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Informal Poll: On what level(s) of difficulty are you playing Elemental:Fallen Enchantress ?

By on June 19, 2012 1:41:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

OrionM42

Join Date 12/2008
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Preamble: When E:FE v0.915 was released, I was overjoyed to see that two new levels of play had been added to the existing seven.  The range of play difficulty now runs: Novice, Beginner, Easy, Normal, Challenging, Hard, Expert, Ridiculous, and Insane.  I think this is about right -- 5 levels above Normal, and 3 levels below Normal.  (I think Stardock made this latest change, partly to satisfy the hard-core players, who were clamoring for ever more challenging levels.)  In any event, I feel pretty confident now that all of us can find some level (or levels) that we are happy with. 

Questions:  Which leads to the questions ... (1) What level (or levels) are you currently playing at?   (2) What are your principle reasons for playing at the level(s) that you usually choose?   and (3) What level(s) do you eventually expect to be playing at, in say the weeks, or months, ahead? 

I am curious to learn this Info myself; but I also think the E:FE Development team might find this interesting.   ( Caveats: Obviously, this is not a scientific survey; and of course, there are no wrong answers! )  So, please consider sharing this information with your fellow E:FE players, and the developers.  Thanks!      

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June 20, 2012 7:52:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks combat units are relatively inefficient compared to Champion armies armed with magic.

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June 20, 2012 10:25:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Interesting Info, Interesting Insights, Interesting Comments  ...  Thanks, Guys    

The Distribution so far:  

     Novice:           0

     Beginner:       0

     Easy:              2

     Normal:          4

     Challenging:   8

     Hard:              4

     Expert:           3

     Ridiculous:      0

     Insane:           3

Multiple levels, Differing strategies or Styles of Play, and Replayability:  Considering the first 26 replies so far (after subtracting the Banner Ad, and multiple replies by single individuals), we essentially have 24 responses up to this point.  Many of the repondents noted that they either have played, or still play, at mulitple levels.  For the purpose of assembling the distribution shown above, I settled on one level for each person, typically either: the highest level they played, or the highest level they won, or the highest level that they enjoyed -- whichever seemed most appropriate.  Excluding (for a moment) the three outliers at the Insane level, we essentially have a very tidy "bell curve" here, centered on the Challenging level.  (I think the game developers might take that as a pretty good sign.)

Going beyond the numbers, the answers and comments are pretty interesting too.  One of the things I was pleased to see, was the number of people who purposely played multiple levels, based upon differing strategies, differing sovereigns, or even differing moods.  Some examples: "... combat-based sovereign, Hard ... magic-based sovereign, Easy ... " (Glazunov1);  a succession of several levels of increasing difficulty over time (MiamiBigAl); "... standard factions/sovereigns on hard and custom factions/sovereigns on expert ..." (Trojasmic); and a truly vast number of levels based on "... how I expect to win the game." (Tuidjy).

I take this as good sign, because I think we all win, if each of us can find our own "sweet spots" of  *FUN*; and especially if we can find multiple sweet spots that draw us back time and time again.  Anything that adds to the number of people who will want to play the game (making it more successful); and anything that adds to the Replayability of the game pretty much amounts to a Win-win situation for all of us.

I hope more folks will provide answers to the 3 questions; and their related observations as well ... 

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June 20, 2012 11:41:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've won each victory type on Normal, and enjoyed the games though they were simple victories (once I learned how to efficiently multitask in the early game).  There are definitely many ways to hamstring yourself that aren't readily apparent (at least not to me, though I might be a slow learner), and Normal difficulty seems balanced well to give you lots of wiggle room and still pull out the win.

Played a custom (caster-heavy) empire on Challenging that didn't seem any tougher than Normal, so I'm going to see if I can repeat that with mostly melee builds before trying Hard.  I like to do lots of exploring while I build up my city/unit strength, and I like bullying the AI through diplomacy (making them pay me for peace), so I'll probably get pulverized on the harder levels (which I'll try a time or two just to bring me down from my earlier successes).

In the future, I expect to find my fun/challenge balance at either Challenging or Hard levels.  (And no, Kongdej, challenging means you can win, but you have to work at it, while hard means you might not win even if you work at it, so the terms are in the correct order, in my opinion.)

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June 20, 2012 12:01:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I play normal, with only base sovs.

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June 21, 2012 7:39:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks Orion for the summary post!!  very interesting data set we have here

I totally agree with yuo that having the bell curve with a median sitting on challenging means the devs have got the difficulties about right

oh, Glazunov, how come you play mages on easy?  I find that magic based champs/sov make the harder difficulty levels easier due to being able to exploit spell synergies.  (I took out a city with my Sov, garrisoned to the hilt, by using contagion and range damage spells, and a lot of running away )

 

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June 21, 2012 11:32:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I keep moving back and forth between Normal and Easy.  Easy is, well, to easy.  And Normal seems to put the beat down on me pretty good.  I typically try a sovereign on Normal, and then if I can't do it, I try on Easy.

Not sure how the AI outpaces me so quickly on Normal.

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June 22, 2012 8:24:09 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting KingHobbit,
Not sure how the AI outpaces me so quickly on Normal.

There are very rigid steps you have to follow to be "Viable" in the current game, which I think is sad.
turn 1: Cast inspiration on your first city,
turn 1: If you have earth magic, cast enchanted hammers on your first city
first few turns, build a pioneer, or 2, or 3, so you can resource grab from the AI.
First 50 turns its better to run on No taxes setting, as to maximimize production and research.
It helps alot to atleast research the 1st prestige boosting research as the first research ever, then aim for basic weaponry, and some grain boosting research. (My starting research is pretty rigid, sad to say).

If you do that it will give you a tremendous boost in the early game
Asking me, not informing players about this in the tutorial (or even keeping the mechanics as is, in full release) is a mistake.
Hope you can use it.

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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June 22, 2012 11:44:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah the optimal starting game strategy is rigid, without much room for creativity.  I do understand that starting strategy is incredibly hard to diversify with balance though.

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June 22, 2012 4:24:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


started 3 player  medium map game on easy.

played a couple of 8 player large map games on normal.

moved up to 5 player large map game on challenging.

 

I agree that endgame is easier than early midgame.  Once an AI's cities begins to fall, it's like dominoes.

 

maybe it's because I'm playing on large maps with dense resources.  Having 9 water shard resources makes slow spell very (too?) powerful.  Large slow monsters become near statues once they're hit with a slow spell.  I look forward to large monsters, trolls, slags, ogres, they're easy with high level slow.

 

One suggestion is to limit the benefits of extra shards to the spell level of the caster, perhaps only 2 shards of bonus's per spellcaster level.  That way a fireball from an archmage would be much more powerful than one from a flame disciple.

 

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June 22, 2012 5:57:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I like playing @25+ challenging AI with a few hard thrown in tha mix, I'll wait to see the end ai result to see if I ever change

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June 22, 2012 6:32:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Challenging and hard

 

I don't like when AI has to cheat...............

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June 22, 2012 11:17:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I play on Normal. I hate cheating AI. I am not saying AI on higher levels cheat, because I really don't have that information, but since they usually do, I just play on normal.

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June 23, 2012 7:09:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Ridiculous. But I won't play until next beta again since Stardock works on next Beta which will release in a few weeks and I am short of free time...
I am an optimizer (not only but in majority) in TBS and still like myself a challenge (also makes for good testing what stuff is easy to abuse and what stuff is completely and vastly over the top. So even while it is not a measure and test for good overall balance its a good way to test the limits and report on those findings...)

As for Question number 3: Might sound a bit odd but I for one hope that I will be able to turn the difficulty down some way further down in time thanks to Frogboy getting the AI up to par to give that experience on hard either... (that point may come when the AI starts to excessively use strategic spells to good effect and a few other things...) So long-term I'm looking forward to being able to turn down the difficulty a notch and still find the level of challenge I like. Which means there would still be a way to dial up the difficulty to even more insane heights (even without modding not being a good modder myself as well as feeling a game of TBS would lack without such a variety of difficulties in both directions) if I'm really up for a bonkers experience...
On that front the game is actually heading into a good direction...

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June 23, 2012 7:52:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It's a pity OrionM42 didn't ask for insight on which faction people were playing and their style of play - I suspect that will have considerable influence on the difficulty level chosen. I play Altair on Easy - that was the default and I still find it challenging. My style of play is to expand slowly from a strong base - clearing the wildlife as I go. Probably not the most effective style for this game  but, it's the way I like to play and the final game will be a lot more successful if it can accomodate different styles - for me, choosing a faction that isn't bothered by monsters and spaming pioneers wouldn't be any fun at all.

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June 23, 2012 9:05:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting arkhometha,
I play on Normal. I hate cheating AI. I am not saying AI on higher levels cheat, because I really don't have that information, but since they usually do, I just play on normal.

I believe challenging is the best ai without cheating

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June 23, 2012 9:10:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Although there is still the bug which gives extra traits to AIs (I think on all difficulty levels and games).  But that is a bug, and definitely NOT a feature.

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June 23, 2012 2:09:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks, as always, for your input, StevenAus.  BTW, for the sake of the next time that I update the statistics on this Discussion thread (like I did in my Reply #27 above), I plan to count you as someone who plays on the Insane level (unless you tell me otherwise).  I am doing that on the basis of your own excellent Discussion thread (" I finished Insane Difficulty ... "), which (acknowledgement is due here!) was one of the reasons that I decided to start this thread.  Thanks! 

Synergy is a good thing ...

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June 23, 2012 4:00:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Grizzyloins,

Quoting arkhometha, reply 38I play on Normal. I hate cheating AI. I am not saying AI on higher levels cheat, because I really don't have that information, but since they usually do, I just play on normal.

I believe challenging is the best ai without cheating


Thans a lot for the info!

 

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June 24, 2012 10:13:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


On difficulties up to hard you do NOT have to use inspiration from the start. Nor do you have to use enchanted hammers from the start.  I tend to use them more mid game to give  abit of a boost once I have some decent shard resources.

Getting your sov up a few levels gives a massive boost to city growth, so that precious 2 mana per turn can get used for helping the Sov.

Expert, I'd agree that it's almost a requirement to use inspiration.  But only because you actually need more than heroes running around on Expert.

Definately agree on the research path at the beginning though!!  There is absolutely no way it is worth doing anything other than the first 3 or 4 civics before anything else besides shard harvesting.

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June 25, 2012 2:57:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I create my own difficulty and name it Hard:

AI sees through FoW. 

+10% Gildar for AI.

Max AI factor.

AI Sov gets 50% Hp boost.

AI units get standard HP.

AI uses magic.

 

Allowing the AI to see the whole map from turn one is crucial for good AI as this stage. If you are at all capable, even on Normal, you should allow the AI to do so. The scouting function is not yet complete and the scout spell is a lame duck still. The AI is basically blind without this. 

 

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June 25, 2012 3:19:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If I want to turn on the AI sees through FOW, where do I go? Would be interesting to change only that and see how much harder challenging becomes.

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June 26, 2012 2:47:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes, I am interested too!  Where in the files do you go to create a Custom Difficulty Level?

Btw: anyone notice they replaced that awful default smiley?  Wonder when they will update the Smiley list too?

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June 26, 2012 3:44:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Go to ElementalDefs.xml and search for Difficulty. That section determines the difficulty of the vanilla choices. AI sees through FoW is a tag set to 0 or 1. 1 means it can and 0 means it can't. This is a huge bonus for the AI and I think the vanilla settings only allow it to do so on Ridiculous. 

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June 26, 2012 4:09:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How do you make those other settings changes as in Reply #46?

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June 26, 2012 4:18:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting StillSingle,

Definately agree on the research path at the beginning though!!  There is absolutely no way it is worth doing anything other than the first 3 or 4 civics before anything else besides shard harvesting.

I'd agree in general but there are definite exceptions. I'm forgetting names but either of the two factions that allow you to buy up loits of champiosn early (either free champions or heaps of cash - Kraxis) there can be a lot of merit in researching the Magic tree up to Heroes firs tup ot nab any nearby level 5 heroes.

I generally won't touch military at the beginning, but there are some scenarios where you want a couple of spearmen up early.

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