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Pillars of eternity. Great game. But you messed up difficulty settings, costing you money for no reason


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So im an old gamer.

 

Past 30 and ive played some great games in my time (fallout 1, 2, 3, new vegas, arcanum, bg series etc etc)

 

PoE is great game but having played through it on easy (once), normal (twice) and hard (twice) i can say difficulty settings are messed up.

 

I have abit of obsession of game balance and it is lacking here.

 

 

Why is this a big problem? Because if a gamer choses easy and cant beat the game when he goes up against thaos, you turn that entertained paying customer into a frustrated ex customer. And that means less money, which in turn means less good games for us who love games like PoE.

 

Now the problem with the difficulty in PoE is that many fights are abit to easy (so the player chosing easy does not learn to use all spells etc) then he goes up against thaos and gets crushed. The design of the final battle and its spike is flawed in that way (the same goes for the adra dragon).

 

This applies to all the difficulty settings. The spike is to big but on hard it doesnt matter to much because a customer can just turn down the difficulty and its fixed (normally) but alas not on PoE because the difference between easy, normal and hard is way to small. In fact its often not even noticeable.

 

This is because you took a bad turn when making encounters only differ by a few more creatures on the different settings.

 

My first playthrough was on hard and i was shocked when i on my second tried easy (balance obsession). The difference was tiny, less loot on easy (less easy enemies) but the big baddies were just as hard (thaos etc).

 

I would strongly advice you to change easy to the same number of enemies as normal and have easy only take 50% damage. Or add +20 to deflection, fortitude, reflex, will on easy. As it stands now the game is to hard on easy (big problem) and abit to easy on hard (not much of an issue).

 

Just trying to help you, so i can see more PoE (from having you laugh all the way to the bank)

Edited by Tennisgolfboll
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So im an old gamer.

 

Past 30

That's an average gamer, when you say "old" I expect 60+. ;)

 

I really need to play the game again, I'm not sure what the problem with Thaos is because I easily crushed him (on normal). I had much more trouble with Raedric - both times. The first time because I didn't understand the mechanics very well yet, the second because it's just hard. Although I can agree the difficulty was uneven across the game. It starts rather hard, but then drops off rather quickly, which I think should have been the other way around.

 

In any case, I doubt Obsidian is going to lose many customers over this. Even if the battle is very challenging for you, if you got that far it means you must have enjoyed everything that came before. Lots of people quit around the 2nd Act, this is the group which may not come back for the next game.

Edited by Rosveen
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I would argue the only problem with the difficulty is that PotD is only one that offers challenge and even there it doesn't last past level 7 thanks to the game showering you with too much XP. If you have a problem with Thaos on Easy, Normal or Hard, well, L2P.

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I would argue the only problem with the difficulty is that PotD is only one that offers challenge and even there it doesn't last past level 7 thanks to the game showering you with too much XP. If you have a problem with Thaos on Easy, Normal or Hard, well, L2P.

 

The XP issue was pretty much fixed with the recent patches.

 

I finished a completionist playthrough yesterday (did everything except out-of-party companion quests and 2nd and 3rd set of bounties) and pretty much reached level 12 right before descending into Sun in Shadows.

Edited by Zwiebelchen
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So im an old gamer.

 

Past 30

That's an average gamer, when you say "old" I expect 60+. ;)

 

 

Hey who you calling old? 

 

Says the 66 year old... :disguise:

Nomadic Wayfarer of the Obsidian Order


 

Not all those that wander are lost...

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Im a youngy then!!

 

 

: )

 

 

No but seriously the game is maybe 10% harder on hard than on easy.

 

That is whack imo.

 

 

Im not leet enough for potd (i never tried it not my cup of tea)

 

But i can say playing ironman on hard is cake for me but it will cost obsidian money when easy isnt easy....

 

Just trying to warn them

Edited by Tennisgolfboll
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I'm always in favor of more difficulty options. I don't see any reason why just about every game can't have a super easy mode for those who just wanna play for the story and stuff, as well as something that only the most dedicated players have a chance at, and like 5 options in between.

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The only real difficulty spike is a particular dragon.  It's also true that there is an inverse difficulty ramp at the beginning of the game - which is rather odd.

 

Thoas was a piece of cake - in fact, I was really expecting him to change into a second, more powerful, form or something after I wasted him the first time.  This was with premade companions before any stat fixes were patched in.

 

If the limit of camping supplies actually meant something, then the difficulty setting would immediately have more impact.  But, since you can just pop back to at inn via a few load screens (travel time means nothing in this game), you never really need to worry about fighting smart, conserving fire power, or conserving resources.  Ultimately, you don't ever need to worry about, or plan for, anything outside of a single encounter  This is a major source of why a few more monsters don't really make much difference.  It's as though there was intent to have a challenge of making it through (a dungeon, quest, or whatever unit you can think of) with only X amount of rests/resources, but was completely negated by traveling back and forth through the lands for nap having no consequence.

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Nope. Xp gain is still too high

 

The problem isn't with XP, it's with encounter design. They (correctly) adjusted XP gains so that players who play relatively completionist runs won't hit lvl 12 until partway through Act III. This is essentially 5/6 through the game - that's a decent amount of time to get to play with lvl 12 characters. It wouldn't be much fun if you didn't get any chance to play with the maxed out characters, and if you couldn't reach the cap at all there wouldn't be much point in having one in the first place. So the problem isn't with XP gain. Not really. I'd still say they could stand to tone down bounty XP quite a bit, but in general the XP gain is fine.

 

The problem is with encounter design - namely that encounters are balanced for the crit path player with very little thought given to the completionist. I've no problem whatsoever with hitting the level cap partway through Act III - I just wish the encounters were designed around a higher level party than lvl 9 or so.

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Ya. Though that may also be indicative of a systemic issue: that of level gains affecting player power a bit too much. As soon players get just a level or two too high, challenge evaporates as players do not need to work to get past enemy defenses or to bring up their own. I really think that 3 def/acc per level seems too high. If they can manage to bring that down to 2 (while leaving accuracy/def numbers of enemies alone), that may help alleviate that issue.

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as an aside, the beta experience for poe is illustrative when speaking o' difficulty.  yes, more than a few aspects o' the beta were needing fine tuning as elder bears were ridiculous powerful and the dot from spiders was a bit harsh, but given that the developers had much greater control over player gear and level in the beta, it were useful for observing how relative difficulty were perhaps intended to work in poe.  

 

the genesis poster notes that there is not a meaningful difference 'tween easy and hard.  such were not the case in the beta.  where levels and gear were controlled, there were a considerable difference 'tween normal and hard.  oh sure, there is gonna be a few posters who feel the need to observe that they played the beta solo on hard difficulty with their monitor turned off and using only sound and feel to react and they still never had health drop below 50%.  is always a few such folks.  and yes, after playing literal dozens or hundreds o' times, the beta battles became ez regardless o' difficulty.  even so, am gonna observe that the poe beta difficulty slider had a noteworthy and considerable impact on actual game difficulty.

 

also, 'cause an old gamer should be aware o' this fact, the two most common complaints for Every ie game were as follows:

 

the game was too difficult. 

 

and

 

the game was too easy.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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What they needed was respawning monsters and side quests/bounties with time limits to prevent folks from back tracking for more supplies. 

for even suggesting time limits and respawns, may you be locked in a small room with a dozen rabid wolverines... with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads. 

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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Well, I wouldnt do full respawns but partial/modified ones. So, you butcher some cultists in the Dyrford and some come back as ghosts if you leave to go get more supplies. Or you kill some spiders in Rhemen and if you leave/return then a few tough scavengers may be picking at the corpses. So, it wouldnt necessarily be the same mobs but it would provide a consequence to the choice of back tracking for supplies.

 

I think time limits for some side content could be cool. For bounties, you could be on the trail of some outlaw but if you don't get to some place by x time then he would have moved on (so you have to hunt for him in a different location) or perhaps gained reinforcements (so the battle is harder rather than being an autofail). 

Edited by Shevek
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Nope. Xp gain is still too high

 

Disagree.  I hate, hate, hate games where you only reach the level cap immediately before the final battle.  I want to get to the level cap with some game still left so that I can stretch my top level legs!!!

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Well, I wouldnt do full respawns but partial/modified ones. So, you butcher some cultists in the Dyrford and some come back as ghosts if you leave to go get more supplies. Or you kill some spiders in Rhemen and if you leave/return then a few tough scavengers may be picking at the corpses. So, it wouldnt necessarily be the same mobs but it would provide a consequence to the choice of back tracking for supplies.

 

I think time limits for some side content could be cool. For bounties, you could be on the trail of some outlaw but if you don't get to some place by x time then he would have moved on (so you have to hunt for him in a different location) or perhaps gained reinforcements (so the battle is harder rather than being an autofail). 

 

It might be pretty cool if you actually had to hunt down some (or all) of the bounty targets, rather than simply know exactly where they are.

 

As for time limits, I disagree.  I don't particularly like time limits in cRPGs.

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rabid wolverines with laser beams... forced to watch nothing but women's golf for 48 uninterrupted hours.

 

HA! Good Fun!

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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The only real difficulty spike is a particular dragon.  It's also true that there is an inverse difficulty ramp at the beginning of the game - which is rather odd.

 

Thoas was a piece of cake - in fact, I was really expecting him to change into a second, more powerful, form or something after I wasted him the first time.  This was with premade companions before any stat fixes were patched in.

 

If the limit of camping supplies actually meant something, then the difficulty setting would immediately have more impact.  But, since you can just pop back to at inn via a few load screens (travel time means nothing in this game), you never really need to worry about fighting smart, conserving fire power, or conserving resources.  Ultimately, you don't ever need to worry about, or plan for, anything outside of a single encounter  This is a major source of why a few more monsters don't really make much difference.  It's as though there was intent to have a challenge of making it through (a dungeon, quest, or whatever unit you can think of) with only X amount of rests/resources, but was completely negated by traveling back and forth through the lands for nap having no consequence.

 

I agree that that particular dragon is a SERIOUS spike in difficulty.  So much so that my first two playthroughs I used the "other" way to get around the situation, if ya know what I mean.  Honestly though, that particular dragon almost felt so hard that it took too much of a cheesy approach to kill him, though I will concede that some people who may have an extremely good grasp of the game may be able to do it without cheese spamming certain spell scrolls.

 

And yes, I found Thaos to be not terribly difficult.  I beat him the first attempt in each of my 3 play throughs, the first play through, I hadn't even buffed my party with various long term pre-battle food and potions.  I will say though that if one doesn't do nearly enough of the side quests and gets to Thaos too soon at too low a level, you may have problems dealing with him.

 

And camping supplies would be more of a limit if one role-played the game more (in terms of managing one's camping supplies), rather than looking for every way to get around every rule and limit in the system.  However, if people refuse to role play the soft limits and then whine about how there are no limits ... A) maybe the problem is on those players and not the game itself, and/or B) devs might come up with a much more punishing, unfun system that a lot more players would absolutely hate than those who claim that camping supplies aren't really a limit.

 

I will say that it'd be nice if there were random encounters while traveling and there was a chance that resting in the wild could be interrupted by a random encounter, like in the old IE games.  Having your rest interrupted was annoying, and yet at the same time an interesting diversion.  You actually had to be careful where you rested, unlike in PoE where you can rest pretty much anywhere in the wild with no risk whatsoever of interruption.

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I like time limit related quests. As the OP noted, if you don't get to a bounty target within X days, he gains reinforcements or moves elsewhere.

 

Another option might be:

 

1) Lizard Tribes are on the warpath and will attack the Gilded Vale within 2 weeks. If you ignore the threat the Vale is reduced to ruins and most of its NPCs slain. If you respond you can prevent the attack or defeat it and save the Vale. The PC can respond to this threat or not. Their actions have a dramatic effect on the world around them - the Vale is kept safe or it is burned to the ground.

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Nope. Xp gain is still too high

 

Okay, let me rephrase that:

 

On my last completionist playthrough without the second and third set of bounties, I reached level 12 shortly before descending into sun in shadows with a party of six.

 

 

Thaos is actually decently balanced. On PotD, it took me a while to figure out how to beat him, with the giants doing massive damage, his flame bursts almost insta-gibbing everyone and his ridicolous 160 deflection score at 18 DR.

 

I think after the nineth or tenth try I finally made it; the hardest part was dodging the AoE flame burst attack, I more or less had to cheese the AI with summons and rotate tanks, separating the giants from Thaos with knockdowns so he couldn't heal them anymore.

 

How anyone can think this fight wasn't difficult (on POTD... I'll just ignore the 'hard' scrubs) is beyond me. The amount of RNG-insta-gibbing in this battle was on IE game level.

Edited by Zwiebelchen
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as an aside, the beta experience for poe is illustrative when speaking o' difficulty. yes, more than a few aspects o' the beta were needing fine tuning as elder bears were ridiculous powerful and the dot from spiders was a bit harsh, but given that the developers had much greater control over player gear and level in the beta, it were useful for observing how relative difficulty were perhaps intended to work in poe.

 

the genesis poster notes that there is not a meaningful difference 'tween easy and hard. such were not the case in the beta. where levels and gear were controlled, there were a considerable difference 'tween normal and hard. oh sure, there is gonna be a few posters who feel the need to observe that they played the beta solo on hard difficulty with their monitor turned off and using only sound and feel to react and they still never had health drop below 50%. is always a few such folks. and yes, after playing literal dozens or hundreds o' times, the beta battles became ez regardless o' difficulty. even so, am gonna observe that the poe beta difficulty slider had a noteworthy and considerable impact on actual game difficulty.

 

also, 'cause an old gamer should be aware o' this fact, the two most common complaints for Every ie game were as follows:

 

the game was too difficult.

 

and

 

the game was too easy.

 

HA! Good Fun!

Spot on.

 

The difference between easy and hard in this game is tiny.

 

Mainly the first bear cave and the final fight in the temple of eothas is the only noticeable differences (both of which are easy with a 4-6 man team)

 

That is odd.

 

Often hard adds like two trash enemies that gives extra loot and makes the fight feel more epic (bigger)

 

It does not add any real challenge and in contrast normal doesnt make it easier, not even easy makes it easier. Just very odd design choice.

 

Id say someone who plays on hard at the start learns the game alittle better from start and will have an easier time in the end (because thaos etc are the same on the settings) because of this.

 

So maybe hard isnt 10% harder than easy in the end, maybe its 5% easier.

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