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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

In Defense of Dragonspear

So, it's been a couple years, but I'm back to post again!

Recently, the crew over at Beamdog finally released their first full, original adventure for the Baldur's Gate Games (that wasn't an arena-bash): Siege of Dragonspear. Taking the Baldur's Gate setting into the modern age is a daunting endeavor, and I believe they accomplished it hands-down.

Giving Safana a voice, and introducing several new, interesting characters breathed a breath of fresh air into a game that was otherwise beginning to grow a little stale. One can only play through the Bhaalspawn Saga so many times before growing sort of bored with it. To top it off, they also introduced a new class, and several new Cleric specialties. The new class, called the Shaman, is essentially a Druid with spontaneous casting and replacing it's largely useless wildshape with the ability to summon uncontrolled spirits (as well as use axes, which will be wonderful for good aligned Shamans in BG2!)

The new UI is much easier to navigate in a lot of ways, though the quest Journal Entries do leave a lot to be desired. Beyond that, however, I would have to say this is a well-crafted, and wonderfully fun adventure and a solid addition to the Baldur's Gate canon.

And I stand by that, despite all the stupid controversy surrounding a side-character with almost no impact on the story what-so-ever. Mizhena, somehow "infamous" for being a transgendered character in the Baldur's Gate world, who reveals as much if you engage her in conversation. Cries of "SJW agenda" and "Oversharing!" have followed, but this leaves aside the fact that pretty much every side NPC with a conversation tree that you meet overshares their background if you talk to them.

Are there better ways that Beamdog could have introduced Mizhena to the game? Maybe. They could have made Mizhena a full party member. Or maybe you would have to have several conversations with Mizhena to find anything out.

While the first option is great, it would have meant leaving out Glint, and that would have been a shame. The second option also misses the fact that most conversations people are going to have with Mizhena open with "Can I get healing?" and directly going to "Good bye" after the needed healing has been administered. Mizhena's conversation is there for those curious enough to ask questions, and little else. If that really bothers you so much, then perhaps the Baldur's Gate games are not right for you. Go pick up Ice Wind Dale, or better yet, boot up a game of Diablo. That might be more your speed.