Author Topic: Feedback for Mods (and a suggestion or 2)  (Read 1984 times)

JAG

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Feedback for Mods (and a suggestion or 2)
« on: August 07, 2002, 11:41:50 AM »
This is my general feedback on a variety of the optional mods included with the Solaufein mod, as well as the Ease-Of-Use and Item Upgrade mods.  This is for anyone wanting to try them (although I won't spare spoilers), light hints not found in the readme (I think) for trying to best them, and for Wes's info on one man's thoughts.  These were done on insane unless otherwise stated...and anytime you see ‘frustrating’ in the mod description, that is a positive unless otherwise stated (frustrating = challenging and satisfying to beat)

'Solaufein' - This isn't the forum for it, but to be brief, great NPC.  A lot of fun to play, very interesting conversations, good quests, fun banter, etc...  What more could you ask for?

Additional Tactical Encounters: This breaks down into a lot of sections...

'New random You Have Been Waylaid By Enemies fights' - I don't know if it's just me, but I only saw one of these the entire game, a battle with a couple of rakshasa's going from one area of the city to another.  In addition, I didn’t even see the usual Ch. 6 rakshasa attack (not a big loss since there wasn’t much to that fight, but anyway).  Maybe it was related to me not going through all the evening ‘vampire-shadow thief interactions’.  Drizzt never showed up in Ch. 6 either, although I have absolutely no idea if it was related to this addition.

'Better city encounters' - Very fun overall, although I was certainly annoyed a couple of times by the party of Mask killing my main character who started off completely surrounded...my suggestion is to keep your party close together when you wander around at night.  In addition, the highest level 'trap' encounter where you battle a Conjurer, Shadow Druid, Wizard Slayer, Bounty Hunter, Berserker, and maybe another was a great fight the first time through.  I was doing alright through the first part of it, then whoosh, my top three melee characters got mazed by the Bounty Hunter's traps!  It was a struggle but I eventually pulled it off.  After you get powerful enough, this fight is a nice source of Superior Healing Potions which SOA otherwise lacks.  In short, if you're not ready for a couple of decent fights, don't wander around at night.

'New Acid-based Wu Jen Challenge' - I mentioned what I thought of Kuroisan under the Imp. Irenicus thread, in short, it was excellent though.  I fear him.  His dialogue is hilarious too (“How is it stealing?  You didn’t exactly find Celestial Fury lying in the gutter somewhere did you?”)

'New Poison-based TOB Challenge' - Haven't gotten there yet.

'New lich in the docks' - Amazingly I won this my first time through it, but that was mainly due to the good fortune as to where those death fogs (jerk lich) ended up spawning, away from my supporting chars that didn't have the resistance my protagonist had.  Your first time through it would be surprising not to die, but even with good preps, it's a pretty tough and overall fun fight.  

'New Kangaxx guardians' - Yikes...I don't recommend trying this until you're quite powerful and well equipped.  The lich is very tough by itself and the fighter and dwarf inside are ridicoulously tough melee characters.  But hey, it's the tough ones that are fun.  I actually think it's almost a tougher fight than Kangaxx (improved that is).

'New fighter/illusionist' - By the time I went there, I was sufficiently high level that this wasn't a particularly tough fight.

‘Improved Mae'Var’ – This was a very tough fight for me as this is usually one of the first quests I do.  Frankly, this one was very very frustrating….I actually didn’t think MaeVar himself was so bad, but he had a pretty nasty crew of assassins and the priest of Cyric buffing them all.  Eventually I used an Inquisitor’s Dispel Magic because the assassins were too deadly otherwise (killing my cleric and mages).  After that, Greater Malison and some area effect spells to lower the number of enemies, after about 10-15 tries, I was able to get by this one.  Definitely recommended for what used to be a forgettable fight.  

‘Improved TorGal and De'Arnisse Keep’ – Ugh, another highly frustrating one as I usually do this quest first.  You wander around thinking everything’s alright, then come some Spirit Trolls, once jokes, casting Unholy Blight and Flamestrikes on you.  Be ready.  I actually had to tiptoe around the main dining room on this floor because my guys couldn’t take on the Giant and Spirit Trolls there.  And the battle with Torgal was so difficult for my wusses that I had to break the fight into two pieces: first I drew him back into the previous room with a hasted fighter, closed the door, concurrently had my cleric cast Invisibility Purge and mage cast Greater Malison, then casted a Chromatic Orb, while the hasted fighter ran him in circles.  Fortunately the Orb petrified him and his petrified body still yielded the cold flail head for the Flail of Ages.  After this, the rest is a not-so-easy mop-up.  

‘Improved Kangaxx’ – Cough cough, think Kangy is a piece of cake?  Try this guy…you can’t use the old ‘huddle five guys in a corner and send one super-buffed dude to take him down’ strategy, as it seems random who he chooses to focus his Imprisonment abilities on (sometimes it was someone close by, sometimes far away, sometimes on someone with protection nearby, sometimes not).  Summon a good bit of Mordies to give him plenty of expendable targets.  I used the Prot. from Magic scroll for this fight so I could have a nearby fighter hacking at him while Kangy tried spelling him ineffectually.  I think in the end I won by a cheesy hit with the upgraded Azure Edge axe.  A good tough but winnable battle.  

‘Improved Crypt King’ – Nothing much to him.  My party wasn’t particularly high leveled and he wasn’t much more challenging to me than he was prior to this improvement.

‘Harder random dungeon spawns’ – I definitely liked this one…I want as much of a challenge as possible.

‘Smarter Demon Knights’ – Watch out for Power Word Stun…these smarter guys like using it a lot more than I recall the previous ones using it.  Other than that, there didn’t seem to be much more of a difference…it’s still a tough fight, as I felt it was before loading this, of course considering the sweet equipment you get for it, it should be a tough fight.

‘Slightly Smarter Golems’ – Slightly is right…I barely noticed a difference.  In some ways, I thought the Adamantite Golems were easier with this installed as they didn’t use their poison gas attack (granted this is easily defended against, but still), although occasionally they would pull back slightly from doorways to draw a character into a position to be attacked…however, this was perhaps 4% of the time.  Shrug, this doesn’t bother me much though, since golems are supposed to be mindless constructs anyway (although there’s an idea…what if a mage created an INTELLIGENT construct that could fit through doors…could be a fun fight).

 ‘Improved Guarded Compound’ – At this point, my party was quite powerful (mages were casting Comets, etc…), so I didn’t expect to find this fight too tough and it wasn’t.  I’m not really a big Celestial Fury fan, but I was curious what the battle would be like.  Next time I’ll try it at a lower level to see how tough it is…I do recall the original fight was pretty forgettable overall and these guys seemed to be at least better than that.

‘Improved Twisted Rune’ – Whew.  I tried this one out before I went to Spellhold to see if I could manage it.  I didn’t use too much in the way of preparation and almost instantly my party was obliterated by Abi-Dalzim’s Horrid Wiltings from Shangralar.  I definitely don’t recommend this before Ch. 6.  The L-mage actually uses the Staff of Magi this time which makes it fun (it’s always fun to fight against cheesy (that is, upper level) tactics that can make one feel like one’s getting a taste of one’s own medicine).  In the end, the key for me was destroying Shangralar very early on with the upgraded Azure Edge Axe, killing the vampire with the same axe, piling on the beholder to get rid of it, then outlasting the L-mage until you can get her with spells/fighters.  Great upgrade to what was already a tough fight.

‘Smarter Dragons’ – One of the best additions.  Compared to how dragons were, this lets you actually have respect for them.  The first time I saw Firkraag, I was getting ready to go downstairs and fight Costner.  Before I went, I had my cleric cast a Cure Serious Wounds on one of my party members.  Firkraag wandered over, said, “Are you trying to kill me?  Die!”, used his fire breathing…only my main character survived, with about 10 hps left, the rest were all permanently destroyed!  Holy cow, I started tip-toeing verrrry carefully around dragons from that point on (and seriously, shouldn’t we be doing that anyway?)  Extremely difficult fight that I did just prior to going to Spellhold.  Make sure you start with outstanding fire resistance (and buff downstairs).  I won by running my main character like a madman, using Boots of Speed, Oil of Speed, and Haste, because Firkraag primarily focuses on the protagonist (but not completely!)…while I did that, my mage managed to get in a couple of Lower Res, a Greater Malison, and a Feeblemind that actually worked.  Watch out for the wing buffets that he loooooves to use.  I fought three of the five dragons, the black and shadow dragons weren’t so bad as I had very high level characters by that point.  I recommend this one highly.

‘Smarter Beholders’ – I didn’t really notice this so much as I usually only fight beholders with LOTS of preps…one thing though, this makes the beholder hive in the Underdark quite a bit harder IMO…especially watch for that Hive Mother in the back that’s pretty tough, but even worse are those couple of Elder Orbs in the back…you’ve been forewarned.  

‘Smarter Vampires’ – I didn’t really notice too much of a difference one way or another.  

‘Smarter Mages’ – I didn’t load this one up…I think the next time around I’ll give it a go though.

‘Improved Mind Flayers’ – I didn’t really notice…not!  These guys are very tough now…better have True Sight because they will go invisible often.  The new psionic attacks are pretty cool and some of them are extremely damaging and difficult to defend against since there are so few items that do defend vs. these attacks (read the readme).  I found them to be much more realistic (if that makes sense) and of course, a good bit more difficult without being impossible.

‘Improved Bodhi’ – Wow.  This makes Bodhi truly ridiculous.  If you’ve sided with the Shadow Thieves, you will NOT be looking forward to the end of Ch. 3 where she ‘tests’ you.  The only thing I could do for that fight was to use my above super-hasting and run away from her until she gives the ‘Well that was educational’ speech.  I still lost two party members during that run-fest.  The Ch. 6 fight with her and Undead Solaufein was the first time this run through that I had to tone the difficulty down from insane to core, although after many failed attempts at insane, I was able to get through it my first time in core (I was romancing Jahiera and Solaufein, so my party was down to a Barbarian, a fighter-thief (me), a sorceror, and a wild mage).  To win this one, I summoned a good bit of throwaway monsters, through them in the room with the fighter thief wielding Carsomyr (Had Use Any Items at that point).  I eventually hit Undead Solaufein with Carsomyr dispelling some buffs, then I switched to the trusty Azure Edge which eventually killed him.  You have to be really lucky and not have Bodhi hit you with her Cloak of Bats (try to get it on a summoned monster), because that will eat your hps away like mad (if it hits a spellcaster, they’re as good as dead unless you can dispel it).  IMO, the most difficult ‘Improved’ fight.  

Fighter-Class Archer Kit – Didn’t use.

‘Improved Irenicus’ – Mentioned under the thread bearing that name.  Great great fun.  The only thing was the final Irenicus you fight…maybe

‘Item Upgrade Mod’ – Great fun.  I didn’t find anything to be ridiculously overpowered.  It often prevents you from having to do annoying switching between certain items (“Here comes a vampire, everyone put on their Helms of Charm Protection”).  All in all, it’s kinda fun to have some incentive to collect some items that normally aren’t needed.  

“Ease-Of-Use Mod’ – Of these, I installed Multi-Class Grandmastery, True Grandmastery, Shut Up ‘You must gather…’, Wear Magic Armor/Rings, Multiple Strongholds, Concurrent Romances, and Bonus Merchants.  I went for a couple of advantages since I like to give the monsters as many as possible and I was curious to see if Grandmastery was overpowered for BGII (I don’t find it to be, considering Imp. Haste and GWW).  However, I think somewhere in here a change was made to the THACO progressions, because my fighters’ THACO’s have gone down at a rate of 1/level even after level 20 (right now there’s one with a base of –8)…I think that does reduce the fun being able to hit any monster all the time, so I go to ShadowKeeper to change that frequently…I’m not sure what exactly changed it though (and it’s not the Un-Nerfed THAC0 Table, Saving Throws, ... part of the Ease-Of-Use mod because saving throws, arcane/divine progressions haven’t changed at all, only THACO’s.  Curious).  Still, I recommend this mod, I’d find it surprising if someone didn’t find at least something in there they liked.



Suggestions for potential mods:

Disclaimer: I am not a programmer so I don’t know how difficult the following would be to make.  I also don’t know Wes’s schedule, current projects, etc…  I am simply offering these because I’ve been so pleased with the mods I’ve downloaded from here, I just thought these would be another neat couple to do time/interest permitting.  Anyway…

Improved Saughin Battle for Cloak of Mirroring:

I found it a bit insulting that this item, one of the most powerful artifacts in the game that reduces mages and beholders to incidental dangers, is guarded by an absolutely simple to defeat Saughin cleric (or mage?).  I’m all for powerful items, but only if they’re obtained in a worthy battle.  Idea – Perhaps a high-ranking Saughin Priestess that summons an avatar of Sekolah to fight at her side?  I don’t have the old D&D Deities and Demigods book handy, but I do remember that Sekolah was in there, with an ability to swallow characters whole (mazed and acid damage from digestive juices upon return?  Or just vorpal ability?)  The only problem is I don’t think there’s any type of decent-looking giant shark monsters in any of the IE games, but anyway I think it could be a worthy fight when people would still be missing some of the more powerful items in the game (since they wouldn’t have been to Ch. 6 at this point).  And even if this idea isn’t all that, I think that to obtain the Cloak of Mirroring, there should at least be some challenging type of fight.

Improved Kuroisan (or maybe his brother?)

Not that I didn’t think that this guy was tough enough as he was, but it just made me think…if he was only level 13/14 kensai-mage, how tough could a higher level one decked out in the appropriate equipment with even TOB abilities be?  Seeing how some of these other tough mages are (Imp. Irenicus, Undead Solaufein, etc…), I think it would be a fun battle and build on the amusing Katana-collector mini-story.  I also thought it would be fun if he dropped some unique item allowing you to upgrade Sanchudoku (This will sound weird, but I must’ve had a dream that this katana was upgradable…I swore I thought I saw somewhere that it was).  

Again, thanks for all your (this includes everyone involved in the packaged mods) tireless efforts and highly fun mods that have greatly increased BGII replayability.

Jamie
                   

kopywrite

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Feedback for Mods (and a suggestion or 2)
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2002, 04:28:18 AM »
Quote
Improved Mae'Var’ – This was a very tough fight for me as this is usually one of the first quests I do. Frankly, this one was very very frustrating….I actually didn’t think MaeVar himself was so bad, but he had a pretty nasty crew of assassins

Pick pocketing the assassins of their potions of invisibility (they each have 5 IIRC) during one of the numerous visits to MaeVar before the fight levels the playing field somewhat (no more repeated backstabbing).                    

 

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