About the current difficulty of the game

This is to all the people here. Almost, I guess. Be prepared to face a wall of text, though it would be much appreciated if you read this all since this is kinda important.

So the thing is, a lot of people have been rejecting ideas about giving enemies and bosses buffs to make the game more harder and asking for buffs on everything else other than the enemies. Examples are constantly asking for making the weapon prices cheaper, giving weapons unncessary buffs, nerfing enemies and purging enemies out from certain waves which can still be cleared with actual skill instead of using a ridiculously buffed Plasma or specials. What this does is that it trivializes the game making it not require effort at all and making it really boring, proof of which would be a lot of people leaving and in fact openly admitting that they are really bored of CIU due to this, and that’s a major problem especially for a game which is in Early Access and almost nobody outside the CI community knows about. It leads to even lesser players playing the game and then the game becomes a barren wasteland, which is in fact common for games if they’re trivialized too much. Meanwhile there’s been one specific beam in the game that’s been buffed to the heavens and beyond so much that it’s useless to use any other weapon in elite missions than the weapon. That’s right, it’s plasma rifle and it’s still getting buffed. At this point we now have the exact same problem of the Utensil Poker of the past, which took two whole years to solve. And now we’re back to square one. This has completely wrecked the experience of the game and has made people think elite missions are downright impossible due to the overpoweredness of plasma and has made other weapons feel worse. Centralizing the meta to just one weapon leads to more balancing and if even one buff or nerf is done wrong then it sends the whole thing spiraling down to chaos and another weapon being way too OP and then that’s nerfed leading to some other weapon being OP and nerfed and so on and so forth, leading to a lot of precious development time on iA’s end being taken up by balancing only.

And now this. People want the game to be even easier and then complain that the game is too easy. Whose fault do you think it is? We need to in fact make the game much harder than it is now and add some new quirks or interesting mechanics that make people think “How could I make this work?”, which in turn allows for many new strats from the community because at this moment it’s just “Ship. Plasma. Best gear. You win GG.” which is seriously boring since almost everyone is grinding just to get the best gear and plasma instead of having better resources to make new strats to suit themselves, while the game only relies on the “epic” enemies aka the Slobs, Cowards, Egg ships etc. to have difficulty. Check the epic waves topic. You’ll see what I mean. These enemies are meanwhile limited in number and therefore even more vulnerable to Plasma which literally one shots them (well almost.)

And now for the shop. Currently, the shop is absolutely broken. The weapons aren’t all equal in terms of what they do so placing them at the same price makes the inefficient weapons too expensive and the really good weapons be too cheap. This encourages others to take the good weapons and you guessed it, it’s meta.

In conclusion, the game is currently in a bad state in terms of difficulty, and that’s just the surface of it. There’s lots more factors to be considered, but I took only the main ones. Constantly asking iA to make the game easier has made it too boring and ideas to make the game harder have been constantly rejected. This needs to be changed or the already limited number of players will keep on leaving. Thanks for reading, hope you understand what I mean to say.

Regards,
Spryter.

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This is my take on the current situation as well:

Any form of difficulty in the game can be completely taken away with the usage of Plasma Rifle. A couple of weapons now do too much damage to even make some enemies any threat to the player. Sure, they’re not immune to cowards like Plasma Rifle, but they kill things so quickly now that it’s not even worthy of being “Superstar Hero” difficulty. It just feels like I’m playing Veteran at most.

But when it does come to using other weapons, the difficulty is severely increased, but about 60% of the difficulty is reliant on Coward, Slob, and Miniboss spam. If you have a wave that is usually quite easy (For example: Chicken Fractals), but replace all the chickens with Armored Chickens… All of a sudden, the difficulty is no longer difficult. It’s just straight up unfair. Unfair to those who insist on playing without any usage of Special Weapons at all. (Although I won’t deny that epic waves are quite fun)

All in All, I feel that the difficulty is seriously reliant on the player not using Plasma Rifle. But even so, the difficulty feels artificial because of the mass usage of the most annoying types of enemies for difficulty in any way.

On the other hand: A lot of bosses also require a serious buff. Most of them are practically a joke after the first encounter, especially when their patterns are no longer interesting enough to keep you alert at all. This is why they need something extra, like Brothers Reunited and Shoot the Core got. Something to balance the wave difficulties and boss difficulties, considering even on SSH, bosses are a lot easier than the waves themselves.

People could try to suggest something difficult, but it’s very likely that other people will turn it down because of it being of any difficulty at all. When it comes to suggesting something like a weapon buff or a difficulty decrease, despite the game already being way easier than it once was, they all want it. They want the plasma rifle even more overpowered. They want no more chickenauts in Yolk Star. They want no 7-lasers.
But when it comes to trying to make the game more difficult even in the slightest… By buffing some enemies or bosses, you can expect a hellfire of “NO PLEASE THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE” or “NO THIS IS NOT FUN ANYMORE” or just straight up “NO.”

Before the overdrive mechanic was introduced, weapon damage was a lot lower, but it also encouraged manually firing because it’s generally just better than firing lazily. That time was a lot more balanced. However, overdrive made it so that all the damage from your shots are exceedingly powerful, but overheat ridiculously quick. This feels too alien in comparison to the manual fire mechanic that everyone knew and loved. (Even though I will give Overdrive credit for getting rid of Autoclicking) It just doesn’t feel the same anymore when all your weapon damage is so high and overheat ridiculously fast. Most of it is just major overkill, and the heat could be better used in trying to combat other assailants. Not to mention: Using your weapons without overdrive is usually insufficient for taking out chickens fast enough, but using overdrive makes them overheat way too fast. Basically, it’s a lose-lose situation. Either you overheat way fast for faster kills (and burn thru all the coolants), or fire like a sloth and kill a lot less, letting most of your targets escape before you can even kill them. I’d like to see Manual Fire make it’s return one day, and I believe I speak for everyone when I talk about Manual Fire and Overdrive too.

From Yours Truly (and dumbness),
One-Winged Lunarian

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While I don’t at all disagree with your point, I think that diversity of content will have a much more appreciable effect on player retention than difficulty of content, as a general rule.

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While most of the problems with the game have been summarized succinctly by OneWingLunarian and SpryterTerraxian, though I would like to add a few of my thoughts to it:

While I agree on your Plasma point, I also think that for a part of the game, Specials are ridiculously underused. People almost always are going to use mines/ missiles/ phase-outs because the first two are familiar, whereas the third is insanely useful compared to the other weapons. Shockwave capacitator is a prime example of this. Ridiculously underpowered.

This. However, the game easily becoming boring is not a fault of its difficulty, but rather its huge, huge grind for the “next” level, as in, equipment. Let me explain: MMO’s are reliant on that first few purchases of equipment, to make the player’s efforts feel worth it. The ships are the only things that significantly change the playstyle, if we’re being completely honest, only two real variants, as bombers give a completely new gimmick, whereas H&C and Muller series are reskins of each other.

Which brings me to my next point: early-mid game content. Bombers and Mullers are ridiculously endgame considering the current rate of earning keys. The current equipment roster is also decidedly uninteresting, as once you buy the highest possible equipment, you’re set. That’s it. There’s no experimentation, no mix ‘n’ matching, just the highest level. And this segues well into my next point: lacking endgame content. There’s nothing to find. Wormholes, and maybe key rushes are some incentive to explore, but ultimately, at the end of the day, there’s nothing to do once you’ve done it all, as the only thing left is to rank in the leaderboards. Even the wormhole missions only have the three waves over and over again, it clearly needs more variety than that if it needs to be exciting.

This 100%. I’ve already stated my expectations for game variety above, and variance of strats is important to keep the player engaged and experimental. About difficulty, however, I think that the problem lies with Plasma rather than the actual difficulty of the game. Plasma needs a nerf, but I think that’s about it. Meanwhile there needs to be more difficulty and variety at the endgame (stated above).

Here’s the main problem with the bosses as I see it: they were meant as one time experiences, not with repeated playthroughs in mind, with the exception of CI3 bosses, which need just a slight difficulty nerf. Most of the bosses are these one-off surprises, sometimes even jokes, like Shoot the Core, and mostly relied on your unfamiliarity with the attacks to get you. Bosses as a whole need to be reworked, and I think moving forward we’ll get bosses with all of these things in mind. The situation here, I think, is comparable to Godmaster: when you have boss rushes where you experience the same stuff over and over again, sometimes the faults in design really start to show. CI4 bosses need a lot more attacks, and CI5 bosses just need difficulty.

I think the Overdrive mechanic broke the flow of manual weapons in general, which again, were designed with their original incarnations in mind.


Overall, I think the problem lies with recycled content in CIU needing to be tweaked in order to better fit the replayable formula we have with CIU, and the real need of new content to balance it.

Please appreciate my textwall. It took an hour

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That is true, but if implemented correctly it can also passively affect difficulty by giving the player a lot of choices to choose from. However this can also have a negative in fact if done too good in the form of “analysis paralysis”. So that’s one thing more.

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The game definitely needs a lot of content, so we won’t be running into analysis paralysis stage anytime soon.

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Yeah, I’m not saying that the difficulty isn’t a problem. I just feel like when it comes to the specific issue of people getting bored, making it harder won’t fix that. We can fix that ourselves by mounting Moron or flying some of the more brutal boss rushes. Difficulty needs tweaking, but I don’t think it’s the factor to blame for people leaving from boredom. If it’s super hard but plays the same, that won’t change.

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Aagh you just summarized my textwall better than anyone else.

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And lack of new bosses and stuff for something fresh

A lot of other stuff have already gone stale

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It’s been a year since we got the bombers.

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The point to aim for is hard, but not too hard or punishing. However while we can give ourselves challenges, not everyone thinks that way. The game is too easy and making it even easier also plays a major factor in boredom, however people still want to make the game easier. A lot easier. And that’s one of the main problems.

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This annoys me specifically because there’s a really simple way of doing that - stop mounting SSH if you can’t actually fly it.

Of course, they do this because they want to earn more keys but don’t want to grind forever.

And this would also be fixed by adding more diverse content so they don’t get bored. So it pleases both parties, and we’re back to the same point.

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The grindy aspect of the game is something that has bugged me for a while, as the prices are adjusted according to the SSH earn rate. SSH is beyond most players, so an alternate challenge, something that is within the reach of the average player, is necessary, like limited time events.

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I do not mind grinding, really.

But the time where I really do is when I feel like I’m just doing the same thing over and over. You’ll lose interest quite fast.

As for the part on difficulty…
Yeah, I don’t blame them, but it’s quite selfish to those who want a real challenge. Those who want to play a legit SSH.

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THIS!

I absolutely agree that Plasma is way too OP. In fact, I am honestly disappointed that it took this look for people to realize that it’s OP.

This is also very accurate. The times when I die a lot are when there are a ridiculous amount of cowards and minibosses (although I’ll admit that I also crash a lot due to my oversensitive mouse and awful mouse control). Cowards and Slobs have made weapons like Lighting Fryer and Vulcan Chaingun way too tedious to use as these weapons are among the least predictable to use. Without the presence of cowards and slobs, these weapons are actually decent and I personally love their design.

Another accurate point. With a :zap:10 Laser Cannon, most bosses don’t even last 30 seconds. So a health buff for most of them would be welcome, especially the big chickens like Superchicken, Infinity-chicken, Sweater chicken, Big chicken etc. Additionally, the crabs, probably more than any other bosses, really need a buff, and not just in the form of faster attacks and more health. Making their attacks more unpredictable by using different throwing pattermns is IMO the best way of increasing the difficulty. The changes required to make Crabs challenging would need its own topic.

If I’ll have anything to add, I’ll edit the post.

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Yeah, but to earn keys, one should not be forced to play in the highest difficulty. The difficulties should co-exist, while those with a death wish can play SSH if they want to, while core progression is unaffected. That said, however, SSH should have some payoff.

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imho there should be a big difficulty window (from very easy to very hard) to accommodate to every kind of player and which should yield rewards accordingly

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A few points.

  1. Plasma Rifle
    If the recent base damage increase made it too strong, then it has to be replaced with a damage ramp (since we can be almost certain that Positron won’t be getting it) which:
    i) doesn’t affect the damage of the AoE (the AoE itself would need to be readjusted)
    ii) gets reset whenever a target is switched
    iii) has a slightly higher damage bonus to compensate for not being constant

    If the AoE is the problem, then it has to have its damage further lowered, or damage sharing has to be implemented (this was suggested to stop situations like insta-clearing Tangled Mess, but we’ll see whether or not that’s still necessary after the next update).

    If it’s both then, well, do both.

  2. Cowards (and Slobs) in relation to Plasma
    Cowards need to retaliate if one-shotted. I’m pretty sure this was mentioned at some point, and for some reason omitted in Akemisora’s post (I can’t remember whether this decision was made by the WBP team for a reason or if it just happened). That way Plasma users don’t get as much of an advantage against them (the situation for Absolver would remain largely unchanged, since it destroys projectiles at max charge anyway).

    Slobs just need a full rework (no idea if any of this ever went outside of the WBP server and CID). Either the amount of damage dealt in a hit increases their likelihood of retaliation (so a Plasma hit would often cause them to attack), or they need a constant attack (like dropping waste at a high rate), probably coupled with the current 360° attack used when they die.

  3. Overdrive
    oh god not this again
    I’m still not sure whether or not I’ll actually end up posting the rework concept, but for now I want to ask a question: aside from the obvious (obviously, yeeting it out of the game), how would you improve overdrive?

Not much to say about the rest. I’m in favour of buffing most of the bosses, and I have no idea how to tackle the other issues.

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Yeah, sorry but I haven’t seen anybody actually state that they are leaving because of difficulty. If you want to know, I am personally bored because this Early Access has been going on for 2 years and the amount of new content we got is pathetic. For a long time this game just reused stuff from CI4 and CI5 without even changing anything. Now it’s better, but the amount of new content doesn’t make it interesting for players that already well, played everything.

You’re speaking about just a few users. Not the minority: (EDIT: I meant majority, sorry)

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This.

I will say that I enjoy CIU more than the other titles, personally, because it has way more replay value. Weekly challenges and “Weapons Training” are some of the most fun things I’ve played in the series. It’s still a bit grindy, but way better than flying the same mission over and over.

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