Official RPG Codex Discord Server

  1. Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.
    Dismiss Notice

Level of challenge in RPGs

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Trashos, Dec 25, 2019.

?

How challenging do you want your RPGs?

  1. Easy I. From bottom to top. My brain hurts even trying to read these options.

    1.9%
  2. Easy II. I do not care about higher difficulties, as long as the lower ones are very easy.

    2.9%
  3. Moderate. Balance in all things.

    27.2%
  4. Challenging I. No easy difficulties allowed.

    19.4%
  5. Challenging II. I do not care about lower difficulties, as long as the higher ones are tough.

    33.0%
  6. Kingcomrade. OP is a fag, too.

    15.5%
  1. Nifft Batuff Liturgist

    Nifft Batuff
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2018
    Messages:
    1,759
    Difficulty in rpgs is a delusion. That said, I usually choose the easiest difficulty setting and then I try to kill my character as fast as I can.
     
    • nice nice x 1
    • Prestigious Prestigious x 1
    • Salute Salute x 1
    ^ Top  
  2. Kalin Unwanted Dumbfuck Zionist Agent

    Unwanted
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,868,264
    Location:
    Al Scandiya
    Always play on top difficulty. Underrail got it right with dominating mode.
     
    • incline incline x 1
    • Sweat gathers upon my brow, let me dab it Sweat gathers upon my brow, let me dab it x 1
    ^ Top  
  3. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    Messages:
    1,869,116
    Location:
    Searching for my kidnapped sister
    Take Silent Storm Sentinels, Hammer & Sickles game for example. There is a difficulty slider before you can start a game. You can choose E/N/H/In difficulty, or you can custom the features you want (more/less HP/AP for your character/enemies, hide/show clues, save game anywhere/worldmap, ENemies level is scaled 1/2/.../5 level over yours...)

    Say, if I want to play a game that make pistols a possibility, I need to make enemies' HP lesser, and I compensate them by make them faster (more AP), and make myself less HP, etc and etc... Sure, they are very vulnerable to SMG and other weapons, but at least I can test to see if my pistoleer is any good~
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    ^ Top  
  4. Harthwain Cipher

    Harthwain
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2019
    Messages:
    2,218
    I either go with Moderate or Challenging.

    When I start to play something I tend to go for Moderate, because when you start learning the game it's the best way to do it and experience the game "the way it's meant to be played". But if the game is supposed to be a challenge and it offers a choice between Standard and Classic, then I usually switch to Classic (or whatever else it is called) mode from the get-go. Same goes when the difficulty selection gives me a hint that Challenging is for "experienced players" and I might be considered an experienced player. Depends on the game though.

    Other than that I go for Challenging, because if playing the game isn't a challenge, then chances are it's going to get boring and when it gets boring the game loses its appeal, whereas when the game remains challenging it keeps my interest.

    In addition, I like to be able to make my own difficulty (see: Battle Brothers), so I can tailor the difficulty's specifics to my desires.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    ^ Top  
  5. Trashos Arcane

    Trashos
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,123
    I have decided that (for the time being, at least) "dynamic difficulty" is not making it into the poll. Unlike the discussion that follows ITT, the poll is about desired level of challenge, not how you get there. The existing options should be covering everything.

    Note that voters have the option to change their vote, should poll options change later. However, I have mostly made up my mind that the options are going to remain as are.
     
    ^ Top  
  6. Trashos Arcane

    Trashos
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,123
    To me, high levels of challenge are essential in my gaming. I do have a side that just enjoys good stories, characters, atmosphere, narratives, but here is the deal: Combining those with challenging gameplay is an experience I cannot get in other media outside of gaming, and it is the experience I am after.

    Dead Money has masterfully crafted narrative and characters, and PST has such things too. But there is nothing like running for your life in Dead Money, and actually feeling like you are running for your life. It is hard to explain it exactly, but I guess I can say that it makes the whole narrative and atmosphere much more personal. The feeling of desperation via punishing gameplay makes me much more susceptible to whatever other goals the game is trying to achieve.

    Other games that have had such an effect on me are Age of Decadence and Kingmaker. I can still appreciate games like Fallout, PST or Arcanum, even though they did not challenge me as much, but suffice it to say that there is something missing there.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 4
    • rolleyes rolleyes x 1
    ^ Top  
  7. Trashos Arcane

    Trashos
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,123
    Maxie, why is it "milquetoast"?
     
    ^ Top  
  8. ultra loser Learned

    ultra loser
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2018
    Messages:
    116
    No difficulty levels because they are just hp bloat for enemies and you die faster.
    Just balance your fucking game you know like Gothic did.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
    • WTF am I reading WTF am I reading x 1
    ^ Top  
  9. Atchodas Augur

    Atchodas
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,046
    Lol funny how no-one votes for Easy in the poll but then in comments majority are "hur dur I play on classic because of this and that" pretending that "classic" these days is not brain dead easy made for brain handicapped casuals. To answer OP well clearly people here prefer brain dead difficulties as you can see from the comments :D
     
    • Edgy x 2
    • Merry Christmas! x 1
    • Agree x 1
    • honk honk! x 1
    • what? x 1
    ^ Top  
  10. PorkyThePaladin Arcane

    PorkyThePaladin
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,225
    This is such a loaded question that must be unpacked first. What is difficulty, what kind of difficulty? There could be so many things meant by that.

    I love intelligent gameplay, one that makes you think about the game and the world and quests and dialogues, but very few games have that. Some off the top of my head: Ultima Underworld, Arx Fatalis, Anachronox, Betrayal at Krondor, Nethack. On the other hand, I hate difficulty that comes from arbitrary puzzles or pixel scanning.

    I love a deep combat system that makes you learn it over time (Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Dark Souls), but I hate combat systems which are arbitrarily hard, e.g. like Kingmaker where they randomly throw enemies at you with inflated stats or some annoying abilities.

    Difficulty, like everything else in a game, must be intelligent to be good.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • cuck cuck x 1
    ^ Top  
  11. Atchodas Augur

    Atchodas
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,046
    Pathfinder is one of the few RPG games released in last decade that has actual Difficulty and its not even that hard once you learn the ropes, obviously if you go on Unfair on your first try you gonna suffer but thats the point of Difficulty to be actually difficult and increase replay-ability of the game while providing challenge for seasoned player
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2019
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
    ^ Top  
  12. undecaf Arcane Patron

    undecaf
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    3,358
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2
    I like good challenge and the sort of tension it brings, but I'm not really keen on the idea of constant kick in the balls punishment where every move is either a lifesaver or a death sentence. It tends to get frustrating and boring in the long run and makes the game flow like a bad obstacle course.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    ^ Top  
  13. huskarls Educated

    huskarls
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    Messages:
    85
    design the game around and test play a challenging experience, then add loser mode as an after thought that gives the player more health and damage, instead of the reverse like now. Or maybe a large demographic is just addicted to the mcdonalds esque reliability of mmo grinds and repetition that needs to be fine tweaked, but aside from that I don't see why game developers make content every one can beat instead of just accomplishing that through a difficulty modifer
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  14. Darth Canoli Arcane

    Darth Canoli
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2018
    Messages:
    4,304
    Location:
    Perched on a tree
    If the combat system and the character dev. are great, i want the game to be challenging, like KotC (needs a Temple + like mod for re-playability), Wizardry 8 (fastmod + fastanim), ToEE (with Temple +), even Pathfinder to some extend with the TB mod and a lot more of mods, actually.

    Otherwise, it's just boring.
     
    ^ Top  
  15. HeatEXTEND Cipher Patron

    HeatEXTEND
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Messages:
    2,575
    Location:
    Nedderlent
    Don't care one bit, never touch the difficulty settings. Game is easy and good? Good. Game is hard and good? Good.
     
    • Up Yours Up Yours x 1
    • cuck cuck x 1
    • WTF am I reading WTF am I reading x 1
    ^ Top  
  16. Serious_Business Best Poster on the Codex

    Serious_Business
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    3,799
    Location:
    Frown Town
    [​IMG]

    Check out this sweet guy, he enjoys the crpg rpg games! PST! Arcanum! He's posting threads about it on rpg codex! About the high level of challenge that his essential in his gaming! What a guy, what a guy! Shit is amazing, ain't it. It just really is the best
     
    • Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! x 2
    • Funny Funny x 1
    ^ Top  
  17. SausageInYourFace Angelic Reinforcement Patron

    SausageInYourFace
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2013
    Messages:
    3,849
    Location:
    In your face
    Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Difficulty is a difficult topic.

    upload_2019-12-29_21-35-43.png

    In general I liked to be challenged if it requires me to think more about things, dive a little deeper into system and so on, but I do not like having to powergame and obsess over every tiny bit to win. Therefore, I almost always pick the the 'hard' difficulty but not the hardest.

    I do find that I sometimes regret picking that option because in bad games the higher difficulty doesn't make the game more fun but just more tedious (shitty combat, HP bloat, etc). But I am also too autistic to then start with a lower difficulty cause I feel that would go against my honor.
     
    • Salute Salute x 1
    ^ Top  
  18. Trashos Arcane

    Trashos
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,123
    I look good on that pic, don't I?

    Liking Arcanum does not mean that I like its difficulty level nor its combat. It should be fairly obvious to whoever has played it.

    As for the portrait, I kinda look like that. The fact that it is coming from a game with the best character creator ever, a good setting, and some great questing is a bonus. Arcanum's flaws are well known.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    ^ Top  
  19. HarveyBirdman Savant

    HarveyBirdman
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2019
    Messages:
    958
    Different are never good. Every penny going into the budget of devising different difficulties is a penny not spent on perfecting the game in its truest form.
     
    • Yes Yes x 1
    • cuck cuck x 1
    ^ Top  
  20. Not.AI Literate

    Not.AI
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2019
    Messages:
    46
    I think so too - games are mostly designed to be fun, not difficult.

    They could also be difficult, yeah, sure, but if that is the case, it's merely a coincidence.

    Larian automatically tested their last two games, an AI player can easily run through the game and make all the choices and win all the battles instead of the human player.

    So the difficulty is only apparently hard, not really, intrinsically hard.

    There are a bunch of ppl speedrunning Gothic 1/2. Not intrinsically hard. Just apparently hard.

    AI could and often is written to easily beat, mechanically, almost all RPGs out there with no perks that a human player would not also have.

    Most of the fun and difficultly is really in the role playing, the making of "hard" choices, because human players "care" how they win or how they progress, not so much that they win or that they progress.
     
    • FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS x 1
    ^ Top  
  21. Trashos Arcane

    Trashos
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,123
    Gothic II can be speedrun, but you need to be experienced with the game to do that. There is a learning curve, and a learning curve is always part of the challenge (AND the fun, as humans are learning animals, and our brain rewards us when learning).

    Having various difficulty levels is not merely a resource sink to appease different types of players. The level of challenge on a first playthrough will not necessarily be fun on subsequent playthroughs. I had great fun when I first played BG2/Kingmaker on medium difficulty, but as I gradually learned their systems I also needed increased challenge. This is especially relevant for games with complex systems like DnD and the like, where it takes a few playthroughs to discover all the tricks within the system.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    ^ Top  
  22. North Gibraltarian Dog Learned

    North Gibraltarian Dog
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2017
    Messages:
    132
    Speedrunners know perfectly what they need to do, with the only challenge set on beating chronometer. They spend (probably several) dozens of hours in metagaming, info compilation, studying alternative paths and how to break systems conveniently. In crpgs and even more in Open Worlds/non level-based games, they simply planify how to totally break systems, take advantage of glitches and skip if possible some "main" path parts.

    Gothic is not the hardest game out there, but with no metagaming, go to a high level zone is 100% truly, intrinsically, hard.

    Only true for a minority of games in crpg history. Totally depends on the game focus. Combat centric games (a huge part of the genre) really needs challenge. There is few "fun" in combat galore if no challenge is provided. In fact, this is true for other non-combat mechanics (exploration, puzzles, inventory management/time limit) in games that are very focused on them. The only games that works perfectly without "any" true challenge are totally story-centered games in which interactive mechanics are mediocre or minimal, but those those 100% story "games" are a tiny, recent and controversial minority among the crpgs universe.

    To answer the thread:

    - I usually don't enjoy story-centered games with poor mechanics or truly easy games, with very few exceptions even in the adventure genre.

    - Characters progression is essential in crpgs enjoyment with very little exceptions. It's preferable unbalanced games with a huge amoung of mechanics to pass from scrub to God, than overbalanced games with little true progression.

    - I enjoy a lot the hardest difficulty games. I have a high frustration tolerance and truly enjoy the challenge.

    - The games which I enjoyed the most, however, haven't the hardest combat, but provided decent to good, challenging, awarding and diverse experiences in some of the next contexts: Exploration, skill system, inventory management, world reactivity, worldbuilding, survival mechanics. Combat in those games usually is not the worst, but decent or mildly good with 2-3 games exceptions, which are the absolute GOATs in some of the aforementioned other contexts to compensate the shitty combat.

    - The best examples of every mechanic implementation (the core of videogames that are interactive experiences), including non combat ones, are usually among the hardest difficulty examples of those mechanics.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  23. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2007
    Messages:
    16,066
    Location:
    Bjørgvin
    But games are boring if they are too easy.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    • Yes Yes x 1
    ^ Top  
  24. vonAchdorf Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    vonAchdorf
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2014
    Messages:
    12,387
    The fine grained difficulty options in PFKM only work because they can tap into the autistic munchkin audience of PnP Pathfinder / DnD who can quickly adapt to the meta. For other projects of this scope / budget it would probably be a waste of money.
     
    • FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS x 1
    ^ Top  
  25. Viata Arcane

    Viata
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Messages:
    6,841
    Location:
    Water Play Catarinense
    Depends on the kind of game. For crps, you are right.
     
    ^ Top  

As an Amazon Associate, rpgcodex.net earns from qualifying purchases.