I am seriously worried that the current levels of difficulty is scaring new people off.
Now, I’m a long time player, I’ve finished the game solo and levelled up two characters to max spec. I love the co-op aspect of the game, but the story on its own is similar to that of a single player campaign.
Many new people are playing solo - something the game allows you to do. But even in co-op the game becomes extremely hard as soon as you leave the starting island. So this feedback is as relevant for solo as it is for the co-op experience.
The hunter-spawning, the missile barrages, the machine detection from a distance, are all things that should be seriously tweaked to the player’s advantage at the easiest difficulty. And don’t get me started on overall HP of the larger machines.
But wait - you might say - this game is supposed to be based on guerilla tactics and stealth and ambushes. The problem with these intended play styles is that they are only rarely effective, and hence doesn’t make a player realise that this is how the game is intended to be played.
I’ll give some examples:
(1) Stealth depends on hiding and sneaking and taking out enemies “silently”. However, correct if I’m wrong, but it’s impossible to take out an enemy without alerting every machine in the vicinity to your position. Heck, I’ve even taken out drones from like a mile away with a sniper rifle, only to have runners from that position noticing me and running towards me, forcing me to engage in close combat. Shouldn’t a game where silencers and stealth exist, cater to the “secret assassin” play style?
(2) The heavier machines’ missile barrages denies the player from staying in hiding, due to how it ignores obstacles and even walls of houses. The explosive damage is so large that the player is forced to run out of cover and expose themselves to incoming fire from other enemies. So, even if I land the first shot having sneaked to a certain position, the machines know instantly where I am having fired that first shot. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could see machines being confused or running for cover themselves, by noticing incoming fire from somewhere?
Ok so what do I wish to say with this? For me, as a long-time player, I can find strategies and try to deal with the above issues. But it’s important that new players have fun with this title as well, that they feel they can progress within the game. And right now, I see some turning away as soon as they left the starting island.
To summarise, here are a few key issues I suggest change for the easier levels of difficulty:
- Limit AI detection of the player characters (both sound and visibility detection)
- Reduce damage output of machines
- For the love of god reduce frequency of missile barrages from the heavier enemies
- For the love of GOD limit hunter spawning from harvesters, by (1) have a certain max number that can spawn on a particular harvester, and (2) scale the frequency of spawns as per level of difficulty
By making the game easier for new players, a chance for them to level up and progress is given, without compromising of the core intent of the game, which involves intended play style.
What do you think?
Edit/Add: forgot to mention that buy making the easier level easier, one could also scale down XP earned from kills, as a way to incentivise players to eventually move up the difficulty ladder.