I've been reminiscing lately of my first RPG days and came across this page on the internet:http://www.story-games.com/forums/discussion/18860/what-was-good-about-ad-d-2nd-edition
I thought it was an interesting read, so decided to bring the discussion to these fora. What did you like, what did you hate about AD&D 2nd Edition?
I'll start myself.
I liked the sense of incompleteness and limited choices in the character classes. I know it sounds crazy, but it's a bit like what WoW felt in the early days with equipment/talent min/maxing: Trying to work around the rules with kits/special rules/equipment in order to develop your character but ultimately knowing that you would never be the best compared to other classes in certain situations. Trying to prove that certain "hopeless builds" were actually competitive and could stand their ground (*ahem* sounds familiar?).
I liked the amazing settings created for the game, namely Dragonlance, Dark Sun and Ravenloft (was never much of a fan of Forgotten Realms because it felt like a mix-and-match of various settings, but I did love the FR Adventures module with the detailed descriptions for each city in the Sword Coast).
I stood in awe before the piles of textbooks with rules for all types of situations. Little did I know back then that those rules had never been put to test in a comprehensive manner and were oftimes contradicting themselves; the sheer amount of data gave me the impression that this was a perfectly thought-out game with answers for everything.
Last but not least: the amazing artwork, where big part of the credit goes for luring me to RPGs in general. The wonderful works by Larry Elmore, Jeff Easley, and so many others presented me with images of fantasy worlds I had never thought of before.
Now with the bad:
I hated the imbalance in low level gameplay; the hit points were ridiculous, you were one-shot all the time. If you were a caster, good luck using the ONE spell available at level 1 and then your knife forever after. It's like the game was made for level 9+; at that level, you felt decent - mind you, the world was still a threat, but you could afford the luxury of choosing your engagements.
The rules were all over the place. Impossible to keep track of every option. And at times, they just didn't make sense: why simply do double damage with +4 to hit against an immobilized target and not kill him instantly? Why can't my cleric wield a sword, but is perfectly proficient with a flail ffs (which is about twice as hard in reality to master)?
Rising from level 1 to level 9 presented the player with interesting options almost at every level-up. This can't be said for levels 9-20 (or 30). With the exception of druids, all other classes had reached "endgame" at around level 9 and were simply "alternately advancing" from then on. Sure the followers/army gained past level 9 was cool, but the game was designed around character progression, not territoy control and strategic gameplay.
These are some of my thoughts for 2e AD&D which, in my eyes, was at the time the most comprehensive RPG on the market.