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Difficulty after 1.1 - Game is still too easy

Balance PoTD

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#21
cokane

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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.

 

Whether you found them a chore or not, they're what allowed for a breadth of not only dungeon types but also ability types in the original. In order for an awesome fireball to exist alongside something like knockdown, there has to be a way for the fireball to be much more costly. If its cost is only marginally higher than a knockdown, then you have to make both abilities have roughly the same power. Otherwise the game will have terrible balance. And this is what's coming if people want any semblance of challenge at the higher ends.


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#22
baldurs_gate_2

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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.

Before the patch there were only 4 thugs and that was possible. But now you have to avoid the fight and some others i guess. But you did that all the time on PotD in PoE 1 Solo.



#23
Shadenuat

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What type of character can solo 8 enemies

You don't have to fight them all at once. As for elaborating, there's more text to thread than the thread title.


Edited by Shadenuat, 09 June 2018 - 05:58 PM.


#24
baldurs_gate_2

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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. 

Well it's the only challenge in the game. Party-Play is to easy and not worth my time nor do i like to micro all members all the time. Yes there is a AI system, but i don't want to use it. With one character, the gameplay is way smoother.



#25
PizzaSHARK

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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

 

The AI can't "use the environment against you" because the engine doesn't support it and the battle areas are basically just giant open, featureless rooms because Obsidian couldn't figure out ways to deal with the Almighty Doorway method of encounter strategy.  It's the single-biggest flaw in all of Pillars, IMO - the lack of ability to affect the terrain.  I've been playing Tower of Time instead of Deadfire and while I'm not gonna say it's BETTER than Deadfire, the first character you get, at 1st level, has an ability that lets you draw a line to create a wall and that single ability DRAMATICALLY affects combat in so many ways it's hard to overstate - you can draw a circle around one guy to take him out of the fight, draw a line between two areas to block an area off, etc.  You can take the skill that makes it a low wall that blocks movement, but your archers can still shoot (and be shot...) over it.  One skill, and it can do all that.

 

Where's all the D&D-esque terrain manipulation in Deadfire?  I can't raise walls, I can't create pits, I can't even turn solid dirt into mud to create a slog zone to kite melee enemies through, or turn rocky scree into a solid, smooth stone floor to let my fighters get to their targets faster.  It's ridiculous.

 

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.

 

There's no reason they can't just make the AI not terrible at the game.  If you want to funnel dumb animals or mindless undead into a chokepoint, fine - they're animals or mindless, they aren't sapient.  But xaurips are sapient and smart enough to know a death trap when they see one, much less kith.  Making the AI worth a damn is probably the top priority for Deadfire and all of these games, IMO.  Oh, you want to retreat to a chokepoint?  We'll cast persistent AOEs on you, or the xaurips will throw gas bombs or other stuff at you since we all know they're "kobolds but totally not kobolds" anyway.

 

And then the mage will raise an earth wall behind you so you can't escape...

 

 

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.

 

They don't balance or design the game around this.  Why play a ****ty "I wish I was playing a Roguelike" game instead of, you know... an actual Roguelike?  Rogue, Nethack, Stone Soup, etc are all free - I can just go play them if I want the Roguelike experience.


Edited by PizzaSHARK, 09 June 2018 - 06:30 PM.

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#26
Shadenuat

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Ultimately it's hard to disagree with this - if it's a party based game, then hardest difficulties shouldn't be beaten by anything but full, competent party of characters with builds supporting each other. Unless you skip ton of fights and just use bugs and exploits.

 

Well it's the only challenge in the game

But now you have to avoid the fight and some others i guess

 

Skipping fights you can't win is your idea of a challenge? Ahahah.


Edited by Shadenuat, 09 June 2018 - 06:35 PM.


#27
mrscojangles

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Well it's the only challenge in the game. Party-Play is to easy and not worth my time nor do i like to micro all members all the time. Yes there is a AI system, but i don't want to use it. With one character, the gameplay is way smoother.

 

And that's fine, I have no issue with people playing solo or whatever they want to do. But the fact is, it's a tiny percentage of the game base that even plays POTD and then it is a tiny fraction of that who plays it solo. At the end of the day it's not reasonable to expect the devs to be balancing the game in any way for the .01% of their base who will ever do a solo potd play through. It's cool that there are people doing it, and I'm glad people are finding all sorts of ways to enjoy the game, but the game is never going to be balanced around that in any way, shape, or form.


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#28
PizzaSHARK

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Ultimately it's hard to disagree with this - if it's a party based game, then hardest difficulties shouldn't be beaten by anything but full, competent party of characters with builds supporting each other. Unless you skip ton of fights and just use bugs and exploits.

 

Well it's the only challenge in the game

But now you have to avoid the fight and some others i guess

 

Skipping fights you can't win is your idea of a challenge? Ahahah.

 

I mean, that's how tabletop is.  A party that doesn't decide "lol **** that" or "wow we're getting beat, it's time to gfto" will often end up TPK'd even with a fairly lenient DM that's willing to fudge rolls or bend the rules in their favor.



#29
Heijoushin

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*shrugs* I think the difficult has improved since 1.1. Like that drake in middle of the dig site near Port Maje; I wasn't expecting that and got clobbered the first time.

 

Not saying every fight is super challenging, but 1.1 has its moments.


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#30
Erik Dirk

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I wouldn't say a full party should be necessary for the 0.01% of hardest-core gamers, but demanding that the very hardest difficulty cater to your wish to be able to finish with a very harsh, self imposed handicap that goes against the original premise of the game, is more than a tad petulant (Not saying this is necessarily so in your case but there were a few of these in POE1).

A "3 Musketeers" achievement would be a much better ultimate hardcore difficulty for the devs to aim for.



#31
Archaven

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the problem that i see it obsidian is taking the wrong approach. they think nerfing, removing abilties/features equals harder game. making swift flurry melee only limits build diversity. instead of making game epic like tuning encounters, they go the path where they make you handicap with unfair fights during EARLY of the game where you have no gear, no level and low accuracy they called it difficulty. i would like to see epic fights where even with a powerful party that you can fight very hard encounters. not this nerf flurry, nerf charge, nerf cleave, nerf frostseeker, nert all cool items/weapons, nerf the shiat out of the game. 

 

if they have reworked the encounters with enemies have higher hitpoints, damage resists, mixing elite units in the enemy composition, smarter AI i assure you that your powerful builds will see yourself palm sweating. but no... obsidian definition of difficulty is take away build options, flexibility, overnerf it and then maybe gradually adding back some "sweets" if folks complained too much.


Edited by Archaven, 09 June 2018 - 07:56 PM.

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#32
Tigranes

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1.1 changes to POTD were sorely needed and a good first step. But they need a lot more - the difficulty was just in a totally miserable state at release in a number of ways.

 

What bothers me is that so many of the systemic issues were identically problematic in POE1. In both P1 & Deadfire, you gain levels too fast, and because levels give you so much accuracy/defences, you start mowing through many enemies. At least P1 had landmark moments like the dragons to look forward to, and White March also did a lot to provide meaningful higher level challenges. Deadfire doesn't.

 

For people talking about Gorecci Street and Port Maje, 1.1 provides a decent challenge at early levels, just like P1 did at Temple of Eothas, for example. But once you get to ~lv12 where you have some decent gear and the key abilities, it's over.

 

For people saying 'how hard should it be?' POTD should have seasoned RPG players using a full party and the full range of resources available to them - without cheesing, kiting, cheating, etc. For everyone else who does not enjoy that, there are four other difficulty levels, no problem.

 

I don't expect Obsidian to spend huge resources on complex solutions for POTD, though; that only serves a tiny fraction of their player base, so let's be realistic. But it would sure be nice if you could find enemies that actually use higher level spells/abilities against you, more enemies with hard immunities, more enemies that are actually designed for level 15+ parties.


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#33
PizzaSHARK

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1.1 changes to POTD were sorely needed and a good first step. But they need a lot more - the difficulty was just in a totally miserable state at release in a number of ways.

 

What bothers me is that so many of the systemic issues were identically problematic in POE1. In both P1 & Deadfire, you gain levels too fast, and because levels give you so much accuracy/defences, you start mowing through many enemies. At least P1 had landmark moments like the dragons to look forward to, and White March also did a lot to provide meaningful higher level challenges. Deadfire doesn't.

 

For people talking about Gorecci Street and Port Maje, 1.1 provides a decent challenge at early levels, just like P1 did at Temple of Eothas, for example. But once you get to ~lv12 where you have some decent gear and the key abilities, it's over.

 

For people saying 'how hard should it be?' POTD should have seasoned RPG players using a full party and the full range of resources available to them - without cheesing, kiting, cheating, etc. For everyone else who does not enjoy that, there are four other difficulty levels, no problem.

 

I don't expect Obsidian to spend huge resources on complex solutions for POTD, though; that only serves a tiny fraction of their player base, so let's be realistic. But it would sure be nice if you could find enemies that actually use higher level spells/abilities against you, more enemies with hard immunities, more enemies that are actually designed for level 15+ parties.

 

It seems to be an Obsidian thing.  Pillars was undeniably hardest in the early stages of the game, Tyranny peaked at the end of Act 1 and was downhill from there, and Deadfire is little different.  Maybe the majority of their effort is on the early stages of the game?



#34
Myztik

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What type of character can solo 8 enemies

You don't have to fight them all at once. As for elaborating, there's more text to thread than the thread title.

 

How do you not fight them all at once?


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#35
OrpheusM

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What type of character can solo 8 enemies

You don't have to fight them all at once. As for elaborating, there's more text to thread than the thread title.

 

 

 

I see. What about the drake fight at the digsite entrance, can you solo that also? Or you found that easy with 3 player party at lvl 2-5 in PotD and all upwards scaling?

 

Not being passive aggressive btw, genuinely interested because people talk like you have to barely try when it takes me hours of reloading only to end up disabling scaling in the end.


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#36
dunehunter

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The enemies are tougher in new patch, but they still cannot do enough damage to kill your tank. The final boss is a good example of this.



#37
Gregorovitch

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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.

 

 

I do not want to be dismissive of your view on this. Many people share it and express it I know. I recall a line from the Steam board that sums it up nicely for me:

"Casting spells is a lot more fun thatn hoarding them"

I accept that this arguement is not easily dismissed.

What I do think though is those who hold this view also believe that the dificulty problems with this game and Tyranny can be fixed by better balancing, better AI etc. They are unwilling to accept that this mayu not be so and that relaxing resting mechanics and shifting to per-encounter casting may intrinsically/automatically reduce difficulty and challenge or make the games feel more one dimesional and bland. This unwillingness tends to be aspirtational rather than based on evidence or analysis. The evidnece suggests otherwise.
 

 

I wouldn't say a full party should be necessary for the 0.01% of hardest-core gamers, but demanding that the very hardest difficulty cater to your wish to be able to finish with a very harsh, self imposed handicap that goes against the original premise of the game, is more than a tad petulant (Not saying this is necessarily so in your case but there were a few of these in POE1).

 

You are absolutely correct that most of the comment against per-encounter etc comes from a relatively small group of elite players. It's not 0.01%, it's about 1-2% based on, for example, the number of players getting a PotD achievement on PoE1.

 

However this is not the whole story:

 

1. The opinions of these elite players have a major impact on the general climate of opinion about a game.

2. Part of the reason why is that many, many players aspire to greater things and want to play harder games better

3. Games that have the "hard as nails" tag do far better than those with the "dumbed down" tag. The latter is a kiss of death.

 

The exception to this are "pretty" games like Skyrim. But as far as isomestric cRPGs and 4X/strategy games go, this genenerally holds.

 

In summary, what people are doing is choosing games that are generally held to be "good" by elite players, which usually means (in the opinion of these elite players) they have "depth" and "challenge". The "Full Monty". The "Real Deal". That's what people want.

 

Examples of this effect are legion: Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis 4, Dark Souls, Cuphead, DOS1/2, Pillars of Eternity, Factorio, Rimworld. These are all million sellers.

 

In contrast Wargaming made a collosal error of judgement with the new Masters of Orion reboot. Thewy thought they could afford to piss off the small but fanatical hard core MoO2 fanbase in persuit of a mass market of new 4X players wating a lighter more glitzy experience. They thought wrong.

 

This effect applies mostly to more "cerebral" genres like cRPG, 4X/strategy, roguelike and platforming. IMO it is why Tyranny didn't make the million seller lists and why Deadfire might not make it either. 


Edited by Gregorovitch, 10 June 2018 - 02:30 AM.

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#38
Dorftek

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What type of character can solo 8 enemies

You don't have to fight them all at once. As for elaborating, there's more text to thread than the thread title.


I see. What about the drake fight at the digsite entrance, can you solo that also? Or you found that easy with 3 player party at lvl 2-5 in PotD and all upwards scaling?

Not being passive aggressive btw, genuinely interested because people talk like you have to barely try when it takes me hours of reloading only to end up disabling scaling in the end.

I cleared the digsite solo on potd upscaled 1.1 on a lvl 4 Ascendant/Ghostheart. I used sparkcrackers near a gunpowder barrel and then used my necklace of fireballs on it, then I retreated back towards the stairs where there is a barrel right next to the stairs wich creates a chokepoint only allowing the enemies to attack 1 by 1, my ghost pet tanked there while I was shooting and charming their backlines. Took me one reload.

If the AI would have known how to run around the barrel into my flank they would have crushed me. But like I said before, the AI is just simply too dumb
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#39
araj123

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Calling BG2 difficult ... alright

 

If you find the game too easy why dont you run with a smaller party like 2 man? Or even solo? Or do you want to have a difficulty that challenges your 5 man mercenary grp that is optimised to infinity and back? Well then ...



#40
Shadenuat

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How do you not fight them all at once?

I'm surprised people ask really, since I realised it during my first playthrough - you enter locations from the side of which you travel on main map. So if you go to darcosi street from north, you end up in ambush against 8; if you go from location of the port, you end up at the south of location and then stealth & divide&counter are your friends, as well as water that hobbles everyone, not just you. You can ambush dudes near well first without aggroing mage lady and her goons.

 

The drake, it is a difficult fight, but that's why I pointed out that this drake is the most memorable part of new difficulty - just like in Tyranny with prologue fight, nothing really comes closer to it later, because you're underequipped, have no abilities etc.

 

It's a good fight. I pointed exactly that it's a good fight. But it's only 1 fight. And low levels were already hard. It's after levels 8-12 things begin to go back to your unpatched routine.

 

And a random high level enemy added to some encounters (like one redskull flame bat added to bunch of drakes in Ashen Maw), is your example of designer getting a task and that's what he came up with in a patch. That's not a good encounter design, it doesn't change anything.


Edited by Shadenuat, 10 June 2018 - 04:59 AM.






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