26.02.2008 Magic Overhaul Comparison
This thread sparked the idea for a comparison topic between the (currently) six magic overhaul mods. I've already made a comparison chart, so I'm expanding it to a whole text now. Please keep two things in mind: 1. The terms I'm going to use are arbitrarily chosen and reflect my point of view. I'm going to categorize the mods into three groups. While I think most people will agree with them, their names (weak, medium, strong) won't be universally accepted. They are subjective, so I think it's no use to argue about them. 2. I myself am not objective. While I will try to present each mod under it's own premise, I have clear preferences and I fear that they'll could show through. Please correct me if that happens, like writing a better text for this thread :).
Magic overhaul mods can be categorized in three groups. There are vast differences between these groups. Usually when recommending mods there are some discussions about magic overhauls - this mod makes magic too strong, that not strong enough, and the like. There is no real answer true for all of you regarding this, it's about what kind of magic you're prefering. It's the beauty of Oblivion that each of us is able to choose the mod we like, and this doesn't have to be the same mod everyone else is using. So ask yourself: How do you want magic to be?
- weak powerlevel: This is Vanilla Oblivion, and also subtile tweaks to magic fall into this group. Damage wise magic is about as strong as other combat means, while non-damage spells have fairly short durations - and many spell effects a low magnitude. Which means you'll level quite fast as a mage, and there's a high chance that defensive spells will end multiple time in each combat. This is true for both you and hostile casters.
- medium powerlevel: This group keeps damage spells about equal to other combat means, but extends durations and often magnitudes of non-damage spells. Leveling as a mage is slower, and ususally casting defensive spells once or twice is enough for any combat situation. Also magnitudes of spells which have no real impact in weak powerlevels are raised. A good example of this would be Burden, because what is a "Burden 20 for 10 seconds" spell good for?
- strong powerlevel: These mods do not only enhance non-damage spells, but also beef up damage. Mages become considerably stronger than before, not just defensive wise, but also on their offense. It has a bit of D&D flavor, where mages tend to be the strongest classes after a few levels. Magic is much more powerful than before, which means hostile caster become a greater treat, but playing mages is also considerably more easy. Now if that is a good or bad thing is up to you. Mods raising melee damage may tip back the balance between magic and combat to a more "equal" approach with both high damage values.
An example: Let's take a look at Leech Health, and Apprentice Absorb Health spell!
- In weak powerlevels you can absorb ~10 health points
- in medium powerlevels you can absorb around ~20 health points (which is 100% more than in weak settings)
- in strong powerlevels you can absorb up to 125 health points (which is more than 1000% more than in weak settings)
2. Magic addition mods
Some mods don't overhaul Oblivion's existing magic, but are adding new spells to the game. A great example is Midas. They usually work with whatever overhaul setting used, although tend to be underpowered in strong powerlevel environments. Often there are compatibility updates, which beef up their impact, to make them on par with the rest.
3. Magic versus Magicka
Oblivion tends to confuse with these two very similar terms. Magicka is what is "Mana pool" in most other games, while magic covers spells and spell mechanics. While they are connected, these two are two very different mechanics. Most magic mods I'm presenting here are only that, magic mods. They embrace Oblivion's modularity and are allowing you to pick a mana pool mod of your choice - like Educational Magicka, Race Balancing Project, or Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul. Most notably two strong powerlevel mods come as a combination of magic and mana pool, which is required for them. On the one hand you can say they overhaul two aspects with one mod, on the other hand you can say they rob you a piece of Oblivion's modularity. There are sometimes resentments against medium powerlevel mods, because "they don't make magic strong enough", many times I read these discussions I often got the feeling that magic and Magicka ( = mana pool) got mixed up. Or to put it in other words, if you like a medium powerlevel magic mod, but want to have more Magicka, then there are mana pool mods available. Magicka / mana pools is not a topic in this comparison, because quite frankly - if you're not satisfied with Oblivion's settings, there are lot of options out there to fix it to your liking. And most of them in turn have nothing to do with spells and spell mechanics (magic).
4. Comparison (at last!)
This famous "Vanilla" is not a mod at all, but magic how it is right out of the box. I have the impression that the developers wanted magic as a support role, so a fighter can fire off a frostball here and then, buff his armor for hard fights, and the like. Many spells aren't exactly impressive, and working only for a short duration.
- Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul (full .esp only)
Not a spell overhaul per se, it does many things and it's focus is entirely different, but also includes subtle tweaks to magic. Overall OOO aims to make the game a more intense experience. Therefore many exploitable spells and magic effects are actually weakened, while all other are slightly more powerful. Usually only up to their "mastery" limit, so spells are only as good as selfmade spells in Vanilla would be. OOO includes a handful new spells, like summoning various golem types, but neither new spells nor the magic part are really the main attraction of OOO. Most spells are still bound to their Vanilla potentials, so changes are subtle. OOO also changes many enchantments to prevent possible exploits, like getting Chameleon 100 - although not as strict as some other overhauls.
- Less Annoying Magic Experience
I'm not going to hide that I'm the author of this mod, as I've said, I'm not neutrality incarnate. LAME has the premise that magic is damage wise not too weak, but non-damage wise annoying. Playing a mage in Vanilla is for me like being a rat in a lab, constantly pressing buttons. You cast three buffs, and the first is already wearing out. You hit your own summoned creature, and it will turn on you. And many other things. Therefore LAME aims to make magic less annoying, most non-damage spells have their duration extended (x4, usually), summons don't turn on their caster, and many things more. Additionally LAME adds many new spells, especially for schools I found lacking. Mysticism has many new useful spells, like detecting especially dangerous foes, pushing enemies away or teleporting to them. Famous are it's summoning changes - LAME includes many new summonable creatures like Wolves, Mountain Lions, Spriggans, or Gnarls. Also it includes a set of "master" spells for most schools, like summoning an Oblivion Gate as a Conjuration master, or extracting your own spirit as a temporal ally as a Restoration master. Additional features are spell notes, which can be found in the wilderness (similar to the official Spell Tomes mod, but the notes have nothing to do with them) and an overhaul of all premade enchantments and sigil stones, mostly to remove possible exploits. With a full LAME installation, Chameleon or Reflect Damage 100 aren't so easy to achieve.
- Supreme Magicka (OBSE)
Probably the most popular magic mod. Most non-damage spells have their duration extended (about x3, usually), so SM also makes magic less annoying. SM is famous for it's many new spell mechanics. SM includes levitation spells, options to customize summon durations in an .ini file, burden slows down opponents, elemental shield spells work like in Morrowind, levitation, poison spells, teleportation spells, healing spells are hurting undead, and many things more. While LAME is more conservative in it's approach (due to not using OBSE), Supreme Magicka is more innovative. Not only are there many new spells, existing spells also have new twists - you can push or pull NPCs with standard telekinesis spells, fire, frost and shock spells have sometimes side effects, and all examples already written. Supreme Magicka is also innovative in it's approach to deal with exploits. Like Chameleon: Above 95% it works like Invisibility and disappears whenever the player does something, and falls back to "partly visible" for some time.
- Mighty Magick
Note: This is only listed for completeness' sake. According to Damar (MM's author) it shouldn't be advertised or used anymore. MM has several issues, like causing savegame bloating, and is not supported anymore!
The (in-)famous grandfather of magic overhauls. This makes magic stronger. Much stronger. Damage is considerable higher, durations greatly extended, effect values greatly elevated. This shifts power balance heavily in favor to mages. A couple of mechanics are famous - sustained spells, which don't have to recast, but constantly drain your magicka; conjurer's boon, which sometimes allows conjurers to summon more than one of each creature (so a summon scamp spell may, for example, let four scamps appear); covering an area in a kind of "astral bombardment", and the like. Still popular today for all wanting magic to be much more powerful.
- Mighty Magick: Reborn (OBSE)
A twist in the above formula. Magic is also really powerful (spell effectiveness is often even higher than in the original Mighty Magick), but Magicka regeneration is throttled to a very low value and isn't influenced by Willpower anymore. A magicka pool system which has similarities to D&D - a mage can dish out much damage, but his resources are limited. This mod's magic system is unseparably interwoven with it's mana pool system. Many new spells accomondate this, you can regain magicka by draining your weapon's enchantment, and the like. Also some features from MM are back, like Conjurer's boon (see above). Incompatible with custom races. Popular for those wanting a different take on magic than Oblivion's default system, and powerful magic as a reward.
- Heavy Damage
This is a quite basic mod, it's increasing magic's damage output and other values. It also increases weapon damage output. An option for people who want much stronger offensive magic without all other features the MMs have.
Only one mod can change and set all existing spells and magic effects, a magic overhaul mod overwrites all other overhaul mods. The last loaded wins. Nevertheless you can use them together, to get new spells and features from earlier loaded mods. While mods in one powerlevel are working together, mixing mods with different powerlevels has a great chance to cause bad mod interaction - means you end up with spells from the earlier loaded mod, which are either much too strong, or too weak. So while it's quite possible to mix Supreme Magicka and Less Annoying Magic Experience, both don't play well together in a mix with Mighty Magick: Reborn. OOO on the other hand has many features beside it's spell overhaul, so you can override it's aspects without much regret.
6. Comparison Chart
geschrieben von bg2408