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Game Difficulty variations & influences 4.30 (254587)

Posted: Thu, 7. Jun 18, 22:41
by donzi

I am playing a vanilla main campaign game on 'very hard' difficulty and it's interesting to say the least.

I didn't see wiki or forum mentions of some things that seem to also be part of the difficulty setting influence(s) that I'm observing..

I scrounged early on and found a 5 star boarding exp marine officer, so that is related to all below. Also the target ship was a Styrvok (Container & Energy).

boarding npc (non-plot) ships is much harder. The plot taranis, did with 8 raw recruits w/o losses. lol, NOT an indication of what is to come!

attempt A
- 48 recruit and 2 vets
- successful hacking phase
- target hull down to ~5%
- all surface elements destroyed (less drone bay)
- 26 cargo lifter drones on board (lost the 10-15 welders since I reloaded)
- boarding resistance ~30

== boarding failed.

attempt B
- 48 recruit and 2 vets
- successful hacking phase
- target hull down to 1%
- all surface elements destroyed (less drone bay)
- 26 cargo lifter drones on board (lost the 10-15 welders since I reloaded)
- boarding resistance ~30

== 49 losses, 1 vet remain, success

ship repair
- 5-star engineering of course on the ship now
- zero welder drones available
- ship taken down as described in boarding

The usual things seemed pretty much like 'normal' -- hull restored fairly fast along with weapons..

However the engines are (as usual) still somewhat quirky in what is shown. Namely the max velocity stat variations from before even boarding/owning until the ship is sitting just getting fixed in or out of zone,sector, etc seems to not really matter that I can see.

In this case I did destroy a couple energy and container storage bins fwiw.

Anyhow, I'm ~8 hours past the taking the ship and engines are still ~50% and max velocity is unusable. Boost will give around 700m/s at this state.

When I peek in on the engineer, he has always shown to be working on one of the storage bins that were destroyed.

AFAIK, they do jump around some and not necc fix each item from start to finish before doing some repair elsewhere -- so figured maybe he was fixing the engine some and going back the the storage bins.

This seems to be the case since I have seen very slight engine damage % move slightly upon return of a jaunt in AL.

The above observations I assume are derived from the difficulty setting, despite not having seen mention of those being affected by difficulty.

I thought maybe I'd add to the wiki, but there is still the outside chance that for some reason the destruction of the storage bins taking a LONG TIME to fix is also true in normal, if that is what is taking so long..

Boarding in normal is a cake walk mostly, so the amount of destruction in the above case is typically never needed. Biggest impediment to boarding success in normal IMO is the lone hero NPC who wanders in and potentially ruins the whole situation. :evil:

enemy squads
These kind of concerned me at the start.. However they are 'nice' to a certain extent and don't always prioritize the skunk as primary target just to be mean.

In the plot game, once acquiring the taranis these mobs are approachable and due to the increase in fighter count, are a nice source of missiles and weapon mods.

As a matter of fact, I have no functional URV wharf yet on the plot station, majority assets held up in the DV shipyard for lack of RMP (not giving my stash from the plot CV to them), and about 2M cr with 90% in escrow on a trade for the time being, leaving me with about 20k. hehe
BUT! I was snagging the nearly worthless trade updates from the DV habitations and the mobs of REI fighters yield the 2 remaining parts I needed for the rare engine. lol.

Anyhow, mainly I'm frustrated with the very long wait on getting my captured styrvok working and figured unless there's something unique (destroyed storage bins for example) in my case, that the players may benefit with some additions to the wiki XR 'difficulty' section.

Posted: Thu, 7. Jun 18, 22:58
by radcapricorn
Given the absurdly easy ways to make dozens and dozens of millions from a laidback egg collection missions, the increased spawns of Very Hard are nothing more than a chore. Not to mention that they themselves are a source of ridiculous income early on in the game in terms of loot. The days of actually having to apply yourself to get anywhere from measly 100 credits in the bank are long gone :(

Posted: Thu, 7. Jun 18, 23:33
by donzi
Which days do you mean?

X-game, campaign vs not, settings, etc.

I don't recall it being that hard to get a foot hold in campaign play of any of the x games. Granted, I have not played xbtf and xtension too much. Will revisit them while waiting on X4 to become a thing.

It was a real pleasure to NEED and read the manual(s) just to begin playing X3R.

The larger enemy fighter squads will frag the player with a mere 100 cr and the default skunk loadout.. will surly pop me anyhow still since I've yet to add or upgrade any weapons.

Anyhow, this topic is mainly about the stuff you didn't respond about. Since enemy squads and ship increase is covered in the xrebirth wiki

Since I questioned my ~8 hour number in the OP, I went and double checked.. The earliest save I have is after (not too long after) I completed the styrvok boarding..

time stat from player info = 1 day 13 hours and 34 mins

The last save with 50m/s velocity max and ~60% engine is:

1 day 21 hours and 08 mins. So I wasn't far off with the 8 hours.

Posted: Thu, 7. Jun 18, 23:50
by radcapricorn
Try X2 on X-TREME difficulty ;) Campaigns went downhill after that one, sadly. I mean, they're fun, but not at all challenging.

As far as XR campaign goes, larger squads are only a threat in DeVries, where NPC help is scarce. In crowded zones, they're more likely to cause local civil wars by getting stuck in stations or otherwise triggering friendly fire from different factions, than to actually threaten to kill player (unless you charge in X3-style, of course). By the time you get to Maelstrom, provided you don't skim on upgrades (the campaign does shove them into your pockets anyway), they shouldn't be a bother at all, just take more time to dispatch.

As far as long repair goes, I'm not sure it has anything to do with difficulty. Patching up those holes without welder drones is hard work, after all. Easier to buy a new ship, methinks. Which would've been hard to do if money was scarce, which it isn't, as I mentioned before.

Posted: Fri, 8. Jun 18, 07:29
by donzi
I will say that X2 set the bar for me since I played it first when I sprung for the x bundle on steam. However, the evolution of x has kept me adjusting the bar since I really appreciate them all.

However I'm not interested in derailing this into something about the economy. Frankly as I mentioned my cash was tied up. Yes I could come up with some multiple ways, but I was expecting to use the styrvok as integral part of that via trade.

In regard to the lack of welder drones, normally I have none anyhow since I trash the drone bay.

Prior to starting the 'very hard' game I played a normal campaign a few days and then all the other vanilla starts for varying amounts of hours.

On normal difficulty I'm certain that I have never had 8+ real time hours pass while waiting on a ship to be repaired by engineer alone. I guess more like 60-90 mins tops, which indicates there is more than just with[out] welder drones as a primary factor or simply something altogether different like the difficulty setting.

..or the fact that I blew out 2-4 storage bins, something I normally wouldn't do, so have no idea if that could be related -- like them being really slow to repair for whatever reason.

The simple explanation is that (unless I just missed the changelog note) that the final iteration of 'very hard' includes an undocumented nerf on repairs.

Posted: Mon, 11. Jun 18, 08:41
by w.evans
donzi wrote:In regard to the lack of welder drones, normally I have none anyhow since I trash the drone bay.
If memory serves me right, the Styrvok has an internal drone bay that can't be destroyed without destroying the ship. Should be possible to fly in a ship with welder drones to transfer on to the Styrvok.

Regarding the topic, i don't recall difficulty-specific changes in the engineer AI script, although that doesn't preclude changes done in code. Haven't looked at it in a while, though, so could be misremembering.

Posted: Wed, 13. Jun 18, 03:03
by donzi
Hi, that was my expectation based on the changelog -- no repairs nerf based on being very hard difficulty.

The mystery though, 8 hours(!) real time to repair that ship.. That's very unusual to me.

..and yes, I recalled that this was one of the 'special' ships with no drone bay surface element so if I had any welder drones to put on it I may have done so.

Initially, playing it was about 'hurry up' and fix the thing! But when I realized the time it took, the 'time span and why' became more an issue if that makes any sense..

With the crazy stuff that happens with drones and zone changes, etc I pretty much don't use anything but the cargo lifter, scoop and surface drones. It just bugs me to see them get stuck at gates, zone changes, etc and have the nagging 'in use' count with no visible drones.

I didn't think to look in the data files.. Just sort of figured that difficulty tweaks were hard coded.