- SoD made the computer artificial intelligence (AI) more…intelligent. Instead of tanks drawing the fire of every archer in the vicinity, enemies will attempt to pick off your mages if they aren’t properly positioned/warded/buffed. Enemies, in general, utilize their abilities/spells better. We frequently see our foes quaffing potions throughout fights.
- Increasing the difficulty will not only attempt to make the game harder by increasing enemy HP and damage, it will increase the number and types of mobs we face.
- There is a Gameplay option to increase the game difficulty without increasing the damage enemy dish out. It’s a welcome addition.
- For better or for worse SoD features a number of new graphic options. We are able to choose between the old pixely sprites or smoothed out ones. We can get a grey scale on PAUSE so it looks like we’re in a Time Stop spell. There are health bars (which I hate), hover-highlighted sprites, outlined sprites, and more. All of these features can be toggled on/off in the Graphics menu.
- SoD has added several new class-specific weapons, equipment, and accessories. Those who play bards or want to try out the new shaman class will be in for a treat. Regardless, it may be worth a quick look through the new items before rolling a new character. I often find myself saying, “I need to play X next so I can use that!“
Playing out of character
- This is a warning for people who don’t roleplay or strictly adhere to their alignment. For the most part, we are allowed to do whatever we want and the consequences are obvious. However, Baldur’s Gate & SoD have a handful of ways of passively getting us to roleplay or face unintended consequences.
- i.e. If you are playing a Paladin (Lawful Good) and you stray too far from your alignment by killing innocent people or failing to maintain their high moral code, they become a Fallen Paladin, losing all their class abilities. Only reloading an old save will fix this.
- Some NPCs hate each other. Dynaheir and Edwin are a classic example. They are mutually exclusive NPCs meaning that together in a party they will eventually fight to the death. These are some of the most entertaining moments in the game, period. You just can’t plan your endgame party around these NPC pairings.
- i.e. Khalid & Jaheira are husband and wife. Minsc & Dynaheir are mage and personal bodyguard. Unless one of them dies and aren’t resurrected, they are inseparable once they are both in your party.
- There is a cheese-strategy where we group our party near the edge of a map, place the NPC we don’t wish to keep far enough away, remove them, then leave the area before that NPC can interact with CHARNAME. For example, Jaheira won’t be able to say to CHARNAME, “Khalid, you’re coming with me now…”
- i.e. Playing an evil character and being a do-gooder will not go over well if you have an evil party and vice versa. NPCs will openly express their discontent and eventually threaten to leave (if not drop group without warning). Our reputation is the gauge for how happy or unsettled our NPCs will be.
- In addition to the regularly planned game saves and auto-saves SoD now logs our four previous quick saves. This is excellent because it allows us to go back a little further than before, but not so far back it would be a hassle to replay a sequence of events.
TAB for interacting
- Holding down the TAB key will highlight any lootable areas in blue and any doorways in purple. It saves us from blindly hovering the cursor over objects to find areas to interact with.
Testaments of character
- There are a handful of choices in the game that affects SoD’s epilogue. These will be listed during the walkthrough. Most of them are relatively obvious that a good vs. evil decision is being made. They ultimately don’t change the gameplay but offer two separate ways to end the game.
Who will survive and what will be left of them?
- SoD features the ability to handle a greater number of player sprites on the screen leading to some truly epic battles. There’s nothing wrong with loading a tank up with fire resistance gear/spells, sending them into the thick of it, and nuking the area with fireballs. Enemies getting clever with fire resistance? A Skull Trap followed by your ground units will soften them up real nice. AoE is your friend in this game.
- This is one of only a few strategies I will offer to the game because I am no great player. Depending on party composition or difficulty level, the challenge will be quite variable. I will be happy to offer suggestions in the comment’s sections.