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First what it does: from the looks of it, it generates enemies of a higher level. But does the reward scale? And also, which reward? I haven't seen the mission reward change, so it must be the drops. I've just flown about half a dozen missions on Advanced difficulty (I am Cmdr 4 atm), the first two kills dropped a white console each, but then got back to the usual batteries and such. So was I just unlucky or do the rewards not scale?
Secondly, apparently I can change the difficulty whenever I am not in an instance. A mission difficulty does not appear to be set at the moment I take the mission. It's more like a setting for the next mission instance. Am I correct?
From the looks of it, unless I am missing something, it is not something I am enjoying. Enemies take longer to kill, but they are going to die anyway after a 1-minute or 3-minutes fight with no danger to me, and that seems to be all.
From the way that I understand it (I haven't really used the slider since I tried it out on Tribble) the higher the difficulty the more likely you're going to get a good drop. It's not a guaranteed green or blue, but the probability that it will be increases the higher the setting. It also makes the enemy mobs harder to kill and you will accumulate injuries when you die (a probability, again, based upon your setting). Actual mission rewards and such don't scale. What's offered is what you get.
higher difficulty means a higher chance of better loot.
you can change the difficulty at any time out of a mission,(so sector space or a social zone like earth spacedock) so no its not set the moment you take it.
the point is really for those players that like a challenge. some people just like the missions to be tougher. they enjoy it. if you dont like it then leave it on normal. you will end up getting slightly worse loot drops but thats not a big deal. go do some crafting instead and you can make much better loot. or if your not worried about better loot just ignore it all together. if you play on normal you wont need the better loot outside of pvp.
So at higher difficulties I am not supposed to get more enemies, like 2 wings of 3 ships, or wings of 4+, or 2x battleships for instance? Only the same number of ships but a tiny bit higher in level, so the "challenge" only lies in having the combat take longer?
It's also worth pointing out that if you play on Advanced or Elite then should you ever form a pug those in your team will automatically match your difficulty level. The same is true should you join someone else's team, the leaders difficulty setting is the teams difficulty setting.
Also, starship injuries require components to heal, Critical, Major or Minor depending on the injury, the same is true of ground injuries except to heal these you need a Regenerator, like components there are three categories of regenerators.
So if you slide up, stock up, if you group up, stock up even more