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Difficulty Advice

How in the world do people play on anything higher than Core Rules difficulty? I'm playing on CR now and my whole party gets wiped out by one Ankeg. Just grind the heck out of levels and carry a thousand potions? Isn't playing on a lower difficulty pretty much samezies at that point?

What am I missing?

Comments

  • rashkaerashkae Member Posts: 103
    In case you missed all the hints along the way, you're supposed to go *south* towards Nashkel once you reach the Friendly Arm area. The game offers you lots of freedom to where you travel and the order you do quests, but you still have build up a bit of character before you stray into certain more difficult areas. The Ankhegs are not a difficult challenge at all, but *very* dangerous to level 1 - 4 parties.
    ShikaoSkatanIronfoxAerakar
  • IronfoxIronfox Member Posts: 7
    Grond0 said:

    Mainly experience - knowing what tactics work against what monsters. Ankhegs for instance don't have a particularly good THAC0, so it's easy to make them require a critical to hit a particular character. Just make sure that character is the first in sight of the ankheg and then mob them in melee with the whole party (taking advantage of the +4 to hit and damage due to the ankheg not using a melee weapon - it will be lucky to survive a round. In the unlikely event that it does have time to switch to a melee weapon just retreat. Ankhegs are also very vulnerable to sleep - whether by wand or mage spell.

    Higher levels of difficulty, mods, game restrictions and no-reload, strict RP play and trying not to use meta-knowledge are all ways to try and freshen things up a bit when the game gets a bit too easy.

    Thank you. I really didn't know this about ankhegs. I typically found that (in most encounters) having one or two melee and the rest ranged worked best, but I totally had forgotten about the rules on melee vs no melee equipped. This definitely helps.
    rashkae said:

    In case you missed all the hints along the way, you're supposed to go *south* towards Nashkel once you reach the Friendly Arm area. The game offers you lots of freedom to where you travel and the order you do quests, but you still have build up a bit of character before you stray into certain more difficult areas. The Ankhegs are not a difficult challenge at all, but *very* dangerous to level 1 - 4 parties.

    I like getting Ajantis early on in my Good play throughs. In Normal, I pick him up, then do a little bit of leveling while picking up ankheg husks for the smith in Beregost. The shift from Normal to Core was pretty drastic compared to the shift from Easy to Normal.
    Grond0
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,242
    I would suggest that because you have been playing on "normal" you may have been lulled into a false sense of security.
    And now you need to relearn what you thought you knew about the game.

    I play "insane". I avoid the ankhegs for a long time. The buggers frequently wipe me out if I have a go at a low level.
    Now that's something I have had to learn because of "insane" but I wouldn't have needed to learn that on "normal".

    However, that said, there's no reason to not get Ajantis early. Just stay at the bottom of the map, grab him and depart. Come back later. Farming Ankhegs, not possible IMO early until once again you "relearn" the area.

    And you will I have no doubt. :)
    Ironfox
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 153
    The difficulty levels exist because the devs want to ensure everyone can enjoy the game's storyline. Not everyone who struggles with normal difficulty level is a "bad" player; some people just don't care enough about combat to devote much time to mastering it, while others just haven't had enough experience with the game yet. It's also worth mentioning that, like Pillars of Eternity, BG1 doesn't do much to shield low-level players from difficult encounters, as the ankhegs (or Pillars' cave encounter) can attest.
    IronfoxsemiticgodAerakar
  • ZagaciousZagacious Member Posts: 48
    edited September 9
    You can't take on the Ankhegs until at least level 3, and even then there's a chance they can one shot you on normal difficulty, they'll do around 20 dmg + 20 poison dmg on crits.

    If you want it to progress somewhat linearly then do all the quests in Beregost, Friendly Arm Inn, then clear most of the areas in the west of Nashkel (some will be way too hard until later levels though, but majority are low level), then head to the mines. By then you will be able to clear the ankhegs. Once you've cleared the ankheg area entirely you should have enough exp to go just about anywhere and eventually do the Bandit Questline once you've done majority of the side areas. I'd suggest doing the Ulgoth's Beard and Durlag tower stuff last but you can easily do them before heading to Baldur's Gate (except one that requires an item in BG)
    Aerakar
  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 334
    edited September 9
    Ironfox said:

    How in the world do people play on anything higher than Core Rules difficulty? I'm playing on CR now and my whole party gets wiped out by one Ankeg. Just grind the heck out of levels and carry a thousand potions? Isn't playing on a lower difficulty pretty much samezies at that point?

    What am I missing?

    Ankhegs have weak saves vs. spells. You can knock them out easily with the sleep spell, they rarely save against it. I think the cleric's command spell also works, though I'm not 100% sure about it.
    tbone1ThacoBellsemiticgod
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 1,824
    chimaera said:

    Ankhegs have weak saves vs. spells. You can knock them out easily with the sleep spell, they rarely save against it. I think the cleric's command spell also works, though I'm not 100% sure about it.

    Command does work as well, yes. Ankhegs also have slow weapon speed. That means it's possible to reliably move a caster just into sight of an ankheg, cast sleep, wait until that reaches the ankheg and then retreat a step out of sight in the event that the ankheg saves (the save is actually a save vs death with a -3 penalty, so is pretty hard to save against).
    Aerakarsemiticgod
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 2,384
    Agree on Command. Even a low level cleric will consistently hit with it, but the duration is low so you need some decent hitters to finish the ankheg off before it awakes again. This is why arcane spells as sleep is probably the better choice early on.
    Aerakar
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 6,387
    You also get automatic hits on sleeping critters, so you can dramatically boost your damage output by dual-wielding, since the THAC0 penalties don't matter.
    mf2112Skatan
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 153
    If you cheat by repeatedly reloading, the sleep spell turns ankhegs into an inexhaustible source of XP. If you don't, command is probably the better choice (especially at low levels) since there's no saving throw against it.
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 1,824
    See my post above for how you can use sleep reliably without reloading, though admittedly you have to be careful doing that. If you want an easier method of using sleep against an ankheg then inch an arcane caster just into sight and then use invisibility when the ankheg sees you and starts rising to the surface (there's plenty of time to do that). That will strand the ankheg on the surface so it's vulnerable to area effect spells (such as sleep) cast from outside sight range.
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