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The city of Baldurs Gate

So first time I got to Baldurs Gate I was full of hope and wonder - well it is the game's name! And the city in bg2 was greate so this should be awesome!! Right? No? Well ... maybee.

The first time I did everything, every quest, barrel, chest, talked to everyone, looked behind every alley and house. After a lot of hours it wasn't a bad experience, the exploration was there, the surprise, the nice loot and one or two laughs but I felt tired. I said to myself never again. It's the last time I play this game! Of course I played more times bg1 but when it comes to the city I just flash it. Do 3-4 quest and go for the finish.

I can say now that if you have the choice: do play bg1 first and then bg2 becose you get your hopes to high for the city of baldurs gate otherwise.

I'm curious if you also get this feeling of: oh no the city! Do I realy have to go to every house?, if you skip it or if you genuinely still enjoy it?

OrlonKronsteenIsewein
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Comments

  • HegemonHegemon Member Posts: 7
    Yes exactly! Is also what you perceive to be like the end game...not realy if you full around for days in the city:)). Also it dosn't help that i've done all other areas. If you would start in baldur's gate that would have been great! (It would be an interesting mod to start level 1 in the city!!) Do some wilderness then enjoy the safety of the city wall, a nice inn dump your loot and go again.. but that dosen't realy happen as you already have a base in the friendly arms inn that in a way realy feels like a home, a mini-castle for you to relax.

  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,182
    Yep, it's arguably one of the weakest parts of the whole saga until perhaps the Amkethran part of ToB, imo. And a funny irony too! It reveals some of the limitations of the overall design philosophy in the game, ideas that they moved away from for the sequel. The nearly literal representation of the game world worked well for the wilderness, to capture a real sense of low-level adventure. But in the city this means houses upon houses with nothing interesting. Awkward and unhelpful splitting of the city's districts. Even the gear shopping is hugely disappointing, the one thing that would have been easy to get right.

    Even parts of the city that could have been interesting, its main dungeon, the sewers, are done in such a dull way that I always wonder if this was maybe the last part of the game that was built, and was perhaps rushed. It does contain a few significant gems in its sidequests, with some rare opportunities for thieving focused quests and some of the only instances of significant choice and consequence in the game.

    IIRC the experience of playing there in the original game was even worse, as the city was split between two discs, meaning the awkward need to transition between areas was even worse.

    ThacoBellOrlonKronsteenIsewein
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 965
    edited June 4
    Hegemon wrote: »
    I'm curious if you also get this feeling of: oh no the city! Do I realy have to go to every house?, if you skip it or if you genuinely still enjoy it?
    I do understand feeling discouraged exploring the city since 90% of the content is fluff. However, the game's wilderness areas are also 90% fluff. Do you find yourself skipping those as well and mostly following the critical path?

    Post edited by jsaving on
  • HegemonHegemon Member Posts: 7
    edited June 4
    jsaving wrote: »
    Hegemon wrote: »
    I'm curious if you also get this feeling of: oh no the city! Do I realy have to go to every house?, if you skip it or if you genuinely still enjoy it?
    I do understand feeling discouraged exploring the city since 90% of the content is fluff. However, the game's wilderness areas are also 90% fluff. Do you find yourself skipping those as well and mostly following the critical path?

    To be honest yes I also skip the wilderness if I know there's nothing there! For example gnoll fortress- first time every nook and cranny! Now- book and save Minsk friend and get the hell out. Maybee sometimes I explore just to kill some creatures like the vampiric wolfs or ankeg.

    The only thing that made the exploration fun again was the randomizer mode! Every important item is somewhere else...so exploring is fun again because you don't know where anything is.

    For me at least.

    Grond0
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 820
    DinoDin wrote: »
    IIRC the experience of playing there in the original game was even worse, as the city was split between two discs, meaning the awkward need to transition between areas was even worse.
    I also think it is worse when you're new at the game and don't know where anything is. If you get instructions, say, to go to the Blushing Mermaid Inn, you're like, 'where the heck is that?' Then you have to awkwardly make your way around the whole city to find it, being confounded by some of the transitional dead ends along the way. I do find the city easier to deal with having memorized the locations and the quirky area transitions.

    energisedcamelDinoDinBalrog99
  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 714
    I quite enjoy the city sections, it is a shame that at that stage of the game your party is likely set in stone and so there isn’t the excitement of joining new npcs, but otherwise I enjoy the change of scene. I like the way they threw in some interesting multiclass npcs at that point to tempt you. At least if you find the city boring you can rush the ending fairly easily at that point.

    OrlonKronsteensarevok57Aerakarmonico
  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,376
    I actually like BG the city, but then again i play gold piece runs so i go into EVERY house EVERY time and do EVERYTHING ( unless of coarse it makes me lose gold, like completing the rogue stone quest with the thief dude in the thief guild )

    but even then, i still enjoy myself, completely finishing one area then going to the next, and things really start getting exciting when you start finding those cewl sexy items like the items of balduran and tomes and such, good stuff

    ilduderinoAerakarmonicoTimbo0o0o0
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 707
    I like BG city, but I also usually finish the rest of the wilderness areas before getting there so it is sort of anti-climactic and less challenging than it could be at lower level. Like @sarevok57 I can't help but enter every house and try and complete each map in succession.

    I realize this is not how the plot is set-up, but I do wish you could access maybe some small parts of the city before the bridge opens. But that would require a big plot rework and could unbalance things badly in the early part of the game with all the items available, so seems not realistic.

    What I should really do is try a speed run and try and get there ASAP. I have never done that as I enjoy exploring and tramping around the wilderness areas too much with low level parties.

    sarevok57ilduderinomonicoStummvonBordwehr
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 907
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    I maintain that FIrewine is one of the worst RPG dungeons, ever.

    I dunno. I'm not necessarily going to disagree, but I think it is a very, very close tossup with Ulcaster. Mostly because I had such high hopes for that dungeon, only to be thoroughly disappointed once my party entered it. I mean, look at the ruins above it. There was clearly a massive structure there once. I was expecting something huge and elaborate. Not the equivalent of a broom closet in the basement.

    Firewine, at least, connected several areas, had a reasonably difficult (for the expected party level) battle, and a somewhat interesting (if obvious) quest.

    So, for me, I think that award should go to Ulcaster dungeon.

    DinoDin
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 11,897
    @Maurvir Ulcaster is at least navigable and things stay dead when you kill them. Firewine is more complicated, but complicated and good are no synonymous. Firewine's tight corridors brings BG's pathing to its knees, and then buries it alive. Party members getting stuck on corners, wandering in the opposite direction you want them to go, getting stuck on each other. The halls of Firewine need to be at least half again as wide as they are. And the CONSTANTLY re-spawning kobold commandos on all sides is just annoying. It doesn't matter how complex a dungeon is, or how well put together on paper, if it run counter to the capabilities of the engine its designed for, its a failure.

    These days I just CTRL-J to the skeleton, jump to the ghosts for the quest, then jump to the ogre mage. Its just not worth fighting with the game's pathing.

    Dharius
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,182
    I really like how the two mansions in Nashkel and Beregost are set up though. They're a subtle opportunity at roleplaying and something of an open-ended bit of gameplay. No one tells you to rob them. But there are obvious rewards there for doing so (much more so than looting the entirety of the rest of the houses). Looting them successfully is something of a challenge as well, and requires a bit of thoughtful gameplay.

    As well, you're also of course perfectly fine with never touching them. But I thought they were subtle bits of exceptionalism in the early towns of BG1, which otherwise are full of quite a bit filler content.

    RedRodentDJKajuruAerakarIsewein
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 907
    Aside from BG itself, Beregost is a pretty decent sized town. I mean, it has four taverns, a smithy, and a priest. It's honestly my favorite town in BG1, and my parties often camp in the large room above the bartender at the Jovial Juggler. After learning the hard way, I still base my parties out of Beregost even after gaining access to Baldur's Gate itself.

    The Friendly Arm Inn isn't terrible, but depending on which direction you are coming from, it's a bit of a hike around the outer wall.

    sarevok57ThacoBellAerakarStummvonBordwehr
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 707
    I always like to set up base at one of the taverns in Beregost same as you @Maurvir. Jovial Juggler is good since its near a screen exit and also the smithy. I will rotate to other taverns in some games to shake things up. I like to keep a base in Beregost. To me it makes sense game-wise and also tactically.

    Dhariussarevok57
  • DhariusDharius Member Posts: 447
    edited June 25
    Yeah, it’s funny how we all gravitate to Jovial Juggler as a base...I always have too since 1999 :)

    In Nashkel it’s the store tents at the fair. In Friendly Arm it’s the dorms at the end of the first and second floors.

  • artificial_sunlightartificial_sunlight Member Posts: 601
    I useally use the kichen in FAI as a base, Kagain's store is a good place to stock your stuff to. Once I come to BG City I never make a new base. But it makes sense to take a house where you can rest and put your gear.

    In my current run I'm in the city, I think I'm going to find a house there.

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 714
    edited June 25
    I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a mod that lets you own your own house (unless I have missed something).

    Aerakarenergisedcamel
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 907
    ilduderino wrote: »
    I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a mod that lets you own your own house (unless I have missed something).

    If you install the tweak that lets your party sleep anywhere, you can claim a house, but as far as I know, there are no mods that specifically make a house yours.

    That said, I used to use Tenya's house to "handle" Khalid before I discovered the tweak that lets you separate partners. (Though, ironically, he is actually a pretty decent F/M with the NPC mod tweak)

  • RedRodentRedRodent Member Posts: 78
    edited June 28
    I've always adopted Landrin's spider-infested house in Beregost as "mine". She doesn't seem to want to move back, so my characters usually just decide to live there, rent-free.

    Post edited by RedRodent on
    sarevok57AerakarMoomintrollilduderino
  • Candy_clown2Candy_clown2 Member Posts: 10
    The closed bridge to the city at the start is really funny. Wouldn't want to do the city first like bg2.

  • NeoptolemusNeoptolemus Member Posts: 26
    I love the idea of claiming a house as your own! I've gone a little bit further (perhaps too far?) on a recent evil play through. I let Dorn loose on the manor in north east Beregost and had him kill the occupants. Then I sold all the contents and claimed it as my own! After a suitable 'bribe' (aka rep restoring donation) to the mayor it's all mine! I've parked Kagain at the entrance as a doorman, and filled the chest by the entrance with cursed items in case someone tries the same thing on me. Garrick has also decide to set up in the ground floor lounge as my on call entertainment and identifier of the various good things I discover.

    MoomintrollAerakarBalrog99Zaxares
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,180
    edited October 5
    The challenge I think when it comes to presenting cities is to do it in a way that is not completely overwhelming. So not a situation where you have like 8 different quests in the city at any given time and where you almost zone out from them because its too many. But at the same time do it in a way that is also interesting.

    Baldur's Gate doesn't really live up to this because, as many of you have pointed out, its largely empty. It works in the sense that it creates some feeling of it being a big city but it also makes exploring it largely pointless.

    Shadows of Amn does this really well with Athkatla. Instead of presenting the entire city it chooses interesting pockets of it and therefore reducing the number of places you can explore with it.

    Later games, like Pillars of Eternity, have gone I think a bit too far in this direction. They've significantly reduced the number of encounters you have in the city and in turn it almost becomes a bit too easy to explore them all and experience them in their entirely. Even when they have larger maps travelling across them feels too much like a slog because you've only got a handful of things you can do.

    ThacoBellAerakarJuliusBorisov
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 907
    Baldur's Gate had way too many 'filler' houses - There was about a dozen houses with nothing but a few commoners and low-level loot. Sure, it made RPing a burglar more satisfying, but so many of those felt like lost opportunities.

    Even if they had been little more than FedEx quests, it would have added a lot. (Actually, just having the commoners summon the guards when you break in would have added a lot...)

    Unfortunately, Athkatla has too few of these houses. I'm not sure there is a single "house" that you can enter (short of guard's barracks) that isn't directly related to a quest.

    That said, both cities reflect their larger game's philosophies. Baldur's Gate was much more about exploring a vast area with little real direction until near the end of the game. In contrast, Baldur's Gate 2 practically put you in the railroad car right out of the chute.

    Aerakar
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 11,897
    @Maurvir "Unfortunately, Athkatla has too few of these houses. I'm not sure there is a single "house" that you can enter (short of guard's barracks) that isn't directly related to a quest."

    There's a small handful. Finding them is like a scavenger hunt! The first one that comes to mind for me is an unmarked house in the Bridge district that no quest points to. There's an ankheg shell in there.

    "In contrast, Baldur's Gate 2 practically put you in the railroad car right out of the chute."

    Huh? In what way? Chapter 2 is incredibly open. You don't really get set on a linear path until chapter 4.

    elminsterAerakarDinoDin
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