It has been a while from the last ToEE playthrough. I think it was 2004 when I played whole game, not just first part. Now I decided to play it again and take fresh look at game design. This post is about my thoughts on the playthrough. I decided to start from level 4, from Nulb, after the Moathouse. It can be easily done by using quickstart_module.py quickstart() function. Balance Simply compare output of Fighter with Strength 18 vs 15 – the difference is huge! Attack difference is 2 and damage would be 2 or 3 with two-handed weapon. The 10% hit difference and damage are like easy vs normal difficulty. Why does this point matter? Because it changes motivation and satisfaction from challenge in combat. How motivated Player would be to use additional tactics like Grease or Total Defense if there are no challenge at all? How overpowering and boring it would be to wear Belt of Ogre Power +4 STR and have 22 or in some cases even 24 strength score? Scores max out consequence Monster Manual in D&D 3.5 is designed to be used with PC of average statistics. Which are Point Buy 25 or Elite ray: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. Would you play ToEE with such abilities?)) (Well, I do actually) Most of Players given opportunity would take at least one ability to be 18. Plus, few 16 to complete superhero build. This leads to consequence of wanting more "tough" enemies. To set max-out HP for monsters, or even dumb down experience awards in settings. Otherwise, it is quite boring. Game designer looking at such picture would limit access to strong equipment and lessen the loot. Elite ray play PC using Elite ray stats are far more modest and weaker in comparison to max-out superheroes. And they will need all advantage they can get. Player of such party would constantly think how to improve statistics. There are two ways: via equipment and via magic. Broken trade in ToEE Although I love ToEE I also admit that trade mechanics in the game is completely broken. Rules as written are quite strict – sell 50%, buy 100% of merchandise price. In ToEE it depends on Apprise. If PC has 4 in Appraise it would sell with 52% and buy with 148% of price. Plus, hidden and not obvious way of 50% sell to incorrect merchants. Moreover, gems are sold with same logic, not 100% of its worth. In addition – loot is scarce (false, see one of my next posts), and traders have very tiny stock. Backpack is small, you cannot move cheap loot easily. It all leads to very logical consequence – almost nobody would rely on planning to buy magic equipment, wondrous items, or wands. Wands vs constant resting Imagine your Cleric has Wand of Cure Light Wounds, and your Wizard has Wand of Scorching Ray (4d6 ~ 14 avg dmg, not OP). It completely changes the game! You do not need to constantly rest after few battles, simply heal using wand. And your Wizard is not useless burden with several Fireballs. Broken enemy radius ToEE has no 5ft grid. So, it is not immediately apparent that NPC and PC take only 20 inches radius, which is 3.3 ft square. Say you are having encounter in 10 ft corridor. The obvious choice would be to position your melee combat PC in front, and do not permit foes going behind them to hurt weaker casters or even flank. But with 3.3 ft it wont work. AI pathfinding will calculate route to fit these 3.3 ft passage between PC easily. I saw this very often. Being modder I fixed that in my play by setting minimum 30 inches radius for medium NPC and 24 for small NPC. It improved tactical play immensely. Experience awards In ToEE quest experience award of ANY quest depends on PC current level. So, if you complete some tiny easy quest being level 15 the reward would be same as you defeated a Dragon. How balanced is that? IMHO all quests should have predefined experience amount, not dynamic.