esper How do you balance player progression with game difficulty? (38:37)
Brandon’s explanation was very on point but I would add that this can be even more effective when that sort of feeling of progression with getting stronger than enemies as you go can be carried out throughout a game rather than just being location dependent.
Best example I can think of is DOOM (2016). The very most basic enemies in the game that aren’t just purposefully made to be cannon fodder, the imps, are a presence in almost all major combat encounters, and while your perception of them changes in relation to your power level, they never truly stop being a relevant part of combat encounters either and start to occupy different roles in tandem with other demons. So you can feel as if you have an edge on them in terms of firepower, but you also still have to continue to understand how to approach them tactically and in different situations and environments, with different combinations of other enemies.
Another example I can think of is in Monster Hunter where a re-do of most of the game’s combat encounters (if not two for when there is Low Rank, High Rank, and then G Rank or Master Rank available) is baked into the formula. Going back to fight a souped up version of the baby monsters you smacked around 20 hours ago can feel all the more exciting when they suddenly have a bunch of health and hit like a truck, meaning you will likely need to start optimizing your play. It’s an even better feeling when subsequent iterations of the same monsters end up with new attacks, behaviors, and mechanics, which is always a fun surprise when you see it for the first time when you thought you knew how to fight it. So, maybe another good thing for controlling how player’s are feeling about their power progression is introducing at least some situations in which the game gently but firmly tells you “oh, by the way, I was going easy on you before.”