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Co-op Strategies vs SP and encounter setups

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I like thinking/talking/playing about/through unique monster combinations and setups that cannot simply be blindly blasted through. Now, there are a couple interesting threads related to this for SP, but let's say for a 2-or-3 person team doing a survival/co-op. When operating as a well-oiled machine, the addition of even one person can make some of the toughest encounters trivial; if nothing else, for the potentially doubled damage-output/stun chance. Of course another person also adds an element of chaos into the mix, which can easily result in, say, a homing missile from a rev hitting you in the back while circling around for its intended target.

As much as I love the SP experience with regard to the setups of encounters, the extra element of another person in co-op adds an interesting twist to the normal mode of thinking that a player can only manage so much. For example, let's say small/medium-sized area: a baron comes in from the north. A few seconds later bulls and imps and maybe a rev or three come in from various angles. On SP, the strategy would be to either kill the baron to create space, which would likely result in the other mobs closing in and killing the player, or as a smarter alternative the player simply avoids the baron and makes space elsewhere, as the baron is merely a glorified meat shield good at in-fighting anyway.
With the addition of an extra person, this same scenario is best handled by focusing fire on the baron to clear the space that he controls before working on the other angles. In a small/medium-sized area a baron controls more space around the corners, so combined with the space that another player takes up, which itself is heightened in combat, that baron's plot of land begins to look better and better, especially if there's even a tiny window of time where you can focus your fire on the one target.

An interesting co-op encounter-example for a medium-sized area, I think, would be to provide one megasphere to chaingun-equipped players and introduce an army of bulls, effectively creating a moving wall on one side with a handful of barons on the other side. A relatively simple encounter both in its composition and if both players can stay alive, but if neither player shoots the barons there is a good chance some will choose the player that didn't grab the megasphere, while if either player attempts to dispose of the barons, both will be overrun with bulls. But if the player who grabs the megasphere throws a bit of damage at the barons before turning to help with the army of bulls, their extra health and armor would allow them to soak up the damage from any shots not avoided by the barons from behind. Sort of like a tank+dps type of group setup.

Of course all of this hinges on people cooperating together which is highly unlikely, and even in the off-chance that it happens people still make mistakes. Playing too close to the line with monster placement can easily result in the situation being fubar'd after one player makes a silly mistake at the start of an encounter. Of course without a save feature in co-op good luck finding other players who are willing to repeat even a portion of a map after breaking it in co-op.

That aside, what interesting co-op encounters come to y'all's minds?

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Ive heard players say that when a map is more nonlinear, the better. As weird as it is, cooperative play is much more efficient and sometimes more fun if the players can split up and handle sections of the map independently. Having to share hallways and rooms and cover can be problematic sometimes, so being able to approach situations from many different angles and choose different paths to take helps make the maps fun for everyone.

My favorite for coop is having secret areas and main objectives (such as keys, weapons or important switches) trigger teleport ambushes that summon monsters at the main areas of the map (not just at the location of the objective) so that players are more likely to be involved in the fighting even if there are stragglers who aren't actively solving the puzzles.

As you mentioned, more players clear out rooms faster, but latency and bumping into each other can make movement tricky, so I tend to prefer larger packs of meatshield monsters like pinky demons, imp armies, hell barons, hell knights, and cacodemons, while going lighter on the tricky kill machines like archviles, revenants and chaingunners. Crowd control is more fun for coop than precise movement, ammo conservation and tactical efficiency.

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40oz said:

As weird as it is, cooperative play is much more efficient and sometimes more fun if the players can split up and handle sections of the map independently.

I think it mainly depends on the level of cooperation. If you're just playing with some random Mexican guys then yes, you might want to separate from them so that you can get more action to yourself. But when you're playing with close friends you can trust, then of course fighting together and employing cool strategies is much more enjoyable.

I'd like to remind that we in multiplayer have our own ways of making encounters tougher. We often set fast monsters, 2x monster damage or even crazy stuff like reality mode or random monster placement. The latter can be the most fun because random chaotic placement is actually often a lot more interesting and unpredictable than anything a human can come up with. So maybe you don't have to worry about coop being easy that much. We know how to make our lives harder by ourselves. :D

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