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After replaying BG2 with "fresh eyes".


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The problem with Irenicus' dungeon (and all starting dungeon's for that matter) is replayability. The dungeon is interesting the first time, but after a couple of times just becomes repetitive.

 

But isn't that the same to all dungeons that are linear? I mean not only the starting dungeons are linear, there are also a lot of other linear dungeons in many RPGs. Of course if you start a lot of games and never finish them the starting dungeons are played a lot more than others, that I would understand, but why would people only play the first two acts and then start over without finishing the game so often that they get sick of those starting parts?

 

No. These starting type dungeons offer little in the way of character agency. They feel like they were put in solely as training wheels. Fallout 1 didn't have this feel. I liked the Morrowind / FNV style of dumping the character out into the game world where he can start making decisions from the start. With Irenicus' dungeon and the tribal start of Fallout 2 no character actions have any real meaning until the dungeon is left.

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The problem with Irenicus' dungeon (and all starting dungeon's for that matter) is replayability. The dungeon is interesting the first time, but after a couple of times just becomes repetitive. Fallout New Vegas had a short an sweet intro. It would have been even better if Obsidian had done something (not exactly) like the alternative start module. One of the strengths of DA:O was the different starting options. Even ToEE had different starting setups. I would prefer to see something more along those lines then the same linear starting dungeon that one has memorized by the third replay.

 

 

I really loved alternate start mod in Skyrim, which allowed you to start in many different areas in the world or even part of a faction. I would really like to see it in more RPGs. It doesn't have to be story intensive or anything, but it's a great way to keeping replayability fresh.

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I've replayed BG2 several times, and while I still enjoy it immensely (try it with a ton of mods!) The first, exploratory and open ended story area is the best in terms of overally motivation and interest.

 

Being railroaded never felt great in any of these games. When you have a somewhat open ended goal and a lot of areas to explore ala Baldurs Gate 2, Mass Effect 1, Dragon Age, KOTOR, etc. Well that's when these games have always seemed the best to me.

 

You're making choices, and are unsure of where the story is going. Having a specific "endgame" in site actually makes me stop wanting to playing. Because most of the time I just want more stuff to do, and the game is clearly saying it's all over and there's nothing left. It takes away my agency as a player to decide what it is I want to be doing and gives it over to a story I'm almost always a bit less interested in. The only exception I can think of is Dragon Age, where I actually completed the game mostly because of the story, and wanted to see how it ended.

Edited by Frenetic Pony
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I imagine going through any part of the game multiple times in any scenario would get boring. The difference....starting dungeons = low level, lack of skills/equipment and weaker monsters. Compare to running through the underdark for the 5th time when you could have any number of items and abilities at your disposable with arguably more interesting combat. A new "class" can do only so much in its infant stages to make the replay more fun.

 

The Point. It's not necessarily the "area" that is repetitive, it's the lack of ability. If they allowed you to talk your way out of Irenicus dungeon or wait to be rescued, would that make it more "fresh" over time, for a few more playthroughs it would be better, but not for long.

 

All that aside, I still love it regardless. :)

Edited by Utukka
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The feeling of urgency associated with the main quest line in BG2 should not be entirely disregarded as bad, I think. It's very hard for a game, any game, to make you feel so compelled (through urgency, or any other feeling) to go on a quest. I very much liked it, because I very much liked the quest. I truly cared about the characters and their motives, which I can't say about many other games -- only good books that I've read. But it took one full playthrough to realize I could get away with spending half a year in the wilderness, exploring and getting up to mischief, before running after my baby sister, which is what I did the next time I played it. Not necessarily bad either, as it's a form of replay value I very much appreciate. There's no reason to experience everything on the first playthrough.

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"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"
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EDIT:

@Jarmo: What stats and class/race did your main character have and how would you define your main character generally in placement of the story~attitude/personality? (non-spoiling)

 

Human, dual class started with thief-swashbuckler with longsword and dual wielding proficiency. Something like chaotic good, good intentions, looks after his friends. Had some moral issues when somebody hired me to just go and kill some wizard, but went with the flow anyway. Took 10 levels of that and then continued as a mage.

 

Statswise.. I had some workable beginning stats but then cheated the heck out of them with Shadowkeeper.

Made sense to me to have pretty high scores, being a son of Bhaal and all.

 

----

 

Add. It's strange how the whole of Shadows of Amn was some strange sideshow.

It'd have made more sense for Throne of Bhaal to directly follow BG1.

Lots of bhaalspawn revealed at the end of BG1 -> ToB is about going to kill them.

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EDIT:

@Jarmo: What stats and class/race did your main character have and how would you define your main character generally in placement of the story~attitude/personality? (non-spoiling)

 

Human, dual class started with thief-swashbuckler with longsword and dual wielding proficiency. Something like chaotic good, good intentions, looks after his friends. Had some moral issues when somebody hired me to just go and kill some wizard, but went with the flow anyway. Took 10 levels of that and then continued as a mage.

 

Statswise.. I had some workable beginning stats but then cheated the heck out of them with Shadowkeeper.

Made sense to me to have pretty high scores, being a son of Bhaal and all.

 

It makes sense and you should feel no shame for "cheating" :) (I did this too, slightly in a logical roleplaying way for my Multiplayer group on BG1)

 

I'm avoiding Shadowkeeper for my playthrough, I might change the Half-Orc race into Orc race with Shadowkeeper though (would probably mess up some dialogues as I seem to be addressed as "Half-Orc" sometimes).

 

How important would you say stats are for your character without Shadowkeeper? I'm fishing for what you think about "Level Up Points" to spend, and how important it is in Baldur's Gate. Modern games give you lots of level up points that you can spend on your attributes. How important is it really in Baldur's Gate? Likewise, can you think of a way how it could be important in BG2?

 

EDIT: I'm wondering because in another thread there was discussion about Armor, and what defines who can wear what, there's also a question of the "Speech Skill" wherein a buff character with High Str would be more intimidating and a character with High Wis might be more Truthful and Humble. I feel that Stats weigh heavily on both of these features (Speech Skill and Armor Usage) in a game like Baldur's Gate or Planescape: Torment.

 

I'm afraid that P:E might be a game wherein how you initially build your character has no impact at all on the game, whilst in Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment the initial build is the impact on the game. Sorry I should make a thread about this or post in one of the other stat based threads but I think it is important to get an opinion (regarding this) from someone who recently played Baldur's Gate with fresh eyes :)

 

As I didn't read your entire post (except the bottom of it) due to spoilers. Could you make a list of non-spoiler things (mechanics) you saw could have been improved during your gameplay? :)

Edited by Osvir
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How important would you say stats are for your character without Shadowkeeper? I'm fishing for what you think about "Level Up Points" to spend, and how important it is in Baldur's Gate. Modern games give you lots of level up points that you can spend on your attributes. How important is it really in Baldur's Gate? Likewise, can you think of a way how it could be important in BG2?

 

EDIT: I'm wondering because in another thread there was discussion about Armor, and what defines who can wear what, there's also a question of the "Speech Skill" wherein a buff character with High Str would be more intimidating and a character with High Wis might be more Truthful and Humble. I feel that Stats weigh heavily on both of these features (Speech Skill and Armor Usage) in a game like Baldur's Gate or Planescape: Torment.

 

As I didn't read your entire post (except the bottom of it) due to spoilers. Could you make a list of non-spoiler things (mechanics) you saw could have been improved during your gameplay? :)

 

I'm not actually sure the stats are all that important in BG.

There are some real annoying things like you need Str of bloody 18 to use composite bow, pretty much forcing you to minmax it if you want to be an archer. Saving throws are one thing, but you fail them all the time anyway. Dex helps your armor class obviously, and without any hindrance from heavy plate too. But actually dangerous opponents pretty much hit you anyway no matter the AC.

STR is the main thing I guess, but you can get gauntlets of ogre power and girdle of giant strength, so it's not all over if you dont have it.

 

The class restrictions were more annoying by far. Swashbuckler, can use longsword, can't use spear, can't use longbow, can't use halberd, can't use this and can't use that. Between me and Viconia, we had to ignore most of the good stuff.

 

Also many effects are kind of stupid as in Gauntlets of Ogre Power not giving a strength bonus, but setting strenght on 18/00, or some potions or spells setting AC on some set level, like 4 or 0, no matter if that's a bonus or penalty.

 

D&D 3.0 or 3.5 rules (NWN, NWN2, ToEE) are a vast improvement, though opinions differ on this obviously.

The only thing I liked more in 2.0 were the summoning spells, where you'd first need to cast protection from evil or suffer yourself,

and the ability to have a bunch of summons around simultaneously.

 

I missed getting more stat points during the game, as it is I lost stat points during the game and never regained them.

Don't know if I'd like to get a point every level like in some games, but some improvement during the course would have been nice.

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where you'd first need to cast protection from evil or suffer yourself

 

Caught attention to this, what if some conversations turned different depending on what kinds of buffs you have? Say you meet a Lust demon that enslaves you and makes you her slave to torment... erm... Gluttony demon that captures you and makes you his slave. I wish to just flirt with the thought that having the Protection from Evil buff on I would see through the mental power of the demon and be "warded" from the mysterical magic (Domination/Jedi Mind Trick). Or we could see through lies of others, the lowlife Rugtug who is a piss-ant snitch twitch, and when encountering him we could see through him like a glass of water because he is of course rotting evil in terms of his Egoism. With Protection from Evil you could make the rat squeel.

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where you'd first need to cast protection from evil or suffer yourself

 

Caught attention to this, what if some conversations turned different depending on what kinds of buffs you have? Say you meet a Lust demon that enslaves you and makes you her slave to torment... erm... Gluttony demon that captures you and makes you his slave. I wish to just flirt with the thought that having the Protection from Evil buff on I would see through the mental power of the demon and be "warded" from the mysterical magic (Domination/Jedi Mind Trick). Or we could see through lies of others, the lowlife Rugtug who is a piss-ant snitch twitch, and when encountering him we could see through him like a glass of water because he is of course rotting evil in terms of his Egoism. With Protection from Evil you could make the rat squeel.

 

That'd be pretty neat. I think at least Icewind Dale had some special option when you were a Paladin with detect evil ability, and of course Knights of the OR had the very jedi mind tricks in conversation. But yeah, something like fire shield cast on you should make intimidating some random muggers a whole lot simpler.

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where you'd first need to cast protection from evil or suffer yourself

 

Caught attention to this, what if some conversations turned different depending on what kinds of buffs you have? Say you meet a Lust demon that enslaves you and makes you her slave to torment... erm... Gluttony demon that captures you and makes you his slave. I wish to just flirt with the thought that having the Protection from Evil buff on I would see through the mental power of the demon and be "warded" from the mysterical magic (Domination/Jedi Mind Trick). Or we could see through lies of others, the lowlife Rugtug who is a piss-ant snitch twitch, and when encountering him we could see through him like a glass of water because he is of course rotting evil in terms of his Egoism. With Protection from Evil you could make the rat squeel.

 

That'd be pretty neat. I think at least Icewind Dale had some special option when you were a Paladin with detect evil ability, and of course Knights of the OR had the very jedi mind tricks in conversation. But yeah, something like fire shield cast on you should make intimidating some random muggers a whole lot simpler.

 

Oooh, should gear and spells decide your "Speech Skill"? Bodily expressions is an expression and a tool for persuasion and intimidation.

Edited by Osvir
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Oooh, should gear and spells decide your "Speech Skill"? Bodily expressions is an expression and a tool for persuasion and intimidation.

 

Probably hard to implement, but otherwise why not.

If a random fighter tells you to back down or he'll whoop your ass, wouldn't it be more convincing if he's wearing full plate and a greatsword,

than if he's wearing rags and is armed with a wooden stick? Or maybe he's a stickmaster and gives the stick a menacing whirl while threatening.

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i liked BG2 but it's not my best rpg experience. For those who didn't played it please beware , here be spoilers!

 

I especially not get the part with " Irenicus is the best written villain ever!" vibe. He is just an elf who lost his immortality and in order to get it back and take revenge wants to destroy the tree of life. The only parts i liked with Irenicus are the dream sequences when he talks about life and power but thats it. I think while terrible named the king of shadows from NWN2 was a far more complex villain but since he did not offered us his insight or thoughts like Irenicus he feels very dull. For someone who doesn't explore his background he comes certainly short compared to the chatty Irenicus. In all the games about FR i think MoTB offered the best villain with the betrayer.

 

So i hope P:E takes this lesson and finds some clever way for us to understand the mind of our "villain" or whatever is behind all of this stuff that's happening to us. At least they should give him/her/it the oppurtunity to explain him/herself. So back to BG2...

 

The NPC's their variety and interactions are the best part about BG2. Battling mages was very challenging but not because that the encounters were thoughtful or the enemy was smart or something. It was challenging because those mages had all their defense up the moment combat initiated. I always found it silly that an enemy mage could rise his defenses instantly while your petty lvl18 mage needed at least two turns for it. Deep combat looks different folks, that's not it. Melee or ranged combat was nothing special.

Edited by Radres
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Irenicus wasn't the best video game villain because of his background, but his characterization. His voice actor nailed the dialogue perfectly. If Obsidian said, tomorrow, they secured David Warner as the voice actor for P:E antagonist... Well, I'd be pretty happy.

 

So, because he's got a good voice actor?

 

That's a pretty poor justification. Yeah his VA was awesome, but i in no way call him the best written due to it. I call him average at best, honestly. I thought Loghain far outdid Irenicus in terms of characterization and his justifications.

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Irenicus was the type of villain that I loved to hate. He was extremely petty and self-centered, but also talented and powerful. His voice actor was only part of the reason I found him compelling. He had goals for power, but also showed regret, especially when talking to Ellesime. He knows he has come too far and in his mind he is past redemption, so the only way he can find any comfort is through absolute power.

 

I liked him.

 

For PE, I would rather see a villain that was not petty, did not have evil, chaotic motives just to have them and throughout the game, develop a grudging respect for the PC. Someone like Cardinal Richelieu from the Three Musketeers novel would be cool.

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"I thought Loghain far outdid Irenicus in terms of characterization and his justifications."

 

You kiddin' right? Irencius is better than Loghain in every way. It's not even close. Loghain is probaly BIO's 4th worst main villain with onlym sou Medusa, KOTOR freakazoid, and Melissan being worse. I'd take the friggin' Archdemon over him and the thing was nothing but a monster. L0L

DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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I forgot everything about Loghain, except he had a real uncanny-valley facial expression thing going on. I wouldn't put him above anything, really.

 

Irenicus was mainly about style over substance. He had some great lines, delivered really well, and the Waukeen's Promenade scene, while melodramatic, was a great way to awe the player with high-level spell battles. BG2 was my first Western RPG and I remember drooling at it.

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"I thought Loghain far outdid Irenicus in terms of characterization and his justifications."

 

You kiddin' right? Irencius is better than Loghain in every way. It's not even close. Loghain is probaly BIO's 4th worst main villain with onlym sou Medusa, KOTOR freakazoid, and Melissan being worse. I'd take the friggin' Archdemon over him and the thing was nothing but a monster. L0L

 

We doing this? The whole hyperbole to prove a point without actually providing any kind of justification thing? Very well.

 

Irenicus is worse than Skeletor from He-Man. YOUR TURN

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Loghain was a great opponent, in theory, as a concept. But then there was just too much of the snarling bad guy thing going on. Really a letdown in the end, he just didn't come across as this war hero, master strategist, leader type. Add a bit more conviction and nobility in there and he'd have been great. A guy who really thinks he's on the right side and does just what he has to do.

 

King of shadows, was a tragic, tortured character. But you needed to read stuff and do the discussions to get any of that. Just following the audiovisual presentations, he was just this big black nasty shadow. No good proclamations or nothing, just a black thing without character. With even a bit of hint at her hero origins in the end would have been a great touch.

 

Both of these were more multidimensional than Irenicus, with better and more reasonable backstory. But Irenicus wasn't bad there either and he totally owned in his monologues and in the love to hate category. Bodhi as well, who wouldn't just hate her after the tricks they pulled. Both were the kind of villains you really, really wanted to kill and really, really enjoyed tearing them to bits in the end. King of Shadows and Loghain were more of "it has to be done" variety.

 

Besides, Skeletor is awesome.

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I agree that Loghain was not shown well enough within DAO. His scruples were rarely divulged, his maneuvers were rarely shown, and for the majority of the game he just seems incompetent. I have also read the novel which divulges Loghain's history, which contains information pertaining to Loghain that really should have been made known within DAO. You believing he should act more noble, for example, is a symptom of DAO's poor coverage of Loghain's character. He was actually a commoner, and rose to psuedo-nobility due to his help in ousting a usurper. His mother was raped and killed in front of him by Orlesians; as well as other family members. That and the things he needed to do to repel the Orlesians from his homeland had garnered him a gruff demeanor and generally cynical outlook on life.

 

Once you have the entire scope, and delve into the details (Which, as said, was unfortunately not at the forefront of DAO) he's a very intriguing and very believable character. Just in the one game, much was not made known that should have been at the forefront of the tale.

 

And i like Irenicus, mainly for his VA. I was just making exaggerated claims as i thought that's where the discussion was going :grin:

Edited by Gibbscape_Torment
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"We doing this? The whole hyperbole to prove a point without actually providing any kind of justification thing? Very well. "

 

Not hyperbole. Just the truth on how I feel. loghain was merely adequate. Irencius was DA MAN.

DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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As Jarmo says, though, Irenicus was a villain who actually made the best of his screen time, and he was cool while you were playing the game, not when you were thinking/reading/talking about it afterwards. Loghain, now I recall more of him, was mainly a promising 'I-gonna-get-this-kingdom-up-by-the-boostraps' concept largely squandered. I'm remember right about how you kill/pardon him near the end, right? It just ended up being a Disney moment.

 

Anyway, good VA really does make a difference. It's just that good VA is really really rare, and it's usually just expensive, bad VA. BG2 really did a surprisingly good job with VA.

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