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Why no HLAs?

TarlugnTarlugn Member Posts: 204
Hello!

Since I´ve been contemplating buying Icewind Dale : Enhanced Edition for some months now, mostly due to owning some "all-in-one-box" cd compilation already. As I´ve read, the high level abilities familiar from ToB aren´t implemented, and out of sheer curiousity I´d like to know why not? As I see it, it´s the thing what makes ToB popular, so I feel rather dumbfounded by the decision of leaving them out from the IWD:EE.

SirBatince

Comments

  • TarlugnTarlugn Member Posts: 204
    Heh, I suspected as much. Though my memory is rather fuzzy, aren´t the Frost Giants somewhat comparable to Fire Giants? Oh yeah, and there were Fire Giants, too! Funny though, if a basic party of six doesn´t achieve so high lvls as to attain HLAs. They would have made my purchase of EE an easy decision, as with only kits and somewhat smoother gameplay it´s kinda like something neat to have, like a nice cup of coffee, but it certainly isn´t a must-have as a coffeemaker or the coffee itself.

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

    dok0zhivago
  • TarlugnTarlugn Member Posts: 204
    @subtledoctor I indeed do imply that HLAs would add valuduable substance to the package - rather than a mere nice momentrarily lasting cup of coffee from a cafe, it´d become the coffeemaker. And there´d still be way to go before even a solo character would gain access to them - isn´t it about lvl 24 where HLAs become available?

    Instead of some wacky easymode, I´m after the accomplishment when attaining the epic levels. Without them I don´t think I´ll enjoy the game as much, though I didn´t miss them way back I played IWD. I think the preference to have HLAs came to my mind recently when soloing Black Pits 2 - the fast pace of levelling, and knowledge that I´ll have the tools to fight bothersome foes like drow and vampires, gives me the drive to play. Having even just one usage of select HLAs made those battles only so much more entertraining, rather than kite and fail for six hours in a row.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    3 million xp is the normal threshold for acquiring HLAs. Once this is attained all subsequent level ups gain an HLA (unless you dual class).

    Really though, do your best to play IWDee and stay as low level as possible. As soon as you out level the content either via HoF mode, insane difficulty or playing solo the game gets very easy and boring very fast.

    Instead play with 4-6 characters on insane difficulty but disable the bonus xp and even go so far as to avoid class combinations that clearly weren't designed with IWDee in mind (sorcerer, Dwarven defender and archer come to mind). I always recommend a Paladin, a Druid and a Bard, ymmv.

  • SirBatinceSirBatince Member Posts: 856
    Have to agree with OP. Not everyone runs 6man.

    And IWD is so thick with huge hordes that it gets annoying to slowly kill things one at a time incase you dare not having a mage with AoE spells.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited June 2016
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

    dok0zhivago
  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636
    Because HLAs were a horrible system that were decided to not be brought back.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058

    Wowo said:

    3 million xp is the normal threshold for acquiring HLAs. Once this is attained all subsequent level ups gain an HLA (unless you dual class).

    Sorry to nitpick, but I have no idea what you mean by "normal threshold." HLAs are an invention specifically of the TOB campaign. They didn't exist in IWD, or SoA, or Dragonlance or Dark Sun or Spelljamner or Planescape or, afaik, Forgotten Realms. They are an optional rule from an optional rulebook that were changed (and so don't even properly represent the original optional rules) specifically to fit the TOB campaign. They are the exception, not the rule; there is nothing "normal" about them and if they were added to a campaign that wasn't designed they would be out of place.

    Not to say they shouldn't be modded in - someone recently wanted to add them to BG1 (so you could whale in 5th level enemies with GWW?!) and that's fine and good. But it shouldn't be expected from the devs.
    That's a hell of a bit pick, I was just replying to the previous poster that didn't even know what level you'd get HLAs.

    D&D has plenty of options for epic level spells and abilities. ToB HLAs can certainly be considered normal for IE games given the context.

  • TarlugnTarlugn Member Posts: 204
    Unless there simply isn´t enough experience available in IWD:EE to acclaim HLAs, I find their absence a bit weird considering they added all the kits from BG:EE. I might be wrong, but I suppose they´d be possible in the new engine. Furthermore, some data about lvl progress would be greatly appreciated ;)

  • mf2112mf2112 Member, Moderator Posts: 1,919
    On Hard difficulty level with a pretty completionist game right before the Behlifet fight, I had 6 characters with about 2.2 million each, so 13 million total XPs. Right before the Icasaracht fight at the end of HOW, each character had about 4.4 mil, so maybe 26 million total in the game.

    JuliusBorisovsemiticgoddess
  • TarlugnTarlugn Member Posts: 204
    Does Hard increase experience gain? If not, those numbers would mean that in a party of six each character would have like 1 to 2 or 3 hlas, given that HLAs require 3 million experience points. They´d definitively add flavour, not imbalance the game, though one must consider how a solo character would in comparison benefit from them, as by counting from those numbers the main game woudl be worth 6.6 million experience points, and HOW combined the number´d be formidable 8.8 million experience points 8o ... Lol, if there´s any levelling left past that point, the TOTL would be the final endgame. From what I´ve read the challenges are quite over the top, as I have never got TOTL working on vanilla IWD+HOW.

  • mf2112mf2112 Member, Moderator Posts: 1,919
    edited June 2016
    With that party I didn't really need any HLAs. Icasaracht went down after a spell trigger with three mordenkanins force missiles followed by a spell sequencer with three more. One more would have been enough actually. Also I finished the luremaster before finishing off Icasaracht, he was even easier.

  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636
    Tarlugn said:

    They´d definitively add flavour, not imbalance the game,

    HLAs were imbalanced as all-get-out. They may have meant to add flavor, but really...at the end of day? No, all HLAs did was imbalance everything. It was a horrible system.

    dok0zhivago
  • inethineth Member Posts: 619
    Tarlugn said:

    Does Hard increase experience gain?

    On Hard difficulty you get 150% XP.
    On Insane difficulty you get 200% XP.

    That multiplier applies to all XP rewards (both kill XP and quest XP).
    Also, in a few selected encounters, some additional monsters spawn on the higher difficulty levels. For example in the Orc cave in the prologue, I believe you'll face 1 ogre on Normal, 2 ogres on Hard, and 4 ogres on Insane. So on top of the flat XP multiplier, you'll also get a little additional kill XP on higher difficulties (though I don't think it's very significant).

    So if @mf2112 on completionist run on Hard difficulty ended up with 2.2 mil (IWD) and 4.4 mil (IWD+HoW), that would translate to at most 1.5 mil (IWD) and 2.9 mil (IWD+HoW) on Normal difficulty.

    And let me reiterate that a party of six on Normal difficulty, is what the game was balanced for.

    I get the feeling that you're too hung up on a specific feature from another game (ToB), and expecting it to carry over to a completely different game which was not designed for it.
    Just play IWD for what it is (and was designed to be), that way you'll have the most fun with it.

    mf2112JuliusBorisovdok0zhivago
  • TarlugnTarlugn Member Posts: 204
    Well, the last time was few years back with a ranger/cleric in vanilla IWD+HoW. Perhaps I´ve been spoiled by Black Pits 2, but in that game the HLA Planetar solved few otherwise troublesome matches. Other, earlier attempts took about 6 hours to compete, and that was a solo shaman. I may just purchase IDW:EE and be happy, but I wager I´d be happier with the HLAs, design notwithstanding.

    The way I see it, it´s like a new cool cup of coffee which I can use several times a day to enjoy my coffee;
    with HLAs, I´d be as essential as a coffee maker with which I can enjoy coffee, but still use my old cups.

  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,420
    edited June 2016
    Even adding some bg2 kits and spells did alter the balance of iwd somewhat. You can defy the very strict scroll progression for mages of the game by choosing a sorcerer, for example. You can have all powerful spells with a small party (or even solo!) waaaay before the game normally allows such spells to come into play. In a spesific encounter, the game thinks you have a fireball or two at most, and you are hurling chain lightnings/disintegrates with glee. With a sorc, you can.

    So no, adding hlas will make the game even more unbalanced. For one, I prefer hla and really epic stuff to be exclusive to ToB, the epitome of the Bhaalspawn saga that started it all. You can even say hlas are stuff available to few chosen, like Bhaalspawn and his fated comrades.

    IWD is a side-trip and should not be the main star with all the 'shiny hlas' that does not mean iwd is a worse game, it has its own strengths and charm. Just not on par with bg2 as a whole, I think. And I like the two being distinctive like that.

    Also, for balance purposes. Put Isaracht's and Abazigal's statistics next to each other, I am sure Big A is a more formidable foe than the Isaracht. By a good margin. Fighting two with hlas will be a bit unfair to Isaracht unless she is heavily buffed. And no, hof mode does not count:not many players play it as it becomes tiresome fast for some people. I once played hof with a party that finished iwd. Summoning elementals made everyting easier as goblins and such in the first chapters just could not touch them. At all. And if you really want the challenge and go for hof, having hlas is counter-productive to that goalit will make the game easier. You try to make it chalenging with hof and then make it easier with hlas.

    As a side note, IWD2 HoF on the other hand, is much better implemented and even more difficult unless you have a powerful Wail of the Banshee (with save debuffs and necromancy specialisation, most fights boiled into keeping the necromancer alive until he casts the WoB) IWD2 HoF only items are much more stellar and epic, and felt really good to find the upgrades of normal iwd versions. I loved playing IWD2 HoF mode back in the day. Never found the heart to finish iwd hof. (but by then I was also enamoured with bg2+mods so my comment may not be fair to iwd.)

    JuliusBorisov
  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    Tarlugn said:

    Perhaps I´ve been spoiled by Black Pits 2, but in that game the HLA Planetar solved few otherwise troublesome matches. Other, earlier attempts took about 6 hours to compete, and that was a solo shaman.

    Right, Planetars obviously make hard fights easy. So why are you claiming that HLAs wouldn't unbalance IWD?

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

    DjinnjoluvPK2748
  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636

    I don't understand any of the coffee-based analogies in this thread.

    Think of it in terms of pancakes. You already have too many pancakes, and you're now full. So, instead of putting your fork down and letting the waiter take your plate, OP is suggesting you order more pancakes.

  • SirBatinceSirBatince Member Posts: 856
    HLAs for solo runs is certainly not over the board.

  • TarlugnTarlugn Member Posts: 204
    @joluv

    I made rough calculations based on the experience gained and estimated each character in a party of six to have about 2 HLAs - that´s why I thought they´d add flavor rather than break the balance.

    Moreso, the matches against drow war party and vampire court without planetar took me about 3 to 6 hours each, kiting with a solo shaman. With solo sorcerer and single summoning of planetar, they took from 15 minutes to about an hour. It probably broke the balance, but was very refreshing to finish match in suprisingly short time, when I was prepared for slow sludge with eventuality of failure. Guess I´m still so "Whoa, this works", that I´d like to have such a moment of discovery again in IWD:EE.

    @subtledoctor

    My coffee analogues spring from my recent purchase of a coffee maker. when the old one didn´t start cooking water etc anymore one day. I bought a new coffee cup, too that day. Maybe the comparison isn´t so intuitive if you don´t drink coffee.

  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636

    HLAs for solo runs is certainly not over the board.

    It's also unnecessary, because you get enough XP to get more spells anyway. Plus, you cannot just say, "If the player is doing a solo run, give them HLAs". Too easily exploitable that way.

  • magisenseimagisensei Member Posts: 316
    My half a cent:

    HLA should never have been implemented the way it is in BG its just too over the top over powered. In IWD when and if you reach high levels you are still you - your spells and skills matter not a bunch of whacky but powerful abilities that ad&d never had to begin with. So take your spells that you got through all your hard work and use them in the most effective way possible with out depending on over powered spells/abilities that are way too cheesy.

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