Jump to content

Welcome to Obsidian Forum Community
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

Difficulty after 1.1 - Game is still too easy

Balance PoTD

  • Please log in to reply
263 replies to this topic

#1
Shadenuat

Shadenuat

    (7) Enchanter

  • Members
  • 900 posts
  • Location:Russia
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

So after 1.1 and, as Josh said, a great scythe swiped over items & abilities and "reworked" encounters (I think most people would only ever remember the boars, panthers and dragons living happily together) I began another playthrough with 1+3 custom characters, not very optimized and mostly some fun builds, PoTD+all level scaling, only up.

 

The beginning was promising and game began reminding me of Tyranny on highest difficulty - people who played it probably know that final fight in prologue there was supah difficult, although then it just fell down.

 

So I began using actual healing spells, switch weapons to fit enemy armor. I explored just 25% of the world map, and due to even more xp gains from monsters, and overall enormous amount of xp you gain for quests and such, hit level 15 (!) and almost abandonded the playthrough again. I only kept going to check on possibly reworked encounters, but so far only few were tweaked (the prologue, engwithan titan and it's dungeon was, for sure, gullet dungeon a bit, some random redskulls were placed - a few); most encounters, secondary & faction locations, bounties, mini-dungeons were not touched and are just as easy as they were.

 

So here's the thing. Player abilities got cut in half, all items got Sid Meier'd "cut everything 50% and see what happens", yet the game is still too easy.

 

Well, a few points.

 

By cutting on player abilities, you also affect enemies. For example, enemy fighters are not an unkillable fortresses anymore due to Unbending nerfed. Rogues are still the only ones which can 2-shot your characters, while others don't seem as strong.

 

The items and stacking, sure, may have affected some powah builds, but ideally you should actually balance endgame for player having some high tier items, not just turning them all to worthless junk.

 

But here's the thing. No matter how much you plug the holes, the ship continues leaking. Why?

 

Because PoE leveling system is simply not balanced for an open world game.

 

Cause,

 

a) You gain XP too fast.

and

b) Levels are everything, and accuracy is everything. Most of your potential, comes from levels, just like in PoE1. Where after first big city, game became super easy.

 

Baldur's Gate countered this somewhat with the flat AD&D leveling system, where after particular level, gains did not matter as much ("you leveled up. you gain +1 to saving throws and +1 hit point"). Also some classes were hard to level up (Druids and their 13 to 14 leveling).

 

And I think PoE2 should have done this during development too, compared to basically linear PoE1.

 

So, why not do something like this now?

 

Without MODS WILL FIX IT agenda, I think 2 things should happen (at least maybe on Veteran/PoTD):

 

1) Without touching much on XP rewards, it's probably possible to make higher levels require more xp. Most players I've read feel that levels 1-8 are fine, since you need to get them quickly to feel like you well played 1st game. The difficulty during these levels is also pretty good.

 

So I'd keep these levels as they are.

 

Then there is a particular something about going from level 9 to 12 or so. I felt it and many others said that "after level 12" (which is when player vacuum cleans Neketaka) people become overpowered. So maybe this should get 25-30% or so increased xp requirement.

 

Finally, going from level 12 to 20 should give diminishing returns. So the further you are, the more xp you need to gain these levels.

 

2) At some level, character system should create sort of "plateau" (like levels 8-12 in IE games), and your accuracy and defences, as well as hit points gains, should diminish. Naturally it's same for the enemies. That way, most of Deadfire populaton, which primarely consists of low level critters and various pirate goons won't explode the moment you click on them.

 

Or, you know, maybe scale everything +10/-10. But many believe that level scaling is cancer etc.

 

Naturally, there should also be more high level content. There are nearly not enough strong creatures and crazy encounters in the game, which we haven't seen in PoE1, and many were just copypasted from it or White March.

 

I played up to level 18 after all the super patching, and it's same story as ever - at some point, enemies simply cease to be any threat, and begin exploding from your dudes armed with better weapons, or simply die to a single empowered spell... all while you barely touched second half of the game. Oops.


Edited by Shadenuat, 09 June 2018 - 02:48 PM.

  • Tigranes, Tanred, dunehunter and 12 others like this

#2
Dorftek

Dorftek

    (7) Enchanter

  • Members
  • 820 posts
The AI is simply too dumb.
The injury system is also way to easily dealt with.
U can go ahead and increase the enemy stats to point where they are almost unkillable but that to me is not fun difficulty. A smart AI with a wider range of tools who try to exploit ur weaknesses and use the environment against you is fun difficulty imo

Edited by Dorftek, 09 June 2018 - 01:01 PM.

  • Lexx, AndreaColombo, ShivaX and 4 others like this

#3
Shadenuat

Shadenuat

    (7) Enchanter

  • Members
  • 900 posts
  • Location:Russia
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

The AI is dumb yes, funny that it's also dumb just like in PoE1: like, enemies adore low hp/armor characters and sometimes go to great lengths (like shuffling around for 10 seconds without doing anything) to kill them;

 

also, doors and corridors are anti-difficulty, pulling and using doors gives AI a total brain freeze and murders it's pathfinding.

 

But, fixing AI is one thing.

 

At very least I think developers should begin with at least giving AI similar strength, and for now even this yet to happen.


Edited by Shadenuat, 09 June 2018 - 01:04 PM.


#4
AeonsLegend

AeonsLegend

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 537 posts
Character stats break the game. Can play without equipment and still stroll through.

#5
mrscojangles

mrscojangles

    (2) Evoker

  • Members
  • 70 posts
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

I'm still on intro island of my post 1.1 playthrough, so its probably too early to judge much, but I've been using the deadly deadfire mod for this play through and I'm thinking that may be a good option for you as well. I did use the start at level 4 berath's blessing, but none of the stat ones or anything. POTD with scaling to only scale up. Most everything I've been facing so far has been 1 to 4+ levels higher than me. Obviously I can't speak for further into the game and its certainly possible it'll still be a cakewalk once I get to mid levels or higher, but the mod also does have a hardcore version that increases everything even more, and I have not tried that one yet.

 

I would recommend checking out the mod. It'll lower your xp gain, it'll buff up how much enemies can scale upwards, and it'll buff up enemy HP. It won't change their AI, but it's better than nothing if the game is far too easy for you. And, if its still too easy, you can try the hardcore version which lowers xp even further, and buffs their level/hp further. If thats still not your speed, you're probably just going to have to wait for some more modders to put out other difficulty increases or impose some self restrictions on yourself. Personally, I don't love using drugs and potions besides health potions, so I don't use them much, if at all. In my first playthrough I never bothered with any food besides hardtack. You could refrain from using empowers on any abilities and only use them to refresh resources. Or don't use them at all. Or don't use any of the summoning figurines (this increased difficulty a bunch in POE1). Or any other number of self imposed restrictions.

 

I know you mentioned fixes without a "mods will fix it agenda", but at this point I'd say you should give the Deadly Deadfire mod a try if you're doing another playthrough: https://www.nexusmod...ernity2/mods/43


Edited by mrscojangles, 09 June 2018 - 01:24 PM.


#6
Shadenuat

Shadenuat

    (7) Enchanter

  • Members
  • 900 posts
  • Location:Russia
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

I am more of interested at how developers kinda missed on fixing their system for open world game than maxing enemy stats with mods really.

 

As for my play style, I don't use drugs (well that sounds funny), don't really use potions and try to never press the awesome button - although I WISH game would MAKE me use all these things; but no matter what I do, these things still exist and they are obviously not good for balance of the game. So why have them? What was the reasoning about even having Empower button?

 

I find that on new PoTD (during levels 1-8 or so) Empower is really useful for classic casters who simply run out of spells; while fighters and casters who have "infinite" spells do not suffer much.

 

I'd even go and say that if you increase amount of spell picks and spells per level for druids, wizards & priests, you might as well remove Empower from the game - game won't lose anything, really (replace the button with an ugly skull so you know you're playing PoTD, hehe).

 

Anyway, mods are cool, but I'd rather replay BG with SCS instead, or if anyone would make one, play Deadfire with SCS-level mod instead of bumping numbers, since PoTD already means longer battles, not more tactical battles.

 

I am not that masochistic and don't want to solo or exploit or powergame; I just want some fair, tough party on party battles.


Edited by Shadenuat, 09 June 2018 - 02:49 PM.

  • Tigranes, Tanred, PizzaSHARK and 1 other like this

#7
mrscojangles

mrscojangles

    (2) Evoker

  • Members
  • 70 posts
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

Anyway, mods are cool, but I'd rather replay BG with SCS instead, or if anyone would make one, play Deadfire with SCS-level mod instead of bumping numbers, since PoTD already means longer battles, not more tactical battles.

 

I love me some SCS/Tactics/Ascension BG2 and also hope people are able to mod the enemy AI significantly in deadfire, but that's going to be a waiting game, if it is even possible. I'm not a modder so I really have no clue to what extent the AI behavior is modifiable.

 

At the end of the day though, I don't think you're ever going to get that same level of tactical back and forth in POE as you could in BG. The sheer amount of shield/resistance/immunity spells and all the spell thrust/secret word/breach/pierce magic/dispel magic/etc just doesn't exist to that same extent in pillars. The affliction and inspiration system kinda touches on it, but its still a whole different ballgame. But I also do understand that your average person doesn't enjoy that SCS style of having to work your way through the 5 or 10 different immunities and spell shields that every enemy caster has, in a very specific order, as they constantly are rebuffing and reapply their immunities and such. Granted, I love it, but we're certainly in the minority in that regard.


  • PizzaSHARK and tela2k like this

#8
Blutwurstritter

Blutwurstritter

    (2) Evoker

  • Members
  • 98 posts
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

Do the higher difficulty levels increase in any way the tactical challenge of combat or does everything simply take longer due to number inflation ?



#9
Shadenuat

Shadenuat

    (7) Enchanter

  • Members
  • 900 posts
  • Location:Russia
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

At the end of the day though, I don't think you're ever going to get that same level of tactical back and forth in POE as you could in BG

Thing is, I think Deadfire with it's multi class system had potential for some cool encounters. Imagine enemy parties and monsters using builds players make. Imagine like flame naga monk paladins crushing into your party and activating self immolation and **** like that. The dual class and load of abilities (and afflictions if they ever get reworked, since now they're very underused) could have allowed designers to make cool encounters. But so far best they seem to come up with are Delemgain + Golem + Slime cause,

 

slimes gotta have rights to be in encounters too. Yay slimes.

 

The magic system, yes it's a bit primitive and often binary (3d level supress spell cancels everything be it arcane magic or natural abilities or heals, very weird and simplistic). Inspirations/Afflictions could have been a good system but seems like vampires are only monsters who give you trouble with them.

 

Do the higher difficulty levels increase in any way the tactical challenge of combat or does everything simply take longer due to number inflation ?

In my opinion the key new difference after patching is scaling armor.

 

You really have to work to pen enemy armor (until you get high level and simply crit and overpen everything). The best example I can think of was me fighting troll bounty on level 5 or so, and I had to use druid flame sword spell to kill troll since even PoTD trolls have 4 flame armor meaning you overpen them whereas nothing I had at the moment could do good damage to them (not everyone even had Fine weapons yet).

 

PoE works best when you fight a mix of enemies with like 14/10/4 armor and defences like 120 fortitude/90 reflex/50 will. But it also has ton of 90/90/90 enemies where all that tacticool magic ceases to exist.

 

But, well... yes, it does take longer due to number inflation. I fought deathknight under berath temple on relatively low level and it took me 2 full ability rotations to take him down.

 

This is often how PoE plays though. You either glance enemy to death, or overlevel enemy and they die very quickly. It's that accuracy inflation syndrome. You rarely feel that fight is just perfect and well tuned for you.


Edited by Shadenuat, 09 June 2018 - 02:05 PM.

  • Ichthyic and Zelse like this

#10
mrscojangles

mrscojangles

    (2) Evoker

  • Members
  • 70 posts
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

Do the higher difficulty levels increase in any way the tactical challenge of combat or does everything simply take longer due to number inflation ?

 

Depends on how you play on the lower difficulties, but I would say it certainly is going to put a lot more importance on buffing/debuffing/CCing/positioning/etc.  At least on intro island on potd with deadly deadfire, I'm having to play smart with my abilities and can't just use all my spell casts/resource on damage abilities and then auto attack everything to death. Where as I'm sure that is a viable option on lower difficulties. Yes, it will take longer due to number inflation, but at least at this point in the game and with the mod, I can't just zerg rush 95% of the fights like pre 1.1 potd.



#11
Gregorovitch

Gregorovitch

    (2) Evoker

  • Members
  • 71 posts
  • Steam:Gregorovitch
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

The beginning was promising and game began reminding me of Tyranny on highest difficulty - people who played it probably know that final fight in prologue there was supah difficult, although then it just fell down.


Because PoE leveling system is simply not balanced for an open world game.

 

I really liked your post and I think you've brought up some really interesting talking points. These two in particualar I wanted to venture a slightly different perspective on.

 

That Tyranny battle (and I assume we are talking about the fight in the first tower with the rebel woman's crew, Elbe or something was she called?) was indeed very difficult on PoTD and the remainder of the game was indeed rediculously easy by comparrison. In my case on my first attempt I weas unable to defeat her no mattetr what I tried, largely due to big mistakles with Lantry but also mistakes with the other three builds. I had perforce to start again correcting these errors. This time I totally roflstomped the lead up to that fight and then found I easily beat it first attempt (which I was not expecting). The rest of the game was a total cakewalk.

 

How can it be that a fight turns from totally impossible to relatively easy with just a few adjustments to builds where you are at exactly the same level? My theory is this: where you are able to unload your entire arsenal of spells and abilities with impunity on every fight the "Goldilocks Challenge Zone" is incredibly narrow. Insufficientt power and you simply can't win whatever you do. Just a tad more than you need and it's a routine win. "Just right" is very hard to achieve.

 

Which leads to the second point that an open world design like Deadfire with this per-encounter casting system the "Goldilocks Challenge Zone" becomes almost by definition vanishingly improbable to achieve. You just cannot predict when a player is going to get to a specific encounter. I'm not convinced it's possible to tweak your way out of this.

 

What makes it all work in PoE1, BG etc is that you had to be parsimonious with your spell/ability use and you didn't know what was round the next corner and beyond. This has the effect of self-regulating the Goldilocks zone becasue the challenge becomes winning by using as few spells and abilities as possible at the same time as losing as little health as possible. What this does is to very significantly widen the goldilpocks zone by adding a new set of variables, and operational layer on top of the tactical layer if you like.  


  • Haplok, PizzaSHARK, cokane and 1 other like this

#12
mrscojangles

mrscojangles

    (2) Evoker

  • Members
  • 70 posts
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

Thing is, I think Deadfire with it's multi class system had potential for some cool encounters. 

I agree, there is definitely a lot of potential but I think even still it isn't ever going to be able to reach that same level of meta gaming as BG2 with mods. I think so much of the tactical feel of the BG2 mods came down to casters though. Yeah, there are some tough melee opponents but the bulk of the serious stuff was all about properly utilizing your casters to properly counter the enemy casters. The affliction/inspiration system just doesn't have that same level of depth to me. I have a dexterity affliction so i cast a dexterity inspiration to remove it. There isn't any more depth to that. With BG2 casters there were so many more layers. Yeah, Breach will remove the enemy wizard's stoneskin, but your breach isn't going to work until you remove his spell shield. So you pierce magic the shield but now he's got invisibility so you can't target breach on him. And he has immunity to Divination so you need to use a rogue to detect illusions cuz your true sight doesn't dispel his invis. Etc, etc. Where as pillars, you can negate anything on your characters with suppress affliction or Liberating Exhortation. Or arcane dampener on the enemy (it has a saving throw, but still). And beyond that its just a enemy has a X stat inspiration. Do i have a X stat affliction? If not, its no big deal because they're still not giving enemies the same level of immunities as something like protection from magical weapons or mantle or protection from magic energy or whatever.


  • PizzaSHARK likes this

#13
baldurs_gate_2

baldurs_gate_2

    (6) Magician

  • Members
  • 721 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

You played with a party of 4, ofc it's easy. Play solo and if you still steamroll everything, then you can say its to easy. There will be a achievement with TCS, so you can not increase the difficulty that high, that solo ist not possible anymore.


Edited by baldurs_gate_2, 09 June 2018 - 03:30 PM.


#14
1TTFFSSE

1TTFFSSE

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 527 posts

Just did Uamoru the Pretender with a lvl 7 party on PotD + difficulty mod to get the bow early. I did that bounty in beta 1.1 as well and it seemed it was more difficult did they lower the difficulty from beta to official patch? disappointing. 



#15
Erik Dirk

Erik Dirk

    (2) Evoker

  • Members
  • 94 posts

You played with a party of 4, ofc it's easy. Play solo and if you still steamroll everything, then you can say its to easy. There will be a achievement with TCS, so you can not increase the difficulty that high, that solo ist not possible anymore.

No.
Why are so many players obsessed with solo gameplay? This is supposed to be a PARTY Rpg, if they boost the difficulty so that it's practically impossible to complete the game with less than 3 characters this should be a good thing.
If they eventually tune POTD so solo is impossible play a roguelike, don't complain that they're not catering to your playstyle.


  • Karkarov, Tanred, AndreaColombo and 12 others like this

#16
mrscojangles

mrscojangles

    (2) Evoker

  • Members
  • 70 posts
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

I'm confident that making sure the game is a reasonable difficulty for solo isn't even on their list of priorities. The triple crown solo achievement is just an achievement, they absolutely aren't doing any game balancing around it, and nor should they. 


  • Karkarov and ThacoBell like this

#17
OrpheusM

OrpheusM

    (1) Prestidigitator

  • Members
  • 32 posts
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

Can you please elaborate how the game is too easy? I couldn't even touch the thugs in Gorecci street.

 

Was playing PotD, with ALL scaling, upwards only, 35 points of beraths blessings spent on stats, +4 lvls and gold.

 

In some attempts my guys would die before touching anything. There were 7 (or 8?) enemies, 1 skull to 3 skulls and i even tried hiring mercs for a full party. I barely touched them and they 2 - 3 shot anyone. I only managed to defeated them by turning scaling off.

 

And people were saying they can solo this? What type of character can solo 8 enemies that are way above his level in the early game? Genuinely curious.


Edited by OrpheusM, 09 June 2018 - 04:56 PM.

  • Suen, KDubya, Chariot7 and 3 others like this

#18
QuiteGoneJin

QuiteGoneJin

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 457 posts
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

The game would have more diversity if they didnt just spike deflect/saves, sometimes high hp enemies would be good. And yes of course smarter AI. 



#19
cokane

cokane

    (3) Conjurer

  • Members
  • 180 posts
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

Open world and per encounter skills is the problem. They can't really coexist in a game.

 

An example is BG2, in its early open world segment. This part includes about eight complex quests (the stronghold quests) that can be completed in virtually any order while still providing players a challenge in each one, regardless of the order they complete them. This is because if you do them early, you'll grind them out, but even if you do them "over leveled" you still end up often resting once in their respective dungeons. Providing some semblance of challenge, and thus some *consequential* decision making by the player.

 

The same dynamic exists in the original PoE, where you can do some dungeons early, and grind them out with multiple rests, or do them later, and burn through them, but still often with one rest or two involved! It's not a perfect system, but it at least has some elasticity that Deadfire doesn't.

 

In Deadfire, if you over-level for a section (or over gear), then every fight just ends up being rote nonsense and good decision making in combat doesn't end up having any effect on the game. As I wrote in another thread, a difficulty spike cannot solve the core problem that most combats take no toll on the party.


  • PizzaSHARK, GuyNice and Gregorovitch like this

#20
Erik Dirk

Erik Dirk

    (2) Evoker

  • Members
  • 94 posts

I think the penetration system is also way too rigid, that one or two levels doesn't just give slightly better stats or skills, you'll usually also have better gear, that extra 1 armor/pen is a 25% difference in difficulty on its own. 

A linear armor/pen mechanic may be less interesting, but it will be a lot easier to balance. At least change the steps to incriments of 2 points
Attrition based combat is a tedious mechanic. I support Health/Endurance on a per encounter basis, but the POE1 rest system was just a chore.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Balance, PoTD

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users