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Zwiebelchen

Difficulty - a graph of my PotD playthrough

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So, I recently finished the game on PotD with my Monk (full tank) PC. Rest of the party was Aloth, Eder (specced as offtank), GM, Hiravius, Durance.

 

This is how the perceived difficulty of the game looked like, documented by level and notable landmarks.

 

Notice that I didn't do the second and third set of bounties, as I didn't want to trivialize the game further after reaching Dyrford Village.

 

1.05 happened around level 6 for this party. As 1.05 mostly nerfed some OP spells, it's expected the game got slightly harder in those lower levels.

 

 

Discussion:

- Difficulty is mostly fine until reaching later parts of Defiance Bay:

Gilded Vale wilderness content and dungeons are challenging, The Raedric's Hold final battle is great, the first levels of Od Nua are actually challenging at their designated levels. The first set of bounties at level 7 is nuts. Two of the bounty battles took me dozens of reloads to win. Awesomesauce!

- Most major battle zones of Defiance Bay are challenging enough: Catacombs, Sanitarium, several event battles in houses, Lighthouse island

--------------------------

- And then everything goes downhill. First major drop of difficulty happens at Heritage Hill. Compared to almost every single battle before Heritage Hill, there is a huge drop in difficulty here. You can mostly blaze through all of the battles except for the one guarding the tower outside

- Dyrford Village and surroundings have a huge drop in difficulty to almost ridicolous levels. I could suddenly equip my tanks with 2H weapons, switch to lighter armors and overall could do well just auto-attacking everything

- The only noticable spike of difficulty after reaching Dyrford village at level 8/9 were the lowest levels of Od Nua. Everything was a breeze.

 

 

 

Conclusion:

Twin Elms and Dyrford village are heavily undertuned. Up until this point, the game is almost perfectly balanced. The crit path needs a severe buff in difficulty. Considering Dyrford village was part of the Backer Beta (and thus, the most tested content in the game), I can not understand why the Dyrford village content is so ridicolously easy, compared to everything that comes prior to Dyrford.

It's also worth mentioning that there is a severe flood of unique items happening once you reach Dyrford Village.

Have you considered leaving certain things like the bounties which you yourself stated required reloads they were that hard for later or even not at all?  They give quite a bit of xp and so may get you overlevelled for the point of the game you are at.  Remember, the devs need to balance these games not only for those who do everything but also for those who don't do everything and without level-scaling this means not making it too hard just in case the player hasn't levelled up too much, or as in the case with these games where quests can often be done in different order meaning that one person might do one quest first and another a different one, with their levels being different for when they finally get to the same quest.  This issue cropped up in BG2 especially if you did all the sidequests in Athkatla and surroundings as they were all made available at the same time which meant they were all the same difficulty but by the time you finished the last sidequest you could be substantially higher level than intended, but I liked having all those quests open to me to pick and choose as I liked and I would not want level scaling in as it made the world feel real and my character like he was actually getting more competent.... *shrug*

 

EDIT: Also as to hitting max level with so much of the game left, same thing happened again with BG2 until they released ToB, it seems to be a fundamental issue with these types of games that seems hard to get around even today.  Why do you think so many cop out with 'level scaling'?

 

It's Path of the Damned...devs shouldn't err on the side of caution/balance, they should err on the side of this is far too hard, they spectacularly didn't.

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I can understand being frustrated that the PotD isn't as difficult as you wanted, but I think it is also important to consider the difficulty in making a mode more challenging without having a ripple effect out to the rest of the game. I mean, they could have just added double the extra mobs, but all this does is force people into stricter niche party make up (and while the OP did not have any custom adventurers, he did have GM, and even having a non-ideal cipher is a little bit of a cheat  :yes: ). 

 

There is also zot allotment to consider on the dev side in that how much time should be towards certain aspects if you want a game that is not going to be merely a love letter to the backers (which, as a backer, I think it should not be this at all). Going by Steam statistics (which is all I have to look at it) less than .3% of people have finished PotD. From a time management standpoint, while I am sure JS et al. wanted to spend tons of time on everything, I wonder how responsible it would have been to spend a ton of time perfectly developing the PotD difficulty. 

 

Caveat: I say this as someone who beat the game on hard the first time and then tried PotD and stopped at level 9 because it just became tedious to me (and I actually began to feel sorry for Aloth).

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Truthfully, it doesn't even have to be smart. It just has to have enough different attack patterns, strengths, and weaknesses that you can't utilize the same strategy for every battle. That is, it doesn't matter whether the enemy is smart, so long as it forces the player to be smart.

 

 

This. Smart AI is actually not even needed for a game that is about tactical combat.

Smart AI makes battles too unpredictable, which limits tactical choices of players. In order to create a tactical challenge, you need an AI that is in no way acting random or unpredictable.

 

The IE games had satisfying tactical combat despite it's dumb AI. This was achieved by clever encounter design. Pre-defined spell casting cycles were designed in a fashion that they were devestating if you didn't respond to them in time.

Better AI would only do one thing: preventing players from cheesing too much.

But cheesing isn't the problem. I play my games without cheesy tactics as I enjoy the challenge. It's a single player game, after all. There is no competition.

If people like to cheese to feel powerful, more power to them, but preventing cheesy play should never be the main focus in encounter design. Rather, it should be to provide an interesting challenge for players that cheese exactly the amount they see fit for the game.

 

 

I can understand being frustrated that the PotD isn't as difficult as you wanted, but I think it is also important to consider the difficulty in making a mode more challenging without having a ripple effect out to the rest of the game. I mean, they could have just added double the extra mobs, but all this does is force people into stricter niche party make up (and while the OP did not have any custom adventurers, he did have GM, and even having a non-ideal cipher is a little bit of a cheat  :yes: ). 

 

There is also zot allotment to consider on the dev side in that how much time should be towards certain aspects if you want a game that is not going to be merely a love letter to the backers (which, as a backer, I think it should not be this at all). Going by Steam statistics (which is all I have to look at it) less than .3% of people have finished PotD. From a time management standpoint, while I am sure JS et al. wanted to spend tons of time on everything, I wonder how responsible it would have been to spend a ton of time perfectly developing the PotD difficulty. 

 

Caveat: I say this as someone who beat the game on hard the first time and then tried PotD and stopped at level 9 because it just became tedious to me (and I actually began to feel sorry for Aloth).

 

You misunderstood the point of this thread. This is not about how the game was too easy on PotD. It wasn't. It was that the later content in this game is heavily undertuned, no matter what difficulty level was selected.

The game has a heavily frontloaded difficulty curve, as is represented in my graph. Until Defiance Bay, it feels totally "right". It's post-Defiance Bay content that is the problem.

 

Due to the way the different difficulty levels in the game are constructed, the devs have all the tools to fix this problem without creating an unwanted backlash towards the casual crowd playing on "easy" or "medium". After all, if "hard" suddenly becomes too difficult for you, you can always drop the difficulty back to "medium". If PotD is not hard enough for me, unfortunately I have no option to increase it further (without artifically gimping my group).

And again: the difficulty levels are not fundamentally wrong. It works great for 60% of the game. It's only the remaining 40% that I am criticizing.

 

Hard and PotD are meant for veterans that enjoy the challenge. Both difficulty modes are not meant for casual players per se. According to the ingame description of these difficulty levels, they require the use of item resources and a more "completionist" playthrough, doing way more sidequests that you would in an easy or medium game. PotD, imho, is meant for full-completionists, meaning you skip almost none of the sidequests.

 

This can be easily achieved by adjusting the "hard" difficulty creature sets. PotD combines all creature sets into one, which means that PotD is also affected by changes made for "hard" difficulty.

 

And while I agree that Defiance Bay and Dyrford might be a problem to balance due to the non-linearity of the game, there is absolutely no excuse for why Twin-Elms content is so easy on Hard or PotD difficulty, considering that the expected level range for these areas at hard and beyond is set to level 10+ (remember: hard and PotD, by definition, should require a good deal of side-quests to complete before progressing the story).

 

 

Have you considered leaving certain things like the bounties which you yourself stated required reloads they were that hard for later or even not at all?  They give quite a bit of xp and so may get you overlevelled for the point of the game you are at.

 

You should re-read my post then. Not only did I only do the first set of bounties, skipping the others, but I also did them post-1.05, when the XP for bounties was reduced. Also, when you check out the graph, you will notice I was not overleveled by the time I hit Dyrford/Twin Elms.

Edited by Zwiebelchen

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It's Path of the Damned...devs shouldn't err on the side of caution/balance, they should err on the side of this is far too hard, they spectacularly didn't.

 

 

 

They were not building it from scratch for that difficulty though, they were working with what was already there and then upping the difficulty.  And it still doesn't disprove my point that they cannot know what order you will do the quests in or what quantity of the quests you will take up, and just making it stupidly hard that it would actually be impossible will result in people complaining about it, no matter what you personally may want.  You're basically asking for level scaling for PotD. 


"That rabbit's dynamite!" - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

"Space is big, really big." - Douglas Adams

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It's Path of the Damned...devs shouldn't err on the side of caution/balance, they should err on the side of this is far too hard, they spectacularly didn't.

 

 

 

 

They were not building it from scratch for that difficulty though, they were working with what was already there and then upping the difficulty.  And it still doesn't disprove my point that they cannot know what order you will do the quests in or what quantity of the quests you will take up, and just making it stupidly hard that it would actually be impossible will result in people complaining about it, no matter what you personally may want.  You're basically asking for level scaling for PotD. 

 

It's not about making it "stupidly hard". Not at all. It's about preserving the difficulty curve from the beginning of the game to carry over to the endgame.

 

There is nothing wrong with making zones that have level appropriate challenges even when you hit them way before their designated levels.

BG2 also had this. Several dungeons in the game could practically be done after leaving Irenicus dungeon, yet they simply weren't all on the same level.

 

Planar sphere, for example, had much harder battles than the Trademeet grove. De-Arnise Hold was pretty easy otoh. Nobody complained about that. As long as the warning signs are there, it's cool to make it higher level. There is nothing stopping you from leveling up in other zones first, after all. And there is always the option to add optional side content that is higher level.

 

Again, the beginning of the game does this perfectly: The temple of Eothas practically serves as a "you know, you can always come back later" dungeon. It's amazing, as it made players all over the world go "No, **** you! I can do this on level 3!". Or the bear cave and wolves on the road to Gilded Vale when you're alone. Warning signs all over the place. The NPC literally tells you that you shouldn't go in there alone. You can decide to try anyway, but it wasn't designed for this.

 

I'm fine with Dyrford being on the same level as Defiance Bay difficulty wise - if it had optional content to entertain higher level parties.

 

And again, there is no excuse for the low difficulty in Twin Elms, as this zone is chapter-gated.

 

 

I'd also like to add the following: the difficulty drop starting on Dyrford wasn't just a gradual drop off due to the rising character level. It was a pretty much bottomless free-fall.

Except for heritage hill, almost all of Defiance Bay content felt "right". Dyrford, on the other hand wasn't just "a little easier in comparison"; it was literally like a switch was flipped from "use all resources" towards "blazing through via auto-attacking". This is not just about being overlevelled. There definitely is a fundamental flaw in the encounter design here.

Edited by Zwiebelchen
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I wouldn't hold your breath, have been zero Dev replies to any difficulty threads, I'm guessing it's seen as not an issue or too big an effort to fix for the number of people who care.

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I have exact same team composition as OP, on my first playthrough, high difficulty and I'm shocked how easy the game suddenly became after Defiance Bay. I was tired but wanted to finish Fyrga's quest so I set quick speed and then roflstomped through many drakes at once with barely taking damage, then killed a red dragon like it was nothing... Up to Defiance Bay difficulty level was perfect.

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Out of curiosity...are many of you playing with all of the other difficulty options in play? Such as...trial of iron, expert mode etc. Also..did you have any meta knowledge of the game prior to certain areas?

 

Just started playing last night(computer broke back in January, just got my new one in( :yes: ). I have every possible difficulty option on for my first playthrough....been quite difficult so far. Lost 3 characters prior to even reaching the Gilded Vale lol. Just for the record, if you didn't start on the hardest possible settings with 0 metagame knowledge...you really missed out on a special experience(massive time sink).

 

Wish there was some sort of graveyard to track all of the adventurers that are going to fall throughout this journey.

Edited by Utukka

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Out of curiosity...are many of you playing with all of the other difficulty options in play? Such as...trial of iron, expert mode etc. Also..did you have any meta knowledge of the game prior to certain areas?

 

Just started playing last night(computer broke back in January, just got my new one in( :yes: ). I have every possible difficulty option on for my first playthrough....been quite difficult so far. Lost 3 characters prior to even reaching the Gilded Vale lol. Just for the record, if you didn't start on the hardest possible settings with 0 metagame knowledge...you really missed out on a special experience(massive time sink).

 

Wish there was some sort of graveyard to track all of the adventurers that are going to fall throughout this journey.

 

Once more for those not paying attention...

 

The issue being raised is that game difficulty in the first 1/2 or 2/3 is fine and then it falls off a cliff and the rest of the game becomes trivial.

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Out of curiosity...are many of you playing with all of the other difficulty options in play? Such as...trial of iron, expert mode etc. Also..did you have any meta knowledge of the game prior to certain areas?

 

Just started playing last night(computer broke back in January, just got my new one in( :yes: ). I have every possible difficulty option on for my first playthrough....been quite difficult so far. Lost 3 characters prior to even reaching the Gilded Vale lol. Just for the record, if you didn't start on the hardest possible settings with 0 metagame knowledge...you really missed out on a special experience(massive time sink).

 

Wish there was some sort of graveyard to track all of the adventurers that are going to fall throughout this journey.

 

Once more for those not paying attention...

 

The issue being raised is that game difficulty in the first 1/2 or 2/3 is fine and then it falls off a cliff and the rest of the game becomes trivial.

 

I was paying attention and indeed saw that part but my point is that it makes a big difference in difficulty if you are reloading your way through the game/have meta knowledge etc prior to that portion of the game. Not to mention if you have "ease of use" features on...the game is more trivial regardless of how "tuned" the game is. The context in how they are approaching the game and the settings beyond POTD that they have on makes a difference in how they will experience the difficulty.

Edited by Utukka

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I now just finished act 2 on my second PotD playthrough.

 

This time, the party composition is:

 

PC - tank/melee wizard

Pallegina - Paladin tank, then specced over to DPS with rising level

Sagani - Ranger with Warbow

GM - with the sick Hunting Bow from Od Nua level 5

A custom priest

Kana - specced as whatever, because on chanters the spec literally doesn't matter

 

...

And I got to say that this playthrough was way easier than the first for the first two acts, despite one and a half dead-weight character in board (Pallegina should rather lay eggs than go out adventuring... and Kana is a chanter. Chanters suck.). Might be meta game knowledge, but I doubt that. It's not like you desperately need any metagame knowledge at all with all the copy and paste encounters.

 

I'm playing a little different with this party as I did with the last. I have to rest a little bit more often due to the nature of tank wizards, but I always try to keep it within the limits of the limited resting supplies for fairness. I never go back to an inn to restock before finishing a dungeon or zone completely.

 

 

This probably shows that one or two good characters can totally make or break the difficulty in the game. It almost feels like having Sagani, GM and a tank wizard in the same party is cheating. And seeing the insane accuracy and crits on Sagani, I really wonder how anyone could ever think that Rangers are underpowered.

Edited by Zwiebelchen

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The problem with the difficulty levels ...   AI is a big part of it.   The enemy does not know how to use spells, buff and debuff.   It does not know how to swap weapon sets.  It wants to focus fire your casters but it won't take the drive-by hit to do so.   It has no potions or scrolls.    1/4 of the fights or so would be very, very hard if the mobs coordinated and played smarter.  

 

Hard is redundant, its just normal with a couple of extra enemy.   POTD is fine, its the next step up from "normal" really.   Want it harder still?  Need a new difficulty level, but again, if they just made it smarter....

If its totally impossible to up the AI at least give us something like 50-100% more monster and less player damage on hardest.

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I'm ok with the end of chapter 2 being fairly easy, it's tough to balance given you can do it in any order, but given that locations in chapter 3 are locked off, they should be much tougher.  The human enemies around Dyrford could probably stand to be a little tougher though, you get so rich fighting them and they tend to be easy.

 

The other thought I had with this was that if chapter 3 was balanced for people mostly staying on the critical path rather than completionists is that perhaps on the higher difficultly settings this could be switched around, on hard or higher switch the balance to skew toward people attempting to do everything.

 

I'd like to see a significant jump in power for the enemies that are only or primarily chapter 3 like  Stelgaers, Drakes, Cean Gula, Menpwgra, Fampyr.  Stelgaers in particular are really disappointing for me.  The late game encounters could probably include more of those types of enemies and less filler as will.

Edited by MunoValente

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 Actually, all the pacing problems can be ascribed to the level progression in pillars. Each level requires 1000 xp more then the previous. This is a very slowly growing level progression.

 
Thus from 1 - 5 you have a near doubling of experience from the previous level. it means that the four fights you did to get to level 2 (250 xp*4 = 1000), you need 16 of those to get to level 5 from 4 ( 4000/250 = 16)... IE , level 1 sidequests don't relatively boost your XP at level 5
 
2: 1000
3: 3000
4: 6000
5: 10000
 
Now take the 4 fights it took to get to level 6, ( 5000/4 = 1250xp) , you only need 6.4 of those to progress from level 8 to 9 (8000/1250).
6: 15000
7: 21000
8: 28000
9: 36000
 
Now take the 4 fights it took to get to level 9, ( 8000/4 = 2000xp) , you only need 5.5 of these to get from level 11 to 12.
10:45000
11:55000
12:66000
 
So if you have a ton of 6 level sidequest content, it's easy to power to level 9, because you the relative xp gain is almost the same, but it's easy to kill that when the power per level (Accuracy gain, etc) in pillars put you ahead so easily. (which I'm a fan of , by the way, an important part of progressing is, well progressing) .
 
Pillars should be balancable, because the power increase per level is fairly significant.  I find it only  takes 3-4 levels where deadly enemies (crystal eaters? ) become manageable.  So it's fairly straightforward to distinguish what an encounter's xp level should be.  Unfortunately,  you power past most of the content way too rapidly.
 
A more appropriate leveling would be: 
1000,
3000,
6000,
10000,
15000,
23000,
35000,
51000,
71000,
103000,
151000,
215000
 
This was computed with a python script that ensures that the amount of XP to get to the next level is 4x the xp from 4 levels ago, seeded with the first four levels of Pillars.   This way, you can have tons of quests at a level, that won't push you too fast into higher levels by xp overgrowth.
 
Of course, you'd need to rebalance to give higher level encounters more XP,  but that's the point.
 
(sorry for the highlighting, crossposted from the codex, and screwed things up)
Edited by tdphys

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 Actually, all the pacing problems can be ascribed to the level progression in pillars. Each level requires 1000 xp more then the previous. This is a very slowly growing level progression.

 

 

No they can't. You aren't overlevelled by the time you leave Defiance Bay. Look at the diagram in the TO. I was about level 7/8 when I completed Def Bay, which I consider intentional, due to chapter 3 and 4 being rather short.

Also, I didn't finish the game much later than when I hit max level.

 

The XP is properly balanced now. The encounters are not.

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A good deal of the difficulty drop in Act3 is IMHO encountering the same enemy types with hardly any increase in encounter size. You get wolves and forest lurkers in Northweald as well, some stelgaers, various beetles. Nothing you haven't encountered before. A group of wolves might be a standard challenge for a 4-man party at L3 back at Magran's Fork. The same group is trivial for a 6-man party at L10.

Similarly, shades and spectres in Burial Isle aren't something new. You've seen them before, you've dealt with them before. If you could do the Lighthouse encounters, these will be no different, probably easier as there are more chokepoints. There are a few more Cean Gwlas here and their paralyzing wail can be irritating but it's possible to pull just 1 (at most 2) at a time, so no encounter should end up too damaging.

The only new mob was the Adragan at Elmshore and I don't think it was terribly impressive as most encounters only had 1 or 2. Focus fire and/or paralyze it from the start and you'll end up with just a bunch of slow moving blights and beetles which can be dealt with easily.

 

The standout fight for me in Act3 was the Sky Dragon. I think the rest can mostly be dealt with using per encounter abilities only, whether it be the bottom part of Stormwall Gorge, Elmshore or Noonfrost .

 

That being said, I still do feel that L9 casters also factor in somewhat in terms of making encounters feel easier. You get swarmed by a good number of spiders in the Ogre cave in Dyrford crossing but Mental Binding plus Chill Fog followed by Fan of Flames spam results in stuck/blinded mobs getting in each others way while getting flamed to death. Throw in a few disabling prones from the tanks on any mobs actually reaching them and you end up with very low damage encounters which you can repeat again and again.

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 Actually, all the pacing problems can be ascribed to the level progression in pillars. Each level requires 1000 xp more then the previous. This is a very slowly growing level progression.

 

 

No they can't. You aren't overlevelled by the time you leave Defiance Bay. Look at the diagram in the TO. I was about level 7/8 when I completed Def Bay, which I consider intentional, due to chapter 3 and 4 being rather short.

Also, I didn't finish the game much later than when I hit max level.

 

The XP is properly balanced now. The encounters are not.

 

 

 

 

How can the XP be balanced?  The only balance that i've heard of is reduction of bounty XP.   Changing xp rewards still doesn't change that it takes relatively the same amount of XP to gain higher levels;  meaning you get over-leveled because there is a ton of side content in the game.   On your graph you did a bunch of bounties and od-nua levels before heading to dyrford at level 9;  dyrford is part of the act 2 -side level xp gain,  since you can get to it before act 3,of course you're overleveled.    You should be hitting twin elms at level 7/8 not dyrford.    But instead, you're at 11 at twin elms and overleveled.    Side quests throw out level-balancing in this game really quick,  and it's a function of the bad  xp per level design.     

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Could it have something to do with the time it requires to "build" the characters? At about lv7 it seems like you have all the right talents/abilities for each specialised character, with the rest being just gravy on top. And by that time you also have the kind of gear you want on your characters, while before you kinda have to make do with suboptimal choices.

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Could it have something to do with the time it requires to "build" the characters? At about lv7 it seems like you have all the right talents/abilities for each specialised character, with the rest being just gravy on top. And by that time you also have the kind of gear you want on your characters, while before you kinda have to make do with suboptimal choices.

 

No,  power levels really depend on accuracy and defense levels in this game.  Yes, you have more powers at lvl7,  but often times (druids, priests, especially) the powers are just  stronger/more damaging ones compared to lower level.  Most types of buffs/debuffs,  which are the most effective way of changing both acc and defense,  you can get before lvl7. 

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 Actually, all the pacing problems can be ascribed to the level progression in pillars. Each level requires 1000 xp more then the previous. This is a very slowly growing level progression.

 

 

No they can't. You aren't overlevelled by the time you leave Defiance Bay. Look at the diagram in the TO. I was about level 7/8 when I completed Def Bay, which I consider intentional, due to chapter 3 and 4 being rather short.

Also, I didn't finish the game much later than when I hit max level.

 

The XP is properly balanced now. The encounters are not.

 

 

 

 

How can the XP be balanced?  The only balance that i've heard of is reduction of bounty XP.   Changing xp rewards still doesn't change that it takes relatively the same amount of XP to gain higher levels;  meaning you get over-leveled because there is a ton of side content in the game.   On your graph you did a bunch of bounties and od-nua levels before heading to dyrford at level 9;  dyrford is part of the act 2 -side level xp gain,  since you can get to it before act 3,of course you're overleveled.    You should be hitting twin elms at level 7/8 not dyrford.    But instead, you're at 11 at twin elms and overleveled.    Side quests throw out level-balancing in this game really quick,  and it's a function of the bad  xp per level design.     

 

 

Silent nerfs, maybe?

But I don't care really. I'm a completionist; the only thing I skipped were the 2nd and 3rd round of bounties. And the XP was absolutely fine in this case.

Bounties were literally 90% of the issue. I still think Bounties give too much XP, but that's just me.

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How can the XP be balanced?  The only balance that i've heard of is reduction of bounty XP.   Changing xp rewards still doesn't change that it takes relatively the same amount of XP to gain higher levels;  meaning you get over-leveled because there is a ton of side content in the game.   On your graph you did a bunch of bounties and od-nua levels before heading to dyrford at level 9;  dyrford is part of the act 2 -side level xp gain,  since you can get to it before act 3,of course you're overleveled.    You should be hitting twin elms at level 7/8 not dyrford.    But instead, you're at 11 at twin elms and overleveled.    Side quests throw out level-balancing in this game really quick,  and it's a function of the bad  xp per level design.     

 

 

If you're not doing bounties, I don't think current XP is too much. In my playthrough, at the end of Act II, the party was roughly level 9 (about 2/3rds of the way through). I did all quests/tasks I could find, except bounties and only 4+ levels of Od Nua.
 
Act III at L9-11+ does feel quite a bit on the easy side. After finishing Twin Elms content, including some of the relevant companion quests, the party was roughly level 11 (about 1/2 the way through). I then turned back to finish up Od Nua, the bounties and the Champion of Berath quest. Nalrend and his group of ogres was one of the tougher bounties for me. 
 
If you hit Twin Elms at L7, I'm actually not sure if there's enough xp to get to L12, as there aren't that many Act III quests/tasks.

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There's always solo for people finding the difficulty "too easy". I'm running solo and it seems fine, I guess this is all a matter of perspective.

 

People looking for a challenge should not need to gimp themselves when you have game modes stating that they will "provide a challenge for IE veterans" or that they are only for "players who want the most punishing encounters". Why should we be forced to run around solo because Hard and POTD have failed in their stated purpose?

 

Accessibility is important, but if you're not even going to try balancing your "difficult modes" then they should just be removed imo.

 

Why not ? Handicapping yourself is the very definition of looking for a challenge.

Edited by Yipikayey

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How can the XP be balanced?  The only balance that i've heard of is reduction of bounty XP.   Changing xp rewards still doesn't change that it takes relatively the same amount of XP to gain higher levels;  meaning you get over-leveled because there is a ton of side content in the game.   On your graph you did a bunch of bounties and od-nua levels before heading to dyrford at level 9;  dyrford is part of the act 2 -side level xp gain,  since you can get to it before act 3,of course you're overleveled.    You should be hitting twin elms at level 7/8 not dyrford.    But instead, you're at 11 at twin elms and overleveled.    Side quests throw out level-balancing in this game really quick,  and it's a function of the bad  xp per level design.     

 

 

If you're not doing bounties, I don't think current XP is too much. In my playthrough, at the end of Act II, the party was roughly level 9 (about 2/3rds of the way through). I did all quests/tasks I could find, except bounties and only 4+ levels of Od Nua.
 
Act III at L9-11+ does feel quite a bit on the easy side. After finishing Twin Elms content, including some of the relevant companion quests, the party was roughly level 11 (about 1/2 the way through). I then turned back to finish up Od Nua, the bounties and the Champion of Berath quest. Nalrend and his group of ogres was one of the tougher bounties for me. 
 
If you hit Twin Elms at L7, I'm actually not sure if there's enough xp to get to L12, as there aren't that many Act III quests/tasks.

 

 

Yeah, but I don't think the game is meant to be only finishable at level 12.   I passed it on hard at level 10 (skipped Raedric cause rollout bugs).    So 7-10 seems to be the appropriate act 3 levels, imho.    The devs stated before that the game is finishable by only following the main story line.  Because of the xp levels growing too slow,  deviance from the main path will put you OP for parts of the main story. (most of act 3 ).    My 2nd playthrough on POTD,  doing raedric (1 and 2), bounties and Od Nua, has me at level 11-12 and I've done none of the act 3 quests yet.  I'm stuck at the adra dragon... haven't pushed myself to go by a truckload of adragan traps yet :)  That's a tough fight.   I really like that there's a lot of content in the game,  with some better XP requirements progression, I think you could enjoy more of it without getting OP too quick.

Edited by tdphys

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Yeah, but I don't think the game is meant to be only finishable at level 12.   I passed it on hard at level 10 (skipped Raedric cause rollout bugs).    So 7-10 seems to be the appropriate act 3 levels, imho.    The devs stated before that the game is finishable by only following the main story line.  Because of the xp levels growing too slow,  deviance from the main path will put you OP for parts of the main story. (most of act 3 ).    My 2nd playthrough on POTD,  doing raedric (1 and 2), bounties and Od Nua, has me at level 11-12 and I've done none of the act 3 quests yet.  I'm stuck at the adra dragon... haven't pushed myself to go by a truckload of adragan traps yet :)  That's a tough fight.   I really like that there's a lot of content in the game,  with some better XP requirements progression, I think you could enjoy more of it without getting OP too quick.

 

 

This is why I like the idea of changing the encounter balance on the higher difficulties to skew toward completionists, metagamers and veterans, but keeping the balance on normal and easy to skew toward allowing for players that focus on the critical path; I do think the game should able to be finished on critical path only levels, but I don't think that needs to be a requirement for the hardest difficulties.

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