Ideal Difficulty For MP Maps

Inspired by the thread on map balance, I thought we should have a place to discuss how difficult maps should be. I know a couple people’s opinions, but I think it would be valuable to hear from others about how hard they think the game should be.

To kick things off, here are my thoughts.

Right now I think most maps are too easy overall. In my view, an ideal map would have these characteristics:

  • For new players:
    • Somewhat challenging–enough to be engaging!–on Normal.
    • Difficult on Hard, especially without a veteran in the group to help out. Definite chance of failure.
    • Downright impossible on Nightmare.
  • For veteran players:
    • Interesting on Normal (primarily as a playground to try new strategies, etc).
    • Challenging on Hard, at least for the first couple days. High chance of victory.
    • Overwhelming on Nightmare, but conceivably winnable if everything goes very well. Very low chance of victory.

This curve makes each difficulty compelling, no matter the experience/skill levels of the players involved. Beating a Hard MP scenario for the first time should feel like a real accomplishment. Similarly, any time you can beat a Nightmare map, it should be cause for celebration!

I think this sounds like a good goal to work towards.

It’s very difficult in Blight because the contents of a player’s collection can have a big impact on the player’s ability to do a particular mission.

Anyhow, we have an admin page where we can look up the scores players are getting in any particular mission. We want to try and use data to see how players are doing.

Here is a look at some of data the Ironwood missions. You can see there are quite a few scores in the 80+ range which suggest the mission was a little too easy for them, but you can see that there are a few players with around 50% which suggest they had a good fight and triumphed!

Now, unfortunately my data has a big hole in it, we don’t track when players give up and abandon a mission because it looks like they are going to lose. I’ll make some changes in the next few weeks to try and track those cases some how.

Actually, We also changed the whole high score tracking process so every player can only have 1 score for each mission now, so you can see bunny24 scored 87%, but we dont know how many times that player has played the mission.

I’d often wondered if you guys had these stats. Cool! And yes, I certainly agree that it’s a fairly lofty goal, in any game, let alone one with so many moving parts. But still worth talking about, I think!