Intended difficulty?

General discussion about the game.
Pilgrim of Domina
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:57 am

Intended difficulty?

Postby Pilgrim of Domina » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:23 am

I've been playing this a lot since release, and I've realized that even though this IS a rougelike...
Luck>>>>>Strategy
Much moreso than most rougelikes.

How often is an "experienced" player supposed to be able to win, factoring in luck? I'm not sure what the intended "difficulty" of this game was supposed to be. Was the "winning" condition intended to be reachable in any reasonable number of playthroughs? When you factor in shit luck it doesn't seem mathematically possible to beat.

It's very easy to fall behind the "curve" of enemy upgrades, irregardless of grinding. Reaches a point where I've just never even been able to obtain weapons capable of doing shit, or enough scrap was just never given. This isn't always the case, but it WILL happen at some point in a game, and once you fall behind the curve, you're fucked. Game over. You can make it another couple systems, but you will lose. There is no recovering.
Postal
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:31 am

Re: Intended difficulty?

Postby Postal » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:30 am

I would disagree. Like you said, the game is meant to be punishing. When I was beta-testing this game, my motto was "Don't play expecting to win; play expecting to die, and make it as fun as possible." Victory is possible, but it takes a lot of practice. I've played FTL for 43 hours, through 59 playthroughs, with only 7 victories. All but one was on easy.

You keep mentioning luck, but luck is just that: sometimes you have terrible luck, and sometimes it's awesome. Personally, I don't focus on weapons as much anymore- I save up scrap for augments like the crew teleporter, which is the key to beating the boss at the moment. Just play the game a bunch and you'll start developing strategies for maximizing the use of your scrap. For example, if you defeat a ship by killing the crew rather than destroying it, you get greatly increased scrap rewards.

Just as a final note, I've seen people beat the final boss with a burst laser II, the starting missile launcher, and a pike beam. It can be done.
Pilgrim of Domina
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:57 am

Re: Intended difficulty?

Postby Pilgrim of Domina » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:45 am

So it really is not particularly possible to beat the game with straightforward firefights? This would be why it seems so easy to fall behind in comparison to enemy upgrades? So far all my playthroughs end where I jump one more system and suddenly can't damage anything. Once I'm forced to flee an "easy" encounter in a system, it's game over at that point, even though I can keep fleeing fights for quite a distance. On rare occasion I can find a vendor that actually has weapons, that I can actually afford, and that has saved me a couple games. Most games I can't find/get jackshit and then suddenly the enemy ships are invincible.

59 playthroughs, with only 7 victories

And irregardless of strategy this is what I should expect?
Postal
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:31 am

Re: Intended difficulty?

Postby Postal » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:55 am

No, like my final note said, victory through firepower is possible. Here's some general weapon tips I could give you:

1. Always have a missile or bomb weapon on your ship at all times. Even if it's not powered, have it available. That's what you use to take down the shields of higher-level ships, because missiles and bombs ignore shields. Once the shields are down, keep up the fire on them to keep them suppressed, and use the rest of your weaponry to destroy the ship.

2. Don't discount lower-power weapons. Personally, I hate the high-energy weapons like Burst Laser III and Halberd Beams. I tend to go for speed rather than power, so a bunch of fast-firing lasers can do as good a job as one Heavy Laser.

3. Ion weapons are awesome. Ion Burst II is pretty expensive, but I would say it's probably one of the best weapons you can get. Its main advantage is a really low cooldown time, allowing you to keep damaged systems down. To mix it with the above advice, use a bomb to take down an enemy's shield, and then keep the ion weapon trained on it to keep it down. That saves you from having to continually spend finite resources.


In my opinion, yes, that is what you should expect. I've enjoyed every minute of those 43 hours, including the deaths. I don't play to win, I just play to have fun. There's a couple people on here who have played for about 200 hours in the beta and still haven't beaten the boss once. Admittedly, there would be a problem if those kinds of stats bothered you, because I would think you'd get frustrated by not winning. (using the general "you" here, not you individually :P).

Strategy can definitely mitigate that, though. For my first 30 or so playthroughs, I thought crew teleporters were useless, and I hated missiles because they were finite. Once I started taking full advantage of the options, I started actually having a chance. Firepower is a part of the game, but it's certainly not all of it.
Pilgrim of Domina
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:57 am

Re: Intended difficulty?

Postby Pilgrim of Domina » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:04 am

1. Always have a missile or bomb weapon on your ship at all times. Even if it's not powered, have it available. That's what you use to take down the shields of higher-level ships, because missiles and bombs ignore shields. Once the shields are down, keep up the fire on them to keep them suppressed, and use the rest of your weaponry to destroy the ship.

Check. They fire early too, and tend to knock out higher level weapons before they can be fired.
2. Don't discount lower-power weapons. Personally, I hate the high-energy weapons like Burst Laser III and Halberd Beams. I tend to go for speed rather than power, so a bunch of fast-firing lasers can do as good a job as one Heavy Laser.

Check. Always stuck with these anyway.
3. Ion weapons are awesome. Ion Burst II is pretty expensive, but I would say it's probably one of the best weapons you can get. Its main advantage is a really low cooldown time, allowing you to keep damaged systems down. To mix it with the above advice, use a bomb to take down an enemy's shield, and then keep the ion weapon trained on it to keep it down. That saves you from having to continually spend finite resources.

Check. I get furthest when I find an ion weapon early.

Missle to their weapons because it fires first and bypasses shields usually stopping any high power weapons from being in the first volley, Emp to lower shields, followed shortly by lasers to damage shields. Leave off autofire and manually fire emp/lasers to ensure shields are lowered when lasers hit cause the EMP flies slower. Once shields are out disable weapons if missiles haven't already. Then focus on whatever else.

I'm not a complete idiot. There's just a literal wall of difficulty, where I warp one system over and I can't even get past their shields even when concentrating missles/telebombs on shields. Usually happens about 2/3 of the way to the end. Sometimes I'm lucky and actually find better/more weapons capable of it.
Last edited by Pilgrim of Domina on Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
Postal
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:31 am

Re: Intended difficulty?

Postby Postal » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:10 am

Sorry, I wasn't implying you didn't know what you were doing. I guess I can't really identify with what you're saying then; I've never really run into a situation where I suddenly became powerless just due to a sector change. I thought it was more of not being able to adapt tactics to a new breed of enemy ships.
Most of the time, the biggest upgrades in enemy ships between sectors that would keep you from hurting them are drones and shields, and I've never had any trouble taking those out with missiles. Even an enemy with a full 4-shield loses everything when you disrupt that system.

Sorry I couldn't help.
Pilgrim of Domina
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:57 am

Re: Intended difficulty?

Postby Pilgrim of Domina » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:17 am

drones and shields,

God help you if they have drones AND high shielding. That's how my furthest games, like 2 systems away from the end, always end. And of course they have engi repairing shields constantly, when I finally manage 1 point of damage. I don't think I've ever landed a missile past a missile defense drone, but considerably better with telemines.

Sorry I couldn't help.

Help nothing. I can nearly get to the end. I just wanted to know if this was one of those rougelikes where you weren't supposed to expect to get far at all.
Gorlom
Posts: 519
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:06 am

Re: Intended difficulty?

Postby Gorlom » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:22 am

Pilgrim of Domina wrote:Missle to their weapons because it fires first and bypasses shields usually stopping any high power weapons from being in the first volley, Emp to lower shields, followed shortly by lasers to damage shields. Leave off autofire and manually fire emp/lasers to ensure shields are lowered when lasers hit cause the EMP flies slower. Once shields are out disable weapons if missiles haven't already. Then focus on whatever else.

I'm not a complete idiot. There's just a literal wall of difficulty, where I warp one system over and I can't even get past their shields even when concentrating missles/telebombs on shields. Usually happens about 2/3 of the way to the end. Sometimes I'm lucky and actually find better/more weapons capable of it.

Sometimes you might want to just missile their shields instead of their weapons. Keep the shields broken with the occasional laser fire and have ion + laser suppress the weapons.
Maze1125
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:09 pm

Re: Intended difficulty?

Postby Maze1125 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:27 am

Pilgrim of Domina wrote:irregardless of grinding

Pilgrim of Domina wrote:irregardless of strategy


"Irregardless" is not a word!
You can do something with regard to a given factor, or you can do it without regard to a given factor, hence the to words are "regard" and "regardless".

Regardless, when you die in this game, there is pretty much always a way you could have won instead. So, when you lose, rather than getting annoyed and blaming randomness, think about what could have been different for you to win.

Would you have won if you had increased evade rather than increased shields?
Would you have won if you had the drone bay rather than the teleport?
Would you have won if you had upgraded your doors?
Would you have won if you'd put out the fire in the door-bay before the life-support?

Work out how you could have won, and use that information to do better next time.
Wordsmith
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:34 pm
Location: Medbay

Re: Intended difficulty?

Postby Wordsmith » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:53 am

Maze1125 wrote:Regardless, when you die in this game, there is pretty much always a way you could have won instead.


This precisely.

I've been playing this game for about eight hours straight, and I've lost about five times or so. Only once did I feel "cheated", because I lost my two high-level close-quarters Mantis dudes, my dedicated boarding party, when the final boss turned out to be a two-phase thing and warped away with them still on board. I then lost because the rest of my crew had pretty much no close-combat ability, and the rest of my weapons couldn't get through the flagship's shields, but even then, I was still able to put up a fight through a combination of missiles and pulse lasers (and a last-ditch attempt at throwing all my helpless dudes into the Teleporter to try and take down the drone bay).

Bottom line is, in the end, this game doesn't cheat you. When you die, it's because you had some flaw in your strategy - and yes, you do have to have strategy in this game. You have to have some answer to high-shield enemies (currently, the best answer I've found is the aforementioned boarding party, but things like ion and flame bombs would also get the job done very well, as would high-grade missile launchers). You have to have some answer to fragile, hard-hitting enemies. You have to have an answer to getting boarded yourself. And so on.

If you're suddenly incapable of winning in a new sector, it's because you screwed up and didn't think ahead, or failed to fully exploit your resources.

For example, the thing that always gave me the most trouble was when enemies first started boarding my ship. I couldn't figure out how the hell I was supposed to have my guys with a close combat rating high enough to fight them off. At that point, I was lucky to have even four crew members - and each one would be fairly dedicated to a single role, whether piloting, manning the guns, running the shields, or maintaining the engine.

But then I stopped and tried thinking about it another way.

I couldn't just throw my crew at the boarders. They were too low-level, and would just get slaughtered, despite the weight of numbers. So what else could I do?

Well, there's Medbay. If you're in Medbay, you can hold off pretty much anything in close quarters. So I tried that, and I took a hell of a lot of damage, but I managed to survive. But that wasn't going to be enough, I knew, so I started thinking about other things to do. Eventually, I figured out that you do indeed have another weapon against boarders: you can vent your own ship and expose them to vacuum.

Obviously this is a very noob-y thing to have to figure out, but it isn't meant as specific advice to you. I'm just saying that the game doesn't cheat you. One way or another, you should always have a way to deal with any threat, even if it is difficult and requires you to think outside the box. Unless you've gone out of your way to eliminate options - selling all your missile launchers, using only laser weapons, or the like - you are always given at least a chance at winning.
"Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness."
- Terry Pratchett

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