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A couple of months ago, I posted about me playing MM7, so let's finish it up... (Spoiler-heavy.)
From the end of the last post, when we left the party preparing for the attack on the Pit, I had pretty much two sessions: one a couple of months ago that went over a few days, and another one last week. So I will be glossing over much of my progress (just because I forgot some of it meanwhile).
Anyway, let's start with a brief recounting of the Pit battle. I was quite looking forward to it, because Peter told me that it was the best battle in all of MM. However (I'm sorry, Peter ) I can't share that sentiment. In fact, for me it is the worst Mexican standoff in all of MM. The only thing that made it possible to clear the Pit was my cleric's grandmaster Body Magic with the ridiculously overpowered regeneration spell. Coupled with Preservation, it made the party pretty much unkillable, so when I took a Dragon Breath in the face, I just had to take cover behind a corner or a house and wait a while to regenerate. On the other side, I got painfully aware of the fact that the monsters have longer attack range than me so it often happened that my arrows went nowhere while I was being pumelled by the aforementioned Dragon Breaths and similar munitions.
All in all, after a couple of hours, I was very glad that it'd been over. Hacking through the Castle Gloaming was comparatively easy (it had a lot more ghosts and a lot less necromancers and liches in it although taking cover was a bit tricky, since the Dragon Breaths would often explode on the corner I'd been hiding behind and I would get burnt anyway), so I depopulated it and stole the Lich Jars. And going through the Breeding Zone was just a breeze after all of this which concluded my last pending promotion and gave me the Divine Intervention spell (which is nice, but I had doubts whether I would ever use it).
And by the way, just when I reasonably cleared the first area of the Pit, I had an Arcomage game in the local inn the last that I was missing. So I immediately rushed back to Erathia to see what I get for winning all Arcomages. I got 100 000 gold right away (virtually useless at this stage of game) and a full chest of things. I opened it eagerly... and found that it was full of junk. True, the items were unique, they had their unique names and so on, but it didn't change a thing about the fact that the items were just junk. Only one little thing of the chest overfull with items was of any use the Hero's Belt that was very useful for my knight (Armsmaster +5 is a very nice bonus). I kept that right until the end.
After that, I just did a lot of things in no particular order. I had some battles with birds in Nighon, cleared the Nighon Maze, fully explored the Thunderfist mountains (more Lich Jars!), stole the Control Cube from Tolberti (now I get what you were talking about with the Stealing skill, Peter) (I also tried to battle with him in another save. The first attempt ended horribly because apparently a pistol can kill you, even when a sword (almost) cannot. So half of my party was Eradicated even before I could close in. In the second attempt, I cast all my buffs and of course the much needed Protection from Magic, which won the day). And I probably forgot some more things that I've done. (Oh my Castle got upgraded again, and I even got my own shops in the castle! However, they sell the most horrible junk only, and the shopkeepers are even rude when talking with me, calling me names like "penny-pinching miser" and others. How dare they! Too bad I couldn't kick them out!)
Finally, I got into Tunnels to Eeofol and wiped it clean. I thought it will be even more confusing and complicated than the Thunderfist mountains, but fortunately the tunnels are pretty linear, even if full of behemoths. However they're no match for me at this point. Walking through the tunnels was only little more than pressing movement controls and putting a brick on the "A" key (not literally, of course! ). Then I emerged at the Land of the Giants, finally got my grandmastery in Armsmaster and set a beacon. And by the way, now it's a good time to remember a peculiar shrine back in Harmondale that never ever did anything (except for writing out "You Pray") and some peasants saying that it goes to the Land of the Giants. Or from the Land of the Giants? Who knows? (By the way, I was told this even by one woman in a house in Celeste! Probably a stray dialog line.) So I ran through the masses of dragons and titans, prayed at the shrine, and sure enough, that made me emerge in Harmondale which pretty much concludes the first session.
(Oh, I also forgot to mention the obelisk quest. That was horrible! The poem wasn't hard to get (the same method as in MM6), but finding the treasure was much harder. In fact, I shamefully looked the solution up. And when I did that, I was quite enraged. The poem runs something like this: "pirates five, one survive, hide the gold under the sand, witching hour, white flower blooms upon a haunted land". First, I concluded that the "haunted land" is Barrow Downs (it's certainly haunted enough!) So after searching for a white flower in vain, I saw that it probably wasn't there, and that it could be on the Evenmorn Islands instead. I was overjoyed to see that there is one small patch of sand on the whole map but only until I found that there was no white flower there! So I tried to drop the "under the sand" and found TONS of white flowers all around there. So I was running around them at midnight like mad, to no avail. And when I looked it up, I found that it was actually under a weird VIOLET flower on GRASS (which appears only at midnight and you can't find it otherwise!), not a white flower on sand. Essentially everything that the poem said was wrong. Grrr!! And I forgot to say that the obelisk flower was full of what? You guessed it! Junk! Every single thing from that chest was absolutely no use (except to get some money for it, which I already had in excessive amounts). Double Grrr!!!)
The finishing session was quite simple. Probably a week ago, I got into that kind of mood when I don't want to do anything, but don't want to do nothing either. So I loaded up MM7 and started hunting devils & co. in the Land of the Giants. The battle with demons almost looked like another couple of hours in a horrible Mexican standoff (if you are always on the move, you hardly hit anything, and if so, then you inflict minor wounds on different devils; if you're not on the move, you immediately take a Meteor Storm or two; and if you close into melee, the devil captains can drain all your mana with one hit AND you take a Meteor Shower or two). But fortunately, I found by chance that the titans and demons hate each other. Then I just had to lure some titans from the nearby hill to go down (easy, since they can't climb back up again!) and then, they would battle the devils instead of me. So I just watched the match while mopping up the lesser devils. Result? 1 : 0 for titans, despite the overwhelming numbers of the devils. They win the right to die later (just after I wiped out the rest of the devils).
So that makes it possible to enter Colony Zod. More devils that can drain all my mana in one hit! So I threw caution to the wind and just ran in, all guns blazing (literally). Of course my mana was soon drained, but since my priest and archmage had a couple of mana regeneration items each, it didn't take too long to get the 5 mana for renewing a haste or regeneration. Anyway, my blasters soon blasted the (blasted!) devils into smithereens, and just in the passing, I rescued Roland, as demanded by Archibald, and killed Xenofex (though it was hard to tell it was him). After some more dragon hunting and killing the Mega-Dragon, I just returned to Celeste for the final quest.
Anyway, eager to be done with the game, I just took the diving suits, cleaned up my inventory (I'm lucky that there are no eco-activists in Harmondale. After dropping tons of ore, ooze slimes, troll blood, devil goo and similar disgusting things into the local pond, they would surely prepare a Game Over for me! (Rightfully so.)) and jumped into the water. Since I thought that "no items while in diving suit" really means NO items, I had to avoid the sharks (it's hard to fight them with fists only, and they took a painful bite of my archmage) and go straight to the Lincoln (thereby missing the developer dungeon, as I learned later. Also it looks like blasters aren't items or what, because I learned that you can wield them while in your diving suit, too! Triple Grrr!). I was naοvely expecting to find something like door, but to no avail. Finally, I had to resort to floating around the wreck and spamming spacebar, upon which I found that I in fact had to enter through an engine or what.
The battle inside the first room was quite interesting. In fact, since I'd been bitten quite severely by the sharks before, the droids quickly got an upper hand, my archmage dropped dead and the priest passed out. The situation was quite dire, so the knight read the Power Cure scroll to wake the priest up and then the party had to pay 10 years of age (and I thought that I'd never use that spell!) just to get so severely shot while buffing myself that I had to do it AGAIN just a half a minute later. Fortunately, with all the spells up and the guns ready, the droids were easily shot down. The rest of the ship was quite uninteresting and easily solved by the "brick on 'A'" that I spoke about before. Soon the oscillation overthruster was in my hands. The last Town Portal of the game and I got a nice final video celebrating the victory.
So, all in all, I had a lot of fun with MM7, though it was the most fun in the early-to-middle parts (just like MM6), the "late" game just being reduced to the "brick on 'A'". (I probably won't ever fully understand why I even play MM but, despite the mindless combat that I just don't like, there is something that pulls me to these games.) The hard start of the game was actually very interesting. I didn't kill the dragon on the Emerald Island (not patient enough for it I heard something about killing the dragon before, so I thought it would be some "Dragon Lite" but no way, as far as I can tell, it was just a normal red dragon in all of its glory), so I was really short of money. Managing the party to see it through the tough start was very engaging, and exploring the various parts of MM7 world was very nice too. I particularly liked the Barrows with the immense walkways and all the weird kinds of cities (Stone City, Celeste, The Pit), as well as the great detail put into the world (like the Paramount Guild of Water being right in the middle of the sea on Evenmorn Islands and you could guess it will be right there!)
Another thing that I liked very much were the stealth missions (like the Lord Markham's vase), and the all-around improvements on monsters (most notably, that they can also be friendly to you and hate other monsters, which opens up possibilities for guards that actually guard something and so on; but also more interesting spells and abilities). I must also mention the more refined alchemy (though I didn't make that much use of it), the improved class and skill system (in MM6 you either could master a skill to any level and mastery, or you couldn't learn it at all, here each class gets different possible levels of expertise/mastery) and so on. And Arcomage!
There's surprisingly little on the minus side. Maybe just some quests/places/characters being a bit bland (example: queen Catherine. After you (don't) do her stuff in the human-elf war, she will only repeat one line of dialog for the rest of the game, although there's a lot of the story that is directly related to her. For instance, after rescuing Roland, I paid a visit to the Castle Gryphonheart to see if I could chat with him, or at least get something else than the "Miss Important" line from Catherine, but no way.), ridiculous trap levels in all the dungeons (so at the start of the game, opening one chest or cabinet often means a total party wipeout), of course the mindless combat that is usual in MM (which sadly pervades much of the late-game) and some less-than-awesome parts of quests and dungeons (like the Obelisk (Grr!!). Another example: the secret compartment in the pirate ship in Tidewater Caverns that holds the map to Evenmorn Islands cannot be found by any way, except running along all walls and spamming spacebar. It has just the same texture as the rest of the ship and it doesn't show up even with GM perception, which is supposed to be 100%. Or the weird button puzzle in Walls of Mist. Etc.) Fortunately, in the days of the Internet, it's very easy to look up anything you need, so it's not that problematic. Otherwise, a great game, and although it probably did cost me 100 hours, I'm very glad I could have played it!
So hopefully I didn't bore you too much with these writeups. Next up is MM8... some day...
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