I don’t agree for 2 reasons:
First, for the capes themselves, AH obviously intends to make the new 9 capes rare. Just like their motto “A game for everyone is a game for no one”, I shall say a cape for everyone is a cape for no one. It’s this rarity makes the new capes unique, they are something similar with medal, proving that you are a true PG expert, wearing them can make you feel proud. But if it’s unlocked for everyone, just like Cyborg Peacemaker, perhaps the reason you wear it is just its color is quite special. And then, this will make PG awkward, I don’t think you guys will try the second time after you get the capes.
As for me, instead of conditions or modifiers, PG’s being unique is because of leaderboards. Leaderboards turns PG into a speed running game, and this will affect the strategy you choose. In normal missions, everything you do is to finish the mission in the biggest probability, but in PG, you are to create records, which means risky actions are permitted. For example, in normal missions all players will call their gears as soon as they land, but in PG this is stupid since it’s just wasting time, an apparently better choice is to call gears only when waiting for protecting launch pads. This is risky, if you meet two behemoths this run is over since you are completely bare at the start, but in order to create record, this is a must. Luck, gamble, and restart are the basic components for record creating.
Don’t you guys think a speed running PG is quite exciting and enjoyable? Unlike normal missions, route in PG should be carefully and accurately planned, you’ll be eager to learn any advanced skill if it can improve your record, in about half a month all you think is if there is a better method, and any subtle mistake you make directly announces game over. There are even no guides for it, since it’s changing among campaigns, every Proving Ground requires its unique skill thus there are no versatile rules. Don’t you guys think this is an ideal and perfect mode for vets who want challenge?
But all of this is based on no cheat on leaderboards. Developing or renting an anti-cheat system seems impractical for AH. Because HD is cross-platform, landing on both Steam and PSN, using Steam’s VAC system can’t help PSN fellow helldivers. What’s worse, no anti-cheat system (at least for now as I know) can detect hardware macro automation.
But there’s still a solution I think is feasible for AH. Although we can’t prevent players from cheating, we can verify the results. A recap system, like in Blizzard’s war3 and sc2, allows it to record the whole game in a tiny size of file. Thus the records can be verified manually, by AH stuff or all helldivers if you publish them in game. This method requires an update for the game engine thus needs tons of work time, since AH now is focusing on the mysterious new program I guess they will not be willing to do this.
If all efforts to eradicate cheat are proven to be no vail, then I have to agree to abodim87’s approach. Sadly we have to sacrifice the pleasure of PG in order to make fairness guaranteed.