Really bad balancing


The thing about the difficulty for me isn’t that it stops me from progressing, what it stops me from doing is playing the game like I played HL1. You can overcome the insane reflexes and aim of the soldiers, but you have to use a very cautious playstyle that’s not as fun IMO. So basically the AI ancourages you to play in a more boring way, that’s the issue I have with it.



Yeah, It’s ridiculous that I can breeze through HL on hard but end up dying a dozen times over in QE while playing on Easy. It just doesn’t even play like the Half-Life franchise anymore.



To me, the complaints about it being hard miss the point. You are a theoretical physicist, better suited behind a computer or pushing a cart into an analysis port rather than taking out hardened and well-trained military forces. You are supposed to have brains, not brawn. That you are able to survive even that and make it through the alien borderworld to defeat a mega-enemy creates the “messianic” legend that so many look up to in Half-Life 2.

If it were easy to mow down military forces and aliens, we wouldn’t have lasted 7 minutes much less 7 hours. I think the game has the perfect amount of difficulty, considering what the storyline of the games call for.



Yeah i’m not seeing what the huge fuss is about regarding the hgrunts. Maybe I’m spoiled by playing human opponents in the ultra fast hl2dm but I’m not seeing any of these “lightning fast” reflexes and accuracy being a huge problem.

Having said that I quickly rejected the MP5 in favor of the 357, and chose to try and draw them out 1 on 1, or just run away. There was a wierd instnce where i dragged a turret into combat and had it shoot for me; then it quit, but a nearby soldier just shuffled around nervously and wouldn’t fire until he was more than 30 deg from my sightline.

I’ve found the crowbar extremely effective against monsters, at least initially. The pistol is useless against zombies for some reason



Certain enemies definetly need some balancing in my opinion.

  • The marines are shooting from long distance quite accurately, and unlike Half-Life, without interruptions.
  • What also bothers me is they don’t go under the barnacles, and they’re too effective against Xen aliens, in each battles they quickly kill the aliens, even the alien grunts. (Maybe simply the alien grunts are too weak).
  • The Ichthyosaur is also too weak in my opinion. One clip from the pistol is enogh to kill it.


And you are missing many, many points.

A theoretical physicist cannot wade through hordes of Mariens headshotting them with a .357 either … and then, why would any General with half a brain give his soldiers machineguns if a .357 is much much cheaper and much more effective to use for the maries too?
The point is also not that it is too hard. It just isn’t good gameplay.



I can’t believe what I’m reading. I especially recognized the great balance in this game. I played it on normal difficulty. I played FPS games since HL1, but I’m not a really good gamer. Experienced, but not very good. Regular at the most, I’d say. And the balancing for me was very great. The game was challenging, but far from frustrating. I could play through most times, having to reload only on some occasions - usually in situations where you’re overwhelmed with enemies, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Someone said it should be balanced to be played through taking no damage. What? Seriously? Where’s the challenge and the fun in that? Also, the Magnum is a great gun, being perfect for headshots from afar. I really don’t see why this weapon didn’t work for the op. Maybe its a problem on his system, I don’t know.
But PLEASE don’t fix or change or rebalance anything. It is perfect the way it is. If its to hard or easy for people, there’s 3 difficulties. THEY SHOULD USE THEM! If it’s too hard even on easy-mode, than maybe just practise. Take cover and aim accurately instead of blaming the game, goddamnit.



Well if the “excuse” is that we are theoretical physicist`s for this then why dont we bring back every map just like it was in HL1 including all the cut content from On A Rail. That was removed cause it was claimed to be confusing to players and frustrated players just like this is doing but I can use the explination that you are a scientist entering areas of the facility youve never been before so back tracking and getting lost will happen.

If what was done to this game was make it less frustrating for players by making the maps easier to navigate then make the enemies less frustrating as well. Maybe do like Fallout New Vegas did and give a hardcore level and keep the game like it is now then make easier levels like easy, normal, and hard not as hard and give fewer marines vs what we have currently.

The point is by the time we start encountering the Marines after aprehension there should be fewer and fewer marines as they are basically getting their asses handed to them by the Xenian aliens. We shouldnt be seeing more and more Marines with more and more heavy fire power. Its been 3 days since the test chamber incident and the marines had the upper hand on Day 1 and part of Day 2 but the last half of Day 2 and Day 3 the Marines are losing too much ground and start pulling out and just shelling the facility.



Okay, have not beaten the game so far due to lack of time, but I’m now in Questionable ethics and can say the following to some of the comments here:

  • Tentacles in Blow Pit: What’s the matter? You get enough grenades. Don’t expect to get along with just one grenade, just keep throwing while getting down quickly and you’re fine.

  • Glock/MP5: Glock is waaaaaayyy too accurate at far distances. I mean, it’s the basic weapon and you can kill hordes of marines with that thing more effectively than with the underpowered MP5. The latter lacks a bit accuracy instead. I rarely use it.

  • Grenades: Come on, my grandfather could throw them better than Gordon. The arc is …irritating to say the least! Simple solution for the devs: Copy the grenade mechanics from HL1, and everythings fine.

  • .357: Iron sight is useless unless you play without crosshair, and I’m playing on normal difficulty with crosshair, like most other people I assume. With the crosshair, it’s very accurate and powerful. Vorts don’t have a chance against you with that magnum in your hand. Actually a very nice to play weapon, and since the useless Iron sight is optional, no further complaints about that weapon!

  • Ladders: I know how it is supposed to work. When you jump off the ladder, you must face the direction you want to jump to. And although it gets better once you’re used to it, the system does not work perfectly. Often, Gordon simply does not jump off the ladder, or he just falls down. This has to be improved imo. In HL1, I had to get used to it either, but it still worked better.

  • Human Grunt Chatter: Okay, this is off-topic, but PLEASE PLEASE KEEP IT THIS WAY! I like them being “over the top”, and the line “I’M GONNA KICK YOUR ASS” always gets me!



From a personal point of view, I liked the tough difficulty. No shit, this game is one of the hardest I have ever played (and I used to play UT99 in Godlike back in the day, but my reflexes have worn out…), but the fun fact is that this excruciating experience makes me think of how “easy” all the newer games have become.
In the last years I came to subconsciously accept a lot of user-friendly details that simply didn’t exist before, and that were introduced not to let the player ragequit every now and then. Because if I develop a game that nobody is able to finish or appreciate due to the anger it rises, gamers will just hate it and go do something else instead: and as an entertainer, I have failed.
And, mind you, these escamotages are perfecty fine: they made playing less stressful and more comfortable, for the joy of everyone.

Unluckily, when I started playing videogames, frustration in difficulty was an indissolubile part of the experience. And even if I’m somehow grateful that gaming in general has moved away from that quicksand (otherwise I would not be a gamer anymore, but maybe a painter, or in a psychiatric ward, who knows :stuck_out_tongue: ), having today a game the difficulty of which spiritually links me back to then, is quite appreciated. It feels like a gift to the “good ol’ times”.
I won’t get nostalgic, but for me the point is: gaming has changed.

I think it’s a matter of perspective. It depends on your concept of “fun”. Those who are used to “modern” games approach (more fail-safe, in my opinion) will find themselves clueless and utterly frustrated. Those who seek an old-school, excruciating, maniacal experience will have bread for their teeth, as long as they don’t lose them in the fights.

That said, having no possibility to lower the difficulty on acceptable levels for different kind of gamers makes the game not very user-friendly for quite a bunch. These will just stop playing. And it’s a real pity, not only for them (who will not appreciate this fantastic piece of work), but for the developers, too (since a lot of people who would have appreciated their work will not be able to do so only because of a “difficulty setting mistake”, making 8 years of work “useless”).

My conclusion is for the developers: thank you for the harsh experience, I personally enjoyed it, but kindly fix this ASAP, for the good of a large portion of faithful-yet-frustrated gamers. :slight_smile:



I grew up with games without HP regeneration and checkpoints, but with tough gun fights and the ability to quick save/load. It’s both more demanding and less frustrating FOR ME (playing all the parts again from the last checkpoint). This is just my personal view, but the devs should consider that by lowering the difficulty, they will probably invite a lot more COD kiddies. They should ask themselves if this is really what they want :wink:



Well, I think a piece of art (and a good game makes no exception) should be given the possibility to be appreciated anyway by the largest audience possible, otherwise it will lose its raison d’être. Having a Leonardo painting in your basement where no-one can see it doesn’t really suit its purpouse of being appreciated.
Some will like it, some not: but that’s another issue. At least all of them had same the possibility of “accessing” it.

I don’t think they should lower all the difficulties in the same way: just set each of them better, in order to please every taste. :slight_smile:



I like the difficulty. It makes you find cover and think about how you are going to get through it, and it is all the more rewarding for it. If the game was easier, it would just turn into another lame run-and-gun fps.



I understand what you’re getting at here, but shouldn’t gameplay come before story, even in a game as plot-intensive as Half-Life?

A lot of people are finding that the balancing makes the game too hard. I’ve had an okay time with it for the most part, but even so, for Normal, it’s much more difficult than it really should be.

I could beat Half-Life without dying on Hard before I get past Surface Tension without dying on Normal in BM.

When I have trouble with BM on Normal, I mean a lot of trouble. Not just saving and loading once or twice due to a mistake on my part, I mean loading over and over again because I keep dying due to the soldiers’ abilities.

For instance, the spot in Surface Tension where you use the TOW to knock down the door in the original (yes I know it’s different in BM, but still, this part)? Before I got over to the TOW, I must have saved and loaded dozens of times.

Was it hard? Yes. Was it fun? Unfortunately, no. Not at all.

If anything, I think there should be an options menu for separate AI difficulty settings so people can change it to suit their playstyle, because in this thread it seems like everyone either thought it was too hard or too easy :awesome:



glad someone else sees it that way! hp regeneration is one of the most stupid inventions in gaming history



That doesn’t even make any sense. I agree that old games were harder than new games. And I mostly play old games from the nineties and early 2000 (I don’t really like most of the new games). But even so… I still find Black Mesa harder than most “harder old games”.

And HL1 is an old game too, but it was definitely a lot easier than Black Mesa. Even Doom 1 & 2 were easier (enemies were slow and not accurate. The only difficulties were the lack of medkits and the huge size of the last levels). Same goes for Quake, Duke Nukem 3D and all the other FPS’ I’ve played.
There definitely IS a balance problem in Black Mesa.

And to answer Raiseer’s message: I completely agree, there are 3 difficulties! So, if it’s too easy for you on “easy”, just play it on “hard” mode, goddamnit! But the “easy” mode should be… easy. That’s what it’s there for (otherwise, it wouldn’t be called “easy”, but something like “less hard”). Right now, “easy” and “normal” are too hard (haven’t tried hard mode, but “normal” already is too hard for me, and even “easy” is quite challenging and requires lots of quickloads).
Leave the “hard” mode as it is for crazy people, but the other modes should definitely be rebalanced for normal people.

That being said, not everything is too hard. Headcrabs might be too easy. Vorts too (they load way too fast, but lack of power). But marines are way too hard.



Hi there. I agree that the game is sometimes a bit unbalanced. The sections that annoyed me most were:

Ending of Questionable Ethics - How about giving us time to heal ourselves before next wave of soldiers rush on us? Or atleast place those madkits, ammo and energy packs near cover, not in the middle of the room where player is exposed to EVERY soldier in the room.

The boss fight with chopper - It’s just stupid on normal and hard difficulty. I know it’s a game but srsly, chopper that can stand that much hits from rocket launcher? In original HL it needed just two hits if I remember correctly and it was completely OK. Not to mention that it was doing a lot less damage. In Black Mesa it’s OK on easy difficulty but normal and hard are just bad. 3-5 rockers OK. More = annoying and way too unrealistic.

First tank fight area right after the chopper fight - Why place soldiers near every cannal exit except the one at the back of the base? Why force player that much to use that only route to enter the complex? It would be better if we could decide which entrance to use, just like in original HL. The tank is OK, but you need to do something with those soldiers. Place them in different places would do the trick.

Things that needs to be balanced better:

Hassassins - First thing that needs to be tweakend is HP. Girls in latex with almost no armor have same HP as soldier in heavy armor? That is just weird. Also they should shoot only while running or standing still. It is just too annoying to see them jumping 5 meters hight, doing 360 rolls and shooting all the time while hitting you with every single shot. AI as it is is perfect! Leave it like it is, just give them half HP and make them shoot only while on the ground.

Soldiers - make them much less accurate and instead give them a bit more damage. That camera shaking while they are nonstop hitting me is just horrible and I dont have enough time to make that headshot with my magnum even at longer range.

Bullsquid - in general they are much better than in original HL. But I think that you shold make that spit spread (I dont mean splash damage spread) more narrower. It would be perfect if it was about the same as spitting antlions in HL2: Ep2.

Barnacles - crowbar should do them more damage. I should be able to kill it before it can bite me if I’m being pulled. It is like that in every Half Life game so why changing it in Black Mesa?

Vortigaunts - they should charge a bit longer. In BM I sometimes don’t even have time to take cover before he shoots me. It’s just too fast compared to original. Instead give them 2x more damage. That should do the trick.

The game is awesome. Finished it yesterday and started it again today. What you did to level design is incredible, not to mention perfect voice acting, new dialogues, etc… It was worth the wait. But you really must do something with these things I’ve mentioned to make it a perfect game :slight_smile:



My strategy for hgrunts goes like this on Hard:

Double blast from shotgun.
10 or so bullets from MP5.


Two magnum headshots.


MP5 Grenade for groups.


Tau Cannon or Crossbow (long range)



After almost beating the game, I can say that balancing is actually very well done. Houndeyes and vorts are much more respectable than in HL due to them charging their attacks faster. HECUs are very challenging when encountered in groups, but this is how it SHOULD be. They feel like real special forces that can wield and use a weapon, as opposed to HL’s grunts. Bullsquid’s projectile could be avoided in HL by moving literally and inch left or right, and this has been made more challenging here as well. The only mob that should be tweaked is the ichthyosaur - it has way too little health and you can easily outmaneuver them in water, because you are even faster than it in water, which is laughable, considering it being an aquatic predator.

Also, I didn’t see a single leech in the whole game. Did you cut them or what?



There are some issues with gameplay, but I wouldn’t call it “bad balancing” because I think that they perfectly adjusted the amount of available medkits to the damage you receive during fights. The problem IMO is that the devs chosen a more realistic approach, thus creating a different experience, which people call “unbalanced” (in comparison to HL1/2). You don’t DANCE with enemies like we used to do in every HL game (probably even more in HL2, which is great - unrealistic but that’s not a bad thing!). Now, it’s almost a cover shooter and you don’t really see marines (and have fun) because you have to kill them in milliseconds or die/cover.
As I said - it’s realistic (well trained soldiers) but Half-Life was never about realism.
Aimbot and ultrafast reaction is not the best way to make gameplay challenging.

Some parts are easy, some are very hard - awesome, that’s how it should be in every game! Unvarying difficulty (…and player’s emotions) is one of the worst things in some of modern monotonous shooters - all you remember are amazing hollywood-like cutscenes, because the gameplay was one big unchanging boredom.

As a whole - BM is a phenomenal experience that owns many of current-gen boring AAA titles and it looks amazing.