I'm going to do it.

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fable
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I'm going to do it.

Postby fable » Sat Nov 27, 2004 5:25 pm

With so many mods out now, I'm going to play BG2, both SoA and ToB, all the way through. For the fifth time. Well, it has been a while. And what's been similar to play in the meantime? A kiddie toy like KotoR. Feh.

So I want your suggestions for:

1) Mods to play. Could be anything: quests, NPCs, kits, etc. (Note: I tend to prefer magic users, single-, dual- or multi-class.)

2) The order in which all of this should load. I don't want under any circumstances to get 15 hours beneath my belt only to discover that Mairyn's Forest is missing, or that the Solamnic Knights freeze my game.

One other thing: I don't do cheese. So please, no suggestions that include mods with uber-weapons, armor or spells. Thanks! Over to you. :)
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Postby The Great Hairy » Sat Nov 27, 2004 5:44 pm

Argh, no fable no!! There is so much else to live for! :p

me0w posted (only recently) a huge list of mods and the install order for the mods. I certainly wouldn't install everything he does, but some of them are cetainly worthwhile.

I personally would suggest:
Ascension
Unfinished Business
Oversight (tougher Sendai and alignment fixes only)
Rogue Rebalancing
Ease of Use (not the multi-romance however)
Item Upgrade
NPC Banter pack.

I don't use any of the NPC mods, but I hear Kelsey is quite good. Definitely not Valen if you want to avoid over-powered NPCs. There are quite a few NPC mods around which I know little about - check out the links from Pocket Plane, and you'll find dozens of NPCs.

If you are avoiding Uber-items & spells, then no Tactics and no Spell-50!

Cheers mate,
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Postby fable » Sat Nov 27, 2004 6:06 pm

Some good ideas, there: thanks, GH. I would agree, no Valen, but Kelsey is definitely in. Maybe Tashia or Chloe...? And there are several others that are more recent, such as Keto. She looks kinda interesting.

Maybe Meow can post that order list, again; or maybe we can break it down into its constituent parts, so that we can slip in anything appropriate that's not already there.

Banter Packs and Item Upgrades are essential; Unfinished Business, too. Not too sure about Ascension, since I don't relish having my party attacked at each rest stop by Dwarves from Hell. Still...I'm open to all suggestions within parameters.
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Postby werebeargoddess » Sat Nov 27, 2004 6:30 pm

Chloe's rather good. I haven't used any mods other than her, but that's mainly because I really don't know about other mods other than Chloe. But she's a rather good fighter, and pretty funny.
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Postby Qwinn » Sat Nov 27, 2004 7:15 pm

"Not too sure about Ascension, since I don't relish having my party attacked at each rest stop by Dwarves from Hell."

That's in Ascension? I hadn't heard that. I thought "Dwarves from Hell at every rest" was part of the Tactics Tougher Illych mod.

I think GH's list is excellent, and pretty complete. The only mod I can think of that I think many people might consider a "must" is the Quest Pack. That one looks pretty good to me, though I've only gotten about halfway through what it offers.

Do I have anything else to add?

I can say that the G3 anniversary mod was a lot of fun to do and gave the pubs and taverns of Anthlaka a -lot- of flavor. As to items being overpowered, I couldn't say, since at the moment the final reward part of the quest is broken :( I've already reported it and it's being looked into, but the quest itself was so entertaining that it doesn't really -need- a reward to be worth installing.

Hmmm, what else? I'm also hearing some good things about the "Planar Sphere" mod for mages who get the mage stronghold. It apparently adds a tremendous amount of flavor to the planar sphere as a stronghold, making it almost a small city in and of itself and with a bunch of quests. Sounds very neat. But it apparently does have an almost unkillable boss at the end of the sequence of quests, and I have no idea what the loot/quest rewards are like yet. Another small mod that sounds nice if you're playing a mage is the "Planar Sphere Return" mod, which just gives you the special ability to teleport to the planar sphere and back, much as you can do with the pocket plane in ToB.

A few other mods I'm interested in trying are also a bit buggy atm, and so I'm running through Icewind Dale in order to give 'em a chance for cleanup. If I finish and they're still not cleaned up, screw 'em, I'll run with GH's list and play from there.

EDIT: Oh, you might want to think about getting some new portraits. You'd be surprised how much those can change the feel of the game. I like JPS's portraits of Aerie, Jaheira and Nalia more than the originals.

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Postby fable » Sat Nov 27, 2004 7:18 pm

That's in Ascension? I hadn't heard that. I thought "Dwarves from Hell at every rest" was part of the Tactics Tougher Illych mod.

You're probably right. I think I've confused these. Happens when you get old and senescent.

I can say that the G3 anniversary mod was a lot of fun to do and gave the pubs and taverns of Anthlaka a -lot- of flavor. As to items being overpowered, I couldn't say, since at the moment the final reward part of the quest is broken I've already reported it and it's being looked into, but the quest itself was so entertaining that it doesn't really -need- a reward to be worth installing.

Can't say I recall having ever heard of that one. Where can it be downloaded from? I"ll take a look at it--and thanks for the rec. :)
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Postby Qwinn » Sat Nov 27, 2004 7:22 pm

You can find it on the Pocket Plane Group List. You can find pretty much any mod that you'd ever consider (and many you shouldn't) at this link. The Gibberlings Three Anniversary mod is under the Quest Mods group.

http://modlist.pocketplane.net/index.php?ax=list&cat_id=12


I also added a few notes to my last post via editing, so you might want to glance over it again :) In particular in reference to the Quest Pack.

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Postby fable » Sat Nov 27, 2004 7:56 pm

I'll try the G3 anniversary pack then, thanks. As for pictures: I'll take a look at 'em, but the common ones have a great deal of flavor and professionalism. That's one gripe I have with the great NPC mods: though they're often well done, the visual style of the NPC image icons is often in a different style than the BG2 finished product.
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Postby Qwinn » Sun Nov 28, 2004 2:06 am

"That's one gripe I have with the great NPC mods: though they're often well done, the visual style of the NPC image icons is often in a different style than the BG2 finished product."

No argument there, and that bugs me too about most NPC mods. But the ones I'm talking about, the JPS pics, are sufficiently similar to the originals that I like 'em. They just did little stuff like smoothing out edges and changing the clothing and hair. I particularly like their version of Nalia (note - the pic you actually get in the download is actually a bit different from the one you see on their website. For one, the brooch isn't nearly as gaudy as in the pic on their screenshot. Obviously, gaudy jewelry doesn't fit her personality - but what you get in the actual download fits her well, while keeping the (IMO) improved look, hairstyle, etc.

Of all the NPC mods I've seen, the only ones that have what I consider to be -really good- portraits are the Tiefling Sisters, Keli and Inara. Unfortunately, that mod isn't out yet, but hopefully will be in the next few months:

http://forums.gibberlings3.net/index.php?showtopic=1376


Scroll about 3/4 of the way down, to a post by BevH. There you can see pics of both characters. -Very- nice, I think, and sufficiently in keeping with the original game's style. That's the NPC mod I'm most looking forward to :)

Like you, I've been turned off by the portraits of almost all other NPC mods - Tashia, Keto, etc. They deviate way too much from the original artwork style. The two I just mentioned, for example, look almost photographic rather than fantasy art. At least the Keli and Inara pics look appropriate to the genre :) And I've been very impressed by what I've seen on the character development side of things too.

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Postby Sytze » Sun Nov 28, 2004 4:53 am

For improved dialogs:
*Ascension
*Banter Packs
*Flirt Packs
Seeing as you're not interested in romances, I advice you to use the first two. Both great mods, really.

Additional NPC's:
*Chloe - kensai, more than enough dialogs. Only SoA, though.
*Kelsey - sorcerer, best NPC around in my opinion. Both SoA and ToB.
*Tashia - sorceress, romance, doesn't have that many dialogs and isn't voiced, fun NPC to have around, though. Both SoA and ToB.
*Keto - bard, haven't tried her yet, but she looks very promising. Only SoA unfortunately.
*Yasraena - female drow who is voiced, haven't tried her yet, but will definitely use her in my next game. Both SoA and ToB.
*Solaufein - male drow fighter/mage, great character overall with some pretty good dialogs, but doesn't have voicing. Both SoA and ToB

Quest related mods:
*Ascension
*Improved Oasis II - changes exactly that what the title says, so if you're unhappy with the current oasis quest, then download it. If you're happy with the current quest; just skip this.
*Quest Pack - adds a few new quest. Last time I downloaded this, it was the very first version and some parts were quite 'unsatisfying'. Better to wait for a newer version.
*Unfinished Business - really worth the download. By now, most, if not all, bugs have been squashed and thus I advice you to use this one.

Sort of tweak packs:
*Ashes of Embers - I always have this installed, never caused any bugs or crashes. Adds new spells, new kits, new weapons and proficiency arrangements.
*BG2 Refinements - since it was first released, this has been an 'always present' mod for me. Adds new HLA, a new kit, etc. Worth the download!
*G3 Tweak Pack
*Ding0Tweak - not much to mention for these two packs. They just fix a few original game bugs. Check their description if you think this is worth the download.
*Ease of Use - for me, this has become a must-have. Install the components you like.
*Oversight - corrects alignments, improves the classification of scenery NPCs, adds a Tougher Sendai, etc. The mods' main focus is the alignment correction. Skip this mod if it doesn't interest you. I always use it and have not experienced any bugs yet.
*Rogue Rebalancing Pack - re-balances the BG2 Rogues. Not really worth the trouble. Some parts don't work with the BG2 Refinements mod.
*Virtue - if you're unhappy with the current Reputation handling, this may be an option for you. It splits reputation into two: reputation, which represents how people in the game feel about the party; and Virtue, which represents how morally correct the party's actions are. For you, I think this is worth the try. Can cause bugs when you use SK too much, though. Else, you're pretty safe.

If you want added spells, or the way they work:
*SpellPack - adds/alters 12 spells. Never tried this myself.
*Spell-50 - extends a number of priest, druid and mage spell effects to level fifty. Too overpowered for my taste.

There are a lot of item packs, but most are quite overpowered. However, the *ItemUpgrade mod is, except for a few items, fairly balanced imo.

Tougher battles:
*Tactics - has a few good encounters, but some are just too cheesy or difficult.
*Battles - same with tactics, but even worse. I use both, though and they cause no game problems.


All in all, I have used pretty much every mod I’ve just mentioned and, even when I have them all installed, I did not experience any real game problems. Check my ‘Deathless Journey’ thread for the mod list I used; they go along just perfect. ;)
If I may be so bold to tell you what mods would probably suit you, fable:
Ascension, Banter Packs, all the NPC’s (but especially Solafein and Kelsey), Unfinished Business, Improved Oasis II, Ashes of Ember, BG2 Refinements, Ease of Use, Oversight and Virtue.
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Postby moltovir » Sun Nov 28, 2004 7:32 am

Just my 2 cents: search some people with lots of free time and make it a multiplayer game. It's just so much more fun.
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Postby fable » Sun Nov 28, 2004 9:20 am

Sytze, thanks for the detailed recs. Much appreciated. I think I'll take most and possibly all of your suggestions, though I have a few questions to ask.

For improved dialogs:
*Ascension


I thought Ascension was simply a collection of Gaider's tougher ToB opponents? It includes a lot of additional banter, as well?

*Quest Pack - adds a few new quest. Last time I downloaded this, it was the very first version and some parts were quite 'unsatisfying'. Better to wait for a newer version.[/quote]

Unsatisfying, as in feeling incomplete, or poorly done, or does it crash...?

Sort of tweak packs:
*Ashes of Embers - I always have this installed, never caused any bugs or crashes. Adds new spells, new kits, new weapons and proficiency arrangements.
*BG2 Refinements - since it was first released, this has been an 'always present' mod for me. Adds new HLA, a new kit, etc. Worth the download!


I tried one mod way-back-when, whose name I can't recall, except that it added some of the most ridiculously overpowered spells and weapons I've ever seen in a game. Are the spells, weapons and HLAs in these two mods very balanced?
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Postby fable » Sun Nov 28, 2004 9:24 am

[QUOTE=moltovir]Just my 2 cents: search some people with lots of free time and make it a multiplayer game. It's just so much more fun.[/QUOTE]

Not going to happen on this one, Moltovir. I like the ability to play BG2 at my own leisure: for 30 minutes in a break at any given time, with 10 minutes taken off for phonecalls in the middle, pausing a battle, if I choose. From personal experience I know you can't leave a battle in multiplayer, at least, not unless your many, many levels above whatever critters are being genned around you. :D And there's too much schedule juggling and longterm commitment necessary. Besides, them graphics-based MMORPGs you yungins play just don't have the flavor of the old text-based ones, why in my day... ;)

Thanks for the recommendation, though. :)
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Postby fable » Sun Nov 28, 2004 9:26 am

[QUOTE=Qwinn]Like you, I've been turned off by the portraits of almost all other NPC mods - Tashia, Keto, etc. They deviate way too much from the original artwork style. The two I just mentioned, for example, look almost photographic rather than fantasy art. At least the Keli and Inara pics look appropriate to the genre :) And I've been very impressed by what I've seen on the character development side of things too.
[/QUOTE]

Qwinn, you're right: that pair looks good. Much closer to the original Bioware set than the other NPCs. And that's a shame, because the writing, character creation and balance of so many others easily equals what Bioware offered in the main game.
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Postby Sytze » Sun Nov 28, 2004 10:37 am

spoilers, of course

[QUOTE=fable]I thought Ascension was simply a collection of Gaider's tougher ToB opponents? It includes a lot of additional banter, as well?[/QUOTE]
When using Ascension, you can convince Balthazar to join your cause. Because of this, you will have quite a lot of different banter option with him. But that is just an example, I don't want to give away too many spoilers, so you might want to check the readme. Ascension adds dialogs, changes some game features, fixes a few game bugs and makes the final battle harder. Truly, this mod is a jewel and one should not play a modded SoA and ToB game without it.


[QUOTE=fable]'Quest pack' Unsatisfying, as in feeling incomplete, or poorly done, or does it crash...?[/QUOTE]
If you change the 'or does it crash' part by 'does it have a few bugs', then Quest Pack has everything you mentioned. Some parts are buggy (money lending), others are poorly done and give a very unsatisfying end-result (additional shadow thief content) and again others just feel incomplete (alternative Xzar plot). The incomplete one is largely my own opinion, the first two problems are generally agreed upon, even by the creator himself.


[QUOTE=fable]
*Ashes of Embers
*BG2 Refinements
I tried one mod way-back-when, whose name I can't recall, except that it added some of the most ridiculously overpowered spells and weapons I've ever seen in a game. Are the spells, weapons and HLAs in these two mods very balanced?[/QUOTE]
Maybe Ashes of Ember isn't really your taste, considering the features it has.
It has the following features, on which I'll give my opinion:
Universal weapons for all classes - Not really overpowered, but I can see why someone wouldn't like a mage to wield a two-handed sword. Personally, I didn't like some of the weapon restrictions the game has. Mages and clerics can now use swords, which is one of the reasons I use this mod. Although some classes still can't use certain weapons, the weapon-usage is now largely based on a characters attributes (strength, for example) instead of the characters class.
7 added kits - Six added cleric kits and one (pit) fighter kit, which are absolutely not overpowered. I haven't used them myself, because the kits are not to my taste. I never play a cleric anyway. :)
Added Armour - Simply put; not overpowered at all. Useless, perhaps. Overpowered, not at all.
Two tweaked spells - Makes Ironskin and Stoneskin much and much weaker. This is not overpowering a spell, but making an overpowered spell less useful. This feature is the main reason why I use this mod, myself. I always hated Iron- and Stoneskin, especially because of their long duration and the way they made a character look like.
Wizard Slayer enhancement - Makes the Magic Resistance of a Wizard Slayer higher. IMO it makes a WS more useful this way. It's not really overpowering the class, but rather improving it.

AoE is a mod that I always use. It certainly isn't overpowered, the bugs it had have long been squashed and since it is Weidu, it doesn't clash with the other mods I mentioned. But since AoE has very distinct features, you might not like it. Decide yourself whether or not some features are worth the download.


Refinements features:
Revised HLA tables - Not overpowered IMO. Gives every class -and even kits- different HLA's. For a general description of the HLA, check this readme. The new HLA make the game more fun for me actually, since it gives a new twist to certain kits.
SwashImoen - Turns Imoen into a dualcass Swashbuckler/Mage. When you have her in Johns dungeon, she will be a level 10 Swash, level 1 Mage. Therefore her spell book will be empty (only magic missiles) when you pick her up and thus she will be quite useless in the beginning. Check the readme for more info.
Sword Angel kit - This is not an overpowered kit at all, but it tends to be incompatible with some other mods' features. You might want to read the readme first.
Shapeshifting fix - I don't have much experience with this component, so checking the readme may ones again be useful. I do know that this feature isn't overpowered, though.

Refinements tends to be incompatible with the Oversight cleric kits, the HLA may only be partial compatible with the HLA of the added cleric kits in AoE. The Sword Angel may have problems putting on the added AoE armour (remember, the game won't crash, the SA just can't use AoE armour). Overall, Littiz mentions that Refinements may have problems with AoE, but I never encountered problems. Probably because I don't instal new kits. So as long as you don't use new kits, you'll be safe.


All the mentioned mods, both in this post as in my former, are created with weidu, therefore they won't collide with each other. The installation order isn't very important either, as long as you install Ascension first and Refinements as one of the last mods. If you want, I could give you an installation list of my mod list. I haven't had any bugs or crashes, so you should be pretty safe.
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Postby fable » Sun Nov 28, 2004 11:02 am

[QUOTE=Sytze]When using Ascension, you can convince Balthazar to join your cause. Because of this, you will have quite a lot of different banter option with him. But that is just an example, I don't want to give away too many spoilers, so you might want to check the readme. Ascension adds dialogs, changes some game features, fixes a few game bugs and makes the final battle harder. Truly, this mod is a jewel and one should not play a modded SoA and ToB game without it.[/quote]

Sounds good. I think I'll go with it, or at least with selected changes. I'll probably also forego Quest Pack, pending more work on that.

Maybe Ashes of Ember isn't really your taste, considering the features it has.
It has the following features, on which I'll give my opinion:
Universal weapons for all classes - Not really overpowered, but I can see why someone wouldn't like a mage to wield a two-handed sword. Personally, I didn't like some of the weapon restrictions the game has.


I have no problems with any class wielding any weapon at all, unless it's specifically forbidden by their guild, or taboo to their particular god. It makes perfect sense that a wizard could wield a twohander, though how good they'd be would depend upon attributes and skill: but why shouldn't they use one? Or a cleric use a sword? It's all just Gygax's rules, which never should have been taken as the final word on anything, IMO.

At this point, I'm inclining to two NPC mods out of Kelsey, Keto and Chloe. Leaving aside the power aspects, for which I have no interest, do you (or does anybody) familliar with 'em have preferences? And any feelings about Ding0's Tweak Pack? He did the Improved Oasis, as I recall, which I will use.

And thanks for all the additional information: again, I'll go with your recs. By the way, what order of installation would you recommend for all of that?
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Postby jcompton » Sun Nov 28, 2004 12:08 pm

[QUOTE=fable]
At this point, I'm inclining to two NPC mods out of Kelsey, Keto and Chloe. Leaving aside the power aspects, for which I have no interest, do you (or does anybody) familliar with 'em have preferences?
[/QUOTE]

Well, step 1 is: Take Kelsey. :)

Between Keto and Chloe, I'm going to heartily recommend Keto on this basis:

- Copious banter--INCLUDING with Kelsey, so you don't get shorted as often happens when you take two mod NPCs and they don't interact with one another.
- Both have a personal quest, but Keto's is really a thing to behold, and I'm not saying that because I wrote it, because I didn't. Bons created a really amazing sequence.
- Considerably more complete voicework

I also happen to think that Keto fits rather better into the gameworld, but I won't spoil Chloe content by enumerating what I see as the problems in case you do decide to go with her.

Both Keto and Chloe share the same unfortunate disadvantage that they only have content in SOA at the moment, sadly, so if you're looking for a complete-playthrough companion, you may want to swap one of them out for a BioNPC in TOB.

(in re portraits: I'm aware that the Kelsey default pic isn't the strongest choice in the lot, I've mostly kept it in there as the default choice because of the objections of a few of the earliest Kelsey adopters, as it was the first. Over the past couple of years we've had some submitted alternates up on a gallery which I can endorse as fine alternatives.)
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Postby Sytze » Sun Nov 28, 2004 1:28 pm

One could always select his or her own prefered portrait for a NPC and then export in a game, non?


[QUOTE=fable]It makes perfect sense that a wizard could wield a twohander, though how good they'd be would depend upon attributes and skill: but why shouldn't they use one? Or a cleric use a sword? It's all just Gygax's rules, which never should have been taken as the final word on anything, IMO.[/QUOTE]
That's how I felt as well and therefore AoE is a mod that I always have installed. :)

[QUOTE=fable]At this point, I'm inclining to two NPC mods out of Kelsey, Keto and Chloe. Leaving aside the power aspects, for which I have no interest, do you (or does anybody) familliar with 'em have preferences?[/QUOTE]
I tend to agree with the creator himself on this; choose Kelsey and Keto. Of all the NPC's I've played, Kelsey just seems the most complete. He has a lot of dialogs and fits very well in the BG world. Personally, I haven't tried Chloe a whole game, yet. She just doesn't appeal to me. I couldn't keep her around for long. You might want to re-read this thread again for other opinions about Kelsey and Chloe.
I haven't tried Keto yet and won't try her until the SoA and ToB version is out, so I can't really give my opinion about that. You'll have to trust JC on this one. ;)


[QUOTE=fable]And any feelings about Ding0's Tweak Pack? He did the Improved Oasis, as I recall, which I will use.[/QUOTE]
Improved Oasis is a fine choice, really. I just checked the pocket plane group site and it seems that Ding0 put his mods (Improved Oasis and Tweakpack) together and named it 'House of Sim.' I haven't tried Ding0's own tweak pack, but I seem to recall that some of his fixes have been used in other tweak packs, so I think you'll be fine.

[QUOTE=fable]And thanks for all the additional information: again, I'll go with your recs. By the way, what order of installation would you recommend for all of that?[/QUOTE]
No problem. :) As for a list, this my install order:
Ascension
Any item mod you want, ItemUpgrade for example.
Ease of Use (I always install this last, because I uninstall and install quite a few components ones in a while. However, if you don't change your Ease of Use install, then you should install it as one of the first mods)
Oversight
Ashes of Embers
Banter Packs
House of Sim
Virtue
Kelsey
Unfinished Business
Refinements
Keto
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Postby fable » Sun Nov 28, 2004 4:21 pm

Oversight
Ashes of Embers
Banter Packs
House of Sim
Kelsey
Unfinished Business
Refinements
Keto


Why Kelsey before UB and Refinements, but Keto after them all?
To the Righteous belong the fruits of violent victory. The rest of us will have to settle for warm friends, warm lovers, and a wink from a quietly supportive universe.

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Elvis
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2004 5:29 pm
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Postby Elvis » Sun Nov 28, 2004 7:15 pm

[QUOTE=fable]them graphics-based MMORPGs you yungins play just don't have the flavor of the old text-based ones, why in my day... ;) [/QUOTE]

Briefly off topic: hear, hear! Long live Zork's Great Underground Empire and the Flathead dynasty.

Back on topic: I second the motion for installing Unfinished Business. Since you've played the game through a number of time already, Fable, and you're familiar with the story, I think you'll find some of the Unfinished Business details interesting.