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Difficulty choices question


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#1
SweetMagooMagoodle

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In middle of my first play through and enjoying it.  Veteran, upscale critical path shifter/nalpazca.  At level 8 and finally left Nekata, which was surprisingly challenging ... definitely harder than I expected based on months of observing forum discussion. Though I am assuming as I get higher in level and go exploring off the critical path things will be much easier. 

 

Anyway, a somewhat random question part one ..

which do you think would provide the bigger challenge, 

a) Classic, upscale all? Or

b) Veteran  not up-scaled?

 

part two
 

same question but for:

a) Veteran upscale all? Or

b) PotD not up-scaled?

 

Thanks

 

 

Just so you know where I am coming from I like a challenge but I dont like to be frustrated.  I am a good strategist but not a great one -- played these games (eg infinity engine, Nerverwinter, etc)  for twenty years and therefore know my way around an RPG. Played PoE 1 maybe 6 times.  but I also have limited play time so reloading boss fights more than  twice just becomes a headache. I am happy with my Veteran Upscale Critical for now, but already wondering what will be optimal for me down the road.  

 Thanks!

 



#2
thelee

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you propose kind of a moving target of a question.

 

a) in both scenarios will provide more of a challenge if you're not doing quests as soon as you are appropriate for them. eventually you will out-level most of the content in the game and trivialize anything without upscaling, so the mid-late game challenge drops off very quickly without upscaling.

 

it sounds like to me veteran with upscaling is probably your best target. the early game is frequently considered the hardest because you have the fewest options; if you got through that and enjoyed the challenge I think the rest of the game will be OK (at the very least you can do a lot of ship bounties and level up if you need), though be warned that some of the DLC can be pretty darn hard compared to the base game.


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#3
SweetMagooMagoodle

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you propose kind of a moving target of a question.

 

a) in both scenarios will provide more of a challenge if you're not doing quests as soon as you are appropriate for them. eventually you will out-level most of the content in the game and trivialize anything without upscaling, so the mid-late game challenge drops off very quickly without upscaling.

 

it sounds like to me veteran with upscaling is probably your best target. the early game is frequently considered the hardest because you have the fewest options; if you got through that and enjoyed the challenge I think the rest of the game will be OK (at the very least you can do a lot of ship bounties and level up if you need), though be warned that some of the DLC can be pretty darn hard compared to the base game.

Thanks.  I guess I need to finish my first play through to get a feel of the whole game including DLC before posing such a question.  I was really just wondering out loud  and it comes down to how much of a difference up scaling really makes... but as I am only level 8 on first play through  I have a ways to go to figure it out for myself. 

 

My sweet spot is when I am powerful enough that most encounters are fairly easy and then I get lazy and get wiped out because some new, unexpected foe crossed my path that  requires me me to refocus and rethink my approaches... until again, I am just cruising along until, bam, something unexpected takes me out.  That s why BG and BG2 worked so well for me.  By and large it was fun and not too challenging.  Until those moments when it was... how did that scrawny mindflayer just kick my party's ass. What new devilry is this!?!?   How'd that happen?  --  Or should I say "vithrack"   : )



#4
thelee

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you propose kind of a moving target of a question.

 

a) in both scenarios will provide more of a challenge if you're not doing quests as soon as you are appropriate for them. eventually you will out-level most of the content in the game and trivialize anything without upscaling, so the mid-late game challenge drops off very quickly without upscaling.

 

it sounds like to me veteran with upscaling is probably your best target. the early game is frequently considered the hardest because you have the fewest options; if you got through that and enjoyed the challenge I think the rest of the game will be OK (at the very least you can do a lot of ship bounties and level up if you need), though be warned that some of the DLC can be pretty darn hard compared to the base game.

Thanks.  I guess I need to finish my first play through to get a feel of the whole game including DLC before posing such a question.  I was really just wondering out loud  and it comes down to how much of a difference up scaling really makes... but as I am only level 8 on first play through  I have a ways to go to figure it out for myself. 

 

My sweet spot is when I am powerful enough that most encounters are fairly easy and then I get lazy and get wiped out because some new, unexpected foe crossed my path that  requires me me to refocus and rethink my approaches... until again, I am just cruising along until, bam, something unexpected takes me out.  That s why BG and BG2 worked so well for me.  By and large it was fun and not too challenging.  Until those moments when it was... how did that scrawny mindflayer just kick my party's ass. What new devilry is this!?!?   How'd that happen?  --  Or should I say "vithrack"   : )

 

 

From playing PotD+upscaling+challenges and can tell you that upscaling makes a pretty big difference in challenge level. The way it's implemented AFAICT, encounters have a base level set to them, and that's what gets adjusted (a subtle difference) so in some encounters it becomes hard to overlevel enemies (in some cases impossible). So without upscaling, I could fight an encounter at level 8 that has a 3-skull enemy in it (e.g. level 11). If I came back at level 11 that 3-skull enemy would be a normal enemy. With upscaling enabled, if I came back at level 11 that 3-skull enemy would still be a 3-skull enemy. (in other words, upscaling doesn't just help enemies catch up to your level, it helps them stay above your level).


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#5
xzar_monty

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Apparently, though, with upscaling enabled, the journal pointers indicating quest difficulty (i.e. red and white skulls) tend to disappear or at least stop working properly, which is a major pain, in my view. I haven't had any skulls in my journal since approx. level 8, although some of the bounties, for instance, are still nearly impossible (red skull enemies when I go out and meet them).

 

I'm playing veteran with upscaling enabled. I used to have the skulls in my journal, but only early in the game.



#6
thelee

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Apparently, though, with upscaling enabled, the journal pointers indicating quest difficulty (i.e. red and white skulls) tend to disappear or at least stop working properly, which is a major pain, in my view. I haven't had any skulls in my journal since approx. level 8, although some of the bounties, for instance, are still nearly impossible (red skull enemies when I go out and meet them).

 

I'm playing veteran with upscaling enabled. I used to have the skulls in my journal, but only early in the game.

 

skull indicators for quest difficulty still "work" with upscaling enabled (it used to not work at all some patches ago). it can get a bit weird if your mainchar levels up but you haven't leveled them up yet, because encounters scale on your "inherent" level, whether or not you've actually leveled your character up yet. so if your mainchar levels up but you haven't had a chance to click through their character screen yet, you might find a lot of quests suddenly have a skull next to them, because they've all just scaled up a level to match your "inherent" level, but the skull indicator is based on your "actual" level.

 

I put the "work" in quotes though because at least for PotD+upscaling the difficulty has gotten so amped up over time that I find most of the quest difficulty markers pointless. For example, theoretically I could start Beast of Winter at level 12 with no problem ("success is assured"), but in reality unless I have really powergamed party and don't mind lots of hair-pulling I don't start until level 14, two whole levels after all the skulls go away. Same thing with the Old City area and Yser's Tomb, I don't start them until I'm at least one level higher than the "target" quest level. I think you're finding something similar on veteran difficulty.

 

Also: just because the quest is at your target level doesn't exclude the possibility that you'll fight individual enemies or bosses who have skulls.


Edited by thelee, 08 January 2019 - 12:35 PM.


#7
msyoung

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The mega bosses will always be 3 skull monsters and whatever fighting method you used till meeting one won't work. You will need to devise a new strategy.



#8
Wormerine

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At level 8 you will not encounter XP creep yet. However, the base game has been rebalanced couple times since I last played it so it is quite possible that it is at much better state. I found DLCs on veteran just right, and I am a bit scared how I will handle them with my PotD 2nd character, even though I found base game to be quite unchallenging. However, I still think Deadfire is a bit more consistant that PoE1 was, though before the addition of Megabosses it didn't have proper late game challenges like Adra Dragon. 



#9
thelee

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At level 8 you will not encounter XP creep yet. However, the base game has been rebalanced couple times since I last played it so it is quite possible that it is at much better state. I found DLCs on veteran just right, and I am a bit scared how I will handle them with my PotD 2nd character, even though I found base game to be quite unchallenging. However, I still think Deadfire is a bit more consistant that PoE1 was, though before the addition of Megabosses it didn't have proper late game challenges like Adra Dragon. 

 

When was the last time you played? I was in the camp a long time ago (post Port Maje rebalance) that though the game was fine up to level 12-13 and dropped off after that because it needed more mid-late game encounters not necessarily because of any scaling problems, and now I have close to zero complaints about difficulty progression. Especially with the option to add in Magran's Fires. (Galawain's can be a doozy... whew, rethink all your strategies when you come across a map full of Unstoppable (no affliction, no interrupt) powerful beasts).


Edited by thelee, 08 January 2019 - 03:10 PM.

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#10
dukeisaac

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For me, POTD with crit path upscaling seems to be a good difficulty. I also added Woedica's challenge for extra joy. Most fights are balanced and every now and then I need to use all of my party's tricks and abilities to survive an encounter. I often get wiped and am forced to rethink my strategy.

 

The DLCs in particular have been challenging in this aspect... I must have restarted the Burning Bridge like 10 times, at lvl 16.

 

As for the base game, the difficulty is also pretty good. Overall, I'm liking the challenge. The only bore was fighting Concelhaut, which took almost 15 minutes because of his high defenses and my lack of resting beforehand.



#11
Purudaya

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So here's how scaling supposedly works: every encounter has a base level that can be scaled by a maximum of -4/+4 levels to match where the character is currently at. With upscaling only on, a level 8 encounter reached by a level 14 party will scale up to level 12, etc. So it's still very possible to be overleveled for certain encounters by the time you reach 16-20, even on PotD (Old City is a classic example - it's very challenging at level 8 but a total cakewalk at around level 12+). Also note that, when changing difficulty scaling mid-game, the changes will only affect areas you haven't visited yet.

 

I really wish quests would just tooltip a suggested level (or even better, "base level") rather than depending on the unreliable skull metric. 


Edited by Purudaya, 08 January 2019 - 04:49 PM.

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#12
Wormerine

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When was the last time you played? I was in the camp a long time ago (post Port Maje rebalance) that though the game was fine up to level 12-13 and dropped off after that because it needed more mid-late game encounters not necessarily because of any scaling problems, and now I have close to zero complaints about difficulty progression. Especially with the option to add in Magran's Fires. (Galawain's can be a doozy... whew, rethink all your strategies when you come across a map full of Unstoppable (no affliction, no interrupt) powerful beasts).

Quite a long time ago. I started my 2nd playthrough after one of the early major PotD rebalances, and there have been several released after that. 



#13
xzar_monty

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Apparently, though, with upscaling enabled, the journal pointers indicating quest difficulty (i.e. red and white skulls) tend to disappear or at least stop working properly, which is a major pain, in my view. I haven't had any skulls in my journal since approx. level 8, although some of the bounties, for instance, are still nearly impossible (red skull enemies when I go out and meet them).

 

I'm playing veteran with upscaling enabled. I used to have the skulls in my journal, but only early in the game.

 

skull indicators for quest difficulty still "work" with upscaling enabled (it used to not work at all some patches ago). it can get a bit weird if your mainchar levels up but you haven't leveled them up yet, because encounters scale on your "inherent" level, whether or not you've actually leveled your character up yet. so if your mainchar levels up but you haven't had a chance to click through their character screen yet, you might find a lot of quests suddenly have a skull next to them, because they've all just scaled up a level to match your "inherent" level, but the skull indicator is based on your "actual" level.

 

 

So, if they do "work", why haven't I had any skulls in my journal since, like, level 8? I remember in my last attempt at a playthrough, before 4.0, when I got the third Eothas quest (He Waits in Fire), it was three red skulls. This time it was nothing. My level was the same, or if there was a difference, it was one level.

 

Also, Beast of Winter has been a no-skulls quest for quite some time, but when I actually sailed to Harbinger's Watch a while back, the location was marked with three red skulls.

 

My sense is that it does work, except in the journal, where the display is just non-functional.



#14
thelee

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Apparently, though, with upscaling enabled, the journal pointers indicating quest difficulty (i.e. red and white skulls) tend to disappear or at least stop working properly, which is a major pain, in my view. I haven't had any skulls in my journal since approx. level 8, although some of the bounties, for instance, are still nearly impossible (red skull enemies when I go out and meet them).

 

I'm playing veteran with upscaling enabled. I used to have the skulls in my journal, but only early in the game.

 

skull indicators for quest difficulty still "work" with upscaling enabled (it used to not work at all some patches ago). it can get a bit weird if your mainchar levels up but you haven't leveled them up yet, because encounters scale on your "inherent" level, whether or not you've actually leveled your character up yet. so if your mainchar levels up but you haven't had a chance to click through their character screen yet, you might find a lot of quests suddenly have a skull next to them, because they've all just scaled up a level to match your "inherent" level, but the skull indicator is based on your "actual" level.

 

 

So, if they do "work", why haven't I had any skulls in my journal since, like, level 8? I remember in my last attempt at a playthrough, before 4.0, when I got the third Eothas quest (He Waits in Fire), it was three red skulls. This time it was nothing. My level was the same, or if there was a difference, it was one level.

 

Also, Beast of Winter has been a no-skulls quest for quite some time, but when I actually sailed to Harbinger's Watch a while back, the location was marked with three red skulls.

 

My sense is that it does work, except in the journal, where the display is just non-functional.

 

 

I'll have to pay attention the next time I run a party. I started a run with 4.0 and could swear that I saw skull markers for Beast of Winter quest and the series of bounties you get for killing Katrenn and the Dunnage ogre, but I'm at level 15 now so I'm not expecting to see many skulls anymore.



#15
thelee

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I really wish quests would just tooltip a suggested level (or even better, "base level") rather than depending on the unreliable skull metric. 

 

I actually ended up bookmarking this thread a long time ago until I played the game enough where I internalized it: https://forums.obsid...n-thread/page-3

 

half-way down the page there's a table showing the "target level" for quests, and it's way more useful than skulls/no skulls. (not all no-skull quests are alike on PotD).


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