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difficulty setting in RPG?

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Hi think diablo or WOW where lots of the game revolves around exploring, levelling and finding gear. Is diff-settings useful at all? Making the enemies stronger on HARD SETTING simply slowers the tempo of progress right? Same thing if hard lowers the compansation for doing stuff ("quests") Your thoughts? E

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Difficulty settings have their uses.

Requiring different amount of battles (bad), different compensation,buffing monsters, giving monsters more abilities at a higher level, adding perma death, etc.

Wizardry was typically considered to be a somewhat difficult RPG and part 8 added a difficulty setting making it one of the few Wizardries to be new player friendly.

You should aim for a difficulty setting to make the game more challenging, but not make the game more tedious. (Diablo though tends to revolve around action, thus making it more killing more creatures being harder vs a more standardized RPG where battle is less of a focus).

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Quote:
Original post by suliman
ok but if the game is like diablo or WOW can you think of any good way to set difficulty that NOT just add tidiousness? I cannot.


Well, what do you consider adding tediousness?


Basically, just don't make it so levelling up will make things easier. Don't give high level players access to low level quests/dungeons. That way, they can't just level up to overcome the difficulty setting. Give the enemies new abilities not just better abilities. That way, you need new strategies to overcome them. Add permadeath for more difficulty. That way, you also have to think about how you're going to get out if things start going bad.


Yes, this all requires more thought and more player skill, but that's what a harder game should require.

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In a project I was working on some time ago, the things associated with difficulty settings were experience gain and AI. Experience was awarded based on an exponential drop-off the higher above the enemy level the player was. Harder difficulties dropped off MUCH faster, lower difficulties dropped off slower [capped at fighting enemies your same level].

In short, it meant that you could grind on weak enemies if you were on a low difficulty, and still experience reasonable growth. On hard difficulties, you were forced to push through the game pretty quick, and constantly fight enemies who were your level or higher, or you'd get virtually nothing [the difference in level ground the experience into dust, making weak enemies worthless, but still expensive to fight].

The AI also became more difficult to deal with. Enemies were less likely to accidentally incur friendly fire at high difficulties, they wouldn't just mob you, and they assumed tactically superior stances compared to low difficulty enemies. [the enemies still followed the same basic strategies, but when the AI went to choose between a number of moves, an 'easy' enemy would choose randomly between all decent moves, a 'hard' enemy would choose randomly between only the best few of the considered moves, and would be more likely to coordinate with teamates]

They were the same enemies, but it forced the player to more carefully consider their actions, and removed the option of just leveling out of a difficult area.

You can change things that aren't just stats of enemies.

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Using WoW as an example, you could make it so that enemies and quests that are more than a few levels beneath you don't give you XP or loot. WoW already partly does this (grey enemies/quests don't give you XP, though they do give you loot). So on a hard difficulty you wouldn't be able to "just level up" to get past hard parts, because "just levelling up" would itself be hard since you would have to keep fighting things of your level to do it.

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I think many D&D based CRPGs manage this fairly well...

The general tactic they use is to actually change various mechanics so that combat requires more skill and planning.
For example, on lower difficulty you may be able to cast area-effect spells with impunity, while on higher difficulty your area-effects might damage your allies and need to be used more carefully.
Another example is the death rules. Making the penalties greater if you die, or even the circumstances in which you die. eg, If some of your party survive, on lower difficulty you might respawn, while on higher difficulty you might need to control the rest of the party to go and get help.

As Drigovas says, the other tactic used in all sorts of games is AI differences. Simply vary what tactics the enemies use... if you have them run away, vary when and how they decide to do it... vary what spells they decide to use... and so forth.


That said, though, what youve said about increasing enemy strength isnt quite true, depending how you do it. If you have a player who is fighting enemies at a certain difficulty, then increasing the strength of enemies does slow down their progress. However - if you have a more skilled player, they should be able to progress as quickly as the less skilled player was.

The question is what exactly you are aiming for in having difficulty settings. Is the aim to cater for players of varying skill levels, or to give one individual player a way to give himself more challenge?

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Just dont make a game difficult setting to harsh on the player that if they cant finish it dont force them to in my game there is going to be 4 normal settings 1 extra if you complete the game with the last setting and a super hard one once you complete the game on the hardest. That way you already know around the game but puzzles and monsters will be twice as hard.

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Quote:
Original post by Hero Atanque
Just dont make a game difficult setting to harsh on the player that if they cant finish it dont force them to in my game there is going to be 4 normal settings 1 extra if you complete the game with the last setting and a super hard one once you complete the game on the hardest. That way you already know around the game but puzzles and monsters will be twice as hard.


I don't agree with this. I play games to have fun, and often times, this means that I'll only play a game once. Sorry, most games don't have replayability, and adding features like this to force a person to play a game again feel like a cheap copout to me. If the player can't finish a game, allow them to switch to another difficulty rating, but when I play games, I want all the content available the first time around. Yes, I might miss some content, but I want at least the ability to see it if I'm skilled enough. Saying I'm not good enough because I'm not willing to replay a game is only more likely to have me not play any more of your games.

I also disagree with people who promote more fighting. More fights is a cause for tedium. If a death penalty gives me an experience hit, that's tedium, that's not difficulty. Difficulty should NOT slow the tempo of progress. Difficulty just makes it harder to progress. There's a major difference between placing higher difficulty monsters in an area yet keeping the experience the same compared to placing lower difficulty monsters in an area and making experience worth a lot less. One requires more strategy, yet you progress at the same pace. The other requires a lot more time which means I stop playing your game and move onto something else.

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Well your maybe right on the difficulty setting on RPG's but other then that these come true on other genres aswel like 3rd person games like Metal Gear where they have Extreme and Europian Extreme and God of War with God Mode Difficulty.. RPG Wise your right on setting the difficulty ingame while the going gets tough

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as far as an RPG, a system much like WoW is pretty easy to work with and is relatively effective. other games need more fine tuning basically because there is less formulas being worked with and it depends more on skill than a 'paper-rock-scissor' scenario.

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You don't have the ability to gain quests that are created for players of a higher level and if they are made for a lower level yoyu gain less or even nothing for their completion.

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