Difficulty scaling, itemization, etc


v23172 GOG Windows

I like RPGs and turn-based combat, but this was the first JRPG I’ve ever seen. All in all, I’ve enjoyed playing the game, but there is a lot of room for improvement.


The game difficulty scales terribly. In my opinion, it is the most important problem with this game. Let me describe how bad it is, before proposing a solution.

Long story

I did every dungeon on Legendary on the first playthrough (except the Iron Outpost, which I reran on Heroic after a wipe). They had consistent (average) difficulty, presented no challenges, were rather forgiving and did not push me to find better tactics, improve gear, use consumables or dungeon skills. But they were somewhat enjoyable and balanced.

I had 2 wipes in the dungeons: in the first room of the Iron Outpost from a Treasure Elemental and at 70% Deadwatch from a trio of Hangman, suicide Bomber and a Fire mage. By the way, I would’ve survived the Deadwatch encounter if I didn’t waste 2 turns trying to Flee (for a change) which did nothing.

The second runs of the same dungeon were always extremely boring, because the fights become very easy and only waste your time on watching intros, outros and other animations, while you are “fighting” by repeatedly pressing Select key.

It’s even worse for the world map encounters, as they don’t let you choose a higher difficulty or pull multiple enemies at once. I was already bored with the single-enemy encounters by the time I’ve reached the inn.

All those mobs feel like the piles of trash encumbering your movement.

Now the hunts are complete opposite of this, as they become available when you have significantly lower level than your target. And so you end up on the other end of the beating stick. It is completely unexpected and imbalanced, but at least challenging. Beating level 28 Ancient Treasure Fiend with lvl 24 Calibretto, 24 Gully and 19 Knolan was the best part of the game.

But beating these hunt targets at lower levels is pointless, as you can’t even wear the rewards you get.

And if you postpone the fight for too long, you’ll have no challenge at all.

The second best part was the Maze. Because, guess what? It doesn’t need to scale with level.

Airship encounters were fun too. That’s right, because the pirates are the same level as the highest character in your group. Although they are too easy, unless one of your characters is underleveled or naked.

Which is yet another issue: if one of your characters has been sitting in the tavern for too many levels, they become useless 1-shot fodder after rejoining the group.

This is a result of the ridiculous, superficial stat and damage scaling with level. Not only stats change too much from level up, but damage and defences are additionally rescaled based on the level difference…

By the way, you use exponentiation to scale stats back and forth so much, that I’d like to see “Time spent in Mathf.Pow()” along with “Time played”.


  • Remove damage scaling based on the level difference. That’s a terrible, senseless, maddening game mechanic. If you are designing a game and someone proposes to increase damage when attacking lower level opponent — punch them in the face.
  • Remove stat scaling with level. It is effectively the same as aforementioned damage scaling.

Stat scaling also affects items, more on that later.

Why did you add the scaling in the first place? Why break an otherwise balanced game with it?

Scaling down monsters at 1-9 level is understandable.

Player’s power should increase with level from perks and items.

If you want a cheap way to gradually raise difficulty as the game progresses, you can linearly scale up some monster stats based on the player’s level. By the way, the current scaling does nothing for that.

Victor Vran is a good example how to do these things right. Check out how they do crafting and itemization too.

If you want to let the player adjust the game difficulty (you should), the cheap way to do so is to add a slider in the options that will scale monster stats (done like that in many games of various genres).

To make some fights optional you can use the total kills count for that area.


Do not scale down stats on items and enchantments with player’s level like you do now.

Remove the level requirements from the items. If the player can get it, he should be able to use it.

Higher level items and enchantments might have higher stats, but not exponentially ffs.

Items could be more valuable. Currently it’s 5 items + 2 enchants, 3% bonus each. So if you stack all crit items you get like [(5 + 2) * 3%] = 21% crit bonus. Not very impressive.


I’d like to be able to craft custom-tailored and unique items, rather than the same stuff you get from the shops and dungeons. For example, to be able to choose the bonuses the item gets, including the rare buffs like overcharge gain.


Make the whole team available in the Compendium, but only 3 characters marked for combat.

Allow to change those 3 characters at any time outside of combat.

This would fully agree with the cutscenes and the general idea that the whole party is travelling together. It also solves the problems with breaking walls and switching items.

Level up the whole party, not the separate characters.

To be continued.


I agree with the dungeons. I tried the iron outpost on heroic after I finished the second dungeon, it was so easy that I switched to legendary immediately and it still was easy. I thought the higher difficulty was meant to “return to the dungeon later”. But actually you could do them immediately.

The encounters are also quite easy beside the Lycelots. After finishing the second dungeon a lot of Lycelots appeared and they are quite strong (but only in numbers, e.g. if you don’t recover between single fights). The bats/spiders/goo are quite weak compared to them.



It’s hard to talk about balance until the scaling by level difference is gone and the game gets a higher difficulty.

Currently the fights against +4 levels opponents seem like a good starting point. So that’s about 75% boost to monster AP, HP and defences, if the scaling is gone.

Additionally the difficulty could be increased by ruthless AI, which could focus on the weakest hero (instead of random targets) or could interrupt the Slow casts with stuns.

*cough* Dungeon Modifiers *cough*

When you return to replay the dungeon you’ll have a bunch of them at your disposal, and can activate as many or as few as you like. They affect the experience in multiple ways: changing the difficulty of traps and creatures, altering what types of actions or items may be available, limiting how much time you have, slowly draining your mana or health bars (!), changing how long the dungeon is, and more.

Reduced healing debuff, as used in the sewers hunt, could be one such modifier.


Alumon’s mass dispel (Night’s Blessing) needs a faster cast time (Instant or Very Fast) and a cheaper perk for rank 2 (4 points, not 14). It’s his only cleansing ability after all. I wanted to replace Calibretto with Alumon as a healer, but I knew cleansing will be a pain when I stepped into the Deadwatch. Had to switch back to Calibretto with his 3 cleansing abilities.

Change Gully’s Taunt 2 to -recovery time or give it extra charges based on the number of enemies present. That would allow her to do something besides the taunt every turn, when fighting 3 opponents.

Red Monika

Monika seems to be botched up.

Lightning Reflexes and Fade Strike are a joke, as the buffs wear off at the start of the turn and at the start of the cast. For example, Lightning Reflexes -> Stealth -> buff gone. Or Fade Strike -> non-instant ability -> buff gone, can’t refresh evasion stack.

Also both Lightning Reflexes and Stealth waste 2 buff charges for no-attack ability.

There is also a problem of building enough overcharge for the last skill in the combo chain (to benefit from the relevant perks).

Chimera Sting — just remove that skill. Maybe replace it with Lightning Reflexes.

Love Bomb deserves 1 burst charge at most.

Basilisk Shot should become available on lower level. Also it needs to be Very Fast or Instant to be useful (to interrupt casts). And cost 10 mana, not 15.

Stealth -> Ambush is a joke. Make Ambush Very Fast, when used from Stealth.

Make Bomb Expert perk also increase the stack limit from 3 to 4.

I like her bombs and the idea of having evasion-centered tank, even though she can’t be one in the current state.

Balance aside, her equipped weapons, skill names, icons and animations don’t seem to agree with each other very well.

Also maybe add another alternative appearance for her, with more cloth on.


Lore entries can’t be scrolled without the mouse.

Middle Mouse button and 2 extra mouse buttons can’t be used for keybinds.

Allow to choose teleports (on the world map) by pressing numbers on keyboard. As well as by clicking the destination point on the map.

Mark shrines on the world map.

Allow to skip combat fluff: intros, outros, animations, burst screens. By pressing “Menu Special 1” key, for example. Maybe add an option to speed up combat animation.

Replace the combat menu with 20 square buttons in 2-3 rows. Allow to rearrange and bind them.

When choosing an action in combat and you change selection from Instant to Fast (or anything else with cast time), the portrait move in the timeline is animated incorrectly. A new portrait should move from top to the cast point.

There is a popup menu when using consumables outside of combat. Add a similar menu when clicking (with mouse) an action in combat to select its target. Current targeting is the main reason I’m not using the mouse.

“Sort” and “Toggle details” labels don’t have an underlying button to be clicked with mouse.

Right side of the “campfire” menus (after choosing the save slot, before starting the game) gets cut off on not-widescreen resolutions.

Compendium opens up when binding respective key from the “campfire” menu.

When opening Perks screen for the first time, the description shows localization filler.

Scroll bar in the Party -> Equipment has reversed direction.


Even when it’s impossible to Flee (which isn’t guaranteed to succeed), it’s still possible to Save and Exit. I don’t think doing so in combat deducts gold and resets the dungeon, does it?

Knolan’s Drain Heat perk. Does it work?

Timer in arena? Really? It should count turns (combat time, to be precise), not real time.

Remove “Overcharge only” XP bonus, as it encourages inefficient playstyle for Alumon and Knolan.

When generating a dungeon, give priority to the events which have not been seen or completed. Don’t mark dungeon vendors as “completed” until all books are bought from them.

There are some nice connections between the lore and the game events, but I wish there were even more. :slight_smile:


2-point perks should have consistent names. E.g. “Crit chance up - rank 1” instead of “Artillery calibration”.

“Bonus Dmg” is sometimes used in place of “Atk Pwr”, “Armor” in place of “Phys Def”.

The character dialog in Iris about the fountain. There was no ghoul drinking from it and the party couldn’t drink from that fountain, despite the dialog implying so.

Crimson garden: empty chests after breaking the wall and from the “chest portal” (event).

I get noticeable tearing on the world map. Windows 7, Aero off. Vsync off/30/60 — doesn’t matter. F2 always shows 60 fps. -window-mode exclusive solves the problem.

The exclusive mode has some minor issues. For example, changing resolution affects other windows. And if you press Alt+(Tab, Shift+Tab) you will switch to bordeless windowed without the black borders (I play at 1280x800 on 1280x1024 screen). It may even change the desktop resolution, when alt+tabbing.

Crimson garden bridges are too slippery (fell off at the bottom right corner):


Deadwatch platforms need safeguards. Fell off from the northwest side of the bottom platform, IIRC.


Lost spawn in Mana Rifts:



That’s an Windows (7) issue. If you do not run an application in exclusive full screen mode and Aero is off, Windows doesn’t forward the VSync settings to the window/application.
We had the same problem with our application at work and it took us quite a while till we figured that out.


I’m very curious to know what the dev’s thoughts are on these matters, especially difficulty even after the patches.

are they still going to tune the game or is this going to be it?