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  1. #61
    The Hatchery jejeba86's Avatar
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    One thing that made the lower level toons life worse was the difficulty scaling up for lower lvl raids: reavers and shroud. As those are ran all the time by capped toons, the scaling up in difficulty on elite reavers and overall shroud to make some match for those capped toons made the job for the first lifers ~17 lvl really difficult. I don't see it as such a bad thing, but really wiping an entire lvl 20 party on a 17 lvl raid on normal is weird. Also a mass spawn of air elementals knocking and slowing lvl 20 people without saves on reavers is annoying.
    Now about LoB, considering AC wise (I know its another thread, but...) the raid is too hard for the normal difficulty.
    Every other quests are fine, I think.
    But what I really would like to see is differing difficulties on epics, may be for levels as challenges, or something more like the casual, normal, hard and elite.
    I think that Shade's post here has some nice suugestions for this matter: http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=307339

  2. #62
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    Post Here's for the patient eye

    There are plenty of thoughts in this thread I agree with. My general thought agree with the idea that the existing game difficulties are underutilized and do not present a consistent enough variation. I would add that players are like water - although they yelp at how much they want challenge - only a small percentage of the player base truly wants or needs such challenge. Elite and Epics are for those players - and they should be rewarded accordingly with extra rewards (e.g., as the new Shroud does).

    That being said, running a quest, raid or not, on casual should be 100% success, even with a gimped character, normal should be a 95%+, Hard 80%+, Elite 75%+, Epics, know what you are doing and all bets are off.

    I also agree that 'difficulty' should mean more than inflating HP and adding Fort, especially as quests level. I also think, in a sense, it should not include 'grinding' - wasn't this supposed to be the grind free mmo? Perhaps it should mean that curses, blindness and other debuff does not wear off - permanent until you use a pot, scroll or get a caster. Perhaps it should mean much deadlier traps; I do not think there is a problem in needing rogue skills for quests and suffering a punishment if you do not, as long as it doesn't require a mechanic for every quest. Perhaps it should be greater damage to your items - something that really hurts.

    Overall, I acknowledge it is hard with the size of the game, variety of quests, to balance them out. We all have different playstyles and might find some quests easier than others compared to other players. That being said, I think the game has failed to fully capitalize on making use of the resources it has as it has grown. The spell pass seemed to indicate some re-balancing is on your mind - but is it?

    Clearly, someone thought the game was too hard when 'casual' mode was created, rubber-banding added, debuffs given timers, and scaling put in. I think some of that went too far - I don't think the game 'needed' casual had Normal, Hard and Elite been used more wisely. I am concerned though, that there seems to be some drive to make the game 'harder' again - I do not want to see the game swing back too far and be a 'turn-off' again, as normal Shroud has clearly done for that scene, imo, as it will chase players away. Use Hard and Elite for the challenge seeking. The hardcore players will thrive under it. Give them extra chances at loot - they deserve it, especially when they grind. For the casual gamers, let them have their fun with a small shot at some of the good stuff - I feel that is what has been getting lost.
    Last edited by Hafeal; 04-26-2012 at 10:23 PM.
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  3. #63
    Community Member ferd's Avatar
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    Good choice for the 1st topic.

    Difficulty is a wide ranging topic, and Im going to address what is affecting that in the game as a WHOLE, not for any lvl or class.

    I have been vocal about game balance & mechanics, and this is part of the scenario.

    We as players several years ago, begged & pleaded with Turbine for new pre's, a newer (not always better) form of crafting, better weapon attributes, increasing the cap etc...

    You answered the call! To the point of the basic balance being thrown off (including the loot tables).

    The characters, weapons, spells, pre's and techniques employed by the players all combined (and a few things not listed) empowered us to run almost everything with an extremely low chance of failure. Gratifying only in the context of "winning" or the feeling of.

    Staff then looked at ways to try and bring the game back to a satisfactory balance. Which led to several "nerfs" (hate that saying) or way to tone down the volatility of our new "uberness"

    It's not a very deep trench we are all in, to try and bring that delicate balance back, while maintaining "playability" and keeping the challenge in tact.

    For the newer player, some of this imbalance can be daunting, and in some cases over-whelming, resulting in players not enjoying the game and leaving without realizing the unlimited potential DDO offers.

    Some of the more recent attempts to curb this has resulted in misplaced efforts that made certain aspects worse. We know for a fact, that is NOT your intent, but it has happened. (as the forumites, are quick to point out)

    ::


    Ensuring the correct game balance is essential to how you (Devs) have proceeded to tweak things here and there. Which is what you should do.

    As this subject gets discussed, more detailed aspects of the problems & (hopefully) solutions will arise from that.

    My first suggestion, is to bring the original design team in for a pow-wow. Nothing more than a fact finding session to look at how the balance and challenge of the game can be maintained.

    Secondly, (this will be the bigger topic) is to look at the characters, and how they are designed.

    Third, FOCUS on dungeon & party make-up. This will be real hard to employ any changes, Edited.
    The question needs to be asked here, if we dont have dungeons that "require" certain classes, then why have the dungeon or the class?

    Madfloyd, you all are SO CLOSE to bringing this game back in balance I can smell it. Toes & egos (players not you all) will be bruised in doing so, but such is the nature of the beast.

    I have edited this as I wrote it, trying not create another wall of text in the thread.

    The other suggestions are more detailed, and are meant for the specific subject when you post those threads.

    In closing, on difficulty; Because of the imbalances in the areas I mentioned above, the degree of difficulty is situational. ie. Newer players, over-powered casting (or to be more precise, spells) rendering melees to a mere A team hireling.
    So I believe through proper balance, you can adjust the degree of difficulty much more precisely.





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    Last edited by ferd; 12-22-2011 at 03:21 AM.


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  4. #64
    Hatchery Founder Glenalth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post
    What are your thoughts on the overall difficulty of DDO? Sure, we offer difficulty choices, but do you find yourself in a postion where even Normal difficulty feels too much like hard?

    If so, do you associate this with a given level in the game (e.g. 10+) or do you think there is just too much inconsistency throughout?

    What's the right balance of challenge vs success for YOU? Do you expect to never fail when playing Normal - or would that simply bore you?

    I'm raising this subject for a few reasons. I think a lot of people expect that when it comes to an MMO, if you put time in you must get progress/reward out of it - and that failure is just plain bad. Spending 45 minutes into a quest only to fail can be very frustrating.

    We have been accused (and perhaps there's truth to this) that we've been balancing the game for the uber-player. Are you finding this to be the case? It seems like a couple years ago the salient message from the community was 'enough with the easy button already!'

    Would love to know your thoughts on this. Feel free to reference specific quests.
    I've been doing this a while so my views are skewed a bit toward the geared and TR'd end of things here.



    I kind of like where the difficulty is now for the most part. There are a few quests that are strangely out of touch such as Proof is in the Poison at level 4 if you don't know what you're getting in to.

    A way of making the content scale to cater to both the 1st week newbie and the 6 year veteran on their 30th reincarnation is a difficult balance so here are some opinions on specific quests...

    Decent scaling: Demon's Den. Slightly different objectives and additional threats at higher settings, but coupled with the tons of extra HP.
    Good scaling: Harbinger and Reign of Madness chains. Varied mobs and quantity based on party size and classes.
    Awesome scaling: Weapon Shipment. This is a blast with big groups. I do see more casuals on the LFM boards having issues with farming it now, to the point where they won't allow more than a couple extra people in their quest instance.
    Bad scaling: Inspired Quarter/Dreaming Dark... More HP on top of More HP, but otherwise exactly the same.

    The current trend of making elite quests actually hard by varying mobs, quantity, and adding more traps instead of just insanely more HP for mobs is a great start. I wish to see it continued in the same manner as Demon's Den by making objectives required slightly more difficult to do (as in the time limit on all 3 efreeti + mobile end boss).
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  5. #65
    Community Member Thrudh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post
    What are your thoughts on the overall difficulty of DDO? Sure, we offer difficulty choices, but do you find yourself in a postion where even Normal difficulty feels too much like hard?

    If so, do you associate this with a given level in the game (e.g. 10+) or do you think there is just too much inconsistency throughout?

    What's the right balance of challenge vs success for YOU? Do you expect to never fail when playing Normal - or would that simply bore you?

    I'm raising this subject for a few reasons. I think a lot of people expect that when it comes to an MMO, if you put time in you must get progress/reward out of it - and that failure is just plain bad. Spending 45 minutes into a quest only to fail can be very frustrating.

    We have been accused (and perhaps there's truth to this) that we've been balancing the game for the uber-player. Are you finding this to be the case? It seems like a couple years ago the salient message from the community was 'enough with the easy button already!'

    Would love to know your thoughts on this. Feel free to reference specific quests.
    I feel game difficulty is almost perfect... Normal is always easy for me (which is how I like it), and elite (at level) can be quite challenging... I've been working on two TRs lately, and the Bravery Bonus has me doing most quests on elite at level. It is NOT a cakewalk... We have to work hard to get the job done...

    I think it WOULD help if we got partial rewards for partial completions. Like someone else said, failing at the Shroud part 4 isn't too painful since at least we pick up some good loot and ingrediants.

    I think normal should be accessible to everyone... raids included. I think we should get more rewards for doing hard or elite raids. The changes to the Shroud are very good in that respect. I'm not sure I like the LoB mechanics where you HAVE to complete it on epic to make the best items...

    I like the Shroud way better where you can make everything just grinding out normal, or get it done faster on hard or elite... But no one is forced to run Shroud elite to make Tier III greensteel.

    As far as balancing for the uber-player, I definitely think you need to be careful here... Again, let them do elite and epic raids and get the loot faster, but don't shut out the casuals... Take advice from players like Shade with a grain of salt. He's in a very different world than 99% of your players.

    Also, the grind is way too much for most of the game... There's a ton of stuff to do in this game now... Old systems like Dragon scales from Tor no longer need to take a ton of time... Epic tokens are way out of hand too, in my opinion... 30 tokens per augment slot takes a long time...

    With TRs, and alts, and epics, and raid loot, and fifteen types of crafting, we don't need each and every one of those to be a grind.

    Do not balance the grind around the 60-hour a week players... Maybe the 20-hour a week player... That's a 3 hour a day commitment.. which is pretty big for a hobby... There's no need to make the grind big enough to keep the 60-hour a week players busy.
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  6. #66
    The Hatchery Urist's Avatar
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    I think I'm just restating other posts at this point.

    Make the quest level mean something!
    A level 4 quest should be of a comparable difficulty as any other level 4 quest.
    What is the point of making quests "extreme challenges"? As far as I can tell, it's just to stiff us out of XP and loot. If the quest is so challenging, just make it listed at a higher level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scraap View Post
    I will however say there's far too much stacking in the game
    I was going to save this for the AC thread, but: this.
    If you think guild resists trivialise lower levels now; imagine if guild resists stacked with the resist spell, and both of those stacked with resist potions. Now throw in Turbine "balancing" traps and spells for those stacked resists. Congratulations, resists are now on a par with AC.

  7. #67
    The Hatchery sirgog's Avatar
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    Part 2 of my feedback: Endgame (level 20 content, epics, and raids). The most important point is probably the second general note below, so it's underlined. Edited slightly.


    Two general notes:
    1) Character power level varies extremely wildly in DDO. In other MMOs, if someone says 'I soloed endgame boss X', people's immediate response is 'You cheated', as endgame bosses are designed to be so dangerous that unless you are defensively specced you cannot be healed through their concerted attacks, and if you are defensively specced, you cannot heal yourself enough to matter, and even if you manage both of those somehow, bosses require a certain minimum DPS to kill at all - often three to ten times what a perfectly played DPS character in the game's best gear can achieve.
    In DDO, the lack of any DPS requirements on bosses means they can be killed 'slowly and steadily', and the customization of DDO toons has loopholes that let you build a character that can tank, heal and DPS at the same time.
    2) The experience of a party wipe in DDO flat out sucks. In WOW (the other MMO I've played to endgame), wiping on a boss causes you to lose progress on that boss (they respawn at full), but other than that, you can get straight back into the action and can start your next attempt on that boss within 2-3 minutes. In DDO, wiping forces you to repeat an entire quest and maybe even pre-quests. This philosophy should change, IMO. If Arraetrikos kills a raid in part 4 of the Shroud, let them try part 4 again immediately, rather than forcing them to do the mindlessly boring 1 and 3 again (and no doubt losing 3-4 players to time constraints and thus forcing them to fill the raid up again).
    The worst experiences of wiping come about in higher difficulty runs of VON6, LOB or tMA. If your group is powerful enough to consider running, say, hard LOB, you will not find the preraid area and initial LOB trash to be entertaining at all.


    Raids:
    It's my position that raids strongly require a Casual difficulty setting, even though that setting would not be designed for me at all. Casual difficulty is, at its heart, all about experiencing the storyline (and a lot of the game's best storylines revolve around raids) and seeing the sights of the game - experiences I don't think newer players should miss out upon.
    To make Casual difficulty appeal only to the players it is intended to, give it the same loot as Normal, but a double-length raid lockout timer. Loot-oriented players won't run it, but more casual players probably wouldn't have run it more than that anyway, so it still appeals to them.
    Secondly I think that, due to the long lockout timers on raids and the fast pace of levelling, you should tune Elite difficulty raids with level 20 characters in mind. Few characters achieve even five completions of any one raid before being level 20, and most raids are designed to be played 20+ times. If Elite is tuned for level 20s, then the raid can continue to be entertaining on the 6th-20th runs.
    Also I'm happy with the vast divergence in difficulty from Normal to Hard and Hard to Elite that has been added to most of the older raids (even if Normal might be a little overtuned in some cases). A wide spread of difficulties means more chances to please every type of player, unlike (say) pre-U11 Reaver which had three difficulties that were all aimed at level 14 casual players.


    Where I feel difficulty should be in raids:
    Casual: Beatable by 6-12 people that make an attempt to work together as a group and have a somewhat coherent combination of classes. Minimal gear requirements. Still beatable if one or two of them need to unexpectedly AFK in the middle of it. Ideally does not require foreknowledge of the raid.
    Example: Running pre-U12 Shroud Normal with level 20s, or pre-U12 Elite Reaver's Fate with level 14-16 characters.
    Normal: The default PUG difficulty. Beatable by 8-12 people that are mostly following an easily communicated strategy, wearing level-appropriate non-uber gear that has been sensibly chosen. PUG groups might wipe if three or four people don't pull their weight or do something very stupid, but 80%+ of level-appropriate PUGs should succeed. Example: Normal difficulty Vision of Destruction, or if heat-seeking blades were removed, post-U12 Normal Shroud.
    Hard: The default guild/channel group difficulty. Beatable by 12 people that closely follow a somewhat thought-out strategy, again with non-uber but sensibly chosen equipment. Should have additional complexity compared to Normal. Will require resources until groups discover what to do. Example: Tower of Despair Normal.
    Elite: The default 'We'll all bring our best toons for this' guild run difficulty. Beating this should require many attempts, but every guild that works on it should down it eventually. Example: LOB Hard, or TOD Hard.
    Epic: For new content, the difficulty that is designed to mercilessly wipe powergamers over and over, until they finally get it down. Server firsts should take a while. Example: LOB elite/epic, Shroud elite post U12. Existing pre-U11 epic raids are currently tuned closer to 'level 20 hard', but it's not worth changing them as too many people are part-way to getting items from them.

    Specific raids:
    Chronoscope: The non-Epic difficulties are far, far too hard for their levels but far too easy to be enjoyed at level 20. Epic is well done now, except for the final fight which still drags. IMO this should just be promoted to level 8 or 9 and otherwise left as-is.
    VON6: Velah hits too hard at the non-Epic difficulties, but is too fragile (you usually don't even get to see her breath in at-level runs). Epic now feels like a very well designed 'level 20 Hard' raid. For casual difficulty, dramatically drop Velah's damage, and make her fire breath painful but survivable.
    Titan: Should require 2 pillars on Casual, 5 Normal, 6 Hard, 7 Elite. The Titan needs more HP in the 'combat with the Titan' phase.
    DQ2: Tone down Lailat's To-Hit on Normal and Epic, and her damage per hit on the non-Epic difficulties. Up her HP on non-Epic. On Casual, make her miss a 45 AC somewhat often, and remove the archers.
    Reaver: On Casual, use the Reaver from the old, pre U11 Elite. He's well suited to a casual level 14 raid.
    Abbot: On Casual, require only 4 sarcophagi to be smashed, make the puzzles more forgiving, and tone down Inferno. On the classic difficulties, drop the Abbot's HP.
    Shroud: On Normal, remove 'heat-seeking' blades. On Casual, tone down Harry's damage output and remove all blades from part 4.
    VOD: On Casual, halve the trash spawns and drop Suulo's To-Hit so that a 65 AC is missed a lot. Leave existing difficulties as-is.
    HOX: On Casual, delay beholder spawns by 3 minutes, and tone down Xy'zzy's damage output. Leave existing difficulties as-is.
    TOD: Change part 1 to allow raises, but with a raise lockout timer of 0/1/2/3 minutes (c/n/h/e). Remove Blasphemy from Casual and tone down boss stats (especially Shadowfiends). Leave n/h/e otherwise as-is.
    LOB: Drop the Lord's to-hit to be maybe 5 points above Horoth. For Casual, remove Whirlwind, tone down Rain of Blades and dog vomit, and remove 'Gate Keeper' quori altogether. Add the shrine to e/EP to remove the boring Torc phases. That, and changes to how the game handles wipes, should see a lot more people run this fantastic raid.
    tMA: Have the 'mega-shot' damage scale with difficulty - 200/400/500/600/700 (c/n/h/e/EP) instead of the flat 500.



    Difficulty vs. Drop Rates:
    Item drop rates vary a lot in DDO. Low drop rates do not in any way add difficulty to the game, they instead add grind - mindless repetition. Newer endgame content (LOB, tMA, eChrono, eFens) is generally harder than the older stuff, but doesn't have the low drop rates. Consider upping drop rates on older items to match.
    Also raids have multiple difficulty settings - I feel loot should be noticeably higher on higher settings so that those players that like a challenge (like me) can make groups for the hardest settings and know that those people that prioritize loot acquisition will actually consider joining.
    IMO the design principle here should be: "Will this raid be fun on the 20th/50th completion?" If no, then drop rates should be high enough that players should have everything they are likely to want within 20/50 runs respectively.
    One thing that's not really been done is having the same item drop on Normal, Hard and Elite but with slightly different stats. Let's say you decided a raid should have a Warhammer with Holy, Greater Undead Bane and Greater Incineration on it. You could consider making the item the +3 if it drops on Normal, +4 if it drops on Hard, and +5 if it drops on Elite, and add an altar at the end of Hard and Elite that lets you upgrade lower level versions of the weapon to their (slightly) stronger forms. Some people might decide to run the raid on Normal until they get the item, leave it tier 1 for a while, then much later work on Hard difficulty and once they get a single completion, bam, they have a tier 2 version of their warhammer which they might be content to keep. Others will just go straight to Elite and keep running it until they get the tier 3 version in one go. And the difference between Normal and Elite versions is very small, so if you consider Elite too hard to ever beat, you can settle for having almost all of the power of the item in the tier 1 or 2 version.


    6-person Epics:
    These are all, with one or two exceptions, too easy to be entertaining for the number of runs that are required to complete items. Not because of the quest designs, but because the spells Wail of the Banshee, Implosion, Circle of Death and Undeath to Death obliterate them, and then almost all bosses are just 'surround and beat down for 1 minute' fights.
    I'm not sure if your intention this year was to swap raiding and 6-person Epics in DDO's difficulty progression, but that has happened with U9. Almost every 6 person epic is now easier than the Subterrane raids on Normal, whereas before U9 almost every 6 person Epic was harder than VOD Elite.

    Suggestions:
    Keep the lower mob HP - this made epics more fast-paced.
    Do something to the four problem spells. Finger of Death and the like are fine, it's the AoE versions that are killing this part of the game. Promoting some mobs to orange-named status would help.
    Try to make boss fights more engaging, like you managed with some of the Challenge bosses. If a mob does nothing but melee, give them Improved Sunder and an extreme crit profile, or give them massive combat buffs and/or re-enforcements when they fall under 25% hp.
    A lot of this is tied to class balance, as well. Give us a reason to take melees again. And if you see anyone successfully solo an Epic, that's an indication that either the quest is under-tuned, or their class or build is way out of whack.
    Finally, give mobs some way to tone down player kiting. If mobs spawn too fast to kill without kiting them, reduce the spawn rates.

    Encounters that are done well:
    Demon of the Frenzied Blood (although the spawn rate on trash is too high, and the trash is too durable, meaning people pretty much only kite or Fascinate it)
    High Priestess of the Depths (just because she has such a wide variety of ways to incapacitate players)
    Raiyum
    VON2 final fight (really dangerous until you neutralize the adds)

    .. and ones that aren't:
    Slomnuc (drags on and on but is not varied at all)
    Crateos
    Malicia (a little more variance here - a 68 AC is fine in general, just not in the easiest epic chain).


    What I feel is missing from high level:
    Difficult 6-person content that has loot incentives to repeat. For all their faults pre-U9, Epics were this, but they aren't now.
    Casual difficulty raids.
    More content for ungeared level 20s to acquire solid basic gear from. I posted some ideas related to this in my update 13 wishlist, here: http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=354769 (search for Paragon difficulty).
    Last edited by sirgog; 12-22-2011 at 05:09 AM.

  8. #68
    Founder Xyfiel's Avatar
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    Want to add the easiest solution I had come up with in regards to Abbot was to only have one puzzle per difficulty and more hps.
    Normal = meteors only
    Hard = meteors and Ice
    Elite = all 3
    This basically removes the lag/latency problem because players can at least run normal at a high rate of success. Abbot has to be the highest % quest failure that I have run.

  9. #69
    Community Member Antheal's Avatar
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    The quests are far too difficult and there are too many easy buttons.

    Fix this.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by jortann View Post
    As for General quests....

    With the new bravery bonus I have been running most quests on Elite. I find with an experienced group (meaning people who have played for a year and know the quest) that these are challenging, but the group will still succeed most of the time.

    When I compare that to how I used to approach quests on Elite a year ago when I was a newb, this is very different. I was afraid of quests on Elite and they were very challenging for me, but having more experience with the game and particular quests makes a huge difference.

    Now normal quests for me can easily be zerged, because I know them well enough and have my characters prepared.

    As for Raids... I find these all very challenging. Some of them on normal are easy if you know them but still there is the threat of a possible wipe if things go bad.
    Pretty much this has been my experience, too.

    When i first started playing I found most content difficult, but as I learnt the game and passed down equipment from my older toons to the newer ones, and as i learnt the quests they became less difficult.

    When the bravery bonuses came in I found that my wife and i can do elite quests within 2 levels with just our 2 toons, with just enough danger to keep things interesting (depending on the quest). I have found that it is somewhat harder to do this at later levels (14+).

    I'm happy with the difficulty spread in the game at the moment. It should be somewhat difficult for a beginner (but this is a social game so gaming with other players who know what they are doing helps a lot, and levels are easy to get to begin with), and experience should (and does) make it easier.

    Maybe there should be a more in-depth tutorial system for beginners (as it is a difficult game for a complete newb to get into), or maybe a system whereby patient experienced players are organised to mentor new players. I've done this a few times but really should do a LOT more if I want new players to enjoy and stick with this awesome game.

  11. #71
    2015 DDO Players Council Amber-Dawnn's Avatar
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    I think EVERY quest should have 5 diffacultys.
    Cas Norm Intermeaded Hard Leet


    And block out Cas & Norm on TRs until they've done it on leet first lol

  12. #72
    Community Member Niv-mizzet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post
    What are your thoughts on the overall difficulty of DDO?
    If I'm playing a caster toon? Too easy.
    If I'm intentionally not playing a caster toon? At least moderately challenging if I'm doing something meant for my level.
    Like 99% of the game feels about right if I'm running bravery bonus on a melee without a "good" caster in the group. Hard, but satisfying, and not crazy hard. A couple quests jump out and subvert this though, like acute delirium elite for one.

  13. #73
    Community Member Aaxeyu's Avatar
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    Epic is too hard for some and too easy for some.
    Why did you decide to ditch the difficulity levels,one of the smartest features of DDO, when making epic?


    Oh and leveling a TR is too easy, even if you are only playing on elite.
    I'm not sure if I even want this to change, becuase TRing is the biggest grind I have ever seen in a game and I don't wish for it to take any longer.

  14. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post
    What are your thoughts on the overall difficulty of DDO? Sure, we offer difficulty choices, but do you find yourself in a postion where even Normal difficulty feels too much like hard?

    If so, do you associate this with a given level in the game (e.g. 10+) or do you think there is just too much inconsistency throughout?

    What's the right balance of challenge vs success for YOU? Do you expect to never fail when playing Normal - or would that simply bore you?

    I'm raising this subject for a few reasons. I think a lot of people expect that when it comes to an MMO, if you put time in you must get progress/reward out of it - and that failure is just plain bad. Spending 45 minutes into a quest only to fail can be very frustrating.

    We have been accused (and perhaps there's truth to this) that we've been balancing the game for the uber-player. Are you finding this to be the case? It seems like a couple years ago the salient message from the community was 'enough with the easy button already!'

    Would love to know your thoughts on this. Feel free to reference specific quests.
    There is a HUGE inconsistency in terms of difficulty based on when content was released. Content that came out at game launch is REALLY easy compared to content of the same level that has been released after the level cap was increased one or more times. Hiding in Plain sight is a clear case of the higher difficulty of new content that came out with mod 2, even when the level cap did not go up. If you were to evaluate the true difficulty to other level 10 content released after the level cap went up, it might be more like level 12 content in comparison.

    Quests in general could use a re-evaluation to make it so quests of a given level SHOULD give roughly the same amount of difficulty. Proof is in the Poison is an example of a quest that is much harder than the level would indicate, so why not bump the actual level of the quest to something appropriate?

    Now, when it comes to high level content, we have a bit of an issue in terms of raid content vs. normal adventures. A raid will ALWAYS be seen as a challenge for that level, and when you look at content releases, four quests plus one raid means that 20 percent of new content will end up being raid material(1/5). If you have only three quests and two raids, that really makes it seem that the real focus is on the high level raid community.

    What is really needed is a way to balance things, so there will be more adventures per release, which would satisfy the balance of raid players vs. more casual players. Mod 3 was 10 quests plus a raid, and we had the same for Mod 4. It was after that point that the number of adventures per release dropped like a rock.

    So, how do you assess the true difficulty when some people are playing with characters with high end equipment, and others don't have access to it yet? Green Steel on a character that has been through one or more true reincarnates means that character is going to be more powerful than those who do not have that advantage. Now, do you balance around THAT, or come up with a new difficulty evaluation system?

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    Community Member Havok.cry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niv-mizzet View Post
    If I'm playing a caster toon? Too easy.
    If I'm intentionally not playing a caster toon? At least moderately challenging if I'm doing something meant for my level.
    Like 99% of the game feels about right if I'm running bravery bonus on a melee without a "good" caster in the group. Hard, but satisfying, and not crazy hard. A couple quests jump out and subvert this though, like acute delirium elite for one.
    Elite acute delirium is insane.
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    Community Member ferd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Targonis View Post
    So, how do you assess the true difficulty when some people are playing with characters with high end equipment, and others don't have access to it yet? Green Steel on a character that has been through one or more true reincarnates means that character is going to be more powerful than those who do not have that advantage. Now, do you balance around THAT, or come up with a new difficulty evaluation system?
    That is an outstanding observation. I was trying to find a way to fit in my post, (in different words)

    I really think, that is where a HARD LINE STANCE by Turbine needs to taken. Like I said, "some toes & egos will get bruised" because of the outcome of that and several other issues.

    Really, that is the single most constructive thing I seen on the boards in a long time.


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    Community Member sephiroth1084's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post
    What are your thoughts on the overall difficulty of DDO? Sure, we offer difficulty choices, but do you find yourself in a postion where even Normal difficulty feels too much like hard?

    If so, do you associate this with a given level in the game (e.g. 10+) or do you think there is just too much inconsistency throughout?

    What's the right balance of challenge vs success for YOU? Do you expect to never fail when playing Normal - or would that simply bore you?

    I'm raising this subject for a few reasons. I think a lot of people expect that when it comes to an MMO, if you put time in you must get progress/reward out of it - and that failure is just plain bad. Spending 45 minutes into a quest only to fail can be very frustrating.

    We have been accused (and perhaps there's truth to this) that we've been balancing the game for the uber-player. Are you finding this to be the case? It seems like a couple years ago the salient message from the community was 'enough with the easy button already!'

    Would love to know your thoughts on this. Feel free to reference specific quests.
    Coming from the perspective of someone who is a very good, very well-geared player, if not necessarily of the top tier of DDO players (that is, I've soloed difficult content, can be relied upon to contribute meaningfully to, and sometimes support, a group through challenging quests and raids, and tend to favor elite and epic content over normal and hard, even in raiding when I can).

    I find that most of the game is on the easy side, with a moderate number of challenging things out there, and a small number of overly difficult quests or sections of quests that are too punishing.

    I think the biggest problem, from the perspective of looking at difficulty in DDO, is that quest level and monster CR are both almost entirely meaningless. There are quests on normal that are considerably more difficult than quests on elite at higher level, and quests on elite that are quite a bit easier than normal content around the same level.

    For instance, The Kobold's New Ringleader is much easier than Walk the Butcher's Path, in large part due to having fewer Kobold Shaman's and because you don't ever really get mobbed by kobolds in the former, yet they are the same level quest and are about the same length.

    As another example, The Ascension Chamber is one of the most challenging quests in the game, yet is rated as level 17--my success rate in there, even with good, experienced groups is well under 50%, while it's at around 90% for Tower of Despair even with mediocre PUGs and about 85% for Epic Chronoscope.

    Quest level unfortunately doesn't take into account the number of shrines in the quest, the number of shrines when weighed against the length of the quest, number of monsters fought per shrine, or the breakdown of monsters faced. More casters usually equals more challenge, a mix of divine and arcane casters usually equates to more challenge than that, and a mix of arcane and divine casters with some heavy-hitting melee or archer support usually makes for an even greater challenge. Lot's of monsters that trip or otherwise inhibit a player's ability to deal with the threat at hand also makes encounters more difficult.

    For instance, Bastion of Power is more challenging than Genesis Point in every way:

    • Bastion's shrines are more difficult to get to, and to get back to if you skip them.
    • You have many more big fights (more than 3 or 4 monsters at a time) per shrine.
    • Genesis Point has almost no casters, and when you do face them, they tend to be either only a single arcane or a single divine caster, while Bastion frequently throws both an arcane and a divine caster at the party simultaneously.
    • Bastion has a lot of bezekira, which not only trip fairly regularly, but are also hard to spot, meaning that they can often get away with tripping party members a few times before being dealt with.
    • Bastion mixes the monster groups (casters, trippers, heavy-hitters) in most of the fights making for a lot of threats that need dealing with quickly and in different ways, which draws on more resources--a Mass Hold is unlikely to get a whole group in Bastion, since casters have good Will saves, while in Genesis it is far more likely, and this holds true for most forms of crowd control.
    • Bastion has narrower fighting arenas, which cuts down on using mobility as a defense.
    • Bastion's endfight then combines all of the above into one progressively scaling encounter.

    Bastion is more difficult than all of the other Amrath quests, actually, but is listed as the same level 19 as the others.



    The end fight in A New Invasion is much more difficult on elite than it is on hard, as elite gains both an air elemental, which has a HUGE impact on the encounter, and the ability for the boss to chain a party member, while the end fights of the other 3 quests generally just gain more HP on the boss and more damage coming through to the party when moving from hard to elite, and not even much more of either of those. Bastion is the hardest of the quests on normal and hard, and 95% of Bastion is harder than all the rest of the quests on elite except for A New Invasion's end fight, which is among the most challenging encounters in the game.



    I guess what I'm trying to say is that having clearer information on difficulty would go a long way toward satisfying people I think.



    As to how I feel about the game experience...most quests are much too easy for players with knowledge of the quest, and for characters that are well geared. It's the reason that many TRs spend a lot of time soloing or short-manning. Randomizing more elements in dungeons would help a bit with the first issue--if I don't know where, or what kinds of traps I'll encounter, I'll have to go slower, will be more inclined to bring a trapsmith and will likely die to traps more often; if I don't know whether I'll be fighting 4 bruisers or 3 bruisers and a caster, or 4 trippers, or 3 trippers and a caster in the next room, I'll have to be more cautious with my approach and manage my resources better, not to mention managing Dungeon Alert better.



    As far as gear goes, Bravery helped a little as it pushes players to tackle Elite content earlier than they otherwise would, but a lot of the stuff is still too easy. Trap damage tends to scale a little too much with difficulty, but monster damage tends to not do so quite fast enough in most areas. I also haven't really paid attention to the differences in spell list at higher levels, but I know that the difference between normal, hard and elite quests in the Harbor is pretty big due to the differences in shaman spell selection--adding Hold Monster instead of Bestow Curse is randomly deadly as you go up in difficulty. Meanwhile, Lightning Bolt (with the new double-strike chance) becomes much more deadly on elite than Scorching Ray on hard for characters without Evasion (hard being more dangerous for characters with Evasion is an odd effect of spell selection changing).



    It seems to me that most casters don't upgrade their spells with difficulty setting, though.





    Epics became much easier than they had been for casters with both a slashing of mob HP and removal of immunities. Too easy, really. I could just about solo a lot of epics on my wizard before either of those changes were made, and now I could probably absolutely crush (as Axer would say) most of those. My number one suggestion for improving that aspect of the game is to randomize monster groups and buffs. I don't know how easy or taxing that is to do, but having to worry about a divine casting Mass Deathward somewhere I didn't expect it is a bigger hindrance than almost anything else you could do in those situations, but expecting a divine with Mass DW doesn't raise the difficulty of an encounter by quite so much, though it definitely does.



    For an example of this, look at the opening encounter of Epic Chronoscope. If I'm soloing for scrolls, my number one priority is to kill the teifling cleric as soon as it activates. If I do that, the encounter lasts about 1-3 minutes and I tend to use up less than 3/4 or 1/2 of my SP. If I don't, I can end up dying as the bearded devil continues to break CC and put on damage because I can't level drain him or otherwise deal with him quickly and easily, and the other monsters in the fight get more time to drain my resources. But I know about that, and have time to anticipate it, so I can throw up a Symbol of Death and hit Wail of the Banshee as soon as the monsters activate.



    Now compare that to the fight with Razor Arm. I know that we're getting melees and archers in there, so I can drop Otto's Sphere of Dancing and largely ignore everything that spawns, but if some of those archers were actually casters, it would be a much different story, as a single caster can kill a few party members in a short period of time if left unchecked, and can make it more difficult to deal with all the rest of the trash.



    We tend to see very little mob buffing throughout the game. Here and there are divines that toss Death Ward or Mass DW, an occasional Freedom of Movement here and there, and some tend to Rage or drink a Haste potion or cast Haste, but that is often the entirety of mobs buffing themselves and each other. Some casters hit themselves with Blur or Displacement, but they almost never do the same for their companions as far as I can tell. And we rarely see enemy bards any more. If enemy mobs could toss out Greater Heroism, or better yet, get a Warchanter tossing the GH song as an opening move, we'd have a little more variety in what DCs are required, for example.



    There are certainly buffs going around, and many monsters have alternate tactics like Crippling, Bleeding Wound, trip and sunder, but I just feel that we don't see these in the sorts of varieties that we should. And with almost zero randomization, which makes for both boring and easy questing.





    One last point in this massive response is in regards to bosses. Too many of them tend to just stand around. We're forced to break off attacking them through convoluted mechanics like Velah's periodic fire breath and the blades in The Shroud, but many of our bosses have the ability to get out of a huddled beatdown. I'd like to see more bosses that act like the Lord of Blades, but even his abilities feel a little gimmicky in this sense. We don't have many bosses that can knock us down, or hop over us, or knock us back to get a space to move through us. None can fly above us in anything but a sort of cut-scene-ish way (Arraetrikos in Shroud 4 flies around and shoots at a specific area, and is immune to our abilities to harm him during that time), rather than in an interactive fashion (see: Abishai air raiders). Give bosses less HP, and more ways to not just distance themselves from us, but move us around and change the form of the battlefield and the fight themselves more and fights will be more challenging.



    TL;DR Version: Quest level and monster CR needs to more accurately reflect the actual relative challenge the quest presents, and we need more randomization in dungeons and fights in order to keep us on our toes and challenge us.
    Last edited by sephiroth1084; 12-21-2011 at 07:34 PM.
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  18. #78
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    I think before quest difficulties can be scaled to something more appropriate......you should take the first step of "balancing" the classes.

    It doesn't matter how you rescale quest difficulty, if one or a few select builds/classes are the easiest to play that's what people will tend to play and the people who want to play the less powerful classes will still flood the forums with this class/build is OP.....do something about it.

    IMO...order game should be fixed is.....

    major bugs
    class balance
    quest scaling.

    Scratt for president!!!!

  19. #79
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    Challenge for me or a new player starting the game? There is a big difference. Setting in stone difficulty (even 4 levels per quest) is going to net different experiences depending on character.

    I may get shot for this but I think scaling was a good idea that needs more work. Quests should scale up, not just down. Scaling should not just take into consideration number of players but also character level, gear, guild buffs, party composition etc...
    A team of 6 TR's with full guild buffs and top level weapons will shred a quest 6 new players would struggle with.
    Make very quest at level (or even under level) a challenge for EVERY party that enters it.
    If aprty has 30pt guild resists, scale elemental damage up. Not the full 30pt up but maybe half the difference.
    If a group has a rogue, scale damage of traps up.
    If group has twinked to the hilt why shouldn't the mobs be scaled up to match.

    DDO needs to understand there is a huge gap between the haves and the have nots but need to cater for both groups. The 4 difficulty split just does not cut it.
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    Wow! Is there a way to +1 participants in this entire thread thus far? Well, except for that one guy...

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