Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Categories

Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition has been released! Visit nwn.beamdog.com to make an order. NWN:EE FAQ is available.
Soundtracks for BG:EE, SoD, BG2:EE, IWD:EE, PST:EE are now available in the Beamdog store.
Attention, new and old users! Please read the new rules of conduct for the forums, and we hope you enjoy your stay!

Is the game really as trial & error as it feels?

OrrionOrrion Member Posts: 1
Question: Is BG just, in general, a t&e game like most CRPGs that exist? It's a pretty simple question. I like insight into this sort of thing, so I like answers to this sort of thing. Most of all, though, I like discussion on it. Simple!

I don't need to give backstory on why I'm here, but I can simplify it and say "I wanted to troll people for revenge but then I realized the forums here are not the forums on Steam." I get constant, conflicting answers to my question about the game though, so here I am to know for [semi?] sure!

Post edited by Orrion on
typo_tilly
«13

Comments

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,390
    It takes a little while to learn the game.

    JuliusBorisovsemiticgod
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 2,098

    Everything you learn is partly trial and error.

    But BG has enough inconsistances/random chance to throw a curve ball frequently.

    And that's one of the reasons the constant fixing and fiddling with the game pisses me off.
    The smoother and more consistant the game becomes, the less it will engage.

    Take pathfinding, jeez louise the endless complaints. But watching (or more frequently missing) one of the NPC's wandering off adds to the challenge.
    It got me killed the other day.
    Yes it shouldn't have happened.
    Yes it renewed interest in reloading and playing again.

    JuliusBorisovTorgrimmerlolien
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,343
    I would say it is a little more than trial and error, but that is a fair starting point. I prefer to think of it as trial, error, and intuition. Many of our trials are guided by an ability to reason about how the game world works, and there is a staggering complexity to reveal. However, even sitting with a full manual about how the different combat and magic and ability systems interact, the complexity is such that you will only distill the truth via experimentation, which is where the trial and error comes in ;)

    While the game can seem intimidating at first, you can beat it with a fairly basic mastery of the combat mechanics, and that has many more trials than errors. To truly master the game though, you must master the arcane arts, and that is something that continues to defeat me to this day (as I lack the patience for determined study). However, even a basic understanding can be acquired by paying attention and learning from your errors, to achieve sufficient intuition to truly enjoy the game (which is about my level!)

    ThacoBellJuliusBorisovStummvonBordwehr
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 456
    Especially when you're new there's a lot of just trying stuff out to see what works.

    As you learn your way around the system you'll be able to make educated guesses more often.

    ThacoBell
  • NeoptolemusNeoptolemus Member Posts: 25
    edited September 9
    If by trial and error you mean 'blindly trying solutions until one works', then no it isn't. You can think through an encounter (combat and non combat) before acting and often figure out an approach that works. There's relatively few places where the ai cheats and gains an unfair example (although been a long time since I played without SCS)

    I've just finished chapter four in my current play through and had a lot of fun using my stalker pcs ability to stealth to scout ahead and plan out how to face enemies. Often using invisibility potions to position my party they way I wanted and then starting combat with a series of backstab, wand attacks and other planned moves to seize the advantage.

    Of course even the best planned strategies can fail depending on the way you opponent responds. So sometimes you have to try several times to get it right.

    I agree with the above comments though, with the puzzles and encounters once you know how to beat them they become almost trivial if you use your meta knowledge.

    ThacoBell
  • SimulacreSimulacre Member Posts: 102
    It depends on what you mean by "trial and error".

    Baldur's Gate is a game that can be beaten in many, MANY ways due to the class system and the variety of items at your disposal. This is not one of those games with witch you have one path, one method and you keep trying until you find THE solution.

    Whether you decide to play ranged, up close, with or without magic, it's doable. Of course you'll get better if you focus on one specific strategy, but you could also have a jack-of-all-trades approach, do approximately a little bit of everything and prevail with few reloads if any.

    The difficulty setting is also VERY contrasting, from no challenge at all to ridiculously difficult with the newest setting added by Beamdog. Lowest difficulty settings don't require much attention and you'll breeze through most of the time. On harder difficulty settings, there're still plenty of ways to go around but you must learn to not be a sitting duck because hits are less forgiving.

    Only in ToB does the game really restrict you. Some options that worked well in the past become a no-no - like backstabbing - and it becomes harder and harder to hit if you don't have well-trained companions. Specialization becomes more important, and spellcasting - when possible - usually takes the cake.

    ThacoBellJuliusBorisovGreenWarlock
  • redlineredline Member Posts: 274
    My vote would be "yes", at least for early run throughs, particularly without mods. A lot of the people who discuss strategy have been playing this game a long, long time, and have figured out what all the different options are.

    My own memory of my initial attempts, though, was that encounters were either brutally hard - meaning you hadn't figured out what immunities/spells/items would do the trick - or a cakewalk if you had. Monsters that charm your party, or insta-kill with petrification, or snag you with Web - all of which are helpless if you know ahead of time to somehow get immunity to those things. It's a brutally punishing game for beginners, and I don't see how one wouldn't label it T&E based solely on how frequently one is expected to die and reload.

    typo_tillySkatanDreadKhan
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,390
    @redline So, how many games are designed to be gotten through without and deaths, continues, or restarts? By that logic, wouldn't EVERY GAME be trial and error? There is a difference between learnign how to deal weith something, and something only being beatable through random chance.

    SimulacreUnderstandMouseMagicConjurerDragonStummvonBordwehr
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,343
    ThacoBell said:

    @redline So, how many games are designed to be gotten through without and deaths, continues, or restarts? By that logic, wouldn't EVERY GAME be trial and error? There is a difference between learnign how to deal weith something, and something only being beatable through random chance.

    That was the classic feature that set the Lucsas Arts SCUMM adventures apart, it was almost impossible to die, so you got to enjoy playing the game without micromanaging saves. I think The Adventures of Zac McCracken was the last one where you could actually die, if you were creative enough and determined.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,390

    ThacoBell said:

    @redline So, how many games are designed to be gotten through without and deaths, continues, or restarts? By that logic, wouldn't EVERY GAME be trial and error? There is a difference between learnign how to deal weith something, and something only being beatable through random chance.

    That was the classic feature that set the Lucsas Arts SCUMM adventures apart, it was almost impossible to die, so you got to enjoy playing the game without micromanaging saves. I think The Adventures of Zac McCracken was the last one where you could actually die, if you were creative enough and determined.
    THe thing with adventure games, is that puzzle solutions don't always make sense. The most common tactic being, "Use everything on everything". So, ironically, the impossible to die Lucasarts games are actually fairly trial and error.

    GreenWarlockConjurerDragonsubtledoctor
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,343
    Lucas Arts games generally yielded well to thinking and puzzle solving, but each game was guaranteed to have to have at least one quirky problem whose solution was clever word-play. I remember being stuck in Monkey Island 2 for months because British English did not have the pun that American English relied on to solve the puzzle. Spotted it in hindsight, and from seeing too much American TV!

    Grond0ThacoBell
  • redlineredline Member Posts: 274
    ThacoBell said:

    @redline So, how many games are designed to be gotten through without and deaths, continues, or restarts? By that logic, wouldn't EVERY GAME be trial and error? There is a difference between learnign how to deal weith something, and something only being beatable through random chance.

    I mean... yeah, you're not wrong. Every game has a certain amount of trial and error. You're describing save scumming, though, and that's something different.

    I interpreted the question more as "is metagaming necessary", and I find it very difficult to say no. Baldur's Gate is full of "lol, here's a basilisk" moments where a new player WILL die, with no realistic expectation that they'll just be magically skilled enough to overcome whatever insta-kill was thrown their way without knowing about it in advance. So they'll die, they'll buy a protection scroll, and then they'll waltz through. Trial and error.

    BelgarathMTHsemiticgodSkatan
  • NeoptolemusNeoptolemus Member Posts: 25
    redline said:

    ThacoBell said:

    @redline So, how many games are designed to be gotten through without and deaths, continues, or restarts? By that logic, wouldn't EVERY GAME be trial and error? There is a difference between learnign how to deal weith something, and something only being beatable through random chance.

    I mean... yeah, you're not wrong. Every game has a certain amount of trial and error. You're describing save scumming, though, and that's something different.

    I interpreted the question more as "is metagaming necessary", and I find it very difficult to say no. Baldur's Gate is full of "lol, here's a basilisk" moments where a new player WILL die, with no realistic expectation that they'll just be magically skilled enough to overcome whatever insta-kill was thrown their way without knowing about it in advance. So they'll die, they'll buy a protection scroll, and then they'll waltz through. Trial and error.
    A new player sure. But experienced players shouldn't need to metagame. Once you understand the various mechanics you should be able to prepare a party that can handle surprise basilisks. There's trial and error to understand mechanics, but not too beat each encounter.

    ThacoBell
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 4,748
    @Neoptolemus , I would argue that it's impossible for an experienced player *not* to metagame. There's no such thing as a "surprise basilisk" after a dozen playthroughs, because you know exactly where they all are, with the possible exception of that rarely occurring waylay basilisk.

    After years and dozens of plays, a player knows exactly where on each map each encounter is, and exactly which spells or potions are needed to beat them.

    Even the term "experience" in "experienced player" would be defined here as "Having had extensive attempts at trial and error and having learned from the outcomes."

    SkatanDreadKhan
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,390
    redline said:

    ThacoBell said:

    @redline So, how many games are designed to be gotten through without and deaths, continues, or restarts? By that logic, wouldn't EVERY GAME be trial and error? There is a difference between learnign how to deal weith something, and something only being beatable through random chance.

    I mean... yeah, you're not wrong. Every game has a certain amount of trial and error. You're describing save scumming, though, and that's something different.

    I interpreted the question more as "is metagaming necessary", and I find it very difficult to say no. Baldur's Gate is full of "lol, here's a basilisk" moments where a new player WILL die, with no realistic expectation that they'll just be magically skilled enough to overcome whatever insta-kill was thrown their way without knowing about it in advance. So they'll die, they'll buy a protection scroll, and then they'll waltz through. Trial and error.
    Except the maps where Basilisks frequent are littered with statues, this is an important clue that something here is turning people in stone. And again, learning game mechanics is not trial and error. Its learning. Trial and error would be flipping a coin and saying, "Oops, you died. There is nothing here to learn, flip better next time."

    ConjurerDragon
  • SimulacreSimulacre Member Posts: 102
    Should we not agree first on the definition of "trial and error" ?

    This thread is confusing.

  • PingwinPingwin Member Posts: 130
    There'a trial and error, for instance, if you go the wrong way through the basilisk map I'm pretty sure that you can stumble upon a basilisk with no warning. Experienced players will "just happen" to choose a route through the map that leads them to the statues so you have some inkling that something is wrong...

    Generally speaking, once you've learnt the basic tactic of having a stealthed thief scouting ahead looking for traps, there is very little that could take you by surprise even if you had no prior knowledge of the game.

    Grond0redline
  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,323
    Life is trial and error - you learn from your mistakes and move on. The only difference in BG is that you can reload and not remake all the awful mistakes.

    UnderstandMouseMagicDreadKhan
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,390
    @Pingwin I'd say its NOT trial and error, you can easily stealth your thief and scout ahead of the party. Barring the earliest ambushes, the game always has a way for you to avoid instant death or ambushes by being careful.

    Gotural
  • DorcusDorcus Member Posts: 197
    Baldur's Gate comes with a manual! Learn it, live it, love it. Other than that, it's totally a game that rewards system mastery and you can get good at without needing twitch reflexes. There's a strategy for EVERYTHING.

    ThacoBellGoturalsubtledoctorUnderstandMouseMagic
  • NeoptolemusNeoptolemus Member Posts: 25

    @Neoptolemus , I would argue that it's impossible for an experienced player *not* to metagame. There's no such thing as a "surprise basilisk" after a dozen playthroughs, because you know exactly where they all are, with the possible exception of that rarely occurring waylay basilisk.

    After years and dozens of plays, a player knows exactly where on each map each encounter is, and exactly which spells or potions are needed to beat them.

    Even the term "experience" in "experienced player" would be defined here as "Having had extensive attempts at trial and error and having learned from the outcomes."

    I agree some degree of metagaming is inevitable. I do actively try to avoid it though. In my current run one of my mages is carrying a scroll case that contains all the protections and other scrolls i might need and I also hoard potions. I have a stealthed scout out in front to spot enemies to allow for an necessary prebuffs. I allow reloading but not for metagaming, so if I die I generally do the same thing with what I consider realistic changes (of targeting choices, spell choices, consumable usage).

    Learning isn't exclusively trial and error though. That's one way but also learning from enemy behaviour, the manual and in game descriptions, and forums etc.

    ThacoBell
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,343
    Learning from the forums is simply letting someone else do the trial and error part for you ;)

    semiticgodSkatanDreadKhan
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,893
    Arguably metagaming is just making use of information that your characters would have had anyway in real life. If there are basilisks a few hours travel from one of the larger settlements in the area, is it really conceivable that wouldn't be well known and discussed? I imagine that when a new visitor arrived in a hostelry in Beregost there would soon be a local sidling up to them saying something like "psst, want to buy a Mirrored Eyes potion that fell off the cart from High Hedge".

    GoturalStummvonBordwehrThacoBellsemiticgod
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 4,748
    There seems to be no agreed upon definition of "trial and error" here, which is causing a lot of confusion and lack of communication.

    To me it means "Try something to see if it works. If it doesn't, it was an error, so try something different, until you find what does in fact work." Synonyms: experiment, experience, practice. Implies a lack of knowledge beforehand, with increased knowledge after.

    Cambridge dictionary online says:
    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/trial-and-error

    "a way of achieving an aim or solving a problem by trying different methods and learning from your mistakes"

    UnderstandMouseMagicNeoptolemusDreadKhan
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 2,098

    @Neoptolemus , I would argue that it's impossible for an experienced player *not* to metagame. There's no such thing as a "surprise basilisk" after a dozen playthroughs, because you know exactly where they all are, with the possible exception of that rarely occurring waylay basilisk.

    After years and dozens of plays, a player knows exactly where on each map each encounter is, and exactly which spells or potions are needed to beat them.

    Even the term "experience" in "experienced player" would be defined here as "Having had extensive attempts at trial and error and having learned from the outcomes."

    I would temper that statement with saying that BG is a long and complicated game and unless you always concentrate, you make mistakes.

    So yeah, sure I know where the basalisks are but is my spatial awareness of where I am in the area always spot on?
    Unfortunately not. :'(

    ThacoBellDordledum
  • NeoptolemusNeoptolemus Member Posts: 25

    There seems to be no agreed upon definition of "trial and error" here, which is causing a lot of confusion and lack of communication.

    To me it means "Try something to see if it works. If it doesn't, it was an error, so try something different, until you find what does in fact work." Synonyms: experiment, experience, practice. Implies a lack of knowledge beforehand, with increased knowledge after.

    Cambridge dictionary online says:
    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/trial-and-error

    "a way of achieving an aim or solving a problem by trying different methods and learning from your mistakes"

    This is a good point. When I think of trial and error I take it to mean that the methods are trialed as you think of them without prior evaluation essentially making it a matter of luck whether the method is successful.

    I would contrast that with an approach where you assess the situation and consider your approach before making the next decision. It's still possible that that won't work and you have to re-evaluate and try again, but I see that as a different method from trial and error.

  • SimulacreSimulacre Member Posts: 102
    edited October 10
    I'd say the "trial and error" expression is primarily meant to emphasize the tediousness of a game. Every game - well, almost- offers some kind of challenge that needs some thinking to get through. It doesn't need to be very complicated and I'm not talking about games with riddles especially. To equip an item in a particular situation because it's going to help is a form of thinking.

    Therefore, to simply call "trial and error" every game that requires you to use your brain makes the adjective null because that's going to be almost all games. What's the point ?

    Now you could argue that a "trial and error" game is a game that makes you think A LOT so you choose the best solution among lots and lots of possibilities. Baldur's Gate might be one of those. It's possible but it wouldn't concern many games since gameplay is more often than not simplistic. Also, in this case, the word "error" of the "trial and error" term would disturb me.

    If a "trial and error" game is simply one you need to think through, then why use the word "error" so blatantly ?

    Now if the "trial and error" adjective is given to a game when you're repeatedly faced with challenges that have nothing do to with intelligence, it also makes sense and it can apply to a lot of games.

    Like.. I'm going forth in an adventure game and, oops, a trap.. Was there a way to detect it ? Nope. Was there any mention of it ? No. Did anything stuck out so I could have guessed ? Nah. Did I need to take this path ? Yes. So I had to know that I needed to jump at this spot, somehow. But I couldn't have known it... until it gets me. How tedious.

    So yeah, when there's no clue or no way to know that there's going to be some kind of challenge, when you're forced to fail to actually prevail next time, then it's "trial and error". I believe it's very close to "die and retry" in the way that it's meant to point out something that happens unfairly. The only difference would be that a "die and retry" game not only gives you unfair and mind-numbing challenges, it also kills you and forces you to replay the game over and over.

    So one could say it's the worst form of "trial and error".

    Now it's mere speculation and it's a totally subjective definition from my part.

    Post edited by Simulacre on
    NeoptolemusThacoBell
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,533
    edited October 10
    I didn't get your comment about trolling really, but your comment about this pllace being something very different from steam forums is correct.
    Orrion said:

    Question: Is BG just, in general, a t&e game like most CRPGs that exist?

    I think you've got the reply you need from the above arguments. The only thing I will add is:

    Yes IMHO, BG is a T&E game, but no it's not just that, it's more. You get some hints here and there, ie the stone figures next to basilisks, or patterns on a wall in a dungeon indicating where you can expect traps. It's not always so though and you can just as well encounter a basilisk or a trap where you least expect it. And like others have said above, there's often many ways to beat each challenge which means there's seldom/never only one "right way" and the best of the best can solo pretty much the entire game with the most punishing mods using any class, which is a great testiment to how much you can overcome using T&E but also intuition and meta-knowledge combined.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 4,748
    Examples in BG for your consideration:

    1) A very large percentage of first time players will encounter their first death against a wolf or a bear on the first map outside of Candlekeep. The solution to the problem is to either stick to the main road, avoiding the wild animals, or to kite the animals with ranged weapons. How would you know to do that if you had not during your early experience attempted to melee a wolf or bear with your lousy first level AC and gear, and died from the attempt? I say you couldn't possibly have known that. In fact, previous experience with fantasy games would lead you to believe that you are supposed to be able to melee creatures successfully at first level on the first map outside of the tutorial area.

    2) Another very large percentage of first time players will die on the steps of the FAI to Tarnesh's Mirror Image-Horror-Magic Missile combo. There are several solutions to this problem, including Remove Fear spell for clerics, ranged attacks, using the guards, and having a four member party that includes Montaron and Xzar. How would you know what to do to deal with Tarnesh if you had never before experienced death at his hands? I say you couldn't possibly have anticipated that and survived the encounter on your first play any way other than pure luck. In fact, previous experience with fantasy games would lead you to believe that you are supposed to be able to survive an encounter with a mage assassin in the first place the game tells you to go.

    I call that learning through trial and error.

    Similar encounters abound on every map in the game, all the way through ToB.

    GusindaredlineTorgrimmerStummvonBordwehr
«13
Sign In or Register to comment.