There are new forums for Guild Wars 2
, which means that one of the first development posts can be another reminder that the developers at ArenaNet don’t want to make raids accessible
. Indeed, a new post on the new forums states pretty firmly that there are no plans to make alternative difficulties. Anet’s Crystal Reid suggests that raids are intended to be about “skill.”
“We won’t be adding a different difficulty tier at this time. Raids need to continue to remain the most challenging content in the game, and they aren’t designed to be accessible by everyone from a skill perspective. Could they be more accessible from a ‘finding 9 other players to play with’ side? Sure. That isn’t always an easy problem to solve, and any solution would detract away from the team making more raid content. We’d love to get more content out to you guys faster really.”
The post goes on to address difficulty in the most recent wing, stating that the Mursaat Overseer difficulty is a bit too easy compared to what was planned and the team wants to bring out more raid content more quickly. So that’s good news for everyone who enjoys the raid difficulty and wants to be faced with more punishing mechanics and nerd-herding, and bad news for… well, anyone who really just wants to happily experience the game’s story and has no interest in raiding now or ever regardless of the supposed skill it requires. So not much will change, then.
Justin’s LOTRO Legendarium article on whether or not Mordor is too difficult struck a chord wth me. “I do not envy devs and their monumental task of creating world content that is somewhat balanced for players of varying skill and gear levels,” he wrote. “Make it too easy, and players get apathetic and drift away from your game. Make it too hard, and players pound their keyboards and ragequit.”
That’s a balance many MMORPGs have struggled with over the years as new patches are rolled out, from World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm to Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns, and as Justin argues, some games take “wild swings” from too hard to too easy and leave us frustrated and hunting for a new online home.
Set aside the specific’s of the LOTRO issue for now and consider the question more broadly: Which MMORPG is the worst at balancing difficulty — and why?
Sometimes you go a bit too far. It happens. Kritika Online
made some changes to Starhenge with its last patch to make the content harder on a whole, but those difficulty increases wound up overshooting the mark. By a lot
, unfortunately. But it’s easy to fix that; the most recent patch for the game
has dropped boss shield gauges, increased rewards, and reduced the challenge across the board in Easy, Normal, and Hard modes. Insanity mode will remain where it is, but for most players this makes the content much more forgiving
Meanwhile, the game’s Green Leaf weapons also turned out to be tuned a bit too high, allowing players to clear Arena content faster and more reliably than planned. No punishment is going out to players who used the weapons, as it wasn’t the fault of players, but the weapons have been adjusted to the correct level. Check out the full list of patch notes for the fine details.
The first major WildStar patch of 2017 unlocked the Primal Matrix and added the Prime difficulty level for select dungeons. What’s next for the game? According to the newest state of the game letter, it’s time for even more Prime difficulty, including Prime difficulty raids! No longer will you have to suffer through the normal difficulty raids like some sort of sucker, assuming you could actually get a full raid group together to even take on the content, much less clear it.
The Prime difficulty is also coming to other dungeons and adventures over the remainder of the year. The other big addition is the new Communities feature, allowing players to come together and collaborate on housing plots instead of working separately. If you’re tired of how easy the raids in WildStar are, we’re sure you’ll be happy at the thought of making them even harder. If you’re not a big fan of the difficulty hike at this point, though… well, there are more Primal Matrix levels coming, so that’s something?
Seasons don’t fear the reaper, nor do the wind, the sun, or the rain. You can be like they are, and considering the new Reaper difficulty is one of the central fixtures of Dungeons & Dragons Online’s Update 34
, you probably ought
to be like they are. After all, clearing Reaper difficulty awards you fantastic prizes through the accumulation of Reaper XP. Want your character to have glowing green wings and/or eyes? You can make that happen
by conquering the highest tier of difficulty for quests and raids.
If that’s not your thing, that’s all right; the update also features a new dungeon in the Tower of Frost, which is available at level 14 on Normal and level 28 on Epic. There’s also the usual assortment of bug fixes, balance tweaks, and general improvements. Check out a gallery with some of the available rewards just below, and log into the game now to start earning those new rewards for yourself.
How do you feel about the Legendary dungeons in Riders of Icarus? Do you feel that they’re tuned to just the right difficulty and that all of the drops there are happening at the right rate? The developers don’t feel that way. A recent post indicates that the game’s team has been monitoring feedback about the dungeon difficulty as well as player progress. No one wanted to jump the gun on making adjustments, but now that some time has passed, it’s time to tinker with the dungeons.
Specific changes are not noted, but players are assured that both the difficulty level and drop rates for needed crafting items will be adjusted to provide the best possible experience for players running this level of content. Details are still being finalized, but you can expect to see the changes applied to the game in the update on November 16th.
It’s time to see if you’re really as good as you say you are in The Division. The game’s newest patch is available today, and it adds the world tier system for players to select the level of enemies faced and the rewards provided. If your gear is weak and you’re not well-prepared, you can easily take on a lower tier and ensure that the enemies won’t blow you away; on the other hand, if you’re a skilled player with great stuff, you can take on a high tier and trade bullets with some really adroit opponents.
The patch also contains gameplay improvements, improved content rewards, bug fixes, and all of the other fun stuff you’d expect from a patch. Check out the full notes with all of the fixes and changes, and take some satisfaction in the fact that this patch has been more thoroughly tested by players.
The World of Warcraft community was in a bit of a tizzy yesterday when it collectively discovered that you couldn’t complete a quest chain involving raids in the Raid Finder version of the content, followed by the official site confirming that you cannot do the quest in LFR. Community manager Ornyx took to the forums to explain the situation in slightly more depth, making it clear that this is unique for a specific quest chain, not the majority of quests involving raids.
While this particular appearance is locked behind a Normal-or-higher raiding threshold, the other raid-based quests (such as profession quests and the end of the Suramar storyline) can be completed normally through the raid finder; this quest line was meant to unlock an appearance specifically through non-queued content. If you want to understand this situation in a bit depth, jump down below; we’ll break it down for you.
Do you want to be the very best, like no one was before? Then you’ll probably want to take on the Mythic difficulty in World of Warcraft: Legion‘s Emerald Nightmare when it opens… today. Yes, that’s today, and your group had better be ready and waiting. On the other hand, if you would rather stick a fork in your arm and hook it up to live current rather than go through a scheduled raid night again, you’ll be able to jump into the raid finder version of the first wing as of today.
The game has also dropped a small hotfix patch to address certain balance issues, which include rolling back a fair amount of damage drops for Demon Hunters. The developers are also looking into ways to make Shadow Priests alter their current reliance upon Surrender to Madness, which means minor tweaks with the understanding that the power-up-then-die talent will be more seriously changed in the future.
Chewing your way through hordes of demons in Diablo III is going to get a little bit harder in the game’s next patch. Not because you’re losing your existing demon-horde-clearing options, no, but because new difficulty levels have been added above Torment X. With patch 2.4.2 you can dive into Torment XI through Torment XIII, filled with more demons and even better loot in an ever-expanding ceiling.
Patch 2.4.2 also features a number of item changes and improvements to the rewards of Adventure Mode, complete with higher drop rates for Infernal Machines. If this makes you want to show off how well your latest demon-slaughtering session is going, you’ll also benefit from the option to hide your UI so you can more clearly take a picture of all the monsters you demolished. Sure, it’s not a huge content update, but there’s still plenty to do with the patch.
At the time of this writing, Final Fantasy XIV‘s newest patch has been out for less than a full day. (It’ll be two days when you read this.) My first run of Weeping City of Mhach ended at Ozma, and while I cleared Nidhogg on the Final Steps of Faith it took some doing. That speaks to a certain level of difficulty, but it’s not entirely clear whether that’s because it’s actually difficult or not.
I mean, I was running into these encounters blind on the first day with several other people who had never done these things before. Maybe Weeping City is actually tough, or maybe it’s just a matter of people not yet knowing the fights reliably and having some bad matchups in my own groups. Maybe I’ll run it again with no problems.
That brings me to the question: How long does an encounter need to be out before you can judge its difficulty? A new dungeon in World of Warcraft is going to seem harder than its contemporaries when no one knows any of the mechanics, after all. How much time needs to pass for people to write strategies, distribute them, and understand them before you can point to something and say “yes, this is very hard” or “yes, this is easy”?
Imagine that you’re an Age of Conan player who really wants to take part in the game’s raids but also really can’t commit to a set raid night on a weekly basis. Your options are currently to either try to commit and fail or don’t commit and don’t get anything. But the game’s most recent development update makes it clear that there will soon be another option with the game’s raid finder, which matches people for a different raid each week.
Encounters in raid finder difficulty will scale to the level of accessibility, with a system planned to provide a bit of extra help to groups stuck on difficult encounters. If you want even more of a personal challenge, though, you can look forward to the upcoming solo arena encounters, which pit individual players against elaborate boss fights that make heavy use of a player’s companion. It’s just the thing to challenge you on a personal level, and given the number of people involved you never have to worry about disrupting someone else’s schedule.
WildStar is bringing a new raid into the game, Initialization Core Y-83, and it’s pretty different from its previous raids. Not fond of attunement processes? There’s none of that for this one. Tired of huge things that take ages to complete? You can clear this one in 30 minutes or so, it’s a boss in a box. Displeased with the swift ramp-up between Genetic Archives and Datascape? This nestles comfortably in the space between them, serving as a sort of “transitional” raid.
More specifically, the raid will have two difficulties, which can be triggered before each pull (so a higher difficulty that fails doesn’t lock you to clearing that difficulty). Drops include decor, gear, and rune sets, with better options available behind the higher difficulty. It’s a shift in some of the existing raid paradigms for WildStar, and players will get to play around with it when the next patch goes live.