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Galaxy Brain

Consolidated CoH difficulty thread (Includes Poll!)

Opinions on CoH Difficulty  

278 members have voted

  1. 1. What is your opinion on changing the difficulty? Please select as many answers as you want.

    • I feel that CoH needs a global difficulty overhaul for the benefit of the game
      62
    • I feel that only certain parts of the game need to be looked at (IOs, Incarnates, etc)
      48
    • I would play on an advanced difficulty setting only if it were optional (like the current settings, only more!)
      155
    • I would only play on advanced difficulty for specific content (TFs, trials, etc) and not general gameplay
      49
    • I would only like to see minor changes to difficulty
      29
    • I would rather see rewards adjusted for existing “hard” content (enemy factions, TF settings)
      69
    • I do not want any changes to difficulty / rewards at all
      36
  2. 2. If you voted in favor of adding advanced difficulty in any way, what would you like to see? Please select all that apply.

    • Existing enemy groups should get glow-ups to make them challenging
      91
    • Introduce specific “advanced” enemies to shake up combat with either special attack powers or enemy-buffs
      148
    • Ramp up difficulty per team member in some way specifically to combat “Steamroll”
      105
    • Change up IO and/or Incarnate bonuses
      38
    • Enemies should get some sort of stat changes to better fight players in general
      83
    • Existing enemy groups should have their rewards balanced to scale to their difficulty
      106
    • N/A
      50


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Given all the various threads that have popped up to discuss difficulty options in CoH as of late, I figure it is time to put together a thread to talk about all the various options and discuss the topic in general along with a poll with (iirc) most of the options presented as of late to see what we are in favor of going forward.

 

In my own opinion, I feel that the game gives a ton of options for you to become badass and it is awesome! However, over time it does feel like the economy of awesome has shifted and some things get left behind given the way the game works. One example being the chase towards the soft-cap for defense (45%). There are multiple ways for every single character to hit this nowadays while still being able to also get huge recharge, tons of procs, and in general keep the same effectiveness or better for their powersets on top of the multiplicative power boost that high defense gives to survival. Enemies usually cannot keep up with that scale of power, and neither can some sets even where +Def powers can become questionable in value if you are already at soft cap most of the time. Same with control and certain debuff powers falling to the wayside of raw damage as survival is taken care of. Ironically, being able to become super powerful narrowed the scope of builds IMO to where there are certain stats that are far, far more valuable than others and it actually puts a damper on whole powers and sets at a high level. 

 

How we got here IMO is that there is only so much that enemies can really do to challenge these stats / strategies. The 45% defense number really does cover most all content outside of very specific enemies even at +4, and if you have tons of recharge your offense and recovery powers outpace most all mobs abilities in the game. Let alone when you have 8 people who are relatively self sufficient and then able to boost each other into unstoppable territory. There are certain enemies out there that still pose a threat, but they are usually not worth tackling given that easier prey is available to take on for essentially better reward due to speed (not to mention farming vs custom mobs). Enemies also rarely have defense like players do, which leads to the best strategy being to boost your damage up (accuracy enhancements are sufficient for most all content) and just throw out tons of AoEs to win as fast as possible since enemies cant really stand up to that outside of certain gimmicks like Carnies phasing. This all pushes a meta where the best strat is to just build up your defenses and use sets with great AoEs, devaluing sets that focus on boosting other's defenses / controlling enemies / single target specialists.

 

Don't get me wrong, this is fun as hell! Though, after the 18th council map where you just fire your TAoE without much thought mob after mob and even afk'ing to see the combined might of your team can carry on full steam without you, it does make you pause at times. IMO, I would love to see more difficulty options added in so that there could be more active strategy involved. Those moments where you gotta pull enemies tactically, or target specific guys first in order to win the fight are always more engaging to me personally but you don't see that often in today's game since it really isn't needed. If there were advanced difficulty options (with appropriate reward to make it attractive) I feel it would open up way more builds than today's meta and allow more dynamic game play as suddenly there are more viable options than facerolling through with AoE's once you "figure out" your build. 

 

What are your thoughts on difficulty in general in today's game? Lets hear your opinions with the poll + comments below!

 

-Galaxy Brain

Edited by Galaxy Brain
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There's a flaw in your poll. Question 1 has an option to vote for no changes, but question 2 is required in order to submit.

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1 minute ago, NNDeepdish said:

There's a flaw in your poll. Question 1 has an option to vote for no changes, but question 2 is required in order to submit.

Theres no way to "force" a selection to trigger another question, so it's more just for being open ended

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I don't think you're following.
You can't vote "I do not want any changes to difficulty / rewards at all" because question 2 is required. You'd need an N/A option on question 2 otherwise you can't submit a vote for question 1.

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What @NNDeepdish means is that question 2 presupposes an answer to question 1 that's logically exclusive of "I do not want any changes..."  If my answer to question 1 is "I don't want any changes", then I have no answer for question 2.

 

However, the poll requires that participants respond to both questions 1 and 2, even though logically, it's possible to answer 1 without having an answer for 2.

 

So question 2 needs a corresponding choice for "N/A" or "I don't want any changes".

 

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@Rathstar

Energy/Energy Blaster (50+1) on Everlasting

Energy/Temporal Blaster (50+3) on Excelsior

Energy/Willpower Sentinel (50+3) on Torchbearer

Fire/Willpower Sentinel (50+1) on Indomitable

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I currently solo DA repeatables at +4/x8 w/ bosses.

I'd like to see 2 things:

Turn off Minions and Lts (convert to Bosses, EBs)

And/or ramp the scaler up some more. +6/x10 w/ bosses or the like. At some point, the +side of the scaler will stomp the crap out of anything but I'd like to test where that spot is.

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51 minutes ago, Rathulfr said:

What @NNDeepdish means is that question 2 presupposes an answer to question 1 that's logically exclusive of "I do not want any changes..."  If my answer to question 1 is "I don't want any changes", then I have no answer for question 2.

 

However, the poll requires that participants respond to both questions 1 and 2, even though logically, it's possible to answer 1 without having an answer for 2.

 

So question 2 needs a corresponding choice for "N/A" or "I don't want any changes".

 

Ah, didn't realize! Added in a "N/A" option

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I know I bring this up often, but I'm not nearly as militant about this stuff as I may come across.

 

I enjoy most of the game a lot. I do things in my own way and there's still so much content I've not yet done. I'm happy for the forseeable future.

 

There are a lot of great challenges in CoH, particularly the near-sunset boss fights and iTrials. They're few and far between, but they show the game had a direction to start testing its players. Great stuff.

 

I brought this up in another thread that I feel that the game handled the endgame poorly. Or rather, the endgame mostly belongs to a different era of CoH, predating the current level of powercreep. We have a kind of challenge valley right there, where builds and strategies don't matter and we AoE roflstomp our way through. I struggle to get excited about this stuff, it feels like routine rather than playing a game. it always feels like my characters hit 50 in a whimper. Suddenly most of their powers and strategies don't matter much, their strengths are passive and they don't feel powerful when those parts of the game got so sad and tired of themselves. Yet they're disproportionately rewarding. I do that stuff on solo as and when I can, but it's no more interesting than lower level content.

 

But I think that valley is where opportunities for development could get really exciting. I'd love to see a balance pass on all level 50 content for incarnates and opportunities for more difficulty options and diverse challenge settings.

 

I'd also like to see incentive for doing things a harder way - merit bonuses for doing content under debuffs, for instance. Something that might make PUGs think twice about just picking the path of least resistance.

 

Most of the suggestions I get behind are places where challenge is added to places that there currently is zero challenge. AI tweaks to smarten up later-game villains, Street Sweeping and Hazard Zones brought to life and made rewarding and anything that could make support and crowd control powers have more utility.

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I mentioned in an another topic about an option of things like giving enemies global procs, defence auras, taunt resistance, speed boosts and the like.

 

If there is a way to add one random power/effect from a list to enemies in a mission based on the leader having a certain status flagged, this could be a way to address it.

 

I think more variety in combat mechanics would add better difficulty than flat buffs and reinstate the need for a varied team composition.

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Doctor Fortune  Soulwright Mother Blight Bright Guardian Corona Borealis
Blood Fortunado Dark/Dark Corruptor Rad/Rad Brute Peacebringer Dark/Dark Tanker

 

Blueside Story Arc Levelling Guide 

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56 minutes ago, Bill Z Bubba said:

I currently solo DA repeatables at +4/x8 w/ bosses.

I'd like to see 2 things:

Turn off Minions and Lts (convert to Bosses, EBs)

And/or ramp the scaler up some more. +6/x10 w/ bosses or the like. At some point, the +side of the scaler will stomp the crap out of anything but I'd like to test where that spot is.

I am not sold that adding +5 or higher is the answer.  Given how the game works, anything higher than +6 chances are you will never be able to hit it, let alone cause any damage.   Seems to me this is leading more toward a stalemate than anything else. 

 

I cannot speak for anyone else, but most all of my fully decked out characters will solo bosses and EBs rather easily whether there is one or ten of them.  Adding more HP and ludicrous spike damage to NPCs is the easy answer, but to me this is not adding challenge, just drawing out the battle.

 

Were I a real choice, I would choose a more intelligent AI that can adapt to you. 

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3 minutes ago, ShardWarrior said:

I would choose a more intelligent AI that can adapt to you. 

 

"SR has a mez hole to fear! SPAM THE FEARS!!!" That's my concern with smarter AI in this game with its current limitations but I get the point and agree.

 

And your statement about higher levels is probably true given that my team got bugged with a +8 EB in Posi1 the other night. We got the job done with Ultimate insps and overloads of huge yellows and reds but that's not really a challenge so much as a PITA to get around.

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I don't think balance is exclusively the way to go. Players should always win the numbers game, even if by a large margin. Maybe that gap could do with getting narrower in places, but there's no point in punishing less-than-decked-out builds.

 

Rather, I think challenge comes in the form of requiring teams to change up their tactics, players to be alert of their situation and to encourage imaginative ways to solve unique problems. A bit of a nebulous statement, I'm sorry.

Edited by Lines
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That's a 50 DKP minus right there. 

 

The endgame of CoH, on Homecoming and the old game both, is 'roll an alt'.  If you really want difficulty, there's always levelling through the Positrons and Synapse.  Those things are as difficult as you seem to want to make the whole game.  There's always Praetoria, with its missions full of Seers.  There's always Night Ward, with mobs stacking unresisted mez.

 

'Adding difficulty' eventually makes characters and classes irrelevant.  I run Malta and Carnie missions on my /electric armor brute, who laughs at Sappers.  But if you do those arcs expect to do them solo.   I would not take the character on an Apex TF, where a Brute is basically AFK through the whole Battle Maiden fight.  Adding difficulty seems to involve generic MMO crap like 'don't stand here' zones, the sort of garbage that sends team leaders to immersion breaking VOIP chat to manage the choreography and cat-herding the raids require.  I love CoH more than any other MMORPG because that kind of twaddle is mostly absent here.  Adding more of that is pretty much the definition of unwanted change.

 

And the player base doesn't seem to want it either.  AE farming is ever-popular.  Praetoria is a ghost town, and redside generally is too.  The Incarnate trials that get run more than others are BAF, and to a lesser extent, Lambda.  They are popular because they are relatively easy.  I don't really see an outcry for more difficult missions or mobs.  More difficult content is already in game,  and already unpopular because it is more difficult.  The OP's position is a minority one that the behavior of the silent majority of the player base rejects. 

Edited by Heraclea
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14 minutes ago, Heraclea said:

And the player base doesn't seem to want it either.  AE farming is ever-popular.  Praetoria is a ghost town, and redside generally is too.  The Incarnate trials that get run more than others are BAF, and to a lesser extent, Lambda.  They are popular because they are relatively easy.  I don't really see an outcry for more difficult missions or mobs.  More difficult content is already in game,  and already unpopular because it is more difficult.  The OP's position is a minority one that the behavior of the silent majority of the player base rejects. 

I touch on this where an underlying issue is that easy content = hard content in terms of rewards. There are no benefits (aside from story) for running Red/Gold content currently given that they are generally harder than Blueside. So for the best bang for your buck, you run blue to get the best experience both figuratively and sorta literally lol.

 

If slogging through Redside, Goldside, or advanced content / arcs gave you proper benefits then IMO it would be balanced. Redside SF's are harder? Cool, they reward 1.5x the merits. Goldside arcs are tough? They also reward tons of merits and recipes unique to goldside! Etc

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After running a Dr Q this Sat I noticed a stark contrast between the 3 groups.

 

Rularu are tough.  I died more to these than I had in my last 3 characters 1-50 combined.  

 

Nemesis can be tough if their vengeance hits right.  Lot of the team died to these.

 

Crey are pushovers.  We could all solo these groups like we had god mode on. 

 

Rularu are probably tougher than most people want to play against. 

 

But you could get some of that Nemesis like toughness by just adding leadership powers to some boss mobs in various groups. 

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I mostly agree with GalaxyBrain.

 

The main reason I don't team up for most content other than radios is the mission structures from the early days mix in lots of nonsense tasks and zone changes between the actual missions. "Go to this zone and click on this person..." "Now go to this zone..." "Now kill 10 of these..." Unless I know the mission structure ahead of time, I dont want to waste everyone's time.

 

For me, for example, playing the Positron TF at low levels has more to do with it being a set of 5 reliable, semi-challenging missions than it is the merits. 

 

The non-repeatable content in Dark Astoria is harder than other parts of the game and even with no extra rewards I never have trouble filling a team when I announce I'm leading it. The trouble comes in that once a character has done the missions once they are no longer accessible. 

Edited by oedipus_tex
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Glad to see "Advanced Enemies" is getting some solid love in that poll.  Even just one or two unique Advanced enemies per faction/group would REALLY spice things up, but would almost certainly not be a simple task.

So, with that in mind, and borrowing from Kheldians:  What about Mercenaries?  

A unique faction consisting of just about 5 to 10 different powerful units, one or two of which will occasionally spawn in with existing mobs if the "Advanced Enemies" option is toggles, who provide that extra support to existing factions, without having to create 75+ new individual enemies (one or two for each group).

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6 hours ago, Galaxy Brain said:

If slogging through Redside, Goldside, or advanced content / arcs gave you proper benefits then IMO it would be balanced. Redside SF's are harder? Cool, they reward 1.5x the merits. Goldside arcs are tough? They also reward tons of merits and recipes unique to goldside! Etc

Another major issue with goldside is that the alignment system there is team unfriendly from the starting gate.  Separating the player base and missions into Loyalist and Resistance means that you can't join teams running opposite faction content without a penalty.  It was an interesting idea poorly implemented.

 

This is also why mobs that stack debuffs and mez should be avoided as a way of artificially inflating difficulty.  That kind of mob punishes you for having a larger team, and devalues aggro attraction especially badly. 

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9 hours ago, Heraclea said:

 

'Adding difficulty' eventually makes characters and classes irrelevant.  I run Malta and Carnie missions on my /electric armor brute, who laughs at Sappers.  But if you do those arcs expect to do them solo.   I would not take the character on an Apex TF, where a Brute is basically AFK through the whole Battle Maiden fight.  Adding difficulty seems to involve generic MMO crap like 'don't stand here' zones, the sort of garbage that sends team leaders to immersion breaking VOIP chat to manage the choreography and cat-herding the raids require.  I love CoH more than any other MMORPG because that kind of twaddle is mostly absent here.  Adding more of that is pretty much the definition of unwanted change.

I'd argue the opposite to that first statement; I think over-simplicity is what makes characters irrelevant.

 

I don't dislike the Apex TF, I think it's cool, but I wouldn't include it as a gold standard of challenge done well. Maybe the right ball park for me, but I wouldn't like to see the same thing often.

 

I think the best example of a cool boss fight is the golem fella at the end of Dr Kane's House of Horrors, who has a pair of nasty AoE attacks that he fires off every now and again and which get progressively worse. You could rush him and get it done with easy-mode, but then you miss out on the extra reward for killing zombies. If you chose to do it the harder way, then you need to start preparing to go in and out of the AoE zone to dodge it, especially if it takes longer to kill the zombies.

 

The challenge is a choice, and it's incentivised by an extra reward. Perfect.

 

I'd like to have options for content that needs the extra attention and gets the extra reward, but not replace the easy-mode stuff.

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Unsurprisingly I have voted for there being a very definite need for more difficulty in the game but I can see the merit in pretty much all the different suggestions for getting there. I take the point that there is challenge in the game if you go looking for it and perhaps my thinking about this is coming around to there being two main things to address:

 

1) Challenging content should be properly rewarded to encourage more people to play it.

2) Steamroll content should be made more challenging.

 

Maybe point 2 could be as simple as buffing specific enemy groups so they stop being quite such cannon fodder. Council at lv50+ for example really don't stand a chance - how they manage to keep recruiting so many soldiers is beyond me. The idea of giving some bosses leadership toggles (or an aura similar to masterminds supremacy) was suggested in another thread and I rather like it - it's thematic, it scales and it seems a reasonably simple way to improve the chances of the whole enemy group.

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I think I look at this differently. While I'd love new content, I don't really think the answer is to make the enemies harder. As someone else mentioned, the hard content is there and people mostly avoid it. Making the rewards better for that content might help shove some people in that direction, but I think people will just stick with what they like. I.e. AE farming and PI missions. 

 

I really think the answer is a rework to the IO system. I've seen suggested a few times that offense and defense bonuses should be decoupled from the same set, so people have to choose which way to go. This could work. I also think the cap on like kind/number bonuses needs to be reduced in some places; having multiple 5% defense bonuses, or 10% recharge bonsuses is nuts. The system itself is good, but the ability to quite easily build tank mages is a problem, I think. It's a MMO afterall, it should necessitate that people need each other and the IO system, as implemented, just enables you to boost your stats a little too far on your own. Everybody running around with softcap defenses is epitome of that. 

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17 hours ago, Heraclea said:

Another major issue with goldside is that the alignment system there is team unfriendly from the starting gate.  Separating the player base and missions into Loyalist and Resistance means that you can't join teams running opposite faction content without a penalty.  It was an interesting idea poorly implemented.

 

This is also why mobs that stack debuffs and mez should be avoided as a way of artificially inflating difficulty.  That kind of mob punishes you for having a larger team, and devalues aggro attraction especially badly. 

Not just loyalist vs resistance, but powers vs responsibility vs warden vs crusader. However, given that it kicks you out at 20, you can't even really team if you dont want to outlevel the story. 

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I'm for options to buff bosses to elite bosses, and named bosses to AV's. So when you go fight Chernobog in KR, he's a team challenging badass.

 

One thing that needs to be addressed is how buffs are more valuable against high level foes compared to debuffs. At even con, a 10% to hit debuff vs a 10% defense buff are mostly equivalent. Vs higher levels, the to-hit buff becomes near meaningless (doubly so vs AV's) due to purple patch resists, while the defense buff is less impacted. Same w defense debuffs vs to-hit, etc. Slows may as well not even exist vs powerful foes and holds last a few seconds. The purple patch needs to be re-examined for such content, otherwise it's just going to be a bunch of defense capped dps, their kin buddy and maybe some -resist.  Having a portion of debuffs being unresistable based on AT (similar to PVP zones) would go a long way.

Edited by Bossk_Hogg

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I'd like to see increased difficulty (I think, maybe I wouldn't) but for those asking for "only if it's optional"  -- I'd like a separate server.  I don't think anyone's difficulty should be impacted who doesn't want it, that would kinda suck.  But I would I think like to be "locked into a box" with other like-minded folks, where we all want a bit more challenge, but we're all there to help each other out too.  I think that's what "online" play means to me, it's not a personal challenge or anything, it's beating the game *together*, not singly.

 

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Haven't read replies but I didn't choose any of the options because I feel a lot of them are contexual to eachother and could affect the need or efficacy of other options.  For example:

 

"I feel that only certain parts of the game need to be looked at (IOs, Incarnates, etc)" and "I would rather see rewards adjusted for existing “hard” content (enemy factions, TF settings)" touch on portions of risk vs reward in that, if it required delving into a difficulty setting that dampened/suppressed IOs/incarnate to gain the rewards to advance them, at the very least, people would need to "struggle" to advance forward rather than coasting on borrowed power.

 

But don't take me too serious.  I thrive on being contrarian.

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