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I’m just going to come out and say it, this game will consume us all. Beamdog went live today on Twitch. I got caught up after work and here are some of the interesting new features that caught my eye.
You must gather your party before venturing forth…
UPDATE: This was initially going to be a two part post, but the second Twitch video was mostly Phil wandering aimlessly around the wilderness killing things. The stream culminated with Phil fireballing a group of about 50 refugees. Good times…
So here’s the deal: the Shining Lady is causing all sorts of mayhem with her crusade and Baldur’s Gate is overflowing with refugees. They are loitering in the streets and shacked up in the old Iron Throne building like the levee walls were breeched during a hurricane.
As you can see in the image above, the game appears DARK. The whole UI is dark. I don’t know if is the Twitch feed or Beamdogs default settings, but the game has a gloomy vibe to it. Infravision is now selective in its use; when people are in the dark, it’s there with the red tinge. When people are standing by a light source, it’s gone.
The devs have been busy doing a lot of subtle enhancements. Pictured above you’ll notice the sprites have a black boarder around them that makes them ‘pop’ on the screen. Hovering over a character will place a blue glow around them that will make them stand out when all hell is breaking loose and you’re attempting to select the right person. Hate these changes? It’s cool, everything can be toggled on/off to your preference.
The gray scale pause mechanic and the Warcraft-esque health bars can be toggled too. It appears evident there will never again be any kind of consensus of the, “best way” to have the UI ever again.
During the stream Amber and Phil mentioned that only the UI improvements and new abilities will be added to the original BG:EE. The story and the content will remain the same.
The beginning of BG:SoD will have a prologue that will explains the NPC’s that won’t be able to travel with you. Several of the original cast will be back, but they specifically mention Kivan, Montanan, and Xzar will only show up in the prologue (but will reappear in BG2:EE if they were there in the first place). Coran, Safana, Rasaad, Skie, and even Garrick were all scattered throughout the Gate in the demo build they were playing.
There will be lots of tie-ins from BG:SoD that BG2:EE fans will pick up on right away as well. Phil also mentioned that none of the NPC’s will show up in BG2:EE unless there is a high demand to put them there in a future patch.
Something diehard gamers will welcome with open arms are the new way Beamdog have approached difficulty in BG:SoD. From ‘easy’ to ‘insane’ to the criminally insane ‘Legacy of Bhaal’ mode, not only does the number of enemies and their compositions increase, but the tactics they use change.
As the difficulty increases, enemies will look to pick off your mages on the back lines, attempt to heal during the fight, and use increasingly powerful abilities. My favorite part of this is there is an option to increase the level of difficulty but NOT increase the damage received.
We’ll have the ability to lower the difficulty mid-fight, which will instantly eliminate enemies. However, the reverse is not possible to discourage farming xp.
The last feature that stood out was the customizable scripts. We will (hopefully) have less micro managing of NPC’s during dungeon crawls and clearing wilderness maps (of which there will be no fewer than seven).
If you’d like to watch the Twitch stream before it gets edited for YouTube, check it out here.