BG2 sales...Desslock? Anyone? Bueller?

I just read this quote from Jay Watamaniuk, Bioware’s Community Manager:

“There has been a lot of time spent game balancing, between using the rules and making it fun for everything. You at one extreme has [sic] the people who absolutely love the Baldur’s Gate series, and on the other side you have people who are dedicated to the Diablo series. We had to find a balance between the two.”

Did they? How did BG2 stack up in sales compared to the original Baldur’s Gate. Were they in a position, fiscal or otherwise, that required tapping into the Diablo crowd? Or did they get enough feedback – as in, a majority – that said they sure wished BG played more like Diablo or how cool it would be if NWN played like Diablo.

This might explain why NWN has that “almost, but not quite” feel to it. Maybe it was far too compromised in trying to be an all-thing-to-all-people.

Color me part of the extreme who prefers the BG style of gameplay, but I had no idea I was on such a polar end to begin with, according to Mr. Watamaniuk.

Since multiple people can go trhough the SP game, I can’t see why they have to limit you to one char to control. If the player wants a group of 5 or 6 let them. They could have given the player an option to control more. Devs to think they know whats “best” get on my nerves sometimes.

It was just a decision of how the design team wanted the game to be.

I thought the whole point of NWN was to give you the closest thing to pen and paper D&D as was possible, what with all of the multiplayer stuff and the power the DMs have over a game. In that case, doesn’t it make more sense to control only one character? Or do people commonly play D&D controlling an entire group? I don’t really see how you can role play five people at a time.

I’m probably wrong, since I don’t play RPGs a whole lot, but that’s why it kind of made sense to me. As for the SP, I guess they just wanted it to be consistent. For most games I’d assume people play through SP before goign online, so it would probably be weird if you play SP as a party and then have to shift to one character in multi.

You’re right Mike, but only when you’re talking about multiplayer. In singleplayer it’s much more fun to simulate D&D rather than to try to recreate D&D by yourself, even with an AI DM. Solo-adventuring is rarely all that fun. The party dynamic of Baldur’s Gate did a very good job of simulating the D&D experience in a limited and single-player way, rather than being true to D&D’s one player/one character motif. The outcry Bioware is hearing is people who miss the simulation.

I’m one of those who is disappointed in the single player NWN game, but I admire what Bioware accomplished with their engine, multiplayer, and toolset. I acknowledge that they just didn’t make the game I wanted (my complaint is that the single player campaign is just plain blah). Which is why I’m glad we’ve got Black Isle still making those kinds of D&D games (for now).

It’ll be interesting to see how Bioware reacts to these complaints. I’m not sure if they’re widespread at all. Most of the fan raaction at Gen Con was mixed between those who wanted party-based SP and those content with this marriage of BG and Diablo. So, will Bioware try to incorporate BG-style party play into NWN, or just further please multi fans with more new content when it comes time for an expansion pack?

(You don’t have to answer that yet Ohle)

I don’t think BG2 sold as well as BG, but don’t quote me on that. I looked at some NPD numbers at one point. BG2 did sell quite well, though. Any company would love to have a game sell as well as BG2.

I just think the RPG community was starved for a good RPG when BG came out. Post BG, there were quite a few other RPGs released before BG2.

I don’t know about BG2 sales, but Bioware has indeed stated publically that NWN is selling faster than any other game they’ve ever done.

Well Bub answered it best.

If the game can handle several characters(the SP game it can be played as a MP online/lan game), then simply give a single person the ability to control more than one char. I havn’t seen any reason why this couldn’t have been done. It just seems like Bioware said its staying ‘simplified’ even in SP no matter what to appeal to the Diablo crowd.

When NWN is determining how difficult to make the battles based on the number of characters, does it include henchmen, or not? 'Cause if it’s just going on actual player, that could be part of the reason that they didn’t allow more than one henchman – which I would love.

I don’t want five henchman, though. I want five characters I can control, level, give items to, etc.

Well, then…That’s different. :)

I kinda like only having complete control over one character, personally. I would like to be able to have my henchmen carry stuff once in a while, but I don’t mind them levelling up and fighting on their own. (Of course, in Baldur’s Gate, I suppose you could script them to fight on their own, anyway…)

I wouldn’t mind having five henchmen, but that’s not possible.

It could be fun to go all the way back to the party mentality, too, I suppose, though I didn’t ever feel as much like one character was “mine” like that.

I’m assuming it’s based on just the number of player characters and is not including henchmen, since one of the standard “hints” on the loading screen says that the game assumes we have a henchmen and that it may be too hard without one. That seems to imply that encounters scale the same whether or not we have a henchman.

I completely agree with you on this. I don’t find the single-player game all that satisfying, although the engine and toolset are great. I miss the Baldur’s Gate parties and I miss the rich characters that came with it.

As has been mentioned in other forums, I think one problem is that D&D is designed as a party based system. A lot of the player classes don’t work well by themselves. For example, a non-combat class, such as a wizard, doesn’t work that well unless you’ve got a number of combat heavy types in front of you. Similarly a group without some kind of thief type simply isn’t viable in most modules. Bioware tried to get around this using the henchman and familiars, but I think the henchman/familiar AI needs to get a lot, lot better before this is really viable. My familiar and henchmen seem to constantly want to head off into combat, whether or not I’m ready, and regardless of whether or not I’ve told them to stay close by. The thief henchmen need their code cleaned up to do a better job opening doors and chests. And frankly, I’m not sure they’ll ever really work well for traps, since the thief should really be the one leading the way looking for traps, except you as a non-thief character need to be in front of it, so the thief henchman knows where to go. This means unless you’re careful and travelling very slowly, you as a non-thief will be stepping onto the traps before the thief following behind you sees them.

Controlling just one character directly makes sense from a RPG standpoint. However, IMO until the computer-controlled characters act reasonably intelligently NWN won’t provide a completely satisfactory single-player experience.

For single-player I definitely preferred Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2. However, my brother came out for a visit and we played NWN multiplayer. Wow, that was a blast. Unfortunately most of my gaming is single player, so NWN is a big step back for me given my gaming style.


I’m assuming it’s based on just the number of player characters and is not including henchmen, since one of the standard “hints” on the loading screen says that the game assumes we have a henchmen and that it may be too hard without one. That seems to imply that encounters scale the same whether or not we have a henchman.[/quote]

Yep – I was thinking of that same “hint” on the loading screen when I posed the question. I would bet that’s a large part of why Bioware chose to only allow one henchman. If you could pick up two or three, I don’t think the encouters would be scaled properly, and the game would feel way too easy.

Right. Just like Quake. The game can handle multiple characters in MP, so why can’t I control multiple characters?

As with Quake, it’s less a question of the multiplayer code and more one of interface. NWN’s interface was specifically designed for single character control. I don’t see why people get so hung up over this. It’s a single character RPG. It’s not the first, nor will it be the last. Personally, I prefer this sort of game over a party-based one (which, as far as I’m concerned, mainly just adds a lot more micromanagement).

The problem is that the single player game IS just like Baldur’s Gate. (Except it’s in 3D, new engine, interface.) The story and the way its told, the look, the feel, the rules, all scream Baldur’s Gate III. So I think it’s natural for people to expect it to play like BG. Instead Bioware moved it closer to Diablo and the result is that it plays like BG with an artificial-feeling limit on how many characters you can control.

I don’t think I’d have like playing BG or BG2 with a single character any more than I enjoyed NWN’s single player campaign. (Ok slightly more, if only because BG2 is more crafted.)

Where I think Bioware dropped the ball (because I do think it’s an amazing product otherwise) is that they didn’t consider the vast differences between playing with a multiplayer group, a single player BG party, and alone with a henchmen. They didn’t craft a single player story to appeal to what a solo game needs. A solo game needs more twists, more interaction, more depth and a much faster pace. Their solo game is dull, combat-oriented and has you constantly teleporting home (something that is not so epic). Again, I think the solo game would have been better served by a series of short intense modules. “Play a rogue and steal a gem from the Mad King’s Castle”, “Ranger! Hunt the evil Su-Monster in the forest”, “Paladin! Rid the mine of the evil demon”.

I think it’s possible to make a NWN single player module that’s not only better than the one Bioware provided, but also more suited to the single-player + one henchman construct they built the game around. (BG was essentially an RTS by its interface, NWN is more character controlled, like Diablo.) The problem is that they didn’t. They made an anemic BG3, only without Minsc and the gang. Fans are complaining because something feels missing. Ben is right that the game isn’t made to support BG style parties - and I think that probably can’t be added - even if his Quake example is a particularly silly reductio ad absurdum. :)

“Personally, I prefer this sort of game over a party-based one (which, as far as I’m concerned, mainly just adds a lot more micromanagement).”

Most of the time I’d agree, but the single player gameplay in NWN isn’t up to Diablo’s standard. It’s just not as exciting. Give me a group to control and now I have a tactical combat game.

I’ll just second Bubs response.