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Different people prefer different things. I have made no claim that people prefer one option over another. I claim that players are perfectly capable of choosing the difficulty of a game for themselves in order to maximize their enjoyment of it. It is a claim I have made before and that I will make again, especially now that I have another data point (EBF4) for the list.
And please read again those arguments against letting players choose their own difficulty. They are adversarial, that’s not something that came from me. So let’s assume I am wrong in my reading, let’s assume that they are not saying: “As a designer, I do not want players circumventing difficulties even if it means that the game will not be enjoyable for them”, but instead: “As a player, I do not want other players circumventing difficulties even if it means that the game will not be enjoyable for them”, is that really any better?
Multiplayer games have to be balanced for all players _because_ imbalance ruins the fun for a significant fraction of the players, not for the sake of some sacrosanct ideal of difficulty. In single player games, the only party that could legitimately complain if the player is having it easy is the computer, and the computer doesn’t care. So what’s the crime, and where’s the victim? Will someone stand up and say: “I am bothered by the idea that someone, somewhere, is hacking their Diablo II saved game” so I can ask them exactly what is wrong with them?
I’m not riled up btw, I was under the impression you were, and frankly I couldn’t care less what the OP finally chooses for his difficulty mechanism, I only entered this thread to defend an option that was being, in my view, unfairly denigrated. I’ve said my piece, and from now on I’m letting others say theirs.
1)I prefer C over all of other ones. Why? Because [A] and [B] usually make game easier/harder in a bad way. When someone includes difficulty levels in game, it usually only change enemy or player stats in one or another way. Less health for player, less time to do something, more stats for enemyes e.t.c. But C changes it all. With C you can have different playstyles – rushing through the game or exploring. C makes game suitable for both hardcore gamers and those who dont want to dig in. You also get much better rewarding feel when completing optional tasks.
2.1)Maybe a little, a **very** little. Because players might get dissapointed that some of their content is blocked and there is no way to change it.
2.2)Yes, but it increase leaderboard size dramatically.
2.3)Rewards shall be same, else it wont be the hard level, it will be hard battle on easy level.
3)Hard level may give some bonus to player, and switching to easier level could give a penalty of removing the bonus.
4.1)Again, i would enjoy the game with C only much more
4.3)It shall be separated from main content, somewhat like in Mardek, if talking about flash games. Repeating the same missions is boring.
5)Seems good if you wont tell player about it