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Difficulty after 1.1 - Game is still too easy

Balance PoTD

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#61
ThacoBell

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Um, its NOT all about combat. Obsidian deliberatly reduced the amount of combat in this game compared to Pillars1 and then went so far as to include FAR more options for avoiding combat. People are complaining about not getting Dark Souls level of "difficulty" in a game that has been almost entirely tuned around story, character interaction, world interaction, and roleplaying.

Sorry dude, but this statement is laughable. PoE2 has quite a lot of encounters where you talk to person and end up fighting that person anyway, most of content is about party adventure and dungeons, and it's character system has literally only 2 skills to level up, with skills not affecting story much in any way. Deus Ex 1 has more roleplaying, player agency and endings than PoE2 and it's built on an engine of 1st person shooter.

 

But the whole point of having 5 difficulty settings

I still can't think up any reasons why you need whole 5 difficulty settings in your game btw. In any game.

 

Well no. Combat was measurably reduced between Pillars 1 and Deadfire. Conversly, ways to avoid combat (through dialogue, class choice, etc.) as well as ways the world cahnges to yuro character were increased, and quite dramatically. THere is quite a lot of evidence that character interaction and story were given precedence over combat. Thats the main focus of ROLEplayinggames as well. Deadfire is not a hack and slash. That's more the realm of Diablo or Dark Souls.



#62
Tigranes

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You realise getting rid of trash mobs and focusing on better encounter design doesn't mean the game isn't combat-focused, right?

 

And you realise there's a whole world of RPGs between Diablo and Planescape: Torment, and the enduring 20-year allure of, for instance, BG2 was that it was pretty good at supporting combat-oriented, story-oriented, mix&match playthroughs?

 

It's OK if you don't care so much for combat.



#63
Mazama

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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.

 

It isn't as difficult as you would think, because you level up ridiculously fast when solo. My solo character reached level 20 before I completed half of quests available. And the game's difficulty is heavily front loaded. Once you're past the early game the difficulty melts away, and you'll still breeze through the game at high levels.



#64
Shadenuat

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Yeah, by the way, I would actually recommend playing party of 5. What is the penanlty to xp you get, 5% for every extra char or something? I don't remember how it worked in PoE1.

 

Having more low level characters is harder than having fewer higher level characters in PoE.

 

It's OK if you don't care so much for combat.

NO ITS NOT OKAY :aiee:


Edited by Shadenuat, 10 June 2018 - 02:01 PM.


#65
Wormerine

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I wonder if the difficulty issue is tied to the "per-encounter" change. It's difficult to design a tactics/strategy game, in which player and computer play on same rules, which provide a decent challenge. Good PvE games I can't think of are highly asymmetrical. This "imbalance" was to some extend provided by "per-rest" mechanic, as while enemies could cast whatever spells they could, player was encouraged to pull back. That is also why "rest-spamming" was an issue - using skills at your disposals without restrain would overwhelm the enemy making it for an easy way to push through fights without mastering the system. 

The question is then: how to make fights difficult? Seems like there isn't much to play with now, except of raising stats to give enemies an unfair advantage, which can be not too fun.



#66
Elb

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I saved just after the lava dragon prepatch (PoTD). Before the patch I plowed right through the dragon, fight was laughably easy, no potions, a few buffs out of habit, killed it with auto attacks. Post patch I finally beat it after multiple potions per character, exhausting all spells and abilities and still died to the trash that was left. It was the first time in the game that I had to pay attention to the abilities that the enemy was using to react spatially. Definite increase in difficulty.

Something that is sorely missing is the variety of gear it take to outfit all of your characters with saving throw gear. It's almost as if they forgot it from the loot table. This gear should probably be the most prevalent in the game as it usually goes in several slots and it takes a huge variety to fit it in on all your characters. In very tough fights this is an item that ends up being crucial (I usually play a melee heavy party) and there are very few ways to really pump up your saving throws in this game.

#67
Tigranes

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It's a number of things. You give players an open world experience where they can pick and choose their fights, you give them zero attrition where any encounter can be faced at full strength, you give too many ways to buff up the party from pets to food to drugs to rest bonuses to Empower etc., and then you also have enemies that basically plateau after ~lv12 and only scale up in a limited way, and you also generously dole out accuracy/defences per level.

 

None of those things are awful in and of themselves, but they exert remarkable 'synergy'. Hence you walk around, level 16, with plenty of quests still to do, and your rogue crits & over-pens named bosses because they're stlil running around with 90 deflection after being upscaled.

 

This 'bad synergy' can't really be broken up post-release, because all of those things are pretty major design decisions. All they can really do now is tone down XP gain, buff enemies a bit, and so on.


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#68
AeonsLegend

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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.

A game is considere too easy if you select normal mode and have the AI win the game for you. Stating it becomes really hard on the hardest difficulty mode is good, but that doesn't mean the game itself is hard. The fact that you have to select level scaling to prevent you from falling asleep during encounters on veteran mode is just dumb.

 

What? That's the whole point of the setting

 

It's a setting that was made necessary because of how the game is made. The fact that it requires a setting such as this proves that the levelling system with this open world setting is not optimally implemented.



#69
JiggleFloyd

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I think the early game is much more difficult than it was. I am finding it challenging and not to the point of steamroll. I have yet to die but I came close a few times. My guess is that I'll begin to steamroll once I hit 12 or something, but it's better than it was, they're making progress.

 

I think that the game will be better if they fine tune all encounters, and like you mentioned, add variety of defenses and enemy types to the encounters so a one-size fits all method never works really well. I think more monsters with immunity will also be helpful.

 

An improved AI would be nice but it's easier said than done.

 

Also, we really can't expect devs to balance PotD based on the ultra elite power gamers have played 10 playthroughs of PotD and plan to do the same for Deadfire. Mods should try to fill in the gaps to a degree. If it's too easy then play with a smaller party or put your own limitations on the game, such as never using empower, or putting resting limits on yourself.



#70
Ichthyic

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I wonder if the difficulty issue is tied to the "per-encounter" change. It's difficult to design a tactics/strategy game, in which player and computer play on same rules, which provide a decent challenge. Good PvE games I can't think of are highly asymmetrical. This "imbalance" was to some extend provided by "per-rest" mechanic, as while enemies could cast whatever spells they could, player was encouraged to pull back. That is also why "rest-spamming" was an issue - using skills at your disposals without restrain would overwhelm the enemy making it for an easy way to push through fights without mastering the system. 

The question is then: how to make fights difficult? Seems like there isn't much to play with now, except of raising stats to give enemies an unfair advantage, which can be not too fun.

I liked the way they ramped up fight difficulty in BG2.

they gave everyone, including enemies, the ability to set combination spells that trigger instantly on conditions.

like... iron skin, spell reflection, and mirror image that are cast instantly on combat start, for example.

that made a lot of the fights much more interesting, and you had to plan ahead to deal with tough defenses by using counters like ruby ray, etc.

so, at higher difficulty levels in PoE2, have the enemy ai be able to instant cast some defensive spells or abilities at the start of combat, and/or when certain conditions are met, like 50% health, immobilized, etc.

again, the scripting for this kind of thing is already built into the game... the ai just doesn't do well using it.

 


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#71
BalkothTheFeared

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I wonder if the difficulty issue is tied to the "per-encounter" change. It's difficult to design a tactics/strategy game, in which player and computer play on same rules, which provide a decent challenge. Good PvE games I can't think of are highly asymmetrical. This "imbalance" was to some extend provided by "per-rest" mechanic, as while enemies could cast whatever spells they could, player was encouraged to pull back. That is also why "rest-spamming" was an issue - using skills at your disposals without restrain would overwhelm the enemy making it for an easy way to push through fights without mastering the system. 

The question is then: how to make fights difficult? Seems like there isn't much to play with now, except of raising stats to give enemies an unfair advantage, which can be not too fun.

I liked the way they ramped up fight difficulty in BG2.

they gave everyone, including enemies, the ability to set combination spells that trigger instantly on conditions.

like... iron skin, spell reflection, and mirror image that are cast instantly on combat start, for example.

that made a lot of the fights much more interesting, and you had to plan ahead to deal with tough defenses by using counters like ruby ray, etc.

so, at higher difficulty levels in PoE2, have the enemy ai be able to instant cast some defensive spells or abilities at the start of combat, and/or when certain conditions are met, like 50% health, immobilized, etc.

again, the scripting for this kind of thing is already built into the game... the ai just doesn't do well using it.

 

 

 

Would need to get rid of Arcane Dampener as well. Otherwise it's just nullified right away.



#72
misterjimmy

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I think they nerfed concelhaut.
 
POE1
 
MIG: 24
CON: 18
DEX: 14
PER: 18
INT: 26
RES: 22
 
POE2
 
MIG:15
CON:18
DEX:8
PER:18
INT:21
RES:14
 
The funny thing is Xaurip base int 22.

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#73
Lokithecat

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They balanced PoE 1 for solo players as well, otherwise there would no TCS or FCS runs possible. So they should do that for this game as well.

 

 

No they didn't.  People just found ways to avoid / cheese encounters, until high enough level to handle them, and Summons (Through equipment) were impressively unbalanced.

 

Saying it was balanced with this in mind, is as silly as saying that they balanced PoE1 for solo, level 1, PoTD, since someone managed to figure out how to do that.

https://forums.obsid...solo-challenge/


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#74
dunehunter

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I think they nerfed concelhaut.
 
POE1
 
MIG: 24
CON: 18
DEX: 14
PER: 18
INT: 26
RES: 22
 
POE2
 
MIG:15
CON:18
DEX:8
PER:18
INT:21
RES:14
 
The funny thing is Xaurip base int 22.

 

 

I can understand the 'Body Stats' is inconsistent because Concelhaut changes his body, but why the hell his 'Mind Stats' is also reduced? And lower than Xaurip yes, that's an insult basically...



#75
PizzaSHARK

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Yeah, you don't really lose anything for doing stupid things in combat. As the system goes now, you can use party to gather mobs and fireball them all together with mobs, have 1 dude left standing and win, no problem. It's actually a pretty degenerate gameplay. Only thing that fixes it is Grog, by the way. Which is pretty funny.

 

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

I actually find all this deal "difficulty was not a priority" bizarre. You have a party based game where most of content is about combat, and difficulty was "not a priority". If combat difficulty was not a priority, then what was? What is even the point of the game then? It's main gameplay is combat. It's not a project like Numenera where combat, indeed, might not have been a priority.

Um, its NOT all about combat. Obsidian deliberatly reduced the amount of combat in this game compared to Pillars1 and then went so far as to include FAR more options for avoiding combat. People are complaining about not getting Dark Souls level of "difficulty" in a game that has been almost entirely tuned around story, character interaction, world interaction, and roleplaying.

 

 

 

Deadfire is quite clearly combat-focused, though less so than Pillars.  The default solution to almost every encounter is "fight it."  You CAN talk your way out of SOME encounters, but very few.  Almost all of the side content is focused on combat - every single bounty is combat.  All of the islands you can explore and name?  You have to clear some little dungeon or scripted event that - you guessed it - involves combat.  Everything involving the ship?  Fight ****, yo.

 

Oh, sure, we have discrete SECONDARY skills that allow us to diplomancy our way through SOME encounters... but it's piss poor compared to what's on offer in many other CRPGs, let alone the tabletop systems they were all built using or inspired by.  Even ****ing Pathfinder, RAW, has better diplomancy options than Deadfire does...

 

 

 

 

I wonder if the difficulty issue is tied to the "per-encounter" change. It's difficult to design a tactics/strategy game, in which player and computer play on same rules, which provide a decent challenge. Good PvE games I can't think of are highly asymmetrical. This "imbalance" was to some extend provided by "per-rest" mechanic, as while enemies could cast whatever spells they could, player was encouraged to pull back. That is also why "rest-spamming" was an issue - using skills at your disposals without restrain would overwhelm the enemy making it for an easy way to push through fights without mastering the system. 

The question is then: how to make fights difficult? Seems like there isn't much to play with now, except of raising stats to give enemies an unfair advantage, which can be not too fun.

I liked the way they ramped up fight difficulty in BG2.

they gave everyone, including enemies, the ability to set combination spells that trigger instantly on conditions.

like... iron skin, spell reflection, and mirror image that are cast instantly on combat start, for example.

that made a lot of the fights much more interesting, and you had to plan ahead to deal with tough defenses by using counters like ruby ray, etc.

so, at higher difficulty levels in PoE2, have the enemy ai be able to instant cast some defensive spells or abilities at the start of combat, and/or when certain conditions are met, like 50% health, immobilized, etc.

again, the scripting for this kind of thing is already built into the game... the ai just doesn't do well using it.

 

This is still perfectly doable if we let the computer cheat - and it HAS to cheat, because no AI is going to be a match for human powergamers and we don't have a human DM slapping them on the wrist or adjusting the dungeon on the fly to prevent some gimmick or playstyle from breaking the game.  SCS was well known for creating illegal Contigencies and Spell Triggers just so that players couldn't faceroll encounters in the opening rounds, and even the Improved Tougher mods usually let the game cheat a little just to deal with how overpowered players were by that point.

 

Obsidian have painted themselves into a corner with systems design here, and I don't see a "legitimate" way out of it unless they want to add in multiplayer with a human DM or something.  I don't think "that's unrealistic!" is a valid complaint for PotD, so just go nuts.  We have quicksave, so who cares if an encounter is designed such that the surprises will PROBABLY TPK the first time the player sees them?



#76
thelee

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I thought people were reporting that the game is difficult enough now in POTD with scaling turned on? I'm finding it pretty challenging. The op says it's all about leveling being too quick and accuracy, but if the enemies are scaling along with you, surely that makes up for it?

 

So far this is my experience. Not sure what other people are doing, but I've been playing with level scaling: all, up only, and 1.1 PotD is a decent challenge. I don't know exactly how level scaling in potd works, but even for areas and quests that themselves have no skull indicators, I may end up fighting enemies that are multi-skulled and they certainly feel it.

 

In the beta 1.1 thread, Camonge made this observation about the Engwithan Digsite fight:

 

 

About Boars and skulls: I just redone the area (potd, scaling upwards only). Entered engwith ruins at lvl 3: boars had 2 skulls, defs 52 65 41 46. Drakes 1 skull, defs 53 65 52 36. Before fighting them, I went to the training area and reached level 4. Moving back to ruins main area, they gained skulls  :-)  one skull each and +6 to all defenses.

 

So it appears that maybe in PotD in an attempt to help keep the challenge up in level scaling, enemies actually scale more than your gain in levels, up to a certain limit. In the patch notes where they mention that level scaling for un-named enemies went from +-2 to +-4, I wonder if instead of meaning a bigger range of scaling this actually means a faster rate of scaling, so enemies gain or lose 2 levels for every 1 level you do. If this is the case, there is some sense to doing this, because level scaling in poe1 was really ineffective in keeping a challenge, since enemies, even if they got stronger, didn't gain any new abilities or better items so at 1:1 level scaling they still wouldn't keep up with the player's power. It would also explain why my level 19 party post-1.1 faced off with an Ukaizo fight that had three skulls, even though the quest itself is internally level 16; I wonder if the dragon got scaled up from level 16 to level 22, instead of just to level 19 (named enemies scale +-6)

 

But anyway, I have to wonder how much of my personal challenge is just that I'm not pursuing an "optimized" quest path. Ship-to-ship combat, for example, is really easy and doesn't scale at all with potd, so I could just level a bit more (and get more money/better gear) by just doing all the ship bounties and make the other quests a bit easier, whereas I've only done a couple. Because even if enemies gain more than 1 level per my level, they are still capped, and they don't gain any new abilities or items (which is where a good chunk of the power actually comes from).


Edited by thelee, 10 June 2018 - 11:00 PM.


#77
dunehunter

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In Baldur's Gate 2, the devs give enemy some undroppable gears, that's dramatically increase their power. Like an undroppable +5 longbow which shot dispeling/slaying arrows. These undroppable equipment is a smart and easy-to-implement method to increase enemy power. Don't need to code an extra monster template, just give some elite enemy some strong gears to make them special and powerful.

 

And the tactics mod make the 'cheat' even further, all mages are prebuffed before battle to prevent them from being killed by alpha-strikes. Some health lock to prevent instant death and etc. Even it's a cheat, it was very fun and challenging mod.


Edited by dunehunter, 10 June 2018 - 11:11 PM.

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#78
Takkik

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In Baldur's Gate 2, the devs give enemy some undroppable gears, that's dramatically increase their power. Like an undroppable +5 longbow which shot dispeling/slaying arrows. These undroppable equipment is a smart and easy-to-implement method to increase enemy power. Don't need to code an extra monster template, just give some elite enemy some strong gears to make them special and powerful.

 

And the tactics mod make the 'cheat' even further, all mages are prebuffed before battle to prevent them from being killed by alpha-strikes. Some health lock to prevent instant death and etc. Even it's a cheat, it was very fun and challenging mod.

 

Personnaly I hate undroppable gears. I prefer the you get what you see. The problem is when they nerf abilities and items, that nerf enemies too. But if enemies where smart enough they could use all the abilities at their disposal (I don't know if enemies use bombs, scrolls etc... could be a way to give them more power.) When you see the party AI, they need to design some specific group AI for each encounter (or template) with the same tool. Time consuming but it would give you the feeling of enemies using team tactics. You could create groups with a personnality.

 

About prebuff, that an issue with the spell system that could perhaps be fixed. You've already have the lifeguard spell you can use out of combat. They could design/redesign some spells that don't have a duration, can be casted out of combat and fire up with certain condition (blooded, hit etc...), they just need to make it these spells 'reserve' a spell slot that can't be recuperated until the spell is used/dispelled. So your casters and enemies caster could get some precast spells before combat start.



#79
evilcat

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I think that they should implement more radical level scaling as game progress.

 

Easier Port Maje is not big deal. Player has no gear, no abillities, no synergy yet. First island could be easy. Challenge is for late game.

But with levels player  gain: Legendary Gear, Build comes together, Party synergy, consumables

 

Maybe every 4 levels enemies should get bonus level.

Or each enemy level should grant a bit more health, acc, defense than normally.


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#80
dunehunter

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In Baldur's Gate 2, the devs give enemy some undroppable gears, that's dramatically increase their power. Like an undroppable +5 longbow which shot dispeling/slaying arrows. These undroppable equipment is a smart and easy-to-implement method to increase enemy power. Don't need to code an extra monster template, just give some elite enemy some strong gears to make them special and powerful.

 

And the tactics mod make the 'cheat' even further, all mages are prebuffed before battle to prevent them from being killed by alpha-strikes. Some health lock to prevent instant death and etc. Even it's a cheat, it was very fun and challenging mod.

 

Personnaly I hate undroppable gears. I prefer the you get what you see. The problem is when they nerf abilities and items, that nerf enemies too. But if enemies where smart enough they could use all the abilities at their disposal (I don't know if enemies use bombs, scrolls etc... could be a way to give them more power.) When you see the party AI, they need to design some specific group AI for each encounter (or template) with the same tool. Time consuming but it would give you the feeling of enemies using team tactics. You could create groups with a personnality.

 

About prebuff, that an issue with the spell system that could perhaps be fixed. You've already have the lifeguard spell you can use out of combat. They could design/redesign some spells that don't have a duration, can be casted out of combat and fire up with certain condition (blooded, hit etc...), they just need to make it these spells 'reserve' a spell slot that can't be recuperated until the spell is used/dispelled. So your casters and enemies caster could get some precast spells before combat start.

 

 

I mean yeah I agree with you, a good AI is better, but a smarter AI need a better AI programmer, which might be hard to get :)







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