The difficulty setting in Dusk allows players to adjust the gameplay to an extent to fit their desired experience and skill level. Dusk has five difficulty levels. From easiest to hardest these are: Accessible, Go Easy, I Can Take It, Cero Miedo(Spanish for zero fear), and Duskmare.
The player can change the difficulty setting at any time during gameplay in the options interface (in the "feel" category).
Characteristics of difficulty levels
All difficulty settings differ in at least two aspects: the speed of enemy projectiles and the amount of damage dealt directly by enemy attacks. The first three levels only differ from each other in these two aspects, while the last two levels have additional effects that further differentiate them from the first three.
Enemy damage and projectile speed modifiers
These are the enemy projectile speed and damage modifying values of the five difficulty settings.
Accessible: ~40% projectile speed, 10% damage.
Go Easy: ~80% projectile speed, 50% damage.
I Can Take It: 100% projectile speed and damage.
Cero Miedo: ~110% projectile speed, 200% damage.
Duskmare: ~120% projectile speed. Damage instantly kills.
Note: Only damage caused directly by the enemy attacks is affected, meaning the explosion component of explosive enemy projectiles is entirely unchanged. Also note that fireballs shot by static map objects count as attacks and thus are affected.
Additional effects of Cero Miedo and Duskmare
The last two levels differ from the first three in four additional aspects:
- Enemy movement speed is roughly doubled, but it is still limited so that it will always be at least a little bit lower than the player's base run speed.
- Mages attack twice as frequently. (Other enemies don't appear to change in this way.)
- Having morale only protects the player from 33.4% of damage, instead of 50%. However, damage to morale is still equal to 50% of base damage. This change even applies to damage that is otherwise unaffected by difficulty.
- Choosing either of these difficulty levels when beginning a campaign brings up a dialogue box asking the player to confirm their choice and stating that these two levels are not intended for a first playthrough. (Whether this warning is adequate in the case of Cero Miedo is questionable. It's also possible to change difficulty during gameplay, making this message less meaningful.)
Features unaffected by difficulty
The number of enemies and items, the potency of item pickups, enemy intelligence, enemy health, and damage dealt by the player's attacks are all unaffected by the dificulty setting.
In addition, there are some damage sources in the game that are unaffected by difficulty, meaning they also don't kill the player instantly on Duskmare. These are:
- Explosions of any kind, including those caused by monster projectiles
- Damaging floors and other indestructible map elements that deal damage over time