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Durlag's Tower - Thoughts?

Artemius_IArtemius_I Member Posts: 2,610
So, Durlag's Tower. We all know about it (aside from the newbies). Some of us love it. Some of us hate it. But it's a pretty big part of the TotSC expansion, so you can't really ignore it if you're planning on completing the majority of BG1.

My thoughts? It's a pain in the a*s.

I don't mind that it's tough. I don't even think the Demon Knight is that hard once you figure out what he can do, and if I don't want to bother I just pack a Protection from Magic scroll and send my best warrior up against him. Most of the time I don't even use the mirror. But the dungeon itself is just so... annoying.

There's like 7-8 levels to explore in total, counting the above ground levels. It takes forever to get through the tower and clear it. I don't even know what I dislike most about it anymore, whether it's the annoyance of going back and forth picking up items and going for doors that you need to find the key for on the other side of the map, or the monsters, or the traps.

And holy cr*p the traps are annoying. Even after I've gotten through it about half a dozen times it's frustrating trying to pick out every single one of them especially with the game's horribly slow trap detecting system. Even now I get blown up by random traps I didn't know were there. I get blown up by traps I KNEW were there either because I get impatient or pathing sends my characters through them when I don't pay attention. Then I have to reload because every party I have has at least 3 really low HP characters that will die to a fireball.

Also because of some mod I installed the four elements part of the tower is bugged and I have to manually set the global to transition to the chess phase.

I just had the motivation to type this out after beating Durlag's Tower for... at least the 8-9th time by now. I felt like ranting :P But seriously, this is one of the most annoying dungeons in the entire trilogy. It's even worse than Irenicus's Dungeon by now, because not only is it so trap happy but I know I don't have to do it, but I *have* to. I know at least the first time I ran though it blind I was intimidated because there was a trap around every corner which could force a reload. Now it's just tedious. For once, Eldoth was right: "This is so tedious."

Edit: Count the number of times I said "annoying" "annoyance" or something to that effect lol. Spoilers: four times. Not that bad considering the tangents I can get into :P



  • AristilliusAristillius Member Posts: 873
    Im with @Shandyr here, it might not be my favorite - but it is a very well made dungeon. And all the talk before you enter the dungeon about the sadistic traps make you quite well prepared for what is to come in my opinion.

  • LookToWindwardLookToWindward Member Posts: 75
    Yeah, I agree, I was kind of dread of going there the first time so was extra careful! It's not easy, I agree and might be a bit of a bore after you have done it a few times, which is one of the shames about BG in general, eventually you explore it all and like life it becomes boring. It would be so cool if new dungeon could be added automatically every month or so, but I guess then there would never be an end.

    I love the actual dungeon design too, the rooms and layout is really cool!

  • elementelement Member Posts: 833
    I don't like giant dungeons generally.

  • GawdzillaGawdzilla Member Posts: 86
    I'm kind of with @Shandyr on this. Durlag's Tower is a great story. He went completely mad with grief, but his wife is there too, standing by him through all those cold dark centuries. It's a tragedy. (And on the plus side, there's good loot!)

    Aside from the story, I *hate* dopplegangers. Ever since BG1, I tense up anytime one of those slimy face-shifters is around. Of COURSE they'd be behind this mess. Feels good to liberate the place.

  • LookToWindwardLookToWindward Member Posts: 75
    Yes, I know what you mean about the path finding, but they still do that in Durlags's but maybe not so much. In fact if I could have one annoyance that really spoils game play, it's to have the path finding work more sensibly. It can happy on any map, but mostly it happens in dungeon, presumably because the intended path is blocked (usually by someone else in the party). In this case it immediately works out another (round the world route), whereas, if it just gave time to let the other players sort themselves out the first route would be fine!

    Movement is *so* fundamental to any game and in a game like BG much more so.

    One thing I've found is that, if select the all in a line formation, it works much better, if fact, I think it works in a different way to the other formations.

    I was wondering if the this fairly simple algorithm might solve it.

    When a party destination is clicked, only the lead character starts to move initially and the other characters delay finding a path - say a 1/4 second delay.
    After delay, the 2nd player in the party calculates a route, if the shortest route is blocked by the lead party member (the one that is moving now), and that party member is within a certain distance delay, then do not move and wait another 1/4 second. After delay, calculate and check shortest route/distance and again delay if blocked. After (say) 6 delays (1.5 seconds), then the shortest route is really blocked, so use an alternate route.

    Perform the above for each party member, using the character before you in the line up is check for blocked.

    So, if we have 6 party members:

    0 Lead CharA
    1 CharB
    2 CharC
    3 CharD
    4 CharE
    5 CharF

    Then, 1 would check if 0 is blocking the path, 2 would check 1 was blocking, 3 would check 2 and so on.

    The timings might have to be tweaked, but I reckon this stands a good chance of making it work nicely.


    Just had another thought and I used something like this once. It went like this. If PlayerA can find a short route to a DestinationX from where it started from, and I can't but I am near to this point, then plot a route to where PlayerA started from, and, once there, try to find a route to destination X.

    This worked like magic in an App I worked on.

  • CorvinoCorvino Member Posts: 2,269
    I don't mind Durlag's Tower, but I completely agree that the once-per-round, short ranged trap detection system sucks. I have lost count of the number of times my 100% Find Traps skill thief has accidentally wandered over the trap *I knew was around here and was actively looking for* despite waiting and seaching a few steps away moments before. Gah.

  • dustbubsydustbubsy Member Posts: 242
    I do tend to dread Durlag's Tower, for reasons already mentioned. Also I tend to do it right at the end of BG so whatever cool items I find there are pretty much useless anyway. And my characters have reached their level cap so there's no incentive there either. It becomes a chore.

    With that in mind, I don't feel bad about fireballing everything on the chessboard before it can even see me. And I found the Demon Knight to be easier if you don't use the mirror, oddly.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,157

    I like the lore behind the tower, and the loot you get. You don't need any more money after you finish that dungeon; you are set for the rest of the game after grabbing all those jewels and weapons.

    But after doing it four times, all in recent playthroughs, it does start to wear on you. It's not a particularly hard dungeon after a while, but it's long and tedious. I especially hate the room with the exploding fireball in the center, which will actually prevent you from saving your game if you pause at the wrong time. Not to mention the horrible explosion noises spewing from your computer speakers. UGH.

    This is pretty close to how I feel. I don't really need the loot there, but there is some very nice stuff down there.

    It might be almost self-punishing in practice, but I could see playing a Let the Fates Decide style run in which the three ToSC quests are taken on as early as feasible--and for Durlag's that'd basically be as soon as the party's thief can handle the traps there.

    So with this approach I would roleplay it through the dungeon without meta-gaming, and using card flips and die rolls for some decisions where I'm either unsure what the characters would do, or just to increase the fun value. That would sort of freshen up the experience, and make it more interesting and challenging.

    If I were ever to do this, I think the main question is would I attempt it at the point that the Thief could handle the traps there with potions, or via natural skill. The merchant on that map, Erdane, has lots of potions for sale. So even if a Thief has only around 45 in Find Traps, with plenty of potions of master thievery it could be doable. I can never remember if it's 85 or 90 in Find Traps that you need to keep from getting crushed by the wall...

  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,686
    I enjoyed Watcher's keep more than i did Durlags tower. It was a nice edition to BG but it was pretty much a dungeon, one of those that were long, tedious and had some mechanics that could kill you that most people wouldn't feel are very fair.

    Werewolf Island on the other hand, LOVE IT.

  • jacobtanjacobtan Member Posts: 655
    Durlag's Tower is okay, but Durlag's Labyrinth is !@#$%^&;*()

    Lots of traps, lots of monster respawn points, lots of hard-hitting monsters, hostile terrain (acid pools), and the items are not much more powerful than the other items and most certainly not necessary to take down Sarevok. Meh.

  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,686
    edited April 2014
    Oh and Durlag's tower has a shitty ending.

    What is up with the returning to an empty town and having some cultist steal the damn dagger and then attack you? You go down and kill a Demon and that's it. Compared to the Demon earlier with his pretty mirror, the whole ending at Ulgoth's couldn't have been more anti climatic.

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,732
    SionIV said:

    Oh and Durlag's tower has a shitty ending.

    What is up with the returning to an empty town and having some cultist steal the damn dagger and then attack you? You go down and kill a Demon and that's it. Compared to the Demon earlier with his pretty mirror, the whole ending at Ulgoth's couldn't have been more anti climatic.

    Yea it wasn't a great ending but a benefit of it was it was a good excuse to use up a number of the really good scrolls and potions you come across in the game. Sarevok is a really straightforward battle when you have access to something like a wand of paralysis.

  • dementeddemented Member Posts: 388
    I dislike large dungeons with numerous levels. I dread going through places like the Candlekeep catacombs and have never completed The Watcher's Keep. And yet I really enjoyed Durlag's Tower. I never felt that any of the floors went on too long. None of the battles were too difficult and I found the traps easy enough to deal with.

    I went in, sure that I would get bored in minutes, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences I had in BG:EE.

  • NonnahswriterNonnahswriter Member Posts: 2,499
    SionIV said:

    Oh and Durlag's tower has a shitty ending.

    What is up with the returning to an empty town and having some cultist steal the damn dagger and then attack you? You go down and kill a Demon and that's it. Compared to the Demon earlier with his pretty mirror, the whole ending at Ulgoth's couldn't have been more anti climatic.

    I've beaten that demon once. Ever since, whenever I finish Durlag's and head back to Ulgoth, I'm like, "What? Demon? Noooooope, that's your problem now! Gotta go kill Sarevok. Bye!"

    I flippin' hate that demon.

  • francis369francis369 Member Posts: 29

    SionIV said:

    Oh and Durlag's tower has a shitty ending.

    What is up with the returning to an empty town and having some cultist steal the damn dagger and then attack you? You go down and kill a Demon and that's it. Compared to the Demon earlier with his pretty mirror, the whole ending at Ulgoth's couldn't have been more anti climatic.

    I've beaten that demon once. Ever since, whenever I finish Durlag's and head back to Ulgoth, I'm like, "What? Demon? Noooooope, that's your problem now! Gotta go kill Sarevok. Bye!"

    I flippin' hate that demon.
    1 archer. 1 potion of invulnerability + the boots of the cheetah and that demon is easy. move shoot. move shoot. kill the cultists then destroy the demon it can be done without taking a hit. trying to do it with a full party is a different matter however.

  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 2,521
    The attack you should most fear in the battle which concludes the entire Durlag's Tower plot line is Death Gaze...but that is why Potions of Mirrored Eyes exist. Other than that I would note that most creatures cannot target what they cannot see.

  • JenzafarJenzafar Member Posts: 303
    It's easy to get burned out on Durlag's Tower, especially if you've done it a handful of times like OP (and myself). I don't do Durlag's every time I play--for just that reason. Sometimes I just do the upper levels and then go for werewolf island instead.

    But mostly, I've found that getting super pissed off at traps is a *very* good indication that it's time to step away from the game and do something else for a while. It'll be fun again later. Maybe months later.

  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,686
    edited April 2014
    The biggest problem with durlag for me is that the gear you get there isn't better than what you normally get. The best armor in the game is outside of Durlag's, same with rings, cloak, belt, everything with the exception of the two handed sword +3 you'll get better outside, and even then i would pick Spider's Bane over the two handed sword +3.

    There is no reason to go there other than third floor (above dungeon) for the Wisdom tome. At least in Watcher's keep you were constantly getting upgrades.

    And any character with two invisibility potions can get the tome alone without ever having to fight.

  • Played Durlag's Tower with a high level thief and loved it. Now I'm trying it with no thief and tanking the traps. Problem is in Level 2 there is a trap with a ward stone that follows the wardstone holder. Continuous fireballs and it can't be dispelled. Protection from fire only delays the inevitable. I can use protection from Lightening to tank the lightening traps but the fireballs originate from me even if I drop the stone. I was hoping I could drop the stone and pick it up when the effect wore off. It's the stone just after the Teleport room. I hate to abandon the dungeon, but without a high level thief it may be impossible.

  • GamingFreakGamingFreak Member Posts: 639
    With an optimized party, Durlag's Tower is pretty tame, assuming you play on standard difficulty - Core. Most you have to worry about is finding stuff and traps; the vast majority of enemies can be singled out and beaten apart with pre-battle buffing and quick thinking with targeting.

    The trickiest part are the enemies who backstab you, IMO. Those guys really hurt. There were a few cultist rogues in Ulgoth's Beard who backstab you too, and it's nasty business.

    Aec'Letec is mostly just a beefed up fighter once you block off his gaze with Mirror Eyes potions on your party, and there's definitely plenty of those in the game, though killing off the cultists first is still your big goal.

  • typo_tillytypo_tilly Member Posts: 5,490
    I enjoy the tower, especially the lower levels. Slime and spiders! c:

    Last playthrough I only ran into 3-5 of those backstabbers. I go out of my way to find them... there're just not many? :/

  • Ok, I just thought of a solution. I could let Ajentis die getting the stone, then haul him back to town for a resurrection, then come back...

  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,346
    edited December 2014
    Watchers keep in bg2 is much more interesting and offers an amazing variety of puzzles/traps/monsters/challenges. If you get sick of Durlag's, maybe it is time to go for the big stage? :-)

  • CaptRoryCaptRory Member Posts: 1,656
    I like Durlag's a lot more since I started making multiple trips. It's kinda boring for me to just slog through but I can make a few excursions and break it up. I like getting to know the whole history and learning how it came to be this way.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 4,748
    I usually do the top floors of Durlag's Tower on every run just up to the point of no return. There's good loot and experience there that can help in the final battle with Sarevok. I always leave before getting trapped there, and have never played through the lower floors, and therefore have never fought the demon knight or Aec L'atec.

    I *despise* with a passion dungeons that trap you there forever until you finish them, and I also *despise* with a passion puzzle dungeons. The lower floors of Durlag's Tower are *both* of those things. For me, it's just no fun, and I have no interest in playing that particular scenario. Thank the gods it's optional and not plot-required.

    I feel the same way about Watcher's Keep, although it's not as bad as Durlag's Tower. I rarely play either one past their points of no return, though, and the one time I got stuck in lower Durlag's Tower, I spent about an hour of real time there, said "No, thank you, Mr. Gamemaster," reloaded an earlier save, and never looked back.

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