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Which class do you think is solid from BG1 all the way through TOB?

All I ever hear about is which classes are stupidly OP after they hit 3 million XP and get HLAs.
Like the mages/sorcerers and Horrid Wilting, or bards/thieves and Use Any Item/Spiked Trap.

But 2/3rd of the game are spent being either completely useless or only occasionally useful.

Which class(e) would you consider really good *for the majority of your playthrough*?
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Comments

  • ryancryanc Member Posts: 7
    barbarian is solid the whole way
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 2,182
    I might like a mod that disabled HLAs. As long as opponents have, the player must. But if they could be shut off I would be a happy boy!

    But to answer the question, I’ve always been very happy with Cavaliers, Undead Hunters (even more so in IWD), Inquisitors, single class fighters, clerics…
    Really, any classes that don’t have problematic HLAs.
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 2,182
    I do think there’s some problem with advancing things to such a high level. In AD&D, 9th was usually considered high level. Most of my PnP gaming experience was that if you reached 9th level at all, things would slow to a level a year (of real time) after. Arch mages, were for NPCs only. They were the power structure of the World. YOUR character might someday cast Fire Shield, but the King has a guy with Meteor Swarm. If you perform some task and save the kingdom, you might earn yourself a Limited Wish! Awesome stuff.

    Now I’m not saying that (just) to be a curmudgeon. The BG Saga does advance us to the realm of god-like things. As such it’s appropriate to push things to higher levels, although I wish it had been done with more of a sense of passing years. But I’m willing to buy into the idea that after SoA, the game designers needed to do something to add a perception of something new to offer. So the HLAs, and “above 9th” level spells were added.

    But AD&D was never really meant for this sort of power. So no surprise, it’s sort of wonky. All things considered it works passably well. But for those of us who are still into this game so many years later (!) it does create some eccentricities for us to live with.
  • masteralephmasteraleph Member Posts: 270
    Archers require getting a little gimmicky towards the end, but properly equipped can still really wreck things
  • TrouveurTrouveur Member Posts: 525
    I would second archer, and add cavalier, inquisitor, berserker.
    bards are not very good early on (but shine in the second BGEE part), druids are a little behind in the middle of SoA...
    shaman could also be a good candidate thanks to specific spells, infinite summons, short bow and orc strength.
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,083
    Fighter/mage, fighter/thief, and fighter/mage/thief are three super-strong options the whole way through. Fighter/mage/cleric, fighter/cleric, illusionist/thief, and ranger/cleric are very strong the whole way through. Fighter/druid and several singleclass fighters and paladins are strong the whole way through and very strong for much of the game.
  • gladosglados Member Posts: 30
    mage - magic is op. you may suffer a bit at the beginning, if you start at lvl 1 though. but then, oh god, you will destroy mostly everything. free exp for learning spells over and over - what's not to love?

    wizard slayer - starts as a mere fighter which is solid already, but then becomes more and more fun. each of your blows to the mage (any mage, including monsters) casts on them a chance of a spell failure. each. of. them. they summarize!!! so make sure to have lots of attack per round.

    thief - starts nice, and the more you play the better it becomes. pickpocket 100+ means you don't need gold anymore. backstabs+invis potions - you know the drill. but the main thing is that traps are broken at your advantage. in tob you can wipe out any enemy as soon as you have an opportunity to deploy your 7 traps. demiliches, dragons, amelisan and her summons, mindflayers, beholders - they will all die. and it's glorious.

  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 1,361
    Any type of Paladin. They rock

    The cavalier was by some considered the strongest of them all. The cavalier did extremely well in the solo Trilogy runs, playing with SCS and Ascension in LoB mode. So it is battle tested.
  • gregorsamsagregorsamsa Member Posts: 24
    Any type of Paladin. They rock

    The cavalier was by some considered the strongest of them all. The cavalier did extremely well in the solo Trilogy runs, playing with SCS and Ascension in LoB mode. So it is battle tested.

    Man.. don't get me started on Paladins. I have a love/hate relationship with them. On the one hand, I really love the idea of rockin the armor, sword and shield style, slaying dragons..
    But on the other hand, it totally clashes with my love of stealing stuff. Not to mention, I'm actively helping/doing missions for a band of thieves.
    It just doesn't jive RP-wise
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 2,182
    Paladin works just fine in BG2. They do understand ideas like compromise and "greater good", WISDOM is one of the class requirements!

    And I love messing with the Shadow Thieves. You basically force them into playing straight with you. At least I always figure I'm on to them from the get go, its just a matter of holding them to their word. Even better when you rally the forces and have thieves and knights fighting on the same side! That is some quality coalition building.
    It also fits in well with the idea of giving everyone a fair chance. And seriously, I'm happy to work with them against a group of Vampires.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,843
    Man.. don't get me started on Paladins.
    ...
    But on the other hand, it totally clashes with my love of stealing stuff. Not to mention, I'm actively helping/doing missions for a band of thieves.
    It just doesn't jive RP-wise
    atcDave wrote: »
    Paladin works just fine in BG2. They do understand ideas like compromise and "greater good", WISDOM is one of the class requirements!

    If you want to understand how to roleplay a paladin properly, take a look at Keldorn and how he's written. Seriously, he's a great character. Honestly, he's the biggest argument against playing a paladin - do you really have room for two of them in the party? (Yes. The answer is yes. My next big planned run will be aiming for five lawful good holy warriors out of six. Even if only two of them are technically paladins.)
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 2,182
    Keldorn is an extremely well written character. But I think he proves the point of how a Paladin can interact with the whole story quite nicely. And he is clearly not stupid!
  • gregorsamsagregorsamsa Member Posts: 24
    Sometimes he's a bit too righteous for my liking. Like when you try to give the imitation ilithium to Sir Sarles, and he right away snitches on you saying it's a fake! How irritating...
  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 1,361
    I think the Paladin stronghold actually has some of the best quests for fleshing out the Paladin ethos - if only there where more.

    The squatters quest really shows, that you dont have to be lawful stupid. I have done a lawful good playthrough, and lets just say its not all rosy….
  • LammasLammas Member Posts: 211
    edited May 2023
    or bards/thieves and Use Any Item/Spiked Trap.

    But 2/3rd of the game are spent being either completely useless or only occasionally useful.

    I don't think there's really a point in the trilogy where bards aren't good but it does require prior knowledge of the game to spotlight their strength. Wands are very powerful in BG1 (and SOD) so knowing where they are and how to easily access them early can make bards and mages pretty broken before even gaining any level ups. Also bards get level ups fast so spells that gain power from caster levels are quite strong on them.

    Berserker and all forms of paladins are also solid performers throughout the saga.
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 2,182
    Sometimes he's a bit too righteous for my liking. Like when you try to give the imitation ilithium to Sir Sarles, and he right away snitches on you saying it's a fake! How irritating...

    I love that! On an early play through, my NG character tried to pull the fast one (I figured it was harmless, and Sarles is sort of a jerk, so let’s see how this goes) and Keldorn shamed me! I mean dang, that was brilliant. Excellent writing.
  • JordiJordi Member Posts: 16
    IMO paladins are good from the start to the end, specially Cavaliers.
    A dwarf berserker with high Constitution very good too.
  • byrne20byrne20 Member Posts: 503
    I always play a Ranger and have never had any issues. They have the best stronghold quests in my opinion. I loved having the Ranger cabin to store all my stuff I didnt want to sell. I like dual wielding as well.
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 650
    Here are my top 5, fwiw:

    Inquisitor:
    High level Dispel is useful all game long
    Immune to charm and hold, so annoying at early levels
    True Sight is a nice thing to have early in spots and is critical later
    Lots of pips to use the weapon du jour, ranged early, and of course later one of the greatest weapons in the game

    Berserker
    Any fighter is useful, but to have an immunity to the most annoying game effects never gets old. Almost feels like a cheat code to me, but indisputably powerful from beginning to end

    Sorcerer
    Short cutting the game mechanics to get spells ahead of schedule is game breaking.
    If you know which spells you need, there is almost no downside. As it turns out, you don't truly need more than 5 core spells per level.

    Skald
    As mentioned earlier, wands are amazing
    The benefit of +2 to hit/damage and AC is amazing right off the start and never goes out of style.
    Song is not as unique once other bards get HLAs, but that doesn't diminish its power, imo.
    I never thought much about them until I played one. The cumulative benefit is hard to quantify, but literally every encounter from beginning to end is made easier with this character. They simply lead to smooth playthroughs.
    Excellent support mage.
    And very subjective here, but has an entertaining stronghold quest.

    Favorite Thief build (F/T, T>M, or FMT in my case, ymmv)
    The thieves the game provides are not optimized, so a thief you build can be more powerful than the NPCs. I like the T6>M because you lose so little mage power by adding a few thief levels early and then you save a slot in the party for more front line fighters. Although even early duals are still annoying to me, I find it worth the downtime in this case.
    F/T mitigates that downtime and are quite good all the way, but diminish somewhat towards the end, imo.
    FMT were a surprise to me. Super useful throughout, very fun character to play. Levels become a grind later, but they are an excellent party thief/support mage/backup fighter and a great tank. True jack of all trades.

    *Honorable mention: F>C or F/C. Because BG1 and BG2 provide useful examples of both of them I tend to use the NPC version, but they are great from beginning to end. Also because most of the romances in BG2 are with divine casters, it is another reason to leave that role to the game.
  • gregorsamsagregorsamsa Member Posts: 24
    JLee wrote: »

    Sorcerer
    Short cutting the game mechanics to get spells ahead of schedule is game breaking.
    If you know which spells you need, there is almost no downside. As it turns out, you don't truly need more than 5 core spells per level.

    I mean, I definitely agree that the Sorcerer is very powerful later in the game, but early on - I don't know. It just didn't feel as strong as a fighter, paladin, or even a cleric.
    Sleep is awesome in BG1, but other than that... For me Sorcerer (or any arcane caster for that matter) didn't really strong until I got lvl 5 spells and got stoneskin. And even, most of my spells were either defensive or useful for helping my party members.
    And for sure, he helped. But his damage output? Well, that didn't really overtake my fighters/paladins/druid until I got Horrid Wilting, past the 1/2way point in BG2 SOA
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,864
    If you play with a party you will anyway play 5 or 6 toons with different classes so is probably better to choose for your main character something you don't find in the NPCs, ie TM is awesome to play but you have Jan for all SoA and ToB, so is Inquisitor, but you have Keldorn.
    Sorcerer is super fun and powerful as long as you know very well the complex magic system, so I suggest you to start with the regular mages that can learn all the spells, then in an other run, when you know what spells you actually use depending on your play style, you can try it. About thieves are the ones I have the most fun with: they are my scouts as I refuse to use my meta knowledge, I perfectly know that some enemies are behind that corner, but my party does not so without a thief scouting I would turn that corner completely unprepared. My thieves also love to stab, learn how to find the darkest spots of a dungeon where they can hide while few feets away there is a little more light and they can fail, sometimes i also manage to do multiple stabs with an hasted thief stabbing, then running past a corner, hiding in the split second he is out of sight and repeating. Same with traps, i never use in known spawn points but scout, set the traps and then i lure the enemies into them. In ToB stabbing is way less relevant, but the HLA traps and detect illusions are still very useful. If you want fun and tactical creativity and superiority pick a thief or a CT, but if you want a Charname with most of the kills pick some Fighter, Paladin or Mage.
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 650
    I believe all the TM in the game are sub-optimal to a main character of the same design. And that is particularly true for Keldorn. And you don't get any of those for the entirety of BG1, which was an important part of the OP.

    (plus I never feel right about Keldorn's quest, funny how a game can make one feel guilty)

    And regarding the use of a sorcerer in BG,I definitely take your point, @gregorsamsa. Although I found solo sorcerer to be about the easiest playthrough I ever had. I should have provided more context in my post, but I would not run a sorcerer in a group of 6. That would eliminate much of their advantage from fast leveling and getting spell advantages. As I would never play a Skald in a small party because their advantage scales with a larger group. Skald plus a TM with a bow and 4 fighters? Now we're talking.

    If this discussion is about a no meta, party of 6 playthrough that should emphasize a main that is unique compared with available NPCs in BG2, then I would say Cavalier, cheat code R/C, Skald, or F/T. But I have no qualms about designing a better version of BG2 NPCs and choosing others to take along.
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 951
    Its a long question, but sorcerer are so boring after an hour, and too powerful in bg2 (boring). I never pick it again.
    Thieves, bards are far more interesting if you love micromanaging, if not, cavalier, berserker or archer in a party is just fine as well.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,843
    Danacm wrote: »
    ... but sorcerer are so boring after an hour...
    It's all about finding the right hook to enjoy what you're playing. I did a run with a Dragon Disciple protagonist ("Kill It With Fire"), and despite the very repetitive strategies (If your fire spells didn't kill the enemy, that just means you didn't use enough fire), it was never boring. How did I manage that? By adding extra bookkeeping outside the game, tracking all of my fire kills. The title was a very literal objective.

    Role playing, themed parties, specific goals, logging your run for a potential report - there are a lot of ways to get invested in a run and not slide off into boredom and a restart. If you're playing the game for the first time, the novelty of everything might be enough to keep going. If it's your tenth or twentieth, you'll probably need something to spice it up.
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,864
    Danacm wrote: »
    Its a long question, but sorcerer are so boring after an hour, and too powerful in bg2 (boring).
    I once played a solo Sorcerer trough BG2 with Tactics Mod and facing the Russians (with a monk using Quivering Palm and a lev19 Cleric using True Sight and summoning a fallen planetar) with a 100K xp sorcerer requires very different approach and tactics then playing it later when he is over leveled with Improved alacrity, RoV, SOtM and high level spells and summons. What makes the Sorcerer boring is only the player's lazyness, sticking to the same very effective tactics over and over, the truth is that there are many ways to build a Sorcerer (choosing the spells he knows) and then using his flexibility in using them in the particular battle, both solo and with a party.
    I am not saying that you have to play it if you don't like it, in my previous post I suggested you to play thief, I am only saying that we are not compelled to play a Sorcerer casting every battle Time Stop, Improved Alacrity and then spamming ADHWs, I probably used TS only 1 time that run, a caster has so many tactics at his disposal due to the complexity of the magic system that if we find him boring it is probably our foult, at least this true for me.

  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,579
    edited June 2023
    The Stalker ranger kit. It's wonderful and you evolve in combat over the course of the saga. Helping to add an epic feel to the playthrough. Probably best as an elf, see below. But any available race works fine.

    You start BG1 with a longbow focus and that's probably your main weapon of choice throughout much of the first half at least. We all know how ranged dominates the first half of this game.

    The bonus stealth means you'll hit the point of being able to hide in actual darkness quite early on. (Don't cash in Zhurlong's boots immediately) But this doesn't necessarily mean you should be backstabbing a bunch, not early on. Stick with bows but use the bonus stealth to scout. Critical for breezing through the wilderness hiking.

    Eventually, add quarterstaff proficiency and one pip in two-handed weapon style. This will be your backstab weapon of choice. As you level up, eventually the growth of the multiplier and the more consistent sneaking will justify more backstabbing. The blunt weapon choice also gives you an option for enemies where the bow doesn't work.

    Lastly, add a third, dual-wielding, non-blunt option. Longswords might be the best choice here. Elf race gets bonus to bows and longswords. By level 12 you'll have all the pips you need, two in long bows, two in quarterstaff, two in longswords or whatever, one in two-handed style and the third pip in two-weapon style. You'll basically be prepared to fight anything at this point. Late BG2 and ToB, you're probably abandoning the bow reliance and mainly focusing on melee.

    For any remaining pips you might want to add short bow, as those, ironically, outclass long bows in BG2, but it will depend on your party composition.

    The addition of druid spells as well as the special stalker spells are a nice little power boost as you hit the mid part of the saga. Just a great all around experience imo. You can start fights off with a backstab, but then swap to your longswords (or whatever) to finish an enemy off. You can back off and pick off casters or other backline enemies with the bow. Bow also gives you access to wider damage types, key for certain enemies.

    At each stage of the saga you're unlocking something, there's almost always some new power you're looking forward to. To be honest, I'm not sure any other class has as fun of a power progression.
  • James_MJames_M Member Posts: 141
    Cleric/Ranger. Great fighter (reaches level 21), good healer and great self-buffs.
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 7,367
    Not an answer for the op, but an additional question. Has anybody tried out a Barbarian all the way through? I've wanted to try it but always end up shying away from pure fighter types. It seems like it could be a fun Charname since the extra speed would mean they're at the forefront of every skirmish. Does the armour limitation make him too vulnerable? I'd lean towards half-orc for even greater STR but maybe a dwarf with shorty saves would be even better?
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,579
    I feel like Barbarian would suffer in BG1. Armor class is so important for your frontline characters. The compensation the class gives you isn't enough to make up for what will be a four point deficit over any other frontline tank using ankheg plate or full plate. The best you can wear is plain splint and a protection item. There's a +2 chain mail available early too.

    Much like Rasaad's speed, the Barbarian speed will likely be an annoying liability in early BG1 as opposed to an asset. IMO, you could choose to run BG1 with throwing axes, to mitigate the weak armor class. Or you could focus on a two-handed style and try and micromanage yourself behind a tank. But personally I find playing a protagonist that's on the front lines but not extremely tanky to be risky. Expect to have to reload alot, or be very diligent in micromanaging of combat. Basically expect to do a lot more un-fun clicking than you'd have to do with a typical party setup.

    That being said, your abilities do kick in around the start of BG2, and armor options open up as well. The huge number of essentially free weapon pips you can afford to switch up the kinds of weapons you use across the saga. Since you're limited to the two. Ultimately, I'd guess it's less fun than playing a fighter for BG1, but perhaps more fun from mid-SoA on.
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 2,182
    I’ve currently had a Barbarian in my IWD party and I would agree exactly with this liability. The extra speed, combined with armor limitations, makes the barbarian a serious damage sponge. At least they have the extra hit points…
    Having a better tank with Boots of Speed has made a huge difference. Perhaps that’s the key difference in making the barbarian viable. In a way, it’s making the barbarian better in the late game than the early game.
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