Features | Articles | Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Official Chat
Official Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Chat at RPG Vault

April 12, 2001 (6 pm PST) at chat.ign.com, #ignvault
Edited log prepared by Silverdawn and MageDragon of PlanetBaldursGate (http://www.planetbaldursgate.com)

The chat was moderated by Jonric and Maximus.


Bio_Brad - Brad Grier, Communications Manager
Bio_DaveC - Dave Chan, Audio Engineer
Bio_Mark - Mark Darrah, Lead Programmer
Bio_Drew - Drew
Bio_Nathan - Nathan Plewes, Line Producer
Bio_Kevin - Kevin Marten, Lead Designer
Bio_StanW - Stan , Quality Assurance
Bio_Chris - Chris, Quality Assurance
Bio_Jon - Jonathan Epp, Quality Assurance
Bio_Large_Alan - Alan Miranda, Producer
Bio_James - James Ohlen, Director of Writing & Design

<Maximus_IGN> Hi all, Let's start the chat. :)
<Maximus_IGN> Is that ok, Jonric?
<Jonric> let's begin as usual by asking the team members to introduce themselves
<Bio_Mark> Hello I'm Mark Darrah Leader of the right honorable order of the programmer.
<Bio_Chris> I'm Chris and I do Q&A. One month at Bioware.
<Jonric> and for those who have questions, please message either me or Maximus_IGN
<Bio_Jon> Jonathan Epp, QA
<Bio_NathanP> Nathan Plewes.. Line Producer
<Bio_Mark> There should have been a comma in there somewhere...
<Bio_Kevin> Kevin Martens, Lead Designer
<Bio_StanW> I'm Stan, Mysitic Ninja of the Quality Assurance Pit. I've been here a week
<Bio_Brad> Howdy! I'm BioWare's Communications Manager...
<Bio_Large_Alan> Alan Miranda, Producer
<Maximus> FYI, I've shortened my nick.
<MageDragon> who do we ask questions too ?
<Jonric> one question per customer please so other people get a chance
<Jonric> and please say GA when you're finished answering
<Bio_Mark> GA?
<Jonric> <Mithrandir> Is it true that spells above 10th level ("Quest Spells" I believe one of the previews called them) will be in ToB? If so, how will these be implemented?
<Jonric> go ahead
<Bio_Kevin> got it
<Bio_Kevin> Yes, the spells will be chosen as High Level Abilities. Cleric spells are effectively 8th level and mage spells are 10th. The spells are very cool... more...
<Bio_Kevin> For example, the quest spell Storm of Vengeance causes the sky to rain down fire, lightning, and acid rain, instantly killing low level creatures and smiting all of the caster's enemies.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Jonric> <Strider> In BG1 we hear the chanters say something similar to the quote in the beginning of BG2. Does anything else of what the chanters say give any hints on what's happening in ToB?
<Bio_Kevin> Got it.
<Maximus> Jonric, if you have too many questions, let me know as I have no questions in the pipe.
<Jonric> hey all maximus needs some questions to ask 8-)
<Bio_Kevin> Yes, the prophecy of Alaundo is a central theme throughout the series. Obviously, the end of BG2: Shadows of Amn foreshadows the events in Throne of Bhaal.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Jonric> <BhaalsFavoriteSon> How will the team address characters that have used the exp cap remover?
<Bio_Mark> got it. (ha ha macro)
<Jonric> <Boo> What is the strongest new spell?
<Jonric> <Boo> Offensive spell that is.
<Jonric> oops
<Bio_James> Got it
<Bio_Mark> If you have a character from BG2 that you used an XP cap remover on then no problem. More...
<Bio_Mark> If you coming straight from BG1 then you will be rolled back to 161000 XP though no level penalty.
<Bio_Mark> GA
<Jonric> someone care to answer the spells question?
<Bio_Mark> James claims to "got it"
<Bio_Kevin> James is typing. Hold on...
<Bio_Drew> I hear the rapid clicking of his answer.
<Bio_James> The most powerful spell is Improved Alacrity. We had to downgrade the spell after testing, but it still has remained the most effective. Only timestop is close to it in power.
<Bio_James> More
<Bio_Nathan> There's some arguing going on in the QA room now
<Bio_Mark> What about improved Chaos shield. No wait James nerfed that :-(
<Bio_Drew> For sheer damage, Dragon's Breath is pretty sweet.
<Bio_James> Imrpoved alacrity allows a mage to cast more than one spell in a round. It only lasts for 10 seconds, but in those 10 seconds the mage can unleash hell on his enemies.
<Bio_James> Done
<Maximus> <Boo> What new romances will their be?
<Bio_Kevin> Got it.
<Bio_Kevin> All of the romances will be continued to their logical end. Some of those ends may surprise people ;) Nuff said
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Jonric> <eric3000> what do you guys use to program? C++? ANd how would you get a job as a programmer?
<Bio_Mark> got it. (ha ha macro)
<Bio_Mark> Sorry I was distracted... more...
<Bio_Mark> BG was programmed completely in LISP.
<Bio_Mark> No wait.
<Bio_Mark> That's a lie. C++ is the language.
<Bio_Jon> And here I thought it was done in GW-BASIC.
<Bio_Mark> Visual C++ 6.0 is the compiler.
<Bio_Mark> As to getting a job, we usually expect a Demo from programmers.
<Bio_Mark> GA.
<Bio_Mark> The Microsoft default calculator ROCKS!
<Maximus> <Talron> Will Sarevok have any abilities beyond that of a normal high-level fighter?
<Bio_Kevin> Got it
<Bio_Kevin> You'll have to wait and see. All I have to say is - he rocks the kazbah (spelling? - for that matter - what is a kazbah???)
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Jonric> <Afreily> Will there be more +3 katana's in the game as well as Scimitars?
<Bio_Kevin> Got it
<Bio_Kevin> There is cool new item of every type. In some cases, more than one. We have over 100 new unique items, many of them upgradeable or built from components.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Maximus> <Ink_13> What happens when you gain a weapon proficiency point and have no where to put it?
<Bio_James> Got it
<Bio_Mark> got it. (ha ha macro)
<Bio_James> You go Mark!
<Bio_Mark> Fine.
<Bio_Mark> Doh.
<Bio_Mark> You always have enough slots. (Just barely)
<Bio_Mark> GA.
<Jonric> <DaMenace> Will there be improvements to some of the less popular classes/kits?
<Bio_Kevin> Got it
<Bio_Kevin> For an example, I'll assume you mean druid. Indeed, druids have been overhauled and have become a super cool class. More...
<Bio_Kevin> First of all, their level charts have been changed and after the long stretch at the end of Shadows of Amn, the druid gains levels very quickly. More...
<Bio_Kevin> In addition to this, the druid also have class specific items and several unique High Level Quest spells and abilities. The druid also gets such class perks as complete immunity to poison... more
<Bio_Kevin> And protection from environmental damage such as fire and cold. And more!
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Maximus> <SalmonMax> How will the full fledged Wish spell (that I understand is planned on being included) compare to the Limited Wish in BG2? Does it work in basically the same way?
<Bio_Kevin> Got it.
<Bio_Mark> With our new patented neural network tech...
<Bio_Mark> Kevin sure types slowly...
<Bio_Nathan> hehe
<Bio_Kevin> The wish spell doesn't work exactly as Limited Wish does. In Pen and Paper wish basically allows you to whatever you want. Obviously, this is impossible to implement.
<Bio_Kevin> More
<Bio_Kevin> We're taking a different tack for Wish and it will certainly be a highly used spell. Unless of course, your wisdom is quite low, in which case.... beware!
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Bio_Nathan> Home row is your friend!
<Jonric> <Merlix> We all know Robe Of Vecna was one of the mage's best items (next to the staff of the magi) but I was wondering if there will be anymore items that reduce the casting time of your spells even more.
<Bio_James> Got it
<Bio_James> No there won't be. Combined with the spell Improved Alacrity, these type of items are a little too powerful.
<Bio_James> Done
<Maximus> <Efflixi> How easy will ToB be to someone who's never played BG before? (me hehe)
<Bio_James> Got it
<Bio_StanW> got it
<Bio_StanW> D'oh!
<Bio_James> BG: TOB has been designed for all types of players. If you don't have a character to import, then you can create a brand new high level ass kicking character.
<Bio_James> More
<Bio_Mark> Ass kicking is a high level ability...
<Bio_StanW> ...yeah, for druids, maybe
<Bio_Kevin> Note - bioware does not actually condone the kicking of asses. Please do not try this at home
<Bio_Drew> Unless your ass is +5, like mine.
<Bio_James> Encounters scale to your party level, and you always have the option of setting the difficulty setting to easy (which I would suggest for you).
<Bio_James> Until you get the hang of it.
<Bio_James> Done
<Jonric> <Shaddiz> a question: can you reveal to us the names of some of the places whom we will see in tob? (i hope its spelled right)
<Bio_Kevin> Got it
<Bio_Kevin> Here's a few teasers - You will visit the Tethyrian city of Saradush as it lies under siege. You will adventure in the Calimshite desert town of Amkethran as it girds for war beneath a mysterious monastery. More...
<Bio_Kevin> You will explore the massive dungeon of the Watcher's Keep (in Northern Tethyr) and a haunted glade in the Marching Mountains. More..
<Bio_Kevin> We have 80 areas to explore, all together. The game is very epic and is a fitting conclusion to the Child of Bhaal storyline.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Maximus> <Jorghis> Will there be any quests associated with the new strongholds?
<Bio_Nathan> Sounds like a travel brochure
<Bio_Kevin> Got it
<Bio_Kevin> We got tons of feedback from our BG2 strongholds and have applied all that we've learned to the new one. It's not simply a matter of quests attached to the stronghold. The stronghold is an integral part of the new story... more...
<Bio_Kevin> We've also added smaller details like the ability to travel instantly to the stronghold whenever you wish, so you can keep up to date on what's happening. We've also added a butler - Cespenar.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Jonric> <MageDragon> Question: The Dragons in BG2 were great. To see one in the IE was fantastic. They looked good and all, but for a lot of us..they were weak. If there are new Dragons in Throne of Bhaal, did you at least make them hard to fight this time ?
<Bio_Mark> Dragons eat you...
<Bio_Kevin> Got it
<Bio_Chris> LOTS of things eat you
<Bio_Nathan> in my case 5 or 6 times
<Bio_Kevin> Our dragon scripting has advanced quite a bit, and the Great Wyrms in TOB are more wily than their SOA counterparts. Here's a little teaser, Bhaal's children aren't only human.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Maximus> <chrozoron> Will we see Volo or Elminster or any other famous Forgotten
<Bio_Kevin> Got it.
<Bio_Kevin> Yes, both Volo and Elminster show up in TOB.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Jonric> <BuckSatan_GB> Can you please explain the cleric's ability to summon an avatar of their faith, how the cleric will gain the ability, and how powerful an adversary the avatar will be once summoned?
<Bio_Kevin> Got it
<Bio_Kevin> The Cleric's gain the ability to summon a celestial creature, appropriate to their alignment/deity. Suffice to say, the celestial deva is one of the most awesome creatures to ever grace our game.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Maximus> <Crewer> If you start with a new character in ToB, will you already have a stronghold? Will quests will already be accomplished?Will we have to defeat Irenicus again?
<Bio_Drew> got it
<Bio_Drew> The add on section for TOB picks the story up just after Irenicus has been defeated. You gain your new stronghold shortly afterTOB begins. More.
<Bio_Drew> You can also summon in any of the joinable NPCs from BG2, and all of them will be at an appropriate level when they join your group. More.
<Bio_Drew> If you're still playing Baldur's Gate 2, our Magnum Opus Dungeon Watchers Keep will be added to your map, and this area is also available from the new areas.
<Bio_Drew> GA
<Jonric> <Admiral-Zod> i remember it was once said that the designing software wont be released to the public because they were "too complex" and no one wanted to provide any support (or something to that extent). is this the only reason, or is there a reason along the lines of copyright or property? (im thinking of all those who want to make custom levels--specifically DSotSC)
<Bio_Mark> Got it.
<Bio_Mark> Too complex, too icky, its sort of a range isn't it?
<Bio_Mark> Actually there would be the potential of copyright issues. NWN will be taking the various issues more....
<Bio_Mark> Into acount from the beginning. We didn't.
<Bio_Mark> GA.
<Maximus> <Grumble> Spell casters keep geting stronger as they advance but there doesn't seem to be a need for high-level thieves, what type of new abilities will they get?
<Bio_Large_Alan> got it
<Bio_Mark> Large and in charge...
<Bio_Large_Alan> Thieves will be able to set even more powerfull traps, have a high level ability to create potions, and even evade death for a time.
<Bio_Large_Alan> ga
<Jonric> <Rob_Little> Q: What's the largest encounter in terms of number of creatures on the screen we're likely to run into in ToB?
<Bio_Kevin> Got it
<Bio_Kevin> We have one running battle with 43 creatures in one area. We've wanted to do hordes for some time and we've been able to do it through careful scripting, placement, and creature balance. More
<Bio_Drew> Gotta love hacking through the hordes of mere pathetic mortals.
<Bio_Large_Alan> Orc fodder - woohoo!
<Bio_Kevin> For example, if we don't have any spellcasters and don't have tons of different, memory sucking animations, we can get really large groups of monsters.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Maximus> <Joe_Simpson> Q: Will the weaponstyles be increased? More proficiencyslots?
<Bio_Kevin> Got it
<Bio_Kevin> We aren't currently planning to add additional weapon types. We really do have a myriad of choices. Plus, as I said earlier, there are new weapons of every existing type, each uber-cool.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Jonric> <Slain_by_lich> Will the amulet you get at the end of BG2 have any practical purpose in TOB?
<Bio_Drew> got it
<Bio_Drew> The amulet has some cool powers, I'm still using it.
<Bio_Drew> ga
<Maximus> <davey> what are some of the most difficult opponents we can expect to see?
<Bio_Mark> The entire Noober clan. BEWARE!
<Bio_Mark> How about now?
<Bio_Mark> How about now?
<Bio_Kevin> Alright, I'll get this one, too... Mark :P
<Bio_Kevin> We've got tons of super cool creatures such as the Magic Golem, a creation of pure magical energy that feeds off your enchanted stuff. Or Fire Giants, which I'm sure I don't have to explain.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Jonric> <ZipNaB> tiax is an np'c in bg1, and a madman un bg2, can i join him to my partyin tob?
<Bio_Drew> got it
<Bio_Drew> Unfortunately, no. There are 15 NPCs from BG2, all of whom are available... more
<Bio_Drew> And we are adding a new NPC to TOB. But Tiax is too busy ruling the world to bother with the likes of you.
<Bio_Drew> GA
<Maximus> 2 Questions for the price of one ;)
<Maximus> <Smeggy> How much will it cost?
<Admiral-Zod> how many ToB CDs?
<Bio_Mark> ?? and 1.
<Bio_Mark> Packed full of Infinity engine goodness.
<Bio_Large_Alan> got it
<Bio_Kevin> One american dollar, which is about 50 canadian dollars.
<Maximus> LOL!!
<Bio_Drew> And worth every penny! (The game, not our wimpy currency.)
<Bio_Large_Alan> In the US ToB will be the standard price of an expansion pack, and there will be 1 CD.
<Bio_Large_Alan> ga
<Jonric> <Kevin_Lynch> There was some mention of "different endings" for ToB (I'm thinking along the lines of a PS:T type). If there will be, are they based on the player's choices, alignment, or some other factor that we know nothing about?
<Bio_Kevin> Got it
<Bio_Kevin> Now, Kevin Lynch, do you REALLY want us to tell you? If think you'd better play TOB several times to see all of the endings. ;P
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Maximus> <Aymric> Can rangers actually summon animals, intead of charming them? And is it changed so that the animals dont turn hostile after the duration of the spell?
<Bio_Kevin> gOT IT
<Bio_Mark> Caps Lock Kevin, Caps Lock.
<Jonric> fyi folks, we'll be finishing up in about 5 minutes
<Bio_Kevin> Beastmasters, of course, can summon all the animals that they can handle as part of their basic kit. Other rangers work as they did in BG2. Rangers get a bunch of high level abilities including the ranger-only - Tracking ability. It's vary handy, since it gives the party a good idea of what to prepare for in an area.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Bio_Kevin> Vary? Very!
<Jonric> <eric3000> Can you explain wild magic and the wild mage in detail?
<Bio_Mark> Got it.
<Bio_Mark> Mine! Mine! Mine!
<Bio_Mark> Wild magic is essential a less controlled for of magic.
<Bio_Drew> How do you explain the inexplicable mystery of the wild mage?
<Bio_Mark> To some degree the mage is tapping directly in to the magical power without the standard rtitual of a spell.
<Bio_Mark> In game the result is that a wild mage gets spells just like a standard mage
<Bio_Mark> BUT his level varies when he casts.
<Bio_Mark> Also he has a change the the spell will not work as expected.
<Bio_Mark> Further he has a 1st level spell Reckless Dweomer which allows him to channel magical energies dirrectly and attempt to fasion them into the shape of
<Bio_Mark> any spell he knows. As you'd expect this is not a very controlled spell.
<Bio_Mark> GA.
<Maximus> <Bio_Mark> In game the result is that a wild mage gets spells just like a standard mage
<Maximus> <Bio_Mark> BUT his level varies when he casts.
<Bio_Drew> Everybody loves the wild mage... until he turns the entire party into squirrels
<Maximus> <Boyakasha> One thing cool with Torment was that you could talk to your party whenever you want, will that be implemented in TOB?
<Bio_Large_Alan> lol
<Maximus> Heh..heh..Sorry
<Bio_Kevin> Got it.
<Bio_Kevin> Our banter system doesn't quite work they same way as Torment's and we've had the system for quite some time so we didn't change it. However, all of th characters have tons of new dialogue, much of it recorded. More
<Bio_Kevin> Just as in BG2, they're not afraid to speak up when they feel the need and will get into as many fights and friendships as they always have.
<Bio_Kevin> GA
<Jonric> <Kentor> The "AI" in BGII is processed on a per a frame basis making it directly bound to framerate and appears to basically consist of large script -- in ToB has the AI been decoupled from the graphics pipe and if so has the system been reworked?
<Bio_Mark> Got it.
<Bio_Mark> No.
<Bio_Mark> GA.
<Bio_Mark> Got it.
<Bio_Mark> Okay here's some more
<Bio_Mark> The Infinity engine was designed so that the AI thread is MORE important then the render thread.
<Maximus> <Friendly> And now the question everybody is afraid to ask! When can we expect this beauty to hit stores? Anything more specific than "summer?"
<Bio_Mark> As a result AI and frame rate ARE NOT directlt coupled, they never have been.
<Bio_Mark> 2001.
<Bio_Mark> Summer 2001.
<Bio_Drew> A day ending in "y".
<Bio_Kevin> I have to go. Good night everyone! Thanks for your interest in Throne of Bhaal and I think you'll really enjoy this epic end to an epic story!
<Jonric> That's it for the formal part tonight. Thanks to all of the team members and all of you fans, and see you all next time. Cheers!
<Bio_Large_Alan> We want to make it the best we can...soooo it's ready when it's ready :) Sometime soon...
<Maximus> Thanks for your time. :) *** Jonric sets mode: -m

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