Hi everybody! You might remember me from such topics as Thoughts on Dorn's Deep
and Thoughts on EE Content
. So now for more thoughts that were unasked for but delivered unto you: Thoughts on Siege of Dragonspear
As a forward: I have never looked forward to a game as much as this. And as I only play on the iphone, I had to wait *quite* awhile for this. So, did it live up to the hype? What worked and what didn't? Tying BG1 and BG2 Together
The most important part. I have to say, that the story had one purpose: to link BG1 and BG2 together. And it did that, admirably. All we knew going into BG2 was that strange figures attacked us, and that Irenicus captured us.
(1) Going to Amn: SoD started with us hunting down the last of Sarevok's followers, who had just sent Sarevok's sword to Amn. This sword, which we learn in BG2 was made to channel Sarevok's divine powers, is found in Chateau Irenicus. This is a nice touch, for it foreshadows where we will end up going.
(2) Irenicus: I liked the Hooded Man, ie: Irenicus. It showed him being active in the Baldur's Gate region, actively looking for someone with a soul strong enough for him. He looked at Sarevok, then the Shining Lady, and based on our actions, decided on Charname/Imoen. SoD did a good job in setting Irenicus up to be the main villain. I also liked how he remained "The Hooded Man" throughout it all, so it is plausible for Charname in Chateau Irenicus to not immediately put 2+2 together.
(3) ToB, the army sent after us: I always wondered why my Paladin Charname should have an entire army sent after him in ToB. I mean, my reputation is perfect, send an army after the giants or drow or dragons! Come on! But SoD makes a case on why an army should be sent after Charname. SoD leaves Charname as being a wanted criminal in Baldur's Gate. After leaving the mark of Bhaal on the bridge, and then the murder of Skie...our reputation throughout the Sword Coast was left in ruins. Then to hear that Charname had become one of the five? Yeah, I'd send an army after him too. Things I loved
(1) The AI: It was great! For the first time, enemy archers went after my mages. Thank you! The game is so much more fun with smarter AI.
(2) The large scale battles. Such a treat! The fight for the bridge and the siege itself were both great fun. Having enemies that are well rounded and which, as above, use halfway decent tactics? So much better than the usual "mooks do nothing, now let's fight a strong wizard/dragon" which BG usually throws at us.
(3) The Bad Guys: Nobody was perfect. The enemy were mostly chaotic good. They truly believed that they were doing the right thing, and they caused alot of harm in the process. Especially as, like real armies without supply lines, they had to live off the land. Which meant doing what armies do when they live off the land. Ruin peoples' lives. Our side wasn't perfect either. Such is the nature of war. Well done on that end.
(4) Volgin. He's my bro. I love Volgin. He's a very useful NPC, with a great personality and a great voice actor. My gripe here is that we can't use him in BG2. Now, Beamdog, if you wanted to take this pure awesomeness and to make everything 100x better? (A) Volgin should have been a dwarf. (B) Yeslick should have been brought over. (C) Both Vogin and Yeslick should have been brought into BG2 as well. (D) Then we could have a party with a dwarven defender, a dwarven fighter/cleric, a dwarven skald, and a dwarven berserker (Korgan). Finally throw in Jan and Mazzy. 6 shorties, 4 of whom would be dwarves. A balanced party. Everything perfect about BG in one party. How could you have dropped the ball so hard to not have made this happen? (sigh). Oh well. I mean, if this was a possibility, it'd be the only party I'd ever play...so I guess that would be bad?Gripes
(1) The soultaker dagger: What? I get that it is in BG1...but it was broken. The entire Durlag's Tower arc ended when the dagger was broken and the demon was released. So why was it used to hold Skie's soul? That made very little sense. Now, I understand that the devs needed something to stop her from being rezzed, but Irenicus could have just used a spell for that. With the Duke's saying "there is an echantment on the body that isn't allowing..." blah blah blah. The unrelated broken dagger didn't work very well.
(2) The Crusade having to be an enemy: I get it that we need an enemy to fight. But the devs really dropped the ball here. Now, with the parlay? There was a BIG OPPORTUNITY to have some player choice. We should have had enough evidence at that point to expose the evil vizier who was playing Caelar for a fool. At which point he could have teleported away and to Dragonspear Castle. Caelar would then join us with her crusaders on taking the castle from Hephernaan.
Now, at that point Hephernaan would have mercenaries, cultists, and summon demons, holding the castle. The joint force would arrive, including Caelar and her crusaders. We would still get the siege, only with slightly different players. And more player choice.
Once we get in, as we do anyways, we'd confront Hephernaan. He'd cast his spell, open the portal, and we'd go in as we always do. Along with Caelar and her crusaders. The game goes as normal from that point out.
That's how I would have done it. Because as is, I dislike having dialogue trees where nothing I do matters. It doesn't matter if I'm rude, polite, intelligent...it doesn't matter if I choose apples or oranges. The game will always give me an apple. Even though I like the apple, I don't like the illusion of choice.
(3) The goblin shaman M'Khilin. I just don't like her. Her voice is annoying. Also, she's a goblin. My dwarf PC slaughtered all the goblins in Neera's quest because they are goblins. Why couldn't I kill her for being a goblin to? It's what many dwarves would do, and it's why she has such a chip on her shoulder. Let my dwarf kill goblins. My paladin can be nice to her.
(4) Shamans. They're spirit dance is just horrible. It is beyond worthless. I haven't seen a single instance where it is useful to have. The class is bad enough that M'Khilin needs extra buffs that other shamans don't get, and an entire slew of personal magic items, just to be useful. I ran a shaman just for fun in an all half-orc group, and the class was really underwhelming. I mean, don't get me wrong. I liked the 'sorceror-shaman' vibe that it had. But besides for that spell casting perk, the other features just left me yawning. The spirit dance really should have been a target summon, in my opinion. Or let us control the summons, so they can fulfill the role that summons are for: cannon fodder. Dwarves!!!!!!
This is it's own section. You all know me, and this will always be front and center. Or in this case, the last thing you read so it's the last thing you think about. Are you thinking about it yet?
(1) No dwarven companions. What the hell beamdog? You give us so much tasty dwarf only equipment, but no dwarves to use them? Come on!
* Voghlin could have been a dwarf, easily. But even if not...
* P'faug (LE) the Duergar could have been an evil tank. He even came with Viconia! Come on Beamdog. Just come on.
* Daran Highammer (CN). He was pretty much out of a job after the Dwarves of Dumathoin quest. Why not let him join us? He'd make a perfect fighter/thief!
* Helvdar (NG) was also there. He was a bro. And he could have been joinable after getting him his boots.
* Brother Deepvein (LN). He agreed to join us already! I mean, he was marching on Dragonspear. Let us have this cleric (or fighter/cleric) join us in our quest. He was ALREADY COMING!
Argh! So many options for dwarven companions. So many! And we have so many items that are custom made for them! And yet not a single one gets to join us. That's 4 dwarves right there, going across all of the spectrums. Add in Voghlin, and do you know what we could have had?
(1) Dwarven Charname (2) A deurgar dwarven defender (3) a dwarven fighter/thief (4) a dwarven fighter/cleric (5) a dwarven skald (6) whatever class Helvdar would be. Probably a drunken berserker.
Beamdog, you dropped the ball SO HARD that it went through the earth and is now floating in space.
Ok. Deep breaths. Deeeeeeep breaths.
With that monumental screw up aside, from a dwarven perspective Siege of Dragonspear wasn't bad.
(1) We got the quest Dwarves of Dumathoin! A dwarven quest, woohoo!
(2) We got to see Kanaglym!
(3) via text we find in a book, we find that the dwarves of Kanaglym didn't die. Most went through a portal, slaughtered drow, and took over their city. The rest abandoned Kanaglym and moved on to other players.
(4) There were dwarven NPCs abound, on both sides of the conflict. We even got to talk to a few.
(5) We get Dragonspear's personal armor. Custom made for any dwarf in your party! Oh wait...see above. (angry face)
All in all, beamdog put dwarves in. And we got some evidence to show us how completely amazing dwarves are. I just wish that beamdog had the confidence to get us some dwarf NPCs.