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They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty

In a post on Steam, Numantian Games reveals plans to update They Are Billions to lower the difficulty level for the campaign in their just-released survival strategy game based on user feedback (thanks Eurogamer). There are other changes coming soon in a version 1.05 patch, but the portion quoted below covers these difficulty issues:

Here we made a mistake when leaving the Challenging mode as the default difficulty level. In addition, many players havenít noticed the small screen of difficulty level that appears on the Missions screen and are not aware that you can change the level of difficulty at any time.

Improvement 1: Now the default mode is Accessible, which maintains a good level of challenge and is more progressive than the Challenging. Also, now when playing the first mission you will see the difficulty window explaining this functionality.

Improvement 2: The general difficulty of the first missions has been lowered a bit so that it is something more accessible, especially for first-time players

Time Limit in Misiones
Some missions have a time limit because the challenge lies in getting a colony of certain characteristics within that time frame. It seems that this limit has taken many people by surprise or is simply too short for less experienced players.

Improvement: So, we have removed the limit in the first missions and expanded generously in all the others. It should no longer be a problem, but we will continue to listen to your feedback and make further adjustments if necessary.

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24 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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24. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 25, 2019, 04:29 Numinar
 
FloorPie wrote on Jun 24, 2019, 14:54:
I cant get motivated to try the campaign from what I've seen and read. Its one thing to have no saves, iron-man on survival mode of the game but to do the same for the campaign is just trying to extend the life of the game. Which makes little sense as the life of the game is going to be in the survival mode and mod support along with the weekly challenges stuff they have for the hardcore players who really are masochists looking for the challenge.

The tech tree limitations where you have to basically restart the whole campaign (no save scumming) if it turns out you made a bad choice is not in any way fun or hard. It is just tedious.

This is from someone who bought the game a year ago, has 20 hours in the surivial mode, no map wins and I still like that part of the game for when I'm in the mood for a rts challenge.

Right now, its worth $20 tops and really only if you want the survival mode and not the campaign.

I get this, and maybe it's not for everyone but having slogged through a 2 hour nightmare last night on the beach mission I would not ever trade the tension and fear for the convenience of save scumming/checkpoints. It would be a different game then. Just lower the difficulty if it seems too scary.

The thing about older RTS's is they had to balance the game to be hard knowing users could roll back saves. It made those games kind of oppressive, or at least my beloved AOE2 and Rise of Nations had this issue for me when I played earlier this year. The lack of save points means the Scenario has to be balanced for fairness and it really does feel that way so far. The fact that I lose one now and then is super reasonable and part of the learning experience. If it feels like a waste of time it must be that the game itself isn't fun for you and wouldn't be with save points either.

I'm not sure about the tech tree, I can see how maybe you could proper F yourself, but 40-80 hour 90's and Firaxis Xcom campaigns say hold my beer. I can handle it. We will see if I've done goofed later in the week...
 
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23. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 20:23 Mr. Tact
 
jdreyer wrote on Jun 24, 2019, 16:12:
Did you get a VR headset? E:D especially benefits from it.
I haven't, I'm still thinking about it.

This comment was edited on Jun 25, 2019, 06:24.
 
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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22. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 16:45 jacobvandy
 
jdreyer wrote on Jun 24, 2019, 16:18:
Does TAB have a speed setting option? I like to play my RTSs slower than default these days. Lets me lose due to poor tactical decisions instead of because something I didn't notice was happening on the other side of the map.

No speed settings, but you can pause at any time (which lets you take as long as you want to plan and build) and it has that alert system for things happening off-screen such as units taking damage, walls under attack, or buildings being infected. There's also an option to automatically shift your view over to where the alert originated.

FloorPie wrote on Jun 24, 2019, 14:54:
The tech tree limitations where you have to basically restart the whole campaign (no save scumming) if it turns out you made a bad choice is not in any way fun or hard. It is just tedious.

I've seen this come up on the forums, too, but I'm very curious to know exactly what you'd have to spend your research points on to get stuck like that. How many people would actually go out of their way to do something like not unlock new units or defenses, the first of which is literally one of the initial 5 options at the start of the tree? The devs have stated that part of their playtesting involved trying out a myriad of wacky strategies including using only one type of starter unit, only towers, etc. and completed the campaign in many different ways, so for a player to find a research route that is truly impossible to progress with must be something special. Though my guess would be, again, that they were refusing to lower the difficulty to help solve their problem.

With that said, I'm seeing now that they pushed another update today (1.0.8) that allows you to create back-up saves of your campaign file as well as undo your last set of tech tree choices after failing a mission, so... Save-scummers rejoice! You can save before every time you research something if you're that worried about the possibility.

This comment was edited on Jun 24, 2019, 21:08.
 
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21. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 16:18 jdreyer
 
Does TAB have a speed setting option? I like to play my RTSs slower than default these days. Lets me lose due to poor tactical decisions instead of because something I didn't notice was happening on the other side of the map.  
Avatar 22024
 
The land in Minecraft is flat, Minecraft simulates the Earth, ergo the Earth is flat.
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20. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 16:12 jdreyer
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Jun 24, 2019, 13:34:
jdreyer wrote on Jun 24, 2019, 13:03:
Mr. Tact wrote on Jun 24, 2019, 06:34:
I watched a couple of Let's Play videos of this a while back and thought the difficulty looked like it might be a bit rough. If I can find some time maybe I'll give it a chance...

"If I can find some time?" I thought you were retired?
Good memory, JD. I am retired now. However, I restarted playing Elite Dangerous about two weeks ago and it is filling all my game time at the moment. I think in two weeks I've probably put in 60-70 hours.

Did you get a VR headset? E:D especially benefits from it.
 
Avatar 22024
 
The land in Minecraft is flat, Minecraft simulates the Earth, ergo the Earth is flat.
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19. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 15:43 MoreLuckThanSkill
 
FloorPie wrote on Jun 24, 2019, 14:54:

The tech tree limitations where you have to basically restart the whole campaign (no save scumming) if it turns out you made a bad choice is not in any way fun or hard. It is just tedious.


I'm about 8? missions into the campaign, and yes, the Tech tree choices are extremely important. I'd appreciate a respec option, but luckily I didn't spend too many points early on. Advance the tech tree in general, get ballista turrets, farms, etc. and win, at least so far. Choose mercenaries or other stuff early, probably lose some of the later missions.

Building massive bases and defending has great appeal to me, locked choices/pseudo Iron Man mode, not so much. That said, I'm still enjoying the campaign, and have been able to recover from some non optimal choices. Hero missions and swarm clearings are good to gather some resources/research points/hero levels from to help out on the harder missions.

I expect they'll tweak the campaign over time, you can easily get to a massive swarm block pretty early and basically have zero chance of beating it (640+ fast zombies vs at best, some soldiers and rangers), but there are other paths to take, and you can come back later. The Hero/general should be available in the swarm clearing missions, in my opinion. It'd be more fun for sure.
 
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18. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 14:54 FloorPie
 
I cant get motivated to try the campaign from what I've seen and read. Its one thing to have no saves, iron-man on survival mode of the game but to do the same for the campaign is just trying to extend the life of the game. Which makes little sense as the life of the game is going to be in the survival mode and mod support along with the weekly challenges stuff they have for the hardcore players who really are masochists looking for the challenge.

The tech tree limitations where you have to basically restart the whole campaign (no save scumming) if it turns out you made a bad choice is not in any way fun or hard. It is just tedious.

This is from someone who bought the game a year ago, has 20 hours in the surivial mode, no map wins and I still like that part of the game for when I'm in the mood for a rts challenge.

Right now, its worth $20 tops and really only if you want the survival mode and not the campaign.
 
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17. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 13:34 Mr. Tact
 
jdreyer wrote on Jun 24, 2019, 13:03:
Mr. Tact wrote on Jun 24, 2019, 06:34:
I watched a couple of Let's Play videos of this a while back and thought the difficulty looked like it might be a bit rough. If I can find some time maybe I'll give it a chance...

"If I can find some time?" I thought you were retired?
Good memory, JD. I am retired now. However, I restarted playing Elite Dangerous about two weeks ago and it is filling all my game time at the moment. I think in two weeks I've probably put in 60-70 hours.
 
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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16. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 13:03 jdreyer
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Jun 24, 2019, 06:34:
I watched a couple of Let's Play videos of this a while back and thought the difficulty looked like it might be a bit rough. If I can find some time maybe I'll give it a chance...

"If I can find some time?" I thought you were retired?
 
Avatar 22024
 
The land in Minecraft is flat, Minecraft simulates the Earth, ergo the Earth is flat.
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15. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 12:00 jacobvandy
 
I simply disagreed with the notion that the game can't be fun at first, before you know what you're doing. And they do teach you a lot of things now that they didn't in EA, plus what i mentioned before about the campaign very slowly introducing new things, including units, buildings, and enemy types. It took me near 20 hours before i got to a mission featuring a special zombie; everything before that was nothing but standard shamblers as you learn about building and securing your base, increasing population, expanding, and clearing the map.

Difficulty settings do make a difference, but the main one is just the number of zombies. This patch was a good move in regard to what I said earlier about silly pride, but it's still a token gesture. Notice they didn't actually change the what the settings do, only adjusted which one is the default. I can't say whether the time limits were too restrictive before or not because the patch was already applied when I started playing last Wednesday or Thursday. But neither of those things change the design of the game, how vulnerable you are to even a single zombie, or that you are held accountable for your mistakes.
 
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14. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 11:42 SpectralMeat
 
All this talk about this game makes me want to pick it up.
I've watched Cohh try to play it on the max difficulty to have his ass handed to him, it was hilarious.
 
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Steam: SpectralMeat
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13. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 11:22 Beamer
 
jacobvandy wrote on Jun 24, 2019, 11:14:
Yep, I played a good bit of survival mode in EA, so getting started in the significantly easier campaign was no problem for me at all. However, there was never any "struggling through the un-fun to get to the fun" involved. I really enjoyed the game right from the beginning, even when I lost. You either enjoy games that aren't afraid to knock you on your ass or you don't, it's that simple. I really don't think these devs at interested in "fixing" that aspect of the game.

Everyone likes challenge, but people like learning, too. You're misunderstanding what I said, apparently reading it as "I'm a bad gamer and want victory handed to me."

Literally no one is saying that - they're saying that a game should teach you either before, or as, it knocks you on your ass. And reading the post from the devs, clearly they do want to fix this.
 
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12. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 11:14 jacobvandy
 
Yep, I played a good bit of survival mode in EA, so getting started in the significantly easier campaign was no problem for me at all. However, there was never any "struggling through the un-fun to get to the fun" involved. I really enjoyed the game right from the beginning, even when I lost. You either enjoy games that aren't afraid to knock you on your ass or you don't, it's that simple. I really don't think these devs at interested in "fixing" that aspect of the game.  
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11. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 09:38 Beamer
 
I mean, given that most here weren't part of the early access, it's probably worth it for them to pay attention to the word of mouth from those not in the early access more than those that were? Or at least as much?

This doesn't seem like a "user reviews are full of morons" issue so much as a "the game is incredibly difficult without properly teaching you how to handle that difficulty, making it a steep learning curve that may ultimately result in a fun game but, for right now, requires many long, not fun hours to get there, which the people enjoying the game most put in during early access."

Life is too short, time too precious, to play something that requires hours of no fun to get to the fun. Sounds like this game will adapt, though, and it'll be worth checking out once it's fixed.
 
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Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
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10. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 08:25 Ozmodan
 
I love strategy games, but I really dislike most RTS games. After reading the steam reviews I passed on this game. I might try it now though.  
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9. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 07:36 Dev
 
Blue,
The game is already patched to 1.07, past 1.05 as of several days ago.
The way this story is worded implies they haven't yet and are about to.

Can also see this quote from linked story:
"To force the update just restart the Steam client. It should be now the 1.0.5."

 
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8. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 06:34 Mr. Tact
 
I watched a couple of Let's Play videos of this a while back and thought the difficulty looked like it might be a bit rough. If I can find some time maybe I'll give it a chance...  
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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7. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 05:48 Numinar
 
jacobvandy wrote on Jun 23, 2019, 22:59:
I'm 10 or 12 missions in to the campaign so far (about the same number of hours), it seems I've barely scratched the surface based on my progress with the tech tree and across the world map, but it's pretty awesome! I love the blend of base-building and tactical missions, and the overall progression is satisfying. It's a great introduction to the game, too, because you start out with only basic units and buildings, then unlock new stuff slowly as you go. I'm sure that's a lot easier to swallow for newcomers compared to survival mode, where everything is thrown at you at once.

I'd recommend ignoring the bitching and moaning on Steam reviews and forums, though. Most complaints are about the forced 'iron man' mode in regards to saving, as well as the difficulty. These are not new things introduced with the campaign, it's been that way throughout early access and they've been very straightforward in that it's not going to change. This is an intentionally old-school kind of RTS, and it's not going to appeal to everyone. But if that's what you like, GET IT, because it's really good.

I, for one, wholeheartedly support these guys for making a game that is actually challenging and doesn't allow you to save-scum to undo every little mistake. Sure, you will fuck up while learning the game and you will fail some missions... But apparently that's not okay for a lot of people. They can't stand "wasting their time," as if playing the game itself is no fun at all if it ends in a loss. And yet they also refuse to lower the difficulty (and reduce their meaningless score) out of some weird sense of pride. So it's a catch-22 of modern gamer idiocy.

Yep. You can drop the difficulty down to easy, no problem. That it's still not an auto-win is fine. The whole idea of the game is that one infected zombie can destroy a colony if you have holes in your defense. Save scumming ruins this so why would they put it in?

Real problems, like the hokey voice acting, are something one gets used to.

I'm starting to think Epic has the right idea not putting in steam reviews or forums. The mob is mostly idiots most of the time.

Whoever is having trouble finding the pickups in the adventure missions, you get used to it. Not all boxes/materials are lootable. And some are hidden away, look for cracks in walls and barely visible gaps in tress and you will 100% both each time. My one complaint other than voice acting is that these missions struggle to be super compelling, though there have been some fun rooms! But each seems better than the last so maybe that will work out. Actual mission design in general for the other scenarios already seems more modern, freeform and fun than anything in the 90's.

It's so good. If it wasn't for discovering Opus Magnum on PC gamepass I'd be mainlining it.
 
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6. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 24, 2019, 00:37 El Pit
 
This is why there are difficulty levels - the hardcore nerds who stuck with this game since early access can play it on unforgiving difficulty and the noobs can play it at a more forgiving difficulty. It can be done to make everybody happy with the exception of game nazis who want every game to play at their difficulty level or get lost.  
They're waiting for you, Gabe, in the test chamber!
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5. Re: They Are Billions to Ease Difficulty Jun 23, 2019, 23:18 1badmf
 
jacobvandy wrote on Jun 23, 2019, 22:59:
I'm 10 or 12 missions in to the campaign so far (about the same number of hours), it seems I've barely scratched the surface based on my progress with the tech tree and across the world map, but it's pretty awesome! I love the blend of base-building and tactical missions, and the overall progression is satisfying. It's a great introduction to the game, too, because you start out with only basic units and buildings, then unlock new stuff slowly as you go. I'm sure that's a lot easier to swallow for newcomers compared to survival mode, where everything is thrown at you at once.

I'd recommend ignoring the bitching and moaning on Steam reviews and forums, though. Most complaints are about the forced 'iron man' mode in regards to saving, as well as the difficulty. These are not new things introduced with the campaign, it's been that way throughout early access and they've been very straightforward in that it's not going to change. This is an intentionally old-school kind of RTS, and it's not going to appeal to everyone. But if that's what you like, GET IT, because it's really good.

I, for one, wholeheartedly support these guys for making a game that is actually challenging and doesn't allow you to save-scum to undo every little mistake. Sure, you will fuck up while learning the game and you will fail some missions... But apparently that's not okay for a lot of people. They can't stand "wasting their time," as if playing the game itself is no fun at all if it ends in a loss. And yet they also refuse to lower the difficulty (and reduce their meaningless score) out of some weird sense of pride. So it's a catch-22 of modern gamer idiocy.

well put. this game is NOT n00b friendly - was designed to appeal to RTSers who like a challenge. i suspect a lot of the negative reviews are people who didn't play the early access and had no idea what they were getting into. the early access was hard as hell with NO hand holding and i loved it.

the idiots bitching about score are completely missing the point - while it's nice to do well, the pleasure of the challenge is to figure out the tactical puzzles yourself and then conquer them. in other words, it's the journey not the destination. score should be a reward for your tactical acumen at solving the puzzle, not the end all to the game.
 
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