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TOPIC: Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore

Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 1 month 1 week ago #13

Lord of Mistakes wrote: Maybe I'm too focused when I mention the deaths of new players, but I've had a few of the players also mention that they were not effective during the fight.


That's fair, and is a challenging problem to solve with mixed-gear parties; even if you're not worried about death, you need a decent to-hit bonus in order to successfully participate in physical combat at higher difficulty levels.

Heck, I run NM with purples and my Cleric can't hit the broad side of a barn -- which is fine when there's lots of healing to be done, but I learned this year that if my party is so well geared that the monsters aren't hitting them, then there's not much for me to do in combat once I've cast Prayer. :)

One option (the one I'll probably use myself) is to play Wizard/Elf/Druid instead; most damage spells auto-hit, and the slide spells require a fixed 15 (or less if you have dex bonuses) regardless of the monster's AC. Depending on equipment you may not do as much damage as others in the party, but you definitely get to contribute some.

Another possibility is to specifically seek out trades for rare items that boost STR, or specifically boost to-hit. You might not happen to get one in your starter 10-pack, but they're out there, and there are often folks hanging out in the storyscape or the lobby outside who will happily trade useful rares for your GP and/or monster bits. I played all reds and below from 2011-2016, and gradually put together a pretty decent normal/HC build this way without ever buying extra tokens. (Then I pulled one UR from a starter 10-pack in 2017, and my descent into madness began).

It may also be that HC monsters should be tweaked to have a lot more HP than normal, but not quite so much more AC.

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Last edit: by David Zych.

Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 1 month 1 week ago #14

Matthew Hayward wrote: Another challenge between normal and hardcore is party composition.

A bard can grant between +0 to hit and +3 to hit with ur tokens.

A cleric can give +1 or +2 to hit with bless or prayer.

So the party can be anywhere between +0 and +5 to hit depending on bards/cleric/level/gear

Similarly with healing - huge differences between 0, 1, or 2 of Cleric and Druid.

Small note, Bless and Prayer are not mutually exclusive, so if you save both spells to room 7 (or have a ring of spell storing), the cleric can push the whole party up +3, bringing the range from +0 to +6 party wide. Guidance can also push one character up 1 more point - in E3 this year I used Bless + Ring of Spell Storing Prayer on the first round, then guidance on the low gear Paladin round 2.

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 1 month 1 week ago #15

It's too bad there's not a good way to organize single-ticket players into matched-difficulty runs in the same hour.

Short of that, my suggestions are:

(Current rules)
Vets should play Bard, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, maybe Wizards and Rogue, and gear more towards helping the party rather than doing damage.

(New rule)
Allow veteran players to increase newbies' to-hit and damage bonuses, and HP, at the cost of their own.

Regarding Difficulty,

Normal MUST be beatable with ten 10-packs and no experience, if you solve all the puzzles, slide efficiently/luckily, and maximize spells on your character cards.

Normal should be breezy if you are all or mostly equipped with Rare weapon/armor/offhand and UC/R bonuses in other slots that play well to your build.

Hardcore should be manageable by a team that's full Rare or mostly Rare with one well-chosen UR per player, with the difference between struggling and succeeding being tactics, cooperation, and possibly using consumables.

I can't really speak to Nightmare and Epic from a player perspective; but from this week, my DM's perspective is, a fully equipped, coordinated Nightmare party should be playing on Epic. The Nightmare parties that didn't beat my room were probably either dragging up some Hardcore players, making some tactical errors, or moving too slowly.

As it was, the few parties that played Epic would've needed a much bigger challenge to make failure a possibility. But then, at that level, the difference between parties could be huge, so maybe it's more about just making sure the room takes more than a round and a half to win?
I came here to sing and collect tokens, and I'm alllll out of money.

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 1 month 1 week ago #16

Sure, can create another intermediate level between normal and nightmare, whether that's below or above hardcore doesn't really make any difference - it's just a label. It does mess with completion token rewards, maybe XP rewards, but I would say it's time to just flatten out XP and completion and have difficulty a matter of ... um ... difficulty, not rewards.

The below assumes a full party of 10. While there can be advantages to less than 10, in general, start getting below around 8 and challenge difficulty goes up noticeably.

Normal - The idea that normal is for rare builds sounds ridiculous to me. Normal is for nothing builds. A collection could overcome parties that make bad decisions, work poorly together, have bad luck, or whatever, but normal should be something you can breeze through if you are good at puzzles, good at combat management, work together, make good decisions regardless as to your tokens.

Normal+ - Should be challenging for rare builds if the party isn't all that good at TD or easy for rare builds if the party is good at TD.

Normal++ - Maybe this is where hardcore is currently at, hard to say. Rare or blue or some beyond blue builds would be the norm, can be stomped with key URs and TD competence or challenging without. Should feel challenged with rare- builds to where may want to be running some resurrection just to be sure to max XP.

Normal+++ - Let's call this nightmare. URs are normal, relics are normal, slumming legendaries is normal. Rare builds would require seriously competent parties (or knowing all of the puzzle solutions and the like) to surpass every challenge before room 7. Room 7 is likely to eviscerate a rare party if it's a combat room. UR builds still need to play well to not be hurting and have a decent chance of failure against a boss monster room.

Normal++++ - Epic, I suppose. Around BiS and still have to work rather than just one rounding combats or whatever. Can assume either a lot of effort to keep everyone alive or that resurrection will occur to keep the party moving to the great room 7 in the sky.

So many variables. How well does the party function? Is it full? Do they already know puzzle solutions? Did they metagame going into the dungeon? Do they get some unexpected crits or fail to get expected crits? Do the players understand their characters' abilities to avoid suboptimal plays?

Still, common builds, uncommon (mix of common to rare) builds, rare/blue builds, UR builds, beyond UR builds are roughly what I would categorize as token levels of play with player skill/knowledge having a large modifier to where the game is fun at.

Then, there are those of us who don't optimize builds because it's more interesting to not play the same tokens all of the time, so that would adjust down a level of play.

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 1 month 1 week ago #17

Singsalot wrote: Hardcore should be manageable by a team that's full Rare or mostly Rare with one well-chosen UR per player, with the difference between struggling and succeeding being tactics, cooperation, and possibly using consumables.


From my experience, this is not the case, and this is why I am concerned.

For at least five years, I've been outfitting new players with mostly Rare builds, and, since 2017, I've noticed that new players have an issue when playing at the Hardcore difficulty.

These rare builds mostly had one UR to get to 5th level, but still found the experience to be less than fun.
The loaned Wizard had about half URs in the build.

If new players, like those coming in from the new conventions that TD is attending, also try Hardcore, my experience has been that they need to have most (if not all) at more than half UR tokens to have fun.

This amount of tokens is a more serious commitment than most casual players that want to step up from the Normal (only one bag) difficulty.

I understand that the top end of the difficulty levels have expanded as more powerful tokens have been introduced.
My point is that the lower level seem to have been stretched out as well, and this may leave the newer players with a large step to get to Hardcore.

--Steven

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 1 month 1 week ago #18

Ian Lee wrote: Normal - The idea that normal is for rare builds sounds ridiculous to me. Normal is for nothing builds. A collection could overcome parties that make bad decisions, work poorly together, have bad luck, or whatever, but normal should be something you can breeze through if you are good at puzzles, good at combat management, work together, make good decisions regardless as to your tokens.


I strongly agree with this. Normal should be good for new players with only the free token bag.

Ian Lee wrote: Normal++ - Maybe this is where hardcore is currently at, hard to say. Rare or blue or some beyond blue builds would be the norm, can be stomped with key URs and TD competence or challenging without. Should feel challenged with rare- builds to where may want to be running some resurrection just to be sure to max XP.


Hardcore is not a level that can be stomped by new players with an UR or two, as I've been seeing this for the past three years.

Hardcore for the past two years has been too difficult for new players with all Rares and an UR or two.
The new players just weren't having fun.
I've seen this across five different sets of new players, and I've seen that these players didn't return to play TD again.


However, I can't really talk about Nightmare or Epic levels, as it's been 8-10 years since I played a Nightmare Dungeon.

I just would like to balance the levels for new players as they advance out of the Normal difficulty.

Thanks.

-Steven

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 1 month 1 week ago #19

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I'm going to sound a little old and crotchety here but back in my day we didnt even have hardcore. Your options were normal and nightmare and that was it. Now we have a system with 5 difficulty slices, maybe we need to adjust where they fall but I dont think we need more.
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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 1 month 1 week ago #20

There is a huge difference between a mostly red/couple UR build for all of a group of 10 that has played together before and a mostly red/couple UR build in a group of half veterans and half newer players.

Experience definitely plays a significant factor.
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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 1 month 1 week ago #21

David Zych wrote:

Lord of Mistakes wrote: Maybe I'm too focused when I mention the deaths of new players, but I've had a few of the players also mention that they were not effective during the fight.


That's fair, and is a challenging problem to solve with mixed-gear parties; even if you're not worried about death, you need a decent to-hit bonus in order to successfully participate in physical combat at higher difficulty levels.


Yeah, mixed-gear parties are what I'm concerned about.
I'm not worried about new players that are savvy enough to get on the forums and join a Hardcore group.
I'm worried about the players that have bought a PYP pack from TD after having a good time last year, then try to play Hardcore.

David Zych wrote: [
Another possibility is to specifically seek out trades for rare items that boost STR, or specifically boost to-hit. You might not happen to get one in your starter 10-pack, but they're out there, and there are often folks hanging out in the storyscape or the lobby outside who will happily trade useful rares for your GP and/or monster bits. I played all reds and below from 2011-2016, and gradually put together a pretty decent normal/HC build this way without ever buying extra tokens. (Then I pulled one UR from a starter 10-pack in 2017, and my descent into madness began).


I've been outfitting the new players with a total Red build for the past five years or so.
They have a good amount of Str boosts, Con boosts, Saves, AC, and HP.
They don't have MECs, UR armor/weapons, etc.

Thanks.

--Steven

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 1 month 1 week ago #22

Wade Schwendemann wrote: There is a huge difference between a mostly red/couple UR build for all of a group of 10 that has played together before and a mostly red/couple UR build in a group of half veterans and half newer players.

Experience definitely plays a significant factor.


It can but doesn't need to. I played on Nightmare on all of my group runs this year (I give them the choice of hardcore or nightmare). First run had 3 Brand new players and 4 players that had played one previous year, 1 player that has played several years but since doesn't know anything about tokens and only thinks about TD when she plays once a year would be hard to call a veteran and 2 vets. Second nightmare was 5 different brand new players, same 2 vets, 1 different second year, and same multi-year non-vet and a different multi-year non-vet. Final run was 2 brand new players, 2 vets, 1 brand from earlier this year, the rest were multi-year non-vets.

Though we didn't kill every monster (E3 final) and solve every puzzle (E3R6) everyone worked well together. I think having a cohesive party is more important that having veterans. I know that is partially what you are saying but just wanted to make it clear that I don't think new players are a factor if they work well as a team.
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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 1 month 1 week ago #23

Wade Schwendemann wrote: There is a huge difference between a mostly red/couple UR build for all of a group of 10 that has played together before and a mostly red/couple UR build in a group of half veterans and half newer players.

Experience definitely plays a significant factor.


THIS! I agree whole-heartedly.
Just like experienced players can commando the entire dungeon.

In this case, I'm talking about the players who are new, have played TD once or twice in the prior year, loved it, bought a PYP pack, and don't have any mentors (like the people on the forums) to guide them.

As an example, our group normally has 3-5 new players who have never played before.

We have three 15 year players that work well together, and another player who is an 8 year TD veteran.
This year, we had 3 players that had played for the first time last year, and I talked to the Cleric extensively over the past year about TD.

With a group similar to this last year, we had a few dissatisfied new players, and one veteran who almost quit.

It is exactly correct that new players (3-5 of them) fitting in with a veteran group that have played together for years would need more experience.

However, players that have been playing a year or two and try Hardcore at some of these new cons are going to have difficulty.
Hardcore is no longer something that someone with three token bags, or a full build of Rares, or just one or two URs can play and be satisfied.

Hardcore requires an experienced group or a mostly UR build that wouldn't drive new fans away from the game.

Thanks.

--Steven

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Request for new difficulty level between Normal and Hardcore 1 month 1 week ago #24

Lord of Mistakes wrote: Hardcore for the past two years has been too difficult for new players with all Rares and an UR or two.
The new players just weren't having fun.


I don't this this is accurate.

Party composition: Bard, Cleric, Druid, Monk, Ranger, one of the Wizards, 4 other classes.

All classes: Shirt of Linked Healing, Ioun Stone Agate Orb

Armor: Defender set on the classes that can wear it, +5 AC armor or +2 DEX robes on the ones that can't.

Weapons: Baton/Staff of Focus on Cleric, Druid, Wizard, +1 two handed melee on those that can use one, +1 one handed melee with Brawler's Horn in the offhand for the rest.

All non-caster classes: Amulet of Nature's Lore, Gauntlets of the Midgard Serpent, Belt of Ogre Power, Fiendish Charm, +2 damage bracers, Ring of Dark Health, Ring of Brilliance and 2 handed weapon on all the classes but Monk, Ranger, Rogue, Lenses of Heimdahl Sight.

All caster classes: Lenses of Focus, Medallion of Focus, Baton/Staff of Focus.

Druid, Wizard wear Blessed Tempest Gloves instead of Gauntlets of the Midgard Serpent.

7 Party URs: Ring of Fateful Heroism & Lyre of Rage for Bard, 2x Gregor's Tome of Focus for the Cleric and the Druid, Ring of the Eel for Monk, Ranger, Rogue

Earcuff of Sonic Splendor on the casters

All that gives something like:

Barbarian, Fighters, Paladin: +7 STR, +2 to hit, +6 to damage

Monk, Ranger, Rogue: +7 STR, +4 to hit, +6 to damage

Cleric: +5 STR, +2 to hit, +2 to damage, +6 to spell damage, +5 to spell healing

Druid: +5 STR, +2 to hit, +2 to damage, +10 to spell damage, +5 to spell healing

Wizard: +5 STR, +6 to damage, +7 to spell damage

Bard: Is giving +3/+3 via Bardsong.

Cleric casts Bless in one room, Prayer in the last 2 rooms.

This gives:

Party is at +4/+3 in the first combat room, and +5/+3 on the last two combat rooms.

Classes are between +8/+6 and +10/+6 for melee to-hit before Bardsong/Prayer, for an overall to-hit bonus for players between +12 and +15 - plenty for Hardcore - players should be hitting on 12+.

Clerics and Druids are healing at +5 and players are getting +3 to heals from Shirt of Linked Healing and Ioun Stone Agate Orb.

This gives the Druid:
3x 9 point heals
2x 13-16 point heals
1x 21-24 point heal

Cleric:
4x 9 point heals
3x 13-16 point heals
2x 21-24 point heals

And in terms of spell damage:

Wizard at:
5x 10-13 point spells
1x 13-15 point AoE spell
2x 15-18 point spells
2x 25 point spell slide spells

Druid:
3x 18-21 point spells
2x 21-24 point spells - one of which can be doubled with Spell Surge

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