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Original BG2 vs EE Grand Mastery and why it matters

ikonomovikonomov Member Posts: 11
edited May 2015 in Feature Requests
First, let's forget about PnP D&D rules, the game makes enough changes to the original rules where such a discussion would be fruitless, and rather focus on the balance within BG2EE. EE introduces a very significant change with the new Grand Mastery into the fighting dynamics that in the original BG2 engine was only possible with a mod. To most players this will look like an obvious bonus that fighters SHOULD get, and to most old players of both BG1 and BG2 it might look like a welcome come back. In BG1 the experience required to get Grand Mastery is unobtainable in most game runs so it is less of an issue. In the original BG2, however, they specifically changed this and I think it is worth a deeper look why they did it.

Starting BG2, GM (Grand Mastery) becomes available to some warriors. As a compensation, Rangers and Paladins can choose to get 3 points into dual wielding at the start of the game together with specialization. For ease of comparison let's assume a fighter will start the game with 3 points into a one handed weapon and 3 points into dual wield and ranger or paladin will start with 2 points in one handed, and 3 points in dual wield. In a 6 person party GM will be available for let's say about 4/5 of the game together with dual wield. Now let's crunch some numbers for the original BG2 GM, BG2EE GM, and BG2/BG2EE warrior specialization (specialization is the same for both games).

Let's assume we'll use a one handed weapon that does 1-8+3 damage for an average of 7.5 damage per hit. Also let's assume that the character will have 19 Strength for +7 bonus to damage.
BG2/BG2EE Specialization:
Damage per hit: 7.5 (weapon) + 2 (specialization) + 7 (strength) = 16.5
Attacks per round: 1 (main hand) + 1 (off hand) + 1/2 (specialization) + 1 (13th lvl warrior) = 3.5
Damage per round: 16.5*3.5 = 57.75

Now to translate the bonus damage of GM (+2 more compared to specialization) into a number we can use, let's multiply this +2 by the duration of the game that they will get it, or by 4/5.
Original BG2 Grand Mastery:
Damage per hit: 7.5 (weapon) + 2 (specialization) + 2*(4/5) (GM) + 7 (strength) = 18.1
Attacks per round: 1 (main hand) + 1 (off hand) + 1/2 (GM) + 1 (13th lvl warrior) = 3.5
Damage per round: 18.1*3.5 = 63.35
GM also gives +1 thac0 bonus. They receive this bonus for 4/5 of the game, but by the time they get to ToB the practicality of this +1 bonus disappears, because the Thac0 gets low enough that every swing is an automatic hit unless it is a critical miss. To take this into consideration let's assume that this bonus matters for 2/5 of the game. On a d20 roll +1 means 5% better chance to hit, and we can also translate this into +5% damage bonus. Throughout the course of the game this 5% will translate into (2/5)*5% = 2% more damage on average. Finally to get the overall Damage per round with GM:
63.35*1.02 = 64.617 or about 12% more than the damage with specialization

BG2EE Grand Mastery:
Damage per hit: 7.5 (weapon) + 2 (specialization) + 3*(4/5) (GM) + 7 (strength) = 18.9
Attacks per round: 1 (main hand) + 1 (off hand) + 1 (GM) + 1 (13th lvl warrior) = 4
Damage per round: 18.9*4 = 75.6
GM in BG2EE gives +3 thac0 bonus, or +2 more than specialization. On a d20 dice that's 10% better chance or 10% more damage for 2/5 of the game, or 10%*(2/5) = 4% more damage on average throughout the whole game. Using the same calculation as above:
75.6*1.04 = 78.624 or about 36% more than the damage with specialization

To summarize, original BG2 GM gives 12% more damage than specialization vs 36% in BG2EE. This begs the question whether there is enough bonus abilities that a Paladin and Rangers receive in order to compete with the 36% superior damage of a Fighter. In my opinion there are a lot of ways to create an overpowered character, but this becomes a very big deal for the NPCs. I believe this pushes the balance in favor of the three NPC warriors in the game and discourages the use of certain classes too much.

Original BG2 vs EE Grand Mastery and why it matters 16 votes

Original BG2 Grand Mastery
25%
Nuin[Deleted User]ikonomovAgentXIII 4 votes
EE Grand Mastery
75%
ronaldosarevok57elminsterAwong124bob_vengJuliusBorisovvalamyrSageSmilingSwordMoffKaitekNelifaction 12 votes
Post edited by ikonomov on

Comments

  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    Without speaking on behalf of one opinion or the other, your math should also take into account all of the first game, not just BGII. If the character spends nine levels in BG without grand mastery, how does that change your calculations?

    The reason the system was changed was in order to use the same system for both BG:EE and BGII:EE, so both games have to be taken into account.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited May 2015
    Original BG2 Grand Mastery
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
  • ikonomovikonomov Member Posts: 11
    edited May 2015
    Original BG2 Grand Mastery
    Somebody is paying attention. subtledoctor thanks for the observation. What I did was in fact a typo mistake that I just corrected. My calculations stand correct, I simply mistyped attacks per round bonus for BG2EE GM as 2, but still used 1 in my calculations, as it should be. EE gives only 1/2 bonus to attacks per round compared to the original BG2. Yet, with my somewhat lengthy explanation I came to the conclusion that it still makes a significant difference of 36% vs 12% in damage, which in my opinion doesn't quite balance out with the bonuses of warriors that don't get GM. I think the resulting 12% in the original BG2 is quite enough to give a bonus to Fighters that balances better with the bonuses Rangers and Paladins get. I excluded Multi-Class characters because there are too many variables to consider.

    Dee, my calculations and the numbers I derive to pertain only to BG2EE. In BG1 there is very little difference between all the warrior classes, or rather there are, but throughout the course of the game in BG1 they tend to balance out. Any advantages to either warrior class is not enough to make a meaningful comparison.

  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    My comment was primarily in regard to your 4/5 multiplier. If you're going to account for the fact that the player only has GM for part of the game, you have to include the entirety of that character's career. I don't know that it ultimately affects your conclusion, but it seems an unnecessary layer of complexity, and one that doesn't cover the entirety of the series.

    elminster
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,009
    edited May 2015
    EE Grand Mastery
    I think the issue with the original BG2 grandmastery is that there is little value in getting above mastery. Its sort of like how bioware included HLA's for fighters, because had they not it would get kind of stale to keep levelling up your fighter and not see anything more than 3 more HP. Thac0 improvements in Shadows of Amn aren't as significant as you'd think as I'd say after about level 10 or so a fighter will more often than not be hitting enemies in Shadows of Amn (a dragon being maybe the exception) just because most enemies AC's tend to be surprisingly bad (the average low AC value in Shadows of Amn I would say is probably around -2 with an overall average AC of being maybe 3).

    Also if there was only a +1 damage, -2 speed factor different between High Mastery and Grandmastery then the Dwarven Defender kit would need to be adjusted. Having grandmastery give the extra 1/2 APR helps balance out the benefits it gets. Its the same with the Barbarian frankly.

    Anyways, I think this is generally a positive change. One of the more popular mods for BG2 was probably the True Grand Mastery mod/tweak, so this is a half way measure to that.

    [Deleted User]JuliusBorisovsarevok57Grammarsalad
  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,299
    EE Grand Mastery
    the majority of warrior classes and kits without grandmastery are very good and even out imo.
    original grandmastery looked strangely underwhelming to many people.

  • ikonomovikonomov Member Posts: 11
    edited May 2015
    Original BG2 Grand Mastery
    Dee my conclusion is only regarding the balance in warrior classes, and most specifically NPCs in BG2. All the calculations are based on BG2, if I did for the whole series I would have more variables, and I tried to keep things simpler by making less assumptions. As I said I think in BG1 the balance is fairly even, so that would be my conclusion for BG1.
    elminster said:

    I think the issue with the original BG2 grandmastery is that there is little value in getting above mastery.

    elminster I think the 12% difference compared to Specialization that I came up with in my calculation is quite significant. Compared to Mstery for Dwarven Defender... yes, that would be a problem, but that kit as of right now is the only one that compares favorably against the other warrior kits. Excluding the Thac0 bonus, which makes 2% difference with the new GM rules, the difference to me is still too great. Just to give an example, towards the middle of SoA Korgan would be doing about 34% (2% less than my original calculation if we exclude the thac0 bonus alltogether) more damage on average than Minsc, and about the same difference between Mazzy and Valygar. Excluding all the little special bonuses that each get, I just don't see how the stealth abilities of Minsc and Valygar plus the few spells they can cast can offset the fighting prowess of Korgan or Mazzy. Which not only goes against the balance of the game, but also against the roles those characters play in the game. Almost every single NPC in the game admires Minsc prowess in battle including Korgan. Now if Korgan does +34% extra damage than Minsc, I am not sure if that will be so true anymore.

    Given all the availability of powerful weapons of almost every type, I don't see why Grand Mastery should give such a significant bonus. Sure it seems like a big commitment into a single weapon to give it 5 points, but that doesn't mean this should make a warrior +34% stronger in battle than a warrior that can only specialize. There is no doubt in my mind that there should be a difference, but I'm simply talking here about the numbers, which in my mind don't make sense within the context of the game that allows such high level characters. The bonus differences of a generic Ranger, Paladin or Warrior in the original BG2 are rather subtle, but in my opinion better balanced.

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,009
    edited May 2015
    EE Grand Mastery
    With the availability of strength boosting potions as well as the existence of party buffs and disabling spells most enemies in Shadows of Amn aren't generally balanced to survive even 5 APR in the game (at least from a melee weapon), so making that 6 APR (with IH) isn't significant. Especially once multiple warrior party members are involved. For anyone interested in doing as much damage as possible Improved Haste was always available nearly right out of Irenicus's dungeon and if you do purchase it it won't be long before you can use it. So I'm not too worried about a fighter that specifically chooses to use one weapon type may be too effective with it. Throne of Bhaal may be a different story but at that point any warrior can pretty much be doing 100+ damage/round with a melee weapon.

    Mazzy and Korgan certainly benefit from that extra 1/2 per round (1 with IH) but I would say the benefits they already had prior to this change were much more significant than this increase in their number of attacks per round. Especially since neither of them start out with two-weapon style (unlike Valygar or Minsc). Outside of nightmare mode I'm just not really seeing where this extra damage would prove to be all that significant on a practical level.

  • ikonomovikonomov Member Posts: 11
    edited May 2015
    Original BG2 Grand Mastery
    elminster your observations are very true and I agree with them. It isn't very significant on a practical level. We can write couple of pages of how any party with any NPCs can play to their strength and benefit from their abilities in a way to make this argument meaningless. However, the fact of the matter is that somebody inside the team that designed EE made the decision to change the rules set by BG2. The change is there, and while we can give many scenarios when the difference might be "practically insignificant" depending on the play style it can also be significant, and as I show by numbers that it can be VERY significant. I understand that some of the decisions were driven by the community, and as part of this community I disagree of the change that was made. There are mods that can alter the game in many ways, and everybody has the right to defend the use of them, but considering the entirety of the game I think the change impacts the overall balance of the game and should have been kept as a separate mod, not as part of the official game. Simply because most people (including myself) like the kits that benefit from Grand Mastery doesn't mean that the rules should be changed in favor of those kits.

    Edit: As to the question of for the Dwarven Defender and the balance of that class in relationship to the other warriors, as far as I'm concerned that class is significantly more powerful than the Barbarian, if we are talking here "on a practical level" and there is absolutely no reason for it to be so. Having the DD limited to specialization can only help to remedy the situation. Different classes should be different, but balanced in a practical sense, and also literal. That is, on average most people should find them equally useful regardless of the playing style preference.

  • MeaninglessMeaningless Member Posts: 51
    Well, you can always edit wspatck and wspecial to fit your tastes, and I would dare say only lame people play the game "as is" nowadays. Add that 2nd edition DnD is a deprecated and illogical set of rules.

    However I do understand the nature of your argument, but there are so SO many bad and worse balance choices in the game, that one would not know where to start "fixing". The team that maintains releases a patch every so long (if we're lucky!) with so little content, it is not encouraging to look forward to... xD

  • ikonomovikonomov Member Posts: 11
    Original BG2 Grand Mastery
    Meaningless I completely agree with you. Thank you for pointing out those files. I might just look those up and maybe post a mod for anybody that cares. There are indeed many "bad and worse" balance choices in the game, but what provoked my post is why "fix" something and make it worse. But then again they did this in BGEE and it simply got transferred over to BG2 possibly without even much thought.

  • ZanathKariashiZanathKariashi Member Posts: 2,867
    edited June 2015
    I'm still in the camp that grandmastery should be exclusive to ONLY a true-class fighter (and dual-classing go back to BG1 style and PROPERLY not let your class go beyond 1 pip EVER because you're no longer advancing as a fighter and proficiencies are class advancement), with everyone else limited to Specialization, like they SHOULD be.

    Grandmastery was given to fighters to compensate for having no special abilities or qualities, where as kits get special abilities and qualities but sacrifice the true-class fighters single-minded devotion to the martial arts (it even says this in every source using the expanded proficiency table that dual-classing, multiclassing, or taking a kit prevents going beyond specialization, and that mastery (***) shouldn't be available before level 9 even for a plain fighter).

    DreadKhan
  • AstroBryGuyAstroBryGuy Member Posts: 3,414
    edited June 2015

    I'm still in the camp that grandmastery should be exclusive to ONLY a true-class fighter (and dual-classing go back to BG1 style and PROPERLY not let your class go beyond 1 pip EVER because you're no longer advancing as a fighter and proficiencies are class advancement), with everyone else limited to Specialization, like they SHOULD be.

    Grandmastery was given to fighters to compensate for having no special abilities or qualities, where as kits get special abilities and qualities but sacrifice the true-class fighters single-minded devotion to the martial arts (it even says this in every source using the expanded proficiency table that dual-classing, multiclassing, or taking a kit prevents going beyond specialization, and that mastery (***) shouldn't be available before level 9 even for a plain fighter).

    If you're going to go by the way the way things should be by PnP, then single-classed fighters are also supposed to be limited to ONE weapon specialization. You shouldn't be able to have a fighter with grand mastery in BOTH long swords and long bows (or even specialization in both). Taking specialization with a new weapon should revert your current specialized weapon back to 1 pip.

    And actually, by Combat & Tactics, non-single-classed-fighter warriors (rangers, paladins, multi-classed fighters, etc..) shouldn't even get specialization. They can get "expertise", which confers the extra +1/2 attack, but not the +1 to hit, +2 damage bonus.

    Non-warriors (and non-single-classed fighter warriors) should also be able to designate a "weapon of choice" for a +1 bonus to hit, if you're using Skills & Powers rules. But, maybe that's getting things too complicated. :smile:

    Suffice it to say, BG has *never* done proficiencies "by the book" (especially if you ask "which book(s)?"). Just make the game fun. :wink:

    SmilingSwordGrammarsalad
  • Original BG2 Grand Mastery
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