In this modification, you can recruit Beatrix as a permanent party member (Optional), but it also brings back many hidden and suppressed dialouge that's been cut away during development. Not only does this raise the difficulty of the game, it also changes every party member's skills to be more useful and allow you to be more flexible when making a strategy. I'm sure there is more to this but I think you want to download the mod then keep listening to me prattle on and on and on...Here you go!
I tried that Alternate Fantasy mod and messed up bad. I couldn't get past the second Prison Plant fight in the Evil Forest... I swear I stocked up on potions, but I couldn't buy anymore in the area until after I saved both Dagger and Vivi. It's embarrassing on my part. Heh. I'll probably just reset the file.
(EDIT 2_Electric Boogaloo: It turns out a lot of these rely on using the Hades Workshop Editor. Have yet to try it out.)
EDIT 3: It's working just fine. Here's a more precise guide for getting FF 2.2 and other .hws files to work: 1. Install Hades Workshop: www.hiveworkshop.com/attachments/hadesworkshop-zip.265128/ 2. Launch Hades Workshop>Select File>Open>Insert your local for FF9 (I presume you're using the steam version. If so it's probably in Program Files>Steam>steamapps>common>FINAL FANTASY IX>FF LAUNCHER). 3. Click File>Open Mod>Browse>find the wanted mod .hws file and load it>leave all checkboxes selected. 4. If you get a message reading "Data Successfully Imported," then congrats! 5. Click File>Save Steam Mod. The files should be saved in a new folder in the FF9 folder. Do NOT save it in the root of the FF9 folder (as a precaution). 5.5. Backup your FF9 folder, especially if you're stacking mods or are fine with reinstalling if something goes wrong. 6. Copy/move HadesWorkshopMod to the FF9 root folder and choose overwrite on all prompts that show up. 7. Run the game!
This guide was a partly shortened version of the FF 2.2 Install instructions. This seems to work with bigger mods. Most of the smaller mods are much easier to install. I recommend the 'audio fix mod'. It helps a ton.
So far I've been testing out FF 2.2 (balancing and mechanics mod) as well as the audio fix. I just got to Lindblum and they've been working pretty well. I suspect the FF 2.2 patch overrode the Alternate Fantasy one, so I'll have to try Alt Fantasy mod another time.
I've made it to the first Beatrix fight in the poor ruins of Burmecia. I probably would've beat it sooner, but I've actually been doing more of the side stuff. Yes, while Burmecia is getting sacked I have been busy forcing chocobo to smash their faces into the ground for treasure.
Anyways, everything is still fine. I'm honestly impressed with how active the modding community if for FFIX.