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May 16th, 2019, 12:51
Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
the turn limits on maps, spawning enemies and escort missions have completely out me off. Hopefully it's a good experience for those who want a tactics game, but I'm going to pass.
Say what? I ought to buy the game later (too many other games waiting in the backlog) but if all that is true it won't be appearing on my PC.

Why some developers still believe trashmobs appearing from thin air is a good idea?
It's outdated filler thing necessary only in mmos as stalling mechanics and in phonegames to persuade people into buying pay2win microtransactions!
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May 16th, 2019, 12:53
Watched a few streams (a must do these days)

It looks like another designed for streamers product. Another product that can be played on hard without ignoring all of its mechanics, the maps are unknown, the objects are unknown, the tech trees are unknown etc everything is unknown except it is UgoIgo.

Streamers breath through, failing now and then secondary objectives.

Another product for insecure players who can not bear the idea they might fail out of ignorance. They are big bosses, they know, they prevail, they dominate.

Originally Posted by tekulte View Post
Not saying it's the case in this game, but my experience has been that when devs add things like that, it's to make up for other shortcomings, like enemy AI. Just throw more and more spawns at the player or put "timers" or other artificial speed bumps.

The negative I see (for me, anyway) is that if missions force you to "haul a$$" I tend to make more mistakes, thus causing more spawns, and more ulcer-inducing moments. I realize it's turn-based which means I can take all day to make a move (not a positive either, imo) but for me it's still a massive negative.
What mistakes. AI shortcomings and mistakes…The AI is good enough to press into mistakes.

About this product, from streamed shows, time limits are introduced to try to provide a sense of perceived difficulty that would not exist otherwise. Looks artificial, not an organic gameplay feature.
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May 16th, 2019, 12:56
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
This sounded really interesting once upon a time, but the more I read about it, the worse it sounds. Timed missions, escort missions, replaying missions until you get them "optimal", etc. Doesn't sound much like an RPG, at least not something I'd recognize as one. Last couple pages of the Codex thread are pretty enlightening: https://rpgcodex.net/forums/index.ph…9#post-6132543

Think I'll have to pass.
Yeah, so … no. Not game for me, thank you.
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May 16th, 2019, 14:23
People on codex also reported that all enemies on map beeline for your troops as well making map design pointless as you fight them where you stand.

This all sounds not that much different than new Xcom games (timers, enemies spawning through use of reinforcement dropships, AI knowing your position and patrolling in your direction) but at least Xcom had many other good stuff in its favor.
Last edited by Archangel; May 16th, 2019 at 14:52.
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May 16th, 2019, 14:34
Not a huge fan of nuXcom myself. Was hoping for isometric style grimrock or some sort of spiritual successor. Alas I still hope financially it turns out well for them.
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May 16th, 2019, 14:37
Imho the time pressure is a good thing in these kind of games.

In Blackguard for example you often did not have the time pressure. The result: Many missions you optimized by kiting the enemy around, just running back and fourth, exploiting that your character had one field more range or something similar.

Also keep in mind that all roguelikes and roguelikes are timebased as well.
The hunger mechanic, whether it's actually hunger or a fleet which is chasing you is just a different form of a time limitation either.

About tandom spawns:
After some time, additional enemies will spawn on some maps. It will always happen at the same time, at the same positions and it will be the same enemies. So it's not really "random". But yes it will ofc look "random" if you only play the mission once.

But playing any mission once is something which will not work in this game anyways, well on hard difficulty anyways. At least I always need a couple of tries to find a way which works well.

And regarding Xcom: There are certainly some parallels in the pressure to the player.
But what I don't like about the new xcom is the high amount of randomness, e.g. the damage range, the unintuitive mechanics (extra move for enemies, to hit calculation on flanking/being in cover) and the bad readability of the maps.
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May 16th, 2019, 17:46
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
So far I would say the closest game to this is is Blackguards. I So far I prefer it to blackguards, though that's no surprise as I really disliked blackguards for it's randomness, bad mechanics and unpolished feel.
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
Which is actually not that far away from Blackguards
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
In Blackguard for example you often did not have the time pressure. The result: Many missions you optimized by kiting the enemy around, just running back and fourth, exploiting that your character had one field more range or something similar.
You seem to be the only one so far keep referencing Blackguards, but from what I've read and seen of the game so far there are very few real comparisons here and that referencing Blackguards is actually a whopping red herring. [By the way, I don't remember using kiting in Blackguards at all, let alone exploiting it, but I only ever played on normal difficulty, but that's a side-track point]. However, Blackguards is such a recurring reference for you that it would be nice if you actually said why you feel it is comparable as I'm not sure if comparing the two is being 'genuine' to any Blackguards fan.

From what I've seen, the only real comparison is that you travel on a world map rather then navigate the world on-foot. In blackguards your destination could be a number of areas, from combat screens to NPC homes to town squares, but it seems like Druidstone is always either your start point or a combat screen? To which the only other comparison is that the combat screen is then contained within it's own individual chess-board and takes place in a turn-based system.

I wouldn't describe Blackgards destinations as missions, more often than not you're just encountering a monster, the same as you would in any RPG, to which you are free to deal with that monster however your build prefers, in as many turns as you like. In Druidstone all scenarios are essentially puzzles with a specific objective beyond 'kill all enemies' are they not? While Blackguards may spice things up with the occassional combat scenario which is a bit puzzly, in Druidstone it's always puzzly, yes?

And when Blackguards is occasionally puzzly, it is doing so because one of it's unique selling points was the concept of "manipulation of the environment", ie: you could set a table on fire and the skeleton would stand on the fire while attacking you, providing extra damage, something that was entirely optional and just 'cool'. I'm not seeing any environmental aspects to Druidstone with regards to the puzzles, to which the example of respawns makes evident: In the rare times Blackguards had respawns in a scenario you could close-up the holes that generated the respawns, Druidstone seems to have no similar option and more than that uses respawns in every (?) encounter regardless of creature type or sense of realism.

Even the words used in describing the scenarios is different, in Blackguards you complete quests, whereas in Druidstone you complete missions hence: in Blackguards you can never re-do a scenario once completed whereas in Druidstone you can re-do scenarios as much as you like?

Blackguards has a massive character creation and build system [you call "very bloated" which I find to be a very unfair and inaccurate description] combined with a level-up system which put the focus of player-interest in the development of their characters, whereas Druidstone has no character creation and a very basic level-upping system.

The stroy of Blackguards took up quite a lot of screen time, either in dialogues, cut-scenes or following up on leads, where as Druidstone is much more just looking for an excuse to do another puzzle-mission, no?

And from your first quote, Blackguards has randomness (dice, to-hit etc) where as Druidstone doesn't (deterministic), again an important difference in 'RPGness' design. I also just disagree that Backguards is either unpolished or has bad mechanics, it always stuck me as a very polished game with both interesting and unique mechanics, but you're referring to Druidstone as polished when other people are saying a lot of the unpleasant elements of it's puzzle scenarios come from unpolished AI design and the like; AKA cheap tricks, and Blackguards never needed to use cheap tricks.

Have I missed something which really makes them actually comparable, either in genre or gameplay that no-one's communicated yet?

[I'll post this in the actual Druidstone thread in gRPG forum as well for future posterity
]
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May 16th, 2019, 18:33
Would have liked this but as some others have indicated, it's probably a no-buy for me with the time limits and spawns.
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May 16th, 2019, 19:50
I will go it point by point as far as I can.

Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
From what I've seen, the only real comparison is that you travel on a world map rather then navigate the world on-foot. In blackguards your destination could be a number of areas, from combat screens to NPC homes to town squares, but it seems like Druidstone is always either your start point or a combat screen? To which the only other comparison is that the combat screen is then contained within it's own individual chess-board and takes place in a turn-based system.
Yeah, both games are pretty linear with some occasional choice of "which mission to do next". And missions always consist of combats which are quite puzzle like.

I wouldn't describe Blackgards destinations as missions, more often than not you're just encountering a monster, the same as you would in any RPG, to which you are free to deal with that monster however your build prefers, in as many turns as you like. In Druidstone all scenarios are essentially puzzles with a specific objective beyond 'kill all enemies' are they not? While Blackguards may spice things up with the occassional combat scenario which is a bit puzzly, in Druidstone it's always puzzly, yes?
Blackguards was also always puzzly on higher difficulty. And if you happen to chose the wrong skills it might become plain impossible. In addition you had a huge bunch of randomness (due to having the Dark Eye as Basis which is fine, but not in that invironment). I played both games on hard. Of course the easier you make it, and the less you focus on bonus objective (I remember one mission in Blackguards where rescuing a person was a "bonus objective") the less "puzzly" it becomes.
The maps in Druidstone are a bit bigger than in Blackguards, which makes it a bit less puzzly on that end.

Besides of the missions with battles you also have some ingame cutscenes which you can start as missions themselves. First time you start the battle however you first get the "story"-part then the "battle"-part and then again the "story"-part for example. After you completed all you can rewatch the storyparts or try to get a better restults in the battles.
As a third kind of map (only saw one of these yet) there is also pure puzzle maps without fights, which give you an additional bonus (a gem you can use to enhance your abilities).

And when Blackguards is occasionally puzzly, it is doing so because one of it's unique selling points was the concept of "manipulation of the environment", ie: you could set a table on fire and the skeleton would stand on the fire while attacking you, providing extra damage, something that was entirely optional and just 'cool'.
On hard difficulty and when trying to get optional goals this was not optional and you needed to add this into your solution of the puzzle.

I'm not seeing any environmental aspects to Druidstone with regards to the puzzles, to which the example of respawns makes evident: In the rare times Blackguards had respawns in a scenario you could close-up the holes that generated the respawns, Druidstone seems to have no similar option and more than that uses respawns in every (?) encounter regardless of creature type or sense of realism.
I don't even remember respawns in Blackguards anymore. In fact I would have prefered that, as I dragged some combats far longer than they were enjoyable in order to heal within them. As in combat in Blackguards you could regenerate mana, and with mana you could heal. Out of combat you needed to pay gold to heal.
That said, Blackguards also has environmental elements. I just finished a map where I had some dynamite where I tried to gather enemies around to have them explore. In a previous there was something similar with an ice crystal. These are more straight forward than in Blackguards though, which is also a good thing as in Blackguards you needed to do a test run first in order to see which tiles are affected by the trigger.

Even the words used in describing the scenarios is different, in Blackguards you complete quests, whereas in Druidstone you complete missions hence: in Blackguards you can never re-do a scenario once completed whereas in Druidstone you can re-do scenarios as much as you like?
Yep, you can redo them as often as you like which is different.

Blackguards has a massive character creation and build system [you call "very bloated" which I find to be a very unfair and inaccurate description] combined with a level-up system which put the focus of player-interest in the development of their characters, whereas Druidstone has no character creation and a very basic level-upping system.
Blackguards just took the Dark Eye system and somehow tried to squeeze it into this tactics game without adjusting it a lot to the different type of game.
As far as I remember Blackguards also only had a character generation for your main character. Blackguards offered much more options when doing a level up, but in this surrounding not a lot more of useful choices (at least on higher difficulties). A good chance to gimp your character.

The stroy of Blackguards took up quite a lot of screen time, either in dialogues, cut-scenes or following up on leads, where as Druidstone is much more just looking for an excuse to do another puzzle-mission, no?
I found the scenario of Blackguards more interesting than in druidstone as well. But that's because I like these down-to-eath Dark Eye stories.
However I am actually quite surprised on how much story (in form of these ingame cutscenes) you can find in druid stone. I'd say that there is quite a lot of story and it's not bad either.

And from your first quote, Blackguards has randomness (dice, to-hit etc) where as Druidstone doesn't (deterministic), again an important difference in 'RPGness' design. I also just disagree that Backguards is either unpolished or has bad mechanics, it always stuck me as a very polished game with both interesting and unique mechanics, but you're referring to Druidstone as polished when other people are saying a lot of the unpleasant elements of it's puzzle scenarios come from unpolished AI design and the like; AKA cheap tricks, and Blackguards never needed to use cheap tricks.
This is a bit unspecitic. But related to the "cheap tricks" I'd also say that Blackguards often broke because it didn't use them. E.g. the before mentioned kiting and in-combat-healing. Regarding randomness in Blackguards: There were missions/quests where you basically could only win (depending on your setup) when you first succeeded with a spell, which had a 45% chance to work. And after that almost none of your 90% hit chance hits must miss. So it was a massive chore of reloading.



But to summarize why I compare these games:
-They are both semi-linear games where you chose which battle you do next
-Both feature turn based combat with very puzzle like gameplay
-Both give you pre designed characters (besides of the main char which you can set yourself in Blackguards)

Other games you could compare Druidstone with are:
-Tahira, but Tahira has less storey and no character development at all. In fact Tahira as hardly any RPG elements at all. Don't get me wrong: Tahira is awesome.
-Halfway (the predecessor of Pathway), which had less puzzly fights and also an evem simpler character system


Some of the "fun" moments in blackguards can also be found in my "review" from 4 years ago, which was really more of an opinion piece. Blackguards is one of the few games which I aborted half way through it. Not one of my best reviews either, but I guess it got the essentials.

loading…

Scene from 1:50 to 2:10: of the beforementioned randomness (and this mission also had the time limit)
Scene from 2:15-3:00: which is the mechanic to "heal yourself" by regenerating mana as described before and kiting opponents.
Scene from 4:38 - End: Using the lack of time limitation and stupid AI to maximize benefits, e.g. not getting hit and healing.
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May 16th, 2019, 20:26
It seems the crux of your impression of Blackguards being a comparable puzzler stems from the fact that you went in first time on a hard difficulty, for some unknown reason, and quit without ever experiencing it as the developers intended.

I've noticed this trend a lot recently, the difficulty in conversing about games because everyone's playing on different difficulty settings, be it the rising popularity of 'story mode/easy' or 'going in on hard the first time & refusing to ever go normal', when the first try really should be whatever difficulty the developers intended as normal, ie: the version of the game where the vast majority of balancing and design care has occurred. Traditionally, hard is for experienced players and easy is for those who like the game generally but struggle too much (usually younger/inexperienced people).

Of course a game is going to seem more puzzle-like if you play on hard difficulty. Of course your options are reduced if you play on hard difficulty. That will be the case for every RPG ever. I'm kinda verging on facepalming here.

Interestingly you don't seem to have learned anything from the experience, as the Druidstone developers have stated quite clearly that they do not recommend people play Druidstone on hard difficulty the first time they play it. However, you are free to do that and you seem to be having an ok time with it, so no problem there, but I guess my issue now is that you're referring to Blackguards negatively but without ever matching it with your caveat that you mean Blackguards on hard difficulty that you only got halfway into, as, as you can tell from my experiences, makes for quite the important distinction…
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May 16th, 2019, 20:40
Hrm, I always play all games on hardest difficulty. So that's not really the point.
The thing with Blackguard is, that the luck component plays a huge factor. In most other games you might need a couple, maybe a couple of dozen tries. But at some point you know how it works and you will beat the encounter. With Avernum/Avadon on torment for example there is also some amount of luck involved, but not to a degree where it becomes frustrating.

With Blackguards it became frustrating. I only enjoy these kind of games when they are hard and challenging. But the challenge has to be about how good you understand the game and the mechanics, and not about how often in sequence you have a good roll of a dice.

I am having a lot of fun with Druidstone atm. And that is on hard difficulty. And so far with most missions I also finished all bonus objectives. The two where I didn't I will revisit later when I gained some more power.
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May 16th, 2019, 20:46
Oh, and about "how the developers intend it" is a matter of perspective.
I feel like most games are designed around "hard". Maybe not the hardest as Torment ins Avernum/Avadon, but definitely not normal.

"Normal" is just called normal so people don't feel bad about it. Normal is the new easy since maybe mid 90s to mid 2000s
Fun thing: When Grimshade first released they had two difficulties: Normal and Easy.
People were complainig that easy was too hard. So they added another difficulty: Supereasy or something. Then they renamed them all. Normal is nor called Hard, Easy is now called normal and super easy is now called easy.
Other games circumvent this "issue" by just renaming the difficulty to something where you might feel less "ashamed" if you don't enjoy challenges. In MMX you had a Warrior and Adventurer mode for example.
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May 16th, 2019, 20:59
I was hoping that this game would turn out to be an isometric turn based dungeon crawler, as many others here. I'll probably give it a try at some point, as I do get some joy out of good tactics games, but I play them far less frequently than dungeon crawlers or crpgs.
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May 16th, 2019, 20:59
I also played Blackguards on HArd and I don't remember it being that much based on random numbers, at least not more than Xcom. You just had to use good tactics.

And I prefer games with some random element compared to these chess like games.
Last edited by Archangel; May 16th, 2019 at 22:44.
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May 16th, 2019, 22:34
Why are most of the games so short lately, I get all hyped after following them forever then just as i'm about to purchase, bam they announce the hrs, just like Pathway and Mutant Zero. 15-20 hrs, I spend this in character creation.
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May 16th, 2019, 23:35
While I kind of understand that I am also glad that some games are that small as the mechanics are not supporting longer gameplay. Halfway was the perfect example for that.
Other games, like the 3 shadowrun games were far too short for the big skill system really using it's strenghts.
And then again I prefer short experiences which "work" over long experiences with lots of filler content and grind.

And last but not least: Some genres are just smaller by default. Ofc the usual shooter is one. But: The usual dungeon crawler (like Eye of the Beholder, Lands of Lore, Grimrock…) is another genre which is usually rather short. In part, because the systems would become boring if they are bigger.
Which doesn't mean that a Might and Magic or Wizardry won't work, but they have completely different systems from the ground up.

So in the end, I don't mind it either way as long as:
1. The Content provided is good.
2. The Content is not overpriced.

E.g. I would like to play Metro: Exodus, Farcry New Dawn and Rage 2 at some point, but I am not paying 50€ for a 15h-20h game.
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May 17th, 2019, 08:05
I'm on the boat of people who aren't fond of time limits as a tool to make the game more challenging. I suppose that as a developer it's complicated to adjust difficulty in a tactical combat game where time/number of turns used is not a factor they can manipulate. Even the beloved XCom was plagued with the "limit turns to increase challenge" fever to the point that in higher difficulties in some missions you would only get in time to the objective by max range dashing towards the goal every turn hoping to survive the aliens in the way.. and it was disgusting and fun killing.

In Druidstone, the time limit that appears in many levels is also a difficulty scaling factor. I realised someone in this thread said that the mission about breaking 3 objects extended the time limit by 2 rounds per each you destroyed, but I'm playing on Hard, and it only extended the time you get by 1 round, so I assume that person was playing Normal mode, and once again those tweaks to the time you have to complete each mission are a factor that the game utilises as a difficulty slider. I wish the difficulty was presented in the form of additional monsters that you have to deal with, or other game mechanics that aren't tied to number of turns taken. Something that for example the recently released Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark did really well. Alas…

All in all I'm not thrilled though barring that, the game is pretty fun. It really plays more as a puzzle game than a RPG, the RPG parts are really some really dull dialogues/events between mission with extremely cliche heroes (white male guardian, white female support archer, comic relief midget) and villains (constant muahahaha watch my power in your face), really bad jokes that aren't funny or ingenious in any way, and in general very poor writing.

As you complete bonus objectives you can purchase additional advantages to empower your party, be it boosting their abilities (of which you gain more as you level up), or purchasing additional pieces of equipment that boost your heroes in unique ways. The strategic part of the game is definitely where the saving grace in this game is, as I find the challenge fun and the gameplay in general interesting enough to keep playing it.

I'd probably rate it a 7/10, but really, don't expect a RPG. Expect a tactics game with cringe-worthy dialogues in between battles and customisable loadouts that add another layer of strategy to how you want to tackle each mission.
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May 17th, 2019, 08:48
Originally Posted by Nereida View Post
I realised someone in this thread said that the mission about breaking 3 objects extended the time limit by 2 rounds per each you destroyed, but I'm playing on Hard, and it only extended the time you get by 1 round, so I assume that person was playing Normal mode, and once again those tweaks to the time you have to complete each mission are a factor that the game utilises as a difficulty slider.
No, you are right. It's the second mission already, and it extends the time by only one turn for every object. I have no idea if the difficulty changes anything about the time limit. Or what the difficulty does in general. Didn't check on lower difficulties.

with extremely cliche heroes (white male guardian, white female support archer, comic relief midget) and villains (constant muahahaha watch my power in your face), really bad jokes that aren't funny or ingenious in any way, and in general very poor writing.
Don't forget the cutie furrball mailbox replacements. These little guys, the humor you described and then this out-of-place action music, they all feel like they originated from some asian anime. I wouldn't say the writing is horrible but this "unseriousness" isn't my cup of tea either. It's not to a degree where I have to puke though.
Actually the worst of it all for me is the action-music which is really a harsh contrast to the other very atmospheric tracks.

I extracted some video from my LP which shows some of this silly dialogue at the same time as the horrible shift in music.
loading…
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May 20th, 2019, 15:11
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
No, you are right. It's the second mission already, and it extends the time by only one turn for every object. I have no idea if the difficulty changes anything about the time limit. Or what the difficulty does in general. Didn't check on lower difficulties.
It's still 1 turn on Normal. They must be playing on Easy.
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
Don't forget the cutie furrball mailbox replacements. These little guys, the humor you described and then this out-of-place action music, they all feel like they originated from some asian anime. I wouldn't say the writing is horrible but this "unseriousness" isn't my cup of tea either. It's not to a degree where I have to puke though.
Actually the worst of it all for me is the action-music which is really a harsh contrast to the other very atmospheric tracks.
I don't mind the cute animal mailbox, but I did find myself considering turning off the "battle music" because it wasn't matching my mood. Instead of that adrenaline building RPG battle music they could have gone for a more haunting puzzle game soundtrack? I'm thinking something like this would interrupt my thinking less.
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I'm actually a little disappointed by the RPGwatch reception of this game. All this complaining about "time limits" or "spawns" is missing the point. The battles are dynamic. Things happen, you adapt. Keeps it exciting. If a timer ends it's not a hard loss and restart; It's a new phase with more "difficulty", aka shit to kill.

Anyway, It's a great game. Very well designed, very well polished. I haven't finished it yet but I'm thinking it gets a 90% or better score from me.
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May 20th, 2019, 20:21
Sorry, long text ahead, talking about difficulty and time limitations generally and specifically in this game:

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about this game and kind of realized that one thing I miss from this game is a "meta difficulty" for the lack of a different word.

This game works great if you go from start to finish and try the best you can in every mission, which in themselves work great due to the ways you are pushed, whether that is a time limitation or other means.

The moment it breaks is when you just go for the minimum. That way even on hard it becomes extremely easy as there is a big difficulty difference between "just solving the mission" and "getting all the bonus objetives".
So what you could do is just finish the missions maybe up to a point where one mission might become a bit more difficult a you did not collect all the bonuses from the bonus objective.
But if you head back now, these missions are a total walk in the park now. Neither the time limitation nor the despawn really matter if you just kill everything right away with your additional and enhanced abilities and even an additional party member.

So the fastest way to actually go through the game on hard difficulty, with a highest rating for all missions is revisiting them after doing only the minimum first. And this idea is kind of demotivating to me (not to a degree that I would stop playing though).

It's a bit similar to games where you can chose a difficulty, but you are not punished for mixing them and are in fact incentivized to do so. Into the breach was a good example, where you basically had to unlock some stuff on easy as it was hardly possible on higher difficulties, and after I kind of feel I cheated and lose motivation, as if you killed a boss, which otherwise is unbeatable due to a design flaw by entering a cheat. And the game just tells you "well, if you want to play further with that cheat, go on", and it's your reposibility, to only use this cheat when absolutely necessary. It's a kind of broken design.

Back to Druidstone though: I am aware that ofc in most RPGs its similar. If you revisit an old zone and it has respawn you can now kill the enemies fast. But usually you cannot redo whole missions. And you are also not supposed to.
In Xcom you cannot just say "Well, I want to level up my characters, I will just redo the first battle now". Why? Because that game (or Xenonauts, or any other game of that time) gives you pressure by other means. You could actually say these games like XCom (old or new) have a time limit. As the game becomes more difficult every day which passes in the game. And if you do not advance your troops accordingly and expand your base, you will not keep up and lose. Which is working exactly like a "floating" time limitation.

So to me Druidstone would actually have been a more interesting game if it only allowed for 100 turns or so on the map (with good visibility ofc and tracking so the end doesnt come as surprise). And you were forced to really try hard to finish the missions as well as possible in order to make it in that limitation. That way all missions would be played as it "was intended" by the developer without going "easy mode" by revisiting them later.

As speaking of the intnetion of developers, which lackblogger and I wrote about earlier:
Another good difficulty that the standard difficulty isn't necessarily the "intended" one is Civilization which as standard starts on Prince. But on that difficulty nothing really matters and you will win blindfolded in the newer parts of the series.
It's just the normal difficulty because the AI doesn't cheat there.
In addition nobody stops you from savescumming in Civilization. Which you can do by design, but which also completely breaks the game balance.
And speaking about breaking the game balance and firaxis:

Coincidentally I was listening to a podcast from TheeMovesAhead, which is a tactics/strategy and board game podcast (can be found here: https://www.idlethumbs.net/3ma/episodes) and they were mentioning Games like Battlebrothers and the old xcom which were disgned to be played around not reloading everytime something goes wrong. They also mentioned that Firaxis promoted XCom2 as "ironman mode being the real mode" while the game according to their view doesn't work at all on this mode as the balance isn't accomodating for that. From only having played the first one, which I stopped in frustration due to imho bad mechanics and randomness, I can totally see that being true for the second as well.

Anyways, give the podcast a try if you haven't done so already, recommended.
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Doing >Let's Plays< and >Reviews< in German. Latest Review: Pathway
Mostly playing Indie titles, including Strategy, Tactics and Roleplaying-Games.
And here is a list of all games I ever played.
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