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IWD's Greatness Compared to Baldur's Gate - What Could Have Made it the Better Game?

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Comments

  • GygaxianProseGygaxianProse Member Posts: 201
    I have played through IWD/HoW several times, about equal to BG.
    I agree on all the main points of the thread - IWD is a beautiful, lush masterwork of a CRPG! Building your own party, and letting those characters "role play" against the backdrop of IWD can be a very satisfying experience.

    I love the idea of adding more weather effects , and at least a few more wilderness areas.


    HaHaCharade
  • PantalionPantalion Member Posts: 2,137
    For what it's worth, I never got into IWD because there are no joinable NPCs, no interparty interaction, and the plot didn't really engage me. Honestly the "gameplay" aspects of it never really came up.

  • butsambutsam Member Posts: 46
    I think the lack of joinable NPCs makes it harder to get into.

    That said, one of the things I hoped (in vain) would be in BG:EE is the ability for a cleric to spontaneously cast a healing spell by giving up a memorized spell of the same level (or higher). I realize this is a 3rd ed rule, but its incorporation in IWD2 makes clerics SO much more fun to play than in BG1/2. I'm holding out hope (probably vain hope at this point) that maybe in the BG2 remake it will appear...

  • TanthalasTanthalas Member Posts: 6,738
    @butsam

    I really wouldn't expect something like that for BG2EE.

  • NedzzoNedzzo Member Posts: 19
    Put me down in the love IWD camp. I played both of them and the expansions when they came out and never quit them until I completed. I bought BG on release but ended up stoping part way through and coming back to finish it later. (I had gotten stuck on a few things). IWD was just more addictive, although I enjoyed the story part of BG/BGII.
    I played D&D back in the 80's but never got into FR, was a Greyhawk person. FR became big when I hit College and didn't play D&D for a few years. Anyway, I missed out on the whole Elminster / Drizzt novel craze. But after playing IWD, I picked up The Crystal Shard and have read all the Drizzt's book to date. So even though you didn't get the NPC banter like BG, it made we want to explore and read about the Frozen North.

    Moomintroll
  • GygaxianProseGygaxianProse Member Posts: 201
    butsam said:

    I think the lack of joinable NPCs makes it harder to get into.

    That said, one of the things I hoped (in vain) would be in BG:EE is the ability for a cleric to spontaneously cast a healing spell by giving up a memorized spell of the same level (or higher). I realize this is a 3rd ed rule, but its incorporation in IWD2 makes clerics SO much more fun to play than in BG1/2. I'm holding out hope (probably vain hope at this point) that maybe in the BG2 remake it will appear...

    I can see why, but that is a major rule change, completely altering (and mostly removing) the strategy of spell loadout for healers.
    Its really the result of power creep. Critical hits in 2E, and then all the extra attack rolls in 3E really unbalance the cleric, causing the need for the rule you mention.
    In BG, just make damn sure your front rank wears helmets.

  • CommunardCommunard Member Posts: 554
    edited November 2012
    Is IWD better than IWD2? I've only played the latter, and I couldn't even finish it, the only place that was actually interesting was Targos, after that is was simply slaughtering literal armies of "subhumans" over and over again. And when I tried to do something tactically interesting like using a stealth thief to destroy all the summoning wardrums before any Orcs raised the alarm, the game didn't let me. Grr.

  • HaHaCharadeHaHaCharade Member Posts: 1,580
    Communard said:

    Is IWD better than IWD2? I've only played the latter, and I couldn't even finish it, the only place that was actually interesting was Targos, after that is was simply slaughtering literal armies of "subhumans" over and over again. And when I tried to do something tactically interesting like using a stealth thief to destroy all the summoning wardrums before any Orcs raised the alarm, the game didn't let me. Grr.

    Way better in my opinion. IWD 1 is a classic.

    waardenius
  • GygaxianProseGygaxianProse Member Posts: 201

    Communard said:

    Is IWD better than IWD2? I've only played the latter, and I couldn't even finish it, the only place that was actually interesting was Targos, after that is was simply slaughtering literal armies of "subhumans" over and over again. And when I tried to do something tactically interesting like using a stealth thief to destroy all the summoning wardrums before any Orcs raised the alarm, the game didn't let me. Grr.

    Way better in my opinion. IWD 1 is a classic.
    There might be a game engine problem with the example above, but honestly - without also using a silence spell, I don't see how those drums could be destroyed without alerting the Orcs anyway. A mage/thief with mutiple silence and invisibilities should be able to pull it off though....

  • valkyvalky Member Posts: 386
    I hate that drum-area with a fresh party, but it's a joke in HoF, once you have access to different stuff. My last party of 4 was a pure powergaming 'community' and did well..you can also abuse line-of-sight issues and place some spells to destroy them. And even a lvl1 thief can long enough hide in shadows to destroy the last one by those tents, which usually gives you the most troubles IMO.

    Else, I loved both IWD games,,can't really remember how many times I played them...though spent more time in IWD2. Might do a nostalgic 'hour' (or weekssss) and replay that shit again ^^

  • ZeckulZeckul Member Posts: 1,031
    CamDawg said:

    It's more or less impossible to go through file by file and determine if something's used (especially since there are so many leftover BG resources present), so I rely a lot on tools like NI that can give a pretty good first-order approximation. It didn't flag these since they're "used" by the character files.

    Shouldn't it possible to automatically build the tree of all used resources from some root files that we can assume are all used - like the area files for instance? Then from that tree we can flag all the other files as unused. Does that sound like something that could be added to, say, NI?

  • ZeckulZeckul Member Posts: 1,031
    edited November 2012
    Communard said:

    Is IWD better than IWD2?

    IWD2 has a much more flexible ruleset and hence a much wider variety of builds and tactics. Here's a glimpse of its complexity: http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/552350-icewind-dale-ii/faqs/28063

    However, it feels quite dry and I prefer the atmosphere of IWD1. There's nothing like walking in Kuldahar and bathe in the aural bliss that is Jeremy Soule's music.


    Moomintroll
  • AltairAltair Member Posts: 127
    What is great about IWD (1 and 2) is the Heart of Fury Mode... Awaiting for BGEE, I played and finished both games starting with a party at level 1 (no export). I never struggled that much in an RPG before (especially during the early levels), but it was an amazingly rewarding challenge! I have a slight preference for IWD2 because there is more into it than just fights (unlike IWD1), but both are amazing, almost as good as the BG series.

  • butsambutsam Member Posts: 46
    edited November 2012
    I agree it's not likely at all to happen. In fact, once I heard no changes to ruleset, I knew the odds were slim-to-none. My reason for wanting it though is not because of health hits. It's that you always think you will need several healing spells, so clerics end up memorizing them and leaving other spells in the spell book relatively unexplored (particularly in BG1, where your clerics are still relatively low level). Then, there may be many healing spells unused at rest time...or you may need them all...it's hard to plan ahead, particularly during your first playthrough when you don't know what's coming.

    It's more interesting if the cleric can plan on using something cool, and change it to healing if needed during the heat of battle. I think it could go a long way toward solving the "un-fun" portion of being a cleric.

    That said, you are probably right that it is too big of a change. Nonetheless, I think that is something that puts IWD2 above BG (although I still prefer BG overall, and I don't like some of the other parts of IWD2's ruleset--particularly the way multiclassing is handled).

  • GygaxianProseGygaxianProse Member Posts: 201
    @butsam: i also remember several 1E DMs that didnt require clerics to memorize anything. They just picked from the list and cast their alottd spells + wisdom. Then another DM used spell points....a lot of common houseruling allowing more cleric and mage versatility.
    I see the point about needing to load all cure lights, foregoing other spells, in BG1. But then you have potions and scrolls, and lots of gold.. I always stock cure and antidote potions in good quantity.
    IDK, I kind of like this particular 3rd tweak. And its far milder than the crazy shit we did to 1E lol.

    I'd be inclined to also allow mages to transfer to a given spell in their school, maybe all the way to ninth. It's a slight power bump, but not game breaking.

    I also favor giving mages four first-edition cantrips +1 /level that don't cost 1st level spell slots. Blasphemy, to be sure. Another tweak that unbalances nothing fundamentally and makes the 1st level mu more funner.

    All that said though, I don't mind the classic system in BG. I don't find it less fun, as much as part of the strategy element. Removing that aspect is a trade off. Though I, or you might houserule differently, its nice to have these two CRPG masterpeices in fully baroque 2nd edition AD&D. It holds up well.

  • ElectricMonkElectricMonk Member Posts: 599
    Having a single main character is a huge part of immersion, assuming the roles of six different characters takes something big away from the experience. Yes, you do control the joinables in BG, but they are very clearly distinct and have minds of their own.

    I know that I have the option to solo the game, but that's not really relevant as the game still doesn't distinguish a main character, and there are no joinable NPCs to add their unique personalities to the story of the adventure.

    I think that having a distinct main character and joinable npcs along the way would have gone a long way in making the game more enjoyable (for me). It had great atmosphere, music, etc. but it always feels lacking when I play it.

    Moomintroll
  • butsambutsam Member Posts: 46
    I also think that at least in IWD2 (which I've played nearly through Chapter 1), the game really pushes you down the main path without much subquesting. Maybe this will change later on, but so far through Chapter 1 there was a tiny bit of subquesting at the start and after that, there's pretty much just main quest, with subquests being relatively minor compared to BG/BG2.

    @Gygaxian, I also wouldn't mind seeing cantrips for 1st level mages -- really would help with survivability. The transfer ability you mentioned sounds intriguing, too...but I really don't have a problem with mages as implemented -- other than thematically it seems weird that you really are not choosing a specialty school, you are choosing a school your character abhors...it would be nice to see it actually be a specialty school.

    Perhaps spells of school of choice occupy 1 level lower, spells of opposition school(s) occupy 1 level higher in spell book? I think that would be better than the current system.

    That said, my primary concern is playability of clerics. You are right in BG2 (once you're higher level) it is less of an issue for clerics memorizing interesting spells, the issue is primarily with low-level adventures.

  • CluasCluas Member Posts: 355



    2) Re-Worked Expansions - Trials of the Luremaster sucked. Why have an expansion that takes you *out* of Icewind Dale and the Spine of the World. It's such a vast area, the fact that you're teleported from the region for an adventure seemed like a cop-out to me. Additionally, while I liked some aspects of Heart of Winter, I thought the whole Barbarian seeing you in his dreams and coming to Kuldahar seemed forced. I would have preferred just an added map where you find adventure (ala the Sword Coast expansion in BG) rather than someone seeking you out as the "Chosen Ones".



    Hi good post, but i really don't belive that TotLM "sucked". A bit cheasy, but they made it all for free, and i respect the team for that. Guess I'm one of the few who enjoyed it.

    Anyway yes, the Barbarian forced you to go with him and that was annoying. The whole story in HOW was forced yes. I still enjoy the game very much.

    For the rest of your post, yes it would have been fun with more areas to actually feel the traveling. Most times on the map, you only had one area to go to.

    HaHaCharadelolien
  • HaHaCharadeHaHaCharade Member Posts: 1,580
    @Camdawg - Hey, just curious. When applying your Improved Icons mod for IWD (awesome btw) why did you replace the Composite Longbow's icon with a standard Longbow, and vice-versa?

  • MungriMungri Member Posts: 1,645
    I did buy and try out IWD 1+2, and I simply didnt enjoy them as much as NG. The lack of NPC interaction killed my initial enjoyment of the game, and everything just seemed to be very barren and dull. I also bought PST on GoG, but have barely touched it yet, I should give that a try but cant ever be bothered.

    I just love BG1 + 2.

  • elsmalloelsmallo Member Posts: 5
    Kudos to the IP; Icewind Dale is a smashing game!

    Playing IWD was like taking a seat by the warmth of the fire on a cold winter's night and imagining an adventure. I loved the artwork, UI and music; the fantastic area designs and the feel and immersiveness of the game were unsurpassed in the IE series in my opinion. The sequel, while more tactically interesting, worked less well imho.

    The BG series was still a more meaningful playthrough with its plot and balance, not to mention size. But an IWD with more of the good BG stuff would be some game and I'd be right behind Beamdog if they attempted an enhanced edition. Joinable NPC's and more going on in the main towns, plus some more exploration areas would be my advice.





  • CluasCluas Member Posts: 355
    edited December 2012
    I'm playing IWD right now. My party is female half-elves all six of them. Some minor interesting changes, it must be that new version of iwdfix (or tweaks) ?

  • Aris4lifeAris4life Member Posts: 103
    edited December 2012
    To me BG feels way more lively...IWD areas seem kinda deserted...don't get me wrong i liked IWD aswell (especially the soundtrack), but IWD is the stereotype of an RPG. You go for the big enemy who is pulling the strings behind it all, on that so called railroad. But in BG you have those minor plots you can(!) go through if you want. And there are so many NPCs that tell their own stories.

    But still IWD (both parts) are great games. I liked them a lot (as everything that's coming from the realms).

    In terms of a ranking of the best computer games i have ever played IWD is on place no. 3 right after BG (the trilogy) as my no.1 and Planescape: Torment as no. 2.

    Thanks for this nice thread.

    HaHaCharade
  • John_RainbowJohn_Rainbow Member Posts: 15
    So basically everyone seems to agree that the gameplay was better in IWD but the story driven and role play stuff was better in BG?

  • Aris4lifeAris4life Member Posts: 103
    edited December 2012

    So basically everyone seems to agree that the gameplay was better in IWD but the story driven and role play stuff was better in BG?

    Yeah kinda...tbh i exspected them to implement the gameplay elements of iwd 2 into BGEE

    Post edited by Aris4life on
  • HaHaCharadeHaHaCharade Member Posts: 1,580
    @John_Rainbow I think the story was great in IWD1. But you do lose out on NPC banter, etc. Still, if you're creative and really invent your own chars... It kind of makes up for it.

  • CluasCluas Member Posts: 355
    edited August 2014
    Sorry to bump this one up after almost two years but with the announcement yesterday, this is a great post to read
    Though, I personally don't agree with (2) and (5) (I love the (1) idea):

    Over the past few weeks (ok, ok, months... I'm slow at these things) I've been enjoying Icewind Dale as I await Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition to be released. I have to say, I *love* this game. The frozen north, the music, the landscapes, the sense of adventure, the creative license to craft an entire party and write their back stories, great voice acting from Hrothgar, to Kresselack the Black Wolf, to Yxunomei, to narration work done by Charles Emerson Winchester the Third (aka David Ogden Stiers).

    I think this game has a more purely adventurous feel then Baldur's Gate. And I can honestly same sometimes I enjoy it more. I'm sure I'm in the minority there.

    I honestly don't think it will happen... but I do hope that Icewind Dale will have a shot at an Enhanced Edition. I think it certainly deserves one.

    I do think there's some things that could have made this game *better* then Baldur's Gate (you heard me!). I'm sure not all will agree, but here's my two cents on what could have been done differently:

    1) More Content Between Dungeon Areas - Despite its strong points, the game had a plot train / perpetual dungeon-crawl feel. I would have personally loved if when you agreed to find the missing caravan for Hrothgar in Easthaven, that you had a larger area of land to scout out before locating it. Maybe a whole map region or two, with some of their own sub-plots or even clues to the evil that was beginning to plague the region. Additionally, how about some overland travel areas inbetween dungeon locations, ala Baldur's Gate? It's weird that I can march 3 days to Dragon's Eye and never get an encounter along the way -- The journey there should be half the adventure. This is the Spine of the World, isn't it?

    2) Re-Worked Expansions - Trials of the Luremaster sucked. Why have an expansion that takes you *out* of Icewind Dale and the Spine of the World. It's such a vast area, the fact that you're teleported from the region for an adventure seemed like a cop-out to me. Additionally, while I liked some aspects of Heart of Winter, I thought the whole Barbarian seeing you in his dreams and coming to Kuldahar seemed forced. I would have preferred just an added map where you find adventure (ala the Sword Coast expansion in BG) rather than someone seeking you out as the "Chosen Ones".

    3) More Content/Options for an Evil Party - Icewind Dale is geared for a good party, period. Sure there's a fair amount of items only usable by "non-good" characters, and some snarky dialog options, but that's about where it ends. Many times the narrator addresses your party as "Would-be Heroes". It makes playing non-good characters a non-plus. Address the party as Adventurers and drop the whole "Heroes of the Ten Towns" thing.

    4) A Reduction of Conlan's Magical Item Inventory - I've said this in other posts and I'm sticking to it. This dude should be a king of a nation, not a blacksmith in Icewind Dale -- Look at his wealth! Put some of these items in random dungeons and *greatly* reduce his inventory. I know money needs to be a viable resource ( @Tanthalas made a good point here on an early post about this very thing), but it still can be without so many magical trappings for sale here. Things are expensive enough as it is in the game. Which leads to my next point...

    5) Make it a Bit Easier to Make Money - Don't eliminate the challenge, but money should come a bit easier than it does. Why do none of the goblins in the Kuldahar Pass drop any coin? Things like that always bothered me. If you added more content between dungeon areas, money of course would also likely be easier to come by.

    6) Orrick's Ever-Changing Inventory - STOP IT.

    7) Add Back Missing/Cut Content - @Camdawg has done a great job of doing this with his "Unfinished Business" mod which I've just recently installed. Some of the content (especially the Paladin quest in Dorn's Deep) really adds to the game and helps flesh it out. Additionally, some of the items that are written for the game but are not obtainable in the game, are great. Bracers of AC 2 for a mage? Yes Please! Beats the AC 6 bracers you can get otherwise.

    8) Get More Creative and Less Ridiculous With Items - I believe that people want items that are well thought through and interesting. For example, I'd much rather see a "Snow Maiden's Reaver" then a "Bastard Sword: +3 Incinerator". Why? Because of its backstory and name. Some of the items in Icewind Dale are just lacking in the creativity department (Long Sword of Action +4?). Additionally, the balance of some items was pretty bad. HoW made some changes here to try to balance this out, because they were VERY OP (Ring of the Warrior Thief was *ridiculous*).

    9) The Random Treasure Debate - I admit, Random Treasure has grown on me. I think it can be tedious to get what you want, but it certainly makes each party a bit different and adds to replayability. I will pass on changes here.

    10) More Weather Effects - Ok it probably doesn't rain in Icewind Dale, but how about some heavier snow - or maybe even near-white out Snowfall. That would have been cool.

    There it is. My personal recipe to make Icewind Dale the better of the Infinity Engine games. It will never have the NPC banter, romances, or some of the unique and awesome things that make Baldur's Gate so great, but adding in your own creativity I think can make up for this a lot.

    Sorry for the book - I'd also be interested to see other thoughts on what could have made IWD better.




    Drugar
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