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ShoDemo

Hexen 2 difficulty

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Today, I started playing Hexen 2 and I had some trouble getting used to the melee weapons and the enemy A.I.

Monsters are a lot smarter compared to previous games in the series. Some even duck and they can block my hits. And spiders leap towards the player, not caring for anything. Plus, those stone golems are really aggressive, although they are very slow and I can take them out pretty easily, while being careful.

 

So, I tried the 3rd difficulty (I usually go UV, but here it had only 4 difficulties) and I got my ass handed to me, no matter the class I chose each time (I could only clear the first map and half of any other map, before I would end up with very low health and not much ammo).

Until finally, I lowered the difficulty. I played in the 2nd one with the Paladin (haven't tried any of the other classes in the 2nd difficulty). And I started seeing the game as being very fun! I took the sword and I started killing everything, while solving the puzzles. And oh God!!! The puzzles feel very secretive at times, yet I can always find my way around the levels and unveil any secret areas needed to proceed (or any unnecessary secret areas that give extra items). They are very satisfying to find (I use the "break everything that is breakable" technique, which works pretty well) and I feel that Heretic and Hexen helped me a whole lot in exploring the maps.

 

Anyways, my question is the following: What is the default difficulty for Hexen 2 (I mean the difficulty that the game was designed for)? And is the 2nd difficulty an ok way to experience the game? I don't want it to get extremely easy later (currently, I find it to be easy to normal). And I already started getting a lot of items, while I haven't cleared that many areas yet.

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I think my experience was about the same -- first time I played the game, I had to go with the 2nd difficulty level, but after I knew what to expect, I was able to bump it up. The AI is a bit harder to cheese, but once you figure it out, the combat will get much easier.

 

8 minutes ago, ShotgunDemolition said:

Anyways, my question is the following: What is the default difficulty for Hexen 2 (I mean the difficulty that the game was designed for)? And is the 2nd difficulty an ok way to experience the game?

Kinda like the first Hexen, the game is puzzle-centric, and so combat is second-place. For this reason, I don't think it's like Doom where there's a "full experience" difficulty and a "you stink at this game" difficulty -- we play for the puzzles, and the combat is just to keep things interesting. So no, you aren't missing out on anything important by lowering the difficulty.

 

9 minutes ago, ShotgunDemolition said:

I don't want it to get extremely easy later (currently, I find it to be easy to normal).

It won't!

 

The paladin is a fun class! You'll have some difficulty early on because you don't have a ranged weapon, but playing Tyson-style is also a blast. :-D

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6 minutes ago, ShotgunDemolition said:

And I started seeing the game as being very fun! [...] is the 2nd difficulty an ok way to experience the game? I don't want it to get extremely easy later

I haven't played the game, but assuming it's reasonably designed, it will only get harder and not easier as you progress, and what's "an ok way to experience the game" if not one you're seeing as being very fun?

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13 minutes ago, 42PercentHealth said:

I think my experience was about the same

Glad to know I wasn't the only one!  :)

13 minutes ago, 42PercentHealth said:

So no, you aren't missing out on anything important by lowering the difficulty.

Ok, then I shall continue with my 2nd difficulty playthrough (I am currently at the Stables, so I have progressed quite a bit and going back now seems like a stupid idea).

13 minutes ago, 42PercentHealth said:

You'll have some difficulty early on because you don't have a ranged weapon, but playing Tyson-style is also a blast. :-D

The only enemies that can be annoying for me, due to not being able to hit them easily, are those winged guys that throw fireballs. But they sometimes dive on to the player, so they can be hit with the sword. And it is really fun running around with the sword. Also, the Paladin seems to not have any problems with mana, just like the Fighter (I am glad I picked up the Fighter in Deathkings).

14 minutes ago, scifista42 said:

and what's "an ok way to experience the game" if not one you're seeing as being very fun?

I didn't think of that this morning, but you couldn't have been more right in this statement! Basically, this question of mine in this thread happened due to a stupid thought I have in my head. I was thinking of the difficulties in Doom (like 42% described, a "full experience" difficulty and a "you stink at this game" difficulty) while choosing the difficulty in Hexen 2 and I wanted to know that while I am having fun, I am also pushing my self to the best I can achieve difficulty-wise. It just would make feel ashamed to play any game I really like on easy, while I know that I could play on hard and have similar amounts of fun. However, in most other games I just go with normal, without thinking about it.

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in Doom, there's a "full experience" difficulty and a "you stink at this game" difficulty

Let's just say that I don't think this is true even in Doom.

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2 hours ago, scifista42 said:

Let's just say that I don't think this is true even in Doom.

I agree that this is not true of the Doom/Doom2 IWADs, but it is clear that some mappers design for UV, and only implement lower difficulties because a few people will whine if they're not there.

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Which still only makes it true from the perspective of these particular mappers, not generally so. But OK, these are probably just semantics, I think we understand each other's point.

Edited by scifista42

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So you are saying that if a certain player has more fun on a lower difficulty, then he's not really "missing" anything from the higher difficulties. I can agree with that. However...

 

I am looking at it from the mapper's perspective: if he/she designed an encounter with a particular goal in mind, and then had to deviate from that goal in lower difficulty settings, then I would argue that something was lost by playing those lower difficulties. Ribbik's maps come to mind -- each encounter is unashamedly gimmicky, but he effectively creates diabolical puzzles that will kill the player quickly if he/she makes the wrong move. When you turn down the difficulty, some of that ingenuity -- that sense of inspiration, if you will -- is lost.

 

It's like the difference between reading the complete works of Shakespeare, and reading "The Complete Works of Shakespeare: Edited and Abridged for 8th Grade Students."

 

Just FTR, since my posts get misinterpreted sometimes: I am not judging anyone for playing on difficulty settings 1-3. My statements above describe the reason I choose to play maps as closely as possible to the mapper's intention. Just thought I'd better throw that out there....

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I think hexen 2 adds monster types earlier on the last difficulty, But not sure since I played it ages ago. Tbh I have no idea why does this specific game give me a headache that keeps getting stronger until I quit it, I think it is the sound design.

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Skill 4 is just skill 3 but with -fast behavior, the difficulties are completely identical to Quake. Portal of Praevus adds a hidden 5th skill that in addition to fast monsters also respawns monsters but respawns mana pickups to balance it out.

I'd recommend skill 3 if you want the hard mode equivalent and the most enemies available, otherwise I'd imagine the game would get quite boring before long. Skill 4 just breaks the Were Jaguar's crouch anyway (same problem as Quake II's skill 4, any enemy that crouches will continue to do so and become sitting ducks, disabling their mobility and all their attacks).

I think H2 has some weird balance problems, your character always starts out like shit and most enemies are more durable than they really should be, or weapons are just not nearly as powerful as past incarnations from H1. Inventory items are generally less effective too, or just more difficult to use. There's less enemies available patrolling and less enemy types altogether in H2 but they all hit harder (most ranged attacks, and some are completely unavoidable seeker missiles) and take more punishment than those in H1. Your ultimate 4th weapon is not definitive either, although that is probably a welcome balance change but they're often underwhelming and pretty much mandatory by the end of the game to take on 'normal' enemies (Archer Lords and Giant Brown Spiders are numerous and very strong, even with a class's third weapon).

E: It also doesn't help that in addition to mana sponge monsters mana pickups themselves are less plentiful and most weapons burn through the stuff fast.

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@cyan0s1s I agree with your points about the combat. In general, I think H2's combat is weaker than H1's, but the puzzle element is better. So I really have a hard time picking a favorite between the two.

 

The only reliable way I've found to avoid damage from seeking attacks is to use disks of repulsion.

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The tanky monsters were definitely really annoying, and the goddamned medusa was thwarted only by me having a key bound to using the disc of repulsion on hand at all times when they were around. Perseus made fighting the medusa seem so easy...

 

I guess I liked the game, but the combat was a bit on the weaker side.

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@42PercentHealth True on the Disc usage but it doesn't help the seeker missile attackers spam their attack like crazy so you best hope you have a LOT of Discs (Famine is a classic example but pretty much all the Four Horsemen have seekers for maximum artificial difficulty).

Also worth noting certain Glyphs can be notably powerful or one-shot troublesome foes (tip: Iron Golem really doesn't like the Assassin variety of Glyphs).

The Necromancer's Bone Shard tomed up is also one of the most devastating attacks in the game, besides the Assassin's ultimate weapon which is easily the most OP out of all the classes when fully charged, just keep a Krater or two handy.

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5 minutes ago, cyan0s1s said:

(tip: Iron Golem really doesn't like the Assassin variety of Glyphs).

 

5 minutes ago, cyan0s1s said:

besides the Assassin's ultimate weapon which is easily the most OP out of all the classes when fully charged, just keep a Krater or two handy.

So, I never finished the game as the assassin... That fake female voice gets on my nerves so much each time I take damage or jump. I do remember trying out the glyphs and not being able to figure out how they work. Seemed like they would float in a straight line until they hit a monster (in which case they blew up) or a wall (in which case they would usually damage me for no apparent reason).

 

Also, out of curiosity, what does the final weapon do?

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The Assassin's Glyph is a tripmine, you launch it at a wall and it connects a magical chain to the other side. Anything that breaks it results in a deadly explosion.

The final weapon is the Staff of Set, holding down fire will charge it up, then it will make a distinct noise as you continue to charge it, draining additional mana, you'll want to let go once it starts making that noise. The projectile is practically instantaneous and can one-shot an Archer Lord IIRC.

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Also of noteworthiness regarding classes and their stats:

Strength affects melee damage only while Wisdom affects the amount of experience gained. Dexterity and Intelligence affect absolutely nothing at all. Going up a level will raise your max hit point and mana values. Each class has two passive abilities they'll acquire upon leveling up past a certain point, level 3 will net the first ability while level 6 will grant the second ability.

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7 minutes ago, cyan0s1s said:

Each class has two passive abilities they'll acquire upon leveling up past a certain point, level 3 will net the first ability while level 6 will grant the second ability.

I remember what some of these were -- IIRC some were pretty cool, and some were pretty crap.

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Just remember to have the latest Hexen 2 patch. I remember some versions had an issue with the bone shards, namely they did practically no damage at all. Thankfully, that was fixed though.

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@Ichor v1.11? I recommend the unofficial 1.14 patch for H2 and the 1.15 patch for PoP, as these fix numerous issues, including a transparency oversight with the Necromancer's Magic Missile projectile. It also corrects and re-enables the fullbrights that GL mode doesn't support properly (like GLQuake).

E: Random fun fact, though the H2 veterans are likely to know this already, you can play as the Demoness class from PoP in the original campaign, by simply launching the 'new mission' as it's the only one that has her as a class option, and then go into the console and type 'map demo1' (yes, the first three levels of the game are actually called demo1-3 in the full version) and you'll warp to the original game's setting but with the new class and all your weapons spawn in the same places as the original characters' did.

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With regards to the homing projectiles, the medusa was annoying as sin but I didn't think Famine to be that bad. I don't know if plain old running is faster, but straferunning is definitely faster than those axes, so the battle for me ended up just being a big test of endurance, since they eventually time out after a while. There also seems to be an oddity that rapidly reversing the direction of your strafe makes you go really fast, but I haven't actually done any measurements to see if its any faster or slower than plain old straferunning.

 

 

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Yeah you can actually outrun the axes thrown by War and the Boots of Speed assist nicely in battle but he creates an absolute fuckload of them so you never want to stop for even a moment or you'll be dead, he's still the tamest example though and there's a lot of space to run around, even if there is no cover.

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Heh, so that's War. Well, tells you how long its been since I last played. Almost none of the bosses stood out to me in the slightest if I'm honest, they were pretty boring.

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Protip: There is a tiny spot on the wall where War is before he emerges. If you shoot it, it will break, and you can then kill him without him even breaking out. However, if you get too close, he will break out and you would have to fight him normally.

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9 hours ago, Ichor said:

Protip: There is a tiny spot on the wall where War is before he emerges. If you shoot it, it will break, and you can then kill him without him even breaking out. However, if you get too close, he will break out and you would have to fight him normally.

Dude, you gotta be kidding! Now I have to play the game again...

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Anyone have any idea what happened to the unofficial patch 1.14 for H2 and 1.15 for PoP? I can't find the page listing them on the internet anymore.

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