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[Request] Something along the lines of Level 1 NPCs

AndreaColomboAndreaColombo Member Posts: 5,326
Originally posted on /r/FriendsOfBaldursGate.

THE MOD:

There's a mod called Level 1 NPCs (link: http://www.gibberlings3.net/level1npcs/) that allows full personalization of each and every joinable NPC in the game. The idea is nice.

THE REQUEST:

BG:EE could allow players to customize joinable NPCs to an extent upon recruiting them. Each joinable NPC could start at level 1 and automatically level up to match the average party level (ToB-style) upon being recruited. This way, it would be up to the player to allocate weapon proficiencies, distribute thieving skill ranks, and pick known arcane spells.

I think it would be good to give this kind of flexibility to players: being able to hand pick proficiencies and abilities would enable players to tailor each character to the kind of party they're trying to build and/or the weapons they'd like to try (e.g. without having to ditch their favorite NPC because they lack the weapon proficiencies they need to test a weapon they never used in 20 times through the game).

TanthalasGrammarsaladsarevok57WinthalBhryaencarugaWilliam_ImmGrog
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Comments

  • TanthalasTanthalas Member Posts: 6,738
    This is another mod feature that I would like to have in the game.

    By default I think at the very least we should be able to allocate weapon proficiencies and thieving skills stat distribution.

    Perhaps an advanced option would let us reroll the stats of the NPCs and let us change their classes. I think this would also be a nice feature because its a bit annoying that BGEE will have all the kits from BG2, but all the BG1 NPCs will only have basic classes. An option like this one would allow us to play with all the kits that we want and at the same time still have access to our favorite characters.

    AndreaColomboIgneous
  • James_MJames_M Member Posts: 126
    edited June 2012
    I have caught myself wanting to change NPC’s starting proficiency points (e.g. Minsc and Khalid; but especially Anomen)

    Suggestion: When a new NPC joins the party, consider including the option to select the NPC’s skills and/or spells, or simply choose “recommended”. Some of the proficiency points could or should be pre-allocated depending on the rigidity of the NPC’s role. If a player chooses “recommended”, the recommendations should be shown before finalizing.

    [comments not copied over]

  • ElectricMonkElectricMonk Member Posts: 599
    I'm somewhat torn on this idea. I've used the lvl1 NPCs mod a few times now and I quite like it, but I like it specifically because I've played BG so many times that it's nice to try out a variety of different party builds. On the one hand, I would certainly use it eventually if it were an optional feature (I don't think it should be anything but optional as @Kore said)... but on the other hand it does seem like it might be too much control. A part of me does like that you have to choose between the specific options presented by the devs. It takes away from the realism and the roleplay idea that you are CHARNAME when you have complete control over the creation of every companion that joins you.

    I suppose it would be a cool feature as long as it's optional.

  • AzL0nAzL0n Member Posts: 126
    Personally I like realism. I don't find it realistic to be able to choose the skills of NPC's when having them join your party. It turns them into tools instead of individuals which isn't good for the roleplay factor. To me it makes no sense to say: I want you to be good at wielding X weapon and making them so instantly. But I guess it wouldn't kill anyone to add this as an optional thing, personally I wouldn't want to play like that.

    Winthal
  • AzL0nAzL0n Member Posts: 126
    Just going to copy paste what I wrote in James_m thread ''NPC skills can be selected, limited and optional, when joining'' since I feel like it's the same kind of request.

    Personally I like realism. I don't find it realistic to be able to choose the skills of NPC's when having them join your party. It turns them into tools instead of individuals which isn't good for the roleplay factor. To me it makes no sense to say: I want you to be good at wielding X weapon and making them so instantly. But I guess it wouldn't kill anyone to add this as an optional thing, personally I wouldn't want to play like that.

    So I guess I'm the same opinion of Kore, sarevok and jay

    ElectricMonktena
  • CadrosCadros Member Posts: 253
    Can we go half way, and have NPC's be required to have their signature proficiencies (i.e minsc and 2h swords), the same class and stats, but that you can customise them as if you had piced them up at lvl 1 or so. I think changing stats/class would just feel a bit silly to me, and unless the stats are very high/low there is actually not that much of an impact on the gameplay.

  • DrugarDrugar Member Posts: 1,566
    Part of the NPC's personality is their levels, stats and proficiency points. Being able to handpick those things makes them, in my opinion, feel very generic.
    Yes, it's nice that you can now pick up an NPC later in the game and still feel like you control his effectiveness, but it also changes from "Lets invite this powerful warrior into our party" to "Let's invite this person into our party and use 2 minutes to change him into whatever I want".

    On the other hand, aside from Thieves and Sorcerers, possibly fighters, the classes don't allow much customising while levelling. A weapon proficiency point here and there.
    I'm perfectly fine with it being optional, default turned off.

    tena
  • AndreaColomboAndreaColombo Member Posts: 5,326
    I'm perfectly fine with it being optional, default turned off.
    Works for me.

  • LuneverLunever Member Posts: 276
    The problem is - if an NPC joins early, you can determine his skills, and if he joins late, you can't, and for some NPCs the game may very well make rather stupid skill decisions. Especially if the game is modded later on with new character options. So I installed mods that allow a rather NWN like koining style. The characters always join as level 1 characters with additional unspend XP. level 1 skills are set, the rest can be determined by the player. Best solution in my experience.

  • WardWard Member Posts: 1,305
    I have no interest in choosing their stats, they're fine as is. Just balance them a little.

    Winthal
  • LuneverLunever Member Posts: 276
    @Ward: "They're fine as it is." That's the problem - there is no is. Depending on when an NPC joins your party, you'll get a completely different character. Better would be to rule Lvl 1 proficiencies/skills as given and handle the rest via a normal level up.

  • WardWard Member Posts: 1,305
    @Lunever

    What do you mean completely different?

  • DrugarDrugar Member Posts: 1,566
    @Ward
    When you recruit Khalid at level 1, he's got two points in Longsword. When you recruit him at level 4, he's got three. When you recruit him at level 7, he's got four.

    Clearly, this destroys customisation and immersion, as well as ruining the character. He's basicly worthless, at level 7, statted like that, right?

  • WardWard Member Posts: 1,305
    @Drugar

    IT WORKS LIKE THAT? OH SHIT.

    So if you pick them up early, they stay weak?

  • SeldarSeldar Member Posts: 422
    If you want custom stats, just start a multiplayer game and create your own characters.


    Characters like Khalid or Coran and all others have their own abilities/stats and it's good like that !!!!! I can't believe that people want to change that

    WinthaltenaLindeblomMehkel
  • LuneverLunever Member Posts: 276
    edited June 2012
    @Seldar: I'm not sure you noticed the problem. If an NPC like Khalid or Coran joins early , you CAN already choose their proficiencies because you can level up, even in plain BG1. If he joins late, you can't. TOB already improved that behvavious somewhat, but not sufficiently. Best would be to always FORCE their basic level 1 proficiencies/skills as they have been determined by the devs (like the 4 starting proficiencies of a fighter like Khalid), and on later joining just add the XP and let the level up be handled always the same way by the player.

    Besides - creating more PCs is not what makes the gae worthwhile because they don't have interjections and quests.

    tena
  • WinthalWinthal Member Posts: 366
    @Lunever this is perfectly in order from a realism/story point of view imo, if you pick up Khalid at level 1 and adventure together, you as the party leader can have a profound effect on what weapon skills Khalid will pursue, whereas if you pick him up at level 6-7, he's trained on his own without your influence.

    tenaMehkel
  • wbouvywbouvy Member Posts: 33
    Sounds like an advanced option, as was already concluded in the other thread.

    smeagolheart
  • LuneverLunever Member Posts: 276
    Well, I like to switch between various NPCs in the course of the game to trigger all their special plots.
    Without that tweak (which I have installed) I'd first need to visit every map that offers an NPC, take him, and dismiss him again (i.e. in the Friendly Arm Inn) to make sure I can later on choose his proficiencies. I think a simple manual levelup insteaf of auto-levelup would be a better solution.

  • TanthalasTanthalas Member Posts: 6,738
    Merged James_M's thread with this one to keep everything in a single discussion.

  • SeldarSeldar Member Posts: 422
    So if you want change their talents, use Gate Keeper

  • smeagolheartsmeagolheart Member Posts: 7,023
    I also don't like it if mostly in BG2 I meet an NPC and he's like 4 levels below me and the rest of my party. Too weak to hang with the big boys.

    AndreaColombo
  • BhryaenBhryaen Member Posts: 2,874
    edited June 2012
    It's fine to want "realism," as @AzL0n suggested, and it's fine to take the NPCs as they are, even just accepting the game's default auto-level up system. For newer players first experiencing all BG's many quirks, veteran players satisfied with exactly how the NPCs have been allotted and uninterested in the diversity of NPCs otherwise, or veteran players who prefer the challenge of working with the characteristic imbalances of recruiting the presently distributed NPCs (or perhaps those who prefer using multiplayer to IWD their parties or use mods for all modded NPCs,) there's no need for a Level1NPCs. And there's merit to the rejection of its use due to incongruities regarding NPC voice and text dialogue with particular class choices. And that's fine.

    But to insist that no one's game should benefit from the option is needlessly overbearing. And, mind you, this is and ought to be optional rather than "forced," as @Lunever suggests.

    For me changing an NPC's stats and class does nothing to change Minsc's or Jaheira's or Viconia's personality, so it interrupts none of the game content itself. The incongruity between NPC dialogue and class choices just puts a twist on it, sometimes hilarious (like a Berserker Tiax), sometimes making the NPC more like their personality (like an assassin Montaran or Berserker Minsc), and often for multiple playthroughs- and with a plethora of NPCs to work with. It enables me to play a wildly new game using my favorite NPCs or using NPCs I simply wouldn't have used otherwise. I've never recruited a number of NPCs simply because their stats aren't as good or I already have (or am) the classes I need. That's fairly common for players, but it's clearly a loss of all the content worked into those NPCs. This option let's a player recruit who they would based on simply on interest, not static, constant, original NPC design choices. The option primarily appeals to veterans players who want to shake up their game, plan their recruitments ahead of time, try radically new things, even experiment with multiple new classes and kits at the same time without losing the fun of meeting the game's native NPCs. In short, this type of option enhances the game's replayability by large factors.

    The other advantage to having the option in the game, of course, is not having to mod it in- which is great regardless, but in the case of the actual Level1NPCs mod you can't make changes other than once per game+mods install, so it's a major advantage to having it something you just toggle for each game start without having to reinstall ad nauseum. Plus the mod itself is quite buggy and conflictive- at least from my experience, even having worked with modder Miloch directly to get a hotfix to make Branwen changes work (though there are numerous other NPCs that remain buggy in the mod). So a bug-free, functional mod option for this in-game would be a dream for me. Oh, and I've had problems trying to change NPCs using Shadowkeeper before as well, so this option would avoid those snags as well.

    The other aspect would be implementation method. Earlier I suggested what Lunever has been suggesting: when the option is toggled you would, upon recruiting an NPC, be taken to a CC area similar to the usual PC CC process that lets you build the character as you wish. I could see putting the vanilla values into the various CC tab screens but allowing you to change them, thereby also allowing you to know how much you're tweaking the NPC's parameters as you do. Despite my enthusiasm about the Level1NPCs mod, I prefer not changing the stats much, keeping the total points available constant and the top score consistent for whatever class the NPC is being changed to. But that's just how I play; on the attribute tab there could still be a random roll selection like usual, making it also an option for the player to randomize attributes somewhat.

    Implementing it this way also enables the determination of generic class-based equipment allotments for each customized NPC upon recruitment- i.e., studded leather for rogues, no armor for monks or kensais. I'm not sure but possibly the avatar appearance could also be changed accordingly the same way it's changed during the PC CC process.

    Not sure of the overall doability factor for the BGEE devs, but there would be many happy fans of it...

    Post edited by Bhryaen on
    rion26
  • LuneverLunever Member Posts: 276
    Well, some extreme liberal players say "lets reditribute everything", some extreme conservative players say "lets keep everyhting as it is given".
    That proves to me, that my suggestion "lets keep the level 1 characters and then do a level-up" is a very good common ground for anyone not stuck on an extreme position.

  • ZeckulZeckul Member Posts: 1,031
    edited June 2012
    I don't like the idea. This is already easy to do with mods and savegame editors. Integrating it to the core game would be detrimental to immersion and weaken the NPCs as believable characters. How can Ajantis not be a Paladin? How can Edwin not be a mage? This belongs to the realm of hacking the game and should remain as such.

    Having the characters join at level 1 ToB-style is fine with me though.

    tenaMehkel
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