I'm a long time fan of DDO, but I only play casually, and I haven't really met many people to play with on a regular basis. I don't really want to invest the time in building any sort of community presence, I'm just looking for a game I can turn on, play a bit, and turn off again. DDO's recent change to a F2P model greatly improved this, but the game's reliance on groups in dungeons has been a bit of a roadblock for me recently.

The biggest problem I have is actually getting a decent party together to do a quest. The current group finding system is decent, provided that someone goes to the trouble of starting a party, and people go to the trouble of joining it. But my recent experiences in World of Warcraft, with the new automatic group finder, have been so much better and I think DDO could benefit greatly from a similar system.

Here is how I'd envision it working in DDO:

You look at the list of quests available at your level, and you check the quests you are interested in running. You can pick just one, just a few, many, or everything available; the choice is yours. The quests are aligned vertically, with columns for each difficulty level, so you can check which difficulties you are willing to do on which quest. This allows players to only select dungeons they're able to run (ie: have paid for if they're not VIPs) and have met the entry requirements for (unlocking difficulty, prior steps in quests).

You click "go" and you are put into a queue of other players looking for groups. When the system can put together a party, everyone is teleported into the dungeon/zone to start the quest, and the quest is set to the relevant step in their journal. Voila, they can do the quest. After the quest is completed, players are teleported back to where they were before they entered the quest.

The system would have to have some criteria for assembling a decent party. For example, it should include a rogue with enough disable device skill for disarming traps if the quest has traps, and a healer with sufficient healing spells memorized for the quest, etc. Each quest will have to be parsed by the group finder for requisite stats or skills; this will also include int/wis/cha/etc requirements for quests with runes. In other words, the party created should be able to technically complete the quest.

The automatic group finder should also have a few options available to players, such as check boxes for languages you're able to communicate in, whether or not you are willing/able to use voice chat (3 options: on, off, either), etc. would help players narrow parties found, if desired.

I think a system like this might help players discover new quests that are not frequently run, because they could queue for multiple quests at once. This way, players don't have to give up the opportunity to run a quest at all in order to try and do a quest that isn't frequented. Furthermore, rarely visited quests could be given more traffic by having a number of "daily dungeons" that give players an extra bonus if they do that quest. These daily dungeons could be randomly chosen each day from a list of the least frequented quests in the past week in each level bracket, encouraging players to visit more of the game the DDO devs have worked so hard to produce.

In order to further encourage monetization of the game, a "daily dungeon pass" item could be added to the item store, perhaps for 60-80 TP. This item allows the player one entry into one of that day's daily dungeons, if that daily dungeon happens to be a paid to play adventure, much like a guest pass. This would get players into P2P adventures, show them how much fun they are, and encourage them to buy the adventure to play in it again.

I think such a system would doubly benefit casual players with few connections in the game, both by allowing them to meet new players they could potentially befriend, but the daily dungeon system would encourage experienced players who might not normally play with new players to join the automatic system and be grouped with new players for the daily dungeon bonuses. This mingling could provide opportunities for experienced players to pass on some tips to novices, and could help broaden social networks beyond the tight and closed cliques players are prone to creating (at least, this has been my experience in WoW and other games with automatic grouping).

In any event, I hope you find my suggestion helpful and give it some serious consideration for a future DDO patch.