I've been playing Survival Single Player mode, Hard difficulty, for quite some time now (half a year - not so much though compared to most of the players), and I think it's time for me to take a look at the modding scene.
I don't like mods in general, because usually they are either inconsistent with the game world or introduce poorly balanced changes. For others it might not be an issue, but for me it severely reduces the range of mods.
In SSP one of my main personal issues is that the challenge is static. E.g., I never got into brewery and potions - but I would love too - because there is hardly a point in having all those boosts and advantages over the enemies; they can be easily defeated without the potions.
The same goes for redstone: it's fun to play around with; but it has a potential of adding a whole new layer to the tactics\home structure if there was any kind of an organized monster attack - say, a siege every week or so.
In other words, I would like to have an increase in challenge - either periodical one, like sieges, or changing location-wise. Right now, from my experience, there is only one difficulty change - when you step from overworld to the nether. When I'm finding an abandoned mineshaft after 100 hours in-game, it is almost as challenging as it would be if I was only 10 hours in.
I want a mod that creates a progressive challenge - let's say I find this ruined castle nearby (not present in vanilla mc), but I can't check it out yet because I know I need better armor\weapons\potions\whatever. But this castle should have a suitable reward - rare\important items I can obtain only there. In short, more incentive for exploration besides decorating your house and filling it with redstone contraptions just for the sake of it (again, it loses its appeal after months of single player).
To sum up:
- I play SSP on Hard
- I want certain mechanics introduced which would make higher tier weapons\armor, potions\redstone more needed to survive
- I want the challenge to vary besides Overworld\Nether (sieges, additional generated structures like castles, towers, etc)
- Consistency and balance is crucial
I've looked through the stickies in the Mod subforum and checked out every mod that was on the stickied list (1.5.1 version, ~400 or so). Here's an example of what ideas interested me (didn't have time to look at each mod on youtube, that's why I hope you can help!):
"Ruins" - additional generated structures. Any incentive to explore those? New monsters\rewards? Also, didn't like flying castles.
"Towers" - same as above
"ExtraBiomesXL"\"Biomes O'Plenty" - seem to be very extensive mods, I think I should get one of them to make things on the background less stale
"Deadly World" - sadly, found no detailed info on the download page
"Dungeon Mobs" - hard to say without knowing spawn rates, etc.
"Dungeon Pack" - that's what I meant by saying "consistency" - igloo in plains, floating villages - a no-go for my taste
"Invasion Mod" - looks promising
BetterThanWolves = since it's an overhaul, it's hard for me to say if it is what I'm looking for. Personally I wanted to stay true to vanilla as much as possible since I think it just needs a few tweaks here and there, but if this mod fits all my criteria then why not.
Mo Creatures - more danger outside always a good thing, especially with many monsters inflicting poisoned status. How balanced is it (damage, spawn rates, loot)? Can I turn off magical stuff like golems or "amulet of the sky"?
Better Dungeons - very interesting mod, includes many features I was looking for. How balanced is the loot? How often can I encounter traps in the new dengeons? How are those dungeons? Can I turn off superfast horses and magic grenades?
I would appreciate if you would comment on those mods as well as many many others I haven't mentioned and advise me what mods to choose. Thanks!
I agree with Rethical. Twilight and Thaumcraft are definitely good for upping the difficulty. In addition to the wisps from Thaumcraft, there are mechanics that will spawn some nasty random events, such as giant angry zombies (angry zombies are tougher and faster than normal zombies, and giants are a bit tougher than than normal angry) or random debuffs. You could check out Feed the Beast, with the added bonus that it won't modify your vanilla client in any way, so you can play around and if you decide you don't like it just delete it and go back to vanilla. In the coming update, in the DireWolf pack at least, Ars Magica and Tinkers Construct are included which both spawn new kinds of tougher mobs. Natura adds a bunch or world gen to the Nether as well as the Overworld, making the Nether a bit more substantial outside of gathering blaze rods/wither skulls/ghast tears.