Author Topic: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o  (Read 565 times)

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Offline Vellos0x1

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Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
The subject says it all. But in what difficulty is balanced for players and enemy (both weapon deal the same or somethin)

 

Offline The E

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Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
Insane. On Insane difficulty, your weapons and the enemy's are pretty much the same, there are no damage reductions or buffs at play, and the AI is free to gang up on you as much as it pleases.
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
I’d definitely learn the game on Easy, though...I didn’t move up to Insane for years.

 

Offline Novachen

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Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
Actually i think that most fan missions and campaigns out there are only balanced for Medium difficulty, because that is already a harder difficulty, because "Easy" is preselected and is likely the setting most players use.

Nearly no one of the mission designers play on Insane regulary to balance a mission for that...
Even i think that would a waste of time for them, because only a few players play on Insane anyway... a mission that is intended to be fair but also hard on Insane is a piece of cake on lesser difficulties and so for majority of the players.

So in terms of gameplay balancing... you should play Insane.
In terms of mission balancing...higher than medium only in very few campaigns.


But nonetheless IMO "Into the Halls of Valhalla" is one of the best campaigns out there to learn the Insane difficulty, because most of the missions are easy enough so that it is not too frustrating for the player.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 05:07:36 pm by Novachen »
Female FS2 pilot since 1999.

German Translations created by me:
Between the Ashes: Slaves of Chaos, FreeSpace Port, The Destiny of Peace, Silent Threat: Reborn, Awakenings (in development),

Other projects:
FSPort Mission Upgrade, Out of the Shadow: Nova Safiya Edition (Remake of the Out of the Shadow campaign, in development)

If you want to know, what my nickname means, -chen is a german diminutive term, so you can translate Novachen as something like Little Nova or Novalet.
Even my original meaning of this name is more like "Sweet pretty deadly (Super)Nova" ;).

 

Offline Firesteel

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Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
Insane is the "canon" difficulty. In my, I guess I've been saying 13-15 years of playing Freespace, I still haven't actually beaten the game on Insane. I should do that one of these days.

Medium is fairly hard if you're just starting out from what I remember.
Current Projects:

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Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
Nearly no one of the mission designers play on Insane regulary to balance a mission for that...
Citation needed. Well OK, I don't think there's any recent poll on people's playing habits, or on how mission designers balance their missions :P
I know there's quite a few players here that play on insane exclusively, and I know for a fact that a number of mission designers take the time to balance their missions for insane difficulty, since it's blatantly obvious when they don't.

A few examples on top of my head :
- BP, BtA, Vassago's Dirge, JAD, Diaspora all seem pretty balanced on insane
- Wings of Dawn (old & new), Ancient Shivan War, Freespace 2 are calibrated for easy or medium

Medium is fairly hard if you're just starting out from what I remember.
There's a bit of jump from the default difficulty, due in no small part to the fact that Harpoons aren't nearly as reliable.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 03:06:06 am by X3N0-Life-Form »

 

Offline potterman28wxcv

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Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
I'm one of those who plays every campaign on Insane (restarts a lot..) because I absolutely love how you really feel like you actually have wingmen in Insane.

In Medium, you're the dude who kills everything on sight. On Insane, you have the same firepower as anybody else, so you'd better have your wingmen helping you or you don't stand a chance. Some missions did involve cheesy tactics.. Because some encounters are just impossible to survive (your wingmen die in seconds and you're left alone against lots and lots of enemies). Typically, for the last mission of FSport, I just order my wingmen to stay close to the GTD Bastion while I rush the node, so that I have a complete pool of teammates to beat the Lucifer.

That said, some campaigns are not possible to complete on Insane. What I did complete (so far): FSport, Freespace 2, and Blue Planet (i maybe did some parts of Blue Planet in the difficulty just before Insane).

I'm still trying to complete ST:R on Insane but it's really too hard.

 

Offline Novachen

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Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
Nearly no one of the mission designers play on Insane regulary to balance a mission for that...
Citation needed.
It is easy to determinate if you look that most campaigns are trying to get a high difficulty with sheer numbers on enemies where most of them use the default Captain AI class only.
For Insane the AI classes has to be taken in account in mission design much more, because they actually really matters on higher settings. On lesser difficulties the differences are not so noticeable.

Quote
Ancient Shivan War, Freespace 2 are calibrated for easy or medium

Actually i think that Freespace 2 is very good playable on Insane. I do not remember any unbalanced mission.
And Ancient-Shivan War has only one mission that was very hard on Insane... Pressure Point. On the other side, River of Iron is one of my favorite missions in whole Freespace, especially on Insane.
Actually there should be still a insane playthrough by myself of that somewhere in the net :).

Medium is fairly hard if you're just starting out from what I remember.

Interestingly there was a video out there many years ago, that demonstrates, that Medium is sometimes even harder than Insane and Hard sometimes, because wingmen do survive more likely on the other difficult settings as they do on Medium.

I'm one of those who plays every campaign on Insane

Yes i too... because of that i have collected some experience with that.
And most of the campaigns i have played are more or less unfair.

Try campaigns like Aeos Affair, Dusk Wars, Dimensional Eclipse or TBP's Drums of War... they have missions that need more luck than skill to be passed on Insane. And Luck should be a factor that is not allowed to decide if a mission is solveable at all.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 05:37:01 am by Novachen »
Female FS2 pilot since 1999.

German Translations created by me:
Between the Ashes: Slaves of Chaos, FreeSpace Port, The Destiny of Peace, Silent Threat: Reborn, Awakenings (in development),

Other projects:
FSPort Mission Upgrade, Out of the Shadow: Nova Safiya Edition (Remake of the Out of the Shadow campaign, in development)

If you want to know, what my nickname means, -chen is a german diminutive term, so you can translate Novachen as something like Little Nova or Novalet.
Even my original meaning of this name is more like "Sweet pretty deadly (Super)Nova" ;).

 
Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
To clarify a few of my points in response to your post (I love talking about balance :) ).

In regards to AI usage in missions, I think the AI class being used is more an indicator of how experienced the FREDder is, i.e. a beginner doesn't necessarily know how much influence s/he can have on mission difficulty by simply tweaking the AI class. The number of enemies could also be interpreted that way - if you don't realise how effective changing the AI class can be, simply adding units is a quick and easy way to tweak the difficulty. Also of note is that in the olden days of FSO, before AI improvements were added, adding tons of units was pretty much the only way to create a challenge for the more experienced players (I'm looking at you Derelict). Bottom line is, I'm not sure how reliable these metrics are (of course, it's possible I'm projecting waay too much of my personal experience into this :/).

Regarding my definition of balance with regards to difficulty, to evaluate whether a mission has been balanced for insane, what's really important is how much that difficulty evolves in relation to the baseline easy/medium. Basically, I think difficulty should be consistent accross difficulty levels. FS2 contains some good examples of that :

- It is usually agreed upon that the most difficult missions on insane are the ones from early in the campaign, where you can't give your wingmen harpoons or are forced to do extensive dogfighting in a heavy fighter.

A specific example : Slaying Ravana : On easy, it's a fairly challenging mission but your bomber is beefy enough - thanks to the difficulty's buffs to the player, to resist what few turrets & fighters can shoot at you, plus your wingmen provide an adequate diversion before they go down. On insane, your wingmen get vaporised within the first minute or so and you are left having to deal with every hostile fighters and turrets trying to kill you while attempting to throw bombs at the Ravana (who also tends to fire at you through its own hull).

- On the other end of the spectrum, a good number of missions get easier due to your more competent wingmen and friendly warships firing faster, such as the last stretch of the campaign when dealing with massive waves of bombers. In fact, I think insane is the only difficulty where it is possible for the Aquitaine to destroy the Moloch attacking it in the two missions where you escort it out of the nebula.


I'll admit it's been a while since I've played ASW, so my memory may be a bit off, but I seem to recall a few missions that rely on throwing massive numbers of fighters on the battlefield, which usually means that difficulty is going to swing sharply towards one end or the other.


The old Wings of Dawn is a more subtle example in that most missions are going to be consistently tougher than in easy mode. However there are a couple of missions that are practically impossible, and Cordi fighters get ludicrously dangerous.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 08:19:03 am by X3N0-Life-Form »

 

Offline potterman28wxcv

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Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
A specific example : Slaying Ravana : On easy, it's a fairly challenging mission but your bomber is beefy enough - thanks to the difficulty's buffs to the player, to resist what few turrets & fighters can shoot at you, plus your wingmen provide an adequate diversion before they go down. On insane, your wingmen get vaporised within the first minute or so and you are left having to deal with every hostile fighters and turrets trying to kill you while attempting to throw bombs at the Ravana (who also tends to fire at you through its own hull).
I can confirm. How I cheesed my way through this mission: destroy the Ravana weapon subsystem, and let the Khenmu do the rest.

The fighters will always attack you even if you're thousands of miles away. So the tactic is to run away as soon as the weapon subsystem is down, and let Khenmu fight Ravana 1v1.

That's the kind of cheesy tactics I had to use in order to complete some of the missions in Insane..

 

Offline -Norbert-

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Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
There is no real perfect answer for always and everyone, because the answer depends on so many things.

What is your skill level? Are you playing for a challenge or just to have a quick round of (more or less) casual fun? Or you playing with unmodded or improved AI? and so on and so forth.

There is one exception though and that is very easy. That's a difficulty mode that pretty much only for people who never played any kind of space-sim before or when you want to just enjoy the atmosphere and story. It's basically a story/tutorial difficulty.

If you play just for fun, I suggest starting at easy and going up until you found your optimal difficulty.
And if you play for a challenge, start on insane and go down bit by bit if that's too frustrating. Also you might want to track down the improved AI... you might want to do that even if you play for fun. I have heard it exists for the main campaign, but I have never tried it myself, but on other mods (like Blue Planet for example) I enjoyed the improved AI quite a bit.

 

Offline potterman28wxcv

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Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
There is no real perfect answer for always and everyone, because the answer depends on so many things.

What is your skill level? Are you playing for a challenge or just to have a quick round of (more or less) casual fun? Or you playing with unmodded or improved AI? and so on and so forth.

There is one exception though and that is very easy. That's a difficulty mode that pretty much only for people who never played any kind of space-sim before or when you want to just enjoy the atmosphere and story. It's basically a story/tutorial difficulty.

If you play just for fun, I suggest starting at easy and going up until you found your optimal difficulty.
And if you play for a challenge, start on insane and go down bit by bit if that's too frustrating. Also you might want to track down the improved AI... you might want to do that even if you play for fun. I have heard it exists for the main campaign, but I have never tried it myself, but on other mods (like Blue Planet for example) I enjoyed the improved AI quite a bit.
FuryAI can be found somewhere, but it's not advertised much, you have to dig to find it. I tried FSport with FuryAI and it was a game changer ; the first mission on Insane was truly insane and that GTC Orff almost didn't make it :P

I wouldn't be able to give a proper link.. But I think there's an outdated standalone version of FuryAI hanging around here somewhere. If you play FSport with this FuryAI standalone, you get to experience the improved AI.

Or did I just run FSport within Blue Planet somehow? Can't remember

 

Offline Novachen

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Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
Quote
A specific example : Slaying Ravana : On insane, your wingmen get vaporised within the first minute or so and you are left having to deal with every hostile fighters and turrets trying to kill you while attempting to throw bombs at the Ravana (who also tends to fire at you through its own hull).

I have to admit, that i only have encountered this problem, if forget the communications menu totally. Actually Slaying Ravana is a good example what Insane is also about. You can make this mission much easier if you have an overview about all your wingmen and give them proper orders.
This is one of the missions where this game turns more into a real time tactic game instead of a action space game.

But of course, the usage of the comm menu is only needed, because the default AI is too stupid to take the right action themselves  :D
Female FS2 pilot since 1999.

German Translations created by me:
Between the Ashes: Slaves of Chaos, FreeSpace Port, The Destiny of Peace, Silent Threat: Reborn, Awakenings (in development),

Other projects:
FSPort Mission Upgrade, Out of the Shadow: Nova Safiya Edition (Remake of the Out of the Shadow campaign, in development)

If you want to know, what my nickname means, -chen is a german diminutive term, so you can translate Novachen as something like Little Nova or Novalet.
Even my original meaning of this name is more like "Sweet pretty deadly (Super)Nova" ;).

 
Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
Yeah, but it's also a good example on how not to do a bomber mission on insane. It's not a question of forgetting the com menu or not, you can micro-manage your wingmen all you like, the fact remain that you and them are all flying heavy bombers with no escort, and at this point in the game, you've don't have a whole lot of options to deal with incoming fighters. The mission does not only becomes much much more difficult on insane, it gets incredibly frustrating due to the limited tools you have available. Just having the player wing start close to the Vasudan corvette & its escort would aleviate the problems this mission has, since you would have the possibility to make use of the Serapis wing, nevermind having a fallback position that's easy to reach. Alternatively, you could also add a pair of myrmidons or something to order around at the beginning of the mission. Another sad thing is that all the player actually needs to do is survive, the Ravana just sits there getting slowly but steadily gutted by a lone VSlash.

Bottom line is, Slaying Ravana is a poorly designed mission in a number of ways. Every other bomber mission give you more options to deal with hostile fighter. In the two bombing missions against the NTF, you are given at least one wing of fighters to play with, plus you're flying a light bomber, bomber-flying wingmen are not entirely impotent, plus (I think) you have access to the cluster bomb to disrupt enemy formations. In Bearbaiting and High Noon, you've got trebs to clear the area at long range (plus some extra wings in Bearbaiting).


Speaking of wingmen management and frustration, Wing Commander Saga, while overall pretty well balanced on all difficulties, decided to tackle the issues of having invincible wingmen by preventing you from giving orders to them. Which doesn't solve much of anything, but it does result in increased facepalming as you can find yourself being the only person going after the bombers. :)


EDIT - In contrast to all this, Vassago's Dirge is very good example of a campaign that's well balanced on various difficulty levels, with insane being very difficult but never frustrating like some FS2 missions can become.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 07:34:47 am by X3N0-Life-Form »

 

Offline -Norbert-

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Re: Best difficulty Level TPlay Freespace 2o
I guess this is a good point in the conversation to mention FreeSpace Blue, which is a partially reworked FS2 main campaign included in the Blue Planet download. One of the points on the feature list is "Slaying Ravana doesn't suck (as much)" :lol: