§  the haul  §  the poopdeck / the waggoner / the brig  §  chains / anchors  §  dude list / stats / contact  §  search  §  what the hell is all this?!  §  message!
 lard pirates dawt cawm  §  Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Part 1 / by Spoony Spoonicus
 the waggoner  §  articles and general riff-raff exceeding your expectations of worthlessness.
filters  §  browsing spanks
newer spank ..... 1647   §   1598 - 1597 - 1596 - 1595 - 1594 - 1593 - 1592 - 1591 - 1590 - 1589 - 1588   §   1 ..... older spank
 ~Spoony Spoonicus on 07:30pm 10/16/12 (05:57pm 01/13/12) in 5h12m25s  §  3712 eyeballs
 chained to: Let's Play Baldur's Gate  §  first - previous - next - latest
 remember that game it's pretty fun gonna prove it
 anchors: none.
For me, this is pretty much the ultimate Bioware game. Forget KOTOR (I'm not a Star Wars fan - that part of me died from a lethal cocktail of graduating Junior High and discovering science fiction with more substance to offer than flashy special effects), Jade Empire (a boring button mashfest with a generic plot), Mass Effect (a dull and formulaic shooter with a dull and formulaic story and some of the blandest acting I've ever heard, not to mention a fanbase so deranged and creepy that they make the Bronies look tame by comparison) and especially Dragon Age (a pathetic and pale attempt to recapture their old success with BG), Baldur's Gate 2 is and always shall be their crowning achievement. Hell, I'd never even played Dungeons and Dragons before, but that didn't stop me from getting into this series - it was well designed and fun enough that I was willing to look up a bunch of FAQs and learn all of the various intricacies of the rules and overall strategy of the game.

Now Baldur's Gate 1 was certainly an impressive game for its time, and I played the hell out of it back when it came out. However, it hasn't aged particularly well with its flat characters and PS1 quality cutscenes, not to mention uneven difficulty, a lack of character balance and a lot of areas that don't really further the story or serve any purpose. Most annoyingly, though, it's built on a very dated engine that only goes up to 800x600 resolution, which is an eye-strain to look at on a 1920x1080 monitor. I've tried a couple of mods that import the BG1 resources into the much better BG2 engine, but for some reason they refuse to acknowledge my copy as the version the executable requires, so I'm kinda stuck there. However, we will be importing an old BG1 character for play in BG2.

With that foundation established, let's get down to importing characters.

Ah yes, my old Bard. For those who don't know, Bards are more or less the "Jack of all trades" class in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons - they're okay physical fighters, have a few thief abilities and can cast a limited repertoire of mage spells, as well as having a few handy abilities of their own (Bardic Lore and Bard Song being the most useful - the former for identifying items without having to spend scrolls or spell slots, and the latter provides your allies a bonus to all of their party's rolls in combat). Being of the Rogue archetype, they also level up faster than any other class type in the game. Of course, they don't particularly excel in any one area - their HP is average, their THAC0 is on par with the Thief class (ie mediocre), they can only use the lesser thief skills (particularly in BG, where the only one that actually appears in-game is "Pick Pockets"), they can only get four mage spell slots per level and only up to circle six spells can be cast at all. In short, they do well when they have a solid party to back up, but don't fare nearly as well on their own.

However, bards are far more effective in BG2 than they were in the first game for a number of reasons. First is that they have much more equipment devoted exclusively to their class (not the least of which is armor which allows them to keep their spellcasting ability while equipped - very useful), and second is that, like all classes, they have a selection of new "kits" in BG2 which offer them a mix of new advantages and disadvantages. Bioware seems to have dropped the ball when designing the Bard kits, though, as I'll explain in a minute.

Our three choices for bard kits are "Blade" "Jester" and "Skald". Jesters have some potential for fun, but aside from the novelty of casting Invisibility on your bard, walking him into the center of a group of enemies, taunting them all into confusion and then watching them punch each other to death, it's not a great deal better than the standard Bard kit. Skalds have a much better bard song and some minor combat bonuses, but this is rendered mostly moot by the fact that the expansion introduces the high level ability "Better Bard Song", which is available to ALL bard kits and is far beyond what the Skald's song has to offer.

Now Blades... oh, Blades. These guys are fun. On top of being the only Bard variant that can effectively dual-wield weapons, they have two fun abilities in the form of Offensive Spin and Defensive Spin. Offensive Spin gives your character +2 to hit, an extra attack and maximum damage with ALL of his attacks for 24 seconds (as well as an extra +2 damage on top of that). Defensive Spin plants you in place for 24 seconds, but gives you +1 Armor Class per level (up to -10), plus you can still attack nearby enemies and use Bard Song and mage spells while in this state. The disadvantages of the kit are that you get half of the Bard's normal Pick Pockets ability (no big loss - it's far and away the least useful Thief skill), half the Lore skill (10 points per level is now 5, which is still higher than any other class) and their Bard song doesn't improve with levels (it doesn't anyway due to a programming glitch - plus you can still take 'Better Bard Song' at Level 24, as already mentioned). So yeah, Blade is clearly the correct choice.

For weapon choices, I picked Katanas (there are only a few magical Katanas in the game, but they're quite awesome), Long Swords and two points in Two Weapon Style. As for spells, I went with these:

1st circle: Magic Missile, Blindness, Spook, Burning Hands, Grease, Find Familiar
2nd circle: Horror, Mirror Image, Melf's Acid Arrow, Invisibility, Glitter Dust
3rd circle: Dispel Magic, Fireball, Melf's Minute Meteors, Haste

I set difficulty to "Normal" - one step above "Easy" and one below "Core Rules". Functionally, there's little difference in difficulty between Core Rules and Normal, but it does take out some of the more annoying random aspects of the game - you'll always get maximum HP when leveling up (a convenient alternative to having to save and reload over and over again until the desired result comes up), you'll never fail to transcribe scrolls if you have available spell slots (ditto) and characters cannot be permanently killed off (because there is nothing more aggravating than losing a character you invested hours in to one failed saving throw).

Oh, and I'm using one mod as well. A bonus disc was included for those who preordered the game. Installing it causes two new shopkeepers to appear - Joluv in the Copper Coronet and Deidre in the Adventurer's Mart, who sell some pretty awesome items carried over from Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment respectively. They do actually exist in the game's files without the aid of this mod (although you must summon them via the console), but I took the non-cheaty way to access them instead.

(If you don't have access to said disk, you can download the required files here for free.)

Alright, let's get started. Be sure and watch it in 720 or 1080p and maximum video size!

That about wraps it up for the first couple hours of this game, but I did do two more things before we went out.

First, we put our Pickpocket skill to use in one of the few places where it comes in handy - to swipe the immensely useful Ring of Regeneration from Ribald Barterman at the Adventurer's Mart.

And just for the hell of it, here's a few of the expensive goodies you get for installing the preorder add-on. Dak'kon's Zerth Blade sounds particularly good for our bard!
 rawks  §  rad comments, dogg.
 ~SHITTLE  §  at 03:42am 01/15/12
filters  §  browsing spanks
newer spank ..... 1647   §   1598 - 1597 - 1596 - 1595 - 1594 - 1593 - 1592 - 1591 - 1590 - 1589 - 1588   §   1 ..... older spank
a cherry