Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Categories

Dark Dreams of Furiae - a new module for NWN:EE! Buy now
Attention, new and old users! Please read the new rules of conduct for the forums, and we hope you enjoy your stay!

What makes Baldur's Gate 2 so good?

First, a bit of backstory:

I got the D&D Master Collection (BG, BG2, PS:T, IWD, IWD2, ToEE) sometime in January of this year. I started by playing Baldur's Gate 1, because I planned to play through the entire trilogy and finish with PS:T, ignoring the other games in the collection because of their emphasis on combat over story. I completed BG+TotSC vanilla i.e. without mods or EasyTutu or anything and I LOVED it. I couldn't believe that I could do things like voice my own character--I've never seen that in an RPG before! I started BG2 immediately after completing 1, but stopped after an hour or two (for various reasons, none having to do with the game). A few weeks later, I thought I'd give BG2 another shot, but it didn't work out. I'd finally completed Chateau Irenicus for the second time, and an old Gamespot review assured me that once I reached Athkatla, the game really started to pick up. Yeah, right.

I soon realized that Chapter 2 consists of nothing more than doing quest after quest with the purpose of reaching the whopping 20,000 gold you need to pay Gaelyn so he can find Imoen and Irenicus. Now, I'm the kind of guy who doesn't care too much for 100+ hour "epics," so I like to focus on the main quest for the first run.

But I absolutely HATE filler! You know, where a developer feels the need to drag things out for as long as possible with the hopes of making you feel you got your money's worth? For every quest I attempt to complete, I inadvertently open up another series of sub-quests, which often required my immediate attention. I try to rest at an Inn, and Jaheira ends up getting cursed. Immediately after the Avatar disappears upon completion of the Unseeing Eye quest, Jaheira decides to start pouring her heart out...in the middle of the Temple...and then Viconia starts talking right after (can you say "awkward"?). As soon as I reach the surface, Nalia begs me to attend her father's funeral before I can even inform High Watcher Oisig of my victory. BG2, much like Skyrim, makes me afraid of exploring. "Don't enter that new area!" my conscience says. "There's a legion of NPCs waiting to force you into conversation!"

When I finally make it back to Gaelyn after checking off a few more boxes on my ever-expanding to-do list, he informs me that there's "something else" I must do. And just like in Neverwinter Nights 2, expressing my outrage does nothing to stop this quest from entering my journal. When a game sets up my expectations ("Yes! 20k gold! Plot advancement time!) and disappoints them ("WHAT?! MORE fed-ex quest filler?!) it's filler. And boy, is it INFURIATING.

So I stopped at Chapter 3. I've yet to see what all the fuss is about. Anyone care to convince me otherwise? Is there some mind-altering plot twist I've yet to reach that will glue me to the computer screen?

Wandering_Minstrel
«1

Comments

  • XavioriaXavioria Member Posts: 874
    Part of the game I loved so much about the second that is missing from the first (unless if you mod it of course) is the NPC content and deep characterization... that part which you dislike so much is one of the peices i love so much personally...

    although the plot is pretty good too, and to add to what @Grulo says, Yes... lol

    lunar
  • MadhaxMadhax Member Posts: 1,416
    I love the free-roaming structure of BG2. Dense and intense dungeons like the cursed temple or Firkraag's lair were great fun. Sure, it's all optional, but that's what makes the game have so much replayability. There are tons of secrets throughout Athkatla and the neighboring areas that are worth exploring.

    If you prefer linear games, then there really isn't much for BG2 to offer you, unfortunately. Try the IWD series, similar combat system but with the focus on linear progression through challenging battles.

    and_then_or
  • gunmangunman Member Posts: 210
    edited December 2012
    So are you complaining about too many side quests and dialogues? You are free to ignore what you don't want to do. On the contrary, I dislike the games that hold your hand along a narrow path through the main quest. What makes BG2 so good is freedom and richer content than in BG1.

    BTW, have you tried PS:T?

    elminsterand_then_or
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,238

    First, a bit of backstory:

    I got the D&D Master Collection (BG, BG2, PS:T, IWD, IWD2, ToEE) sometime in January of this year. I started by playing Baldur's Gate 1, because I planned to play through the entire trilogy and finish with PS:T, ignoring the other games in the collection because of their emphasis on combat over story. I completed BG+TotSC vanilla i.e. without mods or EasyTutu or anything and I LOVED it. I couldn't believe that I could do things like voice my own character--I've never seen that in an RPG before! I started BG2 immediately after completing 1, but stopped after an hour or two (for various reasons, none having to do with the game). A few weeks later, I thought I'd give BG2 another shot, but it didn't work out. I'd finally completed Chateau Irenicus for the second time, and an old Gamespot review assured me that once I reached Athkatla, the game really started to pick up. Yeah, right.

    I soon realized that Chapter 2 consists of nothing more than doing quest after quest with the purpose of reaching the whopping 20,000 gold you need to pay Gaelyn so he can find Imoen and Irenicus. Now, I'm the kind of guy who doesn't care too much for 100+ hour "epics," so I like to focus on the main quest for the first run.

    But I absolutely HATE filler! You know, where a developer feels the need to drag things out for as long as possible with the hopes of making you feel you got your money's worth? For every quest I attempt to complete, I inadvertently open up another series of sub-quests, which often required my immediate attention. I try to rest at an Inn, and Jaheira ends up getting cursed. Immediately after the Avatar disappears upon completion of the Unseeing Eye quest, Jaheira decides to start pouring her heart out...in the middle of the Temple...and then Viconia starts talking right after (can you say "awkward"?). As soon as I reach the surface, Nalia begs me to attend her father's funeral before I can even inform High Watcher Oisig of my victory. BG2, much like Skyrim, makes me afraid of exploring. "Don't enter that new area!" my conscience says. "There's a legion of NPCs waiting to force you into conversation!"

    When I finally make it back to Gaelyn after checking off a few more boxes on my ever-expanding to-do list, he informs me that there's "something else" I must do. And just like in Neverwinter Nights 2, expressing my outrage does nothing to stop this quest from entering my journal. When a game sets up my expectations ("Yes! 20k gold! Plot advancement time!) and disappoints them ("WHAT?! MORE fed-ex quest filler?!) it's filler. And boy, is it INFURIATING.

    So I stopped at Chapter 3. I've yet to see what all the fuss is about. Anyone care to convince me otherwise? Is there some mind-altering plot twist I've yet to reach that will glue me to the computer screen?

    You are just making it infuriating for yourself. It is very easy to get the 20,000 needed to advance and after that its only a few quests (3 I believe) in order to go to the next part (Spellhold) of the story.

  • Michael24710Michael24710 Member Posts: 12
    I love the deep story, Irenicus as a villain, the millions of sidequests and the free roaming nature mentioned above.

  • GruloGrulo Member Posts: 109
    edited December 2012
    In BG1 you were a vulnerable character, being hunted by this terrifying foe in a huge spiked armor. I'm sure i'm not the only one that tried to delay that confrontation as much as possible. In BG2, it is YOU the one who is actually hunting the villain. And every single time you are about to catch him, he just dismisses you as if you were the most insignificant insect in this part of faerun. This made me really WANT to capture that damn mage, and when i finally did... oh boy, i was happy.

    If you are only in Chapter 3 that means you are probably still low level (9-12). Once your characters get around 15 they become MUCH more powerful. Not bear-powerful, or Wyvern-powerful. I mean POWERFUL, strong enough to tacke dragons, beholders, demons, even whole armies. Battles are much more epic, specially in ToB with the Ascension mod.

    I know the whole 20k gold thing can be annoying and you are probly thinking "i should just kill them all". All i can say is, just be patient. Pretty much everyone that crosses you, pays for it at a certain point (except a certain captain whose name i wont mention, damn bastard...).

    colonel_burgerand_then_orThe_New_Romance
  • EleutherosEleutheros Member Posts: 70
    I can relate to the feeling you describe when a subquest comes up and demands your attention (like Jaheira being cursed), but I just got that feeling in BGEE (the poison stuff upon entering the city).

    As for BG2, and based on your description of yourself as a gamer, I think you fill find the game very rewarding once you get to Spellhold. For me it keeps going back and forth whether I prefer chapter 2/6 or chapter 4/5. There is something very appealing to just walking around a city or the countryside and helping people :)

    and_then_or
  • RhymeRhyme Member Posts: 190
    Just to add a third "yes" to this thread. Yes.

    I think that part of your problem is that you're stuck in a mindset of "main storyline" vs. "side-quests". But what I LOVE about Baldur's Gate 2, as opposed to the original, is that it incorporates the side quests into the main storyline, and always gives you options. In BG1, you had a much more open world, but a much less open plotline. There was tons to see and do, but in order to do it, you at some point had to make the conscious decision to walk away from the immediate task at hand. It feels like you have more autonomy. You know how thrilled you were to be able to voice your own character? BG2 took that a step further by giving you much greater control over voicing your own decisions.

    I feel your pain on the NPC dialogue triggering all at once. The experience you mentioned has to do with events that are set on timers, and there are some places where events don't trigger. If you spend a lot of time in one of those areas, then as soon as you come back to reality, all the NPCs flood you with "Okay, now let's talk about MEEEEEEEEEEE!!!" It looks like what you're experiencing right now is Nalia's quest (which could very likely be your Stronghold if you're playing a fighter class), along with a pair of NPC romances that are still being triggered. Jaheira's romance is by far the most intrusive of them.

    But here are two things that should reassure you:

    1. At the start of Chapter 2, you run into lots of people who give you quests. Those tend to be the major quests of the game, they're not actually time-sensitive, the difficulty will scale with your level (meaning they'll be about the right amount of challenge for you no matter what oder you do them in), and each one is going to reward you with a ton of gold. Sometimes doing just ONE of these quests is enough to get you the gold you need to get to Spellhold. Two, tops.

    2. If what you hate is feeling like you're being stalled for meaningless fetch quests, the pre-Spellhold section of the game is the only part of the game where this really happens. You end up doing a bunch of quests and sub-quests throughout the game, but Chapter 2/3 (which is really just 1 combined chapter) is the only time where the quest is a generic "Gather xxxxx gold!"

    But if you equate depth with padding, you're probably not going to like the game... Because everything about it has about 10 times the depth that the original game had. Quests have side quests because they involve people who have depth to them. NPCs have dialogue and side quests because they're not just mindless drones who have decided to drop everything in their life in order to travel with you. The things you do have consequences that open up or close off future quests. If that level of involvement feels too "inflated epic" to you, it's not going to go away.

    Mechaliburcolonel_burgerlunarand_then_or
  • ryuken87ryuken87 Member Posts: 563
    - Variety in your character(s). Every time I play BG2 I find myself thinking 'what if I played this class with this party?' During any playthrough I usually end up planning another three. This leads to a lot of replay value.

    - Variety in enemies. There are a lot of WTF moments like when a mindflayer or Kangaxx kills you in a split second and you have no idea why, but it's so much more fun than fighting goblins (or kobolds, or darkspawn, or whatever) over and over.

    - Deep combat and powerful spells. Even though a lot of people think the D&D spell system is archaic and would rather use a mana based system, other RPGs don't allow the kind of ridiculousness that Timestop, Alacrity, Change Contingency, Project Image, etc. allow. The spell system also has tremendous variety compared to the generic weak/medium/strong/area fire/ice/lightning spells used in other RPGs.

    - The fact that side-quests are expansive and in depth without the fetch and deliver type quests which plague most RPGs.

    - All the locations look unique and beautiful giving them a lot of character. I loved the city of Athkatla, it was teeming and every district was different. The dungeons were all very different and were well designed. It's a bit boring to go through several dungeons all using the same tilesets.

    - Everything is on the same scale. Many RPGs have skewed values between your characters and enemies (e.g. HP, damage) even though the game is otherwised balanced. I like the fact that the player and the enemies play by the same rules such that if I have a longsword and the enemy has a longsword I know we both can do 1d8 damage.

    - I liked the story. The protagonist isn't some random adventurer and It's not a generic 'you are the chosen one save the world from the dragon' type thing found in DA/Skyrim/Dragon's Dogma (I've only just started DD but it seems that way so far). The story is about the protagonist and your personnal enemy which I liked.

    - All of the above gives the the game an epic feel I've not had since from a game.

    Chapter 3 isn't fed-ex and it isn't filler. Although it isn't you departing to rescue Imoen/face Irenicus straight away it's still an important part of the story.

    lunarFenghoangand_then_orThe_New_Romance
  • PlasticGolemPlasticGolem Member Posts: 98
    The game flow is designed to nudge you in the direction of doing your class-specific quest, which should get you enough gold to pay Gaelan (or take the alternate path through chapter 3). When you first leave Gaelan's house, Brus suggests either going to the Copper Coronet or points you in the direction of a quest that is suited to your class and will net you a stronghold (which may involve going to the Coronet as well, if you are a fighter type, apart from a ranger). If you do only this quest and maybe some of the mini-quests you stumble on to as you make your way through the world, you should then be able to proceed to chapter 3, where you will get three quests which will still be challenging enough (if you do all the quests you can in chapter 2, chapters 3 and 4 will probably be very easy due to your high level).

    Some players do "no side quests" challenges where they try to essentially play the game as though the clock really were ticking and time could actually run out. The pacing is much better if you do this, but there are a few disadvantages. First, you can't get all of the powerful items without doing all the quests (though I dont actually consider this to be a real disadvantage: it just means you don't get to have all the goodies with you every single time you play through). Some of the most powerful (but not particularly interesting) items require that you assemble them from pieces that can only be found if you do many side quests. Also, if you run through the game too quickly, some romances (especially Jaheira's) won't progress to completion, as they depend on the passage of real wall-clock time. (Hopefully, BG2:EE will change this so that they progress based on a combination of game time and trigger points.)

    Playing the game this way keeps the story focused, the total play time per run through down, limits your character's power level, and provides more replay value as you can do different sets of quests each time.

    Throne of Bhaal, on the other hand, is pretty linear: there is one major optional quest and the rest is the same for everyone; at one point, you get a choice of what order to do three quests in, but you basically have to do all the major parts of the game.

    and_then_or
  • PlasticGolemPlasticGolem Member Posts: 98
    Also worth pointing out is that Baldur's Gate itself is absolutely filled with little quests that are irrelevant to the main storyline. In Baldur's Gate itself, some of of them are somewhat involved, but most of them are just Fedex quests. You can also ignore most of these, though at the very beginning, they help you get on your feet so that you can survive the Nashkel mines.

    and_then_or
  • CalmarCalmar Member Posts: 688
    If you don't like BG II's roaming and side-quests, go to Icewind Dale. These games are 96% rich and exciting main plot. :)

  • EnterHaerDalisEnterHaerDalis Member Posts: 812
    wait till you fight a few dragons then come tell me you don't like BG2

    colonel_burgerOxford_Guy
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • DaedieDaedie Member Posts: 7
    edited December 2012
    Imo BG1 has just as much (maybe even more) optional content which is actually a lot more filler-like. I interpret filler as being optional stuff with little to no substance. BG1 is probably 90% or more optional, the main plot can be done in a few hours.

    BG2 is similar in this regard. But the optional content has a lot more substance to it, actual storylines.

    Now what makes me like BG2 more than BG1 in a nutshell:
    - Both NPCs (party members) as well as the side quests have a lot more depth and involving storylines. The quests in particular are a lot more meaty and the NPCs feel less like combat puppets and more like actual people.
    - I find higher level combat a lot more interesting due to having more and more interesting spells at my disposal, as well as my warrior characters becoming more versatile in combat (like paladins getting cleric spells etc.).
    - More interesting itemization. Makes the loot something I really look forward to as well as making combat more interesting due to having more toys to play around with.
    - I like how the main storyline escalates to epic proportions throughout the second game.

    Fenghoangand_then_or
  • OurQuestIsVainOurQuestIsVain Member Posts: 201
    Great story, characters I care about, ad&d 2nd ed rules, great graphics/scenery/atmosphere, BG2 is something all story driven games should strive to emulate.

  • Avenger_teambgAvenger_teambg Member, Developer Posts: 5,862
    Hey, just because there is a goal to get 20k gc, you can enjoy the side quests.

  • SirFrancealotSirFrancealot Member Posts: 56
    Early progression in BG1 is like a trail of breadcrumbs; fix the nashkel mines in the hope that something happens. follow an assassination note to an informant. track down the bandits raiding the local area. None of these initial actions actually have any tangible relation to Sarevok killing Gorion, it just so happens that you find out later that they were orchestrated by him. In a way, you're just completing side quests that have ancillary connection to the main story, so as to gain levels.

    BG2 tasks you with getting the gold to purchase assistance. In my mind both situations are pretty similar; there's a big setup by the antagonist taking someone important from you, then you not seeing him for a while as you get your bearings and deal with local concerns.

    BG2's arguably most vital addition is the NPC interaction. Whereas in BG1 your NPCs are as voiceless as a created party in IWD, in BG2 all these side quests give them the opportunity to interact with eachother and youself. I've had Keldorn and Korgan break from the party and have a duel to the death, with the victor returning to the group. I've had Edwin accidentally cast gender swap. And having Aerie, Viconia and Jaheria in the party all at once is the perfect opportunity to put on some popcorn and sit back. These interations give BG2 the soul and flavour that I find so lacking from BG1 in comparison.

    BG:EE's greatest contribution is the new chatty NPCs. Dorn's story is very interesting, Neera is a fun light romance and Rassad is.... well hes not very good. At anything. Even talking. Guy is like a latter day saint doorknocking at you constantly.

    KolonKulunarZacalicious4
  • AllbrotherAllbrother Member Posts: 227

    whopping 20,000 gold

    lol

    When I finally make it back to Gaelyn after checking off a few more boxes on my ever-expanding to-do list, he informs me that there's "something else" I must do.

    Wrong

    Anyone care to convince me otherwise?

    No

    Is there some mind-altering plot twist I've yet to reach that will glue me to the computer screen?

    Yes

    and_then_or
  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    @Mad_Sweeney said: "I completed BG+TotSC ... and I LOVED it ... Now, I'm the kind of guy who doesn't care too much for 100+ hour 'epics' ..."

    Well, which is true? BG1+TotSC *is* a 100+ hour epic, yet you loved it. If you completed much faster than that, especially on a first attempt, then you missed most of the content.

    BG2 is even bigger, deeper and more complex. Very much more than 100+ hours, probably 300+ for a first attempt if you discover most of the content (unless you read a load of spoilers to avoid having to work it all out for yourself). Even when you know the game pretty thoroughly, I reckon that a reasonably "complete" run still takes 100+ hours.

    and_then_or
  • colonel_burgercolonel_burger Member Posts: 279
    @Mad_Sweeney I strongly urge you to stick with it.

    This game has the best "evil wizard antagonist" out of any computer game i've played, and most novels I've read. That alone makes it worthwile.

    Regarding the overabundance of side quests when you first get into Athkatla, I've heard a lot of first timers complain of this. As @plasticgolum suggests, a lot of players skip the sidequests as a challenge, due to the extra levels and loot CHARNAME gets from this. I can only suggest that if you are feeling smothered, just ignore the sidequests unless it seems like something you're interested in.

    BG2 is superior to BG1 in almost every way (vanilla vs vanilla), it has deeper NPC dialogue, more varied sidequests, more powerful monsters, romances, spells that can destroy small planetoids, amazing characters, and overall is 1000x more epic. The only part I miss in BG2 from BG1 is the extreme scrabble for survival vs wolves etc when you're character level 1. With mods, early survival in BG2 becomes just as tenuous. That, and all the tongue-in-cheek comedy found in the first game ;) BG2 is a lot more serious than BG1.

    No recent RPGS has anything on this masterpiece.

    So, I suggest you get stuck in with both boots and gloves, and see what you can see! The man is waiting for you...

    and_then_orAristilliusThe_New_Romance
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,290
    Chapter 2 is exclusively about npc interaction, stronghold quests and learning different tactics - it's just too much fun!

    The_New_Romance
  • dreambleddreambled Member Posts: 48
    edited December 2012



    Looks like I just found a new portrait for Irenicus

    Zarelycolonel_burger
  • ZanathKariashiZanathKariashi Member Posts: 2,867
    Try Torment...it's probably more up your alley...while the combat is basically the same as what BG offers with a few differences here and there, it's conversation and story elements blow BG out of the water...well..and you being outright immortal makes combat pretty bland to be honest...you can beat the game that way, sure, but it's incredibly boring and you likely won't even have scratched the surface of the game's actual story.

    I prefer BG1 myself, it's just a much more exciting game to me, since it's very wide open for exploration, and you don't have a railroad plot hanging over your head. I just feel the beginning of BG2 could've been handled better then it was...the rest is ok...though a lot more linear then BG1 was...and ToB is horribly linear. You get 2 sets of choices where you get to decide which place to go first, but there's not really any optional areas aside from Watcher's Keep which has no barring at all to the plot, and which you may have already completed during BG2. ToB was supposed to be a full 3rd game rather then a hastily thrown together expansion pack, but got hit with crippling time constraints.

  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    edited December 2012
    It sounds like what makes BG2 great is exactly what the OP does not like in games. So it will always be best game ever to most of us here, but an exercise in futility for him.

    Post edited by atcDave on
    lunarand_then_or
  • ZarelyZarely Member Posts: 12
    It sounds like you prefer more hack-and-slash style games vs. story driven. I do agree that a lot of the side quests can be VERY irritating, especially the "Jaheria's cursed" one. Like others said though, the game picks up at Spellhold. One thing that makes the game so great is it's modding community. There are so many mods available for it that each play through can be different, from a new NPC to competely new huge expansions (and if you hate Irenicus's dungeon, which i do as well, there is a mod at pocketplane.net called Dungeon-Be-Gone that essentially gets rid of it and still gives you the gear and xp you'd get going through the dungeon normally)

    BG2 also has much deeper characters and interactions. It brings the characters to life while, in my opinion, without mods BG1's were rather flat, at least to my memory. (its been a while since i played through a non-modded version of either game) The bazillion sidequests available also contribute to the game being slightly different every time and remember, you don't *have* to follow up on every little side quest.

    Both games are wonderful though and deserved to be played. I recommend, if you're really that fed up with the little quests, just gritting your teeth and continuing on. The game picks up after Spellhold. And if you want some mindless slaughter, There is always the Underdark...

    This game has the best "evil wizard antagonist" out of any computer game i've played, and most novels I've read. That alone makes it worthwhile.

    I couldn't agree more. Irenicus is one of the best villains I have encountered. The voice actor did an amazing job and the character's story was just superb.


    I love that picture, no other way to put it.

    colonel_burger
  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,794
    If you want to focus on the "main quest" in BG2, do the copper cornet quest and Nalia's quest. Both of those will net you enough gold to pay off gaelyn. These two quests are quick and confines you to two or three areas only so your journal won't fill up with a billion quests. Ignore all other NPCs for the time being.

    Also ignore your journal. Just use it as a reference if you forget where you need to go, or who you need to speak to. I can't wait for BG2:EE to streamline the journal like BG:EE because it can get confusing and clustered.

    And the tasks Gaelyn set you on advance the plot and gives you back story on what is happening in the city and the next chapter will reveal what the guild war is really about.

    It gets better (and more linear) with tons of twists in the upcoming chapters. Stick with it, it is well worth it.

Sign In or Register to comment.