Description: Reviewed by Darkmage for the Phrozen Keep.
Categories: Mod Reviews
The new difficulty setup, for the most part, works great. It's an extremely challenging mod, and at times I was completely overwhelmed with enemies. So I had to whip out a golem away from me to distract some of them and run like hell to catch my breath. This kind of tension is prevelent throughout the mod, and makes for some intense battles. Skills that needed a boost with the increased difficulty got them, such as skeleton mastery and range attacks like bone spear. I really have no complaints about the skills, other than the skeletons were still useless by about Act III. But, I understand why... if the mastery was any more powerful, you could walk through normal difficulty without so much as a scratch. Plus, skeletons are level 1, so their usefulness has to end sometime. I think it worked out pretty well myself. The golems have much greater HP, which they need to take all the big hits, and it allows you to keep away and keep the curses laid down on the enemies. This is good. I wasn't playing a meleemancer by any means, but I happened to find Cinderspark (unique burnt wand, incredible damage), and I forget which set heavy bracers, and I was a pretty good attacker myself. I had over a 900 attack rating, did 150-250 damage or thereabouts, and in normal difficulty especially I was right up in there with my golem. At least off and on.
Aside from the difficulty ramp, there were numerous other changes made as well. The new uniques, at least all of the ones I encountered, were really nice. They never seemed overpowering to me, since I was still getting whupped pretty good throughout the mod, but they definately made it a little less hectic. Most affixes were bumped up considerably, like the regen affixes going upwards of +20 to regen life. This actually made your life noticeably move up, which was a nice change. You still can't rely on the affix to save you in a jam, but at least it did something. Same goes with thorns, spikes, triumphant, and many others.
Next up is gems, which are really cool. Three flawless gems turn into one of 7 different orbs, depending on the gem type transmuted. The orbs work kinda like runes do in the expansion, if I read them right. Basically, they've got set modifiers that will be the same no matter what type of equipment they are socketed into. And these modifiers are VERY good. As a tradeoff, gems are really tough to come by. More on that in a minute.
What needs work
I had a few issues with difficulty and/or enemy HP at a few points in the game. Certainly people will disagree with me on this, but this is my review so... like it. . The council seemed to have insane amounts of HP. Granted, my bone spear wasn't up to level 18 like it is now... but I just couldn't kill these guys for the life of me. Even as spiced up as golems are, they still don't really do much damage... especially when compared to a Barbarian or static fielding sorc. I was never in a any true danger, as my blood golem was healing himself pretty well and I've got plenty of mana to keep making more if need be, but it was just a really tedious battle. After nearly giving up, I made up my mind to stick it out, and eventually they did fall. Then I got into the durance and the LAST council member had teleport... and I almost cried. I never really minded this power when I was a Barb, as it always seemed I'd almost kill them, they'd teleport 3 or 4 times, and then they'd just give up and die. NOT so with my Necromancer. He must've played the teleporting game for 15 minutes on me. Every single time I thought I'd finally kill him, BAM, 50% health again. Then I finally made it to Mephisto and he dropped pretty quickly. heh. All was well at that point until Duriel Respawned, who also has an incredible amount of HP. Only this time I had to resummon my golem every 5 or 6 seconds as well. But, I figured, it's an uber-boss, I can accept that. I eventually did kill him. Diablo was very tough, but I learned (the hard way) that you really NEED max resists to have a good shot at him. Fire and Lightning anyway. After I maxed all my resists and leveled up a few times, I tried him again and took him down pretty well. The last real problem was the Butcher on nightmare difficulty. I wasn't even cursed and he just walked over and killed me in *1* hit. Granted, I'm a necromancer, but I've spent a lot on vitality and I have about 450 HP. That's kind of an insane amount of damage for a single blow, isn't it? heh.
Next up is some item drop issues. I'm happy with my equipment, but I didn't find much of it. I found 1 set item as far as I've played (almost done with nightmare), and I believe 2 uniques. Rares seem to drop often enough to be noticeable though. I actually gambled for about 60% of my current equipment. I've gambled a number of uniques and a couple set items. But they just don't seem to drop at all. I guess if I had some +to find items or played 8 player games, it may have solved that issue. But they just seemed really rare to me. Along those same lines were gems. I seriously don't think I found more than 1 gem in my entire time playing CF. I got the 3 or 4 from Andariel, and the couple really nice ones from the Hellforge, but that's about it. I finally just socketed my tower shield with the three powerful gems I found from the Hellforge and said screw it. heh. Don't get me wrong, the shield's pretty darn useful as it is, but it would've been nice to see a gem or two pop up once in awhile.
I hope I didn't sound too nitpicky in my review on this one. For one, I don't want to get a reputation as brown-noser on these things, but secondly, I think they are valid points, at least for me. I REALLY enjoyed this mod, and my Necromancer is by no means retired at this point, and I'll definately continue after I bust into some other mods. To be fair, perhaps sometime in the future I'll go through the game again as a Barbarian, and see if these problems dissappear (the difficulty issues anyway). The bottom line here is, I WAS successful as a Necromancer, I just found a few small areas to be a bit frusterating. I imagine I'll be able to take this necro into hell (and back) safely, so it's not that the mod is too hard or anything. With a few more drops and a handful of toned down creatures, you couldn't ask for much more. Oh yeah, and something I forgot in my section above... the potions are great! I made it through some seemingly impossible situations with a handful of potions. Unfortunately their usefulness dies quickly by the time you get to nightmare, where they don't really phase some of the enemies. Are 'exceptional' potions possible? If so, that'd be a great addition. And your hirelings seem to do a much better job (at least in normal) staying alive and actually doing a bit of damage. Great work there. All in all, I really enjoyed the challenging change of pace and the couple problems I stumbled into are pretty minor in an otherwise outstanding piece of work. I look forward to taking this one into the expansion down the road.
Anyone wishing to check out the Cold Fusion mod can do so by visiting the official website at http://tactics.d2mods.com.
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[url=https://d2mods.info/forum/kb/viewarticle?a=95&sid=b044662221e4be75b1175a63563a8aef]Knowledge Base - [CD2 v1.06b] Cold Fusion v2.5 by Jarda Fireheart & Wesson[/url]