BioWare Talks Mass Effect Difficulty

BioWare Talks Mass Effect Difficulty

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BioWare says that while it was necessary to lock new players out of the highest difficultly level of Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 might allow players to take on the toughest settings right from the start.

Mass Effect required players to beat the game not just once but twice before access to the "insanity" difficulty level was allowed, a point that irked players who felt they were being denied the opportunity to fully flex their hardcore gaming muscles. But in a post on the Mass Effect forums, BioWare Lead System Designer Christina Norman claimed it was necessary to do so in order to ensure that the difficulty was truly "insane."

"As you play through ME1 you unlock bonuses via achievements that actually make your character more powerful. Consequently, the hardest difficulty becomes 'easier'," she wrote. "If we give access to insanity on the first playthrough, we need to show that it is possible to beat the game with all classes without any bonuses from achievements. We can't release a difficulty level where it's impossible to complete."

"Effectively this means insanity would need to be easier," she continued. "If we can assume you've already done a playthrough, we can assume you've acquired some bonuses, in addition to getting the experience of beating it on a lower difficulty level which will help you beat it on insanity."

The difficulty levels of Mass Effect 2 are still being worked on, however, and Norman said the decision about whether or not "insanity" would be unlocked from the start will depend on how that process works out. "I can't go into the details right now, but there is more integration with our AI system for example. We want enemies on harder difficulties to feel smarter, deadlier, not just 'tougher'. We want insanity to feel like a smart experience, where you don't die because a rocket hits you and you're one-shot killed. You die because you face an overwhelming, deadly, force," she wrote.

"Once we have the difficulty levels nailed down, we'll evaluate and see whether or not it's reasonable to let insanity difficulty be unlocked at the start," she explained. "I'm totally open to doing that unless it means we have to make it 'easier'. Ultimately if I have to choose between those options, I will choose a harder insanity difficulty, because I believe that's what's important to our players."

And good news for gamers who thought the insanity difficulty in Mass Effect was for sissies: Mass Effect 2 is going to be even tougher. "Beating insanity on ME2 is going to be a real 'achievement', a badge of honor," she added. "Get ready."

via: Kotaku

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I'm excited for this, though I have yet to try Insanity on Mass Effect 1.

I never plyed the first because of all the mixed reviews I got but this seems pretty good. I guess I'll give it a spin.

Never played Mass Effect really. But people told me it was a quite a hard game on Insanity. And the fact its raised even more makes me feel my friends are going to be in for a good annoyance.

I never got to playing through it a second time. *sigh*

The only time the game's difficulty gets unbearable at the higher levels is during any of the god forsaken vehicle sections. Drive up, shoot until shields are gone, run away, recharge, rinse, repeat.

Ugh...

I'm still pissed as I beat Mass Effect 1 on Insanity and I didn't get an achievement :(.

I didn't find the Insanity difficulty all that tough in ME1, but then, it's true by then you have a gone through the game twice, and have a character with excellent armor, souped up weapons and attributes, so maybe that's why. Still, some of those "shoot the pirates in the loading bay" areas that had Krogan or Asari biotics were pretty tough.... especially Krogans! Those bad boys just won't stay down, and if they get close enough to ram you, it's all over no matter how overpowered you are! I guess what I'm saying is that it's nice Bioware seems to take the balancing seriously and is trying to refine it in ME2.

This doesn't really affect me too much, i don't like playing games on anything harder than Hard (except for the COD series) Ruins the experience if its too difficult

Really the hardest thing about the insanity difficulty was that it would take a YEAR to kill anything, and thats with the best guns/gear in the game. The AI was the same, the amount of enemies was the same...you took more damage then easier difficulties but that wasn't all too bad...It would just take waaaaaaaay to long to kill enemies. So much in fact that it would really get boring to me. I had to beat the game in small chunks just so that I would actually finish the damn thing.

"We made that level of difficulty so fucking hard, there's no way you could even begin to play through it without having played through the game once already, so we forced you to concede the point by making you play through to unlock the really hard difficulty. We might change that last bit, though. Unless it feels like we're going easy on you. Pussies."

That's basically what I took from Christina Norman's comments.

HobbesMkii:
"We made that level of difficulty so fucking hard, there's no way you could even begin to play through it without having played through the game once already, so we forced you to concede the point by making you play through to unlock the really hard difficulty. We might change that last bit, though. Unless it feels like we're going easy on you. Pussies."

That's basically what I took from Christina Norman's comments.

Same, also, I hate unlocking difficulties. DMC3 is fucking impossible, even on easy, but let's just say I'm so skilled I could beat the hardest difficulty with none of the character upgrades, I should be able to try!

I didn't find that Insanity was too bad, though it is a pain in the ass to start a game fresh at that difficulty level (which is what I did, and I beat it), in contrast to changing the level with an already-established account. Some of the enemies took way too long to kill (fucking Geth Colossus), but only a few segments were frustratingly difficult, one example being Liara's rescue. The Benezia fight was also a bit of a pain.

Given that they pull through on their newest approach to difficulty (making enemies smarter rather than just tougher), this could be very interesting.

Well since half the enemies on insane are invincible for most of the time you are fighting them, insane was not really "difficult." Just frustrating and a long test of patience. That invincibility skill better be removed.

It was moderately frustrating, mostly because of the load times and long time it would take to fight simply because most enemies had special protection (such as immunity). It definitely was not insane. I have heard developers saying they want to develop a "smart" AI, to make the enemy more difficult to defeat for the right reasons, way too many times. I won't let myself hope again, but it would be awesome if they could do it.

So they want to make difficulty the way it should be? I think most games, difficulty should make enemies smarter, not ammo less (if it is in it) or armor tougher.
Also, Insane was not so hard as I was level 59 when I started it, though I never spent 95% of a game trying to gain just one level until Mass Effect.
Unless they will have the difficulty achievements stack, it wont really matter to me. Really, if done properly, they mostly fall together, except the expert/specialty achievements. (2 allies per playthrough, 3 difficulties, 6 total allies)

Good news, hopefully they'll have awesome AI, toned down for other difficulties.

What annoys me with GoW1/2 is that you can be shooting something in the face/chest for a full clip and the just duck back down behind cover, they're not 'real' flesh and bones. Flanking is good though, and smoking grenades when several of you are behind limited cover. GoW3 should be a lot better.

I'm just gonna do it on medium
simple as

Torque669:
Never played Mass Effect really. But people told me it was a quite a hard game on Insanity. And the fact its raised even more makes me feel my friends are going to be in for a good annoyance.

It wasn't.

But I am looking forward to this, ME1 was wayy too easy.

I'm part way through my Insane playthrough on ME. I'm kind of stuck on the fight with the Krogan Mercenary and his Geth goons on your way out of saving Liara. Very difficult fight, even on Hardcore difficulty.

Hopefully I'll be able to defeat it someday.

The Shade:
I'm part way through my Insane playthrough on ME. I'm kind of stuck on the fight with the Krogan Mercenary and his Geth goons on your way out of saving Liara. Very difficult fight, even on Hardcore difficulty.

Hopefully I'll be able to defeat it someday.

I was forced to restart my game when doing that exact part on the same difficulty. I realised I didn't have the skills to win, I restarted and played through that awful beginning tutorial level again. I love Bioware but I've got to admit they can't make a beginning level that isn't a pain in the arse, Mass Effect was better than Baldur's Gate 2 at least.

Note: When I say "skills" I mean skills such as in Lift, Overload and Unity, not as in how well I play the game.

I'm so psyched for this game.

I found that if you start afresh on Insanity difficulty in the original you get absolutely worked by a large group of enemies. I found I had to draw them out one by one, kill them then heal, then repeat.

 

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