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Opinion on the game from an old BG2 fan


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#41
algroth

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I see what you mean. Instead of the "choose the wrong door and die" concept of those good old FF books, or the dreaded (1 on a d20) fumble in D&D, you wish that more computer games let you fail, but where the blows aren't so harsh (start over in one way or another, or you didn't pass this obstacle, so you can't continue), but rather, you're allowed to stumble on and make yourself your own unique playthrough.

 

I think we're kinda talking about two ways of failing though, and that could be my bad. I don't think the blows you receive out of failing something shouldn't be harsh - I think "failure" could constitute any sort. But in tabletop settings, I feel you can be a lot more flexible about how to interpret that failure. Maybe your character dies, and maybe it's a total party wipe even - but that doesn't necessarily have to be the end of the campaign. A single character could meet their demise and the player could reroll a new one to fit into the old party, or maybe a new quest is opened whereby the party have to find a way to ressurect their old party member or, for example, save them from a horrible fate that awaits their soul by travelling into the Astral Plane and yadda yadda. The consequence of being unlucky could be utterly severe, but the way it is implemented in the above examples with the basilisk and so on, that's not really that interesting a way to even *test* your luck. You're randomly pitted against a monster that casts insta-killing abilities and have to roll to see if you get a standard game over or lose a companion or not. Not only is it unfair or frustrating, from any other perspective it's rather, uh... Boring, you know?

 

So, going back to that Matthew Colville example I referred to earlier, that villain he ran who had the ability to raise powerful undead out of allies who fell unconscious, well... That happened to one of the characters in his story. One of the players failed the save, fell unconscious and was raised back up as a vampire, who now attacked the party. But the rest of the party was eventually victorious by killing the villain, and in doing so the vampire turned into a mist and fled the encounter. That was the end of that campaign, but on another campaign in that same workplace, another party became aware of certain things happening around their town, and as they investigated further who did they run into but none other than the vampire companion who'd fled the previous game? Obviously they were well aware of who that vampire had been in another campaign, and that was a neat little twist. Things like this could happen in a tabletop setting given how creative a DM can be with a failure or even a companion's death - but it's rarely the case that this sort of inventiveness translates to videogames, mostly because videogames can only be as flexible as what was programmed and written into them. They can't possibly account for every scenario and divergence possible in every situation and interaction, so usually a failure translates into a loss or a game over or a failed quest or something. I figure that leaving things to luck in a tabletop setting is cool because it could be so much more, regardless of what is being "gambled" in that lucky roll, if you get where I'm going. In a videogame on the other hand, where the only outcome is "you lose", I'm not much interested in running into a "choose the right door or die" situation without knowing the "or die" clause or having some means of deducing which is the right door. Basically I don't find Unexpected Russian Roulette a particularly compelling game. :lol:


Edited by algroth, 10 February 2019 - 11:51 AM.

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#42
Manveru123

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Uh, except that every attack you make is a "luck" roll because you either have to overcome AC or deflection, and you do that with rng attak rolls.

 

Basillisk map was awesome, you run in with a single Fighter with Protection from Pertification, slaughter them all easily and get all that juicy, massive XP. Yum yum.

 

In the first sentence, you are intentionally misunderstanding what other people mean.

 

In the second, you are basing your action on metagaming, which is fine but nicely illustrates the problem with basilisks.

 

I'm not misunderstanding anything. There is no difference in luck between a do-or-die spell and hit-or-not melee swing. Both have a % chance of occuring, and only that % chance differs.

 

Also, having a single Protection from Petrification scroll is metagaming? They're not rare, High Hedge is not far away.



#43
AlexDeLarge

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IIRC there is a character who warns you about the deadly basilisk petrification (was it Jaheira?). So if you pay attention, there is no need for metagaming to be protected in that area.



#44
Verde

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The shapeshifting dragon Child of Bhaal in ToB was harder than anything in PoE1 or PoE2 imho.

#45
Wormerine

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I do feel that a lot of challange of Baldur's Gate comes from obfuscation of the mechanics. It's quite easy if one reads the manual and understoods how game works. BG has a lot of "immediate death" scenarios which I don't believe is a good design, which are not hard to defend against, the player just needs to know that they are coming.

However, BG has a more consistant challange curve, while Deadfire (and PoE1) definitely suffer from powercreep. Expansions and bosses brought it back to the level I found satisfying. though there is a major gap between core and later added content.

It is a valid complaign if Veteran is too easy: it is described as for players experienced with this kind of game, so it is a fair assuption that it should provide an enjoyable challenge for someone who plays those kind of games. One just needs to see how difficulty drops after first couple hour of play to see there is an issue. Early stages of each difficulty delivers on the promise (both for Veteran and Path of the Damned) but later gets easier and easier. 


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#46
xzar_monty

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Exactly. The main problem is in the curve. On Veteran, the Engwithian digsite is really very difficult. After that, there's not that much difficulty. And this is a bit strange.

 

I agree that insta-death situations are not particularly good, and there were too many of them in BG, less so in BG2. (This is partly due to the fact that in BG, you start at level 1 and are particularly prone to insta-death.)



#47
thelee

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However, BG has a more consistant challange curve,

say what? did you like run a party of 6 fighters in BG? because if you run with a mixed party of casters, challenge drops off exponentially as you level up due to caster power scaling. AD&D is really broken in that sense.

 

Also, I guess BG has a "consistent challenge curve" if by that you mean "from beginning of game to end of game all fights are super easy because of level 1 Sleep spell and also easily-found wands of fire" (edit: this is less true in BGEE because sleep using the BG2 engine is less ridiculously broken)


Edited by thelee, 11 February 2019 - 08:47 AM.

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#48
MountainTiger

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Exactly. The main problem is in the curve. On Veteran, the Engwithian digsite is really very difficult. After that, there's not that much difficulty. And this is a bit strange.

 

I agree that insta-death situations are not particularly good, and there were too many of them in BG, less so in BG2. (This is partly due to the fact that in BG, you start at level 1 and are particularly prone to insta-death.)

 

No idea where this idea about instant death in BG2 is coming from. There are a lot more explicit instant death effects in BG2 than BG1; not only are there still monsters with instant death attacks, save or die spells (and a few that don't allow a save) are staples of high level casters. You do start at a level where getting gibbed by one critical hit is no longer a thing unless you're really trying to build a fragile character, but it counteracts this with things like level drain and attribute drain that bypass normal defenses.

 

BG2 does make death less relevant; whereas a low level BG1 party has to get to a temple and pay what can be a significant amount of money for the early game to get a character raised, BG2 starts you off with a caster who can raise the dead (possibly two if the PC is a Cleric) and quickly provides Rods of Resurrection. Not-technically-death effects like Imprisonment are usually a bit harder to reverse but still don't require much resource expenditure relative to what even an early BG2 party has available. But this just highlights the "no raising Bhaalspawn (except Imoen because shut up)" mechanic, which is questionable but at least not as outright fake as the instant death vs. silver bullet dynamic as a source of difficulty.



#49
thelee

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No idea where this idea about instant death in BG2 is coming from. There are a lot more explicit instant death effects in BG2 than BG1; not only are there still monsters with instant death attacks, save or die spells (and a few that don't allow a save) are staples of high level casters. You do start at a level where getting gibbed by one critical hit is no longer a thing unless you're really trying to build a fragile character, but it counteracts this with things like level drain and attribute drain that bypass normal defenses.


not to mention that aside from the way more actual instadeath in BG2 (lit. a random trap you fail to disarm could have a disintegrate effect basically right at the start of the game) doesn't gate things as strongly as maybe it should for newer players. I remember things like a) randomly wandering into a secret room in an inn and being mercilessly slaughtered by a lich, b) randomly wandering into a secret chamber under the sewers and being slaughtered by mind flayers, c) randomly opening a secret cave wall and being expected to defeat an iron golem

i don't feel like re-litigating people's conceptions about BG and BG2's difficulty (there have been many threads before), but tl;dr to me BG/BG2 difficulty frequently amounts to "here's a round hole, do you have a round peg or are you stuck with a square one?" At this point I can replay BG or BG2 with an arbitrary party and there's no challenge because I know all the technical tricks, where as such is not the case with PoE or Deadfire (i.e. difficulty is less "tricky" and more organic).

edit: actually addressing one of OP's points:

So...my question to creators - can this game be made a bit "harder" w/o artificial nonsense such as upscaling (what's the point in leveling then). It's a great game, it's just that the difficulty doesn't really cut it.

it's not a gimmick or "artificial nonsense", it's been inherent to the game since backer beta. you can call it a matter of taste, but due to the open exploration nature of the game, they seemed to have always planned on having different scaling options for different tastes and challenge levels. magran's fires challenges, sure, those definitely feels like more gimmicky ways to increase difficulty in random ways, but before they opened up those challenges to any difficulty you had to have potd with upscaling enabled, which seems to me the clearest word that potd+upscaling is the officially sanctioned "hardest" mode.


Edited by thelee, 11 February 2019 - 09:32 AM.

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#50
Zug

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I play potd upscaled with deadly deadfire and a few god challenges.

I regulary die at lvl20 using story companions the best way I can, but without using cheesy builds or exploiting broken mechanics.

I'm a veteran to this types of games, having finished the BG trilogy with SCS multiple times, IWD in heart of winter mode, DoS1/2 in tactician, etc.

PoE2 in this configuration is overall more difficult, BG2 had some difficulty spikes but once you figured it out, most of the game was a cakewalk.

 

Complaining about difficulty without using some the many ways to increase it is somewhat strange.

Also, try the deadly deadfire mod.


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#51
Triple - A Foxy Lad

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u know a couple of things have got me wondering - how useful is 'difficulty' as an unqualified measure? like games can test ur mechanical skill, metagame knowledge, strategical skill, tactical skill, memorisation, consistency, persistence, adaptability etc.

Metagame knowledge is easier to acquire now. Internet far more efficient and accessible beast than it was at turn of century. what was hard then is easy now bcs u type problem into google and instantly acquire forum thread and exhaustive wiki. even unpopular games are likely to have their guts laid bare.

im aware such information was always available if one was willing to put work in, but i might refer to own situation: had no personal broadband connection until about 2004ish? Could access internet through other means but it required effort.

So i dont feel is possible now for modern game to replicate experience of playing, say, bg1 with no internet connection. The games difficulty is largely result of gated knowledge which is now instantly accessible for many players.

I think is now much harder for (non-mechanical single player) games to be er... harder without properly twisting the knife and alienating potential audience, which is more fickle and has more options than in past.
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#52
bringingyouthefuture

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Hmm, I play with an experience reduction mod and don't experience this at all, I also play with the companions, and don't make a custom party.  I have had some of the most epic fights in Deadfire - I mean I have said this before but nothing beats winning that fight against the zombie Guls and the ones that explode in the Undercity of Neketaka with one man standing and actually having to use Empowers for spells!!  So much fun ...

 

I mean on PoTD I don't buy the argument that its too easy - I am level 15 and 16 right now and just got my party wiped out in BoW by making one bad choice in the battle - I know I can beat the fight but still it isn't a cake walk.  Of course could it be more challenging - heck yeah and am totally down for more :) but I don't buy that the game is easy.

 

Edit:  I agree that the combat in Deadfire isn't your typical D&D style combat where it is a puzzle to figure out - it is different maybe a little pushed towards an action style of play, but that being said in many ways I enjoy it more :)


Edited by bringingyouthefuture, 11 February 2019 - 11:50 AM.

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#53
bringingyouthefuture

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I would add too as I kid growing up playing AD&D computer games - I found BG1/BG2 pretty easy on normal difficulty - I think there is one demon fight I skipped from the expansion - but never ran into too much trouble ... Later on playing on the hardest it was still pretty easy, never played with mods as poster is discussing - but from what I have read BG2 was only great because of the mods, the base game was always so-so  ...  Now if you want to talk about a real challenge - Pools Of Radiance - the first fight against the troll, I think it took me a good couple weeks to figure that fight out :)


Edited by bringingyouthefuture, 11 February 2019 - 11:47 AM.

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#54
merkmerk73

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The Pirates! comparison is not entirely fair, because Pirates! was built around naval combat, whereas it's just a small feature of Deadfire. However, it is true -- and as far as I know, generally agreed upon -- that the naval combat in Deadfire is pretty bad. I understand it was meant to be more extensive, but something happened along the way.

 

I guess I'm one of the few that doesn't mind the naval combat at all, my only real criticism of it is that the system probably cost a lot of development time and energy that may have been better spent elsehwere.

 

I mean, do we expect them to build an elaborate ship combat system for a game that is an isometric IE inspired game? Well no, of course not

 

What's there is already pretty complex - with the crew / cannons and maybe loses a little steam where the ship battles become a text-adventure 


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#55
merkmerk73

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I play potd upscaled with deadly deadfire and a few god challenges.

I regulary die at lvl20 using story companions the best way I can, but without using cheesy builds or exploiting broken mechanics.

I'm a veteran to this types of games, having finished the BG trilogy with SCS multiple times, IWD in heart of winter mode, DoS1/2 in tactician, etc.

PoE2 in this configuration is overall more difficult, BG2 had some difficulty spikes but once you figured it out, most of the game was a cakewalk.

 

Complaining about difficulty without using some the many ways to increase it is somewhat strange.

Also, try the deadly deadfire mod.

 

 

I agree 100%. The difficulty complaints are absurd. If you want to break the game by rolling a custom party with a bunch of stupid 20/20/3/20/3/3 type builds, then that's your fault. If you want to try and find the most overpowered multiclass and spam combusting wounds + wall of fire or w/e to beat every encounter, that's on you.

 

I play with story companions and use a mixed party and with POTD and level scaling the fights are very hard - in fact I just barely beat the first blight boss in SSS with my level 17/18 party - everyone was out of gas, consumables were used, and he was barely finished with some under-penetrating arrow shots from my last couple guys standing.


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#56
Cartoons Plural

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1. do people not realize the game you played as a kid seemed harder because you were a kid

2. every game ever has a board somewhere with about 12 dudes who post constantly complaining it's too easy. if the extremely hard niche game is too easy I suggest trying to learn how to play an instrument or something

personally I'm frustrated by how hard the dragon fight is on heart of winter and the fact that the other dlc is EVEN HARDER. I want to have FUN thanks guys for the constant complaints about difficulty now the DLC can only be finished by 1 percent of the audience

Edited by Cartoons Plural, 11 February 2019 - 12:43 PM.

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#57
Triple - A Foxy Lad

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I guess I'm one of the few that doesn't mind the naval combat at all, my only real criticism of it is that the system probably cost a lot of development time and energy that may have been better spent elsehwere.

 

ye, i didnt mind it at all. was a fun little time-waster, similar to one of those jrpg mini games or the 1001 things u have to do in WoW these days. i did enjoy naming my ship 'the leng' and mindlessly sinking everything in sight with double bronzers. if nothing else it added flavour to the setting without getting in the way of anything important.

 

personally I'm frustrated by how hard the dragon fight is on heart of winter and the fact that the other dlc is EVEN HARDER. I want to have FUN thanks guys for the constant complaints about difficulty now the DLC can only be finished by 1 percent of the audience

 

dlc does force u to hit the books, but im sure you can get to grips with it and find enough wriggle-room to express urself and muck about. im an idiot, and i got through it all in the end. was able to enjoy combat better from what id learnt.

 

but from what I have read BG2 was only great because of the mods, the base game was always so-so  ... 

 

im one of the first to get ratty when peeps lionise bg2 at expense of progress - and efforts of devs currently making a living from crpgs. regardless, i think bg2's a wonderful big-hearted game that id recommend with little reserve. its enthusiasm overshadows many of its peccadilloes imo.


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#58
asnjas

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I dont know if anyone played the viking expedition rpg but that game did a great job of moving the game forward regardless of player succees or failure. For better or worse, there was never a reason to restart and no game overs: the story always moved forward. The story slightly changed based on you failed or succeeded.

#59
xzar_monty

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So i dont feel is possible now for modern game to replicate experience of playing, say, bg1 with no internet connection. The games difficulty is largely result of gated knowledge which is now instantly accessible for many players.

 

That's a fair point. However, there are also players (like me) who specifically won't go on the net looking for the best loot locations etc. because they want to discover stuff themselves and feel that checking out stuff on the net would ruin the game.



#60
xzar_monty

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1. do people not realize the game you played as a kid seemed harder because you were a kid

 

You may have been a kid when you played BG, and there's nothing wrong with that. But do not base your arguments on the idea that your experience is universal. There's plenty of people who were definitely not kids when they played BG. Maybe some of them already had kids when they played BG, you know.


Edited by xzar_monty, 11 February 2019 - 10:55 PM.





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