Author Topic: Difficulty level health scaling too high?  (Read 986 times)

Offline Tridus

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Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« on: September 11, 2013, 08:19:27 PM »
So, I really like the difficulty health scaling. I just think the numbers might be too high, and not do the best job they could of preparing people to move up in difficulty.

Easy: Currently 10x base health. This is so huge that even bots you'd expect to be fragile are "tanky". The actual tanky bots can eat attacks from small armies. It's good that easy is forgiving of mistakes, but this is also forgiving of being outright careless. Then again, maybe easy is intended to be a run & gun type of playstyle so it's not a problem?

Normal: Currently 4x. This is less forgiving than easy, but potentially more of a problem. Mistakes that would get an exo killed in one hit in hard can be done 2 or 3 times in normal, depending on which bot is doing it. I think something with a bit less distance between the two difficulties would be better, so that you still need to do the "right thing" in normal and it's just forgiving of an occasional error, rather than opening up much more reckless playstyles.

Given that, what do people think of halving the multipliers to 2x on normal and 5x on easy?

Offline x4000

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2013, 08:30:28 PM »
I'm certainly open to trying it -- especially coming from you, given your history with the game. Again meaning nothing untoward by that. But those that were caught most by the difficulty curve initially I think are best to further comment on it. I had thought perhaps the 10x and 4x might be too high, but I wanted to err on the side of caution rather than having you continue to slam into a wall.

I wonder if 6x and 3x might not be a better first step to take, but I'm open to going further. Bearing in mind you're now very familiar with the game, so that initial perspective has worn off quite a bit.

Thoughts?
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Offline mrhanman

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2013, 08:33:08 PM »
Personally, I think Normal is closer to what Easy should be.  Maybe rename Easy to Casual.  Change Hard to Normal and Expert to Hard.  Then, come up with a new Nightmare difficulty, or whatever.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 08:38:21 PM by mrhanman »

Offline x4000

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2013, 08:35:36 PM »
I'm perfectly happy to do that, too. That might be he best overall, since I think a casual mode is not a bad idea to have.
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Offline Tridus

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2013, 08:37:56 PM »
I'm certainly open to trying it -- especially coming from you, given your history with the game. Again meaning nothing untoward by that. But those that were caught most by the difficulty curve initially I think are best to further comment on it. I had thought perhaps the 10x and 4x might be too high, but I wanted to err on the side of caution rather than having you continue to slam into a wall.

I wonder if 6x and 3x might not be a better first step to take, but I'm open to going further. Bearing in mind you're now very familiar with the game, so that initial perspective has worn off quite a bit.

Thoughts?

No offense taken. :)

6x for easy should work really well, as it'll reduce (but not eliminate) the amount of just "fight armies in the open" time, and I think it's fine if easy lets you do some of that. I'm less sure on 3x for normal but it's probably a more sensible change to try and if the next wave of testers is finding it a cakewalk than maybe adjust more.

So yeah, I'd be good with those numbers. :)

Offline mrhanman

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2013, 08:39:37 PM »
I've got a fair bit of experience with roguelikes.  I don't spend a huge time customizing (maybe 5-10 minutes every other mission), and I play fairly conservatively.  Normal is what I'm playing on currently, and I never lose aside from two Assassination missions where the Boss Bot's health was staggering.  It's only when I'm trying out some crazy tactic, testing a flaw, or otherwise doing something stupid that I even lose an Exo.

I'm having a great time, but I'm sure when I'm done with this playthrough, I'll need to pick a harder difficulty or I'll get bored.

Offline Histidine

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2013, 12:35:48 AM »
I'd go with 5x and 2x for Easy and Normal, respectively.

I'm playing on Hard, with probably about the same playstyle that mrhanman describes, and I never lose Exos on non-boss missions unless I make easily avoidable mistakes like ignoring rocket-armed bots in attack range.

Offline Tridus

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2013, 08:01:08 AM »
It's also possible that range boosters are too powerful right now, as once you get a few of those you can take out huge numbers without them getting to shoot back. Maybe a weapon should be limited to one range boosting item, or range boosts should be more "expensive" on an item so range boost items cost more power and have less other stuff on them, to reflect how strong they really are.

That's not exactly the same issue as the health scaling, but I think it's one of the reasons people are finding things easier.

Offline Misery

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2013, 08:30:13 AM »
It's also possible that range boosters are too powerful right now, as once you get a few of those you can take out huge numbers without them getting to shoot back. Maybe a weapon should be limited to one range boosting item, or range boosts should be more "expensive" on an item so range boost items cost more power and have less other stuff on them, to reflect how strong they really are.

That's not exactly the same issue as the health scaling, but I think it's one of the reasons people are finding things easier.

Range in general is a bit overpowered in some ways.

The thing is that you dont need a ton of range boosters in order to out-range enemies in many cases;  but if the enemies had a tendancy to have MORE range than the player, the game would become entirely about stealth, as that'd be the only way to stop them.   This is one of the issues in general when you have ranged attacks in a roguelike, I've seen it before.  There isnt really any good way around it.  Particularly when there isnt anything that has any movement abilities or anything of that nature.  There arent, for example, any bots that have the ability to charge at you and suddenly be 5 tiles closer.  Or teleporters, or whatever.

One other thing to consider though is the number of enemies that the player can effectively target at once.  Most of the time, the player is only hitting one enemy at a time.  If you're killing off each foe in one hit, and there's only so many of them, then yeah, your extended range is going to flatten them as they keep coming.   It's one of the reasons why I've suggested health/shield/whatever boosts to enemy bots, as many of them have hardly any health.   But, greater numbers can also mean something here, because again, you can only hit so many at once in most cases, particularly in cramped areas.  Having them coming from multiple directions at once is also important, as it is in many roguelikes.

The real question to me is:  How difficult are players finding the game to be, on their chosen level of difficulty?   If too many that are playing it are finding it to be a bit easy, then in that case, something is off.   It might be worth inquiring about this.

Offline x4000

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2013, 12:04:18 PM »
Thing 1:

* Adjusted the difficulty levels around so that the lower ones are more appropriate.
** Added a new Casual difficulty level, which has more or less the stats that Easy used to, except with 10 HQ health rather than 7.
** Easy difficulty now has 5x exo health rather than 10x.
** Normal difficulty now has 2x exo health rather than 4x.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2013, 12:25:45 PM »
All righty, thing 2:

* Keeping up with the Joneses!  Enemy ranges were quickly getting outclasses by player ranges, but no more.  Now the enemy ranges increase by 1 every X number of levels for that enemy, where X varies by difficulty:
** Casual: 12 levels
** Easy: 9 levels
** Normal: 6 levels
** Hard: 5 levels
** Expert: 4 levels
** This may be too extreme, we'll see.  But we want players to have an easy time of it at the start, relatively speaking, and then get into increasing hot water as the campaign progresses.  This way those range extenders don't become balance-breaking, they become quite important.


The health on the bots may also need to be discussed, as you point out Misery.  But I think range is the most prominent issue, so let's get that corrected first and then see how health feels.
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Offline Breach

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2013, 12:35:20 PM »
I'll be interested to see how these changes pan out. I was with Tridus I think in having a torrid first time experience. Since then exo health was increased drastically and bot configurations were changed, e.g. wyvern bots I think are no longer spawning on the first mission which is what destroyed me initially. These and other factors may have been making the game a bit too easy on lower difficulties.

Offline x4000

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2013, 12:42:13 PM »
I'll be interested to see how these changes pan out. I was with Tridus I think in having a torrid first time experience. Since then exo health was increased drastically and bot configurations were changed, e.g. wyvern bots I think are no longer spawning on the first mission which is what destroyed me initially. These and other factors may have been making the game a bit too easy on lower difficulties.

Yep, definitely understood -- and I know the two of you were basically the most-hurt with the initial configuration, so I'll be particularly interested to hear from each of you.

The main goal of my changes at this point is to make it so that the game eases you in but then is pretty hard even on the normal mode.  With the range increases coming over time rather than being there from the start, that lets the bots match you with the range, or at least compensate for it some, without it being a slam in the face right from the start.  Presumably once you have a few missions under your belt, you're reasonably familiar and not getting reamed by the bots immediately like you were before.

Hopefully the presence of Casual also will help avoid the rage if someone finds the adjustment to Easy to be too much for their first time: there's always a step down, and you can try that in order to get familiar, then try the rest of the game.

I'd also like to think that the hot tips help impart enough basic strategy that anyone who reads those wouldn't have the same experience that you did at the start, anyway.  Oh, and the fact that the starting "safe area" is so much huger that you cannot possibly be shot on your first move is also useful, I think.

Anyway, so a lot has changed since the initial health buffs beyond just that.  I am hopeful that these adjustments back down a bit will therefore fit ok.
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Offline Tridus

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2013, 12:56:06 PM »
And the fact that you can't encounter a Wyvernbot as your first ever enemy on easy anymore. Everything combined has made a big difference.

Offline x4000

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Re: Difficulty level health scaling too high?
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2013, 01:18:27 PM »
Awesome.  Yeah, that's true, I forgot about the hand-designed bot mixes when I was writing that.  There have been a lot of changes! ;)
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