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Difficulty levels

speancerspeancer Member Posts: 9
Hey!

I'm on my first-ever BG:EE playthrough. I like a challenge, so I usually pick the hardest difficulty settings for games, I also have a preference for hard games in general (I'm a big fan of Dark Souls and Sekiro). In case of Baldur's Gate, however, I chose Core Rules difficulty, which sounded reasonable for this kind of game that I wasn't really familiar with, as I previously had close to none experience in AD&D isometric classic RPG games. From something similar, I played Fallout and Fallout 2, and loved them.

Thing is, I wonder if I underestimated myself, because the game feels too easy. In the beginning I've had a little trouble with some super fast spider I encountered, and basilisks, so I just came back to kill them later, and there was not much trouble other than that. I started Chapter III on Level 6 (was exploring pretty much) and so far there haven't been any REALLY challenging fights, I'm in Chapter IV now, so I guess that will change soon?

So, about the difficulty settings, is there any difference other than increased enemy damage between Core Rules, Hard and Insane difficulty levels? Is there like more monsters or better enemy AI on higher difficulties? Does that work any different for BG:SoD and BG2:EE?

And what about the Legacy of Bhaal mode? It sounds like a hardcore mode for the game veterans only, so it's probably a good idea to stay away from it?

Comments

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    Unfortunately in BG1 and 2, its just stat and damage boosts for enemies. SoD will actually change up enemy groups and improve the AI.

    speancerDinoDin
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,330
    For a first time playthrough I would encourage just to play on "core rules" instead of insane difficulty. And certainly not Legacy of Bhaal (which is pretty unfun even for vets).

    If you want to challenge yourself, I'd instead encourage doing some kind of "house rules" where you limit how often you're willing to reload. If you like Dark Souls a lot then you shouldn't hate on having to repeat tough areas. One mode I do is I only reload from a save at an inn.

    A second suggestion is to look up the Sword Coast Stratagems mod. You can find links on these forums, in the mods section. I would not recommend installing this for your first playthrough, which is best enjoyed with the base game. But this adds more monsters to encounters, gives them more abilities and makes them smarter.

    One last note is that there are several very challenging areas in BG1 from its expansion pack. You're starting to get close to those, so you will probably enjoy them alot.

    speancerThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    I'm gonna second DinoDIn here, do NOT use SCS for a first time playthrough. That mod assumes you know exactly what you are doing and some of its tactical encounters are not afraid to play unfair.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 922
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    I'm gonna second DinoDIn here, do NOT use SCS for a first time playthrough. That mod assumes you know exactly what you are doing and some of its tactical encounters are not afraid to play unfair.

    While I agree with the sentiment, I would argue that SCS makes things more difficult precisely by playing fair. By default, BG1 and BG2 enemies are dumb as posts.

    Grond0
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    Maurvir wrote: »
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    I'm gonna second DinoDIn here, do NOT use SCS for a first time playthrough. That mod assumes you know exactly what you are doing and some of its tactical encounters are not afraid to play unfair.

    While I agree with the sentiment, I would argue that SCS makes things more difficult precisely by playing fair. By default, BG1 and BG2 enemies are dumb as posts.

    Ulcaster wraith and the wolf in a low level area. The prosecution rests.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 922
    Why on earth would a low-level party be dorking around in an area like that? That whole ruin is more "medium" than "low" level.

  • DavidWDavidW Member Posts: 817
    More to the point, those encounters are in an 'improved enemies' component, to be distinguished from 'improved AI' components. Specifically, they're in the 'improved Ulcaster' component, so anyone installing it knows what they're getting themselves into. (Most of these things are balanced to be challenging in my own usual play order, in which I tend to go to Ulcaster around the same time as the bandit camp.)

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    Maurvir wrote: »
    Why on earth would a low-level party be dorking around in an area like that? That whole ruin is more "medium" than "low" level.

    That map is super easy, barring the single vampiric wolf. Its easily doable with a level 2 party.

  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,468
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    Maurvir wrote: »
    Why on earth would a low-level party be dorking around in an area like that? That whole ruin is more "medium" than "low" level.

    That map is super easy, barring the single vampiric wolf. Its easily doable with a level 2 party.

    Have you ever run into Icharyd with a level 2 party? He's very tough with SCS but even without it he can only be hurt by magical weapons and, as an undead creature, enjoys many immunities...

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    Blackraven wrote: »
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    Maurvir wrote: »
    Why on earth would a low-level party be dorking around in an area like that? That whole ruin is more "medium" than "low" level.

    That map is super easy, barring the single vampiric wolf. Its easily doable with a level 2 party.

    Have you ever run into Icharyd with a level 2 party? He's very tough with SCS but even without it he can only be hurt by magical weapons and, as an undead creature, enjoys many immunities...

    Yes, yes I have. He's not that bad.

    SCS is an entirely different game. I find vanilla Ulcaster to be less dangerous than the mines at very low levels on vanilla. Which makes the absurd difficulty of the SCS component kinda head scratching.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 922
    Ulcaster SHOULD be tougher than the mines. I mean, think about it. It's literally the ruins of a magical school. The place should have been practically insane, and with SCS, it starts to feel like what I expected.

    The only thing lacking is the significantly upgraded dungeon layouts of BG2 or even ToSC - but that's to be expected. BG1 was staying very, very close to "classic" AD&D.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    It should? I don't see why. For one, the devs didn't seem to think so, its got more braindead encounters than Nashkell. I don't recall anything uniquely magical about what's left of Ulcaster either. There was a magic accident, and now its just ruins haunted by some undead and wolves.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,800
    When it comes to Ulcaster ... it's more of an equipment check than anything. Bring plenty of magic weapons, or you'll find yourself overwhelmed and torn apart. You can do the Nashkel mines at level 2 or 3 without any special gear, but not Ulcaster. (This is all the unmodded version)

    First, Icharyd. He takes magic weapons to hit, but otherwise lacks the usual skeleton warrior resistances. Still, if you aren't hurting him fast enough, he's got multiple attacks with his own magic flail, and wields it with grandmastery. It all comes down to the DPS; can you take him down before he gets you?

    Second, the mustard jelly. Immune to magic, immune to nonmagical weapons, immune to piercing. If all you brought in magical weapons are daggers and short swords, you're out of luck. At least you can probably retreat; the jelly is too big on the ground to traverse all the passages in the dungeon.

    Finally, the vampiric wolf. Again, this is an enemy that requires magical weapons to hit. For this fight, we have the added wrinkle that it heals itself ten points and paralyzes the target with each hit. If you don't have enough magic weapons, you could easily be stuck unable to hurt it faster than it heals, while it chews up your party one by one.

    The Nashkel mines don't have any roadblock encounters like that. There isn't anything in there that you need magical weapons for. So yeah, I'd put Ulcaster later than the mines in my personal order. I usually handle the whole west side of the wilderness before I take on Ulcaster and Firewine.

    Grond0Blackraven
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 922
    Firewine is only hard because of the massive number of Kobold Commandos, the tight corridors (limiting AOE spells) and the stupidly fast respawn rate. Take any of those away, and it becomes a walk in the park.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    edited December 2020
    Maurvir wrote: »
    Firewine is only hard because of the massive number of Kobold Commandos, the tight corridors (limiting AOE spells) and the stupidly fast respawn rate. Take any of those away, and it becomes a walk in the park.

    Imagine most maps in the series become a walk in the park if you remove the monsters.

    Adam_en_tium
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 922
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    Maurvir wrote: »
    Firewine is only hard because of the massive number of Kobold Commandos, the tight corridors (limiting AOE spells) and the stupidly fast respawn rate. Take any of those away, and it becomes a walk in the park.

    Imagine most maps in the series become a walk in the park if you remove the monsters.

    You missed the stupidly fast part. Firewine regenerates Kobold Commandos almost as fast as you can kill them. As in, you can clear an area, turn the corner, and the same area will be filled again before you can turn back.

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