Detailed Feedback: Hard Mode

Ok, so I tried 2 runs with Hard Mode enabled and here’s a list of feedback and some suggestions at the end of the post:

Some details:

  • I always started with a trapper knife
  • I always crafted my first sword at the first half of the first day and gave it to someone with at least 5 spirit+5stamina
  • In both runs I made it to day 30
  • I did some runs before those 2 “successful” runs, but I died to soon to consider them in my feedback. After I learned some things, it went better
  • I always placed my camp at a location where the enemy could only attack from one direction

Problems I had:

  • In the first 10 days the strength of single enemies is no problem at all. The problem is, when enemies come in hordes. For example 5 woodlings. This forces you to have at least 2 footmen and a cleric. The problem with that is, that this takes 3 citizens! At that point, you will have 9, at max 10 citizens and since there are alot of jobs to handle (especially worker stuff like carrying or building), most players probably wont have 3 spare citizens
  • In the days 10-20, bigger enemies start to appear. This is the point where I had real trouble. I had 2 footmen equipped with thick leather, shield, leather helmet and stone hammer and a cleric. If 2 big woodlings appeared, I had no chance. Goblins and wolves were no problem at all. The thing is: 2 equipped footmen and 1 cleric SHOULD be able to handle the enemy hordes coming. Another problem is, that the cleric also attacks in close combat and dies quite fast if he takes aggro. I would like to see him stand back and concentrate on healing.
  • In the days 20-30 I started to promote one footmen to knight and one to bowmen. I also recruited one more hearthling to footmen and equipped him with everythign I could. But then the enemies were impossible to beat for me. Big golems or huge goblin hordes with at least 3 bowmen… The bowmen are especially problematic, since you can’t attack them well in close combat (always run after 1 hit and heavily kite you) but they deal tons of damage.
  • All in all it was hard to have enough citizens for all the important jobs + having enough footmen. I think at day 30 you need at least 5 good equipped footmen and a cleric to survive the strong enemies, which is nearly impossible to have thanks to the high requirements to get new citizens.

My suggestions:

  • In hardmore, the requirements for new citizens should be scaled down, so that you can get more hearthlings sooner. This doesn’t make the game simpler, because you need more ressources (more food + more equipment + more micromanagement), but it gives the player the possibility to have much more soldiers, which are necessary to survive in hard more.
  • Since the introduction of knights, archers and clerics, we really need formations now. a cleric rushing into a horde of goblins and an archer who fights in close combat are gamebreakers in hardmode.
  • We also need to possibility to place our archer on walls or towers. I suggest that you can click on a unit (example: Archer) and then there’s a “defense area” button. Now you can place a defense area on top of the wall and the archer is free to roam around in that area you have defined. So if you build a wall and create a defense area on top of the wall, the archer can walk around on the wall (and may not leaving this area, except if he is scared and runs away from enemies). If an enemy gets into shooting range of that defined area, the archer will move to that position within the defense area and start shooting. Ofc the defense area should also work on ground and not just walls.
  • A knight should have 100% aggro against all enemies within a certain range as long as his health is over 25%, so that footmen and archers dont have to think about getting focused. When the health drops below 25%, tha 100% aggro effect disappears, so that clerics have a chance to heal him back




I have had a similar experience, I have one single town, they are in a fairly isolated location that prevents access from too many directions.

I am pretty far along and have about 21 Hearthlings My defense group is 1 Knight, 2 Warriors, 2 Clerics and 3 Archers. All are lv 6 except 1 cleric lv3 and one archer lv 4. So not a weak bunch.

I tried to manage them in the fast paced combat. and while there may be good ways to handle that type of thing by setting up hotkeys and groups for the classes. My brain wants to go RTS mode. I want them to auto attack things if they get close like they do now. However I want to have the ability to “Combat pause” then left click a unit, ANY unit and right click an enemy to have them attack or move to the clicked location. Perhaps this left and right click management only works when you are in “combat pause” mode after a spacebar press for example. Otherwise it does the normal thing.

For example my little band was decimated by an enemy made up of 2 Ogres and 3 Kobold archers. If I could have had the Knight on the two Ogres (Or he auto runs for the melee enemies to engage them.) And I could left click and right click the Fighters? and Archers to attack the enemy archers individually I could manage that fight and win with better combat strategy. But as it is currently (I have not tried the newest patch released 5/6/16) but I doubt it is that different. I find that I am saving a lot, and any time there are 3 or more archers I will lose someone pretty often. As long as it takes to train up a soldier and convert to the second class and all that they are too easily killed right now. I reload last save with any deaths but it feels like cheating.

I also like the option Aaron mentioned about putting archers in defensive locations on overwatch. However you would have to add a new feature to the workers when it is time to eat. Just have the workers at dinner time, grab a meal and take it to the combat units locked in defense locations. Then immediately after get themselves something to eat. That way the Archers or combat units on patrol can stay on patrol and not starve to death. I think maybe the combat units should also be a bit more resilient and require less or shorter time sleeping. So that they can sleep without a bed and do their job if something attacks. Just seems logical. As we can’t really schedule sleep shifts for them.

Anyway I think if that could be added and the left click to control a unit, then right click to either move to or attack would make combat and general unit control so much easier. I play a ton of RTS games and really don’t mind having the control. Just have the AI take over again as soon as the command is completed. If an archer kills the unit I forced him to attack then AI takes control again and he does as programed. A “combat pause” option with spacebar or something so I can tell my units who to attack or heal then unpause, would make combat amazing.

Love the game so far. I have to say Radiant updates this game more than any other game I have ever owned. I have 294 games… about 10-15 of them are Early access games and they are amazing with the furious pace of these updates. Best money I have spent so far. I know they will make the combat better. I think our suggestions here would get us much closer to a strategic RTS as well as a deep management and builder game.

Thanks for reading.



I second that! There is the “defend location” option already, though currently it’s pretty useless in my opinion, as soldiers on “defend” will simply starve to death sooner than later. If the “defend location” would be more flexible (don’t just stand there, wander around with at most distance X from the flag; get something to eat when you’re hungry or go to sleep at night; if several people are assigned to the same flag, have them rotate for eating and sleeping, so that there should always be at least one person on defense duty), it would perfectly fit for this.

Again I have to agree. Currently the combat groups are on 7-0, while game speed is on 1-3/4, where 1 is actually paused. I would also prefer to have

  • Pause (and resume to previous speed) on spacebar, like in many RPGs (Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights etc.)
  • the combat groups on 1-4, as it is very common in pretty much every RTS (and as added bonus, maybe put things like “attack move” on “A”? ^^)
  • The gamespeed I can live with changing only by clicking, though this is something that could be moved to +/- maybe? Wait, that’s currently bound to zoom, yes? Then maybe… Comma “,” and Period “.”? Or maybe the buttons one more to the right, like in KSP (though these change heavily with language settings, so you’d have to actually access the key, not the sent letter, which is probably a nightmare to display in the help text…?)

This is called HARD mode, not combat mode. If you only scale up combat, but make everything else easier, it isn’t really hard, is it? You write that after day ten you start to struggle and i’m not surprised, after all, you also said you were still wearing leather aarmour. By day ten you really need to have a blacksmith and some upgraded armour and weaponry.
I’m by no means a superb player or special in any way, i just focused on getting a smith fast amd still do well in my ich hard mode game.

EDIT: i agree on more control options though, ibwant to be able to really control my guys in combat too.

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Early-days hard mode is extremely difficult. I found that I had to use old MMO tactics in order to beat early groups of wolves or whatever:

  1. make sure your fort is only enterable at one choke point. Early on, this means a cliffside and stockpiles taking up the empty space on that cliffside.

  2. Put your camp standard at the top of the ladder on that cliffside – right at your entry chokepoint.

  3. Have your one soldier “pull” enemies by running up to them and then running all the way back to your camp flag. Enemies will string out; if you’re lucky, you can “grab” them one at a time, even. Then your whole fort will gang-bang them together, with your other hearthlings backing up your soldier “tank.”

This works very well for the first ten days or so but you need to absolutely prioritize getting a herbalist/cleric because you take a lot of damage and will need to recover. I play Rayya’s so that means starting with wooden sword, farmer’s hoe, herbalists’ staff. You also need to buy shields and more swords from the iskender trading caravan ASAP (again, if Rayya’s).

Pull this strategy off and you will make it through early days hard mode fairly reliably, even on Hard Mode with Rayya’s. Should work much more effectively with Ascendancy.

Make sure you have three troops by the time you’re at ten hearthlings (two footmen and a cleric); after that keep roughly that same 1/3 ratio of troops to other hearthlings and you should, generally speaking, be ok.

That said there were some encounters that were essentially unbeatable and seemed to force a reload. The big one I remember was that if the medium size or large size stone golem showed up, a single wooden-sword newbie couldn’t damage it sufficiently through its armor, no matter how much they pounded away, and similarly it dealt too much damage for hearthlings to face it in a group and survive. Beating it essentially requires either two levelled-up footmen or footman/cleric (which takes forever).

I’ve come to compare playing this game to coaching T-ball. After you finally get your kids ready to play you will always have 1 or 2 that will listen, a big group that will essentially follow the first 2, then a couple more that pretty much just wanna catch butterflies and wave at their mom.

Lesson 1: don’t make the butterfly kids your clerics.

Lesson 2: no matter what the parents say their kid isn’t as good as the top two, make that mistake and little Timmy gets mauled by Kobold Wolves cause he thought they was fluffy.

Lesson 3: save often, start fast and have fun with your virtual kids, they grow up so fast.


My experience has been a bit different than most in this thread.

I play Ascendancy, Hard, no buying stuff up front or re-rolling, for a little extra bit of challenge. Two footmen and a herbalist asap, and a third footman when I get a new villager with the right stats. I don’t take any special measures to fortify but I do wall in the town slowly over time. Early days are pretty simple. Hoards of five little golems are easily dispatched by my starter troops, as are the occasional goblin. Zombie attacks are more dicey, especially if there’s more than two, but manageable.

The problem comes as the days wear on and my troops are too stubborn to properly rest. If a goblin camp spawns too close to the village, they insist on running into the camp after the goblins’ first attack. If I order them elsewhere, they immediately attack the camp again. I’d desperately like a way to order a villager into bed so they can be healed instead of charging off looking for trouble with very little health. That hunk o’ stone the goblin took isn’t worth losing a footman over.

I’ve not gotten to the later game stuff in this latest update, so I can’t yet comment on that. I guess I should stick to a more defensible starting position until the troops are a bit less suicidal.

I’d really like to see more detailed posts like this. I suspect they’re pretty helpful for balancing purposes.

Personally I’m cool with the current balance (about one third military), I like having just under the right amount of capabilities, its a compelling place to be. I’d like to mention that the amount of soldiers you need at any given point is being balanced against the complexity of the tech tree. For example, the reason its hard to use three hearthlings at eight population is that you can’t tech up to blacksmith without four hearthlings. If they want to keep the producer / crafter / military split around even thirds they could tweak the level requirements for crafting talismans. Just a thought.

I have some more extreme experiences. I find the hard mode absolutely demotivating as it punishes you for using your technology knowledge.

The hard mode forces you to turtle things up. If you know that you need to keep your networth and technology on the down-low it becomes boring and tedious. I’ll explain what I’ve done

Start with:

  • 5 food items
  • Sword
  • Hoe

I start with the hoe because I NEED the herbalist to survive the massive barrage of enemies. food to prevent day 1 starvation and sword for quick survival. (might replace with something else.

Day 1:

  • Get lots of wood/stone/flowers
  • I manage to get 3 warriors with shields (all 6 starting hp). Very close to getting stone mauls.
  • Herbalist capable of making bandages. so my warriors get healed up after each fight.

Night 1:

  • get attacked by small varanus, zombies, stone golems. Every one of them nearly destroy my 3 warriors. I’d be dead without my herbalist.

Day 2:

  • Get 3 stone maul
  • get REALLY close to getting a forge to create next level weapons/armor

Night 2:

  • Get obliterated by large varanus/ 4 zombies / Large iron golem(whatever its name is)

Now the problem I have with this is that you’re simply not allowed to rush for any technology. The difficulty of the enemies depend on your tech/net-worth. It PUNISHES you for trying to make your warriors more powerful.

Now lets compare to the game I turtled:

  • I didn’t take any new tech other than carpentry/warrior/farmer until my warriors hit lvl 2. (3 days)
  • I went for an herbalist and waited for a traveling trader to to get leather so I could upgrade to cleric (day 8)
  • Destroy literally everything with 3 warriors, 1 cleric. 10 villagers. (day 12)
  • Get archer with super bow
  • Get all tech, 100% safe environment, no challenge.

See how this does not do the hard mode any justice?

For hard/nightmare mode I would really want the difficulty to scale differently to make it more challenging and less of a turtle fest.

  • Don’t make the difficulty dependent on your tech/net-worth.
  • Do make it dependent on the night you’re at.
  • Do send out barrages of non-stop enemies. don’t give the player any rest.
  • Possibly give a cool-down of rest when a unit has been killed.
  • Town defend mode needs to be fixed (see the ending of the video I posted below)

By reading the other comments I noticed that some people overestimate certain units and underestimate the specialty workers.
I feel like the jobs that the specialist and workers can do are fine.

  • Warriors are capable of hauling and transporting items. This is a HUGE thing as that’s most likely one of the most needed jobs in the game.
  • Masonry is capable of mining. So you technically don’t need workers for that either.
  • Workers are quite useless despite being jack of all trades. They just need to cut down trees and place objects into the world. They don’ t even need to haul things.

Guys, for hard mode, you should not overestimate your workers. I’ve worked with just 1 worker most of my hard games and it works very nicely.

Here’s a recorded video on how I’ve been doing things before :
I’ve greatly improved since that recording was made. The turtle mode was done after these games too. Building more walls would not have helped much as I need to get the experience to get knights at some point.

Questions and such about my game-play is obviously appreciated :slight_smile:


Hi everyone,
Thank you for all the feedback. We have been adjusting Hard Mode for balance and pacing throughout the unstable release. Thus, the hard mode experience will change from update to update, meaning some of these early game experiences might be out of date.
Currently the difficulty of enemies in hard mode is only based on your town’s population and the number of days elapsed.

@aMdivided Can you explain what you mean by “technology”? Does it mean upgrading crafters and armor? Also, have you tried the early game experience with the latest version of A16? I ask because the Hard Mode curve was too punishing when A16 first went out, but that has since been rebalanced. So maybe it will play better now. Finally, being attacked by 3 waves of enemies in the first night seems like a bug because the minimum time between attacks should be at least 6 hours in hard mode – perhaps it was a very unlucky spawn timer? In which case, maybe I should increase the minimum spawn time a bit.

Again, thanks for all the data everyone.

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With technology I mean going from carpenting to masonry to forging, etc.

As for the version. at the time when I played it I just opted in on the steam version. Which I believe was last Wednesday. I’m not a 100% certain as to how the difficulty increases, but I did find that if I switched to masonry and stone mauls, I die if I don’t have clerics. The other way I think I could have survived was through the town defense mode. However that one seemed bugged as you can see near the end of the video I posted before.

This means that I’d be unable to progress to masonry before getting a herbalist to lvl 2 + get leather from a trader to get a quick cleric. Also, I don’t think the quantity of spawns was much of a problem as I had a herbalist to heal my warriors to full health between battles anyway. It was just a bit harsh.

My current tech order.

  1. Carpentry
  2. Farming
  3. footman
  4. Herbalist
  5. masonry
  6. Blacksmithing
  7. -dead-

Note that I didn’t get to cleric because I didn’t have the level, nor the leather on the character. Also, it’d be a miracle if any of my footmen would be able to reach lvl 2.

@yshan Once I get back from work I’ll do another quick game and post my findings. Are there any things in particular you’d like to know?

I could try a game where I advance in tech really fast but not in networth. (simply live inside a mountain would do the trick)
a game where I advance fast in networth but not tech
and a game where I advance fast in both.

Hi @aMdivided
I just saw your twitch video and I think you were playing the develop version that had a bug where difficult enemies spawned much earlier than they were supposed to. The build from last Thursday fixed that. So sorry! It is not supposed to be that unreasonably hard!
Please try a new game on the latest dev build (which I believe is 2960). It should be much better.

Well, at least you now have the formula for a nightmare mode I suppose. :smiley: All it needs to do is put those hard enemies on night 5 with 3~4 encounters a day and things should be interesting. ^^ Nightmare mode at that point would be highly dependent on the farming speed of the flowers/cotton. Possibly have enemies that bash through your gates on night 7 or 8. I’d say the difficulty would also depend on what level your footmen can reach. So while there are a bunch of high level enemies, you’d want to throw a few low level enemies in the mix for your footmen to farm on. (could also work for the current hard mode)

Maybe I’m just masochistic about this. But I’ll see how fast I can rush through the current hard mode. :slight_smile:

Atfer playing some more, I finaly have a playthrough where I managed to survive. That said, I had to reload 3-4 times because I lost some crucial soldiers. So I think the difficulty is good, but like I mentioned in my other thread (Level Restriction for equipment really needed?) I would like to have a good chance to make a comeback once I lose some of my better soldiers. Right now, there is no chance to make a comeback when you lose your best guys.

You’d think that a soldier could leave a pack on the floor when they die (plus a gravestone), so equipment could be retrieved by a soldier (plus maybe a chunk of XP?). So, anyone who dies close to home can be replaced (not like-for-like, but at least getting a kinda-levelled XP amount) and anyone who dies close to an enemy camp is harder to replace.

But then, I suppose that would reward not leaving ones’ camp.

Well, they DO leave their equipment, don’t they? Or is it only their talisman?

Do they? I am always busy trying to get my defences ready I guess I’ve not noticed.

Their equipment seems to get left behind in my games. Granted, I reload if more than 1-2 of my soldiers dies. Even then things may be unrecoverable.

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Well, strip me down and call me Betsy. I had no idea. Am tempted to save and send a soldier off as a test, but I think that would make me a bad person.

don’t worry, for science i killed off a footmen in my test world, and they do indeed drop all their gear upon death…