The difficulty setting and how it interacts with the damage formula by default is rather "not so sensible", unfortunately, like the many other things in the damage formula. For example on hard combat difficulty everyone's damage output is increased by 25%, player, companions, and other NPCs. Everyone does more damage. Even when 2 NPCs hit each other, whether by accident or intent (ex: "x party vs y party" encounters). Now it is true that generally higher damage outputs cause an overall harder gameplay because it allows the player less time to react or run away, and every single interaction is generally more dangerous; but why would other NPCs kill each other faster?; that helps the player. Not to mention that the defined damages for weapons all get skewed and altered. So its not ideal and its kind of funky, and just not so sensible. Similarly on easy combat difficulty Damage is reduced for everyone, causing longer battles which allows the player more maneuverability and time to plan and react. well, Is there no other way to increase difficulty in combat that would make more sense?... yes there is!
the suggestion that I have to make better use of the combat difficulty setting is adding a check that would check if the attacker (or target) is player or a companion, then a different multiplier be used so that damage "done by" or "done to" the player gets affected by the difficulty settings, but otherwise multiplier stays at default. This way the overall gameplay always stays consistent regardless of difficulty settings, and only player and companions are affected.
For example it would follow like this: (pseudo code)
Code: Select all
if target == player or companion, then: difficulty multiplier = diffculty setting /100 else difficulty multiplier = 1 end
This way only when the player or his companions get hit, the damage is increased or decreased based on difficulty setting, such they player takes more damage or less damage based on difficulty, while the rest of the game stays consistent and weapon damages are always predictable and the same. It creates consistency for the game, and a meaningful difficulty influence to the player which is clearly observable and felt.
This can also be done differently such that instead of altering the damage taken by the player, the damage done by the player is altered. So on hard difficulty player does -25% damage, and on easy does +25% damage, while damage done by other NPCs all stay sat default.
Now which method should be used (dmg taken or dmg done) and how each might affect the game, and which one would be better, requires some investigation. But overall I think this is a much more sensible and meaningful combat difficulty system than the default.
I have a few other suggestions, but them for later . Thanks for reading.