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  1. You can simulate roughly taking a percentage though, e.g. take X gold if wealth is between Y and Z, and so on.
  2. I've never doubted that things could have been done better, though -- every game can be improved upon in some way, especially after the fact. But my point about BG2 risking negative impact from that kind of design still stands: sure, it may have come out like BG1 but better, with subtle hints guiding you through the various mandatory locations at your leisure while still appearing to set you free, but it could also have ended up more like ToB, essentially presenting you with a list of locations you have to go to, where you at most get to choose the order of a few of them.
  3. Well, it's all speculative. The game is as it is, and that's what's critiqued; I don't see it as certain the criticism had been less if it were all mandatory (and just to be clear again, I personally wouldn't really mind this, but I know that my preferences aren't exactly what all players would prefer). As for BG1, I also don't really see it as such a clean case as you appear to. There are some people who wish BG2 was more like BG1, yes, but as far as I've seen that's because BG1 feels more open, not because it railroads you with more mandatory stuff than BG2 does. Still, for all the people who might prefer BG1, even today with engine conversions and EEs available, BG2 is still the more popular choice, where the question put forth is usually whether it's worth it to play through BG1 or advisable to just edit in the tome bonuses. I also don't see the sandbox/story division as that black and white; it's part of an RPG (in the role-playing sense) to have elements of both -- it's difficult to get that balance right in a computer game, yes, but that doesn't mean it's wrong by definition.
  4. Yeah, again my objections weren't against such a mod, but came in regards to comparing story flow to e.g. Lord of the Rings. My point was that game developers have to make decisions regarding main and side content, and a lack of balance there can easily have a negative impact on the perceived quality of the game, which I believe the case might well have been if BG2 shipped with most of what you can do in chapter 2 and 3 as mandatory content.
  5. Don't misunderstand, I don't oppose such a mod, and I personally also wouldn't mind if much of the side content became main content (or hell, if you had to play all of BG1 in order to start BG2, even), but I still don't see it as an uncomplicated design decision, had it been made that way. If all the Athkatla branches became part of the main quest, my bet is that it would generate complaints, e.g. of how it ends up being linear kind of like ToB, where your only choice is in what order you do all the mandatory things. Anyway, my main point with posting was to reason around this and put forward a point of view much like your own (that going to Brynnlaw late can easily be supported by RP), which should be clear from my first post on the matter.
  6. Well, Tolkien also wasn't faced with a division between main and side content. A lot of the non-critical Athkatla content is very well made and serves to make the player's journey a lot richer, but if all of it were mandatory there would be very little optional content left in the game and all players would be forced to do everything.
  7. You can easily up the SCS-modded limit to 300k gold, or whatever limit you deem feasible for the way you'd like to play. Or like subtledoctor mentioned, imagine that in order to get to Brynnlaw you need to gather pieces of an item held by Firkraag, Kangaxx and Shangalar the Black. As for what Charname is thinking, that depends on how you play it: it's your character, after all. What was Frodo and Sam thinking while they were creeping through marshes, getting caught by Faramir and snared by Shelob? All this side stuff crap happening to them when all they want is to destry the ring. I'm sure they did everything they could to get to Mordor and Mount Doom as soon as possible, but in order to do so, there were a lot of other things they had to go through first. That's what makes it a story.
  8. Fair enough, though a strictly narrative sense of urgency is also common; far from every game uses actual time limits, and far from all players enjoy having them. Hell, even the few present in some of the stronghold quests have resulted in annoyance over the years as players unwittingly lose their ranger status, etc. That said, I don't oppose a mod that implements penalties -- just stating that lingering in chapter 2 and 3 can be at least as roleplay-based as hurrying along.
  9. The thing is that it isn't necessarily risk aversion, or powergaming for that matter. Anyone who knows enough about the game to meticulously collect every useful item around Athkatla in all likelihood also knows enough to do an undergeared solo trip through Spellhold as soon as they raise 15k gold. It's not that difficult. Some people just prefer the story to flow one way or the other, and come up with their own RP reasons for it and add mods that support it -- the macguffin you mentioned. If you prefer to explore in chapter 2 and 3 you might come up with reasons why it takes a long time to gather intel and resources and remove obstacles to get to Brynnlaw, and if you prefer to explore in chapter 6 you come up with reasons for why getting your soul back becomes a more complicated process. I don't even see why it should be controversial: a lot of games impose a sense of urgency while having something of a disjunction between the critical, narrative path and the less critical content you're free to go through at your leisure.
  10. For what it's worth, this is pretty much how I roleplay it, only the other way around. That is, to justify going after Imoen relatively late, I for one thing use SCS to up the gold required to ~120k, and for another headcanon that the work involved in finding out where Imoen is and how to get there requires me to do more than just some quick missions for Bodhi or Aran. For example I might need to explore the Windspear Hills, the ruins beneath the temple area, the Planar Sphere and the Umar Hills to find various bits of information before I can embark on an expedition to Brynnlaw. So when I finally go, weeks or months later, that is as fast as my character was able to do all that which was needed. And, immersive enough, also allowed Irenicus the time to take over, set up his laboratory and perform experiments on numerous test subjects.
  11. It's the other way around, I liked the campfires but as there was no option to install them without everything else I ended up manually taking them out and implementing them.
  12. Since you ask, in your particular case I would say modularity. Like I've mentioned before, several of your projects have been inventive, like the spell/lightning effects mod and more recently the adventurer's miscellany one. For one thing because of good ideas and for another because graphics editing tends to be more time consuming and more difficult to get right than many other kind of edits. Without the possibility of modular installing though, much of it may end up moot. When you install 50+ mods onto EET or similar, even with care, game knowledge and tried-and-true mods, you can be pretty sure you're inducing at least a couple of bugs that will surface at some point. Hence, installing untested, unwieldy mods that make sweeping file changes often seems like an unnecessary risk even if there is something inside that you feel would benefit your game. Maybe someone just wants a different fireball effect. Case in point, after asking you about modularity for adventurer's miscellany and getting a no, I decided to just edit out the campfire portion for use in my install. Not everyone has that option, and may therefore decide to skip it altogether.
  13. Yeah, what caused the ban, Shandyr? Though not around as much any more, I noticed over the years some of the more social/prolific members getting banned, including you, LadyRhian, shawne, etc. As I recall beamdog at one point stated it happened that more active forum members asked to be banned in order to be forced to spend less time there.
  14. Has to be one of the most lawful playthroughs I've ever heard of.
  15. Hm. I always figured he meant Zhalimar Cloudwulfe and his party of faithful (Aasim, Alai, Diyab, Gardush and Naaman) that you do battle with atop the Iron Throne building, and as such never saw it as a plot hole. With Hafiz giving you one scroll, I got the impression he was talking about a singular encounter -- but of course it could be interpreted in different ways. Edit: At any rate, they are six, and they seemingly serve Sarevok with a religious devotion rather than as mercenaries. From Zhalimar's dialogue: "There are no hired lackeys for you to bribe here, no mercenaries that slather at the sound of coins. We are servants of Sarevok and Sarevok alone, selected by hand to protect his destiny."
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