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Looking to play an Archer kit throughout the Baldur's Gate games, wondering about arrows in BG2:EE

I read up in older discussions about Archers and such that they're a really good kit to use in Baldur's Gate 1 with the Enhanced Edition, and from what I've played they are indeed a very good class to play in a party with a few melee fighters in the front while the Archer consistently hits his mark to wreak havoc on enemies (Elf Archers with bows rock). Due note that I haven't played Baldur's Gate 2 yet or its Enhanced Edition, I was just reading up information about the Archer kit itself some time ago before the BG2:EE came out.

I heard, however, that in the original Baldur's Gate 2 that Archers had trouble later in the game being a viable class to play because of ammunition with ranged weapons not scaling very well, since enemies require magical weapons of a certain power to be able to hit and there not being good enough ammunition in later portions to be able to hit certain enemies (or little enough quality ammunition/arrows to go around so you can hit enemies later in the game). One thing I heard specifically was that in Throne of Baal expansion there are some enemies which require +4 weapons or ammunition just to be able to hit them, but there weren't any kind of +4 ammunition available for ranged weapons to be able to do that in the game so Archers became gimped Rangers at that point needing to use melee weapons they weren't very skilled with while other party members carried the weight.

So I was just wondering since I wanted to play an Archer through the games and transfer my character over to BG2:EE, did Beamdog provide a solution in terms of ammunition for BG2 and ranged weapons for later in the game? I heard that ammunition was sorta gimped compared to that of BG1 (possibly intentionally) at least in the vanilla games, but all I need to know is if they made it viable to play an Archer all the way through to the end of BG2:EE. You can't kill what you can't hit right? And the main draw of an Archer is pelting enemies from a distance, having no late game viability with them in the sequel after having spent so much time playing that character through both games would be a big letdown to me. Especially if I want to try soloing with an Archer, which while it would be difficult I'd want to see if it was at least possible first.

Would appreciate any information about this, preferably without any spoilers. I've had a chance to play a good deal of BG1:EE but haven't beaten it yet, I just want to make sure playing an Archer won't end up throwing me for a loop when I get to playing BG2:EE later.

vladpen
«134

Comments

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Archers with any type of bow, crossbow, sling, or darts will be terrific even late in. If you stick to Longbows, you'll have a harder time, but you are definately viable. There will be a tiny number of enemies you can't hit with a Longbow, but Shortbows and Crossbows are 100% reliable. I recommend crossbows, but shortbows are amazing in BG2.

    Also, you CAN melee almost as well as any Ranger, especially with Greater Whirlwind and a big, hardhitting two-handed weapon. Or, you can dual wield and use a Speed weapon in your off-hand and try Critical Strike and Haste.

    QuartzJuliusBorisovDJKajuru
  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,417
    I recently finished a bg2 game with scs installed with an archer. He had the biggest kills of the entire party, overwhelmingly so. Basically, he tore everything apart that he can pierce with an arrow.
    There were a few times he needed +4 weapons.

    Gessen's bow, firetooth crossbow, these two hit as +4 and do fine. There are +4 bullets and the magical sling that creates +4 bullets and even hit as +5. When push come to shove, my archer equipped that sling and wrecked the enemy. (see below how)

    I could not find Gessens's bow and firetooth crossbow in my game, I have item randomiser mod mind you, and played a strict minimal reload, so I lost a few items. My archer could not hit the big bad final boss, so he had to equip the sling with +4 bullets:he had like two proficiency in slings. With a giant strength belt, (as sling damage benefits from strength) and innate archer damage bonuses, his damage output with a sling was very, very high, like easy 30+ damage with a hit. And he had greater whirlwinds so that's 10 attacks for 20-30 damage in a round. Not too shabby.

    There are only a handful of creatures that require +4 weapons. There are quite more that require +3 weapons, and the +3 arrows and bolts are reserved just for them. With some planning and ammo management, an archer is a beast when it comes to do serious dpsing. More so than a kensai I daresay, because you can do the damage from perfect safety, most of the time.

    JuliusBorisovBrer_Rabbit
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    lunar said:

    With a giant strength belt, (as sling damage benefits from strength) and innate archer damage bonuses, his damage output with a sling was very, very high, like easy 30+ damage with a hit. And he had greater whirlwinds so that's 10 attacks for 20-30 damage in a round. Not too shabby.

    This is a good point to bring up, actually. While Archers cannot get Grandmastery in Slings like they can with Bows/Crossbows, their kit damage bonuses DO work for Slings also - plus the STR bonus, as you mentioned.

    Now, if you can get very high STR on your Archer somehow (potion, items, etc.) then with the right Sling and GWW they can deal even more damage than with a bow/crossbow. Of course, this requires a lot of fiddling and knowing what you are doing, but it's there!

    lunarJuliusBorisovBrer_RabbitFenghoang
  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,417
    Yeah, and enchanted bullets also have damage bonuses, unlike arrows. So a bullet+4 will also add +4 damage. The best sling itself will have +4 or +5 damage bonus. You can get up to +12 damage bonus from giant strength. Plus, innate archer bonuses for +10 damage at lvl 30 (I think) so that's +30 damage guaranteed with each hit. Uhh, add +2 from specialisation, bullets are only 1d4+1, but an archer does 1d4+33 (!) damage per hit in this scenario. Rate of fire will suck, but with greater whirlwinding it is not a problem. So yeah, an epic level archer is quite able to take down an enemy that requires +4 to hit when push comes to shove, as I experienced in my game.

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,802
    The Sling of Everard, available from Joluv in the Copper Coronet, is the sling that strikes as +5. The Firetooth, mentioned above, is available from Garlena at Watcher's Keep. Both are pricy, but you can get an Archer's primary weapons pretty early in the game.

    You can also conjure Darts +5 from the Cloak of Stars available at the end of the Umar Hills quest, but EE fixed a trick where you could make the darts permanent by stuffing them into an Ammo Belt. Still, you can get 18 in one day if you save them up--each rest will get you 6--and that will be enough to break through Improved Mantle, and deal some extra damage against the very few enemies who are always immune to +3 weapons and below.

    Also, Fire Seeds strike as +6 weapons and they work with Greater Whirlwind Attack. And they have a small area effect, so they can even bypass Protection from Magical Weapons.

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    Basically, as you can tell from everyone else, Archers are pretty good. The one thing I would warn against is using longbows, as you'll be disadvantaged in BG2, although you'll still pull your weight. Longbows are better than most other options in BG1, but that doesn't matter much, since you'll be a neigh-unstoppable powerhouse with a shortbow anyway.

    semiticgoddess
  • thelovebatthelovebat Member Posts: 218
    edited June 2015
    So just to confirm what you guys have been saying. Ammunition or ranged weapons haven't been altered in any way in BG2:EE from the original Baldur's Gate 2, but an Archer kit is still viable and has ranged options to hit enemies that require high class magical weapons to hit them later in the game. I was also aware that slings or thrown weapons like axes would benefit damage wise from a higher strength, though my intention with that was possibly a Half Orc character (maybe a Fighter/Cleric) who was really good with slings and could dish out some nasty damage with slings (combined with Cleric buffs).

    I appreciate the number of responses I've gotten in this thread. This is mainly with playing single player since the options for party NPCs are set in stone for both games (barring fanmade NPCs modded in), but could also be helpful if I ever find a party of adventures to play through both games with so I know just how playing an Archer will work out in the long run. I had thought maybe they would have an additional longbow or a better sort of ammunition in the BG2:EE to make it where ranged characters like Archers or Fighter/Mages retained late game usefulness as far as their ranged skills are concerned.

    For roleplaying purposes I had already played an Archer in BG1:EE who specialized in Longbows and dual wielding some swords in a pinch (since Rangers get some dual wielding points for free), and Elves get an attack bonus with some swords too. So for that reason I didn't know if that character would be gimped in the sequel just due to the lack of quality longbows that BG1 has (and the fact many of the fighter type NPCs in BG1 also specialize in longbows so I thought they were better for fighter type classes while short bows were better for thieves or those without high strength).

    I had played vanilla BG1 before the Enhanced Editions had come out (again never beat the game though) so my impression of longbows was that they were better overall but some classes' best option was the shortbow which attacked faster and stuff. I hardly used them outside of thieves initially cus thieves were the only NPCs who had any points in them and longbows seemed better when I played BG1.

    JuliusBorisov
  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    Longbows are definitely better in BG1. It's just that Archers are so good in BG1 that it doesn't really matter. In BG2, non-magical longbows are still better than non-magical shortbows, but the selection of magical shortbows is fantastic, whereas the selection of magical longbows... isn't.

    I do wish they'd added +4 ammo with the EEs, though. As it is, longbows are a bit of a trap for Archers, and while +4 ammo wouldn't have totally solved that, it would've helped.

    Fenghoang
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    There is a great Longbow for a multi-class fighter/x, provided they have 19 str. Its not optimal for an Archer though.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    Regarding the longbow issue, it all depends on what you want from the game. There are definitely some really good longbows around, one of the better ones even fairly early in the game (mentioned above). It's just that longbows do lack a +4 ammo option, and that while good, crossbows and short bows are BETTER. However, unless your game is modded towards difficulty, it probably won't matter too much that longbows deal a little less damage. Archers are so good you can live with it if you favor RP concerns over objective power. Also, towards the end of the game Archers will have no trouble getting ***** in both longbows AND short bows or crossbows, meaning you can just switch for the handful of enemies that need +4 and use a longbow for everything else.

    Alternatively you could go get the Item Revisions mod, which heavily changes most items in the game to be more balanced and more competitive across weapon types. Longbows are the best bows there, but the mod does change a LOT and may not be for people who don't know the game well already.

    semiticgoddessArdul
  • demon9675demon9675 Member Posts: 30
    edited September 2015
    I rocked an archer in my first playthrough of BG2EE and was able to take her through ToB without much issue, even using Strong Arm Longbow +2 (found in Adventurer's Mart; adds +3 damage). Using that bow she gets 9 apr with improved haste/gauntlets of extraordinary specialization, and damage is something like 20-25 without bless. When I need to fight something requiring +4 or +5 ammo (very rare), I switch to Firetooth Crossbow +5 - only 7 apr, though. Obviously GWW would set either weapon to 10 apr if necessary, but I prefer using my turns on called shot/critical strike/defensive stuff instead.

    Point being, I'm an Archer apologist. I think they get a bad name because people with no sense of perspective compare everything to an OP multi or dual class, not because there's anything wrong with them whatsoever. Sure, +4 ammo would be nice, or a longbow that hits as a +4, but in the meantime even longbows are still viable endgame as long as you have a backup weapon for the few enemies you can't hit.

    JuliusBorisovabacusSkatan
  • KaigenKaigen Member Posts: 1,567
    If you really want a longbow that hits as a +4, the Item Upgrade mod adds one. It also adds an additional (quite expensive) upgrade for the unlimited quivers to +3 to make life easier if you're using a bow that doesn't generate its own ammo.

    JuliusBorisovsemiticgoddessBrer_Rabbit
  • demon9675demon9675 Member Posts: 30
    Kaigen said:

    If you really want a longbow that hits as a +4, the Item Upgrade mod adds one. It also adds an additional (quite expensive) upgrade for the unlimited quivers to +3 to make life easier if you're using a bow that doesn't generate its own ammo.

    Fair point, but not only am I playing vanilla, it's still legitimate to argue that vanilla could be better balanced. Even if mods are picking up the slack at this point.

    I'm probably going to mod eventually, but I'm not at that point yet - so far the game has been keeping me hooked as is.

  • DragonspearDragonspear Member Posts: 1,835
    If you're going through BGEE first, then I'd go with longbows. With Archer thaco levels, use the buyable composite longbow +1, and by 4-5 you can chance from bracers of the Dale to the damage gauntlets.

    While longbows are ecplised by shortbows in bg2ee and crossbows, I'd suggest using slings mentioned above, or ideally, maxing shortbows after longbows. Assuming you drop a point in them at level 1, and you do all the sidequests, you should be right in on high mastery for shortbows by the end of SoA, and possibly grand Master if you do everything.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058

    If you're going through BGEE first, then I'd go with longbows. With Archer thaco levels, use the buyable composite longbow +1, and by 4-5 you can chance from bracers of the Dale to the damage gauntlets.

    While longbows are ecplised by shortbows in bg2ee and crossbows, I'd suggest using slings mentioned above, or ideally, maxing shortbows after longbows. Assuming you drop a point in them at level 1, and you do all the sidequests, you should be right in on high mastery for shortbows by the end of SoA, and possibly grand Master if you do everything.

    If you want longbows in bg1 then why go about specialisation? You get the extra attack at ** and will never see the second APR increase due to level cap so start with ** and put every point thereafter into crossbows or shortbows (which, if you start with ** in longbows and crossbows will work very nicely).

    luskan
  • DragonspearDragonspear Member Posts: 1,835
    You want at least Mastery in Longbows, and honestly longbows are your best bet for BGEE and imo until Gesen in BG2EE, unless you're dropping cash on firetooth, which personally I'd pass on.

    By the time you get to Cornwell to complete Gesen, as a ranger you're likely between 15 and 18 at least, assuming you put a point in Shortbow at character creation, that means you're somewhere between Mastery and High Mastery with Gesen when you get and need it.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058

    You want at least Mastery in Longbows, and honestly longbows are your best bet for BGEE and imo until Gesen in BG2EE, unless you're dropping cash on firetooth, which personally I'd pass on.

    By the time you get to Cornwell to complete Gesen, as a ranger you're likely between 15 and 18 at least, assuming you put a point in Shortbow at character creation, that means you're somewhere between Mastery and High Mastery with Gesen when you get and need it.

    Tuigan Bow straight out the gate is better than longbow.

    Firetooth should be bought sooner or later as it has the useful non-magical weapon+fire damage combo.

    semiticgoddessMirage
  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited September 2015
    Aye, Tuigan shortbow is available early on. It's only +1 bonus, but you get an extra attack per round.

    Also note that the Gesen bow comes in parts, which are found separately.

    semiticgoddess
  • sparrow13xsparrow13x Member Posts: 120
    Tuigan will get the most out of your called shots and Grandmastery damage bonuses until very high levels. I haven't played an Archer in years but I would get GM in Shortbows then Crossbows, with a couple points dropped into Slings for the few occasions when you need a +5 weapon.

  • T2avT2av Member Posts: 202
    edited September 2015

    I read up in older discussions about Archers and such that they're a really good kit to use in Baldur's Gate 1 with the Enhanced Edition, and from what I've played they are indeed a very good class to play in a party with a few melee fighters in the front while the Archer consistently hits his mark to wreak havoc on enemies (Elf Archers with bows rock). Due note that I haven't played Baldur's Gate 2 yet or its Enhanced Edition, I was just reading up information about the Archer kit itself some time ago before the BG2:EE came out.

    I heard, however, that in the original Baldur's Gate 2 that Archers had trouble later in the game being a viable class to play because of ammunition with ranged weapons not scaling very well, since enemies require magical weapons of a certain power to be able to hit and there not being good enough ammunition in later portions to be able to hit certain enemies (or little enough quality ammunition/arrows to go around so you can hit enemies later in the game). One thing I heard specifically was that in Throne of Baal expansion there are some enemies which require +4 weapons or ammunition just to be able to hit them, but there weren't any kind of +4 ammunition available for ranged weapons to be able to do that in the game so Archers became gimped Rangers at that point needing to use melee weapons they weren't very skilled with while other party members carried the weight.

    So I was just wondering since I wanted to play an Archer through the games and transfer my character over to BG2:EE, did Beamdog provide a solution in terms of ammunition for BG2 and ranged weapons for later in the game? I heard that ammunition was sorta gimped compared to that of BG1 (possibly intentionally) at least in the vanilla games, but all I need to know is if they made it viable to play an Archer all the way through to the end of BG2:EE. You can't kill what you can't hit right? And the main draw of an Archer is pelting enemies from a distance, having no late game viability with them in the sequel after having spent so much time playing that character through both games would be a big letdown to me. Especially if I want to try soloing with an Archer, which while it would be difficult I'd want to see if it was at least possible first.

    Would appreciate any information about this, preferably without any spoilers. I've had a chance to play a good deal of BG1:EE but haven't beaten it yet, I just want to make sure playing an Archer won't end up throwing me for a loop when I get to playing BG2:EE later.

    Archer solo is viable... Make sure you get a lot of summon creature items... Kitthix, genies, that horn berserker.. Gesen Shortbow and firetooth crossbow GM,sling of everend¿, boots of speed, armour of the grandmaster(TOB)... Invisibility rings/potions, mirror image ring x3 per day. General strategy: Run around in circles.

  • AnonymousHeroAnonymousHero Member Posts: 94

    If you're going through BGEE first, then I'd go with longbows. With Archer thaco levels, use the buyable composite longbow +1, and by 4-5 you can chance from bracers of the Dale to the damage gauntlets.

    While longbows are ecplised by shortbows in bg2ee and crossbows, I'd suggest using slings mentioned above, or ideally, maxing shortbows after longbows. Assuming you drop a point in them at level 1, and you do all the sidequests, you should be right in on high mastery for shortbows by the end of SoA, and possibly grand Master if you do everything.

    I don't know if it's been "fixed" in EE, but the best option in vanilla BG1 is also short bow as long as your Archer has good STR. The Eagle Bow carries the STR bonus!

  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 2,753
    I don't really see why anyone would say that archers are particularly overpowered in BG1. Yes, ranged weapons are extremely powerful in that game, but an archer isn't really much better with ranged weapons than a fighter, paladin or normal ranger is until he/she reaches level 3, and even then it's only a small difference.

    semiticgoddessvladpen
  • DragonspearDragonspear Member Posts: 1,835

    If you're going through BGEE first, then I'd go with longbows. With Archer thaco levels, use the buyable composite longbow +1, and by 4-5 you can chance from bracers of the Dale to the damage gauntlets.

    While longbows are ecplised by shortbows in bg2ee and crossbows, I'd suggest using slings mentioned above, or ideally, maxing shortbows after longbows. Assuming you drop a point in them at level 1, and you do all the sidequests, you should be right in on high mastery for shortbows by the end of SoA, and possibly grand Master if you do everything.

    I don't know if it's been "fixed" in EE, but the best option in vanilla BG1 is also short bow as long as your Archer has good STR. The Eagle Bow carries the STR bonus!
    Iirc: that bow is merely +2 Thac0 and +2 Damage

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited September 2015

    I don't really see why anyone would say that archers are particularly overpowered in BG1. Yes, ranged weapons are extremely powerful in that game, but an archer isn't really much better with ranged weapons than a fighter, paladin or normal ranger is until he/she reaches level 3, and even then it's only a small difference.

    I believe they are referring to bows/archery in general, not necessarily to the specific Archer/Ranger kit. You can't get grand mastery in any weapon type in BG, so indeed, the difference there is not overwhelming.

    By contrast, I have an archer in SoA with 5 pips in shortbows, using the Tugan bow and a bunch of +2 arrows. He's like an arrow firing gatling gun.

  • thespacethespace Member Posts: 1,039
    Thank you for starting this thread. One of my favorite play throughs of BG1EE was with an archer. Even though this was the case, I never tried playing BG2EE with one, out of the fear of being gimped by not enough high + arrows, along with some tough creatures immune to piercing damage.

    This thread inspired me to give it a go, and I'm having a blast so far, after a spell of waning enthusiasm for my favorite game.

    I went female/elf, along with my "cannon" party of Jaheira, Minsc, Aerie and Jan, with one spot I intend on rotating others for quests until Imoen's return. Even rolled a 97!

    Meitte
    Elf Archer
    Lawful Good

    STR 14
    DEX 19
    CON 17
    INT 16
    WIS 14
    CHA 17

    Shortbow *****
    Shortsword *
    TWF **

    My last enthusiastic play through was a female cavalier, holy knight party:
    Keldorn, Anomen, Mazzy, Nalia, Rasaad, which was wrecked after things were getting up there in power b/c Anomen left after he killed his father's killer, I'm assuming b/c my lady didn't hook up with him (she facies Rasaad), and I had to replace him with Cernd, who doesn't quite have the spell selection my team had come to rely on. Aerie being waaaayyyy behind in XP. But I digress.

    JuliusBorisov
  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited September 2015
    "...b/c Anomen left after he killed his father's killer, I'm assuming b/c my lady didn't hook up with him (she facies Rasaad)... "

    There is no reason to even let Anomen kill the guy; if you do, he never gets to become a knight, and is just less effective in general. Once he does achieve knighthood, he gets much less obnoxious. You can easily talk him out of doing something so rash.

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,282
    edited September 2015
    I love archers and there's enough pips to get whatever your want and more.

    Personally, I wouldn't bother with longbows since the difference in BG1 is negligable and if you pair up with Coran and give him the longbow and use armyschythe/short bow yourself, the dmg output of the party is enough to machinegun your way all through BG1.

    You should aim for exceptional strenght since you can't specialize. The dmg and THAC0 bonuses you get still makes you a decent melee combatant, but you'll get less ARP, so I would get a pip in both short swords and scimitars to be able to dual weild kundane/belm when/if you feel like slugging it out in melee. But it's tedious to change weapons in the inventory though, so for the most part, you'll just machinegun through SoA as well. I would max out shortbows and use slings as backup or xbows and slings. There really is no point in having both shortbows and xbows since you will probably ending up favoring one over the other 95% of the time anyways. I'd choose shortbows over xbows for the easy access to Tuigans at the start of BG2.

    So to sum up this rambling, at char creation, two pips in shortbows, and then scimis and/or shortswords and/or slings (slings not necessary until BG2 though). Have exceptional strenght for when you want to use sling and a melee weapon (STR bonus to dmg/THAC0). In BG1 you will have a plethora of great arrows to use, acid being my favorite easy-accessable choice, but in BG2 you will use the more mundane arrows of fire, +2 etc most of the time, but your dmg from the class and ARP will make you great anyways.

    In BG1 I would pair up with Coran, but skip Kivan and Imoen. Put some meat in the front, doesn't matter who. Less stealing in BG1, but there alot of arrows to be found/bought to keep you stocked throughout.
    In BG2 I would skip Mazzy, but use Jan with xbows (army schythe). Jan can steal arrows for you and bolts for himself. Same here, keep some meat in the front, like Keldorn.

    Edit: found an grammatical error.

    Post edited by Skatan on
  • thespacethespace Member Posts: 1,039
    FrdNwsm said:

    "...b/c Anomen left after he killed his father's killer, I'm assuming b/c my lady didn't hook up with him (she facies Rasaad)... "

    There is no reason to even let Anomen kill the guy; if you do, he never gets to become a knight, and is just less effective in general. Once he does achieve knighthood, he gets much less obnoxious. You can easily talk him out of doing something so rash.

    He became a knight before he left to kill the guy.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited September 2015
    I always talked him out of doing the deed. My recollection, however, is that his alignment changes as a result if you don't and he goes and kills the guy. In your game, he became a knight before that incident? Hmm, we are probably doing the quests in different orders then. I almost always go Irenicus prison (heh, no choice there), circus tent (Aerie), freeHendrik at the Copper Coronet, Nalia's Keep then head to Windspear. By the time we finish that, Anomen gets the message that his sister has been killed, but he is not yet knighted.

    I'll have to do some research, but I'm pretty sure that I recall reading somewhere that if his alignment changes before the test, he won't get knighted, and becomes bitter as a result.

    thespace
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