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BG2 EE balance problem, your opinion? (please no SoD spoilers)

beamdog introduced 2 changes that somehow affect the gameplay.
the introduction of sod that lets start with much more xp, in a phase like chap 1 and 2 where the xp gain from quests and kills is lower then later, and the new npcs.
that have some special characteristics, two of them are long personal quests, that can be done only with he npc in the party and the introduction of some new powerful items that can be obtained only playing the quests. imo are created too special, with long quests, in the original almost no very important item can not be obtained without having in the party the npc associated to the quest where you loot it, and almost all the relevant quests associated with some original npcs can be done without them, you don't need to recruit nalia mazzi, keldorn or haer dalis, they are associated with quests that are long, interesting and rewarding, but don't need them in the party for the quests to happen. for korgan you loose a single battle just exploring by yourself the area and quests like the cernd one or the jan one are not comparable with the new ee ones. they have also on average better stats then the original npcs, mr tob excluded.

the long and interesting ee npc quests xp is huge, stack with other new npc quest xp and with the one importing from sod.
starting with 400k xp more then the one bg2 is designed for and adding the xp of 2-3 new npcs quests and the items you get affects the game balance in a very relevant way, as is true that some enemies level up with the party, but not all do it, many bosses don't, and in my experience (from using often tactics that over level the party and for having runs with many quest mods that introduce the same xp problem) the enemies absolutely don't keep up with the party raised power.
the difference is that to use overleveling tactics and introduce quest mods is a choice of mine, i am aware of the result and intentionally seek it, to play the whole saga with the new game between bg and bg2 and playing some npcs that are intentionally made more appealing and rewarding then the originals does not necessarily mean that a player wants to intentionally alter the balance of the game.

this does not imply that the introduction of a bridge between bg and bg2 or new interesting npcs is necessarily a bad thing. i don't own sod (and don't want to be spoiled about it) and the only new npc i played until now is neera, that i liked very much, good plot, interesting battles and good banters and romance. i have still to try the monk and the furry one, probably i will never try the evil ones as i can not rp such level of evilness, but this is a problem of mine, not a bad implementation of the game.
by the way if a player want to use some quest mods and some ee npcs, for the new content, not to alter the balance, and is importing from sod, the xp problem is even more exacerbated.

the introduction of sod and new ee npcs it is not a bad thing, but introduces a balance problem that has not been addressed in any way.
i would like to hear your opinion about the altered balance problem and if you have solutions for it to propose. i suppose that installing in soa a mod that slows the xp gain can be one, the player can set how much is slowed depending on how much ee npcs want to have and on other factors like playing also quest mods.

Comments

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,579
    The new items aren't overly powerful, mostly having niche uses. The quests don't really upset the balance either, as by the time you can access them, other, far more lucrative quests are also available. As for the higher starting exp from exporting from SoD, its at most a two level difference. It only really makes the initial quests (circus, and copper coronet slavers) easier. It will actually probably end up making major quests more difficult, since the extra exp will trigger higher level spawns.

  • Marte1980Marte1980 Member Posts: 8
    I don't see any balance problem.

    ThacoBell
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,434
    edited April 7
    @ThacoBell to start with a fighter at lev 7 or 10, a rogue at lev 8 or mid way between 12 and 13, a mage at lev 7 or mid way between 11 and 12, considering that also the npcs you recruit get a boost imho makes a difference.
    the sod lev cap of 0.5M is also one of the thresholds to have the other npcs at better xp, importing grants that all the npcs are not recruited at the lowest xp possible.

    i have played only neera so far, but if every single ee npc adds the same quest xp having 2 or 3 of them in the party make a difference. let's say that you get 150k more xp including quest xp and kills xp (and maybe i am over estimating it, can someone provide more sure data?) for every ee npc in the party with 3 of them you get 450k form npcs and 400k from importing.
    850k more for soa, whose original cap was 2.95M xp, so we can assume that is designed for a party that reaches that level at the end. if i am not over estimating we are talking of adding more then the 25% of the soa xp, how can it not affect balance? as the xp gain is not linear the fact that at more then half of the new xp is introduced at the very beginning or in chap 2 make the thing even more relevant, possibly we are talking of something like 40% more then the original "chap 2 level cap" if you understand what i mean...
    is true that in chap 2 rewarding quests are available, but i am talking of added xp on top of the one of those quests.
    about the items i can agree judging on the ones that i got thanks to the neera quest. some are very good but nothing unbalancing.
    about the higher level spawns i know it, i have told it in the op post, and i stand on my position, it don't affect many bosses and from my experience the enemy higher level does not match the party higher level, the game becomes easier.

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,579
    @gorgonzola I disagree and stand by my points above.

    gorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,434
    yep, disagree is perfectly fine here, i opened the thread to share opinions, not to change each other opinion.

    i gave some data, that was only estimated by me and can be wrong, on how much xp is added and on the levels the characters have starting in bg2 or importing and using or not using the ee npcs.
    you tell that at most there is a 2 levels difference, to me seems not true for a great part of soa.
    and data are objective, not subjective, on them we should find an agreement, i am over estimating the xp from ee npc quest (amount, not impact on gameplay) or missing something other but 400k xp at the beginning of soa is more then a couple of levels, and more then 800k at the end of soa either.

    then we can happily disagree on the impact that this has on the gameplay as that is on a subjective level of evaluation.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 497
    It does make a difference in the first part of the game, especially for multiclass characters who may have a fair amount of level advancement between 161K XP and 500K XP. Beamdog had said while developing SoD that they'd address the issue at some point, but to my knowledge nothing came of that.

    gorgonzola
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,579
    The thing is, the really early quests are already super easy, so a veteran wouldn't really be affected much by the extra level or two. Conversly, the game is challenging enough for a new player, that the little edge early on would probably be welcome.

    gorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,434
    what you say has its sense. a veteran can start in bg2 and go to kick the butts of the twisted rune or of the guys in the guarded complex in the temple district right at the beginning of chap 2, it has been done by many, and cheesy or lame tactics are not necessarily implied. i have even seen a video of a speed run where charname and party never level up, time lost, and the final soa battle against irenicus was won in moments and without cheese.
    a new player can find hard even to fight against some goblins, i remember my first run. and a new player bombs the enemies with fireballs from the fog of war cause is not able to win the game in other ways, i, that surely am not the strongest veteran, when i want to do something similar bomb a whole area with many adhw, killing everything in no time, and is not cause i am not able to do in a different way. is cause is fun and if i Wish to do it why not ;)

    i continue to stand on my position, for me until one has learned the solution is to slide that slider all the way leftwards, not to roll super stats, have more levels or use easy tactics. but the knowledge of the player and his skill surely affect the balance much more then some levels more or less.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 10,709
    I think the addition if TOB way back when messed up the game balance in SoA far more.

    That said, this is not not an issue... hopefully Beamdog makes some adjustments in the 2.6 patch.

    gorgonzolajoluvThacoBell
  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 636
    The important milestone is 3m experience, almost anything below that is going to have a nice but not crucial effect on most battles. HLAs can break SoA in half. Thing is, I see players with 6 member teams reach that in the underdark before the EEs whereas even with all the experience inflation I didn’t hit it until the second encounter with Bodhi. I think for the casual player not trying to metagame every ounce of experience, it shouldn’t be too much of a power creep.
    Also, the only item I care about from any of the new NPC quests is the gem of true seeing from Rasaad’s, so take that as you will :tongue:

    gorgonzolaThacoBell
  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 963
    edited April 8
    XP is strange.
    As @Neverused said, 3M makes a lot of difference. 4M is somewhat important, for the exact same reason, because you are still collecting your most important HLAs. But after that? All you are really gaining is endurance, the ability to maintain your high performance for longer.
    Since you can reach 3M (and 4M) XP in the original SoA, what really changes is at what point you go through the 3M XP transformation.
    Some items that SoD and the new companion quests are adding to the game are nice, certainly, but compared to most mod items they are unimpressive.

    The matter is slightly different if you do a high level dualclass, since in such a situation every point of XP counts.
    FMCs or FMTs might also really benefit from the extra XP. I have never played one though.

    gorgonzolaThacoBell
  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 963
    edited April 8
    Actually, after a very short period of thinking, I have to admit that multiclass mages of any kind would benefit greatly from this, since 6M XP used to be close to the end of the game.

    gorgonzola
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 129
    edited April 8
    I think the addition if TOB way back when messed up the game balance in SoA far more.

    That said, this is not not an issue... hopefully Beamdog makes some adjustments in the 2.6 patch.

    ToB, by itself, didn't do too much harm. Allowing you to run through Watcher's Keep in both SoA and ToB, on the other hand, can seriously unbalance SoA. The sheer number of +3 and +4 weapons in that tower make it very easy to overpower the game. That doesn't even cover the sheer amount high-level enemies you kill. I recall being amused that all of my NPCs "most powerful killed" didn't budge until mid-way through ToB, while still in chapter 2. However, there is a fairly simple way to resolve this. Up the difficulty to at least core rules (or higher). The same is true of importing a SoD game.

    I just started a second SoA campaign using the last saved game from SoD (which kind of stinks, because it only contains the PC - I should have imported from just before the final "incident"... I noticed the first area was absurdly easy at normal difficulty, so I jacked it up to core rules and have been pleased to see that the difficulty is closer to what I recall. At this point, I've nearly mastered the basic game, so battles feel a lot easier merely due to experience, but my crew has definitely gotten beaten about the head and shoulders a few times already.

    gorgonzolaThacoBell
  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,276
    edited April 8
    Nothing breaks the game more than HLAs - that's the reason why I ignore them 99.9% of the time.

    But I agree with OP that SoD also breaks BG2's balance. @ThacoBell 's argument would be perfect for NWN or any other 3ed ruleset, but in AD&D the amount of XP gained if fixed. So in the long run the party will still be boosted. If X is the amount of XP expected in the Underdark, the party will have X + Y.

    And that Y may mean: stronger TU (exploding every vampire from Bodhi's guild without breaking a sweat), extra APR for Warriors/extra Proficiencies, more traps for Rogues/stronger backstab (what may end a fight against a wizard before it even starts), access to higher level spells (spamming skull traps is not as strong as spamming AHW - IMO, of course).

    In a 3ed game the earlier boost would be compensated by smaller XP in the future, but BG2 is based on the 2nd edition as we all know.

    Post edited by Raduziel on
    gorgonzola
  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 963
    @Raduziel you forget that if you are higher level, you also get higher level opposition, so your XP advantage actually increases over time.

    Raduzielgorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,434
    edited April 8
    EDIT: spoilers added to avoid the text wall, there is nothing that spoil inside.
    i certainly agree about the hla being a game changer for almost all the classes. improved alacrity combined with a certain equipment make a god from a mage, uai and spike trap greatly overpower rogues, the turbo effect of gww or the certainty of hitting and agaist some foe with double damage of cs make a fighter much more powerful as he can, at will and without any preparation, change drastically the result of the equation damage done / damage taken.

    but i think that, and i am talking of vanilla, using mods that change the magic and/or combat system can affect this, there are also other very important changes before.
    reaching lev 13 for fighters, reaching the moment that a thief is not only a door opener and traps disabler, as the ability to set traps in a reliable way, to hide whit a great chance of success and to dispel illusions make possible to use it in an extremely powerful way and even clear whole dungeons alone or have super powerful mages waste their whole spellbook against a toon that disappears as they begin to cast. turn undead, as @Raduziel pointed out, can be extremely powerful, some players, even very experienced ones, seem to ignore it, but everyone that has grown a cleric to the level that his tu is effective knows it. to make whole nests of vampire explode, greater mummies and liches ore demiliches try to run away at tortoise speed instead of attacking make some hard battles automatically won.
    and what about the mage?
    at the moment he can cast improved haste the party offensive potential is greatly improved, possibly it is even more powerful then gww as lasts much longer and can be cast on dual then never reach fighter hla. pi, that is "only" a lev 7 spell, so happens much earlier then hla let the mage use his spells without consuming them. and it is not only a convenience that let rest less often or something that is effective when the mage has also ia to unleash whole spellbooks, let's take a lev 16 mage that has 2 lev 7 and 1 lev 8 slot. he can cast 3 adhw in the same battle as a pi is easy to kill, and if the pi use some high level scrolls in the quick slots (thing that someone dislike but so far is a legittimate feature of the game) he can add some tasty spell to the combo. i actually once had a run with all the toons arcane casters and i went to wk getting the 2 wish scrolls that was used routinely from the quick slots of the pi of the mages. it was a strange run as i could have a great chance of recharging the spellbooks and items after every battle way before the xp level needed to cast lev 9 spells.

    all this, the cheesy and not cheesy part, happens way before if you have a 400k xp bonus at the start of soa and you can get the same amount from the ee npcs quests. and it happens whether the player wants intentionally to overpower the party or if want only run trough the whole saga and play some ee npcs cause he like them. cheese and op tactics can be avoided, things like the +1 apr from reaching lev 13 and the pips to get gm in the weapon of choice are automatic.

    those are the reasons why i think that the added xp got from importing from sod combined witht he one from the ee npcs quests does not affect only the very beginning of soa, but the whole soa and possibly also tob, even if there the xp needed to level up and the one from the plot quests is so high that let's say 800k xp more does not change much.
    Actually, after a very short period of thinking, I have to admit that multiclass mages of any kind would benefit greatly from this, since 6M XP used to be close to the end of the game.
    as i used and use a lot multi mages and triple class i strongly confirm this. is true that a multi get hla at 3M xp, but as fighter he gets lev 13 and improve thac0 slower then a single class and as caster is behind a pure mage and actually needs 6M xp to cast his first lev 9 spell, while a mage do it at 3M and a lev 13 dual do it at 4.25M. the multi class are strong anyway, even if are very different beasts from the dual class and need a different use, but an injection of xp make them stronger trough all the game in a much more noticeable way then how it makes single class or dual class toons.
    @Raduziel you forget that if you are higher level, you also get higher level opposition, so your XP advantage actually increases over time.
    this is true and i never through about it.

    about the stronger enemies balancing your rise in power:
    as i use often tactics that make the party overleveled compared to a one run in a classic way and also use mostly small parties i constantly fight against higher level opposition.
    my impression is that the higher level opposition does not balance the rise in power you have.
    and this can be experienced by everybody, doing a hard quest near the beginning of chap 2 and doing the same quest later. even if the opposition is of higher level the quest becomes much more easy. there is a reason why people do first the tanner and slaver's quests and few dare to go to the planar prison or against beholders (if they don't use the shield...) at the very beginning of chap 2, such quests are much more easy if you have some levels more, even if the enemies that spawn have better levels or beholders instead of gauths spawn...
    it is something that everyone knows, even if some players seem to don't admit the fact, the more levels you have the more the game becomes easy, and the way the game try to compensate it dos not suffice at all to balance your power rising.
    about the content of the last spoiler is true that a player can chose the moment he does a quest, but this is not the point, the point is to do early or later the same quest to have a direct experience and know that few levels can make a lot of difference and the stronger enemies don't balance it at all

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
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