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[LoD v1.09x] Enhanced Gameplay Mod by Michael Hartman
Title [LoD v1.09x] Enhanced Gameplay Mod by Michael Hartman
Description Reviewed by Nishrakh freelance for the Phrozen Keep.
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Having just discovered the mod world, I decided to go easy. My wife and I play one or two times a month, as jobs and her doctoral studies permit. With that being the case, we’ve never really worn out the potential of Diablo2 or the expansion. We play an honest game, and even though I’m a mule-aholic there are a bunch of items we’d like to play with, but never got to see playing unmodded LOD off Battlenet. We live in the country, and lag way too much to play on Battlenet. I tried.

After perusing the various mods on the Phrozen Keep, I decided to try the Enhanced Gameplay Mod. We never updated to patch 1.09, because I like crafting recipes (though with mods we’re debating on that) and I like playing with poison for my bowazon. So I read the guides on how to load a mod, and installed the EGP mod on my home network.

First, read the included documentation. Mr. Hartman very clearly states what he did with the mod, and his rationale behind it. My wife and I decided to test it playing our wearbear and fire sorceress in acts 3 and 4 normal difficulty, in an eight player game on our network. I had a werewolf who had just killed Diablo the first time, and ran him through Act 2 in Nightmare, again using eight players (seven mules plus the werewolf).

When you boot up the first time, and start playing, the only changes readily apparent are the facts your spell books hold 50 scrolls, and keys now stack up to 24. If you play a bowazon, you would probably notice the increased bolt or arrow stacks, and instantly appreciate them. Mana potions are now for sale, though my sorceress has enough mana regeneration if barely affects me, though for Necros or some Barbarians this could be really nice. Other than that, everything appears normal. You’ll find that you go a little faster now, the designer restored the older walk/run speeds.

Then you’ll run into you first couple of unique monsters. About every third drop appears to be rare, set, or a unique item. The documentation states he also fixed the upper level rune drops, but since I haven’t played in Hell yet, I haven’t checked it out. When you run into the first superunique, you’ll notice they make you earn the good stuff.

Usually, with the wearbear to handle the bosses and the sorceress to kill the rest, the only thing we have to worry about are lightning enchanted bosses. Then we go and change out our magic find rings for some resistance. Well, we actually had to retreat a couple of times when fighting superuniques, they had more minions and had been toughened up a bit. I hadn’t used that much strategy since playing a solo Necromancer in a five person D2 game.

Another thing we noticed is that our hirelings, one each from the first two acts, stopped getting killed as often. Especially with patch 1.08 where it’s a lot harder to drop a healing potion on them, this was very nice. You’ll still get them killed if you aren’t careful, or don’t run from the stupid lightning enhanced unique quite fast enough to grab that helmet for your hireling. Now if he could just do away with the nerfed hireling damage against act bosses…

The superuniques always seemed to drop something good. Wearing magic find gear giving my sorceress an extra 257% find, plus a hireling with an extra 165% who made the death blow, we got Diablo to drop four unique items (we re-equipped just before killing him). However, he was also a bit tougher, just like the documentation warned.

The warning about toughening up the superuniques was nice. If you’ve played before, you get back a little of that first time caution, because you aren’t quite sure how much more dangerous the major monsters are going to be this time. The designer made them tough enough to put a little edge back in the game, without turning this into a “How many times will I get killed” competition.

The mod restored leeching for all monsters, something my Werewolf appreciated. If he could have fixed the 50% global physical resistance at Nightmare difficulty, that would have been an extremely nice touch though I’m not sure if that would take table editing or require editing a dll. The latter would be asking a bit much.

When playing in nightmare level, my werewolf got killed once due to some network lag, a problem I had before installing the mod. By the time the animation unfroze and showed where all the monsters really were, I was dead. This mod cuts the death penalty to 1% at nightmare (2% at hell difficulty). It’s nice for those times you didn’t screw up, but the computer/TCP-IP stack/windows/LOD program interaction freezes you lethally. Outside of act bosses, I have been killed more times by lag/freezes than by screw-ups in my playing. This makes the hit less painful, and a lot less irritating.

Just for a change I found a save of my old summoning Necromancer at level 28, and tried killing Diablo solo in an eight man game. It didn’t work very well. My hireling kept dying, and I got killed three times. I should have cut the game to four players, or waited to level 30 like I did when I was playing the character in D2. I finally killed Diablo, but it was a little bit out of the character’s league. So be advised the superuniques are tougher, and if you find regular LOD tough with your current character, you may want to reconsider playing this mod. You also could try switching back and forth between straight LOD for act bosses and this mod for everything else, the Phrozen Keep has some good articles on how to do that.

Which brings up another nice tough Mr. Hartman made. His changes don’t affect the actual character file much, unlike some of the more radical mods. You can switch you character back and forth between LOD patch 1.08 and this mod, the minor stack changes shouldn’t cause a problem. However, still back your character up. I’ve had D2/.LOD corrupt characters even before I tried my first mod when rapidly loading/unloading multiple mules, so don’t tempt fate.

The imps in Act5 don’t teleport as much. I often keep a Cold rogue with a five or six perfect emerald bow, so they just teleported and died even before I played the mod J. Without a ranged weapon or a cold aura, this would be nice because they are sooo obnoxious

The mod is supposed to make some changes to the assassin traps. Since I haven’t played any assassins yet, I can’t judge how successful the changes are. Reading the Battlenet forums on player suggestions for patch 1.10 definitely suggests that this change was needed. The forums and the nerf lists in the patch histories suggest a lot of other skills the mod could have restored. The mod author says he may fix some other skills with future releases depending on what Blizzard does with future patches.

This is what Single Player or TCP/IP games should be about. The monsters are a little tougher, but you at least have a chance to put the Sets together after a couple of characters making it through Hell difficulty. Yet you don’t feel like you aren’t working for the sets, getting Cleglaws took three acts. I personally would like to see more skills restored back to their old stats, but that is more a matter of taste. If this mod included enabling all the crafting recipes, and rune words, it would be the near perfect game. As it stands, it appears to be one of the best mods that simply attempt to enhance D2/LOD versus changing it. The characters are “backward compatible”, so you should be able to restore the original LOD and play with a friend who doesn’t have it. Though if you share this with them, it should spoil them and add them to the ranks of mod players.

The EGP mod has since been discontinued.

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