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Version 2.5 Killed Legacy of Bhaal (for me)

AdulAdul Member Posts: 1,903
I'm currently trying to play through BG:EE on the Legacy of Bhaal difficulty and I'm finding it a massive slog and thoroughly unfun, even though the last time I've played it I remember having lots of fun doing it. So what happened?

The 2.5 patch happened—specifically the feature described by the following patch note line:
"Heart of Fury/Legacy of Bhaal should provide AC bonuses to enemies"

The patch note doesn't specify the extent of the of AC bonus granted, but according to some posts I've read it could be as high as -11 AC. Whatever the case, it seems to be a very large bonus.

Now, it is my understanding that the change the patch note describes was actually a bug fix, since the EEs previously erroneously didn't include the AC bonus granted to enemies by the Heart of Fury mode in the original Icewind Dale.

However, since Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale are two different kinds of games with different design philosophies behind them, I propose that the that the v2.5 Legacy of Bhaal AC bonus is overkill for a lot of the enemies found in BG1. The reason being that BG1 contains a lot of enemies that are already pretty hard to hit on normal difficulty, such as Battle Horrors, Doom Guards, Greater Doppelgangers (especially Durlag's Tower varieties), Invisible Stalkers, etc. When you give these enemies -11 AC (or somewhere along those lines), there will not be any hitter builds left in the game that can reliably hit them (possibly excluding Archers).

Case in point: my team of berserkers all have THAC0 scores in the 0..2 range when using Berserk, which is insane THAC0 for BG1. But even so, it is usually the case that they cannot hit Greater Doppelgangers in Durlag's Tower without rolling a 19 or 20 on their to-hit rolls. Sometimes a roll of 20 is required to hit fairly common enemy types, and that's not fun. This is really starting to sour my experience with the whole Legacy of Bhaal thing.

What I propose would fit BG1 much better is a modular system that would give higher AC bonuses to enemies who have bad AC by default, and lower AC bonuses to enemies that already have good AC by default. That way Legacy of Bhaal would retain its intended difficulty without turning into a terrible micromanagement slog for hitter builds to go up against low-AC enemy types.

RAM021

Comments

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 18,462
    It's the same as in Heart of Fury in IWD. You can enable extra XP in baldur.lua.

  • AdulAdul Member Posts: 1,903
    It's the same as in Heart of Fury in IWD. You can enable extra XP in baldur.lua.

    I know that, and I've addressed it in my post. I've also enabled extra XP. This problem is not caused by my party being underleveled, as they're already well past the XP cap.

    Ark_Tolei
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 18,462
    edited June 27
    For me personally, the Legacy of Bhaal difficulty felt a bit like a slog and unfun even before the change. What I tried to do, though, was to completely drop melee combat, and constantly use disabling spells such as Blindness and Hold. In this case, you don't need to roll to hit.

    Adul
  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 2,170
    Well, if you're using a team of berserkers, then yeah, that AC bonus will hurt. But if you have a cleric or mage or two, you could use Hold Person to paralyze enemies, and then you can hit them regardless of their AC. Other enemies like Battle Horrors can still be weakened by other spells like Slow.

    JuliusBorisov
  • AdulAdul Member Posts: 1,903
    edited June 27
    Be that as it may, my objection remains as I don't think the massive AC bonus fits well some of the enemy types encountered in BG1.

    Are the nightmare mode bonuses hardcoded, or would it be possible for me to tune the AC bonus down to a more manageable level by editing a 2DA file, for example?

    Ark_ToleiRAM021
  • Ark_ToleiArk_Tolei Member Posts: 69
    It's the same as in Heart of Fury in IWD. You can enable extra XP in baldur.lua.

    Icewind dale has a level cap of 30. There is no point in BG1 where a max level Kensai can reliably hit blinded full plate wearers on LoB mode, even with skald support. The AC bonus has absolutely no place in a game where fighters cap at level 8. Saying "A newgame+ feature designed for 18th level characters to reach level 30 with does not require any rebalancing when applied to a game with a level cap of 8" is not a compelling argument.
    For me personally, the Legacy of Bhaal difficulty felt a bit like a slog and unfun even before the change. What I tried to do, though, was to completely drop melee combat, and constantly use disabling spells such as Blindness and Hold. In this case, you don't need to roll to hit.

    Blind is not technically a disable, and only gives a +4 AC penalty. That penalty is not sufficient to allow fighters to hit targets with plate armor unless they're a max level kensai with 19 strength with skald support, and even then we're talking about hitting on a 13. When I got to Durlag's Tower it took so long to whittle through the hp of the battle horrors outside with 2 fighters beating on them while blinded, that a battle horror would actually outlast the duration of blind. That's 8 in-game hours of fighters beating on it to no avail, while it's completely helpless.

    There are major differences in the way that fighters and mages scale with level. The bonus enemies get to their saving throws in BG1 is small enough, that if a third level cleric casts hold person on a group of fighters, you'll probably hit all of them even in LoB. A 20th level cleric casting that spell? No difference at all. By comparison, the bonus to AC is so large, that if you had a 1/2 shot of hitting the target before, you now have a 1/20 chance of hitting. That's functionally equivalent to 90% physical damage resistance if the target has a helm, combined with having anywhere between 4 and 20 times as much hp, leading to an effective hp increase of around 40-200 times instead of 4-20.

    This damage difference IS mitigated by levels, which is why the -11 AC was added in the first place, the design intent is for it to be played by level 18+ fighters, for whom it just makes them slightly less guaranteed to hit.

    Let's take a closer look at battle horrors. According to the wiki, a battle horror has -5 AC, and 48 hp baseline. That translates to -16, and 224 on LoB now. A 19 strength max level kensai with skald song and a +2 bludgeoning weapon has a thaco of 1 with their main hand. Against a normal battle horror, this ensures they hit the majority of the time, on a 6 or higher, basically. On LoB, that same kensai now needs a 17, resulting in damage being 4/15th's of its original value. 224 hp divided by the 4/15th's leads to an effective hp of 840. That's 17.5 times as much ehp on a kensai with a skald backing them up.

    Let's eliminate the skald from the equation for a moment to demonstrate how quickly it gets very very bad. That extra +2 to thaco was doubling the Kensai's accuracy. The kensai now needs an 8 or higher to hit normally, and a 19 on LoB mode. So we're looking at 2/13's of the non-LoB damage being dealt. 224x13/2=1456, or 30.333 times as much hp. An enemy that would normally die in a single 6 second round, would now take over 3 minutes to kill. If you penalized thaco by 1 more point, it's taking 6 minutes unless using a 2her.

    Before the AC change, the effective hp is a simple ratio of original hp to new hp, which in the case of helmed horrors, is 4.6666. That may seem like a slog to most of the development team, but to people like me who think the original game is too bursty, that 4.6 feels great. Mages and clerics don't die before getting any spells off. Fighters don't die in a single round, etc. There's a massive difference between a bit under 5 times the hp, and a little over 30 times the hp. There's a larger difference in time to kill between the original LoB mode and the new one than there was between the normal difficulty and the original LoB mode that you think was already a slog.

    Grond0AdulRAM021
  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 2,170
    My recommendation is to remove the XP cap and enable the bonus Legacy of Bhaal experience (and Insane difficulty bonus experience).

    After all, if we have to deal with a feature like an extra -11 AC for enemies simply because that's how it was in the original Heart of Fury mode, then we should be able to get a lot more experience and reach a higher level like we could in the original Heart of Fury mode.

    JuliusBorisovAdulleeuxsemiticgod
  • AdulAdul Member Posts: 1,903
    OlvynChuru wrote: »
    My recommendation is to remove the XP cap and enable the bonus Legacy of Bhaal experience (and Insane difficulty bonus experience).

    After all, if we have to deal with a feature like an extra -11 AC for enemies simply because that's how it was in the original Heart of Fury mode, then we should be able to get a lot more experience and reach a higher level like we could in the original Heart of Fury mode.

    That's what I ended up doing in the end, and I managed to get through Durlag's Tower level 2 (which was probably the biggest AC-related challenge in the game) after gaining around 4-5 more levels with my entire party.

    But the fact that I had to mess with 2DA and ini files and turn the level progression system upside down just for my fighters to have any chance of being effective shows that LoB mode as it is is now a broken mechanic in BG:EE. Might I repeat my earlier suggestion?
    Adul wrote: »
    What I propose would fit BG1 much better is a modular system that would give higher AC bonuses to enemies who have bad AC by default, and lower AC bonuses to enemies that already have good AC by default.

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,455
    LoB, as well as HoF, was a missed opportunity in my opinion.

    When I heard about it I thought that more, smarter enemies would spawn - even stronger variances.

    Instead it just throw steroids on everything and call it a day.

    And everything gets so... boring. Not difficult, but boring as every battle takes forever to end. Even with disablers you still need to get through a mountain of HP.

    Basically the game turns into a massive amount of resting and going AFK.

    Honestly I can't understand why someone would play this.

    RAM021
  • AdulAdul Member Posts: 1,903
    Raduziel wrote: »
    LoB, as well as HoF, was a missed opportunity in my opinion.

    When I heard about it I thought that more, smarter enemies would spawn - even stronger variances.

    Instead it just throw steroids on everything and call it a day.

    And everything gets so... boring. Not difficult, but boring as every battle takes forever to end. Even with disablers you still need to get through a mountain of HP.

    Basically the game turns into a massive amount of resting and going AFK.

    Honestly I can't understand why someone would play this.

    Well, when you have six 19 strength berserkers, 300+ HP don't take long to get through. :lol:

    I don't think I'd play it with a non-custom party, though. That seems like torture.

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