Tobold's Blog
Friday, July 28, 2023
Customizing Jagged Alliance 3

I am still playing Jagged Alliance 3, at least until Baldur's Gate 3 is released. And I got to the point where between playing the game, watching streams, and reading forums, I understand a lot of the hidden game mechanics. For example every enemy in JA3 *can* drop the weapon and armor he is using. Only the probability that he does might be low, and thus you get into the frustrating situation where you fight enemies with rocket launchers and never find one. This low random drop chance also applies to ammo. Thus in my third playthrough I had already found a bunch of nice weapons, but couldn't use them for lack of ammo, and was instead using sub-optimal guns that I had a lot of ammo for. Which then causes a problem with the very limited inventory space.

The solution to all my frustrations with the game are the mods in the Steam Workshop. I didn't like that the game doesn't show your percentage chance to hit. And I didn't like that before turn-based combat starts, there is no way to pause the action in the real-time sneaking into position part of the game. Both of which can be changed by mods, making the game a lot more to my liking and personal preferences. Your mileage may vary.

For the size of the inventory, there are different options. You can simply mod yourself a huge inventory, or make it just a little bit bigger. I am using a mod called "crafting items to squad bag", which gives you a few more inventory slots *plus* easier inventory management by putting crafting items (for weapon modifications or to build explosives) into the unlimited size squad bag instead of blocking personal inventory slots for those. Otherwise I would have to stash all that crafting stuff somewhere, and move back to the stash when I needed it.

But the biggest mod I am using is called "Custom Settings", and it is able to modify a lot of different parameters of Jagged Alliance 3. For example the drop rate of weapons, ammo, armor and other stuff. Or the number of inventory slots. You can even add an option to sort the sector inventory, which is really a needed quality of life improvement. If you think that is making the game too easy for you, there are also options to increase the number of enemies. Using the various settings, I was really able to fine tune the game to my preferences. After all, I would much rather fight enemies than fight my inventory. After getting that tuning right, I started a fourth run. We'll see how far I get this time, but it is already a lot more user-friendly and less frustrating.

[P.S. Finished the 4th run successfully, with most of the "good" results achieved. Total play time of all runs together just a bit over 100 hours. Not sure if and when I'll play this again. But for the record, I still would recommend using a mod to about double the drop chance of weapons, ammo, and armor. Otherwise loot isn't much fun, and getting good loot is an important motivator.]

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