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Thoughts on Siege of Dragonspear (spoilers, obviously)

GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,099
Hi everybody! You might remember me from such topics as Thoughts on Dorn's Deep and Thoughts on EE Content . So now for more thoughts that were unasked for but delivered unto you: Thoughts on Siege of Dragonspear

As a forward: I have never looked forward to a game as much as this. And as I only play on the iphone, I had to wait *quite* awhile for this. So, did it live up to the hype? What worked and what didn't?

Tying BG1 and BG2 Together
The most important part. I have to say, that the story had one purpose: to link BG1 and BG2 together. And it did that, admirably. All we knew going into BG2 was that strange figures attacked us, and that Irenicus captured us.

(1) Going to Amn: SoD started with us hunting down the last of Sarevok's followers, who had just sent Sarevok's sword to Amn. This sword, which we learn in BG2 was made to channel Sarevok's divine powers, is found in Chateau Irenicus. This is a nice touch, for it foreshadows where we will end up going.

(2) Irenicus: I liked the Hooded Man, ie: Irenicus. It showed him being active in the Baldur's Gate region, actively looking for someone with a soul strong enough for him. He looked at Sarevok, then the Shining Lady, and based on our actions, decided on Charname/Imoen. SoD did a good job in setting Irenicus up to be the main villain. I also liked how he remained "The Hooded Man" throughout it all, so it is plausible for Charname in Chateau Irenicus to not immediately put 2+2 together.

(3) ToB, the army sent after us: I always wondered why my Paladin Charname should have an entire army sent after him in ToB. I mean, my reputation is perfect, send an army after the giants or drow or dragons! Come on! But SoD makes a case on why an army should be sent after Charname. SoD leaves Charname as being a wanted criminal in Baldur's Gate. After leaving the mark of Bhaal on the bridge, and then the murder of Skie...our reputation throughout the Sword Coast was left in ruins. Then to hear that Charname had become one of the five? Yeah, I'd send an army after him too.

Things I loved

(1) The AI: It was great! For the first time, enemy archers went after my mages. Thank you! The game is so much more fun with smarter AI.

(2) The large scale battles. Such a treat! The fight for the bridge and the siege itself were both great fun. Having enemies that are well rounded and which, as above, use halfway decent tactics? So much better than the usual "mooks do nothing, now let's fight a strong wizard/dragon" which BG usually throws at us.

(3) The Bad Guys: Nobody was perfect. The enemy were mostly chaotic good. They truly believed that they were doing the right thing, and they caused alot of harm in the process. Especially as, like real armies without supply lines, they had to live off the land. Which meant doing what armies do when they live off the land. Ruin peoples' lives. Our side wasn't perfect either. Such is the nature of war. Well done on that end. :)

(4) Volgin. He's my bro. I love Volgin. He's a very useful NPC, with a great personality and a great voice actor. My gripe here is that we can't use him in BG2. Now, Beamdog, if you wanted to take this pure awesomeness and to make everything 100x better? (A) Volgin should have been a dwarf. (B) Yeslick should have been brought over. (C) Both Vogin and Yeslick should have been brought into BG2 as well. (D) Then we could have a party with a dwarven defender, a dwarven fighter/cleric, a dwarven skald, and a dwarven berserker (Korgan). Finally throw in Jan and Mazzy. 6 shorties, 4 of whom would be dwarves. A balanced party. Everything perfect about BG in one party. How could you have dropped the ball so hard to not have made this happen? (sigh). Oh well. I mean, if this was a possibility, it'd be the only party I'd ever play...so I guess that would be bad?


Gripes

(1) The soultaker dagger: What? I get that it is in BG1...but it was broken. The entire Durlag's Tower arc ended when the dagger was broken and the demon was released. So why was it used to hold Skie's soul? That made very little sense. Now, I understand that the devs needed something to stop her from being rezzed, but Irenicus could have just used a spell for that. With the Duke's saying "there is an echantment on the body that isn't allowing..." blah blah blah. The unrelated broken dagger didn't work very well.

(2) The Crusade having to be an enemy: I get it that we need an enemy to fight. But the devs really dropped the ball here. Now, with the parlay? There was a BIG OPPORTUNITY to have some player choice. We should have had enough evidence at that point to expose the evil vizier who was playing Caelar for a fool. At which point he could have teleported away and to Dragonspear Castle. Caelar would then join us with her crusaders on taking the castle from Hephernaan.

Now, at that point Hephernaan would have mercenaries, cultists, and summon demons, holding the castle. The joint force would arrive, including Caelar and her crusaders. We would still get the siege, only with slightly different players. And more player choice.

Once we get in, as we do anyways, we'd confront Hephernaan. He'd cast his spell, open the portal, and we'd go in as we always do. Along with Caelar and her crusaders. The game goes as normal from that point out.

That's how I would have done it. Because as is, I dislike having dialogue trees where nothing I do matters. It doesn't matter if I'm rude, polite, intelligent...it doesn't matter if I choose apples or oranges. The game will always give me an apple. Even though I like the apple, I don't like the illusion of choice.

(3) The goblin shaman M'Khilin. I just don't like her. Her voice is annoying. Also, she's a goblin. My dwarf PC slaughtered all the goblins in Neera's quest because they are goblins. Why couldn't I kill her for being a goblin to? It's what many dwarves would do, and it's why she has such a chip on her shoulder. Let my dwarf kill goblins. My paladin can be nice to her.

(4) Shamans. They're spirit dance is just horrible. It is beyond worthless. I haven't seen a single instance where it is useful to have. The class is bad enough that M'Khilin needs extra buffs that other shamans don't get, and an entire slew of personal magic items, just to be useful. I ran a shaman just for fun in an all half-orc group, and the class was really underwhelming. I mean, don't get me wrong. I liked the 'sorceror-shaman' vibe that it had. But besides for that spell casting perk, the other features just left me yawning. The spirit dance really should have been a target summon, in my opinion. Or let us control the summons, so they can fulfill the role that summons are for: cannon fodder.


Dwarves!!!!!!

This is it's own section. You all know me, and this will always be front and center. Or in this case, the last thing you read so it's the last thing you think about. Are you thinking about it yet?

(1) No dwarven companions. What the hell beamdog? You give us so much tasty dwarf only equipment, but no dwarves to use them? Come on!

* Voghlin could have been a dwarf, easily. But even if not...

EVIL
* P'faug (LE) the Duergar could have been an evil tank. He even came with Viconia! Come on Beamdog. Just come on.

NEUTRAL
* Daran Highammer (CN). He was pretty much out of a job after the Dwarves of Dumathoin quest. Why not let him join us? He'd make a perfect fighter/thief!
* Helvdar (NG) was also there. He was a bro. And he could have been joinable after getting him his boots.

GOOD
* Brother Deepvein (LN). He agreed to join us already! I mean, he was marching on Dragonspear. Let us have this cleric (or fighter/cleric) join us in our quest. He was ALREADY COMING!


Argh! So many options for dwarven companions. So many! And we have so many items that are custom made for them! And yet not a single one gets to join us. That's 4 dwarves right there, going across all of the spectrums. Add in Voghlin, and do you know what we could have had?

(1) Dwarven Charname (2) A deurgar dwarven defender (3) a dwarven fighter/thief (4) a dwarven fighter/cleric (5) a dwarven skald (6) whatever class Helvdar would be. Probably a drunken berserker.

Beamdog, you dropped the ball SO HARD that it went through the earth and is now floating in space.

-------------

Ok. Deep breaths. Deeeeeeep breaths.

With that monumental screw up aside, from a dwarven perspective Siege of Dragonspear wasn't bad.

(1) We got the quest Dwarves of Dumathoin! A dwarven quest, woohoo!
(2) We got to see Kanaglym!
(3) via text we find in a book, we find that the dwarves of Kanaglym didn't die. Most went through a portal, slaughtered drow, and took over their city. The rest abandoned Kanaglym and moved on to other players.
(4) There were dwarven NPCs abound, on both sides of the conflict. We even got to talk to a few.
(5) We get Dragonspear's personal armor. Custom made for any dwarf in your party! Oh wait...see above. (angry face)

All in all, beamdog put dwarves in. And we got some evidence to show us how completely amazing dwarves are. I just wish that beamdog had the confidence to get us some dwarf NPCs.





JuliusBorisovZaghoulronaldoThacoBelltypo_tillyStummvonBordwehr10Bazza11Noonsemiticgoddeltago

Comments

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,731
    Daran Highhammer is actually good aligned. At least he should be.

  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,099
    ThacoBell said:

    I'm pretty sure not liking M'Khiin is heresy at this point. Don't hate goblin grandma :D

    Shamans are GREAT btw. Their infinite summons, while not powergamey, are strong enough to solo a LOT of BG1, and they remain good blockers throughout BG2. And when that fails, being basically druid sorcerors, you can fling a half dozen insect plagues at your enemies and a nature's beauty. They are very utility and require some thoght, but SHamans can be very strong.

    Ok, I see what you are saying. And...I don't disagree.

    Sorcerer casting on shamans is great. I like sorcerers much more than I like wizards. I don't like tailoring spells to each encounter, but rather having many spells to pick from and fewer slots to use them. And having that on a druid is awesome. Need an insect plague? You got it! Need a heal? You got it! Need both? Eh...should have saved that magic.

    Where I disagree with you is on the summons. Maybe I'm just not using them right, but I like to use summons as distractors, and to soak up the first influx of spells/arrows. With the shaman, he dances...and the summons come up and stay there until an enemy comes into sight. Which means that I need another character to rope in the enemy.

    It also means that the shaman can't do anything. He can't cast nature's beauty or insect plagues.

    And most damning! They don't actually dance!

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 6,803
    @Grum it definitely takes some clever positioning to use them offensively, but I was able to basically dance my way through the majority of encounters in BG1.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,671
    ThacoBell said:

    @Grum it definitely takes some clever positioning to use them offensively, but I was able to basically dance my way through the majority of encounters in BG1.

    I agree with that. It does take time and patience to use them in that way though, so I can see why people running a party wouldn't want to do so. The Writhing Fog spell is also incredibly vicious in BG1 where enemies' AI doesn't normally react to it.

    One of my major gripes about the shaman class is that the summoning limit for the number of spirits incorrectly includes other summons. Thus if you have a summoning limit of 3 spirits and already have a skeleton you can only get 2 spirits. I was hoping that would have been corrected in the v2.5 update for BG2, but no such luck.

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,731
    elminster said:

    Daran Highhammer is actually good aligned. At least he should be.

    Just checked. He's neutral good :)

  • 10Bazza1110Bazza11 Member Posts: 152
    Their is just not enough strong Dwarven ale for that many Dwarfs all in one game. I quite liked M'Khilin and found her both useful and interesting to play although I am still to play a Shaman run through. Pretty much agree with most of the other things Grum has said, even the Dwarf NPC part.

  • ClubbothClubboth Member Posts: 24
    Hi, Grum! Someone plans a mod to side with Caelar, but I skip this idea. I wished myself - the first time I reached the parlay- to tell Caelar that Hephernan is a devil in disguise. In Avernus and later on, when my protagonist joined Caelar against the boss, I came to the conclusion, that it was her, who picked, chose, searched for him, because he is the key for the rescue of her uncle. And she would not turn against her key at this point of the story in my view. She is in need of Hephernan and the crusade is her way to trick him, while he is tricking her, I think to myself, when he tells her, that her blood is not strong enough to open the portal to Avernus. His boss thinks, that two new souls in his little zoo are better than one. And this is the point, when our main char and the hooded man are getting involved in Caelar Argent plans.

    What would be her answer, if the author let us share our discovery with her? "I can see through Your schemes, Child of Bhaal! You cannot dived our holy crusade with Your fiendish lies! Or something like this. I don't know.

    I hope You will enjoy the mod, when it is ready.

  • ObjulenObjulen Member Posts: 93
    I haven't found Shaman spirit dancing to be very useful, but their sorcerer-style casting if very, very nice, especially with the healing involved. Because they don't really have a casting stat, they also make good 2nd-line fighters with some magic buffs if you create one as a half-orc, since you can go straight to 19 strength.

    Spirit dancing may become better at higher levels, when the % are more consistent, but I haven't played a Shaman into BG2 to really see if that's the case.

    I never really used M'Khiin, but most NPC stats are mediocre. Like any Shaman, however, she would make a good healer with on-demand Cure spells and plenty of them.

  • @Grum

    I don't why you're so biased towards dwarves? They have serious shortcomings. /ba-da-bish/

    Actually, I just wanted to give you this link. This is what Voghiln would sound like if he was a dwarf bard. Actually, it's what he sounds like now, but this is how Voghiln the Dwarf Bard and his dwarf bard chorus would sound if indeed they existed.

    Mandowar, a cover of Iron Maiden's great song "Fear of the Dark", from the Mandowar album Greatestits


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