my Outpost hurts Hard

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josteph
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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by josteph » July 16th, 2019, 12:41 pm

beetlenaut wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 9:37 am
Strangely, this campaign is only called "challenging" on the hardest difficulty level. It should at least be called "difficult". I haven't played it in years, so I'm not sure, but maybe it should even be "nightmare".
Added to #4145.
gweddeoran wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 12:16 pm
By the way, the campaign is now called a novice level campaign for some extremely bizarre reason.
https://github.com/wesnoth/wesnoth/pull ... -417467560

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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by gweddeoran » July 16th, 2019, 12:44 pm

Bu do you think it should be renamed to Intermediate Level at least?

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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by josteph » July 16th, 2019, 1:42 pm

Level reflects gameplay mechanics (https://github.com/wesnoth/wesnoth/blob ... p.cfg#L178). EI does have some custom mechanics (for example, Dacyn's spell in the Outlaws scenario) but I don't know what class it should be in, Novice or Intermediate or what. Maybe it belongs in Intermediate or higher, but maybe it belongs in Novice but we should increase the difficulties to, say, Easy/Difficult/Nightmare.

(and not to repeat myself, but the narrator warning I proposed in the spoiler is also relevant to this, to manage players' expectations)

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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by beetlenaut » July 17th, 2019, 12:25 am

josteph wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 1:42 pm
Level reflects gameplay mechanics (https://github.com/wesnoth/wesnoth/blob ... p.cfg#L178). EI does have some custom mechanics (for example, Dacyn's spell in the Outlaws scenario)
I don't interpret that text the same way. I think it just means, "The level is based on how good you are with the normal mechanics." Custom mechanics don't necessarily make the game harder or easier, and I don't think it's saying that they do.

At least when Dead Water was added, campaigns were placed based on how easy their lowest difficulty level was. Changing the name of the higher difficulty levels wouldn't change that, but would help keep the surprises at a minimum. Jumping from Easy to Difficult would be strange, but if that's how the balance works out, it should probably say that.
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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by josteph » July 17th, 2019, 8:59 am

beetlenaut wrote:
July 17th, 2019, 12:25 am
josteph wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 1:42 pm
Level reflects gameplay mechanics (https://github.com/wesnoth/wesnoth/blob ... p.cfg#L178). EI does have some custom mechanics (for example, Dacyn's spell in the Outlaws scenario)
I don't interpret that text the same way. I think it just means, "The level is based on how good you are with the normal mechanics." Custom mechanics don't necessarily make the game harder or easier, and I don't think it's saying that they do.
I agree.

I wrote that line in the help, by the way. At the time, my understanding was that "level" reflects how well-versed in game mechanics the player is expected to be. Do you think that line in the help is clear and correct? If it isn't, let's change it. (And once we agree on what "level" means, we can review EI's classification again.)

Ignore my previous post, that example with Dacyn was a bad one.
beetlenaut wrote:
July 17th, 2019, 12:25 am
At least when Dead Water was added, campaigns were placed based on how easy their lowest difficulty level was. Changing the name of the higher difficulty levels wouldn't change that, but would help keep the surprises at a minimum. Jumping from Easy to Difficult would be strange, but if that's how the balance works out, it should probably say that.
:hmm: I played a few scenarios at EASY and it's definitely "Easy" or lower. I also played most of the campaign at MEDIUM and I guess I'd call that "Challenging" or higher, if you're allowed to restart a scenario with foreknowledge of what's going to happen. I abandoned my playthrough that didn't use foreknowledge.

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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by CURTERS » July 25th, 2019, 12:20 pm

Decent, need to accomplish something like this with mine.

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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by octalot » July 25th, 2019, 7:33 pm

josteph wrote:
July 17th, 2019, 8:59 am
Do you think that line in the help is clear and correct?
I suggest that paragraph should be shown at the top of the campaigns menu if no campaigns have been completed.
beetlenaut wrote:
July 17th, 2019, 12:25 am
Jumping from Easy to Difficult would be strange, but if that's how the balance works out, it should probably say that.
Maybe adding a second paragraph to the help, explaining why EI jumps from Easy to Difficult would be helpful.

A noteworthy example is Eastern Invasion, a Novice level campaign with difficulties "Easy", "Difficult with foreknowledge" and "Nightmare with foreknowledge". To play the lowest difficulty level only needs a basic knowledge of the mechanics, and veteran players would be expected to easily win most scenarios on the first time that they see that scenario, acting only on information that's already available. There's a vast difference in the level of the next difficulty, mainly because several scenarios in this campaign are about surviving while running away - a few extra enemy units make a huge difference. The "with foreknowledge" means that the player is expected to already know what happens in the scenario, it's a puzzle where the player may need to prepare for events before those events happen.

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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by gweddeoran » July 26th, 2019, 1:06 pm

Do we really need that? Players can choose to reduce difficulty if they think it's too hard at any scenario they want in a campaign. :hmm:
If it is, then that paragraph seems good.
Also, I find veteran players like us (5 years or more) tend to find scenarios a lot easier than your average player. At least in my case, UtBS appears easy even at Nightmare (maybe because I played it before on the lowest difficulty level). Keeping that in mind, we should decide what is hard and what is not. In my experience, EI is quite doable, but according to the original poster it is nigh impossible.

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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by octalot » August 4th, 2019, 8:43 am

Has anyone written guidelines about what the different user-visible difficulties mean? I mean, the "Beginner, Easy, Normal, Challenging, Difficult, Nightmare" set, there's no requirement for the Easy, Normal and Nightmare difficulties to correspond to the similarly-named WML defines. This thread has lead to #4199, but I think it makes sense for the discussion to move back to the forums.

Is there a difficulty for which a sufficiently skilled player will have a good chance to win each scenario on the first time that they see that scenario, without foreknowledge of what will happen? I think one of "Challenging" or "Difficult" should mean this.

Is there a difficulty that's only meant for replaying a campaign, where the challenge is work out how to exploit weaknesses, even when this means preparing using knowledge from the previous play-through?

On Easy, should every scenario be winnable for a really good player starting with minimum gold?

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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by beetlenaut » August 4th, 2019, 10:31 am

octalot wrote:
August 4th, 2019, 8:43 am
Is there a difficulty for which a sufficiently skilled player will have a good chance to win each scenario on the first time that they see that scenario
Yes, all of them. At least in theory. In "Challenging" and above, I expect it to take a couple tries for even an experienced player to come up with a winning strategy. That may run up to a dozen tries in "Nightmare". However, if the player is good enough, they might be able to come up with a winning strategy on the first try at any level. That also means that the answer to this question:
octalot wrote:
August 4th, 2019, 8:43 am
Is there a difficulty that's only meant for replaying a campaign
is "No."
octalot wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 7:33 pm
"Easy", "Difficult with foreknowledge" and "Nightmare with foreknowledge"
In the majority of mainline scenarios, knowing what is going to happen doesn't matter, because nothing out of the ordinary happens. It is only in certain scenarios in certain campaigns that foreknowledge even becomes applicable, and those cases are officially discouraged. (Except for shrouds I guess.) Also, like I said before, you will probably be playing a hard scenario many times anyway, so again it doesn't apply. I don't think a discussion of how much "foreknowledge" you need really belongs in the help system or campaign difficulty dialog box.
gweddeoran wrote:
July 26th, 2019, 1:06 pm
I find veteran players like us (5 years or more) tend to find scenarios a lot easier than your average player.
This might be worth mentioning though because it's very true, and many new players don't realize how much skill this game takes. (Which is why they blame the RNG when they lose!)
octalot wrote:
August 4th, 2019, 8:43 am
Has anyone written guidelines about what the different user-visible difficulties mean?
AFAIK, the only guideline is to try to match mainline campaigns of the same difficulty level. In other words, to match the relative resources of the human and AI sides. It would be nice to have a written guide, but I doubt it's practical. I can't imagine how the levels could be described given the huge difference in the skill levels of content developers.
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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by gnombat » August 4th, 2019, 12:30 pm

beetlenaut wrote:
August 4th, 2019, 10:31 am
In the majority of mainline scenarios, knowing what is going to happen doesn't matter, because nothing out of the ordinary happens. It is only in certain scenarios in certain campaigns that foreknowledge even becomes applicable, and those cases are officially discouraged. (Except for shrouds I guess.)
I don't think that entirely eliminates all benefits of foreknowledge. Even if you have a campaign where nothing out of the ordinary happens (and there's no shroud or fog) in any of the scenarios, it still might be easier playing the campaign as a whole the second time around, just because the player always knows what's going to happen in future scenarios. (For example, the player might aim to level up certain units if it is known that these will be useful in the next scenario.)
octalot wrote:
August 4th, 2019, 8:43 am
Is there a difficulty that's only meant for replaying a campaign, where the challenge is work out how to exploit weaknesses, even when this means preparing using knowledge from the previous play-through?
For most campaigns, I think the hardest difficulty level will tend to be like that (no matter what the level is actually named). If it's a good campaign, people are going to replay it, and they will naturally tend to balance it (or recommend that it be balanced) for a player who has foreknowledge of the campaign.

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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by Soliton » August 5th, 2019, 7:37 pm

beetlenaut wrote:
August 4th, 2019, 10:31 am
octalot wrote:
August 4th, 2019, 8:43 am
Is there a difficulty for which a sufficiently skilled player will have a good chance to win each scenario on the first time that they see that scenario
Yes, all of them. At least in theory. In "Challenging" and above, I expect it to take a couple tries for even an experienced player to come up with a winning strategy. That may run up to a dozen tries in "Nightmare". However, if the player is good enough, they might be able to come up with a winning strategy on the first try at any level. That also means that the answer to this question:
octalot wrote:
August 4th, 2019, 8:43 am
Is there a difficulty that's only meant for replaying a campaign
is "No."
Which is it? One or a dozen tries?

While I agree that we don't exactly have a difficulty that was intended for replaying that is what the highest difficulty will in effect be unless it's not particularly difficult. Or the campaign is really that simple and straight forward that it does not use shroud or fog or gives so many hints that you know exactly what to do. No exploration, no uncertainty about army sizes etc.
beetlenaut wrote:
August 4th, 2019, 10:31 am
octalot wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 7:33 pm
"Easy", "Difficult with foreknowledge" and "Nightmare with foreknowledge"
In the majority of mainline scenarios, knowing what is going to happen doesn't matter, because nothing out of the ordinary happens. It is only in certain scenarios in certain campaigns that foreknowledge even becomes applicable, and those cases are officially discouraged. (Except for shrouds I guess.) Also, like I said before, you will probably be playing a hard scenario many times anyway, so again it doesn't apply. I don't think a discussion of how much "foreknowledge" you need really belongs in the help system or campaign difficulty dialog box.
Sure, tomato surprises are discouraged but it's difficult to have absolutely no uncertainty in every scenario. I wouldn't let the note say you must have foreknowledge same as I don't think difficulties are specifically for replaying. But as gnombat says the highest difficulties will just naturally turn out that way so you might need foreknowledge. Sure there's going to be those players that can still beat all campaigns on the first try but not everyone is going to be like that and I have no idea how you'd define the needed skill level.

I think such a note would be good to point people to when they complain about the difficulty or that you need to save-load all the time and so on. And for those that might read the note before starting a campaign it hopefully avoids frustration so they don't choose the highest difficulty if they mostly want to experience the story or don't have the time to possibly have to replay a couple of scenarios or so.
octalot wrote:
August 4th, 2019, 8:43 am
Has anyone written guidelines about what the different user-visible difficulties mean?
The only guideline I know is that the easiest difficulty should generally be winnable with minimum gold and no recalls.
"If gameplay requires it, they can be made to live on Venus." -- scott

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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by beetlenaut » August 5th, 2019, 9:11 pm

gnombat wrote:
August 4th, 2019, 12:30 pm
I don't think that entirely eliminates all benefits of foreknowledge.
Okay, but that wasn't my point. My point was that putting a note in the help like "some campaigns require foreknowledge" would not be very helpful because it rarely applies--at least not much more than in any game that includes randomness.
Soliton wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 7:37 pm
Which is it? One or a dozen tries?
It depends. If it takes me two tries to get through a scenario, I would rate it as "challenging", and if it takes me a dozen tries, I would call it "nightmare". "Difficult" is somewhere in between. (That applies to me at my current skill level, but I think anyone who has played for a couple years would end up in about the same place. When I had just started though, "normal" seemed unfairly hard.) My point was that calling a difficulty "Nightmare with foreknowledge" isn't necessary because you almost always have foreknowledge on nightmare or other high levels because you have to play more than once. So the highest difficulty isn't intended to be played only when you know what is going to happen, but it probably works out that way in practice like you said. That makes the note redundant, and since it's also long enough to be awkward, we should leave it out.
Soliton wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 7:37 pm
I think such a note would be good to point people to when they complain about the difficulty or that you need to save-load all the time and so on
In these cases, it's not the foreknowledge that is the problem, but a lack of skill. (As we are all aware.) Once they've tried twice, the lack of foreknowledge becomes irrelevant, and they will still have the same problems. That's why I suggested a different note about skill level (or "experience" if we want to be more polite). We already recommend some campaigns to start with, and we could also recommend that people start at a low difficulty level as well. There is nothing wrong with noting that higher difficulties are often much harder, but we shouldn't imply that having foreknowledge makes a big difference.
Soliton wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 7:37 pm
The only guideline I know is that the easiest difficulty should generally be winnable with minimum gold and no recalls.
That sounds good for the novice and intermediate campaigns where the easiest level is called "beginner" or "easy", but the easiest level available might be higher than that (some campaigns start at "challenging"), so that wouldn't apply any more.
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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by Soliton » August 7th, 2019, 6:14 pm

beetlenaut wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 9:11 pm
Soliton wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 7:37 pm
Which is it? One or a dozen tries?
It depends. If it takes me two tries to get through a scenario, I would rate it as "challenging", and if it takes me a dozen tries, I would call it "nightmare". "Difficult" is somewhere in between. (That applies to me at my current skill level, but I think anyone who has played for a couple years would end up in about the same place. When I had just started though, "normal" seemed unfairly hard.)
The point is that if it's not one try then the answer to octalot's question is "No" and not "Yes".

Another issue is that the difficulty is usually not to get through one scenario at all but to get through it well enough that you have a chance at beating the rest of the campaign.
beetlenaut wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 9:11 pm
My point was that calling a difficulty "Nightmare with foreknowledge" isn't necessary because you almost always have foreknowledge on nightmare or other high levels because you have to play more than once. So the highest difficulty isn't intended to be played only when you know what is going to happen, but it probably works out that way in practice like you said. That makes the note redundant, and since it's also long enough to be awkward, we should leave it out.
I missed the suggestion to rename the difficulties. I don't think that's necessary.

So we should not point out that you might need foreknowledge because it is obvious? It is inherently clear that you have to play a scenario more than once even if you beat it? I can't say I agree with that.
beetlenaut wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 9:11 pm
Soliton wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 7:37 pm
I think such a note would be good to point people to when they complain about the difficulty or that you need to save-load all the time and so on
In these cases, it's not the foreknowledge that is the problem, but a lack of skill. (As we are all aware.) Once they've tried twice, the lack of foreknowledge becomes irrelevant, and they will still have the same problems. That's why I suggested a different note about skill level (or "experience" if we want to be more polite). We already recommend some campaigns to start with, and we could also recommend that people start at a low difficulty level as well. There is nothing wrong with noting that higher difficulties are often much harder, but we shouldn't imply that having foreknowledge makes a big difference.
I'm getting mixed signals if you're saying foreknowledge is obviously necessary because you have to replay scenarios or it makes no difference.

It seems to me there is still a mismatch in the expected wording. I suggest to say that there might be a need for foreknowledge. The thing about such a note is also that it makes it clearer to a new player why they should perhaps not start at the highest difficulty. Because if they do they risk having to start over in some way. (If they're fine with that then that's cool of course.)
beetlenaut wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 9:11 pm
Soliton wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 7:37 pm
The only guideline I know is that the easiest difficulty should generally be winnable with minimum gold and no recalls.
That sounds good for the novice and intermediate campaigns where the easiest level is called "beginner" or "easy", but the easiest level available might be higher than that (some campaigns start at "challenging"), so that wouldn't apply any more.
Are you saying that as how it should be or how it currently is? IMO it is not useful to require players to restart campaigns or bar them from completing any campaign on the easiest difficulty on purpose.
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Re: my Outpost hurts Hard

Post by octalot » August 8th, 2019, 8:27 pm

Hmm, maybe the help should say "if you find yourself ending a mid-campaign scenario with neither gold carryover nor experienced units on your recall list, it's unlikely that the following scenarios will be beatable, with your current skill level, at the difficulty that you played the previous scenarios. In most scenarios you should have some leeway between rushing to get the early finish bonus, getting XP for your troops, and the risk of losing your experienced troops; if you don't have that leeway then your army is probably too weak to finish the campaign."

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