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What are the general differences regarding map availability, experience, items drops and so on?

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You can see the differences between them before even starting the game. Hover over things in the menu to see more info on it. –  I take Drukqs Apr 19 '12 at 11:49
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

According to one of the developers the only thing that changes with difficulty is monster behaviour in combat,aka the higher the difficulty the stronger or smarter the enemies get.

Quote:

We have three difficulty settings that scale monster behavior in combat. On top of that there's old school mode which disables the auto map. We are also considering adding the permadeath option in a game update at some point but completing the game with this option would be very, very, VERY difficult I believe.

Source: Legend of Grimrock's official forum

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So auto map is an on/off toggle independent of the difficulty level? –  Alex Apr 11 '12 at 19:57
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Automap is an on/off forever toggle; once it's off, it's off and you can't turn it back on. –  Tacroy Apr 11 '12 at 21:32
    
@tacroy Can't turn it on for that particular game, or EVER, even if you start a new game? –  Sterno Apr 12 '12 at 0:18
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@Sterno Actually strike that, I was wrong - you can either start a game with automap, or start a game without automap (orthogonal to difficulty). If you start without automap you can never turn it on, and it looks like if you start with automap you can't turn it off (but you can refrain from looking at it :) –  Tacroy Apr 12 '12 at 4:43
    
@Sterno Whenever you start a new game you will be able to chose difficulty and whether or not do you want the automap to be shown. –  ChrisHateZ Apr 12 '12 at 9:58
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