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  • Virtual-Chris
    Original poster 620 posts

    I know all you regulars are probably playing on Heroic, but until lately, I’ve been playing on Hard. My only real reason was to keep the sponge level as low as possible. A red Glass Cannon build on Hard offers as close to a realistic shooter experience as possible.

    But, In the interest of getting blueprints I’ve been doing all control points at level 3.

    Recently, I’ve tried playing on world difficulty set to Challenging. Here’s what I’ve noticed…

    • Loot is a bit better… fewer purple, more gold… maybe an added item?
    • Gear roles (attributes) don’t seem any higher than before
    • It seems like Control Point 3 and bounty enemies are harder to kill than main mission enemies… am I just imagining this?
    • Enemies (even Reds) are more sponge - which grates me
    • Theres more purple and yellow enemies which are definitely more spongy
    • I take more damage - but I can deal with that - I go through armor kits more frequently
    • Do you earn more XP for side missions and random encounters or only main missions?


    I’m torn on whether to continue on Challenging and try to overlook the added sponge, but then I ask myself… why bother? Just go back to Hard and be happy! 🙂 But then that’s not really pushing me to get better, it’s actually creating tactical bad habits (operating out of cover more often).

    Any suggestions? Anything I’m overlooking in changing difficulty?

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  • Adrian-11
    687 posts

    @virtual-chris

    This is entertainment, so you should use it in a way that entertains you. In most cases, for this type on entertainment you need a bit of a challenge to make it engaging.
    As you noted, in this particular case, that challenge include more sponge, unfortunately. Upping the difficulty comes with other, better things, so it's down to trade-offs, deal-breakers, and ultimately what works for you / what is fun for you.
    Yes, you will have to put up with more sponge, but you will get (eventually) stronger gear that will alleviate (somewhat) the issue. You get more XP points, faster leveling, more everything... All your observations are correct.
    May be you are not there yet, but at some point Hard will be too easy to keep you engaged. The signs are already here...

    Another suggestion I have for you is to try to matchmake on Challenging, give co-op a spin, see how you feel about it. And yes, that will add even more sponge, depending on the size of the group.

  • Adrian-11
    687 posts

    Speaking of which, usually I am available for group play 4-6pm or 9-12pm EST.

  • LateNiteDelight
    447 posts

    I mostly just play Hard or Challenging, for similar sponge reasons. I used to play more Heroic, for loot purposes - but once I had my main builds at 90%+ I mostly stopped. Optimization makes it mostly unnecessary at this point, since it's not that big of a jump loot quality wise from Challenging. I only did Legendaries to get the super disappointing White Tusk outfit [or fill in a clan squad from time to time], though if we get new content this winter I may convince myself to try solo Legendary at some point.

    Now, Hard is for when I'm playing for fun or when I was doing Season stuff. Challenging is for loot or if I just want to have to apply some effort. I only play Heroic to test builds or if a clan member is interested.

  • RichardOshea
    167 posts

    @virtual-chris Only one way to find out, Chris. Put it up a level and if you're getting smeared across the sidewalk you need to go back and improve your build in the prior difficulty again. Rinse and repeat until it's you painting the streets with their blood.


    Difficulty determines loot quality, so the higher the difficulty the higher the minimum roll on an item. This is the mouse trap. Progression is going to involve pain; you're going to take a beating repeatedly. If gear quality is your primary concern (and in many ways it should be) then you're going to have to move through the difficulty levels. Once you have gear that can sweep then you can lower it back to Challenge to speed farming up but note that that speed will also reduce quality so it's an as many lines in the ocean scenario to do it that way. My advice is to tough it out, take the pain and grow as a player.

  • Oatiecrumble
    299 posts

    I was just about to post but no need to now as @RichardOshea pretty much said what i was going to say.

  • Virtual-Chris
    Original poster 620 posts

    Now, Hard is for when I'm playing for fun or when I was doing Season stuff. Challenging is for loot or if I just want to have to apply some effort. I only play Heroic to test builds or if a clan member is interested.


    I think this is exactly how I will play it... I'll probably play Challenging for most stuff going forward unless there's some stupid spongy event or mission where I will dial it back to Hard.

  • Oatiecrumble
    299 posts

    Another reason for playing higher difficulty is because you can come across little gems like this more often that just dropped:



    I don't need them but still, nice little gem ☺

  • BT3241
    83 posts

    My advice would be join random heroic missions from now on and do all your missions on heroic - your playing on a team the other players will support you until you get use to the action just hang back until you get the hang of it and then when you are comfortable put your world on heroic. This is the best way to make the transition to a higher level.

  • LateNiteDelight
    447 posts
    My advice would be join random heroic missions from now on and do all your missions on heroic - your playing on a team the other players will support you until you get use to the action just hang back until you get the hang of it and then when you are comfortable put your world on heroic. This is the best way to make the transition to a higher level.


    You're missing the key issue - Heroic is too spongy, even with a God Roll build. Doubly so for group scaled Heroic. OP prefers Ghost Recon style combat [me too].

  • BT3241
    83 posts

    I been playing along time I don't play lower Lvs I have no problem on heroic and don't have any armor attributes on my gear.This discussion is not for me.

  • RichardOshea
    167 posts
    My advice would be join random heroic missions from now on and do all your missions on heroic - your playing on a team the other players will support you until you get use to the action just hang back until you get the hang of it and then when you are comfortable put your world on heroic. This is the best way to make the transition to a higher level.

    This, and for the life of me I can't think why I didn't say it myself. This is how I went through the game by using random match making (MM) for missions a lot, I still do by and large. That in conjunction with matching the missions you enable MM for or join to the loot you want, by examining the targeted loot map, that will get you where you want to be sooner. Farming The Summit is very good for these purposes too, so head on over there if you want.

  • LateNiteDelight
    447 posts
    I been playing along time I don't play lower Lvs I have no problem on heroic and don't have any armor attributes on my gear.This discussion is not for me.


    It's not about Heroic being too difficult - Heroic is too annoying [well, for the OP, it may be difficulty at first, until adjusted and geared]. I've beaten everything on every difficulty level [except IH] - I just don't find Heroic or Legendary to be fun to play [probably because I'm here for the shooter parts, and not the looter parts].

  • RichardOshea
    167 posts

    @latenitedelight There's no right way to play the for sure. The difficulty levels are there precisely for the purpose of allowing the player to, in some part, define their own experience within the game. Mine is fun too. If someone has fun in Story Mode that's great, and if they have fun soloing Legendary Strongholds then that's great too. Some of the content is locked behind difficulty though but it sounds like you're both OK with that, and that's great too. Have fun 👍

  • LateNiteDelight
    447 posts

    @richardoshea yeah, I think that's the biggest strength of this game - there are so many ways to have fun - and so many different playstyles that can be effective.

  • Adrian-11
    687 posts

    @oatiecrumble @Virtual-Chris

    Yep, here are the benefits of playing on a higher difficulty. This is about half of my haul of good stuff from a 3-hour session. Goes without saying, some of them are not great even with the god-rolls, but you can get quality stuff. Sadly, still no good Carbine 7 😞
    Sorry for the rudimentary collage.

  • HonestlyOK1986
    85 posts

    @virtual-chris dependa on your overall game goals. If your aim is to do raids then get your builds ready and play on heroic as a tester for them. If you're playing for fun and hard is enjoyable for you, stick with that. If you're faeming i'd recommend heroic.

  • HonestlyOK1986
    85 posts

    @aspoiu and out of 8 only 2 are useful in pvp which would be, at a push, the grudge and the famas

  • Adrian-11
    687 posts

    @honestlyok1986

    Honestly (no pun intended), I don't know much about PVP, I did not "study" it yet.
    All I can tell you is that despite trying multiple builds at some point, adding shield and deflector drone, some players put me down in 2 seconds max, sometimes while I'm cover. Which is baffling, but could be also my lack of knowledge on the topic.

    As for the pieces above, the sole purpose was to show what you could get if you play higher difficulties. This is just what I remembered to screenshot in the last part of my play, got also two exotic pieces and some other stuff that was already transferred to the stash (for a later decision). All these before any recalibration, so they could get better with minimum effort.

  • tcarlisle2012
    115 posts

    It is normal to have to play this game at "hard" difficulty for some time especially if one is still in the process of getting to SHD 1000. When the time is right, you will grow into challenging, and then you will eventually grow into heroic.

    But, if that progression seems to be halted and your not gaining power, then that is not normal. In that case, it would either be a build problem and/or a player tactics problem.

    One thing I wish I had learned a lot quicker, is that this game plays very differently when you play with a very aggressive style vs a very cautious style. In general, I find playing very aggressively works best. Common sense would lead you to believe that the best tactic isn't sprinting into the middle, but it does tend to be the best way to go -- especially if you use a build that excels up close.

    Another thing that I think keeps players from developing into great players, is misunderstanding what "cover based shooter" means. Yes, you can crouch behind cover. But these days I am constantly moving during each battle and yet I am still in cover. How is that possible?

    Because I understand the layout of each battle area and how to leverage that to deny all the NPCs a line of sight on me while I concentrate on dropping one of them.... then I move to isolate another, while denying the rest, etc.

    Another thing, is knowing exactly how to best deal with each archetype -- especially the tanks. And here is where mastery of using cover based shooting without actually crouching behind cover really shines..... because you can use the TANK to shield you from every other NPC's fire while you deal with him. And just as an example, a black tusk heavy -- which is almost always one of the worst ones in terms of "bullet sponginess" -- can be melted.

    Don't believe me? Next time you try one, do this... shoot his ammo belt. You do this to immediately break his ability to fire. As he crouches down to try to fix it, maneuver behind him. Shoot hum right in the plumbers butt space. Yes, the armor seems to have a gap there, and shooting that gap will pretty much shred him. The closer you are, the quicker he shreds. And since he is busy fixing his broken ammo belt, you can rush him and get up close and start shredding. Plus, being that close to him he becomes a shield. Just don't get too close or else he will melee you.

    This works even on the named variety of BT tank. It's a bit harder to break the ammo belt, but it can certainly be done and he can certainly be completely denied being able to fire one bullet.

    Each and every archetype has a specific set of weaknesses that you can exploit. And each and every battle area has a layout that you can exploit.

    Another thing is the game injected some gear that I think really is what the latest content was designed for.

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