Thoughts on the umpteenth playthrough...

This forum is to be used for all discussions pertaining to BioWare's Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn.
User avatar
QuenGalad
Posts: 552
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:43 am
Contact:
Thoughts on the umpteenth playthrough...

Postby QuenGalad » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:29 am

I can't even tell how many times I've beaten this game already, but it must be dozens. I still enjoy it, that's the amazing part.

But since it's my umpteenth playthrough, naturally I've been looking at the game with a more critical eye, as well as doing things a bit differently. Usually, I'm a sensitive and sentimental goodie-two-shoes, though my female rogues tend to be more on the evil side, but nothing overtly vile. Mostly, they're a villain with good PR, playing a hero part because it pays off. I know this has been done to death, but there's some real strangeness in the game once you try to be more evil than that.

For example, you can side with Firkraag and get him the ownership deed for Windspear Hills from Garren. I've pickpocketed it, so I don't know what happens if you kill him, but either way, siding with Firkraag means that Garren's child is killed in the cell. This triggers no reputation change whatsoever, while killing Nalia's loathsome aunt, where no-one sees it and where you could easily lie she died in the attack, gives you a heavy rep hit. This is very odd. Also, once I delivered the document, everyone in the party except for the PC got a nice chunk of experience (this may be a bug?), but the reward was a crappy cape.

On the other hand, it was rather refreshing to have a band of heavy knights appear and hack at us on the street when our reputation reached 1 (long story short, Valen The Vampiress That Constantly Gets You In Trouble). But the rewards are usually not worth the trouble of going evil, which is strange.

Anyway, it's crazy how on an 20+ playthough you can discover new things, albeit little ones. After disposing of the Eye Cult, for example, you can be ambushed in the temple sewers by beholders. You can rat Hendak out to Lethinan and the slave trade continues throughout the game at the CC. Even better, you can rat out Phaere to her mother (I didn't know that!) and watch her get executed... then turn on Ardulace who foolishly invites you to the ritual chamber. Or sacrifice the silver dragon eggs for your own gain. (Again, the reward is not worth it at all, but it's better if you have Valen with you.)

Oh and I finally tried romancing Viconia, whom I sometimes take along but I don't really like the character - it's a good idea (clinging to her past glory and definitely not an atoner), but wasted in execution. So far, the romance is horrible and utterly unappealing, which I thought was Jaheira's turf. Honestly, it can all be summarized as "she's a DROW! Are you drooling already?" I was expecting something better.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, damn it's a good game :)
Kitchen Witchcraft : Of Magic and Macaroni - a blog about, well, a witch in the kitchen.

The Pale Mansion : My e-published lovecraftian novella! You should totally check it out!

User avatar
Tricky
Posts: 3562
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:21 pm
Location: Norway
Contact:

Postby Tricky » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:20 am

It's what I love about a number of late '90s and very early '00s games. They were carved out with so much love and attention that they can *still* surprise you, today. Deus Ex, Baldur's Gate, Morrowind, PST, System Shock.. all timeless.

But now publishing and marketing takes priority over development, every time. Creativity loses. Honestly, I don't see many modern games pull off such longevity as the classics did. Not ten or fourteen years from now. Some smart publishers will have pushed for some curious sequels, but the golden age will remain indefinitely in the past.
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

User avatar
Stworca
Posts: 1223
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:20 am
Location: D, NL & PL
Contact:

Postby Stworca » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:28 am

@Tricky : Dark Souls takes the cake, kills it AND eats it too when it comes to attention to detail and secrets. The fact that MOST games these days lack anything worthwhile at the second playthrough, doesn't mean that ALL of them were made by Ubi/Ea.
[url="http://www.gamebanshee.com/forums/baldurs-gate-ii-shadows-of-amn-9/guide-to-tactical-mods-spoilers-116063.html#post1068546"]BG2 tactical mods guide[/url]
What? You're still here? Go write a review![url="http://www.gamebanshee.com/forums/rpg-user-reviews-118/"]Here[/url]
Insane Ironman BG2 let's play! [url="http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=81201.msg2140894#msg2140894"]Here[/url]

User avatar
Tricky
Posts: 3562
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:21 pm
Location: Norway
Contact:

Postby Tricky » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:13 am

Ok, I haven't played that one. Heard good things about it, but always assumed that had to do with delicious gameplay.
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

User avatar
QuenGalad
Posts: 552
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:43 am
Contact:

Postby QuenGalad » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:45 am

Do you get to do anything else than hack in Dark Souls, though? My brother plays it, it looks fun, but mostly just swinging weapons.

This is probably due to engine differences, but in BG, playing fighters or rogues or mages is very different, while in Skyrim or Dark Souls or suchlike, you still do the same thing - call attacks in sequences, while the character either swings swords or hurls fireballs. Plus, there's, y'know, all that dialogue going on.

Incidentally, does ANYONE have any idea what the blazes is the encounter in Chapter 6 about? When you leave Underdark, you encounter Drizzt, and then you encounter doppelgangers. What the hell do they want and why are they there?
Kitchen Witchcraft : Of Magic and Macaroni - a blog about, well, a witch in the kitchen.

The Pale Mansion : My e-published lovecraftian novella! You should totally check it out!

User avatar
Tricky
Posts: 3562
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:21 pm
Location: Norway
Contact:

Postby Tricky » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:45 am

Fanservice.
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

User avatar
QuenGalad
Posts: 552
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:43 am
Contact:

Postby QuenGalad » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:07 am

Fanservice.


An answer more mystifying than the question. Tricky, indeed :D
Kitchen Witchcraft : Of Magic and Macaroni - a blog about, well, a witch in the kitchen.

The Pale Mansion : My e-published lovecraftian novella! You should totally check it out!

User avatar
Stworca
Posts: 1223
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:20 am
Location: D, NL & PL
Contact:

Postby Stworca » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:15 am

Do you get to do anything else than hack in Dark Souls, though? My brother plays it, it looks fun, but mostly just swinging weapons.


If you dig well enough - because the game tells you NOTHING, and you have to find the lore yourself - you'll find one of the most rich and detailed (and dark) backgrounds, stories and NPC's in any RPG.
That game had me shedding tears at one point.
[url="http://www.gamebanshee.com/forums/baldurs-gate-ii-shadows-of-amn-9/guide-to-tactical-mods-spoilers-116063.html#post1068546"]BG2 tactical mods guide[/url]
What? You're still here? Go write a review![url="http://www.gamebanshee.com/forums/rpg-user-reviews-118/"]Here[/url]
Insane Ironman BG2 let's play! [url="http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=81201.msg2140894#msg2140894"]Here[/url]

User avatar
Tricky
Posts: 3562
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:21 pm
Location: Norway
Contact:

Postby Tricky » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:29 am

Well, I am sold. :)
[INDENT][SIZE="1"][font="Courier New"]'..[color="White"]t[/color]olerance w[color="White"]h[/color]en fog rolls in clouds unfold your selfless wings fe[color="White"]a[/color]thers [color="White"]t[/color]hat float from arabesque pillows I sold to be consumed by the [color="White"]s[/color]now white cold if only the plaster could hold withstand the flam[url="http://bit.ly/foT0XQ"]e[/url] then this fountain torch [color="White"]w[/color]ould know no shame and be outstripped only by the sun that burns with the glory and [color="White"]h[/color]onor of [color="White"]y[/color]our..'[/font][/size][/INDENT]

User avatar
NocturneN
Posts: 201
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:27 pm
Contact:

Postby NocturneN » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:52 pm

Disapointing how every interesting evil option comes with a hefty rep penalty. If you sell someone out or kill someone for money, you might earn some extra gold but you can be sure it will cost you even more to get that rep back in a temple... Not to mention I feel obligated to turn down obviously altruistic ventures that would've given rep boosts, because it's completely opposite to my character's alignement...i.e. there is not a single roleplaying excuse to justify it.
Selinde Truesword- I am clearly deranged. Look who I travel with! Minsc, meet the Pirate Lord!

Minsc- Pirate Lord? Such a name does not conjure images of righteous behavior. Stand still a moment and let Boo have a look at you.

Desharik- Er, why is your friend pointing a hamster at me?

User avatar
QuenGalad
Posts: 552
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:43 am
Contact:

Postby QuenGalad » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:21 am

Yeah. Sometimes I play as a "villain passing for a hero" if it's reasonable to "assume" (in-game) that it pays off, as with Trademeet, for example: it's a better idea to butter up the current lord of the city than to hope for gratitude from the pretender to the role who's already demonstrated he's a backstabbing liar, so I only poisoned the Druid Grove once, when my PC was chaotic evil with low INT.

But the whole thing with Garren's child was strange: you get a rep hit for killing Nalia's aunt, when the place is overrun by trolls and there's no witnesses. But you are there when Garren's child is kidnapped, claim you'll go rescue him/her, then you go into the dungeon, and a dead body is found. No rep hit. Hmm...
Kitchen Witchcraft : Of Magic and Macaroni - a blog about, well, a witch in the kitchen.

The Pale Mansion : My e-published lovecraftian novella! You should totally check it out!

User avatar
NocturneN
Posts: 201
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:27 pm
Contact:

Postby NocturneN » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:13 am

Well I got a rep hit for murdering a traveler on the road outside of Candlekeep with absolutely no witnesses at all, let alone the fact that my PC could've easily disposed of the body in a non-incriminating way.

The game generally judge your actions based on wether you attacked someone or not; not according to wether you'd get away with or not... This makes playing an evil-aligned char not only harder, but unrealstic and, yes, somewhat boring, sadly.
Selinde Truesword- I am clearly deranged. Look who I travel with! Minsc, meet the Pirate Lord!

Minsc- Pirate Lord? Such a name does not conjure images of righteous behavior. Stand still a moment and let Boo have a look at you.

Desharik- Er, why is your friend pointing a hamster at me?

User avatar
davfrahen
Posts: 292
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 12:12 pm
Contact:

Postby davfrahen » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:59 pm

"So far, the romance is horrible and utterly unappealing, which I thought was Jaheira's turf.

You surprise me there. I love the Jaheira romance. It has so many side quests and it's a good story. Quite a big reward at the end of it as well.
I think I'd played it about ten times before I realise there were two entrances to the Seas Bounty.
And I still don't know how to avoid Stun.
I have an Xbox with all the so called great games, but none of them are a touch on BG, thanks also to all the mods that are available.

User avatar
QuenGalad
Posts: 552
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:43 am
Contact:

Postby QuenGalad » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:24 am

I love the Jaheira romance. It has so many side quests and it's a good story. Quite a big reward at the end of it as well.


That's a good point, and of course it's all subjective, but Jaheira's attitude puts me in mind of a malcontent mother-in-law, not a woman with a budding affection. Still, I can understand why she's written a bit harsh and not easily approachable, and that's actually what I meant. I may not like it, but it makes sense, hence is her "territory."

However, there is completely no reason for Viconia to act the way she does: she's supposed to be smart (high wisdom and intelligence), she's in a very hostile environment where she obviously can't manage on her own as testified by events in both games, and the PC repeatedly proves to be one of the few people willing to be her ally. An intelligent and attractive woman would know there is much better chance of success and survival if she ingratiates herself with the PC rather than throws endless tantrums and then thinks these count as an alluring, exciting favour.
Since I'm roleplaying an evil fighter-thief, I really miss an option to slap her around and rough her up until she realizes who's the boss, because the PC is the boss here and she'd have understood that if she was the smart, expert seductress they paint her to be.
Kitchen Witchcraft : Of Magic and Macaroni - a blog about, well, a witch in the kitchen.

The Pale Mansion : My e-published lovecraftian novella! You should totally check it out!

User avatar
galraen
Posts: 3727
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:03 am
Location: Kernow (Cornwall), UK
Contact:

Postby galraen » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:21 am

Sadly I've known, or known of, a few otherwise intelligent and allegedly wise people who behaved much as Viconia does re tantrums and shock tactics, but only one of them was what I'd define as evil, sadly she was the UK's Prime Minister for far too long! :P
[QUOTE=Darth Gavinius;1096098]Distrbution of games, is becoming a little like Democracy (all about money and control) - in the end choice is an illusion and you have to choose your lesser evil.

And everything is hidden in the fine print.[/QUOTE]

User avatar
QuenGalad
Posts: 552
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:43 am
Contact:

Postby QuenGalad » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:49 pm

I cannot unsee Thatcher as Viconia now... gah! Preferably with the Blackblood Club, or whatever the name was :D

Still, I can't really shake the idea that Seregris, my F->T of this playthrough, who's based on a pen&paper npc who was very nasty indeed, would take precisely none of her, um, garbage. Unfortunately, there are very few dialogue options that even try to take her off her high horse, which I sort of hoped for, seeing how she's all lusting for power and constantly whines men have no backbone. Although, for someone who tried to play with Ninde, this is all pretty minor :)
Kitchen Witchcraft : Of Magic and Macaroni - a blog about, well, a witch in the kitchen.

The Pale Mansion : My e-published lovecraftian novella! You should totally check it out!

User avatar
galraen
Posts: 3727
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:03 am
Location: Kernow (Cornwall), UK
Contact:

Postby galraen » Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:38 pm

Yeah, don't get me wrong on this, the lack of options to really role-play your character in situations like this are galling. Although you can of course take the ultimate sanction of sending her to visit her goddess, with no return ticket! I've often felt like taking an axe to several NPCs skulls on occasions, mainly Jaheira though, as I already have taken an axe to Anomen's head, and a sword, and a mace and a......., each time with a different PC! :D

I only really played through with Vici once, and that was with a Neutral Good Drow Elf of my own who was convinced he could save her soul, and he did! But even he was sorely tempted to give her the flat of his blade on a few occasions.
[QUOTE=Darth Gavinius;1096098]Distrbution of games, is becoming a little like Democracy (all about money and control) - in the end choice is an illusion and you have to choose your lesser evil.

And everything is hidden in the fine print.[/QUOTE]

User avatar
QuenGalad
Posts: 552
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:43 am
Contact:

Postby QuenGalad » Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:26 am

I only really played through with Vici once, and that was with a Neutral Good Drow Elf of my own who was convinced he could save her soul, and he did! But even he was sorely tempted to give her the flat of his blade on a few occasions.


That's probably the best way to go about that part of the story... I must say I am often tempted to bring some retribution on the npc's heads by means of sharp implements. With Jaheira, this usually means leaving her to rot in the cage in Chateau Irenicus, which is damn cruel considering the entrance caves in. I never liked her much, though I limit this to evil characters. When it comes to Cernd, though, I was so appalled by the whole story that I turned him to stone in the grove and left the child with the druids there (well, on the floor, but I choose to believe that it counts :D ). They will surely take care of the kid, and when he grows up, he can un-petrify daddy if he chooses to, but a fickle, more-balanced-than-thou prat should have no part in his upbringing.

Ahem. Sorry for the rant, I just really like druids and other 'servants of nature' but BG makes a poor job of writing them, unfortunately. The only decently 'rangery' ranger is the one added by a mod.
Kitchen Witchcraft : Of Magic and Macaroni - a blog about, well, a witch in the kitchen.

The Pale Mansion : My e-published lovecraftian novella! You should totally check it out!

User avatar
galraen
Posts: 3727
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:03 am
Location: Kernow (Cornwall), UK
Contact:

Postby galraen » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:50 am

I only leave Jaheira in the cage if I never talked to her in BG1, in which case she isn't really in the cage at all if you see what I mean. Minsc on the other hand, apart from a couple of occasions, I leave him to rot, suitable punishment for a murdering psychopath! :p :D
[QUOTE=Darth Gavinius;1096098]Distrbution of games, is becoming a little like Democracy (all about money and control) - in the end choice is an illusion and you have to choose your lesser evil.

And everything is hidden in the fine print.[/QUOTE]