Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

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Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

Postby BlueSalamander » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:37 pm

Baldur’s Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

I’ve been playing through a good part of these two games a few weeks ago. Here are my thoughts about the games, as well as screenshots (click on a picture to enlarge it). Both games are based on the real-time-with-pause Infinity Engine from Bioware.

Playing Infinity Engine games on a recent computer

Both games come with a configuration programme. Launch it and in the AI options set frame rate to 60 updates per second (to increase walk speed) and path search nodes to 400,000 (to improve pathfinding). Another game option that’s handy is to set character-circle effects to "always activated", that way you can differentiate sleeping creatures from dead creatures.

Also, if you’re playing on a Dell laptop, and possibly other laptop brands, there will be in both games a bug making all keyboard input very slow and unreliable. To avoid that bug you need to turn the touch pad off: go to Control Panel, click “Mouse”, select the "Device Select" tab then click "Disable Touch Pad when USB pointing device is present", then plug a USB mouse to play.

Icewind Dale 2 (IWD 2)

IWD 2 is based on D&D 3rd Edition (unlike IWD 1 and the Baldur’s Gate games which are based on AD&D 2nd Edition). At the beginning you create a party of up to six characters with a point-buy system. I recommend just four characters as the game is still easy, you gain levels quicker, pathfinding doesn't get stuck and it's easier to control the party during battles. Since this is 3rd Edition, you get to pick feats and skills for each character. I have no idea what good are any of the skills, apart from Concentration maybe (lower chance of disrupted spellcasting). The feats include the usual weapon proficiency, weapon focus and weapon specialisation. There are feats for two-weapon fighting and some feats that increase your mage’s damage with an element like fire.

It is easy to imagine a background for your party. Here’s my party’s background for roleplaying sake:
Zara and Valior are childhood friends. Zara is a non-specialist elf wizard while Valior is a human cleric of Lathander. They have heard about goblin attacks in the north and they are bored to death of life in Luskan. Valior wants to help the people of Targos and Zara is looking for spell scrolls. They met Livia Stonecut, a dwarf fighter, as she was walking out of the military academy. They recruited her and the three of them agreed on a voyage to the north. Lastly, they hired Scarface in a tavern on Luskan's docks. Scarface, a half-orc mercenary with bulging muscles, always wears a helmet to hide the horrible scars on his face. He never speaks of his past to anyone.

The game starts in the port city of Targos. Your ship has just landed and you can hear the sound of a war horn. Goblins are invading the city, it’s your task to push them back.

The character sheet. We’re given more information about rolls and bonuses in IWD 2, compared to the other Infinity Engine games. For example, the character sheet breaks up the attack bonus into its components (weapon focus, magic weapon bonus, base ability bonus, etc). During combat, we are given the detail of attack rolls – but not the target’s armor class. What good is the attack roll if you don’t know the target’s AC?


Goblins teleport inside the city at night then wreak havoc. There are some very good scripts in the first part of the game. The quality goes down around the game’s middle though.


Goblin-infested tunnels.


A trek through a beautiful snowy forest landscape.


The party fights to regain control of a major bridge. You can disrupt spellcasting by casting Chromatic Orb on an enemy mage because Chromatic Orb has a very short casting time.
Regardless, wizards get a rotten deal because in most cases their most powerful spells (the area of effect spells) will either hit allies or miss the enemy, due to the real-time nature of the engine.


One of the more interesting battles in the game. The party climbs the stairs to find itself surrounded by enemies, including tough warriors in melee range and mages and archers standing on castle walls. Too bad many of the bad guys won’t help their associates until you unveil the “fog of war” – a serious AI failure in my opinion.


Me is Trugnuk! You no Trugnuk! Some of the dialogues are very enjoyable.


The party destroyed a bunch of evil clerics in some kind of frozen city. All creatures seem to carry 4 or 5 gold coins plus a potion of healing. It gets very tedious having to sift through the stacks of potion, gold and worthless rings found on corpses.

The good:
- the background graphics are very good
- the music is excellent
- good scripted events and interesting plot at least in the first half
- ruleset is a bit better than AD&D 2nd Ed.

The bad:
- the interlude between chapters is slow and irrelevant to the story line.
- too much of the magic is cast before combat (protection spells) rather than during combat, the real-time-with-pause engine makes it difficult to cast area of effect spells, and sometimes wizards lack spells for their high-level slots since they are not given any spell picks at level up (you need to find the scrolls).
- tends to lose the plot around the middle – are we actually protecting the city or just looking for more foes to slaugther mindlessly?
- the tedium of picking up (or at least sift through) hundreds of tiny gold stacks and other useless trinkets.

IWD 2 versus IWD 1: Both games are quite good although both feature a large amount of tediousness. In my opinion IWD 2 is more enjoyable than the first mainly because it has a much better plot. The basis for the plot of IWD 1 is “the darkness is approaching, it’s getting colder, the snow isn’t going away! We need to find the source of all this evil!”. Then after defeating a horde of undead you find out that “oh, actually they weren’t the source of the evil, so let’s look elsewhere now”. Also, I would give an award to the main city of Icewind Dale 1, Kuldahar, for its tediousness and ability to break the pathfinding algorithm.

Baldur's Gate 2 (BG 2) Shadows of Amn

BG 2 is considered by many as the best fantasy cRPG. Therefore, I had to try it. You create a single character (or the entire party with the multiplayer mode, but then you won’t have all the player character interactions) with a system where you roll the abilities than redistribute the points as needed. Since you have only one character, I suggest not to bother rolling and instead use the Ctrl-8 cheat (you must add Debug Mode=1 under [Program Options] in the Baldur.ini file first) to get 18 in every ability. I created a multiclass fighter/mage elf. It’s a good choice since you can fight nearly as well as a straight fighter but with the benefit of a Stoneskin spell, which can be cast only on self. Still, it’s a bit annoying not having quickly access to the more powerful spells, like Disintegrate, considering the low experience awards and slow levelling up.

You start the game as the prisoner of the ultra-powerful mage Irenicus, the epitome of the mad scientist. He’s much like Dagolar in Dark Sun 1 – loves to inflict pain, doesn’t mind using torture to gain a bit of knowledge or for any other sinister purpose. Irenicus is interested in you because, like in BG 1, you are a child of Bhaal, the god of murder. So, you are a prisoner in an underground complex. Then fighting erupts in the complex and you get a chance to escape. The BG 1 player characters Minsc (ranger), Jaheira (fighter/druid) and Imoen (thief/mage) are also prisoners and soon you rebuild your party. There are a few things to do in the complex, then you find the exit. It leads to the city of Athkatla, the largest city in Amn. As soon as you exit the complex you find Irenicus fighting with the Cowled Wizards – Athkatla’s police. The Cowled Wizards arrest both Imoen and Irenicus for unauthorised use of magic. From then on you are free to explore Athkatla and other areas while keeping in mind your objective of freeing Imoen and confronting Irenicus.

The genie wants the answer to a mathematical riddle.


Anomen's father claims that Saerk, a merchant, killed his daughter. He asks you to kill Saerk. However, Anomen’s vows as a knight forbid him to seek revenge. Personally I don’t see that as revenge though, but as justice, given that the city authorities will do nothing.


Umber hulks. They can cast confusion. Had to kill them one by one – like in Icewind Dale 2, creatures (even those that are part of a group) won’t attack unless you lift the fog of war which hides them.


An iron golem. Immune to most weapons and spells, but not to hit-and-run tactics since you can damage it, run away and rest, then come back and it will still be damaged.


Firkraag, a red dragon. His abilities include a wing buffet which knocks surrounding opponents and a fire breath weapon (although it looks like a fireball). On my computer, though, his most terrible weapon is the bad slowdown that I get as soon as the dragon appears on the screen. It’s almost impossible to beat him when you first meet him because the party’s level is so low. There are two ways, though: using a cloudkill wand on him from far away, without making him hostile (he won’t move away from the cloud), or using a combination of spells like lower spell resistance followed by disintegrate or lower spell resistance followed by harm. The reward for defeating him? A +5 weapon that only a paladin can use. Knowing that there’s only one joinable paladin in the game, I think this restriction is a bit extreme.


A crypt filled with traps and undead. Really nice Egyptian-like design.


A trap similar to that found in the film Indiana Jones 3. Step only on the name of the great lord.


The bridge to Spellhold, where Imoen and Irenicus were sent to. A magic barrier on the bridge will kill you unless you have a special key.

The good:
- the background graphics are very good, better than Neverwinter 2 in my opinion. Many buildings in Athkatla have an Arabian look, a nice touch.
- the sheer number of dialogues - there must be thousands of dialogue scripts in this game.
- most quests are very interesting and not of the Fedex delivery man type. Furthermore, the game features mature themes like slavery, torture and revenge killings.
- some interesting intra-party dialogues, like the romance with Aerie, or Minsc deciding that Aerie will be his “witch”. On the other hand, comments from the party members can get annoying due to repetition.
- the mix of puzzles/battles/dialogue - although in my opinion there are too many puzzles and long-winded dialogues, and not enough meaningful combat encounters.

The bad:
- sluggishness: this game has long loading times, although shorter than in Neverwinter 2. Out of the 50 to 100 hours needed to beat the game, how much time is spent just watching the load screen? Additionally, there are slow downs in combats involving large creatures or a high number of creatures.
- the usual problems with a real-time-with-pause combat system. This is made worse if you have six characters (for maximum interaction between characters) - that means six characters to manage. Like in IWD 2, too much of the magic is cast before combat (spells like Mage Armor, Stoneskin and Haste) rather than during combat and it is difficult to cast area of effect spells. There is a large number of spells but 90% of them are either useless or impractical. It’s also rather difficult to know how much damage each of your characters is doing because during combat everything happens so fast. Most fights are over in one minute, including the time the player takes when pausing. Another problem with combat is the low level of experience awards, making levelling up slow.
- the incoherences in the storyline. For example: you can buy a licence to use magic for 5,000 gold, so why would Irenicus not have bought one? There are spells to polymorph creatures into anything, so why does Aerie go on and on about the fact that she will never recover her wings (she’s a winged elf who had her wings cut off)? I also consider it incoherent that Anomen can cut the throat of his enemy's daughter out of spite, and still keep his Lawful Neutral alignment – that’s not neutral but very evil. Likewise, Korgan (chaotic evil) is pretty much out of character for his alignment. Would a chaotic evil character stay with a party of lawful good characters, obediently following their every order? No, he would wait for the party members to sleep, then grab their cash and run away, or worse, murder them all in their sleep possibly with the help of some other thugs. Lastly, some dialogues/quests are rather inane… are the various lover-match-making quests the best use of time for a party of heroes?
- just like in Neverwinter 1, you will find in the main city hundreds of barrels, crates and other unremarkable containers, all containing petty rewards - a scroll of identify, or a small gem, or 3 gold coins, or a potion of healing. There are two effects to this: the plausibility of the game world is reduced and the player wastes his time sifting though all the junk. Same problem with enemies dropping 4 or 5 coins on each corpse. Furthermore, considering the sheer number of gems you pick up in the game, why do gem bags have such a limited capacity? How heavy can a gem be? The party's backpacks are often full with all the gems and scrolls and picking up new stuff means having to micromanage each character's inventory.
'Say there is a chunk of meat. Pirates will have a banquet and eat it! But heroes will share it with other people. I want all the meat!!' - Luffy in One Piece
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Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

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Re: Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

Postby VentilatorOfDoom » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:51 pm

Nice review. BG2 is my favorite CRPG.

sluggishness: this game has long loading times, although shorter than in Neverwinter 2. Out of the 50 to 100 hours needed to beat the game, how much time is spent just watching the load screen? Additionally, there are slow downs in combats involving large creatures or a high number of creatures.

I never noticed particularily long loading times, but there is a certain slowdown noticable the more magic is going on at the same time.

- the usual problems with a real-time-with-pause combat system. This is made worse if you have six characters (for maximum interaction between characters) - that means six characters to manage.

It's actually better than in most if not all other RTWP games due to sensible auto-pause options. on end of round, on enemy destroyed, on spell cast etc.
Had there been an additional option for on action failed (like spell failure), it be almost as good as TB.

Like in IWD 2, too much of the magic is cast before combat (spells like Mage Armor, Stoneskin and Haste) rather than during combat and it is difficult to cast area of effect spells.

I don't mind prebuffing and choosing the right protection spells for the situation at hand is part of the fun. It is more difficult to aim AoE spells than in TB but Fireball for instance is a spell with a quite low casting time, and with the typical equipment for your mage and therefore reduced casting time it's an instantly cast spell, so chances are noone moved in the meantime. This is not NWN2.

There is a large number of spells but 90% of them are either useless or impractical.

No, just no. The useless spell percentage is not even near that. I played this game maybe 15 times or so and I'd guess it maybe 30%-40% if at all.
BG2 has the most interesting and diverse spell system of all DnD CRPGs I played, and this is not because 90% of the spells are useless. It doesn't have as many spells as NWN2, and in NWN2 I'd concure that 90% of the spells are useless. But let's have a look at some spells, randomly picked level 6 arcane:

Carrion Summons - useless, there are better summons like Animate Dead
Chain Lightning - decent but not really important
Conjure Air Elemental - useless, there are better summons like Animate Dead
Conjure Earth Elemental - useless, there are better summons like Animate Dead
Conjure Fire Elemental - useless, there are better summons like Animate Dead
Contingency - absolutely awesome
Death Fog - absolutely awesome
Death Spell - absolutely awesome
Disintegrate- semi-useless
Flesh to Stone - semi-useless
Globe of Invulnerability - decent
Improved Haste - more than absolutely awesome
Invisible Stalker - decent
Mislead - super awesome, potentially gamebreaking
Pierce Magic - awesome
Power Word: Silence - decent
Protection From Magic Energy - awesome and essential
Protection From Magical Weapons - awesome and essential
Spell Deflection - decent
Stone to Flesh - semi-useless
Summon Nishruu - super awesome
Tenser's Transformation - decent
True Sight - necessary unless not needed because of Inquisitor companion for instance
Wyvern Call - useless, there are better summons like Animate Dead

24 spells, 5 useless, 3 semi-useless = 33%, QED.

It’s also rather difficult to know how much damage each of your characters is doing because during combat everything happens so fast. Most fights are over in one minute, including the time the player takes when pausing. Another problem with combat is the low level of experience awards, making levelling up slow.

- Autopause can help, to a certain extend. But it is difficult in times to keep the overview that's right.
- I prefer the fights to be over quickly if warranted, better than to fight 12 plants in Wiz8 who can't even damage you for 30min.
- There is enough XP in the game to hit the cap way before the end and you'll gain a lot of levels, where's the problem? This is a massive game.

- the incoherences in the storyline. For example: you can buy a licence to use magic for 5,000 gold, so why would Irenicus not have bought one?

Why should a lvl30 elven high mage pay 5000 gold to some wussie mages? To be permitted to use magic? I guess he didn't give a shit.

There are spells to polymorph creatures into anything, so why does Aerie go on and on about the fact that she will never recover her wings (she’s a winged elf who had her wings cut off)?

True, she's annoying. Solution: tell her to stfu. Unless you like larping *romances*.

I also consider it incoherent that Anomen can cut the throat of his enemy's daughter out of spite, and still keep his Lawful Neutral alignment – that’s not neutral but very evil. Likewise, Korgan (chaotic evil) is pretty much out of character for his alignment. Would a chaotic evil character stay with a party of lawful good characters, obediently following their every order? No, he would wait for the party members to sleep, then grab their cash and run away, or worse, murder them all in their sleep possibly with the help of some other thugs.


Alignments in BG2... you should run around Athkala and have a Pally detect alignment, you'll rofl about who has what alignment, seriously.

Lastly, some dialogues/quests are rather inane… are the various lover-match-making quests the best use of time for a party of heroes?


Romances in RPGs are inane with very few exceptions. Don't do them.

- just like in Neverwinter 1, you will find in the main city hundreds of barrels, crates and other unremarkable containers, all containing petty rewards - a scroll of identify, or a small gem, or 3 gold coins, or a potion of healing. There are two effects to this: the plausibility of the game world is reduced and the player wastes his time sifting though all the junk. Same problem with enemies dropping 4 or 5 coins on each corpse. Furthermore, considering the sheer number of gems you pick up in the game, why do gem bags have such a limited capacity? How heavy can a gem be? The party's backpacks are often full with all the gems and scrolls and picking up new stuff means having to micromanage each character's inventory.


This is true, but at least there are mods to remove the limit from gem bags, scroll containers, bags of holding etc.

Ah the memories... the first time I played ToB with Ascension, the final Ascension fight, it took me like 16h to finally prevail, and all time was the adrenalin-pushing bhaalspawn-battlemusic on. A tremendous piece of music imo. BG2 is just awesome.
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Re: Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

Postby Gragt » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:22 pm

VentilatorOfDoom wrote:Ah the memories... the first time I played ToB with Ascension, the final Ascension fight, it took me like 16h to finally prevail, and all time was the adrenalin-pushing bhaalspawn-battlemusic on. A tremendous piece of music imo. BG2 is just awesome.


Damn you, I want to reinstall BG2 now. Despite its numerous flaws, it still has something that keeps it attracting after all these years.
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Re: Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

Postby BlueSalamander » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:16 pm

I don't know, I really tried to like Baldur's Gate 2, I tried two or three times in fact. Each time I started with excitement and then I ended up extremely bored when reaching around level 11-12 (as single class) or 9/10 (as multiclass), and stopping.
There's no denying that the game has a huge amount of well-designed content, but as the developers themselves said, it's all about quality, not quantity. A good part of the game just drags IMO. The number of fights you have to go through... The Dungeon Master Guide recommends levelling up every seven encounters. In BG 2, you can go through 20 or 30 battles, and still NOT level up. If it was turn based with interesting battles I guess that wouldn't be such a problem. But the way you have to go to beat the encounters just lacks entertainment value IMO. Either it totally lacks challenge, or else it's about reloading, changing your spell selection, resting, pre-buffing with your new spell selection and attempting the battle again until you get lucky with your selection.
Some elements just make the battles worse too. The game is very fond of immunities - immunity to weapon damage and immunity to spells. I've checked out the AD&D books and the spells that give all these immunities don't even exist in the original rules.

let's have a look at some spells, randomly picked level 6 arcane:
Yes, I wouldn't know, my multiclass didn't reach a high enough level to use level six spells. But if you look at the lower-level spells, 1-2-3-4, you will find more than 33% of useless I'd wager.

VentilatorOfDoom wrote:I never noticed particularily long loading times
Yeah I tried again with a full install, and it's not so slow then.
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Re: Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

Postby VentilatorOfDoom » Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:23 pm

So you never came to the most exciting stuff. Did you leave Athkatla?
Maybe you should try to play with only 2 or 3 NPCs. Jan for magic and thieving, Viconia and Haerdalis. you'll level up way faster.
What I often do is dismiss the NPCs as soon as I leave Irenicus Dungeon, and then first solo a bit. Make a fighter, a kensai or berzerker, and solo until you made 13 levels (all basic cleric stuff can be replicated with potions) then dual to Mage. Read a copy from all spells available in different Athkatla shops and you'll make 10 levels as a mage. Now you only have to make 4 levels on your own until you reactivate your fighter class. Wands of Fire and Cloudkill are enough in Vanilla to comfortably make it through this phase. Only after you reactivated pickup NPCs (by then they will have 1,2 million XP when you pick them up so you actually save a lot of XP) .

The game is very fond of immunities - immunity to weapon damage and immunity to spells.


Use it to your advantage!
there is a lot of potential to get creative with the spellsystem.

OK lvl4:

Confusion - decent, late game obsolete, semiuseless
Contagion - useless, because I never use it
Emotion - awesome
Enchanted Weapon - can help early on to hit certain monsters with immunity to mundane weapons - semi-useless
Farsight - very very good
Fireshield Blue - awesome
Fireshield (Red) - awesome
Greater Malison - -4 to enemy saves AoE - that's awesome
Ice Storm - decent
Improved Invisibility - pretty good
Minor Globe of Invulnerability - maybe useful once in a while - semiuseless
Minor Sequencer - extremely awesome
Monster Summoning II - useless , use wands they are abundant
Otiluke's Resilient Sphere - protects from all harm+you can't act = useless
Polymorph Other - change powerful foe into rodent, might have uses
Polymorph Self - decent
Remove Curse - useless
Secret Word - good
Spider Spawn- good in tandem with web
Spirit Armor - terrific AC0 (Full Plate+1) on your Mage
Stoneskin - well, it is very good amirite?
Teleport Field - your mage doesn't want to be attacked in melee? that's it
Wizard Eye- decent, scout the area

23, 5 useless or semiuseless
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Re: Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

Postby BlueSalamander » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:17 pm

Yeah I visited a few other places accessible on the world map, and story wise I went up to the point where you get re-captured by Irenicus in Spellhold. In the last game, I played with just 4 characters (my character + Jan, Minsc and Boo, and Aerie), but even so, XP comes very slowly; and new NPCs often talk to you and propose a quest, that you can complete only if you agree to let them join your party (example: entering the planar sphere).

My own view of the level 4 spells:

Confusion - useless since you're likely to confuse your own characters, and also because of the short duration.
Contagion - useless
Emotion - never tried, but sounds like it could be useful since it affects only the enemies
Enchanted Weapon - useless since the problematic creatures are those with immunity except +4/+5 weapons, not those with immunity except +3
Farsight - useless, when in trouble we can reload, so why waste spells on divination powers
Fireshield Blue - useless for my cleric/mage, but I can see that if you're playing a kensai/mage, then it MAY be useful (provided your character can survive the damage AND the monster is not immune to elemental damage... lots of "if" really).
Fireshield Red - see Fireshield Blue
Greater Malison - Sounds good but in practice I found it to be useless. The game does not say whether an enemy is affected or not, thus I can't say whether the spell has any effect at all in practice.
Ice Storm - Useless, only good to hurt your own party (UNLESS for cheap casting on the enemy while it's unaware, and in this case, no better than fireball)
Improved Invisibility - Useless, since there is another spell that gives the entire party invisibility.
Minor Globe of Invulnerability - useless, problematic mages are those with high level spells not low level.
Minor Sequencer - useless, do we really need two additional second-level spells?
Monster Summoning II - as you said, there are wands and lots of other monster/animal summoning spells anyway.
Otiluke's Resilient Sphere - useless
Polymorph Other - useless, won't work on those you'd like to use it
Polymorph Self - I found it useful to change into a spell-immune jelly (in order to get the enemy to waste its spells). Rather cheap tactic though.
Remove Curse - useless
Secret Word - useless, does not remove the things which you'd really like to remove (such as weapon immunity and spell resistance)
Spider Spawn- just another summoning spell, no better than the others
Spirit Armor - useless for my cleric/mage (since he doesn't go into melee and uses Stoneskin anyway)
Stoneskin - Useful because permanent.
Teleport Field - Useless, never had a need to teleport enemies away, also it's an area of effect spell, meaning it will affect your own party
Wizard Eye- See Farsight.
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Re: Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

Postby VentilatorOfDoom » Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:43 pm

Yeah I visited a few other places accessible on the world map, and story wise I went up to the point where you get re-captured by Irenicus in Spellhold. In the last game, I played with just 4 characters (my character + Jan, Minsc and Boo, and Aerie), but even so, XP comes very slowly; and new NPCs often talk to you and propose a quest, that you can complete only if you agree to let them join your party (example: entering the planar sphere).


You can pick them up temporarily, or like in Valigars case you could also kill him and use his body to get entrance. He's a wanted murderer after all. (Ok the cowled wizard guys are suspicious enough, but for all you know in game before you talk to Valigar he's a murderer)

Emotion - it is useful especially after malison

Farsight - No it's very useful but in higher levels. In higher levels your mage most likely will use Project Image a lot. You get a copy of your caster with all spells that can be moved around etc. So while you can move the image around - it does not unveil the fow. Once you move your Image into an fow area or just a bit too far away, you'll lose control, it "disappears" you can no longer click & control it unless you move another party member there so that the fow get's unveiled. Understand? Farsight lets you target an area on the map where the FOW gets lifted and where you can target spells. USEFUL. I don't say you're going to use it all the time but trust me it can be very helpful in certain situations. Keep in mind that such "minor" advantages might be decisive, there are very difficult battles, especially with TOB/Ascension, the fight at the castle of the Knights in KOTC is childs play in comparison

Fireshield - unlike as it should be, melee atackers get damaged if they strike at you, not only if they damage you. So having both Fireshields up + Stoneskin or Pro Magical Weapons means you don't get damaged at all, but your attackers are killing themselves

Greater Malison - there is no spell, nothing that can protect from being affected by malison, no buff no magic resistance, no save, nothing. Only Liches are immune I think cause they are immune to spells lower than lvl6.
Everyone in the AoE (you see the spell effect on screen) is affected and suffers from the save penalty
Lower Resistance-Lower Resistance- Malison- Chromatic Orb = Dead Dragon (if you're at least lvl 12 when the Orb gets the death effect), might need 2 or 3 orbs if you're not lucky immediately

Ice Storm - it can have uses vs specific enemies but yeah it's probably semi-useless at least

Improved Invisibility - Useless, since there is another spell that gives the entire party invisibility.
Hardly makes this spell obsolete, since it's lvl4 where you'll have more slots than lvl7, also can be used in defensive triggers/sequencers. like Improved Invis/Improved Haste/Pro MW
you can't be targeted with spells while under this spell, so how about combining Improved Invis with Spell Immunity:Divination (True Sight) and Spell Immunity: Abjuration (Dispel)? Might be annoying for enemy mages.

Minor Globe of Invulnerability - being pelted with MM and Acid Arrows can be annoying though, let's agree on semi-useless

Minor Sequencer - useless, do we really need two additional second-level spells?
Nonsense, for cleric/mages that means Doom+Chromatic orb, save-penalty that stacks with malison btw and a instakill effect in a single sequencer that has fast casting time = dragonkiller
How about having a Mirror Image/Blur in the sleeve for your Fighter/Mage? a minor sequencer with 2 MM can kill a Mordy Sword if you get lucky with the damage rolls.

Polymorph Other - useless, won't work on those you'd like to use it
has to be prepared to work, Malison , doom, lower resistance

Polymorph Self - I found it useful to change into a spell-immune jelly (in order to get the enemy to waste its spells). Rather cheap tactic though.
We talked about useless, not about cheap or cheesy

Secret Word - it will remove 1 spell protection up to lvl8, can hardly be called useless, certainly not one of the best spells but still

Spirit Armor - useless for my cleric/mage (since he doesn't go into melee and uses Stoneskin anyway)
No, there is a differnce whether you AC sucks and you'll get hit all time and your stoneskins are burning away quickly, or if you get hit only half the time and don't need to memorize that many stoneskins. If AC is not enough, it also gives +3 on saves. Good enough?

Teleport Field - Useless, never had a need to teleport enemies away, also it's an area of effect spell, meaning it will affect your own party
Maybe it's only me because I play modded game, with tactics/SCS2, but there are times where you would be happy to slow the melee onslaught, especially in TOB/Ascension fights where chars without arcane protection like a cleric will die quickly in melee
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VentilatorOfDoom
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Re: Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

Postby SkeleTony » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:34 am

I guess if you are used to games/campaigns where experience comes fast as Hell and you are able to hit level 20 with the entire party in just hours then BG2 may seem slow in the experience for you but I never had this problem. I always played with the ToB expansion as well though. My only real criticsm of BG2 is that the ending just sucks. I have never been a fan of the "Now we are going to send you to the realm where you can no longer rest to regain your strength and toss the same encounter at you, amplified-to-absurd-degrees of difficulty at you over and over until you win..." thing. Seems cheesy and only "challenging" in the way that playing the game using your off-hand would be.

That and the fact that evil parties get shafted...
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Re: Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

Postby VentilatorOfDoom » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:08 am

How do evil parties get shafted? You mean Sarevok? Yeah that sucks if he's one of your main damage dealers and suddenly...
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Re: Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2

Postby SkeleTony » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:32 pm

VentilatorOfDoom wrote:How do evil parties get shafted? You mean Sarevok? Yeah that sucks if he's one of your main damage dealers and suddenly...



Not just that. I mean there are only like 3 evil RPCs in the whole game and you end up having to take some neutral or good people(like Jan) to fill out your party. Wouldn't be as bad if I were like Blue Salamander and able to play with a small party of four or something but I can't do that. I prefer games that feature 6-8 member parties and I have to have every spot filled. Otherwise I feel forced to 'hybridize' everyone...making the cleric a rogue also and the mage a warrior etc. because there are only four or whatever.

Plus even if you are playing evil you end up being forced to play 'good'...rescuing people and crap like that because the game's creators did not put a lot of effort/content into the evil part.
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