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Thoughts on SCSII

Discussion in 'BG2: Throne of Bhaal (Classic)' started by Dr_Asik, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    For my last playthrough of BG2 I decided to use SCSII, with most components enabled. I endured it until chapter 5, and at that point uninstalled it almost completely.

    It's just not fun. Yes it plays fair, but BG2 wasn't designed for enemies to play fair. For example, Remove Magic was balanced because enemies didn't use it much, and in your own hands it wasn't that effective. Having a high level Remove Magic cast at your party by most spellcasters is just sadistic. Boom, all my combat preparations gone. There's almost no point buffing pre-battle now.

    Also BG2's system of immunities and counter-immunities is very complex, not well documented, and most of all very obscure in battle. It's impossible to tell exactly what my Pierce Magic or Warding Whip spell removed among the 4 different spell immunities that Lich got. Or why nothing happens at all (not even an indication in the console) when I cast Breach at it. Or why sometimes True Sight dispels illusions and sometimes doesn't (Spell Immunity: Divination aside).

    Maybe I'm just bad at this game, but I've a feeling the whole combat system wasn't designed to be taken to this level. Diablo 2 was (and was patched for years after to make it balanced), not this game. During an intense fight, the console scrolls down at a dazzling rate and it's a lot of WORK to scrutinize it for vague indications of what the f*** is going on. Somehow, I get a feeling I'm not supposed to have to read all that. Also, BG2 is a game with great story and a lot of focus on story. It features many battles, but most of these were supposed to be quick and dirty. SCSII makes every battle a tedious tactical challenge, and takes advantage of every mistake you make. It's impressive, but it's not what this game is about. I want a difficult tactical challenge when I'm facing a Dragon, not at every turn. It gets mind-numbing.

    Also, there is of course no way I could make an SCSII LP. BG2 is already an incredibly long game: if every battle must be a difficult tactical fight, it'd basically double or triple the length of the run.

    Actually I'm going to make this more general. To me a good mod is one that I don't notice. I don't notice the Fixpack because it just makes stuff work the way it's supposed to. I don't notice Unlimited Stacks (of potions, arrows, etc), because inventory management just gets in the way of the action, the less of it the better.

    SCSII isn't like that. SCSII takes center stage. I can't fight a lowly ruffian without him drinking a potion of invisibility after each attack and trying to backstab the one mage that doesn't have stoneskin on, and me thinking "OMG I HATE THAT BUGGER". SCSII is constantly in my face, saying "hey look how smart I made that brigand, watcha gonna do now?"

    Anyway, that's my impression after finishing about 60% of SOA. I don't even want to know how one deals with Dragons or enemies that were already hard in the vanilla game.
     
  2. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    The great thing about SCSII is how customizable it is. Thats why, in my most recent playthrough, I turned a lot of things off to make it easier. I want to be challenged at harder fights but not to have every mage fight be a life or death struggle.

    Still I think its very good because it does exactly what it says on the tin. If you dont want the game so hard, either turn off a lot of the options or uninstall it.
     
  3. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    IMO mods like this are supposed to take tactical pause/command combat OCD to a whole new level, which is why you probably won't want to activate everything as Proteus_za mentioned above. That way, the game difficulty scales to your preferences (you want to balance what is basically a cheesy tactics/pause-fest vs a classic BG2 experience).
     
  4. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    It is customisable, but the main components are Smarter Mages/Priests and Smarter General AI, on which most others directly or indirectly depend. Everything I've mentionned relates directly to these components: it's really the core of SCSII I've a problem with.

    And while I did have most components installed, it's not Improved Fiends or any of the Tactical challenges I have a problem with. I don't mind some specific encounters being more challenging, it's the massive upgrading of every enemy in the game that's the issue. Even if it's implemented using just smart, non-cheating scripting, it's still a massive upgrade, it still takes the focus away from the story, it still exposes the inherent problems with BG2's combat system (which, as I argued, wasn't designed to be taken to that level), etc.

    I totally agree, SCSII achieves exactly what it sets out to do, and it does so superbly. It's precisely what SCSII attempts to do - making every encounter much more involved - that ruins the game for me.

    I believe I'm going to stick with just one component of SCSII and that is "Increase difficulty of level-dependent monster groupings". That just selects higher level encounters from the original pool of encounters in the game, which makes the game a bit harder without detracting from the feel of the vanilla game too much.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  5. Shaitan

    Shaitan Always forgive your enemies; it annoys them so

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    To each his own.

    As other posters I applaud modularity. Not everyone should play with the hardest/most choiches installed settings, SCS stresses this in the readme.

    For me SCS makes a lot of sense, why should mages who have studied for years be overrun by an upstart easily? In the latest SCSII invisibility potions have been toned down to higher ranking thiefs. That is sensible enough. Why shouldn't they use potions when they meet a rich victim like you?

    For me mods like SCS, Spell Revision, Item Revision, Rogue Rebalancing and aTweaks are mandatory. I don't feel it's like a game of chess, but rather more entertaining.

    I disagree with your argument, that it takes the focus away from the story. It does actually keep the story very intact, but tougher (to the degree you choose).

    I don't get this, what's cheesy?
     
  6. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    It is realistic, but realism rarely translates into fun in video games. It's not realistic that you can travel back in time at will (save and reload), or that you can carry thousands of gold pieces on you.

    In rpgs in general, the monsters you fight are easy to defeat, except for select encounters (bosses). BG2 makes you fight enemies too high for your level, but compensates by making them dumb. If you try to "fix" that you end up with a game where every encounter is a mini-boss basically.

    I understand that some may like a very challenging BG2, but I think that's not what the designers set out to achieve with this game. I illustrated how the combat system is not really adapted to smart enemies fully taking advantage of every ability the game provides: it's not visual enough, the console is a clunky tool, the rules of the system are only vaguely explained, and a lot of spells are just abusive. They're fun when you try them from time to time, not when they get casted on you systematically. To me that is all clear signs that the design team didn't intend for people to take combat that seriously.

    I only use mods that I think take the game closer to what it should have been, and SCSII clearly does not. It takes the game in its own direction, one that many people may find enjoyable, granted, but one that clashes with the game's original design.

    Well, just in terms of time spent fighting vs time spent talking, SCSII changes that ratio quite dramatically.
     
  7. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor 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!)

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    It goes to the heat of tactical mods. As Shaitan says, to each his own. The ability to customize the mod to give the experience you want is what sold me on it. I don't activate everything, or max all the difficulties out, but I do like to bump the difficulty up from the vanilla version of BG2, and SCSII fits the bill perfectly for me.
     
  8. Voy Gems: 5/31
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    I think that FULL install of SCSI & SCSII makes the game too hard, and it goes in bad direction. Not every fight should be some uber-mega challenge. Not in every fight your opponent has an equal chance as your party of six.

    I installed; smarter general AI + better calls for help + potions for NPC
    and that's basically it

    better calls for help are awesome, u can't pick your enemies one by one- it makes a lot of sense to fight them all at once(like sarevok battle), another thing- enemies use potions that is kinda cool option imo- Bandit camp was a challenge, suddenly 20 bandits with bottles could do something :D

    prebuffing/smarter mages etc + anything improved - didn't install it; I take the challenge to play with minimal modifications/normal difficulty and play the game with minimal amounts of deaths- rather than having reload on each encounter like 5times to get that satisfaction- woah i did it finally!.
     
  9. Son of Imoen Gems: 4/31
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    I must admit I never have experienced vanilla BG2 tactics. When playing BG1 for the first time, by the time I reached Baldur's Gate city I became bored with being such an overpowered hero who could win every battle with a breeze. So I quit that campaign and restarted with Hard Times and SCS I and never go without them.

    In BG2 a lot of the battles are much tougher than in BG1, especially against enemy mages. It makes BG2 feel a much more tiring game at times. Perth the Adept, the Spellhold Maze and the Underdark had me stop the game for some weeks before asking for help on the fora, gathering courage and go at it again. Maybe I'd have a better experience without SCSII, but I'd hate it if I could just breeze through the game like vanilla BG 1.
     
  10. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    In my most recent playthrough, I actually scaled back the amount of SCS II modules I use. Not because there is anything wrong with SCS II, I just dont want to be challenged too much all the time.

    Like, I dont want to be ganked by your average thief. I want to steamroll over your average thief, and only have difficult battles against more powerful opponents, like Dragons, liches, Irenicus etc.

    So I've installed things like Improved Fiends and Smarter Dragons, but not General AI, potions for NPCs, or smarter mages.
     
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