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What is the general opinion of Improved Anvil?


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Well, I've read some REALLY high praise of this mod, and also read some damning criticism of it. Of all the forum "approaches" to modding BG2, I find myself identifying with Gibberlings the most (the fixpack and tweak pack are awesome). So, what is the opinion here of Improved Anvil? If anyone has tried it at all, that is.

 

Specifically, does it interrupt the "atmosphere" and ambiance of the core game? I've never played SoA and ToB all the way through before, so I'm really looking forward to see how the story concludes. At the same time, I admit that the core game is a little easy. Improved Anvil seems to offer improved AI and more challenging battles, but from reading through the new items list, also seems to be "out of BG2 character", so to speak.

 

The best thing about the game is not the items or being uber-powerful, but about the character development and plot. For anyone who's tried IA, does it ruin this aspect?

 

Thanks for any responses.

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Well, I've read some REALLY high praise of this mod, and also read some damning criticism of it. Of all the forum "approaches" to modding BG2, I find myself identifying with Gibberlings the most (the fixpack and tweak pack are awesome). So, what is the opinion here of Improved Anvil? If anyone has tried it at all, that is.

 

Specifically, does it interrupt the "atmosphere" and ambiance of the core game? I've never played SoA and ToB all the way through before, so I'm really looking forward to see how the story concludes. At the same time, I admit that the core game is a little easy. Improved Anvil seems to offer improved AI and more challenging battles, but from reading through the new items list, also seems to be "out of BG2 character", so to speak.

 

The best thing about the game is not the items or being uber-powerful, but about the character development and plot. For anyone who's tried IA, does it ruin this aspect?

 

Thanks for any responses.

 

 

 

EDIT:

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Sorry for the multiple posts!

 

Have a little more to say and another question to ask:

 

I'm currently doing these things to make my game more difficult:

 

Hard difficulty (BG Config)

Delay HLA until level 21 (BG2tweaks)

Improved AI (Quest Pack)

Ascension

No cheesy stat rolling

Only use 3 person party (4 in ToB w/ Sarevok)

Role playing (i.e. no buffing before battles)

 

 

Can anyone suggest anything else to increase difficulty without breaking the atmosphere of the game?

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For me, the most damning aspect of IA is the necessity of reloading all the time. I don't want to dwell on the combat. I want to get through it first pass, possibly by the skin of my teeth, and maybe having to raise a character or two every once in a while, but essentially, uninterrupted gameplay that lets me go from quest initiation through completion to the reward all in one go, loading the game only when I start playing at the beginning of a gaming session. IA does assume a certain number of reloads until the player can gauge the effectiveness of his strategy against the encounter. To me, that's like sitting down to a romantic dinner with my boyfriend and rerunning the conversation until it winds up "perfect." Something important is lost along the way.

 

From a technical standpoint, I'm not thrilled with the way certain files are changed. Creatures are overwritten, so changes introduced by another mod through patching are lost in the process. Sure, other mods do this, including the Baldurdash fixpack, but a fixpack goes first in an installation, so the effect isn't as negative.

 

Also, the mod adds considerably to the game scripts baldur.bcs and baldur25.bcs, in the form of long OR() blocks, action performed checks, and !HasItem() checks, which causes a ferocious lag on my 2004 computer. If you've ever run into a mod that has a script loop and seen an NPC stutter, then you've seen something like this. Imagine that on a game-wide scale. Not every user reports this problem, though, so if you've got a hot machine, you might be all right.

 

The final entry in my catalogue of IA woes is that it really does play fast and loose with developer intent. Spells are removed to cut down on perceived "cheese," but I'm not convinced that using Project Image is an exploit. I do not see this trend reversing. Version 4.3 plans to change Imoen to a sorceress, and give her an 18 wisdom to enable her to cast wish with more predictable results, and that's a far cry from the girl Valygar accused of acting like a "chipmunk with a death wish on a sugar high."

 

However, as I said earlier, the mod does have a very enthusiastic fan base, so there must be something there to like.

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No idea why the mod gets so many "positive feedback" statements, when most other mods are lucky to get one in a blue moon. I don't begrudge the mod that. What modder doesn't want to read praise? I raise an eyebrow at the enthusiasm of the praise, sometimes, but I chalk it up to the enthusiasm of a group of players who are getting what they want, even if it isn't the same thing I want, and even if I don't necessarily agree with the methods.

 

IA is designed for the player who wants a self-contained playing experience, and who is comfortable with a playing style that includes numerous reloads to maximize each encounter. Reading some of the strategies used to overcome some of the obstacles, I suspect that these players enjoy a power level most of my characters never reach, even by the end of the Throne of Bhaal.

 

I do not know why this would be. But then, I've recently read a post by a forum user who wanted to know if it was possible to import his level 40 character into Tutu, so who knows what people get up to?

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I have to agree with Berelinde, although I'm not too hot on the technicalities. IA is a purely tactical module with an unhealthy amount of cheese. If you enjoy hours long battles thanks to multiple reloads, it might be your thing. Otherwise, you might want to try a different approach. Ascension with the Tougher Sendai component from Oversight, PPG's Quest Pack and the upcoming SCS2 and selected components from both Tactics and the Improved Battle mod might help you find that little extra you're looking for.

 

Good luck.

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I have installed IA only once to play, and it was removed within a very short amount of time. Than, and Never Ending Journey, just simply were not my cup of tea. Since then, it has only been installed for assisting in testing/troubleshooting.

 

I tend towards immersive gameplay and additional storylines, though, so it is entirely possible that someone who is looking for a console-game-like reload and tactics playthrough could enjoy it. It is really supposed to be played as a total conversion, not installed alongside other mods.

 

For technical support, I would read the IA forums carefully, and follow their leads, "right" or "wrong" though they may be - your chances of getting support for a technical difficulty are considerably increased if you do that. There is also a form and style to bug references over there, so it is wise to read through the forums carefully. So if you want to try it out, I would dedicate one install to that style, follow those directions. If you don't find it amusing, you can always do what I did and simply delete that whole install and copy in a new one (I strongly suggest a careful deletion of the override and reinstall after working with that mod).

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I have installed IA only once to play, and it was removed within a very short amount of time. Than, and Never Ending Journey, just simply were not my cup of tea. Since then, it has only been installed for assisting in testing/troubleshooting.

 

I tend towards immersive gameplay and additional storylines, though, so it is entirely possible that someone who is looking for a console-game-like reload and tactics playthrough could enjoy it. It is really supposed to be played as a total conversion, not installed alongside other mods.

 

For technical support, I would read the IA forums carefully, and follow their leads, "right" or "wrong" though they may be - your chances of getting support for a technical difficulty are considerably increased if you do that. There is also a form and style to bug references over there, so it is wise to read through the forums carefully. So if you want to try it out, I would dedicate one install to that style, follow those directions. If you don't find it amusing, you can always do what I did and simply delete that whole install and copy in a new one (I strongly suggest a careful deletion of the override and reinstall after working with that mod).

 

Thanks cmorgan for a more diplomatic approach - you can like IA or not. IA is a lot more than adding some mods, it's almost like a partial conversion. As stated in the readme of IA some mods do conflict and some work towards the whole IA concept. To me IA has adding a whole new experience, harder battles and randomized items are what I really enjoy these days. I've been through BG2 so many times, that giving the world ingame twists or bigger overhauls - for me and others - is really nice. If making Imoen a sorcerer makes your world collapse, then use SK to alter her again, even Sikret said that.

 

It's always easy to mock others even on another forum, and petty mockery should be left in the drawer, you can like this mod - as I do - and play it, or leave it be. It's not for all. Some like it hard and others not, it seems to be a way of life.

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Hmm. I'm not entirely sure I am "astroturfed" and don't really want my IP monitored for the purposes of a cross-forum point-scoring exercise.

 

I've played through Tactics, Quest Pack, Ascension, SCSII (beta) and IA and each is good in it's own way, and brings a different thing to the table. IA is by far the most challenging BG2 mod I've played - I think you really need to experiment a lot more to find the weaknesses of particular enemies than with any other mod. It also has some really good points - the item randomization is cool, the AI is pretty merciless, I enjoyed many of the quests and on my last playthrough I found zero bugs (apart from the odd spelling error). Yes, you do need to reload a fair bit to experiment with different approaches to encounters, because they are so hard, especially at lower levels - I'd say around Improved Illych difficulty. Once you start getting higher levels/better items, and you get used to way the new enemies work, things get (a bit!) easier.

 

Horses for courses, really. I wouldn't really recommend you dive in to play it if you've never played through the whole of SoA & ToB before (in fact my own view would be to play through the whole game unmodded first, since many mods change as well as add content - eg. Ascension). But if you play again and want a tough challenge with a very steep learning curve, try it out (increasingly though it changes so much that compatibility with other mods is very limited - as another poster said, read the documentation carefully & follow the installation instructions). If you don't like it, uninstall it and play something else - it's not like there aren't lots of other well-built mods about, particularly the ones I mentioned above.

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I don't know if anybody here is mocking IA. I know I'm not, even if I haven't posted praise of the mod. The original poster asked for an assessment by G3 forum users, and we've talked about our impressions. OK, so it wasn't all glowing praise, but it wasn't all damning criticism, either. I, for one, tried to be as unbiased as possible in my comments, offering facts and qualified opinions that influence my enjoyment of the mod. It doesn't suit my particular style of gameplay because I don't like reloading, but others might not find that to be a drawback.

 

What is a fact is that discussion like this cannot happen on the mod's home forum. The bigg might have made a few speculations, but he's right about one thing: threads or posts that criticize are locked and/or deleted. Here, this discussion is taking place in an open forum, where anyone is free to post his opinion. A few posters have already posted positive feedback as well, and that's fine. If you've enjoyed the mod, there isn't any reason not to say so, and say why.

 

Edit: After reading Sikret's recent post, it's clear that he's following this thread. I don't think he's a registered user here, but he can always post as a guest. Anyway, there's no point in my discussing it any further, here or on the thread Sikret started on BWL. Here, I've already stated my opinion. There, my post would just be deleted.

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Guest Ryel ril Ers

The IA is very depressive in the begenning. You don't must load lot, it isnt funny. If you had a problem with an enemy flee and come back when you stronger. Is it a problem that not the child of bhaal the stronger person in the world?

 

It is the most difficult BG tactical mod i ever see. It has positive critics because it is challenging, well-developed and bugfree mod.

If you dont like it than dont install.

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I am a simple payer and I just want to clarify I really like IA. Yes, it is hard when you start, couple of reload, but later when you learn a bit about enemies, their startegies etc. It request only a very few reloads. My problem was always with the original game, it was too easy. Sorry, but I don't enjoy when I can win all battles simply by pressing attack for all melees, or by casting 1 spell... We are all different. Somebody doesn't like reload, I don't like very easy games, battles. Imho BG2 feeling isn't lost by IA harder battles. Whole game is living like in other mods, just you must be more prepared for fights, and you should be better tactician than in other mods... prepared to fights means not only buffs, but it means carefully balanced party with properly geared and developed characters even if they are NPCs.

IA is a great mod, with many new contents and harder battles which I really enjoy. Of course there are other great mods also, which also bugfree, but I appreciate the fast help and replies from Sikret if we have any question or problem with the mod.

I played Improved Illyich with IA, and II was harder and demanded more reloads than IA, since you are low level without equipments in the dungeon...

I tried also some Tactic ecounters in my IA game, and Tactic was much easier in all aspect. I also did ToD, and IA made ToD a bit more challenging also, so I enjoyed that too.

All in all I like IA, if you don't like, leave rest it in peace.

 

Shadan

 

Ps: Sorry, I am not native english...

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However, as I said earlier, the mod does have a very enthusiastic fan base, so there must be something there to like.

It's starvation. IA is the only massive tactical mod to come out in years, it was bound to draw attention regardless of quality.

 

My beef with it is how it castrates the game: 95% of the party's abilities (most disabling and direct damage spells, backstab, traps, stealth, even freaking missile weapons) are useless thanks to the gargantuan load of immunities and resistances enemies are packed with, so it basically boils down to simple, monotonous melee between über-beefed fighters and über-cheesy enemies. How Sikret can write with a straight face that his enemies don't cheat is beyond me.

It's not exactly a tactical mod, it's more of a guess-what-Sikret-wants-you-to-do mod. I tried v3 and it lasted about two weeks on my pc, more than enough to play it thoroughly and make up my mind, and I'll pass, at least until Sikret's design gets better.

 

Yes, it really is a Magic Missile.

 

And kudos for Man At Work's BG2 Site of Mod, it bloody cracks me up every single time.

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Well, I've read some REALLY high praise of this mod, and also read some damning criticism of it. Of all the forum "approaches" to modding BG2, I find myself identifying with Gibberlings the most (the fixpack and tweak pack are awesome). So, what is the opinion here of Improved Anvil? If anyone has tried it at all, that is.

 

Specifically, does it interrupt the "atmosphere" and ambiance of the core game? I've never played SoA and ToB all the way through before, so I'm really looking forward to see how the story concludes. At the same time, I admit that the core game is a little easy. Improved Anvil seems to offer improved AI and more challenging battles, but from reading through the new items list, also seems to be "out of BG2 character", so to speak.

 

The best thing about the game is not the items or being uber-powerful, but about the character development and plot. For anyone who's tried IA, does it ruin this aspect?

 

Thanks for any responses.

 

It is best to consider IA as closer to a Total Conversion, than an addon to the game, as it has a number of fairly major mechanic and battle content changes and additions. Plus, it doesn't play too well with other mods, and is recommended to be installed alone or with a few other mods that the author says are ok.

 

I'd suggest that you use the upcoming Sword Coast Strategems II for BG2 by DavidW. Similar to his SCS for BG1, it promises to have enemies react in a more intelligent manner, utilizing the resources they have been given in a way that is consistent with what they are and how intelligent they are. They don't cheat, and it promises to have a larger variety of attacks and methods, so using the exact same strategy every fight won't help you too much. One of the problems with mods like Tactics and IA, is that certain spell protection combonations have been recognized to be very powerful, and as a result virtually every enemy spellcaster you run into uses the exact same combo.

 

As for your question about character development and plot, again I'd suggest that you consider IA as a tactical Total Conversion, and realise that a number of the plot features and character development may take a back seat to optimal party configurations/using a pre-generated party to be able to survive the encounters in the mod.

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Sorry for the multiple posts!

 

Have a little more to say and another question to ask:

 

I'm currently doing these things to make my game more difficult:

 

Hard difficulty (BG Config)

Delay HLA until level 21 (BG2tweaks)

Improved AI (Quest Pack)

Ascension

No cheesy stat rolling

Only use 3 person party (4 in ToB w/ Sarevok)

Role playing (i.e. no buffing before battles)

 

 

Can anyone suggest anything else to increase difficulty without breaking the atmosphere of the game?

 

Check out Rogue Rebalancing by aVENGER. It has several content additions that make encounters with thieves more challenging without cheating.

 

You might also want to consider using DEFJAM, a mod you can find over at pocketplane that lets you adjust the various experience rewards by varying percentages. If for example, you get much less experience for everything, you'll go through the game at a lower level, which should provide a signficant challenge. One issue with a lot of tactical mods, is that they adjust the amount of experience you get for fights, or have additional fights that reward even more experience and you end up levelling up much faster, which of course makes a lot of the content easier.

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