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DarkMaster13

Crowd-sourcing the difficulty levels of each asteroid type

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DarkMaster13    234

Updated sheet and doc with new asteroid placements and changes to traits as of the 10th of September, 2019.

This topic is for doing a deep dive on the actual difficulty of each start in the current state of the game.  The intention is to try and help the devs when it comes to ordering the asteroids in their relative difficulties and to help them make changes if something is either much more difficult or much easier than it's intended to be.  I've done preliminary work on what I estimate to be the difficulties of each asteroid based on the various conditions on them and given difficulty ratings for the early, mid, and late game.  For example, an asteroid missing the ice biome is currently given a difficulty rating of +1 in the mid game and +1 in the late game.  The final difficulty ratings of an asteroid is the sum of all difficulty modifiers.

However, I have not played through all of the different asteroid types, which is why I'm asking for crowd-sourcing help.  Please help me figure out how much difficulty each of these factors actually applies, and I'll update the spreadsheet and documents with what all the players come to a consensus on.  Also tell me if I forgot anything.  This will also hopefully help in estimating what the difficulty of an asteroid would be if more types are added either officially or through mods.

For now, we are ignoring traits entirely.  This thread and the documents are related to the basic starts alone.

Spreadsheet showing the summary of current starts and their difficulty estimates:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1COqGtKPhn5Vke_R7hZM9J4w6Ma-LA9YRCpMfSI3wodQ/edit#gid=0

Document detailing what each item means, what it's difficulty ratings are, and justifications for those difficulty ratings:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZmkbgjKUh_klHeNKdB9VxIpMhwoQdtFOGEi3n46wmyY/edit#

Everything in these documents is subject to change, though I'll try to keep them up to date with the latest consensus.

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EnderCN    62

I haven't played any of the new biomes enough to actually answer this since the game was down for half of the time it has been released.  I will say I think the forest start is harder than the normal start.  I play on everything clicked up one in difficulty and the combination of no muckroot and the relatively inefficient oxyferns make that start a lot harder.

Rime seemed easier than I expected since dealing with heat is harder than dealing with cold.  Badlands was pretty easy though it was really boring.  Oasisse seemed pretty easy to me, just build one path out of your base and go get what you need from other biomes.  Another pretty boring map though.  I did quit playing on that map because of a patch and with no ice or rust my guess is long term heat is the issue, I didn't get to experience that.

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asdf11784    22

I think Aridio and Oasis are pretty clearly the most difficult maps - I'm not sure which I consider more difficult than the other overall. Aridio is harder to get food early on, but Aridio also has actually useful biomes nearby - oasis is completely surrounded by worthless junk and you have to travel pretty far out to get to anything useful.

 

The volcano map is highly RNG dependent - it can sometimes be a hard map if some of the magma isn't insulated well near your base, but most of the time it's a really easy map. It's hard to really rate it compared to other maps because the difficulty of it varies too much compared to other maps.

The rest of them I'd say are pretty easy. They don't really have anything particularly dangerous in them in my experience.

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KittenIsAGeek    1606

Volcanea is an easy start, most of the time.  However, once you start getting to the mid-game, it can be a challenge.  Your resources are limited because much of the map is made up of magma pockets instead of things like gold and slime.

Rime is a difficult start, especially now that the sieve doesn't output 40c water.  You have to actually work to warm your base up enough to grow plants for food, which can be a challenge when you're also trying to research.  However, in the long run, there's lots of available water (in the form of ice), as well as a lot of various resources.  So far, I've found just about everything on Rime -- except Dreckos and Slicksters.  Its too cold.  They end up dying off before they can reproduce.

Arborea can be an extremely difficult start.  I spent the first 20 cycles in a complete panic because my dupes were alternately starving and suffocating.  A new player will have an extremely hard time.  Once I broke into a rust biome and could get a rust deoxidizer going, and got mealwood farms going, things improved dramatically.  But this map starts you off with very little water, no algae, and no muckroot.  Your starting oxygen is provided by oxylite deposits and ferns, which isn't enough for your 3 starting dupes unless you're constantly opening new pockets of air.  Well, let me correct that statement a little: The ferns are _barely_ enough for your 3 starting dupes.  They're going to spend a lot of time catching their breath while your alerts are going nuts saying you've got suffocating dupes.    While you've got a LOT of CO2, you have no mushrooms.  Because your dupes breathe in oxygen, and the ferns breathe in CO2, your overall air pressure will drop low enough that your mealwood will start going dormant due to air pressure.  Seriously, its an insane start -- but once you get STARTED, it becomes much easier to manage.  Heat isn't going to be a problem, and neither is power once you get an ethanol loop set up.  Once you get a decent air supply, food won't be an issue either.

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Cypher-7    140
58 minutes ago, KittenIsAGeek said:

Arborea can be an extremely difficult start.  I spent the first 20 cycles in a complete panic

This was my exact experience. I feel like this asteroid is harder then they have it rated.

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miauly    116

Arboria seems for me easier in the beginning than the pre-patch map. If you stay with just a few dupes in accordance with oxyferns and plant wild mealwood, you are basically set for a smooth early game. But I kept 3 dupes for somewhat 10 or so cycles and 4 dupes for 50, and it's only this way it's easy. Normally on pre-patch map I expand at least to 8 on algae oxygen and mealwood. On the other hand, with mealwood being wild - I still progress to exos in the same amount of cycles I usually do. I have to count my water doing research though - last map I was lucky to have enough, but sometimes the starting pocket is so small I'd be forced to go for salt water just to get exos-related research done and keep oxyferns up.

Then in the mid-game I would want to go for oil and energy and renewable oxygen - but without both gold and ceramics I am not sure which route do I take there on Arboria. I've tried to farm steel to use it for generators and all the rest on the prev Arboria map, but it was tedious and slow, despite me having more dupes thanks to rust oxygen being cold and lettuce being free at that patch. Now it will be even more tedious and slow if I go with my limited dupes. On the other hand, I may come up with some temporary oxygen and food setup and expand in dupes, although I am not confident how do I go about it without that gold.. Frankly, no-gold limitation does not seem fun on this map at all.

Also map gives you one hatch on Arboria, which seem to be on purpose, but then you can only feed it with dirt. Or later with sedimentary which will change the hatch type. Feeding dirt to hatches seems a waste, so maybe hatches could use an ingenious rock addition to their diet. There's also some "crushed rock" mentioned in the Oni DB, but I guess there's no way to get in the current game? I could crush some ingenious in the rock granulator for hatches if it was in game, I'm that crazy.

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EnderCN    62
52 minutes ago, miauly said:

But I kept 3 dupes for somewhat 10 or so cycles and 4 dupes for 50, and it's only this way it's easy. Normally on pre-patch map I expand at least to 8 on algae oxygen and mealwood.

I think this is an important comment because I agree with it completely.  I don't know if it is the intention or not but this map forced me to stay small until I went to other biomes.  It just does not give you the tools to take on dupes.  As soon as I was able to get oxygen production from other biomes I was able to expand to my normal 10 early game dupes.  I'm not sure if the purpose is to make you stay small but the forest is doing that.  Oxyferns need a small buff or a few more of them in the starting area imo.

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I haven't played all the new maps, yet, but these are my experiences:

1) Verdante / Arboria
The forest biome start was a bit of a tricky thing, as lack of water made a lot of things harder than normal. The massive amounts of dirt however made pickled mealwood an easy early game foodsource. Once I broke out of the starting biome into the rust biome, my O2 problems were solved, and all the early game troubles were over. Beyond that, it was pretty much my regular game of finding and tapping geysers, building my industry etc.

Lack of swamp biome on Arboria meant no gold, which was a serious problem, as well as no reed fibers which meant I had to go for drecko's. These 2 factors delayed me significantly in my midgame. I did not go for any endgame as updates were added and I wanted to test the other asteroids too.

2) Rime

This one proved to be quite easy. Early game food was eggs and muckroots. There's a seriously large amount of those on this map. The eggs were from ranching hatches, which provided me with tons of extra coal. Once I had researched the tepidizer and insulating tiles, heating up the base wasn't difficult and the game became quite easy.

3) Aridia.
I've only tried the early game on this one. I've found it to be Extremely challenging. The extreme heat meant that farming was out of the question, and starting in the forest biome, the number of hatches for ranching was also very limited. The only viable food source is pips, but getting to a place where you can ranch them is also a challenge, due to the lack of muckroots to help sustain your dupes. I have only played a few hours on this map, so beyond the early game troubles I haven't explored this map. Lack of water is also going to be a problem on this map, as this means you also can't augment your food with mushbars very well.

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Gurgel    1807

Rime has no natural Sleet Wheat or Peppernut at the moment. But if have structures spawning at the right place, you get both. My current seed has both.

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Lurve    382

Difficulty is also very variable based on RNG.  I've had aridio starts where the forest biome is enormous and geysers' cold granite is nearby, you can farm mealwood anywhere and the temperate patch around the printer lasts long enough for a semi-permanent farm.  I've also had aridio starts with neighbouring caustic biomes that loop in close to the printer and force everything to 35C+ right off the bat.

I restart a lot.  Once the base gets stable I get bored.

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Some maps don't have a 'regular' oil biome, but instead have it spread out over the map. It's a trait called 'irregular oil' but you still have oil biomes with fossils and wells etc. So I don't think this adds/changes the difficulty.

 

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miauly    116

Played Aridia start. Decided to see what's going to happen if I skip farming and just go with fried mush bars. Got exos by cycle 40 despite mush bars felt like dupes are doing nothing but them. Made a mistake though spending skill points on my digger towards suits and realized I'm trapped in abyssalite with water going low. Still got to that point before I was out of starting water, but then I got pretty good supply of it, plus I was on normal hunger difficulty and got a couple of edible help packages from the pod. I think mush bar start will be viable even on a higher difficulty though, just need to go for salt/polluted water earlier and don't mess with that digging skill point (:

Agreed that the most variety seem to matter just on cycles up to 100 at most. Afterwards if you survived all the rest seem to run pretty much the same (unless you are on Arboria without that gold and clay).

As for irregular oil, I've rolled a couple of maps just to look at them to see if this will affect difficulty mid-game. Well, oil is indeed in wells, but those are all over the place. With enough water, this map has more oil rather than less it seems to me.

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DarkMaster13    234

Based on what people are saying at the moment implies that I've actually underestimated how much more difficult the forest start is compared to the sandstone one.  Having briefly jumped into an Oceania map, I was surprised to see just how much muckroot there is in sandstone.  There's like 60,000 kcal worth buried in there.  That alone massively helps getting any base started if you've got 60 dupe days worth of food more than the forest.

I believe for oxyferns you're intended to run them domestically to keep up the amount of oxygen you need for more dupes, with the CO2 from pockets and wood burners used to supply pressure.  The balance may be off, but I think that player unfamiliarity with this mechanic is the bigger cause of problems rather than the number of oxyferns being too low or the strength of the plants themselves.  When I did my aridio map, I avoided printing dupes to keep food consumption down since I was on mushbars for a very long time.  I didn't have any problems with O2 with 4 dupes in that run and I never used domestic oxyferns.  So I haven't been able to try a non-aridio forest start yet where I was able to plant mealwood.

16 hours ago, KittenIsAGeek said:

Rime is a difficult start, especially now that the sieve doesn't output 40c water.  You have to actually work to warm your base up enough to grow plants for food, which can be a challenge when you're also trying to research.  However, in the long run, there's lots of available water (in the form of ice), as well as a lot of various resources.  So far, I've found just about everything on Rime -- except Dreckos and Slicksters.  Its too cold.  They end up dying off before they can reproduce.

I get the impression it's a bit like the aridio start, in that you can't farm that well.  However because you start in the sandstone biome, you have a very large supply of free food to help you get started and hatches give more meat than pips do.  You should also have a little longer lasting warm area around the printer pod, assuming you don't dig it all out immediately.  So it's possible to farm some mealwood right away before the heat is lost and you should have plenty of time to get a hatch farm up before you can get heat production.  You also have far more water available for making mush bars if necessary than in the forest biome.  It's definitely harder than a normal sandstone start, but I'm not convinced it's as hard as a basic forest start.

15 hours ago, Cypher-7 said:

This was my exact experience. I feel like this asteroid is harder then they have it rated.

Trying to figure out what the ratings should be is exactly the point of this thread.

10 hours ago, miauly said:

Also map gives you one hatch on Arboria, which seem to be on purpose, but then you can only feed it with dirt. Or later with sedimentary which will change the hatch type. Feeding dirt to hatches seems a waste, so maybe hatches could use an ingenious rock addition to their diet. There's also some "crushed rock" mentioned in the Oni DB, but I guess there's no way to get in the current game? I could crush some ingenious in the rock granulator for hatches if it was in game, I'm that crazy.

You can feed hatches sand.  The rock granulator can turn any rock type into sand, so that's where that's from.

8 hours ago, suicide commando said:

I haven't played all the new maps, yet, but these are my experiences:

1) Verdante / Arboria
The forest biome start was a bit of a tricky thing, as lack of water made a lot of things harder than normal. The massive amounts of dirt however made pickled mealwood an easy early game foodsource. Once I broke out of the starting biome into the rust biome, my O2 problems were solved, and all the early game troubles were over. Beyond that, it was pretty much my regular game of finding and tapping geysers, building my industry etc.

Lack of swamp biome on Arboria meant no gold, which was a serious problem, as well as no reed fibers which meant I had to go for drecko's. These 2 factors delayed me significantly in my midgame. I did not go for any endgame as updates were added and I wanted to test the other asteroids too.

I'd forgotten about the lack of clay.  Added it to the information about the swamp biome missing.  Do people think that the lack of both gold and clay is enough justification to push up the difficulty of the late game without them a further point?  I was also thinking it might make sense if one of the new biomes had clay, maybe small amounts of it could be added to the tide pool?

1 hour ago, miauly said:

Played Aridia start. Decided to see what's going to happen if I skip farming and just go with fried mush bars. Got exos by cycle 40 despite mush bars felt like dupes are doing nothing but them. Made a mistake though spending skill points on my digger towards suits and realized I'm trapped in abyssalite with water going low. Still got to that point before I was out of starting water, but then I got pretty good supply of it, plus I was on normal hunger difficulty and got a couple of edible help packages from the pod. I think mush bar start will be viable even on a higher difficulty though, just need to go for salt/polluted water earlier and don't mess with that digging skill point (:

It isn't an easy start and players who normally wait for exosuits to even leave their base are going to really struggle.  Once I'd figured out what was going on, I realized that it's critically important that you leave as soon as possible in search of waterweed or dusk cap, since those are the only food crops available that you can grow at the asteroid's temperature.  Waterweed is preferable, since there's no danger of slimelung in that case.  A pip ranch is also very prudent, so you can cook up their eggs.  That means that you want a digger, rancher, cook, and researcher ASAP.  It probably supersedes the normal water crunch in forest maps.

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While lack of clay is annoying, it's not that much the end of the world. Igneous rock can fulfil pretty much the same function in the early game, and in the late game you can produce clay if you just get a big source of pO2, and we have one in the form of lumber. Lumber can be turned to ethanol and the by product is polluted dirt. This can be off gassed to make pO2, which can then lead to clay from sand. If you set this up in the midgame by the time you need ceramics for the LOX factory, you should have plenty.

The lack of gold is a bigger problem. In the early/mid game this makes high temperatures difficult to deal with as you can't build equipment that can stand up to them properly until you get steel going, and this will stress your steel production making the later game more difficult. On top of that, no gold means no easy access to oxylite for rockets in the late game unless you go through the pain of ranching dense pufts, which is a challenge all on it's own. They will also not produce enough for more than a few flights by the time you're in need of it. So unless you get some gold from space or something like that, this will become very difficult, as the amount of data disks you need for your research to use LOX tanks will need more than 'a few' flights.

The only ways around this are:
A) Get a geode with some gold amalgam in it. Which turns on the gold amalgam packages, so you an stockpile some.

B) Get lucky with space and find a space rock with gold in it. One of the new ones has it I believe, but I'm not sure how far out those can spawn and how rare they are.

I do hope they will do something that will change this so ranching pufts is not a mandatory way of dealing with this. I'm not a big fan of that choice.

 

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DarkMaster13    234
16 minutes ago, suicide commando said:

I do hope they will do something that will change this so ranching pufts is not a mandatory way of dealing with this. I'm not a big fan of that choice.

Actually, it isn't even an option.  No swamp = no pufts.  If care packages are disabled, it's outright impossible to produce oxylite on Arboria.  That arguably makes it the most difficult start in the late game as rocketry is pointless.  You can't build a steam rocket with a cargo bay without thursters, and thrusters require oxylite.  So without the swamp biome, there is no way to do a rocket industry without lucky care packages.

I didn't realize that until now, but it's a pretty serious flaw in the design of that start.  You need some sort of guaranteed alternative source of gold/oxylite to make up for this, or a non-swamp related way to produce oxylite.  Steel, drekos, and deoderizers can make up for everything else the swamp biome gives, but there's no other way to get oxylite.

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Point.. but only if care packages are disabled, because you can get pufts in the care packages even if you haven't met any, so with care packages on there is a possibility of getting oxylite.

 

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DarkMaster13    234
Just now, suicide commando said:

Point.. but only if care packages are disabled, because you can get pufts in the care packages even if you haven't met any, so with care packages on there is a possibility of getting oxylite.

It's a pretty glaring balance issue.  Especially for what's suppose to be one of the easier starts.  It easily pushes missing swamp biomes to the most difficult start in the late game.  I think you can make an easy argument that after Aridio and Oasisse, Arboria is the third most difficult asteroid.

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Agreed. Especially since you cannot get enough data disks to get liquid tanks. steam rockets can only reach 10km not 20km. So the only way you'd get the data disks is by going on repeated data disk missions even after you have fully surveyed a planet. But the amount you need is vs the amount you get from doing that is insane. Balance wise, I think it can be put under impossible, you'd need to do hundreds of 10km repeat missions, using steam rockets.

So some other way of making oxylite is going to have to be added, or some way to get gold.

 

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DarkMaster13    234

I'm doing a playthrough on Verdante so I have an idea of how hard the forest start is at a base level, rather than Aridio.  Other than having to get mealwood farms up on cycle 2 rather than around cycle 20 in the sandstone start, I haven't really had any problems.  Didn't need to make mush bars and water will last for awhile yet even with research, domestic oxyferns and liceloaf production.  While my oxygen production is about a third that of my consumption, the oxylite supplies are making up the difference just fine and there's still several tons of the stuff sitting around the base on cycle 16.  I have ten domesticated oxyferns and another seven wild ones.  I actually had an issue with a few popped eardrums due to the areas around my domestic oxyferns having really high pressures.  Just started domesticating pips and am mainly waiting for research and duplicant skill points at this stage.  Once I can start a power plant and do plumming, I'll be doing a big reorganization of the base and will probably tear out most of the natural tiles.

Balance wise I really just think it needs maybe one mid-game crop seed that's somewhat similar to the bristle blossom and to put muckroot in it.  It doesn't need as much muckroot as the sandstone biome, but at least don't put the player in a race to build farms as soon as possible, make mush bars, or having to slaughter pips just to avoid starvation.  Especially with water supplies so much lower compared to Sandstone.

i6QErhy.jpg

The asteroid itself is kinda like an easier version of Aridio, as an aside.  Both are only missing the ice biome.

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natanstarke    191
On 07/07/2019 at 1:53 AM, KittenIsAGeek said:

Volcanea is an easy start, most of the time.  However, once you start getting to the mid-game, it can be a challenge.  Your resources are limited because much of the map is made up of magma pockets instead of things like gold and slime.

Rime is a difficult start, especially now that the sieve doesn't output 40c water.  You have to actually work to warm your base up enough to grow plants for food, which can be a challenge when you're also trying to research.  However, in the long run, there's lots of available water (in the form of ice), as well as a lot of various resources.  So far, I've found just about everything on Rime -- except Dreckos and Slicksters.  Its too cold.  They end up dying off before they can reproduce.

Arborea can be an extremely difficult start.  I spent the first 20 cycles in a complete panic because my dupes were alternately starving and suffocating.  A new player will have an extremely hard time.  Once I broke into a rust biome and could get a rust deoxidizer going, and got mealwood farms going, things improved dramatically.  But this map starts you off with very little water, no algae, and no muckroot.  Your starting oxygen is provided by oxylite deposits and ferns, which isn't enough for your 3 starting dupes unless you're constantly opening new pockets of air.  Well, let me correct that statement a little: The ferns are _barely_ enough for your 3 starting dupes.  They're going to spend a lot of time catching their breath while your alerts are going nuts saying you've got suffocating dupes.    While you've got a LOT of CO2, you have no mushrooms.  Because your dupes breathe in oxygen, and the ferns breathe in CO2, your overall air pressure will drop low enough that your mealwood will start going dormant due to air pressure.  Seriously, its an insane start -- but once you get STARTED, it becomes much easier to manage.  Heat isn't going to be a problem, and neither is power once you get an ethanol loop set up.  Once you get a decent air supply, food won't be an issue either.

I finally started rime and i didnt even needed to heat up to plant mealwood i guess i got a lucky start with misplaced pod position.

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KittenIsAGeek    1606
9 hours ago, DarkMaster13 said:

I get the impression it's a bit like the aridio start, in that you can't farm that well.  However because you start in the sandstone biome, you have a very large supply of free food to help you get started and hatches give more meat than pips do.  You should also have a little longer lasting warm area around the printer pod, assuming you don't dig it all out immediately.

No, in my map my starting biome was well below freezing.  There was a very small area around my printing pod that was at 10c.  Everything else was zero or colder.  I couldn't even grow bristles next to my printing pod until a pair of small batteries warmed it back up to 10c.

image.thumb.png.1093e236fa43ee2900ca94f93c26d391.png

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DarkMaster13    234
1 hour ago, KittenIsAGeek said:

No, in my map my starting biome was well below freezing.  There was a very small area around my printing pod that was at 10c.  Everything else was zero or colder.  I couldn't even grow bristles next to my printing pod until a pair of small batteries warmed it back up to 10c.

image.thumb.png.1093e236fa43ee2900ca94f93c26d391.png

Am I just overestimating how long it takes for the area around the pod to cool down?  I tested this and it's plenty warm to grow mealwood for many cycles.  Especially if you build around a water supply, that'll stay above 10 degrees C for pretty long time.  You should get 10 harvests or so before the mealwood can no longer grow.  That should be plenty of time to get either an alternative source of food or a heat source.  Especially since you have free refrigeration further out from the pod, you can just overproduce while the mealwood is capable of growing and build up a large reserve on top of the free muckroot from the sandstone start.

8clJjzU.jpg

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cpy    368

Rime on -30 to -15C? That's easy! How about frozen hell of -200C to -100C? With some abyssalite start on center. Just a little but not full cover.

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DarkMaster13    234
1 minute ago, cpy said:

Rime on -30 to -15C? That's easy! How about frozen hell of -200C to -100C? With some abyssalite start on center. Just a little but not full cover.

I think you posted this in the wrong thread?

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