Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest Krazy

SCS balance discussion

Recommended Posts

I've come to a conclusion: it's the minor globes that are rather unbalanced. There's two issues with it, imo.

 

One, in BG for most of the game your party simply does not have access to spells or spell effects of lvl 4 or higher (unless you have a bunch of mods installed that make youre lvls prematurely inflated). This means that all your offensive and battlefield control spells (including web, clouds, etc) are useless vs wizards for much of the game unless you are really looking to max out XP from mods or durlag's tower early on, etc. It makes this spell incredibly powerful, much more so in BG1 than in BG2 where your party has plenty of spells that can bypass this.

 

Two, it's a round/lvl spell. It's a spell that's meant to be cast at the beginning of combat (with risk of being disrupted unless via contingency etc), or else it's seriously overpowered. I really would not mind the above if it weren't for the fact that casters get these things off without interruption, ie it's part of the prebuff package. Powerful round/lvl spells simply should not be an automatic part of prebuffs imo. Stoneskin, ironskin, armor, ghost armor,spirit armor, even blur and mirror image I can see, as they last a significant amount of time at higher lvls, but 1 round/lvl spells with this much power being precast seems overdone. It's just not feasible that all the mid lvl casters have means of scrying/divining the party's approach with absolute perfect knowledge and are able to throw up short term spells just in the nick of time, every time.

 

A relatively small tweak would make a huge difference imo: if the pre buff routine could be tweaked just so that mgoi is not always on but rather is prebuffed a random percentage of the time (even a majority of the time would be fine)... or not prebuffed at all and needs to be cast legitimately at the begining of combat (good chance of it being safe with mirror image prebuffed anyway). The result would be that there's actually a small chance now that the wizards don't have omniscent knowledge of the party's approach and may not have had mgoi ready, and needs to put it up as combat begins, which means a small chance that it could be disrupted. Not large, a small chance. I think aside from making the difficulty go down a bit, it would make combat vs mages less routine/predictable ("there they go with the instant mgoi again just like all the other wizards").

 

Just a suggestion for a future release that might be less complicated to code, and might make this mod even more enjoyable for many.

Edited by Ithildur

Share this post


Link to post
Guest Robocaper

Probably one of the better BG discussions going on here then the rest of the net!

 

Anyway, after reading all this:

1. Having a few more random spells in the mix seems good (nobody is perfect - the chaotic mages are chaotic after all.)

2. If you’re not a power gamer, then just go with BG1 spells and don't prebuff for your first run and prebuff thereafter.

3. If you're a power gamer, then go for the works and BG2 spells - gamers need to scale themselves, so don't blame the mod (except for bugs such as below.)

 

Bug Note: there is a bit of a bug that happened when I installed BG2 Tweaks shapeshifting component and SCS's component after it -- so don't do both! I think I blame myself for this one...

Share this post


Link to post
I've come to a conclusion: it's the minor globes that are rather unbalanced. There's two issues with it, imo.

 

One, in BG for most of the game your party simply does not have access to spells or spell effects of lvl 4 or higher (unless you have a bunch of mods installed that make youre lvls prematurely inflated). This means that all your offensive and battlefield control spells (including web, clouds, etc) are useless vs wizards for much of the game unless you are really looking to max out XP from mods or durlag's tower early on, etc. It makes this spell incredibly powerful, much more so in BG1 than in BG2 where your party has plenty of spells that can bypass this.

 

Standardise spells: Add BG2 spells adds a Spell Thrust scroll. Unless you go out of your way to find (comparatively) high level mages, you come across it before you start encountering mages with MGoI, or at least before you encounter most of them.

Share this post


Link to post
I've come to a conclusion: it's the minor globes that are rather unbalanced. There's two issues with it, imo.

 

One, in BG for most of the game your party simply does not have access to spells or spell effects of lvl 4 or higher (unless you have a bunch of mods installed that make youre lvls prematurely inflated).

 

One of the aTweaks components can allow Dispel/Remove Magic to take down Globes of Invulnerability, as per PnP rules.

Share this post


Link to post
Probably one of the better BG discussions going on here then the rest of the net!

 

Anyway, after reading all this:

1. Having a few more random spells in the mix seems good (nobody is perfect - the chaotic mages are chaotic after all.)

2. If you’re not a power gamer, then just go with BG1 spells and don't prebuff for your first run and prebuff thereafter.

3. If you're a power gamer, then go for the works and BG2 spells - gamers need to scale themselves, so don't blame the mod (except for bugs such as below.)

 

#2b (with prebuff) is what I have atm. The issue isn't 'help, I can't beat this thing, it's so hard!' - I can and have beat it; I've beaten the game with bg2 spells and prebuffs previously as well, though it was definitely a challenge. I think tweaking mgoi as part of the pre buff package would make the gameplay experience more interesting as well as toning down the difficulty a bit. BG1 spells include mgoi. As soon as you install pre buffs, even with bg1 spells only, the mages become nigh untouchable (you don't need stoneskin if you have mirror image, really). mirror image plus minor globe alone is a powerful combo vs low to mid lvl parties; it virtually assures several rounds of being untouchable while you cast offensive spells; that's fine, but does a round/lvl spell of that caliber belong in a pre buff package with the other buffs which are long lasting ones? I think having it so that it's not prebuffed100% of the time would be an improvement.

 

One of the aTweaks components can allow Dispel/Remove Magic to take down Globes of Invulnerability, as per PnP rules.

 

Good stuff, Avenger, as always! Unfortunately dispels offer limited help until your own casters get past mid lvls as the enemy casters tend to be higher lvl than you for most of the game.

 

Rather than setting up a cyclical pattern of 'there's enemy mages, they all have mgoi, time to dispel and hope I roll well,' for every mage fight, I think I'd enjoy something along the lines of 'there's enemy mages, did they know we were coming and get MGOI up? If so, we're in trouble; better get the dispels ready and pray!"

Edited by Ithildur

Share this post


Link to post
Good stuff, Avenger, as always! Unfortunately dispels offer limited help until your own casters get past mid lvls as the enemy casters tend to be higher lvl than you for most of the game.

 

With that component installed, Arrows of Dispelling can remove the Globes as well, so they might be useful against exceptionally high level mages.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest Krazy

Ithildur, please don't put words in my mouth.

 

I might take the OP's posts a bit more seriously if he didn't make laughable statements along the lines of 'Tactics does not cheat or cheese, but SCS cheats and lies and steals babies!'

 

All I said is that tactics uses cheese and is upfront about it. SCS says it plays 'fair', but I do think there are a couple of things SCS does which could be considering 'cheating' or perhaps it's fairer on my part to say, seriously unfair to the party even if strictly legal.

 

Since David has answered my points - and I can see where he's coming from, I'd ask you to refrain from casting aspersions on my 'laughable statements' when you are not even bothering to get them right.

 

You even yourself highlighted one of my points about MGoI. I shouldn't need another mod to help balance such a powerful spell. I think this is one area that certainly needs revision or perhaps David can add that particular tweak in?

 

David, I guess it's philosophical differences then. In that light, I take back my 'disappointed' view. The mod is still very good in spite of my 'criticisms'. I would still rather play BG1tutu with it than without, although as per your suggestions, I would tweak the options a little.

Share this post


Link to post
All I said is that tactics uses cheese and is upfront about it. SCS says it plays 'fair', but I do think there are a couple of things SCS does which could be considering 'cheating' or perhaps it's fairer on my part to say, seriously unfair to the party even if strictly legal.

 

I think that's probably the nub of the matter. When I say "SCS plays fair", I mean that it keeps to the game rules (and doesn't exploit obvious abuses like putting project image into chain contingencies), or that when it breaks the rules, it adds a component to let the player break the rules in the same way (the main example is spell immunity in contingencies). But I don't shy from using all the resources available to me in the game's ruleset, even if (and this is debatable) the ruleset is quite harsh on players in certain situations.

 

(And I take it that this means when Krazy says "SCS cheats" he just means what I've said, and there's a bit of a communications breakdown going on. So I'm not offended, and others shouldn't be on my behalf - this is a pretty interesting discussion and I'd hate to see it degenerate.)

 

I do, however, also change the rules on occasion where things otherwise look boring. The best example of this is the area-effects for antimagic attacks. I did that because otherwise SI:Divination + Improved Invisibility would be such a good (arguably, broken) combination that it would be mad for anyone not to use it, and that would be dull.

 

So in principle I'd be willing to play with MGI. But I'm not yet convinced it's a good idea to do so, for several reasons.

 

(i) Spell Thrust does penetrate MGI; it's available at the end of chapter 3. So once you reach 5th level, you have a counter to MGI available. Not many mages use MGI against you before that stage.

(ii) While it's true that MGI seriously closes down a party's magic attack options, my own experience is that mages without MGI fall very quickly: magic missile + acid arrow, or a shot of the wand of paralysis, or hold person, or... can ruin a mage's day very quickly. Low level mages have poor saving throws and poor hit points. So I'm unconvinced that nerfing it would actually improve things. In both SCS and SCS2, it's notable that clerics really aren't usually that impressive, because I can't protect them very well. (I make an exception for Unholy Blight and the Wand of the Heavens).

 

I'm somewhat sympathetic to Ithildur's suggestion that a bit more randomness would help here, especially as 1 round/level isn't that long for BG1 mages. At the moment, it's randomly determined whether a mage has MGI but if he has, he automatically precasts it; I'll consider making it random (probably as an optional choice or a console fine-tuning option). It's going to be a while before I do another SCS update, though, and I might see if I can find time to play through myself - I haven't done a full playthrough with BG2 spells in place.

 

Incidentally, the desire for randomness in who gets to buff is why SCS2 has its intermediate buffing option. Trouble is, it works by buffing anyone who is created in sight of the PCs (notably, wizards who teleport in or are spawned in a cutscene). That happens a lot in BG2 but hardly at all in BG1 - that's why there's no intermediate option in SCS.

 

David, I guess it's philosophical differences then. In that light, I take back my 'disappointed' view. The mod is still very good in spite of my 'criticisms'. I would still rather play BG1tutu with it than without, although as per your suggestions, I would tweak the options a little.

 

That's kind.

 

Krazy: If you don't object, I think I'll change the title of this thread - it's been (and continues to be) a rather interesting discussion, but the title isn't necessarily that descriptive.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest Guest - Lemernis

I haven't read through everything in this thread, but I will chime in to say that I do have to reload a bit for the tougher battles versus spellcasters.

 

If all else fails, Dispel Magic can bring down both Minor Globe of Invulnerability and Globe of Invulnerability.

 

Improved Invisibility can be countered with Glitterdust.

 

A Cloak of Non-Detection or the Non-Detection spell will allow a thief to backstab some of the more difficult opponents.

 

The only criticism I have with SCS is that, in my opinion, the Improved Final Battle falls outside of the 'sweet spot' zone for high difficulty and winnability. It is just too difficult to be fun, for my taste.

 

I think I may have won it one time? Can't quite recall... But anyway, in the half dozen or so times I've played SCS I usually end up having to uninstall the Improved Final Battle to finish the game.

 

Surprisingly to me, Smarter General AI and Smarter Mages--which I always install--doesn't seem to make Angelo and Semaj that much more difficult. So I would appreciate it if an 'Improved Final Battle - Lite Version', or something to that effect, was offered.

Share this post


Link to post
The only criticism I have with SCS is that, in my opinion, the Improved Final Battle falls outside of the 'sweet spot' zone for high difficulty and winnability. It is just too difficult to be fun, for my taste.

I'd be interested in feedback from others who've tried it. Is there a general consensus it's too hard, or is it a matter of taste?

 

Surprisingly to me, Smarter General AI and Smarter Mages--which I always install--doesn't seem to make Angelo and Semaj that much more difficult. So I would appreciate it if an 'Improved Final Battle - Lite Version', or something to that effect, was offered.

 

Yeah, for basically historical reasons Semaj and Angelo's (and Davaeorn's, I think) scripts aren't upgraded by Smarter Mages; they have to wait for the Improved component. That's probably something worth changing in a future install.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest Krazy

By all means change the topic title.

 

Spell Thrust at the end of chapter 3. Hmm, okay, I'll give it a shot to see if it works. But I'm gonna assume it won't let me target them whilst improved invisible.

 

I can only see these spells mentioned specifically as having that small area of effect,

 

Secret Word, Spellstrike, Ruby Ray of Reversal - but not Breach.

 

but I imagine you still have to target their general area which is somewhat difficult when they are running around the screen hasted... anticipating where they will be is beyond me.

Share this post


Link to post
But I'm gonna assume it won't let me target them whilst improved invisible.

There is a separate component for that.

I can only see these spells mentioned specifically as having that small area of effect,

 

Secret Word, Spellstrike, Ruby Ray of Reversal - but not Breach.

Breach is still single target, yes.

but I imagine you still have to target their general area which is somewhat difficult when they are running around the screen hasted... anticipating where they will be is beyond me.

You don't. You wait until they start casting something and zap them.

Share this post


Link to post
But I'm gonna assume it won't let me target them whilst improved invisible.

There is a separate component for that.

 

Yeah - in fact this is exactly what the area of effect does. And I'm pretty sure Spell Thrust gets one (if not, it's a mistake).

 

Having said that, if you go with BG1 spells, Spell Thrust isn't available. So I guess it's a tradeoff!

Share this post


Link to post
Guest KeiranHalcyon

I'm going to repost something I posted in the "interesting fight with werewolves" thread, since it goes along with the balance discussion rather nicely:

 

I'd also like to comment that, having only two weapons (Werebane Dagger and (bastard) Sword of Balduran) capable of hitting the greater werewolves, with no credible melee character in my party proficient in those weapon types, made the greater werewolf fights rather difficult given the greater werewolves' regeneration rate (primary tank / main character was 8th-level Cavalier at the time). Also, the werebane dagger description is identical to a normal dagger, although my record screen seemed to indicate that it was a +3 weapon (vs. everything, not just lycanthropes, assuming that it does indeed use dagger proficiency).

 

To elaborate - none of my melee characters could damage the greater wearwolves faster than their regeneration healed them. Even pumping direct damage spells at them (from one mage and one bard), I'd run out of memorized spells before killing them. I finally had to settle for wands of fire set to scorcher and wait until the werewolves failed one too many saves in a row.

 

As I said when I originally posted this, I'm not really looking for a fix, since I'm past that point in the game. I'm just curious to see if others have had similar experiences, and to learn how they dealt with it (or if I missed something obvious).

Share this post


Link to post

I want to voice my opinion on the pre-buff issue;

 

First, I agree that non-prebuffed mages would be too easy. I'm not sure which spells they still prebuff with even under that option of SCS, but I suspected it would trivialize most mage fights.

 

But I also agree that full prebuffing is likewise problematic, because of powerful short-duration spells like MGoI or Imp. Invisibility, as others have stated.

 

Regarding the meta-game explanation for pre-buffing, (Scrying, hidden alarms, etc.) I think we should keep in mind AD&D's round system; One combat round is 6 seconds, a turn is 10 rounds or one minute. Now, as regards to the prebuffing rationale, it's a bit farfetched to assume every enemy mage would be able to predict the PC party's arrival to within just a few seconds, or even less than a minute. It would only take a minute miscalculation, or an unexpected delay for the party, and the mage would literally be standing there with his pants down and his protections expired, if he buffed up prematurely.

 

I have absolutely no problem with multi-turn spells, such as Shield, Protection from Missiles or the various Armor spells, or even Mirror Image. But the 1r/lvl or fixed 10 round spells are pretty much in-combat spells by design.

 

So basically, I'm all for an intermediate option where those spells don't get prebuffed, or alternatively, a randomisation algorithm where mages only get to prebuff with 1-5 mid to short-term protections, starting with those with the longest duration.

If you want to go further, you could even include Diviners who always perfectly prebuff, the rationale being that they can predict the party more skillfully, as well as Conjurers not getting to prebuff at all, because they lack divination.

 

And talking about intermediate options; Is my request for Prot. from Normal Missiles excluding +2 and higher enchantments still on the table, or have you decided against it?

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...