I find Rookie, Veteran, and Hero difficulty to be too easy. And I find Legend difficulty to be incredibly tedious and boring.
Legend appears to be “balanced” (if we dare use such a word when talking about the hot mess that this game is on Legend) for the players that used to raid like a pirate king, break the game’s difficulty settings, then start the Legend campaign against the Pandorans after they had levelled up all their troops fighting faction soldiers, stole all the faction research in the world, and amassed ridiculous amounts of resources and weapon drops. Then after breaking the game, those players complained that Legend was too easy—because it would be too easy if players exploited exploits in the diplomatic game and cheesed the game’s difficulty settings.
And here is another thing, fighting human enemies is a lot easier on Legend than it is on Rookie because of the way the game’s global skill points allocation system works. And since there are so many human factions to fight against (Anu, Bandits, Foresaken, The Pure, New Jericho, and Synedrion), a player choosing to fight them regularly and use Steal Aircraft missions to build up their airforce is going to discover that the game’s easiest difficulty setting isn’t Rookie—its Hero! But that is probably a topic for another discussion thread.
Thing is, diplomacy has been reworked in the Hypnosis patch, and raiding like a pirate king cannot be exploited so easily.
So why is Legend still “balanced” to keep pirate-king players happy?
What I like the most about Legend difficulty are the lack of resources and the fact that soldiers come unequipped. I often have to make interesting decisions about what to build next and how to recruit and equip soldiers. That part of the strategic layer works really well on Legend. And it’s much better on Legend.
In fact, feeling that resource crunch and being required to make interesting choices just isn’t a thing on lower difficulty settings. Rookie, Veteran, and Hero are more about playing in the sandbox and getting all the toys in the world—with only minor or very minor delays in getting those toys.
And I don’t mind starting with soldiers with lower stats on Legend either.
Or earning fewer Skill Points per mission.
Those two things make the early game last longer, and in this genre, the early game is often the hardest part.
But on top of all that, the Pandorans evolve faster—ridiculously fast. And that just amps up all the balance issues in this game.
A legend difficult campaign often devolves into a state where early game soldiers face late game enemies. I can win those battles. But my god is it ever boring and tedious to do that.
The main problem with Legend difficulty is that it just isn’t fun.
The fix, in my opinion, is to adjust the rate the Pandorans evolve so that it is the same on all difficulty settings, and then rely on the handicaps the player gets on different difficulty settings.
In other words, the lower stats and the fewer skill points earned per mission is enough of a handicap to make Legend challenging. You don’t need to do anything other than that. Ramping up the speed the Pandorans evolve on top of that just changes the game from challenging and fun to unfair, tedious, and boring. Or borderline unplayable—fin”promotional skins” are not enabled.
In fact, Legend difficulty is so tedious and boring that my campaigns end fairly early because I just stop playing Phoenix Point, uninstall the game to free up hard drive space—and start playing something else. I keep coming back to Phoenix Point after each new balance patch and DLC release, hoping that things get better. And I am continually and consistently disappointed with how unbalanced and boring the game becomes, on Legend.