Showing posts from January, 2020

Three uses of enemy difficulty

In this post, I will be talking about the design of games that feature (a) increasing character power, (b) variation in enemy difficulty and (c) a choice about which enemy to confront when. This design is common in computer roleplaying games: as you adventure, your character become better at whatever it is you need to do to overcome the enemies (often fighting); there are weaker and stronger enemies; and you get to choose, at least to some extent, when to confront which enemy. My question is: what's the point of this type of design? Or what different points can it have?

One might in fact legitimately wonder whether there's any point to it at all. In many pen & paper RPGs, the expected play experience is one where the player characters become stronger, and the enemies become stronger as well, in such a way that the challenge level always remains the same. What's the point of becoming 'stronger' if your relative power level doesn't change? Is it just the ulti…