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Might and Magic 6-7-8 Merge Mod

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  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,581
    A photo of Free Haven taken from the air:
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    Our first dragon fight:
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    We won.
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    A known graphical glitch made the sky look like this while in Kriegspire doing Council quests:
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    In a way, I kind of like it, because it makes it look like we're on a ringed planet, and that's what a ringed planet's rings would look like when viewed from the ground on a rocky Earth-like planet. But if it bugs you, exiting the game and reentering works around the glitch.

    So, I'm finding that more than anything, the limitation on a five-member party's power in MM6 with the Merge is money. Money has always been one of the main limiting factors in the MM6-8 games, but, OMG, with five party members that gets so much worse! If you know the game, you can see that I just spent 30,000 gold leveling my party to this level, and now I'm flat broke with no way to train all the masteries and grandmasteries my guys and gals now qualify for:
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    The level-scaling continues to be, shall we say, "interesting." We almost got our behinds handed to us in Snergle's caverns by, of all things, a small swarm of vampire bats! I have to adjust how I think about threat levels. Outleveling an area or a dungeon to the point of triviality isn't a thing any more. I think I like it, because that lends itself well to roleplaying a story like a good TV series. No matter how powerful you get, there's *always* a big bad, or a bunch of them, that are just as powerful or more powerful than you.

    I'm still trying to define party roles. My "Jaheira" has the potential to grandmaster every magic except Light and Dark, but training one school of magic to grandmastery costs 8,000 gold. Then, the grandmaster spellbook for that school costs 11,000 gold. This winds up having the same effect as multi-classing in BG. A "pure class" like a sorcerer or a cleric is going to progress faster just by concentrating on certain schools of magic, while a druid winds up being more of a bard-like generalist, especially if you level alchemy with your druid.

    However, I'm still not sure I couldn't have been just as powerful with a KADDD party that included three druids and the "Imoen" thief>mage for our party. The only subtraction would be no access to Light and/or Dark, and I still find both Light and Dark to be very underwhelming. All the buffs from those are far exceeded by grandmastery in all the Self and Elemental schools at grandmastery, as long as you have the patience to keep casting them, which I do.

    I'm not a big fan of damage magic in the first place, so Dragon Breath is a big "meh" to me, especially considering how much it costs in mana, and I would never cast Armageddon on a map to slaughter any peasants there.

    The main reason I don't want to do KADDD, or KTDDD, is roleplay. I think there really needs to be a fundamental qualitative difference between a cleric, a druid, and a sorcerer. I guess that's one of the weaknesses of the class system in MM6-8 that people keep trying to tune, balance, and tweak. Allowing grandmastery level magic for the druid may have been a mistake.

    I still love this trilogy more than just about any other game, though, including even Baldur's Gate. It has this magical, alchemical "je ne sais quoi" that brings back my fond memories of tabletop D&D, even more than other computer games.

    JuliusBorisovLudwig_II
  • Ludwig_IILudwig_II Member Posts: 288
    Looks great!

    I have one more question though. Using this mod for MM6 content like you are doing, are we able to pick the classes that didn't exist in MM6 ? For example, can I pick a Ranger? If I can, then will there be a way to promote my character without jumping to MM7 continent?

    JuliusBorisov
  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 678
    edited February 17
    With the unlocker sub-mod, yes to starting with different classes/races. You still have to go to that continent to promote (so don't start with a Necromancer as your only arcane caster in Enroth)

    (Too bad this isn't done WeiDU style, then you could just opt for the Unlocker component on first install)

    Ludwig_IIJuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • Ludwig_IILudwig_II Member Posts: 288
    Thanks for the reponse Pokota. I have finally installed the mod, greyface patch and the mod's community branch updates all as instructed. However, the graphics do not look as good as the screenshots shared here. I have Might and Magic 7 Gog version installed separately as well, and apart from the UI changes, the texture quality looks exactly the same as that one.

    Are you guys using hardware 3d accelerated mode for graphics? Hardware mode do not work on my Windows 10 - Intel Integrated HD Drivers for some reason. So I'm using the Software version.

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,627
    edited February 20
    Yes, those graphics are only available for me with the hardware 3d accelerated mode. With the Software version, it still looks like an original MM8 game (for the MM6 part, using the MM8 version is still an upgrade).

    Ludwig_IIBelgarathMTH
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,581
    edited February 22
    Ogres in Castle Darkmoor:
    c2aswnsy2uzm.jpg

    I never noticed before that liches have a black panther head on their belt buckles. :)
    wj5p6uc4aj3w.jpg

    I finished Castle Darkmoor, and breathed a huge sigh of relief for this run. It was very tense and adrenaline-pumping, as usual. You can't use buffs in there, because they'll just get dispelled, and the monsters can do it through walls. I got lucky in finding the right plaques, switches, buttons and cubes this time. Last time I played MM6, I wound up consulting a walkthrough, and I still almost never found the switch that turns the first blue cube to red.

    In the mod, the "beholders" spam high-level fireballs. They're also resistant to *everything*, including physical damage, and they're very hard to hit. You have to pretty much scratch them to death, one at a time, and there are at least a hundred of them in there. Accompanied by an army of liches and ogres. Oh, joy. :)

    So far, I've got the memory cubes from Kriegspire and Darkmoor. The way the level-scaling works continues to be interesting. There's no such thing as anything in the game being out-leveled to the point of posing no threat, and many things pose way more threat than you'd be used to, even at this stage of the game.

    I tested a book I got to cross continents. I used it to go to Antagarich, and it worked. It put me out in Tularean Forest, so I took a coach to Harmondale, where I got a messenger telling me to go to the scavenger hunt on Emerald Island, via a boat departing from Steadwick, so I went there and tested that, and I was indeed placed at Emerald Island as though starting a new game of MM7. I didn't stay long enough to test the level-scaling there against my high-level party, as I had no intention of stopping my work on the MM6 part of the run at this point. I was just curious. I reloaded to before I used the Dimension Door book.

    I continue to be amazed at the high definition textures. "Beholders" looked more terrifying than ever, with HD glowing eyes. I tried to take screen shots, but I think I pressed the wrong button, because they didn't take.

    I am going to have a hard time ever playing this game again in low-definition 4X3 aspect in vanilla. There are some elements of the original I like better, but I don't think I'm going to be able to tolerate those graphics again, as I have now been hopelessly spoiled.

    JuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,581
    edited February 23
    Fighting drakes, minotaurs, and earth elementals in north Kriegspire:
    c9jvgul512fr.jpg

    I managed to take a picture of Rafe casting Starburst:
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    And Imoen casting Meteor Shower:
    g7lu9rkchep5.jpg

    I never noticed before, since it goes by so fast, that Starburst has bigger projectiles than Meteor Shower. I guess that makes sense, since Starburst has higher damage dice than Meteor Shower, not accounting for fire or air resistance. Starburst is also grandmaster air, while Meteor Shower is only master fire.

    A few Starbursts and Meteor Showers later, a dead army of dead minotaurs. I wonder if Zak feels regret having to kill his own kind. The minotaurs didn't become our allies until the events of MM8. I like to imagine that my Zak was one of the first minotaurs to "see the Light" and ally with humans, dwarves, and elves.
    l1qopn6t9je7.jpg

    BTW, Zak looks fantastic with his shirt off. Talk about muscle bear, or "muscle bull" as the case may be. :)
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    I'd be tempted to encourage him to stay shirtless like that, but he's a grandmaster of plate mail and gets 1/2 damage reduction from wearing plate mail. Oh, well, we spend most nights in an inn, drinking and playing arcomage. He can take it all off then. I like to imagine he rather enjoys doing so. ;)

    JuliusBorisovLudwig_II
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,581
    edited February 24
    Interesting art work in Agar's Laboratory:
    zgx4o21po57n.jpg
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    Beholders, liches, and abominations, oh my. Everbody's insane but me from maddening eyes. It seems that Priests of the Light are immune to insanity. I never once became insane during Castle Darkmoor, while everyone else in the party pretty much stayed that way.
    7z0yomng8x2r.jpg
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    BTW, I've changed my mind about the value of Light magic to a priest of the Light. At grandmaster level, the casting of Day of the Gods, Day of Protection, and Hour of Power do exceed the buffing potential of casting separately from all those different schools, and it's very convenient to cast them. So, I think a druid, who has access to grandmastery in all elemental and self magic in the mod is more powerful than a priest of the Light as far as raw damage potential and utility, especially with the grandmaster alchemy in addition to all that, but nobody beats the priest of the Light as a buffbot. I can live with that.

    If you're curious, Ki Lo Nee, Light magic master in Eel-infested Waters gives you a choice to "choose the path of the Light". Typing "yes" erases any and all Dark magic investment from your character and unlocks grandmastery in the Light. This can be done in MM6 for individual characters. I haven't found the Dark master yet, but I chose to have my sorcerer not choose yet. I don't know how this interacts with MM7 once you choose a side.

    EDIT: I figured out later I'm wearing a Ring of Resistance to Insanity that I had completely forgotten about. So I'm not becoming insane because of the ring, not because of class. Apparently "Resistance to..." in this case actually translates to "Immune to...".

    Post edited by BelgarathMTH on
    JuliusBorisovGrond0
  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 678
    edited February 23
    So just a point of note: you won't really break anything by hopping across continents early, and in fact since you started in MM6 you're going to be massively overpowered by the time you get around to MM7 and MM8 due to having The Stuff Necessary To Finish MM6 (but see this spoiler after you've beaten the MM6 portion)
    The Reactor isn't properly immune to everything and is in fact vulnerable to anything, due to an improper porting job into the MM8 resistances set. So you don't actually need the Blasters except to start the Ritual Of The Void quest

    Spoiler for the MM6 Dark Magic master trainer:
    He's in a house in Paradise Valley, which is west of Blackshire. Have fun getting attacked by Titans as you do.

    MM7's faction choice is, to my memory, independent of the MM6 path selection option. Also, please note that Path Selection is only relevant for 2nd promotion Clerics and Sorcerors, due to how light/dark magic has been restricted. This means you could have a Priest of the Dark and a fully promoted Lich sign up to work with Gavin Magnus in the end if you so choose (you just won't get to buy anything from the Antigarich Dark Magic Guilds if you do that)

    BelgarathMTHJuliusBorisovLudwig_II
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,581
    @Pokota , That "massively overpowered" bit is what worries me about the potential of the merge played as a trilogy. Level scaling can only do so much, especially since "tough" monsters in the starting zones depend on your being under geared and having very little spell development for their challenge.

    I think I might wind up having more fun if I *don't* do the other two games in the trilogy with an overpowered party, instead starting new parties in each of the three games separately, just to enjoy the graphics enhancements and new build choices.

    So, I just finished Castle Alamos, but I took a shortcut based on my metaknowledge. Because of the way I was exploring, I happened upon "Tree Number Five", and found the area I knew to be the location of the memory crystal first, before I found any other trees. I already know the password from years of playing, and I know to use the Jump spell to get up on the bridges that go to the memory crystal.
    fubwp6ae71va.jpg

    I felt kind of guilty bypassing most of this enormous 3-D dungeon, but I've always found the whole thing to be too much of a slog, and I often lose interest in my runs in here. So, I took the shortcut, and so be it.

    Notice this flame effect while everyone is shooting bows. In the Dragonriders' Caves, we found an artifact bow for Imoen that shoots fireballs. Given that her class under the merge is master archer, where she has grandmastery in bows, and is the only party member who does, she is now so good with this bow that she has the "Haste + blasters" exploit where she fires fireballs so fast, the monsters freeze and get fireballed to death without being able to move, as long as we catch them at just the right distance.
    ks6xji2sfvnp.jpg

    Here's a picture I took of some magyars after already obtaining the memory crystal, while thinking about whether I felt too guilty to not finish Castle Alamos. Nah, we're out of here. :)
    b9ai0c1qrd2q.jpg

    JuliusBorisovLudwig_II
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,581
    edited February 24
    So, as of end of play session today, I have the last memory crystal, we activated the Oracle, and have been sent to the dread Tomb of Varn.

    The second we landed on the shore of Hermit's Isle, Imoen was immediately insta-killed by a supreme titan. I'd forgotten how awful those things are.

    I had to worry about raising and healing Imoen and getting grandmaster Protection from Magic cast as soon as possible to prevent more insta-kills. We ran to the dungeon entrance for some cover, and managed to defeat the initial fight, which is way harder than anything in the actual memory crystal dungeon here, because hydras and supreme titans attack you immediately, and you with no buffs, when you get off the ship.

    Before entering the dungeon, I flew out and found the obelisk, so that's done.

    We won't be coming back here, ever. Whew.
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    JuliusBorisovLudwig_II
  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 678
    I think I might wind up having more fun if I *don't* do the other two games in the trilogy with an overpowered party, instead starting new parties in each of the three games separately, just to enjoy the graphics enhancements and new build choices.
    And miss out entirely on the extra region and extra dungeon that comes from completing Verdant's quest chain.

    In fairness, you're not missing much and it's a very aggravating area, compounded by what it does to you on first entry (spoilers ensue):
    When you first enter The Breach your party gets split up and spread out across the map - the only character you're left with is "The Acknowledged Hero Of Jadame," which is to say "the first character you created." To enter The Breach you need to have finished all three main stories, plus have finished Verdant's quest chain, then you need to open a Dimension Door at the spot where Escaton's Crystal once stood.

    BelgarathMTH
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,581
    Terminators in HD. I think these things were inspired by cylons from "Battlestar Galactica", among other stuff. They were much less scary than usual because of grandmaster Protection from Magic. That saved us quite a few eradications.
    w21dsc4yapoe.jpg

    Okay, so now we have grandmaster blasters. Combined with Hour of Power's Haste effect, I'm not seeing why we would ever use anything else in the other two games. I think it might get boring. I'll try it a little, I guess, in MM7, but I can't imagine much challenge after blasters. Blasters also remove the excitement of finding any other kinds of gear.
    tkpjs73u2z5q.jpg
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    The obelisk treasures:
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    None of it holds a candle to blasters, including the grandmaster Light and Dark spells. I've always thought it one of the greatest weaknesses of this game that, by the time you can get the obelisk treasure, and the grandmaster Light and Dark spells, they're pretty useless, and the game is almost over anyway, unless you want to just slaughter dragons and titans while collecting garbage off their corpses. *shrug*

    I almost made a huge "oopsie" and went into the Kreegan reactor without getting the spell to contain the explosion. As in, "I blew up the whole planet" oopsie. ;)
    26q839xwtgel.jpg
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    And now, we're finally ready to go into the Kreegan hive, kill the Borg Queen, and win the game. I guess it'll be next weekend before then.
    ftmc3uznng1n.jpg

    JuliusBorisov
  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 678
    edited February 25
    I generally only use Blasters when I'm forced to (yes, "The Hive" forces me to - even without such-and-such a creature, there are too many Kreegan there to me to chew through without them), especially in the MM7+ engine since there are ways of getting Almost As Fast with weapons that grant damage bonuses with their Master/GM levels (looking at you, The-Entire-Monk-Class).

    Spoiler for if you decide to play with the optional Unlockers:
    Due to a quirk of the Racial Skills code, a Minotaur Knight can get both Grandmaster Axe and Grandmaster Armsmaster, causing them to have the highest melee output in the game. And yes, GM Axe's perk "Halve Target's Armor Class" is being fixed by Greyface and should percolate down to Merge eventually... if it hasn't already

    WRT The Obelisk Treasures: The only thing stopping you from getting it as soon as you can cast Fly in Vanilla MM6 is the fact that you need to take a boat on a specific day of the week from a specific pier in a specific port town in order to get one of them. The only obelisk that's actually dangerous to get to is the one in Hermit's Isle, and even then you can outrun the Hydras - the others you can get either with good dodging skills or with good dodging skills. Unlike MM7 and MM8, the Enroth Obelisks are not gated by story progression (though the spells themselves are still lackluster, the jewelry is a bigger factor since it increases your spell power across the board)

  • Ludwig_IILudwig_II Member Posts: 288
    Pokota, in MM7 content, do you think Grandmaster Axe + Sword dual wielding would cause more damage than Spear + Sword dual wield?

  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 678
    edited February 26
    I generally don't mess with dual wield, as MM6 is my home and it's completely broken there (and not in a good way).

    I'd expect Axe+Sword to be a better melee combo than Sword+Spear, as both Axe and Sword have recovery improvement for Expert, but you'll be splitting your offensive points across three skills at that point (Axe, Sword, Armsmaster) and Sword doesn't get damage from skill (sword gets AC at GM)

    But I don't think that dual-wield is actually all that great in the MM6-8 games - your recovery times are damaged by having both weapons in exchange for slightly better damage and To-Hit, which puts it at the exact opposite of the D&D method of "you get a separate attack with the second weapon with a To-Hit penalty." The main thing I'd use an off-hand weapon for is for an unusual enchantment, like Vampiric, that I can't get on a shield (and my Archers/Sorcerers are usually using polearms which universally come with AC from skill at Expert, so no real opportunity to do that there)

    JuliusBorisov
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 8,521
    This mod is clearly ambitious, but reading these accounts seem to reveal crippling balance issues.

    Ammar
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,075
    It's the sort I find fascinating from a technical point of view, i.e. it is challenging to create and making it work is a great accomplishment. At the same time I have zero interest to play since:
    • The games have a clear chronological order of events
    • At the end of each game (in the case of MM6 quite a bit earlier) your character development is completed and you just get somewhat higher number
    • Either large parts of the content become trivial or you have to use non-sensical level-scaling where a cave of troglodlytes ends up being tougher than a Kreegan Hive
    • Each game has unique gameplay elements: in MM7 it is the permanent decision between Light and Dark. In MM8 it is being able to play monster races. Transferring those to other parts of the series seems like a bad idea.

    jjstraka34
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 8,521
    Ammar wrote: »
    It's the sort I find fascinating from a technical point of view, i.e. it is challenging to create and making it work is a great accomplishment. At the same time I have zero interest to play since:
    • The games have a clear chronological order of events
    • At the end of each game (in the case of MM6 quite a bit earlier) your character development is completed and you just get somewhat higher number
    • Either large parts of the content become trivial or you have to use non-sensical level-scaling where a cave of troglodlytes ends up being tougher than a Kreegan Hive
    • Each game has unique gameplay elements: in MM7 it is the permanent decision between Light and Dark. In MM8 it is being able to play monster races. Transferring those to other parts of the series seems like a bad idea.

    I agree with this 100%. It's already a perfect trilogy, and I don't think I have ever felt the urge to carry my party from VI over to the other games.

  • GrammarsaladGrammarsalad Member Posts: 2,527
    edited February 26
    Oh, super cool!

    Edit: question: is there a wiki?

    Edit 2: can you create all 5 characters or is it just the four (as I think that was how it was originally in mm8)

  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 678
    Ammar wrote: »
    It's the sort I find fascinating from a technical point of view, i.e. it is challenging to create and making it work is a great accomplishment. At the same time I have zero interest to play since:
    • The games have a clear chronological order of events
    • At the end of each game (in the case of MM6 quite a bit earlier) your character development is completed and you just get somewhat higher number
    • Either large parts of the content become trivial or you have to use non-sensical level-scaling where a cave of troglodlytes ends up being tougher than a Kreegan Hive
    • Each game has unique gameplay elements: in MM7 it is the permanent decision between Light and Dark. In MM8 it is being able to play monster races. Transferring those to other parts of the series seems like a bad idea.
    • The excuse plot of Merge is that someone screwed up the timelines... multiple times over.
    • Yep - it turns out Merge makes a lot more sense if you start continent hopping earlier rather than later, but because Town Portal (and Dimension Door, as a result) is locked behind Master Water Magic (but really Grandmaster Water Magic because the warp points in Antagarich and Jadame are guarded by hostile monsters and you need GM Water to cast TP while hostiles are around) it doesn't work quite right
    • The metaplot more or less assumes you started in Jadame and only created one character, for various reasons.
    • So the fun thing about Bolster is that it's not supposed to apply to your starting continent but we sort of... broke that with the bolster rebalance. Bolster also works better if you hop continents as you go, but at the default setting it's a little too powerful (as I've said before, I set bolster to 5% in order to get the monsters casting new spells without having to deal with goblins with three thousand HP apiece)

    BelgarathMTH
  • Ludwig_IILudwig_II Member Posts: 288
    edited February 26
    Pokota wrote: »
    I generally don't mess with dual wield, as MM6 is my home and it's completely broken there (and not in a good way).

    I'd expect Axe+Sword to be a better melee combo than Sword+Spear, as both Axe and Sword have recovery improvement for Expert, but you'll be splitting your offensive points across three skills at that point (Axe, Sword, Armsmaster) and Sword doesn't get damage from skill (sword gets AC at GM)

    But I don't think that dual-wield is actually all that great in the MM6-8 games - your recovery times are damaged by having both weapons in exchange for slightly better damage and To-Hit, which puts it at the exact opposite of the D&D method of "you get a separate attack with the second weapon with a To-Hit penalty." The main thing I'd use an off-hand weapon for is for an unusual enchantment, like Vampiric, that I can't get on a shield (and my Archers/Sorcerers are usually using polearms which universally come with AC from skill at Expert, so no real opportunity to do that there)

    Dual wielding and Axe grandmastery effect are already fixed by Grayface patches. Dual wield is working as expected now. The combat mechanics including recovery for dual wielding work differently than you wrote, I suggest reading the awesome summary written by Grayface here:
    https://grayface.github.io/mm/mechanics/

    This helped me a lot with understanding all combat mechanics in MM games

    JuliusBorisov
  • Ludwig_IILudwig_II Member Posts: 288
    edited February 27
    Ammar wrote: »
    It's the sort I find fascinating from a technical point of view, i.e. it is challenging to create and making it work is a great accomplishment. At the same time I have zero interest to play since:
    • The games have a clear chronological order of events
    • At the end of each game (in the case of MM6 quite a bit earlier) your character development is completed and you just get somewhat higher number
    • Either large parts of the content become trivial or you have to use non-sensical level-scaling where a cave of troglodlytes ends up being tougher than a Kreegan Hive
    • Each game has unique gameplay elements: in MM7 it is the permanent decision between Light and Dark. In MM8 it is being able to play monster races. Transferring those to other parts of the series seems like a bad idea.

    I believe you don't need to jump continents just because you play this mod. I'm also thinking of playing this mod and I agree with all your points, thus I will play the mod with just MM7 content and finish. It allows lots of different customisations and features combined from MM6-8, which makes it exciting for me to play the game again. There are many things this mod is doing, and I like most of the changes.

    Oh, super cool!

    Edit: question: is there a wiki?

    Edit 2: can you create all 5 characters or is it just the four (as I think that was how it was originally in mm8)

    There's a huge document, which does look scary to be honest :) Here it is:
    https://goo.gl/ui24Bz

    But you don't need to read everything obviously, it is more than a wiki, it has bug details and implementation queue as well there.

    When you start the game, you first pick the continent, Enroth(MM6), Antagarich(MM7) or Jadame(MM8), which defines the game content. Then you can create 1-5 characters at the start of the game, it's entirely up to you. And the game provides randomly generated NPCs where you can hire (even on Enroth or Antagarich as I understand), if you want to use MM8 mechanics of hiring. I never liked the hiring mechanic of MM8, so I will soon start to play with my created party of 5 characters on Antagarich and stay there.

    I am just about to finish a MM6 run with only melee party(no bow skill learned) and I will do the same on Antagarich using this mod. I liked it a lot and would suggest it to everyone. I always hated bow mechanics in MM games and ranged attacks being this important always bothered me, so this playthrough solved that issue for me.

    Post edited by Ludwig_II on
    GrammarsaladJuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • GrammarsaladGrammarsalad Member Posts: 2,527

    But you don't need to read everything obviously, it is more than a wiki, it has bug details and implementation queue as well there.

    Trust me. I do need to read everything. :wink: lol. Thanks!

  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 678
    edited February 27
    Oh neat, so I was using dual wield wrong the whole time anyway.

    Just a quick correction: your starting continent determines your available starting classes/races/racial classes and how long you have to play before you can freely hop continents:
    • Enroth's Master/GM Water Teacher is right there in Mist, so you're only locked by Corlagon's Estate and your skill point management. The Enroth Known High Magic Location is in Dragonsand Village.
    • Jadame's Master Water Teacher is in Ironsand and GM is in the Plane of Water, so you're only locked by Skill Point Management (you'll want GM Water because of where the High Magic Areas are, but that's still freely available so long as you can finish the Lich promotion quest). The Jadame Known High Magic Location is in Murmurwoods, near the Stone Circle.
    • Antagarich's Master Water trainer is arguably freely available (he's in Nighon but you have to pass through Mount Thunderfist to get there, which is no mean feat before the Arbiter Selection), which only gates you behind the relevant promotion quest (Wizard/2nd Druid/2nd Archer), though the High Magic Areas are relatively easy to make peaceful. The Known High Magic Area in Antagarich is on the western side of the Evenmorn Isles (so it's locked behind the Priest promotion quest as well.

    The "Known" High Magic Areas are the ones that Verdant tells you about, either in the Letter For YOU (which only names the known one for your starting continent) or when asked later on. Spoilers for the "hidden" High Magic Areas, for the impatient:
    • Enroth's hidden High Magic Area is in New Sorpigal. Drink up!
    • Antagarich's hidden High Magic Area is in the Tularean Forest, near The Heart Of The Wood.
    • Jadame's hidden High Magic Area is on Dagger Wound Island, but be mindful of the pirates landing nearby...

    Post edited by Pokota on
    BelgarathMTHLudwig_II
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,581
    edited February 28
    So, I just decided to try a game of vanilla MM7 with the September 2019 Grayface patch. It turns out that the improved graphics and textures are actually from that, not the merge. Here's a shot of the new MM7 interface:
    wpr1k3yfxgi7.jpg

    I was happy to discover this, as I really prefer the vanilla rules for MM6 and MM7. I think somebody already told me that Grayface did the graphics enhancement, but I somehow had the impression that it was bundled with the merge. It is not. The screenshot is vanilla MM7 with the latest Grayface patch.

    EDIT: Apparently, the texture improvements are only in MM7, and not in MM6. So, as far as I know now, the merge is still necessary if you want to play MM6 with widescreen HD textures. If anyone can clarify, please do.

    Post edited by BelgarathMTH on
    JuliusBorisov
  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 678
    It's because MM6 didn't have a Hardware Graphics mode, MM7 and MM8 do, and the updated UI is based on Hardware Graphics Mode. Disabling the HW Graphics - for any reason, including "windows disabled HW access for the game and didn't bother telling me" - restores the original UI.

    JuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 8,521
    MM8 w/Grayface only also has the enhancments

    BelgarathMTH
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,581
    Okay, so I finished MM6 in the merge. You don't get the win certificate with a score any more, which I suppose is just as well, since it would be very low, with training every single level taking a week each. I've never taken more than a "year" to finish MM6 before, and this time it took at least a few "years,", because of the change in training.

    I went to Antagarich with my level 75 party, and started Emerald Island. This was hilarious, to fight fireflies with grandmaster blasters. Also, nope.
    cxgq0rtg2rtz.jpg
    j76nmmusu8v9.jpgqeg8y680f9c0.jpg

    kl10ljrm8kcw.jpg
    b7x7s1094knz.jpg
    w8yflcacubpt.jpg

    I don't think I'll be playing the whole trilogy with fully advanced and geared parties. I think that would only appeal to people who would enjoy roflstomping the entire first two thirds of whichever continents they went to after their first continent.

    I will likely only be using the merge to play MM6 with the graphics enhancements, which I now can't live without, as I have a new 4K TV that makes unenhanced MM6 look absolutely horrible when the TV tries to up-convert it.

    I've started a new MM7 run without the merge but with Grayface's graphical enhancements, and I also created a new MM6 party I'm interested in with the merge.

    I'd advise *not* giving into the temptation to have five party members in MM6. I've seen some people trying it solo and with as little as two party members. That possibility makes for interesting challenge run potential. Running with five party members greatly reduces overall challenge. The addition of spell point regeneration from meditation also greatly reduces challenge, so I agree with @JuliusBorisov that that was a mistake. I don't know of a way to toggle that off.

    I also think it was a mistake to open magic grandmastery for druids, as that has diminished the value of clerics and sorcerers way too much. Grandmaster alchemy plus mastery of magic should be sufficient compensation for playing a druid, without invalidating the other spellcaster classes.

    The one thing I didn't try before posting this was attacking the Emerald Island dragon with a level 75 party and blasters, so I think I'll try that as an experiment and let you know what happens. ;)

    JuliusBorisovPokotaGrammarsalad
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,581
    Okay, I was going to try to take some screenshots of the dragon fight, but it was dead before I could press "print screen" twice, while holding down the "A" key.
    kbfw9fbt094g.jpg
    6kre0gxuejwn.jpg

    The dragon dropped a silver chainmail that would be quite a prize for a level one party. Alas, for a level 74-75 party, it's yet more junk. Now, everything is junk. That's a bad thing.
    nis9xv7fdoyd.jpg

    It should be noted that treasure chest contents and monster drops do not scale. So, if you start Antagarich as your second continent, everything will be treasure and gold for first level characters.

    For reasons that should be obvious, this simply doesn't work at all, except for the few players who might want to indulge an "I'm God, kneel before God, puny World" kind of power fantasy.

    For me, the main redeeming characteristic of the merge is the ability to play MM6 with Grayface's MM8 graphics enhancements. I would like playing with the character templates across all games, but for some reason, only the voice files from MM8 work correctly. I can't stand playing with MM6 or MM7 character templates, and hearing the voiced lines so painfully messed up. As I've said, the intra-party combat banter is an important part of my enjoyment of the games, and it only works properly in the merge if you use MM8 templates only.

    JuliusBorisov
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