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TOPIC: Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep?

Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep? 2 years 10 months ago #1

This isn't a criticism, it's my perception of this year, and a request for other's perspectives.

Last year on the GT combat nightmare run our group was pretty much geared as high as it gets, and we struggled some in combat, running out of time against the Astral Stalker, and losing one party member to the Cow-Reaper.

This year my GT combat nightmare run was probably geared very strongly as well, but it wasn't quite as wild (no artifacts in the group), and we coasted through combats in 1-2 rounds.

I did one other run of the main dungeon this year, we were short handed having only 6 party members. 3 were Nightmare ready, and 3 were Hardcore ready. We played Hardcore, and it was basically a cake walk, with the exception of the Lava Lurker room (where we had 5 players to cover 3 spots and the Bard doing Bardsong.

So - in summary - the dungeon felt much easier to me this year.

I wonder if this is due to the combination of:

* Goggles of Instant Analysis / Short of Blessed Strength / Fiendish Charm / All base stats are odd at high token levels giving roughly +4.5/+2.5 to melee.

* Redoubt armor giving +3-8 or so to AC for most classes

?

What do you think? Is Nightmare due for a tune up? Or should players tone it down if they are looking for a bigger challenge?

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Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep? 2 years 10 months ago #2

Matthew Hayward wrote: This isn't a criticism, it's my perception of this year, and a request for other's perspectives.

Last year on the GT combat nightmare run our group was pretty much geared as high as it gets, and we struggled some in combat, running out of time against the Astral Stalker, and losing one party member to the Cow-Reaper.

This year my GT combat nightmare run was probably geared very strongly as well, but it wasn't quite as wild (no artifacts in the group), and we coasted through combats in 1-2 rounds.

I did one other run of the main dungeon this year, we were short handed having only 6 party members. 3 were Nightmare ready, and 3 were Hardcore ready. We played Hardcore, and it was basically a cake walk, with the exception of the Lava Lurker room (where we had 5 players to cover 3 spots and the Bard doing Bardsong.

So - in summary - the dungeon felt much easier to me this year.

I wonder if this is due to the combination of:

* Goggles of Instant Analysis / Short of Blessed Strength / Fiendish Charm / All base stats are odd at high token levels giving roughly +4.5/+2.5 to melee.

* Redoubt armor giving +3-8 or so to AC for most classes

?

What do you think? Is Nightmare due for a tune up? Or should players tone it down if they are looking for a bigger challenge?


Depends on when you ran.

At least by Saturday, they massively jacked up the Elder Orb in the Behold Her dungeon.

My Nightmare party did over 200 points of damage in the first round, and over 200 points of damage in the second round. We did a third round (of about equivalent damage) but that still wasn't enough.

We were told that they had to increase the Nightmare HP since some parties were coming in and doing 400 damage in the first round. So although we would have done enough to kill the monster on Thursday/Friday, it wasn't enough for Saturday.

Also, it was annoying that we only had 3 rounds of combat against it before we ran out of time. That is like Smoak 3.0.... :angry:

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Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep? 2 years 10 months ago #3

Incognito wrote:

Matthew Hayward wrote: Depends on when you ran.

At least by Saturday, they massively jacked up the Elder Orb in the Behold Her dungeon.

My Nightmare party did over 200 points of damage in the first round, and over 200 points of damage in the second round. We did a third round (of about equivalent damage) but that still wasn't enough.

We were told that they had to increase the Nightmare HP since some parties were coming in and doing 400 damage in the first round. So although we would have done enough to kill the monster on Thursday/Friday, it wasn't enough for Saturday.

Also, it was annoying that we only had 3 rounds of combat against it before we ran out of time. That is like Smoak 3.0.... :angry:


Whoa! The Astral Stalker last year had 450 HP and we ran out of time (but it tricked us and burned a round of combat with it's illusion... - so maybe that's around 600 HP equivalent).

People need to be a bit careful about what is going on when a party does 400 in the first round - in a lot of builds like 80 of that is coming from the Wizard who scrimped and saved through the whole dungeon to go nova on that round. They will not be hitting like that again next round (more like 30-40). Other spell casters will probably use their big spells the first round as well (especially given the anti-magic cone coming for them...).

But yeah - running out of time is a bummer!

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Last edit: by Matthew Hayward.

Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep? 2 years 10 months ago #4

Perhaps Nightmare needs another power boost - and it sounds like it was getting boosted mid-Dungeon.

I hope Hardcore stays about where it is. My group found the Hardcore difficulty level this year to be just right, as we have the last several years. I did suggest to the group that we try Nightmare again, since we got a power upgrade (primarily Boots of the Four Winds for everyone). The group consensus was overwhelmingly to stay with Hardcore, and I'm glad we did.

It would be interesting to know what the overall survival rates were on the rooms on different difficulty levels. I had several DM's tell me that the Hardcore and Nightmare groups in their rooms did very well, but the groups on Normal with few tokens were getting defeated regularly. Maybe Normal needs to be reduced in difficulty?

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Last edit: by Mike Steele.

Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep? 2 years 10 months ago #5

I feel having a boss in the last room should present the most difficult challenge.
On one hand, you want a challenge that feels different than the rooms before, one final obstacle to overcome.
On the other, we still have the 12 minute constraint. Additionally, DM's usually have a monster with more abilities and HP than other rooms.
What I find is that room 7 requires a DM that is very quick at doing all spells, etc. as well as math. Simply having a DM that is slow at doing math can ruin your chance at killing a boss.

Two different suggestions
1. Staff Combat room 7's with two DMs. One handles HP, calculating slides, etc. The other handles using boss abilities and resolving spellcaster actions.
2. Make the boss room 24 minutes. Run two different room 7's dividing them in a left/right split. This split is recorded on the party card and the party is shuffled to the correct path at the end of room 6. Having additional time would help with making the boss feel more 'epic', giving time to defeat a harder challenge as well as more opportunities for players to use their tokens and abilities.

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Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep? 2 years 10 months ago #6

My groups did all Nightmare and had very little trouble (other than a couple puzzles), so we thought the levels may have been a little low. That being said we ran close on time a couple instances against the Beholder, so maybe not that bad. I was overall very happy with the experience and overall difficulty of the dungeons.

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Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep? 2 years 10 months ago #7

It's such a hard Balance when you have so many groups each equipped differently.

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Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep? 2 years 10 months ago #8

Mike Steele wrote: Perhaps Nightmare needs another power boost - and it sounds like it was getting boosted mid-Dungeon.

I hope Hardcore stays about where it is. My group found the Hardcore difficulty level this year to be just right, as we have the last several years. I did suggest to the group that we try Nightmare again, since we got a power upgrade (primarily Boots of the Four Winds for everyone). The group consensus was overwhelmingly to stay with Hardcore, and I'm glad we did.

It would be interesting to know what the overall survival rates were on the rooms on different difficulty levels. I had several DM's tell me that the Hardcore and Nightmare groups in their rooms did very well, but the groups on Normal with few tokens were getting defeated regularly. Maybe Normal needs to be reduced in difficulty?


Here's how my runs went
Thursday - Both did both dungeons on the combat variant under nightmare. We one shot the construct, killed every other monster in two-three rounds. Put 350 points of damage on the hellion in one round. DM was surprised. (Note: Our group is not min/max'd on gear)

Saturday - Did both puzzles on normal. Deeperdark puzzle was a run with my co-workers/friends. I gave them a handful of reds each. No problem.

Let's talk about Behold Her Majesty Puzzle on Normal.
I was surprised to encounter a combat room for the final room. I feel that the final room of the dungeon should be determined by the variant you are on.
We ran this on normal as a greedy sealed run. We had three first time players, so we put them at level 5 with reds to give them a bit more hitting power as both fighters and the barbarian.

The beholder swatted us away like flies. I was running 'Slingmaster' Druid (had a ranged attack of +6) slid an 18 and missed.
Either the anti-magic field power was OP or misinterpreted by the DM. If it stripped all magic items of their power I want to know what qualified as a magic item. My bonuses to ranged hit came from the uncommon sling (gives +1 to hit with sling), +2 to hit with slings from goggles and a +2 dex from vicious charm.

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Last edit: by galandros.

Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep? 2 years 10 months ago #9

I agree with having two DMs in room 7, but not with a longer room. It is easier to find two more volunteers per side than it is to find more space for rooms. I was also told that they scaled the HP of the last few monsters after some NM groups had sailed through with piles of damage.

Maybe we can self police this issue when building/recording our characters? We could ask to have the damage we deal reduced by X, or even give the boss monster different levels of damage reduction, based on the difficulty level.

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Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep? 2 years 10 months ago #10

As a now Hardcore-geared player, I'd like to break down my experience with our two regular groups who basically work like this:

Group 1: I outfit this group, supplemented by a few ultra-rares people have drawn and my ongoing transmute efforts. This year we had two Rings of Heroism (Bard and Barbarian) and finally had 8 people who had good experience and we stomped all over Into the Deeper Dark. Next year we'll move up to Hardcore. That said, the combats were interesting and we had a great time. The puzzles were challenging, without being impossibly hard.

Group 2: I half outfit this group. It has maybe 4 people who have solid TD experience and only runs with 8 in the party. This year we had 4 total newbies. While we did solidly win in Behold Her Majesty, the group struggled a bit in combat (less in puzzles), and the Beholder fight felt like a real nail-biter. We failed the door opening puzzle, but were on the right track.

I think the Normal dungeon is still good for relatively geared parties with less experience and group cohesion. I think it would be tough for first-time groups with little gear, but still exciting. In short, I think Normal is still about where it should be.

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Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep? 2 years 10 months ago #11

On the topic of 2 GMs in 7th room. By happenstance we had a GM and assistant in the final room of IDD combat sunday afternoon. It went incredibly smoothly. Even if my poor dwarf took 2 crits
~Meta: Don't worry, it is perfectly "safe" to follow the drunken dwarf into the dungeon!

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Difficulty Assessment / Power Creep? 2 years 10 months ago #12

balthasar wrote: I agree with having two DMs in room 7, but not with a longer room. It is easier to find two more volunteers per side than it is to find more space for rooms. I was also told that they scaled the HP of the last few monsters after some NM groups had sailed through with piles of damage.

Maybe we can self police this issue when building/recording our characters? We could ask to have the damage we deal reduced by X, or even give the boss monster different levels of damage reduction, based on the difficulty level.


Things are complicated enough with DMs having to do three levels of difficulty, but given the huge range of power out there, three levels aren't enough.

So I agree, if everyone wants to feel challenged, we have to do it ourselves.

There are several ways to do it:

www.truedungeon.com/forum?view=topic&catid=580&id=207251&start=12#207345
barkley.neo.rr.com -->see my trade thread HERE , my eBay store HERE or my web store HERE
"Ceci n'est pas une pipe" - Magritte

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