Question regarding Story Mode Difficulty in Episode 4 onwards *Episode 3 Spoilers*

So I finally decided to sit down tonight and finish up the remainder of Episode 3 that follows after the Matoi fight and subsequent credit roll, and was pleasantly surprised to have my ass completely handed to me by the Profound Darkness on Hardcore Mode. That said, with Episode 4 so close to release, I did swap over to Casual to finish the fight and continue on through the story, and hit another difficulty spike in the following chapter with the Corrupted Area (though on that one I did manage to complete up to the boss on Hardcore).

The question I have though (for those that have played the JP version) is does the difficulty continue to spike like this through Episode 4 as well, or does it fall back in line to the scaling difficulty of Hardcore before the Profound Darkness fight after the credits roll. The main reason I'm asking is if it would be better to simply play through the story mode first on Casual, than go back and do the fights as they were meant to be done on Hardcore.

I really do enjoy the difficulty of these fights, and it gives me something to work towards with new gear and what not, but if the difficulty remains as nail-bitingly difficult as it is in the last few Episode 3 missions, I'm debating just running through Casual for the sake of the story and keeping the plot moving forward, than going back and bashing my head against the encounters on Hardcore after.

difficulty only goes up, so prepare your gear however if you are having too much difficulty try to use a different class some of the bosses are really difficult to deal in close combat than in ranged combat and if nothing works well you can just use Summoner

Episode 4 on Japan starts at very low level so you could say it's a new start. If played on casual, the level is at like 14 or even less on Japan for episode 4 start.

It goes up slowly as you proceed with the story.

Same thing happens in Episode 5 and so on.

This is due to all of them introducing new things to the game.

Should note that starting with episode 5, we'll have access to the first of the new classes which can deal a lot of damage slightly easier than existing classes.

I ran into the same difficulty when finishing EP3. When it was released in JP, their level cap was at like 85 I think. They didn't alter the difficulty at all, so you had to do the same fight at level 75. That is why it seems harder than it should be.

Will be the same for EP4-6, they all start you off low and then ramps up. Recently finished up the story up to the latest chapter of EP6. Level cap is 95 right now, the boss is level 100. Beat the boss first try but only got B rank, but now I know it's time based and not damage taken based rating so I can be more aggressive if I want to try again.

@Qwid1339 no, 85 didn't come out till later in EP5, and lolHero got stuck on 80 cause balancing issues.

The post-Episode 3 story (IE: Mining Base Defense ver. [Apprentice] and the Corrupt Underground Shafts) were added in Episode 4 according to some people who I've talked to about how hard the "Normal" difficulty was in PSO2JP. (Which is called "Hardcore" in NA.)

The difficulty ramping happens because P dark and Mining boss do not scale with player difficulty. They are set at level 80.

P Dark can be beaten by most current classes even before reaching level 75. Just know your i-frames and your quickest damage dealers.

Mining boss, from what I've learned, is supposed to be beaten using the AIS units you can spawn in the stage. You must still be hyper aggressive using them WHILE avoiding as much damage as you can, since you want the AIS to time out instead of being destroyed. This means you will be doing damage with it for all it's up time. But the initial part of the stage is pretty hard because that's where a lot of mobs plus the boss all attack at the same time. So dodging those initial seconds while destroying the adds is a must. What I see from videos out there (as I haven't tried the fight again in awhile) is that people rush the initial seconds as their own character until they can mow down some of the adds, then they spawn the first AIS unit.