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Too many difficulty levels?


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Hi

I'm wandering, based on this forum, most of the players choose eaither Iron modeor the level below. Forum users are not a representative group of user, but given the realism of the simulation it makes kinda sense.

There are imho too many (two too many:) options. New player may think that more difficult mode may add some tricks like Tigers I with 150mm frontal armor or anything ;)

I'm sort of "Apple-thinking" guy. I believe that more is less (beside money). How about to leave only the most realistic Iron mode and then some beginner mode, but only one. It can be chosen in QBs, on some maps, but possibly not in all of them, or not in scenarios (except tutorials). BF can choose things that make it easier with new player, yet he will be pushed to realistic Iron mode (at that case Iron would be discouraging name. "Realistic" and "Beginner" modes should sound fine and not to scare anyone.). And they will be simple to grab even without reading a manual or more explanation!

Just my 2c.

Cheers,

Sedak

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umlaut

Solomon Short: Nothing exceeds like excess

My only point was that more options is not always the right strategy and for newcomer it might be very confusing. Beginner and Realistic (today Iron) modes would be much more understandable.

I have no internal data, maybe plenty of people like to play easy difficulties even if they understand what makes them easy. But, somehow, judging all world be my experience, it is likely not the case :)

I may be wrong though.

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I'm sort of "Apple-thinking" guy. I believe that more is less (beside money).

Hee, hee. I love it when my mother in law has trouble getting something done on her ipad. I alway say "it only has one button, just press it and it will do what you want" - drives her crazy. :D

Now don't get me wrong I have nothing against making things simple or even removing things that are not really needed. I just do not think that two options (or one for that matter:-) will quite cut it.

For example we need scenario test mode. I am sure that Iron mode has its followers but I do not appreciate it and do not consider it more realistic at all. I have opinions on what could be done with the skill levels but I personally don't believe this is something that would really cause any confusion to new players. Frankly @poesel71 makes a good argument for an additional level.

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The most confusing thing about the "difficulty" modes is that they aren't really much to do with the difficulty of beating your opponent, and are mostly to do with the difficulty of interacting with the interface. I play Elite because having to deselect the current unit to find another unit I want to act on adds nothing to my game play experience. Others prefer the better sense of isolation that having to spot your own units conveys.

And with the advent of RT, there are other differences which make the game more, or less, accessible in the intermediate levels (Veteran and Warrior), which make keeping them worthwhile; though I still, personally find Elite to be the sweet spot, I'm sure there are others that can't be bothered with manual resupply from ammo dumps who prefer Veteran or Warrior, for example.

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umlaut

Beginner and Realistic (today Iron) modes would be much more understandable.

****

I may be wrong though.

Yes, I think you're very wrong. You are seriously suggesting restricting play to either beginner or Iron mode? Because of some "appelesque" vision of simplicity?

If simplicity is what you're after why stop there? All of those different tanks and weapons are also probably confusing to players, why not just include one model of tank for each side? And really, the fact that the tanks have different strenghts/weaknesses is also confusing, why not give each side the same model of tank to make it easier?

And the whole C&C model is very confusing as well, might as well scrap that too. And so on...

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Well there are 4, maybe 5? difficulty levels. No tool-tip or way to see what they do. That part of the UI is sorely lacking.

I mean what is the difference between Elite and Iron? I don't know for sure. I do know that Iron guts a bunch of useful UI.

I could reasonably see three difficulty levels being implemented. On the other hand in game info would also be great.

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Per the manual:

SKILL LEVELS

When you launch a new battle, you can set the skill level, which adjusts the overall

difficulty of the game. Unlike other games, the skill level does not simply give an

artificial bonus to the computer opponent, but instead has an influence on core

game mechanics. The following section describes the differences between the

different levels. Only the differences from the previous lower level are described.

Basic Training

This is the easiest setting. The following special rules apply:

- Friendly units are always spotted

- Spotting information is instantly shared among teams (aka “Borg Spotting”)

- Troops suffer slightly fewer casualties and are less likely to panic

- Treatment of wounded soldiers (“buddy aid”) is extremely fast

- Artillery and air support arrives extremely fast

- Enemy units, once spotted, are always fully identified

- The life/death status of enemy vehicles is displayed immediately

- Enemy weapons and suppression are displayed

- You can hear the voices of unspotted enemies

- Supplies from Ammo Dumps are automatically distributed among troops.

Veteran

Most people familiar with the Combat Mission game system will prefer this setting.

It is a fair balance between realism and fun that does not burden the player with

unnecessary details or long waiting times. The following special rules apply:

- Friendly units are always spotted

- Enemies, once spotted, are not always immediately identified and can appear as generic

“Enemy contacts” (but less often than at Elite level)

- Spotting information is distributed among teams using the standard Command & Control

rules (See Command & Control chapter)

- Treatment of wounded soldiers is faster than in real life

Game Manual 29

- Artillery and air support arrives faster than in real life

- The life/death status of enemy vehicles is hidden until the crew bails out or the vehicle

starts to burn

- Enemy weapons and suppression are not displayed

- You cannot hear unspotted enemies

- Supplies from Ammo Dumps are automatically distributed among troops.

Warrior

Warrior is similar to the Veteran setting but introduces more realistic time delays

for a number of tasks and events. Hardcore players will favor this setting. The

following special rules apply:

- Enemies appear as generic “Enemy contacts” until they are positively identified by your

forces on the battlefield

- Treating wounded soldiers takes a realistic amount of time

- Artillery and air support take a realistic amount of time to arrive

- Supplies from Ammo Dumps are automatically distributed among troops.

Elite

Elite is identical to Warrior with only one difference:

- Enemy infantry icons are always the plain “soldier” type, regardless of their armament or

function

Iron

Iron is an optional setting that goes even one step further than Elite, and introduces

special restrictions on what the player can do and when. While even more realistic

than the other settings, this option introduces a number of interface limitations

which might put off the casual player, so it is strictly an optional choice.

- Friendly units need to be spotted just like enemy units. If you have a friendly unit not in

line of sight or in contact with another friendly unit, then the only way to find this unit is by

either re-establishing contact with another friendly unit or by clicking through the chain of

command in the game interface, jumping from unit to unit.

That last bit is not correct. You can simply not select any unit and you can see all your forces.

Iron mode as others have noted simply allows you to tell just how isolated a unit is.

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I belive the more the better, more options are Always welcome, whatever they do, more choices mean more customization.

Of corse there's more stuff to learn/look at/ check for a new user, but this game is all about Mastering and it's a complex product per se, so I wouldn't just remove stuff, not even difficulty options, which are imho interesting as they are, but Always tewakable in the future.

I am just against a complete removal of features or options. And bless the games that come with a thick manual like they used to be in the old good times.

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I may be wrong though.

You are definitely wrong. The current set up allows players to play at the level they are most comfortable rather than being forced into a "one size fits all" (or in your suggestion, two sizes) situation. For me, always playing at Beginner level would be boring, and playing at Iron something that I simply would not want to do. The same would be true for hundreds or possibly even thousands of players. I can see your idea costing BFC many, many sales and they are not likely to find that a desirable outcome. Neither would we in the end.

Michael

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The thing about options is you want the choice for the new user to be default and obvious. After that you can let more experienced users learn about a feature and choose different options. So over simplifying things is not helpful as it hurts users who want to invest in leaning to do more or control their experience. The Skill level of "Basic Training" is pretty obvious the choice a new user would select - check. Is it the default? I forget but I think it is - check (hopefully).

After a user has played a few games they can think about changing that setting and the manual has a nice description of what the levels mean. Most people will read that and pick a level the think works for them and be happy. That's what I did (well after I and others lobbied for changes to Elite, I changed one more time)

That is how things like this should work - so kudos to BFC because it looks like they have it right.

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The difficulty information should be included in the game. The current difficulty naming scheme doesn't clearly convey information and you cannot at a glance decide what difficulty is best for you.

What "naming scheme" would clearly convey such information? Some of us like games the rules for which cannot be reduced to tooltips. If this game is too complicated, there are plenty of other "simple" games to choose from, so rather than dumbing this game down maybe players should just choose a different game?

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What "naming scheme" would clearly convey such information? Some of us like games the rules for which cannot be reduced to tooltips. If this game is too complicated, there are plenty of other "simple" games to choose from, so rather than dumbing this game down maybe players should just choose a different game?

Dude, calm down. We are talking about the text of menu options. We don't need people to "go find different games".

I'm talking about an unhelpful user interface that does nothing to inform the user of what their choices mean.

I mean what is the difference between warrior and veteran? Is one better than the other, is one more difficult? They are just two arbitrarily chosen words. They have no meaning.

And these options could totally be condensed into tool-tips or maybe a text box displaying all the differences between the difficulty levels. Like we are literally talking about adding plain text popups. It isn't the end of the bloody world.

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I mean what is the difference between warrior and veteran? Is one better than the other, is one more difficult? They are just two arbitrarily chosen words. They have no meaning.

Sure, I agree that those particular words have no particular meaning, but I'm not sure that selecting different words would help at all. For these settings, I don't think that tooltips would really be adequate to convey all the necessary info.

While I agree that some sort of pop-up box could provide all of the necessary info, I guess I don't view it as a major issue if people have to crack open the manual, where everything is explained pretty well.

I'd be the first to agree that various improvements could be made to the interface, but this particular one would not be very high on my list, since I suspect that people choose one play mode and then change fairly rarely, whereas other interface improvements might be used on almost every turn.

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Beginner

normal

hard

Elite

Iron <-- is a different color to denote that it is a little absurd.

So the first three maintain the normal style of game difficulty. They are a clear progression from beginner up to hard. After hard the difficulty names don't matter as much because the differences are pretty small.

Hard is roughly equivalent to Elite and Iron, but not quite.

As for tool-tips: You could just make really big ones with the listing from the manual or just write a short blurb.

Basic Training: Is for players who are new to Combat Mission and the wargame genre. Realism is significantly decreased.

Veteran: Most people familiar with the Combat Mission game system will prefer this setting. It is a fair balance between realism and fun that does not burden the player with unnecessary details or long waiting times.

Warrior: Warrior is similar to the Veteran setting but introduces more realistic time delays for a number of tasks and events. Hardcore players will favor this setting.

Elite: Elite is identical to Warrior with only one difference:

- Enemy infantry icons are always the plain “soldier” type, regardless of their armament or function

Iron: Iron is an optional setting that goes even one step further than Elite, and introduces special restrictions on what the player can do and when. - Friendly units need to be spotted just like enemy units.

And this took me all of three minutes to do. So with a little more time you could probably put out a very concise sentence or two explaining the difficulty levels.

Is this needed. No, but it is one thing in the long list of UI fixes that would add some polish to the game.

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This is purely rhetorical question. Why not have 30 levels instead to suit everyone? More options are better, right? Maybe even more then that?

The "Beginner" mode is more then understandable and Elite/Iron modes could both be called "realistic" and user could be able to togle between those during the game for instance. I can understand and imagine that very well.

The "Beginner" mode could be a merge between "Basic Training" and "veteran".

Still, five or six difficulty levels seem to me like too confusing and not self-understanding, especially the way they are called and presented (how many people do really read manual?).

Hey, but such decision is not on me, no stress :)

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I play combat mission games since CMBO, and never got confused by anything because I had the game manual to check, and if you play this game you ought to take a look at the manual, if you don't want to read a manual you can, as Others correctly suggested, look at other kind of products out there.

There's no perfect number of "difficulty" options, we can argue if the available ones are ok, should be more or less of them, but asking to REMOVE or MERGE stuff from a game that has a slow pace development and is made by a small team is in my opinion suicidal.

Considering that there are so many features to be added, removing them would be a step back instead of forward, just to help very few people who clearly don't want to take a look at the manual.

Besides, there are games that have so many options that the combinations for setting up a game are hundreds, therefore giving out hundreds of difficulty levels, this does not kill them, it improves them, it just takes a lot of work, CM has no desperate need to add more of these options but could use them, maybe they'll come in the future, as for now I am sure the majority is waiting for improvements on other fronts.

As many stated there are some options they prefer over the Others, and as many people here pointed out: "one size fits all" is the opposite direction CM games have taken since I know them...

The "how many people really read the manual" fits many other games out there, NOT this one...

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Kieme: I havent' realized that any such action could have big impact on game code (at least in the way it delays development for certain time). I play CM since CMBO as well (I just skipped CMSF series). And I can read manual.

Still there are (hopefully) promising newcomers and every single unclear or complicated thing drives them off this game. I wanted to suggest that two basic modes "Beginner" (possible merge of Basic Training and Veteran) and "Realistic" mode with in game swith between former Elite and Iron (little difference really) might serve the purpose much better then current 5 options. Which are, without reading the manual, confusing! I mean newcomer can think that playing in Elite means opponent gets 30 % more units or bigger (alpha damage) in general :)

I do not want to drive option down, not in general way. I just feel some things (in UI) work better when there are fewer and clear then more and confusing option.

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Well we have a very different approach, we'll see if the next CM title will have more or less options.

I am all supportive for an in-game description, that can come in a box near or under the choices, explaining with a line or two what you have selected. That would improve understandability of the options, in my opinion, just ditching or merging some to get less options would not improve or simplify the game, it would cut it down.

For the same concept you could take the commands and merge "target" and "target light" commands, how can a new player understand what they mean? Would you just merge them to make it simpler? No, because you would dumb down the game, provide less options, and therefore stripping the game of features/content/potential. Again, a quick reference to the manual and the two mentioned commands are clear as the sun. I understand that some people would not like to spend time looking at a manual, reading stuff etc. fine with it, but CM games have their soul and part of it comes from this kind of Learning curve.

In any case the manual is an important reference for any CM game, and if a newcomer comes in there's little to do rather than use the manual, it's not only about options, there are a lot of ingame features that simply cannot be understood correctly without referring to the manual, even a veteran has to take a look at the last one to see how ammo dumps work and how to get them... just to say one. New features mean something new to learn, god bless this way.

If a newcomer has doubds over the difficulty options point him to the manual, if he doesn't want to read it the game is not for him most probably..

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Beginner

normal

hard

Elite

Iron <-- is a different color to denote that it is a little absurd.

Uh, OK, how do these words indicate anything more than the current ones? Why "normal"--what is normal supposed to indicate? And is "hard" really "hard"? I actually think it would be more confusing for players to choose some random difficulty level without having any understanding of what it is, rather than, you know, reading the manual (or a pop-up box) and selecting the play mode that appeals to them the most.

If all your looking for is an indication of the progression of difficulty, you can rely on the order in which they are presented.

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Still there are (hopefully) promising newcomers and every single unclear or complicated thing drives them off this game.

You really think that people will be driven away from the game because they can't figure out what the different levels mean? When they are explained very clearly in the manual? Given that any number of concepts embodied in the game are far more recondite than this one, I think that if they are that simple minded, they aren't going to be happy with it anyway.

Michael

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