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Default Mass Effect 2 - Replay, Difficulty Changes

July 2nd, 2009, 02:27
Responding to queries on the forums, Lead Designer Preston Watamaniuk and others explain some changes to the Mass Effect 2 replay and difficulty systems. First, Preston on relaying with your existing character:
Ahhh, ok my bad. The question then is:

"After finishing ME2 can I take my character and restart a new playthrough preserving that characters gear and abilities."

The short answer is no.

The reason is progression. We have been working very hard to make sure we design the abilities system to offer smooth progression into ME3 from ME2. Allowing double progression on characters makes that almost impossible. We have to have reasonable knowledge about where a character could end up finishing all content on a playthrough. We also want to offer choice of character build within specific classes.

We replaced that feature with playing after you were done because it preserves progression and allows for smoother downloading of PRC.
In another thread, Lead System Designer Christina Norman talks about difficulty levels:
As you play through ME1 you unlock bonuses via achievements that actually make your character more powerful. Consequently, the hardest difficulty becomes "easier".

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. 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.

So for ME1 at least, we were able to make Insanity harder because we limited it to people who'd already completed a playthrough.

On to ME2, we're aware that some players really want to use insanity at the get go. I'm developing our difficulty system, and I understand what players who play insanity get out of that experience. I'm very much a "hardest difficulty" person.

So with that said there are a few things we're trying to do with difficulty in ME2.

First we're trying to add additional dimensions to our difficulty system. 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. You play extremely well, but not well enough, and on a subsequent try you're able to be victorious because you play better.

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. 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.

Overall insanity in ME2 will be harder than ME1. That's a heads up for everyone! Beating insanity on ME2 is going to be a real "achievement", a badge of honor, get ready.
More information.
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July 2nd, 2009, 02:27
I hope they make the difficulty work over the course of the game a lot better. The player gains power a lot faster than the enemies in ME1.
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July 2nd, 2009, 06:11
Regarding difficulty: sounds good (although I only played ME once).

Regarding missing character import: lame excuse. They had multiple replay options and unlock thingies going on even in a single game, and now they can't even make this relaying work in any way at all for a sequel? This bears repeating: lame excuse. The least they could do is use a different scale in game 2 (scaling down from game 1) so that you start out with something from game 1.

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