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kreso

Opinion on the game from an old BG2 fan

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I find the game on PotD quite hard enough but I don't min-max and build partys around role-playing... if you want a real challenge try the DLC. If it is still too hard try not min-maxing. I really don't want the game any harder. veteran is too easy - potd just about ok - except the DLC which is just insane and not very fun.

 

I remember playing BG and BG2 / IWD etc and never found them as hard as POE is on PotD. The fire dragon with Carsomyr was a piece of piss compared to the adra dragon. the alpine dragon or the two with llengrath are harder still.

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@kreso Have you ever finished BG Trilogy no reload on SCS btw? I got as far as Beholder Lair (fully improved SCS Beholders) in the Underdark, and one of those bastards managed to take down my main Kensage's protections and petrify me. Was a helluva run though, enjoyed it immensely. But the most fun I had was doing full SCS Insane difficulty run with reloads, I don't know if you remember, but there was a period when David W allowed the option for Tactics/SCS Irenicus Hybrid, where he would summon a Dragon, Sword, Beholder, etc. Took me SIX HOURS to beat that fight, but after i finally did it, it was the most satisfying gaming experience of my life.

No, I didn't. Well, once, but game crashed (had to reload) and one of my party members was chunked beforehand and I doubt I could have done it w/o him, so I can't count it as valid. I did have the final battle (succesfull, after the reload) on Youtube, but it's gone for some reason.

I did roll a vanilla setup once for Grond0's "24-hour challenge"; I was certain I'd beat it - got up to Abazigal, died to Maze. (was a solo).

My runs usually ended it late SoA part. Longest run, Cavalier PC, up to ToB Mellisan, where I forgot to prebuff (hadn't come that far in ages). Wiped in several rounds - Bodhi, Irenicus + Fallen Solars....ahhahahaha. After 30+ hours, to see such a defeat was hilarious.

Heh..do I remember.. :yes: I petitioned DavidW to bring back that fight :grin: .

My all-time favourite was Eclipse party from Solaufein mod; old Tactics also had it's share of memorable moments (and memorable cheese). Hybrid Irenicus is indeed kinda unique in concept. (imo, much better than standard demon crap being used).

 

I petitioned to bring back that fight too, lol. I get why he removed it, but felt like the community got robbed of one of those most memorable fights ever. Very curious how you forgot to prebuff in the final and most important battle of a super epic trilogy; maybe deep down, your subconscious didn't want you to bring closure to such a magnificent series, so that you would have a reason to continue playing it in the future :D  I am sad and somewhat ashamed to say I never installed and played Ascension mod, i feel like i've missed out big time, right? Now i'm feeling nostalgic and kinda wanna do it, haha.

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The point of leveling with upscaling is to give you progression. You earn exp for the next level to unlock new stuff. Scaling doesnt change this.

 

Upscaling is the most logical way to balance the game. Either way you want enemies around your parties skill level right? Without scaling the devs must guess at your strength when you reach an encounter. With scaling they dont have to guess and every encounter contains enemies at your level. It aint a artificial difficulty gimmick.

 

Scaling or not, you want enemies to be constantly at your parties level. Why complain when they use scaling instead of guessing?

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 Very curious how you forgot to prebuff in the final and most important battle of a super epic trilogy; maybe deep down, your subconscious didn't want you to bring closure to such a magnificent series, so that you would have a reason to continue playing it in the future :D  I am sad and somewhat ashamed to say I never installed and played Ascension mod, i feel like i've missed out big time, right? Now i'm feeling nostalgic and kinda wanna do it, haha.

 

I tought you can prebuff at the Throne...if you don't reload, sooner or later you'll end up in "the dark", where memory of the game gets fuzzy. Part of the challenge I guess.

And yes, even when playing fully vanilla for 24-hour challenge, I had Ascension. For me it's like a core part of the game, a closure, what ToB should have been in the first place.

 

 

The point of leveling with upscaling is to give you progression. You earn exp for the next level to unlock new stuff. Scaling doesnt change this.

 

Upscaling is the most logical way to balance the game. Either way you want enemies around your parties skill level right? Without scaling the devs must guess at your strength when you reach an encounter. With scaling they dont have to guess and every encounter contains enemies at your level. It aint a artificial difficulty gimmick.

 

Scaling or not, you want enemies to be constantly at your parties level. Why complain when they use scaling instead of guessing?

I hate level scaling enemies. I tought Deadfire doesn't give XP for creatures after 100% encyclopedia value anyway.? I don't feel that in RPGs as open as Deadfire devs must guess anything. Sure, you can go fight Nemnok at level 5 to get your ass whooped. That's...freedom of choice I guess. Likewise, I like the option to go there at  level 18 and kick his ass. HAving the option to get some loot earlier, provided you can take the heat from being outleveled, is great.

Creating your own route through game, picking battles as you see fit is for me  a nice aspect of the game.

The game however does have a "breaking point", where you get powerful enough so you can take much higher-level enemies. For my party, it was around level 9-10; with core Deflection items (shield + Cassita) and Frost Bow/double-shout arqebuis equiped. From there I started taking on battles that were impossible before with ease. The fact you can get get to such level with no challenge is another problem.

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If things are too easy you have lots of options:

 

1. Add Magrans Challenges

2. Use Deadly Deadfire Hardcore Mod

3. Dont use any items (Poverty is fun)

4. Do not level up (say hello Noober)

5. Or as others said: Use Trial of Iron

 

If thats still not enough i can create you a mod where you take double damage but only deal half. Its up to you! ;)

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Honestly, it's ridiculous to complain about difficulty without playing on max difficulty settings. Try Triple Crown+3-4 Magran's Challenges and then get back to us.

It depends on player's preferences.

 

If I am playing football and it's easy, I'd prefer playing vs stronger team, instead of getting rid of teammates, getting one leg tied to an arm, and an eyepatch to limit the view.

 

That said, I enable stuff that makes the enemy stronger (PotD, upscaling, Ondra/Galawain challenge), but disregard stuff that makes my party weaker.

 

Also there is an extra argument related to time needed to finish a completionist run. In Deadfire solo'ing would consume more out of my real-life time. And I usually have no time for that, or prefer to do some other stuff instead. In Tyranny though, it was viceversa, as it was actually faster to solo the game.

 

I hate level scaling enemies. I tought Deadfire doesn't give XP for creatures after 100% encyclopedia value anyway.? I don't feel that in RPGs as open as Deadfire devs must guess anything. Sure, you can go fight Nemnok at level 5 to get your ass whooped. That's...freedom of choice I guess. Likewise, I like the option to go there at  level 18 and kick his ass. HAving the option to get some loot earlier, provided you can take the heat from being outleveled, is great.

There is no easy solution to this.

 

Overleveling stuff feels cheap and kills the challenge. Once you start tackling every fight without taking a sweat at all, and it repeats over and over, encounters transform into a tedium, into an artificial time delay before you are presented with ending slides.

 

Upscaling enemies to your level, has problems as well. No matter what you do - it's like your efforts didn't matter whatsoever, because enemy keeps the same pace. This was especially noticeable in Skyrim. In Deadfire though, default upscaling has a limit of "enemy level goes up but no more than by +4", plus there appear equipment/weapon options that propel you ahead of the curve.

 

 

All in all, I think upscaling is a must in a game like Deadfire, because developers cannot easily account for:

- is the player going for completionist run or doing only critical path.

- is he doing DLC content or not.

Otherwise we risk to get into "there are too many trash fights" or "this fight is impossible" threads.

 

 

At the same time, I think that just bringing all under-leveled enemies to the player's level is cheap.

- First of all it kills all the passives that apply to under-leveled targets, like: Double Tap, Executioner, Abjuration, Threatening Presence and so on.

- Second, it partially kills the player's feel of accomplishment from leveling: like hey, I couldn't win this fight at level 5, but I can now.

 

Ideally, I think, 80% of regular enemies could get upscaled to Players_Level_Minus_One. 20% of regular enemies upscaled to Players_Level_Minus_Three. But no more than by +9 levels. As for boss enemies - these should be at least 2 levels ahead from the player.

 

- ship combat. Dear God.... what I do to avoid this nonsense is avoid it up to level 10-11, then start ramming into enemy ships and leave the AI do do it's job in hand-to-hand combat. Awful implementation, completely unneccecary. Sid Meier's Pirates! was better than this.

Tbh, I was really excited when ship combat was announced as a stretch goal. Age of Pirates 2 was one of my favorite games back in 2009, especially for their naval battles.

That said I definitely didn't expect that it gonna be text-based :)

 

Btw, here are some Josh's remarks about ship combat in Deadfire: link

Edited by MaxQuest
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Copmpare this with BG, for example. The game keeps you on your toes from day one to ToB (not me, but I've played BG since '98).

 

u can win every fight in that series by pre-buffing and auto-attacking everything to death. in BG1 u just give everyone bows. in BG2, u get keldorn to cast dispel magic occasionally.

 

like, i cant dispute there are builds that can solo the game with minimal input. there are peeps here that spend all their time trying to develop such, but i think its fair to say most of these strats arent immediately obvious to us normal saps.

 

Im unsure why u highlight the examples u do. The ciphers in sss can be dealt with using normal anti-caster strats + aegis of loyalty + intellect resistance. Theyre too squishy to be that hard a fight, nowhere near as annoying as splintered reef imo - those fampyrs take more of a beating. (Praise kyros for chill fog) u can interrupt anyone casting disintegration, and if one lands u can use barring deaths door/withdraw if ur regens not up to scratch. as for the soul mirror match, u alpha strike the back line, leave ur tank til last, debuff their defences and whittle them down. ai dont use the aggressive cheese strats available to a player or else something like bridge ablaze would be like pulling own fingernails out.

 

Like i also find it odd that u could prep enough to stat check everyone to death yet not figure out u could blast every ship to smithereens with double bronzers. like if u crush the ship fights u can proper clean up early game and take advantage of some powerful gear.

 

i dunno man, too much of what ur saying just dont jibe with my experience of game. I didnt feel ready to touch potd until id cleared the game veteran-upscaled and knew the craic.

 

like if ud said 'game too easy, herald kill everything with zero input on highest difficulty' that would have at least backed up what people have been saying elsewhere on this forum but eh...

 

Ah, should have made myself clear. BG1/2 are both easy once you get to know them... but don't tell me you never got

a) one-shot critted by gibberling/hobgoblin/random encounter bandit archers spawn in BG1

b) instakilled by Rayic Gethras' Finger of Death in BG2

c) imprisonmented by Kangaxx

d) level-drained to death

e) petrified by Beholders

f) had brain eaten by Mindflayers

g) died in Cloakwood spider webs

h) blasted to chunks by Thaxy dragon's level drain breath

j) paralyzed by Ghasts

k) ghasted by Aec'Laetec

....

.....

.....

 

This never, ever happens in Deadfire.  Not even remotely close. It's easy even if you don't know squat  about it other than stacking Deflection is apperantly equal to God mode, which kind of sums up my knowledge of the game.

 

Now this, ladies and gentlemen, is the best comment on this thread. Pardon if I quoted it wrong. But starting from "Ah, should have" to "knowledge of the game" is pure gold. This is precisely how it is.

 

I myself brought up Firkraag earlier. It is indeed true that you can use a wand of cloudkill to kill him without any trouble. It is also true that a finger of death preceded by lower resistance can insta-kill him quite easily (if you get a bit of luck). Etc. I'm not questioning this at all. However, this is stuff that I had to figure out (and let's be honest: I did not figure out the cloudkill trick, I only learned about that later on). There were plenty of encounters in BG1 and BG2 that I absolutely couldn't do the first time and where I had to do some fairly serious thinking.

 

Almost nothing like that exists in either PoE or Deadfire. I was going to say nothing, not almost nothing, but then I realized that there has actually been one fight where I had to understand that there was a totem on the screen that allowed an enemy naga to do some pretty nasty summoning and that I had to therefore destroy. That's the only thing.

 

There is almost another example: on one island, there's a very hard fight that can be bypassed if you fire a cannon. And what the game does is this: it very clearly points out that there is a cannon which you should probably fire to avoid the very hard fight. Friends and neighbors, can you get any more I-wanna-hold-your-hand than that?

 

So the point is not that Deadfire can be made bloody difficult if you tie one hand behind your back, wear a blindfold, only walk backwards on one leg and refuse to eat (i.e. ramp up the difficulty and take all the challenges you can). The point is that Deadfire is designed to be dead easy even if you know absolutely nothing about it.

 

And, again: I like the game very much. This is not about that at all. It's only about these particular design choices which appear fairly odd.

 

Now, I am not making this following point, because it's too simplistic and not very kind -- actually it's downright rude. But let's just say that it is something that had crossed my mind, and I am not the only one. It goes like this:

1) Pathfinder:Kingmaker is designed by Russians, and it has absolutely no hesitation about being harsh, difficult and unforgiving -- if you want to survive, you better be tough, son.

2) Deadfire is designed by North Americans, and its premise appears to be that the player needs to be mollycoddled lest he gets his feelings hurt.

 

I am neither North American nor Russian, but somehow both of these choices appear to reflect something in those cultures.

Edited by xzar_monty
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Copmpare this with BG, for example. The game keeps you on your toes from day one to ToB (not me, but I've played BG since '98).

 

u can win every fight in that series by pre-buffing and auto-attacking everything to death. in BG1 u just give everyone bows. in BG2, u get keldorn to cast dispel magic occasionally.

 

like, i cant dispute there are builds that can solo the game with minimal input. there are peeps here that spend all their time trying to develop such, but i think its fair to say most of these strats arent immediately obvious to us normal saps.

 

Im unsure why u highlight the examples u do. The ciphers in sss can be dealt with using normal anti-caster strats + aegis of loyalty + intellect resistance. Theyre too squishy to be that hard a fight, nowhere near as annoying as splintered reef imo - those fampyrs take more of a beating. (Praise kyros for chill fog) u can interrupt anyone casting disintegration, and if one lands u can use barring deaths door/withdraw if ur regens not up to scratch. as for the soul mirror match, u alpha strike the back line, leave ur tank til last, debuff their defences and whittle them down. ai dont use the aggressive cheese strats available to a player or else something like bridge ablaze would be like pulling own fingernails out.

 

Like i also find it odd that u could prep enough to stat check everyone to death yet not figure out u could blast every ship to smithereens with double bronzers. like if u crush the ship fights u can proper clean up early game and take advantage of some powerful gear.

 

i dunno man, too much of what ur saying just dont jibe with my experience of game. I didnt feel ready to touch potd until id cleared the game veteran-upscaled and knew the craic.

 

like if ud said 'game too easy, herald kill everything with zero input on highest difficulty' that would have at least backed up what people have been saying elsewhere on this forum but eh...

 

Ah, should have made myself clear. BG1/2 are both easy once you get to know them... but don't tell me you never got

a) one-shot critted by gibberling/hobgoblin/random encounter bandit archers spawn in BG1

b) instakilled by Rayic Gethras' Finger of Death in BG2

c) imprisonmented by Kangaxx

d) level-drained to death

e) petrified by Beholders

f) had brain eaten by Mindflayers

g) died in Cloakwood spider webs

h) blasted to chunks by Thaxy dragon's level drain breath

j) paralyzed by Ghasts

k) ghasted by Aec'Laetec

....

.....

.....

 

This never, ever happens in Deadfire.  Not even remotely close. It's easy even if you don't know squat  about it other than stacking Deflection is apperantly equal to God mode, which kind of sums up my knowledge of the game.

I didn't have much trouble with Reef, maybe because I went there rather late (only 1 white skull). I don't know any anti caster strats for ciphers, or anything else for that matter (super-bosses aside, and w/o these forum I doubt I'd ever do Spider battle).

I only used brute force on everything - which proves my point - the game is so easy that there's just no need to. The whole "strategy" if you wanna call it that was that my PC with Casita Legacy + ugly green shield gets in combat first. From there on, its just counting frames and seeing icy arrows turning enemies into mush...

 

 

You must wear a seriously thick nostalgia gogles. I don't remember BG or BG2 to be anywhere near as hard as PoE or PoE2 in some places, on hardest difficulty setting both. A very, very exagerated judgement on your part. I have a passable knowledge of the mechanics by now and the game is challenging for me (but take note that I don't min-max and use only story companions, not the kind constructed for ease of play).

BG on hardest difficulty settings means you take double damage if you take any. Since virtually all damage can be negated in BG2, provided you know the game, difficulty can be irrelevant.

I don't want to go into "which game is better" here (both BG1 and BG2 suffer from being extremely cheesable, serious class disbalance, silly OP equipment etc. but that's not the point. Given that I've modded BG2 I'm well aware of it's quirks.)

Saying Deadfire is harder than either BG1 or BG2 (provided you never played either BG or Deadfire) is not something I can agree on, quite the opposite.

PoEI I didn't like much for some reason, can't comment on difficulty.

I don't play BG w/o mods such as SCS, and I only play No-Reloads.

Honestly, if it weren't for mods, BG2 would be long dead by now. It's a great game, but it's life wasn't prolonged by it's quality; but by modders' ingenuity.

 

P.S.

On topic of dragons-

BG2 - meet Thaxy first time  -  whole party dead in less than 20 seconds, dragon uninjured. Difficulty level - normal (easier than "core")

Deadfire - meet the Watershaper dragon  - 60% of party dead, 40% half health, dragon dead in cca 30 secons. Difficulty - PotD. Non-upscaled. :p

 

 

I haven't played Deadfire since it got its balancing passes and have yet to try my hand at the mega-bosses or the DLCs for that matter, so I don't know how the experience is feeling right now, but I would say it felt rather easy the first time through, no disagreements there. Both the first Pillars and Baldur's Gate II proved much harder in their respective first playthroughs than Deadfire ever was, but that brings an issue because in my personal experience it is not an apples-to-apples comparison either. When I first played Baldur's Gate II back in 2001 or so I was completely new to RPGs, be they in videogame or tabletop form, let alone D&D for that matter - so I wasn't just ignorant of the monster manual, I was ignorant of the systems and the options I had before me altogether. Come Pillars, I was a much more seasoned RPG player so I had some general groundwork as to how to approach new foes and counter their specific traits and abilities - but its own "monster manual" was largely new to me and so I still found my two initial playthroughs very challenging, and far more than I did any of the D&D games at that time ("at that time" being, understandably, fifteen years and several playthroughs on each game later, where every kink and every interaction - at least from a combat/mechanics perspective - was deeply familiar to me). To respond to your list, throughout the first Pillars I could easily recall being hammered and lazered to death by the Eyeless, insta-wiped by a single breath from the Adra Dragon, chain-stunned forever by spirits and lagufaeth, petrified by adragans and hammered down by their lurkers (or getting rooted by these too, on lone fights), getting rolled over by a snowballing Triumph of the Crusaders, getting my ass handed back to me by a certain drunken orlan, or by most monks if I failed to initially burst them down, or shadows in the temple of Eothas teleporting and instakilling Aloth in the backline, and so on. By my third playthrough I had a much clearer comprehension about how to build my characters and what to expect out of each encounter and so, yes, the game also proved easier even as I raised the difficulty. Come Deadfire, most of the setting, the mechanics, the creatures, the builds and so on were pretty familiar by now, and so when a spirit could have chained-cc'd me here, this time I knew exactly what to do and what to expect. It was undertuned for certain, but I also believe the core audience wasn't as green facing it as they might have been when first experiencing the Infinity Engine games back in the late 90s, or even the first Pillars and its own approach to each creature and combat and so on.

 

Having said this I don't believe it's just a question of familiarity that is the issue right here, for as much tweaking as Deadfire could do to its encounters and so on, the most challenging encounters in Deadfire still related to relatively familiar or straight-forward creatures, be they throwbacks to the first game or relatively straight-forward "new enemies" with varying degrees of damage and tankiness by way of Rathun, eotens, constructs, Engwithan titans, nagas and so on. The new roster of creatures and encounters are okay though a tad overly familiar given their obvious D&D counterparts and not so unique all things considered... Which makes me wonder why the devs didn't invest further in the lore and setting they'd already built in the first game and introduce more eldritch and unique creatures like, for example, the polpovir, or even the barbed ravagers and winding serpents which to the best of my awareness were only referenced in Cignath Mór (the underwater ruins). Maybe they're part of one of the DLCs which I've yet to play, but it seems to me that they had the opportunity to introduce some strange and far-out challenges that were also deeply fitting for a maritime adventure, and simply didn't. Maybe because they couldn't lock down a set of compelling mechanics or a suitable look for them?

 

Regardless, to reiterate my first point, the more you're familiar with the genre, the less chances you'll have to really be surprised, or baffled. Right now I'm playing through Pathfinder: Kingmaker and that game seems to follow a design philosophy closer to the Baldur's Gate series than Pillars does, inasmuch as it's overflowing with cheesy, meta-gamey encounters and follows a general approach to systems that makes it seem like they want to adapt the TT ruleset as literally and foolhardily as possible onto a videogame medium, regardless of whether it's a good decision that would actually work as intended in this context or not; and even in this case I feel like I know just what to do and what I need once I've seen the creatures I'm up against. Giant slugs hitting my lvl 5 party for 60HP of acid damage a pop is only an issue when you don't have a scroll of communal protection against acid on you, but once you're armed with that bit of info, and the awareness that you'll be up against those particular creatures, it's all too easy to make sure you buy one from the nearest vendor before trying the fight out. The only issue is that since you're very often on a timer, between kingdom management and timed quests and whatnot, backtracking becomes twice the frustration, so you Better Know What You're Up Against!!! Maybe the reason why Baldur's Gate II didn't bother again with a wild area full of basilisks is because as a challenge it simply wasn't that compelling: the difficulty merely hinged on you having the right potions or metagaming foresight to buy the potions before heading that way; and yet, again, this might have taken way longer or seemed more challenging back when you didn't know you even *could* do such a thing. But we're not so innocent now, and so figuring your way across these instances doesn't feel particularly rewarding, whilst being randomly set up against such encounters with no hint or foreshadow feels annoying, and hardly aids either a newbie in thinking intuitively or a veteran in preemptively preparing for what they may be up against, and so on. Owlcat Studios, relative to Obsidian, are a brand new studio so maybe all of the above is something the latter have also taken into consideration in their decades of experience and why they may shy away from such things nowadays. But it is also a supposition from someone who mostly just plays games and doesn't design them, so I could be talking out of my arse too. :grin:

Edited by algroth
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Currently playing: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

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I know it's not particularly nice, given that your post in general is a good one, but I'd like to highlight that basilisk issue. I'm absolutely certain you are right: basilisks were dropped from BG2 because they simply aren't very good. It's essentially a nonsense to have an encounter where your success or failure is determined by a single die roll. It's something you cannot be good at, it's just about luck. The basilisks were the most foolish thing in BG1, and they were rightly dropped for BG2. (Of course, you could bypass the luck question by metagaming, but metagaming in general is not something I'm interested in. By and large, I don't want to know where the best loot is, etc. I want to find out myself.)

 

As for Kingmaker: I agree that some of the design choices appear quite poor. Spider swarms, for instance. It seems simply cruel, or nasty, to put something like that in the game, because the way you're going to beat them is not through intelligence. They're almost comparable to the basilisks, but not quite, because basilisks are insta-death and spider swarms are not.

Edited by xzar_monty

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I know it's not particularly nice, given that your post in general is a good one, but I'd like to highlight that basilisk issue. I'm absolutely certain you are right: basilisks were dropped from BG2 because they simply aren't very good. It's essentially a nonsense to have an encounter where your success or failure is determined by a single die roll. It's something you cannot be good at, it's just about luck. The basilisks were the most foolish thing in BG1, and they were rightly dropped for BG2. (Of course, you could bypass the luck question by metagaming, but metagaming in general is not something I'm interested in. By and large, I don't want to know where the best loot is, etc. I want to find out myself.)

 

Yeah, I agree and that's also another thing I completely missed out on - leaving such cases to "luck". "Luck" is a terrible variable to determine the outcome of a fight, because it's nowhere as rewarding as the player's choices, mechanics or intuition being the factor to victory, and because it feels way more frustrating and unfair when it determines a loss. An insta-death on a dice roll is often pretty terrible... But I think it can be made to work provided the way in which it's approached. Recently I saw a Matthew Colville video where he spoke about gorgons in a tabletop setting, and how to manage their petrifying gaze, and I loved his approach: basically instead of petrification being the outcome of a single dice roll, he'd first roll the dice and if the player failed, they'd become slowed; next turn they'd have to roll again and if they failed again, they'd become paralyzed; a third fail would then determine if the player was turned to stone or not. This is cool not because it basically gives the player three chances to succeed and be free of the effects, but because it gives the party a way to act upon what happens and respond adequately - say by a priest casting some restoration or protection spell or something, or even boosting their chances of success through a Luck or Bless spell or whatever. At least it gives the players a chance to respond and play against that.

 

Another interesting example he gave in another video: one of his classic "villains" would usually have this ability to turn people into undead if they fell unconscious or something. This was a one-save-only situation, if you failed the save you were pretty much gone. But he made sure to showcase this ability *before* any of the players were to be targeted by it, thus warning them of one of the character's most powerful, and possibly "unfair", moves. Hence, it all becomes par with expectation and it allows you to prepare as well (say, through a Death Ward or whatever).

 

So, it's been a while since I last played Baldur's Gate but I cannot recall if there ever was anything that signalled the presence of basilisks in Mutamin's Garden prior to you running into them. The player could have been informed in several ways - have them witness an NPC adventurer losing a battle against one of the basilisks as soon as you accessed the area for example, to show you what the basilisks can do and so on. Have someone suggest ways to prepare, perhaps? Though that could just spell out the solution to the encounter. Regardless, *some* indication would make their presence seem less arbitrary and 'unfair'. With the spider-swarms in Pathfinder: Kingmaker, I'm at least thankful that before my first encounter with them the game explained how swarms worked (another issue I have with the game is how vaguely or poorly it explains its systems), so at the very least I knew what they were when I faced them.

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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.

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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.

Edited by xzar_monty
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I know it's not particularly nice, given that your post in general is a good one, but I'd like to highlight that basilisk issue. I'm absolutely certain you are right: basilisks were dropped from BG2 because they simply aren't very good. It's essentially a nonsense to have an encounter where your success or failure is determined by a single die roll. It's something you cannot be good at, it's just about luck. The basilisks were the most foolish thing in BG1, and they were rightly dropped for BG2. (Of course, you could bypass the luck question by metagaming, but metagaming in general is not something I'm interested in. By and large, I don't want to know where the best loot is, etc. I want to find out myself.)

 

Yeah, I agree and that's also another thing I completely missed out on - leaving such cases to "luck". "Luck" is a terrible variable to determine the outcome of a fight, because it's nowhere as rewarding as the player's choices, mechanics or intuition being the factor to victory, and because it feels way more frustrating and unfair when it determines a loss. An insta-death on a dice roll is often pretty terrible... But I think it can be made to work provided the way in which it's approached. Recently I saw a Matthew Colville video where he spoke about gorgons in a tabletop setting, and how to manage their petrifying gaze, and I loved his approach: basically instead of petrification being the outcome of a single dice roll, he'd first roll the dice and if the player failed, they'd become slowed; next turn they'd have to roll again and if they failed again, they'd become paralyzed; a third fail would then determine if the player was turned to stone or not. This is cool not because it basically gives the player three chances to succeed and be free of the effects, but because it gives the party a way to act upon what happens and respond adequately - say by a priest casting some restoration or protection spell or something, or even boosting their chances of success through a Luck or Bless spell or whatever. At least it gives the players a chance to respond and play against that.

 

Another interesting example he gave in another video: one of his classic "villains" would usually have this ability to turn people into undead if they fell unconscious or something. This was a one-save-only situation, if you failed the save you were pretty much gone. But he made sure to showcase this ability *before* any of the players were to be targeted by it, thus warning them of one of the character's most powerful, and possibly "unfair", moves. Hence, it all becomes par with expectation and it allows you to prepare as well (say, through a Death Ward or whatever).

 

So, it's been a while since I last played Baldur's Gate but I cannot recall if there ever was anything that signalled the presence of basilisks in Mutamin's Garden prior to you running into them. The player could have been informed in several ways - have them witness an NPC adventurer losing a battle against one of the basilisks as soon as you accessed the area for example, to show you what the basilisks can do and so on. Have someone suggest ways to prepare, perhaps? Though that could just spell out the solution to the encounter. Regardless, *some* indication would make their presence seem less arbitrary and 'unfair'. With the spider-swarms in Pathfinder: Kingmaker, I'm at least thankful that before my first encounter with them the game explained how swarms worked (another issue I have with the game is how vaguely or poorly it explains its systems), so at the very least I knew what they were when I faced them.

 

While correct in many ways, I am corroded after years of luckfesting at D&D tables, armed with dice, emotional flares and endless amounts of snacks and beverages:

I really like luck because I hate it.

I still find that many computer games determining the outcome by plenty of luck - Hearthstone, Diablo 3 or the Baldur Gate series - are the slot machines of my rollercoaster mental state that I seem to crave. Games where everything is balanced, smooth and solely skill-based - like Chess, Go and Advance Wars - will soon bore me to tears.  


*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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I know it's not particularly nice, given that your post in general is a good one, but I'd like to highlight that basilisk issue. I'm absolutely certain you are right: basilisks were dropped from BG2 because they simply aren't very good. It's essentially a nonsense to have an encounter where your success or failure is determined by a single die roll. It's something you cannot be good at, it's just about luck. The basilisks were the most foolish thing in BG1, and they were rightly dropped for BG2. (Of course, you could bypass the luck question by metagaming, but metagaming in general is not something I'm interested in. By and large, I don't want to know where the best loot is, etc. I want to find out myself.)

 

Yeah, I agree and that's also another thing I completely missed out on - leaving such cases to "luck". "Luck" is a terrible variable to determine the outcome of a fight, because it's nowhere as rewarding as the player's choices, mechanics or intuition being the factor to victory, and because it feels way more frustrating and unfair when it determines a loss. An insta-death on a dice roll is often pretty terrible... But I think it can be made to work provided the way in which it's approached. Recently I saw a Matthew Colville video where he spoke about gorgons in a tabletop setting, and how to manage their petrifying gaze, and I loved his approach: basically instead of petrification being the outcome of a single dice roll, he'd first roll the dice and if the player failed, they'd become slowed; next turn they'd have to roll again and if they failed again, they'd become paralyzed; a third fail would then determine if the player was turned to stone or not. This is cool not because it basically gives the player three chances to succeed and be free of the effects, but because it gives the party a way to act upon what happens and respond adequately - say by a priest casting some restoration or protection spell or something, or even boosting their chances of success through a Luck or Bless spell or whatever. At least it gives the players a chance to respond and play against that.

 

Another interesting example he gave in another video: one of his classic "villains" would usually have this ability to turn people into undead if they fell unconscious or something. This was a one-save-only situation, if you failed the save you were pretty much gone. But he made sure to showcase this ability *before* any of the players were to be targeted by it, thus warning them of one of the character's most powerful, and possibly "unfair", moves. Hence, it all becomes par with expectation and it allows you to prepare as well (say, through a Death Ward or whatever).

 

So, it's been a while since I last played Baldur's Gate but I cannot recall if there ever was anything that signalled the presence of basilisks in Mutamin's Garden prior to you running into them. The player could have been informed in several ways - have them witness an NPC adventurer losing a battle against one of the basilisks as soon as you accessed the area for example, to show you what the basilisks can do and so on. Have someone suggest ways to prepare, perhaps? Though that could just spell out the solution to the encounter. Regardless, *some* indication would make their presence seem less arbitrary and 'unfair'. With the spider-swarms in Pathfinder: Kingmaker, I'm at least thankful that before my first encounter with them the game explained how swarms worked (another issue I have with the game is how vaguely or poorly it explains its systems), so at the very least I knew what they were when I faced them.

 

While correct in many ways, I am corroded after years of luckfesting at D&D tables, armed with dice, emotional flares and endless amounts of snacks and beverages:

I really like luck because I hate it.

I still find that many computer games determining the outcome by plenty of luck - Hearthstone, Diablo 3 or the Baldur Gate series - are the slot machines of my rollercoaster mental state that I seem to crave. Games where everything is balanced, smooth and solely skill-based - like Chess, Go and Advance Wars - will soon bore me to tears.  

 

 

I think luck in a tabletop setting is alright, myself, because sometimes a critical miss can result in something completely unexpected and hilarious, depending on how creative your DM is. :grin: But in a videogame context, where losing often equates only to failing (or at least we're conditioned to interpret it so), it's more a disappointing sort of frustration than a fun one. Or so I find it anyways.

 

I kind of like that about Tides of Numenera, I feel. I like that right from the get-go they inform you that failing a check isn't always bad, and if I'm not mistaken you can only really get the best ending if you fail a very specific check early on (one dealing with a ghost lady and her attempt to strange you). Planescape: Torment also had some cases like these, such as when you let yourself be killed by a group of githyanki to then learn about their plans and so on. I wouldn't mind more games approaching successes and losses in this fashion.

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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.

Edited by IndiraLightfoot
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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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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
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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.

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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.

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

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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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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.)

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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
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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.

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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
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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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