Saturday Morning Gaming: Baldur’s Gate vs. Icewind Dale

Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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17 Responses

  1. Ben Sears
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    says:

    I wanted D&D on the computer too. My son found it, and not through another game. Every Tuesday he gets in zoom and plays with a bunch of kids from Oakland. I wish I had time to do that. As far as games with graphics and all that, Dragon Age Inquisition is fantastic for the casual gamer because it’s turn based. Skyrim looks amazing but I play once a month or so. I have to learn the controls every time. Turn based means I can charge ahead with no relearning. I get to play at my speed.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Ben Sears
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      says:

      The Pathfinder game is turn-based. And that’s kind of an understatement. You can have the game auto-pause for any number of events. When you see an enemy. When someone in the party takes a hit. When someone in your party hits an enemy. When the enemy does a ranged attack. When someone gets a critical hit.

      And on and on and on. You unpause by pressing the spacebar and you’ll find yourself saying “okay, maybe that’s too many pauses” and you’ll go back and turn off half of your auto-pause option.Report

  2. Fish
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    says:

    Adding this to the wishlist. It sounds fantastic but the full bundle is a whopping 100 bucks! Base game is 50.Report

  3. Jaybird
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    says:

    One thing that the game gets *PERFECT* is the whole “Dwarf in a fight” thing. My human and elven partners? They can cover a lot of ground as part of their standard action. By the time my Dwarf catches up? The fight’s over.

    And the whole thing where there are three rounds in a row where nobody rolls higher than a 6.Report

  4. CB
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    says:

    Baldur’s Gate and BGII had the better story, but IWD had the elements of hack n slash. It all depends on what you’re feeling any given day. I will say playing the EE of either makes a lot of classes OP, for example, running a solo Cavalier in IWD is so OP by the end. Can’t solo through the expansions as easily though.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to CB
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      says:

      I found that with Monks too. Up to around level 5 they’re made out of half-sucked Life Savers. Somewhere around level 10 they’re very good. Around level 20 they’re the best character in the game.

      I suppose that that’s another upside to the video games. At the table top, we play and we play and we get to level 4 or level 5 and we beat the monster and handshakes all around and okay let’s play something else.

      In the video game, you can get to level 20.Report

    • Pinky in reply to CB
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      says:

      Baldur’s Gate never clicked for me.

      I think I’m just angry that *one time* my thief tried to steal something, and we ended up having to kill some guards, and I got the “Extremely Terrible” achievement but never made it up to “Extremely Good”.Report

      • Brent F in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        I bounced off Baldur’s gate about 5 times.

        Then I got into it and it was the best thing I played in a while.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Brent F
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          says:

          Yeah, I don’t see why it wouldn’t happen, it just didn’t happen for me. I think my nostalgia about old D&D games has clouded my memories, as if the game didn’t always make you track a lot of details and there wasn’t always the risk of getting stomped by some monster. I should take another crack at it.Report

          • Brent F in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            Yeah one of the things that changed it for me was realizing that the game wasn’t broken for killing you so often early as you figure out how the world works. Its that a big part of the early game is that you’re an incompetent nobody being hunted by a much more powerful force and the fun was learning how to survive and thrive in that environment.

            Then there was figuring out that most of the loot was deliberately worthless and that consumables were meant to be used right away and not horded for special occasions etc. Basically it was an exercise in letting the game be what it wanted to be rather than the different game I had in my head.

            Similarly, Icewind Dale kind of expects you to have played Baldur’s Gate and know from the start how the game works, otherwise you’re going to have a bad time at the start as the tight learning curve stomps on your low level idiots.Report

    • JS in reply to CB
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      says:

      I keep wanting to play a wizard in Baldur’s Gate and then immediately run into the “Wizard versus housecat. HOUSECAT WINS” problem.

      Icewind Dale was a railroad, but I enjoyed the trip. Especially with my party leader (a sorcerer whose answer to everything was “fire”, but was quite the charming sociopath).

      Putting together all theme parties and trying them out was fun.

      Then there’s Neverwinter Nights, where it’s just you and a henchmen you can hire. The henchmen could be quite memorable (I typically ran as a wizard with a monk henchman) characters.

      NWN, however, had the “traps are supposed to kill you not inconvenience you” design philosophy, so as a wizard a pixie familiar was a no-brainer. It scouted ahead, disabled traps, unlocked chests, and generally functioned as my fragile little rogue buddy.Report

      • Brent F in reply to JS
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        says:

        As a child of 5e I was perpetually annoyed with mages, because why on earth can’t they just cantrip attack as their normal action. There’s a big mental adjustment to, the wizard’s job is to hang way back and throw something uselessly for the early minor fights, cast Sleep to auto-win the big early fights.

        In BG, the most extreme example of this is Xan. He can’t evocate at all, dies if you look at him sideways and has an awesome sword he can’t use effectively. However, he’s incredibly dangerous in the early to mid game once you figure him out by virtue of his (bonused) crowd control spells.Report

      • CB in reply to JS
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        says:

        NWN is something I replay over and over again. I love coming up with new types of characters. For example, the Finesse Barbarian, dual wield two rapiers and with weapon focus, finesse, and all the feats dealing with maximizing critical hits. OR the Rand al’Thor–a fighter with 4 levels, enough for weapon specialization in Katana because he is a blademaster, then either wizard or sorcerer levels thereafter. The sorcerer is the more accurate portrayal since they are born with magical power (like Rand) rather than a wizard who studies magic. I have several more, but I am v ashamed at the number of hours I have put into NWN.

        The EE editions of BG , BG II, and IWD allow for more fun character creations and combos for soloing. I don’t much like the party, except in BG where it is almost necessary for survival and if you solo through BG you get level capped very early. My strategy is usually to reach max level and collect all the attribute-raising books, then import to BGII to play solo.Report

  5. North
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    says:

    I was absolutely addicted to IWD and IWD II. It should also be noted that, in addition to rock solid game play, both games has fishin incredible music and the voice acting was on fire.Report

  6. Marchmaine
    Ignored
    says:

    I downloaded Pathfinder… I haven’t really played it very much but I’ve put several hours into the Character Creation sim.

    When I did play, I got to a point where I could buy a mercenary… so that was another few hours of theory crafting.

    Then I clicked on the NPC who asked if I wanted to ‘train’ one of my characters… so, thinking I was going to get XP or a skill or something I said yes (don’t judge, it happens in other games)… which pomptly opened the Character Creation screen – so I thought I was getting another Dood – after theory crafting that for another hour or so I hit complete only to discover I’d RE-trained my original guy. Shit. Fortunately I could RE-RE-train the same guy so I RE-RE-trained him to a better original dood.

    I’m like level 2 with 12 hrs in game almost all of which are building characters. This is not a complaint… I think this is the best character creator ever… I may never play the game itself.Report

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