Author Topic: Item Upgrade (BG2)  (Read 5961 times)

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Offline Amy

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Item Upgrade (BG2)
« on: August 12, 2010, 01:15:50 PM »
By: Aldeth the Foppish Idiot
Item Upgrade Modification Pack
Version: v31
Review First Posted On: May 5, 2004
Review Updated On: May 10, 2004
Download the Mod:

Never has a mod sparked more of a Roe vs. Wade-esque controversy than the Item Upgrade Mod. The basis of the mod is simple: Essentially, you take one or more magical items, and have Cromwell or Cespenar combine them with various other items, gems and some gold, to produce an enhanced version of the old item, or an item with the combined properties of the old items. An example of an enhanced version of an old item would be if you have Celestial Fury, a Demon Heart, a Wand of Lightning, and 20,000 gp, Cromwell or Cespenar can combine these items to produce Celestial Fury +5. The new weapon retains all of the old abilities of Celestial Fury, but now strikes (and gives the appropriate to hit and damage bonus) as a +5 weapon instead of a +3 weapon. An example of an new item gaining the combined abilities of old items would be if you have the Boots of Stealth, Boots of Speed, a Rouge Stone, and 10,000 gp, Cromwell or Cespenar can combine these items to produce Boots of Celeritous Stealth. This new item grants the wearer a bonus to Move Silently and Hide in Shadows like the Boots of Stealth, and also grants the wearer an increased movement rate like the Boots of Speed.

OK, so whatâ??s so controversial? Well, there is the small point that these items were not in the original game, were never intended to be in the original game (as opposed to the Unfinished Business Mod), and are obviously much more powerful that their non-upgraded counterparts. It can easily be argued that perhaps the main reason that Boots of Celeritous Stealth were not available in the original game was that the designers felt that an item that granted enhanced movement rate and thieving abilities was overpowered. Or similarly, because Celestial Fury was already a +3 weapon, and has a ton of other abilities, making it a +5 weapon was overkill, even though in its +3 state it couldnâ??t hit a very small percentage of creatures you could encounter in the game.

On the other side of that coin are the people who claim that while the above statements are certainly true, you have to give up quite a bit to gain these items. The combined items are more powerful, but sometimes it is better to have two characters use separate lesser items than one character having a single powerful item. Once combined, the items cannot be separated again, so if you decide it would be better to have one character move fast, and have another character with the enhanced Stealth ability, youâ??re out of luck. Additionally, gold actually becomes an issue if you are using the Item Upgrade Mod. Not only are many of the upgrades rather expensive (up to 25,000 gp) you also canâ??t sell the gems and other items you use to make the enhanced item, so youâ??re missing out on the potential income from those items. Essentially, youâ??ll be earning a little less money, but spending a whole lot more. Finally, by introducing a whole new set of items into the game, you make it â??newâ? again so to speak. It adds some spice to the game as you can use equipment you never had access to before.

Iâ??m kind of on the fence with this mod. By the time you get to ToB, there are so many powerful items that Celestial Fury +5 doesnâ??t seem particularly overpowered when compared to weapons like the Ravager +6 or Carsomyr +6. On the other hand, these powerful items arenâ??t available until ToB for the very reason that they would be overpowered in the SoA segment of the game. However, since +6 weapons are significantly more powerful than +5 weapons (as they arenâ??t affected by the spell Absolute Immunity), and with the exception of Soul Reaver +6 there are no +6 weapons available in the Item Upgrade Mod, I feel that most of these items, though very powerful, are legitimate enough to be used.

Of course, I added the caveat of â??mostâ? items are legitimate, for there are some issues with the Item Upgrade Mod that seem to bend the rules a bit too far for my liking. For example, none of the upgraded items are considered â??magicalâ? for the purposes of armor compatibility issues. You wouldnâ??t be able to wear a Ring of Protection +2, along with the Armor of the Hart, because you arenâ??t allowed to wear a ring, amulet, or cloak of protection along with magical armor. However, if you take a Ring of Protection +2 and combine it with a Ring of Regeneration, a Diamond, and 20,000 gp to make a Ring of Preservation, you can wear that ring with all of the properties of both rings combined with any magical armor that you wish. This is certainly a departure from the standard interpretation of the rules.

The final issue is that some of the items are completely, utterly, and unquestionably overpowered. The best example I can find for this is the available upgrade for the Impaler +3. The Impaler is a spear that you get from the Fish King (whose name I will not even attempt to spell) in the City of Caverns. This nifty weapon is a +3 spear that adds an additional 10 points of damage per strike, so that it has a base damage rating of 15-20, as opposed to a typical +3 spear with a base damage rating of 5-10. As it so happens, you can combine the Impaler, a Rouge Stone and 15,000 gp to upgrade the Impaler. It becomes a +4 weapon, makes it into a throwing spear that has a long bow rate of fire and that also returns to the throwerâ??s hand. To put that into perspective, a character with grand mastery in spears would be able to throw it four times per round, giving him a base damage potential of up to 80, before any additional strength or mastery bonuses are factored in. Once those strength and mastery bonuses are added, it simply becomes the most damaging weapon in the game bar none. If thatâ??s not the definition of overpowered, I donâ??t know what is.

Based on all of this, it is impossible to rate this mod. If you view the above as cheating, you would give it 0 out of 10. If you see nothing wrong with this, then you would give it 10 out of 10. Of course, thatâ??s a decision for each individual player to make on his or her own. I, myself, have adopted a middle-of-the-road approach with this mod. I donâ??t make or use any of the extremely overpowered items, and I donâ??t wear rings/amulets/cloaks/etc along with magical armor, even though the game will allow you to do it with the upgraded items. My personal sentiment is that the mod offers a layer of enjoyment to the game if it is implemented properly. That having been said, cheesers will exploit it, and purists will despise it.