Thanks a lot! I was mostly interested in playing it as a single player game, without any ambition for creating my own campaigns.
You will probably like it, then.
And I don't know anything about D&D 5e. I guess for me it would be a completely new system with some familiar D&D names here and there. I wouldn't mind if it strayed from official rules or D&D lore, as long as it's fun to play. I also don't expect to be able to play it with friends, although I wouldn't mind trying that, if the occasion would arise. It sounds like it would be worth a try.
While the rules aren't exactly like 5e, they're a close representation with some fudging. You will recognize the common D&D trappings (attributes, hit points, levels, spell names like "Fireball" and "Magic Missile.")
The game does take place in the Forgotten Realms (in the Sword Coast region).
- It seems that you need to create a Sword Coast Legends account in order to play the game? Even for single player?
I don't remember at this point. I don't think it was a big deal, though. It might be it's necessary to have the account to use the multiplayer servers or to connect to the module download system.
- How has the shut down of the servers impacted the game? Is multiplayer still possible? Is the SCL account independent of this, or is there a chance that the game will become unplayable at some point, if accounts are shut down as well?
Even though the company went down, another company took over. They are the ones who released the non-PC ports and put the finishing touches on "Rage of Demons." I don't know what they've decided upon for the future of the game, but they talked about doing more work on it.
I think the single-player version will always be playable. I know it works this week because I actually loaded "Rage of Demons" and played the intro again about four days before you posted these questions.
- Did you have any technical issues? (Apparantly some reviewers had crashes before they could even start the game or something, so I'm wondering whether it would be safer to buy it directly on Steam during the next sale instead of buying a Steam key on Gamersgate, so that I could ask for a refund if it does not work.)
I didn't have any issues. I had one laptop that didn't like it...ran kind of slow, but I bought a new laptop about a week into the game, and didn't have any issues after that. I blame how old the laptop was in that case, though.
- How hard or easy is it to filter out the better community modules, if I wanted to give them a try? Is it like the needle in the haystack or are there good pointers on how to spot them?
I think there are user ratings on the modules. You can access the module repository from within the game itself, and I believe you can sort it by ratings...as well as a couple of other sorting options. Been a while since I looked at it, though. I may pop into the game and see after I get done typing this.
- Any CRPG game you've played that you could compare Sword Coast Legends to, in terms of quality, combat, story?
Well, it's obviously similar to a game like Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale. I liked it better, though (never could finish any of those). I think it has a lot to do with being in a modern engine where, when paused, I could zoom in, move the camera around and swing the camera to any angle I needed. Being able to see everything clearly when you're giving instructions to the party made a huge difference in some of the boss fights. I had issues with that in Baldur's Gate.
- I've heard that the game is too easy even on Hard Mode. What did you think? (I usually play Normal Mode and don't mind games being a little on the easy side, but it sounded like this one is no challenge at all.)
Depends on how good you are at managing the combat. It will vary. I had a couple of battles that had me pulling my hair out because my party died several times before I could find a strategy that worked...and I played on Easy mode. It really depends on how good you are at this kind of thing and what strategy you use.
The game fulfilled the two criteria I had: 1) It was fun, and 2) It made me want to keep playing. That's all I can ask of any game. How difficult the game is really has no bearing. I mean, "Pool of Radiance" was really hard in 1988 when I first played it, but now I find it simple and easy...but someone who has never played it might find it difficult. But both of us might still have fun with it, so it doesn't matter.
- The Digital Deluxe Edition Includes the Following Bonus Features:
Tome of knowledge (giving players a boost to their attributes and abilities)
Order of the Burning Cloak Armor and Weapons
Beholder monster for Dungeon Masters
Lost Mines dungeon tileset for Dungeon Masters
Specials Wisps for Dungeon Master cursors
Exclusive Hero forum badge
Exclusive Dungeon Master forum badge
Digital soundtrack of Sword Coast Legends
Would any of these (apart from soundtrack) be worth spending a few dollars more, or are they just superfluous fluff for a player like me (seeing that I probably won't use their forums, might not get a chance to play DM, don't want to cheat)?
If we remove the soundtrack, you're left with three things that are exclusively for Dungeon Masters. If you're not planning to run games or build modules, these don't matter at all.
Two more things are in regards to their forums. If you don't care about that (and I doubt you should), that only leaves two things. The ability boost is fine, I suppose, but I finished the game without it. And the Order of the Burning Cloak armor and weapons...I don't know what that is, but I had Order of the Burning Cloak armor and weapons by the end of the game (or had them, if I found better stuff). Not sure if it's the same, but I didn't need them.
I picked up the game when it was $19.99, and I didn't feel my money was wasted. So, really, if you get it for less than that and you end up liking the single player experience, I think you'll be fine.