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Teach me about CRPGs

The fan made Icewind Dale 2 Enhanced Edition is out now.

The basic quality of life improvements and core changes seem extremely good. However, be aware that it's modular and a few of the modules seem to reflect a shared assumption by the team that these games should be just about combat. As a result, those particular changes take away some of more interesting parts of the game, exemplified by this note about component 12:

The final level of Dragon's Eye, Lord Pyros' Domain, is now a single boss fight rather than a long, cryptic timeloop questline.

The thing they removed was one of the more memorable and inventive moments out of all the IWD and BG games for me, replaced with yet another bossfight. There are a few other components like this that simplifiy parts of the game that Infinity Engine grognard community inexpliciably hates. I guess it's understandable if you're spend the last two decades min-maxing your builds and don't want to be slowed down by quests, but I wouldn't recommend these simplificatins for a first playthrough (or a replay if you don't really remember the game).

Unfortunately there are also a few components that mix no brainer bug fixes with questionable design tweaks. This one makes me kind of sad:

Revised Creature Resistances and Immunities

This component revises the resistances of some creatures to be more reasonable. For example, slimes in Dragon's Eye aren't completely immune to physical damage, and iron golems and will o' wisps aren't completely immune to magic (they still have high spell resistance, though).

Elementals now have regular elemental immunities rather than undead immunities. Fiends now have regular fiendish immunities (e.g. immunity to poison) rather than undead immunities.

Trolls no longer fall down and have to be finished off by fire or acid; instead they regenerate faster and have more HP but take significantly more damage from fire and acid.

I'd like to use this to give Elementals and Fiends the proper immunities. Changing resistances is questionable to me but I'm more neutral on it. It seems like a concession to players who want to solo with with pure magic or pure physical classes without running into a handful of game ending roadblocks. But I hate changing the ways Trolls work, because that's such a classic behavior and shifted them a creature with a unique quirk to a DPS race. For me, thinking, "I'd better make sure I have a way to do at least a small amount of acid or fire damage, in case I run into a troll" once you're past the early levels in these games is part of the fun in a way that acid and fire do extra damage against trolls is just not.

I guess these nitpicks are my own fault for apparently caring this much about how to rebalance IWD2 but never joining the open beta to make a comment. Oh well!

These totally optional quibbles aside, this looks really cool, and at least it's modularity makes it easy to customize your experience. Most importantly, it's easier to play this game on modern PCs with modern monitors now!


Staff member
I found both the CRPG and JRPG books, while aesthetically nice, fairly useless. The articles are light on information and high on editorializing. I wanted something more like an encyclopedia rather than a collection of opinions.