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Hello mortals!

I often hear that mages are better than fighters after a certain point. I honestly don't believe this to be true however. When you get to higher levels you need to fight stronger monsters otherwise the game would get too easy. When you are around level 18-ish everything is immune to everything. Look at undead: they are immune to charm, sleep, illusions, poison (acid is something else entirely), cold, and electricity. Fiends have all kinds of immunities depending on the species but they are hard enough to kill for a solo wizard.

I'm not trying to promote power gaming, I just want to hear what folks think of this.


The thing is that an enemy only has to not be vulnerable to one thing for a wizard with a good spellbook to be able to defeat it, because the wizard can vary his spell selection. For instance, when entering an undead dungeon, he'd do well to swap out his cold- and electricity- spells for fire and acid ones, or other types of spells entirely. Magic resistance can become a pain in BG2, but it can also be bypassed with the right spell selection (lower resistance being an obvious example). What's more, the effects which mages can produce can be much more effective than what a fighter can do. Even at low levels, where mages tend to have trouble, a spell like Sleep can disable an entire group of enemies in a single round (and in these situations, disabling an enemy effectively means killing them at your leisure after the fight). In a single round, a fighter can damage a single enemy, perhaps killing him. Unless he's an archer, he's also exposing himself to being injured in the process.

At high levels, nothing in the game is "immune to everything". If it was, it would by definition be immune to weapons as well, and your fighter would be in as much trouble as the mage! Assuming you meant "immune to all spell effects", I don't think that's true either. Enemies become immune to quite a few spell effects, perhaps. However, provided you can find one of their achilles' heels in the form of an effect they aren't immune to, and can prepare a high level spell to inflict that effect on them, those immunities count for very little. Even if there is an enemy which is immune to all nonweapon effects on it, which I doubt, a wizard can still make use of his spell slots to buff himself and the rest of the party. Haste, Stoneskin, T.'s Transformation (sorry, I don't remember the name of the spell's inventor; I'm used to third edition where the names were changed) are spells which can make even a wizard a competent melee fighter for a short time.

Meanwhile, a fighter can...hit the enemies with a sword. If that doesn't work (immunity to weapons, mirror image, charm person, etc, etc, etc) he's rather sunk and will have to keep attacking in the hope of getting lucky with his dice rolls. Don't get me wrong, there's definitely a place for fighters in a balanced party, but that's why the mages are considered stronger at higher levels.

Oh, and mages have the potential to drastically outdamage the fighters. 1d6 damage per level in an AoE? And half that damage even if you "miss" (ie your enemy makes his save). Fighters get extra attacks per round, but nowhere near enough to match that.
Post edited August 02, 2014 by pi4t
It sounds like you are equating stronger with physical force. Mages, just as Fighters, have their strong points and their weak points. It is absolutely true that the more a mage progresses in level, the stronger they become, but are they 'better' than fighters? No, they are simply different. There are situations in the game where a fighter will be completely ineffective against an enemy without magical assistance: ever tried fighting a Marilith as a solo pure fighter? There are equally situations where a solo mage will be ineffective: ever come across a band of Githyanki supported by anti-paladins?

As for undead, they may have a lot of immunities, but they also have weaknesses. Don't be rigid; think out of the box, and don't dismiss the strengths or weaknesses of either class.
and this is why BG is a party based game :P
It's a game people can and have soloed, however.

And I for one wouldn't dream of trying to solo it with a fighter. It can be done, but it would be tedious and very frustrating.

With a wizard, on the other hand, a solo game is quite doable. With a sorcerer it's a breeze. (Even those odd foes that are immune to magic aren't a problem, since you can just summon stuff to kill them. Up to and including angels. Well, Planetars, but who can tell the difference.)

As pi4t indicated, it's all about the number of options a class has available. A fighter can do 1 thing: hit people. With high level abilities in the expansion he can do a bit more, but that's very late in the game and quite limited anyway.

A wizard can also hit things, if he really wants to, by proxy (summons) or do it himself in a pinch. And on top of that he can blast the enemy, disable the enemy, hide from the enemy, render himself invulnerable for a short while, render himself halfway invulnerable for a good long while, and counter just about any of these things if the enemy tries them.

There are just so many spells in the game, and they interact in so many surprising ways. Ever tried shapeshifting into a mind-flayer and then casting Time Stop, so that your intelligence-draining attacks hit automatically? It kills quite literally everything in the game, including those NPCs that are supposed to be invulnerable for plot reasons. Okay, everything except those two or three enemies in Throne of Bhaal that are immune to Time Stop.

Ever tried using contingency spells offensively? Put three Horrid Wilting spells in a Chain Contingency set to fire upon seeing the enemy. Fights will be over before the enemy even gets to act. Or put in a bunch of Pierce Shield spells and a Breach. Even the most powerful enemy mage will be defenceless as soon as the fight begins.

Magic resistance? Did you know that the Sunfire spell ignores it, and you can put three Sunfire spells in a Spell Trigger? Entire war-parties of Drow will be quashed. Those Githyanki and their Anti-Paladins won't fare any better. Or if something is fire immune, put two or three Lower Resistance spells and maybe a Greater Malison in the spell-trigger. Suddenly even the scariest dragon will be very vulnerable indeed.

And now imagine you have two or three mages in your party working together and combining the above tactics, the one slapping down resistances and the other two launching 6 Skull Trap spells and 6 Horrid Wilting spells in the first round...

Ever played around with spells like Mislead and Project Image? The projected image can cast every spell your wizard knows, but your wizard will still have them. And with Mislead you can be completely untouchable as long as you keep the Mislead image very far away from the fighting.

Yes, most of these tactics are power-gaming. Some are cheesy and game-breaking. But breaking a game can be fun. :-) You get the picture, though. A fighter just can't pull tricks like this. There is no way for a fighter's muscle to act as a force-multiplier on this level. Wizards rule the roost in Baldur's Gate 2 when it comes to sheer power.
Jason_the_Iguana: Yes, most of these tactics are power-gaming. Some are cheesy and game-breaking. But breaking a game can be fun. :-) You get the picture, though. A fighter just can't pull tricks like this. There is no way for a fighter's muscle to act as a force-multiplier on this level. Wizards rule the roost in Baldur's Gate 2 when it comes to sheer power.
Especially since BG2 made Grand Mastery much less impressive than the P&P rules that BG1 used.
That does hurt them a bit, but on the other hand they get kits with plenty of neat special abilities and much more powerful magic weapons than in the first game. The problem with fighters isn't that they don't hit hard enough. They're pretty good at what they do, especially if buffed. If a good fighter can hit something, it's likely to go down pretty quickly. But very often the fighter won't be able to.

If the enemy is immune to their damage type, or has protective spells up, or has turned invisible, or is standing behind some nasty traps, or has counterattacks that are too dangerous to stand toe-to-toe with... (damage shields, int-drain, level-drain, or just hitting too hard) In all those situations a fighter won't be able to do his job well.

The bottom line, I think, is that in BG2 fighters need wizards (and clerics) to be able to do their job optimally. (or drink a -lot- of potions) The wizard must protect him, haste him, break enemy defences and illusions, etc. But whilst having a fighter around is helpful to the wizard, he can do just fine without one. Or summon one. That's why plain fighters feel underwhelming.

I still wouldn't want to play a party without fighters, though. Too much of a hassle. And combined arms is, as ever, the most efficient way of dealing with problems. In a party-based game it doesn't matter that the fighter is less powerful than the wizard since you'll have both anyway.
As far as I'm concerned, they fill 2 roles. The fighter distracts the enemy from the squishy wizard, giving the wizard time to summon up a nasty fireball. By themselves, any class is somewhat lacking.
A wizard is very powerful, provided that he has the right spells ready for a given situation. Otherwise he'll have to prepare first. Even in normal confrontations he'll run out of spells rather sooner than later and then he'll have to rest again. That's the wizard's main weakness: As soon as he runs out of spells, he's useless till he has rested up again. A fighter on the other hand can use his weapon again and again without having to "recharge". Especially against normal enemies it makes for a much more fluent and therefore pleasant gameplay. From a roleplaying point of view there are few things that I hate more than having to rest every 15 minutes.

Fighters are overally much better, even if I prefer magicians, I remember I beat BG2 first time using a Magician/Cleric, and and I remember many supposed to be inmune creatures to all my party stuff, and after suffering for the first moments Korgan was allways making them BLEED. The F... dwarf was awesome...

Now I am replying BG with TUTU, and actually my main character is a pure Fighter.
Post edited August 10, 2014 by YaTEdiGo
In Baldur's Gate 1 fighters have significant advantages, if they specialise in ranged weapons. Most things die to a few shots from a composite longbow, or else get slowed down enough by your party shooting them and forcing them into the hurting animation that you have time to kill them before they get to you. Mages are still useful, but they run out of spells very quickly. Often their main contribution can be casting Haste on the fighters. (Though do not underestimate the power of the Sleep spell at low levels.)

As Baldur's Gate 2 and especially Throne of Bhaal progress, these disadvantages of mages matter less and less, and the fighters' advantages likewise disappear. Mages have huge reserves of spells, enough to last just about any dungeon if you don't waste your high-level ones on weak foes. Enemies have immunities, yes, but they also always have weak points that mages can exploit. Fighters have a much tougher time at that, though admittedly there are times when hitting something with a sword remains the easiest way to kill it. You can magic missile an Adamantine Golem to death, but it will soak up all your lower resistance spells and a lot of your damage spells first.

Still, even in those situations, a fighter/mage will do much better than a plain old fighter like Korgan. Adamantine Golems may be very hard to kill with magic, but they also tend to smack your fighters around. Stoneskins, mirror images and the odd protection from magic weapons spell will do a much better job of keeping a fighter safe than a suit of plate armour will.

Of course, as xy2345 says, mages will still run out of spells if they try to blow up everything. They work best if they just kill the important foes and disable or weaken the rest, leaving the fighters to mop up. (Or in the case of the fighter/mage, do the mop-up themselves.)
Advantage, yeah... that's one way to put it. I'd say in Baldur's Gate 1 (and IWD1, if you want) ranged weapons are completely broken :P

A mage with 18 dex and a sling is still quite powerful (again, in BG1).
It's worth noting that a lot of this perspective comes from pen and paper, where many of the mage's spells are more open-ended. While in terms of raw power Fighters may keep up, mages just keep racking up more and more options at their fingertips, each of which is individually as powerful as the Fighter's one shtick. In a combat-heavy game the difference is much softer, but in a tabletop game an experienced Wizard player can go nuts.

It's not really a problem in CRPG's, where one player controls the entire party. It doesn't matter if the Fighter is a very specialized niche in those circumstances. In a tabletop RPG, however, it matters a lot if the Fighter is consistently sidelined by the Wizard every time "hitting it with a sword" isn't the best solution.
And this is why if you really, really want to break BG2, you level a Kensai to 12 and then switch to Wizard. Improved haste, Tenser's Transformation, and Mirror Image all in a trigger? It's like someone invented a World Blender. Throw in Keldorn for great justice, and Jaheira just so you have someone to solo all the beholders, and the game just becomes too easy. It's some great munchkining :)
Honestly, in the end this comes down to one thing. Variety of damage types.

Mages, as a norm, have several different types of spell, I.E. Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Icelance, that do different forms of damage. If this wasn't enough, he also has spells that make him protected or immune to the various types of damage(Not so much in the CRPG's but in the P&P). From The Globe of Invulnerability, to the Protection Against (Insert name here) spells, the Wizard has a lot of options. Even if the opponent IS immune to magical damage, the Wizard when correctly prepared with various spells can also serve as a back up Buffer for the party with his Haste and Strength spells.

In truth, A Wizard's strength is being prepared where a Fighter can handle things as they come.

But what happens to a fighter when you get a creature that is immune to whatever weapon he's using? He's on the frontlines taking a beating, doing no damage, and what happens? His good friend the Wizard saves him, blasting away the enemies with magic or a summon. But without that Fighter in the front, the Wizard would be dead nearly instantly.

In truth, to me this just seems like a Wizards vs Sorcerer, or Cleric vs Druid discussion because its the same basic principles. The only difference is, you have two totally different classes(A Caster and a Melee type) which both have their strong points, and their weak points(Low HP for the Wizard, Having to carry a lot of magical weapons for the Fighter) and in the end it all depends on your stand point.