about difficulty levels

For all Bard's Tale IV discussion that does not fit elsewhere, suggestions, feedback, etc. No spoilers allowed.

Moderator: Bard Hall Bouncers

Post Reply
demeisen
Acolyte
Posts: 99
Joined: July 11th, 2015, 9:59 am

about difficulty levels

Post by demeisen » June 11th, 2017, 4:35 pm

Hey all - how do you hope difficulty levels will work in BT4? If I remember right (it's been a while...) BT1 didn't have any, but I'm assuming a modern RPG would.

Some RPGs such as from the Elder Scrolls series adopted an approach I felt was deeply unsatisfying. They cranked up the HP of the enemies, and all it did was make combat a slog. Instead of fighting a rat with 20 HP, you're now fighting a rat with 200 HP. It felt cheesy: the dang rat now takes 234 arrows and 34 fireballs to kill, but it's just tedious, not interesting and fun.

On the other hand, I felt the Pillars of Eternity scheme was significantly better. Not perfect by any measure, but certainly less irksome. The highest difficulty (which was still too easy for many players, but that's a separate topic) would alter the composition of enemy groups. You might get harder sub-species of creatures, and/or a bigger group. I could grumble about it here or there, but on the balance it avoided feeling as cheesy as the Oblivion way.

If there's to be some nice deep tactical combat in BT4, I could also imagine harder difficulties altering the smartness of the AI driving the opponents.

My hope is that we see something other than simply cranking up enemy HP, Oblivion style. Some combination of the PoE scheme, and AI tuning might be nice. Balancing difficulty levels takes real development and play-testing effort, but I think it helps a lot to satisfy different sorts of players, from RPG novices up through hardcore players on their 3rd run through the game wanting a punishing experience.

User avatar
Drool
Forum Moderator
Posts: 8789
Joined: March 17th, 2012, 9:58 pm
Location: Under Tenebrosia, doing shots with Sceadu.

Re: about difficulty levels

Post by Drool » June 11th, 2017, 9:56 pm

Frankly, I'd be fine with just a single difficulty level.
Alwa nasci korliri das.

I neither work, nor speak, for inXile.

Not too late; make it eight!

User avatar
Crosmando
Supreme Jerk
Posts: 5014
Joined: January 3rd, 2013, 8:48 am

Re: about difficulty levels

Post by Crosmando » June 12th, 2017, 12:28 am

I have to disagree with the AI part, I would hope that even on the normal difficulty that enemies use the best AI, otherwise the player is essentially missing out on the best the game has to offer, unless they play on the highest dificulty (and most players play on normal).
Matthias did nothing wrong!

balinor
Initiate
Posts: 21
Joined: May 6th, 2016, 2:49 am

Re: about difficulty levels

Post by balinor » June 12th, 2017, 1:08 am

BT handled difficulty in the best way. It was a set curve and the player decided when they were ready to face a particular challenge. If something was too hard you just went away to a previous dungeon and levelled some more.

Yokohamalama
Novice
Posts: 46
Joined: September 20th, 2015, 2:50 am

Re: about difficulty levels

Post by Yokohamalama » June 12th, 2017, 2:04 am

The thing I missed in Wizardry 8 was bigger enemy groups... it can't be enough enemies to kill. Just give me more. There is nothing more satisfying than killing a shitload of enemies at the same time.

In that I really hate difficulty levels which are just determined by givigng enemies HP bloat or make them uberstrong. No thanks. Then better only 1 difficulty.

Ether
Scholar
Posts: 142
Joined: July 6th, 2015, 9:32 am

Re: about difficulty levels

Post by Ether » June 12th, 2017, 5:54 am

Not a computer programmer, but it's my understanding that increasing AI is very difficult and costly to do.
So, if bt were to do difficulty levels, I suspect it would be with physically buffed enemies, not smarter ones, especially since I don't think BT will have a huge budget....at least compared to something like the Elder Scrolls.

User avatar
thebruce
Forum Moderator
Posts: 898
Joined: February 17th, 2015, 8:46 am
Contact:

Re: about difficulty levels

Post by thebruce » June 12th, 2017, 6:22 am

balinor wrote: ↑
June 12th, 2017, 1:08 am
BT handled difficulty in the best way. It was a set curve and the player decided when they were ready to face a particular challenge. If something was too hard you just went away to a previous dungeon and levelled some more.
This.

But IF difficulty were to be implemented, then I think merely bumping the class of foes in any dungeon/level would suffice. No neeed to alter AI, just have the party face tougher (pre-existing) enemies earlier. Obviously contextual creatures and bosses would need to remain per their native level, but creatures are generally found within certain areas, bring to the forefront earlier, to bump the quantity of them. But that's it, at most, imo.
Visit BardsTaleOnline.com - your community Bard's Tale classic RPG resource!
Twitter: @BardsTaleOnline / Facebook: Bards.Tale.Online
@thebruce0

User avatar
Alation
Novice
Posts: 26
Joined: December 12th, 2016, 12:49 am

Re: about difficulty levels

Post by Alation » June 13th, 2017, 4:14 am

As long as they don't use a level wizard I am happy with one dificulty level or a whole selection of them. It was already mentioned somewhere that they would have spawning enemies. So if you want it to be harder, don't do any grinding, want it easier, grind for a few hours.
I would also like there to be no level cap. The OP mentioned that it should be more like PoE, my biggest gripe with PoE was that you maxed out your characters levels at between 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through the game.

So why not let the players themselves "choose" the difficulty level through play (to grind or not to grind) instead of the devs spending so many more addional resourses artifically making the game harder or easier.

demeisen
Acolyte
Posts: 99
Joined: July 11th, 2015, 9:59 am

Re: about difficulty levels

Post by demeisen » June 13th, 2017, 9:07 am

Alation wrote: ↑
June 13th, 2017, 4:14 am
The OP mentioned that it should be more like PoE, my biggest gripe with PoE was that you maxed out your characters levels at between 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through the game.
OP here - yeah, agreed with that. It was one of my main objections to PoE, especially after WM appeared. You hit the cap way early in the game if you did most of the side quests. I didn't really mean to hold up every facet of PoE's system as being ideal, but more just that I liked their scheme of giving you harder sub-species at higher difficulties better than what certain other games have done. Everything was still the appropriate type of monster for the area. You'd just see a few Elder Very Evil Mice of Doom mixed in with the Apprentice Mildly Evil Mice of Doom groups, say.

My other main objection to PoE was that it didn't get hard enough, even with the difficulty slider maxed. I hope BT4 avoids that fate too.

I'm not a big fan of exp grinding though. I realize BT1 had it in spades, but (and I realize this won't be well received by more purely nostalgia driven folks) I sorta hope BT4 eases up on the grinding. I'm fine with respawns and wandering creatures though, especially if it's made to feel right in-game, like maybe you clear some skeletons out of a crypt, and some groups of local wildlife begin to adopt the now-vacated area for themselves. PoE did something else that I liked here. You got exp for killing the first N of some creature type, but then exp gain fell off until you encountered some different creature types. It was tied in with filling out creature details in the beastiary as you encountered and learned about them. It felt nice both from an RP perspective (you learn more from surviving the first few combats with a wolf, than after the 100th time you killed another dang one), and from a game balance perspective.

User avatar
Crosmando
Supreme Jerk
Posts: 5014
Joined: January 3rd, 2013, 8:48 am

Re: about difficulty levels

Post by Crosmando » June 13th, 2017, 9:49 am

If you did all the optional side-content in PoE you would be overleveled yeah, but that's why it's called optional. You do the side content and as a reward the main quest isn't as difficult, that's generally how it works in RPGs. If you were overleveled in PoE it was by your choice (and I say that as a completionist myself). Even in the original BT's if you grinded you would be rewarded with more powerful characters and thus an easier time towards the end of the game. I would hope that BT4 allowed the same choice, because honestly PoE's lack of XP even for killing monsters (beyond the first time you kill a single enemy type) was one of the things I really disliked about the game. I like the openness of RPGs that allow you to go and do your own thing (including grinding) even if that means overleveling in the late game. PoE to me really stunk of control-freak developers in how you only get XP for quests.

That said it should I agree it should be a matter of choice, WL2 gave you the choice of investing in Outdoorsman and never having to go through a single random encounter if you so chose, BT4 should have something similar like Stealth which enables you to bypass random encounters and/or respawned enemies.
Matthias did nothing wrong!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests