Good write up, but unfortunately I don't see a whole lot of original solutions here.
You've developed a game that has a one-dimensional difficulty ramp up. It's like your team just got lazy and decided that instead of making the game ramp up dynamically to involve a challenge in strategy, mechanics and survival, etc, that you just said "ZOMG just make the monsters do more DAMAGE!. That's how we'll make this game harder!"
Imagine what the WoW community would do if you didn't make any distinction between Normal and Heroic raiding? No new mechanics, no new phases, no new abilities! Better yet, instead of Normal and Heroic, you end up having Normal, Kinda Normal, Heroic, Super Heroic! Again, no intelligent or original way of ramping the difficult other than what a 12 year old can think of, "
Let's have them do more damage"
So, unfortunately, this is the reason why many are frustrated and why a simple repair cost ramp isn't going to fix or balance the game so that it's fun and exciting for most players.
I understand that the original games played like this, but that was out of limitation at the time, not because everyone just loved it. Imagine a scaled AI system where monsters got smarter through later difficulties. As long as your difficulty ramp is one-dimensional, players will be forced to play one dimensionally! That kind of build diversity and freedom of playstyle that your developers strive to achieve, cannot be obtained, because your foundation is off. Ranged want to go glass-cannon.. wonder why.. Melee being forced to tank...wonder why?
It's not because Inferno is too hard. We like the difficulty. It's because its too one-dimensional and forces us to play in a certain way that isn't' fun for everyone. If you nerf the content, then its not hard anymore and we get bored (think WoW here). The only option is to change that fundamental flaw in the game and tune the difficulty more dynamically.
To give some context, I play a Barbarian currently starting Act 4 Inferno with 3 of my friends, one being a wizard and another a DH. Both are glass cannons. I like tanking, but i don't want to be forced to tank all the time. I'd like to be able to use a 2 hander and different skills (maybe actually use my fury for once). My glass cannon friends are forced into long and boring kites, using spells and abilities they prefer not to use just to progress. It feels more like a chore than anything, like grinding a reputation in WoW, etc.
The problem is the reward. Once Inferno is complete, they no longer will have a reason to play the game. Why? Because the gameplay isn't fun. There's no rainbow at the end of Inferno.
Edited by Cirdecus#1205 on 6/12/2012 7:09 AM PDT