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Old 02-22-2013, 11:18 PM   #1
Sulaco
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Question Want to get into an epic RPG: Baldur's Gate? BG II? NWN 2? Advice welcome

So I'm in the mood for a deep, involving (western) RPG of late. I want something with great characters, great plot/story, and setting.
Honestly, I don't care how old it is either, so long as it runs well on modern machines and hopefully has a few mods available to make it play nice with widescreens, AA, higher res, etc.

Since I know it will be recommended quite a bit, let me first say I have and have played Planescape Torment, so that one can be scratched off the list.

I've played maybe an hour into BG II. NEVER played the original. Part of the reason being I was worried I might be missing out on some lore and backstory by not playing BG 1. Is this the case? Is the "Enhanced Edition" of BG 1 worth it? Or should I just buy the GOG version, download some mods, and go with it?

Or is BG 2 so vastly better that it's probably not even worth messing around in BG1?

I'd like to hear some opinions before getting a dozen hours into a game. Thanks!
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:29 PM   #2
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BG2 is better than BG1, but BG1 is *the* low-level D&D epic. Having played it also adds to the depth of BG2.

Forget the EE stuff. I would get the GOG versions of both 1 and 2 and either play through both separately, or together in one long run with the Trilogy mod. The latter lets you play both in the BG2 engine, which despite less nice-looking paperdoll art is much more advanced.

The best BG1 experience is probably with the BG1NPC mod, which makes the relatively quiet BG1 party members even chattier than the BG2 ones, but IMO you should play the whole thing basically vanilla the first time...

I really should get around to installing these on my GemRB app on my tablet.

EDIT -- GOG itself put up a nice guide to assembling a fully bug/glitchfixed install of Trilogy.

Last edited by s44; 02-22-2013 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 02-23-2013, 04:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s44 View Post
BG2 is better than BG1, but BG1 is *the* low-level D&D epic. Having played it also adds to the depth of BG2.

Forget the EE stuff. I would get the GOG versions of both 1 and 2 and either play through both separately, or together in one long run with the Trilogy mod. The latter lets you play both in the BG2 engine, which despite less nice-looking paperdoll art is much more advanced.

The best BG1 experience is probably with the BG1NPC mod, which makes the relatively quiet BG1 party members even chattier than the BG2 ones, but IMO you should play the whole thing basically vanilla the first time...

I really should get around to installing these on my GemRB app on my tablet.

EDIT -- GOG itself put up a nice guide to assembling a fully bug/glitchfixed install of Trilogy.
Great post! That's just the kind of input I was looking for.
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:03 AM   #4
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Balddurs Gate Tutu also lets you play part 1 in the engine from part 2.

And you can also use the BG2 tweak pack on it to change the paper dolls to the original game.

http://forums.gibberlings3.net/index.php?app=downloads

Use the search box in the upper right.

Also, the most important thing I can tell you right now is that under certain circumstances, PC's in BG1 will leave the group permanently and never come back. A big one is if you deny their service initially. But some of them also leave if you pick them up and then immediately drop them from the group.

In BG2 this is less of a problem, but another problem is mixed alignment parties. Viconia especially is keen to pick fights with Keldorn and Anomen, and will eventually get angry and attack them. When that happens you will definitely lose a member, maybe two if they both use magic.
Also Viconia leaves if you are male and dont take a strong hand with her.
And if anybody happens to be slightly angry and you boot them out, they will leave in a huff and not be seen again.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sulaco View Post
So I'm in the mood for a deep, involving (western) RPG of late. I want something with great characters, great plot/story, and setting.
Dragon Age: Origins is the first game to come to mind. It has everything you're looking for and you should be able to pick up the ultimate edition pretty cheap if you find it on sale. Dragon Age 2 was pretty bad but at $5 you might want to give it a try after DA:O.
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:10 AM   #6
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And you can also use the BG2 tweak pack on it to change the paper dolls to the original game.
Eh? I checked and it's not in there. As far as I know, the paper doll mod -- One Pixel Productions -- has only been rolled into one mod compilation, and that's the EE.

IMO the tweaks are all unnecessary but 1PP really improves the game.

edit -- BTW, one metagame note if you're playing Trilogy. If you use Imoen in BG1 (you can choose not to, and it won't break the game), dual her to mage at any point after you get traps/locks both up to 100. That's how she appears canonically to start BG2 (T7/M8), but Trilogy will respect and port over any character changes (tomes, learned spells, dual-class options, xp) to people who are in your party when you take the BG1->BG2 transition dialogue. Keeping her as pure thief is fine story-wise, but by BG2 endgame you so, so want that beastly caster who also does all your locks and traps.

Last edited by s44; 02-23-2013 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madia View Post
Dragon Age: Origins is the first game to come to mind. It has everything you're looking for and you should be able to pick up the ultimate edition pretty cheap if you find it on sale. Dragon Age 2 was pretty bad but at $5 you might want to give it a try after DA:O.
This. Dragon Age Origins pretty much fits the bill, if you haven't played it yet. Don't bother with Dragon Age 2 - it's a mess.

The Witcher series also comes to mind.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s44 View Post
Eh? I checked and it's not in there. As far as I know, the paper doll mod -- One Pixel Productions -- has only been rolled into one mod compilation, and that's the EE.

IMO the tweaks are all unnecessary but 1PP really improves the game.

edit -- BTW, one metagame note if you're playing Trilogy. If you use Imoen in BG1 (you can choose not to, and it won't break the game), dual her to mage at any point after you get traps/locks both up to 100. That's how she appears canonically to start BG2 (T7/M8), but Trilogy will respect and port over any character changes (tomes, learned spells, dual-class options, xp) to people who are in your party when you take the BG1->BG2 transition dialogue. Keeping her as pure thief is fine story-wise, but by BG2 endgame you so, so want that beastly caster who also does all your locks and traps.
Yeah the biggest problem with BG2 is lack of good thieves unless you make your main character one.
Imoen and Nalia have fixed, low thief levels, you lose Yoshimo, and Jan is a dual-class which means he advances slowly.
Sometimes I use Shadow Keeper to change somebody over to a full time thief just so I have options. Usually Imoen OR Nalia, not both cuz thief is one of those classes that you really dont need multiples of.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:29 PM   #9
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Thanks guys.

Guess I should have mentioned: I have both Dragon Age Origins and The Witcher 2 as well.
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:04 AM   #10
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I've heard good things about Arcanum. While it's less plot-heavy, I also enjoyed the original Icewind Dale (the sequel not so much).
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:11 AM   #11
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dragon age has better graphics than bg1/bg2; but (imho) bg1/bg2 has more pleasing combat. I actually didn't care too much for bg1; but bg2 and icewindale were great. I also prefer nwn 2 (and nwn 1 with fan made scenario) to bg1. Haven't played arcanum or planescape so can't comment on them.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:22 AM   #12
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i'm playing BG1:EE right now after playing it last time around 1999 and it's a lot of fun. no additional mods necessary.

it's already combined with the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion so i don't know which parts are extra (except for Durlag's Tower, that's easy to tell).
there was one map where Drizzt was running away from some Gnolls (which he can 1-hit without breaking a sweat) so i killed the Gnolls with him and then picked his pocket for 2 unique Scimitars+3. was that in the original game? i can't remember...
i tried to kill Drizzt, but he's super fast and one-hit all my fighters. i'll get back to him sometime later for revenge!

anyway, great fun was had by all. my party level is around 7 and i'm struggling to get any advantage i can in major fights. there are some tough opponents in the expansion like Skeleton Warriors, Doomguards, and Battle Horrors.

also, in BG1 the enemies respawn so you can find a place to train if you feel underleveled. but it will take a lot of time. maybe if you just need a bit of XP for that next level.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:30 AM   #13
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I really don't need to repeat what's already been said, by I will. The BG series remains the best series of games I've ever played. Masterpieces.
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sulaco View Post
Guess I should have mentioned: I have both Dragon Age Origins and The Witcher 2 as well.
Well then, after you finish the BG series, come back and learn about NWN1 mods.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:28 PM   #15
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You guys make me want to play Icewind Dale 2 again (ah the memories)
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:36 AM   #16
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IWD2 was the only one using the BG engine that had D&D3 rules, right? (after that all NWN series had D&D3 rules and DA had...silly rules?)
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:44 AM   #17
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Yeah, IWD2 had sort of D&D3 rules. But its much heavy on combat than BG2, much lighter on story.

OP...

I think give BG1 and 2 a try. Install only a few mods, none that change game content. Dont read spoilers, or advice about party members to take. Just play the game, and see where it takes you.

I personally much, much prefer BG2. I finished BG1, but I didnt like it. However, its worth a shot. You might like it. I did like the parts of the game where you wander around wilderness and small towns.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:54 AM   #18
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Thanks guys.

I guess what I'm really asking is; is BG1 necessary, or almost necessary to playing, enjoying, and understanding BG2? I understand there are going to be references and nods to the original game in the sequel, but are characters and backstory going to be brought up that the devs kind of expect the player to know from BG1 in BG2?

I've had BG2 for several years, but deliberately never got too far into it because I felt like I wouldn't be able to appreciate it nearly as much until I played BG1.

As an aside, I also have ICD 1. I must have bought it years ago off some GoG sale or something. I'm really looking more for epic story and great characters than heavy combat emphasis though...
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:59 AM   #19
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You can play and enjoy BG2 just fine without ever touching BG1.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:22 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sulaco View Post
Thanks guys.

I guess what I'm really asking is; is BG1 necessary, or almost necessary to playing, enjoying, and understanding BG2? I understand there are going to be references and nods to the original game in the sequel, but are characters and backstory going to be brought up that the devs kind of expect the player to know from BG1 in BG2?

I've had BG2 for several years, but deliberately never got too far into it because I felt like I wouldn't be able to appreciate it nearly as much until I played BG1.

As an aside, I also have ICD 1. I must have bought it years ago off some GoG sale or something. I'm really looking more for epic story and great characters than heavy combat emphasis though...

IMO yes. There are key characters from BG 1 who return in BG 2. There is a pretty obvious set of people that the story of the games was written around, the first bits of their history is told and the greater story of the player starts to unfold in BG 1. You don't need to do it from a gameplay standpoint, but if the story is your main interest then you will want to do it.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:43 AM   #21
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obligatory Project Eternity reference for people who don't know about it yet:

http://eternity.obsidian.net/
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:02 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borealis7 View Post
i'm playing BG1:EE right now after playing it last time around 1999 and it's a lot of fun. no additional mods necessary.

it's already combined with the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion so i don't know which parts are extra (except for Durlag's Tower, that's easy to tell).
there was one map where Drizzt was running away from some Gnolls (which he can 1-hit without breaking a sweat) so i killed the Gnolls with him and then picked his pocket for 2 unique Scimitars+3. was that in the original game? i can't remember...
i tried to kill Drizzt, but he's super fast and one-hit all my fighters. i'll get back to him sometime later for revenge!

anyway, great fun was had by all. my party level is around 7 and i'm struggling to get any advantage i can in major fights. there are some tough opponents in the expansion like Skeleton Warriors, Doomguards, and Battle Horrors.

also, in BG1 the enemies respawn so you can find a place to train if you feel underleveled. but it will take a lot of time. maybe if you just need a bit of XP for that next level.
Keep in mind unless you install a mod theres no way to hold Drizzits equipment. You get jumped by some invincible asshole who keeps stealing all your crap.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:03 AM   #23
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No, I dont think BG1 is essential. If you want to play BG2 without playing BG1, just read the wikipedia synopsis on BG1. Its important to know who the player character is, but otherwise, not much else is important. It helps to know where you might have seen a character before, but its not essential.

I played BG2 for the first time without playing BG1. I was a little confused at first, but its not a big thing.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:49 AM   #24
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Before getting into BG2, definitely play BG1. Looking back, it would be best to do so on the BG2 engine (with the mods mentioned in earlier posts), which has an improved interface.

While you could read the synopsis on the original, you could also do the same for BG2 and not have to play the series in the first place. The original and its expansion are good enough to warrant a playthrough.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:54 AM   #25
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Bg1 is good cuz you appreciate how much better Bg2 is.

Also, theres spoilers immediately at the beginning of Bg2 so it kinda kills Bg1.
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