So when posting someone suggested to me to use weaker armor to make the game "harder". Now, I get the intention, you take more damage and deal less, but does this really increase difficulty? The answer: No. It makes fights last longer in some cases, and some enemies may be harder from them doing more damage, but the increased damage enemies do is what makes them harder, not the reduced damage. How should I explain? When a boss fight lasts a minute but has patterns and telegraphing, and the player is good enough to dodge the attacks every time, simply making the boss have twice the health bar will NOT increase his difficulty. It'll simply last longer. If the damage increase the boss gets is also not enough then all we end up with is a longer fight. It doesn't feel harder. A good example would be Nox in the hylotl mission. At the end, his pattern, except for his sphere attack, is extremely easy to completely evade. Wearing weaker armor down to tungsten doesn't make the fight harder. Wearing iron or going naked may still be doable if the player has powerful stim packs and a good enough shield still, but the reality is all that will change is making the fight longer. He's to predictable and easy to dodge. And his sphere attack is more or less stoppable with a good shield or two. So how to make a game more difficult properly without resorting to merely increasing damage/health? For inspiration, I will look at classic shooters and higher difficulties that handled things well, rather than the bethesda approach. First, the short for readers with a short attention span. Enemy positioning and numbers can increase difficulty. In fact merely moving an enemy from one location to another can in situations greatly increase difficulty. So can merely changing the type of enemy at a location. Increasing enemy damage does increase difficulty but increasing enemy durability does not. For boss fights, give them assistance from allies sometimes. No, I will never use the word "Adds"(that is such a stupid term), I will use the word allies, or reinforcements. Give those extra enemies good positions while also making it possible for the player to deal with them by careful positioning/dodging. For general gameplay, enemies should spawn in smarter and deadlier positions rather than just in the open on a higher setting. Let caves hide monsters in them to jump out at the player. Let pirates/bandits/cultists position just inside a cave instead sometimes and begin shooting at the player from some cover. Make them spawn more often and in larger numbers. Planets could be made to have more dangerous biomes earlier on higher difficulties in spots. Enemies could be locked to higher difficulties that'd otherwise be extremely dangerous to. Such as enemies with rocket launchers and grenade launchers could be on a hard difficulty setting. AI changes to make the AI position smarter can also be used. Such as a shield enemy, instead of charging the player, holds position and protects an assault gunner or sniper from return fire. One could even give shield enemies ranged one handed weapons and actually block while firing the weapon(the player can do it, why can't the badguys? If it's AI limitations I get that but, a higher difficulty could change those later?) Lastly, keep the rules consistent. Don't break them constantly like some bad games do. When all of this is done, a higher difficulty presents a more challenge gameplay in which learning and skill at the game matter. When a player gets beaten by some badguys, he has to be able to say "what if I try this instead?". Overall, when it came to the boss design they seemed decent in that way, a player can jump right back in to try something different. But a higher difficulty setting also has to be designed that way, while also giving a decent adrenaline experience. It has to keep the player on his feet more. And no, hardcore does NOT count as a difficulty setting, more as a gameplay mode. Edit: Another thing, though. Don't worry to much about certain playstyles becoming harder than others on higher difficulties TO much. A player having a choice between melee, ranged, magic ect are also not a bad way of allowing the player to choose his difficulty, as it's a different style of play. Heck done right all play styles would still remain viable while all presenting there own challenges.