MM7 Refilled for the Merge

The role-playing games (I-X) that started it all and the various spin-offs (including Dark Messiah).

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lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Refilled for the Merge

Postby lightbringer23 » Jul 6 2021, 17:37


I'll have to embrace boosting one day... My problem with it is I always absolutely hated worlds scaling with your character level - vide Oblivion, Skyrim. First thing I did was install a mod that delevels the world. I want the final enemies to absolutely wipe the floor with my weak character, and I want some noobass bandits to be ultimate pushovers once I get stronger. Nothing killed my fun in Bethesda games more than getting stronger and stronger only for bridge-dwelling bandits to also become masters of the universe wearing the best armor, best weapons, and being basically capable of killing the big baddie themselves. Or the big baddie being killable by level 1 character wielding a stick. The worst.

But in the case of Merge, it might be completely impossible to create a de-leveled experience, which requires you to travel across 3 continents "back and forth" to reach content you are capable of doing, after you hit the wall on your chosen starting continent. Would be cool as heck, but it's either straight up impossible, or would need some maestro of balance to accomplish :S

Especially given the fact the items/spells/skills don't have additional ranks and scaling, they are meant to be maxed out in 1 continent gameplay. But imagine if they did! :tongue:

Anyhow, delusions aside, right now my small wish is to have bolstering option which gives all enemies their new abilities and which kicks in at full force from day 1. You know, for more early game hardcore challenge :D
Ah yes, the most eternal of all eternal problems -- how to properly balance a large, sprawling game. It's made even worse when you take multiple full games and smash them together -- then we add our little power-trip additions. Personally, I tend to lose interest if enemies are too easy. I don't want to tear through them like tissue paper -- balsa wood, absolutely, but not tissue paper. I know folks who are the opposite, losing interest if every random goblin isn't a life or death struggle. Best we can manage, I think, is to use tools to craft our own, custom balance.

I think I will ditch the Angel in EI. Experienced parties won't need it, and starting parties are presumably going for hardmode and won't want it. You're right about the Day of the Gods pedestal, but my mod makes it quite a bit tougher to reach :D I think I'll keep the Emeralds, though. I remember BDJ's Rev4 doing something similar (not to mention some ridiculously awesome placed treasures).

Also, you ditch ALL the starting gear? No spells or mages, or healing for Body magic users? Do you just punch things, but for that one bow in the crate near the docks?
Last edited by lightbringer23 on Jul 6 2021, 17:44, edited 1 time in total.

lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Refilled for the Merge

Postby lightbringer23 » Jul 6 2021, 17:49

I know my knight had 2 very strong swords very early on. But I absolutely can't remember where from :|
I also played MM7 Refilled from the start (up to about 15 level), and IIRC they were on that island in Tatalia where you get golem part and where is Tidewater caverns entrance (actually, there were 3 swords, and I chose 2 strongest to equip (in the future, didn't have master sword yet)). BTW, IIRC there are some sellable crates on the ship, and actually the ones that give 2-3k when sold, so it might be worth to jump (spell) up there.

Oh, and my impressions on the mod from my limited playtime: Emerald Island was easy due to that Day of the Gods pedestal (its effects on low-level party are much more intense than effects on high-level party), after arriving to harmondale it was a struggle (those goblins completely surprised me and were difficult to dispose of). Later, in Hall under the Hill, I had to simply outrun the enemies to complete quest, and arriving at tidewater island in Tatalia was very difficult, had to utilize hit-and-run tactics. Overall, very early game was easy, then it became really hard, but I liked it!
Glad to hear it worked well for you! I figured the pirate ships should have some booty on them, and what better than crates of valuable goods? If I recall, I placed one each of the top tier pirate cutlass type weapons from each of the games. Since I placed a bunch of more powerful enemies all over, I figure some more powerful treasures weren't out of the question. I mean, right nearby I surrounded the Tatalia obelisk with Corbies from MM8 endgame areas.

lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Refilled for the Merge

Postby lightbringer23 » Jul 6 2021, 17:54

after arriving to harmondale it was a struggle (those goblins completely surprised me and were difficult to dispose of).
Heh. Yeah, arrival in Harmondale can be a little rough. We're so used to a gentle transition. I just thought, "Y'know, that's a fort occupied by enemies. Harmondale is under siege. Why would it be so peaceful outside?" Many of the surprises in the mod are forecast by the descriptions in the readme and on the mod top post :D

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Re: MM7 Refilled for the Merge

Postby lightbringer23 » Jul 6 2021, 18:00

Did either of you try to gain entry into the Elven Treasury? It looked like I successfully got the door to stay open, regardless of quest or faction, but I haven't tested it in a natural game progression.

For testing, I temporarily gave the classes plus 500hp, and powered my way through EI with a new party. On arrival in Harmondale, I consoled in a bunch of fly and invisibility scrolls. I then used the console to teleport to various maps, flying and invisible, so I could scout them out and see how everyone was behaving.

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Re: MM7 Refilled for the Merge

Postby lightbringer23 » Jul 6 2021, 18:13

Not all of them, though, some were clearly meant to be very powerful and I didn't feel they were deserved since those were not end-game areas ;)
I should also mention, my philosophy was to balance more based on challenges presented than location. I've always been a fan of situations where some low level area has a super-beasty guarding a super-treasure. Most of the time, you make a mental note to come back later, but if you can figure out a victory, you get a big power boost.

MM7 is already prone to massive sequence breaks. My vanilla MM7 routine upon arriving in Harmondale was to go run through Tatalia and grab the top tier plate armor amongst the trolls, grab all the erudine ore I could find, and get the quill for the historian. Then I'd go hit up Tularea and Avlee, get one or two top level bows from the Avlee shop, that chest in the mountains of Tularea (top tier axe, black str potion, resplendent chain), and do the Hall Under the Hill.

I'd complete several side quests, a promotion quest, get top and near top plate and chain, a top axe, and an air magic ring. All for the price of fighting a cluster of dragonflies and a few food rations. Oh, and I'd now have a half dozen or so ores to save scum into whatever top weapons or armor I want back in Erathia. And that's before I ever even entered Castle Harmondale. Of course, the Hall under the Hill is now not quite such an easy push/rush :)
Last edited by lightbringer23 on Jul 6 2021, 18:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: MM7 Refilled for the Merge

Postby Echo » Jul 6 2021, 18:57

Also, you ditch ALL the starting gear? No spells or mages, or healing for Body magic users? Do you just punch things, but for that one bow in the crate near the docks?
I do, indeed, punch things :-D Or try to steal stuff to hack things with instead and get money for the basic healing spell and such. And increased monster density in our mods makes cheesing like that much more tricky - and hence fun!

I also don't buy anything but spellbooks and empty bottles from stores. I can sell things, identify, repair, but not buy. It makes finding loot SO much more fun and rewarding, I 100% recommend it for any M&M playthrough! :-D Imagine feeling good when you find a +0 crossbow, you can't get that if you buy stuff in the stores :devious:

I liked arriving to Harmondale and getting decked and near-instantly deathscreened very much lol. Funny surprise! :applause:

"I should also mention, my philosophy was to balance more based on challenges presented than location. I've always been a fan of situations where some low level area has a super-beasty guarding a super-treasure. Most of the time, you make a mental note to come back later, but if you can figure out a victory, you get a big power boost."

For sure! Like I said, it *is* a possibility some stuff I got was stronger than intended due to my item shuffles.


"MM7 is already prone to massive sequence breaks. My vanilla MM7 routine upon arriving in Harmondale was to go run through Tatalia and grab the top tier plate armor amongst the trolls, grab all the erudine ore I could find, and get the quill for the historian. Then I'd go hit up Tularea and Avlee, get one or two top level bows from the Avlee shop, that chest in the mountains of Tularea (top tier axe, black str potion, resplendent chain), and do the Hall Under the Hill.

I'd complete several side quests, a promotion quest, get top and near top plate and chain, a top axe, and an air magic ring. All for the price of fighting a cluster of dragonflies and a few food rations. Oh, and I'd now have a half dozen or so ores to save scum into whatever top weapons or armor I want back in Erathia. And that's before I ever even entered Castle Harmondale. Of course, the Hall under the Hill is now not quite such an easy push/rush "

Yeee, vanilla MM is also guilty of giving some way-too-strong items that are way-too-easy to get. Tatalia troll fields are a big offender. When it comes to strong stuff early, I'm a much bigger fan of trickery like the Barrows Down chest that teleports you to the gog field. First time it happened to me yeeeeears ago I remember first being amazed, then being confused, and then panicked. It was the best chest :tongue:
Last edited by Echo on Jul 6 2021, 18:59, edited 1 time in total.

lightbringer23
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Re: MM7 Refilled for the Merge

Postby lightbringer23 » Jul 6 2021, 20:06


I'll have to embrace boosting one day... My problem with it is I always absolutely hated worlds scaling with your character level - vide Oblivion, Skyrim. First thing I did was install a mod that delevels the world. I want the final enemies to absolutely wipe the floor with my weak character, and I want some noobass bandits to be ultimate pushovers once I get stronger. Nothing killed my fun in Bethesda games more than getting stronger and stronger only for bridge-dwelling bandits to also become masters of the universe wearing the best armor, best weapons, and being basically capable of killing the big baddie themselves. Or the big baddie being killable by level 1 character wielding a stick. The worst.

But in the case of Merge, it might be completely impossible to create a de-leveled experience, which requires you to travel across 3 continents "back and forth" to reach content you are capable of doing, after you hit the wall on your chosen starting continent. Would be cool as heck, but it's either straight up impossible, or would need some maestro of balance to accomplish :S

Especially given the fact the items/spells/skills don't have additional ranks and scaling, they are meant to be maxed out in 1 continent gameplay. But imagine if they did! :tongue:

Anyhow, delusions aside, right now my small wish is to have bolstering option which gives all enemies their new abilities and which kicks in at full force from day 1. You know, for more early game hardcore challenge :D
I am very well versed in the ol' TES scaling debate. It was rather pronounced in Oblivion, though it didn't bother me as much as it did others. FCOM mod solved that right quick. It was much less of an issue for Skyrim, but a heavily modded setup creates its own problems. I'm guessing you use Morrowloot or Requiem? I use so many power-boosting things that I ended up creating my own methods for challenge and interest.

I have a bunch of weapon and armor mods, and I'm likely to keep the same gear for about 90% of my playthrough. I guess item progression, for me, is more about making my own top enchants. Thing is, treasure is a huge part of what keeps me interested, that and increased abilities. I ended up relying on Ordinator to give me a sense of ability progression that would last until level 90ish.

The real change, though, was in treasure. Legacy of the Dragonborn became the core of my modlist, and the desire to fill up the Dragonborn Gallery has become the core motivation to go do all the things. It has worked incredibly well.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Regarding total balance across all three MM games in the merge.
(Completely hypothetical. I have no plans to do this to MM7 Refilled)
It's a tricky puzzle. The openness of the Merge is a large obstacle. Traditionally, one would simply decide what locations are going to be at what level. Enrothian goblins start at level 80. Erathian Goblins start at level 40. Jadamean ... pirates (?) start at level 1.

But what if someone wants to start in Enroth? Or do what I did, and start in Enroth until level 20 (get promoted, and air/water mastery) then move to Jadame? Maybe partway through Jadame, I take a break and go to Antagarich because my Monk needs Unarmed training. Need to go through EI, Harmondale, Erathia, Tatalia, and Evenmorn. Everybody is going to have their own path through the continents. Heck, the vanilla one is to start at Jadame, then go to Erathia after Escaton, then Enroth after Lincoln.

It would be really cool to have to criss cross between continents. However, that would require someone to dictate the path. Even if you were to create clusters of content .. say ... You hit level 15 in Jadame. You've cleared out Daggerwound and Ravenshore, but everything else is level 30+ content. Say you get to choose from New Sorpigal/Castle Ironfist or EI/Harmondale. Maybe it's balanced to where you have to do the first two zones in all three continents before you are leveled enough to handle anything else in the continents.

My vanilla strategy in MM8 was to, upon arrival in Ravenshore, immediately head to Alvar, Garrote Gorge, and Murmurwoods. I got quests in Alvar (including the Personality potion for my Dark Elf), picked up a dragon follower in Garrote Gorge, delivered two flowers to the opposite sides, leveled my dragon to Master Dragon for flight, turned in the book in Murmurwoods for Priest of Light promo, flew the dragon around snatching up every high level chest, and dipped down to free Cauri and secure my Dark Elf promo. The level of the inhabitants was irrelevant. There was a "wall", and I flew over and around it.

I think, since there is such a diversity of both playstyles and paths through the Merge, the best option is to allow you to tailor the difficulty of the foes to whatever order you want to take things. That's what's so great about the on-the-fly boost setting. If I want those goblins in New Sorpigal to be just as weak as when I first fought them at level 1 so I can revel in my new power, I can turn off the boost when I return to my home zone. If I want 100hp goblins and apprentice mages with 40AC, I can leave it on.

Now, extending item and skill powers from the level 60 range of normal endgame to the 150ish of Merge endgame, THAT would be quite the feat. You'd have to either create new tiers of items (probably hard-coded into the engine) or further stratify the existing tiers (technically doable). A lot of treasure drops would have to be hand-adjusted. A T4 drop as a boost for a level 15 party would now be intended for a level 80 party, and woefully out of place.

It's a lot of work, but this is actually fairly feasible. The tiers are already somewhat overloaded, bearing three games worth of items in each. You'd have a tough time getting past the stair-step problem, of the power jump between those tiers. In particular, T1 vs T2. Let's say you make T2 the equivalent of vanilla T3 or 4. Does that mean you're stuck with T1 Crude Swords and Rusty Chainmails for an outsized amount of time? If that first Trollish Warsword, or Steel Chainmail (T2) is much more powerful than vanilla, it creates an even larger power disparity should you acquire one ahead of time. The same 6 tiers would be expected to cover around double the levels -- 150ish vs 60-70ish. Of course, at some point, the item tiers become replaced by artifacts.

It would have to be done with an assumption that the player is criss-crossing continents constantly (heh fun phrase), almost striping across the content. Artifacts would be relegated to endgame areas, and wouldn't appear until probably over level 100, may be 120. You'd probably want to remove the "free" artifact locations in Jadame (willow tree, rock, fort wall, etc), but hand place some (still random) in places like the Memory Crystal dungeons, the elemental planes, Nighon area. You'd have to hand-craft all the monster stats to adjust to the new design schema. Liches are now level 100-120 critters, stuff like that.

Skills ... hoo boy. I don't even know what to do about those. Except maybe make Expert take rank 7, master rank 15, and GM rank 25, or something, with commensurate cost increases. Would that be enough to extend it out? Can that easily be done?

Most importantly, how many players would find all this constraining and heavy handed? Well, I guess those players would play a different mod. :P
Last edited by lightbringer23 on Jul 6 2021, 20:12, edited 1 time in total.


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