DarkMaster13

Crowd-sourcing the difficulty levels of each asteroid type

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Vuelhering    11
Posted (edited)

Yeah, I just started up a game on Aridio (with measurable traits like geodes) and it definitely had some challenge. But I got food and O2 going without any real issues and just found enough sand for water sieve and deodorizers. It's a slow start for sure. I think the main difficulties of this planet are the standard things don't work and food can be a major issue. O2 is completely different, water is scarce, and food can be difficult. Push too hard or too fast and you run out of vital resources. While the forest muckroot will be really helpful, the issue with food is the temperatures. I got a lucky water drop in the printer, and it was only 10C, so I built a farm and dumped it there to cool it off.

So I don't think the existence of a bit of food is that useful at the start. It just buys some extra time, but at a potentially high cost of diminishing your atmospheric pressure.

Now that it's patched, I might go test it again and see if my prediction is true.

Edited by Vuelhering
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DarkMaster13    205
Posted (edited)

Patch 351503 has come out with only one balance/difficulty change.  Ocean biomes now have a guaranteed salt water geyser.  Assuming this only applies to the ocean biomes and not tide pools, this makes the Oceania start slightly easier in the mid/late game, however I don't think it's really enough to change the standings at this point.

If this applies to the tide pool biomes in general, that's a much more significant shift.  It would bring missing the tide pool biome closer in line with the swamp one, since that's a third guaranteed water geyser with jungle, swamp, and tide pool all present.

EDIT: Seems this is for the tide pool biomes, not the Ocean ones you see in Oceania and subsurface oceans.  This means that all asteroids except The Badlands have technically gotten easier, since that's the only one missing that biome.

EDIT2: Found out what the rules are for the uncovered natural gas / chlorine geysers and added those to the information docs.  At the same time I put a tentative section for what's inside the toxic/caustic/jungle biomes just so that what spawns there is recorded like all the other biomes.  I have not yet updated the difficulty rankings.

Edited by DarkMaster13
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EnderCN    61
Posted (edited)

Playing my second game on Rime, only 50 cycles in but it hasn't posed any sort of challenge yet.  Area near printing pod was plenty warm enough for mealwood.  Then I put my power setup on one side of a bristle farm and a space heater on the other and it has stayed just fine temp wise.  Now got most of the base insulated and tore up a caustic biome for algae/coal so set for a long time on those and not losing temp at all.  From this point on it seems like the free cooling just makes the map easier not harder.

Edited by EnderCN

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Gurgel    1,121

Very interesting results so far. In particular the vast gap between your difficulty estimations (on which I do basically agree) vs. the stated ones by Klei.

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Nitroturtle    583
1 hour ago, Gurgel said:

Very interesting results so far. In particular the vast gap between your difficulty estimations (on which I do basically agree) vs. the stated ones by Klei.

I would love to know if some of the things that are causing difficulty were intentional.  Stuff like missing swamp biome causing the loss of the gold overheat bonus, or the issues with oxylite creation later.  The issue with missing copper was addressed very quickly, so I assumed these others would get fixed equally as fast.  

It would also be nice if RNG didn't play such a large factor in map difficulty.  

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Ambaire    331
On 7/8/2019 at 12:05 AM, DarkMaster13 said:

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.

Unrelated to this thread, but I love how random your base is. No neat lines of stuff.. just everything sprawling out semi naturally. Especially the little co2 food storage and research setup. Might think about putting a dirt storage compactor next to the basic research station for easier dirt access.

On 7/8/2019 at 12:05 AM, DarkMaster13 said:

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.

Unrelated to this thread, but I love how random your base is. No neat lines of stuff.. just everything sprawling out semi naturally. Especially the little co2 food storage and research setup. Might think about putting a dirt storage compactor next to the basic research station for easier dirt access.

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DemainaNyx    109
On 7/7/2019 at 4:57 PM, DarkMaster13 said:

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.

You also have to account for the fact that I subsisted on algae terrariums in my games, and deodorizers were using the magical gas conversion bug that recently got fixed.  So, while I'm used to living on plants that require a ton of effort to get oxygen, I was also getting random extra oxygen for no reason.  When you go to this map without the random conversion happening, it just seems drastically worse compared to what you are used to.

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DarkMaster13    205
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Ambaire said:

Unrelated to this thread, but I love how random your base is. No neat lines of stuff.. just everything sprawling out semi naturally. Especially the little co2 food storage and research setup. Might think about putting a dirt storage compactor next to the basic research station for easier dirt access.

That's just how they start.  Early on when resources are tight, I always just sprawl everything out in an unplanned manner.  The point is to get it working quickly, not to make movement and navigation as efficient as possible.  Things are just thrown where they'll fit and junk is left all over the place.  When things are stable and it's time to upgrade room types or build a proper power plant, then I redesign and consolidate into a cleaner base.

That screenshot was from around cycle 25, this is around cycle 80-100:

KITK5Qb.jpg

As for the thread itself, I haven't been updating too much since most of the patches have not changed the difficulty scales by much.  I have done some minor updates now.  The same balance issues are still all there.  Only major differences are the tide pool and rust biomes becoming slightly more valuable thanks to the inclusion of the guaranteed salt water geyser and the new ethanol pools which you can use on either Nosh Beans or early petroleum generators.  At the most, I think all the rust including maps got a bit easier (so missing them is now +1 to mid difficulty).  This probably puts Oasisse as the hardest map now and verdante is probably easier than Volcanea.

However, the difficulty of the asteroids is still either way out of order or misdone and the major issues with missing swamp biomes still have not bee addressed.

Edited by DarkMaster13
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AndreyKl    84
Posted (edited)

I'm playing Arboria now (cycle ~200):

  • First 50 cycles. Were slow, annoying, but not hard in any way (but I expect unexperienced players to die since they won't know not to print dupes). Pips+Oxyfern solved part of early oxygen problem, but I had to limit myself to 3 dupes and fast track towards rust deoxidizer and rust (the slow part, because 3 dupes).
  • 50-150 cycle. Expanded dupe count to 6 over this period. Slight food problem, at first solved with farm, then with pips. Spent dozen cycles getting to fossils and then some time producing steel. By the end of cycle 100 I had somewhat functioning "cool steam geyser" to oxygen conversion. Found 1 cold slush geyser and one salt water geyser. Byt the end of cycle 150 my electrolyzer had aquatuner based cooling and was running without issues.
  •  150+ found 2 more cold slush geysers O_O. Preparing for crab and dreko farms. Sufficient to say, that I don't expect any oxygen or overheating issues due to amount of cold polluted water.

Estimate: Slightly challenging start. Easy mid game. I expect it to be frustratingly easy late-game, may be sans coolant production.

Edited by AndreyKl

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wronny    197

After having played extensively on most maps a couple thoughts:

  • In the current iteration I no longer consider the Forest Start harder or slower than the sandstone start.

Better oxygen (and power) sources are found next door. The starting water is used almost exclusively for Advanced Research. Considering how much dirt & seeds are found in the average forest start, it is actually much safer to expand to a higher duplicant count early, since it is less likely to be starved for seeds.

  • The lack of certain biomes only causes difficulties in the mid/late game, which is much less pressing.

Outside of the Super Coolant problem that still persists, the missing materials (& features) merely limit the available options. A normal base should be stable by the time these limitations come up. This makes these limitations far less important, than the early game challenges imposed by Rime, Aridio, Oasisse and Volcanea.

---

As a core concept Klei's ordering is actually fine:

  • Baseline starting world (now w/o traits)
  • Minor variations that only change which biomes are available
  • Worlds that add a layer of difficulty where it matters (to the early game)

From that perspective only Oceania seems displaced.

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Miravlix    94

All the maps does is change the progress speed, Forest start... Slow you the hell down as you have to dig you way out of the forest to make oxygen, if you spam new dupes without having oxygen that is simply stupid, so you have to slllloooow dig with 3 dupes until you can make oxygen.

The primary thing with the maps is it changes a few details to make life different, but let's not forget there is no magic heat or cold in an asteroid, if you depend on the cold in a cold asteroid, you're entire base is going to break when you have neutralized the starting temperature, so I still have to think about making a solution that deal with it's own heat without consideration for the short term environment effect, resulting in the build of something being the same no matter the asteroid start.

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Nitroturtle    583

I'd really like to see them limit the available geyser pool based on map selection, along with locking down a few guaranteed geysers, again based on which map you pick.  

Say for example, you'd always get a cool slush on Rime, because that makes sense, but never on Volcanea.  Same with CO2 Vent (hot) versus CO2 Geyser (cold).  Leave the full pool available for the default map, but this would give a way to differenciate the other maps and further fine tune the difficulty and reduce some of the reliance on RNG.

It would also mean some difference in end game.  As has been mentioned, once you've dug out a significant portion of an asteroid there's very little difference based on which map you chose at the start.  Only allowing certain geysers on certain map types would give players a reason to play late game on other maps as the end game experience would be different.  Best part, this difficulty would be controllable by asteroid selection and not on hunting for the perfect map seed with the correct geysers you want.

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DarkMaster13    205

The difficulty order has been updated in the latest patch.  They are now:

  • Terra (Ideal)
  • Oceania (Probable)
  • Rime (Likely)
  • Verdante (Likely)
  • Arboria (Moderate)
  • Volcaniea (Moderate)
  • The Badlands (Marginal)
  • Aridio (Slim)
  • Oasisse (Slim)

Aside from Volcanea and Arboria ranked about the same, this does reflect the findings from this thread.

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Sasza22    2,101

I`m currently playing a badlands asteroid. The early game seems pretty easy. There`s a lot of room and you can easily dig out large spaces without worrying about chlorine or slimelung spreading into your base. Large rust areas close to the base keep it cold and rust biome dreckos can be reached before they freeze to death.

The lack of water and slime biomes might be a pain in the long run but early it`s pretty easy.

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wronny    197
Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Sasza22 said:

The lack of water and slime biomes might be a pain in the long run but early it`s pretty easy.

The Badlands is the only asteroid for which I see a reasonably high chance to discover a seed with no water geyser/vent.

No buried geyser providing a water source (more likely w/ Geodormant) and the only guaranteed water source (the Cool Steam Vent, in one of the Caustic biomes) overwritten by a POI:

Spoiler

uHRhP8o.png

Aridio (Seed: 3959) - Tide Pool POI 1 : Cool Steam Vent 0

 

 

Edited by wronny
corrected "arboria" to "aridio"

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avilmask    104
Posted (edited)

At day 110 on oasis. At first I was spooked by the fact that all 8 biomes around you are large and hot deserts. But noticed that some of them don't go above 70C, so I've digged through them and discovered that outside desert rim there is a lot of rich biomes (including water rich swamps, algae biomes with clean water and oxylite patches + all normal set of seeds). Also I've started with 4 quite large pools of water, so I had no trouble with water and oxygen (through electrolyzing). Only issue so far is heat coming to me, but bit by bit I'm setting up cooling clean water in polluted one, and deleting heat through peppernuts. Wonder if cold biome even exists in oasis, and if there any nullifiers, also hope to find slush geyser (those things basically remove heat threat).

So if oasis start consistently has that much water, survival isn't that hard, at least on a short notice. I would say survival chance is moderate. Arborea was a harder one.

Edited by avilmask

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natanstarke    183
1 hour ago, avilmask said:

At day 110 on oasis. At first I was spooked by the fact that all 8 biomes around you are large and hot deserts. But noticed that some of them don't go above 70C, so I've digged through them and discovered that outside desert rim there is a lot of rich biomes (including water rich swamps, algae biomes with clean water and oxylite patches + all normal set of seeds). Also I've started with 4 quite large pools of water, so I had no trouble with water and oxygen (through electrolyzing). Only issue so far is heat coming to me, but bit by bit I'm setting up cooling clean water in polluted one, and deleting heat through peppernuts. Wonder if cold biome even exists in oasis, and if there any nullifiers, also hope to find slush geyser (those things basically remove heat threat).

So if oasis start consistently has that much water, survival isn't that hard, at least on a short notice. I would say survival chance is moderate. Arborea was a harder one.

You just got supreme luck i played there 3 times the most water i had was 2 pools in 1 of the runs.

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DarkMaster13    205
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Slvrsrfr said:

This thread is great, sorry I have nothing to add. This is super clever.

Clever.jpg

I mean, food preservation is laughably easy right now.  Dig a small pit literally anywhere in your base and you're good.  Best place is underneath your mess/great hall to minimize travel time for dupes getting meals.

Edited by DarkMaster13

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Sasza22    2,101
13 hours ago, wronny said:

The Badlands is the only asteroid for which I see a reasonably high chance to discover a seed with no water geyser/vent.

I was kinda lucky to have a hot water vent spawn close to the base but still the starting zone was pretty large and had like 4 pockets of water so i`m not running out before midgame. Maybe it`s a seed thing though.

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Nebbie    296
18 hours ago, DarkMaster13 said:

The difficulty order has been updated in the latest patch.  They are now:

  • Terra (Ideal)
  • Oceania (Probable)
  • Rime (Likely)
  • Verdante (Likely)
  • Arboria (Moderate)
  • Volcaniea (Moderate)
  • The Badlands (Marginal)
  • Aridio (Slim)
  • Oasisse (Slim)

Aside from Volcanea and Arboria ranked about the same, this does reflect the findings from this thread.

Is Verdante really on par with Rime? Sure, oxyferns aren't the best, but I prefer starting with trees and pips and such; shine bugs and bristle blossoms and pools of water all over the place wanting to flood your base are overrated.

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DarkMaster13    205
2 hours ago, Nebbie said:

Is Verdante really on par with Rime? Sure, oxyferns aren't the best, but I prefer starting with trees and pips and such; shine bugs and bristle blossoms and pools of water all over the place wanting to flood your base are overrated.

It's because while the early game can be rough, the cold on Rime ultimately ends up being a benefit since it takes care of the main late game issue for you: heat.  Generating heat is far easier to do than getting rid of it.  So once you have stabilized things, the only real difficult part of the map is the lack of wild plants and critters outside the starting biome.  Cold won't actually hurt dupes, it just gives them a temporary hypothermia penalty that makes them sneeze.  That's a fairly manageable challenge since there's alternatives to all those critters and the seeds you need are still buried in their respective biomes.  The map also cools down steam vents and volcanoes for you.

Both are quite easy maps, relatively speaking.

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Nitroturtle    583
Posted (edited)

While I agree the asteroid types are in a more appropriate order now, I'm a bit disappointed to see them implement it this way.  Some of the latest changes with heat management happened during this thread, so I wonder if, and how much, that will effect difficulty.  For example, Rime is a bit more difficult when you can't just get hot water free out of a sieve.

But the main disappointment is that they have yet to address the concerns about the lack of gold and what that means for the end-game.  The fact that this has not been addressed, yet they have restructured the difficulties, makes me concerned that they do not plan to address the issue.  I full on expected the same solution as exosuits, with allowing other metal types as an option.

The other disappointment is that there is very little, if any, difference between the maps with regards to the end-game.  Most provide a very different experience early game, then a slightly different experience mid-game, and then basically the same experience end-game (which is nearly 100% dictated by RNG/traits).  The one exception I guess, is what I mentioned previously, the lack of gold locking out supercoolant and making oxylite production difficult. While I will admit that these things do provide a slightly different end-game experience, I certainly don't think it's adding an enjoyable experience when players realize it 100 hours into a map.  Making things more difficult is fine, but completely making them impossible doesn't make sense.

Edited by Nitroturtle
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Nebbie    296
2 hours ago, Nitroturtle said:

While I agree the asteroid types are in a more appropriate order now, I'm a bit disappointed to see them implement it this way.  Some of the latest changes with heat management happened during this thread, so I wonder if, and how much, that will effect difficulty.  For example, Rime is a bit more difficult when you can't just get hot water free out of a sieve.

But the main disappointment is that they have yet to address the concerns about the lack of gold and what that means for the end-game.  The fact that this has not been addressed, yet they have restructured the difficulties, makes me concerned that they do not plan to address the issue.  I full on expected the same solution as exosuits, with allowing other metal types as an option.

The other disappointment is that there is very little, if any, difference between the maps with regards to the end-game.  Most provide a very different experience early game, then a slightly different experience mid-game, and then basically the same experience end-game (which is nearly 100% dictated by RNG/traits).  The one exception I guess, is what I mentioned previously, the lack of gold locking out supercoolant and making oxylite production difficult. While I will admit that these things do provide a slightly different end-game experience, I certainly don't think it's adding an enjoyable experience when players realize it 100 hours into a map.  Making things more difficult is fine, but completely making them impossible doesn't make sense.

Considering release is in 3 days, I suspect that any planned fixes to these design issues have been postponed while they work on bugfixes and such (this is what's called a "code freeze", and is important to prevent a cascade of issues pushing back a release date).

I expect that after release, they'll immediately start putting out testing branch updates for a post-release update to fix some of the biggest balance and quality-of-life features. We know for sure already that tile/ladder buildover is a thing shelved for release to be tried again later; I would also expect some changes to airborne critters (annoying to move around, slicksters keep drowning or freezing themselves, shine bugs aren't really worth ranching, pufts might also not be worth it still even after their huge buffs), some small slime biomes added on Arboria, some change to dealing with CO2 (right now with oxyferns and wood/ethanol for power it ends up being a highly-pressurized mess), and smoother heat management progression (right now it's pretty much wheezewort or ice maker doing next to nothing but sucking up dupe labor -> fully automatic steam turbine and aquatuner insanity funtimes).

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