Allies and combat difficulty

Recommended Posts

I think negotiation encounters are great, and I love the conceptual design of "arguments" you can attack. But combat encounters are in a weird spot. The difficulty of a combat encounter varies wildly depending on how many allies you have and how good they are. Most fights you can take on by yourself require paying off a guard first. Your source of allies are pets, mercenaries, and quest-specific allies.


Trained pets are fine, they are semi-permanent, and roughly half as good as a trained fighter in combat. Getting one costs some money, resolve or hp in a first random event, and training them in a uh "bonus" event. The opportunity cost of the "bonus" event could be, say, upgrading a card with a friend, or socializing (free "love" upgrade and some recovered resolve), etc. I think a trained pet is worth it (especially for the ridiculously good negotiation argument), but far from cheap. The problem is that, because there are no good cards for protecting your allies, they don't last long. You can't heal them between fights or ask them not to fight during an encounter either. Apparently pets that flee have a chance to return afterwards (in experimental). If that happens in a random event, that's ok, but it you need to spend another "bonus" event, then pets seem like an expensive proposition.

As far as I can tell, mercenaries are only with you for the length of one quest, and only during day hours. This is fine, though they are kinda expensive assuming they don't like/love you, compared to the usual payout for a quest, even after bartering. They are kinda compulsory if you don't have a pet, yet still intend to do combat quests. They do have the added advantage of protecting you during random events that lead to fights. I think I would they stayed with you up until the final quest of the day (excluded), but you had to pay them per quest they help you with (and a cheaper amount at that), they would feel more fair. It would also be nice to have a tooltip when hiring the mercenaries that would tell you things like health, special abilities, attacks, etc.

Quest specific allies are fine, with the only issue that "optional" allies are not really that optional. More allies means proportionally less damage coming your way, and that much more damage going to your enemies (killing/panicking enemies that much faster, further reducing their damage, etc.). Excluding the assassin fight, most (boss) fights are tough with a single battle-ready ally, and outright impossible by yourself or with just a laborer or whatever.


The end result is that fights are either expensive or require good negotiation. But most fights can be avoided outright with good negotiation, often times making for the safer approach and with better payout too, if anything else because you won't get negative relationships status as often. Yet you still want to do fights here or there, because you want the extra cards and upgrades that you will need to beat boss fights. It's kind of a weird space to be in, balance wise.

I am not even sure how I would fix that. Reducing how effective allies are (especially damage-wise, but considerably increasing their "panic range" might help) would reduce the spread in difficulty between no allies or some allies. Another option is to make it easier/cheaper to have allies without negotiation*. Better rewards for combat encounters, worse penalties for losing negotiations, or giving a reason to *not* barter for every quest (IMHO, a big reason why your negotiation deck becomes better a lot faster than your combat deck), would also allow players to focus more on combat without feeling like they are missing out.


*for example, more permanent pets, or being able to "call" a person that loves you (or is intimidated by you?) before going into a fight, maybe at the cost of dropping your relationship status with them.


EDIT: after two successful runs (one of them in experimental) where I explicitly tried to get into as much combat as possible (yet still ended up doing a couple more negotiations than combat), I think *most* non-boss fights are doable by yourself as long as you are investing heavily in combat (contrast negotiation, for which you stay competent without trying too hard). The problem is the fights that aren't, since the penalty for losing combat is death, and you don't always know what you are getting yourself into until it's too late. This manifests in two ways:

- When you accept a combat quest, you don't know where it is. Beating up a raider in a camp is doable by yourself. Beating them up in the raider bar is suicide.

- Sometimes you are forced into combat either before you know how hard it will be, or with no choice from you. Most of the time, the game shows you how hard a fight is before locking you into the choice, but not always (cf. bounty hunting in the raider bar). And there's always the "wild beasts attack" random event, which really really should have an option to flee.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just lost a run on day 3 at full health due to the random encounter "wild beast event."  I took upwards of 40 damage on turn 1 and they had over 200 combined HP.  I was by myself and died in 2 turns.  I got that event, saw the creatures, and knew the run was over and the work I had put into that campaign was completely wasted.  I don't think random encounters should be doing more damage than bosses.  I have had multiple random encounters all be combat and it softened me up to the point that I had no way of defeating the boss at the end of the day.  

The worst part of the feeling is that it was an unseen random encounter.  Game just came out of nowhere and told me that I was done playing today.  That feels awful as a player.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Please be aware that the content of this thread may be outdated and no longer applicable.