Here are some of my opinions on difficulty levels in APRGs, including some suggestions to improve certain aspects about the topic. Many of my ideas may be hard to implement in running games, so just see them as food for thought, rather than specific demands.
The idea to write this came because of some comments in the latest patch notes, asking about having to play through the same campaign several times.
Higher difficulty levels may seem like a good idea, to prolong the game without having to create more content, but it comes at a cost.
For me, its the feel that the things I do in the world actually mean something. If you save the same princess, or rebuild the same village over and over again, I dont feel that what Ive done is meaningful in any way, besides the rewards I receive.
On higher difficulties, I see myself ignoring quests where I think the reward isnt worth it, whereas on the first difficulty I completed every quest, even if the rewards were small.
Here are two ways to prevent this problem, without having to remove the difficulty system altogether.
1. Higher difficulty increase the difficulty of the enemies, but do not reset the world. You still keep all your waypoints and the quests dont reset. Some quests may be repeated, just as some shrines, which should be marked on your shrine log. You can go wherever you want, if you are able to defeat the enemies. In a way, the game becomes more open-worldish on higher difficulties, instead of having to repeat the campaign.
To increase replayability, you can simply add daily quests and challenges to get players to visit different areas of the game. But as some drops are exclusive to some areas anyway, you will still have to rerun many areas.
2. On higher difficulties, the world changes in a meaningful manner. Some quests are different, other enemies spawn, not necessarily new ones, but at least from different areas. Some areas of the world get a new color touch or are now aetherial crystal infected. Like a bad dream recurring, just worse than the last time, in the end, its called Grim Dawn, not Happy Dawn.
Repeating the same campaign over and over is a thing of the past in my eyes and fits more into the category of roguelike/arcade games than in grind and customization oriented ARPGs like Grim Dawn. You still repeat the campaign on different characters anyway, but without the world reset you only have one world to save for each character. As a little side note, it also makes the reputation system more believable.
Just use the poll to tell us your opinion:
- Suggestion 1.
- Suggestion 2.
- Leave it as it is
- Another suggestion I will post in the comments