I decided to give this a try again after the patch came out. I started a game in "Extreme" difficulty and found a few peculiar things... For example:
- Units are produced in bulk by default (groups of 4). This includes caravans and settlers
- HP's are nerfed (At 10 constitution, starting hp is 5). A peasant's default hp is also 3.
- There wasn't any recruitable NPC nearby (unless I walk VERY far out). This holds true even when I got the "Recruiting" tech. The merchant master guy also didn't appear.
- Population calculation seems weird. I have a total of 3 cities and already, I have 251 populations in use. The only buildings I have are Market, Merchant, 5-6 Studies, 2 Arcane Laboratories, and some 7-8 houses. The math in the stats also doesn't add up. What I suspect is happening is that the population cost of each city somehow adds up for each subsequent city. This is based on the observation that my capital uses 70 population, my second city with 2 arcane laboratories then uses 81 population, and my third city with nothing uses 82 population. That's a total of 233. Then I have 4 groups of 4 peasants and 2 unsettled settlers which adds up to 251.
Now, this is the first time I play extreme, so I don't actually know if these things are simply part of this difficulty level, but I thought the way population is calculated to be quite dumb.