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What are you playing right now?


Rosbjerg

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What does it tell you about the state of gaming when we always end up back at Baldur's Gate every few years? It's like that old girlfriend you just can't get out of your system and every so often you find yourself back at her place.

 

I don't know how y'all do it.  The story doesn't exactly change noticeably if you make different choices.  I can never actually get through new play throughs because no matter what type of different character I make, it results in pretty much the same path to the end.

 

Oh the game itself does not lend itself to a lot of replay. The story is the story. It's not like it has multiple endings the way many games have now. But I have done it is some different ways that keeps the combat aspect fresh for me at least. Different tactics and party make up. I ran through once with all ranged fighters. I did it one with only thieves and I even tried it solo once. That guy was a bad MF but couldn't get past the last fight with big brother.

 

BG2 is a little better because changing party members changes the game a little. But it's definitely still dated. Even the EE version. But I can't explain it. There is just something about it that brings me back. I've seen every episode of Cheers & Seinfeld and hundred times each and I can still laugh at them even now. It's like that.

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"Be on the lookout for thieves, trespassers, aaaand COMMUNISTS!"

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Well, for me, it's because one, the style of gameplay is basically nonexistent elsewhere, with Pillars of Eternity being the first in a long time to come close. It's unfortunate, then, that I disliked some of the basic gameplay changes that there were in PoE, and furthermore absolutely despised most of the design philosophy changes in regards to the rock-paper-scissors-y nature of D&D and BG, which consequently affected the combat systems (including item and spell/ability design) in such a drastic and horrendous manner as to make the game as dull as humanly possible.

 

There's also the matter of variety: there are so many different ways you can go with party makeup and philosophy, as (edit) Guard Dog, not Hurlshot (/edit) just alluded to. Even with the number of times I've played the game, there are still good items that I haven't really ever used that I could but haven't because I've never really focused my characters around them. There are also so many different types of enemies that all have different weaknesses and strengths...all sorts of special encounters that just feel so much more special and meaningful compared to other games. Fighting Firkraag, for example...it's just such a special optional encounter, and the game generally amply rewards you for rising to the challenge of those optional encounters, too. They say Carsomyr is the best two-handed sword in the game...but I've never even used it, because I've never really been much of a paladin person. ...But I could, and doing that would, again, introduce more variety into the rest of the game in a way I haven't experienced before, and knowing that I can easily experience the game again in different ways because of small changes like that is comforting in a way.

 

It's just...good and rewarding game design in a lot of ways that I just don't feel like I consistently get out of other games. It's also all packed into a game of greater scale than we mostly would ever get out of a game today (the amount of characters, the amount of dialogue, the amount of little voiced lines from all the different NPCs throughout the game that give all these different NPCs at least a little character that you can remember them by, the amount of spells, the amount of items with lore written specifically for them...all the different monster types...all these different things...) in a mostly dead game type that just doesn't exist anymore that I would still love to see new entries for. The writing definitely has its weak points, there's no doubt about it...but it also has some high points, too.

 

The modding community has definitely helped, too - Spell Revisions, Item Revisions, Sword Coast Stratagems...the former two take a look at all the different spells and items in the game and often redefine the ones that were completely useless, or relocate where you can get them so that they can be useful maybe a little earlier in the game - or sometimes the opposite, in cases where items were ridiculously overpowered and/or located too early in the game. After you've learned all the tricks and weaknesses of the AI and creature types and know how to abuse them, Sword Coast Stratagems revamps them to sometimes be just a little tougher in terms of stats and abilities (usually to just more closely match PnP if it messes with stats at all), but more to completely revamp their behavior to be smarter, to use their combat abilities more effectively than they were programmed to in the vanilla game (where enemies would often not take advantage of special abilities or use any sort of combat sense at all...). All of these different things help keep the game fresh even after playing it so many times. It's not a game that I feel will probably ever be replaced...sadly.

 

I was actually just entertaining the idea of a no-reload challenge in a fully modded out game. I've never done one before, and I think I would play the game very differently from how I usually play it, particularly with my difficulty-enhancing mods such as Sword Coast Stratagems and the XP Reducer mod (which I normally set to only giving 50% of the normal values). I've never used potions, or any other limited-use items, in an IE game before (and generally don't in games period) - it would be interesting to see how much differently I treat my characters' health in even slightly difficult encounters when I know that them dying could actually be a big deal, and whether I would actually ever retreat from a battle when I think I might lose it (another thing I've never done). I think I'll probably try it, at the very least.

Edited by Bartimaeus
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I just love the character progression and story of BG.  You start as little more than a child, there is a tangible sense of fear as you set out in the world, and the climb to the top is perfectly paced.  

 

Dang it, now I want to play.

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I go back to BGT because with SCS the combat is fun. I mean there's definitely stuff it could do better, like HLAs(I use refinements because vanilla are too bland) and spell variety(no vanilla Divinitation spells past 7 IIRC) but it's just fun in spite of all that. PoE, despite introducing mechanics I'd agree with in theory, doesn't match BGT in terms of fun. So until someone makes another rpg like BGT that's fun I'll probably keep going back to it.

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BG2 to me is more important for what it did to my gaming habits rather than what it was as a game in itself. It might sound like I'm damning it with faint praise, but it's not my intention. It got me out of my comfort zone, where without it my RPG experience may have started and ended with Ultima.

 

Even then they almost screwed it up, the skull on the box of the BG games kinda put me off, because I mean, what does that tell the prospective buyer? :p Scary undead monsters ahead? Yes, I was a big wuss back then, and still am today, but it could have been the difference between my being here today and being someone probably stuck playing strategy games forever. So yes, while there are better games around, and though I have no interest in ever replaying it, BG2 is important to me because without it, I would likely never have played, or even contemplated playing those better games.

L I E S T R O N G
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Well, Baldur's Gate got me though my biggest crisis. I lost my business and my marriage back around when BG2 came out and to say the very least, I was not dealing with it well. I discovered BG 1 & 2 and for six months or so it provided me with the kind of distraction I needed to get through all that. And it was a lot cheaper than a psychiatrist. Jahiera & Khalid, Minsc & Dynaheir, Imonen and all the others were better friends that the actual humans I was dealing with back then! Of course considering that sorry lot of a------s that isn't a high bar to leap.

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"Be on the lookout for thieves, trespassers, aaaand COMMUNISTS!"

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In fairness, I've replayed BG more than any of the other IE games.  But I've only actually finished it twice.  I give up about a quarter of the way through each play through when every quest I encounter, I recall instantly how it will play out.

 

I guess my thing is I'm more of a story guy.  So different party formations for combat and such isn't really an appealing aspect of a game for me.  The story either has to be really good (or just pulls me in for whatever reason), or there has to be significant changes to the stories/quests based on my decisions, in order for me to really be drawn to games.

"Console exclusive is such a harsh word." - Darque

"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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What did you think of PoE then?

"Be on the lookout for thieves, trespassers, aaaand COMMUNISTS!"

The Director FO4

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Baldur's Gate I and II are by far my least favorite IE games TBH. Started playing the original shortly after finishing Fallout and was massively disappointed with pretty much every single aspect of the game (Why are dialogues so primitive? Why don't I have all that many choices while leveling up? Why does the story and world feel so incredibly generic?) - the only thing I really appreciated about the original was combat, and as far as I'm concerned, Icewind Dale did it better. Then I played Planescape Torment and was absolutely blown away, just to get back into BG2 which just made me think... Meh.

 

Still, if there's one thing I retrospectively really appreciate about the original Baldur's Gate, it's the freedom it gave you. The map was positively massive with tons of content and freedom to go wherever you please. While dialogues are primitive and writing fairly basic, it does allow for a large amount of roleplaying and gives a lot of freedom in what kind of character you wish to play... But eh, then Pillars of Eternity appeared, took what I perceived to be the best aspects of all Infinity Engine games, fixed issues I've had with the combat mechanics and put it all into one tight package. I love PoE.

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i don't know about you but the thing i hate the most in a game is not it being bad... it's when i see wasted potential! if it was just a bad game i could just ignore it but when i see a game that could be so much more if they put a minimum of effort in it's development but they chose not to, i feel like punching the members of the development team 

and to be honest, i think that 9/10 games (at least in the AAA class) in the last 10 years have this problem

actually, maybe this is the reason us older gamers keep going back to BG and Deus Ex and Quake. nostalgia may be a factor but i think back then when someone made a game he either made a bad game or a good game but almost never a game that "could have been great if"

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Honestly, about the only reason I replay BG is because every few years I decide I'm going to finish BG2 and I have to play BG first. Then, I get partway through BG2 and realize how much I dislike it (the writing is inconsistent and largely bad, imo, and I hate 2E D&D) and stop playing. I'd honestly much rather play NWN or NWN2, as 3.X actually has interesting (if completely broken) character building, though none of the campaigns outside Mask of the Betrayer have decent writing, and none of them have good combat (in truth, I'm more likely to spend hours playing with the NWN2DB character builder instead of actually playing the campaigns.)

 

Personally, the games I constantly return to are Wizardry 8, and to a lesser extent (mostly because the windows version is horribly buggy), Wizardry 7.

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I finished Blood & Wine. A real masterpiece. The only thing preventing me from immediately jumping into another playthrough is the commitment required.

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What did you think of PoE then?

 

I only played it once.  For whatever reason, it just didn't pull me in.

 

I haven't tried it yet since the two expansions came out though.

"Console exclusive is such a harsh word." - Darque

"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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Personally I thought PoE was just outstanding. It did something no other game since ever did; for a moment recaptured that sense of magic I once found in a RPG. Heck Skyrim never did that and I loved Skyrim. The story and characters just pulled me in. It was a game I could play for hours withoit realizing it had been hours. BG 1&2, FO2, IWD & Torment were all like that for me.  

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"Be on the lookout for thieves, trespassers, aaaand COMMUNISTS!"

The Director FO4

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Personally I thought PoE was just outstanding. It did something no other game since ever did; for a moment recaptured that sense of magic I once found in a RPG. Heck Skyrim never did that and I loved Skyrim. The story and characters just pulled me in. It was a game I could play for hours withoit realizing it had been hours. BG 1&2, FO2, IWD & Torment were all like that for me.  

I couldn't agree more. And yeah, there are games that I did love to play, like Skyrim, D3 and in my case DA:I even, and I've played for hundreds of hours, but they never pulled me in, and that sense of magic was only flickering here and there. In short, they're great time killers.

 

You know a game is good when the hours just fly by, when it becomes too important for you, and your priorities are no longer in order, and back in April 2015, PoE did that for me. Also Dishonored was like that for me. I have my own business, and when I played it, I literally lost fair chunks of doe simply because I forgot about that adult stuff we're supposed to do. 

Edited by IndiraLightfoot

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

 

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Hmm, RPGs that pulled me in...

 

Arcanum of Steamworks and Magik Obscura

Vampire Bloodlines

Dragon Age: Origins (for a bit then it went crashing down with the writing)

Alpha Protocol

Expeditions: Conquistador

Pillars of Eternity (until I got to Defiance Bay, where I abandoned the game and haven't had the energy to go back)

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Restarted GTA V so I could remember what on earth was happening in the story and where everything was....

 

PoE was one of those odd ones where the first run through I played it I got pulled in, but every time I've sat down to replay it since it's been a bit of an effort and I find myself only playing for half an hour or so at a time before I have to take a break.

 

Heh, and the only thing that took Alpha Protocol off my hard drive was my computer blowing up the other year and having to rebuild a new one ...

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You're trying hard not to show it,

But Raithe, Raithe we know it

 

You lost PoE feeling,

Whoa that PoE feeling,

You lost that PoE feeling,

Now it's gone, gone, gone

And you can't play on

Wooooh

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What does it tell you about the state of gaming when we always end up back at Baldur's Gate every few years? It's like that old girlfriend you just can't get out of your system and every so often you find yourself back at her place.

I hear ya, mine are morrowind and FONV.

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I finished Blood & Wine. A real masterpiece. The only thing preventing me from immediately jumping into another playthrough is the commitment required.

Yup. Felt that way about the base game. So far it is fun to run around Toussaint, found more interesting spots than I usually do. Shame I am useless at combat though.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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