MM7 Refilled for the Merge

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lightbringer23
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MM7 Refilled for the Merge

Postby lightbringer23 » Nov 15 2020, 3:09

Hi Everyone!
MM7 Refilled is a mod for the MM678 Merge. It aims to fill in the empty areas of MM7 with additional and more challenging monsters -- and a little more treasure.

MM7 Refilled:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1m5Qez0 ... sp=sharing

When I first played the Merge, I applied Echo's MM8 Monstrosity Modling to it, and highly enjoyed the extra monsters and treasure. When I arrived in the MM7 portion, I was disappointed by the relative drop in challenge and reward. That portion of the game felt empty. MM7 Refilled aims to fix this.

The MM8 Monstrosity Modling is not required, but refraining from using it would defeat the purpose of my mod.
A Merge compatible version of the MM8 Monstrosity can be found at Nexus Mods here:
https://www.nexusmods.com/mightandmagicviii/mods/2

MM7 refilled consists of 2 files. Both should be installed atop a completed Merge installation. Open the archive and drop the contents directly into your base Merge folder. Start a new game to enjoy, as changing games.lod files in the middle of a game causes crashes.

***IMPORTANT***
Enable Compatibility Mode for your MM8.exe, set to Windows XP SP 3. Otherwise, you will get massive lag from large monster groups.

Details:
"mm7.games.lod" contains my altered maps. It replaces the file of the same name that comes with the merge.

"CTHostileMonsters.lua" is a simple script that makes almost all monsters stop fighting each other and focus on the party. This was necessary to keep several of my new monster groups from tearing each other to shreds as soon as the player wandered within range.

The script is not strictly necessary, so feel free to omit it if you need. Be aware that many of my new monster groups will ignore you and fight each other without it. The script mainly causes MM7 to act like MM6 and MM8, where the party is the focus of the monsters. Behavior of friendlies and town guards is unchanged.

Be warned! This mod makes the MM7 portion of the Merge quite a bit tougher. I made no change to existing monster stats. I placed more and/or tougher monsters in places that were void of them. Feel free to Bolster through the Merge as you see fit. Areas that used to be relatively save are no longer so, and some parts of early maps may require returning to at a higher level. Diligent monster slayers will be rewarded for their perseverance.

Of Note:
There are now many more adventurers than just you and Brent Filiant trying to win Lord Markham's contest. An earlier band awoke something dark and sinister inside the (formerly) Abandoned Temple of the Moon. Those accustomed to negotiating with Sal Sharktooth may find him loyal only to his new master.

The nations of Erathia and Tularea now actively want a piece of Harmondale, and are ready to take it from you by force. Their claims of benevolence in "rescuing" the town from its current besiegement by goblins is surely a pretense. Be prepared to fend off hostiles upon arrival in your new home. In the chaos, a rival thieves guild has set up shop in the White Cliff Caves, pursuing rumors of a hidden treasure. Several citizens of Harmondale say the new guild serves a mysterious mistress who keeps her face concealed at all times.

In Erathia, the great fortress of Riverstride is the site of constant skirmishes. In the haze of battle, combatants may not discern between their ancestral foes and innocent travelers.

The back entrance to Castle Navan through the Tularean Caves is now highly defended. Would-be raiders of the elven treasury will be fiercely resisted -- and richly rewarded. Due to the open hostilities between the Elven and Human kingdoms and poor Harmondale, the new Lords can certainly be forgiven exacting revenge upon their respective Castles and Forts. The door to the Elven treasury somehow got left open by the last Royal Factor, and remains so -- even for those who do not choose the path of the Black Knight.

The Barrow Downs has lost its Gog population, replaced instead by the many undead who have crawled out of the dwarven barrows. Many opportunists are attempting to take advantage of such a dark outpouring. Travelers are advised to beware of angry earth elementals, driven mad by the disruption of the land.

The Temples of the Light and of the Dark, and the Castles of the Wizards and the Necromancers have managed to gain possession of some of the greatest artifacts and texts of their enemies, and are attempting to purify or corrupt them -- as their nature dictates. Champions of Virtue and Scions of Wickedness are each advised to rescue such powerful items from the clutches of those who would abuse them.

Rumor has it that a rather odd warlock has claimed to have salvaged mysterious technology from the beaches north of Nighon. It has been weeks since he was last seen in town, muttering something about a "new tutor". Several experienced hydra-watchers have gone missing, and travelers are advised to use caution.

An old Armsmaster has retired in Eofol, at the site of his greatest conquests. It is now confirmed that he is in possession of a weapon of great power, having relied upon it for his battles against the great evils of the realm. The Warlocks of Nighon have grown tired of his rejection of their entreaties to purchase this weapon and are preparing a war-party to seize it by force. A party that comes to his aid, displaying their valor and selflessness, might be freely rewarded with the very weapon that others tried to take.

Finally, in the Shoals near Avlee, a long, lost shipwreck hides a mysterious bottle. Diligent explorers may discover exactly who's ship was wrecked with such strange cargo.

I hope you all enjoy new adventures with MM7 Refilled.
--Lightbringer23
Last edited by lightbringer23 on Dec 1 2020, 7:40, edited 5 times in total.

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NotABroom
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Re: MM7 Map addon (Echoes of Echo)

Postby NotABroom » Nov 20 2020, 7:03

Hey, I love your ideas. I am looking forward to hearing more about it!

If you ask me, the goblins could do with a few trolls maybe. I say this as a Tolkien and Lord of the Rings lover ("They have a cave troll!") and therefore think they fit well together. Better no mountain troll, because that one would be far too strong, but you can probably handle a swamp troll. Not more than 1 or 2 in all of Harmondale, just a little surprise for the unwary adventurer. :D
I'd also say give them a few wolves, but that would only be possible with the Merge where you could use dire wolves. Likewise I could imagine a bunch of centaurs next to the harpies. Centaurs were part of the evil warlock town in Heroes 1 and 2 after all.
Apart from that maybe earth elementals would fit into Deyja, although they're probably too strong. A bunch of goblins would fit in there, too. And again, if you were to use the Merge as a basis, you could use creatures like ogres.
Last edited by NotABroom on Nov 20 2020, 8:32, edited 1 time in total.

lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Map addon (Echoes of Echo)

Postby lightbringer23 » Nov 20 2020, 8:09

Thanks for the ideas! We are thinking on similar wavelengths. I just finished work on Harmondale, as well as Emerald Island and the Temple of the Moon (EI version).

On Emerald Island, there are now more ne'er-do-well contestants than just your party and Brent Filliant's group, and NONE of them are as polite. The previous victims of the Dragon of Emerald Island are restless. Old Sal Sharktooth unearthed something long though buried within the old temple, and some of the vermin are spilling out of the entrance. Better act quick if you don't want to lose any villagers!

Inside the temple on EI, dark things have awoken. Those who are accustomed to negotiating with Sal are in for a surprise, as his allegiance has shifted to that of his new master ...

In Harmondale, the goblins are aided by some of their larger cousins, and they are far more numerous. Furthermore, prospective antagonists from the nearby elven and human lands are on the borders, eager to take a piece of your new lands. Harmondale should now really feel like a town under siege from all sides.

While I would love to use assets from MM8, I want this to be available for anyone who wants to use it -- 678Merge or not. I do have the Merge in mind for balancing. I am greatly looking forward to using this in my own Merge playthrough. A vanilla MM7 party will find this very (very) challenging, but it shouldn't be too egregious. No more cakewalks. I was able to carefully complete EI and the Abandoned Temple of the Moon with an MM7 vanilla party without a ton of headaches. It was certainly much more fulfilling.

I did a survey of Echo's changes to MM8 in her modling, and I found there were generally 3 categories of monster placements:
1. Increasing the existing enemy groups -- usually through either adding numbers to their current locations, or expanding their sphere of influence. Centaurs do this in Ravenshore.
2. Adding a new, widespread enemy group -- i.e. the Alvar canyon is now filled with dire wolves, or regnan arbalesters roam the hills above Ironsand.
3. Isolated encampments -- this is where the real variety comes into play. In Ravenshore, a trio of unicorns guard the challenge atop the cliff, and a cluster of wyverns (including an ancient or two!) guard the artifact tree. In Ravage Roaming, there's a dozen and a half crusaders in a corner surrounding a pile of horseshoes. In Shadowspire, a pair of Master Necromancers are tucked away in a crevice working on potions -- their cauldron and one success (a nice black potion) as evidence. Some of these might outclass the map they're in, but they're out of the way. Come back later when you're stronger, if need be.

Additionally, every challenge torch, pedestal, shrine, and dungeon entrance had guardians. Ideas to live by.
I discovered that there was much greater monster variety in MM8. All of the planar stuff made for some weird and wooly foes. They even had warrior bees for goodness sake.

lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Map addon (Echoes of Echo)

Postby lightbringer23 » Nov 21 2020, 3:03

Finished Erathia and Tularean Forest.
Of note:
Fort Riverstride has become very paranoid about elvish attacks, and for good reason. In the middle of constant skirmishes, you may find both sides unconcerned about the difference between their mortal foes and innocent travelers.

Clanker's Lab no longer sleeps quietly. Golems, escaped experiments, and the researchers themselves now prowl about.

... And, as always, many other surprises.

cthscr
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Re: MM7 Map addon (Echoes of Echo)

Postby cthscr » Nov 21 2020, 6:56

lightbringer23 wrote:Fort Riverstride has become very paranoid about elvish attacks, and for good reason. In the middle of constant skirmishes, you may find both sides unconcerned about the difference between their mortal foes and innocent travelers.

I'm hoping for special modifiers (or even encounters) if there's an elf in the party.
(Here's the place where MM8 or MM1-5 party system is better.)
Last edited by cthscr on Nov 21 2020, 6:57, edited 1 time in total.

lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Map addon (Echoes of Echo)

Postby lightbringer23 » Nov 21 2020, 17:37

Cool idea, but unfortunately well beyond my capabilities. I'm sure something like that could be done with LUA scripting, but I'm not a coder. I'm mostly just placing objects with MMEdit.

cthscr
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Re: MM7 Refilled (Merge compatible)

Postby cthscr » Nov 22 2020, 14:15

MM7:

Code: Select all

function PartyHasElf()
  for _, pl in Party do
    if pl:GetRace() == const.Race.Elf then
      return true
    end
  end
  return false
 end

Comm Merge (master branch):

Code: Select all

function PartyHasElf()
  for _, pl in Party do
    if Game.Races[pl.Attrs.Race].Kind == const.RaceKind.Elf then
      return true
    end
  end
  return false
 end

(Note that for example Vampire Elf won't fall into Elf RaceKind while Dark Elf will.)

For Base Merge one have to check default race of character portrait:

Code: Select all

function PartyHasElf()
  for _, pl in Party do
    if Game.CharacterPortraits[pl.Face].Race == const.Race.Elf
        or Game.CharacterPortraits[pl.Face].Race == const.Race.DarkElf then
      return true
    end
  end
  return false
 end

lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Refilled (Merge compatible)

Postby lightbringer23 » Nov 22 2020, 22:12

Thanks for the help, but I'm going to avoid scripting. If at all possible, I want this to be nothing more than a replacement Games.LOD (or mm7.games.LOD).

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Re: MM7 Refilled (Merge compatible)

Postby lightbringer23 » Nov 23 2020, 4:06

Wrapped up the Barrow Downs, Bracada, Deyja, and Tatalia, as well as the White Cliff Caves, Tularean Caves, Fort Riverstride, the Bandit Cave, and both Castles Navan and Gryphonheart.

All that open space in the Tularean Caves is now occupied by more than just wyverns. The backdoor into Castle Navan is now much more heavily defended. In Castle Navan itself, I left the treasury door open, and would be raiders will be both greatly rewarded and fiercely resisted. Both the Tularean Caves and Fort Riverstride are well worth visiting, now. After the indiscriminate aggression from both elves and humans in and around Harmondale, I cannot fault any new Lords from taking their revenge upon the fortifications of both Erathia and Tularea ;)

I also scrapped those annoying gogs in the middle of the Barrow Downs. You'll find the dwarven barrows have overflowed with undead, threatening the open air and drawing dark-minded opportunists. The poor dwarves are under siege in their own home. Beware of the earth elementals who are irritated at the rampant tunneling that sunk the land.

The White Cliff Caves should be quite fun now, as a rival thieves guild under a dark mistress has taken up shop and begun smuggling wealth. Buried secrets await the curious adventurer, and incautious explorers may find their doom.
Last edited by lightbringer23 on Nov 23 2020, 4:07, edited 1 time in total.

lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Refilled (Merge compatible)

Postby lightbringer23 » Nov 24 2020, 17:17

Finished the rest of the outdoor areas: Avlee, Evenmorn Islands, Nighon, Eofol, and the Shoals.
Points of particular interest: In Nighon, one of the locals has stumbled upon some lost technology and has been experimenting with it in seclusion. In the Shoals, we will finally solve the grand mystery of who's shipwreck lies in the deeps!

lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Refilled (Merge compatible)

Postby lightbringer23 » Nov 25 2020, 6:18

I finished all the areas, and started testing on MM7. Early on, I tested one of my maps within the Merge. I discovered that all of the names for the MM7 items and creatures were changed when brought into the merge. That meant an instant crash when loading one of my maps made within vanilla MM7.

So, I get to start over again from scratch. That's okay, though -- I remember what I did and can always refer back. I can also cross-pollinate a little bit. The MM8 creature set has a greater variety, and I frequently found myself limited by the low population of "strange and magical" type critters. Who knows, maybe some dire wolves will be aiding the goblins in their assault on Harmondale. Dragon turtles can swim the Shoals. The pirate-infested Tidewater Caverns can have actual, y'know, PIRATES in it! Yeah, this is a good thing.

That also means that this project will be exclusive to the Merge. If you want a difficulty increasing mod for MM7 alone, there are others available -- in particular the fantastic MM7 Re-imagined. If you just want MM7, go there. If you want something to sit alongside Echo's Modling for the Merge, I'm your huckleberry.

... Once I redo all these maps ;)

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Re: MM7 Refilled (Merge compatible)

Postby Vaulth516 » Nov 25 2020, 10:31

Hiya, so you're deciding to make this for the Merge, nice.
Can you make a lite version preview of 1-2 areas and release it as a demo?

Just a faint suggestion btw, sometimes less is more, a light touch of a few more monsters would suffice, not a lot.
And also, there must be some sort of adjustments to their experience yields. So that players don't accidentally gather up too much experience, making the game too easy.
Last edited by Vaulth516 on Nov 25 2020, 11:47, edited 1 time in total.

lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Refilled (Merge compatible)

Postby lightbringer23 » Nov 28 2020, 0:42

Hi Vauth516
I can certainly release something lite as a demo. Since this is going to be Merge exclusive, now, I'll do that with my restart, here in a little bit. I'll upload the map files for EI, the Abandoned Temple of the Moon, and Harmondale, and folks can inject them into their mm7.games.lod file via MMArchive.

I'm not planning to adjust experience yields, and in many cases the maps will feel very different. I'm not trying to maintain vanilla balance, at all. The goal for this mod is to present a smooth transition from MM8, within the Merge, when using Echo's Modling. If you've ever played her Modling, you'll see what I mean.

In my original version, EI and the Temple provided about an extra 1000xp per character by the end. Nothing crazy, but there's only so much I can do when you're low level, zone-locked, and with limited resources. The gloves come off for Harmondale and beyond. You may well find yourself shaking your fist at a monster group and vowing to return in a few levels ;)

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Vaulth516
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Re: MM7 Refilled (Merge compatible)

Postby Vaulth516 » Nov 28 2020, 1:45

Sounds good, looking forward to it.
Hmm, who is Echo and where can I find that mod? it's not on the lists.

lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Refilled (Merge compatible)

Postby lightbringer23 » Nov 28 2020, 2:25

Here's the link to Echo's Modling on CH:
https://www.celestialheavens.com/forum/10/16079

If you use Echo's Modling with the Merge, you'll want to us this one, made Merge compatible by DavidHer
https://www.nexusmods.com/mightandmagicviii/mods/2

The original version of the Modling had graphical glitches with some terrain when placed into the Merge.
Last edited by lightbringer23 on Nov 28 2020, 3:41, edited 2 times in total.

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Vaulth516
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Re: MM7 Refilled (Merge compatible)

Postby Vaulth516 » Nov 28 2020, 4:52

Ok, I'll look into this.

lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Refilled for the Merge

Postby lightbringer23 » Dec 1 2020, 7:23

Mod finished! See top post for details :D


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