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The Threat Levels

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:04 pm
by JayPlaysIndieGames
Now that threat levels are indicated by symbols instead of just normal, medium, hard it would be great if they were changed to actually more closely represent the difficulty level of the dungeons.
I understand the words used before represent the actual stat differences of the monsters within the dungeons, however threat level varies greatly even among those stat differences.
For instance I am betting Namtar's Lair is far more difficult than vicious halls, and rock garden is objectively harder than doubledoom for sure. I understood when they were both "hard" but now that it is a "threat level" I feel like the sliding scale should be more finely tuned.

On the other hand that might be a bunch more art and programming than is necessary this late in development :)

So here is a question for the experienced who have completed the game: Can you rank the dungeons in order of difficulty?
Either a list from 1 Hardest dungeon to 20 (or however many dungeons their are) easiest dungeon, or maybe give categories for the Hardest Vicious Dungeons vice Easiest Vicious Dungeons etc.

I would love to see where the dungeons I have unlocked fall :)

Re: The Threat Levels

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:31 pm
by The Avatar
It's kind of hard to rank a dungeon. Some dungeons are difficult, but easy for one class. Some are kind of hard for all classes. What it then boils down to is whether you are ranking by how hard it is to win with 1 class, or how tough it is to win with all classes. For lack of direction I will go with how hard it is to win with all classes.
1. VGT
2. NL
3. DL
4. NC
5. VHoS
6. CO
7. Slime Pits
8. GT
9. Ick Swanp
10. Shifting Passages
11. Magma Mines
12. The Labyrinth
13. Grimm's Grotto
14. Hexx Ruins
15. Creeplight Ruins
16. HHoS
17. Havendale Bridge
18. Rock Garden
19. Berserker Camp
20. Doubledoom
21. Eastern Tundra
22. Northern Desert
23. Southern Swamp
24. Western Jungle
25. Den of Danger
26. Venture Cave
27. Hobbler's Hold

There. It's close for a lot of them, but that is my quick list. I'm curious as to what others think.

Re: The Threat Levels

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:44 pm
by JayPlaysIndieGames
Interesting I actually found Halls of Steel significantly harder than the Magma Mines, but I am probably just playing more solidly now.
Ick Swamp has been giving me tons of trouble so I'm glad to see it in the top 10 hardest dungeons on your list :)

So according to the there are 5 vicious dungeons eh? Hmm I am going to start unlocking some items and then head that way I think :)

Re: The Threat Levels

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:20 pm
by Lujo
Not sure there's a consensus and there's a big bunch of factors to take into consideration.

EDIT: I ranked stuff from easiest to hardest :(

Assuming you have everything unlocked, I'd rank the viciouses as:

Vicious Steel
Naga City
Dragon Isles
Daemonic Library
Namtar's Lair

Although I'm not sure, because I've never done full completion on all of them and VGT is more like a roguelike of it's own. There's days when I'd swear Daemonic Library's the hardest, and I had really annoying Dragon Isles runs as well. Vicious Steel would also probably be a right pain it wasn't for the damage reduction gimmick.

To be prefectly honest, I'd rank Daemonic Library, Dragon Isles and Namtar's Lair as harder than VGT, personaly. I find doing them takes me more mental effort and starting a run in them makes me feel more dread.

As for non vicious dungeons, hmmm... Never really though about this, but:

1) Hobbler's - Because doooh
2) Southern Swamp - Because fixed enemies, no gimmicks whatsoever, one really easy boss and harmless plants.
3) Northern Desert - Has no impactful features except it could screw you over by spawning a blob, now has 2 boses.
4) Venture Cave - Easy and relatively spacious.
5) Western Jungle - Would be rather nasty if it wasn't so close to the start. Harmless plants are harmless though.
6) Ick Swamp - The only threat in this place besides vampires is your own psyche. Fun, time consuming, easy.
7) Eastern Tundra - Has a boss that can hurt you, life drain enemies and a bit of a nasty layout
8) Berserker Camp - Honestly, I couldn't tell you what it's gimmick IS (berserkers level up somehow and there's a bridge?) I have more problems with the Den of Danger, really.
9) Rock Garden - Also strangely easy, but at least I know what's it about (3 bossess and a labyrinth)
10) Den of Danger - Errr, it's cramped and has a wide selection of bosses. Tricky VT run, up there with the really nasty ones for me.
11) Doubledoom - Random bossess, iffy layout.
12) Halls of Steel - One really easy boss and a fixed monster roster. Cramped though.
13) Magma Mines - Fixed gimmick bossess, but no subdungeon + screwup potential
14) Labyrinth* - If prepped for it, pretty easy, if not - it flat out tops the list for me (+ no subdungeon?)
15) Hex Ruins* - if you have a solution for the revenants - decent, if not - pretty challenging + no subdungeon.
17) Havendale Bridge - Rather standout in difficulty and required thought for it's map position. Enjoyble.
18) Grimm's Grotto - cramped but I always manage to beat it somehow :)

wide gap

19) Slime Pits - as Darvin put it "a cesspool of fatty monsters and nasty debuffs". It was made to give the monk a hard time, and monk is a godmode cheat sort of guy. I don't usualy fail SP, but they're always tricky
20) Cursed Oasis - is a nasty place with a difficult to ignore gimmick which makes you play it's game
21) Shifting Passages - I can't remember the last time I failed it, but as someone put it "shifting passages can go die in a fire". One of the few dungeons where you can end up hoplessly blocked off, and so on and so forth
22) Creeplight monastery - I honestly find it the most difficult dungeon, one boss with 3 forms who gives no xp (if I remember correctly), and low XP overall. So many things that let you beat other places just don't work here. VT run of this place was tiresome to say the least.

This was fun :)

JayPlaysIndieGames wrote:Ick Swamp has been giving me tons of trouble so I'm glad to see it in the top 10 hardest dungeons on your list :)

You're not the first erson I hear this from. What seems to be the problem? The only reason it's not right above Hobbler's for me is that you actually have to know a few basics, and that Southern Swamp and Northern Desert are no-extra-features strictly easier variants of venture cave (because of fixed monsters). Otherwise it has always been the way easiest dungeon in the game for me.

There was a situation where I had problems with it, and that was when vampires used to do magic damage. Othewise, I saw it as a remarkably easy dungeon even when the boss was tougher (was it?) and when they swapped the places of Ick and Hex on the map I couldn't believe it because I couldn't figure out how can that concept turn out more difficult than the one in Hex, even in theory. It's also really obvious when you try to do a VT run of Hex (darned tricky) and of Ick (meh). Can anoyne clue me into what's confusing everybody?

Re: The Threat Levels

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:23 pm
by Dreamdancer
Lujo wrote:3) Northern Desert - Has no impactful features except it could screw you over by spawning a blob, now has 2 boses.

Nowadays it always spawns the Tower of Goo and a gimped Mage (~160 HP, 75 damage). Apart from the Den it's the only normal dungeons where i miss the vicious token.

Re: The Threat Levels

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:28 pm
by The Avatar
The labyrinth has a sub dungeon.

Personally, the joke dungeon for me is HHoS. The indomitable is killable incredibly early and easily (I'd compare him to the Aeq in Northern Desert, more exp than boss).

Looking at Lujo's reasons and looking back over mine, I would reorder hard as
1. CO--This is much more me than it being hard. I really never played it when it came out, so I've yet to come up with a definite strategy for it.
2. Shifting Passages--I really hate this. I tend to go through the motions when I play because I know the game rather well, but you can't really do that here. I hate it when you have to kill every other high level guy mid fight vs Evolvia.
3. Slime Pits--Just read Lujo's. It couldn't be truer.
4. Labyrinth--Really a pain if you can't deal with the walls. A dungeon very likely to screw you over.
5. Grimm's--Boosted stats and nasty layout. Not even tricky, just flat out hard.
6. Creeplight--I've never found it too tough, but its effects and boss are very tough.
7. Hexx--Really annoying if you can't deal with the trick.
8. Havendale--This has a huge chance to screw you with that troll, but still not very tough.
9. Magma Mines--Just retried it and beat it easily. Frankly, the two bodyguards are exp boosts in disguise.
10. Ick Swamp--I hadn't played this one since I was bad at the game, and I absolutely destroyed it. This is much more of a newbie trap, but getting off the ground can be tough.
11. HHoS--See above
12. Rock Garden--3 wimpy bosses and is always easy.
13. Doubledoom--Variable, fun and easy.
14.Berserker Camp--A helpful gimmick and a joke boss.

Lujo, it seems unfair to rate and normals higher than hards, simply because the hard has higher stats, the same boss potential as normal (one random), plus one more.

Re: The Threat Levels

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:58 pm
by Darvin
For vicious, I think we're mostly in agreement. I like Lujo's list for vicious (might swap a few of them, but I wouldn't move anything more than one position).

As for hard difficulty

1) Slime Pits - Lujo has already paraphrased my opinion of it quite well
2) Cursed Oasis - a very dangerous dungeon that can screw you over in interesting ways
3) Ick Swamp - you'll choke on all the plants here, which kills a run before it even gets started
4) Labyrinth - one of the worst maps for arbitrary screw-overs
5) Magma Mines - very annoying dungeon; you can't start the boss fight until you've located the pair of lieutenants, leaving you with precious little blackspace on a dungeon that's already very fatty.
6) Grimm's Grotto - the worst map for arbitrary screw-overs (but that's why we love you)
7) Shifting Passages - a dangerous dungeon, but one which you can work around if you're careful enough (plus you're more likely to find an altar or glyph to help out before things close up on you.
8) Creeplight Ruins - the boss is tricky, but his forms are all relatively weak. So long as you start the boss battle early enough and have decent melee and spellcasting abilities, he's a pushover.
9) Hard Halls of Steel - a bit fatty of a dungeon, but hard Indomitable has been nerfed so many times he's a bit of a joke now
10) Double-Doom - a well-balanced dungeon with a tricky layout
11) Rock Garden - three very weak bosses. The layout can occasionally screw you over.
12) Havensdale Bridge - if you can beat the Troll, then you'll easily win with the extra CP. Probably a tough one for beginners, but a veteran shouldn't break a sweat.
13) Berserker Camp - the boss is a weakling; it can occasionally screw you over with layout, but it's otherwise a pushover dungeon.
14) Hexx Ruins - its trick is nasty, but once you've learned it the dungeon is actually quite easy.

As for normal dungeons, I'd say
1) Northern Desert - the addition of a second boss has made it trickier than any of the others
2) Western Jungle - the layout can screw you over occasionally, especially with the teleporting boss
3) Den of Danger - same as above, except minus the teleporting boss
4) Eastern Tundra - fairly straightforward dungeon; boss can be tricky, but he's static so you know what you're getting into.
5) Venture Cave - as close to a "vanilla" dungeon as you're going to get
6) Southern Swamp - ludicrously easy dungeon; wide open with only harmless Murkshades blocking exploration, and a fairly weak static boss

Re: The Threat Levels

PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:24 am
by The Avatar
Funny, now that I've played Ick (it scared me as a new player, so I'd avoided it since), it really doesn't seem that bad. If you can get off the ground, you've already won, and that's not to hard as long as you're willing to fight some level 1s.

Re: The Threat Levels

PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:14 am
by Lujo
The Avatar wrote:Lujo, it seems unfair to rate and normals higher than hards, simply because the hard has higher stats, the same boss potential as normal (one random), plus one more.
(edit: misquoted)

Yeah, it's a bit arrogant on my part, I know :( But I think it came from counting the vicious token variant of the dungeons somewhere in the calculations and valuing the gimmick more than the stats (except where the stats are the gimmick). But then, the stats ARE why Ick is not directly above Southern Swamp (well, that and vamps and the potential for early screwup) :P Also - having a chance to arrange all of them and think a bit on which play below their map position tier was interesting to me.

But the fact that we three clowns can agree that Southern Swamp is ludicrously easy, and that I agree with Avatar's second-look-perspective on Ick, I have to ask - what's the deal? I mean, I payed quite a bit of attention to how different dungeon feel in their respective tiers during the last playthrough (I'll do one more thorugh one once the codex rolls out, if not for one last round of feedback than for a potential post-release balance patch). Anywho Ick is technically supposed to be in the same tier as HoS, Labyrinth, and Shifting Passages. It's not - Labyrinth is the only dungeon I maxed out without PQI or Flaming runs because I wanted it out of the pool forever, and SP faithless was the last sub-vicious badge I got for a reason. HoS just had it's boss nerfed and forks over a 50% magic res item (ludicrous boost) - it could (and probably should) easily be made a bit more difficult.

What is Ick? A wide open dungeon as long as you can clear plant effects. And ever since burn salve and fortitude tonic were changed to remove all respective debuffs completely 4 types of plants as well as corrosion and weakening have been a joke. It affected other things, too, and you can't really go plant-killing crazy without sacrificing a lot of exploration, but still - that place has so many drops that I regularly get my inventory filled, and the drops are powerful (+5% att, +1 dmg). And the dungeon was not that difficult to begin with - if you can clear enough plants, and you can, it's the least cramped dungeon in the game, pretty much.

Plus, with the ease of removing debuffs (or ignoring them in case of curse) plants are a resource for TT and EM (once you clear enough). Southern Swamp is really ridiculous with EM once you've found the boss.

Hmm, this made me interested in making a "la fromage" thread listing in neutral light all the "speed through a dungeon" gimmicks I've acquired over the course of my career.

EDIT!!! - Important thing - I've figured out the "how could someone regularly miss Doubledoom even exists" riddle on a scientific basis. The first directional dungeons are in fact mostly easier than the Den of Danger due to fixed monster rosters (and a lot less cramped in general). This makes them apealing compared to the Den, and if you know that they provide subdungeons which unlock races (and gods?), it's easy to avoid the den in favour of directional exploration for a good while.

Re: The Threat Levels

PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:12 pm
by Darvin
Do we need confirmation that Berserker Camp is too easy?


Hoarder/Parched Goatperson on my first attempt on the dungeon. I did prep Namtar's Ward, but I barely used it. Fireball magnet was far more significant.

Deities were Mystera, Earthmother, and Tikki Tooki. The only decent item in the shops was a crystal ball. Reflex and Quicksilver weren't needed for the bosses, though I did need to use them to hit unstoppable without tapping parched.