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What is Beamdog's official stance on cheese tactics and exploits?

enhancedgamerxenhancedgamerx Member Posts: 82
Where does Beamdog draw the line between a cheesy exploit being either a bug or a feature (i.e. "clever use of game mechanics")? I myself haven't played EE games for a while so much might have already changed with the plethora of bug fixes that have been applied over a the years, but just the other day I saw a "quite recent" (v2.3) LOB solo playthrough of BG1:EE with some quite blaring cheese tactics used in it that were so questionable that I have a hard time believing anyone, neither player nor dev, could consider them non-bugs. Just to name a few that I can still remember from the top of my head, there was using AOE spells like fireballs and summoned creatures to kill non-triggered, out-of-sight enemies without them even putting up a fight, luring intelligent enemies into their own traps in their own lair (who in any logical sense should be quite aware of their own traps unless somehow stupefied, imho), the "classic" let gnolls kill drizzt and just pick up his loot, using summoned creatures to find teleporting mages (they automatically know where he went and dash off to his direction without any commands from the player) etc etc. If some of these are already fixed in post v2.3 patches, then please let me know, as the patch notes with their buf fix lists are quite extensive and finding something specific from them can be quite a chore.



  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,833
    For what it's worth, you're not going to beat LoB solo without "cheese" and exploits and AI tricks, at least not without using a conventionally powerful class. Especially not with SCS and Ascension installed, which are standard mods in the challenge you noticed. You're talking about the solo LoB SCS+Ascension challenge, which is also being done no-reload in some cases. These are not normal runs; they're the most abnormally difficult challenges that exist in the IE games. The whole point is to break an otherwise impossible challenge.

    No idea which bugs are deemed worth fixing. Generally, the only exploits that have been closed are those which the player could discover easily and by complete accident, like stacking bard songs or the permanent Shapechange trick. For more obscure tricks that you wouldn't know about unless you did a tremendous amount of research or experimentation, Beamdog hasn't bothered removing them, since they're not going to have any impact on an ordinary player's game.

  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,223
    I agree with @semiticgod, and would do one step further. Personally, I would disapprove if Beamdog where to fix exploits you have to exploit intentionally. In a game that is as old those exploits are part of the fun (if you want to use them), and they do not hurt anyone given that it is not a competitive multiplayer game. It's different with exploit you often trigger without wanting to.

    Some example:
    Potion swapping exploit: fairly benign, as you really had to do it purpose. I know it has been removed, but I think they could have left it in. Same for the lightning wand exploit. Trapping areas where you have meta-knowledge about enemies appearing also is benign as you need to do it on purpose.

    Exploit I would like to remove: fake talk. Especially with dragons you have a legit option for a first strike, and it is very easy to forget pressing attack before clicking the dragon. I know I reloaded a few times in the past, because I fake talked the dragon by mistake when starting my attack.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,833
    I miss the potion swapping exploit (well, not much; I got bored of it a while before I upgraded to EE), but I can see how someone could trigger it accidentally. If you drank a potion from the inventory, then changed your mind and shuffled your inventory, you could accidentally find your character drinking the wrong potion or even using the Horn of Blasting when you were trying to drink a potion. The Wand of Lightning trick would be harder to perform by accident, since the targeting needs to be a little more specific.

    I'd miss the WoL trick more. It has a LOT of unique uses that even the potion swap glitch does not.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    i completely agree with @JuliusBorisov
    every player has (or should have) the right to decide by himself what is legittimate and what is not legittimate. you have fun running a toon with 25 in all the stats that uses all the cheats possible? your choice, i probably would not have fun as is not challenging, but if you like it do it and have fun.
    you want to avoid every possible cheese or even avoid some intended features of the game, like ie using a PI, the shield of balduran or the green scrolls that make you immune to undeads or magic? again your choice, have fun.
    for multiplayer the players can agree what is legit and what is not.

    so for me the dividing line is not if the exploit is easily discovered or not, for 2 reasons.
    with the internet resources in few hours of research everyone can find all the cheese he wants, both the good one that involves creativity, research and out of the box thinking and the bad one like abusing of fog of war or spawn points to set traps. and good or bad is only a personal evaluation, i repeat that a player should be able to play the game the way that gives him fun.
    the second reason is that as soon as a player discovers an exploit he is aware of it and can avoid it from that moment on. is possible that a not wanted potion swap happens like in the scenario outlined by @semiticgod, but as the player notice it and realizes why it has happened is so easy to avoid it for the rest of his life. same with fake talking or whatever.

    for me the dividing line should be only exploits or bugs that make impossible to avoid them for the players that don't want them, that are very if not extremely rare and should be eliminated, and exploits or bugs that don't cause any problem to the players that don't want them and should remain.

    no one compel a player to put 3 pi in a cc, to memorize high level druid spells with a r/c, to fake talk, to use clones to override summon limits or to do other things, no one compel a bard to have 10 clones singing giving a triple +40 to the party, in general to do all the things that had been nerfed or are at risk to be nerfed.
    this game is rated +14, a +14 person should have enough self control to decide what is legit for him (in his own game at least...) and don't fall in the temptation to use things that he knows would make the things easier, but feels that are not right in his style.

    sadly even if the blue man of beamdog has told something that i completely agree with i have seen a lot of completely optional and intentional exploits nerfed in the past years.
    i love to do research about cheese and exploits, is probably the part of the game that i like the most, even if i always don't want to depend on that cheese, but i have to play the original game to do a very free cheese research. and is at least 2 years that i am not updating my ee bg2 cause i don't want the nerfs that has been introduced since i purchased the ee edition. i am in the condition that i am not posting here the best results of my cheese research but only some secondary leftover cause i have seen in the past years that most of the exploits posted by other cheese researchers like @semiticgod (that are much more gifted then me in it) have been nerfed even if most of them was clearly intentional and used bugs/doors that did not give any problem to the players that don't like cheese.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,644
    My guess is that Beamdog decided to program out any "exploits" of the game engine they decided were *not intended* by the original developers. For anyone who finds a way to exploit the game using "intended" behaviors, such as Fireballing and Cloudkilling enemies to kingdom come from outside their sight range, then go to town with it, but they decided to remove some "exploits" that they thought were never intended and were only accidents of chance discovery in the programming.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    probably you are right.
    and i am not happy cause mainly what remain is the exploits that have 0 creativity, require little skill to be performed and that everybody knows.
    and i am giving my opinion on the quality of those exploits, not of the players that use them, as i believe in the freedom to have fun each one in his way.

  • Ludwig_IILudwig_II Member Posts: 309
    Potion swapping sounds to me more as a bug than an exploit. I'm very glad that it's fixed. It doesn't make any sense to keep it in my opinion.

    The type of things I would like to be kept is for example Cleric/Ranger druid spells above lvl3, and I think it's awesome that they allowed the option to keep it or not based on your preference.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited April 2019
    also i appreciate how they left the chance to have or not have high level druid spells. but even if they did not change the feature or if a player is playing the original instead of ee no one compel him to memorize high level druid spells with his rc. the change did not add any quality for those that think that a rc should not access to druid spells, if they are aware that the insect spells and few others are druid only spells.

    about potion swapping, and wol swapping they are both bugs. bugs that open exploits and that is really easy for those that don't like those exploits to avoid completely.
    most if not all the exploits in those games start from a bug, the trick to teleport yourself bejond a closed door or a wall uses a bug, the cc that let you have more then a pi is a bug, but open a wonderful exploit like the power version of the spell trap infinite spells loop, that with no preparation at all let you have 2 PI unleashing their spellbooks under time stop without consuming a single spell, that imo is a masterpiece of precise timing. the power version of the infinite spell is still possible in ee, but it needs some more scrolls and cost you a single lev 1 or over on self spell, but in its original form was much more elegant.

    and as a player should know that both a ranger and a cleric can not cast high level druid spells as well as he should know that to cast multiple pi is not allowed i don't see all that difference in to build a rc so the toon has access to all the divine spells or to use a cc to override the limit of 1 pi at a time.

    i am not happy that they fixed potion swapping, and many other bugs, cause were bugs that almost did not give any problem to the players that did not like to exploit them, but fixing them a lot of known exploits and possibly other new ones, now are closed.

    i never sell and buy from a fence the same valuable item multiple times, i don't know if it is a bug or an exploit, but i am glad that they leave this chance open as other players like to do it. the fact that they leave this exploit open does not give me any problem. i also never use the shield of balduran, the protection from magic and protection from undead scrolls, unless i want for some reason to have fun trying some crazy tactic, but the fact that such items, that are imho the crutches for those that can not deal with beholders, undeads and mages in a fair way, are in the game does not make the game less fun for me, i simply ignore them, as a player that does not like exploits can ignore the bugs that make them possible or avoid to abuse of the ai weaknesses to bomb foe that don't retaliate or kill foe before spawn with traps.
    those are things i don't do in my playstyle, but if other players have fun to do them why not?

    my way, the way i like, is to fight demogorgon in chap 2 soa, with my charname sorcerer and 5 freshly recruited npcs, tanking him and killing only his ever spawning helpers, for a long time, with my sorc spawning wishes to reload items and spellbooks, with my bard that reaches hla and the improved bard song and at the end of the battle his clones give to everyone +80, +80, +80. then i exit wk with a party of 6 at xp level cap and go to pay the 20k gold pieces to gaelan to start chap 3. or maybe reload the whole battle and fight it in a more conventional way as to do the chap 3 of soa with 6 toons at level cap and the wk equipment is not challenging and gives me not fun. my style is not to beat kangaxx, the twisted rune or the beholders lair easily cause of items. but it seems that the ee devs are trying their best to don't allow me to have fun the way i like. the result is that i am playing more original then ee and that i am not updating ee to avoid more nerf then the ones i have in the version i am using.
    all this cause some player can be happy that the potion swap bug is finally fixed, even if probably had never had a single time that the bug gave them some problem triggering not intentionally.
    great work beamdog!

    @Ludwig_II don't get me wrong, what i wrote is not in any way against you, you are happy and i am happy of that :), even if i am very unhappy of the attitude of the developers towards bugs and exploits :s .

  • ArdanisArdanis Member Posts: 1,736
    edited April 2019
    The general attitude towards exploits is to leave things alone until the first offence. This can be either them happening without player's explicit intent (e.g. fake talk) or causing an actual bug.

    Can't say much about the potion swap, as it has been fixed long long ago, before I even had a contract with Beamdog.

  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,262
    For me, I think it depends on whether the issue is a Bug, an Exploit, Min-Maxing or Cheats.

    Bugs are issues where the game is not functioning according to the rules, whether as a result of developer error or deliberate player action. An example might be, for instance, casting a spell from a Wand while the game is paused, but if the player swaps out the Wand in inventory before unpausing the game, it casts the spell from the old Wand, but it does not deplete any charges. Since Wands are always meant to deplete a charge when used, this is an obvious bug and should be fixed.

    Exploits can partially fall into the first category if they make use of a bug, but I also categorize exploits as players making use of NPC behaviour that, logically, they should not be doing. Examples would be the classic BG1 Drizzt cheese method of dismissing your party members in such a way so that they all surround Drizzt, and then attacking Drizzt with ranged weapons, who will then simply stand in the middle doing nothing as he can't walk through the neutral former party members. An alternative example might be casting a Cloudkill spell into a room, then shutting the door, upon which the enemies will happily sit in the Cloudkill spell until they die. In both cases, it's obvious that the strategy would not fly in a tabletop game. However, I don't necessarily think that exploits need to be fixed, as they typically require deliberate action on the player's part to achieve and players who crave a proper encounter (like defeating Drizzt in a fair fight) can simply not make use of these exploits. The experience is limited to the player's own game.

    Min-Maxing is a bit of a tricky subject, since I know there are players for whom min-maxing is a source of great enjoyment. (The caveat of course is that one person's min-maxing might also mean another player's complete disempowerment. I've played in tabletop games where min-maxers basically made themselves SO powerful that the non-min-maxers were basically reduced to being window dressing in encounters.) There are certain combinations of classes/spells/items that are borderline broken, and that, if I were the DM at the table, would outright ban from use for being too disruptive to the game. However, that's not my call to make here, so my stance is that it should adhere to whatever the current rules+errata is for the ruleset in question.

    Cheats are very similar to exploits, except that they are exploits that go above and beyond intended game behaviour, such as giving all of your characters 25 in every stat, 100% Magic Resistance, etc. Much like exploits though, in a single-player game I feel that you can do whatever you want to alter your own game experience, as long as it doesn't affect anyone else's.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    about min maxing as those games can be also multiplayer, even if cooperative and not competitive, i see the problem you outline. and it can be even worst, while not min maxing and using in a completely legittimate way the game characteristics, following the game rules, and not the pnp ones, as a computer game is something very different from a pnp one with a human dm. i make an example, maybe the worst possible behavior of a player in a multiplayer tob.
    my charname is a sorcerer and every single hard battle i cast PI, then the PI cast time stop, improved alacrity, 2 rounds of really fast spells using the robe of vecna, then right before the alacrity and time stop expire a second time stop. you and all the other players are not even window dressing, you are freeze and watch me play the game solo. if at the end of the battle i also spam wish to get the rest option i can do it for every single battle.
    but if i would have a multiplayer with such a j**k that like to play a sorcerer this way i would probably tell him to stop doing it and if he persist i would quit playing with him.
    in those games we chose the players we are playing with so i suppose that an agreement about how to behave, including hard min maxing, has to be found. by the players, not by the developers.
    the developers have to balance computer games where you play single battles with randoms, being them cooperative against an ai or competitive player vs player ones.

  • QuartzQuartz Member Posts: 3,853
    Well, considering they fixed pretty much every possible way to cheese Drizzt, and gave him the spell Heal just to make your life a further living hell for no apparent reason...

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,833
    You can still use Algernon's Cloak to charm Teyngan and have Drizzt chase after Teyngan in a giant circle while you fire arrows at him. It takes a really long time and you have to make sure Teyngan doesn't turn around and attack Drizzt, but it's a perfectly viable way of killing Drizzt in both normal mode and LoB mode. I've done it in both.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    i almost don't play bg, at now is not even installed on my pc, but...
    to hear that they fixed almost every way to cheese drizzt (that i never kill both in bg and bg2, bot does not matter) and almost erased from the game something that was almost an unofficial feature, many many players have done it trough the years, makes me sad.
    things like that make me willing to use ctrl-k, that i never use, or to cheat in some copies of the drow's weapons, but the double much powerful.

    even if the real thing i do is to play mostly the original games where the freedom to play as a player and not the devs like. i am running only not modded ee bg2 and i am playing it mostly in a rp way, even if is impossible to totally quit my pg soul. if i want challenge and fun, the way i intend fun, i go to my old trusted original + tactics mod.

    question, is possible to roll back to the early ee versions of the games or, if someone does not have a backup copy, once upgraded you have to stick with the latest patch?

  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,603
    @gorgonzola I don't know how far back you want to go but I play v1.3. These are the Koch Media hard discs from Germany that I found on the internet and there are still one or two available on Ebay (UK).

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited April 2019
    thank you, i will give them a look.
    i was not able to find them, but if someone is interested there are some pre owned bg2 and bg + bg2 original, some of them seem interesting, with the cds, manual, map box and everything.
    it can be a good purchase, if the cds are in good condition, both from a collector's point of view and for those that own only the ee and want to try the game completely not nerfed, maybe downloading some mods that has not be ported to ee (afaik) like the planar sphere one or the weimer's soulafein one.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited April 2019
    @dunbar thank you again, sadly is bg and not bg2, probably it is why i did not find it by myself. i almost exclusively play bg2 and was searching for a bg2 game. i am not sure that i am willing to spend £24.05 for a game i very seldom use, that i already own as original and EE steam version, and that maybe will not even not post to my country, i have to contact the seller to know it.
    anyway i really appreciate your help, things like this make to participate to this forum so great.
    EDIT: it seems that for bg2 i can only find keys, that will allow me to download the last version, i will stick with the not updated version of the steam game i own, is 2.something and not 1.3, but is better then nothing...

  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,223
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    thank you, i will give them a look.
    i was not able to find them, but if someone is interested there are some pre owned bg2 and bg + bg2 original, some of them seem interesting, with the cds, manual, map box and everything.
    it can be a good purchase, if the cds are in good condition, both from a collector's point of view and for those that own only the ee and want to try the game completely not nerfed, maybe downloading some mods that has not be ported to ee (afaik) like the planar sphere one or the weimer's soulafein one.

    The original Collector's Edition of BG 2 is pretty sweet.

    Tactics is too cheesy for me, I prefer SCS. But to each his own. Nevertheless I think there are working versions of pretty much every mod by now for the EE, so I don't see a real need to stick with the original BG 2. For BG 1 the largest jump is between original BG 1 and TuTu (plus variants), not between TuTu and BG:EE. IWD:EE also plays very differently than the original.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    @Ammar to prefer scs or tactics is a matter of taste, i like tactics cause is cheesy, even if some components have a really well scripted ai that does not rely on cheese like spells illegally forced by scripts or mages having 2 familiars that cast like true mages or mages shattering themselves in 5 forms one of them a level draining dragon. if also the player have to use cheese to beat the mod i would say not at all, i have done it with extremely cheesy tactics and i have won the same battles without any cheese at all.
    the reason i am so reluctant in playing scs is for how it alter the magic system, as far as i can understand, if it would only be based on a really well scripted ai and more powerful enemies like the mind flyers of tactics are compared to the vanilla ones for me would be ok and i would have played it since a long time. but to have to learn again the spell system, without making confusion whether i play vanilla or modded is not for me, even if i am convinced that is a extremely good mod, the fact that most of the advanced players use it is an evidence of it.

    i am not convinced that the statement that there is a working ee version of every original mod is true. tactics is in a beta state but is working, but i am not aware of ee working versions of the soulafien mod, the planar sphere mod and the deeper shadows of amn one. or of the mod that adds a really hard battle in the maze under spellhood.
    mods that are even more cheesy then tactics, so surely more in my tastes then in yours, but that maybe some player that has started to play in EE want to try at least once in his life.
    also playing the original, mods apart, make possible to use all the cheese that in ee has been nerfed, make the bard actually useful again beyond having multiple mislead clones singing, and gives much more freedom in researching new exploits and new tactics based on exploits, thing that can be really interesting to do after many "legit" runs. it seems to me that given the attitude of the developers lately even very gifted specialists on "alternative routes" like @semiticgod are no more posting new exploits or creative use of the bugs and game mechanics.

    so i think that owning the original games can have other scopes then the collector one.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    @dunbar wow thanx!
    now i have to decide if to invest more then 40 euro to roll back a game that i already own, having also the original one that is even less nerfed then ee 1.3.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited April 2019
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    You are talking about wanting to be able to do the same tired old thing people discovered 10 or 15 years ago. Don't take this the wrong way, but how is following some rote steps in a walkthrough any different from just giving yourself the pair of +3 swords with the console?
    i am talking of 2 different things.
    one is the freedom of the player to use other people's recipes, tactics, exploits, or by the way to use ctrl-y, cheat in weapons, use not legal stats or do whatever they want in their own games. i am a firm believer of this freedom. whether is used to perform lame tactics that bring out any challenge from the game like bombing from the fog of war or is used for tactics that need good planning, good positioning, and invlove some skill and creativity.
    so i don't like if the devs close some of those exploits if there is not a bug that really don't allow to the players that don't want to use them to play in a "normal" way. ie is possible that a player trigger not intentionally a potion swap trick or the trick swapping the wand. but i am playing this game since 18 years and it never happened to me, even if it happens to some player once they learn the thing they can avoid it if they don't like it.

    the other thing is that the more bugs are fixed only to close exploits the more the field on which who like to intentionally research on cheese and exploits becomes narrow. the fact that @semiticgod is still able to discover new ways does not contradict it, he is the better cheese finder that i know about, not in present times, in all the infinity engine history. but the more exploits are closed the more it becomes difficult to find new ones, i suspect that seeing the trend will come a point where even he will not be able to find new ways.

    my personal approach at the cheese is that i like it very much. i study the other people recipes, try them in my own gaming, and i try also to write my own ones, that usually use ingredients of other people recipes, but mixed in a different way to get a different flavor. even if i am far from being as proficient as cook as @semiticgod...
    but i have a lot of fun doing it.
    then often i try my recipe, see that it works, and i reload the battle, fighting it in a "fair" way. and maybe i never use it any more, or i use it in a different battle and situation. cause for me the point is not to get the +3 swords, i know perfectly how to cheat in +6 ones with vorpal and super static protections, is the fun of using the cheese in itself.
    there is also some cheese or power tactic that has been made not possible in ee that i actually like, take the bard, i had parties with 2 bards and sometimes they was stacking their enhanced songs, other times they did not, but usually i never memorized mislead with them, even if i did experiment up to having 20 clones singing at the same time, for the fun to do it. and my bards was singing and attacking in the same round, as a mage can cast and attack. it needs planning to do it, to have 2 misleads was much easier, but not fun at all from my point of view. to close the chance of having multiple misleads closed in a room and safe singing and stacking their songs now the song has been made borderline to not useful, it don't stack any more (i know that different ones do), it has an aoe that has been made ridiculously small and at least in bg2 imho now to play a bard is always inferior to the alternatives.
    sometimes i also like to bring cheese to its limits, i managed to have 20 bard clones singing in the battle against demogorgon for like 2 hours consecutively as i was killing his spawns to bring all the party to cap xp in soa, and with tactics mod my solo sorcerer has cleared 2 of the 3 levels of the d'arnise keep using multiple wish to get adhw on everyone, was funny to see tor gal die just in front of charname as with that mod you can not use closed doors to protect you. this does not mean that i had not won those battles in completely legittimate ways other times, with my charnames that have always average stats and that never get the maximum hp dice roll leveling up. is just that sometimes i say to myself:"ok let's do it strange this time!". i hate monotony, both in gaming and in loving... :D

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,833
    I have definitely noticed that I've been discovering exploits much more slowly these days. As time goes on, there's just less stuff to learn. Still, there are new discoveries ongoing, even if they aren't as flashy as some of the earlier ones. @kjeron's discovery that the fatigue timer reset upon loading the game makes it possible to do a restless run without incurring massive fatigue penalties, since quick saving and quick loading let you prevent the main character from ever suffering from fatigue (not counting the fatigue from spells like Haste).

    Incidentally, my method of killing Drizzt apparently isn't any better than the typical gnoll exploit: approach the gnolls under invisibility to prompt them to attack Drizzt, then stand in place and wait for the gnolls to kill him for you. Only in a few select cases, for characters who have truly excellent ranged THAC0, is it faster than relying on the gnolls.

    I think it's worth pointing out that many exploits have been willingly left in the game. The potion swap glitch and song stacking vanished very early on, but otherwise, new exploits generally haven't been removed unless an EE update introduced them, like the item duplication glitch, which was accidentally introduced by v2.3 and then intentionally removed in v2.5. The Wand of Lightning trick, the blind thief trick, the Fire Seed trick, and various other tricks and exploits remain untouched.

    Beamdog hasn't really removed many exploits since the EE games first came out, aside from exploits created accidentally by new patches. Most Bioware-era exploits have been left alone.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited April 2019
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    really good points @subtledoctor
    probably i should stick with my original, and use it for some type of playing, make a backup copy of my present version of ee and then upgrade it to the last version.

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