Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Twitter Commentary, Part 5
By Dwip January 16, 2013, 11:12 pm Comments (2) RSS Feed for this post

This is part 5 of my expanded Twitter commentary on Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition. You can find the master list of all parts here.

If you’re just tuning in, there are spoilers below the fold. Go play the game, then come back here.

So, I specced Safana out as a high-stealth backstab rogue. In 2nd edition AD&D this is a pretty legitimate choice, and I once soloed BG1 Tutu with just such a rogue, which was very satisfying. However, as part of a party, they’re not all that wonderful.

One big problem is that Hide In Shadows fails a LOT, even at very high levels. Its unreliability makes it dangerous. The other problem is that while the Thief Aggressive AI package tells you that your thief will go aggressively backstab, what actually happens is nothing like it, so your thief usually just ends up dying.

We will, as you’ll see, have plenty more problems with Safana going forward.

In which I make a homage to my favorite bit of BG writing ever, the quest to rescue the Boots of Speed…er…Haer’Dalis.

Getting Ashideena is sort of a landmark moment in your BG1 playthrough, right up there with getting Varscona and a couple of other weapons. In this case, I gave it to Branwen in place of her spiritual hammers, and that’s how she rolled for the entire game.

2nd edition warhammers are terrible, by the way. At some point we apparently got 1d8 damage 3e style crossbows, but those 1d4+1 warhammers are just awful.

If anyone ever tries to tell you that the Baldur’s Gate RNG isn’t streaky as all hell, you should shun that guy, for he is a total liar. On a related note, who rolls that many 2s and 5s in a row during combat?

This is me referencing my Twitter review of NWN2, which featured a “some boys got cornered by wolves” quest much like the lighthouse one in BG1, except for the boys are actually visible, in the open, on screen, and a huge pack of wolves ignores them to fight your heavily armed party.

What I’m saying here is that sometimes not showing is much, much better than showing.

Relatedly, NWN2 is a terrible game in so many ways.

So, getting your Bhaalspawn powers in dreams are pretty great, and unlike, say, the dreams in Mass Effect 3, are quite evocative and make some sense (though, being dreams, not too much sense). Given the technology of the day, narrated text was a really good idea here, because it allowed for much stronger imagery than otherwise might be the case.

For instance, this would probably be prohibitively expensive and basically impossible to do in 3D.

That said, Baldur’s Gate 2 did a fair number of these sorts of dreams, did them in cutscene form with dialogue, and did them quite well. I’m not sure if they just didn’t have the technology in the first game, or if they just got better at using it, but it IS possible. In 2D.

Which is true. She does not, try as she might, blend well with the other NPCs. Some of this is probably just my nostalgia rejecting the new NPCs, and I was basically ok with her by the end of the game, but something about Neera’s writing just seems a little discordant. Also, her various voices are higher volume than the original NPCs, and could really stand to be leveled to match.

It didn’t help that she was the one saying stuff 75% of the time for whatever reason.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that sirenes are probably the hardest enemy in the entire game except for Sarevok’s gang and Aec’Letec. Yes, basilisks turn you to stone, and that’s no joke, but dire charm is really hard to protect against and will turn your best fighters against you, the arrows of biting they have will demolish your back line with poison, and it’s really hard to take them down without mass casualties even if you can use summons, which I couldn’t at that point.

The tradeoff is some nice XP and loot, however.

Allow me to quote:

“We don’t need another thief, not even an incredibly gorgeous one (Wait! What are we saying?)”

Never mind the constant “I feel so…sensual” lines and a few others.

It’s not that I object to sexy women in my video games, but that’s pretty much all Safana is. She’s got basically no other character that I can tell (granted I never picked up Coran, so got zero interaction), and pretty much seems to be there as a sort of nudge nudge wink wink hot chick teehee thing. Yes, you made a 17 charisma backstabbing woman thief with a charm ability and put her on the map with all the hot blue charming sea chicks so they can fight while she makes constant sex references. I’m so proud of you.

I suppose I should be thankful the paperdoll graphics aren’t good enough to give her a cleavage window or something.

I also admit that I’d probably be a lot more forgiving of the concept if she’d actually been relatively competent at her jobs in my party.

As I was saying, that Hide thing is really annoying, and Safana was basically a useless part of my team until I gave her a crossbow. At one point I had Branwen running point on traps.

One of the more inexplicable encounters in the game is on the eastern half of the Beregost temple map, which you’ll encounter pretty early on. You get jumped by a pack of normal and dread wolves, which is hard but doable, but there are also two vampiric wolves in there. If you don’t have +1 weapons, you’re basically done at this point and should reload and go somewhere else.

Why exactly that got put there, I’ve never really understood.

I don’t know what the rest of you do when you hit up town, but I’ve got it pretty much down to an art – rest at the Jovial Juggler, identify all my stuff, then go up to the smithy and/or Feldepost’s to sell it and buy new stuff. As it happens the store in Nashkel is actually a better place to sell stuff (he’ll buy almost anything), but Beregost is more central with more going on, so I usually go there.

Point is, I’ve spent a LOT of time there over the years.

If you know me, you know why I’m quoting the lines about squirrels.

Also related:

You may recall Weenog from Icewind Dale. A select few of you may also recall him as my worg-riding, rapier-wielding paladin from various 3e D&D games.

As I also indicated, I’m running around the area they added for Neera’s quest. And it’s a pretty cool area. I dig the addition of goblins, and the whole quest is pretty fun and amusing.

Except the part where you’re probably seriously underleveled for the epic fight with Red Wizards at the end of it. These guys aren’t really kidding around much, and you can either deal with guys who have stoneskin and minor globe of invulnerability and who cast cloudkill, or you can’t. I really couldn’t.

There’s some suggestion online that not rushing to do this quest seriously breaks Neera’s romance, but they may have fixed that. I personally managed to either bug out the romance or just fail at women somewhere after her encounter in Baldur’s Gate city, so I’m not sure what happened there exactly.

Either way, I left this fight until much, much later in the game.

Computer Games - Baldur's Gate Series, Gamecraft, Small Forest Animals Comments (2) Trackback URL for this post RSS Feed for this post
Comments on Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Twitter Commentary, Part 5
avatar Comment by Samson #1
January 17, 2013 at 2:05 am

Your Neera romance is bugged out unfortunately. You’ll be needing a console command to fix it.

It’s been reported and claimed to have been fixed already, but, well, unless you skipped all those necessary patches, that means they didn’t actually fix it. That’s a leaf out of Bethesda’s tree these guys DON’T need.

avatar Comment by Dwip #2
January 17, 2013 at 2:33 am

Pretty certain that if it’s a bug they’re working on it. It’s how they seem to roll.

Might have also just fucked up. Hard to tell with Neera.

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