Heir to Throne in Easy mode

Discussion and development of scenarios and campaigns for the game.

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RavenBlack

Post by RavenBlack » March 2nd, 2004, 5:38 am

From what I've seen, there's two sets of people talking about the difficulty levels - people who've been playing the game for ages, who now think that easy is too easy, and people who are (or recently were) new to the game, who think that easy is too hard.

I understand Dave's objection to making easy any easier - that people will breeze through the game and then not want to play it any more.

However, the person who introduced me to the game has been stuck (playing on easy) for quite a while. He's not been able to do Isle of the Dead (which, from my experience with it, is much harder than if you go the inland route through the campaign, and also makes the *next* level harder). He's not an incompetent man, he's not a game coward (he initially tried it on hard, and, in his own words, "got his ass handed to him"), but the easy level just isn't easy for a new player.

I play a lot of computer games, including quite a lot of strategy games; I still found the first few levels pretty tough going, even on easy, the first time - enough so that I ended up starting the game from the beginning once I realised how much Isle of the Dead had left me stuffed for the next scenario.

Thus we come to my three suggestions - one is that, on easy, some extra little bonus be given at the end of Isle of the Dead. Perhaps your rescuers also have some cash they donate to your campaign.

The second is that there be a difficulty level easier than easy, but, to somewhat assuage Dave's concerns about people breezing through it, the easier level be called "coward". This will discourage people from using it unless they're the sort of people who really really do prefer a game to be easy.

The third, and one I'm sure is already in the works, is that there should be more to the tutorial. It tells you how to attack, but it doesn't tell you *what* or *when* to attack. I was four levels into the campaign before I realised just how much elves benefit from being in forest. I was seven levels in before I started regularly using the "terrain modifiers" box to figure out where my optimal positioning was. I was ten levels in before I even realised the time-of-day indicator was there, and I would never have seen it or known it was relevant if I hadn't been reading the forums. I couldn't tell what leadership did until I stumbled upon the mouseover. 'charge' as an attack trait doesn't even have a mouseover, so it took me a while to figure out it means "you'll take double damage". At the very least the tutorial could do with showing you a special ability (leadership, for example), and telling you to mouseover it to find out what it does, so you know to do the same when you get other such things in future. (And mouseovers on attack-traits wouldn't go amiss either.)

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Post by fmunoz » March 2nd, 2004, 9:20 am

YEs you are right, the tutorial needs asome new hints.
Care to help us, I'm busy rigth now with graphics but I could copy & paste the messages in the scenario file.
Maybe something about night & day at the 1st night turn.
Something about elves in forest whe you fist attack with an elven unit.
Something about charge too for horsemen.
...

RavenBlack

Post by RavenBlack » March 2nd, 2004, 11:30 am

I think the best moment to mention night and day would be the first time your horsemen attack the dark adepts - starting with Delfador saying either
At night: "Be careful - if you attack with lawful units such as horsemen at night they'll do less damage, and if these were real dark adepts their chaotic counterattacks would be strengthened."
or
In Day: "Excellent - attacking with lawful units such as horsemen during daylight means they do more damage, and if these were real dark adepts their chaotic counterattacks would be weakened."
or
Other: "At dusk and dawn, lawful and chaotic units are equally competent, but you should be aware of the time of day - lawful units such as horsemen will be advantaged during the day, and chaotic units will be advantaged at night."

Followed by:

(the elf) "Neutral units such as elves are unaffected by the time of day."

Followed by:

(no speaker) "Every six turns make up a day - dawn, morning, afternoon, dusk, first watch, second watch. Dawn and dusk act as neither day or night."

Followed by:

(no speaker) "The indicator at the right of your screen, beneath the map, shows the time of day. Rest your mouse over the image to see what time it is, and what effect it has."

I had a prod at the .cfg file trying to implement this myself, but I couldn't find how to filter an event for the time-of-day.

The other thing I tried to do was something for the elf fighters or elf archers part of the tutorial, if they get hit while outside forest, "you should try to have your elves fight from forested positions - they are much better at avoiding being hit there."
But I couldn't find a way of filtering an 'attack' event on the terrain the units occupy. Is there a document somewhere listing what attributes exist for filters and the like?

Anyway, I think there should be another message after that one, also; "Different units resist attacks better in different terrains. Right click a unit and select 'terrain modifiers' to see how well they move and how well they defend in different terrains. This can make a huge difference in the outcome of a battle."

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Post by fmunoz » March 2nd, 2004, 12:05 pm

Good points :-) I'll try to add them this afternoon, but if somebody does it for me :-)
RavenBlack wrote: Anyway, I think there should be another message after that one, also; "Different units resist attacks better in different terrains. Right click a unit and select 'terrain modifiers' to see how well they move and how well they defend in different terrains. This can make a huge difference in the outcome of a battle."
Better than "resist attacks", we should use "easier or harder to hit"
IIRC currently there is no way to tell the terrain of a unit is standing on in WML but IMHO the message should be used at 1st elven attack no matter where the unit is.
Maybe something about charge, also stating that the adepts have no melee attack to counter tha charge.
At 1st attack
"While attacking horsemen use his spear to charge. Charge attacks deal double damage to the enemy, but in turn you receive double damage from the counter attacks. Luckily Dark Adepts have no melee attack to retaliate you."
At second attack
"Try to advoid charging units with strong melee attacks, more if said attacks deal pierce damage."
In the tutorial the Dark adepts were real.

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Post by Dave » March 2nd, 2004, 2:14 pm

RavenBlack wrote: However, the person who introduced me to the game has been stuck (playing on easy) for quite a while. He's not been able to do Isle of the Dead (which, from my experience with it, is much harder than if you go the inland route through the campaign, and also makes the *next* level harder). He's not an incompetent man, he's not a game coward (he initially tried it on hard, and, in his own words, "got his ass handed to him"), but the easy level just isn't easy for a new player.
He does understand that you only have to resist until the end of turns (not actually kill the enemies), right?
RavenBlack wrote: I ended up starting the game from the beginning once I realised how much Isle of the Dead had left me stuffed for the next scenario.
Personally this is one of my favorite parts of any campaign-based strategy game -- when one realizes that one has not fully 'understood' how the game works, and should start a fresh game from the beginning, trying out the new tactics and strategies one now understands.

---

If people want to make 'easy' easier, that's fine with me, go for it :) ziberpunk is in charge of easy level, and can implement changes.

David
“At Gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck.” -- Ian Fleming

ziberpunk

Post by ziberpunk » March 2nd, 2004, 2:51 pm

RavenBlack wrote: Thus we come to my three suggestions - one is that, on easy, some extra little bonus be given at the end of Isle of the Dead. Perhaps your rescuers also have some cash they donate to your campaign.
Ok, I'll look at it
RavenBlack wrote: The second is that there be a difficulty level easier than easy, but, to somewhat assuage Dave's concerns about people breezing through it, the easier level be called "coward". This will discourage people from using it unless they're the sort of people who really really do prefer a game to be easy.
I agree with this point, but the name should be discouraging but not despective IMHO :)

RavenBlack

Post by RavenBlack » March 2nd, 2004, 6:58 pm

Hm, I don't know how you can make it discouraging without being at least a little derogatory. Perhaps the difficulty level could be 'very easy', and the class next to it be 'coward', making it a bit less calling the player a coward but still retaining the effect.
So it would be
very easy - coward
easy - fighter
medium - hero
hard - champion
(possibly very hard to make it symmetical)

I can't think of any words that would fit there better; 'child' is just as derogatory and doesn't fit the sequence, and 'civilian' fits the sequence but isn't discouraging.

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Post by kmj » March 2nd, 2004, 9:09 pm

RavenBlack wrote:Hm, I don't know how you can make it discouraging without being at least a little derogatory. Perhaps the difficulty level could be 'very easy', and the class next to it be 'coward', making it a bit less calling the player a coward but still retaining the effect.
So it would be
very easy - coward
easy - fighter
medium - hero
hard - champion
(possibly very hard to make it symmetical)

I can't think of any words that would fit there better; 'child' is just as derogatory and doesn't fit the sequence, and 'civilian' fits the sequence but isn't discouraging.
coward? hmm.. why not "squire", "knight", "hero", and "lord" ... rather than being derogatory, make it something that implies that you're just (a) trying to learn or (b) not up to being challenged.

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Post by turin » March 2nd, 2004, 10:16 pm

the names of the levels are supposed to be real units, are they not?

why not name it after Konrad's advancement tree. whatever it is for level 0, fighter, commander, lord, and maybe king as ultra hard.
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RavenBlack

Post by RavenBlack » March 2nd, 2004, 10:50 pm

Ah, that would work quite well - he's "youth" at level 0, which suits the somewhat-discouraging role nicely.

Maybe call the difficulty level "too easy" rather than "very easy" to enhance the effect a little.

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Post by Christophe33 » March 2nd, 2004, 11:29 pm

Why not simply using "beginner" or "apprentice" as name for the easiest level.
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Post by turin » March 2nd, 2004, 11:39 pm

because the names are names of units. there is no real 'reason', but if some of the names are units, why not all? of course, not all units have a zero level, so it might be useful for other campaigns if you have supereasy be 'beginner'
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