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How does difficulty unlocking work?


Borissimo

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I was wondering if someone in the closed beta could clarify how the difficulty unlocking system works. When I unlock legendary difficulty for a given scenario, does that unlock the difficulty for all subsequent parties or just the party that got it?

 

Basically, if I create a new party and want to play Brigandoom on legendary difficulty, do I have to beat Brigandoom with that party on normal and heroic first? Or will I be able to jump straight to legendary difficulty with a new party as long as I had beaten Brigandoom on normal and heroic with an earlier party? I really hope it's the latter, because otherwise it's impossible to play straight through the game on any difficulty besides normal.

Edited by Borissimo
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Well the way it works now is different saves are pretty much treated as separate games. Think of each one as its own separate box of cards. The actions in one save do not affect the actions in another. (Except how Treasure Chest Cards work)

So if you are plowing through the story and want to change all the characters, you can; Go to the character select screen in between scenarios (It looks like a character sheet button right now) and drag out the old characters you don't want to use and drag in the ones you do. Right now those characters have access to everything the old characters beat, including higher difficulty modes.

So for exmaple, you beat all the Normal Difficulties through adventure deck 1 with Kyra and Merisiel. Now you want to try some new things, you can bench Meri and Kyra. Then create a party of Lem and Valeros. They will have access to all the difficulties Kyra and Merisiel unlocked and can play up to the scenario's those two unlocked. They will be lacking powerful cards and feats however.

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There does seem to be a bit of a glitch to get that to work.

I had to drag Lem down to my group. He didn't stick but a blue dotted circle showed up.

Then I was able to drag him down and add him to the group.

Also, there doesn't seem a way to remove the characters.

I can add Lem, but I can't remove Kyra or Merisiel.

Edited by PinkRose
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Thanks for the input, Stormbringer! I'm kind of concerned, though, that even with things working as you described, the difficulty system is going to make things incredibly and unnecessarily complicated for YouTubers (and, really, anyone who wants to mess around on higher difficulties with lots of different parties).

 

For example, I want to do a 6-player "dream team" playthrough on legendary difficulty using my absolute favorite party of 6 characters. Then I want to do a 5-player "rejects" playthrough with the remaining 5 characters I didn't pick. If I understand correctly, as things currently stand, this is impossible to achieve without playing through the entire game on normal and heroic twice. Before I can record the legendary 6-character playthrough for my channel, I have to beat the game on normal and heroic with characters I'm not planning to use in the 6-player playthrough. Then I do the 6-character playthrough. But after that, I can't do the 5-player playthrough because at least one of those characters has already leveled up from unlocking legendary difficulty. So now I have to create a new save file, beat the whole game using characters from the "dream team" twice to unlock legendary difficulty, and only then can I begin my "rejects" playthrough. Is that correct? I really hope not. :(

 

In general, even for people who aren't making YouTube videos, this seems like a huge pain. Suppose I play through AD1 with Ezren and Valeros and I decide that I want to start over on legendary difficulty with those characters. I ... can't! They're already leveled up. So I have to make a new save and beat AD1 with different characters, twice, to "prep" that save file for the characters I actually want to play with. In general, if I'm playing through legendary with characters A, B, and C, and I decide I'd like to start over and try it with characters A, B, and D, I ... can't! I have to "prep" a new save file by, again, beating everything on normal and heroic so that I can start the run with A, B, and D.

 

Is there any chance at all that higher difficulties can simply be unlocked permanently, just like in video games that let you pick "easy" "normal" or "hard" at the start? It seems bizarre to spend the time designing, implementing, an testing these two totally sweet higher difficulty settings but then mandate an annoying grind for them to actually be used. :)

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Thanks for the input, Stormbringer! I'm kind of concerned, though, that even with things working as you described, the difficulty system is going to make things incredibly and unnecessarily complicated for YouTubers (and, really, anyone who wants to mess around on higher difficulties with lots of different parties).

 

For example, I want to do a 6-player "dream team" playthrough on legendary difficulty using my absolute favorite party of 6 characters. Then I want to do a 5-player "rejects" playthrough with the remaining 5 characters I didn't pick. If I understand correctly, as things currently stand, this is impossible to achieve without playing through the entire game on normal and heroic twice. Before I can record the legendary 6-character playthrough for my channel, I have to beat the game on normal and heroic with characters I'm not planning to use in the 6-player playthrough. Then I do the 6-character playthrough. But after that, I can't do the 5-player playthrough because at least one of those characters has already leveled up from unlocking legendary difficulty. So now I have to create a new save file, beat the whole game using characters from the "dream team" twice to unlock legendary difficulty, and only then can I begin my "rejects" playthrough. Is that correct? I really hope not. :(

 

In general, even for people who aren't making YouTube videos, this seems like a huge pain. Suppose I play through AD1 with Ezren and Valeros and I decide that I want to start over on legendary difficulty with those characters. I ... can't! They're already leveled up. So I have to make a new save and beat AD1 with different characters, twice, to "prep" that save file for the characters I actually want to play with. In general, if I'm playing through legendary with characters A, B, and C, and I decide I'd like to start over and try it with characters A, B, and D, I ... can't! I have to "prep" a new save file by, again, beating everything on normal and heroic so that I can start the run with A, B, and D.

 

Is there any chance at all that higher difficulties can simply be unlocked permanently, just like in video games that let you pick "easy" "normal" or "hard" at the start? It seems bizarre to spend the time designing, implementing, an testing these two totally sweet higher difficulty settings but then mandate an annoying grind for them to actually be used. :)

Hmm I wonder if I explained this wrong... I usually do....

 

By creating saves you are creating more work for yourself. On a single save file, for now at least, you can play the whole game with a party of 6 characters and unlock Legendary. Then remove those 6 characters from your party back into the pool where they will be waiting if you want them again, and select new characters.

 

If however for some reason you are keen on erasing your party and hundreds of hours of work you can delete those characters. Although I'd suggest not to. You can have multiple of the same characters, just not in the same party. I can have an Ezren who only beat Brigandoom! and an Ezren who has legendary'ed everything on a single save file. And the Ezren who only beat Brigandoom! can go ahead and try some of the legendary difficulties (and get slaughtered in the process).

 

It's what the somewhat confusing filter is for and why you can't rename characters; to help you keep track of having multiple of the same characters on a single save file.

 

So to answer your scenario:

You beat the game on Normal and Heroic with Lem and Valeros to unlock Legendary for each scenario. Then you want to try to play the game from fresh but to start on the legendary difficulties. Bench or delete high level Lem and Valeros and create a party with a new fresh Lem and Valeros. All within a single save file. May Seelah grant you strength!

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Well, Stormbringer, you are a hero, for not only reading my massive (and silly) wall of text but also taking the time to explain things so that I understand. Thank you -- I can only imagine how busy things are right now, and I really appreciate your time!

 

If we can have multiple instances of the same character in one save file, then that 100% negates all of my concerns and I encourage everybody reading this to completely disregard all the crap I wrote in my last post. :p

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Great news and thanks for the clarification! I was also really worried about how to handle multiple versions of the same base character. I would want both builds of Sajan for instance.

 

Follow up question:

1) How will we differentiate the different versions of each character? Is the filter something where we can nickname specific versions? (Drunk Sajan or Zen Sajan)

2) Why is difficulty unlocked tied to saves? Wouldn't it be easier to just have difficulty unlocked for the entire game once you meet the requirements once?

3) What are saves for? If I can swap multiple copies of characters freely, why wouldn't I just play with only one save all the time?

Edited by nimoyfish
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So to answer your scenario:

You beat the game on Normal and Heroic with Lem and Valeros to unlock Legendary for each scenario. Then you want to try to play the game from fresh but to start on the legendary difficulties. Bench or delete high level Lem and Valeros and create a party with a new fresh Lem and Valeros. All within a single save file. May Seelah grant you strength!

 

 

Ok, StormbringGT, this leads me to wondering how the digital game is going to handle the permanent removal of cards from "the box" later on, when in the physical game you'd normally remove them forever under certain circumstances (banishing a basic monster, for example).  The options I can see happening:

 

  • All characters do indeed share one save game universe in which case permanently removed cards from one character/group would remove them from all in a save file. This would definitely be a very valid reason to have and maintain multiple save files for some of us.
  • The card removals are somehow tied to the characters. This would complicate mixing and matching party members and maintaining their removals from a back end side of data management.
  • The digital game doesn't permanently remove the cards from the game at all, in which case it won't matter.... and I will have lost all interest in the digital representation of the game, after all.

What flavor of poison do we have here? 

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Wow, Deekow, those are really good questions. I'm not in the closed beta, so I can't test this, but has anyone tried exploiting this system to produce more instances of certain cards than would be possible in the physical game?

 

For example, say I start playing the game with Merisiel and Kyra and Merisiel finds the much-beloved Deathbane Light Crossbow. I finish the scenario and start a new game with Harsk and Lini. Is the Deathbane Light Crossbow available for Harsk to find? It seems like neither answer is satisfactory:

 

- If "yes," then what happens if I later add Harsk and Merisiel to the same game? Either one of their weapons explodes or I have two copies of a singleton card in the same game. I could even have Merisiel give her undead-slaying crossbow to Harsk so that he has two, which would be a highly illegal (and impossible) situation in the physical game.

- If "no," then we avoid breaking the game, but that's not satisfactory either. It basically means that I have to share limited resources across two unrelated games, which feels completely wrong. Lini and Kyra have to share divine attack spells, advanced cures, etc; Harsk and Merisiel have to share ranged weapons, dexterity blessings, etc; and both games will hurt from having only half the loot cards (once those come up). So of course, I could make a new save file for my Harsk and Lini game, but then we're back to the problem of unlocking difficulty levels.

 

Dangit, Deekow, I thought the matter was satisfactorily resolved. :p

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That would probably be fairly easy to test and see the repercussions of such with the Loot card rewards (such as Medusa's Mask). You'd potentially be able to have duplicates in the same party, etc, which would trivialize quite a bit of the game with the more powerful Loot cards later on.

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If one save file is one box, then it works. I've played multiple games with my box at the same time. 

I set aside my character decks and go on.

So if I have beaten Skinsaw Murders with Harsk and he has the Deathbane Light Crossbow, that's cool.

But if I want to start another game with Merisiel and go after Burnt Offerings, she's not going to be able to attain the Deathbane Light Crossbow, because it's sitting in the box in Harsk's deck.

Makes sense to me.

 

Now,if you really wanted to get jiggy, you could allow trading of cards before a scenario between the various characters in that save.

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My problem isn't with sharing between characters and parties... my problem comes from the permanent removal of cards that happens later. I can live with it being managed with the "all characters on a save game share the same box" paradigm, as long as I have enough save slots to choose to do otherwise. It just doesn't make sense to have multiple instances of the same character then also sharing the 'state of the box'.  You end up with veteran characters who've plowed through AD6 and stripped the deck bare of Basic and Elite cards, just to have copies of those same characters starting play with that stripped box. If people like that, great, I just want the choice not to since that wouldn't fit the difficulty and progression curves of the real game (which I hold dear).

 

Of course, we're going off into speculation territory since there's been no response yet on what actually does happen later on. 

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Should the save file be renamed to box1, box2, box3 and so on? More thematic, but maybe only to those who Are famililiar the physical game...

 

One could hope that success with one will drive the other, and every element that keeps its analogue with the other medium improves adoption. It would also help with the keeping clarity once you add other sets later on. It's only a minor thing, but I actually like the concept of "boxes" in this case more than "saves". But then... imagine all the confusion that would ensue with those unfamiliar trying to discover how boxes work differently than saves.... *sigh* disregard.  ;)

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Wow, what an emotional roller coaster this thread has been! First I was concerned there might be a problem, then I was sure there was a problem, then I wasn't sure there wasn't a problem, and now I think that things are even worse than I thought they were when I started. :p

 

The more I think about it, the more this save file thing is really bugging me. If 1 save = 1 box, then something as simple as playing through the game on Legendary difficulty becomes nearly impossible.

 

Say I want to do the very simple thing of playing Pathfinder Adventures with Kyra and Merisiel on legendary difficulty. I can, of course, beat each scenario on normal and heroic as I go, but that's obviously not the same. So, okay, assuming we get AD1 and AD2 on release day, I buy a season pass, create a save file with Lem and Valeros, and play through AD2 on normal and heroic to unlock legendary difficulty on that file. Now I'm ready to play on legendary difficulty with Merisiel and Kyra, right! Well, no: any cards that Lem and Valeros have, Kyra and Merisiel cannot. So if I were to start with Kyra and Merisiel, the very simple condition of "play Pathfinder Adventures on legendary difficulty" is actually not being met! There are cards missing from the box.

 

To solve this, I could delete Lem and Valeros. Not only does this feel awful and absolutely something I should never have to do, but it also creates an even bigger problem for me when Obsidian releases AD3: who's going to unlock heroic and legendary settings for the AD3 scenarios? I have to make new characters, play all the way up through AD3 on normal and heroic (a pretty serious time investment!), delete them ... and of course, brace myself for having to do the exact same thing when AD's 4, 5, and 6 come out, with the process getting worse each time. All so I can do what should be a very simple thing: "play Pathfinder Adventures on legendary difficulty."

 

There are other issues with the "one save = one box" paradigm. Suppose you want to play the game with characters A and B, and you don't care about anything else. You can create a party of dummy characters on that save and load their decks with Burglars, Darts, Mendings, Short Swords, Bucklers, and whatever other crappy basic cards you never want to see. Then the proportion of quality boons in your real game increases. Of course, this is a sad thing to do, and we could argue "it's a single player game, so who cares if people cheat," but it seems awfully sloppy to allow for such a simple and obvious exploit.

 

At the end of the day, if the process for unlocking difficulty levels is so horrid that playing through the game on legendary difficulty requires prohibitive effort, then I won't be angry or anything -- I'll just play on normal. The extra difficulty levels are, after all, something extra. It would just be strange if the developers spent all this time designing, implementing, and testing a super cool feature but then chose to make the most basic application of this feature impossible to use. Here's me crossing my fingers that they'll change their minds and allow some means of simply and unilaterally unlocking higher difficulty modes, like in Diablo.

Edited by Borissimo
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Borissimo, it sounds like your ideal system would be a "save file" that tracks overall achievement, and within that save file, several "box files" that give each set of characters their own full experience. I wonder if Obsidian can use the existing structure to make it this way by using your account as the "save file" and using the current saves as "box files." I echo your desire for this setup, but I don't know how compatible our desires are with the structures currently programmed or how much effort it would take to make it as described above.

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I think I understand why Obsidian decided to do things this way: it allows for easy swapping in and out of characters. I totally get how frustrated some players would be if they played through Perils with characters A and B, then played through Perils with characters C and D, then thought, "Okay, I'm up for the challenge of playing with 4 characters, let's play AD1 with A B C and D!", and couldn't. They'd be like, "What?! These characters are at the same point, and it's a 1-6 character game; why can't I just combine them?!" Much like I'm sitting here going, "What?! This game has 3 difficulty levels; why can't I just pick the one I want to play on?" :)

 

I won't begrudge Obsidian if they decide to keep things as they are, but I am very curious to see how they handle the issues that "one save = one box" brings up. Deekow raised a good point about permanent basic and elite banishment that begins in AD3, and I'm wondering how loot will be handled. Certain limited cards pose a challenge as well. For example, a party containing Kyra, Lem, and Lini could very easily use all 3 copies of Augury. Then if you make a new party with Ezren or Seoni, not having access to Augury will feel darn wrong. Only one party in each "box" gets a Holy Candle, Father Zantus, and other beloved general-use singleton boons. Even basics can create a problem: Lini typically takes both copies of Inflict, leaving none for Kyra in another game.

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I'll let Nathan or a designer pop in here to answer these largely, but there are systems in place that prevent the duplication of certain powerful cards (such as Medusa's' Mask) in the same party.

Also my explanation of saves being saves is a bit off. We'll have to clear that up a bit. :)

 

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Thanks as always for taking the time to read and reply, Stormbringer! I will have zero hard feelings regardless of how this difficulty setting business shakes out, because the one thing that already seems entirely clear is that a player can create one save file, have one party in it, and play through the game completely normally on normal difficulty, which is all most of us ever wanted. :) You guys just really wowed me with the extra difficulty settings, which I wasn't expecting, and I'm excited to see how those will end up working. Thank you!

Edited by Borissimo
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Of course, this is a non-trivial question in the physical card game, whether you leave inactive character decks built or not, and most of the same issues apply.

 

While it's easy to overlook -- it's just a single paragraph in the rulebook -- this actually isn't a question at all in the physical card game, as the rules spell everything out. From page 19 of the rulebook:

 

If you want to start a new character, you may, but it’s important that you do not keep decks for characters you’re not actively playing; doing so would use up cards that you should be encountering during play. ... If you switch characters for some reason, it’s best to write down the cards in the previous character’s deck and return the cards to the box until you need to use it again.
 
My emphasis, of course. So in the physical game, there is no issue with any of the stuff in this thread, because by the official rules, you can only play one "game" with one box at a time. You can, of course, record the state of Game A, disassemble it, and start Game B, and disassemble and reassemble the game states each time you switch between A and B, but this is horribly tedious -- which is why a digital version of this game is such a beautiful thing. :)
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That would be a little strange, and may (or may not) present other usability problems. In order for that to work, you'd have to load the ENTIRE set of all cards up to the AD# that you have, remove only the cards in the decks of the characters playing the current scenario, and THEN (presuming they remove cards permanently from the game at AD3+, something that has been conspicuously unaddressed thus far) remove the cards that are permanently gone.

 

It's not impossible, just tends to pose unexpected problems. Negative space development can work, it just gets tricky conceptually to design since you have to think backwards from any given problem.

 

I'd much prefer to see this implemented than the potential crossover of card collections we're presumably going to see as it's currently designed. But... the game launches in a matter of days now, I doubt the card draw engine will be redesigned in that short of time, even if deemed "the best idea evar!"

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If you're in the closed beta, then this should be very easy to figure out (I'm not in, so I'm afraid I'll have to pass the buck). Here's all you need to do:

 

1) Create a character in a new save file

 

2) Give that character the Amulet of Life (a basic item of which there is only one copy)

 

3) Create a different character in the same save file

 

4) See whether you can give that character the Amulet of Life

 

5) If the answer to (4) is "no," then indeed, each save file is like one box

 

6) If the answer to (4) is "yes," then see whether you can play Bringandoom with a party that has both characters in it

 

7) If the answer to (6) is "yes," then each save file is NOT like one box

 

I wonder if the game will have a "disassemble" feature that allows you to "return a character's deck to the box," as it were. Then if you try to reassemble the character but unique cards exist in other decks, you get a warning and/or those other decks get disassembled. This will allow players to unlock the difficulty settings with Group A, temporarily "bench" that group to play on heroic/legendary straight with Group B, and then temporarily "bench" Group B when Group A needs to be brought back to unlock the difficulty levels for newly released adventures. This would solve just about everything! ... except Deekow's concern about the basic / elite banishing. Luckily, Obsidian has a while to go before they need to cross that particular bridge. :)

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