Baldur's Gate 2

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- You probably want a balanced party, you'll need a cleric at least for healing between encounters, a mage for extra damage and to do all the work later in the game (fighters are fine in the first bit, but in the expansion mages are way more effective), and you can't really get by without a thief (you can, but it's a pain).

- Do yourself a favor and look up AD&D guidlines (gamefaqs has a fine guide), since some of the stats can be real confusing (e.g. half the time higher is better, half the time negatives are better).

- It's not an action game, don't play it like one; use the pause button, plan out what you're going to do.

- The first dungeon is essentially an elongated, freeform tutorial; it's not particularly brilliant, but it will teach you the essentials.

- Read the loading screen tips, there are some vital things there (like having to use acid/fire to kill a knocked down troll).

- If the main character dies it's game over but (unless you're playing Core or harder) your minions can't permanently die, so don't worry about sacrificing them. Get a Rod of Resurrection for precisely this reason and let your main character hold it.

- Don't necessarily accept the initial load of stats you're given, reroll until you get a good total. For a Fighter you'll want 18+ STR/DEX/CON, a Mage will want 16+/18+ CON/INT respectively and a Thief ideally wants 18+ STR/DEX and 16+ CON. You can bump CHA down to 3, as long as you do the Circus tent soon after you emerge from the first dungeon.

- Hold TAB almost constantly between and after battles - it shows up all doors, containers, items etc. that are around the place, and makes finding all the useful items much easier.

- Monk tips: pump your dexterity, don't multi-class or dual class.

- You need at least one cleric character, Viconia is a pure cleric and has good magic resistance, but is evil and pretty weedy. Anomen has 7 levels in fighter before dualing to cleric, so he'll be behind Viconia in cleric levels, but he is a great frontline fighter.

- The only really useless character is Cernd, mostly because pure druids almost universally suck in BG2.

- Enemy spellcasters are one of the biggest possible threats out there. Always carry around ways to dispel protective magic. If you don't have any, rest and memorize new spells. You should ALWAYS have things like Breach or Ruby Ray ready to go.

- Don't be afraid to rest in hostile areas. In fact, you should rest as soon as you even begin to think you might need it. If you wait too long and rest when you're seriously hurting, you may get interrupted by monsters that can now easily finish you. Save beforehand if you're worried.

- This is especially relevant if you've only ever played RPGs like Final Fantasy: Spells exist for more than making things go boom or healing in D&D. Be creative. Clever use of certain buffs or situational abilities can turn the tide in your favor.

- Level draining can only be cured by a Restoration spell which divine spellcasters have access to, and which can also be purchased at temples or in scroll format. It can also be prevented by the divine spell “Negative Plane Protection” (which only affects one character and lasts for a short time) or by wielding certain items which confer the same effect.

- Get weapons which deal fire or acid damage as soon as you can (this includes ammo with those effects). Trolls will quickly become a constant nuisance, and they can only be dispatched by those effects. Try not to waste spells on killing trolls.

- Learn what monsters are immune to what weapons and what types of damage, and plan ahead. Specifically, make sure you're prepared to take on Clay, Iron and Adamantium Golems, Rakshasas, mummies, ghouls, and skeletons. For enemies with high magic resistance, always keep a few Lower Resistance spells memorized. In BG2's late game and in most of ToB, you'll also want to keep a variety of non-magical weapons, as they'll be the only things which can hurt Magic Golems.

- Always set your thief's script to the "adventurer" script, as it will have him auto-detect traps whenever he isn't in combat. If your thief is an assassin, set him so that he auto-stealths.

- Ranged attacks become increasingly devasting as your characters increase in level. Make sure every member of your party has a ranged weapon they can use, and employ these strategically. If you are being rushed by a group of enemies, have your whole party switch to ranged attacks before the mob reaches you to soften them up or take out an enemy or two before they get too close.

- Learn to use the autopause function. Mine is set to pause when an enemy is sighted and when a target is destroyed. This will be annoying 5% of the time and enormously useful for the other 95%. It lets you target enemies with a ranged attack when they're barely visible on screen, or before you've even noticed their presence. It's also useful for getting the jump on enemy mages before they can throw up too many protections.