You might try the excellent morrowind mod DVD compiled by blackhawk over at octopus overlords.
Dunno if it’s been mentioned, but there was a really helpful mod which gave a certain shopkeep in Caldera a HUGE boost to available gold resources, making those vendor trash dumps much less aggravating. I think it’s called the ‘Creeper’ mod(shopkeep’s name was creeper I believe).
Did more testing. Wormgod plugin (Morrowind Advanced) is nice but conflicts with Passive Wildlife and, honestly, it’s just absurd and unrealistic.
A rat cannot have 35 health points. That’s nearly as many HPs I had as I started the game. A cliff racer has 75! And hits for 6-12. In the case you increase the slider of the difficulty it means that a cliffracer can one or two-shot you. As you start the game you have a miss rate around 80% thanks to the bad design of the game and if you make 1+1 you can easily understand how this is just unplayable.
So my plan here is to ditch completely Passive Wildlife (it simply tweaks the “fight” values of a creature), remove all the tweaks to the creatures in the WormGod module and build a new one from zero that rebalances all the monster values realistically (and balancing the early game to be accessible while still challenging) and makes the wildlife less aggressive.
It will take some time but it shouldn’t be hard.
(Also the first time I wish I had Excel installed…)
Btw, I cannot find anymore the name of that mod that removes the source objects after you’ve taken all the ingredients from them (like the mushrooms). Someone remembers?
I found the Herbalism mod and it passed my “approval”. Instead of ‘opening’ the plants to get the ingredients, now you pick them up directly and they disappear. They will reappear again after one month.
I’ve tested a few variants of this mod and the one I like more is this one. It creates an herbalism subskill that goes up as you pick ingredients. The sucess rate and number of ingredients you pick up depends on this skill and alchemy/2.
It could be better but it’s already nice.
I also edited another mod that makes some of the windows in the game glow during the night (make a trip to Pelagiad to see). I edited the textures because they were way too bright and didn’t fit with the rest of the graphic. Now the mod looks wonderful and the effect is really nice. My version is here.
I also gathered a collection of 19 new load screens with the exact same style and quality of those already in the game. The archive is around 30Mb, though. So I’ll upload it later.
By far the most popular plugin ever downloaded, based on stats we tracked (which are not necessarily definitive) was the Real Signposts mod. It made the signposts readable in game.
I’m still at work (when I have time) with the research/testing/rebalance/review of the best mods out there and I have a better idea of what I can do and what I cannot.
I’m still going to rewrite the balance for all the weapons, armors and monsters but I also found the best mod ever. It is completely script based and does some interesting things at the low level that should radically improve the game:
1- It removes the “levels” from the game. Removing also the allocation of the points in the stats that was terribly annoying because it forced you to use some skills so that you could get the proper x5 multiplicator on the right stats.
Now you don’t have to worry about that anymore and the stats increase seamlessly without “dinging” levels but just by skilling up. So the whole process is smoother and the primary, secondary and misc skills all have a different “weight” on how the starts will increase. This means that, in the long term, your “class” will remain consistent.
The levels still exist on the background so that the game continues to work. They have no impact on the mechanics but you gain one level every “x” attribute points you gain (I set it to “8”).
2- It makes the skill-up progressively slower as the values go up. Making it increase exponentially beyond a set treshold. This is EXTREMELY important because it allows to balance the growth in a more consistent way. Since the high skills will slow down, the character growth is longer, keeping the game more challenging in the longer term, while still remaining accessible and fun with brand new characters. So the gameplay will become more satisfying and it will be way harder to create too powerful characters, making everything too boring. This is probably the most important change.
3- It adopts a mana regeneration system that is affected by a bunch of variables. For example both the “Willpower” stat and the current fatigue will have an impact on the regen rate. This mechanic is intended to remain balanced, so it won’t directly affect the single encounter but still allows you to continue adventuring at a more satisfactory pace. It is a way to let the mana slowly regen without requiring you to sleep or rest every few kills. The formulas used are rather complex but they also give a good control to balance things effectively.
All these three parts are extremely important from my point of view. I’m spending lot of time to tweak and balance all the values (and nerfing the hell out of the default ones) but I believe that the result will bring to a way better balanced game and character progression overall. I wish I could do the same with the combat mechanics…
The removal of the levels fixes the frustration of having to mix/maxing your gameplay for the best results and also makes the progression simpler and more faithful to the starting classes you choose, bringing to more specialized and unique and less “cookie-cutter” characters. The progressive slow down of the skills was INDISPENSABLE to keep the challenge of the game consistent and without skyrocketing skills and stats. And the regen rate to the mana really makes the game so much more enjoyable (and balanced for the mages).
So this is all too good for me. And I’m going to do my balancing work around this mod. I think the result will be good.
Perhaps a minor quibble, but your list of mods seems to really bend the mechanics of the game beyond your initial goal of “…to build a list of the best mods out there, without stretching too much what the game is.”
Because I’m doing this to replay the game in its best shape, mechanics included. So I won’t add particular content modules or a change of style of the ruleset.
Those changes to the mechanic don’t change what the game tried to do, they just make it better (my point of view). I consider those as definite improvements without betraying or twisting the feel of the game. For the most part they just have the effect of keeping the game more balanced, removing the annoying bits.
For example, I wish I could recode the to-hit mechanics and damage calculations. But again because this would be just “better” gameplay. Not directly something else.
What I don’t want is mod that alter too much the graphic, add whole new zones that break the storyline or other type of content that goes beyond the purpose (and balance) of the game.