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Let's Play Baldur's Gate 2, and reflect on Pillars of Eternity (2)


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Some of the actions described, not all of them. PE combat is about encounter strategy and openings. IE combat is far more rooted in reactionary tactics. You can employ a strategical and opening style, but as you've probably found out in BG2, it calls for a lot of reactions. PE combat doesn't.

 

Microstrategy might not be an actual word, but there is strategy at both a micro and macro level in games. In Competitive CoD we would refer to planned actions as 'strats'. A tactic would be something that the player did in the moment. If I got surprised by an enemy AK and dived behind a car for cover - that's a gameplay tactic. Where I throw my grenade, and the route I take to rush a bombsite is usually stratted.

Edited by Sensuki
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@PrimeJunta, i understand. Should you want to replay BG2 for another time, i’d suggest to take the sorcerer. You’ll be able to summon creatures with not much resting inbetween required. Skeletons at later levels become skeletal warriors immune to magic, then there’s all kinds of summon elementals spells to give him and there’s the staffs in the game that let you also summon elementals. I don’t know what the max number of summoned creatures is, but you could build yourself a small army and outnumber the opponents, flank them, do whatever you want to get control of the battlefield, there might be just a little bit more movement involved in this than what you’re used to from PoE..

 

Did you just suggest making a Sorcerer and waste the precious spell slots on summoning spells?

 

o_o

 

 

Mite b fun, though

 

Some Wizard summons in BG2 are downright indispensable. Mordinkainen's sword and Wizard Eye are so powerful they're basically cheese. Nishrus and Hakshears are Great. And of course the ultimate summon: Summon Planetar. Probably the most powerful spell in the game outright. A Planetar can Solo BG2 by itself.

 

But yeah, Monster summoning 1,2, and 3 are crap, as are the various Demon summoning spells.

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just like the whole point of the engagement system is that it lets you stop the enemy from moving freely.

Well it's really the targeting clauses that do all the work. The enemy could easily walk through your tank and destroy your back line considering how poor the tank's damage output is. They could even decide to focus fire your dps melee like rogues and chanters and your tank wouldn't be able to stop them.

Especially now that there's a cooldown to the disengagement attacks.

Edited by Cubiq
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I approve of this thread, whats interesting is that I have only played BG2 and IWD once so I don't have anywhere near the knowledge in these games  most of you guys have. But I was a DM for about 12 years in the Forgotten Realms so I can recognise  almost everything you guys are discussing, like the spells. So the tactics and ideas make sense to me.....but if you didn't understand the D&D ruleset I reckon you would be confused  :blink:

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Interim report.

 

Headed off to Trademeet and murdered some druids and an old lady who gypped me out of a potion and turned out to be a rakshasa some dao with a Desi accent wanted dead so it was all good. Got caught in a battle between two nobles who somewhat surprisingly turned out to be über mages who could certainly have gone and fetched thate doodad from the tomb themselves, but whatever. Then headed back to Athkatla, where I decided to visit the one part of town I haven't seen and got slapped with another quest. Now I'm supposed to solve a murder in a district I've never visited, involving people I don't know.

 

This is also sliiightly starting to pall on me again. Starting to feel a bit like a glorified errand boy: bring me this, do that, fetch the other, kill the third. The Umar Hills quest was similarly uninteresting for me. I can't put my finger on exactly why. I think it's this "getting things lobbed at you" thing again which rubs me the wrong way. The Tolgerias quest was interesting because I was curious about the Cowled Wizards and wanted to find out what it is they wanted, and then one thing led to another. The Shadow Thieves questline for similar reasons; I was curious about the faction, and it pulled me in. But I really have no reason to care about Umar Hills or Trademeet, and I already have way more money than I need to advance the main story, so I don't really feel motivated to do all this busywork.

 

Which is why I think I'm going to drop it and ... pursue the main quest. Which, truth be told, I don't really care about either. This I think is one of the game's weak points for me: it somehow doesn't manage to make me care about anything much in it. Perhaps it's the weak writing.

 

There is also something about the gameplay that doesn't quite agree with me, and it is about those save-or-lose effects. I found the surprise mage battle where I got caught in the middle intensely irritating, because it was all about countering what those two idiots were lobbing at me, and, once again, the order of things mattered enormously. The system is fascinatingly complex, but I'm not supremely motivated to learn it inside-and-out so I know exactly what to do with what I have when somebody's Spell Trigger fires and she pops up Mislead. So I got impatient and slapped on a couple of metagamey pre-buffs and won easily. I dislike it when I "have to" do that, but I didn't have the patience to trial-and-error my way through it either.

 

The Monty Haul aspect is also starting to get to me. There are so many awesome things in there that they stop being awesome. Bit like BioWare's famous awesome button, only with loot. I preferred IWD's loot balance where there really were only a few very good weapons in the game, for example, and getting one felt like a real accomplishment (trap specialization choices aside).

 

Basically, this experience is very up-and-down for me. There are some bits I enjoy enormously, and then long stretches which I find just irritating or pointless. Again, I liked IWD a lot more, and PS:T more still.

 

Feelz right now? I'll keep soldiering on, hoping for more of those really cool bits. Sorry to disappoint you grogs, but this still isn't my favorite cRPG. It's not even in the top 10. Does it get seriously better from here on out?

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Pursuing the main quest is where BG2 just completely drops off the radar for me. It's crappy.

 

I always loved the open and big feel of Athkatla (and then the surrounding areas once you get to exploring those also) in the opening chapters though I would also agree that there is a big feeling of the game dumping things on you. But that open and big feel of it all is addictive.

 

But once one pursues the main quest, the game's CHR goes down the tubes.  :skull:

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I didn't think too much of the Asylum, there's a machine down the bottom of the Catacombs that gives you a few good items though.

 

You definitely want to go to the Sahuagin City just for the Cloak of Mirroring and I like the Underdark, especially going into the Beholder and Mind Flayer lairs ;)

 

There's some good C&C with the main plot quest down there too.

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My top 10? I don't maintain such lists, but off the top of my head here's a bunch of cRPG's I've enjoyed more than BG2 (so far), in no particular order:

 

Planescape: Torment

Fallout

Fallout 2

Fallout: NV

Morrowind

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer

The Witcher

The Witcher 2

IWD

Gothic 2

Vampire: Bloodlines

Edited by PrimeJunta

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[...] Which, truth be told, I don't really care about either. This I think is one of the game's weak points for me: it somehow doesn't manage to make me care about anything much in it. Perhaps it's the weak writing.

 

[...]

Honestly, as much as I love Baldur's Gate 2, this is one of the things I really think that Baldur's Gate 2 did terribly. Baldur's Gate 1 had an amazing main quest, that made me feel like I was on a mission to find things out, piece things together, to solve a puzzle and find the answers. Baldur's Gate 2 drops everything in your lap and continously tries to dangle two very loose motivations in front of you; finding Imoen or finding out what Irenicus wanted with you.

 

But it never really explains to you why you'd care. Not really, or rather, when it tries, it just simply fails. Much of the main quest in Baldur's Gate 2 feels like a chore, a quest that was forced upon you, but you don't really *care* about it.

 

Parts of it is really well done, but the storytelling itself as a whole is.. meh. Utter meh.

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NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer

 

Gaaaaah I recently bought NWN 2. And I tried to start with the official campaign, doing it quickly to arrived to Mask of the betrayer.

But I'm having such a hard time to carry on in the game Oo. The camera's making me crazy. Not to speak about the "villages" with 3 houses. I really want to carry on, but I'm just forcing myself for the moment :'(.

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[...] Which, truth be told, I don't really care about either. This I think is one of the game's weak points for me: it somehow doesn't manage to make me care about anything much in it. Perhaps it's the weak writing.

 

[...]

Honestly, as much as I love Baldur's Gate 2, this is one of the things I really think that Baldur's Gate 2 did terribly. Baldur's Gate 1 had an amazing main quest, that made me feel like I was on a mission to find things out, piece things together, to solve a puzzle and find the answers. Baldur's Gate 2 drops everything in your lap and continously tries to dangle two very loose motivations in front of you; finding Imoen or finding out what Irenicus wanted with you.

 

But it never really explains to you why you'd care. Not really, or rather, when it tries, it just simply fails. Much of the main quest in Baldur's Gate 2 feels like a chore, a quest that was forced upon you, but you don't really *care* about it.

 

Parts of it is really well done, but the storytelling itself as a whole is.. meh. Utter meh.

 

 

Whether the game does a good job of making the player care is a personal question, but the PC would certainly care. Some guy has your step sister in prison and is rather openly plotting against you. Seems like a problem.

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@Vaalac Experiment with the camera settings. It is possible to tame it. I don't remember how, but I got it to go from tear-your-hair-out to tolerable.

 

@prodigydancer I wanted to include NetHack but I'm pretty sure most of you guys wouldn't consider it a cRPG at all. Even though if Wizardry's a RPG, then so is it. It would take the #1 spot easily. I liked Morrowind because the world was just so damn awesome -- there was something surprising and different and cool behind every corner, and the lore opened it up beautifully. That's pretty much all it was, but it was enough.

 

@Sensuki That is true. Give me good writing and motivate me, or just give me some rails to follow with fun gameplay on the way. Morrowind had awesome writing but not in the usual "story" sense. I'm not all that much into a sandbox with just "stuff to do" in it. Doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff starts to feel like work rather than play. That's also why I like Total War by the way -- the battles always have a wider strategic context so they mean something. 

 

It's also why this whole metagame thing -- like the way I pre-buffed with Chaotic Commands to win the final Trademeet mage battle -- is such a big turn-off for me. It jolts me out of the game. Mah immershun. It is gone. And with BG2, I do have to think a lot like that, right down from "Don't take this quest, 'cuz it's better to take that quest first."

 

But we'll see. I'll keep playing a bit more. Perhaps it'll get more fun again.

 

BTW, if I was doing this for revenge/to embrace mah Bhaalspawn powah/to save Imoen, I'd be beelining for the main quest the minute I scraped that 20k together, no?

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Whether the game does a good job of making the player care is a personal question, but the PC would certainly care. Some guy has your step sister in prison and is rather openly plotting against you. Seems like a problem.

 

My Neutral Evil sociopath PC doesn't give a toot about Imoen, and clearly the Cowled Wizards are quite competent and have Irenicus safely under lock and key somewhere suitably unpleasant. She's already forgotten all about him and is more interested in climbing the ranks of the Shadow Thieves, maybe having Bloodscalp assassinated in some way that can't be traced back to her and stepping into his shoes, once she's gotten a bit more influence in Athkatla maybe.

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Probably. But I don't "LARP" it. I'm a powergamer.

Yes, I've gathered that.

 

Edit: I powergame games that invite powergaming, and roleplay games that invite role-playing. BG2 does both, so I try to do both. However, the gameplay in itself isn't engaging enough for me that I'd just do stuff in order gain levels and get better gear so I can do more stuff and get even better gear. This kind of thing feels very very grindy, and doesn't seem to be progressing anywhere. I'm just grinding quests, without discovering anything particularly interesting or having a feeling of progressing anywhere (other than seeing that nice golden + appear next to a portrait from time to time.)

Edited by PrimeJunta

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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Whether the game does a good job of making the player care is a personal question, but the PC would certainly care. Some guy has your step sister in prison and is rather openly plotting against you. Seems like a problem.

 

My Neutral Evil sociopath PC doesn't give a toot about Imoen, and clearly the Cowled Wizards are quite competent and have Irenicus safely under lock and key somewhere suitably unpleasant. She's already forgotten all about him and is more interested in climbing the ranks of the Shadow Thieves, maybe having Bloodscalp assassinated in some way that can't be traced back to her and stepping into his shoes, once she's gotten a bit more influence in Athkatla maybe.

 

 

Hah. I'm not sure going evil is the best choice for a first BG2 play through, but good luck.

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...

Basically, this experience is very up-and-down for me. There are some bits I enjoy enormously, and then long stretches which I find just irritating or pointless. Again, I liked IWD a lot more, and PS:T more still.

 

Feelz right now? I'll keep soldiering on, hoping for more of those really cool bits. Sorry to disappoint you grogs, but this still isn't my favorite cRPG. It's not even in the top 10. Does it get seriously better from here on out?

 

  You might like the late game better if you're one of those insane people (whoops, was that out loud?), I mean, a person with different taste in games (yes, that's it) who likes IWD better than BG.

 

 My favorite thing about BG 1 and 2 is the 'player agency.'  For me, both seem like an adventure where my character is in charge while IWD seems like my character is getting ordered around by some (incompetent) neo-fascist arch druid (who keeps sending me to dead ends).  

 

 So, later in the game, BG2 becomes more linear. You might like that part better. For me it's exactly the opposite. I would be interested to hear your opinion about it.

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Lawful Good didn't work out so well for me either. I hadn't realized that "not doing quests" is a major feature required to properly enjoy BG2.

 

You mean not doing certain quests because completing them might not work with your alignment or not bothering because they bore you?

 

I suppose I'm a bit in the Sensuki camp on this one. I did/do a lot of optional quests just for the challenge. If I was depending entirely on story to motivate me, I'd probably find a lot of pointless fluff.* But that's video games. With a few notable exceptions, even the best cRPG writing doesn't usually match the storytelling quality of your averge novel. You have to look at it as an interactive experience.

 

 

*Here's where I contradict myself. I'm currently playing through DA:Inquisition almost entirely for the story. I kinda hate the combat.

Edited by Flow
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