Surviving the first mission (with three exo deaths) doesn't indicate to me that Misery is too easy Even in AIW on 10/10 you're supposed to be able to survive the early waves if you know what you're doing. Also, I'm not aiming at a 10/10 thing with Misery because different games have different levels of "how fun is this to play without hope of winning?" and I suspect Bionic's is lower because you have a lot less margin for failure. In AIW you can let half the galaxy burn during a major defense and still survive; here you don't get that many fallback positions.
That said, if folks want Misery, or at least Misery+Conducts to be a place where "the achievement isn't winning, the achievement is how long you survive" then I imagine that could be arranged
Agreed on not increasing shields on Misery; in fact if they're currently higher than Expert I'd like to bring them back down to Expert's level. Winning by running the player out of ammo isn't the goal, though it's fine that the player is often driven to expend important ammo earlier than they'd like.
For similar reasons it's best to not increase the overall bot population of missions, since twice the bots has a similar impact as twice the shields on the amount of overall ammo soak.
But we could have it seed a higher-percentage of the higher-PITAR bot types selected for the mission. And perhaps more special bots like Misery mentioned. Same count of bots, more pain. Granted, that does mean a higher total shields on average, but not as dramatically as the above options.
Other than that there are dirty tricks like "Bot In A Closet" with a bot behind an un-scannable door that doesn't open until you enter the room or something like that. But I'm not sure if that just turns into an "RNG says gg, better luck next game!" situation.
Oh, it's not that the difficulty was too low for a single mission.
It's that it was too low for a single mission plus all the conducts.
Now, granted, this is based on MY definition of difficulty, which I'll admit is a little.... warped.
But still, that's what I meant.
Also, yes, increasing the number of bots altogether wouldnt be good. For any difficulty, really. It's just not necessary. And actual stats on bots dont need increasing.
For the overall difficulty, I wouldnt want this to be the sort of thing where it's definitely unwinnable, like 10/10 for AI Wars is meant to be. But the idea was to make it quite significantly harder than Expert, yet without increasing bot stats (so it doesnt get tedious). Expert should always seem viable once you've had enough practice and have gotten good at the game. Misery should be quite the major achievement if you somehow manage to beat it. That's on the BASE difficulty, mind you, without the conducts. Those can of course be added later if the player so desires.
Also, the BombBots, I say those need to be a threat to the PLAYER, not to the enemy. If the player wants to use them in an easy fashion against the enemy, they should require virusing, particularly considering just how much damage they can do to enemy groups; it makes it very worth the trouble to virus them even if it's quite risky.