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Exactly how does party composition affect size of enemy groups and/or type of enemy met?

The_Baffled_KingThe_Baffled_King Member Posts: 14
Hi. I have a question as per the thread title. Note that the question refers to BG:EE v2.5 with Sword Coast Stratagems installed. If possible, I'd also like to know if installing EET changes anything on this front.

I ask because I want to fiddle with my party composition to increase the difficulty of the game, and it would be immensely frustrating if the game is secretly sabotaging my efforts by producing less challenging spawns!

I tried to find the answer myself, but I'm a little wary of trusting what I've found because I've seen a number of contradictory answers. I'd be very grateful to get an answer from someone who can be justifiably confident that their answer is accurate and up-to-date.

The common answers are that either (a) the size of the party; (b) CHARNAME's level; or (c) the party's level are taken into account, but they aren't complete answers. I'll clarify what more I'm looking for in the spoiler below.


(1) If based on the number of characters in the player's party:

Exactly how is this done? For example, the game may have a different setting for each of the 6 possible party sizes. Alternatively, it might have a setting for a 1-2 person party, a second setting for a 3-4 person party, and a third setting for a 5-6 person party. Or it may treat 1-3 person parties differently to 4-6 person parties.

(2) If based on CHARNAME's level/the party's level:

How does the game handle: (a) multi-class characters; (b) dual class characters that are lower level in their new class, with their old class is locked/unusable; (c) dual class characters that are higher level in their new class, so their old class has been unlocked and is usable?

(3) If based on the party's level:

Exactly how does the game arrive at the figure it uses for its level-based calculations? The figure could be based on: (a) the highest level in the party; (b) the lowest level in the party; (c) the modal average level; (d) the median average level; (e) the mean average level; (f) the midpoint between highest and lowest levels; etc...

(4) If based on CHARNAME's level/the party's level:

What happens if the figure the game uses for its level-based calculations is a decimal number? Does the game round up or round down to reach a whole number?

(5) If based on CHARNAME's level/the party's level:

Once the game determines a figure for its level-based calculation, what happens next? For example, the game might implement a rise in enemy numbers and/or spawn a more difficult type of enemy every time CHARNAME's level/the party's average level rises, or it might do so only until CHARNAME's level/the party's average level is 6, and make no further changes thereafter.

(6) If based on CHARNAME's level/the party's level:

Is that correct in a strict sense? For example, if CHARNAME's level/the party's average level is 4, but they/the party have enough xp to be level 5, will the game spawn enemies based on actual level (4) or the level that their experience would normally put them at (5)?

(7) If based on the party's level:

How does the game treat companions that are dead but have not yet been resurrected or removed from the party?

Big, big thank you to anyone who can give the full answer that I'm looking for.

Comments

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 11,712
    Exp level definetly matters. Its more pronounced in BG2, but its the same engine and shouldn't be too different.

    At one point, party size mattered as well. Some solo players weren't happy about it, but I don't know if it was ever actually changed.

    EET won't fudge with it by design.

    SCS has a component in BG2 that ties spawns to difficulty instead of experience, but I don't think its a part of BG1.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,105
    What this is about is the monsters that appear at "spawn points" in the various areas. I don't know the exact system there, but it's based on the party's levels. Actual levels, not theoretical based on their XP. And it keeps scaling even beyond normally achievable levels. When I brought a party with characters of level 16, 16, 19, and 21 (plus a thief at normal BG1 levels), they saw groups of six ankhegs and the like.

    The SCS component mentioned in the above post is about monsters that appear based on trigger scripts in the areas. This system is not used in BG1, and the default version in BG2 uses only protagonist XP to decide what you get. With that component, it's a combination of XP and difficulty.

    ThacoBell
  • The_Baffled_KingThe_Baffled_King Member Posts: 14
    Thanks both for the comments. Having borne them in mind, and having been inspired by the mention of Ankhegs, I conducted a rigorous scientific experiment... by which I mean I messed around in-game. I can't be bothered to post my method and my results at the moment so, for now, I'll post only the conclusions. If my experience with Ankhegs is representative of the game as a whole, then, as far as I can tell:

    (a) The game adjusts the number of enemies it spawns on the basis of a simple count of the total number of character levels in the party;

    (b) The game does not apply any kind of nuanced calculation that looks at both the number of characters and the levels of those characters, and then applies some kind of average;

    (c) In principle, party size makes no difference, but in practice, party size makes a huge difference, as smaller parties usually have fewer character levels;

    (d) Multi-class and dual-class character levels are not treated the same as single-class character levels;

    (e) For multi-class characters with two classes, the game takes the sum of the character levels for the two classes, divides that figure by two, and rounds up (I haven't checked triple-class combinations);

    (f) Dual-class characters are treated in the same way as multi-class characters, but note that the character levels of the orginal class are still counted even when the original class features are inactive;

    (g) Dead characters that have not been removed from the party still contribute to the total number of character levels in the party.

    So it seems that the rules for generating spawns take no account whatsoever of the increased power of multi-class and dual-class characters. They also seem to pay little attention to the fact that not all levels are equal, in that an increase in level quickly becomes better than an additional level 1 character. Umm, wow.

    I'm genuinely shocked by how bad the game is at assessing the power level of a party; honestly, it seems like glaringly poor game design. I'm sure the game is right to reduce the difficulty for parties with few characters, but I think there would have been scope for a more nuanced calculation that didn't reduce the difficulty for small parties quite so drastically.

  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 226
    edited October 3
    You can use Near Infinity or similar to check area scripts for exact breakdowns if you want. it gives some insight into how the vanilla unmodded game generally determines the effective power of the party; i.e. not terribly accurately especially if multiclasses are involved, but good enough to get the job done.

    Keep in mind, old school DnD generally didn't scale say, wilderness random encounters based on party strength. It was entirely possible (though unlikely) for a lvl 1 party to encounter an unfriendly dragon in some cases... definitely not a pay to play MMO ethos where you coddle and keep stroking the player's ego so they keep playing.

    BG games reflect this - which is why you can walk out of candlekeep and get one shoted by an ogre or take a party fresh out of Irenicus dungeon and run into a lich.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 949
    Kingmaker is the most similar modern game to BG/BG2 and you can see this reflected in its random encounters as well.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,105
    You can use Near Infinity or similar to check area scripts for exact breakdowns if you want.

    Uh ... here's what NI says about one of those spawn points (example from AR3700, southwest of Beregost):
    Location: X - 2463
    Location: Y - 255
    Creature 1 - WOLF.CRE (Wolf)
    Creature 2 - ZOMBIE_D.CRE (Zombie)
    Creature 3 - WOLFDR.CRE (Dread Wolf)
    Creature 4 - None
    Creature 5 - None
    Creature 6 - None
    Creature 7 - None
    Creature 8 - None
    Creature 9 - None
    Creature 10 - None
    # creatures - 3
    Encounter difficulty - 200
    Spawn rate - 6
    Spawn method - Spawn until paused (0)
    Creature duration - 1000
    Creature wander distance - 1000
    Creature follow distance - 1000
    Maximum spawned creatures - 4
    Is active - Yes (1)
    Active at - [All 24 hour segments, plus eight "unknown" segments]
    Probability (day) - 85
    Probability (night) - 85
    Spawn frequency - 994565127
    Countdown - -1780501838
    Spawn rate 1 - 95
    Spawn rate 2 - 73
    Spawn rate 3 - -20
    Spawn rate 4 - 60
    Spawn rate 5 - 111
    Spawn rate 6 - -19
    Spawn rate 7 - 99
    Spawn rate 8 - 36
    Spawn rate 9 - 117
    Spawn rate 10 - 36
    Unknown - 61 0f de 4b 0f 4c 4d 22 3b 4c 25 6a 6a 25 55 25 1d 1d 14 09 50 04 04 02 e2 3b 9d 3b 92 3b e2 4c bf 4c bf 17 2a 1f

    If you can make sense of that and tell exactly what it's going to do for any given party, you know a lot more about the game than I do. The random spawns this thread is talking about are not the ones that show up in easily human-readable scripts; they're based on far more arcane mechanics buried in the engine.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 890
    Ideally, the game would not take party size into account at all, but that would tick off too many players. The fact that you can get your party (or solo PC) into a crack is a feature, not a bug.

    Now, I will grant that it can be exceptionally frustrating for your first level character to get knackered walking up the steps to the FAI at the beginning of the game, but even then, you have options. Specifically, to run and let the guards take him out for you.

    Otherwise, it's a dangerous world. Just to the east of Beregost lay a pack of vampiric beasties that will eat your lunch. Just to the west is a den of sirenes. Simply attempting to shop at High Hedge is an exercise in gate keeping, as you have to get past a pretty decent array of bad guys for a low-level party.

    As far as pulling punches, there is a reason that the Cloakwood doesn't open up mid-game (though I always mod the forest to appear at the beginning of the game) Believe me, BG/BG2's virtual DM isn't nearly as sadistic as it could be.

  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 226
    edited October 15
    jmerry wrote: »
    You can use Near Infinity or similar to check area scripts for exact breakdowns if you want.

    Uh ... here's what NI says about one of those spawn points (example from AR3700, southwest of Beregost):


    If you can make sense of that and tell exactly what it's going to do for any given party, you know a lot more about the game than I do. The random spawns this thread is talking about are not the ones that show up in easily human-readable scripts; they're based on far more arcane mechanics buried in the engine.

    1. That's not an area script.
    2. Probably. I've been playing these games longer than some folks around here have been alive; it'd be rather sad if I didn't pick up a few things along the way.

    ThacoBell
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,105
    Of course it's not an area script. AR3700 doesn't even have an attached .bcs script. It still has random monster spawns which vary with the party's size and levels. All of the BG1 wilderness areas do. Are you, perhaps, thinking of some other monster spawns which aren't the subject of this thread at all?

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