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Completed Difficulty Far Above What Seems Reasonable (Test Patch)

Discussion in 'Post 1.1 Archive' started by Yamagata, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. Yamagata
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    Yamagata Dwarven Worker

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    I'm currently playing on Linux 64bit and my relevant system bits are here: https://gist.github.com/JamesChristie/409c87b7821d338654f5

    I'm fully willing to acknowledge that this might not be a bug and might simply be my own doing in some fashion; apologies in advance if that is the case. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to provide context or additional, helpful information. There is some additional perspective here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/230190/discussions/0/615085406669812763/

    The core takeaway:

    • I can copy the dungeon layout *precisely* from videos of people beating the mission
    • Attempted defense layouts have included a full two rows of cannons (all in range of mobs at choke) behind a choke point of blade lotuses covered by the aura of up to three garrison props (cannons are in overload and sustained by garrison healing)
    • Choke points, whether three or with left/middle merged into one via replacement earth, die near instantly without constant and focused spell repairs
    • Even with constant support, defense are eventually demolished by, at the latest, the point where the 180 kill mark is hit. Once 3 lvl 4/5 dwarves reach the blade lotus, it is impossible to keep it alive, even ignoring all other defenses and functions. Constant rebuilding of defenses is a must.
    • Once the 180 kill count is reached, a tunnel (apparently new as of this patch?) dumps 10-15 level 8 troops directly onto the core to be defended. Even marshaling every single minion to this point to fight ahead of time, they are rapidly massacred.
    As with the steam thread, I understand this is meant to be a difficult mission, but after three days of attempts, (many of which near perfectly mimic strategies outlined in videos showing victory or laid out in text from other players) I have come nowhere close to being able to save the other core, much less my own. That is indicative to me of something being off; not that I mean to make myself sound like the greatest strategy gamer in the world. That level of difficulty seems well above anything that has thus-far been indicated by the game or that is reasonable in a general context. The challenge I am currently encountering seems to be far and above anything else I've hit in the game, even with skirmishes with high-difficulty AI. Without a truly gross and fundamental misunderstanding of the mechanics of the game, the current situation seems impossible. The crux of the problem seems to be incoming damage that cannot be received sustainably by anything, and a large group of lvl 8 troops that can't be defeated even with a sizable force of all dungeon minions at once including around 5-8 corrupted dwarves (or whatever my succubi and I can manage while trying to keep defenses from dying).

    Addendum:

    I have not been able to play the mission without the 1.1 patch as the test patch fixes some crashing and performance issues that otherwise make it unplayable. I wish that was not the case, but I don't have a bare-metal Windows install anywhere to play a different version of the game that might run at that patch level.
     
  2. Yamagata
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    Yamagata Dwarven Worker

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    Gah, and I just noticed after posting this that there's a special forum just for the test patches. Sorry for dumping here. :(

    EDIT: Thanks for the move.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  3. v0id
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    v0id Programmer Dev Team

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    Hello Yamagata,
    no issues, i just moved your thread into the Patch Testing Bug Report forums.
    Unfortunately i can not say much about the issue you encountered yet.
    It looks that the spawning of the enemies is intented but it might be,
    that due to some recent balancing and pacing changes, the level got too difficult.

    Dear QA Team,
    I would like if the Foundry could take a look into this one.
    Please play the camapign level 7 again and let us know if you feel it is much harder now.
    In that case we might need to do some adjustments.
    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  4. Yamagata
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    Yamagata Dwarven Worker

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    I *just* got the non-test working on a different machine. The spawn rate of enemies felt like it was a third of what it is on the test branch and they died effortlessly after doing next to no damage to any fortifications. Added to that, I think I had a full extra five minutes on the timer as well. I had my entire memorized dungeon plan up and running and then..... just sat there waiting well after when I usually had run out of time and the assault started. Something definitely got changed difficulty-wise, at the very least on my machines.

    EDIT: No completion of the level as it crashed just prior to hitting the 180 kill mark. Also the tunnel from the new version was, of course, not there. So I suspect it would be massively easier through the end.
     
  5. v0id
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    v0id Programmer Dev Team

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  6. Yamagata
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    Yamagata Dwarven Worker

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    I've only encountered crashes on the unpatched version. The test patch has, overall, may the game WAY more stable and smoother for me. I've discovered no technical complaints with it, so I think the crash there can be considered an already fixed problem.
     
  7. v0id
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    v0id Programmer Dev Team

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    This is good news, glad to hear! :)
    So let's wait for our great helpers to test the balance of the campaign level 7 again,
    to see if there is common sense to reduce the difficulty.
    Cheers
     
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  8. Lord of Riva
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    Lord of Riva The Lord Founder

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    The stronger players have no issue with this level, we are going to have the somewhat weaker players a look as it is hard to pinpoint an issue on difficulty otherwise.
     
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  9. Dennis Cappendijk
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    Dennis Cappendijk Disciple Backer

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    I managed to get through this level after a hand full of tries, partially because I was probably making creative use of the mechanics of that level :D

    Here is what I did:

    First, excavate almost everything until you reach the left, center and right "branches" from where enemies will approach. Spam up all your mana on imps until you have maximum imps.

    While doing so;
    • Get a 2x3 potion maker area up asap, and start buying ethereal imp potions.
    • Set up a library for 2 or 3 research spots
    • Ensure you get all the special boxes, one of them holds a sin which you need asap. Once you have this or have researched a sin get the gold vortex and place a 8 gold vortexes, 1 on each side of each gold node. This ensures only 8 imps are getting gold and the other imps can work on other stuff.
    • Use replacement earth to shield off the 2 gold nodes, the goal is to have those 2 gold nodes completely free of enemies. You will need to use more replacement earth in the east node to ensure the "shortest" path for the AI does not include tunneling through your gold node :)
    • Tunnel out the the tiles right below the most north-eastern enemy camp (tunnel to the east) This can take a while and cost some imps if enemies come out but you should be able to get through, use imp potion if necessary. This tunnel is sealed off at the end, so place 2-4 replacement earth in that tunnel starting from the end (important!)
    • While doing all of the above keep buying imp potions and use them on the 2 defence shrines (to complete defences for you)and to help out tunneling/reinforcing etc.
    • Start setting up the defences as shown below, dumping a couple imps in your heart untill you have enough to place more defences.
    • As the timer starts ticking down to 1 or 2 minutes you should have your defences nearly done, you should have expanded your potion making to 12 or more potions, have a 4+ training spot area, lair, slaughterpen and some tavern space, a prison and some torture racks.
    • At the 1-2 minute mark start spamming frost weaver potions with the occasional imp potion if your defences are still not fully operational.

    Block the left and center approach with the following setup:
    x = lotus
    u = frost thingy
    c = cannon
    g = garrison

    Place barricades over all cannons and lotus.

    Code (text):
    1. xxx
    2. cuc
    3. ccc
    4. ggg
    5. ggg
    6. ggg
    This (still) relies on the healing of the garrison, if that is nerfed, defence becomes a lot harder!

    and on the right side:
    Code (text):
    1. gggcx
    2. gggux
    3. gggcx
    4.      c

    Once the waves start, start slowly dropping frostweavers just infront of your defences (on a as-needed basis) In my game My left and right flank didn't need many so most of my frost weavers were dropped at the center spot. The frost weavers keep enemies off the defences and stun enemies on death. The objective is to keep them occupied/stunned while your cannons fire away freely. If you think you're about to get overwhelmed, call in your minions which have been training all along until it becomes manageable again, supply your minions with frost weavers too to reduce minion death.

    Assist your frostweavers/defences by using lightning as much as possible. Convert every enemy unit you imprison to add to your army bulk. I only needed to call in my army twice, so they were well busy making potions, researching or training :)

    Once you start getting to the 180 mark, keep an eye on your lower right, the level 8 units spawned just in the bend near the end, so I hope you payed attention and put replacement earth there (and let it be reinforced where possible). In my game there were no enemy diggers, but if there are, drop all your remaining frost weavers onto those level 8s and try and snipe the diggers with lightning. The weavers will die, but the level 8's will have to backtrack for ages :)

    Use your army to wipe out the rest of the enemies that might still be pounding at your defences. In the meanwhile you can get an evil grin going on your face while you zap those level 8's to death :D

    Now that you have a break, time to excavate tunnels and create more training/food/lair space beyond your defences (which you can optionally salvage). Take your time training up your army, get a brewksy, read a news paper. Come back when your have a standing army that would roll over sauron's one. Then bust up the north at your leasure.

    Ps. Don't try to funnel all enemies into 1 lane with replacement earth, you want to spread out the damage to keep it manageable.
     
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  10. Dennis Cappendijk
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    Dennis Cappendijk Disciple Backer

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    picture bonanza to add to the above strat spoiler :)
     

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  11. Yamagata
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    Yamagata Dwarven Worker

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    I've set up defenses in a fashion nearly identical to what you (Dennis Cappendijk) have screenshot-ed on several attempts (though it's always lovely to see screenshots and a write-up and not be made to sit through a ton of youtube buffering to find the important bits); I have still not gotten close to completing the level. (I've set up the barricade in the tunnel on the right edge on a few attempts, but those did not make it far enough to get the level 8's to spawn; defenses were wiped out in the time I was focusing on getting workers through the fortified walls up there.)

    This is all beside the difficulty difference between the production build of the game and the test patch for this level. I still haven't gotten the vanilla version to last through the entire mission, but I've had no trouble keeping defenses easily sustained in the production version of the game. That's with a dungeon layout very similar to what got posted above this; a badly built or poorly planned setup would still have significant issues. The change exists specifically in the test patch and at least seems to be massively outside of what seems reasonable to expect from other campaign missions as well as AI skirmishes.

    It's not that there isn't a solution, it's that the test patch included a massive increase in difficulty for this mission that seems far outside what is to be expected from the campaign and AI skirmishes.

    Unrelated to this report, but something that I'm curious about: The spawning of the lvl 8 troops through the tunnel does seem an odd choice. Not necessarily the 11th hour surprise for the player to react to (those can be fun the first time you hit them), but that there is zero mechanical introduction prior to that for anything going through un-diggable walls coupled with the lack of time to react to it. Is it intended to be something that just forces a player to restart from the beginning the first time they play the mission? A sort of teaching-by-punishing rather than training thing?

    Without preparing for specifically the way that map mechanic plays out, it guarantees a loss at the moment. It seems odd to cause a failure within 30 seconds for a mechanic the game has given no indication could even be possible. Failure for dealing with mechanics you've seen already in a competant enough fashion should absolutely result in failure, but this specific change seems like it provides no room to ever succeed without knowing in advance that that specifically will happen. No amount of dungeon-lording-on-the-fly would combat it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
  12. Lord of Riva
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    Lord of Riva The Lord Founder

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    regarding the late attack on rhaskos core:

    this was recently introduced by one of our coders after i tested the achievements. the "defibrilator" achievement was previously nearly impossible to get without debug commands. So he thought he would spawn an Ambush at rhaskos core.

    while the general idea is not necessarily bad i will poke him as soon as possible (hes on vacation, maybe one of the other coders have a free minute) to tone that attack down
     
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  13. Yamagata
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    Yamagata Dwarven Worker

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    Oooh, I had not seen that achievement. Those guys coming out of the tunnel would definitely help with that. :) (They seem to handle their job with gusto.)
     
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  14. Yamagata
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    Yamagata Dwarven Worker

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    I finally beat the level in the production version of the game. Once I got a run without a crash, it felt incredibly effortless compared to the test patch. I didn't need to watch over a single defense point. (Though I'm sure five days worth of attempts didn't hurt that.)
     
  15. Simburgur
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    Simburgur Managing Director Dev Team

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    Just toned it down quite a bit, should be much easier to deal with now.
     
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  16. v0id
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    v0id Programmer Dev Team

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    I hope it the difficulty is now better.
    I mark this thread as complete, but let us know if the difficulty is still off after PTBv9 is out.
    Cheers
     
  17. Yamagata
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    Yamagata Dwarven Worker

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    I'll reply as soon as a new build is up on steam for me to try. :)
     

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