After more than two years, it's finally time for a new BG thread!http://www.baldursgate.com/
- Home of the BGEEhttp://www.baldursgateii.com/
- Home of the BG2EEBaldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition
Baldur's Gate I
Baldur's Gate I
at GamersgateDafuq is Baldur's Gate?
Baldur's Gate is a series of RPGs developed by BioWare and published by Interplay through their subsidiary, Black Isle Entertainment. Originally released in 1998, the first Baldur's Gate was a watershed game that helped usher in a new era of RPGs, taking a story deeper and more expansive than most RPGs of its day and layering it on top of beautifully-designed pre-rendered 2D environments (which still hold up well to this day) with quality voice work from a who's who of professional animation voice actors. Combined with the then-familiar AD&D ruleset and the rather elegant real-time-with-pause combat system seen not long before in Microprose's Darklands*, you had an RPG that had really never been seen before. Needless to say, it was quite the success.
Two years later, the bigger, badder sequel (and my personal favorite game of all time) hit. With a much greater variety in locales, new classes and customization kits for old classes, a memorable cast of motley NPCs, and a story that starts out strong and rarely lets up, BG2 set the bar so high that it (along with Planescape: Torment) is still a game other RPGs are judged by (and often found wanting), more than a decade later.
A year later, the BG2 expansion pack, Throne of Bhaal, was released and concluded the story. Opinions on ToB are mixed, though it's generally thought that it's a good-but-not-great follow-up. I tend to agree, and Shadows of Amn was a very tough act to follow.
Fast-forward eleven years, to March 2012. A group of folks at Overhaul Games announced enhanced ports of both Baldur's Gate games, the Enhanced Editions, and here we are today, with the first BGEE out the door.Well... dafuq is BGEE?
After much ado and a few delays, Overhaul Games has released the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition
, porting the 14-year-old game to work natively on modern OSes and tablets. Some highlights include:
- Some of the most common "essential" mods baked into the standard game, including widescreen support, kits from BG2, the positively ancient fixes provided by the BG2 Fixpack and Baldurdash, some of Tutu's fixes, and some of 1 Pixel Production's mods as well.
- A retouched UI made more suitable for a tablet, with a zoom function, new color scheme, and some better-laid-out information on character sheets. If you don't like the color or find the new font hideous, it's pretty easily changed via mods that are already popping up.
- Native multiplayer support that actually works without several arcane rituals, Hamachi, and praying to dark gods.
- Three new characters: Rassad the Monk, Neera the Wild Mage, and Dorn Il-Khan the Blackguard. Note that Neera and Dorn are in-app purchases for the iPad version, but come standard with the PC version. Dorn also brings his Blackguard class into the game for you to play yourself.
- A new standalone game mode: The Black Pits. Basically a Horde Mode separate from the main game where you can try out your various broken custom party builds, with much loot to be had to keep you trucking along.
- A bunch of terrible redone cutscenes!
The PC version is $19.99, while the iPad version is $9.99 but with several things locked behind in-app purchases.NOTE: The iPad version currently requires iOS6, and thus is NOT compatible with first-generation iPads!
Overhaul says they're working on iPad1 compatibility, but with OSX and Android ports already on their plate, it may be a while before we see it.That's great and all, but what about the originals?
Well thankfully both the original Baldur's Gate as well as Baldur's Gate II as well as their expansions work pretty much A-OK on modern OSes and are readily available from various digital distribution outfits like Gamersgate and GOG. For the price of the Enhanced Edition ($9.99 per game) you can get the whole series in a neat, tidy downloadable form and with an hour of modding you can get both games up to better-than-EE standards. Of course, they're both quite playable (if dated) without any modding whatsoever.Well I bought the game and now I'm wandering in some woods but bears/wolves/gibberlings/chickens/Tarnesh/hobgoblins/ankhegs keep chewing my 4 HP Mage's face off! Help!
The first Baldur's Gate can be a pretty rough game! Early levels in AD&D can be very lethal, and level 1 characters are almost universally weak. A winning game begins at character creation, and there are a few things to keep in mind for a character.Your Class
: For a first-time Baldur's Gate player, some of the beefier melee types tend to be the easiest to build and play, and their naturally higher hit points tend to make them the safest classes early on in the game. Fighters, Rangers, Paladins, and Barbarians all make for a fairly easy-going early game. Pure Mages are very difficult (but not impossible!) to level, and some classes like the Monk don't even begin to shine until BG2
. If magic is more your forté and you're dying to roll a spellcaster anyway
, a multiclass is also a pretty good option. A Fighter/Mage, Fighter/Cleirc, or Ranger/Cleric makes for a very formidable protagonist. The Blade kit for the Bard as well as the Swashbuckler kit for the Thief are also quite powerful.
Also beware of the Kensai Fighter kit in BG1. You'll be extremely potent in melee fighting, but you have absolutely no armor and no way to engage in ranged combat.Your Stats
: Stats are one of the biggest components of a good character, and some of them can be a bit weird.Strength
: Boosts melee to-hit (THAC0) and damage while increasing your carry weight. Some weapons and armors also have base STR requirements. Naturally most useful for melee fighters, who want 16+ as much as possible. If your protagonist is going to be an up-close bruiser, you really
want to shoot for 18. Mages and characters who plan to focus more on ranged combat can get away with less; as little as 10 for mages, but others may want 14-15.Dexterity
: Boosts ranged to-hit (THAC0), your Armor Class, your Reaction (how early in the 6-second Round you swing - vitally important for using backstab attacks as a Thief and for disrupting spellcasters but not much else), and provides a boost to thieving skills. Every
class can make use of DEX, and more is always nice. Thieves and any ranged-focus class definitely want 18 DEX, and if you can spare it, try to get 16 or more for other classes.Constitution
: Provides bonuses to HP at higher values as well as bonuses to saving throws for Dwarves, Halflings, and Gnomes. If you're a Fighter, Ranger, or Paladin, you want 18 CON, no excuses. Everyone else maxes out in benefit at 16.Intelligence
: Determines the percentage chance for a Mage or Bard to successfully scribe spells into their spellbooks, the number of spells per spell level you can learn (but not your spells per day), and is half of what determines your Lore value. Mages and player Bards should gun for 18, no matter what. Everyone else should try to avoid going below 10; Mind Flayers in BG2 do Int damage per hit, and will kill you when you hit 0.Wisdom
: Determines how many bonus spells Divine spellcasters (Clerics and Druids) get per day and is half your lore. Only those two classes really need to worry about it. Paladins and Rangers gain no benefit. For the most part, it can be used as a dump stat, but Mages can benefit from up to 16 Wisdom for the Wish spell.Charisma
: Determines store prices at 15+ CHA. Otherwise does pretty much nothing. The classic dump stat.Your Proficiencies
: More or less self-explanatory, but it's very helpful to also have the ability to equip a ranged weapon with no penalties, especially in BG1, where bows rule the day. If you're using Tutu or BGT and don't have one of the various Exotic Weapons Packs installed, avoid katana and scimitar proficiencies. The dual-wield proficiencies are also kind of a liability very early on.Your party
: For the most part, a balanced party with a mix of classes that can support each other is the way to go. A high-HP, high-defense Fighter or Paladin meatshield, another high-damage close-range attacker, one or two magic-users, a healer, and a ranged support is a classic mix. A thief is a nigh-on necessity later on in BG1 and throughout the entirety
of BG2 - there are just too many locked chests to break and frequently-deadly traps to disarm to go without. A dedicated arcane spellcaster is also a necessity as well, as enemy mages eventually begin deploying a variety of buffing spells that render them untouchable by your other damage-dealers until they've been disabled by one of your own spellcasters.
Try to diversify your equipment needs as well. Three platemail-wearing longsword swingers are going to quickly run out of gear to keep each other equipped with. This can be a big problem, especially in BG1 where there is much less magic loot in general compared to BG2.Further Reading
There are a variety of good resources for more detailed and specific information about different areas of the game itself:
- Gamefaqs is a great resource, especially DSimpson's guides and rules FAQs. BG1 on Gamefaqs | BG2 on Gamefaqs
- GameBanshee is always good, with nice guides and a really nice item listing. BG1 on GameBanshee | BG2 on GameBanshee
- Dudleyville is a classic resource, mostly for its annotated area maps. It's a bit out of date, though, and the DudelyFixes have all been superceded by newer mods, mostly the BG2 Fixpack and BG1 NPC Project.
- Mike's RPG Center is also pretty good, but most of its information is found in other places as well, like GameBanshee. I still use it sometimes, though. BG1 | BG2
- The Play It Hardcore wiki page for Baldur's Gate (covers both games) is a pretty new resource, I believe maintained by some GA goons(?). Written with an eye for powergaming, its information is still very, very useful for all levels of play and is one of the places I go to first if I have to look up correct tables for things.
- The Sorcerer's Place BG2 Spells Reference. A little hidden gem on the place, it's a fantastic resource for learning how to use your Cleric, Druid, and Mage spells more effectively. The best part, though, is the chart showing what defensive each anti-magic spell will disable.
Last but not least, there is the classic utility Shadowkeeper
that works for both separate Tutu and BG2 installs as well as a full BGT install. If you're interested in playing plain old non-Tutu/BGT Baldur's Gate (the very original release), the Gatekeeper utility designed for that is also on that site. Edits savegames and has a very detailed item and creature browser. Can be used very easily as a cheat, but is also an invaluable bug-fixing tool, as it can correct faulty triggers and flags in your saves to fix broken quests or characters. I have no idea if a similar utility exists for the BGEE yet.