Baldur’s Gate : introduction


Keep an eye out for the next AD&D game using the Baldur’s Gate engine:

Icewind Dale

[ Icewind Dale ]

[ TSR / Wizards of the Coast ]

[ ]* *(Interplay are long gone now, sadly) ]

[ Bioware ]

[ Baldur’s Gate Chronicles (Gone? (planetbaldursgate .com)) ]

Meet the crew – (images (were) from Interplay’s site, copied here for convenience)

Goblin Animated cyclops, from Baldurs Gate Animated skeleton Animated lizardman from Baldurs Gate

Revised 27st May 1999 Bugs: “Blue screen of Death” cast by the use of EAX on Soundblaster Live! cards. After much chasing, this appears to be due to a conflict with DirectX 6.1, I’m told. However, updating to the SB Live!Ware 2.0 drivers (all 24Mb of them) seems to cure the problem.

Add-ons and expansions to Baldurs Gate

I recently spoke with one of Interplay’s senior producers and the general plan (which isn’t cast in stone) is as follows:

Baldur’s Gate (available now) allows 89,000 exp (around level 6 / 7)

Baldur’s Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast (available now) allows up to 161,000 exp (around level 8)

Baldur’s Gate 2 (Expected Fall/Xmas ’99) will allow up to 999,999 exp (around level 12)

Baldur’s Gate 3 (Drawing board stage.) will allow around 2,000,000 exp (around level 15)

Future Baldur’s Gate’s (TBA) will allow around 3,250,000 exp (Level 20 and beyond)

Incidentally, exploring all the areas and subquests (without resting to cause spawning) yields about 140,000 exp for a party of six or about 840,000 exp for a homicidal maniac playing the game with just one character.

I’m still playing (out bugs!) in Tales of the Sword Coast, but I must say, I was TOTALLY disgusted when my party of six hit the experience cap (161,000) in the FIRST area. That’s just (insert expletive) stupid in my opinion and I told Interplay as much.

However – when I applied the (beta) patch and re-played I was quite happy to total just under 160,000 (from 89,000) per character, with all quests complete. The only thing I left out was killing the Basilisks on top on Durlag’s Tower because there’s nothing new up there, as far as I can tell.

There are hacks that take you past the exp. cap (some even work!) and I’ve heard loads or arguments for and against them. My feeling is this, if you don’t agree, don’t use them. However, and a lot of people DO feel strongly about this, if you can naturally reach 140,000 that’s where the cap should be. Either that, or less exp points in the game such that all the quests and subquests add up to 90,000 experience (party of 6).

For me, the argument that one extra level makes the game unbalanced is hogwash anyway. The final encounter? Level 5 or, level 20 adventurers, it makes no difference if you use the right strategy – and that’s what it’s all about. The right tactics and getting into the spirit of roleplay. This applies to the Tanar’ri too. I tried a “brute force level 20” party (unedited stats.) – and got decimated! Using tactics, a level 6 party can take him out with no losses…

Just a personal (pedantic) grumble, but It would be nice for a game to have a reality check and a bit of intelligence now and again. Minsc can happily carry a dozen sets of armour – an impossible bulk – all of which, despite showing no familiar glow, will magically fit an elf, or a gnome or a bulky human. Yet try to carry two dozen scrolls or so…

The first pettiness is unlikely to be amended but it would take little extra programming to allow for scroll cases and pouches (for rings etc.)

From a pen and paper RPG view, Elves cannot be resurrected and all other races should permanently lose 1 Constitution point every time they are resurrected, thus making it less likely to succeed each time. Similarly, Wraith Spiders do not cause level losses and… and… How about it Bioware / Interplay…

Little update, this is speculation, of course, but, reading between the lines, I believe Baldur’s Gate 2 (as opposed the add-ons) will use a 3D engine and may need a 3D card to play. They’ll be built onto motherboards as standard* before BG2 ships though, so that’s unlikely to be a problem!
(* This was written in Feb ’99. In early May ’99 the first motherboards with on-board Voodoo 3 3Dfx appeared. Gods I’m good smiley

Baldur’s Gate on DVD – A third edition of the monster Baldur’s Gate on the way. [ RPGC news April 10th 1999 ]

Playing with various settings, characters and tools, I’ve found the following:

You can only dual class as a demi-human!
What does this mean? In AD&D, provided your stats are up to it, you can create a Human Paladin and, later dual class the character to a Mage, later again to something else. In BG a Ranger, for example, can only dual class to a Cleric

In AD&D, demi-humans have class limits, for example, a Halfing can only reach level 8 as a Cleric. The game however appears to allow up to level 20 regardless of race / class limits.

The game, if hacked has no experience limits as such, but it does have a built-in level limit of 19 / 20. I say it’s allowable, but the experience "to reach next level" is a negative figure (-5).

Remember, these are observations using hack tools and beta patched copies, and make no statements to future add-ons to the game. The dual class part holds true though. I also played the game thoroughly two or three times before editing anything, out of interest!

Menu ~ish

(I’ll rewrite the menu properly another day, I have thousands of pages to revise at present!)

Baldur’s Gate post

If you like Dungeons & Dragons, you may want to have a look at my [ Role Play section ] too, it’s early stages yet, but will grow much bigger in time.

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