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Struggling to enjoy the game - too easy or too hard


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I'm struggling to find a balanced level of difficulty in this game. I experience only 2 types of encounter:

 

1) My party engage and I dont even need to check what is going on, my basic AI stomp the enemies. Boring.

 

2) My party engage, everything I try is useless, "no penetretion" and little damage. After a LONG fight, I finally die. Boring.

 

I tried to swap between veteran and POTD difficulty, but the results are always the same. No penetration seems to be a big factor.

 

My actual setup at level 11 is:

Eder main tank sword and board

Pallegina herald off tank two hand or sword and board

Xoti priest main healer, pistol

Aloth damage

My character is a herald, dual wielding pistols ranged damage dealer (flames of devotion)

 

First boss in winter DLC area is ridicoulous.. i cant kill the him and he cant kill me.

 

 

Low level area is a stomp, high level is a wipe. Turning on/off the scaling does not change this at all. 

 

Any suggestion to make this game more enjoyble?

Edited by Echoe
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Do you have upward-only level scaling turned on before you start an encounter? That should help make the easier encounters more enjoyable, but only to a limited extent. The scaling will only increase the level of most generic enemies by +3, so if you are handling an area meant for a level 5 or so party, like some of the islands around Port Maje, it’s just going to be easy if you are level 11. If you start a new game, you can enable Galwain’s Challenge, which adds random new abilities to Beast-type enemies, which can help keep lower level encounters engaging. Regardless, most of Neketaka should still be within your level range at the moment, and the faction quests should also be fine.

 

As far as the BoW DLC, you are definitely under the minimum recommended level for that DLC, which is level 14. Apparently the recommended levels in the journal are bugged at the moment. Not that you can’t beat that area at your level, it’s just going to far more difficult than usual.

 

If you find that you do not have enough Pen during fights, make sure that you have upgraded the quality of your primary equipment. You should also check the AR for the enemy you are fighting, most enemies have two ARs that are a bit lower than the others, so you can switch to weapons that cause those types of damage. Modals can also help grant more Pen (stiletto, sword, estoc, warhammer), or lower the enemy’s armor (mace). Resting bonuses can grant additional Pen (Hot Razor Skewers for weapons, Crusted Swordfish for spells), there are tons of different abilities that can lower enemy AR, and Crits get bonus Pen if you just focus on substantially lowering enemy defenses. Abilities that deal Raw damage can also be used to mitigate high armor.

Edited by DozingDragon
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I tried to swap between veteran and POTD difficulty, but the results are always the same. No penetration seems to be a big factor.

 

Yeah it can be a bit demotivating seeing 'No penetration' or whatever half the time.

 

Have you considered actually switching out your weapons mid-fight to adapt to PEN/AR situations? Adding in effects that boost PEN or decrease enemy AR? (if all you use are pistols, you are definitely going to run into PEN problems, not to mention all the enemies with piercing immunity)

 

 

First boss in winter DLC area is ridicoulous.. i cant kill the him and he cant kill me.

 

the dragon (I assume you're talking about) can cast Llengrath's Safeguard, which will significantly boost its defenses and AR. It also can regenerate health via Concelhaut's Siphon. Solution: use things like Street Sweeper/Tranquilizing Shot/Arcane Dampener to strip it of its buff durations and use effects that can interrupt it before it can do things like its mega-powered concelhaut's siphon. Be smart and don't melee attack it while it has Cloak of Death active. (it is not that hard to build a PotD party that can basically perma-interrupt the dragon to death, even with stock Obsidian NPCs)

 

Playing on PotD especially requires engaging with some of the deeper and niche-for-lower-difficulties aspects of the games mechanics to play successfully, specifically concentration/interrupts, PEN/AR, and buff/debuff suppression/countering/stripping.

 

edit -

As far as the BoW DLC, you are definitely under the minimum recommended level for that DLC, which is level 14. Apparently the recommended levels in the journal are bugged at the moment. Not that you can’t beat that area at your level, it’s just going to far more difficult than usual.

Yeah I just noticed OP's party is level 11. You're going to have a bad time with that dragon (and that DLC) on PotD at level 11 without significant metagaming or prior experience, which it sounds like you don't have. Come back several levels higher. Even if you got past the dragon at level 11, I'm pretty sure the Bridge Ablaze section will rip you to shreds

thanks to all the deathblows-powered rogue archers who love to confounding blind your party members

 

 

I think the target level for BoW is actually level 12 (not 14), but on PotD the difficulty is amped up enough that I wouldn't recommend starting it at level 12 unless you are very min-maxed and metagamed up for the adventure -- i'm not sure party of just stock NPCs would cut it.

Edited by thelee
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Managing penetration is one of the key elements to success in a fight - that means using right weapons for the situation, abilities which buff player pen and/or decrease enemy Armor.

I must agree though that with addition of DLCs (which IMO are well balanced) Deadfire has some major difficulty spikes. I found DLCs on Veteran to be a perfect fit for me - I find PotD to be a bit too much of a slog - I can beat it so far, but I don’t find it hard enjoyable. Base game on PoTD on the other hand ranged from just right to easy.

Edited by Wormerine
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Are there character AI settings you can use to auto-swap to the optimum weapons? I haven't played with that much.

 

unless they changed something, nope. you can't even really use the AI settings to differentiate between different penetration situations, I think it just conditions on "light armor vs medium armor vs heavy armor" which is not really useful

Edited by thelee
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Looks like a low damage party. I would turn your main into something that can either focus enemies down quickly with very high damage abilities or that can handle AoE. You could also add a Druid or Cipher to the party (or both) to have a bit more CC and DoTs going on. Higher level abilities have incredible damage. A good disintegrate on an otherwise impossible to hit/damage enemy can take it down in a few ticks. Druids and Cipher both have the ability to deal good single target or AoE raw damage.

 

Veteran is a good difficulty level, but with all games that are built around stats it will make some fights really hard and arduous and some fights a walk in the park. I'd suggest turning level scalling on, upwards and for all enemies. PotD will make you cry in certain fights, especially if your party is not optimized.

 

Remember Ciphers don't ever run out of spells to cast. So in longer fights Ciphers are preferabele as casters over any other caster. I had a setup with 3 Ciphers going and those were pretty much able to deal with anything thrown at them. It wasn't easy, but at least I didn't run out of healing abilities halfway through the fight.

 

So when looking at fights vs your party there's a few stats that matter. Deflection is important to take note off. For instance Bekarna's Observatory has a few enemies that boast somewhere between 90-120 Deflection depending on buffs on Veteran difficulty. A party with low accuracy will have a hard time hitting enemies, making fights really long. You will run out of things to aid your party with to overcome the enemy. Even at equal level to the enemy it will still be tough or maybe even impossible depending on your party. 

The other point is what others have discussed already. That is penetration and Damage Reduction stats. So with the above combined you may run into fights where you can hit the enemy 10% of the time and only deal 1-4 damage every time. Those fights are impossible unless you have some other way to deal with them. Looking at your party, it has no real effective way of dealing with certain enemies that simply have better stats than you.

 

Having only 1 damage dealer may also make things very hard if that character is focussed down and killed, leaving you with a very tanky team that will just whittle down and slowly lose.

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Beast of Winter is recommended for level 14 parties. 

 

It sounds like your party could use a striker; maybe a rogue, barbarian, monk, or combination thereof? The sword-and-board tank and two-hander off tank probably aren't dealing enough DPS and the high reliance on firearms is going to give you PEN issues. Also, it sounds like you're relying on your melee characters for CC and your mage for damage - I'd suggest the opposite approach, especially for long boss fights. 

 

Finally, it's really important to use the right buffs and debuffs for the situation. If an enemy has regen or self-healing and is replenishing health faster than you can drain it, find a way to apply the weakened/enfeebled afflictions. An enemy causing high single-target DPS can be slowed down quickly by stunning and long term via blinding/hobbling. If your most effective character keeps dying, have Xoti cast Barring Death's Door and Salvation of Time once those abilities become available. There are some abilities - like gouging strike - that will continuously deal damage until combat ends, which can be a good way to outlast enemies with high armor/HP. Fights with a large amount of enemies can usually managed by locking weaker opponents with AoE Terrify, Stun, or Paralyze afflictions. Finally, make sure you rest with some "incredible" food if you need to: the bonus penetration/damage combined with weapon modals can make a huge difference.

Some good party options for PotD:

 

Single Target DPS: Dual-Wielding Streetfighter/Monk, Streetfighter/Berserker, Single Class Monk, Single Class Barbarian 

 

Tank: Rogue/Fighter Eder with Lord Darryn's Voulge, Mob Stance, and Unbending Trunk (just as good at tanking as a full fighter but with better damage options), Brawler Rekke (better as an off tank until duality of mortal presence/iron wheel are acquired), Herald Pallegina, or Crusader

 

Support: Priest/Monk Xoti (monk abilities increase casting speed and spell duration), Watershaper Takehu (Foe-only damage AoEs, Moonwell), or Sorcerer Fassina

 

CC: Pure Wizard Aloth (Chill Fog, Miasma of Dull Mindedness, Combusting Wounds, Enervating Terror, Gaze of Adragan, etc), Geomancer Maia with Shroud of the Phantasm (living illusions summons 5 duplicates wielding whatever arquebus she has equipped, recommend the Red Hand), or tactician/blood mage

 

Multi-Target DPS/Secondary CC: Barbarian/Cipher Serafen, Dual Mortar Streetfighter/Cipher, assassin/evoker

 

There are a variety of unique weapon, armor, and accessory pairings that can make some of these combinations really shine. You might want to check out YouTube for some examples - a few of them will be outdated due to patches, but most of the fundamentals will still apply.

Edited by Purudaya
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My actual setup at level 11 is:

Eder main tank sword and board
Pallegina herald off tank two hand or sword and board
Xoti priest main healer, pistol
Aloth damage
My character is a herald, dual wielding pistols ranged damage dealer (flames of devotion)

You don't have a damage dealer.

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OP, do you have the difficulty indicators (i.e. "skulls") on? In these encounters that you're unable to deal with, do your enemies have plenty of skulls?

 

I play on Veteran and I cannot really say the same; I seem to be able to do fine. However, there are encounters that are clearly way above me, but I won't even try those.

 

I agree that sometimes everything comes down to penetration, which seems a bit, well, simplistic. However, there ways of improving penetration through meals, proficiencies, and so on, even if you don't have good enough equipment.

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