Cataclysm mode fears confirmed

IXI
Level 14
4 months ago

when they announced difficulty scaling i was excited, when i learned what it was i was disappointed.  5e uses a number of non-linear scalings to keep things balanced and simply applying a linear difficulty adjustment will push the game farther away from 5e and have unexpected consequences.  those fears have been realized.  luckly i had an encounter that made the analysis easy.  while traveling the party was ambushed by 5 thugs.  3 of the 4 characters where asleep, by the time i got the party awake they were surrounded and taking hits.  to make matters worse the initiative rolls resulted in all five of the thugs being back to back, so that when they downed a character the rest would pile on and deplete the death saves to kill it.  even if i was not surprised or asleep the encounter was way off the rockers.  in Cataclysm mode the CR 1/2 thugs [MM p350] became equivalent to CR 2 berserkers [MM p344].  using encounter difficulty calculator the encounter became 4.5 times harder.


what TA needs to make real combat difficulty scalings is follow my original advice and simply add more foes rather than change the existing foes stats.  if the number of thugs had been increased from 5 to 10 then the scaling would be 2 times harder and a lot more interesting and fun.  really get a chance to use those AoE spells.

Cataclysm mode:  2xfoes

scavenger mode: 1.5xfoes

regular mode: 1xfoes

easy mode:  .5x foes

or something like that



yellow flower of courage

IXI
Level 14
4 months ago

i would think it would be easy to seed more foes randomly in the area, but even if they don't want to do that, they could just have each existing spot spawn a duplicate after the first one has moved off.  while i don't know the exact details of how they have created their mechanics it seems to me a very easy fix to add more foes.  this would also make the difficulty scalings less confusing.  instead of a HP scale, a foe/ally saving throw scale, a AC scale, a to foe/ally to hit scale and what ever the other are, they can all be replaced with one scale: FOE MULTIPLIER scale.  this would keep it simpler, more interesting, more fun and much much closer to 5e rules.


yellow flower of courage

Rivfader
Level 7
4 months ago

I think they probably decided that it's not challenging enough. If you have a group of goblins situated so that you can hit (and potentially kill) them all with a single Fireball, it doesn't matter if it's 3 goblins, or 30; it's still a single Fireball cast for you, i.e. not much of a challenge.

I agree that it probably might have been done better, but... that involves a lot of trial and error. Chances are, devs simply didn't have enough time.

Then again, who knows, maybe they will change the scaling algorithm at some later point.

IXI
Level 14
4 months ago

i hope they do put in a foe multiplier but for now i've set the diffictuly setting somewhere between scavenger and cataclysm.  scavernger is a bit too easy but cataclysm does not feel like 5e, 1e sure but not 5e


yellow flower of courage

2 months ago

Ive set my difficulty at %210... above cataclysm.   For me (just me I guess), the harder the better.   I would not want 40 enemies that I can plow thru.   No fun.  I want nail biting, on the edge of my seat encounters.   Ymmv.   But then again, thats why they put a scaler, great idea.  

Heldred
Level 13
2 months ago

Some people like "more" encounters to change difficulty, which is fun.

I also like the current version of Cataclysm, but it does take a "long" time to finish creatures with 200% HP.  I think my play-throughs on Cataclysm run about 40% longer, due to the extra rounds of combat. 

I do like the fact that the combat system plays differently with Cataclysm (for me), since I tend to value defense more.  Yes fireball or haste are nice for damage, but blur, prot from evil (right monster), or greater invisibility, are better choices.  A crit (w/+150% damage) can really end your day in Cataclysm, which is why disadvantage is so attractive. Also, always remember to take counter spell... it is a great safety net.