Okey I just gotta say DAYUM what is this new difficulty setting. So today after deciding to start a playthrough from BGEE - SoD - BG2EE I started my run through BG2EE and decided to do it heavily modded with BWS.
Most of my mods just adds flavor NPC's a ton of new quests and some difficulty increase in mostly the way of SCS. The tactical mods I am using almost all of them simply makes enemy AI better, adds new abilities/spells but most of all it upps the enemy encounter for instance starting dungeons goblins are switched from goblins to duergars and encounter with 3 normal trolls turns into 3 normal trolls and 2 spirit trolls, well you get the picture.
Anyhow in my naivity I decided to try out the new hardest difficulty settings on top of this. I just gotta say I was very much suprised about the difficulty jump to say the least. To make an example the duergars in the starting area jumped from normal games lvl 5 fighters 29 hp 3/2 attacks 4 AC and 13 thaco to lvl 17 fighters 161 hp 7/2 attacks 4 ac and 8 thaco. So what this meant was that my characters with around 2 AC were getting hit on every roll by the enemies of 6 or above was hitting my characters and the melee duergars had +3 on these rolls and ranged once had +1 and yeah of course because of the higher lvls the saving throws are much higher.
To top it off the normal hits were between 15-30 dmg on average long story short they were just slaughtering my characters in the first encounter because of me underestimating them. Even after getting out of there I stated noticing all my characters that didn't prevent critical hits exploded into meat paste when an enemy got a critical hit.
So my final say on this is good job on making a harder difficulty settings, it is actually so hard and slow for me with to many reloads that I decided that this difficulty setting is not something you start even if you got the new starting experience of a SoD character ( starting at around 500 000xp). I'll try again once my character has finished BG2EE once and then restart with the high leveled characters to try again.
Overall what you can expect from the diffiulty setting is overall enemies at 3-4 times higher lvl then normal, 3-5 times more hp, more then twice their normal dmg and much much better saving throws. I haven't seen any gear change so for most characters they have no better AC then usual or dmg reductions they do however have much better thaco to some degree that I think a full player made party or NPC's upgraded/changed through EE keeper is the only way to playthrough the diffculty fairly smoothly. Any character that cant cast stoneskin on themselves will possibly melt within seconds.