All Melee, All the Time -- Do spellcasters have a place in BG2??

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quentin
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All Melee, All the Time -- Do spellcasters have a place in BG2??

Postby quentin » Sun Jan 06, 2002 7:11 pm

Here's my problem -- melee is way too powerful! Even pseudo-melee characters, like Blades and Swashbucklers, can absolutely dominate this game with the right equipment. I just got done with the Underdark, and my Swashbuckler single-handedly did every single quest & sidequest in the whole chapter. No, he's not hacked nor does he have "godly" stats -- he's just intelligently using the equipment available to him. Celestial Fury + a belt of strength + cloak of mirroring. He has -10 AC, attacks multiple times per round and kills most opponenets in a matter of seconds. Even casters aren't much of a problem for him anymore (aren't even worth pausing and strategizing over..), because with his great saving throws, his enchanted weapons that can penetrate stoneskin, and a simple casting of "chaotic commands" from Viconia, my Swash is basically unstoppable. It is pointless.

No strategy, no planning, just hack hack hack. Auto attack script and then sit back and watch. And if that's what a Swash can do, It's frightening to think what a fighter character can do with the same equipment. The game is just too easy for melee. And that's soloing. Add some teammates and it becomes a total joke. My crew of Archer/Minsc/Jahiera/Haer'Dalis got through the first Irenicus fight in Spellhold before anyone even could get a spell off -- it's just an instant-death demolition squad. What's the point?

So I want to play this game as a caster instead. I want to plan my battles, use more strategy and cunning. But I've run into a problem. Magic Resistance. Many enemies have it. It cannot be beaten.

You see, occasionally (very rarely actually), there is an an opponenet a melee character has trouble with. Clay Golems, for example, require blunt weaponary. Otyugh's can't be hit with ranged weapons. Some other monsters require certain levels of enchantment to be hit. But all of these obstacles can be overcome with various equipment.

Magic Resistance, however, is an all purpose magic-stopper. There is no way around it, no equipment or item a spellcaster can use to bypass it. A creature with magic resistance is immune to everything in a spellcaster's repotoire. And there are many such creatures in BG2. Golems, some Undead, Dragons, Drow, Mindflayers...

Oh sure, there is the level 5 spell lower resistance. It's moderately useful against single, tough targets - Dragons, for example. Still requires 2 or 3 castings to have any meaningful effect though. And even then, it only helps for one target. What can a Sorcerer do against an entire Drow war party? or a pack of Mind Flayers? Or a couple of golems? Very, very little.

Is there something i'm not understanding, or is the game hideously unbalanced?

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Postby firewings95 » Sun Jan 06, 2002 7:18 pm

slight spoiler
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i'm playing a regular fighter with grand mastery in bastard sword and i use a bastard sword +1. i don't think i do that great considering i'm only in chpt 2. besides minsc for some reason can dish out 20+ dmg every hit with the talking sword which is twice the dmg i do. so how in the hell do u beat up every guy in a matter of secs? i have trouble just beating up on the cowled wizards plus their armed guards when they come after u when u start doing magic in the city. how do u do it? can i get some tips?

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quentin
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Postby quentin » Sun Jan 06, 2002 7:25 pm

It's all about the items -- by the time you reach chapter 4 or 5, it really doesn't matter if you are a Fighter, a Swash, a Ranger .... the equipment that you can get will allow you to annhilate almost everything in seconds. Belts of strength (Hill Giant, Frost Giant, etc) give you massive THAC0 and Damage Bonuses. Weapons, like the Celestial Fury or Flail of Ages, not only do massive damage but have amazing secondary effects (that bypass magic resistance by the way) that allow you to demolish everything in sight, and enemy spellcasters don't pose much of a threat anymore with these weapons in hand. Boots of speed...

SoA becomes a joke for a melee character with these items.

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Postby firewings95 » Sun Jan 06, 2002 7:29 pm

so what u are saying is i'm doing alright?

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quentin
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Postby quentin » Sun Jan 06, 2002 7:48 pm

Buy the belt of hill giant strength from the adventure mart to get a taste of what I'm talking about -- your Fighter will all of the sudden start doing an average of 20+ per hit and hit much more often. Dual wielding and swinging 3+ times a round, that = very quick deaths.

And then once you get some of the real high end weapons, it will remove what little challenge was left in the game.

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firewings95
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Postby firewings95 » Sun Jan 06, 2002 7:59 pm

could u tell me some of the items that are like items that u should equip through out the game?

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Postby ernme4vr » Sun Jan 06, 2002 8:14 pm

CROM FAEYR!!!

Instant 25 strength when weilding that sucker! Love it. Stuck it on Minsc... Keldorn with Carsomyr +5, and my Swashbuclker with the Dragonsbane/Equalizer in one hand, and Albatha the Drinker in the other. *drool* Made a mockery of the Last Irenicus fight with a simple haste spell.

Wait until you get into the ToB stuff, then the challenges come alot more.

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Postby UserUnfriendly » Sun Jan 06, 2002 11:26 pm

hmm...sorcs are ther real cheese class. I laugh at your fighters!!A careful preparation stage, and sorcs rule in tob soa...carefully setup lower resist by two mages, inspell trigger, and chained killer spells, like aeries tripple implosions has taken down dragons literally in 1 round, and not ascratch on anybody. and iy think a sorc cant meelee? he does not need to...use mirror image and send in 5-8 planetars to face tob uglies....meelee with vorpal sword and the immense magic resist of the planetar gives you the edge!!! and they are expendable. think simmie or multiple mirros in chian and think book of clay golems!!! unless your enemy has magically blunt weps, totally useless to attack it!!!

Try the sorc lass you will love it...and sending in a inc cloud to kill off liches and other sis fun!!
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Postby fable » Mon Jan 07, 2002 12:22 am

@Quentin, if I understand you correctly, you're saying that provided you have a walkthrough and can grab all the best items from the start, you don't need spellcasters. Am I right? :D
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Postby quentin » Mon Jan 07, 2002 1:02 am

@Fable:

Well, I have played the game through twice already so I have an idea of where stuff can be found. Does the game have so little re-playability that I should have to put "self-imposed limits" on myself and choose not to get certain items, even when I know precisely where and how good they are?

No... and even without the knowledge of playing the game before (or a walkthrough), there are some things that even a newbie is bound to find. Belts of strength are amazingly powerful, and plentiful. Boots of speed. Rings of protection, amulets of power..ring(s) or regeneration.. flail of ages... Even a player new to BG2 is going to find most of these items during their natural progression through the game. And I contend that these items are enough to make any fighter character a veritable one man wrecking crew. These items are enough to make 99% of the encounters in SoA pathetically easy, and a fighter will have little need of teammates and little to fear.

But even with all my knowledge of the game and where to find the good equipment, there is no help to be found for my poor spellcasters. And that is because of Magic Resistance. It's too powerful. It makes me depressed.

Lots of monsters in the game have some degree of magic resistance. Golems. Undead. Mind Flayers. Drow. Dragons. Magic Resistant opponents render your sorcerer's entire arsenal of spells useless. Spells are all a sorcerer has to go on, and a spellcaster becomes little more than a weak fighter with a big stick when his magic gets resisted. And it BG2, it gets resisted often.

What does a sorc do against a Drow War party? Or a pack of mind flayers? Or a couple of golems? Throw rocks at them? My Swash tore up the entire underdark, solo. What can my Sorc when everything he faces gives him the message: "Magic Resisted"?

So that's why I'm bummed.

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Postby Fnord » Mon Jan 07, 2002 1:07 am

@Quentin,

Considering that the Sorcerer is probably the most commonly soloed class, I'd say that they can do quite a bit against all the creatures you named; that you think otherwise is a clear indication that you're not a fan of spell casting classes and probably don't have much experience using them.

The battle in Spellhold is simple by design; Irenicus makes many a threat, but flees before the battle is through. You're in for a rather unpleasant surprise if you think the Spellhold battle is indicative of Irenicus' full potential.

I think the point that the BG series attempts to stress is that no one character can handle every possible situation. To succeed, you will need a healthy balance of swordly prowess and spellcasting finesse. Your final encounter with Irenicus will no doubt be a humbling experience for your melee-crazy swashbuckler. The "joke" just may be on you, and as they say, he who laughs last laughs best. ;) Good luck, regardless.

[edit]Looks like I posted too late, so I didn't see your reply to fable in which you state that you've been through the game twice already. My mistake. :D [/edit]

[ 01-07-2002: Message edited by: Fnord ]
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Postby fable » Mon Jan 07, 2002 2:11 am

Originally posted by quentin:
<STRONG>@Fable:

Well, I have played the game through twice already so I have an idea of where stuff can be found. Does the game have so little re-playability that I should have to put "self-imposed limits" on myself and choose not to get certain items, even when I know precisely where and how good they are?</STRONG>


By no means. But if you know the whereabouts of all the goodies beforehand, then it's relatively easy and quick to buff up a melee type as opposed to a spellcaster, who can't use so much of many of the weapons, armor, and items. All I'm suggesting is that if you were playing it through now, for the first time, without prior knowledge, you wouldn't find the melee types so easy to use. It's knowledge of where all that "right equipment" lurks that makes melee types so powerful--after a person's played through the game a few times.
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Postby Bruce Lee » Mon Jan 07, 2002 2:36 am

Sorcerors can handle most things. Mindflayers-- mordenkainens sword. Drow war party, take out the spellcasters and let your summons wrap up the rest. You really need to try playing with magic to see how good it is.
My only complaint about balance between magic, melee and ranged combat is the limited visible range in combat which makes ranged weapons less effective.
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Postby Aegnor » Mon Jan 07, 2002 5:08 am

Originally posted by quentin:
<STRONG>
Well, I have played the game through twice already so I have an idea of where stuff can be found. Does the game have so little re-playability that I should have to put "self-imposed limits" on myself and choose not to get certain items, even when I know precisely where and how good they are?

</STRONG>


IMO, yes. That is, for ME to enjoy second and third playthroughs, *I* have had to impose limits on myself. Now, except for a couple of Uber-items like Cromm Fraeyr, I don't limit myself by not using items.

BUT - I don't let my good-aligned characters use poison, I don't buff my fighters before a battle they have no way of knowing is coming, and I turned the difficulty up to "hard" one day and have since never gone back. Oh, and I don't use wands. These have worked for me - the game has, IMO, a lot of replayability value. I hope you find some way to make it so for yourself.

BTW - i find sometimes that the "small" party, like 3 or 4 characters, can be easier than a party of six. They level up faster, and the it seems easier to get them all protected from whatever is currently the most deadly attack. E.g. first party I had two mages, so one had cloak of mirroring, the other staff of the magi. Second playthrough just one mage with both these items, and much easier to keep them from getting hurt or killed.

Can't say if this applies for solo play, that just hasn't been my style (so far). ;)

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Postby dopplehanger » Mon Jan 07, 2002 10:11 am

@quentin

Probaly stupid question but what difficulty level are u on when u say its so easy? j/w

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Postby Akubi » Mon Jan 07, 2002 11:06 am

So far spell caster is doing good for me. I could finish almost every subquest but right now I am in the city of cavern.

For golem, slay living can be useful. I tried that once and it works but I must try that again to see if it really work.

Spell caster is quite challenging. Especially when you were attacked in the town and yet you are not allow to use magic in the city. Otherwise, the Cowl Wizard will arrest you. Things got even harder when the vampire attack you in the city. But player must be intelligent to deal with this problem, and I already dealt with that by making use the landscape advantages.

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Postby Kovi » Mon Jan 07, 2002 11:30 am

With all the power-items it is easy to solo SoA with any character, but without them it can be quite hard.
The swashbuckler can be a good melee character with the great AC. But the rogue saving throws make it weak against spells. Try to solo it without the extreme power-item: the Cloak of Mirroring and without Chaotic Commands (which you can't cast in solo) and you will soon realize that a thief's best ability is stealth (especially if you use another power-item: the Cloak of Non-Detection)!
On the other side: spellcasters have no real problem against magic resistant enemies. There are spells to conjure effective fighting summons, spells which make the caster a good tank and spells which lower the magic resistance of single tough monsters. Mages/sorcerers also have their power items (Robe of Vecna, Staff of Magi), but they can live without them, they can actually play through without using any item.

[ 01-07-2002: Message edited by: Kovi ]

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Postby DaJir » Mon Jan 07, 2002 7:54 pm

what kinda group ya have? the only tough guy there is that darn mage. get a magic katana, hell, even +1 would do and just rush in and backstab the mage and kill him before he gets a contingency off (god i love thieves) and the rest is easy. Haste the thief first cause he will start to cast true sight. Its not a must but makes it easier w/o goin pause crazy.
If not then improved invis and breach his combat protections and he'll drop like a fly. Be sure to have a thief with high detect illusion(underated but still useful thief skill) or just cast true sight cause the mofo will shadow door. If not then i think glitter dust works fine also, enemy casters will stay in one place if you're in spell range so its a no brainer where to aim it. Give more info on your party and their levels would help me tailor tactics better for ya. I tend to focus on mage and thief tactics cause... well.. they flat out rule. Combine the two and play a dual or multi and bestride Amn like the god you are.


game too easy ya say?
real men solo no item beastmasters on insane. phear
:cool:

[ 01-07-2002: Message edited by: DaJir ]

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Kovi
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Postby Kovi » Tue Jan 08, 2002 1:39 am

Originally posted by DaJir:
<STRONG>real men solo no item beastmasters on insane. phear
[ 01-07-2002: Message edited by: DaJir ]</STRONG>


No problem. I will dual it to a cleric! :)

Seriously: Warriors/Thieves needs at least weapon and armour and some healing solution.
Paladins/Rangers need weapon/armour. Monks need healing. Mages/Bards need scrolls to scribe. Druids/Clerics/Sorcerer don't need anything.

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Postby UserUnfriendly » Tue Jan 08, 2002 5:14 am

real fun, play kensai mage, high level dual so you have some whirlwinds.

cast greater acuity,
draw on holy might,
kai
greater whirlwind.

80 damage per hit!!!OMG!!!10 hits per round!!!!OMG!!!!

with greater acuity, all teh super buff innates the kensai can draw on can be cast FAST!!!

now for those who are not aware, when you look at icons definition while whirlwinded you show an improved haste icon. whirlwind is actually a spell, and works like one. I love my munchkin char, sorceror kensai, and I once hit myself with beholder anti magic ray, the 8th level version, which miscasts magic for 3 rounds...

until it wore off, I could not use whirlwind!! so if a warrior get hit by creeping doom or such, can they use greater whirlwind? I think so, yes, innates word differently for fighter classes. but I have seen keldy lose dispell magic in creeping doom.

so if in a caster class, whirlwinds are spells, and act like them, you should see the advantages and disadvantages.

careful of creeping doom, they could disable whirlwind...not sure, someone test with creeping doom and fighter mage.

BUt for sure, casting increaased acuity before rest will clean up your aura and make greater whirlwind activation in battle FASTER!!!

Sometimes you involk whirl in mid round, so you have to wait until round is resolved so you can whack them. but inc acuity should allow faster casts.

anyway, kensai is such a killer class, and with dual to mage rocks!!! Assassin fighter is almost as good, poison wep lasts longer so you dont need increased acuity to make the triple buff work, but kai is almost as good, and while I covet the killer poison spell disrupt and ability to kill off almost anything, I prefer the whack method of attacking and i gave use any item, so I can use scarlet ninja to which is just as good for mage disrupt.

without greater acuity, you
They call me Darth...

Darth Gizka!

Muwahahahahhahahha!!!