Some feedback for veteran difficulty level, iron man mode. Played two party wipes. (Both times to darn necromancers! Damn I hate necromancers.)
Basically, I love it. Keeping in mind that I’ve always played iron man style, even when it wasn’t available as an option, I think the difficulty is much more balanced. A few things I love:
1. Balanced quest progression. Previously, I had trouble running out of lower level quests to do. Now there is just enough. You still have to be careful with your budgeting and overall management, but so long as you are, you aren’t too likely to fall apart from lack of quests, or from being forced into taking a quest that is too high for you. A small criticism might be that there are a few too many fetch quests (stolen item quests). I’d lower their number relative to other quests a little bit.
2. Balanced enemy spawning. Previously, I would often get wiped out by goblins, orcs, etc. that wandered around the landscape. Now the human world actually feels -human-. If you go out into the wilds, you might get yourself into trouble, but stay near towns and you are more likely to run into other human beings than monsters (although of course I imagine the greenskin invasion scenario would change this). This feels much better.
3. Better party development via new goal system. I -really- like the mini goals. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about them when I first heard of the idea, but I think they have been executed excellently. My parties feel a bit more like they have something they are striving to achieve, and as they gather nice objects like the banner, or the sash, I feel that much more attached to them (and bummed out when they die). Also, the new little occurrences and stories that difference classes can cause to pop up really add more color.
4. Nice quest variety. I love now how quests to raid a place actually occur when there is a place nearby, as opposed to just spawning the place when required by the quest. A few times, I’ve found a location, walked on past it, and returned later when a quest was offered for me to go there. Cool.
5. Art. Love the new art. Really pleasant to look at.
6. Reputation. Another cool thing to strive towards improving. Love it.
7. Retirement/party wipe. Really nice. Such a kick in the gut when your guys have a good run, then die like dogs and have their names forgotten. Or when you retire, and end up in complete penury. Trying to actually give your heroes the fate their deserve becomes a motivation for you as the player.
1. I once had a quest location spawn across a bay, on a peninsula. So, to get there from the issuing village, I would have to walk 2.5 days one way, 5 days round trip. Making it unprofitable. However once I accepted it, refusing also would lower my reputation. Felt a bit like a bug. Maybe add some code to check not just raw distance from the town, but how far it would take the player to walk.
2. Necromancers attacking towns. Twice now I have accepted one skull level quests to defend towns from bandits, and both times it turned out that a necromancer was attacking. Each time I was absolutely routed, even with a group of 8 level 4 men, well armed and with some decent tactics/tricks. I like how difficult this guy is, but it seems a bit raw that he has no maximum level on how many zeds he can resurrect each round. I even had him raise 4 or maybe 5 in a single round. Yikes.
3. Raider groups for low level quests are often a pack of 6-8 thugs. Happy to have the easy fight, but it would be nice if each group had at least one leader character. He doesn’t need to be very tough, but make him identifiable in some manner.