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Author Topic: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?  (Read 13408 times)

Madskills

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Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« on: May 21, 2021, 07:55:46 AM »

Mods for most games are designed by and for diehard fans who have finished the vanilla and want more content. Naturally, since the target audience has probably already finished the vanilla, they're probably good enough at it, so that they'd expect modded content to introduce extra challenge. I can't help but wonder why it's not the case with starsector specifically: most mods add factions that bring more toys (ships/weapons) that make the player stronger, but they don't add any actual challenge to compensate for this.

Most faction mods introduce very passive/neutral factions that just provide more stuff for the player to buy.

Even mods that technically buff hostile factions (luddics/pirates) either buff them very little, or if they add any advanced pirate tech, the player always gets all the same and plus some more.

I can't help but feel that practically every mod that I have, gives me more tactical options and if it adds any challenges, they're always optional. The main challenges that I'm facing are almost all the same as vanilla: money, pirates, luddics, I just get more tools to deal with them from mods. Why don't mods routinely give more and better officers to the hostiles? Why don't they send hired assassins after me to reclaim the [redacted] bit of tech that I stole? Why don't they routinely make my life harder by raiding my colonies all the time?
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belone

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2021, 08:03:55 AM »

Make your own mod then?
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StrikeEcho

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2021, 08:16:10 AM »

Would you mind giving more specific examples?
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Madskills

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2021, 09:22:10 AM »

Would you mind giving more specific examples?
sure, here's a bunch of random mods that I have:

Roider Union: neutral faction, lots of strong ships and weapons, no threats
XhanEmpire: neutral faction, lots of very good weapons, some strong ships, no threats
Shadowyards: one of very few mods that adds benefits to both players and pirates. However, pirates receive sub-par versions of ship hulls.
ScalarTech: friendly faction, lots weapons with power level above vanilla, no threats
High Tech Expansion: some mercenaries get the mod ships, but player benefits from them more because of how easy they are to get
Tahlan Shipworks: one of those very few mods that does provides additional challenges (domain era capitals, plague bearers). However, all of them are optional so it's possible to just play the game by using lots of really strong tech it also adds.
SEEKER: similar to Tahlan in this regard
Kadur: very strong neutral faction, no challenges
Diable Avionics: extremely strong faction that's mostly neutral to the player, no challenges

Note that mods like Tahlan and SEEKER at least give the player really strong tech only for exploration. In most other mods you can just go to the modded faction's station and buy anything you want.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 09:24:02 AM by Madskills »
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HungwellHamburger

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2021, 09:23:54 AM »

most mods add factions that bring more toys (ships/weapons) that make the player stronger, but they don't add any actual challenge to compensate for this.

Ruthless sector + adjusted sector (uptune [REDACTED] spawns) + Vayras ship pack (uptune [REDACTED] monstrosity spawns) + Nexerelins Derelict Empire. Afterwards reflect on how you are spending your life. Doctrine evolution from Second Wave Options is great too.

Can we make this an "individual tweaks we make to make our lives difficult" thread?

As mentioned above, I tune up Vayras spawns, and I will never disregard a "too scary" warning again. I am wanting to experiment with the speeds and damages of the macross missile massacres that get sent out, to make them "manageably terrifying".  Next playthrough will involve a few Second Wave options that look like they add ammo magazines to ships in the form of CR usage for shots fired. Seems interesting, and made for the pure ISRU run that I am trying to make a tweak-suite for. Any more like the above?

EDIT: Dont know if I need to be specific in this case, but by spawns I mean hull chances found in World/Faction outside of the jar.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 09:37:19 AM by HungwellHamburger »
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Jonlissla

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2021, 01:00:34 PM »

I can't help but feel that practically every mod that I have, gives me more tactical options and if it adds any challenges, they're always optional. The main challenges that I'm facing are almost all the same as vanilla: money, pirates, luddics, I just get more tools to deal with them from mods. Why don't mods routinely give more and better officers to the hostiles? Why don't they send hired assassins after me to reclaim the [redacted] bit of tech that I stole? Why don't they routinely make my life harder by raiding my colonies all the time?

Like the user above mentioned, Ruthless Sector plus a few others will let you tweak difficulty to your desires. I am very interested however in knowing what kind of difficulty you're interested in. For me the charm is managing money, supplies and fuel while exploring the sector for ruins and bounties, and once I get a good colony going with solid income I sort of end the playthrough since stable income makes active trading rather boring, and for me, pointless.

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shoi

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2021, 03:08:22 PM »

Mods for most games are designed by and for diehard fans who have finished the vanilla and want more content. Naturally, since the target audience has probably already finished the vanilla, they're probably good enough at it, so that they'd expect modded content to introduce extra challenge. I can't help but wonder why it's not the case with starsector specifically: most mods add factions that bring more toys (ships/weapons) that make the player stronger, but they don't add any actual challenge to compensate for this.

Most faction mods introduce very passive/neutral factions that just provide more stuff for the player to buy.

Even mods that technically buff hostile factions (luddics/pirates) either buff them very little, or if they add any advanced pirate tech, the player always gets all the same and plus some more.

I can't help but feel that practically every mod that I have, gives me more tactical options and if it adds any challenges, they're always optional. The main challenges that I'm facing are almost all the same as vanilla: money, pirates, luddics, I just get more tools to deal with them from mods. Why don't mods routinely give more and better officers to the hostiles? Why don't they send hired assassins after me to reclaim the [redacted] bit of tech that I stole? Why don't they routinely make my life harder by raiding my colonies all the time?

It seems like this is more of a discrepency with your own playstyle than anything. Most people aren't only going to be fighting pirates and the path  - arguaby the two weakest factions in the game - in a modded playthrough, but other factions as well.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 03:10:20 PM by shoi »
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AcaMetis

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2021, 03:33:42 PM »

Quote
The main challenges that I'm facing are almost all the same as vanilla: money, pirates, luddics, I just get more tools to deal with them from mods.
Start picking fights with those other factions, and your game will end up being a lot less easy as those same tools are used against you. One way to go about this would be to take a Commission from some faction (you can nerf commission payouts into the ground through your settings.json if you so wish, and I actually would recommend doing so if you're looking for a greater challenge) and deal with the random war declarations that comes with. Or, for maximum fun, install Nex and do a playthrough as a Pirate.
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SafariJohn

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2021, 05:14:11 PM »

Part of it is how Starsector is designed - the player is expected to be able to get most stuff. Another part is nobody wants to do "big enemy" stuff when vanilla might invalidate it on the way to 1.0.
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Sutopia

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2021, 05:15:52 PM »

I think it falls into several categories:
A. Outright easier game (for example, DIY planets)
B. Exploitable depending on circumstances (for example, Nexerelin)
C. Meant to provide challenges (for example, The Knights Templar) <- Please @Dark.Revenant can we have .95 update for this? I'm perfectly fine if Templars are completely not salvageable and serve solely as challenge.
D. Add content that doesn't break game balance (extremely rare, but Beyond The Sector, maybe??)

Most mods falls into the second bucket so when combined they can easily make the game balance break into oblivion.
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Since all my mods have poor reputation, I deem my efforts unworthy thus no more updates will be made.

Sundog

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2021, 09:37:44 PM »

Most people are motivated to create mods in order to do one of two fundamental things:
  • Add cool stuff to the game for the player to use. If the cool stuff is to be useful, it must be better than vanilla content (at least circumstantially). Otherwise it's pointless and the mod just creates clutter. If mod content is "balanced," it will be useful in some circumstances without making any vanilla content useless. That still make the game easier, in spite of being the the best-case scenario. And, as Sutopia pointed out, otherwise balanced mods can interact in unintended ways that are exploitable.
  • Remove/improve some aspect of the game that annoys them. Typically people aren't annoyed by things that make the game easier, so this usually results in mods that remove difficulty.
I think these are the reasons the vast majority of mods make their games easier. When mods make games more difficult, it's usually because that's their primary purpose. What I try to do is make mods that self-balance by adding features that make the game harder as well as features that make it easier. Unfortunately, this method is difficult and sometimes problematic, and it's impossible for any mod that alters content or features to be truly difficulty neutral.

Ultimately, adding mods to a game means you're choosing the game's difficulty yourself anyway, so the best way to counteract the power-creep they introduce is to increase the difficulty in other ways. You can use iron mode, alter settings, install difficulty mods, and (if you have the discipline for it) impose new limitations on yourself for a run (e.g. "no commodity raiding", or "only Tiandong ships may be used").

Madskills

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2021, 09:45:31 PM »

Challenges that I'm talking about are not just arbitrarily doubling spawn rate of Ordos or reducing profits from colonies. That's just boring.

I guess my question is: why do most mods have to be just faction mods? Why don't we get more mods that involve questlines with their own challenges that ask the player to search for something or to overcome a high threat battle in order to get something or that give you special goodies only if you manage to become allied with both luddics and the hegemony? I guess my biggest concern is that the content that looks and feels amazing (art-wise and gameplay wise) is given far too easily for the player where they can just buy it. It does not feel rewarding.

Look at the Zig[REDACTED] questline in vanilla: this is exactly what mods DONT have. It's a high value technology that is hard to acquire and that attracts its own hostile attention once you do get it. This feels like the type of stuff that makes vanilla more interesting than most mods.
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Madskills

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2021, 09:52:04 PM »

You can use iron mode, alter settings, install difficulty mods, and (if you have the discipline for it) impose new limitations on yourself for a run (e.g. "no commodity raiding", or "only Tiandong ships may be used").
this is exactly what I ended up doing: self-imposing artificial challenges to balance the power creep. like playing only vanilla weapons or not using raiding, etc. but this feels quite arbitrary and artificial.


What I try to do is make mods that self-balance by adding features that make the game harder as well as features that make it easier. Unfortunately, this method is difficult and sometimes problematic, and it's impossible for any mod that alters content or features to be truly difficulty neutral.
It is indeed quite problematic (if not impossible) IF you're making a standart-type faction mod. There's practically no way how you can counteract the power creep of adding the player a whole new faction of tech, even if that faction is hostile. I think the way it should be addressed is simply make it NOT a faction mod. Make it a derelict. Make it only communicate to the player if they're friendly with the remnants. Make their tech only available as quest rewards. Make it only available for winning battles (so that you can't just buy it), etc.
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HungwellHamburger

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2021, 09:55:02 PM »

I guess my biggest concern is that the content that looks and feels amazing (art-wise and gameplay wise) is given far too easily for the player where they can just buy it. It does not feel rewarding.
I see your point. I like Arkgneisis' approach to the problem by offering down-tuned models of their ships for open sale.

I feel like, especially in the case of the Hegemony, Factions should be jealous of their ships, and suspicious at least of some rando in possesion of one, and not likely to sell one of their last Legions or whatever on the open market. Black Markets could require a contact to be made to access it, but it would have the above consequences.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 10:01:54 PM by HungwellHamburger »
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Sundog

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Re: Why do most mods have to make the game easier?
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2021, 10:10:41 PM »

I guess my question is: why do most mods have to be just faction mods? Why don't we get more mods that involve questlines with their own challenges that ask the player to search for something or to overcome a high threat battle in order to get something or that give you special goodies only if you manage to become allied with both luddics and the hegemony? I guess my biggest concern is that the content that looks and feels amazing (art-wise and gameplay wise) is given far too easily for the player where they can just buy it. It does not feel rewarding.

Look at the Zig[REDACTED] questline in vanilla: this is exactly what mods DONT have. It's a high value technology that is hard to acquire and that attracts its own hostile attention once you do get it. This feels like the type of stuff that makes vanilla more interesting than most mods.
Ah, ok. Well that mostly has to do with the maturity of Starsector and its API. Prior to v0.95 it was very difficult to add quest-type content because the game hadn't really been built for it yet. It's still far from easy to create that kind of mod, but I know several people are working on it. For example, I'm pretty sure SEEKER will do exactly the type of thing you're hoping for once it's fully-realized. Most Starsector mods are factions because 1- that's what the modding framework supports best, 2- faction mods don't require any advanced scripting, and 3- who doesn't want more baddass spaceships?
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