Baldur's Gate 2 Guides & Walkthroughs
Author's Note: Functionally both Baldur's Gate 1 and Baldur's Gate 2 are the same game which means the Beginner's Guides I have for them are almost identicle. To see my Baldur's Gate 1 Beginner's Guide follow the link provided.
This page here contains my Beginner's Guide for Baldur's Gate 2; this guide is the culmination of all the knowledge I have acquired about this series and AD&D mechanics over the last few years. I made this guide in an effort to help new players learn enough about the game to play on either Easy or Normal instead of on Story Mode which takes a lot of the enjoyment out of the game. At least for me the whole not being able to die on Story Mode ended up being boring which is ultimately what pushed me to learn enough about the game to... not be terrible.
In this guide I am going to focus on how to play the game effectively rather than giving you a break down of AD&D Mechanics and how BG1 and BG2 are designed. Most of the Beginner's Guides that I find online for this game involve character creation and stats and stuff like that - this one will be different. In this guide I will teach you how to actually play the game.
Since there is so much to this game and a lot to explain I will have to break this page up into multiple smaller guides. This is the main index page which will give you a basic run down of all the information needed to 'get gud' at the game... However if you want a more detailed break down then you'll have to visit the pages specifically designed for the information you want. I link to all of them below.
All Beginner's Guide Info:
How to play a Wizard
How to play a Cleric
List of best pre-combat buffs
General strategies and tips for combat
For those of you who want a TL;DR of everything I have learned... You're in luck because I actually can give you one. Selecting the right Priest & Mage spells and buffing before combat are the biggest game changers you'll find in this game. To be more specific, Animate Dead as well as Haste (Wizard), Bless and/or Aid (Cleric), Chant (Cleric), Resist Fear (Cleric) and I can name more like Protection Against Evil (Cleric) but the 4 big ones that I very often use are Animate Dead, Haste, Bless and Chant.
What makes these skills so good in combination is because Animate Dead lets you summon somewhat powerful skeletons to aid your group. These undead will be under your control for a total of 8 ingame hours which comes out to 40 minutes IRL. In other words, they'll be in your control for the entire time you're on the map. In addition to lasting very long you can also buff these skeletons with all the same buffs you can use on your party.
Each character can summon multiple undead skeletons and even in BG1 you're able to easily get 3 or 4 active at a time with just 1 priest and 1 mage. So, before any tough fight what you'll typically be doing is using multiple Animate Dead spells to summon as many skeletons as you can then following it up with Bless, Chant and Haste before charging in to decimate the enemies.
Animate Dead Skeletons fighting the pack of enemies.
In my opinion using Animate Dead along with the buffs mentioned above is the single best tip I can give you to help you get better at this game. For those of you who would like a more complete list of all the buffs you should use prior to combat I recommend you check out my Pre-Combat Buffs Guide for more information. There are a lot of buffs mentioned on that page that are not here.
For those of you who still want a TL;DR below I have included a shortened list of the most common buffs I use before really really hard fights. Typically there are very few fights that require you to go all out in terms of buffing and creating pets depending on your difficulty so I typically do not take this level of preparation before combat.
Before Combat Buffs Quick List:
1. Animate Dead on Wizard/Cleric
2. Bless (Cleric)
3. Mirror Image or Blur (Wizard)
4. Chant (Cleric)
5. Circle of Protection Against Evil (Cleric)
6. Resist Fear (Cleric; if needed)
<BG2 Guide only -- Info about dragons & Harder Fights