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Just Right? (Difficulty that is)

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While that may be true to a degree, there are a lot of improvements possible without a complete systems overhaul, and certainly wouldn't need enemy classes to change for sure (but feel free to kill their infinite ability- and spell-use). The biggest hurdle to overcome would be Sawyeran hangups, like immunities, meaningful counters, arbitrary combat restrictions, counterspelling, etc.

I don't see much of a difference between changing those and a complete system overhaul: the biggest difference between the IE games and PoE is precisely that system of counters, immunities, etc. The fights in the former were partly a kind of puzzle: vampires required negative energy protection (or maybe a high level Cleric with Turn Undead), golems were best fought with enchanted weapons (or, lacking those, the Melf's Minute Meteors spell), mind flayers required protection from mental attacks and intellect potions (or maybe the Mordekainen's Sword summons). There were always multiple "correct" ways to deal with an enemy, but most of the tougher enemies had things you needed to know about them to win.

 

On the other hand, every aspect of PoE was explicitly designed to avoid this. Nobody has any immunities -- none of the enemies and not you. You sort of have some protective buffs, but given that they only add +50 to your roll and the enemies against whom it is worth wasting time on these buffs at all tend to have close to 100 Accuracy and they only need a result higher than 15 to Graze... well, it's still a roll of the dice for nearly all characters. Damage immunities are even worse: the extent to which anyone can be immune to a specific element is not really meaningful. If you really wanted to, you can kill the Fire Blights with fire and it's while it is worse than using cold, the difference is not very large (at some point, I tried using Chill Fog on every elemental regardless of flavor and it works surprisingly well).

 

This doesn't mean that PoE is necessarily easier than the IE games. If it gives you an enemy with an AoE attack that does 150-200 damage in one shot when your characters only have 100-250 Endurance and this enemy has around 100 Accuracy and around 100 for every defense and it has a debuff aura and some friends who inflict nasty status effects, that's still going to be a tough fight (perhaps more so since you have no reliable defenses against anything it does). Likewise, in the IE games, once you knew how to approach every kind of enemy, it was not that hard. However, it does mean that in the IE games, the best tactics were necessarily more varied whereas in PoE, most battles can be won with a fairly small assortment of tricks.

 

I personally prefer the IE way, but this is not really a matter of difficulty so much as one of style and it would take a fundamental redesign to change PoE combat into something resembling that of BG2.

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@  Althernai:

That's a good point about immunities in this game. I hadn't thought about it, because as an old IE player I just automatically assumed counters like cold vs. flame-type enemies. CRPG's train us to think that way; even Skyrim does it with the best weapon choice against different dragon types, although IIRC they aren't 100% immune to the "wrong" damage type. 

 

I'm not sure it would take a fundamental redesign to bring some of this into PoE, as a way to make combat at least more interesting, if not always more difficult. There is no pre-buffing in the game, which is something of an obstacle. But with the stash as an infinite bag of holding, party members could carry weapons with different elemental enchantments, Wizards could re-organize their grimoires before a tough fight, and so on. 

 

Immunities could be added to creatures at the dividing line between Normal and Hard mode. In Normal, the game would work as it does now. In Hard and PotD, creatures would have immunity (or very high DR) for most attacks, with a single weakness you'd have to know about. I don't think this would require massive programming changes, since the creatures are already tracking the different damage types. It's just a stat adjustment that would kick in when Hard or higher difficulty was selected. 

 

 

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Are we the right people to judge the difficulty of this game though ?

Just by being active in the forum makes you a niche of a niche market. Or to puff up ourselves, we could say we represent the best of the best of all Pillars of Eternity players.

 

Many in this forum are IE veterans, some even did so with mods that made the game more difficult.

Some have tried the game in Beta.

Some have deep knowledge of the game mechanics having backed it in Kickstarter and reading the update.

Some have read character builds, combat tips and tricks in the forum even before installing the game.

We represent years of accumulated game knowledge.

 

If Obsidian were to cater to this super-niche player segment then they'd be just killing themselves. Many reviews have stated that even in Normal difficulty the game is rather difficult for the reviewers. Imagine if the difficulty is raised (way) higher as some in this forum would like it to be: It'd be lucky to break 100k in sales.

 

Mod the game yourself. Wait for a mod. Restrict yourself from using the more powerful combat techniques. Whatever suits you except whining about it.

And this would make perfect sense. If they hadn't included a mode called path of the Damned. Which could never have been targeted at anyone other than veterans of this kind of game. Even the description of hard mode suggests this. But path is far too easy, so no, it's not just right at least for that mode imo.

 

 

That's just the thing - we're not the ones saying that Hard and PotD should be challenging for IE veterans, Obsidian is. If you look at the difficulty descriptions, they very clearly intended Hard and PotD to be A) targeted at IE veterans and B) very difficult to complete. So it's not ridiculous at all for people to complain the game is too easy on those game modes. No one is asking Normal or Easy to be made easier - just Hard and PotD, the difficulties that warn you before selecting them. Obsidian didn't fully achieve the clearly stated goal for those game modes, so we, the intended audience for those difficulty modes (ugh that sounds so pretentious, but I'm not the one who decided to draw that line :p), are providing feedback to improve that. The bulk of the complaints aren't whining, but feedback. Feedback from the people those game modes were ostensibly designed to challenge.

Edited by Matt516
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I don't understand some of the battles in this game. I've just entered Dyrford Village and did one of the fights thinking it was going to be challenging (due to the constant tweaking in the beta) and it was over in seconds.

 

 

 

Medreth fight. At the start, all characters simultaneously did the following:

 

Eder stood in the middle of the enemies. 

My rogue one-shotted Medreth with an arquebus

Hiravias casted Earth Talon and hit three enemies and knocked out the boar companion with a crit.  

Durance crit the Cowled Dwarf with Pillar of Faith and killed him.

Pallegina crit the Cowled Woman and killed her.

GM was going to use Mind Lance on Medreth but he died before she hit him.

 

Then Durance and GM killed the last two..

Durance killed the other Cowled Man with his Pistol (Forgiveness)

Grieving Mother crit the Cowled Man with an auto-attack and killed him

 

 

 

Total sum damage that my party received was 13 damage to Eder. Seriously, I blinked and it was over. LOL.

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Coming from a Baldur's Gate I,II veteran, who finds difficulty in those games very easy:

 

I'm playing on hard. It's not hard, it's 'just right'. I'm playing with Obsidian companions, not an optimised party, and also a six-man party (b/c I want to exp the character quests/interractions).

 

The difficulty raises considerably should you choose to go for a 4-man party, and even so of you go for less. Also, try to mix between advancing the main path and exploring/doing side-quests instead of clearing everything the moment it becomes available, to avoid being over-leveled for the content.

 

When it comes down to the kind of exp you want from the game, I suggest a 5-6 man party at normal to people looking for a easy-going exp, while to those looking for a moderate challenge a 5-6 man party on hard and 4 or less party members on PotD for a serious challenge.

 

But keep in mind that even PotD gets much easier if you are over-leveled for the content.


Matilda is a Natlan woman born and raised in Old Vailia. She managed to earn status as a mercenary for being a professional who gets the job done, more so when the job involves putting her excellent fighting abilities to good use.

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I don't understand some of the battles in this game. I've just entered Dyrford Village and did one of the fights thinking it was going to be challenging (due to the constant tweaking in the beta) and it was over in seconds.

 

 

 

Medreth fight. At the start, all characters simultaneously did the following:

 

Eder stood in the middle of the enemies. 

My rogue one-shotted Medreth with an arquebus

Hiravias casted Earth Talon and hit three enemies and knocked out the boar companion with a crit.  

Durance crit the Cowled Dwarf with Pillar of Faith and killed him.

Pallegina crit the Cowled Woman and killed her.

GM was going to use Mind Lance on Medreth but he died before she hit him.

 

Then Durance and GM killed the last two..

Durance killed the other Cowled Man with his Pistol (Forgiveness)

Grieving Mother crit the Cowled Man with an auto-attack and killed him

 

 

 

Total sum damage that my party received was 13 damage to Eder. Seriously, I blinked and it was over. LOL.

The fact that this fight is way too easy was pointed out many times during the beta. Obsidian never fixed it. Not really a surprise it would be easy in-game.


"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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Okay, I'd really like to know what level you should be when you get to Dyrford and Dyrford Crossing. I just cleaned house, killed everything and finished all the quests with auto-attack except for two fights. The one I already mentioned and the other fight I used a couple of spells. One from Hiravius and one from Durance. The difficulty went from okay in Defiance Bay to Super Easy. And I'm playing on hard.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II

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Peeps, don't feed the trolls.

 

The game is too easy.

 

I can't begin to imagine how bad it will be in the next XP levels 13-??

 

With no immunities, just status the enemy to death (para/petri/prone). The systematic problems in the mechanics will just multiply (see Adra Dragon fights for details).

 

There are serious problems with the mechanics (well - discussed elsewhere) on this. Before an XP can be released, they will need to be addressed.

 

I personally think PoE, mechanically, is a colossal failure - the attempt to re - invent the wheel just lacked time and experience compared to other systems already available.

 

Trying to "fix it" is just resulting in new, more complex problems requiring even more zots. Having higher levels with even more powered abilities is going to magnify the cracks wider.

 

Obs should have stuck to what they do best - telling stories.

 

What a mess.

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In the first Act, playing on Hard, I would agree with you. I did everything I could do before Caed Nua (including Raedric), and then did about 5 levels of Caed Nua, and then did everything in and around Dyrford. Difficulty was great.

 

Now that I've gone into Act II... it's started to get easier. And I expect it to continue to do so. Especially considering that Dyrford is really intended to be done during the later parts of Act II (as opposed to before Act II) and that I found its difficulty to be perfect when played it (instead of when I was supposed to play it).... yeah. I've had some wonderful fights, mostly in Caed Nua and around Dyrford when I did it early. But in general, I would say that the game's difficulty could be a bit higher on Hard. I'd classify my experience in Act I as Hard-ish, and then Act II so far as Normal-ish.

 

I like engagement too. And I do like the idea behind the difficulty levels (more/different enemies instead of just pumping up stats). But I would like to see the latter half of the game get a bit of a buff and to see leveling be a little slower. If Obsidian doesn't change anything significant about the balance in 1.05 (here's hoping they will), I'll probably do my second playthrough with 50% more XP required for each level. Should make the game a bit more rewarding and challenging.

 

Act 2 is a cakewalk but Act 3 brings the sauce. Prepare to battle your own teammates with new and improved Dominated party members!

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In the first Act, playing on Hard, I would agree with you. I did everything I could do before Caed Nua (including Raedric), and then did about 5 levels of Caed Nua, and then did everything in and around Dyrford. Difficulty was great.

 

Now that I've gone into Act II... it's started to get easier. And I expect it to continue to do so. Especially considering that Dyrford is really intended to be done during the later parts of Act II (as opposed to before Act II) and that I found its difficulty to be perfect when played it (instead of when I was supposed to play it).... yeah. I've had some wonderful fights, mostly in Caed Nua and around Dyrford when I did it early. But in general, I would say that the game's difficulty could be a bit higher on Hard. I'd classify my experience in Act I as Hard-ish, and then Act II so far as Normal-ish.

 

I like engagement too. And I do like the idea behind the difficulty levels (more/different enemies instead of just pumping up stats). But I would like to see the latter half of the game get a bit of a buff and to see leveling be a little slower. If Obsidian doesn't change anything significant about the balance in 1.05 (here's hoping they will), I'll probably do my second playthrough with 50% more XP required for each level. Should make the game a bit more rewarding and challenging.

 

Act 2 is a cakewalk but Act 3 brings the sauce. Prepare to battle your own teammates with new and improved Dominated party members!

 

 

Good to hear. I'll probably be there in a few weeks or so. :p

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In the first Act, playing on Hard, I would agree with you. I did everything I could do before Caed Nua (including Raedric), and then did about 5 levels of Caed Nua, and then did everything in and around Dyrford. Difficulty was great.

 

Now that I've gone into Act II... it's started to get easier. And I expect it to continue to do so. Especially considering that Dyrford is really intended to be done during the later parts of Act II (as opposed to before Act II) and that I found its difficulty to be perfect when played it (instead of when I was supposed to play it).... yeah. I've had some wonderful fights, mostly in Caed Nua and around Dyrford when I did it early. But in general, I would say that the game's difficulty could be a bit higher on Hard. I'd classify my experience in Act I as Hard-ish, and then Act II so far as Normal-ish.

 

I like engagement too. And I do like the idea behind the difficulty levels (more/different enemies instead of just pumping up stats). But I would like to see the latter half of the game get a bit of a buff and to see leveling be a little slower. If Obsidian doesn't change anything significant about the balance in 1.05 (here's hoping they will), I'll probably do my second playthrough with 50% more XP required for each level. Should make the game a bit more rewarding and challenging.

 

Act 2 is a cakewalk but Act 3 brings the sauce. Prepare to battle your own teammates with new and improved Dominated party members!

 

 

Good to hear. I'll probably be there in a few weeks or so. :p

 

 

I'm in the same boat.


"Wizards do not need to be The Dudes Who Can AoE Nuke You and Gish and Take as Many Hits as a Fighter and Make all Skills Irrelevant Because Magic."

-Josh Sawyer

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Peeps, don't feed the trolls.

 

The game is too easy.

 

I can't begin to imagine how bad it will be in the next XP levels 13-??

 

With no immunities, just status the enemy to death (para/petri/prone). The systematic problems in the mechanics will just multiply (see Adra Dragon fights for details).

 

There are serious problems with the mechanics (well - discussed elsewhere) on this. Before an XP can be released, they will need to be addressed.

 

I personally think PoE, mechanically, is a colossal failure - the attempt to re - invent the wheel just lacked time and experience compared to other systems already available.

 

Trying to "fix it" is just resulting in new, more complex problems requiring even more zots. Having higher levels with even more powered abilities is going to magnify the cracks wider.

 

Obs should have stuck to what they do best - telling stories.

 

What a mess.

Exaggerate much?

 

Granted that there's still plenty of room to improve, but I have a hard time swallowing that the game's mechanics are colossal failure, since I'm enjoying them too much for that to be true.

 

We have a major balance patch in the works, and I'm sure many patches after that. It will only get better.


"Now to find a home for my other staff."
My Project Eternity Interview with Adam Brennecke

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I wonder if there's a certain way the dev's intended the game to be played. For instance I reached level 13 of Od Nua and I probably haven't finished half of the Act 2 main quest, and soon realised I was trapped in the mega dungeon. I didn't find the mega-dungeon too challenging even though I was under-levelled (except for one fight on level 11). Now that I've gone back to the main quest prior to getting trapped, I'm breezing through Defiance Bay, auto-attacking and steam rolling everything. I did something similar with Raedric's Hold. I went to Caed Nua first, did the first seven levels of Od Nua and then went to Raedric's Hold afterwards and found it relatively easy.

I think it might be one of the main reasons, yes. Balancing a non-linear RPG without auto-leveling (which is - rightfully - despised by many people) is extremely difficult, perhaps even impossible. The last party-based RPG that I played that was almost perfectly balanced, on both normal and hard, was the Banner Saga. But it was not just linear, it was literally on rails. Also, the combat was very tightly focused around the main damage-dealing mechanic, it was basically like chess with hitpoints; most of the time it was even deterministic (i.e. no hit/damage rolls). There were no abilities like paralyze, petrify, dominate; instead there were things like "get +1 defense when standing next to an ally" - so very little room for "cheese".

 

Another example is Legend of Grimrock 2. It was very open, and remained reasonably hard throughout the entire game (with the second final boss being just fiendishly hard), but I think it was largely because there was a lot of manual dexterity involved in combat, and you can't just improve that by doing a couple of fetch quests (as a downside, it often felt frustrating rather than tactically hard because of that)

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In every game -from childish to professional- the rules, what makes the game or breaks the game. What I felt like after 30-40 hours the rules of the game restrains my imagination or skill/tallent and after more hours, the game became unbearable level of easy. Because of the rules of the combat and the diffuculty, I keep playing the same tricks and stopped looking beastry.

 

and after more hours I stopped playing. Couse I felt like I'm playing someones game who is spoil sport. 

 

so no the diffuculty is not right. Because the challange is not there to begin with. Once to become used to it and get to 4-5 levels the game becomes too borring. Because the only big gameplay element is combat and If that doesnt do well then game become unbearable.

 

Take a look at this example. Arcanums combat could be quite annoying in some areas(because of some OP spells, darkness thing,etc..) but It wasnt the only gameplay element you could have use. You could be talking, sneaking, gambling your way out without a single sword swing you could beat the game. Imagine If Arcanum could only have unbalanced combat It couldnt be the classic today.


Kana - "Sorry. It seems I'm not very good at raising spirits." Kana winces. "That was unintentional."

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I think it has the typical problem many many RPGs have. It is to hard in the beginning and gets to easy later. The only exception was the final battle and a certain extra boss. Which were still pretty challenging in the end. Though a lot of the difficulty in the beginning comes from the game being designed for a full party almost immediately. 

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Okay, I'd really like to know what level you should be when you get to Dyrford and Dyrford Crossing. I just cleaned house, killed everything and finished all the quests with auto-attack except for two fights. The one I already mentioned and the other fight I used a couple of spells. One from Hiravius and one from Durance. The difficulty went from okay in Defiance Bay to Super Easy. And I'm playing on hard.

 

I'm also playing on hard. I did all the Dyrford stuff in Act 1. I was at level 3 or 4 when I got there. It was pretty challenging at that level. I can definitely see it being mind-numbingly easy after finishing a bunch of Act 2 stuff.


"Forsooth, methinks you are no ordinary talking chicken!"

-Protagonist, Baldur's Gate

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What exactly did you find challenging in Act I?

 

I'm curious what you did in what order.

 

I went straight to Gilded Vale (alone), got Aloth, did the tree, got Eder, did the temple (only interesting battle were the Shadows, but with a certain item Eder just plowed through them, though he was the last one standing). I played a Ranger with bear, so I had really four party members.

 

After that, I wandered a bit, picked up Durance, then Kana. I then did the Stronghold.

 

I didn't encounter any real difficulties in Act I.

 

Even in Act 2, since I did not fight the Lighthouse, there was no difficulty. By the time I got to do the last of the Bounties (because you have to be able to get to Twin Elms and beyond) I was already level 12.

 

I had more items than I knew what to do with. Never used potions, scrolls, or food (wasn't really sure what was for what or useful when, and since combat was so easy, it wasn't necessary to learn).

 

I still haven't touched the crafting system.

 

And yes, I am running a Companion party (no GM, no Durance, no Sanaki). For 99% of encounters I use auto-attacking with minor use of encounter abilities. For major boss stuff (Raedric II) I started out with the big guns (summon figurines) and spacing tactics (send Eder out, etc) and used movement/status spells.

 

Fight was over before I needed to consider anything more.

 

The 2 other dragons just rolled over and died to the same tactics.

 

Adra is different, but the tactics for that are already known and work reliably.

 

So basically that is it.

 

To compare - I had many reloads in D:OS!

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What exactly did you find challenging in Act I?

 

Not sure if this was directed at me or at everyone... I was just mentioning that the Dyrford areas were somewhat challenging for me when I did them in Act I around level 3-4. By which I mean they were more challenging than most of the other stuff in Act 1. Also the temple in Gilded Vale was a bit tough I guess. Playing on hard with only Obsidian companions. Act II has been extremely easy so far, except for the lighthouse which was somewhat challenging. Anyway, I agree that the game is too easy from what I've seen so far, mostly seems to be due to handing out way too much XP, among other things.


"Forsooth, methinks you are no ordinary talking chicken!"

-Protagonist, Baldur's Gate

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What exactly did you find challenging in Act I?

 

Not sure if this was directed at me or at everyone... I was just mentioning that the Dyrford areas were somewhat challenging for me when I did them in Act I around level 3-4. By which I mean they were more challenging than most of the other stuff in Act 1. Also the temple in Gilded Vale was a bit tough I guess. Playing on hard with only Obsidian companions. Act II has been extremely easy so far, except for the lighthouse which was somewhat challenging. Anyway, I agree that the game is too easy from what I've seen so far, mostly seems to be due to handing out way too much XP, among other things.

 

How did you get to Dyford in act 1? Doesn't act 1 end when you claim the stronghold?


"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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I played through hard mode with a 4 person team of a Fighter, Wizard, Rogue, and Cleric. The early game was just about right but most of the end game outside of the 2 hardest bosses was easy. This phenomenon seems to happen often in games like this, where in the beginning you have no money, equipment, or abilities but by the end you're a killing machine. I remember Fallout 1 and 2 in particular had this problem. 

 

By Act III, my characters were near or at max level and I basically owned everything. 

The Sky Dragon went down the first time easily without even trying. The only battle in Act III that gave a bit of trouble was the ogre bounty.

 

Adra Dragon took a few tries, but once I figured out how to kill the spellcasting adds first he was not that bad. It definately would have been much harder had I not done the quest first and not been able to initiate the battle how I wanted to.

 

The final boss battle was pretty well designed in my opinion. I had the hardest time with the last boss because my party had only 1 really good tank (fighter). It took a lot of careful positioning and wizard CC.

 

My party reached level 12 while finishing the quests in Twin Elms. I did not do hardly any of the endless paths and I specifically did not turn in the heads to finish the bounty quests, even though I had killed all of the bounties.

Edited by fmatthew5876

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