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Ranking maps by difficulty

I never noticed it, but dudleyville has a walk-through of the whole game by map. I've always thought it would be interesting to rank each area by difficulty to get the smoothest difficulty curve possible. I think his order is pretty good, but I was most surprised by his decision to have completed both the Gnoll Stronghold and Ulcaster before entering the Nashkel Mines. Doesn't Ulcaster contain dread and vampiric wolves? I wonder why not both Ulcaster and Firewine first since I've always felt they were almost identical in difficulty.

Thoughts? Anyone have a better path?

Comments

  • smyth25smyth25 Member Posts: 78
    edited September 15
    Brace yourself, incoming wall of text (and possibly minor spoilers).
    I often start by going to the area east of the ambush area to get the hidden ring of protection. I then head straight to Beregost, where I console Marl and help Firebead for some free XP. I then also recover Marianne's husband's note and Zhurlong's boots from the area south, which are also fairly easy battles. If I'm brave I also fight the spiders in Landrin's house.

    I then go west to the area with Captain Brage, where I take him (and subsequently, myself) to Nashkel. If I am a fighter or cleric type class I can then also pick up the ankheg plate mail. If you don't need the armour or do not want the reputation boosts you can find in Nashkel, this stage is more optional. If I'm feeling brave, I also fight the half-ogres in Drizzt's area on the way to Brage's area, which I can later tell Björnin about in the Jovial Juggler in Beregost for a shield +1.

    After this I go east to Mutamin's garden to farm XP from the basilisks. Usually by this point I have at least 32000 XP, so I may start recruiting some NPCs assuming I'm not soloing.

    Finally I go to Beregost to kill Silke and the Red wizards, then to the area south of High hedge to kill Bassilus and the Hobgoblin group, and to recover Melicamp, who I then bring to Thalantyr.

    After all this I then FINALLY go to the Nashkel mines. Area order after that is a bit random to be honest. Of course there are some specific exceptions to the above route, for example a mage should rush straight to the Friendly Arm Inn to get the ring of wizardry rather than going to Beregost.

    This is the route that I personally find to be fairly easy and also yield a lot of treasure and XP, but opinion on route can differ a lot based on the player, the class of their character, what mods are installed, and if you are Role playing/not metagaming.


    As for starting with Ulcaster that does seem pretty hard (if I remember correctly, Vampiric wolves both paralyse their target and heal themselves on attack), not to mention traps, which you would want a decently levelled thief for. Firewine could be easier if you have access to sleep/colour spray, but again traps.

  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,983

    There are no vampiric wolves in Ulcaster unless you have installed a mod (SCS I think), dread wolves only.

    I'd say the gnoll stronghold is pretty doable early on.
    Like most, I head for Beregost to get some easy XP under the belt.
    And embarrassingly, solo for a while to get charname levels up before recruiting. (I've tried, really tried but it's such a slog with a party and very low levels).

    With a party, I'd say the rule of thumb is to go to places where you have lots of room to manoever/kite and make sure everybody is equipped with ranged weapons.
    So all the dungeons are dangerous with a low level party.

    One thing to remember though, if you hit Nashkel without speaking to Jaheira/Khalid or Xzar/Monteron, you lose the opportunity to pick them up later.

  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 3,656


    There are no vampiric wolves in Ulcaster unless you have installed a mod (SCS I think), dread wolves only.

    I play without any mods and I did the Ulcaster ruins a few days ago and I am sure I ran into a Vampiric Wolf at the centre of the complex.

    smyth25ThacoBellBelgarathMTHGrond0
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 3,656

    I've always thought it would be interesting to rank each area by difficulty to get the smoothest difficulty curve possible.

    I think this is an interesting idea. We could rate each map area on a scale of 1-10 starting with Lion's Way as 1 and working on from there.

    The Coast Way, where the Ogre with the belt fetish is to be found, is a bit harder so maybe that is a 2. The Friendly Arm Inn is really easy apart from the encounter with Tarnesh but that encounter can be really hard the first time you play so is it a 2 or a 3? Or are they all 1s?

    It is the kind of thing we could have endless arguments about .

  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,983


    There are no vampiric wolves in Ulcaster unless you have installed a mod (SCS I think), dread wolves only.

    I play without any mods and I did the Ulcaster ruins a few days ago and I am sure I ran into a Vampiric Wolf at the centre of the complex.


    You are correct, sorry my bad.

    SCS upgrades that one to the "Wolf of Ulcaster" that's where I was getting mixed up.

    Permidion_StarkGrond0
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 6,712
    I'd rank the first two maps before FAI as 10 difficulty personally. I've lost more charnames to bears and that ogre than anything else in the series combined. Except maybe Kangaxx, Draconis, and Ascension final fight.

    Permidion_StarkBalrog99
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 3,656
    ThacoBell said:

    I'd rank the first two maps before FAI as 10 difficulty personally. I've lost more charnames to bears and that ogre than anything else in the series combined. Except maybe Kangaxx, Draconis, and Ascension final fight.

    I lost loads of characters to that ogre. It used to seem like such a tough fight. And then one day I discovered missile weapons . . .

    BelgarathMTHBalrog99
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,650
    The problem is that some encounters are insanely difficult using one set of tactics, but incredibly easy using another - so how do you rate the map? Think of Mutamin's garden for instance: that is a great place to go early - if you know what to expect ...

    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 6,712

    ThacoBell said:

    I'd rank the first two maps before FAI as 10 difficulty personally. I've lost more charnames to bears and that ogre than anything else in the series combined. Except maybe Kangaxx, Draconis, and Ascension final fight.

    I lost loads of characters to that ogre. It used to seem like such a tough fight. And then one day I discovered missile weapons . . .
    I don't like relying on missile weapons. I go three melee and thre ranged in my parties. Of course, on the way to the FAI, its just me and Imoen.

  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 3,656
    Grond0 said:

    The problem is that some encounters are insanely difficult using one set of tactics, but incredibly easy using another - so how do you rate the map? Think of Mutamin's garden for instance: that is a great place to go early - if you know what to expect ...

    I suppose you would have to rate the map as a whole rather than just certain encounters on it. Yes defeating the basilisks is easy at low level if you know what you are doing but you can still get in a mess if Mutamin casts horror before you can hit him and if you run into Kirian and the party of adventurers it can be a nasty fight at low level.

    So if Lion's Way is rated as 1 then I would argue that Mutamin's Garden should be a 4 or a 5.

  • NeoptolemusNeoptolemus Member Posts: 8
    You could maybe do a split score, one for rp and one for metagaming. Mind you there are a couple of clues about mutamins garden (including the one on the beregost temple map) so you can argue that you should be prepared. Although perhaps 'easy with some fairly specific preparations' is just another way of saying 'moderately difficult'.

    Permidion_Stark
  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,296
    A nice idea but one that could get really complicated, really quickly (just google 'rock climbing grades' and you'll see what I mean).

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