Monday, June 23, 2014

Skyrim Mod Review - M'rissi - A Tail of Troubles

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Mod Review:
M'rissi - A Tale of Troubles v1.2.2

Score: +2/-4, playthrough aborted -- too irritating to continue playing, lost faith in mod author's ability

When the author starts by saying, "At first I was planning to do a catgirl comedy, but the story happens to became more serious, lorefriendly and sometimes sad. There are still some cat jokes, though", it is a bad sign. Why? Because somewhere along the way they changed the script and ambiance -- they lost focus, and the story suffered. You'll see this in the dialogue and how the story progresses.
+ Voiceovers. The voiceovers are sometimes quite soft in volume, so unless you want to repeatedly reload, just turn on subtitles -- which some people don't like to do because it causes you to start reading subtitles instead of looking at the character talking to you. Also, the mod's subtitles don't always match the actual voiceovers, which further distracts you from the story. For the most part, however, the voiceovers are fine.
+ Unexpected events. The story is basically linear, but there are a few unexpected events to keep things interesting. It isn't a boring go-here-fetch/kill sequence.
- Takes over your character. There is basically only one dialogue option, which you have no choice but to click on. Unlike vanilla Skyrim which has neutral topics to pursue and in that way generally does not assume anything about your character's personality, this mod gives you a line to say. More than that, it assumes that you are a wisecracking thinks-they-are-funny sort of person prone to occasional callous murder. You can see how the author started / tried to do a "catgirl comedy" by making your character supply the humour, but overall this choice in how dialogue is handled is very presumptuous and irritating.
- Text dump. There's a point during the main quest "Total Recall" where you are asked to read a journal. It is very long. The story presented is not particularly well described. It is also highly implausible. This sort of text dump and unnecessarily long-winded explanation should have been cut and changed to something more straightforward or at least more "show" and less "tell". Any traumatic story would have sufficed, but instead the author tries to demonstrate how clever they are at storytelling, only to provide a narrative that is confused and inappropriate.
- False options. Some options are essentially quest-stoppers, which is completely pointless in a mod that you can uninstall. The only reason for getting this mod is to either get a human-faced khajiit companion (in which case you probably won't care to do her quest), or to follow the quest. Options where you essentially abort the quest early are pointless. All that does is force the player to reload. And if they didn't have an earlier save to roll back to, they now have to uninstall and reinstall the mod to try again.
For example, (and since this is in the FAQ for the mod, it's not that big a spoiler), it is possible to make a "wrong" choice and restore M'rissi's memory, thus turning her into a mental vegetable. The author basically tells you to reload and try a different choice. Two problems with this: First, why bother giving the choice in the first place if they are going to have to reload if they choose one of the paths? Second, and more importantly, why lock the player into the limited choice when a reasonable person would have had a different and more reasonable response.
- Scaling problems. The first boss can hit you with a lightning spell for over 200 if not close to 300 (?) damage with a single cast -- that is just an estimate based on the level 21 character I playtested with, who had 300 base Health plus minor bonuses. According to the FAQ, if you are having problems, the mod author recommends using Paralysis poisons or effects. There are numerous issues with this response, not the least being that the author is recommending not just a very specific solution, but also a very cheesy one. Boss fights are not particularly interesting if you have to cheese your way through it. The main issue, however, is that the mod author is too lazy to adjust the boss character by levelling them better.

I basically decided to abort playing this mod after Total Recall, given how the mod author handled various aspects of the mod. Overall I was feeling irritated and lost faith in there being a fulfilling resolution.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Skyrim Mod - GQ Minor Tweaks

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Mod:
GQ Minor Tweaks
Download version: 2014-Nov-30

Collection of minor tweaks. Install only the .ESP you want:

GQ Guardian Stone XP bonus changed to Stat bonus
version: 2014-July-4

  • Mage Stone: +20% Mage Skill Experience -> +50 Magicka
  • Thief Stone: +20% Stealth Skill Experience -> +50 Stamina, +25 Carry Weight
  • Warrior Stone: +20% Combat Skill Experience -> +50 Health
  • Lover Stone: +15% all Skill Experience -> +30 Magicka, +30 Health, +30 Stamina, +15 Carry Weight

GQ Illusion Spells Hit Instantly
version: 2014-June-19

The following projectiles are used by Calm, Fury, etc...:
  • Illusion01Projectile
  • IllusionNeg01Projectile
They have been changed as follows:
  • Speed x100 (2000 to 200,000) so that they hit virtually instantaneously.
  • Impact force 0.5 -> 0.0
  • "Pass Through Small Transparent" is enabled
The spells themselves could have targeting changed to Target Actor, but every MGEF (Magic Effect) used in a SPEL (spell) would have to be changed, which drastically reduces compatibility with other mods.
A spell in Skyrim is composed of at least 1 Magic Effect. Some, like the Illusion spells that affect Aggression (Calm, Fury, Frenzy, etc...) have several effects. All effects must use the same targeting style for the spell to properly work.

This mod is designed to help increase the utility of Illusions. The aggression altering spells are already weak enough with the harsh level caps that you really don't need to add missing at range to your already high likelihood of wasting Magicka on a target too strong to be affected.

GQ No Health Regeneration
version: 2014-June-19

The file just contains an ability that gives 100% Damage Health Regeneration -- that is, it gives you a -100% Health Regeneration modifier. Without other adjustments, your character has a basic 0% Regeneration Rate modifier -- that is, the character will not regenerate at all, in or out of combat.
This was done instead of tweaking regeneration percentage-per-second settings because doing so also neutralizes magical effects that give you a regeneration bonus.

The ability is called "Curse of Mortality". Use the console command help "Curse of Mortality" 4 to find the ID, then add it to the player with player.addspell <id>.

IMPORTANT: Before uninstalling this mod, use player.removespell <id> to remove it, or the change will be recorded in the player stats even after the mod is uninstalled, and a console command will be required to repair it.

GQ No Mining Pick or Woodcutter Axe Required
version: 2014-June-19

When a character tries to mine ore or chop firewood, the game script checks the character's inventory for items in a list of acceptable tools. This mod adds "Unarmed" (the invisible weapon equipped when the character is bare-fisted) and "Gold" to the list. As long as the character has 1 gold piece, they can mine or chop wood. If not, they should still be able to do so, unless a mod has somehow overridden bare handed combat.

Very few mods change the FormLists affected. Just keep moving the mod down the load order until it works.

gq Rested Effects Changed to Regeneration Bonuses
version: 2014-June-20

Instead of bonuses to skill gain, Rested, Well-Rested, and Lover's Comfort changed to bonuses to Health, Magicka, and Stamina of +10, +20, or +30 respectively.


gq Hearthfire Recipes
version: 2014-Nov-29

  • At a Drafting Table, convert Sawn Logs into 5 Firewood each.
  • At a Smelter, convert Steel Ingots into Iron Ingots, or make Steel Ingots from Iron Ingots with 3 Charcoal. This former will allow players to make Hearthfire building items from steel.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Skyrim Mod - gq Item Utilities

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Mod:
GQ Item Utilities
Requires SKSE - http://skse.silverlock.org/
Download version: 2014-July-5

[WEAR / WIPE]
Equip an armor item to bring up a menu with the following choices:

Toggle Amulet, Toggle Circlet, Toggle Ring - When a wearable item is put into the container, the named item slot flag is toggled. A ring put into the container for the first time would have its ring slot toggled off and can therefore be worn with other rings.
Theoretically unlimited numbers of items with no item slots can be worn at the same time. Note that wearing two (or more) items of the same type and with the same enchantment is possible but bugged: One item will not be shown as equipped in inventory, and the enchantments may show incorrectly in the Active Effects menu.

Wipe Changes - An item is returned to the player in base form. Any improvements from Smithing or Enchanting are removed as the item is recreated. This also means that "Stolen" flags are removed and charges reset to maximum.

Charm
A Charm is a wearable item with no equipment slots and therefore can be worn with all other equipment. It will accept enchantments as indicated by its name. This item is meant for enchantments that are tedious to swap in and out, such as Fortify crafting skill enchantments.
They have no value and no weight. To get rid of any excess items, just sell them to a merchant.
Because of the bug mentioned above, try to use a different item. All 10 items are the same, but because they have a different Base ID, they should show as being equipped properly in Inventory.

To get the activating item in-game,
1. Use console command help "[WEAR" 4 to find the base ID
2. Use console command player.additem <ID> 1 to add the item to inventory.

Installation:
When updating to a newer version, delete (sell) all items from this mod and recreate them after the new version is installed. This will force scripts to refresh to any new versions.
The scripts directory and .TXT file are for reference only and need not be installed. The other files all go into the Data folder.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Skyrim Mod - gq More Staple Foods at Inns

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Mod:
GQ More Staple Foods at Inns
Requires Hearthfires DLC
Download version 2014-June-9
  • Changes Salt Pile to Salt, weight 0, value 1.
  • Adds more staple baking and cooking supplies at inns: 100 units randomly distributed between Butter, Chicken Egg, Jug of Milk, Sack of Flour, and Salt.
  • This is distributed to inns by modifying the "VendorGoldInn" levelled list, which normally only always generates 100 gold pieces. Inns with more than one instance of this levelled list will therefore get more supplies. Any container or character that also uses this levelled list will get a pile of supplies.