Co-op Difficulty Level

Co-op Missions Discussion
I think the difficulty level system on co-op needs some rework to better allow players the experience they're seeking. The recent release of a new commander only serves to highlight the oddities of the current system.

At the moment, there's not really 4 difficulty levels but combination difficulty levels. For example, I tried to play on Casual for my very first game with Stetmann in order to get a feel for the character without having to worry about gameplay. But I was paired with a Hard player, meaning I had to build more efficiently, consider detectors, etc. Conversely, I was later paired with a clearly-new Stetmann player who was not prepared for our Normal/Hard game, leading to a frustrating defeat that felt like I was solo-ing with one of my lower-level commanders.

* There should be 4 true difficulty levels rather than mix-matched ones.
* Allow players to choose with selector buttons which difficulties they're interested in playing out of those 4.
* Then the experience of playing the game will better match what the players are looking for.
* It may also be useful to restrict Hard to level 5+ commanders and Brutal to commanders of level 10+ to reduce the issues with players looking for a "carry."
The general consensus in coop is that Brutal is too easy, and most people want a harder difficulty or for Brutal to be made harder. Brutal in coop is not the same as Brutal in Campaign because every Commander has progressive leveling, special units and special abilities.

Every once in a while, a thread is made asking, "has Brutal been made more difficult?" and while I wonder the same from time-to-time, there are enough such threads that people would rather have fewer of them.

I understand that this doesn't represent everybody, and some people need an easier setting, but with some practice you shouldn't have problems in Casual with any commander. If you still do, I'd take a commander you like and are skilled with, get to Mastery 90, and then suffer the other characters 1-15. Mastery 90 characters tend to be very powerful.
One of the bigger issues is that people have a tendency to queue above the difficulty they can handle. It's one thing when you just get matched into a higher difficulty match, but it's an entirely different problem when people are queueing for hard and brutal expecting a carry because really their skill level should be queueing normal or casual.

I'd suggest that co-op should have some sort of internal ranking system like ladder and make higher difficulties straight up inaccessible to lower ranked players. Whether or not they make your ranking visible or not I don't really care about.
The problem is that difficulty and game speed are linked together. If you don't want the slow speed you need to play brutal difficulty.
05/27/2019 01:38 PMPosted by Alex
The problem is that difficulty and game speed are linked together. If you don't want the slow speed you need to play brutal difficulty.

Yeah, I spent some time on Hard with Stetmann to level up the lower levels. The slower speed messes so much of my timing up.

Kinda seems like they should set a small lock for difficulty. Let's say only Casual and Normal are available from the start, then once you get a level 7-10ish Commander unlock Hard for the account (so Raynor is level 10 you can do hard with Kerrigan level 1). Then do the same with level 15 for brutal.

Then we can get a lock on each commander for the soft difficulty pairing. Have it so if the Commander is under a certain level versus the next difficulty it only pairs down rather than up.

Not great, but it might help.
05/27/2019 01:38 PMPosted by Alex
The problem is that difficulty and game speed are linked together. If you don't want the slow speed you need to play brutal difficulty.

There's absolutely no good reason to not allow speed boosts on lower difficulties if playing in a party. I can't imagine why they have yet to do it.
Please don't limit hard and brutal on levels like that. I can do brutal with lv 1 commander just fine.
05/27/2019 05:40 PMPosted by llllllllllll
Please don't limit hard and brutal on levels like that. I can do brutal with lv 1 commander just fine.

Yeah. That's why I figured it could be on an account basis, get one commander up there and it unlocks for all of them. For a veteran player it'd only affect them if they made a new account, for a newbie they wouldn't be able to jump straight into the more expectant difficulties.

I don't like the idea of a ranking system for it though, then we'd have people drop games cause they don't want to lose their rank.
Matching pairing issue with no solution. Bump -.-
05/27/2019 06:08 PMPosted by FearrWhalins
Matching pairing issue with no solution. Bump -.-

Is it, though?

We've currently got 10 difficulty levels that include each permutation of 4 individually-selected variables. Imagine if we instead had 5 actual difficulty levels:
* Casual
* Normal
* Hard
* Brutal
* Insane

Give those 5 true difficulty levels their own selector buttons of what you want to play at the time, and viola: solution.
I'm pretty sure the main reason why co-op mixes players of different difficulty levels is just to reduce Q times. I also think this is whys there is bonus XP for doing random missions. In all fairness to Blizzard, I've never had to wait vary long to find a game, so if this is their reasoning, all power to them.

It can definitely be frustrating though to be a mastery level 90+ commander on brutal and get matched up with someone playing casual or normal. Worst case is that you have to carry them the whole match and they do almost nothing. Best case is they are ok, but you are just bored from lack of challenge.

If Blizzard wanted to increase co-op's difficulty options without drastically increasing Q times they could probably add 2 new levels. For example, we could have Casual, Normal, Hard, Veteran, Brutal and Insanity. The game could prioritize a difficulty within two deviations from your chosen difficulty. So for example, a player who picks Insanity could match with an Insanity, Brutal or Veteran player, but no lower. And a Casual player could match with a Casual, Normal or Hard player, but no higher, etc. I imagine the game already prioritizes finding a match for your preferred difficulty, but if it doesn't immediately find a corresponding match, it expands its search.

Here are some of my ideas for a potential Insanity mode:
  • More frequent enemy attacks
  • More simultaneous enemy attacks from different paths
  • Randomized attack spawn locations and times
  • Get random mutator(s) at the start of the match
  • Extra bonus objectives
  • These changes are my idea of how to increase co-op difficulty without just throwing 10 armor Hybrids at the players in every wave. Instead they stress a higher degree of multi-taking and communication. I particularly like the idea of randomized spawn locations and timings. And learning what mutation you get at the start of the match would make you think on your toes a bit more. These changes would make the missions less predictable and make spawn camping less reliable (which feels a bit cheesy imo).

    As a side note, I like to chat with my ally and it seems like those playing on a lower difficulty refuse to respond (they wont even say glhf or GG), presumably because they are trying to learn or focus. Maybe they feel intimidated when they see my level or something? I'm interested if other's have experienced this.

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