Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast

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Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast
Developer(s)BioWare
Publisher(s)Black Isle Studios
Interplay Entertainment
SeriesBaldur's Gate
EngineInfinity
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
ReleaseApril 30, 1999
Genre(s)Role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast is an expansion pack of the fantasy role-playing video game Baldur's Gate. Developed by BioWare and published by Interplay in April 1999, it adds 20 to 30 extra hours of gameplay to the original game, including the addition of four new areas and minor tweaks to some of the mechanics. The expansion consists of four notable quests that take place within the same game world as Baldur's Gate, and sees players taking their character (referred to as the Ward) and their party of companions across the Sword Coast, from travelling to a distant island, to exploring the fortress dungeon of a former dwarf. Tales of the Sword Coast achieved global sales of 600,000 units by 2003.

Gameplay

While the expansion retains the same fundamental gameplay mechanics of Baldur's Gate, and the new areas incorporated into the same world map as the original game, a number of tweaks and improvements were made. These include:

  • The experience point cap being raised to 161,000, allowing characters to reach higher levels.
  • The user interface receiving a number of improvements.
  • Identical items automatically stack.
  • Unidentified items display a blue tint to make it easier to distinguish them.
  • The abilities of the thief class are toned down.

In addition, if the player had completed the original game, the expansion features the option of loading a save game of their player character and their party, placing them within the new settlement of Ulgoth's Beard, where most of the quests begin.

Plot

Setting

Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast takes place around the same time of the original game, and within the same region of Faerûn. The expansion adds a number of new locations, including the small town Ulgoth's Beard, a mysterious island in the Trackless Sea, the Isle of Ice, and the ruins of Durlag's Tower.[1] While it provides additional side quests, these do not impact the original game's main story, especially if it is ongoing.

Story

Travelling to Ulgoth's Beard, a small town with great adventuring possibilities, a party of adventurers consisting of Gorion's Ward and their companions, meet with a mysterious mage called Shandalar who asks them to recover a cloak of his from the Isle of Ice, before forcefully teleporting them to the island. The Ward's party soon find themselves fighting against those who were trapped on the island's dungeon, eventually recovering the cloak and managing to return with it.

Heading to the town's docks, the party encounters Mendas, a strange man who seeks help for an expedition to track down the ship used by Balduran. After returning with a sea chart that had been found by a local guild in Baldur's Gate, the party travel across the Trackless Sea, only for a storm to shipwreck them on an island. Discovering a village of people living there, the Ward's party learn from the village's chief that they suffer from werewolf attacks, to which the party agree to help deal with them, learning that the creatures reside in the wreck of Balduran's ship. Venturing towards it, the group encounter an elven mage residing in a cave, who reveals the truth behind the incident aboard Baldruan's ship, and that the villagers are not what they seem to be. Defeating what turns out to be wolfweres, the party returns to the village to find that all the villagers were actually werewolves, forcing them to fight through them, including a Loup Garou, in order to escape the island. Returning to Ulgoth's Beard, the group soon learns that Mendas is a werewolf and had sent them out to help him bring back the village chief, his mate, along with the villagers, in order for them to roam free across the Sword Coast. Upon learning of what the Ward did, Mendas transforms into a Loup Garou and attacks the party, but is ultimately defeated.

In the town's inn, the party encounter a dwarf by the name of Hurgan Stoneblade, who asks them to help him recover an item from the dungeons beneath Durlag's Tower called the Soultaker Dagger. Agreeing to help, the party travel to the ruined tower for a guided tour, just as a powerful Demon Knight claims control over the ruins and its dungeon, forcing the party to fight past several creatures while overcoming the traps and puzzles set up by Durlag, eventually defeating the Demon Knight and recovering the Soultaker. Upon returning to Ulgath's Beard, the group are accosted by a member of a cult, who steals the Soultaker from them. Forced to take it back, the party venture into the cult's hideout, but arrive too late to stop them from summoning demon from the Abyss called Aec' Letec. Bravely fighting it, the party defeat the cult and kill the demon, preventing it from escaping into the rest of the Sword Coast, while ending their final adventure in the town.

Development

Tales of the Sword Coast went gold on April 26, 1999,[2] and shipped to retailers on May 4.[3]

Reception

Sales

Tales of the Sword Coast debuted at #1 on PC Data's computer game sales chart during the May 2–8 period,[4] and held the position the following week,[5] but fell to #6 in its third week.[6] The game remained in the top 10 for the entirety of May,[7][8] and was the second-best-seller of the month overall, behind Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.[9] By the week ending June 12, the game had fallen off the weekly charts.[10] However, it finished in 17th place on PC Data's monthly chart for June.[11] In the United States alone, sales of Tales of the Sword Coast reached 156,000 copies by March 2000.[12]

By late 2003, global sales of Tales of the Sword Coast had surpassed 600,000 copies.[13]

Critical reviews

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankings85%[14]
Review scores
PublicationScore
CGM4.5/5 stars[15]
CGW4/5 stars[16]
Awards
PublicationAward
Computer Games Strategy PlusAdd-on of the Year (finalist)[17]
GameSpotBest Expansion Pack (finalist)[18]

The expansion was critically well received. In the review from GameSpot, the game was found to feature "some occasionally frustrating battles, adds only minor gameplay enhancements, and takes a few additional liberties with AD&D rules," but the new areas and game content were found to be well-designed and interesting.[19] Computer Games Strategy Plus called it "a solid add-on to an excellent title", but complained that glitches occasionally caused the game to crash.[15] According to GameSpy, "especially for new players, the 'add-in' structure would make an already rich experience richer, improving one's Baldur's Gate experience immeasurably".[20]

Tales of the Sword Coast was a runner-up for Computer Games Strategy Plus's 1999 "Add-on of the Year" and GameSpot's "Best Expansion Pack" awards, but lost these prizes to Heroes of Might and Magic III: Armageddon's Blade and Half-Life: Opposing Force, respectively.[18][17]

References

  1. ^ "Fate of Civilization at State". Herald News. Joliet, Illinois. July 11, 1999. Retrieved November 14, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  2. ^ Ajami, Amer (April 26, 1999). "Tales of the Sword Coast Goes Gold". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 5, 2000. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  3. ^ "Adventure Add-On for Worldwide Hit, Baldur's Gate, Ships" (Press release). Irvine, California: Interplay. May 4, 1999. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  4. ^ Staff (May 19, 1999). "Baldur's Add-On Takes First". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 4, 2000. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  5. ^ Staff (May 26, 1999). "Baldur's Add-On Takes Charts". GameSpot. Archived from the original on January 6, 2001. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  6. ^ Mullen, Micheal (June 2, 1999). "The Force Takes the Charts". GameSpot. Archived from the original on April 21, 2000. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  7. ^ Fudge, James (June 9, 1999). "LucasArts Tops Charts .. Again". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on April 7, 2005. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  8. ^ Staff (June 17, 1999). "Top Selling Games for the Week". GameSpot. Archived from the original on April 25, 2000. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  9. ^ Fudge, James (June 15, 1999). "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Tops Monthly Chart". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on May 2, 2005. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  10. ^ Mullen, Micheal (June 24, 1999). "Mech 3 Stomps Menace". GameSpot. Archived from the original on April 22, 2000. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  11. ^ Fudge, James (July 20, 1999). "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Tops Monthly Chart". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on April 7, 2005. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  12. ^ Desslock (May 11, 2000). "Desslock's Ramblings – RPG Sales Figures". GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 3, 2001.
  13. ^ "About BioWare". BioWare. Archived from the original on October 2, 2003. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  14. ^ "Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  15. ^ a b Walker, Mark (June 18, 1999). "Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on December 23, 2002.
  16. ^ Chin, Elliott (August 1, 1999). "Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast". Computer Gaming World. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000.
  17. ^ a b Staff (March 6, 2000). "The Computer Games Awards; The Best Games of 1999". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on March 24, 2005.
  18. ^ a b Staff. "The Best & Worst of 1999". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  19. ^ Desslock (June 9, 1999). "Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast Review for PC". GameSpot. Archived from the original on October 4, 2003. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  20. ^ Rausch, Allen (August 18, 2004). "A History of D&D Video Games - Part IV". Game Spy. Retrieved November 17, 2012.

External links