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Icewind Dale Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Icewind Dale?
A: Icewind Dale is a single, or multiplayer, role-playing game set in Wizard of the Coast's granddaddy of all fantasy gameworlds, the Forgotten Realms. Icewind Dale focuses more on classic dungeon adventuring than on an overland quest. The focus in Icewind Dale is on the party rather than a sole hero. Amongst other things, this makes Icewind Dale more multiplayer friendly than Baldur's Gate or Tales of the Sword Coast were.

Q: Who is developing/publishing Icewind Dale?
A: Icewind Dale is being developed and published by Black Isle Studios, a division of Interplay Entertainment Corp. The Icewind Dale team consists of the core team from Black Isle Studios' award winning Fallout 2 role-playing game and members from the RPG of the Year 1999, Planescape:Torment, team.

Q: What engine is Icewind Dale using?
A: We're using a modified form of the BioWare Infinity Engine, the same game engine that was used to create Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment.

Q: What rules system is Icewind Dale using?
A: We'll be using AD&D second edition rules, the same system used in Baldur's Gate.

Q: Where is Icewind Dale set, exactly?
A: Icewind Dale is set in, well, Icewind Dale, the setting for the popular Icewind Dale trilogy of books, written by Robert Salvatore, and published by Wizards of the Coast.Your party starts in Easthaven, one of the Ten Towns of Icewind Dale. From there, the party embarks on an expedition into the Spine of the World mountains.

Q: How many new areas will we have to explore?
A: There are more than ten new, major, areas as well as several smaller locations to explore. There are well over fifty new dungeon levels to explore.

Q: What are they like?
A: We've come up with a diverse set of environments for you to explore. We have ice-filled mountain passes that lead to steamy geothermal cave systems, to haunted Elven ruins, to tunnels carved through the heart of a living glacier-and that's only a small part of what you'll get to explore.

Q: How many new NPCs can we get?
A: You'll be creating your entire, six-person, party at the beginning of the game, or you may choose to use one of the parties we've created for you. So you won't have any NPCs in your party. However, there are a large number of important NPCs that you'll encounter, some of which may accompany you for a brief time.

Q: Will we be able to use our characters or NPCs from Baldur's Gate?
A: No, you'll be creating a new party of six characters with which to explore Icewind Dale.

Q: Can I play a Drow?
A: Only cosmetically. You can change you characters' skin to black and hair to white, but there are no rules in the game to give dark elves their Underdark powers.

Q: Are there any new magic items?
A: Yes, a boatload of them. Many of the magic items that the player can find in Icewind Dale are ones that are familiar from the Forgotten Realms. Others are new, unique, items that may surprise the player. There may even be a few artifacts hidden away in Icewind Dale. In addition, many of the magic items are randomized. You can go through the game two or three times and get completely different unique items.

Q: Are there any new spells?
A: Yes there are going to be quite a few new spells as well as some exciting changes in the way the spells appear onscreen. One of the big changes that you'll notice are the addition of quite a few higher level spells, including a few ninth level ones! Some horrific new spells are only useable by your enemies.

Q: Are there any new monsters?
A: We have a horde of new monsters for you to match brawn and wits against. Something that you'll notice right off the bat is the size difference between your party members and some of the larger, fiercer, monsters. We made sure that all of the critters that you'll encounter are the right, Monstrous Manual, size compared to your characters. That means that when you encounter a Cyclops, a Rhino Beetle, or a Frost Giant-these monsters are BIG. Overall we're adding about over fifty new monsters.

Q: Will there be scimitars, whips, flamberges, and/or machine-guns in the game?
A: The weapons available to your party will be similar to the weapons found in Baldur's Gate. No assault rifles ;), however we are adding a lot of unique magical weapons that you haven't seen before. We have also added scimitars and two-handed axes to the list of available weapons. There are both mundane and magical versions of both weapons in the game.

Q: Will damage vs. large creatures be implemented for weapons?
A: Unfortunately, we were unable to implement large damage due to time constraints.

Q: How does weapon Specialization work in Icewind Dale?
A: Paladins, rangers, and multi-classed fighters are allowed to get two "stars" (Specialization) in all weapon groups (unless prohibited by another class combination). Single class fighters are allowed to get up to five "stars" (Grand Mastery) in all weapons other than bows and crossbows. Single class fighters are allowed to get three "stars" (Mastery) in bows and crossbows. This change was made to balance melee and missile weapons appropriately. Don't worry, though, bows and crossbows are still powerful weapons in the game.

Q: I heard there were other changes to bows and crossbows, too. What changes were made?
A: Composite bows do not add a user's strength bonus to the total damage. Instead, they have a minimum strength requirement and give static bonuses to hit and damage. Crossbows gain a +2 bonus to hit above and beyond all other bonuses. In addition, heavy crossbows gain an additional +2 to damage. All crossbow bolts now do a base of 1-8 points of damage.

Q: Fundamentally, are there going to be any differences between Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate/Tales of the Sword Coast?
A: There are a huge number of small changes to make the game-engine even more exciting and responsive to the player. But on a story level, Icewind Dale is going to focus much more on dungeon exploration, in the classic sense-similar to the classic Against the Giants and Tomb of Horrors modules-rather than overland exploration.

Q: Can we play specialty priests?
A: No. General purpose Clerics make more sense for Icewind Dale in that they're better suited to the role of a general-purpose warrior, healer, and undead blaster.

Q: Is poison going to be in the game?
A: We have no plans to include an aging glam-rock band of dubious talent (ok, we'll try for a cameo ;). Seriously though, player characters won't have access to poison but some monsters that you'll meet are naturally poisonous. There may be some magic items that have poison-like effects as well.

Q: Are there going to be new graphics for the spell effects and/or portraits and/or paper dolls?
A: We're working on new graphics for most of the spell effects and you'll have new character portraits to select from. There's a huge amount of new artwork going into Icewind Dale-new art for every part of the game is much more the rule than an exception.

Q: Will there be Dragons in Icewind Dale?
A: No, Dragons will not make an appearance in Icewind Dale. We made a decision early on that if we couldn't do it "right" we wouldn't do it at all. We tried very hard to come up with a way to do Dragons in all their glory, but were unable to do so without major engine modifications. So rather than trying to do a poor implementation of Dragons, we decided it would be best to not do it at all.

Q: What resolution will Icewind Dale run in?
A: Icewind Dale will be staying with the 640x480 resolution used in Baldur's Gate.

Q: What are the system requirements for Icewind Dale?
A: These are the required and recommended specifications for Icewind Dale:

Pentium 233

Pentium 266

Q: I'm having problems with slowdowns in some areas of Icewind Dale. Is there anything I can do to fix it?
A: There are a number of things you can do to eliminate slowdown problems in Icewind Dale:

Disable Translucency in your video options
Disable Translucent Shadows in your video options
Disable Footstep Sounds
Turn Ambient Sound all the way down
Disable EAX

Q: Will we be able to run in Icewind Dale?
A: No. We have not added a run command. However, we have increased the walking speed of the game to compensate for it.

Q: What time frame does the game take place?
A: Our game takes place in the year 1281, the Year of the Cold Soul. This is before the Time of Troubles.

Q: Will we have any historical characters like Drizzt or Wulfgar to meet in the game?
A: No, our game takes place about 16 years prior to the first recorded mention of Drizzt and about 80 years before Wulfgar is even born.

Q: Will there be any new races, classes, or dual/multi class combinations?
A: No, we are not changing any of the classes or races at all for Icewind Dale. However, elves in Icewind Dale can now be rangers or druids.

Q: Do Rangers get dual wield?
A: They do not have a true dual-wield ability. To make up for this, rangers get an extra attack per round with weapons that they should have been able to use dual wielding.

Q: How big will the game be, and how many CD's will it come on?
A: The game will be smaller than Baldur's Gate in terms of data. It consists of two CDs, one for installation and one for game play. We were able to use compression on many of our files to reduce their bulk.

Q: Is there an experience cap, and if so, what is it?
A: We're allowing up to 1,801,000 experience points. This will let your characters get to approximately 14th-18th level. In the course of typical play, a six character party usually ends the game with about 1,000,000 experience points.

Q: How many new portraits and voice sets are in the game?
A: Icewind Dale was released with roughly 35 portraits by Jason Manley. We may release more portraits for download as time permits. We also have 24 new voice sets in the game.

Q: Can we import customized portraits and voice sets in Icewind Dale?
A: Yes. You can import portraits into Icewind Dale in the same manner as Baldur's Gate. The dimensions of the graphics are slightly different, however. The large portrait must be 110x170 pixels, 16-bit color. The small portrait must be 36x58 pixels, 8-bit color. Sounds may be imported in the exact same manner as Baldur's Gate.

Q: What's the best party for Icewind Dale?
A: We've tried to design the game so that players can have fun experimenting with many different party compositions. However, in general, a "nuclear" party (including a fighter, thief, cleric, and mage) will always have at least one person for all situations.

Q: Is the game non-linear?
A: Our game is very linear. The game was intentionally designed to be linear from the start. We feel that this makes multiplayer gaming more straightfoward. This doesn't mean that the game is the same each time you play it, though. Dialogue options and NPC reactions can change according to the speaker's race, alignment, class, gender, or ability scores. You can also play through the game multiple times and find many new and unique magic items.

Q: Is the game all just hack-and-slash? Is there any story?
A: The game is significantly more combat oriented than Planescape: Torment and Baldur's Gate. The creatures you meet generally have little to say to you before they eat you up. Despite this, there is a well-developed story and a healthy number of dialogues in the game.
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