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The Solution to the "Game is Too Easy Crisis"

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The Solution to the "Game is Too Easy Crisis"

Swissbob's Avatar


Swissbob
01.13.2016 , 07:13 PM | #1
My Solution to the "Game is Too Easy Crisis"


Original Title: A Recycling Bin for "Game is Too Easy" Threads (And Why Player Choice is the Solution!"


Yes, I realize I am likely going to forum hell for creating yet another thread about this topic.

And also, yes, I know the word "crisis" is a bit of hyperbole. That's why I put it in quotes.... to connote something colorful/debatable/subjective.

TL;DR Available at bottom of Part 4, in big green letters.

Contents:
-Part 1: The Intro, or Why I am Making this Thread
--Part 2: Arguments in Defense of the Current (Easy) Level of Challenge
---Part 3: Arguments in Opposition of the Current (Easy) Level of Challenge
----Part 4: The Solution: More Player Choice

Part 1: The Intro, or Why I'm Making This Thread
Since 4.0 came out months ago, thread after thread has been made about the level of inherent challenge in solo content, and there seems to be no end in sight. I think it is safe to say it is at least one of the major controversial topics that has risen up from the changes of 4.0.

As it is one my personal major criticisms with 4.0 (that the game has been made even easier... to the point of combat being pointless), I've spent a lot of time in these threads posting various responses to arguments from both sides, but of course these simple arguments get repeated over and over in every single thread made about this topic. I've now gathered quite a large recycling bin of stock responses I repost when these arguments get used. And since there seems to be no end in sight to these arguments getting used (and me subsequently responding to them), I think it's past time I consolidate all of my responses into one place, so I don't have to go digging through my own post history to find the thing I want to copy and paste.

That one place is this thread.

And while this is largely for my own purposes, I am posting it publicly to the forums in the hopes to get feedback/discussion on either the arguments themselves, my responses, and/or my proposed solution.

(And yes, all arguments used are roughly word for word arguments I have seen be used on these forums)

If you read nothing else, please read Part 4.

Part 2: Arguments in Defense of the Current (Easy) Level of Challenge

Argument: "The game was always easy!"
Response:
Spoiler


Argument: "The game is for people who like it Easy, they are the majority, people who want challenge are the minority, don't like it, then leave."

Response:
Spoiler


Argument: "It's the dev's game, they can do what they want with it! You don't like it? Leave!"
Response:
Spoiler


Argument: "This game is only about story! You shouldn't be playing for any other reason besides story, so why care about combat?"
Response:
Spoiler


Argument: "But there are already areas of the game that are challenging! Go play PvP or NiM Ops if you want challenge!"
Response:
Spoiler


Argument: "Last time they nerfed companions there was a huge backlash!"
Response:
Spoiler


now, the big one:

Argument: "Dismiss your companion (or purposefully underlevel, unequip gear, or any other handicap), that fixes everything!"
Response:
Spoiler


Argument: "But I have more fun playing in the current (Easy) level of challenge!"
Response:
Spoiler


Part 3: Arguments in Opposition to the Current (Easy) Level of Challenge

Argument: "This game is for braindead casuals/stupid people/toddlers/monkeys now!" or somesuch.
Response:
Spoiler


Argument: "People who don't want challenge just aren't skilled enough, and should learn to play!"
Response:
Spoiler


Argument: "The levelling content needs to be hard, so people learn how to play for the sake of Group Finder!"
Response:
Spoiler


Argument: "But I would have more fun playing in a higher level of challenge!"
Response:
Spoiler

Part 4: The Solution: More Player Choice

So. Now we've arrived. The solution to this divisive issue. How can we create solo content that simultaneously appeals to multiple groups of players?

Well, if you've seen really any of my posts over the last few months, or just have been paying attention to this thread at all so far, you likely know exactly what I'm going to say.

The solution is game intended, endorsed, and manufactured player choice.

We need the game to provide us with a conventional difficulty setting that doesn't force players to self-impose arbitrary limitations of what assets they can use to create an artificial sense of challenge in an inherently challenge-less situation.

Give us an ability to fix, rather then just disable, the broken part of the game (in this case, companions, or our strength in general). Instead of forcing us to handicap ourselves so we are lowered down to the level of the kindergarten enemies to feel some artificial, self-imposed challenge, make it so we are forced to raise ourselves up, though good gear, good skills, and good utilization of all of our assets, to triumph over a powerful adversary in a compellingly close (and therefore exciting and fun) fight.

So, in practical, specific terms, how should Bioware go about implementing this in the game? Well, there are a variety of options. None of them are perfect, as a perfect solution to this problem simply isn't possible. However, here is my best idea (I encourage you to offer edits to my proposal or your own original ones in the thread below).

Anyway, here is my proposal:

There should be TWO difficulty settings. If possible, an optional third could be added (as described below in "Mode #3"), though is relatively less important then the other two in my eyes.

Mode #1: Hard Mode
This is the mode intended for players who want challenging combat to be a core part of the solo leveling experience. In order to implement this mode. the current stats of mobs in the game would need to be raised (slightly), and the power of companions would need to be lowered (by a moderate extent). That's all that would need to be implemented. Relatively easy.

Now you may ask: Wait, you're buffing all mobs in solo content? What about (the likely majority of) players who want it as easy as it is now? Well, read on....

Mode #2: Normal Mode (via toggleable buff, which is toggled ON by default)
This is the mode intended for players who either aren't skilled enough or simply don't want to invest the time/focus the Hard Mode would require. How would this toggleable difficulty setting be implemented? A simple item or terminal or setting that applies a strong buff to your companion (taking them up to roughly the level they currently are now), making the mobs be much more easy relative to your strength. This would simply operate similar to already existing bolsters in the game, such as the GSI terminal or more aptly the 12xp buff.

It is important to mention here that, since those who would use this buff are the majority, as well as new players who might not know how to turn it on or if it even was there, this buff will be applied by default, while those who want to participate in the Hard Mode would toggle this buff off (similar to how people could toggle the 12xp buff off via a White Acute Module).

Optional Caveat: I personally believe this mode should, if possible, apply a (very slight, minor, small) debuff to the amount of very basic rewards (like credits, for isntance) killing mobs gives you. However it's worth noting I don't think it should be any less then what you currently get, rather, Hard Mode should get (ever so slightly) more (just like already existing Hard Mode content in the game). Why? Well, the reasoning is that playing on Hard Mode takes more time and resources to kill mobs, and thus should rewards proportionally more resources. This is not to say Hard Mode players deserve more rewards because they are the l33t master race, but rather to provide a (again, very very slight) gameplay incentive to try out Hard Mode, to encourage players to test themselves and learn their skills, as they will need them should they choose to participate in Endgame content or PvP. However I recognize this is potentially controversial, and am more then willing to scrap this caveat if it meant the rest of my proposal was implemented.

Additional Arguments/Reasonings for this Caveat:
Spoiler


(Optional) Mode #3: No Combat Mode (toggleable buff via terminal/item)
This is an optional mode in my proposal, but I think an important one. There is a third section of the playerbase, and one that rarely gets mentioned in the "Game is too easy" threads. And that part of the playerbase finds combat boring and tedious, no matter what the level of difficulty is. They simply are here for the story, but unfortunately for them they have to sit through hours of mind numbing """"gameplay"""" as 2V-R8 or equivalent clears out mobs for them.

If my solution is all about player choice and appealing to as many sections of the player base as possible, why should they be left out?

Anyway, this mode is simple in concept, but likely difficult to implement. It would, like the easy mode toggleable buff, be an item or terminal that makes the Player either invisible to all mobs, not generate any threat or aggro any mobs, or simply eliminate all mobs from their own instanced areas. That way, they can get to the story as fast as possible.

Of course, one downside to this is that they would be lacking for XP and loot, however that would not be an issue if Combat was not something they were participating in, or at the very least would be a price they'd have to pay for skipping combat.

And that's it!
A relatively simple solution that can appeal to (almost) every type of playerbase while excluding (almost) no one! You have fun, I have fun.... we all have fun! Win, win, win!

TL;DR
Institute more player choice:
-Hard Mode -----> Increase mob strength and decrease companion strenght for people who want compelling, interesting combat to be a core component of the game
--Normal Mode -------> Increases Companion strength (to make the game as easy as it is now). This is toggled on by default. For people who either aren't skilled enough or don't want to invest the time in combat Hard Mode requires, but don't want to abstain from combat entirely
---No Combat Mode ----------> Makes mobs not aggro. For people who think Story is the only point of SWTOR. They can skip combat all together, and get to the story as fast as possible.



We NEED to band together to advocate for player choice.

On one side, people need to stop the "dismiss your companion, that fixes everything" or "ONLY EASE MODE, NO COMPROMISE!" nonsense.

On the other side, people need to stop the "ONLY HARD MODE, NO COMPROMISE" nonsense.

We need to meet in the middle and create a solution that appeals to (almost) everyone. And the only (or at least best) way to do that is with game endorsed, intended, manufactured, player choice that doesn't involve the player having to arbitrarily handicap themselves just to create an artificial sense of challenge in an inherently challenge-less situation.

I actually believe (call me naive) that this is a realistic proposal that could actually be implemented within Bioware's means. Will it though? Well.... no. Probably not.

Anyway, let me know what, throughout this massive post, you disagree or agree with. If you have a better solution, let me know.... because there likely is one. I'm hoping to gather other proposals here as well, not just mine, and will edit OP with others.
My Solution to the "Game is Too Easy Crisis"
_______________________________________________

My Guides to Combat in SWTOR: Part 1 | Part 2

Swissbob's Avatar


Swissbob
01.13.2016 , 07:14 PM | #2
Addendum: Other People's Proposals


#1) Soul_of_Flames' Proposal (Level Sync Difficulty Adjuster)
Spoiler


#2 LordArtemis' Proposal (Level Sync Difficulty Adjuster)
Spoiler



#3) Quething's Proposal (Damage Done to and by Mobs Slider)
Spoiler



#4) PorsaLindahl's Proposal (Difficulty Options in Instanced Areas)

Spoiler



#5) Chessack's Proposals (Level Sync by Zone of Planet + Flashback Mode)
Spoiler


#6) Dashtardly's Proposal ("Hard Mode" Specific Instances)
Spoiler

more on the way....
My Solution to the "Game is Too Easy Crisis"
_______________________________________________

My Guides to Combat in SWTOR: Part 1 | Part 2

Dashtardly's Avatar


Dashtardly
01.13.2016 , 07:20 PM | #3
Great post. I endorse.

/signed.

LordArtemis's Avatar


LordArtemis
01.13.2016 , 07:27 PM | #4
Its a good idea, but I am still an advocate for a downlevel setting. If the game offers a hard mode that pushes your level down 3 or 4 levels across the board it would be the easiest way to provide a challenge to those players that desire it IMO.

No need for buffs or gimps.....use the current level system to increase difficulty instead.

devincor's Avatar


devincor
01.13.2016 , 10:30 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by Swissbob View Post
Now, you automatically win by doing nothing. No really, I can stand still wearing no gear, pressing no buttons, while my Rank 1 Influence Protocol Droid solos Heroic Bosses handily.
I watched your video and did notice one small discrepancy compared to a true new player. Your presence score. (IMHO alot of those that cry how easy it is forget this part) You had a 373 score at 20. A new player will not have that. On a server where I haven't done the datacrons yet, I have a 12 sage with an 88 presence and a 37 mercenary with 185. I do have a 24 mercenary on a server that has all the legacy datacrons and his presence is 679 ( Base of 131, bonus of 548 ). Now his companion kicks ***!

So your influence rank 1 tank companion is still receiving a heath and damage bonus to fight that mob (almost 3x's what a new player would have). I agree that it is easier to fight with companions now but I am not totally sure a true new player could of done that as successfully at equal level.



Quote: Originally Posted by Swissbob View Post
Well, the reasoning is that playing on Hard Mode takes more time and resources to kill mobs, and thus should rewards proportionally more resources. This is not to say Hard Mode players deserve more rewards because they are the l33t master race, but rather to provide a (again, very very slight) gameplay incentive to try out Hard Mode, to encourage players to test themselves and learn their skills, as they will need them should they choose to participate in Endgame content or PvP. However I recognize this is potentially controversial, and am more then willing to scrap this caveat if it meant the rest of my proposal was implemented.
)
I will agree with your post only if the "hard" mode reward is the same as the easy mode. Your extra reward for hard mode is you got the developers to create hard mode and now you get to do it. If you are truly advocating for a challenge than that is you reward. The minute you start asking for a monetary, item, or xp reward increase for doing the hard mode it nullifies the challenge argument and comes across as you just want a bigger reward than everyone else.

Myracarrah's Avatar


Myracarrah
01.13.2016 , 10:56 PM | #6
Excellent post. Thank you.

So you are thinking something like the old Makeb easy button terminal. Which btw was an awesome feature (mind you it took me my third play through of Makeb to realize it was even there). I think that was one of the complaints about it, was that it was not clearly labelled. So if you are thinking something like that, it really does need to be labeled in BIG bright letters. It can also be pointed out during the class quests, where you go to DK or Coruscant, and click a terminal already (but that would require another quest and cut scene).

I would be perfectly happy if all Bioware did however was toss a difficulty choice on instance doors. I would be happiest if this included Class Quest instances, but would settle for just the H2 instances. I don't know how difficult that would be to implement, however it already exists on Flash Point doors, the SF door, and Ops doors.

I will point out that you did miss a view point in your list up above. There is a group of people who find the combat so tedious and dull, they just want it over with as fast as possible. These are normally level 65s running yet _another_ alt through the H2 grind for their Alliances. I am not sure making the combat 'easier' will help them. I am not sure making the combat 'harder' will help them. I do believe making the combat meaningful/engaging would be the most helpful.

Bioware has a rather terrible habit of thinking 'harder' means more mob HP, and more stuns. Which doesn't make the combat more engaging, it just makes the tedium go on longer. So when scaling everything back up to Hard Mode, they really need to take a look at how the mobs use their defenses, heals, and attacks as well.

The_Wulff's Avatar


The_Wulff
01.13.2016 , 10:59 PM | #7
I agree that both sides need to agree that there is no one right way to play the game. This is a great post for trying to show both sides the flaws of the game and the flaws of their arguments.

I personally would go a different route with game balance.

I'd like the level synch gone and the mobs re-structured. Make the mobs like they are in the rakghoul tunnel. One guy in the open at the level of the planet/area and if you want to avoid combat at higher levels you just walk past. If you want a fight reinforcements of the correct level join the fight and drop gear based on the gear table for your level not the planet. This will speed up revisited areas and keep them relevant for use in future expansions (the stated reason for adding the scaling).

If you want to down level to help a friend we could get a reusable item that downscales you to the planet max or to the same level as the lowest level group member.

Last thing I'd like to see is a change to companions. I know this will make people unhappy but it is (in my opinion) the best way to fine tune the game play. I'd like to see the gear you equip to your companion work for stats and I'd like to also see a set of gear that auto levels or a toggle to turn on the auto gear level. If I had my way I'd also like to see a relic that disregards influence affection or whatever we are calling companion ranks this week. Having the choice in how your companion is equipped will let you fine tune them to preform as well as you need them to. Having a set of self leveling gear for them or a toggle for self gearing lets them work as they do now for those that like the way they are.


I fully agree this is a situation that is best resolved with more choices not less. I wish there were more though out posts like this one.

Anysao's Avatar


Anysao
01.13.2016 , 11:05 PM | #8
Well, it's not an ideal method in my opinionů but I approve!
Ooh! In Elder Scrolls Online, I get magic spells and colossal PvP! That sounds cool, but one question, where do I get a lightsaber?
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Swissbob's Avatar


Swissbob
01.13.2016 , 11:46 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by LordArtemis View Post
Its a good idea, but I am still an advocate for a downlevel setting. If the game offers a hard mode that pushes your level down 3 or 4 levels across the board it would be the easiest way to provide a challenge to those players that desire it IMO.

No need for buffs or gimps.....use the current level system to increase difficulty instead.
Honestly, if the devs did this, I would be happy. Because it's at least something more then what we have currently.

But ultimately I don't like it quite as much as my own suggestion, because it still has the unfortunate psychological effect of purposefully lowering yourself down to make innately challengeless enemies a challenge.

Psychologically, it's more satisfying to have an innately challenging adversary, and having to raise yourself up to triumph over it, rather then having an innately challengeless adversary, and having to lower yourself down to give it an artificial sense of challenge.

But again, on balance I'm in support of this idea, just not relative to my own.

As a side note, if enough people post their own proposals, my hope is to add an addendum of sorts comprised of other people's proposed solutions, and yours will definitely be included.
My Solution to the "Game is Too Easy Crisis"
_______________________________________________

My Guides to Combat in SWTOR: Part 1 | Part 2

LordArtemis's Avatar


LordArtemis
01.14.2016 , 12:14 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Swissbob View Post
Honestly, if the devs did this, I would be happy. Because it's at least something more then what we have currently.

But ultimately I don't like it quite as much as my own suggestion, because it still has the unfortunate psychological effect of purposefully lowering yourself down to make innately challengeless enemies a challenge.

Psychologically, it's more satisfying to have an innately challenging adversary, and having to raise yourself up to triumph over it, rather then having an innately challengeless adversary, and having to lower yourself down to give it an artificial sense of challenge.

But again, on balance I'm in support of this idea, just not relative to my own.

As a side note, if enough people post their own proposals, my hope is to add an addendum of sorts comprised of other people's proposed solutions, and yours will definitely be included.
I appreciate your candor, and I certainly understand your perspective on the issue.

I would only say this...there is already an innate buff/debuff system in place, it has been in place since launch.

As originally designed, If you come up against a mob that is, say, three levels above you, the difficulty in that battle is substantial. If you are the same level it is as intended and balanced, an even fight. If you are three or four levels above, you are buffed against that mob, and he or she/it is at a disadvantage.

At least that is how it was before 4.0. I knew folks that would constantly challenge themselves prior to 4.0 by skipping side quests so they could remain 3 to 4 levels below the current content....basically a nightmare mode, where champions were almost impossible to defeat.

Now, it would not likely work the same way (provide the same challenge prior to 4.0), but a downlevel tool is working within the system of level sync....as level sync already reduces your level to a maximum of 3 to 4 levels above the current content if you are above that level.

All this would do is simply increase that reduction so you are instead 3 to 4 levels BELOW the current content.

To me, this makes more sense if the level sync system is here to stay, provides the challenge that players desire (a return, at the very least, to the standard challenge prior to 4.0) AND uses a system already in place and in place for 4 years.

No other adjustments would be needed IMO. That is the simplest and easiest solution, all things being equal.