I was giving this a lot more thought, and I realized that I think we're being a bit hard on Larian when it comes to BG3 compared to BG1 and 2.
Similarities between the 3 games:
- Few timed events (there were maybe a few in BG1 and 2, but nothing substantial). You, the player, could literally go to the manor with the trolls infesting it, fight a few trolls, leave, sleep for a few days, go do a bunch of other things and come back and the trolls would still be exactly where they were before. Staged enemies was something BG1 and 2 both had. So, nothing new with BG3. If they decide to do some timed events, it may not be very many.
- Long rest at minimal cost or with minimal limits. Yes, there were random encounters, but to the point of a lot of people, that was a VERY annoying game mechanic for me. If you really think about it, what was the point? It was there to prevent you from long resting after every battle. If you tried, you might get attacked by baby monsters you could usually wipe out easily enough for very little experience. Then long rest again, fight some more random monsters, long rest again, oh! Finally! It went through. Either that or you had to slowly and painstakingly walk back to the area map exit and then fast travel back to an area where there was a rest area and then painstakingly go through that area to the inn, pay a very few gold coins, then painstakingly go back to the area map gate, fast travel back to the exploration map, painstakingly walk back to where you were, and then resume your adventure. In short, you could still long rest as much as you wanted, but you were discouraged by the sheer annoyance or it. So, nothing's really changed here either between BG1, 2 and 3. Long rest as much as you want, but it'll cost you in Camping Supplies that you get plenty of and can keep in a camp storage chest and pull out just before you click on your bedding to rest for the night. Minimal cost and the only deterrent is that it's annoying.
- Picking up and reading lots of books and tomes. Oh man! BG1 and 2 had LOTS of books and tomes. Nothing new here.
- Picking up lots of useless stuff. Yep. BG1 and 2 had that too. Inventory Management was 50% of the game. How many big suits of armor can I carry along with greatswords, shortswords and so forth until my people became encumbered? Most of these were 100% pointless to really carry around, as they were worth like next to no gold. In the beginning, worth it because you hardly had anything. Mid-Late game, worthless, but we did it anyway because you can't leave anything lying around! It's a video game. You have to take ALL the things.
- Exploration Maps with Map Gates. The only difference between BG1, 2 and 3 is that right now everything in EA is one great big ginormous Exploration Map. The Map Gates are there and even pop up the regional map. We just can't use them yet to move to other areas. Yes, BG3 feels a bit crammed together, since it's all one ginormous Exploration Map instead of one we can explore in a matter of minutes, but it is still the same basic concept. As far as multiple geographical locations on a single Exploration Map, that was also in various Exploration Map Locations in both BG1 and 2. First you go around a square surface map. Then you go into the first layer of a dungeon. Then you go into a second layer of a dungeon. Then you go back to the surface. Then you maybe find another dungeon entrance. Then you go into that dungeon and explore it, etc., etc., etc.
- Made up monsters. Weren't sword spiders and phase spiders first invented for BG1 and 2? I thought I read that somewhere. Could be wrong. Either way, the point is, Larian is doing their own thing with monsters, just like all cRPGs do their own things with the monsters. Not all goblins are standard goblins. Not all spiders are standard spiders.
- Standard D&D rules with some tweaks. Come on, now. You can't tell me that BG1 and 2 used absolute standard D&D rules. The entire RTWP system called for a revamp of some of the most basic fundamental D&D game elements: Initiative Order, Action Count, etc. You weren't really playing by the traditional D&D rules. It was an entirely different experience because it was NOT turn-based. So, you had to rethink how you played D&D when you played BG1 and 2.
- Varied Dialogues. BG1 and 2 is well-known for its dialogues and game choices. BG3 has that and then some. Larian seems to be adding more with each patch. This is one of the most amazing enhancements for a BG sequel, and probably the most important. In this area, Larian is creating a sequel that is hugely replayable. Nevertheless, they are handling dialogues very similarly to BG1 and 2. The only major difference with dialogues is that BG1 and 2 didn't have dice rolls so much with dialogues. But think about it! That's a HUGE part of D&D. What's the point of having a Persuasion skill if you never use it in dialogues, or you use it very infrequently?
I think there are more, but the point is to get people thinking more about the similarities as opposed to how upset they are that the game doesn't have this or that mechanic.
Here are the major differences I really see:
- No true day/night cycle. Players have no option to travel about the map by night, thus using the darkness to cloak you for stealth purposes, and thus adding better ambiances to spookier settings like the toll house with all the dead bodies and such. Oh how cool that would be with a bit of ominous music, fog, grim corpses hacked to pieces just barely seen by moonlight... Also, Drow sun sensitivity is either totally nasty because the entire EA is in broad daylight or like they have it now, totally removed from the MC because it would hurt their ability to do anything in EA. Day/night cycle would allow Drow to move about by night and do everything by night, and then feel the serious ramifications of that weakness if they tried to go about by day.
- All the characters we can have in our party right now are "special". There is no one like Minsc who is just some fighter guy who is trying to kick evil's butt. However, this is EA, so who knows what characters we could actually enlist for the final version.
- Party of 4 instead of Party of 6. This hurts me. Party of 4 is too limiting. I don't care what people say. The game would be so much better with a party of 6. Either way, whether you agree or not, it is a difference.
- Unlimited arrows. I'm okay with this. I hate arrow counting and managing. I always thought it was a huge annoyance, and again, what was the point. They were so cheap that you could buy them in massive bulk, and the biggest limit was inventory space which certain items could help you with. Again, whether you agree or not, it's a difference.
- Items with history. This could change because it's still in EA, but every item in BG1 and 2 had a story behind it. That was fun. I'd love to read where the item came from, who owned it, what they did with it. That was fun. Seems like BG3 is kinda doing this. Like the Blooded Greataxe. I just hope they continue to do more of it.
- Fast Travel. So, at first I thought that Fast Travel in BG3 was bad. It allows you to do so many things instantly and therefore breaks immersion. But, when you really think about it, again, how tedious was it to have to play walking simulator to reach the edge of the area map? How much better is it to just make it so you, the player don't have to experience every walking, waking moment as you slowly walk back to the edge of the map? Fast Travel just speeds up the process so you aren't wasting your time.
- Character models and portraits. So, in BG1 and 2, you had to pick a portrait. In BG3, you create your portrait and it actually looks like the character model you created. So, unlike in BG1 and 2, where you have a very basic model that might or might not look like your portrait, you actually have a portrait that matches. The models are WAY better. Are they perfectly rendered versions of elves, dwarves, halflings, etc.? Maybe not based on your opinion, but they certainly are different and far better than the originals (naturally). So, the point is, what are the differences and similarities. Are the differences better? Do they make the game somehow NOT a BG game? I don't think that character models/portraits not looking like elves/dwarves/etc. destroy the BG-feel. In fact, I hated the portrait selection in BG1 and 2 and Icwind Dale and such. There were hardly ever any portraits that really spoke to me. Most bothered me. I'd much prefer custom-made portraits/models.
- RTWP versus Turn-Based. Yes, this is probably the biggest difference. This changes the entire feel of the game. Is it a bad difference? In my opinion, no, but I know there are various threads and various opinions on this. Regardless, it is a major difference. Does it make it any less a BG game or sequel? No. It is just a different play style and ruleset.
So overall, the point of this entire thread is that when you get down to it, BG3 actually has a lot more similarities to its predecessors than many would like you to believe. It isn't really all THAT different, when the rubber meets the pavement. There are a few differences, but most are minor, and none of them would scream that this is not a true BG sequel because of said difference. Not having Day/Night, a 6 person party, etc. sucks, in my opinion, but if they don't implement these things, it will still be a pretty good successor to the series... as long as they finish the game and finish it well.