Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oblivion Mod Review - Dragon Invasion II

Mod Review - Dragon Invasion II
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Overall: Needs a lot of polish. First dragon quest is fine but second one is broken.

Why You Would Download This: Short dungeon crawls with lots of enemies for a variety of character levels. Kill overpowered dragons, possibly with cheesy tactics.

Dragon Invasion II offers two short adventures that end in killing dragons based off the Akatosh Mount mod. The action is very simple: Kill hordes of minions, then you enter a big cave to fight the dragon one-on-one. In both cases, there are hiding places to rest and raised locations to fight with bow or spells.

The novelty in the mod comes from fighting dragons. Both dragons are grossly powerful with irritating abilities (high damage reflection and spell reflection), but otherwise play as tanks. One good thing about the dragons is that they are not stacked with immunities (so in general you can try various tactics on them or use any character build on them) or excessive healing (which can make fights endlessly long). You can also cheese them or use indirect tactics: e.g., Wabbajack or multiple doses of poison, such as combination Damage Fatigue and Damage Health.

Not that with enough Damage Fatigue you can put a dragon (or almost any other creature) down as if it were paralyzed long enough for you to kill it some other way. A Master-level poison using Master-level alchemical gear inflicts 12 Fatigue x 47 seconds. Fatigue regenerates at a flat 10/second for all creatures, but can be damaged to a very high negative value. Whenever fatigue is at a negative value, a creature drops. The fall and recovery animations are much faster than paralysis so you can't really rely on short-term "fatigue paralysis" but must instead do a lot of fatigue damage.
Also note that once the dragon is down, you can literally walk inside of it. You will also have to position and angle yourself properly to hit its collision box. Otherwise, you can strike at the visible body but actually not land any blows.

The mod suffers from missing textures (e.g., you will probably find your mage contact Arrathol has an invisible body and a purple "missing-texture" hood) and it looks like support for this mod is long since dead.

The first dragon is Nazagear, and his minions are goblins. It is interesting to do this part of the quest at level 10 or less because many of the goblins are then level 1 and can be killed in one shot in many ways. (Warning: The last goblin level has so many goblins that some of the bodies may be removed by the game engine before you can loot them.) This can be fun if you are in the mood for it, and the goblin bosses are still very tough. (And something odd about the goblin bosses is the insane speed at which they run.)

The treasure is quite boring, although there are two "gatekeeper" goblins that carry unlevelled Daedric Shields. If you can get past them at a low level, you can get the best unenchanted shields in the game right away.

Nazagear has a sizable horde that can take a long time to pick up. You may want to try the Grab Nearby Loot key in this mod, which grabs just about everything visible to the camera instead of picking up one gem at a time. The treasure is rich, but probably boring and insignificant for a character who has progressed to the stage where they have the power and resources to defeat Nazagear.

The Nazagear quest generally proceeds without a hitch until the after-quest wrap-up. Countess Narina Carvain tells you to see the wizard Arrathol again about the dragon scale, but your journal tells you to go to Anvil. You need to see Arrathol first as he will swap out your inventory item for another one.
And once Morvayn in Anvil finishes the armour for you, you get almost a full set -- No boots. Probably a script typo somewhere.

If you have Elsweyr Leyawiin Topal Bay Walkabout, the entrance to the second dragon lair is completely concealed and you may have to use TCL to walk through the boulders. The rest of the quest is in interior cells and should play out fine.

The second quest is very broken toward the end. For most of the lair you fight endless amounts of necromancer clones and a few clumps of vampires. Then there is a lich boss based off Lorgren Benirus, except his body and clothing is completely invisible. You only see his staff. Once he dies, his body exists in the game, but because it is invisible you cannot activate it to loot the required key from him to unlock the cavern containing Xazagrax, the second dragon. You can still unlock the cavern using the unlock console command. If you use RefScope, you can examine the invisible body's inventory, find the key's Form ID, and use player.additem to give it to yourself.

After Xazagrax dies, there was no quest update (possibly because we used the Unlock command on the door) so you cannot continue. There are reports that you can manually set the quest stage, however.

Overall, the mod could use a lot of bugfixing, but as it stands, for characters of all levels it can be enjoyable as a dungeon crawl or if you like killing hordes of enemies. Nazagear's goblin dungeon (but not Nazagear himself) can mostly be done at any level, although the goblin bosses might be challenging or impossible if your level is very low. Xazagrax's necromancer/vampire lair probably needs a moderate or higher level as every necromancer has potions and fights can drag.

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