Poll Question 066 – Is playing a game or mod on “easy” an insult to the mapper or dev team?

19th January 2008

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

Yet another polar question! Sorry. Leon Brinkmann wrote to me about a possible Steam Update Issue. In his email he wrote: “…what is no fun at all to play, and it does make all effort the mapper took for nothing.” (Forgive his English grammar it’s probably much better than your Dutch!) I strongly disagree with this view point but that doesn’t mean others do. So, this week’s (Late – sorry) Poll Question is

Is playing a game or mod on “easy” an insult to the mapper or dev team?

I understand and respect his point of view but if I play a map or mod on hard and I can’t finish it or I don’t get any enjoyment from it then that definitely means the mapper’s time has been wasted. So, I have to play at my level, even if it is a lot less than the mapper intended.

An amateur mapper has the right and opportunity to make maps exactly how he or she wishes. There are no commercial aspects to worry about. When I make and release maps I will make then exactly how I like and if you, the player, don’t like them – TOUGH!

So, if Leon makes his maps to be played on hard, then I support that, but he must be prepared for people who just don’t get any enjoyment from it. He does, becasue he told me! But I suspect that there are other mappers who would like to remove the option of difficulty altogether and have a map played exactly the way they want.

Again, I support this because the mapper is putting in the time and effort and it’s their choice.

What do you think?

The Poll


  1. I think Leon’s attitude is a litte bit elitist. It makes no allowances for varying skill sets, age or disability.

    For example, I’m 41 and nearly blind. I’m not the fast, diehard gamer I was in my early twenties. I’ve lost my sight and my reflexes have undoubtedly lost their edge. However I can play HL2 but have to make frequent use of the flashlight and quicksave. I’ve completed all the games in the HL canon and most of the mods and maps too — on Medium. Not Hard.

    Why the heck should I be forced to play on Hard? Someone, give me one good reason!

  2. CrowbarSka

    I don’t think so. A game should be designed to fit the entire difficulty spectrum. Some players like easy maps, some like hard ones. If you take away this choice you are limiting the number of people that will enjoy your map quite a lot which I don’t think is a good idea.

    I agree with Phillip about the fact that if something is too hard I will not enjoy it. This is the rare occasion I would use cheats or a guide in a commercial; when all my efforts are fruitless and I basically give up but I still want to see what comes next. If you allow the game to be played on easy mode you are giving the player an extra helping hand before they resort to other means.

  3. AI

    Why the heck should I be forced to play on Hard? Someone, give me one good reason![/quote]
    Your right mikeS, you shouldn’t have too! Myself I’ll be 62 next month and have limited use of my hands(fingers) so I have a strange setup on my keyboard! I usually play on “normal” but like the “realistic” mod on FarCry! If your playing with limited sight I have nothing to complain about, I commend you for your effort!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Loke

    What a bunch of trash talk. No one, despite their skill, should be forced to play on a difficulty level that they find inappropriated.

    I agree with MikeS, his attitude is way too elitist.

  5. Ade

    I agree with CrowbarSka’s first paragraph.
    Also, the mapper isn’t forced to set up 3 different levels (is he?). He can either have the same settings, regardless of the difficulty level, or map for a game with just one difficulty level or make their own game with just one difficulty level ๐Ÿ˜›
    Anyway, these levels were made for a reason. Different people have different skills and gaming levels. It’s not an insult if someone (who usually plays on easy because he needs to) tries his nth map on easy, too. It may be an insult if someone who plays on medium or hard chooses to play this one on easy just to quickly go through it, but you can’t verify that and I’m sure that doesn’t happen very often. And I’m sure there are plenty of people who play on medium or hard every time. Make a survey, or even a poll question, if you didn’t already :))

  6. Ryan "quakis" Rouse

    Players have reasons for choosing specific difficulty skills, some that can be seen above. Difficulty settings also add a form of replay value to games and mods, so when you go back to them you could play them on hard to give them that little extra push, or easy if you want to see a specific part of the game/mod without too much trouble.

    If an author is going to force hard difficulty on their players, then it’s not even worth bothering with. If the author of the project feels insulted to players choosing to player on an easier difficulty, then they’re being rather ignorant.

    I also agree with MikeS.

  7. If an author is going to force hard difficulty on their players

    I just want to clarify that Leon has never suggested only making his mods available on “Hard”. I added that point as a general expansion of Leon’s point of view.

  8. MikeS

    [quote post=”3537″]If an author is going to force hard difficulty on their players

    I just want to clarify that Leon has never suggested only making his mods available on “Hard”. I added that point as a general expansion of Leon’s point of view.[/quote]

    And I’d like to add that I have every respect for Leon — and mappers like him — who bring us hours of entertainment by spending weeks and months working on their creations. I’d hate to think my first comment suggested otherwise. But seriously, any game, whether it be FPS or not, should be made accessible to anybody who wants to play it, and that means incorporating various difficulty settings.

  9. MattyDienhoff

    This is like saying watching a horror movie with the lights on in the room is insulting the director of the movie.

    It would only be an insult if a seasoned player who is skilled enough to play on medium or hard instead played a mod on easy, THEN criticized it for being ‘too easy” even though they made no attempt to raise the difficulty level. But that’s another thing entirely.

    Skill levels simply allow the player to tailor the game’s difficulty level to his or her skill and ability. It’s absurd to condemn a person for “not rising to the challenge” of a higher difficulty level than what suits them.

    I think Leon has lost his sense of perspective and is only looking at this issue from his own point of view, rather than considering other’s.

  10. zeroth404

    this is the silliest thing I’ve heard in a while…

  11. I never play games on easy, but I think it’s great that you can (always better then cheating, thรƒยกt’s an insult to the people who made your game) I always start on medium and if I like it,I replay on hard so I can really test my skills.
    I think it’s a good thing that everyone can play as he or she likes; some people like to finish a game as fast as possible,I personally like to discover and explore every inch of every map I play.

    BTW, I didn’t know that Leon Brinkmann was Dutch, I’m Dutch too, so this is (for one time in dutch) for Leon.

    Leon, uit de reacties tot nu toe blijkt maar weer hoe sommige mensen een regel uit je mailtje volledig uit z’n verband kunnen trekken om vervolgens nogal fel te reageren.
    Ik bezoek deze site pas sinds een paar maanden (en sindsdien bijna dagelijks)en kom jouw naam regelmatig tegen; ik wil eigenlijk alleen maar zeggen; Ik hoop nog veel van jouw,naar mijn mening zeer zinvolle bijdragen, te lezen.

  12. Loke

    Lol, 1 vote on “Yes” so far.

  13. I cannot believe a mapper or modder gives a flip about what level I play at. It’s medium, by the way, often with unhealthy doses of “god” mode.

  14. Anonymous

    “Easy” mode is an insult to modders, as bragging to them about beating their mod in “Hard” is a compliment. In some cases, people should just be happy that there ARE difficulty settings. Otherwise, some mods would become unplayably hard.

    To go by the installation instructions of some maps and mods in original Doom, sometimes the modder recommends you to play it in Easy mode to “get a medium experience” because they know it’s too hard.

  15. cubedude89

    Dont feel bad you old old gamers here on PP. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Im 18 and I play on Easy!!! haha. I just dont like being killed a million times. even on easy I still get enough challenge to make it fun for me.

    who bring us hours of entertainment by spending weeks and months working on their creations.

    umm. year/years ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. cygnus100

    Actually I feel its a rediculous question. People have great variations in how they can and want to play. Depending on an individuals skill level and their style of play, it can completley frustrate them if a game is too hard. Being able to adjust the difficulty to an appropriate level can make the game more enjoyable for everyone. If a modder wants to add a “read me” or mod description stating that he/she reccomends this or that difficulty level for “best results” then they should add it.
    I am sure every one of us has tried at one time or another to play some game on its easier setting. Of course the modder can and should do whatever they want to do. If it gets too frustating for me… I just wont play it.

  17. I can only say that I play the game and mods on “hard”. If it is too difficult I use the “god” cheat ;).
    Player must choose his skill. If hee not good at playing he can’t use “hard’.

  18. I dont remember my true name

    For me, it’s more than normal to make the player choice what level of difficulty he wants to play. There are casual gamers aswell, who doesn’t really care to be a master in gaming, but still play and download mods. People will enjoy it actually if it is fitting with the skill level of each other, so taking a choice in difficulty is better than only one in most cases.

  19. Vehk

    Depends on a way the game deals with its difficulty levels. Hl2 in particular only modifies (as most others anyway) damage and health parameters for enemies. This doesn’t make game much harder or tactical, it usually just feels more illogical (soldiers taking 35 bullets before lying down) and irritating to play on hard. I think difficulty system needs to be improved in general.

    As for Leon, his awesomely designed maps are IMO often degraded or ruined by his hardcore philosophy being forced on the player. Killing 681 soldiers in every area, seeing them spawn in every room and behind every corner and eliminating 6 at once with explosives because they sometimes literally jostle for space really impairs the gameplay and causes disbelief to blossom. I like maps by Leon and co. but there are better and more subtle ways to increase difficulty than large amounts and damage (see HL Episodes design for inspiration).

    I voted for “no” although when playing on easy difficulties, the player is less forced to pay attention to environments and their tactical possibilities to outmaneuver enemies and such. I wouldn’t call it insult though.

  20. MattyDienhoff

    I just thought I’d add, it seems kind of ironic that this question about difficulty levels comes from Leon, whose maps are extremely difficult not because of legitimate tactical challenges but because they’re stocked with two dozen enemies around every corner.

  21. SPY


    i’m sorry that I find this whole discussion here about something I suggested after 4 days! I look nearly daily on PP, just the last few days I only visited here on PP through links that where sent to me because there was a new comment added to some thread here on PP where I also had added some comments. TB (Marketing of our mod) pointed this discussion out to me.

    things is, I never suggested this or have said this, there really is a HUGE misunderstanding, what probably I fault is.

    Phillip said he played on easy always and that surprised me very much, myself I always play on normal, never hard myself! but easy is also to easy for me. I have indeed said;
    “”โ€ฆwhat is no fun at all to play, and it does make all effort the mapper took for nothing.”
    but this was before I knew that Phillip himself played on easy. I never knew there where people that where used to play on that, really. but, never really thought about all the possibilities that where described above (about having problems with eye site or hands like AI and MikeS). I just didn’t think I guess. stupid. but, I never have said or thought that no body should play on that, its only to easy for me. and what I meant was that when you as mapper sit on one map about 30 days, 4 to 8 hours a day mapping). that it then is a waste of time when someone jumps like crazy through a map. because it;s on easy when this person is meant to play on normal and or hard. so, the setting si TO easy for him.

    i guess I just have chosen the wrong words in my mail to Phillip. I would be crazy by the way to think like that, because I am a mapper that would like to be played by as many as possible people. therefore I make the maps the best I can, as many as I can and as enjoyable as possible. asking then the player to play it on hard would be silly, I myself don’t play it on that.

    then one other quit old misunderstanding, one that is actually quit funny (so stupid is it!).
    our last hl2 sp-mod CtoA was so difficult because,…..i tested the maps while I made them on Easy, and I kept thinking; what is the matter, it’s much to easy . and I kept adding combines and stuff. maps later I noticed this mistake, and by then it was already to late. we have changed it and re-released it, but the damage was already done. I had made name as that guy who made that impossible hard to play mod, haha.
    don’t get me wrong, I like hard maps, but so that they CAN be played. impossible hard maps are only super frustrating. and sp-mapping/sp-gaming is all about fun.

    i have listened very carefully to all comments that where made on CtoA, and tried to do it all different in out next mod, just a few weeks more and you can see it for yourself, on easy normal or even for those few diehards on Hard!.

    sorry for all the inconvinius although it did produce some good conversation here…

    and sorry for my bad English, but i’m Ducth

  22. That must be the single most snobbish and elitist statement I’ve ever heard. My initial negative reaction to this is that the only draw that any of Leon’s maps have is how challenging their are, and are complete crap in every other aspect, so therefor it make sense that he’d find it to be insulting that the only thing he can do well isn’t even being noticed.

    I’ve heard from Phillip that Leon pretty much retracted that statement, and I’m not going to try to hold him to it. Sure, it may be rather snobbish, but I’m sure we’ve all said something here or there that make us sound like snobs or self centered jerks, it’s called having an opinion. I may not like his opinion, but at least he has one instead of trying to pander.

    With that in mind, I can kind of agree. Leon obviously does invest a lot of effort into making his maps challenging, and it apparently has a large vocal audience that enjoys this challenge and feels that aspect is more important than anything else. It makes sense that he’d be a little insulted that the thing he feels is most important and spent the most time working on is completely passed by.
    I personally don’t feel that aspect even ranks as something I consider a priority so for me, and the aspects I do feel are a priority, I just haven’t seen in his maps so far. Yet if he enjoys his own maps, and he has an audience that also enjoys them, that’s all that really matters.

    Leon does still need to recognize that HL2 fans have a much broader range of reasons for liking HL2 than just “it was challenging” but hopefully he has come to understand that by now. I certainly won’t be recommending any of his stuff to fans of Portal, but it’ll obviously be worth mentioning to those people who complain that HL2 has gotten too easy.

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