Difficulty Level

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The difficulty level affects a number of things. For example, pirate crossbowmen will fire their arrows predictively, toward the position you're currently headed to, rather than directly at you. There are also differences in numbers like enemy HP, and the experience they grant (higher difficulty levels make enemies give less exp because their spawn numbers are greater, so if you can clear quickly you'll gain levels at roughly the same rate).

For easy, normal, hard, and serious respectively:

Difficulty Scaling
Difficulty: Easy Normal Hard Serious
Enemy Health 66% 100% 125% 150%
Damage Taken From Enemies 66% 100% 125% 200%
Damage Taken From Traps 50% 100% 125% 150%
EXP Scaling 100% 100% 75% 75%
Revive Time (Seconds) 1 3 3 6

^ Should be noted that EXP is also affected by your level vs that of the enemy. There isn't currently anything that indicates this, but it considers the player to be of a higher tier even when they've not used the trainer to actually reach the next tier when calculating EXP gain. Or in other words, once you're level 5 your tier is considered adept instead of apprentice when calculating EXP gain. The same goes for level 15 (expert), and level 30 (master). The only existing indicator for enemy tier is currently the tier symbol beside the name of an area that appears when entering said area.

The EXP difference is as follows:

Apprentice: 100% (all)
Adept: 50% (vs apprentice) 100% (vs adept/expert/master)
Expert: 20% (vs apprentice) 50% (vs adept) 100% (vs expert/master)
Master: 10% (vs apprentice) 20% (vs adept) 50% (vs expert) 100% (vs master)