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Difficulty in CoH: Community Discussion


CoH Difficulty  

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  1. 1. What is your opinion on this topic? If you choose a selection with a blank space, please leave a comment with what you think!

    • The game is too easy overall
      45
    • The game is too easy during ____________
      18
    • The game is easy only if you ____________
      19
    • The game feels good overall, though leans towards being easy
      82
    • The game's difficulty is just right
      69
    • The game feels good overall, though leans towards being hard
      6
    • The game is hard only if you ____________
      7
    • The game is too hard during ____________
      5
    • The game is too hard overall
      6
    • I have another opinion (Please leave a comment!)
      9


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Personally, I think the best change in regards to difficulty should come from the top up. A new trial of some kind at the end game to really test people's mettle would go a long way. It would give people something to do with those incredibly powerful builds they've thrown together.

This would, of course, be a lot of work. I'm probably underestimating the amount of effort that would go into such an idea. However, posthumous content additions such as Market Crash and the Vigilante/Rogue story arcs have actually been really well-polished and fun. If the team were to ever create a new challenge for players to test themselves against, I for one would think that it'd be exactly what the game needs.

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12 hours ago, Blaze Moon said:

Personally, I think the best change in regards to difficulty should come from the top up. A new trial of some kind at the end game to really test people's mettle would go a long way. It would give people something to do with those incredibly powerful builds they've thrown together.

This would, of course, be a lot of work. I'm probably underestimating the amount of effort that would go into such an idea. However, posthumous content additions such as Market Crash and the Vigilante/Rogue story arcs have actually been really well-polished and fun. If the team were to ever create a new challenge for players to test themselves against, I for one would think that it'd be exactly what the game needs.

That sound like fun, but there is yet another direction we could go: It should be possible to make a 'challenging' arc for characters with a max level of 16. I chose lvl 16 because it should be far enough below the level of the lvl 25 IO sets, but would still allow for PVP, ATO, Winter, Purple sets to contribute to builds. Obviously this does not allow players to play their full end-game builds, but writing only for myself: I enjoy taking end-game builds back through low level content to see how they perform.

 

I fell like the Positron TFs are actually pretty good at offering lower level teams a challenge and requiring teamwork, even if the final Posi TF2 mission doesn't require that much coordination. Once past those first two hero TFs, it feels like far less 'teamwork' is required to get through the TF missions. I realize there are limits on which enemy mobs can be used at low levels, but I'm curious if anyone has built an AE arc in this direction?

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1 hour ago, tidge said:

I fell like the Positron TFs are actually pretty good at offering lower level teams a challenge and requiring teamwork, even if the final Posi TF2 mission doesn't require that much coordination. Once past those first two hero TFs, it feels like far less 'teamwork' is required to get through the TF missions. I realize there are limits on which enemy mobs can be used at low levels, but I'm curious if anyone has built an AE arc in this direction?

I have a fairly longstanding suggestion that there ought to be Master badges for all of the low level Freedom Phalanx TFs, starting with Posi 1 and 2, and Synapse.  Getting through the last mission of Posi 1 with no deaths ought to be enough 'challenge' for anyone. 

 

What I don't want to see is any more 'you can't play right now' mechanics: junk like BAF rings, Apex patches, or unresisted mezz.  That crap just tells me 'you needed to bring a controller instead' and leaves melee characters out. 

Edited by Heraclea
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4 minutes ago, Heraclea said:

What I don't want to see is any more 'you can't play right now' mechanics: junk like BAF rings, Apex patches, or unresisted mezz.  That crap just tells me 'you needed to bring a controller instead' and leaves melee characters out. 

Well I’m sorry but that’s exactly what I want to see, but only in new content. Right now controllers are left out. Those mechanics don’t leave melee out, they simply force melee to pay attention instead of just standing there beating on a meat sack.

Edited by Wavicle
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I do think that the way the meta is set up, certain playstyles and even ATs can be at a disadvantage.... but at the same time that same meta would be made even wonkier if they were to just receive straight buffs.

 

What if there were a "Super Heroic/Viallainous" difficulty mode that made encounters tougher per lvl difference lets say (Purple Patch scaling x1.05 or such), but it also came with some bonuses to your characters as well?

 

For example, in the Super Heroic setting, a +3 enemy gains +Regen, +Defense, +Damage, and +ToHit (not acc) along with say, 1 extra power or something. This makes them inherently more dangerous and a bit tougher to take down. But in the same setting, Controllers and Dominators now gain -Res/-Def on all their control abilities that can counter these traits to make taking the enemies down easier (boosts offense!) while shutting down their own offense (team defense!). Buff powersets would also see more use as the Soft Cap effectively changes / other boosts are more valuable.

 

Thoughts?

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On 4/24/2020 at 10:56 AM, Galaxy Brain said:

I do think that the way the meta is set up, certain playstyles and even ATs can be at a disadvantage.... but at the same time that same meta would be made even wonkier if they were to just receive straight buffs.

 

What if there were a "Super Heroic/Viallainous" difficulty mode that made encounters tougher per lvl difference lets say (Purple Patch scaling x1.05 or such), but it also came with some bonuses to your characters as well?

 

For example, in the Super Heroic setting, a +3 enemy gains +Regen, +Defense, +Damage, and +ToHit (not acc) along with say, 1 extra power or something. This makes them inherently more dangerous and a bit tougher to take down. But in the same setting, Controllers and Dominators now gain -Res/-Def on all their control abilities that can counter these traits to make taking the enemies down easier (boosts offense!) while shutting down their own offense (team defense!). Buff powersets would also see more use as the Soft Cap effectively changes / other boosts are more valuable.

 

Thoughts?

I don't think Stats are the way to go about this.

New, encounter specific mechanics are the way.

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On 4/24/2020 at 12:56 PM, Galaxy Brain said:

I do think that the way the meta is set up, certain playstyles and even ATs can be at a disadvantage.... but at the same time that same meta would be made even wonkier if they were to just receive straight buffs.

 

What if there were a "Super Heroic/Viallainous" difficulty mode that made encounters tougher per lvl difference lets say (Purple Patch scaling x1.05 or such), but it also came with some bonuses to your characters as well?

 

For example, in the Super Heroic setting, a +3 enemy gains +Regen, +Defense, +Damage, and +ToHit (not acc) along with say, 1 extra power or something. This makes them inherently more dangerous and a bit tougher to take down. But in the same setting, Controllers and Dominators now gain -Res/-Def on all their control abilities that can counter these traits to make taking the enemies down easier (boosts offense!) while shutting down their own offense (team defense!). Buff powersets would also see more use as the Soft Cap effectively changes / other boosts are more valuable.

 

Thoughts?

Like Mayhem Mode in BL3! I like it. 

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@Wavicle, @golstat2003, the stats would be minor increases but overall we've seen that adding actual difficulty like, avoiding patches and so on drive people nuts 😛

 

The stat increase would be more shifting the baseline a bit to counteract how tough you can build yourself, establishing a new normal to then add new mechanics onto. Such as the new stats being stripped of you hard CC, opening up new avenues of play. IMHO, unless this needle is moved the base mechanics of the game will prevent any sort of new strategies from developing outside of stuff like circles of doom if we can just faceroll content at softcap defense/etc

Edited by Galaxy Brain
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Just remember that not everyone out there plays a character with an engineered IO set-build. Not everyone is particularly skilled or experienced, either.

 

If you move that base-line TOO much... Either to account for those who know the game inside out, or to balance for UberBuilds… you're apt to make things pretty dicey for anyone who isn't at that point. You just can't build for the high end without thinking about what that's likely to do on the low side.

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12 minutes ago, Coyotedancer said:

Just remember that not everyone out there plays a character with an engineered IO set-build. Not everyone is particularly skilled or experienced, either.

Then they dont necessarily have to play in hard mode.

12 minutes ago, Coyotedancer said:

If you move that base-line TOO much... Either to account for those who know the game inside out, or to balance for UberBuilds… you're apt to make things pretty dicey for anyone who isn't at that point. You just can't build for the high end without thinking about what that's likely to do on the low side.

The high end is why this discussion is even happening tbh. People who figure things out, let alone master the game, can quickly outpace the native difficulty. For those players to be challenged they need to account for different baselines. Getting to 45% is easy to steamroll most of the game. Getting to 55% let's say becomes a tactical decision as you now have to much more carefully plot your set bonuses else you sacrifice other stats.

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But you're not really talking about adding an optional "hard mode", GB... You're talking about moving up the base-line of the game. That's going to affect everyone who plays. Not just the people running taskforces solo at +4/x8.

 

And yes. We all know why people are griping about the whole game being an easy-mode cake walk. When you specifically and intentionally build characters to trivialize the game, you sort of have to expect that, yes, you're not really going to be challenged anymore. But that doesn't mean that in response the game should be rebalanced around those characters. That the low end still exists and shouldn't be marginalized just to cater to the high end is what seems to keep getting lost in these conversations.

 

The people grumbling on the forums about how much of a punk Recluse is or how easy it is to stomp x8 missions into complete mush with our over-engineered nightmares just aren't the only people playing the game. It's a mistake to act like we are. But it's a mistake that's also very easy to make. That's why I keep reminding people that the low end exists. Any proposed changes to things like the base powers or statistics of enemies NEED to keep that in mind.

 

Additional optional difficulty settings on top of the base game? Sure. Have at it. Sounds like fun.

Changing everything from the ground up to make it harder across the board? Tread carefully, because what's a challenge for UberMan will absolutely flatten Captain N0tS0L33t.   

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On 4/24/2020 at 12:56 PM, Galaxy Brain said:

What if there were a "Super Heroic/Viallainous" difficulty mode that made encounters tougher per lvl difference lets say (Purple Patch scaling x1.05 or such), but it also came with some bonuses to your characters as well?

Honestly this seems like a step in the wrong direction to me. If there’s players who really want the power-creep level of difficulty, then revert to an SO build and continue playing the content in the existing system, because that is all this method of adjustment is doing.

 

Frankly reverting to SO builds is realistically the “challenge” setting at this point from a numbers standpoint. People may not like that answer, but the only change going forward for this game that makes content “more difficult” is going to be new mechanics and more diversified enemy groups with more potent buffs/debuffs, not stats changes. From my perspective this is what it appears the O.G. Devs were working towards. Diversifying and building stronger enemy groups that would better challenge our “high spec” IO builds more effectively. Essentially “restore” balance to the game by having two measurements of power. SO builds from the core game, and IO builds for the end game.

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The game feels too easy to me overall.  Even at lower levels.  To be fair, I think part of that is we have all very experienced players who know exactly how to build characters, but still.  I was running some level 20ish content with a team of randos, and we steamrolled over everything in the arc.  I forgot to ask if anyone wanted the difficulty increased, folks seemed happy with it, but still there was almost no challenge.

 

Same thing happened on another group for someone who wanted help with Frostfire in Hollows.  I remember this mission being SO HARD when it first came out on live.   Like multiple team wipes hard.  Granted again we were all buffed to the nines, with DFB buffs and the newer SOs from DFB and probably some twinks with IOs.  And we were also higher level, all of us were around 12 or higher (leader was 13), so we had way more powers (Frosty used to happen around level 5-6? iirc).  But still, Frosty went down in about three hits, and his gang didn't pose any sort of threat.

 

My personal idea is to make the game harder, but only on certain servers so folks have a choice (and maybe get to try it out without having to have their current characters changed by any new rules).  So make a new server Hardcase (or whatever name you like) and  mess with the difficulty until it feels more "right," more challenge for people.

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1 hour ago, Sir Myshkin said:

Honestly this seems like a step in the wrong direction to me. If there’s players who really want the power-creep level of difficulty, then revert to an SO build and continue playing the content in the existing system, because that is all this method of adjustment is doing.

 

Frankly reverting to SO builds is realistically the “challenge” setting at this point from a numbers standpoint. People may not like that answer, but the only change going forward for this game that makes content “more difficult” is going to be new mechanics and more diversified enemy groups with more potent buffs/debuffs, not stats changes. From my perspective this is what it appears the O.G. Devs were working towards. Diversifying and building stronger enemy groups that would better challenge our “high spec” IO builds more effectively. Essentially “restore” balance to the game by having two measurements of power. SO builds from the core game, and IO builds for the end game.

 

I like this idea.  At 50, a character can have three different builds, so it's not unreasonable to use one of those build slots for a "SOs Only" build.  I might have to start doing that with a few of my idle 50s to make them interesting to play again.

 

@Rathstar

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Energy/Temporal Blaster (50+3) on Excelsior

Energy/Willpower Sentinel (50+3) on Indomitable

Energy/Energy Sentinel (50+1) on Torchbearer

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I agree that limiting yourself to SO's / Generic IO's only is a viable method of making the game harder, it is also an almost Alien Meta in terms of how many characters are designed today. IO's have been the "main path" for the game for longer than SO's have been and simply stripping that can be either an appropriate challenge, or downright annoying depending on the powerset. Look at the hoops needed to make DA work against Knockback vs what a simple -KB IO can do for example. 

 

It is viable sure, but I think that enough people partake in the "IO Meta" to different degrees which makes difficulty changes with that in mind better suited for the game going forward than stripping it away.

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5 minutes ago, Galaxy Brain said:

I agree that limiting yourself to SO's / Generic IO's only is a viable method of making the game harder, it is also an almost Alien Meta in terms of how many characters are designed today. IO's have been the "main path" for the game for longer than SO's have been and simply stripping that can be either an appropriate challenge, or downright annoying depending on the powerset. Look at the hoops needed to make DA work against Knockback vs what a simple -KB IO can do for example. 

 

It is viable sure, but I think that enough people partake in the "IO Meta" to different degrees which makes difficulty changes with that in mind better suited for the game going forward than stripping it away.

Question (I'm not in game at the moment to check): does switching builds de-slot your Incarnates?

@Rathstar

Energy/Energy Blaster (50+3) on Everlasting

Energy/Temporal Blaster (50+3) on Excelsior

Energy/Willpower Sentinel (50+3) on Indomitable

Energy/Energy Sentinel (50+1) on Torchbearer

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On 3/29/2020 at 6:33 AM, Redlynne said:

I'm of the opinion that while Incarnate stuff is "definitely A Thing™" in terms of welcoming Power Creep Tsunami ... the effects of Incarnate Slotting really ought to be something "reserved" for specific zones of the game ... such as:

I agree with this, mostly, but I also think there should be some bonus for being an incarnate while doing lower level content.  Like if you're an incarnate helping out a team of 20-somethings, I think you should get some bonus.  Just maybe not quite as much as now.  One idea I have is to basically allow all your IO set bonuses but scale them down by some percent as you Exp down in level.  That way there's some bonus, and also it doesn't have a rather frustrating cut-off where things just stop working and it's like you're not slotted at all (OTOH, Attuned Enh. might be too powerful as they keep working at 100% all the time).

 

But on your list of zones and TFs, I think I would add Ouroboros.  It has options to control powers while on a mish already, and also it might be nice to go back in time with no limits and show some old villain what being punched by a real incarnate is like.  This might include all the old TFs as well, esp if people had trouble with them.

 

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No matter what they add or adjust to make it more difficult, people will find a way to turn it easy. Asking for a higher built-in difficulty level is just asking for a new limit to reach, surpass, and then start deriding as being 'too easy.' Such patterns do not end, and eventually lead to increasingly annoying WoW-like raid mechanics where half the team has to hop on one foot while juggling waffles in order to distract a boss so that a Defender in a clown suit can sneak up behind him and use Brawl on his right shin, because THAT'S the only way you can hurt him once he starts reciting the screenplay to Good Will Hunting, and then repeat it for a solid three hours with minor variations. ("You used syrup!? Dammit, now a Corrupter has to put on the clown suit!")

 

I'm pretty sure this has been said many times already, but I don't feel like scanning through 13 pages to make sure. You want the game to be more of a challenge, then challenge yourself. Play an archetype you never have, pick powers you normally avoid. Ignore your established play style and routine -  Don't run DfB ad nauseum. Don't join a radio team. Solo everything. Slot only Training Enhancements. Skip useful powers because they don't fit the character. Choose to run missions in zones you rarely visit.  Make it to 50 street-sweeping using only brawl. Play as though it was still i5 and everything that came after doesn't exist.

 

Pretend you know nothing about the game and are playing it for the very first time. Just moving the bar means you'll eventually hit it again.

 

We'd all love more content, but I'm just not seeing the feasibility of that on the scale people are thinking, and even if it was, I worry "making things more challenging" will eventually just lead to "making things more annoying." And I hate putting on clown suits.

 

Edited by Hexquisite
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I think obviously the people asking for the whole game to be made more challenging are not thinking clearly about what is actually feasible.

 

Asking for new content for level 50s to eventually be created that has more challenging mechanics, yes such as Apex or protean, is totally reasonable.

Edited by Wavicle
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1 hour ago, Hexquisite said:

 

 

I'm pretty sure this has been said many times already, but I don't feel like scanning through 13 pages to make sure. You want the game to be more of a challenge, then challenge yourself. Play an archetype you never have, pick powers you normally avoid. Ignore your established play style and routine -  Don't run DfB ad nauseum. Don't join a radio team. Solo everything. Slot only Training Enhancements. Skip useful powers because they don't fit the character. Choose to run missions in zones you rarely visit.  Make it to 50 street-sweeping using only brawl. Play as though it was still i5 and everything that came after doesn't exist.

 

Pretend you know nothing about the game and are playing it for the very first time. Just moving the bar means you'll eventually hit it again.

 

 

 

Try powerset combinations that may not be "optimal".  Try mission arcs against enemy groups you normally avoid.  Try out mechanics which are unfamiliar with.  Go red side.  Go gold side.

 

I'm going out on a limb here, but no one needs a higher difficulty in order to run Council farms.

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8 minutes ago, Hexquisite said:

No matter what they add or adjust to make it more difficult, people will find a way to turn it easy. Asking for a higher built-in difficulty level is just asking for a new limit to reach, surpass, and then start deriding as being 'too easy.' Such patterns do not end, and eventually lead to increasingly annoying WoW-like raid mechanics where half the team has to hop on one foot while juggling waffles in order to distract a boss so that a Defender in a clown suit can sneak up behind him and use Brawl on his right shin, because THAT'S the only way you can hurt him once he starts reciting the screenplay to Good Will Hunting, and then repeat it for a solid three hours with minor variations. ("You used syrup!? Dammit, now a Corrupter has to put on the clown suit!")

 

I'm pretty sure this has been said many times already, but I don't feel like scanning through 13 pages to make sure. You want the game to be more of a challenge, then challenge yourself. Play an archetype you never have, pick powers you normally avoid. Ignore your established play style and routine -  Don't run DfB ad nauseum. Don't join a radio team. Solo everything. Slot only Training Enhancements. Skip useful powers because they don't fit the character. Choose to run missions in zones you rarely visit.  Make it to 50 street-sweeping using only brawl. Play as though it was still i5 and everything that came after doesn't exist.

 

Pretend you know nothing about the game and are playing it for the very first time. Just moving the bar means you'll eventually hit it again.

 

We'd all love more content, but I'm just not seeing the feasibility of that on the scale people are thinking, and even if it was, I worry "making things more challenging" will eventually just lead to "making things more annoying." Because I hate putting on clown suits.

 

I just want to touch on this, as the example always seems to dive into raids becoming crazy quick time events that require cat-herding, when it doesn't have to be.

 

The reason those sort of challenges come up is because the content has been mastered by the players in ways that can no longer be tested. If you make a cool new enemy group, without special gimmicks they are still expected to be facing off against players who have a ~5% chance to be hit and then are buffed to the 9's in all directions. That is when you need to start tossing stuff out like un-dodgeable / un-resistible attacks as anything short of that ends up being a joke, same with enemies that have periods of full invincibility / etc (this is also why we have Purple Triangles on key bosses). 

 

The content in Praetoria gets around this without needing to resort to as harsh of gimmicks thanks to having enemies alter how the players approach combat (on top of slightly altered stats / attacks). Clockwork have very different AI where they opt not to move much, instead of just dog piling you like every other mob in the game. This spreads them out usually and makes wiping them out quickly a challenge as it lessens the effect AoEs have, both for damage and control/debuff/etc. A simple change like having more enemies opt to space you out and change up player expectation can be a challenge to many builds even if they can mop normal mobs. The Ghouls likewise have a similar mechanic that instead directly punishes players for letting them group up. When Ghouls die, they release a PBAoE heal/buff to other enemies which can completely negate your offense and turn the tide in their favor. This in turn rewards players who snipe them out or separate them as opposed to just spam AoE attacks. Granted, you face off against these enemies when you are lower level yourself, but they at least test you in ways that are different than the standard "gather them up and slap em" style found in the rest of the game.

 

There are a few examples in older content as well, such as with Sky Raiders having Engineers you want to prioritize interrupting, Jump Bots that you dont want to kill in melee range, and porters that well.. port. Though all of these can still be steamrolled with Accuracy, Defenses, and raw damage output respectively. Carnies also drain your end when they die but it's never really been that bad in my experience, and their phasing just delays their demise instead of really changing how you approach them. Off the top of my head the only Praetoria-esque vanilla enemies are Freakshow in that they have the ability to self rez that you cannot just "stats" through and instead have to adapt and keep an eye on their bodies, or in the Super Stunner's case jump away before it drains and rezzes. 

 

I guess my point is that even with the existing enemy groups that reward you for changing tactics, the game also allows you to just steamroll them since you can overcome most of their challenges with raw stats. Allowing them to boost their stats in kind in a way that is somewhat anti-meta within reason can help their strategies shine a bit more. For example, if an enemy group had massive +Accuracy to fight against player defense you would have to find other ways to safely combat them such as crowd control or -ToHit to counter the Acc bonus, or so on.

 

A difficulty mode doesn't need to be crazy auto-lose patches in X locations to be more dynamic and difficult, nor does it just need to be a massive wall of stats, but both in reasonable amounts could do a lot to make the players interacting with the encounter to have to think twice and be able to pull off cool things.

 

 

 

 

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