Warhammer: Vermintide

Unpopular Opinion: Events should never be tied to difficulty.

warhammer 1 - Unpopular Opinion: Events should never be tied to difficulty.

Personally, I'm pretty bad at this game. I got it recently and don't have time to play often, and i've never been good at aiming, despite having been playing shooters since i was 10. I usually play on Veteran difficulty because when I play Champion I usually feel like an anchor.

Veteran is where I feel like I have the most fun, and feel like I contribute the most. That might change at some point in the future as I get better at the game, but veteran is where I stand now. This is difficulty working as it should: A series of brackets that allows players to filter in at their level, and have fun without becoming either too frustrated, or too bored. I'm sure a lot of you find veteran boring AF, and I know there are people out there to find veteran unbearable. That's okay. The point is for us all to have fun with this great game.

But tying an event reward to difficulty level completely changes that, and that is very, very bad for the game.

When players are internally motivated to play a difficulty – because it is the right challenge for them – they will self-sort into similar skill groups. All the people who find Veteran too easy will play higher ones, and so on. That leads to a healthy player base where everyone is playing at the challenge they enjoy.

When players are externally motivated to play a difficulty, we run into trouble. The biggest example of this is in games like Dota 2 and Overwatch, where 'Difficulty' can be approximated to the ELO ranking. Here, ELO ranking acts as a social motivator, so lots of players end up buying accounts at a much higher ranking than they can comfortably play, which leads to lots of frustration for them and their team-mates.

Although far less extreme, a similar thing is going to happen here. Locking rewards to Legend games is an external motivator that is going to encourage Champion, Veteran, and maybe even recruit players to go into legend. I sure as hell know I'll be grinding for it, and that's a very, very bad outcome for the game. It means 1) Those players end up frustrated because they are at a higher difficulty than they should be, and; 2) Players who should be at legend end up frustrated because there is a higher% of low-quality teammates.

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The solution to this is to always keep rewards and difficulty separate, to ensure the choice of difficulty is always internally driven.

But /u/NeuroCavalry, high-difficulty-only rewards are good because it gives people something to strive for, or something to show off. Status markers should be difficult to get — that's the point of them!

This is true, but not incomparable with the idea that rewards and difficulty should be separable. Instead of locking a reward past a difficulty, for example, the reward should be available at all difficulties in slightly different forms. A common way to do this is to have a Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum or number of stars associated with the item. While this doesn't completely cut out external motivation to play higher difficulties (there will always be people who see bragging rights as its own social reward rather than just self-selecting for fun), it ensures lower-difficulties don't come away empty handed, while preserving the status marker.

In addition, if items are meant to be markers of prestige, they should be an actual challenge. For people who play at the highest difficulty routinely, finishing a bunch of quick-plays is nothing out of the ordinary. For people who play at the lower difficulties, Finishing a bunch of games on Legend is likely going to be entirely luck based. Do you get someone to carry you or not? In neither case is there anything to be proud of for getting the item. Instead, if Items are meant to be prestige-givers, they should have a challenge that isn't related to the difficulty. For example (off the top of my head), an Item that required you to beat a level without missing a single ranged head shot would be quite the thing to gloat about, and has little to do with difficulty (or could easy be in bronze/silver/gold/platinum &/or 1/2/3/4/5-star forms.)

P.S. If you see me tanking your Legend games, I'm sorry. I'm just trying to get my damn wolf frame.

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