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Default Atari - D&D rights extended to 2017

July 24th, 2007, 11:42
Some comments and (desperate) questions….

I am a big fan of the AD&D 2nd edition rules (BG1&2 I believe). Remember the heavy-duty scrollable stats on the right hand side of the character screen ? Intricate beauty ! It took me months to find out what Thac0 meant. I just like details.

So, like many, after accepting the authoritarian decree that AD&D 2nd edition was "obsolete" and NWN 3rd edition rules were "superior", I was greatly disappointed with the level of 'difficulty' in NWN. Many combat sequences were predictable cakewalks, repetitious and unsuspenseful. Simply bland, imo.

Since 2001, I've spent many hours/days dreaming about the release of a BG3 (or it's equivalent) which would provide a 100+ hour high fantasy epic, using the AD&D 2nd edition rule set, and ultimately, the Infinity engine as well, with the classic isometric view, and party based play.

After reading all the reports, and evidence, especially recently, I've come to the conclusion that my dream is now concretely extinguished by objective reality. I'll always love and prefer the ruleset and engine of BG, but my brain is telling me it's basically BANISHED, with an absolute 0% chance of existing ever again. PERIOD.

Say it ain't so. Someone, please tell me a fact, or possibility I'm not considering, or aware of. It's like my favorite actor or singer, being found dead, no chance of being reborn. I can accept it with a human, but a highly popular, heralded, highly rated and successful Pc-Rpg SYSTEM ? C'mon.

I yearn for a game, like BG1, which gives you a level advance, in long & winding epic fashion. A game like BG2 which had Giants that can stomp once or twice on your Rogue, causing instant death. The armor class numbers were magnificent… -7 … was superior ! The entire look of the character screen was enticing and appealing. All Gone. As well, to add insult to injury, my LESS favorite D&D ruleset : seemingly buried and gone forever as well. Ouch ouch.

Someone, please tell me, with rational evidence, however puny, that this is not necessarily an absolute and permanent scenario. Let me add one important thing : I (personally) know of an Rpg designer/writer (no, he's not employed by Bioware) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, who has written an entire BG3 200 hour saga, and has it locked away in his filing cabinet. I haven't spoken to him in 2 years, but if there is a chance of an interested party (like Atari) , he might allow his BG3 masterpiece (some might just simply dismiss it, cynically, as amateurish fan fiction) out for public consumption.

Any inside information and/or a big picture perspective, would be greatly appreciated, as I'd like to be anchored to reality, with a rational and reasonable view of this entire scenario.
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July 24th, 2007, 13:09
Much as I'd love to tell you we have some "inside" knowledge of BG3, the reality is that such news would be quite a big deal to the gaming community and we wouldn't be the first to break it.

Noone really knows Atari's plans for the Baldur's Gate brand but I think Atari is unlikely to pursue two "hardcore" D&D CRPGs simultaneously, and currently NWN2 is one of their flagship products. The integration of a full party into NWN2 definitely pushes it closer to BG, so I'm not sure how (or if) they'd fit the two brands together - at least until NWN2 has run its course.

As someone who basically grew up on AD&D, I have a huge fondness for the ruleset, THAC0 and so on but I also don't think the use of v3.5 inherently diminishes the content you are looking for. There will be D&D aficionados here who will have preferences and criticisms of D&D's version changes but, frankly, THAC0 isn't a big deal (AD&D is all over the place…v3+ establishes conventions such as higher numbers are always good and lower numbers are always weaker, which simply makes sense).

I think your problem is really with the campaigns rather the ruleset. There's no inherent reason a v3.5 game can't be as "epic" as BG, if the developers write the campaign in that fashion, although I do think a 200 hour campaign is unrealistic in the modern market.

Your friend's 200 hour BG3 campaign is fan fiction, I'm afraid. Assuming Atari would tackle a 200 hour campaign (and they wouldn't - there's just too much content), there just isn't a commercial development studio they could allocate it to that isn't brimming over with ideas to create their own campaign…the more complicated bit is turning that into reality with all the compromises on art production and other resource constraints that making a modern game entails.

A good example is Obsidian. There is no doubt they could have done better with NWN2 but I'd also bet many of those "mistakes" are born of the pressure to only schedule production of xx number of locations, or whatever. That doesn't mean they didn't get many things wrong but given any resources necessary, do you really think Chris Avellone, Josh Sawyer, Darren Monahan (etc etc) couldn't write a good campaign?

Anyway, I think Mask of the Betrayer will be decent and don't overlook Dragon Age…it isn't D&D but it might have some of the spirit of BG2.

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July 24th, 2007, 15:30
My personal dream is the opposite of NWN's Aurora editor :

Not an editor where you can change the graphics and the overall look,

but an editor where you can actually chance the rule set.
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July 24th, 2007, 18:01
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
but an editor where you can actually chance the rule set.
Well with Aurora you can change most of the rule set, it's incredibly powerful when you use scripting. We used it to rip out the existing XP, death, combat etc. system to put our own in.
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July 24th, 2007, 19:38
Yes, but as far as I understand it still uses the (A)D&D rule set ?

I'm writing this because I heard of peoply tring to build TDE adventures with that … Now TDE doesn't have several game worlds like (A)D&D has … instead, the world and the system are basically one (not to count Myranor).
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July 25th, 2007, 03:52
With Aurora you can implement your own rules but it usually requires haks. There's a great deal of constraint to write rules outside of the box. You have to do them in a convoluted way and players by and large don't appreciate what they are not familiar with.

For example trainers. All us AD&D (aka 1st edition) junkies despise instant level ups. Players do not level up in dungeons. You levelled up between dungeons in these invisible towns. If you don't believe me look at all those gold box games. Trainers and even towns were something you could a lot easier on computers than in PnP.

Somewhere along the line this changed. Oodles of new players can't stand the idea, including Bioware. They made it "easier than Baldur's Gate". Then they said this I was horrified. In order to create trainers in Aurora you have to actually delevel a player when they level up. Several of us (including Vulcano) tried to lobby Obsidian to making a less convoluted system so we could implement trainers properly but they wouldn't respond.

I'm in agreeance that I would like something easier to change rule systems; something that really is "make your own roleplaying game" and not "maeke your own Faerun" thing.

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July 25th, 2007, 05:09
Originally Posted by Arpyjee View Post
*Snip*…
I am a big fan of the AD&D 2nd edition rules (BG1&2 I believe)….

So, like many, after accepting the authoritarian decree that AD&D 2nd edition was "obsolete" and NWN 3rd edition rules were "superior", I was greatly disappointed with the level of 'difficulty' in NWN. Many combat sequences were predictable cakewalks, repetitious and unsuspenseful. Simply bland, imo….
I agree that NWN respresents a huge step away from the intricate, slower paced, and more demanding scenarios of the BG's(and to me a leap into power gaming, with the millions of prestige classes, etc) but as Dhruin points out below, I don't think it's the ruleset that's at fault so much as the game design:

Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post

As someone who basically grew up on AD&D, I have a huge fondness for the ruleset, THAC0 and so on but I also don't think the use of v3.5 inherently diminishes the content you are looking for….
I think your problem is really with the campaigns rather the ruleset. There's no inherent reason a v3.5 game can't be as "epic" as BG, if the developers write the campaign in that fashion…
To support this point, look at Troika's Temple of Elemental Evil. It uses the 3.5 ruleset, and imo manages to be at least as interesting and complex as Baldur's Gate, especially using v3.5 combat feats and so forth; some would say even more so as it accomplishes much the same goal while being focused far more on a short, linear module rather than a huge epic like BG1 & 2.

In short, there's hope I think for that kind of game to be made still, though it may or may not be by Bioware, and it may not be BG3.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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July 25th, 2007, 13:22
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
For example trainers. All us AD&D (aka 1st edition) junkies despise instant level ups. Players do not level up in dungeons. You levelled up between dungeons in these invisible towns. If you don't believe me look at all those gold box games. Trainers and even towns were something you could a lot easier on computers than in PnP.

Somewhere along the line this changed. Oodles of new players can't stand the idea, including Bioware. They made it "easier than Baldur's Gate". Then they said this I was horrified. In order to create trainers in Aurora you have to actually delevel a player when they level up. Several of us (including Vulcano) tried to lobby Obsidian to making a less convoluted system so we could implement trainers properly but they wouldn't respond.
It's not all that hard is it? We use our own custom look up table for xp and set the nwn xp to 0. If you wanted trainer levels then when the level boundary would be reached you could set a variable to fix the given xp to 0 while incrementing the 'owed' xp by the xp they should get instead. When you visit a trainer the owed xp is given as actual xp and they level. No haks needed
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