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Question about maps

Hi. Although an aging gamer I've never played BG in my life before yesterday. After seeing the enhanced edition by chance, I took the plunge and I'm really excited to finally experience this iconic game. I want to get the most out of it as an immersive RPG but I'm battling modern gaming habits, most specifically the one I'm about to describe:

After spending a few hours yesterday with the tutorial and carefully generating my character I finally took my first steps outside of Candlekeep. Initially I set off in the direction of the Friendly Inn broadly exploring the area on the way. I soon worked out that the first map is a fairly small square. As soon as I found that out my Ubisoft-tainted instinct took over and I uncovered the whole area to see what was in that square.

I immediately felt I'd broken the immersion and turned the game into Minesweeper. So I have 2 questions.

I realise this is a really old game - are all the maps that small? And secondly I'd just like some confirmation on what I think is the best way to play, which is to forget about exposing as much of the map as possible and only explore those areas my character would be inclined to visit in that moment. I realise I might be missing potential quests and opportunities playing that way, but it feels more natural and immersive than doing a full scale sweep of each area. Is this the best way to play or will I be dangerously disadvantaging my character by missing too many quests and encounters?

Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated.


  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,710
    Fully clearing maps is a fairly normal way to play - after all, you could find loot anywhere! Of course, most of it is garbage. Will you cripple your character if you don't go out and find everything? No. Even if you skip lots of stuff and end up well below the experience cap, you'll only be a level or two behind where you should be - and then experience comes so fast in BG2 that the difference will rapidly become insignificant.

    Incidentally, if you really want to see the fully explored maps, there's a spell for that: Clairvoyance (3rd level arcane) reveals any outdoor map fully, including any parts you can't get close to on foot to see that way.

    Outdoor maps in BG1 are generally all about the same size, while indoor and dungeon maps vary more widely. If it's just someone's house, that'll be a pretty small map. The larger city of Baldur's Gate is represented by nine maps with no travel time between them; it was simply too big for the game to handle having the whole city on one map.

  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,597
    Hello and welcome.
    Generally speaking all the maps are the same size. That's the easy bit explained.

    As to how you 'play' the maps for your first run through the game: It might help if you remember that Baldur's Gate is a computerised iteration of a decades old Pencil and Paper (PnP) game which was, first and foremost, a Role Playing Game. Therefore (imo) your initial instinct to keep the immersion and follow the plot as it unravels is the correct one for your first play through.
    Obviously taking this approach will mean that you may not uncover all the map areas and miss some content but you can always do more exploring on your second play through.

    Btw, on your first run you will die many, many times so save often and use reload to explore different ways to solve any given problem,

  • GraemeCaUkGraemeCaUk Member Posts: 2
    Brilliant. Thanks for your very quick replies. That tells me everything I need to know. The approach I think I'll take in order to remain true to the roleplaying is to traverse the maps according to plot / character, only using the clairvoyance spell if or when I get access to it, and in accordance with the situation (e.g. if my party is feeling threatened it would be the natural course of action, less so when they're feeling safe and secure).

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,617
    Be sure to talk to everybody in every town if you adopt that play style, because many of them will tell you about areas you should check out. Sometimes they'll even drop hints along the lines of "That's a very dangerous place, I wouldn't go there" which is code for "Be sure you have good gear and some levels under your belt before you try that area."

    It helps to see more content if you create a character who is motivated somewhat by a desire to explore, find and destroy evil monsters, or is motivated by profit and wants to find more treasure. You could also play a character who knows she needs more experience before tackling the enemies who were able to kill a powerful mage like her mentor Gorion. You can create many roleplaying justifications for exploration and side-questing.

    Unlike having a human dungeon master who can adapt encounters on the fly to the level of her players, the computer game doesn't do that. Even just following the main plot and ignoring side quests and exploration, you can easily get into encounters that are far above your party's ability to handle. Trying to explore and gain more experience can also get you in over your head, though. Don't forget, retreat is often your best option if you're beginning to get stomped by something.

  • woogirlwoogirl Member Posts: 14
    Another option I like to do which doesnt really break RP is to have someone in your party to be an "scouter" maybe a thief hiding in the shadows, or invisible by a spell. Better if they can move faster (by items or spells, -cough- Rasaad). Just send him/her around clearing the map while your PC decides what to do. Be careful though, if your explorer is too far away from the main party and is detected you may have a bad time trying to reach him/her in time. But oh well that's why you save often. Good luck!

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