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Archer weapon

What ranged weapon should I specialize in as an archer? I'm looking toward the future as in most effective ranged weapon I can acquire (Not only for bg1 but carried over characters into sod and bg2.) Overall, what do you think would benefit me the most?

Comments

  • SimulacreSimulacre Member Posts: 102
    edited October 18
    I think it depends on your party make-up.

    In Baldur's Gate 1, composite longbows are better than their short counterparts.

    However, in BG2 the most powerful bows are shortbows.

    If you intend to solo the game, then you should pick up shortbows. Don't worry about it, you'll do just fine with a shortbow in BG1.

    On the other hand, if you're playing with several casters - such as M/T - or thieves that can only use shortbows, then it might be a good idea to let them have the best shortbows and stick to longbows yourself.

    It's also worth mentioning that there's an excellent crossbow in BG2 available early on in Watcher's Keep. Until you get it, you could stick to the crossbow of speed which is great. That's a decent proficiency you can take as well, especially if you have partners who are suited to use longbows like Minsc in addition to M/T or thieves that can use shortbows only.

    In the end, it's all about item management.

    StummvonBordwehrraelcari
  • masteralephmasteraleph Member Posts: 27
    I'm going to take it from a different point of view:

    Over the course of your career as an archer, you're going to want:

    1) At least specialization, and then progression towards Grandmastery in your weapon of choice.
    2) Proficiency in at least one melee weapon, possibly 2.
    3) Additional pips in other weapons that might be very useful to you.

    1) In BG1, longbows are the best ranged weapons for archers, followed by shortbows and crossbows (the latter is really true only if you get the Army Scythe Light Crossbow of Speed, because otherwise the extra APR from the shortbow dominates over crossbow's extra damage).

    In BG2, shortbows are generally the best ranged weapons for archers,, because of their APR and the early availability of one that adds an extra APR and another later that adds a solid amount of damage. Crossbows can almost keep up only with the Light Crossbow of Speed or the one Simulacre mentioned at Watchers Keep. If you're collecting the pantaloons throughout the games, crossbows get ridiculously good all the way at the end of ToB, as well. Oddly enough, once you have Greater Whirlwinds available, Slings can be a good backup weapon- there's one that autogenerates +4 ammunition, +5 once you upgrade it in ToB for the few enemies who need +5 to hit, and GWW sets your APR to 10.

    2) You're going to want a melee weapon, both for the times you get caught in melee and for when your run into enemies immune to piercing damage. Staffs probably make the most sense- not too many NPCs are going to like them, but there are some very good ones. They also do Crushing damage, so they can hit Clay Golems, and they're wood, so they don't break. Halberds are also interesting, for the same reason.

    You're going to get 4 pips at level 1, but can't go beyond 2 in any weapon. You also get 1 more every 3 levels. Because of that, you can't get GM before level 9 at all. Mastery and High Mastery do add THAC0 and damage, but to me GM is the real goal, and its primary point is in BG2 (you likely won't hit 300,000 xp until SoD). So I'd tend to go with shortbows, or crossbows as Simulacre said (note- both the LCOS and Shortbow +2 are available for purchase early, if you can scrape the gold together). If you're willing to generally forgo longbows, you can go with 2 pips in shortbow or crossbow at level 1, along with maybe 1 in staff and one in something else (maybe slings). Then advance towards grandmastery in that weapon at levels 3, 6, and 9. At level 12 in SoA, you can start (or I guess finish, if you added one pip at level 1) adding pips to slings in preparation for ToB. If you went with shortbows and happen to be collecting pantaloons at that point, feel free to start adding to crossbows.

    ConjurerDragonraelcari
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,561
    Shortbows end up nearly as good in BG1, but the +2 shortbow is substantially later than the +2 longbow, which is later than the very strong, arguably best +1 composite bow. Honestly, you won't need the solitary +1 to hit or damage from a longbow, especially as an archer. If you want to get some mileage out of the shortbow, wait until after you get it to do exploring.

    I don't know SoD very well, but iirc its not very different, with composite bows being slightly better, but frankly the +2 shortbow from BG1 is probably good enough anyways, especially with an archer. I played through SoD with a shortbow using Swashbuckler, who was quite devastating. I never felt gimped, and I didn't even use very many of the high power arrows. An Archer would be substantially better than a Swashbuckler at archery, so again, shortbow won't feel weak by any means.

    Regarding crossbows, arrows in BG1 especially have wwwaaayyy better ammo options. Its not even close, much as I like crossbows, they stink compared to bows. In BG2, bows still have better options, though there are some good stunning bolts tbh. Crossbows are quite decent in SoA, but there are no bolts of disspelling afaik, and thats a pretty handy effect to have access to.

    AerakarConjurerDragon
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 3,999
    I've got one word for you: throwing daggers

    DJKajuru
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,561
    Aren't you limited to just proficiency, making this a suboptimal choice?

    Grond0ThacoBell
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,891
    The only weapons archers can get grand mastery in are bows (short, long and cross). Their bonuses mean they can still be effective using other weapons and there may be reasons to do that (for instance being able to benefit from a shield). However, during most of the games they will do better with a bow.

    ThacoBellsemiticgodStummvonBordwehr
  • WatchForWolvesWatchForWolves Member Posts: 156
    edited October 19
    In BG:EE, Longbows. You don't even have to wait until Bandit Camp, Composite Bow +1 is arguably better and available at Feldepost's.

    In BG2:EE, Shortbos for Tuigan/Gesen reasons.

  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 2,097
    Longbows for BG.

    Always you will be told about the fantastic shortbows in BG2. I don't disagree but, when you are super vulnerable in early BG, that's when you need the best bow you can get more than at any other time.

    Plus, as an archer you will be doing a lot of damage and if you swap to a shortbow, even with just one pip, you will still do a lot of damage.

  • thespacethespace Member Posts: 1,025
    edited October 19
    I love playing an archer. I go with shortbows for the long run (although I agree for longbows if just BG1). If elf I will likely put a pip in longswords or shortswords, as the +1 helps mitigate the archer's melee shortcomings. I really like to put a pip in darts with an archer (at creation typically), as they get bonuses to all ranged weapons and those stun darts come in quite handy at times. Late game BG2, slings.

  • DordledumDordledum Member Posts: 159
    How about for other fighters in general? If you can pick 1 weapon to get grandmastery with, longswords? Or long/shortbows as well?

  • LammasLammas Member Posts: 43
    edited October 21
    When I play fighter in BG1 I usually go for 3 points in melee of choise and ranged of choise. If you have good strength and will have other people for bows you might as well go for axes or daggers for the strength bonus. Both can be a bit annoying though since you only get an axe of returning very late in BG1 and there are no magical throwing daggers at all. In BG2 you are limited to +2 throwing axe until late TOB unless you side with Bodhi for a +3 variant. Daggers are even worse in availability. If you want a launcher longbow is best for BG1, their arrows contain a swiss armyknife of tools compared to crossbows and longbows have a thaco bonus compared to shortbows. Composite longbows have some extra damage too. For whole saga I'd say shortbow is best. Crossbows for whole saga are alright but (IMO) are more suited for melee fighters to start the fights with a bolt or finishing up a weakened enemy from range than for a dedicated archer. Just my uneducated opinion tho.

    For melee longsword is ok. Varscona is an early pick in BG1 and there are good longswords in BG2 and you'll build another grandmastery along the way anyway. Hammers are another very good choise with easy good early weapon and really good stuff later on (EDIT: bonus points for dwarf for the +3 throwing hammer in BG2). Nothing wrong with shortswords either for the very same reasons. Getting a +2 weapon quick is not that important though, you can really use whatever you wish but there are some weapon categories I've always felt are a bit weak.

    If I had to pick one thing to get into grandmastery I'd pick Axes if your char has good strength. You get both a melee and a ranged option in the same category. Others can shoot bows while you can do a lot of damage with your throws. You can get your first +1 axe in Feldepost inn and if you turn a throwing axe into melee mode you have an unbreakable axe until you reach that point (and can afford it).

    DordledumThe_Cheeseman
  • The_CheesemanThe_Cheeseman Member Posts: 175
    edited October 26
    I second the choice of axes. They are especially nice for Cavaliers and Berserkers, since they combine melee and ranged weapons. There are some really awesome axes in both games. Bala’s Axe just embarrasses mages in BG1, you get a returning throwing axe +2 which is handy for picking off retreating MOBs, and the above poster mentioned the trick for using the +1 throwing axes for sale in Beregost in melee at the start.

    BG2 continues the axe goodness, with Stonefire available right out of the starting dungeon and killing trolls dead, then Azuredge +3 which is basically a ranged mace of disruption and loves to one-shot liches. At end game, you can get Axe of the Unyielding +6, a vorpal axe with crazy HP regen.

    In short, axes may not have the super flashy Celestial Furies or Carsomyrs, but they are consistently good across the entire series for just about any martial play style.

    thespaceAerakar
  • LammasLammas Member Posts: 43
    Actually I just meant a regular old throwing axe for melee. That never breaks while your regular battle axe might. Lower damage tho (1-6 vs 1-8 IIRC) but it's a nice backup if your battleaxe does break. Getting an actual +1 battle axe shouldn't take too long as you can buy one from Beregost. I didn't even remember there are +1 throwing axes now :D Never even noticed them on the 2 first EE playthroughs I've done recently.

    Who are you hitting with Bala's Axe? Honest question. I rarely do Durlag's tower as I don't like that place at all but if I do I've pretty much completed the rest of the game at that point and there aren't really any hostile mages left to hit with it :D Maybe at the bottom of the tower or at the final boss? I don't remember Durlag contents too well. I heard the axe is now in BG2EE as well which is nice I guess but all early mages are pushovers in that game and as you say, you can get a +2 axe pretty early anyway.

    To go a bit deeper in the axe thougts I do have to disagree with axes being awesome in BG2 though. Unless you side with Bodhi your throwing axe will be limited to +2 variant until late TOB and that's ok against most enemies. Only really starts to matter if no one else in your parties can handle iron and adamant golems from range (I don't remember what else requires +3, Kangaxx was +4 which you won't reach with axes anyway).

    It's just that the melee ones aren't spectacular either. You just have 2 different +2 axes both which only have extra elemental damage. That's almost as basic as it gets. They'll get the job done but they aren't spectacular by any means and neither is Unyielding until TOB where you get to upgrade it. Unyielding is also buried pretty deep inside the Keep so it's not something you can just go casually pick up somewhat early :disappointed:

    Their general melee + ranged package still works but since you'll be building another mastery quite likely during BG2 you can also make the switch to another melee weapon type there and just keep the throwing axe handy for when you want to use that.

    The best thing about Stonefire and Frost Reaver both is that their extra elemental damages hit through magical protections (at least in the original they did, I haven't played BG2EE yet). Or at least I think they did. It's pretty nice when you interrupt a big cast with it. Frost reaver I think counts 2 separate hits because of it's 2 different elements making the interrupt more likely. There are other weapons types that can achieve this too.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,891
    @Lammas the special abilities of Azuredge means it is able to hit things like golems that normally require +3 to hit (note though that its behavior varied depending on installation and mods in vanilla, so it may well not work like that in your installation). Stonefire and Frost Reaver though have always both been +3 in vanilla and BG2EE. Together with their elemental damage that does make them among the best weapons easily available at the start of BG2.

    LammasAerakarStummvonBordwehr
  • LammasLammas Member Posts: 43
    Oh right, forgot about Azuredge enchantment level because it doesn't have any hit bonuses, my bad I rarely use that item since I like neutral characters and make someone chuck them in maybe 1 in 3 playthroughs (usually Valygar (also I just realized I've not once completed the game with Minsc in my party.)).

    Also I somehow remembered the melee axes being +2 but yeah, they are indeed +3. I need to get through SOD so I can play BG2 again... Axes in BG2 are still pretty average in my eyes. Early pick is nice admittedly but that's what you're stuck with for the rest of the game :D Oh, and I'm not saying they're bad, just that I don't think they're that amazing in BG2.

    Azuredge is a definite winner pick for axes in BG2 though. I can't believe I forgot that thing!

    StummvonBordwehr
  • The_CheesemanThe_Cheeseman Member Posts: 175
    Lammas said:

    Who are you hitting with Bala's Axe? Honest question. I rarely do Durlag's tower as I don't like that place at all but if I do I've pretty much completed the rest of the game at that point and there aren't really any hostile mages left to hit with it :D Maybe at the bottom of the tower or at the final boss? I don't remember Durlag contents too well. I heard the axe is now in BG2EE as well which is nice I guess but all early mages are pushovers in that game and as you say, you can get a +2 axe pretty early anyway.

    I tend to dip into Durlag’s pretty early, as it’s a great source of exp and has some useful items. There are various tricks you can use to trivialize the tougher fights (dragging the warders through fireball traps repeatedly, for example) in order to get to the goodies on lower levels. Durlag’s Goblet is a game-changed for a Cavalier, for example, and the aforementioned Bala’s Axe makes many mage fights much more manageable (admittedly, if you don’t use SCS, this isn’t really relevant to you).

  • raelcariraelcari Member Posts: 120

    In BG2, shortbows are generally the best ranged weapons for archers,, because of their APR and the early availability of one that adds an extra APR and another later that adds a solid amount of damage. Crossbows can almost keep up only with the Light Crossbow of Speed or the one Simulacre mentioned at Watchers Keep.

    Could you please clarify this? I always assumed that

    Firetooth > Tasheron's and Gesen
    (since it generates +4/+5 bolts)

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,561
    Slings can be hella damaging with good str when you can whirlwind.

  • masteralephmasteraleph Member Posts: 27
    DreadKhan said:

    Slings can be hella damaging with good str when you can whirlwind.

    I've been rather curious about what happens if you run the Halfling Slinger kit from Might and Guile, to be honest.

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