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EightyFour
07-17-2007, 10:10 PM
Well I figured I would mention this, maybe someone well hear this and take it into consideration.

When I log in, one of the first things I do is look for groups. I play groups & I play solo.

Also when I log in I like to play in a group because that's how this game is built. Group play. The down side of making a group based game is that soloing gets left in the dust.

It is a good idea to add a solo option to quests. However, it is a bad idea to make the solo option worthless. (This is my opinion of course) When I say that the solo option is worthless, what I mean is that there is almost no way you are going to make it to the next level just running solo quests. If you can’t get from level 1 to 14 with the solo option than I say that the solo option is broken.

Now I believe people well disagree with me, but ask yourself first, are you disagreeing because you believe that everyone should be in a group no matter what? Or is it because that’s the way things have been? Or is it that your believe grouping well become even worse than it already is?

If your answer is the first two, well than I disagree and I well leave it at that. If it is the third question I posed than I say that the grouping is already bad to the point that there are several people complaining about this problem as it stands. I believe that there are enough people, however they all have different log in times, different schedules, different classes, and different goals. Some people want to log in a get xp, and they log in and see favor groups, some people want favor and all they see is xp groups.

When I log into a game I want to get with a group and start making progress ASAP, mainly because I have a limited amount of time. Now normally I can start my own group and find people that are interested or willing to do the same quest. However there are times when your quest options are either limited by the amount of people you have in your group or the classes you have to work with. For example, clerics and casters are hard to come by, not all the time, but when there is normally slim pickings, that’s what you are looking for.

There are some days that I don't wish to start a group, I don't want the responsibility of the success or failure of the group, as in the group configuration and making sure the group is filling out. It's extra work that before I never minded doing but I find myself starting to avoid it more and more.

So when those days happen, and I just want to join a group already running, there are hardly any around when I log into the game. These leave's me with a few options. I can suck it up and start a group of my own, I can wait around doing nothing tell a group starts, I can log back out, or I can solo a quest. So as far as the last option go's I feel that I like to solo but I don't feel like playing every detail carefully in a high level quest, like the fact that it takes more time than if I was in a group, or if I go down I have to recall out and take an xp hit for it.

But sometimes I do solo quests, on all three difficulties, when I solo a quest, it can be fun because it provides a new challenge, however I don't want to do it all the time just to make the xp bar go up, because it sucks up resources and money when you solo a quest built around 4 players.

So this is my point, solo quests are broken and this is what I think would be a good way to fix them some what without rebuilding the entire game. The solo option should be added to more quests, say everything that is not tagged as very long, just long and under and no raid quests for obvious reasons, however the flagging quests should have a solo option. Also don’t count solo quests in the total amount of times repeating a quest, at least not until most of the quests have a solo option and you can get from level 1 to 14 off of just doing solo quests.

Also I think this would bring some people into the game that are the single player type of person (which by the way is a majority of gamers). Just because this is an MMO, doesn’t mean that I want to play with people all the time. But I would still like to make progress.

tekn0mage
07-17-2007, 10:28 PM
Man not only are you right, but watch the people come out of the woodwork and tell you 10 reasons why you're wrong.

It's coming... just watch for it.

Bottom line is... population has dwindled to an all time low. There's never been fewer people on DDO and it just keeps getting worse. There's nothing more we can say about it. Turbine has to hear it--yet is doing nothing. They leave it to their forum minions to dance, parry and disillusion people as to what the real bottom line is.

I don't mean to hijack your thread but I just spend half my time online today waiting around. It's getting worse by the week.

Istivan
07-17-2007, 10:31 PM
Hi there,

I agree that getting a group, let alone a good group, is tough on some days. But as much as I do not know the quests so being the leader is sometimes challenging, I start my own groups. Perhaps you should try this. If you cannot get a full group, try a few quests just below the level you want to run; using a partial group and still get better XP than solo.

I disagree with you on the fact that you should be able to make it from 1-14 solo. D&D ( all the way back ) has always been about the group. In Pen and Paper D&D they tried solo quests with very little luck. The PnP crowd did not like these very well. Although it work fairly nicely when you could not get your group together and needed your D&D fix, for the most part was shunned and quickly dropped from the printing presses.

I play at bad hours because of my work schedule and have tried and tried to get to Level 10 (to be able to participate in a lot more quests) from level 8 for the last month and a half. I am 3.5k away from Level 10. Although that doesn't seem like much, when you have to play under your level for the quests because you are doing them alone or in a partial group, it can be a lot. But I still do not want this game to have a solo from 1-14 option, as much as I need it right now it would only make the game bad.

DKerrigan
07-17-2007, 10:37 PM
Bottom line is... population has dwindled to an all time low. There's never been fewer people on DDO and it just keeps getting worse. There's nothing more we can say about it. Turbine has to hear it--yet is doing nothing. They leave it to their forum minions to dance, parry and disillusion people as to what the real bottom line is.

I don't mean to hijack your thread but I just spend half my time online today waiting around. It's getting worse by the week.

Very true. I barely even bother looking at grouping anymore because I know that there will be 1 or 2 PoP runs, 1 to 3 guild only raid groups, some people looking for help in Goodblade's and 1 or 2 other odd groups, but no more than 5 at any one time on a week night.

Nevermind that I'm working an odd shift this week and don't get home until 3:00 a.m. at which point the total LFM list drops to a maximum of 3, and usually all odd ball lowish level quests that a capped character wrecks (not that I'd want to drop a lvl 14 rogue into a bunch of lvl 7s) and that my alts aren't the right level for.

My character(s) aren't high enough level to join the group to get the experience to get to be a high enough level to join the group.

Memnir
07-17-2007, 11:51 PM
I used to be against a server-merge.
I'm not anymore.

Istivan
07-18-2007, 12:00 AM
I agree Memnir, server merge might be the best option. I hate the thought of leaving current characters to move to a busier server, but if they do not merge some of them, I might have to move to maintain a chance of having a group.

EightyFour
07-18-2007, 12:19 AM
I start my own groups. Perhaps you should try this. If you cannot get a full group, try a few quests just below the level you want to run; using a partial group and still get better XP than solo.

I disagree with you on the fact that you should be able to make it from 1-14 solo. D&D ( all the way back ) has always been about the group. In Pen and Paper D&D they tried solo quests with very little luck. The PnP crowd did not like these very well. Although it work fairly nicely when you could not get your group together and needed your D&D fix, for the most part was shunned and quickly dropped from the printing presses.


Well I do start my own groups, I know it's a lot to take in, everything that I typed and easy to miss, but I do start my own groups. Just as of late I don't feel like having the responsbility all the time of finding the people to fill the group and finding the right players as well as the right classes. It's something that I'm getting away from.

Also I believe that in PnP, I would totally agree with you. A solo thing well not work. It's about getting together with some friends, getting the Mt. Dew and some Nachos and having a good time with your friends.

But I would also say that this is a different from PnP D&D and is an MMO more than it is PnP. A PnP solo version would be a very lonely time and not very fun. Tell you the truth I don't even know how you would be able to do it without a DM.

But please trust me when I say that MMO's have almost nothing to do with PnP in how they are designed. I believe when people picked up Super Mario Brothers for NES, they were not that worried about having a second player. Having a second player enhanced the game, but did not depend on it. There are several games out today that are single player games that do quite well and there are MMO's that do quite well. I'm just suggesting that why not have both in one game. If your ticket is playing by yourself, do it. If it's playing in a group, than do it.

But don't force people to play the way you want them to play. I would compare that to when we were younger, and there was that kid that was more about making rules on how to play the game than just having fun, because the only way they knew how to have fun was to win, so they would change the rules to there advantage tell they won just by the rules that they created.

But my point being, don't think of PnP and the failure they had with a solo option. Mainly because this is not PnP. Sure it's an off shoot of the rules, but it is still a video game no matter how many ways to want to slice it. And a video game depends on people wanting to play it and have fun doing it.

Sitting around is not fun. Soloing can be fun, but not all the time. I would rather find a group, but if that's not there, and I'm not in the mood for playing with others, like I'm on limited time and I may have to log out at any minute, I want something I can do for the hour I have. Not wait around for a group or create one and than tell everyone I have to go half way into the quest.

Istivan
07-18-2007, 12:53 AM
But don't force people to play the way you want them to play. I would compare that to when we were younger, and there was that kid that was more about making rules on how to play the game than just having fun, because the only way they knew how to have fun was to win, so they would change the rules to there advantage tell they won just by the rules that they created.

For clarity : The solo D&D PnP was one player and one DM. Not you by yourself, yes that would be tough to imagine how it would work.

Whatever game you play, someone is forcing you to play by their rules. You do not log in, check off a checklist of rules you want to play by and then start. You log into a pre-made game, rules already established. But you log in by choice. Not a single person is changing the rules mid-way through, you know them before logging in.

PnP has EVERYTHING to do with ALL MMOs. It is the mother of the genre of fantasy role playing games period, whether it is a solo like Daggerfall, Dragonquest or Neverwinter Nights or an MMO like WoW, UO, DDO, etc. Without PnP D&D this genre may never have taken off the way it has. This game just allows us long time D&D players, which number far more than you can ever imagine, to play something visual that is our game we play from our imagination on a regular basis.

If you like solo content or have too limited time to truly enjoy this game then perhaps you might want to find another. I work at lot then I have my family then I have my responsibilities to the home like repairs of home and cars and then cleaning and helping around with the housework, so my time too is very limited. I actually have to schedule a time to get a large amount of gaming in (Large amount meaning 3-5 hours) continously. It can be done, just get creative with your time. BUt I want to play this game and this game only, so I make it work.

Auran82
07-18-2007, 01:59 AM
Sometimes when looking for a group, you don't always need to have the perfect mix of classes to complete the quest. As an example (not necessarily a good one, we all know how POP goes) the other night my new level 10 Sorc wanted to do POP normal for xp. I took whoever wanted to come cause you can't really be picky when wanting to start a 10 - 13 POP normal run (cause who does pop on normal anyway?) the group consisted of: 10 Sorc, 11 Sorc, 13 Barb, and 3 fighter types, all level 10. We got through the quest with only 1 death, with no cleric and 5 of the 6 well below quest level (level 14 quest)

Might not be a good example as it's debatable whether POP is really at 14th level difficulty wise but I was surprised we had little trouble without a Cleric to back us up.

I have done plenty of runs like this with a weird mix of classes and I agree it would be good if I didn't have to sometimes but I guess you have to do what you can with what you have and what's the worst that can happen, you will lose some XP but you can have lots of fun along the way.

(another weird, but fun group was doing Stormcleave with 2 Sorcs, a Wiz, a Cleric, a rogue and a Warforged fighter, that was fun too)

tekn0mage
07-18-2007, 05:08 AM
Let's not try and figure out ways to rationalize the lack of players playing the game. The bottom line is still the same, population is at an all time low, and we need more people playing, period.

No amount of shifting, dancing or jiving the matter is going to change that.

It's not a temporary problem. It's not a problem with the OP's leadership skills. It's not his inability to put a party together. It's not his play style, it's not his lack of PnP experience/knowledge. It's not his lack of grammar, or any other factor.

There aren't people playing the game. Nuff said.

If you want to tell me that I'm being negative, or that I'm not offering any solutions, let's talk about that for a second. I am powerless to do override anything that Turbine is unwilling to accommodate. I personally, and I mean personally have introduced no less than 13 of my real-life friends to this game. Not one of them have stayed. NOT ONE. The only friends I have in this game are the ones I met playing the game. I've done my part, I'm done doing anything else.

My only hope is to yell loud enough, fight hard enough, and aim my arrows at the right people at Turbine in the hopes of lighting a fire under their ass. I will not rest... out of my love for the game.

Spill
07-18-2007, 05:22 AM
Let's not try and figure out ways to rationalize the lack of players playing the game. The bottom line is still the same, population is at an all time low, and we need more people playing, period.

No amount of shifting, dancing or jiving the matter is going to change that.

It's not a temporary problem. It's not a problem with the OP's leadership skills. It's not his inability to put a party together. It's not his play style, it's not his lack of PnP experience/knowledge. It's not his lack of grammar, or any other factor.

There aren't people playing the game. Nuff said.

If you want to tell me that I'm being negative, or that I'm not offering any solutions, let's talk about that for a second. I am powerless to do override anything that Turbine is unwilling to accommodate. I personally, and I mean personally have introduced no less than 13 of my real-life friends to this game. Not one of them have stayed. NOT ONE. The only friends I have in this game are the ones I met playing the game. I've done my part, I'm done doing anything else.

My only hope is to yell loud enough, fight hard enough, and aim my arrows at the right people at Turbine in the hopes of lighting a fire under their ass. I will not rest... out of my love for the game.

**throws a chair at the devs**

WAKE UP!!!!

Dariun
07-18-2007, 06:35 AM
Well said OP. Couldn't agree more.

Despite the fears of those who think real solo play would kill grouping, I think the opposite is true: lack of real solo play is killing new player retention which will ultimately kill grouping.

DDO is too reliant on new players running into good PUGs. Not what I would call a smart business model, especially in a game filled with bored power gamers re-rolling alts that they want to get to lvl 14 in 2 weeks.

barecm
07-18-2007, 06:59 AM
If you like solo content or have too limited time to truly enjoy this game then perhaps you might want to find another. I work at lot then I have my family then I have my responsibilities to the home like repairs of home and cars and then cleaning and helping around with the housework, so my time too is very limited. I actually have to schedule a time to get a large amount of gaming in (Large amount meaning 3-5 hours) continously. It can be done, just get creative with your time. BUt I want to play this game and this game only, so I make it work.

I think we have enough problems without telling people to go find another game. That certainly is NOT the solution for anyone. I also agree with the OP that it is very difficult to find groups these days. I had not tried to level a new char in quite some time. I recently have made a new ranger and barb and have stalled out at lvls 8-9. The sole reason for this is lack of groups. Population has something to do with it. The other major part is that there are less and less low level toons. By low level, I really mean anything below lvl 14. Another issue is that all these lvl 14 players have been relagated to raid running and/or loot running since there has not been any significant content release in months.

As I am leveling my new toons, I have realized just how boring it is to run all that old content for the 900th time... I can see why there are not as many newer toons these days. New content always helps issues, but I am thinking this may be an ongoing theme simply because of the way this game is desinged. There will always be a push for more and more upper level content and low content will suffer. Net result is that less and less people are willing to roll up that new dwarf barbarian simply because it is so boring to lvl... and lonely at the lower lvls. Adding monks may be a temporary help as well, but eventually, it will be back to what we are experiencing now; and have been experiencing for the last few months.

EinarMal
07-18-2007, 07:29 AM
I think the level penalty should be reduced when soloing. For example, if I am level 5 and soloing a level 3 quest on 'Normal' difficulty I should not get the same penalty that a group of 6 level 5 characters would.

In many cases a quest on normal difficulty even 1-2 below your level can be a challenge for one person. The xp penalty should take that into account. Maybe just calculate it based on number of people in the group instead of a flat penalty assuming 6 people groups.

Aspenor
07-18-2007, 08:24 AM
Merging some of the low pop servers might suffice for this issue. On my server there is almost no possibility of NOT finding a group, especially at high traffic time. I peeked at the LFMs yesterday out of curiosity and there must have been approximately 15, everything from lowbie experience, favor, high level loot runs/experience, raid preps, anything you could imagine.

Merging a few low pop servers might be a good idea. I used to be shaky about it, but as long as nobody merges into MY server I'll be okay. WAY too much traffic....

Hendrik
07-18-2007, 08:31 AM
Let's not try and figure out ways to rationalize the lack of players playing the game. The bottom line is still the same, population is at an all time low, and we need more people playing, period.

No amount of shifting, dancing or jiving the matter is going to change that.

It's not a temporary problem. It's not a problem with the OP's leadership skills. It's not his inability to put a party together. It's not his play style, it's not his lack of PnP experience/knowledge. It's not his lack of grammar, or any other factor.

There aren't people playing the game. Nuff said.

If you want to tell me that I'm being negative, or that I'm not offering any solutions, let's talk about that for a second. I am powerless to do override anything that Turbine is unwilling to accommodate. I personally, and I mean personally have introduced no less than 13 of my real-life friends to this game. Not one of them have stayed. NOT ONE. The only friends I have in this game are the ones I met playing the game. I've done my part, I'm done doing anything else.

My only hope is to yell loud enough, fight hard enough, and aim my arrows at the right people at Turbine in the hopes of lighting a fire under their ass. I will not rest... out of my love for the game.

Ahh, so what should we do with those that clamor for server merges, not enough people playing, etc., but are canceling? Trying to point out preceived low populations is one thing - but to do that and have a cancelled account is another. Why should anyone listen to people that say we need more players and yet are not playing themselves? Sounds hypocritical to me.

Dariun
07-18-2007, 08:49 AM
Why should anyone listen to people that say we need more players and yet are not playing themselves? Sounds hypocritical to me.

Please explain how this is hypocritical. I do not understand.

If the problem is: Not enough people playing.

The cause is: Not enough people joining and the people who join do not stay long enough.

Someone who is leaving the game fits the category of "people who do not stay", therefore, their opinions will provide anecdotal evidence for why people are not staying.

Individual anecdotes are mostly worthless, but if you have enough of them, then you will be able to have some confidence that you understand the issues that are negatively impacting player retention.

Once you have that knowledge, you would be able to consider ways to resolve the issues.

Seems to me, someone could learn a lot by listening to people who say "I'm leaving the game because of X".

tihocan
07-18-2007, 09:08 AM
Have you tried the outdoor areas? They seem to be reasonably soloable if you don't have time/don't want to put a group together.

Dariun
07-18-2007, 10:43 AM
Have you tried the outdoor areas? They seem to be reasonably soloable if you don't have time/don't want to put a group together.

Outdoor areas are great.

Unfortunately, they are unrepeatable and do not offer enough XP to level once you are above lvl 4.

Adding them was a definite improvement though, and I'm glad more are being added.

Just wish they would allow repeating (at least the Slayer one, if not Explorer and Rare).

tihocan
07-18-2007, 11:54 AM
Outdoor areas are great.

Unfortunately, they are unrepeatable and do not offer enough XP to level once you are above lvl 4.
I wasn't really suggesting to level up only in outdoor areas, but to use them when you don't feel like starting your own group, while waiting for an opportunity (or just if you have a few mins to kill).

Also, I guess your problem is more with high level characters? Most low-mid level quests can be handled rather easily with non optimal groups.

Dariun
07-18-2007, 11:59 AM
Also, I guess your problem is more with high level characters?

Mid level -- 8-10.

Even the sorrowdusk and atraxia outdoor areas don't help much as they aren't the easiest solo places for a wizard or a rogue, although I am glad they were added.

Just wish they would do Threnal as my wizard is racking up a fair number of kills out there doing loot runs since he can't really get much XP solo.

tihocan
07-18-2007, 12:04 PM
Mid level -- 8-10.
Ah, well, that's the "empty range" about everywhere it seems ;)
If I were you I would probably focus on repeating the good XP/challenge quests in order to level up asap.
If you're on Thelanis, check the mid level blues guild, it's meant just to level up to 11 ;)

Club'in
07-18-2007, 12:15 PM
I like some of your solo improvement ideas. They've done a good job so far in expanding the solo content. Solo all the way up to level 14? I don't know about that. Eliminate the repeat count for solo attempts? I think that is a great idea, and would go a long way to making solo questing more viable. Eliminate the level disparity? I'm not so sure about that one. Could be good.

When Mod 5 or 6 (with Monks and all) is released, I would hope Turbine invests a little more money in advertising for a short while, and improved soloing features could go a long ways towards helping that advertising push be successful.

KoboldKiller
07-18-2007, 12:19 PM
I never seem to have a grouping issue (in fact I think I turn down more than I join), but I am on Argo. I do like adding or editing the solo content to make it more attractive to new players so they can get immersed before starting to PuG.

Jaic_Isler
07-18-2007, 12:53 PM
My suggestion, despite population and other issues, is to join a active guild on whatever server you may be on. I have had previous issue with DDO in the past but am back and loving it, because I joined a good guild. The main thing that has helped me alot is that we just don't run missions, we roleplay as well. Sometimes we do so just to fill the gaps between quests, but we also RP instead of run missions just because. So for a roleplayer and a game player, I have always found something to do everytime I log in, and rarely have a problem gettings groups.

I know this is not the solution to the overall problem, but as far as my advise goes, join a good guild with active players, may help with the sitting issue.

As far as server merges go, I think it may be a good idea until things liven up. Might actually help Turbine save some money to put into content updates or DDO promotions. Although I don't think these two servers would qualify as low population, I'd be interested in seeing Thelanis and Sarlona merge. The best RP and best player-ran events *drools*.

Talcyndl
07-18-2007, 01:11 PM
None of the above. :)

My view is that the game was never, and within the confines of D&D rules, can never be, a solo game. D&D is at a very basic level about parties...groups of different characters pulling their skills and covering for each other's weaknesses.

The time it would take to rework all the quests (and likely the rules) to make the game completely viable for solos, isn't worth either the developer's time or the impact it would have on dungeon designs, game mechanics and grouping opportunities.

Now increasing the solo areas is fine. I like being able to kill 20 minutes here and there without worrying about finding a group. The outdoor areas work great for that. But making all the dungeons soloable, well it ain't the right game for that.

Ron
07-18-2007, 01:31 PM
None of the above. :)

My view is that the game was never, and within the confines of D&D rules, can never be, a solo game. D&D is at a very basic level about parties...groups of different characters pulling their skills and covering for each other's weaknesses.

The time it would take to rework all the quests (and likely the rules) to make the game completely viable for solos, isn't worth either the developer's time or the impact it would have on dungeon designs, game mechanics and grouping opportunities.

Now increasing the solo areas is fine. I like being able to kill 20 minutes here and there without worrying about finding a group. The outdoor areas work great for that. But making all the dungeons soloable, well it ain't the right game for that.

Huh?

There's nothing preventing this game from being soloable. It's soloable right now. Other than the 5 or 6 quests that (due to silly lever mechanics, that's a whole different rant, see my other thread, hehe) you can solo every dungeon in the game at every difficulty level. I know, because I'm on a quest to do just that.

So what developer time or impact were you referring to? To me, this game needs virtually no changes to make it solo friendly, other than removing those useless simultaneous lever mechanics, which would take all of 5 minutes of dev time.

Talon_Moonshadow
07-18-2007, 01:33 PM
I hate being the one to start up a group....especially since no one will try any quest without a cleric.
I wish more people would be willing to do game in a group that was not the perfect mix....that would help out a lot.
I also think Turbine should tailor xp to how many people are in a party. That way youcould solo low ll stuff at a higher lvl and still get xp for it.

Talcyndl
07-18-2007, 01:52 PM
Huh?

There's nothing preventing this game from being soloable. It's soloable right now. Other than the 5 or 6 quests that (due to silly lever mechanics, that's a whole different rant, see my other thread, hehe) you can solo every dungeon in the game at every difficulty level. I know, because I'm on a quest to do just that.

So what developer time or impact were you referring to? To me, this game needs virtually no changes to make it solo friendly, other than removing those useless simultaneous lever mechanics, which would take all of 5 minutes of dev time.


That's certainly not the opinion of the OP - who wants the game redesigned to be [more] solo-friendly.

The fact that uber-players, with uber-gear, and highly tweaked multi-class characters can solo a lot of stuff doesn't mean the game is solo-friendly. It's certainly not solo friendly for the casual player - which seems to be what the OP is asking for.

:shrug:

Dariun
07-18-2007, 02:36 PM
My view is that the game was never, and within the confines of D&D rules, can never be, a solo game.

I disagree that the D&D rules would not support a more solo friendly DDO.

One simple way to make DDO much much more solo friendly would be to follow D&D rules for assigning XP.

This would mean that a lvl 3 character soloing a lvl 3 quest would get more XP than 2 lvl 3 characters duoing the quest and significantly more XP than 6 lvl 3 characters doing the same quest.

Other reasonable adjustments to XP such as not penalizing a lvl 6 character who solos a lvl 4 quest and not having a "repetition" penalty for a character soloing a quest would really make soloing much more viable in DDO while staying within the spirit of D&D gameplay.

Ron
07-18-2007, 02:53 PM
That's certainly not the opinion of the OP - who wants the game redesigned to be [more] solo-friendly.

The fact that uber-players, with uber-gear, and highly tweaked multi-class characters can solo a lot of stuff doesn't mean the game is solo-friendly. It's certainly not solo friendly for the casual player - which seems to be what the OP is asking for.

:shrug:

Ah, okay, I see what you are saying. And I agree, I don't think this game ought to be changed to make it any *more* solo friendly than it is (other than removing the aforementioned simultaneous lever/floorplates that make soloing particular dungeons impossible).

OTOH, I don't necessarily agree it's not already solo friendly. I assure you, I am not an uber player. I'm relatively casual (highest character is level 8 in a year-and-a-half of play), I don't twink my solo-only characters as part of the rules of my play, so they have decidedly mediocre equipment. Although I do think I can put together a good soloist build (from experience with experimenting on what works and what doesn't), so perhaps I have a small advantage there. Still, if I can solo this game under my personal rules (which make it far harder than a typical player), anyone can. This game is totally solo friendly.

Talcyndl
07-18-2007, 03:08 PM
This game is totally solo friendly.


I think the vast majority of players would disagree.

I don't have a poll to back that up. But I think it's pretty clear that being solo friendly certainly wasn't high on the list for the developers. The simple fact is, if you want to solo a character up past level 4 or so, you really have to plan out the build. And even with a solo focused build, it often takes support (equipment, plat) from your other characters to make it viable.

As I said though, the outdoor areas are a nice addition - and provide a good outlet for the players who want/need to solo. Granted, you can't level a character up that way, but still.

Talcyndl
07-18-2007, 03:12 PM
I disagree that the D&D rules would not support a more solo friendly DDO.

One simple way to make DDO much much more solo friendly would be to follow D&D rules for assigning XP.

This would mean that a lvl 3 character soloing a lvl 3 quest would get more XP than 2 lvl 3 characters duoing the quest and significantly more XP than 6 lvl 3 characters doing the same quest.

Other reasonable adjustments to XP such as not penalizing a lvl 6 character who solos a lvl 4 quest and not having a "repetition" penalty for a character soloing a quest would really make soloing much more viable in DDO while staying within the spirit of D&D gameplay.


The xp award is not the issue. The issue is that D&D monsters, encounters and basic game play was designed around challenging a group of adventurers. Sure, you can create solo adventures, but it takes a good bit of work. Just two quick examples: (1) If you add traps, you have to provide an alternative completion route (or make the traps weaker) in case the solo isn't a rogue. (2) If you add a clay golem, you better make him optional, or permit some other way to kill him, because any solo caster is going to have serious problems.

And those type of problems abound. Sure, they can be worked around. But it takes development time and changes to dungeons that could be better designed if they didn't have to cater to solos.

Dariun
07-18-2007, 03:20 PM
The xp award is not the issue.
...
And those type of problems abound. Sure, they can be worked around. But it takes development time and changes to dungeons that could be better designed if they didn't have to cater to solos.

You see, the reason I mention the XP award is that it would NOT require vast amounts of development time and revamping dungeons for a specific playstyle.

I was trying to point out a change that (1) is practical in that it would not require changing previously designed dungeons and (2) is in keeping with the D&D spirit.

So, while the XP award may not be the issue, it could be a partial answer.

Talcyndl
07-18-2007, 03:26 PM
You see, the reason I mention the XP award is that it would NOT require vast amounts of development time and revamping dungeons for a specific playstyle.

I was trying to point out a change that (1) is practical in that it would not require changing previously designed dungeons and (2) is in keeping with the D&D spirit.

So, while the XP award may not be the issue, it could be a partial answer.

Fair enough.

The risk/concern folks have is that an XP award like that would give players an incentive to avoid groups. And it's not like most servers need something to make grouping more difficult.

Ron
07-18-2007, 03:42 PM
I think the vast majority of players would disagree.
Yeah, you're probably right. I would submit that that's because they haven't actually bothered to try soloing, though, rather than there being any inherent issue with it. Yes, it's harder, but it's not THAT hard. Certainly the path of least resistance is running the dungeons with a six man group (provided you can find one). Then of course, they sit at the level cap and ***** that there's nothing to do, and that the game is too easy :D

Scooter
07-18-2007, 03:58 PM
Let's not try and figure out ways to rationalize the lack of players playing the game. The bottom line is still the same, population is at an all time low, and we need more people playing, period.

No amount of shifting, dancing or jiving the matter is going to change that.

It's not a temporary problem. It's not a problem with the OP's leadership skills. It's not his inability to put a party together. It's not his play style, it's not his lack of PnP experience/knowledge. It's not his lack of grammar, or any other factor.

There aren't people playing the game. Nuff said.

If you want to tell me that I'm being negative, or that I'm not offering any solutions, let's talk about that for a second. I am powerless to do override anything that Turbine is unwilling to accommodate. I personally, and I mean personally have introduced no less than 13 of my real-life friends to this game. Not one of them have stayed. NOT ONE. The only friends I have in this game are the ones I met playing the game. I've done my part, I'm done doing anything else.

My only hope is to yell loud enough, fight hard enough, and aim my arrows at the right people at Turbine in the hopes of lighting a fire under their ass. I will not rest... out of my love for the game.

It seems like you want to turn every thread into


A discussion about you
A debate between people who like the game and people who need to complain about it daily (of which the OP is not one)


Why not just sit back and let the thread evolve naturally before tossing in the old "here come 10 people to say blah blah blah". Let the 10 people come and say something. Its there forum too.

Then if they do, you can make mention of it.

tekn0mage
07-18-2007, 04:02 PM
It seems like you want to turn every thread into


A discussion about you
A debate between people who like the game and people who need to complain about it daily (of which the OP is not one)


Why not just sit back and let the thread evolve naturally before tossing in the old "here come 10 people to say blah blah blah". Let the 10 people come and say something. Its there forum too.

Then if they do, you can make mention of it.

Thank you for your behavioral analysis. May I continue to exist with your blessing?

Secondly, it's my forum too, so put your OPINIONS about ME aside. Sad that you cannot follow your own advice.

FlyinS
07-18-2007, 04:14 PM
Thank you for your behavioral analysis. May I continue to exist with your blessing?

Secondly, it's my forum too, so put your OPINIONS about ME aside. Sad that you cannot follow your own advice.

He's not wrong, in the least. Don't bother replying, you're now on the ignore list.

sigtrent
07-18-2007, 04:24 PM
Its tricky. Some folks are lookign for a group game, and I think most of use can agree that good group play is something kind of special, and ultimately more fun than solo play in many ways. (are more of your great ddo moments solo or group?)

So when you make the game you want people to expereince that. You want to make it easy to group and rewarding as well. DDO went pretty far in that direction, both in the ease of grouping and the rewards for doing so.

But lots of folks like to solo, and there are many decent reasons to want to do so. I like soloing from time to time, it can be relaxing and DDO is a fun game playing solo.

I almost never do the quests on solo difficulty, but if its your first character then those difficulties really are nessesary on many quests. I like that they added the solo difficulty, I see no reason it couldn't be extended to many quests.

On the other hand, making it easy and rewarding to solo means you arn;t encouraging group play as much and that means less people to group with and an overall weaker expereince for those looking to group, already an issue in this and many MMO games.

So its a balancing act and as Turbine watches us play they will shift it around to try and get it balanced properly.

The OPs suggestion is perfectly reasonable. It woudln't do much for me, but I don't think it would especialy hurt the game.

jkm
07-18-2007, 04:38 PM
the outdoor areas suffer from a huge problem -> the increments are way too far apart. lets face it, except for sorrowdusk before 4.2 you get all the explorer points and rares before 400 kills. you are then left with getting 350 kills before 750. then you have to kill 750 monsters to get to the next payout. in gianthold its worse, having to get 1500 kills to get exp. that's clearing the fist area 19 times. how many deaths does it take to make that exp payout?

the outdoor areas need to be in 25 monster increments with their total xp higher. they should also at least double the cap on all of them. they already have a hard cap based on level so to be honest, i could see removing the kill cap altogether.

for example, cerulean hills has a total of around 8000xp - close to what you get with 2 ww runs. how long does it take compared to those ww runs? 5x as long? you also have to complete it before level 5.

tr has a lot more xp but it has a couple of incredibly tough rare encounters where you can pretty easily pick up some deaths -> that named worg is nasty what with AOE trip, hamstring, and his crazy crit range; the grotto with the named shaman tossing fireballs at you? the ogre mage (made worse by the worgs with him)? that overhyped splinterskull commander that can hit you from 30 feet away? we only get credit for killing these once yet we'll have to encounter them what 6-7 times each to get 1500 kills? 10k xp for 750 kills just isn't worth it. of course, i'm one of those people who has to finish every quest so i labor through it. [sigh] honestly, the only thing that made TR worth the xp was zoning in through qualls and double dipping with the encounter xp and the explorer xp. you'd get 500xp for the session along with the 75 kills towards the big payout.

Dariun
07-18-2007, 04:52 PM
Its tricky.
...
On the other hand, making it easy and rewarding to solo means you arn;t encouraging group play as much and that means less people to group with and an overall weaker expereince for those looking to group, already an issue in this and many MMO games.

So its a balancing act and as Turbine watches us play they will shift it around to try and get it balanced properly.


I agree it is tricky. It's true that better solo play would lead to some people soloing instead of playing in groups, but it could also lead to more total people playing DDO.

The question is how would the numbers work out if solo play attracted more people to the game (random numbers, plug in your favorites):

1000 people, with 10% soloing (900 in groups)
1500 people, with 25% soloing (1125 in groups)
2000 people, with 40% soloing (1200 in groups)
3000 people, with 50% soloing (1500 in groups)

Kattoo
07-18-2007, 05:04 PM
When I log in, one of the first things I do is look for groups. I play groups & I play solo.

Unlike some other games, DDO does not have a bottomless pit for development budgets. While I agree solo options for quests adequate to max out levels would be appropriate, I'd place new max level content at the forefront of the priority list. If people have that, they may stick around more to supply the population that use to comprise the groups that seem to be less available.

EightyFour
07-19-2007, 12:11 AM
I guess the reason I introduced this was because I found out about 30% of the gaming community prefers solo play, about 20% of the gaming population prefers group play.

Another one of my reasons was that I noticed that groups are getting more and more rare.

The out door areas are good, however, once you collect all the explorer xp, than you start on slayer, a few rares here and there. But my main problem is that anything you do solo is going to take longer than if you do it in a group. Mainly because a group can output more damage than one person.

The solo option changed this a bit, giving mob's much lower hp. Making them easier to knock out.

I also agree that high level content should be the priority right now. However that doesn't mean that solo content has to be left in the dust. I've also noticed that the DEV's are working on solo content by opening more and more quests with the solo option. So I know work is being done in that area.

I just wanted to suggest some small changes to add in while they are changing the content to include the solo option.

Also I believe that your time in a quest should be rewarded. When you go with a group into an elite quest you get a chunk of xp, let's say 3,000 xp total because this is the first time you have done it. If only one person is going into the same quest they well also recieve 3,000 xp total, but the group well take 30 minutes, and one person doing it takes anywhere from an hour to 2 hours.

If you look at it over time, the group player well get 2 times to 4 times the xp that a solo player well get. However the solo player is faced with a higher challenge because the quest was designed around 4 players.

So this game is not solo friendly. It is solo capable.

Is it the belief that if this game changed to allow solo play that everyone would want to do solo play? Than why even play an MMO to begin with. If you only want single play, there are several other games that provide that.

But if someone does want to play solo all the way thru an MMO, and never group for raids or certain quests. Well than I say let them, they are still paying $15 a month to help build more content, higher more developers to build that content.

But why try to exclude more players, why try and exclude that 30% of the gamer population away from a game. You never know, they may want to join a group every now and again.

Cowdenicus
07-19-2007, 02:52 AM
Unlike some other games, DDO does not have a bottomless pit for development budgets. While I agree solo options for quests adequate to max out levels would be appropriate, I'd place new max level content at the forefront of the priority list. If people have that, they may stick around more to supply the population that use to comprise the groups that seem to be less available.

yeah, look at the ONE level 4 quest we got. :rolleyes:

jaitee
07-19-2007, 04:15 AM
all my toons are built for solo play, why?

because, with more and more times i log on, its hard to find a group. or better yet a nice group, i love to solo things, its soo much faster and clean cut, i can solo most giant hold quest, in 1/3 time of a 6 man group, when i do party i party with my usual team/friends who i know are capable of supporting me

but, why dont i give new players a chance?

because, its just sad, more and more players arent just meeting up with that average number anymore, its just like ill do it my way kinda deal, well then you look at me and think well pugging wasnt for me so i did it my way and my characters can solo most things, i always give new players a chance, but when they go over their heads, its goes a long way, the experienced will always lead, just like the wise guy will always know more things, some people just dont listen, and cost the group more grief then anything else

if i didnt have to ever solo, i wouldnt, i love groups, but its not the content/turbine causing us to want solo play, its the players, now i do understand, you might have limited time to play, and their are no groups, and you wonder why?

its because everyone has their buddies/guild to group with, they are not going to step out of their bubble and pug if they can form a guild party, on the occasional times, guilds will pug 1-2 players based on what they need

in the end, its all about the players, people just dont simply pug anymore, because in my opinion, its group friendly and solo friendly to a certain point, but its not player friendly anymore, people want good players, players who can bring something to the table, we dont even accept the mere view/mentioned class of a battle cleric in groups, rangers are singled out, their too squishy, rouges are useless, we will find ways around the trap, heal you though it, now if you saw my point and views here, maybe you will understand why grouping is hard nowadays, people just expect more

friends will always come first before a stranger~~~~ and this is my opinion on the OP

EightyFour
07-19-2007, 12:06 PM
all my toons are built for solo play, why?

because, with more and more times i log on, its hard to find a group. or better yet a nice group, i love to solo things, its soo much faster and clean cut, i can solo most giant hold quest, in 1/3 time of a 6 man group, when i do party i party with my usual team/friends who i know are capable of supporting me...



...friends will always come first before a stranger~~~~ and this is my opinion on the OP


I don't like to solo, if there was a solo option that worked than I would be more likely to do it.

I think you r right about some of it being the players that cause some of this. Some of the players don't know what they are doing, it happens.

I don't think the lack of grouping is because everyone is in a click.

I think the lack of groups is due to low numbers on the servers. I agree that not all the servers are feeling the same way, but maybe your server is that way, maybe they are all in clicks. I'm on Ghallanda, what server are you on?

jaitee
07-19-2007, 12:14 PM
why of course since gainthold came out i havnt left it on some of my toons except to buy scrolls/pots/redo enhancements/change a spell, most LFMs are for that area anyways, but yes i do know these quests soo well, i dont even think, only time when i think is when im with a pug.....otherwise with my guild, i dont think either

PurePandemonium
07-19-2007, 09:56 PM
I just recently started over on Argonnessen server.. Let me tell ya, starting over is fun but also sucks. The population on my other server is getting pathetic.. The last toon I rolled out on it was a challenge. I had to be group leader all the time and send countless tells to get people to join up.. It really takes away from the game. In my humble opinion DDO has way too many servers for the population base. The great people of Agronnessen and other buys servers may not understand what its like to play on a low population server.. I had no idea that I was joining a low population server; I was brand new to the game. By the time I wised up it just makes moving on and starting over that much harder.

I read the post on Transferring toons to another server. But I doubt that they will let us take are bank accounts, money and the gear we are wearing to the new server. If they do let us take everything, that may fix my problems depending of the costs tied to such a service. Can anyone tell me what happens if you do this in WOW?

To end this off, I would love to see some server merges so we don’t have to solo the game or sit around waiting for a group to pop up. I am tired of running the low level groups; I just want more people on my server willing to take the first step.

Thanks for reading

FluffyDucky
07-20-2007, 09:48 AM
On the window when entering the quest change the 'solo' option to read 'easy' and add a separate 'solo/group' toggle. The player would select the difficulty (easy/normal/hard/elite) and also whether this was to be a group or solo adventure. You would not be able to enter the dungeon as part of a group if the solo option is selected (same as the current solo option ) but all XP is increased by 50% to compensate for the increased difficulty of doing the quest solo. You can either allow groups to run on the 'easy' setting with large [-50%?] XP hit compared to 'normal' or lock 'easy' so it can only be selected if the 'solo' option is selected. For dungeons designed only for groups (ones with multiple switches, etc.) either turn off the solo option (easy fix) or change the quest design to allow solo play (hard fix) perhaps allowing the switches to be thrown in sequence if solo option is selected.

As to server merges or transferring toons, I think it is ridiculous that toons can not be transferred between servers. This should not be a premium service but should be an automatic option build in with a "move toon" button on the character screen. In fact the entire concept of separate servers being entirely separate worlds was, IMO, a bad design choice implemented to make coding easier. Different worlds should have been treaded similar to the way multiple instances within a world are treated.
This is not going to happen and I think the best we can hope for is moving a toon to be offered as a 'premium' (i.e. extra charge) service. This service should be offered. It should be inexpensive and include a free rename if the move causes a name conflict.

Fallout
07-20-2007, 10:03 AM
As I am leveling my new toons, I have realized just how boring it is to run all that old content for the 900th time... I can see why there are not as many newer toons these days.

Exactly, I took a 3 month break then came back to check out new content. Guess what, quickly done with the new stuff. DDO is fundementally flawed. They will never crank out enough quests fast enough. People get bored. They leave.

They need to make a radical change in game. Randomize maps. Randomize mobs. Stuff high level and low level characters can do together. User generated content.

You can roll 10 different characters, but everyone of them has to do waterworks. There's no sense of anything new or challenge except grind raids, favor and levels.

Building new characters differently is fun, but can't really sustain a MMO with such a niche crowd.

Forceonature
07-20-2007, 10:37 AM
Here are the problems I see with the game that need to be addressed, some that would help with the OP's concerns:


Advertisement. When was the last time you saw this game on a store shelf or in a magazine? It's hard to get new players when few people have heard about the game.
Random adventure areas. I'd like to see an open zone that has a town or something at the end of it that you could do stuff in, like access the bank or auction house, gamble, etc. The only difference is that a significant random event might occur. For instance, nothing could happen for a day or two, and then all of a sudden, the town gets attacked by Velah or something. Not looking for the same spawn creature or WOW type, but varying times using various creatures. A dragon one day, 30 ogres the next, etc.
One true soloable adventure for mid levels and one for higher levels.

Beergut
07-20-2007, 12:48 PM
I've been playing about 3 months now. Long enough now to know what I like and dislike but not long enough to be remotely considered an expert on anything DDO related - especially in the "what's best for the community or best for the future of the game" category.

I like to solo and I like to group. When I group, I PUG and the quality of the group is always suspect - but than again so is my playing ability so it's usually a break even thing for me there. Some great experiences - some not so great.

I like to solo for several reasons:

1 - I don't play many marathon sessions - many times I'll play for about an hour or so - and I don't ever want to be "that guy" - the one that drops out before the quest or quest series is complete. I'm not saying shorten the quests - that would be a bad move. I am saying they don't always fit what I'm looking for and I don't want to negativly impact someone else's play because of the inconsistent nature of my schedule.

2 - I solo to get a feel for the quest so I can contribute in a group more effectively. I can learn at a leisurely pace and not harm anyone else in the process.

3 - The xp and potential for loot is always a motivator to solo but I'm not at a place where I can solo on hard or elite I need some help from others here- except for low level stuff. I know the best xp and loot comes from groups playing at harder difficulties.

Having said that, IMHO, I would like the opportunity to solo more of the quests, maybe not all, but most, with the loot and xp adjusted accordingly. Server population and one's personal schedule can hinder the availability of grouping at certain times, that's fairly obvious. Again, IMHO, DDO is, was and always should remain a group centered game but it can be more than just that.

psyrius
07-20-2007, 01:37 PM
I definitely agree with the OP that soloing is a problem.

Playing another game is not an option because, sad as it is, this game is probably one of the better for solo gaming of the MMOs; it's certainly better in many respects than some of the others I have tried, assuming that you follow some of the soloing suggestions others have posted.

I think the major reason solo playing is bad in these games is prejudice. The overwhelming reaction from the developers, and all too common from some players, is "why would you solo in a multiplayer game? Go play with yourself on some CRPG if that's what you want!" To my mind this is extremely closeminded and ignores the major reasons people solo, some of which the OP pointed out.

I really don't think that the excuse of "developer time" mentioned above holds water in the least. The #1 thing that needs changing to make soloing more viable is rewards. There are a few quests that could use some balance tweaking, but let's face it the XP rewards for quests are way out of whack for the challenge level and certainly not even close to the PnP D&D model.

XP rewards are supposed to be based on challenge. The more challenging a quest is for a given party the more XP, and vice versa, challenge being defined as probability than someone is going to die. The fact of the matter is that for any given quest, the likelihood is that one untwinked character of the same level as the quest will either die many times trying to get through the quest, finishing with extreme difficulty, or not be able to finish the quest, on solo, after hours of trying. Obviously your mileage is going to vary by class and player skill, as well as the individual quest. Nevertheless on the same quest a group of 4-6 characters, especially if somewhat balanced (has cleric and one or more essential support classes for that quest) is going to blow through that quest on elite in 15 minutes, especially if they know what they are doing. Given such a variance in difficulty is it really fair that the solo XP reward is one tenth or less of the XP reward for normal? Normally parties with less players, or single players, in PnP would actually get multipliers for XP, not penalties.

I realize that these penalties are probably there to encourage grouping, in order to make it more likely that people can find a group. That's a common mechanic in MMOs. But I don't think that it is necessary because it's obvious that life will be easier in a group no matter what, mainly because you have more people to assist with things and more characters performing separate essential jobs (healer, trapmonkey, archer, tank, buffer, etc..) and therefore less money spent on potions, etc. Even if soloing is fixed, it will always be less viable than grouping for that reason, and because you're going to need to do more repairs and spend more money again on healing and protection items. That said, as things stand soloing is mostly a losing proposition. You'll very often find that you make less money in the dungeon than you spent and if you only played on solo level you'd probably more often than not lose more XP than you will gain. It's in this respect that DDO is worse than other games at soloing because it's easy to be in the position where you do not gain XP at all for trying versus at least being able to crawl forward some.

One way you can offset this problem is by playing dungeons on normal once you're a level or two above them. This won't work so well for squishy types, but tanks can generally get away with it. You will get way more XP soloing quests 2 levels below you on normal than you will quests at or above your level on solo. You still have the healing problems if you are a tank, which is why paladins make better soloers. This gets easier the higher you go, especially if you are a class that whips wands. Nevertheless it's a bandaid to the original problem. There are also quests which are pretty much impossible to solo, at least until you're way higher level than the quest; big offenders here are the monster zerging / guard quests where you have to fend off armies of monsters and the quests where you basically or absolutely cannot advance without a special character in the party (like a rogue or a wizard). There's not much you can do about that.

Reasons people would solo are:

1) WHEN A GROUP IS NOT AVAILABLE!!!

I put this first because quite frankly this is the number one reason, and the main reason the kneejerk reaction of "why don't you group you n00b" is asinine. Quite frankly of all the reasons it is the most obvious, and so much so that it boggles the mind that no MMO developer seems to take solo viability seriously.

DDO makes it pretty easy to group up, and that's great. However, due to abysmal server populations (quite frankly smaller than I've ever heard of even for a small MUD) at least going by what shows up in the "who" list, among other problems, it's pretty hard to get a group together even on peak times. Even when you can, it's often nigh impossible to get a properly balanced group. The glaring omission seems most often to be clerics. Now clerics are frustrating to play at times, (mostly due to the frustrations of dealing with players) and take some getting used to, I realize. Some people are bored by playing a support class, especially a cleric, and more often than not this is a sacrifice. Nevertheless, the problem stands. It's exacerbated by anonymous and guild-only players, which informal research shows is very often the choice clerics will make.

There's also the fact that because populations vary with server and time, and are small to begin with, you will often find yourself online during times when there are few if any players willing to PUG, and in any case not be able to form a group at all, much less a viable one. Your only choice then is to solo or not play at all. Soloing at these times means that you still get to play at least, and could mean you progress a little. But because of the above it's more likely you'll regress or progress very little.

2) THEY DON'T WANT TO DEAL WITH A GUILD

Most people will suggest that joining a guild will help alleviate many causes of group angst, and that is certainly true. Guilds in MMOs tend to make it easier to find a group. They share resources. They tend to be of a certain quality of player that is relatively consistent -- at least as defined by the guild's goals and stated bylaws. However, they do have their drawbacks as well.

It's probably worth a whole other post on why guilds aren't for everyone. But in general the biggest problem with guilds is politics, gossip, and infighting. Guilds are a human social construct and as such will by definition have this to some degree. The other negative component, for many players, is obligation. There's no such thing as a free lunch, and in return for the sometimes dubious rewards for guild membership there are obligations. Quite apart from any dues and donations there is the fact people will be telling you what to do or you will be obligated to do something for the guild. The number one reason people give for dropping PUG groups, even in quests that they need to do for some important (to their character) favor/loot, is to go help their guild, often with a quest that is not that helpful for them. Joining a guild, above all, takes a lot away from a character's self-determination.

The above problems with guilds are frankly things I and many others avoid in real life as well. It's crazy to go from being hassled in real life to a game just to be hassled some more and deal with politics and gossip, etc. Maybe that's fun for some people, but it's not fun for others, and bottom line this is a game and it's meant to be fun.

3) WHEN THEY DON'T FEEL LIKE DEALING WITH PEOPLE

This kind of goes along with the above. But sometimes we don't feel very social. More often than not when I get on I'm more than happy to group up, and since I don't guild, I do PUGs pretty much exclusively and often with people I haven't met before. The people I am grouping with, by definition, are doing the same thing. This is always a mixed bag for various reasons, and it's certainly not for the faint of heart or socially challenged. It is true that on most servers there are decent folks out there that are nice enough to help out newbies and amiable enough to deal with most.

Nevertheless, since we're dealing with humans there are bound to be jerks. There are also going to be varying levels of player skill, style, and knowledge. There will be a random mix of available player classes as well. All of this comes together to make life more than exciting for someone who PUGs, and sometimes more stressful than one can bear, depending on starting mood and given this is a leisure time activity. Arguments, deaths caused by player foolishness and non-team-players abound. Some people suffer fools more gladly than others, but it often gets harder when people don't listen, don't learn, or when the net result is just too much death/expense from the adventure to make it worthwhile.

When the only group you can find is not really capable of handling the content for the above or whatever other reasons, or there's too much arguing and not enough playing, or the zerging, etc keeps leading to death, we're really in the situation of reason #1. That is, even when you want to group, a bad enough group is often enough worse than no group at all. And sometimes, especially after one or several bad experiences as above, you just don't feel like grouping for awhile, but you still might like to play. After all it's not the game's fault, it's a people issue at that point. Not finding a group you want to play with does not mean you don't want to play. After all, even such games as tennis, chess, baseball, etc offer solo play even without a computer for that reason if not the next one on the list.

4) THEY WANT TO INCREASE THEIR SKILL/LEVEL

This is another pretty obvious one, which you'd think the devs would understand. This is especially true with newbies and at the lower levels. When you're just starting a new game, or even a new class, you kind of want to get used to it and get your skills up to par before inflicting yourself on others. When players can't play their class well, the group suffers, and people don't like it. If you don't play well and annoy people they won't want to play with you. This puts you squarely in scenarios 1 and 3, which you already know you don't want to be in. The key to getting in groups is getting along and playing well. This doesn't help much when you are grouping with people who do not play well or play well with others, but it does increase your chances of success.

The key to playing well is practice, and practicing alone is the best kind of practice. Granted, practice with groups will help you learn group dynamics and team play, but soloing helps you focus on those aspects of your character you most need to improve, and allows you to take your time trying and repeating new things. It also allows you to learn dungeons more thoroughly than you might with a group who is generally zerging through the thing while you struggle to keep up. (BTW the speed zerging problem is one of the primary things which annoys clerics, who tend not to be very fast anyway for various reasons).

Then there is the big white elephant in the room, that being the sargasso levels where you can get stuck with little possibility of grouping. The most glaring are the first few levels, 1-3. The fact that people of this level have difficulty finding a group is probably the main reason you see people with level 14 characters redoing the Goodblade quests for favour. If they'd been able to group at appropriate levels that would have been less necessary. There are a lot of reasons people of these levels have trouble grouping. One is that there are often fewer people of that level on. But often it is because people at that level are often new, learning the game, and may not be ready to group. They may not know the interface, especially the grouping/social interface. They may want to practice a little to get used to their character and/or the game before they play. Or they may fall into one of the above categories. For these and other reasons, at the low levels it is hard even if you are an experienced player who really wants to group to find others of like mind. So you usually end up soloing to third before being invited to go to the waterworks...

5) QUEST CHOICE

The favor system reinforces choosing various quests. Further there is the boredom factor, especially when you factor in alts. The simple fact of the matter is that when you group you have to go on the quest the group wants to do. Otherwise, you're not in the group. More often than not these are the old standby chains ... WW, STK, Splinterskull, etc. rinsed and repeated. In fact if you want to find a group your greatest chance of success is to advertise that you want to do one of these. However, if you don't have time for these, or you want to play something else, your chance of finding a group drops dramatically.

This is only made worse by the difficulty in keeping groups together through quests. People will drop group for various reasons (run out of time, difficult quest, difficult team members, guild obligations, etc) this means that as you do a chain you will often find that you are constantly trying to fill the group again. This also means you're going to lose some members who are harder to find or are essential (everyone is essential, but a good rogue or a cleric is hard to find and some quests are impossible or dramatically harder without the right people). This becomes a cascading failure as time spent acquiring members, getting them to the quest, helping them get up to speed if they are new, then replacing them when they drop after finding out you're already partway through the chain, often results in more people dropping. For this and other reasons you may find out you cannot get further because you run out of PUGable people on at a given time, as above. Then you must play a different quest, which even fewer people will want to do, making the situation still worse and increasing the chances you'll end up in situation 1, having to solo.

6) BECAUSE THEY FEEL LIKE IT

This is a game, after all. It's something we do for fun. I realize there is an aura of seriousness and even some competitiveness involved here, and RPGs are notorious for being more work-heavy than most types of games. Nevertheless it is still a leisure activity. That is by definition something we do when we're not being told what to do otherwise. It's not a job; it's a game. Sometimes we feel like playing by ourselves, and that's okay. You shouldn't be made to feel ashamed of it, and you shouldn't have to justify it. There shouldn't be arbitrary rules in place which punish you for playing solo, just to remind you that what you are doing is "wrong." And even with the frustrations of the current system soloing is still fun. You get to do things you will almost never get to do with a group.
There are quests you will almost never get a group to play which you can do solo. The explorations are another good example of a quest that is often more fun soloing and which you get to take your time doing. This is especially rewarding for rangers and rogues, etc because at last you get to sneak and use ranged weapons; you rarely get a chance to do this in group, except when you're stealing the zergtank and battlecleric's soulstones from a room full of monsters (which is fun BTW). In fact the explorations are one of the best things the DDO devs have done to help soloing become more viable.

In summation, there are many reasons (more than the above) soloing is wanted or necessary. It's definitely not impossible (as evidenced by the guides to the effect), but you do have to be really good to do it, and probably should have some extra cash and loot from a higher level alt to attempt it. In any case the methods used to solo all work around the problem that actually playing solo quests as intended is not very useful and could be construed as not viable, again because the XP is so pitiful. I think if the XP could just be increased some on the solo levels it would help people a lot. It's already going to be really hard to solo most quests because you're fighting monsters alone and have fewer options. If the XP was at least ok at least you'd get something out of it. As things stand except for the quests available as "solo only" (mostly the newbie ones) there is zero reason to play any quest on solo level, even if you are soloing. Balance of monsters on the quests that are harder (especially if the balance had to take into effect the difference in various classes) would be pretty difficult. But an increase in rewards across the board for solo play would be easy enough to do without throwing things out of whack.

Also for those who say solo play is not part of PnP D&D, that is just silly. PnP D&D has always had solo modules. Even when it did not there are plenty of players who've played either by themselves or two-person (one DM and one player). Obviously the former is not as much fun, and even the latter is less dynamic than a larger party, but it can be quite fun and rewarding, and you can't always get together a basement full of people. The original AD&D DMG even suggested various rules and had tables etc that were specifically designed to help with solo play (even though they also were useful for group play). The random dungeon generator coupled with the random monster tables are a good example right off the bat. If you don't think that's fun you've probably never played nethack, either.

In PnP it's obviously easier for a one-DM one-player team to come up with an adventure tailor made for a given character. Heck it's easier to do that for a party in PnP than it is with a computer. And granted solo play in PnP would be more hack-n-slash than normal perhaps, though it's possible to use npc tables and reaction tables to fix that problem. Nevertheless, even in DDO, which first off is more hack and slash than anything, solo play could be more viable than it is and there are simple things that could be done to achieve this.

If anything, an attitude adjustment would help a lot. If there was more understanding of solo play, why it's important, etc, and less prejudice towards this practice I think it would go a long way to bridging the divide.

netjet02
07-20-2007, 10:27 PM
$100 says that eveyone complaining of finding groups is not of the Argonnessen server. Want to find a group? Switch servers! I plalyed on Aerenal, Khyber, Aundair, and several others. Tired of waiting around, I went to the server thats always packed. lvl 1-14, you'll ALWAYS find a group!

Snike
07-20-2007, 11:55 PM
Never Winter Nights. Solo goodness. MMO. Group goodness.

Hvymetal
07-21-2007, 06:04 AM
$100 says that eveyone complaining of finding groups is not of the Argonnessen server. Want to find a group? Switch servers! I plalyed on Aerenal, Khyber, Aundair, and several others. Tired of waiting around, I went to the server thats always packed. lvl 1-14, you'll ALWAYS find a group!
Well said Psyrius.

As to the above, I have created a character on Argo, yup theres more peeps, nope I don't have any of my characters and am stuck doing goodblades, ect. again. Many people do not feel like starting over and re-establishing themselves on another server, I personally don't mind, won't be leaving Khyber, I like the scene better but I do enjoy playing my new lowbie on Argo during the really slow times.

If you read Psyrius's post above you you will note that there are indeed several reasons to solo so just switching servers really doesn't just solve everything. Personally if I just had a bad PUG experience I like to switch to one of my Rogues and solo a few stealth loot runs to "de-stress".

EightyFour
07-21-2007, 12:45 PM
Yep, I agree. The people complaining about that lack of solo play are not on the Argonnessen server.

Even though it was not suggested to switch servers, there is a problem with switching servers. Everything you have done is for not. In other words, everything you have done has been a waste of time.

So you start on a new server with nothing. No money, no equipment, no characters.

I personally would likely stop playing before switching servers. Now that is just me. Mainly because I don't want to start on a new server only to get where I'm at now and find out that things have become the same as they are on the server I am currently on.

Dariun
07-21-2007, 02:06 PM
Yep, I agree. The people complaining about that lack of solo play are not on the Argonnessen server.


I'm on Argonnessen. I think there should be more solo play in the game.

Frodo_Lives
07-21-2007, 02:30 PM
I play on Aundiar and I have noticed that the population has been in a steady decline.

Groups are harder to get, and there seem to be fewer and fewer people on.

I do not want to start over with no money, no favor, no equipment, and no friends on a high population server. I'm not sure I want to transfer servers and leave the few friends that are left playing.

The answer is server merges, I know some people hate the idea, but bottom line is when an MMO is does not have the population to acurately call it self Massively Multiplayer it is just an O. I want to play a MMO not just an online game. I have multiple characters in the lvls 8 - 10 range that are just stalled because it is rare to see (or be able to form) a group for that range.

The problem is that there are not enough people to support all these servers, and while Aggro and a couple of the high population servers may not need it most of the rest do. Merge the servers, save the game.

axebender
07-21-2007, 03:41 PM
i agree a server merge may help but part of the problem is that if you are not in a guild you are not goin to find a group...not right away anyways. there should be content for those people that do not find groups and have limited time, and fgor the people that just dont feel like playing in a group, perhaps when crafting is implemented you may find less people complaining about this problem, you can log in and if there is no group you can immidiantly start doing something productive for your characters.

Hvymetal
07-22-2007, 01:56 AM
i agree a server merge may help but part of the problem is that if you are not in a guild you are not goin to find a group...not right away anyways. there should be content for those people that do not find groups and have limited time, and fgor the people that just dont feel like playing in a group, perhaps when crafting is implemented you may find less people complaining about this problem, you can log in and if there is no group you can immidiantly start doing something productive for your characters.
You know what? I originally could've cared less either way about crafting, but now I am contemplating using it when I don't have much else going on.

LOUDRampart
07-22-2007, 02:04 AM
A server merge is only a small fix. The problem is those who play all the time (hardcore players) are bored and going elsewhere and those who play infrequently can't find anyone to play with since the hard core players are taking a break playing other games.

Sure, there are the simple minded solutions of make your own group, yadda, yadda, yadda. But the underlying problem still is that there isn't enough to hard core players interested so the casual player is losing out (Wow, I can't believe I just argued that point :D )

And yes, I'm back again for a few days between business trips so I can spew forth my er... wisdom :eek:

Krell
07-22-2007, 02:28 PM
I think the difficulty getting groups is a population issue. On loot weekends for example you'll see a dozen or more LFM's at times. Of course most are PoP but you get the idea.

Most people leave, in my opinion, because they are frustrated or bored. Frustration usually comes from game mechanics, bugs, or nerfs. Bordom usually results from repeating existing content too often.

When Gianthold first came out I noticed many returning players and many casual players on more often.

So what is the solution?

Of course one is less bugs in content. This is always a battle when introducing new code and processes are in place to detect them although there is always room for improvement such as figuring an easier way to update player info on Risia.

Nerfs? Try to avoid them whenever possible and spend engineering time to provide more features and enhance classes that are lacking. Progress has been made in this area.

Content. I think this is the biggest challenge. Obviously if we had a few dozen development staff doing nothing but creating new DDO content we would have tons of new content to play with on a regular basis. But there is an economic factor. DDO has to make money or we wont have it in the future. There has to be a balance. Maybe an investment in additional staff in anticipation of the additional subscriptions it would bring may be wise. In my opinion if we had content on a Gianthold level every 6-8 weeks I think subscriptions would continue to grow. I know that is a lot of development work but if the subscriptions continued to grow I think it would pay off.

Kaish
07-22-2007, 09:18 PM
Many people might think that the answer is to Join a guild. Well, the problem for me (and probably for others) is simple. I can hardly play during week night, since im working at night and I have only the week-end to play. Plus, of course, has life goes on, I can not play every week-end.. therefore people in the guild have no clue about who I am. The guild is changing and many people who were hardcore players, did not log in a month.

So DDO is not going well. It is hard to get a group and like it wasn't enough, the June update got 1 month late, and it brought about nothing new to the game. The next update, .. Litany of the Dead, is the worst series in DDO. Most people hate the Necropolis quest. So that won't help restore the player base.

All the nerfs to Rogues and Casters got the most of many people.

The new landscape was suppose to be for Solo players who did not have time to play for a long period of time. So they can log in, play 15 minutes, and log out. But the reality is way different. Since those quest are pretty tough on high level. Maybe a fighter in heavy armor can solo Giant hold (or some hardcore players), but the others cant solo that landscape at all...

So one of the answer might be in the solo option. Making the Solo mode more rewarding.. and also, making the game recognize that even tho you choose Elite level, you are alone in the quest, and give you more exp (Solo bonus) and cut down on the awful (and most hated Re-entry penalty)

The dev team might decide to overlook our plea, but I fear the End coming. :(