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I never was much into classic board RPGs, the rules look too complicated for me. but now I feel sudden itch to try some D&D, and IWD had caught my attention.
judging by screenshots, there are many well-written dialogues and beautiful locations which I'd like to explore. but reviewers state that dialogues and quests are less significant part of the game, which turns out to be more combat-oriented.
I'm not against fights and all, even if I prefer more talking chars for my CRPGs if possible. but if the game is much less conversation and a bit more action, like sweeping big dungeon without any unexpected story encounters until its end or at all, it's definitely not my piece of cake.

so, how much time story/combat relatively have? is the story well integrated into combat, or they are mostly not intersecting parts of the game?
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DedIago: I never was much into classic board RPGs, the rules look too complicated for me. but now I feel sudden itch to try some D&D, and IWD had caught my attention.
judging by screenshots, there are many well-written dialogues and beautiful locations which I'd like to explore. but reviewers state that dialogues and quests are less significant part of the game, which turns out to be more combat-oriented.
I'm not against fights and all, even if I prefer more talking chars for my CRPGs if possible. but if the game is much less conversation and a bit more action, like sweeping big dungeon without any unexpected story encounters until its end or at all, it's definitely not my piece of cake.

so, how much time story/combat relatively have? is the story well integrated into combat, or they are mostly not intersecting parts of the game?
I have not finished the game yet, all my characters are around level 11 so I believe I am halfway through the game.

First, you should know that you create your own characters in the game so they wont have any kind of party banter like other bioware games, Baldur's Gate series, Mass Effect or Dragon Age.

So far, the story is very light but there are certainly enough conversations and characters to fill the need for talking. Almost everywhere has its own story. Nothing amazing for my taste but still enough to keep you motivated to go on.

Compared to BG, there are a lot more combat and a lot less conversations. That is not a bad thing tho since the heavy conversations in BG series can overwhelm the newcommers to D&D Forgotten Realms. You cant even compare the game to Planescape Torment.

My own opinion.
Story: PS:T > BGI-II > IWD
Combat: PS:T < BGI-II < IWD

In my honest opinion, it is a great game if you are new to D&D world. You will see lots of action and enough story that will not overwhelm you, learning the D&D 2 rules on the way. After you finish the game, you can go ahead and buy BG series and PS:T to enjoy the more story side of infinity engine games.

Some might say that BG is better for teaching you the game since you only create 1 character and collect the rest along the way. So you wont have to worry about messing with your "choosen one" character since other party members you can get are pretty solid and will be enough even if your main suck. There is a debate on which BG game to start with. I strongly advise to start with BG1 since I see both games as a one big game and starting BG2 first is like watching second movie of The Lord of The Rings before the first one.

There is a problem with BG games tho. You can basically go to most of the map which may be confusing for a begginer. The game gives you solid clues where to go tho. IWD on the other hand is more linear (so far for me). You go somewhere, finish the story, move on....

EDIT: You can read what I wrote in this topic. First 2 replies from me which I believe give good insight to newbies.

https://www.gog.com/forum/baldurs_gate_series/baldurs_gate_for_dummies
Post edited July 01, 2017 by Engerek01
Thank you very much!
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Engerek01: In my honest opinion, it is a great game if you are new to D&D world. You will see lots of action and enough story that will not overwhelm you, learning the D&D 2 rules on the way. After you finish the game, you can go ahead and buy BG series and PS:T to enjoy the more story side of infinity engine games.
oh, yes, I aready have PS:T and even tried to play sometime, but didn't think of it as D&D, although I know it is. probably because of unusual setting, in opposition to more familiar Forgotten Realms. funny thing, left it not because of giant walls of text, but because of combat mechanics, which felt kinda awkward to me. (=

I mostly hesitate between BG and IWD, and story is one of the biggest contra for the former. as unenlightened observer I find BG's plot, or at least its beginning, very uninspiring.
'you're orphan raised by old mage, you live in a fortress. one day(TM) all of a sudden you with your father leave home in a hurry, and then en route you were ambushed and he got slayed by mysterious person, protecting your life'.
i'm not bashing it, I mean, it's epic heroic fantasy, it's 20-years-old game, acclaimed classic and such, but with all respect, nowadays story like this is just hackneyed to the marrow. 'group of advenurers arrive to the small frozen village in a harsh land of gletschers, high passes and mountain lakes' still sounds more interesting.
but maybe it's because I'm not familiar with the setting and genre. actually, it would be cool to meet Minsc, Boo, Imoen and other legendary characters. (=

I think it's good idea to start with IWD and learn and then decide if BG is worth trying after all.
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Engerek01: You can read what I wrote in this topic. First 2 replies from me which I believe give good insight to newbies.

https://www.gog.com/forum/baldurs_gate_series/baldurs_gate_for_dummies
thanks! needs time to thoroughly read and take into account, but it's great guide.

too bad I didn't make this a 'question' thread. didn't think there is an ultimate solution, but it seems you just provided it. (=
thanks again!
Post edited July 01, 2017 by DedIago
For me story is better in Icewind Dale than in the BG Games, I prefer the honest classic "Heroes save the World" approach over an absurd story about a special one which let's you miss half the game if take it seriously and act accordingly.

For newbies BG is the easier choice since it's the easier game, targeted more at casual players with less freedom at creation and therefore less freedom to mess up.
Planescape: Torment has an immense amount of dialog and is very heavily story-focused. While it does have combat encounters, those are definitely not the main focus of the game. While the ultimate plot of the story is pretty linear, you're given a pretty broad spectrum of how you play through it.

Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 are a middle-ground. There is a good mix of both role-playing story and tactical combat. The first game leans a little more toward combat, while the second leans slightly more toward story. Your main character is the focus of the story, but your party members will definitely contribute to your success in battle.

Icewind Dale 1 & 2 are very focused on tactical combat encounters, although they still have a solid story to guide game. However, your role-playing options within the story are a bit more constrained. And unlike Planescape and Baldur's Gate, there is no single protagonist. You won't have many (if any) options to turn the story in a different direction, as in the other games. Instead, you'll be following a linear narrative and will have the option of responding as either a jerk or a saint.
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Ryan333: Icewind Dale 1 & 2: (clip) ...unlike Planescape and Baldur's Gate, there is no single protagonist (clip)
Unless you choose to run a party of only one PC! (fairly easy to do in IWD 1, not so easy in 2)
65% combat 35% story maybe. Something like that.

the story is very good as far as such games go, though. Way above average. Roleplaying options are few and far between, I have to admit.

The game has a certain mood to it I guess. The story, the locations and the soundtrack just come together perfectly. You kind of feel the chill of Icewind Dale while playing.

The soundtrack in the game is amazing. All in all I'd say it is better than the BG soundtracks.
thanks for your answers!
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DedIago: judging by screenshots, there are many well-written dialogues and beautiful locations which I'd like to explore. but reviewers state that dialogues and quests are less significant part of the game, which turns out to be more combat-oriented... is the story well integrated into combat, or they are mostly not intersecting parts of the game?
The thing about IWD is that the story is on rails. You go from location to location and fight the opponents you are to fight. Theres no diplomacy solution to... if I recall, any enemy encounter.

Having said that, the story is good and the locations interesting, its not just clearing dungeon level x, theres always story involved, and the locations make sense in a funny way.

As for Baldurs Gates, the first has not aged too well, stuff that was groundbreaking is now embarrassingly cliche. BG2 is much betterstorywise, but startig as a level 10+ Character, its not the easiest way to get to know the ropes.
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Jarmo: The thing about IWD is that the story is on rails. You go from location to location and fight the opponents you are to fight. Theres no diplomacy solution to... if I recall, any enemy encounter.
There are quite a few enemy encounters with diplomatic solutions in IWD.
Rather than depth of story (and I think IWD 1/2 have enough depth), the spoiler-free question is really linearity of the story. (The details also differ...BG more supernatural than IWD although both of course are fantasy stories...but that boils down to personal preference. I won't say more because I don't want to give spoilers.)

Instead, look at the decision this way. IWD 1 and 2 are very linear. On the other hand, BG1 to some degree and BG2 to large degree are non-linear. For some people, linearity bothers them in an RPG; if that is true for you, then IWD 1/2 may frustrate you. On the other hand, being new to these RPGs you may appreciate linearity.

Combat is far more interesting in IWD1/2 than in BG1/2. In IWD 1/2 you control 6 characters; in BG 1/2 you control 6 sort of, but have 1 main character and the others are companions you find in the game world.

As far as whether to play BG1/2 or IWD 1/2, I recommend starting with BG1 if BG sounds more interesting to you, or starting with IWD 2 if IWD sounds more appealing to you (although IWD 1 is also a decent starting point...but IWD 2 does not depend on IWD 1 for its story while BG2 does directly relate on the story).
Post edited August 14, 2017 by sdbutler80
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sdbutler80: On the other hand, BG1 to some degree and BG2 to large degree are non-linear.
You got that the wrong way around.

Combat is far more interesting in IWD1/2 than in BG1/2.
I beg to differ. In IWD1/2 there are no tactics. You alert one enemy and the entire map descends upon you. It's a hack & slash, nothing more.

In IWD 1/2 you control 6 characters; in BG 1/2 you control 6 sort of, but have 1 main character and the others are companions you find in the game world.
This is simply not true. You can make a custom party in BG1/2 just like you have in IWD 1/2. Even if you go with the story NPCs, you still control them unless you assign them to party AI.
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Hickory: You can make a custom party in BG1/2 just like you have in IWD 1/2.
Not without using the trick of loading the save in multiplayer. Furthermore, on Linux using WINE, I have not been able to get multiplayer to work at all, not even over the loopback interface.
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Hickory: You can make a custom party in BG1/2 just like you have in IWD 1/2.
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dtgreene: Not without using the trick of loading the save in multiplayer.
There is no trick. You simply create a multiplayer team and play the game.
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dtgreene: Not without using the trick of loading the save in multiplayer.
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Hickory: There is no trick. You simply create a multiplayer team and play the game.
Not if you can't even start multiplayer in the first place.

Also, mutiplayer does have disadvantages; I've read that there is a bit of lag when the game is (un)paused, for example.