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I wanted to pitch a better gameplay experience using your current sliders with more customization. To me, I enjoy the military challenge and logistics but think the supply lines are too much to the point that I either have a campaign that's too easy on hard or too annoying on very hard and legendary. I have completed them but it feels at points like i'm navigating around some arbitrary difficulty metrics to get back to the fun, and that's generally not how you want to feel in your video games. Challenge should come from something that feels natural to the setting, or logical to the player. But, since everyone has their own definition of "logical" it would be easier to fulfill that by giving them the control to say what is appropriate. So what you could do is have the usual difficulty settings (Very Easy to Legendary) that move the bars uniformly as well as a "custom" difficulty setting. Mine would be like: -Enemy aggression(wars declared and armies formed by AI): Very hard (Very likely to attack, +2 local recruitment slots available to enemy) -Economic constraints (Supply lines penalties per army): Hard (+7%) I would recommend allowing custom choices at standard integer intervals from -5% to +20% -Battle difficulty: custom, hard (more on this later) -Chaos invasion: Very hard (24 armies at northern corners) plus a new "Touch of Chaos" option where 8 random 2-army incursions spawned throughout world when they attack.
There are other metrics you could have too in order to allow players to gradually turn up the difficulty. If they want to do a "legendary style" campaign without all the sliders to the farthest, give them a toggle for "allow previous saves or single save only?" Its one thing to limit yourself to not savescum, but its a lot more pressure when they game is enforcing that you arent allowed to do it. And that experience is "part of it."
For the battle difficulty there are parts currently that are great and others that feel like they're just hurting the experience. Allowing the player to decide which is which would be best. To fix the current missile-reliant meta, and to allow players to play how they want, battle difficulty could be split up several ways: -Enemy leadership: easy (-4) to Very hard (+10) -Own/allied leadership: easy (+4) to Very hard (-10) -Melee Handicap: Very Easy (greater of -4 or -10% enemy MA/MD) to "just unfair" (+8 or +25% enemy MA/MD, greater of) -Missile Handicap: Very easy (-10% enemy missile resist) to "just unfair" (50% enemy missile resist baseline) -Magic effectiveness: Unaffected (0% enemy spell resist) to "Stifled" (50% enemy spell resist) -for legendary difficulty consider giving a universal 5-10% ward save to the AI.
These would allow players to challenge themselves, work on their weak areas, have fun campaigns using the weakest parts of a factions roster, etc.
It doesnt seem like it would take much more than just adding a toggle to settings that already exist in game for the most part, though I am suggesting some things that are completely new as well. Of course I do understand that its not quite as simple to add things as it is in carpentry, you dont just get to hammer code on and call it a day since it has knock on effects. But I think the benefit for the players could be overall proportionally worth your time and could see some people who arent as "motivated" to play the game find themselves becoming rabid players with the options built to better suit their needs given to them. Which would lead them to buy more DLC packs, keep the multiplayer scene alive longer, and just create better longevity to what is already a well loved and long lived game as it is.