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Keep in mind this is the perspective of someone who was not in betas. I am a new player to the game, like many are now, and I believe coming at this from fresh eyes is important, because the game has a level of tedium and difficulty that will be insurmountable to all but those who are willing to do internet research, constant trial and error, and in general waste a lot more time than the average player would want to. Here is my story thus far.

It's worth noting that I have recently played Wasteland 2 (arizona only of course), Banner Saga, Watch dogs, Wolfenstein, Stick of truth, and a couple others... And that was just in June. I am a gamer. I am both very competent and at the same time I have no time for nonsense, because there's lots of fish in the ocean.

The first thing that went wrong in the game is the slow movement coupled with the constant backtracking around Cyseal in order to do somewhat boring (storywise) quests with little to no action involved. This got old quickly, and if it hadn't, it would have gotten old slowly because it takes a while.

Eventually I got out into the combat world, got to level 5, and then came across some astoundingly difficult fights. Now I realize you can cheese fights. I realize if you are a beta player you know what combos to do, how to cheese things, how to munchkin it up. I do not. Nor, from what I've read, does my party even have the makeup to effectively do any of this.

So my party of 4 first ran into trouble trying to get past a huge amount of mobs on the way to the northern cave tunnel. I only lost one character in this battle, but it was very difficult, and took I think like 20 minutes just to complete.

The robot was easy to defeat, despite the universal controller not working at all. And I tried every useful command.

The second problem, and the one that inspired me to write here, was the fight with Dietmar and his 7 thugs. Or was it 6. I don't care, it was too many. On my second attempt, I thought if I killed him quickly, the rest would scatter. No such luck. 7 vs my 4, everyone equal level. Crowd control effects sticking to my chars at a ratio of 2:1 vs what they were affected with.

There was really no way, without a lot of luck, after 3 tries, I was going to win this fight. I was beaten. I often opt to play in easy mode in games, especially those that I don't like other aspects of. But I like the PREMISE of the combat in DOS, and I wanted to stay on normal. I was forced to lower the difficulty and feel like a total loser. Thank you for that.

What was most frustrating is the weird environmental effects, the completely arbitrary splash damage on spells that are otherwise single-target, and the friendly fire issues. My ranger was often stunning HERSELF BY FIRING AN ARROW AT A CLOSE RANGE ENEMY, YET NOT STUNNING HIM. Every little puddle ended up electrifying whoever happened to be standing in it, and wasting points moving, just to take attacks of opportunity was even more punishing.

I feel my party is weak, I feel my characters are weak. By level 5 they've been given the most paltry of skill and attribute points to work with. I have played for what seems 20 hours already, maybe it's less than that, and we are only level 5.

So it's on easy now, but by forcing someone like me, who should have no problems with this (ToEE, BG, Icewind, etc games) to lower difficulty, you simply cannot consider the game top-notch. Combat shouldn't be about cheese to win, or X abilities are all better than Y abilities.

Keep in mind, the game has lots of good aspects, but I see very little criticism along these lines, so I feel it has to get out there.

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Everything you wrote was common feedback during beta. We pretty much were agreeing that Cyseal is a really slow game start, like.. there should have been a huge start dungeon (or guild) or wilderness area before Cyseal to get you up to snuff that taught you about source hunters, their guild and all that (and give you 2 levels more than you have now in Cyseal). But it was made and scripted and done, there was no way to change that anymore... the tutorial dungeon we have now was the concession Larian made to us wink

Then cyseal got larger because schedules were supposed to be coming and so everyone needed a bed and what not, and last minute they were canceled, but cyseal was larger all the same. All I can say is, once you are out of cyseal and level 7, the game becomes much much more fun.

As for archer.. that's true (and very weird) sometimes things that show no AOE have AOE... as for difficulty.. the tutorial dungeon teaches you to use barrels, environmental effects and scrolls. And if you buy a bunch of fireball scrolls no fight in this game (at the start) is hard. In every RPG ever made you have to stock up before battle (And funnily, steal the start location empty ,P)

Now don't get me wrong, some early fights in this game if you don't know the ins and out of the combat system are insanely hard wink The Twin Fire guy? That was even hard for me, and I played in the alpha and beta, it's like a puzzle to kill these guys. I actually love that in RPG's... not everyone does though.

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Just because you are a "gamer" doesn't mean all games will appeal, but I feel strategy RPG players are going to have an easier time coming into D:OS than gamers from say a WOW background.

Anyways here are some pointers:

- there is an optimal progression if you don't want to face enemies higher in level than you. If you are just starting out its better to follow this progression. I recommend clearing the immediate area around Cyseal first before taking on Dietmar because it's just going to go get harder from there
the upcoming Evelyn fight is even harder


- you will be outnumbered often. Strategy lies in figuring out which target is priority and start the fight from that target

- environmental effects and friendly fire are part of the battlefield hazards. You will have to learn them. There is bit of learning by trial and error. If that doesn't appeal to you then you will have a hard time with this game unless you follow a guide

This game doesn't hold your hand and won't hold your hand. It's not a style that appeals to everyone these days

Last edited by Songbird; 07/07/14 04:55 PM.
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I love challenge.

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Pardon me, but your argument seems to be that when you are a player with limited understanding of how the game mechanics work and thus don't make effective characters the first time around, which is entirely understandable and can happen for any new player regardless of his previous CRPG experience, you feel like a loser for occasionally enabling an easy difficulty setting because you feel that somehow this makes mock of your ability at the genre from playing other games in the past?

Why on earth would you feel that rather than considering this a valuable learning experience and spurring you on to either a) develop your characters stats so they'd be able to handle these sort of things without your changing tactics, or b) develop your tactical skills as pertinent to the game?

Do you really want to play CRPGs where you, when you've got inadequate knowledge and have a party that for whatever reason significantly underperforms, don't face any challenge when playing it at the normal difficulty setting?

Combat isn't about cheese to win on normal. It is about tactics and being the right level to take on the challenge.

Like you, I have been playing CRPGs for the longest time (in my case going back to Temple of Apshai and later on Might and Magic, Bard's Tale, and the Ultimas, and like you I have no beta knowledge to rely on, but everything that is needed to perform well is clearly understandable in-game, so even as my level 6 party can laugh at how poor I was at using the tactical avenues available to me at level 4 due to lack of experience and my level 10 party can laugh at how my level 6 party didn't get anywhere near the power out of the tools it had available at the time, I've had few problems. (Apart from taking on Braccus Rex too early. THAT was a clear sign to earn a level or two and then return.)

Which brings up the question of whether you'd have been better off waiting with taking on that particular challenge in the first place rather than sticking at it.

My party was level 6 when facing Dietmar and afterwards going for Evelyn's secret lair, which means my characters will have been significantly more powerful than they were at level 5. Have you fulfilled all the side quests in Cysael? Have you killed all the undead in the lowlevel areas (basically, the undead west and north of Cysael). How about the watcher statues? There are so many ways to get XP that you shouldn't have to face Dietmar & Co. at level 5. You could even go kill a few of the level 6 Orcs on the Orc beach, as they come in fewer numbers than the large number of pirates with Dietmar.

There's a lot of XP out there just waiting to be gotten, and Dietmar and what follows in that area is something that should definitely not be attempted early in the game unless you want a real challenge, it is something for when you are done with most of Crysael and environments.

(And have sharpened your weapons and improved your armour, have stocked up on healing potions, and so on and so forth. When you go to that area you are heading to the resolution of some major questlines, and that's when the going gets tough.)


Last edited by Peter Ebbesen; 07/07/14 05:16 PM.

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Originally Posted by Peter Ebbesen
Pardon me, but your argument seems to be that when you are a player with limited understanding of how the game mechanics work and thus don't make effective characters the first time around, which is entirely understandable and can happen for any new player regardless of his previous CRPG experience, you feel like a loser for occasionally enabling an easy difficulty setting because you feel that somehow this makes mock of your ability at the genre from playing other games in the past?

Why on earth would you feel that rather than considering this a valuable learning experience and spurring you on to either a) develop your characters stats so they'd be able to handle these sort of things without your changing tactics, or b) develop your tactical skills as pertinent to the game?

Do you really want to play CRPGs where you, when you've got inadequate knowledge and have a party that for whatever reason significantly underperforms, don't face any challenge when playing it at the normal difficulty setting?

Combat isn't about cheese to win on normal. It is about tactics and being the right level to take on the challenge.

Like you, I have been playing CRPGs for the longest time (in my case going back to Temple of Apshai and later on Might and Magic, Bard's Tale, and the Ultimas, and like you I have no beta knowledge to rely on, but everything that is needed to perform well is clearly understandable in-game, so even as my level 6 party can laugh at how poor I was at using the tactical avenues available to me at level 4 due to lack of experience and my level 10 party can laugh at how my level 6 party didn't get anywhere near the power out of the tools it had available at the time, I've had few problems. (Apart from taking on Braccus Rex too early. THAT was a clear sign to earn a level or two and then return.)

Which brings up the question of whether you'd have been better off waiting with taking on that particular challenge in the first place rather than sticking at it.

My party was level 6 when facing Dietmar and afterwards going for Evelyn's secret lair, which means my characters will have been significantly more powerful than they were at level 5. Have you fulfilled all the side quests in Cysael? Have you killed all the undead in the lowlevel areas (basically, the undead west and north of Cysael). How about the watcher statues? There are so many ways to get XP that you shouldn't have to face Dietmar & Co. at level 5. You could even go kill a few of the level 6 Orcs on the Orc beach, as they come in fewer numbers than the large number of pirates with Dietmar.

There's a lot of XP out there just waiting to be gotten, and Dietmar and what follows in that area is something that should definitely not be attempted early in the game unless you want a real challenge, it is something for when you are done with most of Crysael and environments.

(And have sharpened your weapons and improved your armour, have stocked up on healing potions, and so on and so forth. When you go to that area you are heading to the resolution of some major questlines, and that's when the going gets tough.)




<applause>

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Simple question. If you feel like a "loser" for turning difficulty to Easy, why would the developer reducing the Normal difficulty to Easy make you feel like any less of a loser? The same thing will have happened.

I've never understood this argument. "It's too hard, but I refuse to turn down the difficulty...change the game".

All games should just change the names of their default difficulty settings. Instead of Easy - Normal - Hard, just name them Normal - Advanced - Hard. Then we no longer have to worry injuring the egos of the emotionally unstable via the use of the word easy.

There's no shame in playing on Easy. Different games are more or less difficult for different people. Expecting every game's "Normal" to be set to your personal skill level is insane.






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The main problem right now seems to me that you seem to need a mage (especially on hard which is what I'm playing at now after a bug forced me to restart). Hell, he doesn't even need to do damage, I just need someone to constantly readjust the battlefield to my advantage and heal my rogue so she can clear enemies.

Regarding moving around: It feels a bit weird, but stop walking so much. Teleport all the time. You have a button to teleport from anywhere. Do it. Those portals you can port to are everywhere.

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I killed Dietmar on normal with a party of 2 (Kinght and Wizard) at level 5 without Lone Wolf perk!

Well, I had to flee the fight once... but I managed to kill them!

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I found the Dietmar fight to be rather a steamroll. I regard the fight outside the cave and the Evelyn fight as difficult. I actually raised the difficulty to hard after the Dietmar fight, and then beat Evely in third try. Losing my main to things that explode in the first tries, I still dont get that. But managed to only lose my cleric henchie last time while staying away from thins that explode. Which then decided not to explode actually, don't know why.

I am making progress now on hard, using potions and scrolls and crafting and spending my money on skills. I'll lower the setting if it gets too hard.

I have a twohanded knight (main). A ranger/rogue, a fire/geo wizard and a shield fighter turned Cleric.

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They actually made the fight with Evelyn much easier then it was in the last version of Beta.
They made cultists have only half of health - again. And reduced the numbers of support Evelyn has plus made them appear in a tactically very bad position.


It ended in two turns for me.

Dietmar who?


The point is that there are so many things you can use to your advantage that difficulty is currently only based on how well the players understand the numerous options they actually have.

And how well are they synergizing their team skills and abilities tactically.


Of course, nobody can convince a player who expects to breeze through on the first play that the fault isnt in the game.

Especially after something as laughable as Wasteland beta, which has difficulty that toddlers would laugh at.

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Originally Posted by Peter Ebbesen
Pardon me, but your argument seems to be that when you are a player with limited understanding of how the game mechanics work and thus don't make effective characters the first time around, which is entirely understandable and can happen for any new player regardless of his previous CRPG experience, you feel like a loser for occasionally enabling an easy difficulty setting because you feel that somehow this makes mock of your ability at the genre from playing other games in the past?


Hold on here. In CRPGs you're not generally expected to know the mechanics when you start out. Normal mode is usually scaled such that a non mix-max party will have a pretty good chance at winning any giving encounter. As the game goes on, difficult ramps up. If you're played cRPGs before, normal mode shouldn't be a frustrating experience with a good difficulty curve.

I'm a long time cRPG player and some of the early fights are downright unfair. IE you have pretty much zero chance of winning them the first time through even if you understand the mechanics pretty well. Normal mode is what I'd expect for late game fights or difficult settings. You're tossed right into the deep end and expected to swim.

I enjoy a tactical challenge, but they're going to lose a lot of players with the difficulty curve in this game.

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Originally Posted by Brian Wright


Hold on here. In CRPGs you're not generally expected to know the mechanics when you start out. Normal mode is usually scaled such that a non mix-max party will have a pretty good chance at winning any giving encounter. As the game goes on, difficult ramps up. If you're played cRPGs before, normal mode shouldn't be a frustrating experience with a good difficulty curve.

Not really. You are actually supposed to learn the mechanics and the system and the eco system of the game as you play it for the first time and then play it all over a few times.

As you do so the difficulty actually ramps down.


Quote

I'm a long time cRPG player and some of the early fights are downright unfair.

No, they are elucidating.

Quote

IE you have pretty much zero chance of winning them the first time through even if you understand the mechanics pretty well.

thats an oxymoron statement.

Quote
Normal mode is what I'd expect for late game fights or difficult settings. You're tossed right into the deep end and expected to swim.

smile


Quote
I enjoy a tactical challenge, but they're going to lose a lot of players with the difficulty curve in this game.


best seller on steam for how many days now?

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Originally Posted by Brian Wright
Hold on here. In CRPGs you're not generally expected to know the mechanics when you start out. Normal mode is usually scaled such that a non mix-max party will have a pretty good chance at winning any giving encounter. As the game goes on, difficult ramps up. If you're played cRPGs before, normal mode shouldn't be a frustrating experience with a good difficulty curve.

I'm a long time cRPG player and some of the early fights are downright unfair. IE you have pretty much zero chance of winning them the first time through even if you understand the mechanics pretty well. Normal mode is what I'd expect for late game fights or difficult settings. You're tossed right into the deep end and expected to swim.

I enjoy a tactical challenge, but they're going to lose a lot of players with the difficulty curve in this game.

It's not very difficult, though. Anyone who has played as many games as the OP claims to have should've easily been able to understand how to make an invincible party from the moment they started creating their characters. You want damage, crowd control, healing, and summons. Pick a mage with water, air, and earth magic and pick healing/spider/teleport, at least that's the first thing I did, and I never played beta.

The only fight I had any trouble with was the aforementioned fight at the cave, with the 3 boars and zombies and skeletons and such, as the archers would chain-cc my guys to death at the start of the fight, but I got around that by just summoning summons in their faces so they'd CC them instead. Could've bought a fireball spell to clear out all of them, but it wasn't necessary.

I can understand someone who has never played any games like this having a lot of issues, but not someone like the OP, unless they're going out of their way to make things harder for themselves in order to complain about it, instead of trying to find solutions to their problems.

Even a mageless team can just buy scrolls to get through the hardest fights early-game, which was the first thing I did after losing to the boarfight the first time, though it turned out I didn't end up needing them.

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I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on what is reasonable on normal difficulty, Brian Wright.

I expect normal difficulty to be the level at which players who are not expert but competent at the game have a fun and slightly challenging experience, hard to be the difficulty where experts have a fun and slightly challenging experience, and easy to be the difficulty where rookies have a fun and slightly challenging experience.

Thus when a rookie - even one who is a veteran of the genre - plays on normal difficulty, he should expect to risk defeat, even in fairly early battles, and certainly when facing boss encounters like the one discussed here, where you are thrown curveballs as part of the encounter scripting that you have no way of knowing of and hence preparing for before the fight starts.

The genre veteran is likely to be ready for normal difficulty considerably faster than other game rookies who are genre rookies too, and hard difficulty much faster, but there'll always be an initial learning curve, whether it be minutes or hours needed to surmount based on the mechanics of the individual game and the nature of the player.

As for losing a lot of players due to the difficulty curve in the game, you may be right; It is a very hard thing for me to understand players who give up on games over something like difficulty rather than improving their gameplay or adjusting the difficulty setting to a lower level when they are in over their head (the latter option being available at any time and not requiring a game restart), out of some misguided belief that the game should allow them to succeed at the difficulty level they've chosen, but they do exist and I have no idea how common they are.


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Not sure how helpful this is - but maybe use oil and smoke to channel the foes in limited numbers through chokepoints, reduce archer/mage line of sight? That's how I have won fights when heavily outnumbered.

I only have Madora as a tank, I tend to boost her with Wildfire and Oath of Desecration (both available early). Minor heal on two mages keeps her alive. Blind is also a great spell to eliminate a key enemy mage or archer.

I never played beta and I do find the fights tough, I end up using a fair few consumables each time. I've had a couple of wipes. But I massively enjoy the game. I think the quests all show passion and imagination, the dialogue is bristling with wit and quirky humour and the world is richly detailed.

I'm sure on my second playthrough (only level 6 at the mo) I will be able to optimize (my rogue is way less deadly than she could be if I had gone all backstabby on the skills) and the fights will be easier. Hope some of my tips help you, I really think the game rewards some patience.




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I got to the boar fight yesterday (assuming these are the zombie boars) and won on my first try. Felt great. Difficult but scraped through with everyone still alive. Only level 3. Then I saved it.....or tried. It crashed. I have to that look forward to all over again. suspicion

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And wtf 2nd playthrough?!? Is the game super short or something? Do you people sleep? Do you skip all side missions just to do the main quest? I seriously don't get it.

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I understand your pain dude, but personally I really enjoy the difficulty of the fights, makes me really think about every step of the battle and plan accordingly.

It's fine if you don't like it but a lot of people are attracted to this game for that very reason. Me included. No shame in playing easy though. Get the basics and learn some tricks then come back with a different set up and beat it on Normal. I had no beta experience and it was a steep learning curve but I feel that I am finally getting it.

Keep trying and you will find this game to be so rewarding and deep and full of surprises. Im sorry that you dislike the story, not much anyone can do about that. Personally I enjoyed solving the murder mystery and found it to be actually quite challenging and therefore rewarding.

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I spent some time on Saturday watching a few let's play videos before deciding to buy the game on Steam (I own all the other Divinity games and have played them for what it's worth). One of those videos was on character creation, which is quite broad and open here, approaching Fallout level of freedom.

I still made mistakes, I do assume I will replay this game once we get more content though, so I am not too worried.

The class video suggesting swapping out one of the earth spells for summon spider. Oh, thank you. Summons, your answer to whatever the PC throws at you. Mages not your thing? I don't have a great answer yet.

The only fights I've lost a character in were in Evelyn's Lab and something went quite wrong for me at the Orc cave entrance boss fight. Since I have found 12 resurrection scrolls, this was not a big deal.

I have cleared all the outside and am heading into the Church to finish up my Cryseal quests later today. I am slightly over leveled as I am a completionist.

This playthrough was on normal, I will do one on hard. I do not mean to belittle the OPs difficulties, but we are on the internet. I am not a handy guy and I once installed a new light switch thanks to google. A quick trip to these forums, a quick trip to google, some thought put into spell combos...yada, yada, yada... it's all here.

I have stunned myself by standing in a puddle, I have wiped out running across my now dead Ice Elemental, the spell combos and environmental effects in this game are something I adore, and have never seen before. It will take a bit of time to get used to them, and exactly what and what does not set them off. I stun my own guys pretty frequently and Madora has been blown up quite a few times by accident.

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