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upsides/downsides of no-reload games

LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
I play two different styles using the no-reload premise:

One is strict no-reload wherein there is no reloading except for a crash or clear glitch; so when the PC dies and that's it. This is what I use for a free-wheeling meta-gaming/powergaming approach in tactical challenges; and in such games I'm mainly just seeing how far I can get before the PC invariably dies to something or other. I do really enjoy the tension to this style of play. But the obvious downside is having to start over a lot. There's so many ways to die (even without SCS and/or other tactical mods installed).

The other approach I use is so-called 'minimal' reload, which I adopt for my roleplay-intensive journaled games such as the "Let the Fates Decide" game I have going. For this type of game I have made way too much of an investment in journaling and story development to start over if the PC gets killed. But having to live with all the other outcomes definitely increases the tension. For these games I don't meta-game or powergame at all.

So anyway, I have recently been playing strict no-reload using the Candlekeep characters I dreamed up for MP mode. And I'm finding it sort of interesting to note that on the one hand, while I do love the tension of strict no-reload (even including the fun factor of frequently rolling up a new PC party; I use a randomization method for it), on the other hand there is something a bit disconcerting about the dynamics of strict no-reload.

Thus... and this is the main observation I'm throwing out for discussion...

In order to not have to start over incessantly with a strict no-reload approach, you have resort to some pretty extraordinary safety measures to minimize the risks to the PC. "Protect the quarterback" is rule number one to longevity in strict no-reload. And I just can't enjoy playing that way! At least when the PC is a meleer.

The tactical powergaming approach really needs the tension of the strict no reload rule--at least for my taste. Playing games like that as minimal reload wouldn't give enough tension for me.

What are your thoughts about this? Do you share the sentiment? Have you found a way to reconcile this?

I should probably reemphasize that I'm kind of hooked on using randomization for determining PC and party for tactical challenges, so I never quite know what I'll be running with in terms of class skills for the party.

Any other observation you all have regarding upsides and downsides (as you see them) to no-reload approaches?

DexterJuliusBorisovCrevsDaakjackjack

Comments

  • YgramulYgramul Member Posts: 1,059
    I recently beat BGEE/SCS no-reload for the first time with my Fighter/Mage charname.

    The satisfaction was immense.

    I have yet to beat BG2 (and now BG2EE) no-reload even once. (Currently, my F/M is going strong, playing very cautiously, made level 10/11, soon to approach Byrnlaw & Irenicus.)

    The thrill & satisfaction for a no-reload run is really incomparable to anything else.

    DexterKloroxJuliusBorisov
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    Just play minimal reload if that's what you like best. What is the big question here I must be missing?

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited September 2014
    @FinneousPJ It's just a fine point, really. In my experience strict no-reload requires an extremely cautious approach to the game in order not to have to pretty much constantly start a new game. (Again: for me. MMV.) Especially when the PC is a meleer, there's no good way to keep the character out of harm's way. It kind of dawned on me today (maybe I'm a little slow) that, in a strict no-reload game, playing the way I most like to play with a meleer PC is likely to result in death/end-of-game fairly early on. And minimal reload--again, for me--just doesn't provide enough tension for a tactical challenge type of game.

    Just wondered what others' experiences and thoughts are about that.

  • tennisgolfbolltennisgolfboll Member Posts: 457
    I mostly play berseker and i always do noreload. My PC butchers his way, its fine. Shorty saves are great, rage epic. Hack away and see legions fall

    KloroxCrevsDaak
  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 780

    I mostly play berseker and i always do noreload. My PC butchers his way, its fine. Shorty saves are great, rage epic. Hack away and see legions fall

    The Berserker Rage is amazing for no reloads. It just gives you immunity to everything you want it to.

    Basically, if you want to play a Cleric, Druid, Mage, or Thief, just get 7 or 9 levels of Berserker first. It's well worth it.

  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,402
    edited September 2014
    I love to play no reload, but when and if my pc dies, if I feel attached to the pc and the party, I reload and continue as minimal reload. Sometimes I don't feel attached to the pc and the party and I just start over. It is all about fun and games, right? ^^

    Playing no reload is cool but losing a beloved pc to an unlucky saving throw and such sucks. And if I feel like I will have more fun by reloading and trying again I do. If I was kinda bored with the pc and the party at the moment I go 'good riddance' and start anew.

    Minimal reload is not tension-free, permanently losing an npc is very easy in bg2. All those disintegrate, flesh to stone spells flying around and with the massive damage output from some enemies, (especially dragons) make it all very possible for an npc to die permanently. And when it happens it is very tragic, especially if you are romancing/doing the npc's quest. But it also forces you to take a new npc instead (perhaps some one who never tried before!) and roll with it so it enhances game play somewhat too.

    JuliusBorisov
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    I guess my observation about the degree of caution required for strict no-reload is a bit whiney. It's not a big deal, and strict no-reload is still more enjoyable than reloading at will. It's just a bit disconcerting for me to find the sweet spot between a fun level of playing with abandon, on the one hand, and the need for caution (in order to have a hope of proceeding relatively far into the game), on the other.

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    edited September 2014
    Maybe try a limited minimal reload, like for example 5 reloads max. Or add a bigger penalty to reload, like -1 CON or something.

    lunarJuliusBorisovJLee
  • tennisgolfbolltennisgolfboll Member Posts: 457
    The important thing is to have fun. I find going berserker and frontline is noreload is easy. Why? Because i know what to watch out for.

    If you dont know when to rage etc then it can be frustrating. The game isnt the best noreload game because of this but once you get the hang of it its easy. But if learning isnt fun, then dont do it. This is for entertainment

    Nimran
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264

    Maybe try a limited minimal reload, like for example 5 reloads max. Or add a bigger penalty to reload, like -1 CON or something.

    These are good suggestions, thanks.

    JuliusBorisov
  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,145
    edited September 2014
    I don't get too attached to my characters, and if I do, I start off with the same portrait, sound set and class (and kits!) but with different stats/proficiencies, besides I play both with SCS, item randomizer and many other mods, so the game is a bit more difficult and more interesting.
    Upsides:
    -no more restarting manias
    -fun way to play
    -game turns out to be much more strategic

    Downsides:
    -it's frustrating to get your character killed

    JuliusBorisov
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    Power Word: Reload

    The caster is able to rewind recent events in order to try again and attempt a more favorable outcome. Due to the extreme strain associated with the casting of this spell, the caster suffers a permanent CON penalty of A points. If the caster has no more than 3 CON, the spell may not be cast.

    A = 1, 2, 3, ... depending on the level of challenge you want ;) This incorporates multiple points:
    - a tangible penalty for failing and having to reload
    - limited reloads due to ability drain
    - melee characters will probably have a couple more attempts than non-melees due to higher CON

    Sounds like it could work.

    JuliusBorisovLemernisKloroxCrevsDaak
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,456
    @FinneousPJ‌ , the trouble with interpreting reload as a spell, imo, is that it would involve enormously powerful manipulation of time itself, and would therefore be at least a level 9 spell, or more likely a level 10 HLA. Which means that you would only be able to use Power Word: Reverse Time (a better name for it, imo) when you had access to a mage with HLA's, meaning never in BG1 and only late in SoA or not until ToB.

    However, I have often imagined reloading as a divination spell, which is a bit easier to justify storywise for low level mages or clerics, but can turn into a corny "only dreamed the last season of Dallas" sort of thing if one isn't careful.

    Basically, I imagine that my diviner character is sent visions, dreams, or premonitions either by casting for them, or from a god, warning of an impending disaster, or that an enemy is planning a nasty surprise. Or, one can see it as magically running simulations before an expected battle, where the "reload" is actually an "end simulation" on the magical vision.

    It sort of works, but it's corny as heck. You'd lose an audience pretty fast if you did that sort of thing too much in a story. The closest I've seen to having it work well is in the case of the character Phoebe from "Charmed".

    ****************************************

    As far as my take on no-reload games, I like to see how far I can get without having to do it, but I'm not about to let some arbitrary self-imposed rule or rules about reloading ruin my fun. If I'm invested in my characters, I'll keep playing them until I don't want to any more.

    It seems to me that you would need to specifically *not* care about your character in order for a pure no-reload to be fun. It would be like putting quarters in an arcade machine - if your toon dies, you put in another quarter and start over at the beginning, and keep doing it until you run out of quarters, you run out of time, or you're ready to quit. You care about how far you get and what levels you can beat, but you don't care about your avatar or any stories associated with it.

    There's an appeal to that kind of arcade or Nintendo playstyle, when one is in the mood for it, but games that are designed to be played that way don't require so much time investment on your part to move through all the levels. In BG, by the time you make it to the end, you have likely invested an enormous amount of time. Too much time to restrict reloading when needed, for me.

    Why waste time creating a backstory and a personality, and investing yourself creatively in a character, if you are planning to abandon that character as soon as you "run out of lives"?

    lunarFinneousPJKloroxJuliusBorisov
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Personal opinion, but some classes and kits really lose out by not allowing you to play the odds a bit. Assasin and Monk stand out, as their key ability can be saved against. :/ Arcane casters have a big edge on this, despite spells having saves. I like soloing BG1, but no reload solos sre really hard on some classes/kits.

    Cleric is strong in early/mid BG1, but struggles later game unless liberally using stinky cheese, and I doubt they'll beat Karoug solo.

    Which brings up another aspect I like, having a character that doesnt do every quest/find every gold piece. Its a nifty change of pace if you're a completionist.

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    @BelgarathMTH‌ I didn't mean it to be a spell you scribe and memorize, because all classes should have it. Rather it should be a special ability (Bhaalspawn ability maybe).

    BelgarathMTHCrevsDaak
  • TheGraveDiggerTheGraveDigger Member Posts: 336
    If someone is going to powerword:reload their way through a game they might aswell just enable cheats and CTRL+Y(instakill) all the enemies, because the end result is the same: You win.

    Where's the risk?

    You don't have to be masochistic with your reloads, and you don't need to restart at all... You could simply donate alot of money to the temple each time you use powerword:reload. Donate 2000gp to the temple each time you're forced to reload, or donate all your gold if you're feeling generous. Atleast now you get punished for reloading(losing)

    You can also use the console to remove gold if there's no temple nearby.

    Playing evil and don't want high rep? Each time Charname dies you must kill and remove a party member(hello Garrick). Think of it as stealing their life essence.

  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 780

    If someone is going to powerword:reload their way through a game they might aswell just enable cheats and CTRL+Y(instakill) all the enemies, because the end result is the same: You win.

    Where's the risk?

    You realize he's suggesting reducing the CON stat with an editor each time you're forced to reload as a penalty, right?

    I like the idea of losing gold each time, because I don't understand why you can't resurrect the main character.

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    @Klorox You can't resurrect bhaalspawn for plot reasons explained during the saga.

    DreadKhanCrevsDaak
  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 780

    @Klorox You can't resurrect bhaalspawn for plot reasons explained during the saga.

    Yeah, but that's a BS excuse IMHO. The other bhaalspawn can be resurrected.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Well, Imoen can. Sarevok didnt get resurected precisely... but who else got raised that was a Bhaalspawn?

  • tennisgolfbolltennisgolfboll Member Posts: 457
    edited September 2014

    @FinneousPJ‌ , the trouble with interpreting reload as a spell, imo, is that it would involve enormously powerful manipulation of time itself, and would therefore be at least a level 9 spell, or more likely a level 10 HLA. Which means that you would only be able to use Power Word: Reverse Time (a better name for it, imo) when you had access to a mage with HLA's, meaning never in BG1 and only late in SoA or not until ToB.

    However, I have often imagined reloading as a divination spell, which is a bit easier to justify storywise for low level mages or clerics, but can turn into a corny "only dreamed the last season of Dallas" sort of thing if one isn't careful.

    Basically, I imagine that my diviner character is sent visions, dreams, or premonitions either by casting for them, or from a god, warning of an impending disaster, or that an enemy is planning a nasty surprise. Or, one can see it as magically running simulations before an expected battle, where the "reload" is actually an "end simulation" on the magical vision.

    It sort of works, but it's corny as heck. You'd lose an audience pretty fast if you did that sort of thing too much in a story. The closest I've seen to having it work well is in the case of the character Phoebe from "Charmed".

    ****************************************

    As far as my take on no-reload games, I like to see how far I can get without having to do it, but I'm not about to let some arbitrary self-imposed rule or rules about reloading ruin my fun. If I'm invested in my characters, I'll keep playing them until I don't want to any more.

    It seems to me that you would need to specifically *not* care about your character in order for a pure no-reload to be fun. It would be like putting quarters in an arcade machine - if your toon dies, you put in another quarter and start over at the beginning, and keep doing it until you run out of quarters, you run out of time, or you're ready to quit. You care about how far you get and what levels you can beat, but you don't care about your avatar or any stories associated with it.

    There's an appeal to that kind of arcade or Nintendo playstyle, when one is in the mood for it, but games that are designed to be played that way don't require so much time investment on your part to move through all the levels. In BG, by the time you make it to the end, you have likely invested an enormous amount of time. Too much time to restrict reloading when needed, for me.

    Why waste time creating a backstory and a personality, and investing yourself creatively in a character, if you are planning to abandon that character as soon as you "run out of lives"?

    Powerword reload is the lamest IWIN button ever. It makes any challenge laughable. It also has unlimited uses. This is why noreload runs are so much fun

    That said play any way that makes the game entertaining for you.

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    @DreadKhan Yup, Imoen's a plot hole. Apparently they were planning to kill her off in spellhold, but it was changed due to fan pleads. Which sucks :/

    CrevsDaakKlorox
  • KingGhidorahKingGhidorah Member Posts: 200
    For me personally the factor that is withholding me from playing no-reload games is time invested. I would love to play no-reload runs, but i have 2 small children and a full time job and I just can't invest the hours (if i ever intend to complete the saga that is) to achieve such a feat.

    I have owned BG:EE for nearly two years and have yet to touch the BG2EE part. I would like to actually see the new content sometime.

    Also, some classes like bards or monks have very little means to attack or defend at mages at low levels. A level 1 bard can easily fall to SCS tarnish because he simply can't hide or cast spells yet, thus requiring metagaming to actually beat the encounter (i like a roleplaying run through).

    Thus, im now playing minimal reloads, journalling my reloads as i go.

    BelgarathMTHJuliusBorisovjackjack
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited September 2014
    @KingGhidorah I'm in similar boat, working full time plus attending graduate school full time. I still haven't gotten to BG2EE yet either. I devote time to my BGEE journaled playthrough during time-off from school the between-quarter breaks. But I also like to have a purely tactical game going just to get in an hour of playing time here and there.

    A pretty good example of what I'm on about for the trade-off between extra-cautiousness and the tension of strict no-reload occurred today, actually. I'm running a custom party of six that is designed to increase the challenge by through modest ability scores, offbeat classes/weapons profs, and randomization to determine the PC and party. The party was returning from the Nashkel mines after completing the quest there. I knew Nimbul was waiting for me outside the Nashkel inn. And I have a Bounty Hunter in the party that I knew could probably nearly take him out with his special snare plus a regular trap. But he needed to rest to do that. So because it is no-reload what did I do? I had the party sleep on the outskirts of the Nashkel Fair grounds. And went back and I laid the snares for him, and they worked. But it was because of the risk-avoidance inherent in strict no-relaod that I did what was cheesy and metagamey in that case.

    I mean, that is just one player's approach. I'm only speaking for myself. And I still prefer the tension of strict no-reload to minimal reload for this type of challenge. But anyway, I have to accept that either I'm going to start over a lot from PC deaths relatively early on, or I'm going to resort to a lot of cheese to make it very far. Not complaining, really, just making the observation as it relates to how I play.

    JuliusBorisov
  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 780
    DreadKhan said:

    Well, Imoen can. Sarevok didnt get resurected precisely... but who else got raised that was a Bhaalspawn?

    I was just thinking of Imoen.

  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 2,433
    I really don't like no-reload. Oh look, I died in some stupid way in Bg1! Looks like I'm going to have to do the boring Nashkel Mine kobold hackfest again...

    To me, finally figuring out how to beat a tough battle with a terribly unoptimized party after failing at it 50 times is what gives me satisfaction. I'd never want to do a no-reload playthrough of any game as luck-based as Bg is.

    LemernisBelgarathMTHFrond
  • fanscalefanscale Member Posts: 81
    Is anyone going to do a mod that prevents you from loading a game? What about instead of minimal reloads you got 1 save and 3 reloads every chapter.
    Playing through an entire chapter again because you died near the end should give you a lot of tension as you work towards that point again.
    Best choice is to pick a character with good saving throws. Have one kind of immunity. Once your saving throws are high it should be safe to go into melee.

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