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How do XP caps for BGEE, SOD, and BG2EE going to work now?

johntyljohntyl Member Posts: 391
How do XP caps for BGEE, SOD, and BG2EE going to work now? Since SOD is in between BGEE and BG2EE, and we can continue from SOD to BG2EE, does that then mean that our CHAR is going to start BG2EE with a higher XP than pre-SOD BG2EE?

Comments

  • ShinShin Member Posts: 2,338
  • johntyljohntyl Member Posts: 391
    Shin said:

    By all accounts yes.

    If that is the case which I guess is the most logical sense, does that then mean that the encounters in post SOD BG2EE will be a lot harder since enemies' levels should rise correspondingly as well i.e. more higher spell casting, etc.

    RAM021
  • FaydarkFaydark Member Posts: 278
    edited July 2015
    They discussed this during the Q&A yesterday, this is my take on their answers (I don't have a transcript handy to refer to, so take this as you will).

    XP Cap in BG:EE unchanged.
    Import your party to SoD (not explained how this works yet, ie is it like TotSC or is it a "New Campaign" style import).
    Level cap of 12 in SoD
    Import character only to BG2:EE, starting that game at whatever level you are
    No changes to BG2:EE (in regards to difficulty of encounters), so you be slightly more powerful than you were without the SoD expansion.

    However, many of the additions (items, spells etc) will be ported into the existing games, so that may adjust things. (EG, the Legacy of Bhaal difficulty, similar to Heart of Winter in IWD).

    EDIT: Apparently BG2 already scales most of the encounters to your party level, per: http://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/655249/#Comment_655249

    In this post (http://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/655284/#Comment_655284) they said they're making sure BG2 EE is balanced for people bringing characters over from SoD.

    Also, keep in mind that only your CHARNAME imports to BG2, so it would at most be one character at level 12/SoD XP cap I think?

    Post edited by Faydark on
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 971
    The effects the higher XP you have when transferring to SoA is my main concern right now. I think it will be a significant challenge to get this right. @Faydark Note that in all BG games joinable NPCs come at different levels, so that they can be more or less matched to your current level. If the PC starts at level 12, the NPCs will also be roughly that level. At least for those you had with you in SoD it would not make sense for them to start lower anyway.

    At this moment it see two main challenges:

    1. Balance in SoA

    Starting around level 12 is huge. This means around 1 million XP points - this is 1/8 of the total ToB cap, which you usually don't reach with a full party. Since at this point the required XP per level stop growing geometrically, the effects of starting with that amount of experience will be felt to the very end of ToB - unlike the 80k XP from TotSC.

    There is some level scaling in SoA, but this is mostly minor encounters not boss battles or fights against enemy parties - the most fun type of encounters. Some early examples where this will be a problem:

    * the early enemy party fights (the one in the sewers and the one in the inn) will be much more easy
    * your clerics will almost certainly have sunray before the end of Chapter 2, trivializing Bodhi's lair
    * you start with spells that can penetrate the level 5 or lower spell immunity of liches
    * the death spell alone can instantly win some of the early SoA fights

    I still have problems how this can be fixed. Make every enemy more powerful? Making vampires less susceptible to sunray? Putting more difficult enemies in Bodhi's lair? I don't this would preserve the feel of SoA. In general, the levels around 10 are unique in many ways - you can still rely that some enemies will fail their saves, you do not have the most powerful magic, there are enemies that can do things you cannot. It seems a shame to lose a sizable chunk of this in SoA.

    Also note that the limited level scaling will also give you more XP in SoA. This means you will have an even higher level for the unique and interesting encounters. And as I said, I don`t see a way to (for example) buff vampires or many other enemy types to make them a challenge again and still make them feel right. They *should* be vulnerable to sunray.

    2. Perceived player growth

    SoA begins with taking all your gear and leaving you with an incomplete party. So at the beginning of the game you start less powerful than at the end of TotSC. But you will quickly gain some levels, find at least some gear that is as powerful as or more powerful than the best you had before. After some time you will being to feel more powerful.

    How will this be after SoD? It seems reasonable to expect that you will find a considerable amount of upgraded gear (+3 or even +4?). So it will take longer for you to find better stuff in BG 2. You will gain levels more slowly in BG 2 since you start with more XP. For example, it seems unlikely that you will level up in Chateau Irenicus, making it even more tedious for those of who went through many times.

    All this makes me a concerned that it will take quite a bit of fun away from the early SoA game. Less perceived power growth and being either more powerful relative to your enemies or just missing some of the fun mid-level challenges.

    Regardless, I am still looking forward to the expansion and hope that the designers will be able to figure this out. I think it would be important to make certain that if you import a normal TotSC party, the difficulty of SoA remains exactly as it is. Then we at least have the fallback option of importing from the old ending instead of SoD.

    johntylFlashburnrorikonJuliusBorisov
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,203
    I hope that the XP rewards will work pretty much like the new npc subquests : not much xp from killings, but a lot of puzzles and cool encounters .

    johntyl
  • proccoprocco Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 913
    It'd be pretty easy to test what happens if they leave SoA untouched. EEKeeper up a charname with 1,000,000xp and import it into SoA. If I get a chance this weekend I'll try it out and report back (can't promise I'll have the chance, but I'll try).

    RAM021johntyl
  • johntyljohntyl Member Posts: 391
    Ammar said:


    It seems reasonable to expect that you will find a considerable amount of upgraded gear (+3 or even +4?). So it will take longer for you to find better stuff in BG 2

    I wonder what the new items in SoD will be like. Are they going to be more powerful than the items we will find in BG2? If that is the case, then the existing BG2 gear will pale in comparison and somehow we might perceive a lack of gear progression, making it SoA/ToB less fun.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,203
    johntyl said:

    Ammar said:


    It seems reasonable to expect that you will find a considerable amount of upgraded gear (+3 or even +4?). So it will take longer for you to find better stuff in BG 2

    I wonder what the new items in SoD will be like. Are they going to be more powerful than the items we will find in BG2? If that is the case, then the existing BG2 gear will pale in comparison and somehow we might perceive a lack of gear progression, making it SoA/ToB less fun.
    I think that excessive amounts of +3 and +4 weapons is the kind of mistake made in the ToB expansion which no one seemed to like. It would be unwise if they did that again. I really think that expansions should add extra encounters and quests and perhaps new npc's, but only a few handful of magic items, nevertheless powerful ones.

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    I guess you don't have to import from SoD to SoA if you feel so strongly against it.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    You can always just delve into the wonderful world of mods ;) I'm sure that SCS on Nightmare mode will be challenge enough for many people even with 1m XP at the start of SoA.

    Then again, it might not. 1m is definitely a lot... While simply not using that option is always a choice you can make, it would probably be preferable to have a more elegant solution. Wonder what, though!

  • OurQuestIsVainOurQuestIsVain Member Posts: 201
    I don't think you have to start SoD at XP cap from BGEE (161,000). You also probably don't have to hit the XP cap in SoD before you finish the module (1 million) and move on to BG2EE.

    For all of us completionists however, I am also curious how they will balance the difficulty after importing a level 12 PC into BG2EE. I'm assuming they will scale the joinable NPCs to your level like they already do, but that just aggravates the problem.

    Hopefully the new difficulty setting makes up for the boost in XP we start with.

  • DrHappyAngryDrHappyAngry Member Posts: 1,313
    I don't think having some extra xp be a huge deal overall. Sure you'll steam roll Irenicus' first dungeon, and a couple other early areas, but a lot of encounters scale to your level. Too many powerful items in the early game would probably unbalance it more than a couple of levels. I'd be more concerned that they might allow the importation of too much stuff, when you're supposed to have pretty much nothing. This also means you could skip the slog that is Durlag's Tower or Werewolf island in the first game and come out around the right level.

  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 971
    @DrHappyAngry Due to the geometric growth of XP awars in the early game, it won't really matter if you do Durlag and Werewolf, as long as you are completionist in SoD, if we really go from a 160k XP cap to a 1 million XP cap.

    More importantly, I don't think any of the interesting encounters scale to your level. Look at the Planar Sphere, for example. I am pretty certain that the golems you encounter in the engine core are scaled to your level, so that we might meet Adamantium Golems instead of lesser ones. But the feral halflings, Lavok and Tolgerias will all be unscaled, and those are the interesting encounters. And the additional XP from the encounters that are scaled, might even intensify the effect.

    Also for all the spellcasters the additional levels are huge, even without any items. This especially concerns mages and sorcerers. For example, you will avoid (in SoA) the three level gap between 5th and 6th level spells.

    @Lord_Tansheron The new difficulty setting is more like a game+ things. Personally, I prefer an even playing field with the same rules (HD, damage rolls) for both the player and the enemies with the challenge coming from AI (SCS) or P&P monster abilities (again SCS also aTweaks). Anyway, there are lots of strategies that help you avoid any damage, so the difficulty might matter less than we think anyway.

    @FinneousPJ Without the planned patch for SoA this would be totally true. So we will have to see what that patch will do! Also want to point out that I am not yet feeling strongly about, because I see it as a challenge and am more interested to see if and how the devs overcome it.

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    @Ammar I see. I would say I share your concern, and I'm considering not importing from SoD or perhaps Keepering some XP away.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    Ammar said:

    @Lord_Tansheron The new difficulty setting is more like a game+ things. Personally, I prefer an even playing field with the same rules (HD, damage rolls) for both the player and the enemies with the challenge coming from AI (SCS) or P&P monster abilities (again SCS also aTweaks). Anyway, there are lots of strategies that help you avoid any damage, so the difficulty might matter less than we think anyway.

    You're of course free to use NMM in any way you choose. Me personally, I don't use it as game+ but simply to increase the difficulty of the regular game, from a normal start. While yes AI improvements are absolutely required for good difficulty and HP/numbers alone are not sufficient (see IWD), after giving NMM a try I find it a LOT more satisfying than the regular mode. Many paradigms shift or change with NMM, which is a good thing, and the high HP mean more time for errors to accumulate, less brute-force strategies, etc.

    All that being said, starting SoA at 1m XP will essentially result in it sort of being a semi-game+. It will certainly be a lot easier to get into the game even on NMM, and I have actually found a lot of the encounters in the early game to be more difficult than mid- or even end-game, simply because you have less XP and thus less tools to work with. Starting with 1m XP is likely to change this quite considerably, and while we're not sure yet of all the various changes that are likely to come with SoD, it is highly probable that there will be a need for both AI and numbers tweaks to retain adequate difficulty for those interested in such a thing.

  • CurmudgeonCurmudgeon Member Posts: 57
    A possible solution might be an ini entry allowing you to choose keeping all of your accumulated XP or cranking your characters back down to 161,000 XP appropriate levels (due to the "experiments" of course). I personally prefer the former as I need all the help I can get with the various difficulty mods. The trip from Candlekeep to the Throne of Bhaal will surely be an epic one either way.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    Simply resetting the orignal SoA starting XP is certainly a solution, but it doesn't seem to me to be a very elegant one. Losing experience is a big deal, losing 80% of it even more so. That seems like a band-aid more than a solution, and I'd be a lot happier if there was some other was implemented to deal with it.

    I'm sure though that the devs are aware of this issue, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with to address it.

  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    procco said:

    It'd be pretty easy to test what happens if they leave SoA untouched. EEKeeper up a charname with 1,000,000xp and import it into SoA. If I get a chance this weekend I'll try it out and report back (can't promise I'll have the chance, but I'll try).

    Apparently "level 12" applies to thieves/bards, so the XP cap must be lower than 666,000 for SoD.

    cmk24
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,354
    I think part of the concern on the xp/levels thing is that for many, the sweet spot of the game is around levels 8-12, where all the classes play differently, but have also come into their own. Due to various breaks in the xp curve, even classes with widely varying xp demands play well in this area. However, after this point, mages quickly start getting into the realm of game-changing spells, thieves max out their skills and sell less and less from levels until HLA territory, and fighters/clerics sit somewhere between these extremes. The game changes, and is not always as much fun - for example, there are plenty of folks on these forums who do not enjoy ToB anywhere near as much as SoA simply due to the game mechanics at that point, and a fair few who do not actually replay ToB after beating it once or twice.

    So on the one side, SoD should be AWESOME as it is a whole expansion given over to characters playing in the sweet spot of levels. The down side is that it risks taking that wonderful gameplay out of SoA, making it a mixed blessing.

    One other thing to bear in mind is that TotSC reworked the final fight with Sarevok, knowing that the party would be a higher level reaching there. ToB did no such thing for the Irenicus fight, and it shows if you hit Watcher's Keep in SoA, reaching Jon with HLAs and 9th level spells. Now that will be almost guaranteed if the xp cap on import is raised to 1Mxp, I suspect a reworked fight will become important, and possibly an update to similarly epic encounters (Firkraag, Kangax, etc.) I'm not sure whether ToB would need much tweaking itself though, and Watcher's Keep was essentially designed to support parties from early SoA through to end-of-game ToB, depending on player choices, so is hopefully ready for the xp boost as well. OTOH, it does mean that parties are more likely to be more level appropriate for the lower reaches of the keep in SoA, so will more routinely clear that out before Jon - further complicating the level balancing of the end game.

  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    edited July 2015
    It could be as low as 440k and still be enough for level 12 druids, bards and thieves. TotSC slightly less than doubled the xp cap. I would be surpised if SoD did more than tripled it.

    At that level, the effect on BG2 would be trivial.

    JuliusBorisov
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,354
    I looked at 440 as well, but then both fighters and clerics lose another level, and having two of the 4 'primary' classes (old 1st edition player here!) capping at 9th would be a hard sell to me if we were encouraged to think of a cap around 12th. It would also be a lower cap than Black Pits, if folks want to consider an existing way to enter BG2EE with more xp.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    Haven't done any math here, but things like multi/dual-class should probably also be considered for choosing an XP cap. There are points where single classes aren't near any breaks, but multi/dual very well may be.

    RAM021
  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    Nah, you're all guessing too high, guys.

    @AlexT has confirmed (in the SoD forum) that it'll be a traditional BG-style XP-cap, not a BP-style level-cap, and that some (unspecified) classes will be able to reach level 12 while others can't.

    @PhillipDaigle has said in these forums that he doesn't plan to change the start of BG2ee:SoA, and he remarked in the announcement video that he reckons the new XP from SoD won't prove to be a problem in SoA.

    Therefore I reckon the new XP-cap will be just enough for Druids (only) to hit level 12, i.e. just over 300,000. That'd mean level 9 for all Warrior classes, also level 9 for Clerics and Monks, level 10 for Mages and Sorcerers, level 11 for Thieves and Bards, and level 12 for Druids alone.

    The most they might do, IMO, is allow just enough for the Rogue classes to reach level 12 as well, i.e. just over 440,000. Doing that would also move Mages and Sorcerers up to level 11, and leave Clerics and Monks just-about-to-level to level 10. I reckon that'd be getting into territory where early-SoA would be noticeably easier, so I don't think they'll do this.

    Thus my best guess is an XP cap for BG1:SoD of 301,000. At that level, I reckon they can probably get away with doing nothing about the start of BG2ee:SoA, which wouldn't be true if they let XP go much higher.

    RAM021ThacoBellJuliusBorisov
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,354
    Dual can arrange some fairly interesting breaks, as you have much more fine-grained control over how many XP you dual with. Multi- is more predictable, as most XP tables are simple doubling every level, and then a flat rate. The most interesting multis for unusual break points are therefore the triple-class multis, which are usually a flat two levels behind in all of their classes at this part of the power curve, and getting a +/-1 break in the chart for just one class is not going to make an earth-shattering difference, although I would check that out (if I were in Beamdog's place) once I had picked an initial cap value, in case a slight tweak would help.

    Looking at the charts above, I am hoping for an xp cap around 0.5Mxp rather than 1Mxp, as that still leaves plenty of scope for BG2EE early game, and is still in the 'sweet spot' for most classes. No matter why they do, fighter -> druid duals are going to be a beast! The xp curve for druids means you should comfortably get back fighter levels without impacting max druid level at cap, unless they pick something very close to 750k. That said, I am partial to druid->fighter duals as well, with druids at 200k or 300k, which would mean starting BG2EE much closer to regaining the druid levels, rather than dualing out of Jonnie's playpen.

    RAM021
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    edited July 2015
    From posts made on the SoD forum we now know that thieves will be able to reach level 12 (cap > 440,000) but will not be able to exceed level 12 ( cap < 666,000).

    It might be significant that the level cap for Black Pits is level 10 (irrespective of xp), and 600,000 is exactly the right amount for all single classed characters to reach at least level 10.

    If we compare that to the multiclassed NPCs that we know are in SoD, Jalheira would be 8/12 and Glint would be 9/11.

    FinneousPJJuliusBorisov
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