So Conash and I had a little discussion about this “difficulty menu” idea he had, and we’ve started to give it some serious discussion.
My original vision for Harem Collector was to have the dungeon exploration to relatively streamlined, but for combat itself to be reasonably challenging. I don’t really enjoy the sorts of RPGs where you have to grind for hours to proceed, or get certain items or skills. I much prefer games where enemies are limited in supply, or there is some other constraint meaning you have to balance grinding with something else. If I were to pick some of my favourite RPGs, I would select the latter SMT: Persona games, where grinding comes at the expense of time in the game’s very limited calendar, or the early-mid Bioware games where enmy encounters don’t respawn. This is also why I prefer to play Pokemon games Nuzlocke-style– grinding becomes a pretty dangerous prospect when an unlucky crit can kill one of your “party members” forever.
Not everyone is like that, however. Some people prefer to grind, they find the process to be relaxing or even soothing in a way. Others prefer the simple knowledge that if they encounter a challenge that they can’t overcome, they can just keep at it and eventually grow powerful enough to steamroll whatever is in their way. Still others might not care to grind, but they’re just playing Harem Collector for the sweet, sweet pornography, which I totally understand. Others don’t mind the combat, but don’t care for the economy side of the game. My policy for a long time has been to stick to the original vision, but I’ve come to see the wisdom of having various, multi-faceted difficulty levels.
If you’ve been paying attention you may have been able to suss out that I’m a huge horror fan and one of the greatest horror game franchises of all time, Silent Hill, is well known for having separate combat and puzzle difficulty levels. I am totally cool with this idea, and honestly a little disappointed with myself that I didn’t think of it sooner.
The idea, for now, is to divide difficulty between economy and combat, with independent easy-medium-hard levels for each. As Conash mentioned last week, we’re cooking up a “hard” difficulty for combat right now, and we intend to re-examine “easy” mode to make it something more than just “permanent stat growth potions are everywhere and you start with a huge amount of cash”. For economy, I think we’re mainly looking at playing with the return on investment of the various investment opportunities, and dialing down the amount of money that selling items (including vendor trash) gets you. We’re also looking at a third option, to replace the existence of the Timeturner, for whether or not you want to advance a day whenever you like.
Well, there’s a lot to do before the backer release next week, so I’d better get going. See you all later!