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IWD 2 - Hardest IE game?

Discussion in 'Icewind Dale 2' started by Hethan the Skald, Sep 26, 2006.

  1. Hethan the Skald Gems: 5/31
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    I've beaten BG1/BG2/IWD a few times already. Except for Torment (haven't got that one yet!), IWD2 is the last IE game I never completed.

    I only got it a few months ago, and I kept restarting the game because I was never satisfied with my party (Targos is already a bore to play through). My first try was a 4-piece party. I always wanted to do this but done it nor in BG (because there were always too many NPCs I really wanted around) nor in IWD because I got bored with it after the second time through it.

    Anyway, it was (AFAIK) a balanced group, with a Wizard, a Paladin, a Rogue (main archer) and a Battleguard of Tempus. But... I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to quest solutions, and that party pissed me off because there was just no way they could save the bridge (@ the Shaengarne River, I think that was the name).

    Then I restarted the game with a full 6-peoople party (same as before, but now with an extra fighter/wizard and a druid). I wasn't exactly stuck anywhere in the game, but I was amazed by how difficult most battles are (in normal difficulty setting).

    Now, I'm not a great strategist (avoiding battle/tactics mods like the plague), but in BG1/BG2, only a few battles were particularly TOUGH. In IWD2, it was pretty much the opposite, and after arriving at the horde fortress, I was getting pwned every 5 minutes and having to constantly reload. Eventually, the game bored me and I haven't gone back to that save game in months. Plus, I'm kinda obsessed about having a smaller party, from the beginning, so micro managing 6 characters also become a drag.

    Don't get me wrong, I like challenges way better than playing an uber-party, but the way it is now makes me feel kinda overwhelmed. Is it possible that I'm just not playing my party correctly? Or is this game so much more difficult than, say, IWD1?

    I really wanna beat this game with a smaller party (even knowing XP balancing will not make them more powerful faster), and without having to touch the difficulty slider.

    So, any tips/comments would be welcome!
     
  2. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Interesting comments. For me, BG and BG2 were much more challenging than IWD2 as I could never get my head around which debuffing spells to use when (and debuffing is crucial in BG2).

    In IWD2, the battles are balanced pretty well to the level of the party, so it means that most of them are challenging. I personally think that the chapter one battles (especially that whole Shaengarne area) are some of the toughest in the game because your reasonably low level party gets surrounded by enemies.

    The bridge battle is a classic. It’s really a case of trying to get to the ogres as quickly as possible and avoiding engagement with the Hawk and Snake clans that are waiting off to the North West. Any spells that can immobilise some of your enemies will be a great help, but once you’ve dealt with the first group of bugbears and orcs, you need to send someone directly to start beating up the orges.

    If you have someone who can turn invisible, that can be a big help, but just make sure they don’t get isolated at the other end of the bridge.

    If you are really finding the start of the game tough, then I would suggest starting your party in a staggered way. One party member can easily handle Targos by themselves and if you introduce other party members gradually, you can have a three person party of levels 7, 5, and 4 in Shaengarne, which would actually be much more powerful than a four person party of level 4, 4, 4, 4. Having one party member at that crucial higher level can be a huge help.
     
  3. Lord FOX Gems: 6/31
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    @Harby
    I never though that kind of playing could make the difference, but hey, if you say so, I´m certain about the results...But ITOH you´re rigth about BG series,when if you don´t eliminates your enemies buffing spells, you´re gonna suffer a hell trough certain battles(especially finals).
    THAT is something I really miss of BG, that kind of battles when you are against the odds, but you have to pull it off anyway,in order to advance any further...
    I think IWD is WAY more balanced in "figths" than BG(may be "boring" means "my former BG strategies about dealing a figth doesn´t apply in IWD",and that´s exactly what happends to me!!).
    The main difference could be the amount of enemies that you face in IWD, you always have the feeling that you are figthing THE ENTIRE CAMP in the first horde fortress encounter(sadly,that´s FAR AWAY from the truth).
    My very,very little piece of advice for acomplishing the game is that you have to "switch" your old -BG series- mental CPU ,when dealing figths.
     
  4. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Yes – I think quite different tactics are required between BG2 and IWD2 and you will tend to favour whichever one you played first. For me, I played IWD2 before BG2 so I find BG2 more difficult. In IWD2, you will be surrounded more often, so will likely have to protect your more fragile team members and make more use of ‘crowd control’ spells like Chaos, Web, Slow etc.

    Also, because character design is more elaborate in IWD2, the design of your characters can have a bigger impact than it might in BG2.
     
  5. Da Rock Gems: 5/31
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    As Lord FOX says, you have to switch your brain for IWD2.

    Your melee characters generally need a lot of help from the spellcasters - you can complete the game without them (battles are tougher and take longer), but you really notice the benefits by casting a few spells that can simply stop or wipe out the majority of a rampaging horde.
    (Would this be opposed to BG2 where your wizard would be concentrating on the enemy spellcasters, rather than everyone? I've not played it for a while, so cannot remember much about it...)

    So my advice is - if you are going to take spellcasters along, make the most of them!
     
  6. Sir Fink Gems: 13/31
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    Heheh... I didn't think saving the bridge was even possible. I too have re-started a few times now and keep getting absolutely demolished. I'm having a very hard time and that's with a completely min/maxed power party (i.e. 3's and 18's for stats, etc.). Can't even imagine the hell of trying to play with one of the pre-created parties they give you.
     
  7. Fly2tHeSkY

    Fly2tHeSkY Southern Comfort Veteran

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    I have to agree with HB there because I feel that BGII was waaaaaaay harder than IWDII! But maybe it's just my style of play ...

    Hehe if you thought the Bridge was hard in NORMAL mode and you couldn't save it then, try playing in HoF where there's so many monsters on the map it's REALLY hard to even get up to the bridge :D
     
  8. deerslayer Gems: 1/31
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    Ive never had much trouble with the bridge battle. If you have spellcasters then use Aganazzars scorcher. Usually makes alot of the battles early on in the game easier. Just target someone in the back :)
     
  9. Tag the Nosepiercer Gems: 1/31
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    In BG II I never, EVER used area of effect spells because it's, for the most part, closer-ranged battles and there aren't near as many enemies in one spot(the obvious exception being the Oasis in ToB, but I won't get into that as it was cake). That means I never used fireballs or ice storms or entanglement spells, pretty much anything that could hurt my own party. The only AoE spell I EVER used was Horrid Wilting, just because it's badass and doesn't hit your party...

    It is deffinately purely tactics based. And the style of play between BG II and IWD II is TOTALLY different. Like, damn.
     
  10. Lord FOX Gems: 6/31
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    The "hit and run" strategy that works extremelly well in BG it´s not just almost impossible in IWD, it´s also a certain death sentece, ´cos you´re gonna put every little moster in the area under advice, and "together for ever", they´re gonna kick your sorry asss back to your mom´s house.
    Also, you don´t have to deal with those extremelly disturbing "all-powerfull " mages/sorcerers/liches and the like with those outstandings "protection from energy" ,stoneskin, improved invisibility and the whole bunch of spells you hate the most.Period.
     
  11. khaavern Gems: 14/31
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    Spells I found particularly effective at low levels: fear (wait till the baddies gang up on you, so you can catch all of them in the area of effect, then at least a third will get affected), chromatic orb (altough it affects a single target, it can be quite devastating for a first level spell, especially if your mage has greater spell focus in evocation), the druid's entangle (cast it at the start of the fight in the general direction you think the monsters will come from), the priest's hold person (IIRC, this can affect multiple enemies, too).

    Really, at low levels in IWD2 you have to make good use of your spellcasters, helps things a lot (come to think of, that's also true for high levels).
     
  12. deerslayer Gems: 1/31
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    I used to focus on damage spells, even in the beginning, until i tried some more funky spells like sleep, hold and the disco color spray. I thought they sounded crappy when I read about them but they make life so much easier. Most of the damage spells are useless in the beginning, try to use the other stuff instead. Sleep and then flaming potions or molotovs or whatever they are, is usually a fun combination.

    [ September 27, 2006, 10:08: Message edited by: deerslayer ]
     
  13. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    Saving the bridge isn't neccessary, it won't matter on the long run if you succeded.
    Misfortunes are a part roleplaying, you can experience many even bigger failures and still be able to beat the game even with your 4 characters.

    I played my first game at normal difficulty and tried to avoid using spoilers and it took me only about 7 reloads.
    But I played a very strong six person party.

    With using only 4 instead of 6 characters the game is harder.

    Once your cleric reaches level5 and learns "animate dead" the game will get far easier since you can hide behind skeletons.

    Your 4-person group (wizard, paladin, rogue, battleguard) looks balanced, but I don't know how you distributed the classes, stats and feats.

    If I would create such a party I would choose the following:(str-dex-con-int-wis-cha)

    Human Wizard: 11-18-18-18-8-3
    Raise only int at level up
    Take greater spell focusses (evocation, enchantment, necromancy) and and elemental feats (spirit of flame, scion of storms, ...).
    I'd use quarterstaffs and crossbows.

    Aasimar Paladin: 18-13-14-3-12-20
    Raise only str or cha at level up.
    mercantile background, rapid shot
    Use a 2-handed weapon for the extra strength bonus and a missile weapon like throwing axes.

    Tiefling (or whatever race you like) rogue: 18-18-18-14-8-1
    rapid shot
    Pure rogues can be great, but if you prefer an inferior archer over a great backstabber you'd better add 4 fighter levels for bow mastery.

    Dwarf Battleguard:18-16-18-3-18-1
    rapid shot, use throwing axes and a greataxe for melee.
     
  14. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Might be the hardest, yes, indeed. However, mind you that it's more about combat than, let's say, BG1 or BG2 are. And in ToB, it's still possible to prevent yourself from finishing the game with a party of otherwise perfectly capable characters, just because Amy pwns what you have.
     
  15. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    In IWD or IWD2 you have far more freedom of action about influencing your party's power.
    So for skilled players who can read manuals IWD2 is easier than BG2, but for not so skilled players it's far harder.

    Most of the players who finished BG2 probably don't even understand the rules. I don't think this is the case with IWD or IWD2.
     
  16. Tal Rasha

    Tal Rasha Eye of Vecna

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    My first D&D game was IWD. I didn't know any rule, and I thought it was displaying error when I saw minus AC. But I had my own rule, the most EXPENSIVE item is the BEST one. And I beat the game, of course on easiest difficulty. :D

    [ September 28, 2006, 02:18: Message edited by: Tal Rasha ]
     
  17. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I disagree. I find the game to be much easier with 4 characters because they level up faster and you spend less time trying to protect weaker members when surrounded.
     
  18. ObviousDelirium Gems: 3/31
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    It doesn't really matter near the end of the game though, wether you have a 6 or 4 persons party you'll most likely end up at around the same level, just a little bit higher for a 4 person party then a six one.
     
  19. Silverstar Gems: 31/31
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    Heh heh. Tell you what. IWD2 is the first IE and D&D game I played. I had no idea about BABs, lvls, AC, saving throws etc. heck, I did not discover how to scribe scrolls till the near end of Goblin Fortress. Ofcourse, I had a crappy 6 person party (all single classed :p ) and played on VERY EASY. :oops: And the game was still hard and enjoyable for me! I did not have major difficulties till the final showdown. Isair&Madae had me pull my hair, I struggled for two days to defeat them, with countless reloads, and I was still on VEasy. I was a total newbie!

    Once you learn how to play, how to manipulate rules/engine to your will, game gets easier. I finished the game with 6 person party on Core, and in HOF before:barely a sweat, especially final battle was too easy:my party did not lose even a single HP in it, believe me. It is fun though. I will try Tal Rasha's harder battles mod next time! Now I am trying to remember my old tricks, for the Ice Temple in HoF difficulty gives me difficulties:all those sling bullets kill me fast! :p
     
  20. Hethan the Skald Gems: 5/31
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    Hey, thanks for all the advice. Guess I was really trying to play it with a BG approach. It worked on IWD, though. :p

    I think what also makes the transition from BG to IWD2 (or the other way 'round) is the rule system. "THANKS, you just stated the obvious, Hethan!" But really. Not that I'm not familiar with 3E (used to play on PnP). But it gets a bit harder when you can no longer use multiclass like in 2e. My elven fighter/thief was so much fun that I just had to take her into IWD2 (though this time as a pure Rogue... and that's the kinda thing I was referring to!). There's also the issue of DEX AC no longer being cumulative with heavy armor. It makes for a more balanced (and believable) game, but harder nevertheless.

    Anyway, I'm trying this game again. I'll do it only 4 characters again and be more of a roleplayer when it comes to quests (being able to reload can really spoil a gamer sometimes. Shame on me)

    @kmonster: thanks for the party advice. Though I tend to stick with humans and elves (half-elves too, of course). I like the race kits, but are they really worth it on a small party?
     
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