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Do you want to see an overworld that is more like Baldur's Gate 1 or more like Baldurs Gate 2?

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My brother and I have both played through Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 countless times since we were teenagers, and we were debating the other day about which we prefer.

 

We both more or less agreed that BG2 was an improvement on BG1 in pretty much every area: storytelling, combat, NPCs, classes and character specialisation etc etc. But despite all of that, in a way I still prefer BG1 for one reason: the immersiveness of the world, due to the inclusion of 'unimportant' zones across the world map.

 

In case you haven't played either game, compare these two maps:

swordcoast.gif

bg2_map.jpg

 

In BG2, if you want to get to the Umar Hills, it's a single click from the Athkatla City Gates, and you're suddenly on the other side of the map. In BG1, after you leave Candlekeep you have to traverse two entire zones to get to the Friendly Arm Inn. Then you go South to Nashkel, which takes you across 4 zones. If you decide to do the Gnoll Stronghold side quest, you have to go across about 3 or 4 zones. All of which are 'insignificant' not only to the main storyline, but also to the large side-quests. Yet these unimportant in-between zones add so much to the immersion of the game. In that way, it's very similar to games like Fallout 3 or Skyrim. You can spend endless hours exploring the scenery and having random encounters, without ever progressing through the main story. And that, to me, is what makes a great, immersive RPG world.

 

What do you guys think? Obviously every bit of content that goes into the game takes time (and money) to build, so there has to be a bit of a tradeoff. Would you rather see a fully populated world, with lots of inconsequential zones between the quests? Or would you rather that more time and effort went into major areas where the quests are actually carried out?

 

And in case anyone from Obsidian is reading: what is your opinion on this? Do you guys have plans to create lots of in-between areas?

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I really liked the hidden 'unexplored' areas of the old school Baldur's Gate 1 map. I remember feeling very excited having stumbled upon a previously unexplored corner and being zapped to stone... (I was way under-level or something.) While the given areas in the BG2 map were pretty large, it lost that "free exploration but not truly free-roam" feel because the map was streamlined to follow the story---now, to be fair, I think the inclusion of all the optional areas in BG1's map confused people or something because it was easy to stray away from the main storyline, which is probably why they did BG2's map the way they did.

 

Still miss it, though.


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I like BG1 style world exploration. The feeling was very free.Also I like BG1 world map.


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I gotta be honest. I don't really have a preference. They could do it like Arcanum/Fallout or BG or BGII. Or maybe a new way.

 

What I want is for random encounters to not be too frequent (if they even have them) and for zone progression to not be linear.

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I prefer Fallout 2/Baldur's Gate 2-style world, preferably more like F2 than like BG2, I don't like those big but pretty empty areas from the first Baldur's Gate (or from Bethesda's games), instead, I love to visit zones with LOTS of content, like cities, caves, dungeons and all that stuff :p

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The old thread seems to have fallen off the radar anyway. BG1 vs. BG2 was more a quantity vs. quality argument IMO. Many, mostly empty locations (plot and story wise) versus fewer locations where plot and story was more condensed. Personally I preferred Storm of Zehir which randomly generated the unimportant stuff and let to set encounters where it mattered.

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I've noticed the scarcity of mid-regions in BG2 and have felt a bit stranded in my opinion that BG1 is superior when it comes to a game about exploration and discovery. Baldur's Gate also has some stunning minor characters, which function as appealing asides and commentary. I think PE could do better than any of its predecessors if the designers have the mental wherewithal to cull minor characters out of the churning milieu they are inventing.

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BG1 style definitely. Vast areas of wilderness to explore :D... but not too vast. ^_^

 

Even the forests of BG2 were really limited in size :/ Cramped spaces and corridors, even.

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Some may not like the idea, and not like me for bringing it up, but I actually would prefer a QfG III: Wages of War styled world map. It still keeps the locations as per BG1/2 maps, but requires actual movement through the world map, rather than a click. The reasons for my preference of this may not seem clear, because the system is essentially the same, just with you moving your character toward the area you wish to go. The reasons I bring it up are three fold:

 

1. Random Encounters as you move, and not necessarily combat encounters. In fact I'm rather against random combat encounters. I mean random encounters of things not highlighted as hot spots on the map (a town is a hot spot, for example). This could be an NPC that moves throughout the world or any number of things, QfG used it in several different ways besides combat.

 

2. Hidden hot spots, again, a hot spot is an area like a town or well known objective. Hidden hot spots are fixed, not random, locations (and encounters - again not necessarily combat) hidden on the map. This movement throughout the map can help act as a way of uncovering more than is at first available. Things off the beaten paths or side objects, things you don't need to come across, for main plotline purposes, but might want to so you explore.

 

3. The passage of time as you travel. In another someone mentioned that, "I arrive and I'm dead tired because apparently my character doesn't know how to rest along the way" . . . well in Quest for Glory III your character used up stamina and could get tired if he was up for too long. He'd tell you as he was getting more sleepy or worn out. As you travelled the world map you could stop and make camp. You had to set up a camp yourself, set up a firepit and light the fire, as a way of warding off anything that might bother you while you slept. This is an essential solution to that problem of your character arriving at a point dead tired as if he had no ability to stop and rest along the way.

 

Not that it matters I suppose, there wasn't really anything I disliked about the BG/BG2 styled maps. I just think this manner could have some positive perks.

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I prefer the Baldur's Gate map to the Baldur's Gate II map. It took me a few times playing through Baldur's Gate to encounter all of the areas, and I like that. It's nice exploring all the smaller areas, especially the ones with something particularly odd or interesting hidden in them; it also makes it quite easy to play the game differently every time.


knightofchaoss.jpg

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They each have strengths. BG2's few areas all included a major quest or were tied to the main quest in some way, while BG1 just encouraged exploration and gave you a flavor for the world based on what you discovered when you weren't hunting down the next Iron Throne plot. Personally I think BG2's approach would work the best for Eternity. That or a system like PS:T where there wasn't an overworld at all.

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Baldur's Gate 1 style world map but with color :p

 

I enjoyed the random areas. It would also be cool if there were 'secret' or 'hidden' random areas that you could find (but aren't necessarily on the map) that had a couple random quests on them (like say the BG1 random wilderness areas) that could be found through exploration skills.

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Definitely NWN2:Storm of Zheir styles of Overland Map here.

 

The problem with that one is that it would need some REAL work, and would probably need to be a stretchgoal. And, sadly, not sure enough people would know what it is that they would pay for it.

 

Still, SoZ-style overland maps are by far the best i ever saw in a rpg.

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BG 2

 

If I want to explore unimportant or boring places I can play Skyrim. BG 1 style would be nice if every area could be filled with really immersive stuff but that's hardly possible with the budget. So I will prefer a BG 2 like approach with less but more condensed and sophisticated areas.

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I'm hopeful that they'll come up with their own take on overland travel, with a bit of exploration, areas to pass through, and some nooks and crannies to come across. They could even add side quests and achievements based around exploration, one of the coolest small features of the more recent fallout games was getting xp for finding new locations.

Edited by happyelf

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I'm a big fan of the Fallouit/Arcanum style overworld. Especially if it's like arcanum. Yes, most of the overworld that you can physically walk is wilderness and empty, but it was still the most realistic representation of a world in these games.

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I found BG1 kind of tedious at least in part because of how the maps worked. The way BG itself (the city) was broken up was kind of screwy and made getting around the city a pain. The extended countryside maps were neat, but also obnoxious because it was hard to tell if you were ruining quests just by parading through.

Edited by khango

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