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What Is The Point In Difficulty Settings?


Sir Taffsalot
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Diffulty Settings  

24 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you play FMs on the hardest setting?

    • Always! I'm hardcore! Grrr!
    • No. The hardest setting is usually too hard.


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Does anyone actually play FMs on any difficulty settings except the highest one? I certainly never do. From what I can gather in the FM posts most people play on the highest difficulty settings too. There are exceptions for me. I don't like forced ghosting and if I am forced to ghost on the highest setting I will usually play on the next lowest setting. If I really like the FM I will replay it on the hardest (ghosting) setting thus getting replay value. That is the only exception.

 

Without meaning to sound like a snob, I think that TDM is for hardcore stealth fans who want a challenge. It's not a commercial game where a casual gamer might want to try stealth out for the first time thus require an easy setting. It feels like keeping the three difficulty settings is more out of tradition instead of actually catering to a wide range of various player skills. Maybe I'm completely wrong in this?

"I believe that what doesn't kill you simply makes you... stranger"

 

The Joker

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I also played all the FMs I tested so far on the highest difficulty, but I think many different difficulty levels are needed nevertheless.

I guess when the standalone will be released, a huge spike of new players will arrive, including thief veterans that didn´t have a copy of Doom 3, but also many people who might just find the setting, the idea of sneaking around and sniping anyone with arrows (highest difficulty often means no kills) or other things interesting in their eyes and giving them a time to adjust to the mechanics might be easier without getting frustrated by higher difficulty settings.

 

To pull an example why an ambitious mod should always think of all groups of gamers while keeping their original concept untouched is Neotokyo. A great mod with an outstanding soundtrack and setting on the first look, but in the end they only included a counter-strike like seek and destroy/ctf gametype and like 95% of the players left, because this was too hardcore/too boring for them and the developers didnt´t include more diversity so far and the mod is only rarely played today.

 

While i agree that no gameplay aspects should be touched to keep the original feeling of the game, I think difficulty levels enable more different playing styles and a satisfaction for a bigger group of players. And in the end, every kind of player, who likes the game will donate to the community, in the best case with own maps.

Edited by Cookie
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Some of people will start their fun with stealth games from TDM, and you should give them a chance. Difficulty level is Thief dogma, and I see it as another way to make a player customize his approach to FM: like in 'Down in the Bonehoard' where you have Mystic's Heart and Mystic's Soul occurring only as Expert level objective.

 

You could change default settings and instead of easy/ hard, make assassin objectives/ spy objectives/ robber objectives for one map. Three different missions on one map, player decide what he like.

Edited by ERH+

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To be honest, the different difficulties aren't used at full capacity. A mapper can make them differ very hard (except from loot goals or find X items of Y). In Old Habits for example some guards only carry torches under the highest setting.

 

But I noticed that most players seem to always play on the highest setting, which in regardence to my above mentioned FM caused some people to complain about it beeing too difficult :blink:

 

If the difficulties are used by mappers in an more excessive way, they will also gain a higher right to exist.

 

And as said already, there may be some people that never played any thief or stealth games before. And if Thi4f is out, and some of those players notice the mod, they will also not have the skills someone has who played the original ones (OK, I'm speculating a bit here :D ).

FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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Huh? What do you mean by playing on Hardest difficulty?

a ) Mission difficulty (gives more objectives), or

b ) TDM difficulty (autoparry off, combat difficulty, higher lockpicking difficulty, etc)

 

I usually play on the easy or medium MISSION difficulty. I find it stupid to hunt for the last remnants of some trivial gold coins that have no purpose, but I can't leave the mission because an objective tells me I can't. The mission has the main objective, and I do that and leave. That said, I never save when I'm on a mission, and I get ulcers when I watch let's play videos where the player save/loads constantly. Even more: what's the idea of a difficulty setting if you have unlimited saves and loads? You can just save and load spam yourself to success and many people do that. Totally kills the idea for me.

 

On the TDM difficulty side, I like playing with the factory default settings, because those should be the most well balanced ones. Well, autoparry I keep off.

 

Did not answer the poll because it does not have an option that would suit me.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Same here. Didn't answer because the answers don't suit me. I like to work up the levels personally. Also, newcomers meeting a vertical learning curve will be put off rather quickly. Much better to tease them in so they never leave :D

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As Obs mentioned, Difficulty isn't being used to its full potential.

 

AFAIK, one place where Difficulty hasn't been applied yet is architecture.

 

In anticipation of someone doing that someday, I'm not in favor of a single-difficulty design.

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I tend to play on Hard, since Expert loot goals are often too tough for me. I also try to put some variety into my missions' difficulty settings: you get less equipment, more AI with tougher patrol settings, that kind of stuff. I'd love to do even more, but it is also an issue of how much work I'm willing to put into a mission.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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I am one of those who always plays on the hardest setting now but when I first started playing the FM's I didn't - mainly because of loot objectives but also because at that time I preferred knocking guards out rather than stealth and many objectives at the hardest level included no or a limited number of blackjacks

For this reason I would keep the various difficulty settings.

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Although TDM is my favorite game, I am not very good at it. I usually play on the easiest setting because the hard settings sometimes have "do not knock out" or "don't be seen" objectives, and this can sometimes a make a level too difficult for me. I also usually can't find the amount of loot required to complete a mission on the harder settings. I like the difficulty options. New players may need the easy setting to complete a mission, and veterans my need a greater challenge to have fun. In the future it might be nice to have more custom difficulty options, like enemies' hearing and sight range could be adjusted or their attack speed and chance to block an attack could be decreased or increased.

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I rarely play on the most difficult setting because I strongly dislike loot hunts (like Sotha, I _hate_ it when I've accomplished all my goals but I'm forced to stay in the map hunting for loot my character would never bother with), and I don't like "no kill" restrictions,

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Although TDM is my favorite game, I am not very good at it.

+1. I mean, really. I can't do lockpicking above 'Trainer' difficulty. :blush:

In the future it might be nice to have more custom difficulty options, like enemies' ... sight range could be adjusted...

The future could be closer than you think. (On that specific point anyway.) :ph34r: BTW, you know there is a combat difficulty setting already, right? (Dark Mod Main Menu > Settings > Gameplay > Combat Difficulty).

 

Anyway, to answer the OP, the point of difficulty settings is to accommodate people like me (and SirGen).

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Not usually. Reason being: I hate high loot requirements. I like more challenging AI, and I like having access to the full level, but I HATE having to hunt around a level again and again for a single piece of loot.

 

In the original games, you had to play on higher difficulties if you wanted to experience the entire level. Some areas of levels were inaccessible otherwise. I'm not aware of any TDM levels with this restriction.

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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It depends on what mood I'm in really. The first time through I always play on the mission's middle difficulty setting (whatever that is called in that case) and with everything else (options menu stuff) set to default.

 

Personally, I believe that "middle" or "default" settings (both mission and TDM difficulty) should be what you design the mission around first. Missions can and should be harder or easier than each other at that setting (that's good and adds flavor), but I think that authors should test and build towards that setting so that there's always wiggle room both higher and lower from the difficulty the mission was designed at.

On that note think that the in-mission difficulty ("easy, medium, hard" or "normal, hard, expert" or whatever the author feels like) are fine as is. They can represent three slightly different visions for how the author sees the mission can be played.

 

As for TDM "options menu" difficulty settings that are all tied to very specific values and are the same all the time (combat difficulty, guard vision, and so on), I think "test at default" also applies, again to leave room higher and lower.

However, I also believe that you should NOT build missions to accommodate for the highest settings when it comes to these kinds of options. That probably sounds like a bad practice but the reason I believe that is because since these are the same across all missions and are tied to known values, they are the best place to leave room for "people who are just more badass than you".

Basically, I think that the "all maxed out" settings should be allowed to become seemingly impossible or impractical for some more difficult missions, as that leaves room for certain players pull off crazy things.

Edited by Professor Paul1290
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I rarely play on the most difficult setting because I strongly dislike loot hunts

Me, too. Thats while I opened a poll a while ago about how mission authors tend to set the loot values. For me personally, I always try to make it a mission meter, so it tells you how far you have gotten. So normally even the highest setting is much lower then the actual loot available. Most authors seem to do this a bit arbitrary, what's not bad per se, but sometimes the loot requirement is shortly below the loot available, and this can make things annoying.

 

But on the side of using difficulty levels, there are a lot of possibilities:

  • Restricting the area or the ways trough which the player can proceed
  • restricting equipment
  • changing the ai behaviour, how often they occur, which type they are (normal/elite), if they carry torches
  • can doors be lockpicked or do you need a key
  • light radii
  • the lightgem offset, so you are more visible on higher settings
  • the damage traps do, for example
  • and so on and so forth (especially all the other things mentioned before)

what's the idea of a difficulty setting if you have unlimited saves and loads?

That's a good poit, and I really liked how it was handled in the Hitman games, where you had only limited saves depending on the difficulty level chosen. It would be cool to have such a feature in TDM in the future, where the default setting is that you have unlimited saves, but the mapper has the ability to set save limitations depending on difficulty. (Would just need someone to implement it :ph34r: )

FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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Not an Ordinary Guest uses the difficulty levels to set up 3 different playstyles with completely different settings, goals, AI patrols, etc. So there's a lot you can do with the difficulty level. Some people might want to have the freedom to kill AIs so there's that reason for picking "Easy".

 

I quick save and load when I'm climbing or trying to get to some spot in an unconventional way. If I wanted to play it safe I guess I could do that but its a game and I like to mess around and try things I know aren't smart just to see if I'm capable of doing it or if its capable of being done within the map limitations. Experimentation I guess.

 

I like saving rather than Iron Manning it for the same reason. In the rare case of a TDM crash, having saved is a good thing.

Edited by jaxa
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I always play on the hardest difficulty settings in both missions and TDM save for lockpicking. Lockpicking gets annoying for me on the hardest setting so I have it one under that and it provides a challenge some times. Its great to build tension when you have to get in a locked door and there's a guard with a torch patroling and you missed the tumbler!! I love that.

 

I quick save and load when I'm climbing or trying to get to some spot in an unconventional way. If I wanted to play it safe I guess I could do that but its a game and I like to mess around and try things I know aren't smart just to see if I'm capable of doing it or if its capable of being done within the map limitations. Experimentation I guess.

 

I have never found all the loot in any FM I've played thus far but I have always found more than enough to satisfy the Expert goal and I don't go out of my way looking for stuff either. I do try to be thorough in every room I'm in though, as a good thief should and that seems to get the job done.

 

Its good to have varying levels of game play mainly because everyone has their own agenda and differing play-styles. Some times they like to explore and other times they like to challenge themselves.

Edited by Lux
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I think there are different types of players out there,

First the ones who adopted the time-consuming stealth mode and those who simply want to have a quick good time without having to sit around for several minutes and study the patroul routes of the guards.

The latter ones might discover the joy of sneaking some day... in case you don't scare them off with too difficult gameplay.

 

Personally I always play on Difficult ... even in case it would require ghosting. I am not much of a fan of that, but if some mission requires it on 'Difficult', then so be it.

My other settings:

Lockpicking: Hard (will change that to Expert now), Bow Attached Aimer: Disabled, Combat: Normal, Melee Assistance: Disabled (I am not a fighter anyway, I think it is better to run...)

 

Not sure why some people don't like high Loot objectives. This is about thieving, isn't it?

I barely recall any mission where you could not find enough loot on your own with simply doing thoroughly investigation everywhere.

Just like Lux, I save a lot and try even things that seem stupid, just to see if it can be done or if somewhere something might be hidden in some-hard-to-get-to place.

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:ph34r: BTW, you know there is a combat difficulty setting already, right? (Dark Mod Main Menu > Settings > Gameplay > Combat Difficulty)

 

Yeah I knew that you could adjust it. It just didn't seem to change drastically enough for me. The only difference that really stood out, was that on the hardest difficulty the enemy took more hits, but I didn't notice the enemy striking any faster or blocking any more on the hardest difficulty compared to the easiest one. If I counter attack immediately after I block an enemy attack, they rarely ever block it.

Edited by SirGen
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Not sure why some people don't like high Loot objectives. This is about thieving, isn't it?

 

Loot goals are not about thieving. They're about exploration. They're basically a means to force players to go everywhere in a map. If my character's goal is to steal the priceless scepter from the master bedroom, and I manage to do that without alerting everyone, I don't want to have to sneak back into the mansion to rifle through closets in the pantry for one more silver bowl.

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Don't forget that you can make objectives optional. In fact, you could have two loot targets on each difficulty, a low baseline one, and a high optional one.

 

Easy

You need to pay the rent. Find 500 loot.

Make this excursion worth your while. Find 1200 loot. (Optional)

 

Hard 1000/1800, Expert 1500/2500.

 

Something like that. I don't think any mission has done that yet. I also support making no-kill objectives optional, with a caveat like "kill no civilians" on expert.

Edited by jaxa
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