View Full Version : My thoughts on Icewind Dale 2...
Sun, 8th Sep '02, 3:22pm
Some fights were way too hard. On the verge of being ridiculous. Some fights you wish you had 6 melees, other fights you wish you only had 2 melee and 4 casters.
Rangers are underpowered in IWD2. Wilderness skill sucks and dual wield ends up being inferior to a good 2-hand weapon by the end of the game.
Too much outdoors. I noticed this when my drow took penalties through at least half the game. The only plus side is the final chapter is all inside.
Not having ammo pouches as readily avaible, if at all (I never found any), as potion and gem bags made archers frustrating to maintain. They had everlasting arrows, but they sucked (didn't have any bonuses). Now an Everlasting Arrow +3 would have really made my day (didn't happen).
Monks needed more monk only items.
The Holy Avenger should have been a 2 handed great sword like it was in Baldurs Gate 2 (It was a large sword instead).
Fighters or one of the melee classes should start proficient in bastard swords. Sure they are nice but they aren't that much nicer than other martial weapons. My barbarian with hammers still outdamaged my fighter using bastard swords.
Better, ligher armor should have been in the game. The best armor I found was Mithril Field Plate. It was 10ac and, I think, up to 2 dex bonus and 30% arcane spell failure. Being deep into the game still using studded leather on melee classes is pathetic.
Not always being able to pick which party member speaks is annoying. It should always approach the leader or a designated speaker of the group. Too many times I had an NPC approach my 8 charisma Barbarian and give me little to no dialogue options.
I liked how if you lost track of a quest, most of the time you could simply kill every creature in the area, loot a key and move on.
The weapons start very weak throughout the first few chapters but by Chapter 5 there are nice weapons of all types. There is no wrong answer of weapon-type choice, although I advise a mixture of blunt, slashing and piercing weapons since some creatures are resistant to certain types of attack.
Half Orc Barbarians rule. Make one. My barbarian finished with well over 300 hp and was crit'ing in the 60-70 range on a regular basis.
There should have been more potions dropped for see-invis and spells that bring down enemies defensive spells. I guess I could have bought these from the gnome but I didn't think to. Made the end much harder than it should have been.
You finish with an excess of money. I had over 140,000 after selling items to the drow in the final dungeon and probably looted another 100-200 thousand worth of items. Spend every dime you can in Kuldahar.
Until the last dungeon I found I could purchase equal if not better items from vendor. I like it better when I get uber loot from mobs. A few more +1 and +2 weapons earlier in the game would have made me happier.
That's it for now. I'll probably think of more later.
Orkrist the Cleaver
Sun, 8th Sep '02, 11:16pm
I agree with some of your criticisms. Some of the battles are ridiculously hard, especially in Ch. 1. I think I need to start over with a new group, I just can't get through.
However, if it were too easy I'd be mad at spending money on a game that doesn't require me to think about what I'm doing and strategy, etc.
One issue I especially agree with is the Ranger problem. I've always either been one or used one, depending on which IE game I was playing, and in this game my Ranger seems to be little better than a Rogue or Bard without any casting abilities.
Sun, 8th Sep '02, 11:48pm
The difficulty comes and goes. Chapter One is pretty challenging, then it gets easier for a few chapters and then the end is hard again.
Right now I am pondering what the best party to play would be if I play again. I would definately keep a Half Orc Barbarian. I'd drop my ranger this time. I'd probably pick up a Paladin. Clerics are good in this game although I should have given him some Fighter levels. 4 levels of fighter lets you get all three levels of weapon profiencies and gives a couple extra feats. Having a bard as my only arcane spell caster left me really shy on spells at the end of the game. Maybe I could have made up for it with better selection of potions, but I felt under-armed for the final fight.
My party would look something like:
Aasimar Paladin, with 4 levels of Fighter
Half Orc Barbarian
Halfling Rogue, with 4 levels of Fighter
Human Cleric, with 4 levels of Fighter
Moon Elf Wizard, with 4 levels of Fighter
Mon, 9th Sep '02, 3:07am
Rangers are pathetic, i have one... and he dies every 5 seconds no matter what he wears i in chapter 4 now have a 6th charicter spot but no 6th char. (i just leave him dead hes so worthless)
Mon, 9th Sep '02, 4:54am
Pilsbane -- That's fairly close to the party I have, and am having really good success with them:
Half-Elf Paladin of Mystra
I've always gone with a half elf Ranger and an Elf Wizard up to this point, but decided to try a Paladin and a human wizard instead this time. No complaints! :D And, as you say, the half-orc barbarian is a must -- quite a formidable presence.
Mon, 9th Sep '02, 6:05am
Not too impressed. Basically just a hack and slash with very little inspiration. The new 3rd Edition rules add some flavour to the game, but I miss those great magic battles in BG 2 where you had to choose your spells carefully to penetrate a wizards' defenses. That was true flavour. This game is so melee combat inspired it is just as well to dual class everyone with a fighter class. Sorceror and wizards are useless in melee as well as a true thief. Not much Role Playing there. I started to plod through it to get it over with. Ice castle is way too big and then I had to return a second time! Holy! Aasimar Paladin/fighter way to go. Drows suck, too much sunlight, Half orcs rock! Necromancers way to go with wizards, tiefling race. My dwarven cleric of Tempus took a crazy amount of bruising, so take the cleric of Helm for the extra AC bonus. Take the ghostwise halfling thief and dual with barbarian. I agree about the Holy Avenger; should have been a bastard or two hander.Switching weapons with shield equipped was a pain in the ass. Graphics were weak for a 2002 game. I think I'll go back playing NWN. Seeya.
Mon, 9th Sep '02, 6:16am
It was a good 2-week diversion from Everquest for me. Better than Icewind Dale 1 which was only a 4-day diversion.
Mon, 9th Sep '02, 9:17pm
I just finally got my copy this weekend and I think it's much better than the first IWD so far. Mine you I still on the prolude but I think the NPC interaction is tons better. Things may change in later chapters, but for now it looking really good. I think playing a all fighter party is a little short sighted. I have a mix party so far with three front line PCs and three second tier PCs. I'll see how this works out but for now I haven't had any problems.
Tue, 10th Sep '02, 1:44am
It may seem short sighted to you now, but I have finished the game and my advice is to really start thinking about adding some fighter classes to your weaker characters. Your call, good luck.
Tue, 10th Sep '02, 2:03am
i finishd prelude twice in 1 day.. in like 2 hours max for each. and yes the fights are screwed up and way to hard
Tue, 10th Sep '02, 5:39am
4 levels of fighter somewhere along the line makes a HUGE difference. A wizard with 10 constitution only gets 4 HP a level. For every fighter level he'll get 10 instead. Taking 4 levels of fighter adds 24 HP over just having extra wizard levels. Add in the fact that you'll have 2 more feats (every other fighter level is a feat) and be able to have 3 levels of weapon proficiencies in any weapon (ie bows) and it rounds out your wizard in a very beneficial way.
Tue, 10th Sep '02, 9:07am
Now i'm oin prelude and going to chapter 1 and playing on core rules(first time ;) ) and until now i died only once (solo chalenge the merchant in docks in that inn :mad: pretty tough :)
So no until now i dont think game is too tough :p
Tue, 10th Sep '02, 3:40pm
Pilsbane, your focus on fighter is rather one sided. Yes your character may have more HP a d10 vs a d4 per level but you have less spells. It's a trade off. Your theory is that fighters are just better, this is not the case. 4 levels of wizard or cleric are just as import in any balanced party.
Tue, 10th Sep '02, 4:03pm
I certainly wouldn't want to do this adventure will an all fighter party. Yuck.
It seems pretty well balanced to me. I get a lot of mileage out of my spellcasters (a cleric, a sorceress, and a druid/wizard). They don't get a lot of the 'kill credits', but they certainly contribute mightily. Slow, Haste, Stoneskin, Web, Feeblemind, Remove Fear, Summon Whatever, and dozens of other spells all make my party stronger without showing up in the mage's 'kill report'. And the fireballs, lances of disruption, acid storms, and other AoE spells more often than not don't kill foes. But they certainly make them much, much easier for the fighters to finish off. Guys who are 'badly hurt' before your fighters engage them sure die alot faster and do a lot less damage.
Tue, 10th Sep '02, 7:19pm
Voltric, you obviously aren't very far into Icewind Dale 2 then. Maybe in Neverwinter Nights an extra 4 levels of wizard would be superior, but in IWD2, 4 levels of fighter is a thousand times more valuable. I am not arguing against having spell casters in the group. I am simply stating that a few levels of fighter makes them much stronger overall. Both Icewind Dale games were designed as more of a straight forward hack and slash. Progress is made much faster with brute force. Hell, with said suggested group I cleared out the entire dwarf population and monk population in chapter 4 without having to rest.
Tue, 10th Sep '02, 8:40pm
I hear you about the ranger weakness!!! I ended up dualing my ranger to fighter and alternating each level...It makes her a a little better! The additional feats coupled with my ranger's high dex and dual wield make her pretty tough now.
Orkrist the Cleaver
Wed, 11th Sep '02, 7:30am
I don't know who you guys are that finish these games in days. You are either exceptionally skilled gamers or you are younger than most and have the time (thats not a flame, in case it was read that way). It took me almost an entire year to finish BG1!! IWD2 will probably be finished right around Christmas time. I ended up starting over. I may give a cleric a few levels of ranger, but the ranger party is over, which is too bad. So far, though, I'd have to say IWD1 gets the lead a bit in the music and art departments, but IWD2 is no slouch.
The mage battles were cool in BG2, but there's more to role playing life than spell casting poker-play. I always thought IWD1 was the best up until BG2:TOB (only after TOB came out did I think BG2 had the edge). Anyway, cool game. I look forward to spending some better time with it and moving along. We shall see...
Wed, 11th Sep '02, 8:04am
I agree that chapter 1 fights were pretty hefty. Not rarely I had up to two chars dieing. That was quite a nuisance since the alternative is to reload or to travel a long way to get him resurrected. I agree that the difficulty setting was a little extreme for the beginning, nontheless it was manageable.
Implementation of 3e rules has improved IWD-2. Given your dex is high enough your AC can be just as good as a pally's with a half plate so agility can compensate for protection. I also like the implementation of weapon proficiency, focus and specialisation. The implementation of kills is ok too.
Playing the episode around Fiddlebender's ship atm I can say that IMO IWD-2 is a very good game with many major improvements over IWD :)
About my party:
My aasimar Paladin of Helm was seriously lacking hitpoints all over chapter 1 and the xp penalty really hurts. He is a 2/6 fighter-paladin atm and now that he's well equipped and leveled a potent fighter. I need a good b'sword though :(
My gold dwarf 9 fighter is specialized in axes and usually wielding a two handed axe - with his current strength of 19 he's a formidable frontliner. My most potent melee char.
I kinda disagree about rangers. My ranger is one of my toughest chars, however, I have a halfling 4/4 ranger-fighter atm ... most certainly he's much tougher than the pure variant. He rocks as my designated archer and is excellent with the spear - despite his light armor his AC is pretty good. Disadvantage was that I made a mistake multiclassing getting an xp-penalty when I was 2/4 fighter-ranger :(
Favoured class cannot be overestimated - neglecting it cost me 2000xp or so.
One char that starts who starts to surprise me is my human Watcher of Helm. He's becoming a very potent char as a 4/5 fighter-cleric. I'll develop him mainly as a cleric now. And I'm very happy about the fact he can use crossbows and longswords.
My strongheart halfling 4/5 fighter-rogue is one of my most potent chars, sneak attacking with 3d6 atm she dualwields a shortsword and a dagger. She's my secondary archer.
As my last char I have a human 4/5 fighter-bard, an even better frontface than my paladin and a very useful support spellcaster and identifyer - I only lack an appropiate armor atm :(
[ September 11, 2002, 11:43: Message edited by: Ragusa ]
Wed, 11th Sep '02, 9:13am
With your party a couple small pieces of advice to help you for later in the game...
Try and get potions to round out abilities/spells that your bard doesn't get since he is your only arcane caster. Specifically, being able to see invisible characters can be important at the end of the game. The party I beat the game with, I had a bard as my only arcane caster. For 99% of the game that was plenty. There was just about 1% I wished I had a real wizard or sorcerer. I got around the deficiency with good potion usage.
Keep a couple of blunt weapons. You get some decent hammers and maces along the way. Put these in the 3rd or 4th weapon slots on a few of your characters. There are some creatures that require blunt weapons, namely crystal golems.
Other than that it sounds like you are off to a good start.
Wed, 11th Sep '02, 9:13am
Now that I've finished the game I'm gonna say a thing or two.
I don't think there was too much outdoors because I think outdoors is what gives IWD that special atmosphere.
Some fights ARE really hard, but that's a challenge (though it can get frustrating).
Fellwood sucks! And Dragon's Eye 3rd level could have used a little more clues on how to get to the next level.
Where have all the armours gone? I found 4 good ones in the game, 3 of them in Severed Hand.
Otherwise, I think the game is great, and I finally got to play with a drow. And the story was really OK, if not great.