for the right moment, then went back in. In PoE2 your frontline doesn't even have to do anything once you've put him in the middle of all the bad guys, or wherever the "right spot" is. Talking about "being able to make an invulnerable character", eh? And I'm a bit confused about the argument "requiring metaknowledge". What do you mean by "required"? Required for what? To have fun? To beat the game? Or what? I played both BG games years ago, as my second RPG ever, when I had NO CLUE whatsoever about the whole system, the entire ruleset, as well as the setting. What the hell is this THA-KOU (THA0)? Why does armor make my AC go down instead of up? Also, my first playthrough ever I played a freakin Bard - through both games. I had no idea what the concept behind the "bard" class even was. I picked it just cause its description sounded "kinda cool", and also because it was the only class name I didn't know the meaning of in my language. At the beginning of the game I had FOUR hp and a random wolf would kill me in a single hit. I was a total noob until the very end of the saga. Yet I had loads of fun playing through both, never had to "pull my hair out" or "smash my keyboard" just cause something was too harsh. I highly doubt I'm in the minority of players in this regard. Having metaknowledge in BG2 makes it a lot easier - but that's about it. A lot of things are tough to get used to (including tough encounters), but personally, I found that toughness to be about right. PS: Yes, BG2 requires meta-knowledge. You need meta-knowledge to create all those "broken" stuff: broken class-combinations, broken builds, invulnerable chars, etc. In PoE2, you can do all this too. Without meta-knowledge.
  17. You could say PST is not about combat AT ALL and you wouldn't be wrong. I attempted to play that game a couple times over the years, but only finally played through it completely a few months back with Beamdog's Enhanced Edition. Before that I'd heard many praised the writing and story of that game, and I only really understood why after finishing the game. The dialogues with NPCs in the world are on a whole other level and really bring the characters to life. The story in general is well written and is really one of a kind. It's just one hell of a very bizarre and extraordinary journey. To me the writing/storytelling completely makes up for the crappy combat.
  18. I wholeheartedly disagree. The amount of ways you could completely break the system is mind boggling. Hell, in end game they just completely give up the notion of "depth" and let you literally stop time. Not only was the base game bugged to high hell but the expansion was even worse if that's even possible. No, mods are not fair game when they're meant to fix the problems the game was shipped with (that goes with every game). Also, considering that Obsidian still has mod tools coming there could conceivably be a mod that does the exact same kind of functions as SCS for Deadfire. Sorry but this is just more blind favoritism. There being ways to "break the system" doesn't mean it has no depth. They are not mutually exclusive. Regardless of what you consider "broken", I believe the majority of games have stuff that can be considered broken. Does The Witcher 3 have broken stuff? Does PoE2 have broken stuff? They all would have no depth whatsoever then. As a side note, Time Stop is part of the system BioWare had to work with, it had to be in there, whether they found it "broken" or not. And yes, I agree that in end game you can literally spam Time Stop nonstop and that is rather broken. But that is very, very late in the game. The depth of combat before you reach that point in the game doesn't just disappear simply because in end game you have access to something "broken". Even vanilla BG2 feels more exciting, especially when you compare late game BG2 and late game PoE2. With the Sequencer/Trigger mechanics, there is a wide range of legit combos that make combat feel dynamic and flexible. It also lends emphasis to pre-combat preparations. When you see the damage your party have to suffer after combat and that you had to burn through many valuable resources to beat a fight, it feels rewarding. As spellcasters you can summon stronger and stronger creatures, can actually control most of them and use their abilities. It feels good to have access to higher level spells because they are actually powerful, as they are meant to be. To me, PoE2 combat fell flat really fast. I admit, it was extremely exciting to level up my characters up to like level 10. I played a cipher, and I have access to a total of NINE spells from level 7, 8, and 9. The three 7th-level spells are complete crap. Haunting Chains inflicts Terrified and Hobbled. For 18s. I was like, why is THIS even a NINTH-level spell? Same for Xoti. The 9th-level Priest spells sound so mind-numbing I didn't even bother taking a single one. I just opted for the passive +1 power level. As for Aloth, he suffered from the grimoire system. There's no excitement whatsoever in leveling up your mage when you know that with a bunch of grimoires in your quickslots you cover essentially ALL spells from any level. As I figured out some potential "combos" early on in the game, I was very excited. That didn't last very long, since the game became easier and easier and, sadly, more casual as I progressed. By the time I finished setting up combos and ready to unleash them, most enemies were almost dead anyway. Why bother with "advanced" stuff when just basic attacks and a few basic skills will carry you through everything? I'm not trying to sound like a hater. I *really* enjoyed PoE2 before it started falling flat. It's just that there are so many big let-downs for me as far as combat is concerned. BG2 is far from perfect but at least I never had any major let-down playing BG2. In another topic, I said I was still early in the game but already almost hit level-cap, someone else said I was literally two quests away from endgame, so not that "early". It was actually a spoiler for me, but I was surprised to find that, I wasn't bothered by that at all. In fact, I felt relieved because it was almost over. Game was getting so dull, sorry to say. I didn't even bother with some other major questlines like the entire Crookspur conflict. Just couldn't find the motivation.
  19. With a few select mods that overhaul combat balance (Spell/Item Revisions, SCS), combat in BG2 is incredible. I've been playing modded BG2 for years and honestly I haven't found any other game's combat that truly compares to BG2's (modded). High-level fights with enemy mages (or an entire group with balanced composition) are really exciting. Mage duels are usually cool exchanges of counters and counter-counters. Many combos are insanely powerful, but then there is always a counter to pretty much anything. In my experience, modded BG2 combat has amazing depth, requires quite a bit of thinking and strategizing, and feels rewarding as hell. Mods also make it usually very hard to hit the level cap (I don't know about playing solo), so it's still exciting even in very late game. On the other hand, one of the things I love about PoE2 is the fact that they tried to give you options to approach situations as much as they could. Combat, stat check, skill check, background check, and all that. The tabletop-style scripted encounter system is really neat too. All these help make your journey feel very personal to you, and increase replayability. One thing I agree with is that these two games are made in two different eras with a huge time gap between them. All the cool things about PoE2, they are only achievable after RPG in general has been evolving for a long enough time. Now we know better about what makes the game cool, what players would love, etc. Some might say BG2 has rather cringy writing and silly/comical NPCs, extreme/one-dimensional companions, and I would agree to some extend, but I still love all the silly, awkward things about that game, given the era in which it was made. And the last thing, games like BG2 are the models after which games like PoE2 are shaped, and that gives games like BG2 a special value. TL;DR: BG2 is my most favorite game after about 10 years of playing mostly RPG. I enjoyed PoE2 a lot and appreciate all the cool things it has to offer - in terms of role-playing. The things that disappointed me in PoE2 were: the combat falling flat around mid-game and beyond, leveling up very exciting early on but falling off very fast at some point, combat too forgiving in general, and I would keep getting the impression the game tried too hard to be "grand" and "epic" and "complicated" - all the "talking to a bunch of gods, sounding like an equal" and all that. Oh yeah... and main story WAY, WAY TOO SHORT.
  20. Interesting. They actually have two separate abilities of the same name, Charm (Dominating) Gaze. I'm not talking about the distinction between charm and domination. I'm talking about the inconsistency in "How" and "When" this charm (or domination) effect is triggered, from what I observed. Because I've seen that sometimes Suppress Affliction blocks incoming gaze, but other times it doesn't. Sometimes the combat log says the Fampyr "activates dominating gaze", while other times there's no feedback for it. I would hazard a guess that one of the two gazes is quite like an active ability, which can be activated any time, while the other gaze is more like some sort of passive "mark" that is attached to your character, and it would be triggered by your dealing damage to the Fampyr with a direct attack. Suppress Affliction would block this passive trigger, but it can't block incoming gaze activated by the Fampyr. Now that I think of it, I wonder if attacking from behind their back would protect your character from the gaze attacks.
  21. Yes, a cooldown would be nice. Their combat design feels really cheesy to me and fighting them really feels like you're just cheesing them back - trying to outchesse them. I just did an Ancient Fampyr encounter earlier, and I think something is different with their gaze attack, compared to the normal Fampyr's. In my previous post I said Suppress Affliction prevents incoming charm, because I clearly saw that in the combat log: Maia was hit by a gaze, but nothing happened. That didn't work in the Ancient Fampyr encounter. And for some reason, my Cipher never gets affected by the gaze if I attack with a rod. The Fampyr's eyes and my Cipher's eyes would glow as if the effect is proc'ed but nothing actually happens. The moment I swap to a melee weapon and land a hit on them, I get insta-charmed. Maia will get insta-charmed if she lands a hit with an aquebus. Aloth never gets affected when using dual scepters or Caedebald's Blackbow. It could be that the target-selecting of the gaze (or AI) is messed up when you use a ranged weapon with bounce effect or if the weapon has a best-of damage type? I'm not sure.
  22. I beat the encounters with Fampyrs on Splintered Reef recently, and had quite a "fun" time with these guys. Apparently their dominating gaze is a proc-based effect that is triggered when you hit them directly - either with basic attack or an ability. The idea is that, when you target them directly, you have to look at them, thus you are subjected to their gaze. There IS some target-selecting going on, though, so it's not like if all your party attack a Fampyr at the same time, they are all subjected to the gaze - I'm not too sure about this part. Either way, because of the way it works, this effect can be triggered even when they are paralyzed or stunned (which doesn't make a whole lot of sense IMO). Paralyzed, maybe, but stunned? Ehhh... So if you hit them with an AoE spell that is not aimed directly at them, you won't be hit by their gaze. If you ignore all the Fampyrs and only focus on other enemies, no one will ever be charmed. According to the combat feedback, if you hit a Fampyr with Cipher's Disintegration, your cipher will be subjected to the gaze with every damage tick from Disintegration. Captain's Banquet counters their gaze completely. I also relied on Suppress Affliction a lot since it has short casting time, cancels charmed effect instantly, and prevents any incoming charmed effect for the entire duration.
  23. Now that I know how the domination gaze works, it's not too hard to avoid being charmed. I retried this fight without Captain's Banquet, using Ring Leader and Puppet Master on the other enemies and had them fight each other. When two Fampyrs with Minoletta's Piercing Sigil basic attack each other, the Sigil's effect is proc'd repeatedly several times (which is weird) on both of them, leading to each of them taking well over 100 damage with each attack, aside from getting stunned. This strat worked out pretty well, I'd say.
  24. ^ These (sadly I've never seen the "Wael's Wind" thing anywhere). So, despite having beat this fight, I decided to reload a save one whole month back, went all the way back, made several roundtrips through Neketaka, Sayuka, and Dunnage, to grab all the Luminous Lobsters and Oysters, and crafted five Captain's Banquets. Then I came back and beat the crap out of these guys (again). I found out something else about this domination attack. I *believe* it is a proc-based effect that triggers when you target them directly, rather than an active ability that requires them to perform an action. Which would explain why it seems to take effect instantly without any sign, and works even when they are paralyzed or stunned. In the first encounter where there's only one Fampyr, I decided to ignore him and focus on the other enemies, and no one got dominated at all. This most likely imitates how gaze attack works in pen-and-paper D&D (In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the devs took inspiration from Critical Role). So hitting them with an AoE that doesn't require direct targeting won't subject you to the gaze attack, but then each of them has like 1k HP. The Chillfog strat sounds pretty good. I've totally forgotten about that spell for a good while. And I always thought the Paladin's charm-dispelling attack passive seems useless; now I know why it's there. Yes, I need to come up with my own "cheese" strat specifically for these guys. Their combat style is super cheesy.
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