I m in my first run. I started in hard right off the bat because I know myself , after a little bit of dilly dalling , I tend to get serious and start tweaking the numbers , checking the maths and get the most out of the mechanics and the game in normal becomes too easy.

So far , hard has been the right difficulty for me ,fights are usually challenging , in the sense that I had to correct my approach (meaning the first turn decision and prebattle positionning) for every big fights. I usually fight ennemy at my level or +1 , +2 level start to be hard if they are more than 5 of them since I can't CC all of em.

Still , since it is my first run and that I refrained myself from tweaking at start , I m aware that I could get my optimisation (mostly in terms of talent) starting right from level 1 (and I will do so in the second run).

@Thorsten , you seem to find the game too easy , are you playing hard ?
@skinnylegs , are you it s not just the fact that it was your third run that made the game easier ? I m assuming you have learned to assess situation with increased accuracy during the previous runs , didn't you ?

nt;dr : @OP the game is in a good shape for a first run in hard , it is challenging and fun and a first run will already take you hours , if you happen to have a life , you might not finish the first run before increased diff are out.