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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?

Permidion_Stark

Comments

  • smyth25smyth25 Member Posts: 107
    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: 2,099

    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: 4,006

    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: 2,099


    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: 7,417
    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_StarkBalrog99GreenWarlock
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,006
    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 . . .

    BelgarathMTHBalrog99lost1
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,911
    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 ...

    ThacoBellGreenWarlock
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,417

    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: 4,006
    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: 25
    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_StarkGreenWarlock
  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,325
    A nice idea but one that could get really complicated, really quickly (just google 'rock climbing grades' and you'll see what I mean).

    Mantis37
  • PingwinPingwin Member Posts: 131
    What's the Mutamin's Garden clue in the temple area? I must have missed that.

    Permidion_Stark
  • NeoptolemusNeoptolemus Member Posts: 25
    Pingwin said:

    What's the Mutamin's Garden clue in the temple area? I must have missed that.

    There's a petrified person in the bottom right hand corner of the temple map who warns you about a basilisks to the east if you use a stone to flesh on them. Might be a mod addition.

  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,006
    @Neoptolemus

    The petrified person on the temple map is definitely from a mod. I don't think there is any warning in the original game. I still remember the first time I stumbled on Mutamin's Garden and was totally unprepared for what was going to happen. It was a very short visit. Fighting basilisks without protection from petrification isn't a good idea . . .

    SkatanThacoBell
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,533
    edited September 25
    Interesting but difficult idea. What would you rate as 10? In BG1 I don't even know what I would state is the most difficult map because I enter them all on different char levels, so ankheg's are superhard on low-levels when ie Command only last a round or two, but super easy for everyone with a decent AC and HP pool at later stages.

    I would maybe state that the most difficult one is the spider area around cloakwood (?), but then again, having a thief disarming all web traps before kiting in the spiders makes it so easy. Same with sirens around the coast, superhard with unlucky rolls or poor preparation, but extremely easy with protections. Wyvern poisons have killed off many of my comrades and charnames since I am usually quite lazy and don't properly prepare for that, relying only on low AC. I find myself digging through the backpack for antidotes often if I haven't got slow poison as a bhaal power by then. The battles after Nashkel mines is one I can sometimes struggle on, especially on runs where I refuse resting unless RP'd, the mercs waiting on the north area are tough if you run into them at level 2-3 with depleted spells, though web/fireball meta makes that easy when you know they are there. The undead guy in one of the tombs wanting his dagger back can be tough there as well if you are low level and have poor weapon choices. Hmm.. this is hard! The hardest merc battle I think is the group on the bottom of the Gulykin map, Molkar and his team. I tend to run into them at a failry low level and they can slaughter groups if/when unprepared.

    EDIT: To be frank, Tarnesh and Silke are the ones who have killed me the most, so thinking about it i guess Beregost or FAI are my numero uno hard areas overall. Taking on Silke at level 1 usually requires a couple of reloads. Tarnesh continued to kill me off even long, long after I was an experienced player.

    ThacoBell
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,343
    I think we agree that too much of the difficulty rating is subjective, depending on what level you typically reach a map at, how much you meta, etc.

    I will say the map that consistently strikes fear into me, if playing completionist (my usual case) is Pelvdale. So many poison arrows, so little reward. This is the one map that I consistently think about skipping.

    On the easy side, I would put the zombie farm at the very far North. This is an open map that is easy to travel, no surprises, and one easy hunt-the-zombies quest that seems easy for parties of even low level - but is usually stumbled into at mid-level or higher.

    The bridge guards at Durlag's Tower provide a good gating for the difficulty of this map - when your party can take them out, you are probably ready for the rest of the map too (although those basilisks on the roof continue to frustrate me!)

    ThacoBellGrond0
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,417
    Durlag's, werewolf, Baldur's Gate, and Ulgoth's Beard should be 10. They are difficult and deadly regardless of your level. I think Firewine is a good contender as well, with the tight cramped corridors and re-spawning kobold commandos.

    Grond0
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,911
    ThacoBell said:

    Durlag's, werewolf, Baldur's Gate, and Ulgoth's Beard should be 10. They are difficult and deadly regardless of your level. I think Firewine is a good contender as well, with the tight cramped corridors and re-spawning kobold commandos.

    Not to mention lightning bolts bouncing all over the place along corridors ...

    ThacoBell
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 2,099

    @Neoptolemus

    The petrified person on the temple map is definitely from a mod. I don't think there is any warning in the original game. I still remember the first time I stumbled on Mutamin's Garden and was totally unprepared for what was going to happen. It was a very short visit. Fighting basilisks without protection from petrification isn't a good idea . . .

    It's NPC or SCS I think.

    More likely NPC.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,417

    @Neoptolemus

    The petrified person on the temple map is definitely from a mod. I don't think there is any warning in the original game. I still remember the first time I stumbled on Mutamin's Garden and was totally unprepared for what was going to happen. It was a very short visit. Fighting basilisks without protection from petrification isn't a good idea . . .

    It's NPC or SCS I think.

    More likely NPC.
    Its actually Mini Quests and Encounters.

  • Very_BigSwordVery_BigSword Member Posts: 37
    ThacoBell said:

    @Neoptolemus

    The petrified person on the temple map is definitely from a mod. I don't think there is any warning in the original game. I still remember the first time I stumbled on Mutamin's Garden and was totally unprepared for what was going to happen. It was a very short visit. Fighting basilisks without protection from petrification isn't a good idea . . .

    It's NPC or SCS I think.

    More likely NPC.
    Its actually Mini Quests and Encounters.
    Since I only used NPC and UB as mods, my money would be on UB which IIRC borrows components from Mini Quests and Encounters.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,417

    ThacoBell said:

    @Neoptolemus

    The petrified person on the temple map is definitely from a mod. I don't think there is any warning in the original game. I still remember the first time I stumbled on Mutamin's Garden and was totally unprepared for what was going to happen. It was a very short visit. Fighting basilisks without protection from petrification isn't a good idea . . .

    It's NPC or SCS I think.

    More likely NPC.
    Its actually Mini Quests and Encounters.
    Since I only used NPC and UB as mods, my money would be on UB which IIRC borrows components from Mini Quests and Encounters.
    I don't use UB and I have seen this with Mini Quests and Encounters, so I suppose they could overlap.

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