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Gearing Up For My First IA Run-Through

Discussion in 'BG2: Throne of Bhaal (Classic)' started by Marceror, May 15, 2007.

  1. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Well, I had a fair amount of time to play yesterday , so I thought I'd drop in a quick update on my observations on this mod. First off, it's hard! - how's that for a detailed synopsis :)

    I got through Renni's dungeon with no issue. The only apparent change there was that spellcasters seemed to be nicely revamped. Ellisime's clone was noticeably more challenging than before, for example.

    Next I noticed that not only was the stealing and reselling cheese tactic removed (which I knew about going in, and thought was great), apparently stealing from stores is gone altogether. Had I known that going in I probably wouldn't have dumped like 85 points into my swashy's theiving skill. Oh well, I'm not petty enough to even bother complaining (I'm trusting that there was a method to the madness behind all of this).

    So, the immediate realization was that, oh wow, I really have to get started in this game with ultra crap gear. There was something simultaneously refreshing and disconcerting about that realization (I keep hearing how hard this mod is, yet most of my party was still using mundane weapons and armor).

    I started out in Athkatla pretty much just taking things slow. I picked up Anomen and Nalia, and we helped out with some strange goings on at the circus. At this point the game seemed just slightly more challenging than non IA games, and wasn’t having to reload or anything.

    I had my party moving around the city looking for ways to earn money to rescue Imoen (and not get themselves killed in the process) and all of the sudden they got ambushed by Suna Seni and a group of her slavers. Wow!! My first official introduction to what Improved Anvil is all about, I was thinking.

    Among the slavers was a VERY powerful mage who had sequencers a plenty, a powerful priest, an assassin, and several deadly fighters (Suna Seni and another bad arse named fighter among them).

    Well, at this point, I had a single +1 bastard sword and a +1 long sword. The rest of my weapons were mundane. I also didn’t have the spell breach available to me yet, so other than remove magic and dispel magic (which weren’t at all sufficient), I had literally no way to deal with the mage (other than crossing my fingers that her spells didn’t devastate my party).

    So I just tried to deal with the fighters, who were putting out insane damage by the way, and were far better equipped than my party was. Of course, the mage ended up confusing all but 2 of my party members (Minsc, who was berserk and Jaheira who had cast my only available Chaotic Commands spell). I was very low on healing spells going in. I did the best I could, but soon Minsc and Jaheira were sleeping and I had no control over ANYONE in my party. It was just a matter of time before my protagonist went down.

    I was pretty much stuck having to do this fight, since any direction I went from the graveyard seemed to result in the encounter. I had several "tactical ideas" about how I might win the battle, but all of them involved resources I didn't have available to me yet (nor could I get due to my inability to leave the graveyard). So I proceed to try the fight like 10 times on Core Rules difficulty. I was altering my tactics as I went, but due to having just generally limited resources, I was beginning to think that I was incapable of winning.

    Finally, I conceded to lower the difficulty level to Normal, and I also ended up getting lucky with some saves. I managed to keep 4 of 6 party members under my control after chaos was cast by the enemy, and nearly half of the enemy succumbed to one of Nalia’s chaos spells. Luckily, the slaver assassin was keeping the enemy mage busy (he wasn’t actually able to injure the mage, but he kept her from barraging my party with spells.

    Minsc, my Swash, and Anomen end up getting killed, but I was finally able to overcome my attackers. It was a hard won victory, but at least, I thought to myself, I now have a handful of nice new magical items at my disposal. So yeah, it was a HARD battle. I would go so far as to say that the battle was almost too hard because I had to rely more on luck than tactics to win (which can be more of a frustration than a fun challenge).

    After heading to lunch with my family, I was able to come back and try the battle a final time without any deaths (phew, saved on some serious resurrection costs).

    It’s a tough mod to be sure. But since that first IA battle, my party has gained a lot of additional resources, which has helped them to get through subsequent battles. Thus far I’ve defeated the beast master in the copper coronet, taken out the slavers, and done the Xzar/Montaron quest (and perhaps a couple other small ones). Nalia’s getting really anxious about her situation at home, so I may try heading to her keep relatively soon.

    All and all I’m having fun, but I’ve decided to allow myself the liberty to flip between core and normal difficulties—if I can’t win after a “reasonable” number of attempts.

    Nice work Sikret!
     
  2. Decados

    Decados The Chosen One

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    Indeed, I would have allowed the party to get a regular ambush first as, while beatable, this encounter feels a bit over-the-top when you've only been to a couple of areas. I sacrificed Anomen to get through it- by running the rest of my party away from the bandits, he took the brunt of the arcane assault, leaving my party enough time to even the odds with missile fire and the like (Chaos!).

    Hehe, enjoy. The final battle of the Keep ain't one that you are going to beat early on without a whole lot of difficulty.
     
  3. Sikret Gems: 13/31
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    1- You can still use your swashy's skills to pick people's pockets.

    2- Without doing any of the bigger quests of the game, your party is probably too weak and low level to be able to handle D'Arnise Keep. I suggest doing "Trademeet" (main quest only, not Troll's Mound or the belm scimitar yet), "Thief Stronghold" and "Unseeing Eye" (main quest only, not Theshal or Asheedina). These quests are not improved too much and are easier than D'Arnise keep. Then, when you have a more powerful party, go for Nalia's quest. You should be fast at the beginning of the game doing these quests before Nalia starts to complain about the delay.
     
  4. Mongerman Gems: 8/31
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    2 scrolls of improved haste, one breach, and minsc with rage + your f/m can take down torgal. Just remember to forge FOA first.
     
  5. Sikret Gems: 13/31
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    As for Suna Seni's ambush, I never encounter it too early in my game. Two hints:

    1- Don't go to Bridge district early in the game.

    2- Don't wander between the city areas. Move quickly to wilderness and do the Trademeet quest. By the time you return, your party won't be so weak against the ambush.

    Just forgot to reply to Silverstar's comment:

    I owe most of the good fixes and tweaks to thetruth and other skilled and experienced players who report to me whenever they discover a new bug or a problem in the vanilla game. A minority of the bugs were known to me or have been discovered by me.

    [ May 21, 2007, 15:30: Message edited by: Sikret ]
     
  6. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Well it’s good to see that others acknowledge that my party was too low level for the Suna Seni encounter. I was beginning to develop an inferiority complex that I just didn’t know how to play the game correctly :p

    Nalia actually left my party when I was en route to her keep (during the Orog random encounter). No worry, since I just went to her keep and added her again. We cleared out the ground floor of her keep without any problems, and then went out to open the gate. Upon doing that we were attacked by a whisper spider, which was shockingly tough (actually had to reload and apply some buffs to win without any party deaths). Then we went back down to the courtyard to find a Greater Yuan-Ti. My party couldn’t even scratch the guy, even with unloading 3 breach spells. After getting defeated miserably, I went to bed. I’ll have another go at this guy tonight, and depending on the outcome, I may take your advice and head over to Trademeet. I think that I should have bought myself some extra time with Nalia since I’ve at least started her quest.

    Baldur’s Gate is actually scary again!!
     
  7. Decados

    Decados The Chosen One

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    I'd like to contest that, if I may. I started another game (I know, I know, I'm addicted to restarting). Picked up Kivan in the Promenade, did the circus and proceeded to the Slums. From there, I went to the Government district to pick up Xan and Jan. I then went directly to the City Gates and on to Trademeet. On route to Trademeet, the Suna Seni ambush triggered. Every time.

    I didn't touch the Bridge district and I can't see how to pick up those party members without doing the districts in that order. I only went to 1 optional district before leavng the city! Survived the ambush (with a lot of lucky saves against the mage), but even so I think it was a bit too much so soon- especially when it is unavoidable.
     
  8. Sikret Gems: 13/31
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    It never happens in my game. The only difference is that I do not click on Trademeet directly from City Gates. I go to umar Hills (to pick Valygar) and on the route from Umar Hills to Trademeet there is no ambush. I, too, go to the Government district before city gates to talk to Delon and Tolgerias. So, the only difference seems to be the fact that I go to Umar Hills before Trademeet. Perhaps the direct route from City Gates to Trademeet includes an ambush trigger, but I'm sure that if you zigzag (via Umar Hills) you can go to Trademeet safely.
     
  9. Decados

    Decados The Chosen One

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    Hmm, yes, taking the indirect route may be the best bet. Or would have been- I've already reached Trademeet now.
     
  10. Mongerman Gems: 8/31
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    *Spoilers*


    Marceror, after breaching the greater yuan-ti, a greater malison + 2 emotions from nalia and your f/m has a good chance of bringing him down. He'll just lie there and you can stomp on him then.
     
  11. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Thought I'd drop in and share a quick status on my game. I've actually made some decent progress, now having completed Firkraag’s challenge (not Samia or the dragon yet), D'Arnise Hold, Cult of the Eyeless, Trouble in Trademeet (not troll mound or Belm yet), the Guarded Compound (yay Celestial Fury, even in it's nerfed form!) and Maevar – and a few others to add to my earlier list.

    As a general statement, I'm highly impressed with the AI improvements of IA. Sikret clearly took note of all the terrifying, overpowered tactics us players use against the AI… and turned those against us!! Bloody terrific!

    I found the game initially slightly more frustrating than fun, since so many encounters were next to impossible to overcome (hint, hint: Suna Seni). One of the key things I've had to come to grips with while playing this mod is that lower level content is blended in directly next to higher level content. So while you may be able to handle 90% of that dungeon; it may be wise to come back later to finish the other 10.

    Before starting the mod I had read that the game was about challenging the player to find the right tactics to get through an encounter. Don’t just expect to march into a lot of the game unprepared and think you’ll prevail. I'd say I took that advice a little too much to heart. Often, I found myself dealing with encounters that were well beyond me, thinking hmm, I'm must be using the wrong tactics here. Not realizing, tactics be damned, Sikret really had no intention of me dealing with this encounter at my current low level. This understanding was rather liberating, because I realized that the game "wasn’t all this hard." It's not just about using good tactics, but also about choosing your battles wisely.

    So, for example, when I was running Firkraag's gauntlet and I was ambushed by Samia’s party with my level 10 – 11 party, I tried a couple of times and gave up :) . Hell, my foes were throwing Dragon's Breath spells at me, using GWW, summoning fallen deva's. As a player, I know that these abilities mean that I was outclassed by a ridiculous margin. So, I'll try them later and keep some of my hair intact in the meantime.

    I like this idea of the world not being just a place that gets progressively more difficult as I get more powerful. It’s much more realistic like this. BUT, it took me a bit to realize that I should be saving some for later, and not just searching for the correct tactics to get past that otherwise seemingly impossible fight. Now that I understand this, I'd say the game is 5 parts fun, 2 parts scary, and, oh, still 1 part frustrating, which is a pretty solid breakdown in my estimation.

    * * * * *

    A note about compatibility

    I'm not sure if this is already known, but it seems that the P&P protection item tweak, the one that lets you stack saving throw bonuses from multiple protection items by "toggling" off the AC bonus, is breaking Sikret’s item upgrades. I currently have like 5 rings of protection +1, plenty of gems and gold, but no option to upgrade. Just thought I'd share. IIRC this tweak is from the G3 tweakpack.


    Item Upgrades
    I'm otherwise enjoying the item upgrade component, and thus far have forged the improved dragon helm, buckler +3 (for Nalia) and a cloak of protection +2. I love that there are certain items that share highly rare components as a requirement, and so you can’t have it all. Not to mention that some of this stuff is way expensive, so gold conservation is a must. I've found no way to cheese getting gold into the game, which means that money really is an object.

    So I'm hoarding a lot of stuff in anticipation of later opportunities. Quite helpful that Sikret added an extra bag of holding to the game (which I found last night out of sheer luck)!
     
  12. Truper Gems: 8/31
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    um, enemies using ToB powers in SoA is your idea of a good time?
     
  13. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I think your question/comment demonstrates that you've sort of missed the point of the mod. It's a very small portion of enemies that have these high level abilities (if it weren't, then I'd tend to agree with you), and they are a reminder that the world is a big and dangerous place (even before ToB). This, for me, serves to make the game that much more immersive and exciting. And another thing, my party will most assuredly have "ToB" abilities before I get to ToB, so yeah, in one sense it's sort of refreshing to know that I'll still face some actual challenges. In another sense, it's rather disconcerting to imagine what tricks Sikret has up his sleeve for these later encounters of the game! (that's the fear component I mentioned in my previous post)

    But mostly, after god knows how many time I've played this game, it's very refreshing to experience BG2 as a new game once again.
     
  14. thetruth Gems: 11/31
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    And besides who said that enemies of SoA shouldn't have high (ToB) levels/HLAs?

    How realistic is that?


    @Marceror

    Yes there are a few encounters in ToB that are extremely difficult, but I am sure that you can do it.
    The important thing is that you are enjoying the mod. ;)
     
  15. Baronius

    Baronius Mental harmony dispels the darkness ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    It has been a mystery to me as well why some people prefer separating "SoA creatures" from "ToB creatures". It's the same world, and high-level powerful villains... are powerful villains -- everywhere. IMHO it's a very narrow viewpoint to handle SoA and ToB differently in this respect, to expect mods to do so. (Even modders fall to the trap of this limited approach , probably because they forget to be game-centric, and SoA and ToB are two different boxes in their mind). But to each his own, of course!

    On the other hand, Truper might have (also) referred to the fact that ToB powers make SoA enemies harder. Which is true, and Improved Anvil isn't recommended to starter players.
     
  16. Mongerman Gems: 8/31
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    Marceror, make sure you go back to the guarded compound at a higher lvl and search the 2nd floor carefully.

    Also, i suggest planning what you want to forge early. Some of the more powerful items are very expensive, and gold is limited unless you CLUA it in. A +3 buckler for nalia? Does she really need it? Enemies are not supposed to even get near her in the first place, and if they do there is mirror image, stoneskin etc etc.

    As for item hoarding, I suggest hoarding the more expensive gems (rogue stone, kings tear) which you can stack. Then, sell them all together at ribald's special store after you return from underdark.
     
  17. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I realize that getting the buckler for Nalia wasn't the most critical item for my party. It was really an indulgence, because I've always hated that BG2 never did anything more interesting with Bucklers than creating a buckler +1. Now I had a whole recipe and items to collect in order to build a really great buckler +3. And I found all the necessary components very early in the game, so I just went for it. It was only 20k gold, so it wasn't an ultra expensive item anyway.

    The other great thing is that now with mirror image, stoneskin and Nalia's good armor class, she's actually not nearly as fragile as one might expect. In fact, her AC is almost as good as my tanks' AC at the moment.

    But yeah, I've buckled down on my expenses a bit since creating that item (no pun intended)! ;)

    Oh, and I horde just about every gem I find. I've got like 5 gem bags on my party at this point (I buy every one I find, hehe). I generally hang onto a good number of rogue stones, emeralds, king's tears, etc, since I may need them for recipes.

    I've got a little deal worked out with Aran Linvail where I've got a safe deposit box in his guildhouse. Aran and his guy's really love me!
     
  18. Mongerman Gems: 8/31
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    Just as well you use your magic classes to tank now, since it will become absolutely necessary late game.

    A lot of the mid to late game inproved battles consist of using a mage type character to soak up dispell magics etc before the rest of the party moves in to lay down the smackdown.
     
  19. Sikret Gems: 13/31
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    Quote From Improved Anvil's readme:

    So, adding HLAs to high level characters in the SOA portion of the game is actually a kind of "Fix". It fixes what was missed by the game's developers after they released TOB.

    @Baronius
    The CamDawg's post you linked to was very interesting; specially that part which he says that the changes are "undocumented". It's agood example of how a known modder can try to mislead players with false information about someone else's mod. I wonder what these people want to gain out of such disgusting lies.
     
  20. SimDing0 Gems: 9/31
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    Yes, I concur that it's quite legitimate for some SoA enemies to have HLAs. But this really isn't to say that I think giving Torgal cleric HLAs is a particularly great idea.

    Combining this with my understanding that you think alignment changes are a bunch of tweaks, I'm going to have to conclude that your definition of "fix" is, in fact, utterly random.

    Yes. Disgusting deceit. There's definitely some sort of crime against humanity going on here, and certainly not just some guy voicing his opinion on a mod. I mean, who is Cam to be dissatisfied with mod documentation?! What a populist tool!
     
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