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Reload / no reload

molloymolloy Member Posts: 105
As much as I believe, that it's necessary to impose some extra rules on yourself, to keep these games fun and challenging, I don't get the appeal of no-reload-games. Ok, it's a challenge, that much I get, but it's not in the least a fun one to me.

Of course, I don't reload after each undesirable outcome. For instance, I don't reload for more hitpoints, although if there where a mean HP option (instead of max HP), I would probably use it. Also in IWD I would never reload for better random items (although the game seems to be determined to screw me with elven chains, which I get in abundance when I don't need them, whereas my all bard party got none).

However I hate the notion of having to start over again after a lost battle. 'Who wouldn't?' one might think, but given the popularity of no-reload-runs here, I will give some reasons.

1. Given my restarting issues (which I also seem to share with many people here) I already see the first maps way more often than later ones. I absolutely don't want to worsen this imbalance.

2. Fights are much more exciting, if they can go wrong, whereas in no-reload-games you do everything to minimize that possibility. I like taking risks, like going on with only few spells left and low health. Actually a rule I often use is, that I don't rest before almost no spells are left (around 10%, depending on the party setup). It's really fun sometimes, to see how you can survive a battle with only a few highly situational spells.

2b. I like adjusting tactics. One of the things I enjoy about these games is to fail horribly, and then thinking about what went wrong, what could be done better and finally succeeding. You obviously can't have that in no-reload.

3. I couldn't resist to min-max a no-reload-party. Sure you don't have to, but still - you will be much more focused on survivability.

4. You pretty much need metagame knowledge to do this in these games, as some things thrown at you are just unfair, like death spells or imprisonment. You can prepare for that, but you have to know it's coming.

5. Some game systems are terrible, like spell failure or pickpocketing. In a no-reload game I would just ignore that there is pickpocketing, because the possibility of turning possibly quest-relevant NPCs hostile seems just not acceptable. It might be possible to just accept the loss of some spells, but when this happens with certain spells it just drains too much fun out of the game, so that I decided I don't wanna put up with this stupid rule.

6. Sometimes I like to relax while playing.

So let's discuss and maybe add or subtract some points!

edit: added 2b.

Post edited by molloy on


  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,594
    You make some good points. I've never wanted to do a true no-reload game for a lot of the reasons you describe.

    However, I also find that losing too many battles and reloading due to total party kills makes me feel like I have a failed character build or a failed party, and then I do want to just start all over and go for a cleaner game. That's because I get immersed in the story and the characters I'm developing, and it starts to feel really phony if I keep getting TPK's and just reloading scenarios over and over until I get lucky dice rolls.

    So, I play "minimal reload" as a middle ground that I find fun. I only reload in the event that Charname is killed in BG, or in the event of a total party kill in Icewind Dale. In all other cases, I live with the consequences of whatever happens, including running from battle when needed, and having a survivor or survivors haul unconscious "dead" bodies with their equipment back to town for raising.

    I also limit my number of reloads even then. I keep count. If the number gets too high, I go back to the drawing board of character creation and start the game all over.

    As for spells and hit points, I use Tweaks to turn on 100% spell learning, and maximum hit points on level up for both player characters and npc's. I "pay" for the spell learning by making my arcane casters have high intelligence anyway. It is just too frustrating and no fun to fail scribing precious, rare scrolls, especially in Icewind Dale, or to gain one hit point for three level ups in a row with your lead fighter, who then has fewer hit points than your luckier mage.

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,686
    Play as you like more in this particular moment.

    Reload freely if you want to simply enjoy the game. Reload to try different strategies.

    Don't reload if you RP your party and take consequences of your actions.

    Both ways are fine I think.

    Personally I generally prefer to make it harder and don't reload.

  • molloymolloy Member Posts: 105
    bengoshi said:

    Personally I generally prefer to make it harder and don't reload.

    The thing is, I am not convinced that it's necessarily harder. When I tried a no reload run of BG1, I played in a way that I almost couldn't die. I played a strong character, I chose fights where I knew they would be no threat at the point, I buffed and prepared, so in the end it was boringly easy, because never anything could go wrong.

    Of course, it's my fault that I played that way, but I couldn't help it, because I dreaded restarting that much.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,594
    edited November 2014
    @molloy, but wouldn't you do the same thing in real life, where there are no "reloads", if you were constantly getting into and even seeking out dangerous situations?

    When the penalty for making careless choices or rushing into the unknown unprepared is a horrible death, I think most people would be very, very careful.

    The desire to survive would lead me to look for all the information I could find out about what I was getting into, by talking to experts and reading books. I'd employ scouts and spies to get me information about exact enemy numbers and troop placements, as well as what kind of weaponry and organization I might be facing.

    I know it's a game, and the object is to have fun, but for me, it's the most fun if I get immersed and feel like I'm really there, and I don't want to die. That increases the adrenaline rush for me, and the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when I am victorious.

  • molloymolloy Member Posts: 105
    edited November 2014
    You know, in real life I'm a pacifist, I can't see blood and am avoiding anything that could lead to physical violence. So I really don't get into life-threatening situations much.

    Also, and more to your point, I'm probably not that much of a role player either. Sure, I find these games fun and interesting, but I don't see myself walking through these caves.

  • MrGoodkatMrGoodkat Member Posts: 167
    Well... it's quite simple imho. Games are not designed to beat everything on your first try that's why there are often things like auto-save mechanics. The developers *know* people are going to die at this point.

    In conclusion I do agree with you that playing a no-reload game on your first run ever is kind of stupid.

    *However* it's a completely different story when you play through the game multiple times. You know more or less everything, so you are constantly looking for extra challenges. They don't have to make sense, they just have to keep you engaged and make you actually *care* about the game.

    For that purpose a no-reload run can be a lot of fun. It keeps you on your toes. People don't even realize how many times they reload for no reason whatsoever. They even employ it as a tactic. "Hmm... I remember there was a trap here *somewhere*... whatever, I'll just run around till I trigger it - then I'll remove it"

    No-reload also makes you use all the possibilities you have but never actually make use of. A simple example would be stealth and scouting. A fairly standard approach on reload runs is to rush into an encounter => look what's up => reload => prepare for the fight => win. Super cheesy, but it's often a lot harder for people to impose tons of rules upon themselves instead of just not reloading which automatically makes you respect certain rules and boundaries.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    @molloy I don't think that I agree with you on some points.

    Pick pocketing: if you want to pick pocket 2 high level casters you had best at least raise your pick pocket score to over 100 but who actually does that? Easier to just get to 50 and reload until you get the sweet loot. No-reload changes that paradigm and gives an incentive to include a pure thief in your party for the benefit of a high pick pocket score. It also delays the acquisition of these items until your pick pocket is high enough. This is all how the game is intended (though if you do all of this already and then reload the game in the event of a critical failure it's another story).

    Chance to learn spell: I've actually found heaps of genius potions which give +3 int. imbibe one of these and then learn a bunch of spells and it's unlikely you'll fail. There is also an added benefit to playing a specialist mage. There are a number of +int items too so it's good to give added value to these.

    Resting: resting is so frequently interrupted in IWD that you can't do it after every fight. Instead there is a strong incentive to make the most progress before having to rest using efficient means of finishing encounters. Traps are a fantastic strategy to have an uninterrupted sleep.

    I haven't tried no-reload in IWD yet but I'm doing a core multiplayer run with someone new to IE games so I'm trying to avoid concepts such as reloading though we tend to reload if a character dies as it's more tedious to walk back to town than it is to reload.

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