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Super Serious Scientific Analysis and Critique of BG2:SoA

Lagole Gon

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Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Codex Year of the Donut Pathfinder: Wrath
Baldurs_gate_scientist_man.png



One of the things after we launched BG and saw the sales reports and it was going to be one of the top five games of the year, I remember just waking up in a cold sweat, just scared. What if this is the best thing we ever do, what if this was all Bioware was ever known for?

-Ray Muzyka; RPS; August 16th, 2010.

Funny. Because it WAS the best thing they’ve ever done.


This thread is dedicated to a super serious analysis of BG2:SoA. We’ll try to distillate Codex Consensus on things that SoA did right and we (and hacks from obsidian) can learn from it.
This is a serious thread, limit shitposting to minimum. One tranny joke per page allowed.

- So... what BG2 did right and can modern cRPGs still learn something from it?
- Constructive critique of BG2 is also welcomed.
Tell us what PoE and Dragon Age (pfffft!) did better to prove that the industry is moving forward and you are not just another codexian asshole blinded by nostalgia.
 
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Lilura

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I've listed some of its virtues and flaws here.

But basically, I think its prime virtue is non-linear exploration of quest-dense urban hub and outskirts.

 

Lagole Gon

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Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Codex Year of the Donut Pathfinder: Wrath
I miss items with character.

latest

I have a soft spot for the Flail of ages. Unique stats, created from fragmetns during a fun quest (with the best theme).

latest

A century ago, astronomers noted an unexpected comet coming to earth offshore of the Sword Coast. An odd occurrence, it was made stranger by the lightweight fragments of metal found days later by blacksmith Huffum Fuiruim, who cared little about celestial events. He fashioned the bulk of it into this shield, though the forging took months and the aid of several enchanters. "From the heavens? Nay, from my hammer!"

Sentinel +4. Quality writing in item descriptions. I've had no idea I like it so much untill it almost disappeared from mainstream cRPGs.
Please, name me one memorable PoE item.

latest

Stonefire, Battle Axe +3

A simple axe with fire elemental damage sold by Bernard in the Copper Coronet. Buy that's also where you meet Nalia. It's almost like this game encourages you to make some smart shopping before the troll extermination quest. What a novel concept!

Meanwhile in PoE:
9CLmNmk.png

A legendary sword scattered inside a megadungeon. Blade of the Endless Paths. I've replaced it with an enchanted noname sword within an hour. There's nothing unique or memorable about it, except the disappointment.

You can't have a good cRPGS without interesting loot. The laws of dungeon crawling demand satisfying rewards. It's science.

And there's also this... I know it's a low hanging fruit, but it's also a perfect cautionary horror tale created Bioware.
da2inventory.jpg

Sell. All. Junk.
 
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Lady_Error

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But basically, I think its prime virtue is non-linear exploration of quest-dense urban hub and outskirts.

And mage duels with hard counters - though that's in the base version as well. Hopefully Sawyer can bring some of that into POE2.
 

Jokzore

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I was quite late to the party when i played BG2 for the first time, I've played all other bioware games before finally rolling my bhaalspawn.

What stuck with me the most is the sheer amount of content, there is a LOT to do in this game, a lot of quests to do, enemies to slay, items to loot, zones to explore and NPCs to meet. This is something most modern RPGs picked up on and tried to recreate, but they fail miserably. They fail because while they manage to create worlds just as big, filled with just as many monsters and magical weapons it all feels shallow, they can match the volume but not the quality of the content. While some BG2 quests and NPCs certainly are far more interesting and fun to interact with than others, the game manages to keep a pretty consistent level of quality at all times.

The saddest part is that this can never be truly recreated today. Because games are so much more complex and harder to make today, requiring more people, more time and more effort than ever before, developers are often forced to choose between a lot of content and good content.
 

Lagole Gon

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Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Codex Year of the Donut Pathfinder: Wrath

Lady_Error

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The saddest part is that this can never be truly recreated today. Because games are so much more complex and harder to make today

If it's the same kind of game it should be exactly as easy or difficult to make today as back then. PoE is not really more complex than BG2, it only has crispier graphics.
 

felipepepe

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Even things like companions are done better than in any other RPG. Not only they do stuff like leaving the party if angered, but you have things like Anomen changing classes, Jahera's curse, Keldorn retiring, Edwina, Minsc adopting Aerie as his witch, your love interest becoming a vampire, Yoshimo betraying you, etc... when Sarevok offered to join my party, it was a mix of "AWESOME" and "this might be a really bad idea..."

Nowaydays companions are utterly predictable - they join your party, have a "loyalty quests" and will follow you no matter what you do. Heck, they are all bisexuals, just so players can always romance everyone. It's pure pandering.
 

Jokzore

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Heck, they are all bisexuals, just so players can always romance everyone

Isn't it hilarious how the same people who flaunt their sexuality and fictitious gender claiming its a sacred character defining trait are also the ones throwing hissy fits when their favorite Mass Effect alien refuses to sleep with them due to his own preferences.
 

Lagole Gon

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Even things like companions are done better than in any other RPG. Not only they do stuff like leaving the party if angered, but you have things like Anomen changing classes, Jahera's curse, Keldorn retiring, Edwina, Minsc adopting Aerie as his witch, your love interest becoming a vampire, Yoshimo betraying you, etc... when Sarevok offered to join my party, it was a mix of "AWESOME" and "this might be a really bad idea..."

Nowaydays companions are utterly predictable - they join your party, have a "loyalty quests" and will follow you no matter what you do. Heck, they are all bisexuals, just so players can always romance everyone. It's pure pandering.

I don't want to romanticize BG2 companions. Vampire kidnapping felt a little bit tacked on, writing has a... varied level of quality. But your point still stands.
Companions weren't formulaic. There's no boning cutscene before the final mission. There's some gutsy decisions like party conflicts etc.
Solid amount of content, conversations, even some group conversations... and despite the amount of content no one forces them on you. Game designers being ok with players missing stuff, imagine that.

PoE did fine with the companions. Bland as fuck, but at least optional and without jarring romance/bromance mechanics.
(Durance is great on paper, but repetitive in practice. Sorry, MCA. He's more monothematic than Jansen)
 
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hilfazer

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I miss items with character.


Meanwhile in PoE:
9CLmNmk.png

A legendary sword scattered inside a megadungeon. Blade of the Endless Paths. I've replaced it with an enchanted noname sword within an hour. There's nothing unique or memorable about it, except the disappointment.

You.

Some players found BOTEP useful. I read official forums somewhat regularly and noone's really talking about "fully enchanted generic sword" but BOTEP gets mentioned from time to time.

Big problem with this sword was being bugged in vanilla POE. Attack speed bonus didn't work. Coordination was bugged too. But those are bugs, not design decisions.

There's a myth about PoE that unique items are useless and made obsolete by crafting system. Sure, you can enchant generic stuff to something strong but for best results unique items should be used.
Have a look at builds on official forums: https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/85492-the-obsidian-boards-build-list-last-modified-25-feb-17/
Pretty much all of them are using unique gear. Enchanting system instead of obsoleting uniques is actually helping them shine! There are some problems with enchanting system but obsoleting unique gear is not one of them.

Some uniqes have Fine quality, maybe some of them have no quality at all, i don't know. Those can be enchanted to Legendary quality and be viable at end game. Also, Superb and Legendary quality enchant are pretty limited especially for weapons so unique items that already have them are valuable.

As for BOTEP: it's got Coordination enchant (forget about enchanting generic weapon with that, you can't). Players who only care about doing damage themselves will find it useless but team players will love it. Any party member can benefit for any attack he/she makes. You can also switch party member who's benefitting from it, although it requires some clicking. It can be used to simply rise DPS but also to help land whatever CC you fancy. Possibilities are endless, it's the Blade of the Endless Paths after all.
 

imweasel

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One of the many things I liked about BG2 was that you wouldn't just build your player character and companions, but also your inventory with containers and bags.
The Bag of Holding is the most interesting of the bunch. It had 100 items slots and a fixed weight of five pounds independent of its contents. Quite a handy item for dungeon crawling and a very rewarding find.

bagofholding.gif
gembag.gif
potioncase.gif
scrollcase.gif
ammobelt.gif


Unfortunately weightless and infinite-dimensional "stashes of hold everything" are common these days. A particular designer at Obsidian, who shall not be named, is rather fond of them too.
 

Iznaliu

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Some uniqes have Fine quality, maybe some of them have no quality at all, i don't know. Those can be enchanted to Legendary quality and be viable at end game. Also, Superb and Legendary quality enchant are pretty limited especially for weapons so unique items that already have them are valuable.

Pre-enchanted weapons still have enchanting points that are taken up.
 

deama

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I donno about you guys but I was playing BG2 with a friend at one point and he said the graphics were unpleasant to look at. Whether that's something to point and laugh at, I do think that holds some truth; so too bad the series' graphics haven't aged as well as divine divinity's or even fallout's. So I guess the lesson of the day is to make your graphics more future proof, i.e. go more stylized.
 
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Lilura

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It's interesting because it's an useful early game purchase that may help greatly with a larger quest.

Potentially, yeah. But De Arnise has fire arrows conveniently itemized, the Captain outside even gives you some (and tells you what they're for), and there are low level spells like Burning Hands, Melf's Acid Arrow and Flame Arrow, anyway.

so too bad the series' graphics haven't aged as well as divine divinity's or even fallout's.

Fallout's sprites and anims are superior to the Infinity Engine ones, yeah.
 

Cael

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The problem has always been corporate meddling. Take a look at the Ultima series for a classic example. They were good for their time, with a lot of things to do, even open sandbox in many ways from 4 onwards (although 5 has a hidden time limit that not many people were aware of). It consistently got better as the series progressed, with better graphics, better story, better interaction with the environment. And then EA came along.
Today's game developers have EA on their backs from the get go. Just take a look at the thread about Feargus wanting to fire staff for delays. It is rush out the door regardless of whether the game is complete or not. Just go, go, go. That is the core of the problem and why games like Ultima 7 and BG2 represents the height of RPG, and non-mindless gaming in general.
 

Sykar

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I donno about you guys but I was playing BG2 with a friend at one point and he said the graphics were unpleasant to look at. Whether that's something to point and laugh at, I do think that holds some truth; so too bad the series' graphics haven't aged as well as divine divinity's or even fallout's. So I guess the lesson of the day is to make your graphics more future proof, i.e. go more stylized.

What?! BG beats Fallout handily in terms of graphics especially the environment and they still look good to me to this day. You want graphics that did not age well? Try early 3D like the original Tomb Raider, MGS or Dark Forces 2.

It's interesting because it's an useful early game purchase that may help greatly with a larger quest.

Potentially, yeah. But De Arnise has fire arrows conveniently itemized, the Captain outside even gives you some (and tells you what they're for), and there are low level spells like Burning Hands, Melf's Acid Arrow and Flame Arrow, anyway.

so too bad the series' graphics haven't aged as well as divine divinity's or even fallout's.

Fallout's sprites and anims are superior to the Infinity Engine ones, yeah.

That's debatable, at best.

As to De Arnise there are ways to ensure there are no conveniently placed fire arrows inside the keep.
 
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Lilura

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That's debatable, at best.

At best? I realize you're a shitposter with poor aesthetic taste, but read the Fallout entry here and learn something: Fallout sprites are much more detailed and have many more anim cycles and anim frames per cycle.

As to De Arnise there are ways to ensure there are no conveniently placed fire arrows inside the keep.

Mods will fix it. Fact is, vanilla game itemizes the arrows just where they are needed - and there are spells to kill trolls, too.
 

Sykar

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That's debatable, at best.

At best? I realize you're a shitposter with poor aesthetic taste, but read the Fallout entry here and learn something: Fallout sprites are much more detailed and have many more anim cycles and anim frames per cycle.

As to De Arnise there are ways to ensure there are no conveniently placed fire arrows inside the keep.

Mods will fix it. Fact is, vanilla game itemizes the arrows just where they are needed - and there are spells to kill trolls, too.

The irony of this post is hilarious. The fact is that BG games look a lot less dated and FO sprites double the size of those in BG and even with double the animation cycles do not change jack. The problem is that Fallout has an animation played over and over which looks retarded: The "I do something not combat related where I twiddle my hands in front of me" animation and this animation is played over and over, does not matter if you heal, set a bomb, pick a lick, etc. So even if I grant you that the player character looks better animated it changes very little to the fact that the animations are fucking repetetive to a nauseating degree and thanks to the big sprite they are not as easily overlooked.
And it is the same for Weapons. You use rifles? Same fucking animation which also makes no sense like shooting a sniper rifle from the hip. Pistols and SMGS? Same fucking animation. You use an unarmed character? Enjoy that watching the same basic punch and the same basic kick from start to finish.
"But the sprite is bigger and has more cycles than in BG" yeah that makes things better and makes Fallout look "less dated".
And you call me a "shitposter" you fucking retard?

Who cares about the original version at this point anymore? Both games have a variety of mods which are in regular use and are too old to not use mods at this point.

Ultimately where Fallout shines is the story, dialogue and C&C. It is certainly not better in terms of graphics where it is pretty much on the bottom of the great games of the late 90s and early 2000s.
Heck I'll take D1 over Fallout in terms of graphics.
 
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Lilura

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BG doesn't even have a "twiddle" anim for utility skills. It does not have crouch, climb ladder or run anims. Its sprites do not even have death anims; instead, it's just a separate composited effect. BG has a pathetic 4 frame idle anim. Fallout has way better ranged and melee anims (super sledge, knives, guns, rifles, rocket launchers, grenades). Moreoever, for anyone who has eyes that can see, it's clear that the sprites are more detailed in Fallout.

Fallout anims are impressive to this day and only Jagged Alliance 2 did more. Diablo 1 anims are also better than BG, but they are nowhere near Fallout calibre. Both games came out before BG, too.

Again, you are a shitposter and have shit taste.
 
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IncendiaryDevice

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Heck, they are all bisexuals, just so players can always romance everyone

Isn't it hilarious how the same people who flaunt their sexuality and fictitious gender claiming its a sacred character defining trait are also the ones throwing hissy fits when their favorite Mass Effect alien refuses to sleep with them due to his own preferences.

Dragon Age: Origins only had four romance options, one male-only, one female-only and two bisexuals. Dragon Age 2 is when it got silly, Inquisition then reigned it in a bit.

http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Romance

As per usual the meme is stronger than the truth. And it's a shame you've made me have to write something positive about Dragon Age: Inquisition. That's the real shame with these posts.
 

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