I'm currently replaying Skyrim with a new character in order to play the few questlines I haven't completed yet in my initial playthrough. It reminded me of how badly Bethesda Softworks handles difficulty in their open world RPG games, and made me think of more successful examples.
Batman: Arkham City has to be one of the most accomplished examples in regards of difficulty scaling. I've yet to tackle it in earnestness, but from what I've seen of it so far, its NG+ and higher difficulty settings are nothing short of astoundingly well-made. Essentially Rocksteady has redesigned and rebalanced every encounter in the entire game for NG+, adding more and more diverse enemies to every single fight in the game, whilst only moderately tweaking their attributes. Ontop of that, it has removed all the HUD indicators, forcing players to properly read their foes on their own, and *feel* and anticipate their next moves, much like the real Batman would. Now that's a great example of accomplished difficulty scaling!
I find the willy nilly increase of statistical attributes, of things like damage values and survivability stats, as seems to be the case in all of Bethesdas open world RPGs, and many other games, to be lazy. There are proper ways of doing these things, and I think we, the core gamers seeking tightly balanced gameplay experiences and challenges, deserve better than that. I believe developers have to strive for the hardest possible even and fair playexperience for their gameplay mechanics, and scale the game down for easier difficulty, rather than the opposite approach. That would alleviate much of these problems from the get-go, and make retro-active difficulty scaling a cakewalk. Smart production procedure.
Have you got any good examples of accomplished difficulty scaling? Of how to do it right, rather than lazily cranking up the attribute sliders?