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BG2/ToB - Ease-of-Use Modification Pack Review

Discussion in 'Mod Reviews' started by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot, May 11, 2004.

  1. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    SoA/ToB Ease-of-Use Modification Pack
    Version: v27
    Review First Posted On: May 11, 2004
    Review Updated On:
    Get the Mod: here

    The Ease-of-Use Mod is certainly one of the most unique mods available for the BG Series. It’s simply not possible to categorize it. It doesn’t add new NPCs, quests, or items to the game, yet it isn’t a conversion mod either. The closest thing that it compares to is the Item Upgrade Mod in terms of bending the rules, but it really doesn’t fit into that genre of mods either.

    What the Ease-of-Use Mod does is tweak certain aspects of the game and change certain rules of what you are allowed to do. Some of these changes are quite innocuous, while others are profound. One thing is clear: While certain aspects of this mod make the game more enjoyable, some of the changes go so far that any player with even a shred of respect for the rules will say they are cheats or at least cheese.

    I suppose I’ll start with examples of the two extremes. One of the aspects of the Ease-of-Use Mod is that it turns off the sound set that says, “You must gather your party before venturing forth.” As any BG player knows, this voice set activates whenever you go to leave or enter a party-required area, but all of your characters aren’t at the edge of the map, door, etc. While I do not doubt that the developers intended for this sound set to simply be an alert to the player that he/she was entering a party-required area, and thus could not order a single character to perform this action, the fact that it activates even when you intend for the whole party to go somewhere but they haven’t all got to the door or map edge yet causes the sound set to become repetitive and tiresome. This aspect of the mod doesn’t do anything to affect actual game play, so even the purists shouldn’t have a problem with this part of the mod.

    At the other extreme, the mod also allows nearly unlimited stacking of certain items. While technically not unlimited (I think it allows up to 999, but I never attempted to go that high), you can now stack pretty much as many items of the same type as you need on top of one another. So, now you can put up to 999 arrows in one stack, or 999 healing potions in one stack, etc. The only real limit you have on the items is weight. As such, the weight restriction does prevent most characters from actually carrying around 999 healing potions (each potion weighs one pound, so unless you’re equipped with some type of girdle of strength you’ll be encumbered), but it presents no restrictions to items that do not have a weight associated with them such as arrows. I have some serious doubts on this issue. I would argue that even 40 arrows (the standard stack size) probably do weigh about a pound, and certainly 999 arrows must weigh several pounds indeed. In one regard, it makes sense that a character wouldn’t be so stupid that he wouldn’t place additional arrows in an easily accessible space in case he ran out, but it seems rather ridiculous that he could place so many arrows in an easily accessible place. With this feature, a character can carry up to 2,997 arrows in his quiver alone, and can exceed over 20,000 arrows in his entire inventory. It just doesn’t paint a very realistic picture unless the character is doing an impersonation of a porcupine.

    Another aspect of this mod that takes away from the spirit of the game is that now any romanceable NPC can be romanced by any PC regardless of race, gender, or existing romance. This is completely unbelievable. I don’t care how charming your half-orc might be – there’s simply no way that Aerie is going to hook up with you. Additionally, because of no gender restrictions, now romances that were not intended to be gay or lesbian in nature are in fact gay or lesbian relationships. Plus, it sounds really stupid if you are playing a male PC, and Anomen addresses you as “M’Lady”. Conceivably, you could choose NPCs consisting of Aerie, Jaheira, and Viconia, and then add the Tashia and Chloe mods to generate an all lesbian party. While this may be good for a chuckle, adding some HLA of a kind that was not programmed in by the developers (PM me if you don’t get that pun) is certainly an extreme stretch of the rules.

    The final aspect of this mod that I will address is that it also allows you to do all of the strongholds. There is some merit in this (although it certainly is not RP) if you are a type of player that tends to play only a few select character classes, and want to see what all the strongholds are like even if you do not have any interest of playing an entire game of that class. It certainly is a cheat, but at least I can see some purpose to this feature, unlike some of the other changes.

    As a whole - I have to be honest - I don’t like this mod. The vast majority of things it changes takes away from, rather than adds to the game. I don’t want to stack 999 healing potions on top of one another, I don’t want to romance Anomen if I’m a male PC (and usually not even if I’m a female PC) and I don’t want to combine any cloak/amulet/ring of protection with any magical armor I’d like (another feature of this mod). The one redeeming aspect of this mod is that it lets you pick and choose which features you want to install, and allows you to omit any that you don’t want. Keep in mind that the features of the mod I listed here are but a small sampling of what is actually available in the mod, but I only wished to touch upon the biggest features.

    I guess my main problem with the mod is that too much of it comes off as a joke or a spoof of the original game. If all you’re looking for is a laugh, or if you hate micromanaging the inventory of the party, or if you simply don’t like the restrictions the game places upon your characters, you may enjoy this mod. I admit that some of the relationships that attempted to blossom gave me a chuckle, but the humor loses it’s affect after the first time it happens. So for me, I uninstalled everything except “You must gather your party before venturing forth” after one play through.

    [ August 10, 2004, 20:32: Message edited by: Taluntain ]
     
  2. Rednik Gems: 21/31
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    Nice review, but the good thing about this mod is that you can pick and choose. It's worth downloading just to get rid of "you must gather your party". :D
     
  3. david w Gems: 19/31
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    I agree with stopping the "you must gather your party" bit. If the rest of the mod was dire, it'd be worth the download just to shut up that irritating voice.

    Is unlimited stacking a good or bad idea? On one hand I'd say it's bad as it's clearly a cheat and no one can carry around a few thousand arrows if he hasn't got a wagon with him. On the other hand, it really cuts down on the tedious inventory management and for that it's probably worth it. And how many times do you find yourself with limitless amounts of stackable items anyway? Sure, you might pick up several dozen healing potions but as several dozen healing potions would fit naturally in your inventory anyway, it's not really *that* much of a cheat.

    Equipping magical rings, cloaks, armour, etc, is never something I've considered as a cheat. Okay, it's against the rules of the game in question but it's not against the rules of AD&D 2E is it? As this game uses those rules, it stands to reason you should be able to make use of said rules. It also strikes me as kind of silly that wearing a suit of magic armour would then make it impossible to wear a magic ring. Why exactly? The armour doesn't cover my fingers to the extent of there being no room for the ring, does it?
     
  4. Dielzen Gems: 1/31
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    Probably was easier to code

    Instead of checking constantly every time your char does something to see if the effects on Item X take effect, it just checks when you attempt to put it on. Since, in D&D rules you don't get the benefits of magical armor and prot items, this prevents the game from bogging down in analysis of your inventory every action by/against the character.
     
  5. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    But I think david's point was that 2E rules do NOT prevent you from equipping multiple items. For example, I think according to 2E rules, you CAN wear +1 plate mail along with a ring of protection, for example. It's been years since I've done PnP 2E, but from what I remember, I think he's right.
     
  6. Subra Gems: 8/31
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    Only the higher magical protection item would apply....actually equipping the ring if it's bonus didn't apply would gain you what?
     
  7. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Maybe the saving throw bonus on the ring? Generally speaking, if you have your choice between magical armor of a certain value or a similar ring/cloak of protection, it's better to go with the ring/cloak, because they give a saving throw bonus as well.
     
  8. Dielzen Gems: 1/31
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    In 2e you're more than welcome to wear...
    Plate +5
    Prot Amulet +4
    Prot Ring +3

    However, you only get the Plate +5, the other two items have zero effect.

    Take off the Plate and you only get the Amulet +4


    Sure, you CAN wear all 3, but you only get the "best" (which is realative, since a leather+1 suit is "better" than a ring +5, if the armor was put on first...and that's the problem)...

    The game would have to remember what was put on first (being as it's the only applicable item) and such...much easier from a coding perspective to simply not allow you to put on anything that won't take effect.
     
  9. Blog Gems: 23/31
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    Yep, Dielzen is correct about the 2E rules. I found it a bit odd that you could wear Plate mail +5, Bracers AC2, Ring of Prot + 5 and only benefit from the Plate armour. But when you take off your heavy protective suit of armour, your AC improves because the other two items are in effect and protect better. Funny.

    I don't mind if the mod lets you wear them simultaneously, so long as you don't benefit from all of them if they conflict. This is good for casual players who don't care about the rule book. (Equip more stuff = more powerful)

    About stacking: I'm guessing powergamers will like because the numbers are nice and big. Plus you get to hold your collection of stuff as supposed to just stashing them somewhere.

    BTW I don't get the pun...
     
  10. Dielzen Gems: 1/31
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    HLA = Pimp? /shrug
     
  11. Commandante Gems: 2/31
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    What irritated my was the whole new dreams and the irenicus dungeon bits they changed. The Dialogue was so irritating and stupid "your not gonna through rocks at me are you" "I wanna go to the underdark"

    Some of the other components were quite cool though, shapeshifter rebalancing was good as was unlimited stacking.
     
  12. Bombur

    Bombur I'm always last and I don't like it

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    Some of the stacking rules make the game much more realistic. For example, unmodded you could stack 5 potions, but no rings. Why should 5 potions take up less space than 2 rings? They shouldn't, of course.

    Ideally, your quick stacks would be calculated differently from your inventory stacks, but the game engine doesn't provide for that (I don't think). That way, you could carry 1,000 arrows in a huge pack, or drag them behind you, or whatever, but you could only put a reasonable amount in your quiver.

    A complicating issue is that arrows really should weigh something, but then again so should gold... So far, I haven't seen people complaining that 100,000 gp actualy weighs 10,000 lbs. Or are we imagining the use of official BG credit cards? ;)
     
  13. Jaguar Gems: 27/31
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    Does the mod allow for the use of more then two rings? I mean, I have ten fingers (well, 8 fingers and two thumbs), why can't I wear 10 rings, as long as they don't conflict.

    And maybe the use of more then one necklace?
     
  14. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Sorry Jag, but no. Only one ring per hand. However, as stated above, you can not wear a ring of protection on each hand, and receive all the bonuses.
     
  15. Jaguar Gems: 27/31
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    Yeah, I don't think that you should be able to wear multiples of the same ring, but I wouldn't mind being able to carry the Rings of Air, Fire and Earth all on one hand, along with the Ring of Gaxx(sp?), the Ring of Free Action and still have another hand to put more rings on.

    Ah well, maybe in the future.
     
  16. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    I thought the item stacking was one of the things that made this mode great.

    I'm trying to play a game, not become a quartermaster.
     
  17. The Abyss Gems: 2/31
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    In AD&D 2nd ed, you can wear multiple magical rings, armour and whatnot, but only the saving throw bonus stacks. AC is taken from the highest. This is in the readme.
     
  18. Drumheller Gems: 6/31
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    A few observations about EOU from my latest solo Blade game . . .

    Un-Nerfed THAC0 Table, Saving Throws, Grand-Mastery, and Arcane, Divine Spell Progression.
    Though not specifically mentioned, this component lets bards cast level 7 and 8 spells and gives them more slots per level. I haven't maxed out my Blade yet so I don't know about level 9.

    Shapeshifter Rebalancing
    If you are shapeshifted into Greater Werewolf (I suspect this applies to Werewolf as well) when Adalon casts the drow illusion on you, the game immediately crashes. If the illusion is cast and you try to equip the paws, the game crashes as well. The "No Drow Avatars on Party In Underdark" component probably addresses this, but I didn't install it.

    Incidentally, a Blade with UAI and Greater Werewolf paws is so overpowered it's not even funny. With Scarlet Ninja-to and typical Blade outfit: AC -15, 5 attacks per round, Saves 1/1/1/2/1 base, Base Elemental Res 50%, Base Magic Res 40%, Immunity to Normal Weapons, Regen 3 HP/sec, BEFORE buffs.
     
  19. Mystra's Chosen Gems: 22/31
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    It seems that Aldeth's pun was lost on a few of you, so maybe this'll help.

    HLA = Hot Lesbian Action :D
     
  20. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I have EoU. I like it because you can choose what you want to install. Originally I got to get rid of that irritating 'you must gather....' I use the stacking. I hate inventory management. I want unlimited bags of holding. If I have a character that can carry 20 healing potions I want it. I want lots of arrows/bolts/bullets in my quiver. These features are optional and can be used with reason. My opinion is: use what makes the game fun for you.
     
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