Game Difficulty


I wanted to take a poll of the Gems of War community.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being easy and 10 being difficult how difficult do you think Gems of War is?

Additional comments are welcome.



The game does require some thinking, as it always has, however so long as you are thinking it is very hard to lose (bar facing an infinite combo team). The CPU has a few bad flaws that makes it easy to exploit. First, the CPU can’t target its abilities correctly. For example, Dark Song will just shoot anyone, instead of focusing troops that use green mana, even if they can be killed with the bonus damage. Some troops that could kill one troop naturally may just focus another instead that is a much worse move. Certain troops that have abilities (Hunter’s Mark, Entangle) that should surefire attack the first troop very often do not. Finally, some abilities are not used immediately from the CPU when they should be (assuming no extra turns).

The CPU also has issues with board control, especially in the later game. It seems they are more focused into blocking you (or a specific troop of yours) rather than getting mana for themselves that could turn the tide of game. While blocking is understandable if it is a 1v1, when its a 4v1 and many of your troops are weak its not, especially when getting its own mana sources blocks out some of your troops anyways. This also holds true if one of the CPU’s minions has a troop close to full mana, they may focus on a different mana source even if they could fill that one up. The CPU also misses Pseudo extra turns, that is, extra turns that can be made by making a match and then the new board state creates an extra turn. Assuming the CPU doesn’t take it away (but they very likely won’t do the Pseudo extra turn move) you can exploit this easily. Its skulls AI is alright though, there are certain times where it will set you up for skulls, but often it will avoid those circumstance where it sets you up, and you maybe forced to make those moves with a bad board state.


I noticed some other peculiarities as well. For example sometimes a troop with full mana won’t cast the spell immediately even though that would be the best choice.
And don’t forget the fact that the AI will ALWAYS make a skull match, although sometimes a mana spell would be better.
And has anyone noticed that after the mana for one of your troops is full, in 90 percent of the cases you get a skull match that you cannot afford not to use, and/or that the AI has filled up one or more of its troops and is able to strike you before you can take him out with the spell? This happens particularly often with Shadow Hunter is my feeling.


It much depends, on how much and wich legends you own (that probably is strongly connected to the amount of money a player spend).

The more legends the easier is the game nad you probbaly beat everthing pve-realted and many pvp stuff.

I only spend some money (for costumes mainly) and pve is very easy (2), arena is medium (4) and many pvps (invade/defend) is a challenge (7), if opponent use good combos and legends (eg Webspinner, Gorgotha, Keeper of Souls). I do welcome the challenge.



I love exploiting the AI. One of my favorite things is leaving skulls for a gate. I also intentionally leave skulls often in order to restrict the enemy’s mana gain and enhance mine.

I wouldn’t say the arena is difficult, there isn’t enough variety in troops for it to be so. But it is slow because the team is a hodgepodge.

I also disagree that legendaries make a huge difference in difficulty. Exploiting the AI is the most important factor. The AI in puzzle quest was much more difficult, but the spell mechanics were different as well.


We have some improvements to difficulty coming in 1.0.7 :wink:


You guys have really been hyping this “1.0.7” lately.
I’m getting really excited here, and now the week feels like it’ll take forever! :tired_face:


I’m very excited to hear that news. Thank you for being such an involved development team. With a proper difficulty the longevity of this game just increased substantially for my wife and I.


Do you mean the game will become more difficult?


It’s more that you will be able to adjust the difficulty than the game will be more difficult.


Thanks Nimhain, that sounds perfect, that way all shall be happy!


That’s completely untrue actually. I have a >99% winrate with a simple team consisting of my hero and 3 rare troops.
Hero (eternal flame), alchemist, valkyrie and banshee beats everyting. The only teams that can give it trouble are teams with the Silent One or a team running a Venoxia/Webspinner combination.

So spending money really isn’t essential to make this an easy game. Maybe a 2 or 3 out of 10 for difficulty IMHO


One aspect of the AI’s game I did not see mentioned was that it will ALWAYS take a match 4 option first, even at the expense of disrupting a skull attack. And as noted, it will always take a skull attack if there is no match 4 option, even when it has a devastating mana attack readied. In fact, it will even take the skull attack when the mana attack is a damage + gain a turn attack, as in the goblin or satyr. You can often exploit this by letting the computer inflict meaningless damage on you while you prepare the assault that will prevent a spell from ever being cast.

Finally, on the plus side, my experience has been that spells that create gems are especially effective for the AI, giving numerous mana matches and match-fours. The computer is lucky enough in that respect that I do everything in my power to prevent a create gems spell from being cast. (Boy, do I hate that Rockworm!)

Finally, regarding a team full of legendaries: those used to scare the carp out of me, but I have discovered that they are actually fairly easy to beat. Why? It takes them so long to load their spell that you can often take them out with a team of lower level troops before they are ever fully loaded.

Difficulty? I do lose occasionally, though not often. It seems like the matches I lose are characterized by an especially fortuitous mana availability for the computer and the opposite for myself. But if the game is truly random, that will happen. And I think the randomness is pretty good. If not random, the game is skewed in favor of the player. But I am getting off-topic.

Difficulty: I think 5 out of 10. Although you can win most of the time, if you simply take the first match that one of your troops needs without carefully reading the board, you will win a lot less.


I didnt say that you cant beat with the game with non-legends, i only mentioned that it might be easier. If you found a nice combo, as i did too (i beat most of my non-legend combo too), good for you.

Spending money isnt a bad idea, especially to support the developer. Spend some thoughts about that! (The app is add free!!!)


2 out of 10 difficulty (for me) currently… only ever lose to Webspinner green-spamming… and can beat those teams 50%+ of the time…

Looking forward to a harder play option - and the better rewards that must yield!?


I certainly hope rewards are scaled to difficulty. Otherwise I would probably choose the easiest difficulty to get souls, then be burned out of the game by the time I was done getting souls on easy.


I don’t see why rewards should be changed according to the difficulty, since the idea is to provide more challenges, not give extra candies to those who do enjoy better challenges. It should only come down to a player’s preferences. Whether you play a game like Civilization in settler mode or in deity, you should enjoy it, same goes for any other game… But well, we’re talking about GoW, where players complain about having too many treasure maps because the rewards suck, even though they’re actually fun and free - but wait, no experience point! better existing ways to farm! too much time-consuming! I honestly hope they don’t tie rewards to difficulty modes, that would feel bad to me. Maybe new players would play in easy just to level up more quickly, and maybe some players would only play in super hardcore of doom because they find it more enjoyable, but exchanging fun for grind is something that has always upset me in the games industry in general. Just look at any discussion about leaderboards in, well, most games really, and you’ll get what I mean. Maybe. :persevere:


I acknowledge, respect, and value your opinion Archenassa.

From my experience with Puzzle quest, the more difficult the battle was the longer it took me to complete and the higher risk there was of me losing and not getting any reward. Having the right difficulty in a game does increase the fun factor, but leveling up troops and earning trophies, etc. also add to the fun factor.

As a really rough example lets say that I want to get a troop to level 15 and on easy I get 3 souls per battle and I average 3 minutes a battle. That is one soul a minute. If I increase the difficulty I am considering my moves more carefully, so a battle takes 6 minutes, now I am earning one soul every two minutes. So it will take me twice as long to level my troop to 15. Is the entertainment factor I get from an increased difficulty enough to offset the slow troop leveling? Not to mention that on easy my loss rate may be 1% and on hard it may jump to 25%. In this case I would be sad because my brain is not wired to have as much fun on easy.

If rewards are adjusted correctly a good player on easy and a good player on difficult should receive rewards at the same rate, then nobody is losing anything by increasing the difficulty.


The problem I have with the idea of tailoring rewards to difficulties is that it usually breeds bad behaviours. Something I’ve seen in a lot of games is that suddenly there are some kinds of scorn going on between the “casuals” and the other players, which always bothers me since we’re all enjoying the same game, or at least we should. Especially on a game like GoW which, for the moment, is basically a single player game against the computer, so there’s nothing to prove to anyone: the enjoyment is between you and yourself, and that’s it.
I’m always wary of tying rewards to difficulty in that it usually means some people will start playing in difficulty where they are not actually having fun just to get more goodies, and the fun part only turns to grinding. I’m going to give an example, using Diablo 3 since apparently a lot of players here enjoy that game too ^^. If you follow the official forums, it’s amazing how many people seem to grind the game without actually getting any fun out of it, just because they hope for a specific piece of equipment or for some specific achievements (especially, look at any thread about the infernal machine pre-RoS, it’s very telling). Now it is true that the game gives you access to better gear according to the difficulty you’re on, or to what you’re playing, and Blizzard has always been into forcing players to play their games a very specific way (and as much as I think they’re making good games, I also think they should stop forcing people into playing in particular ways, thank you very much). But then you look at the forums, the “casuals” (i.e. anyone not playing at the higher torment difficulty, apparently) are being shunned in general, and people talk about grinding like it’s a non-enjoyable job. Because let’s face it, it’s not. When I hop into the game, I’m expecting to destroy hordes of demons and having a blast doing it, maybe with some luck getting some better gear, but the key difference is that I don’t expect it, and I’m never doing anything not fun. The infernal machine is a good example because I actually tried to play it at first, I mean deliberately, got tired of running around to find one key, stopped and had fun again, and then looked at people complaining about it like it’s something they just had to do because of, you guessed it, the rewards it yields. I find it really sad. And I’m actually playing in hardcore mode, so believe me, it’s not the challenge I’m afraid of, it’s how people shift from “having fun” to “getting the best rewards” mentality that bothers me.
I could parallel that with Civilization in that I only play Civ as solo (I tried multiplayer but I don’t have the patience for 20 mn+ turns ^^). I can win all my games in settler mode, but deity or lower difficulties provide more interesting challenges. No one can judge me, since no one plays against me, so it’s all between me and my computer. Plus, I play with a ton of mods so my successes are not even recorded in the hall of fame (sigh). Now if I decide to play in deity, I actually get less “rewards”, seeing that it basically puts the AI on steroids and I miss on different game “helps” that lower difficulties provide (such as finding settlers and workers in ancient ruins for instance). Should I think it’s pointless for anyone to play in higher difficulty because of the lack of rewards, or should I see it as a welcoming challenge? My choice is made, the latter will always win. Increasing difficulty should simply be an individual choice, nothing more. If people feel forced to play the game in a mode they don’t enjoy because of the rewards, it kinds of throws the whole point of playing a game out of the window. If people are bored playing the game on easy, they shouldn’t get more rewards for increasing the complexity of the game, but they really should get more enjoyment.
I understand we all feel differently, and I actually get where you’re coming from, I’m just not on-board with that idea. But I often feel like the odd one out, so you know, there’s probably more people who would back up your idea. :wink:


You are not alone in that Arachenassa. I feel it the same way. Actually I played both Diablo 3 and civilisation with the same feeling.