What is actual difference between diffuculty in current patch?

Last time I play early summer I pick maximum level, but because don’t have much time must drop a lot of content.

I just looking for difficulty without limiting enemies AI progression or any simplification for damage or research in favor of player. I want enemies to be strong as much as possible.

But limiting time I can explore the world is not fun. I think this difficulty levels should work different with new population system.

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I might be wrong, but I think the issue here is that those systems are linked - faster enemy progression => tougher attacks => havens fall more quickly => game ends quicker (right now game end is tight to world population, however there is also some form of starvation - I don’t know if it is modified depending on difficulty, or if it’s simply tied to other systems, like damage done to havens).

Difficulty setting has impact on (at least I suppose it is like that):

  • number of starting resources (higher level means less)
  • number of starting soldiers (higher level means less)
  • food cost of recruitment of new soldiers (higher level means more)
  • equipment available with recruited soldiers (higher level means less) - thus overall cost of recruitment on lover difficulty level may mean that soldier will be more costly than on higher, but you gain access to faction tech even without good faction standing
  • progression of alien mist over the globe (higher level means faster) - this means more attacks where you can’t defend human settlements
  • progression of alien evolution (higher level means faster) - this means that single aliens will be more dangerous faster
  • mission deployment pool available for aliens (higher level means more) - so you will face more enemies on higher difficulties
  • special rules on story missions (higher level means additional) - so higher difficulties can spawn some additional enemies which are not possible either way