I want to start off with a quick apology for yesterday. Apparently Alexa just played the Ford Racing Off Road episode rather than the Puzzler World episode like it should have played. I’m testing Baldur’s Gate so hopefully the issue will be corrected this time. I have no idea what caused that but I’ll be more diligent in the future about making sure it doesn’t repeat.

Anyway, Baldur’s Gate. Most times, on this show, I just have a database pick a random game for me to talk about but when I was getting casual game after casual game in the database, I just decided to go for one of my favorite games of all time. Breaking up the theme, you know?

Baldur’s Gate has a pretty steep learning curve, especially for new players these days. Turns out D&D is pretty hard. Turns out 2nd Edition D&D is absolutely insane. Arbitrary restrictions on characters, Lower armor class being better, f****** THAC0… It’s nuts. That said, if you can work your way through the nonsense, there’s a phenomenal game here.

If you just can’t deal with 2nd edition D&D though, it may be worth picking up Neverwinter Nights 2 which uses 3.5 edition instead. It’s still complex but not nearly as stupid as the Infinity Engine games. Someone has actually modded the entire campaign of Baldur’s Gate into that game using 3.5 rules. I can’t say if it’s on equal footing as the original but hey, it’s there.

I could talk about Baldur’s Gate for pages though so I’m just gonna cut myself off here by saying that if you want to play it now, even for the first time, pick it up on GOG or Steam and then Google a D&D primer for the game. You don’t need to know everything about D&D but at least get the basics down.

2/14 – Baldur’s Gate

Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s video game of the day.

Today’s game is the first in the unofficially dubbed Infinity Engine games, Baldur’s Gate. Released in 1998 for Windows and 2000 for Mac OS, Baldur’s Gate is the second game by famed developer BioWare and the first of their RPGs.

Baldur’s Gate started development as a simple desire from BioWare to make an RPG although at the time, none of the BioWare founders knew how to do this. The team now credits their lack of understanding of both RPGs and game development as a whole, as the reason Baldur’s Gate was made. By experimenting with new technology and unintentionally abandoning the tile-based system all previous computer RPGs had used, BioWare impressed publisher Interplay, which had recently obtained the license to make a Dungeons and Dragons video game.

Baldur’s Gate adapts the 2nd edition rules of Dungeons and Dragons to tell the story of a player-named character who lives just south of the city of Baldur’s Gate in a library fortress known as Candlekeep. The main character’s life is soon upended when they are attacked by unknown assailants and must flee Candlekeep.

Gameplay in Baldur’s Gate is open-ended, allowing the player to explore the world in any way they choose although the player may encounter monsters much stronger than them if they travel off the beaten path. Along with a real-time, pausable combat system using Dungeons and Dragons rules, players also engage with a variety of NPCs and potential party members, of which the player can choose five to accompany them. Conversations allow for player choice and utilize the lawful/chaotic and good/evil alignment system. If players stray too far from a party member’s alignment, that party member may choose to leave the party or even attack the player.

Baldur’s Gate was highly praised upon release and is regarded as one of the best western RPGs ever made. Even to this day, the game has many fans and an active modding community which strives to update the game with more modern game design elements such as improved graphics and simplified rules. Modern gamers do often criticize the game’s use of 2nd edition Dungeons and Dragon rules which are often convoluted and place arbitrary restrictions on character creation.

The game was updated in 2013 by Beamdog Software to mixed reviews. While many praise the game itself, Beamdog’s updates were seen as superfluous or already obtainable through free mods. On February 7th of 2019, it was announced that all of the Infinity Engine games, including Baldur’s Gate, would be ported to the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch platforms.

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