Ah Peter2. I remember that name as well! I am impressed with your dedication to the hex editor and seeing what there was. The NWC did a great job with the easter eggs in MM6 -- so many good eggs in the game, we believed things like the Dragon Tower or White Goblin *could* totally exist I hope that some of the NWC team members have stumbled across this site and seen the effort that you and other players have gone through in looking for all the secrets in the game.
Thank you for the recommendations on EOB and LOD too. They look just close enough to MM3-5 to be satisfying. Those shots of the dark forest scenery from "The Legend of Darkmoon" are beautiful, like how I want to imagine any classic RPG. I saw a review of some newer pixel-graphic games and they talked about how graphics like these paint just enough for the player and their imagination paints the rest ... definitely explains why these kinds of games still have a magic that modern 3D games can't always touch.
That is an interesting note on the magical items, and I can see what you mean about how items being in the same spot would hurt replayability. If it's just a generic sword in a chest in a dungeon, that can be boring. The Exile series that I mentioned was great about this -- there were maybe only 15-20 magical weapons throughout the entire game and they were each unique, so finding the "Holy Mace" at the end of a vampire crypt dungeon was really rewarding.
As much as I liked getting some crazy powerful Obsidian items, I loved how MM6/7 added the legendary weapons and armor -- gave it a feeling that you got something unique! I remember some funny permutations in MM3-5 too, like Wooden Platemail or a Leather Longsword. I won't talk about the Vibrating Leather Rod of Power or something like that