I’m happy.

Unbalanced Difficulty Settings.

It seems the difficulty of FTL is unbalanced:

- The EASY setting is challenging with an very difficult, perhaps impossible, last system. I would say EASY would be a NORMAL difficulty setting.

- The NORMAL setting is just nuts. Good luck trying to reach the middle system. In other words, NORMAL is more like a HARD/VERY HARD difficulty setting. Can't reach the last, final system.

Great game. Keep up the good work.

Thanks
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  • I’m confident
    It's not an easy game, but with some practice I'm sure you'll get better results.

    I can reliably get to the end on easy with most ships.

    I got to sector 6 with the Mantis ship today on Normal on my third try with that ship. Trust me, the Mantis ship is extra hard, I died in the first event my first time using it.
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  • The game is definitely designed to be hard. We're using the difficulty names not in compared to other games / expectations, but compared to what we've designed the 'typical' experience to be.

    'Normal' is the normal game. It's what the game is designed/balanced for and intended to be.

    'Easy' is for new players or those that prefer a slightly less hardcore experience.

    I didn't want to use 'normal' and 'hard' because 'hard' suggests something that most players shouldn't necessarily attempt. In order to experience the game as it was intended it, the player should play (or at least try) 'normal,' hence the name.

    I also hope to add an even harder difficulty at one point.

    Think of it like Dark Souls/Demon's Souls. Very hard games. But their one difficulty would still just be the 'normal' difficulty.

    Glad you're enjoying the game!
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  • I’m happy
    Thank you for both replies.

    I'll see if can succeed and reach the end. :-)
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  • I’m unsure
    Hmm... I understand the game being intended to be hard. On the other hand, while I appreciate the challenge, sometimes, I just want to feel like a boss, and blow some ships up.

    Maybe there could be a separate game mode, with Normal settings, but where the rebel advance is much slower? Maybe about half of what it is now? That would still provide a challenge at the beginning, like a new crew with a new ship trying to get the hang of things. But it would allow for a much, much more powerful ship in the endgame, which is really where the difficulty feels unbalanced.

    Rare is a game with 1-2 hour playthroughs where I've logged 50+ hours and still haven't won (on easy, even). Without some kind of reward for all your effort later on, by feeling powerful in Sector 7, it's getting harder to stay motivated to keep trying, and easier to just go play something else.

    After all, real life is already hard. I, and many others I know, play video games to feel powerful, not to feel like I'm scrambling desperately, clawing tooth and nail through every single encounter, only to die to a vastly inferior ship in an asteroid field or something.
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  • I started playing in early September (late August?) a week before "release", when Subset let sub-beta Kickstarter backers in. I achieved my first win on November 21, 80-some runs in, with all runs on Normal by personal preference. I've won I think 5 times out of 10 runs since, on an upward curve, including my first win with the Adjudicator a few hours ago wherein I was an unstoppable ball of death a full sector before the end. For two months my motivation was getting farther, seeing new stuff, learning probabilities and avoiding making the same mistake twice. If a ship kills you it is not inferior.

    Interestingly, most other people I've seen complain about the difficulty feeling unbalanced have been exactly opposite to you. It's been either the early game, where an uninformed player will spiral downwards from a single supergiant or boarding event, or the middle game where you feel the rolls influencing your decisions the most. By the end things seem to even out for most people, if only by virtue of having bigger numbers going on.

    In any case, a half-speed fleet that allows you to collect all the scrap and hit all the stores is essentially no fleet at all. Voila: I refer you to the no-fleet mod. Knock yourself out.
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  • I’m thankful
    I'll have to check that out. But yeah, unless I'm using an unfamiliar ship, or am just plain unlucky, I can make it to the mothership battle 9/10 times. I have yet to beat it, even on easy. I've come pretty close a couple of times. One time I blew it up just as a fire claimed my last hull. We both blew up at the same time.

    If you've had that sharp a learning curve, that now you can win half the time, what would you say is your key strategy? I'm wondering if I'm just doing something completely wrong at this point...
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  • 1
    Well, you probably are! The game's all about consistent precision - making (on Normal) perhaps two or three small mistakes over the course of a run. Unfortunately, if the game could be reduced to a few key tips it would never have captured all my gaming time for three months! I also didn't have a sharp learning curve - it's just that winning/losing is a very binary divide. I clawed my way slowly and smoothly to further and further sectors, new ships, reaching the Last Stand, misunderstanding the rules to accidentally let him win, learning quirks, horribly dying, barely dying, through to barely winning and beyond.

    However, you say you're dying to the boss 9 out of 10 times. That's different. There's one answer to that problem, and it is "cheese". The boss is a cheesy, cheapass videogame boss, built as a puzzle; I consider it completely fair and in the spirit of the game to cheese right back at him, and there are widely-agreed procedures for that. You could find more with "ftl boss tactics" or similar, but here's my formulation of some of the nonobvious ones. Know also that to my understanding, the difficulty setting just adjusts the economy and drops. You're fighting the exact same boss on Easy, just with more goodies than you would otherwise have had.

    *****BOSS SPOILERS BOSS SPOILERS BOSS SPOILERS*****
    Stage 1:
    Assuming you have a teleporter and one or two boarding parties, get two people each into the missile turret and the ion turret absolutely ASAP, bringing them back after they've killed the tech and busted the system. If doing them one at a time, order currently seems situational to me but probably missile turret first because of Stage 2. If you're still OK, follow with the same to the Glaive Beam turret. Do not touch the heavy laser turret - we leave that guy and only that guy alive so the magic super-AI doesn't wake up. If you don't have a teleporter but do have good shield popping/piercing, you can and should zap the techs more slowly with weapon side-effects. If you don't have a teleporter and can't get through the shields you didn't prepare for the boss and are hosed.

    Killing the weapon techs is not that big a deal, it just saves some time during the dangerous Stage 2 and renders the boss progressively more toothless during 1. If you're holding back damage and start getting punished for it, or can't do single-room damage in safety, you're free to switch to pure burnination at any point. Outside the weps rooms, attempting to do boarding or lasting system damage is generally pointless in this stage because of the cloak, level III doors and large crew. Note that the ion turret goes away - knocking it out is a safety measure for this stage and can be skipped if speeding to Stage 2. I generally take no damage at all during Stage 1, thanks to cloak, evade, shields, and/or defense drones.

    Stage 2:
    The most dangerous stage, the most complicated and most like a real fight. Ideally have a cloak (level 1 is fine) used only for the drone floods, though you only get to use it on every other one anyway and they're surprisingly survivable without. If you have boarders, get them into the missile and Glaive turrets ASAP. They'll go down faster and stay down because, thanks to Stage 1, there's nobody to protect/repair them. Otherwise prioritize knocking them out with your weapons.

    In the meantime you're getting breached left and right by those GD boarding drones. I've won while fighting them, but it was fraught - hitting the boss' drone control does nothing to the floods but shuts boarders down so they don't fight back at least. Micro to tank evenly, rotate to medbay, etc. If you got Drone Control and a Defense I or II, this becomes a nonissue; it'll shoot the drones down on the way in. Prioritize keeping it up until the boss runs out of drones. It's a thing of beauty.

    While/after the weapons go down, you're trying to hit two things: The medbay and drone control. If you have finesse, drone control is best hit so it's down during the drone floods - that's when it helps most. It may be wise to damage the shields as a short-term boost to DPS, but because the boss has so many crew anything's going to be rapidly repaired until you can kill some of them off. Fire, boarders, breaching, plinking the most damaged - anything you can do to reduce their numbers and keep the medbay down. Ideally kill them all off, but you can switch to DPS at any point the shields will stay low for a reasonable amount of time.

    If I have no defense drone, I typically take maybe 1/3-1/2 damage during this stage (so far). If I have defense, 1 or 2 from beams squeaking through on the odd flood.

    Stage 3:
    Simple. Burn down the shield, hit the missile if you think it'll live long enough to matter, knock out any remaining crew except for Heavy Laser Charlie, and buurrrrrn. Maybe a point or two from megaburst lasers getting lucky. Victory.
    *****END SPOILERS END SPOILERS END SPOILERS*****
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