Wrapped up Project AHO.
Final verdict? Very, very skippable.
It's fan made so I'm not going to rag on some design decisions, but ultimately the mod fails the basic litmus test of gameplay and overall layout. Has some pretty visuals and some clever effects, good voice acting overall, and a interesting premise. It fails however at giving the story any sense of weight, none of the NPCs are unique or remarkable in any way, far too many quests involve walking through multiple load zones multiple times in far too few minutes (Which anyone familiar with Bethesda games will understand is playing with fire, especially in modded set ups. No problems on my end, but it got obnoxious when a large quest chuck involved Go to Area D through Areas A-C, return to Area A and do a thing. Return to Area D. Go back to Area A. Return to Area D. Go to a new location accessible through Area A.
I grew to loathe this view the sixth time I saw it in under half an hour. No matter how pretty the environment, familiarity breeds contempt.
Also the biggest problem with AHO on my end was the fact the new areas aren't designed at all for any kind of survival mod or system. There's a fundamental lack of beds, which is criminal since there is an actual Inn available. But that may simply be the mod authors deciding it better to deny another mod the possibility of activating (A lot of quest mods - this one included - "turns on" when you sleep) in a location that would cause another mod to break since it's not designed to start there (Or that it would make thematic sense, given the nature of how you get there in particular).
The final reward isn't much either. A Dwarven style alternate fast travel system/player home, but it only travels to very specific locations and the home layout is laid out in the same manner as the rest of AHO, which is a lot of wasted real estate and lots of corridors. I've had my share of home mods over the lifespan of this game. Even the vastest castle/estate mod has things more logically spaced than this thing.
I may be doing AHO a disservice. I fully admit to not doing every side quest or bothering to dig into the history of the location via it's impressive four volume history. I didn't aggressively interrogate every NPC. I was annoyed by the sub-optimal layout of the new environments and the utter nonsense trap placement compared to a traditional ruin. They tout it as a quest mod in the traditional Bethesda vein and I do see the resemblance. Definitely gave me Morrowind flashbacks of having to walk back and forth between the same NPC.
Now onto the next Dwemer-themed quest mod (Noticing a pattern? I'd had an idea for a Indiana Jones style Ruin delver. While that's not who Silaar is, I figure I may as well see what these mods have to offer) that started as I was wrapping up AHO...The Wheels of Lull.
EDIT: Well, a very promising start with this one. That starts with a well designed cursed mine as your first location (I say well designed, but it could look like crap for all I know. Dark as night within - bring a light).
The miners dug too deep, uncovered something that defied sanity. Now their spirits make effective sentries. Screenshot is just before the first boss fight, where you end up having to fight the merged form of the dead miners' spirits. It's a pain from a technical standpoint, because they don't seem to have upscaled the hitbox. You have to aim for the legs to wound the spirit, and even that's iffy. I get the sense the encounters here are styled by Dark Souls but I don't want to spoil all the surprises. Took me a few tries, but I figured it out in short order.
Winning through the mine takes you to an outpost of the Clockwork City of Morrowind: Tribunal fame. Sotha Sil's long dead, but his fabricants continue his mission.
Also helps the writing is entertaining -
Edited by Rust, 09 February 2019 - 09:12 PM.