Difficulty way, WAY, to high

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Re: Difficulty way, WAY, to high

Postby LordSith » Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:06 pm

I'm a noob for this setting so the fight in the second room was a mess for me and since I had bugs all the way i just gave up. I will come back see in some months but yes me too i want a better difficulty!

Besides I was not able to have an introduction, choose material.... it was so bad.

I feel potential, but it is clearly not yet ready.
My ranger had a sling. Wtf. Where is my option to choose the material of the team? :(
OS: windows 10, 64bits, family edition.

Playing KOTC steam version since march 2022.
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Re: Difficulty way, WAY, to high

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Re: Difficulty way, WAY, to high

Postby jms123 » Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:37 pm

I restarted with a new party, and taking advantage of some lessons learned and some loot I had previously overlooked, I was able to get through that fight fairly reasonably, however, the game crashed when the guy was teleporting us away afterwards. With my latest adjustments I think the difficulty so far feels a little bit closer to KOTC 1, though probably still tougher at this early point (it has been a while so I may not remember it correctly, but I don't recall having to start over for that one).

I think part of the problem of designing this is that there are now so many options for party composition and individual character builds, some combos are going to be much stronger than others.
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Re: Difficulty way, WAY, to high

Postby Zero » Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:34 pm

I completely agree with the others' assessments - thank goodness we are just at the very beginning of Beta testing!

The balance is completely off right now. You could possibly win the beginning battles if you set it to easy and save/reload a few dozen times if the RNG is kind, but maybe not. This is no fun as a starting party is completely out of their depth - they should leave for town, buy some equipment, and level-up somewhere against low-level opponents...except that you can't leave the dungeon and you really have little choice in who to fight when.
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Re: Difficulty way, WAY, to high

Postby jms123 » Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:04 am

Another point I forgot to mention, my success in the tougher combats depends very heavily on initiative. If a couple of enemy casters with AOE damage or disabling spells go first, my chances to win the battle reduce close to zero quickly. To the point where in some cases if I saw the initiative was against me, I would just reload, wouldn't even play it out. It wasn't quite as bad with my 2nd party/attempt though, where I focused a bit more on con for survivability.
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Re: Difficulty way, WAY, to high

Postby Dromin » Mon Jul 06, 2020 3:12 am

Yeah. It's too hard. I turned it down to "easy" and am still getting murdered by later encounters.
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Re: Difficulty way, WAY, to high

Postby Sock » Mon Jul 06, 2020 3:29 pm

Honestly, and this is just the earliest stages, but I feel the best way to make an "easy" game mode without spending too much time rebalancing encounters would be to just remove the money cost for leveling up. Would grossly imbalance the economy, sure, but at least then I could have the levels to match the encounters.

I won't be touching this game again until it's been patched thoroughly though. Every option leads to constant reloads and death.
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Re: Difficulty way, WAY, to high

Postby LordSith » Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:22 pm

Sock, it's sure. If you are no betatester-minded (like me) don't play the game. I will wait too.
OS: windows 10, 64bits, family edition.

Playing KOTC steam version since march 2022.
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Re: Difficulty way, WAY, to high

Postby beleth1379 » Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:29 pm

Yea, really hard game but it's also true that I finally found the meaning of feats like improved initiative. From what i saw to beat the first boss fight ( the one in the temple at the beginning where there is the torrent of lava, is to use the scroll that you found before of confusion and retry till you go first with your scroll user, then kill asap the cleric that summon the tentacle monster and from there is feasible.
I honestly dislike the gold for level-up, i find it not only mechanically annoying but also from a roleplay point of view.
Unfortunatelyh i had to abandon the fight against the moster in the pool underwater because it would have draned my spells.

A tip for the difficulty is to go full summons, they are fantastic.
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Re: Difficulty way, WAY, to high

Postby jms123 » Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:56 pm

Yeah, the crashing combined with the difficulty can definitely lead to a lot of frustration. Having to reload a bunch of times to win a fight, finally pull it off, only for the game to crash right afterwards... ouch.

I still feel that there is a really good core here, it just needs some fixing up. Right now it is kind of a painful experience to play in some ways, but also still fun, and I can really see the potential. Despite all that I'm still enjoying it.

Another point I wanted to make about the impact of initiative. The first time I got through that tough fight at the end of the first area with my 2nd (better designed) party, I barely won with most of my chars unconscious. Since it crashed after that I tried it again later and this time, with favorable initiative, I absolutely dominated. Only one of my party members even took damage (about half of their total HP). Not really sure what can be done about that. Some of it is the system, but some of it may also be the encounter design. Too many enemy spellcasters and summoners (and they have really strong summons) means that if a few of them get initiative, you are basically toast.

This is combined with the fact that, unlike Pierre, we as players don't know the module, so we don't know how many of our resources we need to save and how many we can spend on a particular battle. How do we know that boss standing behind the fire area isn't going to attack us after we finish off all of his minions? Replaying that area again, I can do much better because I know what spell scrolls I can use on what fights and still be able to have enough powerful items left for the remaining fights, etc. I also know, for example, there is a particular spell scroll that really turns the tide of that one final fight, so I just need to save that one for the end. We also don't know, for example, that if we skip the fights under the pool and first do the big fight, we won't be able to go back to the pool later after leveling up. We also don't know if it is designed with the expectation that we won't skip anything and will get all of the treasure. This is especially important since leveling requires gold... we could fall behind and not be able to catch up if we skip something that seems optional. It means we may end up having to play each of the main game areas twice, once just guessing at the resource expenditure rate and hope we get lucky, and then if we fail, a second time where we optimize based on meta-knowledge. The game has, I think, gone a bit too far to the side of being like a puzzle or optimization problem, as compared to KOTC 1, as it plays right now.

Personally, I like encounters where most of them are hard, but if you use good tactics, you have a good chance of winning them in 1-3 tries. I like to have an occasional slightly easier fight just to get a sense of how powerful my characters are, where maybe there is still a risk of failure if I get cocky or too conservative with my resources. These would often be at the start of a new area, perhaps to introduce us to the types of enemies we should expect to be facing now. I am ok with an occasional fight that requires a bunch of reloads to figure it out, but I don't think it should be as often as is happening here. I say this as having remembered KOTC 1 as having a fairly good balance (though it was a long time ago so I may have forgotten).

The irony is that some of the changes I made to improve my party for that big fight are coming back to bite me in the next area. Not having my ranger with the nature skill hurts now. I wonder if the game was play-tested with a variety of parties, e.g. without a rogue, without a ranger/druid for nature, etc. These types of games also definitely need play testers who don't already know the module design when they start.
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Re: Difficulty way, WAY, to high

Postby Shamino » Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:39 pm

Hi Pierre

So as to avoid trying to manually balance dozens of complex encounters, a quick solution for allowing people to adjust encounter difficulty automatically would be to insert an automated Encounter Level (EL) balancing agent between your encounter loading module and your encounter spawning module. The EL balancer would use the CR/EL/ECL/APL guidelines from the 3.5 DMG to modify the encounter automatically until the EL was at a player specified relative difficulty (ie, Game Difficulty Very Easy -2EL, Easy-1EL, Normal +0EL, Hard +1EL, Very Hard+2EL, etc to +/-5), by randomly adjusting the CR of the constituent creatures before the encounter is spawned. So,some creatures might get removed, or have their HD reduced, or have access to lower level spells to make encounters easier, and some creatures may be randomly added, have HD increased, or spell level access increased to make encounters harder. The Game Difficulty setting should also allow for a setting that causes NO automatic rebalancing to occur, so we can experience the encounters exactly as designed, which is how it works right now.

Adding and removing enemies from the encounter automatically may cause some bugs in highly scripted scenes however. As a fix for that, it should suffice to mark in the encounter editor certain creatures of some encounters as being required and having a minimum CR, so the EL balancer does not remove them from the encounter entirely. You would also need to be able to mark certain creatures as "minion" types that can be added by the EL balancer as needed to adjust CR. In this way, certain encounters can be configured such that no creatures will be removed or added in case that matters to a specific scripted scene. In general encounters, though, creatures could be added or removed as needed by the EL balancer toa minimum of 1.

For me, I'd like an EL balancer to work like this. The encounter when created in the editor is marked with a relative difficulty, so if a player chose "Normal" difficulty, this base encounter difficulty would be used to determine the encounter level difficulty. This preserves the relative difficulty of encounters, while allowing players to scale them up or down as they feel comfortable. Ideally, Game Difficulty could be changed at any point during the game (outside of combat).

So, perhaps base encounter difficulty might range like this:
Simple (APL-2), Easy(APL-1), Average(APL), Challenging(APL+1), Hard(APL+2), Epic(APL+3), Overwhelming(+4),etc

If the player chose a different game difficulty, such as Hard (+1EL),that EL modifier would then be applied, so we would have
Simple(APL-1), Easy(APL), Average(APL+1), Challenging(APL+2), Hard(APL+3), Epic(APL+4), Overwhelming(+5)

Similarly,if a player chooses "Easy" difficulty, the relative EL value for each encounter would be shifted down 1. So, maybe something like Simple (APL-3), Easy(APL-2), Average(APL-1), Challenging(APL), Hard(APL+1), Epic(APL+2), Overwhelming(APL+3)

Then the EL balancer would modify the encounter based on Adjusted Average Party Level (relative to a standard 4 character party).
EL is modified differently for parties that are not made up of 4 characters, so especially large parties of 6+, and small ones of 2or fewer, need additional EL modifications.

The EL balancer would also need to modify treasure received appropriately. Again, encounter design should allow the encounter to be considered "Rich" or "poor" or "Standard", etc, essentially applying a different set of EL modifiers when determining treasure awarded. It should also take into account whether or not GP is required for level up. I believe the standard is something like 13 standard encounters per level,so that along with party size can be used as a basis to determine how much GP is needed per encounter to afford leveling up.

The DMG page 49 advises this distribution of EL:
10% easy (EL lower than party level)
20% "easy if handled properly"
50% challenging (EL equals Average Party Level)
15% very difficult (EL 1-4 higher)
5% overwhelming (EL 5+ higher)

I would love to see the EL/APL/CR calculations displayed in the combat log as the combat begins, just to see what I'm up against.

This is not a perfect solution, but should be relatively quick to implement and could be a way to keep people of varying expertise and experience happy without having to modify the encounters manually. Also, since we will eventually have lots of user made content, this mechanism would also help players to adjust difficulty for user made content.

Thanks for all your efforts!
I believe in this game and I believe in you, Pierre!!
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