Stuck at the beginning, fearing the future, Starting Baldur’s Gate II, 16/2/15

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I have been on a bit of a CRPG kick recently, what with Divinity: Original Sin, Wastelands 2 and Shadow Run. So, in preparation for Pillars of Eternity coming out (Released 26 March 2015) I thought I would try one of the old ‘Infinity Engine’ games to see if I could cope with a Isometric CRPG that is not turn based. Having looked around for a while I settled on Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced edition (BGII). BGII is spoken of with great reverence, but I wasn’t sure whether I would get on with it and so couldn’t face buying the original version and modding it, hence the purchase of the ‘enhanced edition’ which makes the graphics vaguely acceptable on a modern monitor.

So far, I am a week in and I have made limited progress to say the least. This is mostly due to a lack of time and this simple fact does concern me, I get to play an hour a night if I am lucky, so slow progress can be a concern. On the other hand, I haven’t been speeding through it, in fact, I have restarted twice, whilst I try and get my head around the AD&D 2nd edition rule set that the game uses.

First I tried playing as a Dwarven Cleric, which was fine, kind of, but I seemed to spend my whole time trying to buff the cleric to the point that he was an effective fighter. This was made difficult because my character was at the front of the party (I hadn’t found the button that swops the party formation) and so I seemed to spend most of my time running away from attackers so I could cast enough spells to make me hard enough to stay upright in a fight. In the end, I decided it was time to try a new build.

Now I am playing as a Human Mage, who stands at the back and casts shooty spells; this seems to involve having a kip every five minutes to remember the spells I have just used. Still, I am beginning to get the hang of things, particularly of pausing to give orders.

So, things have been going OK. I have read the manual: I must confess to becoming disturbingly excited when I released that it was 270 pages long (I do love a nice manual!) I have read the intro section of various walkthroughs and looked for general hints and tips. I think I get how it all works and I definitely understand AD&D better than I did.

Then, I got a serious case of RPG fear. I finished the second level of the starting dungeon and my characters got dumped in the middle of a big city with a lot of people who can be spoken to and I nearly lost it. The talky bits are what RPGs are all about, but this much talking could take hours. What hope have I got? Luckily I managed to hold my nerve and, somewhat like when you are in a foreign city that you don’t know, I started with first principles: get a grip and don’t look lost. By just stumbling around I have picked up four quests, now I just need to work out how to finish one.

I still don’t know if I will be able to overcome the RPG fear, but I am quite excited to find out, although I do keep wondering if I wouldn’t be having more fun as a Dwarven Cleric…

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