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TOPIC: Difficulty and the 'grind'

Difficulty and the 'grind' 2 months 4 days ago #8869


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I’ve had a short discussion on Twitter with EAS (SQS?) in regards to the difficulty of the game. Where it is clear, there will be 10 difficulty levels. Not long into the game, you will be able to change your difficulty level and raise it incrementally (if you can defeat a few combats at that level) until the difficulty level is comfortable for you. From what I remember, raising it will cost coin, as well. If you find the game too challenging, you can reset it back to the original difficulty and then raise it to where it is best for you (incrementally again with coin). At least this is how I understand it, please correct me if I am wrong.

I started up this thread as I did have a few concerns/questions on what EAS had said on Twitter. And I thought it would be best to bring it up here, due to the limited space on responses. From what I am assured, you can raise the difficulty high enough to appease anyone who likes it challenging. But I guess what my concern is the feeling of need to satisfy the casual gamer.

From playing Rainbow Moon, it has several aspects of an ‘old school’ game. Turn-based, quite challenging and yes, there is very much a grind(y) nature to the game. But for me, all of the above is why I LOVE the game. I love going into combat and getting the crap kicked out of me (before I am able to defend), hoping the enemy doesn’t kill me on that first turn. I love having to think carefully on how to position my characters, knowing placement can be a huge difference in a particular combat. I love having to spend my Rainbow coins wisely. Being able to only buy armor and/or weapons for a few of my characters, or picking and choosing which passive skills I can afford. I love always having something to scrimp and save coins for. For me, that is part of the challenge of the game. None of those aspects me strikes me as something for a casual gamer.

I have no concerns for not having turn-based, it is crystal clear that is evident. Not only from screenshots or blogs, but EAS/SQS have said it more than once it will remain a staple of the Rainbow franchise. Although it is more unclear on the other two things I mentioned, challenge and the grind.

Yes, there will be multiple levels for challenge for the game. But as I said before, I guess my concern does come from trying to satisfy all types of gamers. In my experience of following and playing games, I have noticed it is difficult for many developers to try to satisfy everyone. Certain games are easier, some are mid of the road and some are just plain challenging. The Souls’ games come first to the front of my mind. FromSoftware has made it clear more than once that is just how they are, they are challenging, and always will be. I say good for them.

I would almost rather EAS/SQS say something similar to the Rainbow franchise. Like they made it clear they are turn-based, I would also just love for them to say “these games will always have good challenge to them and will have a certain level of grind.” Because my concern is in trying to appease players of widely different play styles, something can be lost in what made the original design appealing.

My concern very well may be misplaced, and I hope it is. But this has just been my most anticipated game since its announcement in 2013 and just want to know that the difficulty, including the challenge of gaining coin as well as the grind, is still evident in Rainbow Skies. And not just still evident, but to the same level of Hard in Rainbow Moon. Even if that needs to be achieved through a higher difficulty.

Thank you for not only reading my lengthy post, but taking the time for responding to my many posts/questions over the years. I know I can be quite persistent (annoying) at times. :)

P.S. Hope you guys have a great time at TGS this weekend!
Last Edit: 2 months 4 days ago by Hobbun.
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Difficulty and the 'grind' 2 months 4 days ago #8872


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Hi Hobbun,

raising the difficulty is free - you don't need to spend coins for that, but you have to unlock each level by fighting a certain amount of battles on the previous level. If you have raised the diffculty and it's getting too hard, you can drop the difficulty by one level any time. You don't have to reset to the base level, which would reset your entire progress.

The game is balanced in two ways:

1.) The "casual mode", for players that are not interested in grinding and want complete the game fast, without extensive leveling or coin/material/gear grinding. For these players, it is recommended not to increase the difficulty and just play the required story battles. It's not a walk in park, because you'll earn less rewards and money, so your equipment won't have the same quality compared to mode 2, but battles are balanced for this difficulty, so it is playable very well and you can complete the main story in ~30 hours.

2.) The "pro mode", for players that like an extra challenge and want to experience the entire content of the game. If you increase the difficulty each time it is possible, it can get very hard to keep up with the monsters! Much harder than the "hard mode" in Rainbow Moon. But it's possible, if you focus on the right materials, crafting and if you do all side quests. If you play this way, you can easily spend 200 hours or more just on the main story. I'm not talking about endgame content.

In fact, it's up to you. You can play to your likings. If you do side quests, but never raise the difficulty, the game becomes easy, but if someone likes to play that way, he can.

You see, it's pretty much up to you, how you play the game. If you like slow leveling and grinding, you can play it that way. If not, you can play it in a diversified and entertaining mode with a story focus which is in fact completely different from 2).

We spent a lot of time in thouroughly balancing the game between these two modes, because we always had different player preferences in mind and it's some of the reasons, why balancing took so long:)

Hope that helps,

Kind regards,
Marcus
Best regards,
Marcus
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Difficulty and the 'grind' 2 months 3 days ago #8874


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Marcus,

Thank you for your detailed answer, as always.

Ok, earlier this year I had thought I read about there being some sort of 'payment' for raising your difficulty. That it wasn't free. I guess I misread.

Ah yes, I recall you talking about "casual mode" and "pro mode" now. Although before, you had not gotten into any detail about it, like you did now. So it sounds like neither is something you choose, but the difference between 'casual' and 'pro' modes is just by what difficulty you go with.

At least 200 hours for just the actual game (not post-game)?! Now that is awesome. :) From how I am understanding your post, it doesn't sound like that the difficulty levels will be barriers in themselves on accessing more content, but just that if you don't go with higher difficulties (in earning more coin) or the extra quests/higher levels, you won't be able to afford the better equipment or fight the higher end/more powerful creatures to gain the better materials? Will there be equipment you can't afford, creatures you can't defeat or areas you can't access if you are not able to handle the highest difficulty?

I do have another question, which I've been wondering for quite awhile. But with Rainbow Moon, one of the (very) few problems was the post-game. Post-game at first was great and loved how it worked. I also loved that you could get to 999 and then go after DK. But the issue with the post-game is the quests pretty much stopped around level 500, or a little after. Yes, you could take on a couple more bosses (three if you count Stormlord) but you could unlock the last level cap sidequest and the Big Jade statue quests (shop levels) by the mid-500s, and then all that was left was pretty much building up to get to 999. Are there quests in post-game to take you to 999 (or at least close to it)? At least from what I am hearing (and hope so), the max level will be 999 again.

But I definitely plan on doing everything, and will certainly attempt to max out the highest difficulty. Is there a reward of some sort (besides the additional coin) if you are able to do so? Also, will you be able to start the game similar to the "Adventuresome" from RM, where you start with nothing? And is there another benefit if you do so?

Thanks again for answering my questions, Marcus. :)

Here was where I saw there would some sort of cost in raising your levels from the NPC:
SideQuestStudios wrote:
Regarding the difficulty, you can set it to your likings this time. There are much more levels and you can switch the difficulty without restarting the game; A new NPC allows difficulty adjustments in town, although they are not for free.

Now this post was from over a year ago now, so obviously this has changed.
Last Edit: 2 months 3 days ago by Hobbun.
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Difficulty and the 'grind' 1 month 1 week ago #8885

I for one am happy they're adding a casual mode. Although I prefer the pro mode, since we have a 2.5 year old now we just do not have the time for that anymore :(

So thank you for thinking for of us as well Marcus :)
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Difficulty and the 'grind' 1 month 1 week ago #8889


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Nemesis1982 wrote:
So thank you for thinking for of us as well Marcus :)

You're welcome B)

Regarding casual/pro mode. I think I didn't explain this properly and they are not called like that in the game by the way.

It's just a replacement for what we called 'Play Style' in Rainbow Moon. In casual mode, you start with some extra gear and a few coins. At certain points in the story, you receive some items for free. In pro mode, you don't and you start with bare hands. That's basically all.

In both modes you can just play the game the way you like: Just progress straight and quickly through the entire story or play like a perfectionist, complete every sidequest, raise the difficulty whenever this is possible and so on.

By now, it's playable very well in both modes, but there's a huge difference regarding play time. While you can complete the story in 35+ hours when you just focus on the main story, a perfectionist can spend 200+ hours for completing the main game. (With end game even more)

And of course everything in between is possible. There is a lot of optional content that isn't required to complete the game, but if you're looking for extra stuff, you'll find tons of.

Hope that helps,

Kind regards,
Marcus
Best regards,
Marcus
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Difficulty and the 'grind' 1 month 1 week ago #8891

Hi Marcus,

no worries it was clear to me that you where using an abstract term for simplisities sake, as was I :)

I like the way you split up the way people can chose the difficulty while playing dynamically.
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