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  1. #1
    Developer MadFloyd's Avatar
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    Default Let's Talk: Game Difficulty

    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.
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  2. #2
    Community Member Diyon'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.
    A solution to the time put in and rewards vs failure would be to have more benefit to partially accomplishing something. This is already done to a small degree with chests through out quests and raids, but it would be nicer if more of these at major checkpoints gave more things of value. A very good example of this done well is shroud loot ingredients.

    As to difficulty, I think things need to be more difficult in many places but NOT by just making stuff last longer by beefing up HP and Fort. That's just a war a attrition. LoB is a good example of high difficulty done well. I think another thing to avoid in high difficulty situations is making it so that one mistake can easily destroy the raid. Don't get me wrong, some of those mistakes should be very costly on higher difficulty things, but this is when resources should be called for in extra, make it hurt bad, but don't make it an absolute fail. An example of this gone bad is Abbot. A mistake in those puzzles by potentially one person often leaves no room for recovery even at the cost of more resources.
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  3. #3

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    My first thought is class balance actually plays into this. Difficult for one class is not difficult for another.

    My preference is that I expect normal to not be challenging for an over-leveled group, elite to have a risk of failure and no guarantee for success.

    I will get a more detailed reply when I have more time.

  4. #4
    Community Member stainer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post

    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?
    Yes.

    I expect there are going to be some arguments stating that not everyone is cut out for end game, and/or epic content. This is a bunch of bunk. I have invested reasonable care into equipping and gearing my characters. I fully expect to be able to play in every aspect of the game. I expect to complete quests and game objectives in a reasonable amount of time. Sure, if mistakes are made running the quest, and we fail, I understand. What you have now doesn't feel right to me.

  5. #5
    Community Member Ganolyn's Avatar
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    The top end should be hard. I don't think anyone should be soloing raids at level. At the other end of the spectrum though, the ship buffs have trivialized much of the lower end content. Sure a fully geared out TR should have an easier time, but when someone who just stepped off the boat as it were can run over everything it seems silly. There have been suggestions to scale ship buffs by appropriate level based on the spell/wand/scroll amounts and I support that idea if it is possible.
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  6. #6
    Community Member jortann's Avatar
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    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.
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  7. #7
    Community Member nordlav's Avatar
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    As a casual player (read: slow to level), I really haven't noticed the Normal difficulty setting being an issue. Having recently brought my first character to level cap, there may have been the occasional quest where going in solo with a hireling was certainly difficult, but not extreme. Group questing typically lowers the overall difficulty as well.
    To be fair, I haven't as yet run a lot of higher end content and raids. My first Shroud run on Normal setting was a couple of weeks ago and I was actually surprised how smooth, and in some sense "easy", it was with our group. Reflecting on it certainly highlights the benefits of good group communication and tactics. I was half expecting a party wipe after all the forum threads on how the blade damage mechanics were changed.
    So to date, my limited experience with difficulty levels has been positive.

  8. #8
    Community Member grodon9999's Avatar
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    The difficulty in this game is schizophrenic. For example the Lordsmarch quest on elite are much harder than the GH quests on elite yet the GH quests are a higher level.

    In the Flesh elite is harder than some epics, and definitely harder than Mindsunder elite.

    I'd like to see stuff evened out and level appropriate, no more balancing a level 17 raid on people who have epic gear. A level 15 elite should be about as hard as a level 15 elite in a different pack.

    Sentinels Elite mobs have DOUBLE the HP of old-school level 8 quests. Even it out. The "new" content feels right for close to level twinked people, it's hell on first-life non-twinked toons. Whichever you chose, please be consistent, level 8 elites mobs should be closer in HP to each other than they are in what we have now.

    Regarding raids:

    VoD and ToD: are fine right now, U11 elite was stupid hard, this is just difficult but not terrible.
    Shroud: The blades do too much damage, this needs a nerf in all settings. I cannot believe your intention is for Elite Shroud to be harder than Elite ToD.
    Titan: the drop-rate suck, please increase so we don't have to run this tediously annoying content over and over again.
    Reaver: A level 14 raid shouldn't throw a 500 point spell at people, other than that it's fine.
    Abbot: The HP on hard/elite are insane, cut them in half. And evasion? Really?
    EChrono, eDragon, EQQ: are fine, leave them alone
    LoB and MA: Have only done up to hard so I cannot comment on higher settings. Normal could be toned down a little so more people could learn the raid without it being so painful. One things though . . . FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY PLEASE STOP MAKING NEW JUNK THAT REQUIRES KITING OF MOBS. It is stupid, it is lame, it is boring and un-fun. Any time I see something like LOB where it's "kite this, kite that, etc . . ." it makes God kill a kitten. It's just so stupid and "MMO," please stop this silliness.

    Challenges feel about right, other than the to-hit on the red-named mobs is stupid high meaning a melee requires a healer to follow him around to fight these things. Thats okay, we only bring our casters into these any way.

    I don't think I want you touching Epic quests as I don't trust you not to make things worse.

  9. #9
    Community Member grodon9999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diyon View Post

    As to difficulty, I think things need to be more difficult in many places but NOT by just making stuff last longer by beefing up HP and Fort. That's just a war a attrition. LoB is a good example of high difficulty done well. I think another thing to avoid in high difficulty situations is making it so that one mistake can easily destroy the raid. Don't get me wrong, some of those mistakes should be very costly on higher difficulty things, but this is when resources should be called for in extra, make it hurt bad, but don't make it an absolute fail. An example of this gone bad is Abbot. A mistake in those puzzles by potentially one person often leaves no room for recovery even at the cost of more resources.

    Forgot about the fort-change stupidity of U11. All this does is marginalize melees over casters.

  10. #10
    Community Member grodon9999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post

    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!'
    There's a difference between challenging and just plain stupid. U11 ToD was just plain stupid, the current hard/elite abbot is just plain stupid. Just piling on HP and fort is the dumest change made to this game.

    I mean if all a raid/quest is is a contest of who can kite mobs and toss heal scrolls you failed as a designer.

  11. #11
    Community Member HarveyMilk'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? NO, EXCEPT FOR TOP-END RAIDS

    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? DEFINITELY NOT

    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? THAT WOULD DEFINITELY BORE ME

    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. THIS IS ALSO A DDO-SPECIFIC ISSUE, GIVEN THAT OTHER MMO'S REWARD PLAYERS WITH XP EVEN WHEN THEY FAIL TO COMPLETE A QUEST. A GOOD SOLUTION WOULD BE TO GIVE QUESTS THAT YOU FAIL TO COMPLETE A PARTIAL COMPLETION OPTION, WITH REDUCED END REWARDS/XP, AND WHEN TURNING IT IN, SOME HINTS TO COMPLETE THE QUEST IF CHOSEN.

    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!' WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ABBOTT AND LOB, THIS IS NOT THE CASE. IT'S TRUE, THAT SOMEONE COMPLETELY NEW TO DDO WITHOUT A DECENT GUILD WILL HAVE TROUBLE JUST LEVELING, ESPECIALLY TRYING TO SOLO MOSTLY. THAT IS FINE, AND IS WORKING AS INTENDED, IMO, BECAUSE OF THE D&D ROOTS.

    Would love to know your thoughts on this. Feel free to reference specific quests.
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  12. #12
    Community Member exvanguard's Avatar
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    Casual was introduced (IMO) as the never fail difficulty. Normal should still have some challenge to it.
    On a scale of 1-10 though (10 being the hardest), I think:
    casual should be a 1
    normal should be a 3
    hard should be a 6
    elite should be an 8
    epic should be a 10


    Currently, normal is closer to a 2 and hard is closer to a 4
    The difference between hard and elite is night and day

  13. #13
    Community Member jortann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post
    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.
    Shorter quests at 'end game' may be a possibility. There are sometimes when I log on and just don't have enough time to wait around for a raid group to fill and then run a long quest. This is a little bit discouraging for me at times.

    Also, I think a great change for difficulty would be to add more monsters. I think the changes to Weapons Shipment were greatly applauded. It is an intense quest that is exciting to play. I think that the difference between normal and elite difficulty should include a significant increase in the numbers of bad guys. This way you would feel like you are really getting ambushed or attacked by the enemy instead of the same 4-6 mobs around every corner.
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  14. #14
    Community Member Diyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grodon9999 View Post
    Forgot about the fort-change stupidity of U11. All this does is marginalize melees over casters.
    Definitely. I glossed over that in my head since we were talking about game difficulty and not class balance, but they are somewhat tied together. As some others have said, making fort apply to spell crits could help here.
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  15. #15
    Community Member Cauthey's Avatar
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    I believe that some of the recent changes to raid bosses have lifted the difficulty bar too high.

    There is nothing wrong with augmenting the risk, so long as the reward is also directly augmented.

    Personally, I believe that the most recent adjustments to The Shroud are fantastic. There is now much greater risk. However, there's almost an even amount of additional payout.

    Argumentitavely, The Shroud (Normal) has also been made more difficult, and many suggest that it is no longer a Level 17 raid. I disagree, as I think the additional dangers in the blades have made the raid more exciting, and feel that level 17s can still complete this. The only problem that I have with The Shroud is that the PRIMARY ANTAGONIST now is Blades1, Blades2, Blades3, and Bladesx. This is kind of anti-climactic for poor Arraetrikos, who seems to have been reduced to a punching bag.

    The contrary would be the Abbot raid.

    As I understand it, raid loot out of the Abbot was seemingly much more rare. Further...it's a complicated raid. (Complicated - do not read this as "bad" - complicated, and requiring teamwork, is GOOD!)

    Now with the raid boss balancing, some of the best players in the game have sworn the raid off entirely. Normal doesn't drop any loot to make it worth running. And Elite is too incredibly painful with the Abbot's new buffs. Sure, making players adapt is a good thing. A GREAT thing. But - having to beat on a raid boss for 20 minutes to wittle down all of his fully fortified HPs is not fun. ESPECIALLY if it comes with a heavy cost in the way of expendables and spell point potions.

    So, I guess the tl;dr is:

    Challenge == GOOD!
    Challenge != Tedium
    Tedium == BAD!
    Increased difficulty with adequately increased rewards == GOOD!
    Increased difficulty with expectation of taxing SP potions heavily == BAD!
    Occasional "oh poo!" moments where minor use of resources are needed to succeed == GOOD!

    Thank you for all that you guys do. I am constantly awed with the new content I experience. And, most importantly - the community LOVES YOU ALL when you communicate with us!
    Last edited by Cauthey; 12-21-2011 at 04:20 PM.
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  16. #16
    Community Member die'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.
    1. I find that a full party in many low too mid - lv quest have no problem finishing norm hard or elite. nothing lives long enough we just maul the enemy.

    2. i find soloing elite in the 14-20 range much tougher than the lower quest, as i think it should be. (that's at lv or a lv or two behind)

    3. over all i think the game in the last few yr's has become way too easy for the most part and the things that are tough are not so much tough as boring long beat down's , that is one reason i dont do alot of epic's i find them long drawn out boreing, altho i love epic chains always been a chains fan . love the game and Merry Christmas Turbine
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  17. #17
    Community Member grodon9999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganolyn View Post
    At the other end of the spectrum though, the ship buffs have trivialized much of the lower end content.
    That is true . . . the only thing that really makes a huge difference (the others are minor) are the resist shrines. We were never meant to have 30 acid resist when running Elite Proof is in the Poison at level 4-6. If at all possible this should be scaled down.

    Low priority though, it all evens at at level 11 so it's not that big of a deal.

  18. #18
    Community Member Havok.cry's Avatar
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    I think difficulty in this game is just fine. I don't consider myself an uber leet player, and I expect somethings to be very difficult for me to accomplish. I don't think that is bad.

    Now the grind involved in accomplishing somethings IS extremely annoying. Specifically abbot flagging, and DQ loot. slightly off topic but related as difficulty should be rewarded. My suggestions for these specific instances would be:
    abbot- add sigil pieces guaranteed on end rewards of appropriate quests. Also give a good chance of the random location pieces to show up on those end rewards.
    DQ- make the 20th rewards based on class already. My wizard got to his 40th and vendored the chaosblade I got from the reward list because that was the most useful thing on the list. That was the same thing I did on my 20th also... in fact in 40 DQ runs I have never pulled a useful item for my wizard. I hear similar stories across the spectrum of classes for the things they are looking for. I feel like my effort there is entirely wasted, and am considering never entering the sands again, because I am tired of wasting my time there. Specific example: compare the time investment involved in acquiring and upgrading a toven's hammer vs the average amount of time a player has to spend to get a torc.
    Last edited by Havok.cry; 12-21-2011 at 04:27 PM.
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  19. #19
    Community Member Havok.cry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grodon9999 View Post
    Low priority though, it all evens at at level 11 so it's not that big of a deal.
    It still makes a big difference to some. Calculate the cost of casting hour long reistance to all 5 elements on 12 people. It is alot of SP. The shrines are ~a sp pot on every caster you run with.
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  20. #20
    Community Member KillEveryone's Avatar
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    I think normal is quite easy. Trash dies in a few swings. This I kind of expect. This is why I don't really see a need for casual setting but to each their own.

    Elite offers a decent challenge.

    Hard is easy enough to just skip running beyond the first time bonus and doesn't offer enough extra XP to time to farm on this difficulty.

    The bravery bonus is quite nice to entice players to run elite but it is still a one and done type of thing.

    I think that leveling, to encourage players to run elite more than once for streak, XP should scale more for elite and less for normal. Right now, it is just quicker to run elite once for streak then do hard for first time bonus and any farming on normal because it is just so much quicker to blow through the quest on normal and repeat rather than farm on elite that would take a bit longer, and in some quests that have only one shrine, it would require a little better management of resources.

    You can make sloppy mistakes on normal and still complete.

    I like how Shroud was changed to offer extra chests for hard and elite difficulties and I think that quests that offer named loot, a increased chance of getting that loot should be scaled with elite difficulties. As far as I know, it doesn't, just gets us a chance at slightly better vendor trash so any farming I would do is just normal because it is quicker to complete and run again.

    I have plenty of resources so early levels are not really a challenge. Things do get to be a bit more challenging toward the higher end but that is because mobs are actually hitting me for some real damage where early levels, I have pots of resists, haste, and the kitchen sink. I really would not expect this to change and I really have no problem with it staying that way. Early levels shouldn't be too difficult to discourage players.

    I also don't think that content needs to be balance toward multi-TR'ed players. Epics should be a challenge to those that just capped and there should not be a requirement that you have multiple past lives to complete. If you balance content to multi-TR'ed twinked players, the average player isn't going to want to even to epics. It takes a while to get some of the loot needed just to be decent in epics as a first lifer, it would suck if you had to get all that gear AND get all the past lives just to have a chance in epics.

    I think that you need mobs to buff themselves more. Players go in buffed to the hilt and then some. Mobs have nothing. I am so glad that epic ward went away but would like to see mobs buffed with spells that I can dispel. I don't mind mobs casting mass deathward, I would like it much more if I could dispel it, I hate blanket immunities. You could have mobs set with certain buffs such as FoM and resists when the players enter the quest but I would soooooo like it if I could actually have a real chance at dispelling that buff so that I can make my spells work.

    I don't really think you are balancing to the hardcore player. I think that some of the changes upset people, I don't necessarly agree with all the changes, but I'm glad some things were changes...Shroud was just a joke in part 4 before so I'm really glad this was changed.
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