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After getting some pointers from Sensuki, I fired up IWD (EE) again, after running through the P:E BB over a dozen times to cover all the classes. I thought I'd list some of my likes and dislikes about it. I just finished Dragon's Eye. It's been long enough since the last time I played it that I don't remember what's in each set piece, except vaguely, so I'm approaching them with a relatively fresh mind.

First, where I'm coming from and my biases. I am nowhere near as hardcore as Sensuki, Stun, Hiro Protagonist II and some others here. I play on core rules (IWD) and Normal (BB 392).

 

So, observations. Some of these are responses to claims made by various people here, including myself, either confirmed or debunked from experience.

 

I have been avoiding known cheesy tactics, but have abused resting on a couple of occasions (reload until I don't get annoying wandering monsters on rest, instead of trekking back to the last safe area and then back).

 

(1) Reloading and metagame knowledge

 

All of the set pieces so far have killed me the first time around. I have only gotten through them after reloading and trying again with different tactics, usually multiple times. One of them (in Kresselack's tomb) might have been survivable if death had been more forgiving: I could have trekked back to Kuldahar and had two fallen party members raised, but it was too much of a drag so I reloaded. On one of them, I went back to rest and memorize a different spell set. On the others I've been trying to make do with what I had beforehand, based on what I expected to find. These has not always been optimal, e.g. memorizing Hold Person spells when it turned out I'm not actually facing persons at all.

 

I.e., while I'm much less frustrated and more successful with those set-pieces, thanks to Sensuki's advice, I still feel they're very much designed for die-and-reload, and metagame knowledge -- which foes you're going to face -- is a pretty crucial part of it. Sorry, Stun, but there it is.

 

(2) Character building and meta knowledge

 

I have a cleric/thief in the party. I knew that to make use of backstab, I would only be able to use a club or a quarterstaff, so I took a proficiency in... quarterstaff and two-handed style. Bad idea. No cleric/thief usable magical quarterstaves in the game (so far). I was hoping to find one eventually, so when he got his third proficiency point, I put it in war hammer since I had a magical one areand. Another bad idea: no warhammers better than +1 so far, whereas there have been any number of flails and some maces, plus, of course, a club. This feels unfair and is the main reason I'm going to restart with another party, without a character with such restricted weapons options. Now he's fairly useless at melee; lower THAC0, poorer weapon, no secondary style to support its use. Meta knowledge is required to get an optimal character, no two ways around it.

 

(3) Pre-buffs

 

Stun and others have said that stacking prebuffs is not actually needed. So, fine, I'm not prebuffing. This is actually true, for the most part, but not completely. So far I've only prebuffed in one fight (Ixonomicon). It is harder going though; I feel like I'm gimping myself, so I'm going to go back to at least limited pre-buffing. I.e., it's possible not to prebuff, but I do get the feeling the encounters have been balanced with prebuffs in mind, at least the set-pieces.

 

(4) Tactics and movement

 

Yep, I had been playing these wrong. It is all about movement, getting to the most dangerous targets fast, then getting back out before the less dangerous ones screw you over. There is a special kind of frantic fun about it which is absent from P:E. Played this way, I'm actually getting somewhere with the harder encounters, even if it still requires way more trial and error than I would, hand on my heart, like.

 

And, as stated elsewhere, it's not my kind of special frantic fun. It may be growing on me, and I've certainly got enough of a taste that I can see why you guys are so frustrated with P:E and engagement. But yeah, given a choice between an ability that lets me easily block enemy movement, and one that lets me easily move, I'll take the former every time. -- Also, pathfinding: I find that I have to micro-move every unit a lot, with the game paused, because the patfhinding is so bad that if I point several of them at a target or something they'll just trip over each other's feet. I am also abjectly failing at manipulating the AI. I try to interpose a unit between the one running away and the one chasing, like Sensuki said, but ... it just doesn't work. Can't do it. Too hard for my 43-year-old brain.

 

So, no, still not a fan of IE movement. 

 

(5) Permadeath

 

Is a drag. Some of the fights where I reloaded would have been winnable without permadeath. One of the set pieces possibly even the first time. Which would have been fun. I reloaded and tried again just because I couldn't face the prospect of trekking back to Kuldahar for Raise Dead. I have a very strong preference for P:E's knocked-down + maimed system TYVM. If someone wants my man card, they can have it.

 

(6) Swinginess/Randomness

 

Yes it bloody well is. Consider the fight in Dragon's Eye at bottom left of, I think, level 2. You get swarmed by four or five Talonite priests and an army of trolls. (This is the one where I went back to rest and change my spell selection BTW. Loaded up on Hold Persons.) You have multiple casters throwing debilitating spells at you. If you fail to suppress them fast, the fight is as good as over. I won this, eventually, by pulling back to the corridor leading to the dais where one of them is ranting, pulling the group there with my barb, suppressing the priests with an archery + Hold Person combo as they wandered in, and clobbering the trolls to death. So many trolls! I think this may actually be bugged because the nice cleric later on said that the trolls are guarding the villagers but they were all dead by then. 

 

Melee damage output, too, is extremely swingy against tougher enemies unless you get your THAC0 way down by whatever means. My barb was severely gimped for a long while because there were no magical axes to be found and I had to use something he wasn't proficient with (until I could afford the one at Conlan's WMD emporium). My cleric/thief is still severely gimped because there aren't any magical quarterstaves. Half the character building is about minimizing swinginess. Just like in P:E for that matter.

 

(7) In summary, likes and dislikes

 

I like: the massive variety in party composition and spell selection. The massive variety of ways in which you can deal with threats. The way the toons respond to commands: instantly. The massive variety of threats the game throws at you, and the challenge of figuring out how to deal with them with what you have. 

 

I dislike: trapfinding, pathfinding, not being able to hold a line or intercept a moving enemy using mechanics rather than AI abuse (which I still can't manage either, sorry Sensuki), win-or-lose spells (Rigid Thinking on Lizard King, Hold Person or Cloudkill on party by enemies), permadeath, the weapon proficiency system.

 

I have changed my opinion on: prebuffing; it's far less necessary than I thought; set-piece encounters which are far more consistently winnable than I thought (although still require, for me, lots of reloading and trying different tactics); grognards, who aren't just annoying gits who enjoy self-abuse and sneering at people who don't but have actually discovered a way of enjoying this damn thing.

 

How P:E is doing as a spiritual successor: pretty well from where I'm at. Most of my dislikes have been addressed. I can see why the grognard battalion feels let down. I can also see that I am not a member of the grognard battalion. Maybe that makes me a filthy casual, which means I should probably try Movie Studio Boss: The Sequel next.

 

(Footnote) On set piece: Ixonotentaclesandtittiessnakedemonthing

 

My party has three fighter/clerics, one cleric/thief, one fighter/mage, and one barbarian. (I know, could be better; I think I'm going to start over with a different one.)

 

I scouted forward with my stealthed thief, took out the traps. First thing I tried was getting Ixonomachin out of the game with Rigid Thinking. I had three of those memorized, so I cast all those at once. They did not bite, and a cloudkill took out my party. Clearly Ixolotl had too high saves and magic resistance. Reload, try something else.

 

Interrupt with fighter/mage rocking a longbow, charge at Ixogaahshesscary with barb and then others, chop chop chop. She died all right, but by the time Ixochunks had gone down, her minions had Held two or three of my party members, including unfortunately both who had Remove Paralyzation memorized. The encounter went downhill fast from there. Reload.

 

Okay, pre-buff with Prayer. Then, open with AoE's: Clerics cast Holy Strike, mage casts Fireball. This actually does take out a few of the minions and weakens the rest a lot, but... Cloudkill, several party members go down again. Consider rest-abusing to get Zone of Sweet Air memorized, reject idea as cheese unworthy of my exalted consideration. Reload.

 

Prebuff again. Now, put fighter/mage on archer duty against Ixomommyicantstandthisanymore, have priests open with Holy Strike, then go after the minions, especially the Yuan-Ti Clerics. Guess what? It worked! The Holy Strike combo weakened them pretty severely, and my godly band was able to eliminate them quickly, while the barrage of +2 arrows from Ms. Mage stopped Ixohahawhoslaughingnow from casting and surprisingly quickly killed her dead. I did get someone Held but was able to Remove Paralysis on them pretty quickly, then mowed through the rest. In mopping up, one of the Yuan-ti mages got a Confusion on the mage and then an Acid Arrow on barbarian; I used up my Dispel Magic on the former and had to keep barbarian alive by spamming heals on him while someone went to deal with the mages. And there you are, victory. After ... several more tries than I listed above.

 

Now, I don't believe that you guys are lying when you say you beat that the first time, every time. I'm recounting this more to describe how these set pieces feel like to us mere mortals. I am probably more familiar than the average guy with DnD, and I have played through these games before, and I'm still dying a lot. 

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The Talonite Priest fight is very easy if you cast Haste, completely ignore the trolls and kill the Talonites as fast as possible. One of them is probably going to get Hold Person off on you, so just sit the Cleric out of the AoE, and have her/him come in and drop a Remove Paralysis straight away.

 

Try and interrupt their spells with archers and Magic Missiles. I think I sent you a video via PM. The trolls aren't very difficult and to kill them you're given plenty of bombs that you find on Lizardmen if you don't have any fire/acid arrows or spells.

 

Yxunomei is one of the best fights in the game.

 

 

Here is my video, fast forward to near the end. This is with the Harder Yxunomei mod, which makes her immune to +3 weapons (instead of +2) and high magic resistance.

 

You can see that I completely ignored Yxunomei and killed all of the Yuan-Ti first, that I have found is the best tactic to deal with that encounter. In the Harder Yxunomei mod, I only had one weapon in the party that could hurt her, and I actually had to give that weapon to my best melee character (who wasn't proficient with it) and constantly switch aggro back and forth until I could take her down with my melee character and any spells I could muster that would actually work.

 

Great fun for me, but you'd probably pull your hair out at that one.

 

Looking at your party comp, you're lacking a character that has amazing THAC0. A straight Fighter that can go all the way down the proficiency line makes a big difference.

 

I haven't played Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition (I was given it by Beamdog, but I prefer the original), but I imagine that the AI targeting in that game may follow the BG2 system, and it's possible that the AI is kind of derp and doesn't change targets very often, that's one of the reasons I prefer playing IWD:HoW vanilla. There are also mods for the original IWD that fix those weapon proficiency issues.

 

Pathfinding is fine with Path Search Nodes 40,000 on, but in tight spaces you have to micro your characters because they can't handle calculating pathing in tight spaces around other characters. I find the IE pathfinding more manageable than PE's horrible pathfinding around units, but the PE overland pathfinding is better.

 

I really enjoy the trap finding in the IE games, and I really enjoy the setpiece encounters that force you to think about new ways of playing to beat them / get better at the game to beat.

 

And yeah the blitzing movement is one of the reasons why I love the IE combat more than any RPG, it's super exciting for me.

 

I also reload when I lose a character. Faster repeating the fight than trecking back to town.

Edited by Sensuki
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Haven't played IWD II for ten or twelve years and have no idea what the EE version has done.  I remember IWD II well though.  My PDN come from that game.  The impression I get from the above posts is the game is easy if you know what you are doing.  Yep, but that is true of many things in life.  Do I sound abit sarcastic?  Sorry but D*D is not perfect and it changes according to the edition used.

 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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Yeah, I did actually enjoy the Yxunomei fight. It was fun trying to figure it out, and extremely rewarding when I eventually did -- and the tactic was a crude version of yours. That Cloudkill is nasty though; how do you deal with that if you just ignore her? -- But, contrary to what Stun at least has said, I did think it was very much a trial-and-error affair. I wonder if anyone has ever beat it on the first try? As in, the first try they ever attempt the encounter, without having had it spoiled before, on core rules or harder? If so, they must be damn good.

 

Re the Talonits and trolls, that one I didn't enjoy so much. I found it more frustrating than fun. I attempted more or less what you say -- take the Talonites out fast -- but didn't get far with that; I did manage to get them killed but then I always lost some party members to the trolls. They got surrounded and couldn't get out before I could break through to them. Also, only one archer which was also clearly a mistake -- would've been much easier if I had had two which I could use to suppress the Talonites.

 

I.e., at least party this is a party composition problem. Which is another of my beefs with DnD -- there's not a lot of margin for error in character and party-building, and it's VERY hard to correct those errors when you discover them. Again, I'm fairly certain I understand DnD better than the average gamer, better than the average RPgamer even, but I still make dumb mistakes. Both AD&D and DnD3-based cRPG's have scads of gotchas and trap choices which you'll only discover well into the game.

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In my video, the Yuan-Ti Mage didn't get his Cloudkill off, I interrupted the spell original.gif If not, just walk out of the cloudkill AoE, most of them will follow you out of the room.

 

There's probably a few Wizard spells you could use to aid you vs the trolls. Slow would be a good one. I didn't have a problem, I kept my characters moving around and didn't let them surround me. Towards the end when I started focusing on them, they started hitting a bit. As you can see I drew aggro with my highest AC character, if all of them attack him, that means they will do less damage to the party overall because more of their attacks will be misses.

 

I'm sure that PE will have it's fair share of party composition problems as well.

 

edit: I'm sure some people beat it on the first try, but it took me a few gos back in 2001 or whatever when I first played it. I like die-to-learn stuff - usually you have to make mistakes to improve. Apparently that's what Dark Souls is like too. It's like when you're learning anything I guess, you have to lose to win.

 

I also don't think it's masochistic. If you ever played Super Mario, how many times did you die in that before you finished it? Was it still fun? I'll bet.

Edited by Sensuki
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I think if some demon told me I'll only get to play one game, ever, it'd be NetHack. And that's the mother of all die-to-learn games. I'm fairly good at it by now actually.

 

I haven't played Dark Souls, but if I've understood correctly, they've worked death into the mechanics there. I.e., dying doesn't mean reloading. If so, then that's definitely cool.

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(BTW NetHack may be another reason I'm not so good at IE games. Daring, go-for-the-jugular tactics are a sure ticket to the graveyard in NetHack. The trick with it is to stay alive until you win, and you do that by doing everything you can to make sure the next move won't kill you. Highly defensive, cautious tactics are clearly not the way to go in the IE games.)

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Oh, and, re party composition problems: I don't think P:E is going to be anywhere near as unforgiving as IWD. The game's going to be balanced/designed around the companions you'll meet on the way, and there's the Adventurers' Hall, and you can switch party composition on the fly. With IWD, you can't, not unless you want to start with a level 1 character in your party again (which is of course somewhat manageable due to the exponential XP in AD&D but still).

And re character-building, I think it's a little too forgiving right now. BB Rogue is highly effective with a war bow, without having any of the talents geared for it, for example. IMO the difference between a dedicated war bow archer build and any ol' rogue with a war bow should be more significant.

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Oh, and, re party composition problems: I don't think P:E is going to be anywhere near as unforgiving as IWD. The game's going to be balanced/designed around the companions you'll meet on the way, and there's the Adventurers' Hall, and you can switch party composition on the fly. With IWD, you can't, not unless you want to start with a level 1 character in your party again (which is of course somewhat manageable due to the exponential XP in AD&D but still).

 

And re character-building, I think it's a little too forgiving right now. BB Rogue is highly effective with a war bow, without having any of the talents geared for it, for example. IMO the difference between a dedicated war bow archer build and any ol' rogue with a war bow should be more significant.

 

I think this is largely due to the limited scope in character building. There's not a whole lot of options as you go along (well, the options are there, you just can't take enough), and in avoiding "need-to-have" Talents and Abilities, the system ended up being very forgiving.

 

Hell, a lot of the BB Companions doesn't even have a Weapon Focus. Anything I ever build by-the-book (which, honestly, is going to be basically nothing; I'm always going to start with at least a fluffy Weapon Focus and an extra low-key Talent) will be severely Talent-starved. Some levels, some Classes don't even get to do anything besides place Skill Points.

 

That means that either Talents have to be wildly overpowered (resulting in very likely "must-haves") or rather weak, meaning that you'll likely survive without Talent A or B.

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Something like that.

 

There's a quite a lot of talents by now. I wouldn't mind being able to pick one every level. Some of them could stack, making it possible to do highly focused builds, but there would be enough that one bad talent choice wouldn't turn your character into a squib (cf picking the wrong weapon specialization in IWD:EE).

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Despite the fact that there is lots of talents, most of them *really* need to be re-balanced or re-worked. Some classes and builds have prettty good choice, but others, well there's nothing good after like level 4.

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I have not played PoE yet, but I watched some videos and I like it much more than IWD.

 

- IWD is all about combat. There is not much story and when you talk to someone it will end with a fight or someone tells you what or where to kill next. When you have the option not to fight, not fighting is usually just a loss of exp. In the videos of PoE I have seen that it makes a difference what dialogue option you choose and that there are some quests were you can talk your way out of it and still get something from it. After some time IWD gets so boring that I have never finished it until now.

 

- In the IE games a good way to beat hard enemies was to have one char to walk around in circles and the enemy follows him and all others shoot arrows. I think the engagement system is a good choice.

 

- In IWD and BG it was always good to give everyone a ranged weapon and shoot everything before it reaches you (best combined with the kiting from above). The fact that hits slowed down the enemy movement made things even better.

Question: Do hits with ranged weapons slow down enemy movement in PoE?

 

I think PoE tried to combine the good things from PT, BG and IWD and leave away the bad things and they did a good job. I can´t wait to see the final result.

 

About IWD. I played IWD recently and I can tell you you forgot a druid. Entangle+long lasting AOE damage (spike groth or something like that, I don´t remember the exact name) are enough to make enemy casters helpless. I think it is harder to beat the game without web or entangle than to beat it without pre buffing. (Though pre buffing is very useful very often when I think about haste and mass protection from evil for example). And don´t forget summons to distract enemies.

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(BTW NetHack may be another reason I'm not so good at IE games. Daring, go-for-the-jugular tactics are a sure ticket to the graveyard in NetHack. The trick with it is to stay alive until you win, and you do that by doing everything you can to make sure the next move won't kill you. Highly defensive, cautious tactics are clearly not the way to go in the IE games.)

 

I disagree. I've played Nethack and the IE games extensively over the years, Nethack being the one game I dust off almost every year since around 1988. Caution pays off in IE games as much as in Nethack. That is if you're like me and go for minimal reloads or even an ironman (something I don't expect to do with PoE on the first playthrough; and no one ascended on their first playthrough of Nethack either).

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Hahaha...

 

The only way I beat Yxonomei (whatever)  was by having her aggro run around the table in a room just north of the gates.  I must have gone around it 50 times or something.

 

That was probably the hardest fight for me in IWD, besides the finale.  

 

When I try and aggro creeps in BG2  (I'm on ToB now),  I usually have to get an attack on them to get them to turn and fight.

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I built a better party and did Dragon's Eye again. This time Yxowhatsit went down easily the first time. Partly it was luck though; three of my toons were caught in the Cloudkill but all made their saves.

 

Tactics same as before, except I had the good sense to cast Prayer and Haste first, and also I had prepared not one but two of those combo Holy Strikes. Archer on Yxonomei duty, Stabby the Berserker doing his thing, priests casting Holy Strikes in unison. I think somebody got Held for a bit but Remove Paralysis sorted that out. Other than that it lasted for like thirty seconds or so and I barely got scratched.

 

Put another way, I'm starting to understand why somebody would want to turn up the difficulty to Hard. Don't think it would have made all that much difference in this fight actually.

 

Those +2 arrows fired at 7/2 per round bite. Expensive tactic though.

 

(Party? Fighter specialized in daggers and dual-wielding 'cuz good daggers are bloody everywhere, three fighter/clerics, one cleric/thief, one fighter/mage. Everybody's a half-orc except the gish who's an elf.)

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Alright, I just have to give my opinion on a few things, because my opinions are very important to me.

 

(1) Reloading and metagame knowledge

 

 I still feel they're very much designed for die-and-reload, and metagame knowledge -- which foes you're going to face -- is a pretty crucial part of it. 

 

Is this implying that a game balanced for reloading fights is bad? If so I strongly disagree. Not only is this important for for replay value and to prevent sailing through the game in an evening or two, but more important to me is the challange to be overcome. If I can take on most of what the game throws at me without reloading I'd be very very bored with a game like IWD. 
 
Having to memorize specific spells is a problem, however. First of all its a hassle and second its immersion breaking. Knowing what kind of foes you're facing is a matter of scouting, but preparing specific spells is just too gamey for me. But this is a matter of spell and encounter design, to avoid situations where specific counters are necessary or where certain spells are entirely useless etc.
 

 

(2) Character building and meta knowledge

 

Meta knowledge is required to get an optimal character, no two ways around it.

 

When it comes to character building itself such issues are mostly a matter of not giving the player enough information about the system (i.e. specific numbers and possible future talents etc). But when it comes to weapon proficiencies and items I strongly agree with you, this is a major annoyance of IE games. I am fairly knowledgeable about character building in IE games, but I rarely remember the really good items between playthroughs. One way around this could be some degree of randomness, but I think that PoE handles this a bit better by having a limited number of broad categories for weapon specialization based on the general 'character' of the weapons.
 

 

(3) Pre-buffs

 

 I.e., it's possible not to prebuff, but I do get the feeling the encounters have been balanced with prebuffs in mind, at least the set-pieces.

 

I think that the availability of a decent scouting system kind of saves immersion in this case as well. Your rogue spots a dragon around the corner? alright, maybe a little blessing is in order.

 

 

- IWD is all about combat. There is not much story and when you talk to someone it will end with a fight or someone tells you what or where to kill next. After some time IWD gets so boring that I have never finished it until now.

 

I felt this way the first time I played IWD, following BG1. But its a very different game, and although it is very combat focused  and linear, it is NOT all about combat. If it wasn't for the absolutely amazing music, environments and the way the story is told I wouldn't play it even once. IWD has an incredible atmosphere, which is one of the most important component of an RPG to me, despite my obsessive powergaming.

 

 

in avoiding "need-to-have" Talents and Abilities, the system ended up being very forgiving.

 

This is bad and unfortunate, but I'll just have to live with it. However, a satisfying but unforgiving system would not be one where talent A at level X is much better than talent B, but one where certain combinations of choices are more efficient than others. This adds a strategic element which I tend to enjoy in RPGs.

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Is this implying that a game balanced for reloading fights is bad? If so I strongly disagree. Not only is this important for for replay value and to prevent sailing through the game in an evening or two, but more important to me is the challange to be overcome. If I can take on most of what the game throws at me without reloading I'd be very very bored with a game like IWD.

No, it doesn't. It's more about a long discussion/argument I had with Stun and others a whiles back, where Stun argued that the setpiece fights in the IE games do not require reloading or metagame knowledge (=what you're about to face) to win.

 

As to mah opinion? I think reload-to-win is perfectly well-suited to a dungeon crawl like IWD. I think it was jarring in a more story-focused game like PS:T. However: I really, really want a reload-to-win game to have unobtrusive and FREQUENT autosaving, because when I get into the "flow" of it, I forget to hit the Q key. Reloading for one fight is one thing; reloading for crawling an entire level is another.

 

Having to memorize specific spells is a problem, however. First of all its a hassle and second its immersion breaking. Knowing what kind of foes you're facing is a matter of scouting, but preparing specific spells is just too gamey for me. But this is a matter of spell and encounter design, to avoid situations where specific counters are necessary or where certain spells are entirely useless etc.

I agree; it's less important at higher levels though when you have enough slots to memorize a few just-in-case ones. That's actually the main reason I made this party so that everybody except Stabby the Barbarian has magic. In a more typical party if you only have one cleric and one wizard, at the low/mid levels it does become a problem.

 

I think P:E's grimoire is a good solution to this problem. More flexibility, but not unlimited flexibility. It does give the druid and priest a major advantage; especially the druid whose spells are to a great extent functional substitutes to the wizard's. And for them, it removes a layer of planning.

 

When it comes to character building itself such issues are mostly a matter of not giving the player enough information about the system (i.e. specific numbers and possible future talents etc). But when it comes to weapon proficiencies and items I strongly agree with you, this is a major annoyance of IE games. I am fairly knowledgeable about character building in IE games, but I rarely remember the really good items between playthroughs. One way around this could be some degree of randomness, but I think that PoE handles this a bit better by having a limited number of broad categories for weapon specialization based on the general 'character' of the weapons.

In AD&D there isn't a whole lot more to character-building/level-up choices than weapon proficiencies. (Other than class + minmaxing your stats accordingly, that is.)

 

DnD3 is a whole 'nuther ball game. You can screw up your character in so many ways it's not even funny. I like the intricate minmaxing to get a deathlord magic-user or fighter dealing ridiculous crits with a scythe in MotB, on some level, but systemically it is a problem.

 

I think that the availability of a decent scouting system kind of saves immersion in this case as well. Your rogue spots a dragon around the corner? alright, maybe a little blessing is in order.

Yep... but many of the setpieces follow a conversation or opening a door. Scouting in the Yxunomei fight would have revealed yuan-ti and a spooky little girl. You're expecting something bad to happen, but pre-buffing with medium-duration super-powerful buffs there just feels gamey.

 

 

- IWD is all about combat. There is not much story and when you talk to someone it will end with a fight or someone tells you what or where to kill next. After some time IWD gets so boring that I have never finished it until now.

 

I felt this way the first time I played IWD, following BG1. But its a very different game, and although it is very combat focused  and linear, it is NOT all about combat. If it wasn't for the absolutely amazing music, environments and the way the story is told I wouldn't play it even once. IWD has an incredible atmosphere, which is one of the most important component of an RPG to me, despite my obsessive powergaming.

 

That wasn't me!!! I finished IWD the first time I started it, and I think it's the only I game I did this way. It totally pulled me in from the start, and just because of the fighting.

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No, it doesn't. It's more about a long discussion/argument I had with Stun and others a whiles back, where Stun argued that the setpiece fights in the IE games do not require reloading or metagame knowledge (=what you're about to face) to win.

Technically they don't, if you use Hide in Shadows to scout and know the D&D rules (which technically isn't metagame knowledge, and the games were designed for D&D players). I think I beat about a third to half of the setpiece encounters in BG2 on the first go, as a 13 year old kid.

 

Personally with the stealth system, I think pre-buffing would actually suit Pillars of Eternity. So in our mod we will probably enable it :)

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More notes. Most of the way through the Severed Hand.

 

Another like: the rhythm of the game. Severed Hand is much more relaxed in pace and in tension than Dragon's Eye. It's also easier. What's more, I'm now way better at playing this than on my first playthrough; I remember really struggling with some of the encounters with Serrated Skeletons, but now they were barely a speed bump. The fights against mages and clerics are rather brilliant and the IE spell system is really coming into its own. For example, I loved it when I was able to deal with a Dire Charm on a party member with a Dominate, and later when I had already used it and it happened again, I slapped a Hold Person on him. Plus making a note to self to memorize some Dispel Magics the next time I rest.

 

The P:E magic system clearly has synergies, but I'm a little concerned about counters. This type of magic duel is fun, unlike the IMO way OP spells that can put an entire party out of the fight with one cast.

 

Preliminary conclusion -- my stance against hard counters and on/off effects is softening. I think they're fine if they're single-target spells, and do not involve instant death (which prompts a reload for me until/unless I have Raise Dead available in some form). But countering genuinely nasty spells like Dire Charm, Dominate, Hold Person, Petrify, and similar is fun. (Death effects are fine later, of course, once you have Raise Dead available.)

 

Also, having WAY more fun than before. Not turning into a grognard just yet, though: the extra fun I'm having comes from using spells and counters better, and picking my targets better. If P:E provides a similarly complex and fun system of spells, status effects, and counters, and of suppressing and then eliminating high-value targets, with a tactical cost, I'm happy.

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I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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Glad to hear you're finally coming around. The Infinity Engine games have the best spell battles of any game hands down IMO (Well, IWD/HoW, IWD2 and BG2 respectively). It's the counterspelling that does it and the interesting things you can do to deal with different situations.

 

Unfortunately Pillars of Eternity won't really have any of this. You have stuff like lowering a particular enemy defense and then attacking that defense, but that's about it really =/ 

It's really shallow in comparison, with almost no tactical depth at all.

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Unfortunately Pillars of Eternity won't really have any of this. You have stuff like lowering a particular enemy defense and then attacking that defense, but that's about it really =/ 

It's really shallow in comparison, with almost no tactical depth at all.

Can anyone else confirm that this is true?

 

If so, I'm very disappointed. Very.

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Counterspelling was deliberately removed from the game. You can suppress afflictions temporarily but you can't dispell anything. You can cast a few protection spells and they give a small-moderate bonus against a certain type of attack (for instance against the Terrified status effect, which isn't really a big deal anyway).

 

I've found Protection spells to be a waste of a per-day spell, and much of the time suppressing afflictions isn't worth doing either, except in some instances (ie. when you're surrounded by like 12 spiders).

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Glad to hear you're finally coming around. The Infinity Engine games have the best spell battles of any game hands down IMO (Well, IWD/HoW, IWD2 and BG2 respectively). It's the counterspelling that does it and the interesting things you can do to deal with different situations.

 

Unfortunately Pillars of Eternity won't really have any of this. You have stuff like lowering a particular enemy defense and then attacking that defense, but that's about it really =/ 

It's really shallow in comparison, with almost no tactical depth at all.

It could be done better though. As I said I'm not a fan of spells that one-shot a battle, on either side. If something's powerful enough to take you out of the fight, it should be single-target only IMO. Group spells should be damage or debuff, not something like Confusion, Horror, Cloak of Fear, Cloudkill etc. I think the key is that there's more than one use for a spell, like, say, the Hold Person to deal with a Dire Charm on a comrade. P:E probably won't have this, and will be worse for it.

 

I've also nothing against spells like Petrification which have a permanent-until-dispelled effect. The ones I really don't dig are true save-or-die, like Disintegrate. Anything that ends the game on a single die-roll should not be in IMO. That's the essence of random.

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I don't really use those spells in the IE games, anyway. In ToB I sometimes use Wail of the Banshee to kill summons, but by that time your Fighters are so baws that they can kill them in a round or two anyway.

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