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  1. #21
    Scholar Of Adventure & Hero Missing_Minds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grodon9999 View Post
    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.
    I agree with the first, but not the second. That just smells like standard mmo design. We have come to expect innovation and uniqueness in DDO. That the kite and heal is a bit substandard for what we have come to expect from the developers.

  2. #22
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    Every quest in this game once beaten once or twice can be beaten all the time by anyone. As long as communication is there.

    Every raid can be beaten once you figure out the strategy. By strategy I mean that all raids have 1 main way every group does it. Word spreads by word of mouth or by other people sharing how it was beaten. As you (Turbine) changed some raids we have had to adjust what was being done, but it's still all the same.

    I think in some stuff the game has been dumbed down but it doesn't follow the "uber-player". By dumbed down I mean stuff like dungeon scaling and dungeon alert.
    For example: Weapon Shipment elite. I can go into that with a party of 6 and have to kill nearly 300 mobs. If I enter it solo on elite I will only have to kill 90 or so. Then I can just invite the other 5 once the titan comes on down.
    Dungeon alert was made in my belief to slow zerging groups down that run past everything. Well it doesn't really slow those "zerging" groups down. Groups run past everything, gather them up at a certain alert level and then kill them all at once, and continue to run on.

    I don't remember the specific name of the Amrath quest but you fight the end fight in the circle with the devil. That end fight is so much different on elite then it is on normal and hard which i believe is great! Though, once you have done it and got the strategy down it's a no-brainer like every quest in this game to succeed at.

    Epics: Epics have the same strategy for all, and have even become the new thing to run "shortman". Why run epics with a full group of 6 since you can run them with half a group and they have less hp and it's like your doing it elite.
    Last edited by mudfud; 12-21-2011 at 05:03 PM.

  3. #23
    Hero rdasca'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.
    Normal should have the chance to wipe a new group, first time in the quest. I do not want “easy buttons” nor do I want have to grind for some piece of gear so I can run a quest / raid.

    The problem comes from making quest that at level are wiping fully geared toons due to bad luck, the new shroud on normal should not be killing a 500 plus hit point melee because they cannot run away from some blades. A level 19 raid should not be significantly more difficult than a level 20 raid. Granted as tactics are developed to figure out the raid it will get easier, such is the nature of MMO quest / raids.

    My solution would be to make the difficult level actually mean something other than just loot chances; Casual, should be easy to do, of course loot will be much less; Normal, should be a challenge to first time players (as in the first time they go in the quest) and be compellable rather easily with a group that works together and pays attention; Hard, should be a real challenge of skill, tactics, and teamwork; Elite, should be a major challenge even to the best geared toons at level; Epic, should be more than just an endurance and beat down fest.

    Make quest have random traps in both type and locations, “hey rouge don’t worry about this trap, it only does acid damage and we all have acid resist” “when did they change it to blades?”. Have the mob spawns be random is size and in some cases type. “Oh, bring firewall because there are Trolls in here” “oops where did these fire reavers come from?”

    Granted not all quest can have these elements but those that can will IMO really make the game more fun.

    As to making quest for “uber-toons”, again that is what elite and epic are for.
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  4. #24
    Founder Osharan_Tregarth'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.
    One of the things that I dislike (and there are numerous quests in DDO where this is an issue, but recently the example would be the spawns in the LOB raid on elite/epic) is putting the harder to complete sections of the quests/raids at the end.

    It's a good learning experience to find out that you don't have the right type of tools, or have the wrong character mix, or anything else that can keep you from completing a quest or raid. However, to find this out in the last five minutes of the quest, can be a huge dissappointment.
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  5. #25
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    Just some quick thoughts on the Game Difficulty. I'll probably come back to this thread with more thoughts, but these are things I can think of right off.

    There are 5 difficulties (Casual, Normal, Hard, Elite and Epic), use them please. If a level 20 is making content easy, adjest either the Elite setting or make an Epic level. There is no reason to rework the content in existing quests or raids from Normal to Elite because a capped player has been able to make the quests or raids easy.

    Also, inflating HP and adding Fort just extends the length of the quest. They don't make the quest harder, just harder on the healer (usually a playing style that most people avoid wanting to play to begin with). Something that should be an alternative is to add DR to mobs on Elite. For example, Beholders should have a Byeshk DR, but currently in DDO I don't know of any Beholders that do. Why not, at least on Elite levels, adding Byeshk DR to beholders? It would be nice to put to use those Byeshk items that keep popping up in chests. I'm beholders aren't the only mobs that could have their proper DR on Elite difficulty.

    Another alternative to Fort and HP increase is energy absorption. And unlike Fort that affects only melees, energy absorption affects everyone equally.

  6. #26
    Community Member Kadriel's Avatar
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    IMHO, ddo already have a nice way to balance things (except when it comes to epics).

    We have 3 difficulties to choose from: Normal, hard and elite. Normal should be doable for any casual not perfectly geared player.

    Hard should require a better geared casual player or some game knowledge

    Elite should require good gear and game knowledge

    To most quests it seens to be the case. Maybe some punctual adjustment should help a bit, but nothing big.

    Problem seens to be the raids. Some raids seens to have gone one step higher, been almost non doable to a casual no greatly geared player on normal, and extremely challenging for a greatly geared experienced player on elite if at level.

    On my current life I have taken an almost "elite once and done" strategy. It has been working greatly, except the only raid I have been able to run on elite so far was tempest spine. No one would even join a tr only lvl 8 chrono run. Filling a raid for that outside of internal guild runs is almost impossible, completing if you ever get that party is even farther.

    I say raids difficulty should be lowered a bit.

  7. #27
    Founder Krell'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 think there are a couple parts to that question. What do I feel is a reasonable success rate for the different difficulties and what party makeup am I thinking of when I consider those expectations.

    This is just my opinon and observations when I consider if my time spent playing DDO was successful or not.

    Normal - I expect to complete this 95% of the time with an average pug group. Applies to non-raids and raids.

    Hard - I expect to complete this 90% of the time with an average pug group or 95% of the time with a more carefully selected group. Raids, maybe 10% less.

    Elite - I expect to complete this 85% of the time with an average pug group or 90% of the time with a more carefully selected group. Raids, maybe 50% of the time with an average pug group or 80% of the time with a more carefully selected group since this represents the most challenging content.


    Note: By average pug group non-raid I'm thinking one or two TR's with decent gear and knowledge, 2-3 non TR's that are decent players and either know the content or can follow a plan, and 1 person that is pretty much a liability for some reason. An average pug raid is usually a little stronger with 3-4 TRs, 6-7 non TR's that either know the content or can follow a plan, and 1-2 people that don't contribute much either due to player skill, build, gear, or communication issues. I'm also thinking that these players are at level for the quest.

    Edit: I didn't answer one of your questions:
    Q: 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!'
    A: I pug a lot because I like the variety, the challenge, and meeting new people, and think I have a pretty good feel for the average player. I also read the forums a fair amount and have a feel for what level of knowledge, gear, or skill an average forum poster has. Overall I think there is a fair gap between the average player and average forum poster when it comes to being capable of successfully completing quests. This could be because of any combination of knowledge, skill, or gear. As a result, I think any game balancing based on forum feedback doesn't represent the average player well. I'd say you either need to solicit feedback from players, for example using email or links in the launcher to surveys, or assume there is a drop off between what the average forumite thinks is just right and what feels right to the average player. It is important to get feedback from the average player since they represent the future growth of the game.
    Last edited by Krell; 12-21-2011 at 05:16 PM.
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  8. #28
    Community Member Munkenmo'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.
    Regarding the difficulty of ddo, there seems to be a large difference between older quests and newer ones, in old quests mobs aren't dangerous no matter the difficulty, partly due to having what used to be casters swapped for rangers, and partly because in old quests traps used to be the dangerous element. Older quests used to have less shrines and also made watching resources and playing carefully more important.

    New quests seemed to be designed towards, take lots of damage, deal lots of damage, stop, rest, repeat. Removing some of the shrines in hard / elite, or using the old tear of dekhaan style behind locked doors (that are super hard to knock) would be more fun imo than what we have now.

    When i started playing there was no casual and I did expect to fail on normal sometimes. 1 year later when I started to really know the game, I expected to never fail on normal, but that's due to knowledge / twinking / resources. I expect that new players should never fail casual, and have the same experience with normal as I did / do now.

    Re: spending 45mins to fail a quest with no progress at all is frustrating, It's worse when doing epics or raids, and spending 45 mins on an epic quest, or elite raid, with no epic ingredients or raid loot. Getting epic tokens or fragments is not enough progress, and getting just a completion with no loot for any of the 12 people is not enough progress. I'd like to see a system where hard counts as two raid completions, and elite guarantees loot and counts as 2 raid completions. Regarding epics, the drop rates on seals and shards needs to be increased.

    Moving onto your designing quests for the "uber-player" I disagree with this, I consider myself to be very good, and very well geared, yet in U11 you didn't cater quests towards me, You catered them to "Uber-groups" I didn't struggle with the raid changes in my guild runs, but in pugs they were a nightmare, I hated them, and stopped running them outside of guild until u12. I like where EVon 6 and EDQ are now, echrono i tolerate because the loot just makes it worth it. Shroud I dislike the blades, and I dislike how much harder it is for a new player in there than it was for anyone who started in 2009, Shroud is the gearing raid, players need it to achieve reasonable benchmarks for other raids.

    The elite / hard changes to von 6, reavers, were and are over the top, either hugely increase drop rates or revert them to their old standard, as it is now esp with bravery i don't bother running either at level as most pugs aren't going to succeed.

    What you did wrong with content this year was make old frequently run content tough to the point you mostly killed it, whilst ignoring abandoned area's like threnal / 3bc, they could be toughened up and have their level range increased.

  9. #29
    Community Member TDarkchylde'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!'
    My thought is this: if you put the time and effort in to grind out all the end-game gear and work to improve your skills and builds, you're entitled to the Easy Button.

    Now, this isn't so much for newer content or Epic Difficulty on older stuff. That should be a challenge... "Is shortman Elite ToD too easy? Try our new raid, the Ultimate Meatgrinder From Hell... and that's just on the Casual setting!"

    This is more aimed at trying to reinvent the older raids. There are people who haven't or can't put in the time to become uber, and as of late it is becoming harder for them to run the content that older players have perhaps become bored by. While someone with nothing but Epic and Greensteel gear would find Normal Shroud a cakewalk, someone who just hit the Vale for the first time and barely has any raid loot may see it as an insurmountable challenge.

    If that isn't a horrid enough example, then I suggest taking completely ungeared characters into Abbot. It went completely off the deep end in U12. You could change it to yield the most loot of any quest in the game on Elite and I still doubt people would feel it was worth burning all those pots for. Normal should be old Elite, Hard should be post-U9 Elite, and Elite should be current Hard. Save current Elite for if and when you Epic the Necropolis. That'd be balanced.

    My suggestions would mainly be as follows:

    - Try to leave the older content alone - if you bump up the rewards (Hard/Elite Shroud), then it's okay to tinker with the difficulty some, but there's no increased reward to running Ultimate Meatgrinder From Hell (otherwise known as Elite) Abbot. There's actually less reward from running Abbot now with the nerfed base loot!

    - DO NOT CHANGE NORMAL - I can't emphasize this enough. Give the newer/casual players a chance to learn the content and maybe get a shot at gear so they too can become jaded powergamers. Even some of the higher-end players want something they can go on autopilot for so they can rack up completions for that hard-to-find piece of raid loot or tome (this is my case with ATDQ2 lately.) We've started to adapt to the new Shroud now, but that does NOT make it OK to do this to other raids in the future.

    - This one's for the powergamers - if the game really has become too easy for you, try something new. Go permadeath. Start completely fresh on a new server (no character transfers - roll a completely new character.) Intentionally challenge yourself by rolling a gimp character and seeing if skill alone can carry you. There's plenty of things y'all could be doing besides the usual "This is too easy now because I have all the loot" spiel.
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  10. #30
    Community Member ZeroTakenaka's Avatar
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    I have a few issues I want to talk about here.

    Abbot: This raid is brutal. One mistake and the entire raid is wiped UNLESS you have a PLIS... I don't know if Mantle helps or not. Also, a lot of bugs have been said to exist here. However, my issue is the puzzles. Asteroids is just the right amount of time. Ice is too easy. However, goggles can be finicky because lag can be a huge factor here. It's also too long in my honest opinion. Also, the abbot has too much HP.

    Titan: EPIC. That is all... Okay, I know it's not hard but MORE LOOTS.

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  11. #31
    Community Member rodallec's Avatar
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    It's nice that some of the content is insanely hard.

    every wannabelegolas shouldnt be able to step into all content and win without a sweat

  12. #32
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    Default Fast quests at all levels

    I prefer the 5-10 min quests that you can knock out quickly. As levels increase the time to complete also seems to increase. I am fine with that, even if it is the norm, but I like the 5-10 minute completion times of Korthos, harbor and marketplace. I find that any quest that lasts 20+ minutes I prefer to put off or skip completely. I do run Jungle of kyber/Wiz-King for the xp and enjoy them. But most times i see a lfm for xorian cypher or Tempest spine and end up switching to a low level alt and running them instead. I do like the 4 harbor solo quests and raiding the giants vault so maybe I would like more short solo quests in the 4-17 level range. The challenges would be like this for me but they are longer, and failure is an option. If i could solo them and knew that I(not you, you uber elite epic'ed out twitch spec ops trained unprofessional) would complete 90+ percent of the time i would prob run them more. But i have never been able to solo one even when i ran the level 4 one on my level 20. Last, less of the tricky walls like in coal chamber or raiding the giants vault if i wanted to play a plat-former game, then I would play that instead, I like strategy games i have reflexes that seem to require 3 second to react and very poor timing.
    /end wall
    I really enjoy DDO and want less challenge, more bs'ing with friends while we tackle/cakewalk through some random quest.

  13. #33
    The Hatchery Scraap'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?
    It honestly depends quite a bit on how many folks are in a group, and familiar with the quest, and capable of handling themselves, since the introduction of dungeon scaling. I'm not quite sure if you're aware of just how much of an impact that has on questing areas, so to use a simple example from when I got my maybar docent last go around:

    In vale, checking procrate vs the typical 5 rats. Guildie in the party but not present in the zone. The proc alone kept the hitpoint bar maxed on out. As soon as he poped by, it started dropping a recognizable amount. At least to the point I had to turn on the aura.

    Ok, there's a caster perspective. Now a melee one:

    Amranth normal Sins of Attrition on an AC 70 dr 10/adamantine toon with a vampiric bastard sword: solo, that's enough to make it through with the occasional turtle and cleave. Bring one more person along, and that will not in any shape or form cut it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post
    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?
    Player power fluctuates alot in fits and starts due to the pres overpowering the class inherent abilities instead of supplementing them. The older quests were built without those pres in mind, while the newer ones were not. It shows when you compare, say gianthold and lordsmarch, to name a couple I'm working a pair of TRs through. Throw in the massive difference in available gearing for experienced long time players, and the road-blocks that keep getting thrown up to bring the new guys up to what we consider par, and yeah, there's inconsistencies.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post
    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?
    Normal needs to have enough lessons in it to prepare folks for hard where the lessons are useful, and then to elite where they are needed. This is not helped by blanket player immunities and 2-dimensional stats allowing folks to just plow through things and ignore situational awareness entirely.

    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.
    Protecting Coyle is 15 minutes, and the poster child for getting it wrong. It is good to sweat a bit over completing, but the all or nothing reward is the biggest source of irritation. Take a page from Desert Caravan instead, with the rednames giving you a bit of xp, and the time points giving you a bit more, and that goes from 'we just wasted 14 minutes' to 'well, at least we got x'.

    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!'

    Would love to know your thoughts on this. Feel free to reference specific quests.
    It's not so much that you've been balancing this for the uber-player, as the uber-connection. Those blades in shroud that got all the complaints don't hit nearly as hard as a single epic trashmob (and that's only 2-4 character levels or so away for most folks most of the time.). Once. Hit a lagspike, and combine that with the physics checks that cause it to proc far more often than any mob attacks, and they accumulate to more than a redname.

    I will however say there's far too much stacking in the game at present, and it's got side effects. Arcane damage stacking inflates mob HP while gutting offensive UMD, to-hit stacking inflates mob AC to the point where investing in damage mitigation is chancy, AC stacking inflates mob to-hit to the point of near-uselessness, and it all ends up stove-piping builds into all or nothing with very few situations where a partial commitment to some aspect of a character leads to a partial success that's worth the tradeoff, and this is really apparent when comparing classes with multiple attribute dependency. And that undercuts alot of flexibility, and hence replayability.

    Possibly more later.

  14. #34
    The Hatchery sirgog's Avatar
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    First part: The pre-20 game. A disclaimer: This comes from the perspective of a long-term veteran. Edit: Post 67 has a lot more in it.


    General:
    I think difficulty should be somewhere around the following. Note that quests with 'Extreme Challenge' warnings are IMO fair game to be two difficulties higher than this (so 'Extreme Challenge: Normal can be as tough as non-extreme Elites).
    Casual: Sure success unless your play session is interrupted, you totally ignore quest parameters, or do something really, really dumb. You should not need to play to your class's strengths here. The Casual setting is needed in raids, IMO - I'll get to that later in my next post which is a fair way down in the thread.
    Normal: Sure success if everyone has somewhat level-appropriate gear and is making a reasonable attempt to work together. No surprises that wipe unprepared groups (although surprises that kill individual players are OK in full groups). Mobs should not have save-or-die effects (including Disintegrate) as this is meant to be solo-friendly.
    Hard: Casual players with no foreknowledge should succeed within three tries, possibly needing some resources. Party wipe surprises are only to be used to punish groups that do stupid things (e.g. enter Dead Pixel's room despite clear warnings 'this room has a very tough fight in it').
    Elite: Might be beyond level-appropriate casual players unless they make a lot of attempts.
    Elite+ (only relevant in 'extreme challenges): Veterans are likely to take multiple tries to get their first completion, and might need resources. Example of this today: Elite Bastion of Power.
    Elite ++ ('extreme challenges' only): Completing this, at all, should be something worth bragging about. Example: Elite Stealer of Souls with Sor'jek when the cap was 16.

    An example of a quest I think is balanced perfectly: Blown to Bits. Casual you will win unless you blow yourself up away from a rez shrine (i.e. ignore quest parameters or do something really dumb). Normal is pretty similar but you don't want to go in there with 170hp and no fortification. Hard is a little rougher, and Elite is a moderate challenge to veterans, with mobs putting up a real fight.


    One last general point I elaborate on more in the next post I made (20 or so posts down the thread): The way DDO handles total party wipes is not pleasant. DDO could learn a bit from WoW in how to handle party wipes - for all that combat in that game is lackluster, they do get you back in the action fast after a wipe. I've been in PUGs in that game that have stuck together throughout 5 or 6 wipes because you are back in the fray within 2 minutes. OTOH, in DDO, recovering from a wipe might take ten minutes (everyone but one person recalls to the tavern, restocks HP/SP/boosts, then needs to meet up, run together through an explorer area killing their way back to the quest, then has to run all the way through the quest again).


    Low level (1-7):
    Casual/Normal are generally very forgiving (as they should be). Non-boss monsters can't do much to you unless they really swarm you.
    Hard is usually too close to Normal, IMO.
    Elite varies - in quests with enemy spellcasters, Elite with airship buffs is like Casual, but without airship buffs, it's actually really tough, especially since the changes to Lightning Bolt.

    Suggestions: Level-restrict the 30 resist shrines. Low level is otherwise pretty well balanced - there are quests to suit pretty much anyone's preferred difficulty. There's the odd outlier quest (Proof is in the Poison, Chronoscope) that are much, much harder than their level indicates, but they are the exception not the rule. If you want to do anything, leave Casual, Normal and Elite as they are, but up Hard a little so the Normal to Hard jump is roughly the same as the Hard to Elite jump.



    Mid level (8-15 or so):
    Quest by quest variance here is more significant than difficulty setting. Chains of Flame normal is significantly more difficult than Trial by Fire Elite, for instance. This is IMO a problem.
    Throughout all of these levels, almost all mobs just have no answer to the 'gather up 20 mobs, Acid Rain or Fireball them down' strategy. This lets veterans obliterate almost everything in this level range.
    These levels are where the gap between veteran completion times and newbie completion times really widens - consider VON3, which I've done on Hard in under 10 minutes, but where a newbie might spend an hour and a half then not be able to defeat the Marut or the Troika before it. Xorian Cypher is similar - 4 minutes if your group speedrun it flawlessly, 45+ if you don't know it.

    Suggestions: Reassess the Challenge Ratings of some quests. Add some abilities mobs can use on kiting players (not ray spells for obvious reasons, and not things FoM blocks - think things like Power Word Stun, PW: Blind, Dispel Magic, Divine Punishment, Burning Blood, Chain Lightning, and arrows of Slowburst, all of which can harry rapidly moving players).
    But most of all: Warn players when they are about to step into a quest that is likely to wipe first-timers. VON3, VON4, Offering of Blood, Chains of Flame, most of Necro 3, and Crucible all need an 'extreme challenge' warning. The most common 'this game is too hard' feedback I've heard is from people has come from people stepping into one of those quests with no foreknowledge. A casual player that's just soloed Stormcleave on Normal and is now stepping into VON4 is more likely to enjoy the experience if they select Casual difficulty, and the 'extreme challenge' warning will help guide them to that difficulty.

    High level (15-20, excluding raids)
    Really this is all over the place. Some is much harder than endgame content (Elite Stealer of Souls is harder than any 6-person Epic content, as is Elite Bastion of Power). Some is mind-numbingly easy to me (IQ/DD chains, excluding Elite Mindsunder) but might interest some other types of players. There's few quests that are short in this range, which makes it difficult to do anything when you have limited time, unless you are a seasoned zerger.

    Suggestions: Add more short quests that aren't the really easy Inspired Quarter ones. Reassess challenge ratings - leave the quests themselves alone, but change the CRs so that a newer player can make a more informed decision about which quests to attempt. Specifically (and yes I know I'm quoting myself here and that that is weird, but I did make these suggestions just days ago ):


    Quote Originally Posted by sirgog View Post
    My wishlist for the Update 13 release notes.

    ...(lots of stuff not related to this thread)

    High Level Quests - Challenge Rating Reassessment
    To make it clearer to players what the relative difficulties of these quests are, the following quests have had their CR changed (and as such, now award slightly different levels of random loot):
    Against the Demon Queen (the preraid): Promoted to level 14.
    Inspired Quarter: All quests demoted to level 17, except Mindsunder remains level 18.
    Dreaming Dark: All quests demoted to level 17, except The Dreaming Dark which is demoted to level 19
    Reaver's Refuge: All quests promoted to level 18, except Stealer of Souls which is promoted to level 20
    Acid Wit: Promoted to level 18
    In the Flesh: Promoted to level 17
    Amrath: All flagging quests promoted to level 20, except Bastion of Power promoted to level 21. Tower of Despair promoted to level 22. Both non-flagging quests demoted to level 18.
    Also note the earlier suggestion related to doing something similar for Epics.

    All Quests - Quest Length Indicators:
    Quests are presently rated as 'short', 'medium', 'long' or 'very long'. These ratings have all been reassessed. All ratings assume no foreknowledge of the quest, and that no shortcuts are used.
    In addition, quest length changes (if required) with difficulty setting - so a quest like A Vision of Destruction that takes ungeared groups quite a bit longer on higher difficulties will show up as 'medium' if you run it on Normal, but 'long' if run on Elite.
    Quests are marked as 'short' if it is expected that a level-appropriate party with no foreknowledge of the quest would complete it in under 10 minutes. Example: Stand Your Ground
    Quests are marked as 'medium' if they are expected to take 10-20 minutes. Example: Running With The Devils
    Quests are marked as 'long' if they are expected to take 20-30 minutes. Example: Prison of the Planes
    Quests are marked as 'very long' if they are expected to take longer than 30 minutes. Example: The Shroud
    Quests are marked as 'extremely long' if they are anticipated to take players over an hour. This only really comes up for chains that are hard to pick up partway through.
    Quests are marked as 'varied length' if they have significant optionals that, if done, add a lot to completion time. Example: Gianthold Tor is 'varied length - very long'; Litany of the Dead is 'varied length - long', and so is The Missing Party from Delara's Tomb.
    Finally, quests are marked as 'multi-part' (in addition to a length) if they are part of a chain that is hard to pick up midway through. Example: Captives of the Cult (part 1 of the Cult of Six chain) is marked as 'multi-part, extremely long'. Freeing Achka (Grey Moon Waning part 1) is marked 'multi-part, very long'.
    ...

    My second post will have what I'm more concerned with, the game at 20. That's post #67, IIRC.
    Last edited by sirgog; 01-08-2012 at 07:49 PM.

  15. #35
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    Balancing difficulty in this game is extremely difficult because of the range of players... Things that can be soloed by well geared TR could potentially crush a party of new ungeared players, especially if they don't already know the quest.

    The difficulty levels at the moment don't quite feel right to me. When I first started playing ~1 year ago I feared running anything on elite because I failed them, regularly. Now with a couple TR's under my belt and more experience, these quests are mostly a walk in the park to solo.

    So I think the levels need to be rejigged slightly:
    Casual - Should be soloable by a new player on their first life with limited gear (This allows new players to learn quests, get xp and gear if for whatever reason they don't like partying up/don't have time for a party to fill)
    Normal - Should be a slight challenge for a party of new players with limited gear (Where challenge means that if a couple of mistakes are made the chances of completing drop unless resources are used, Encourages better teamplay and coordination for better xp)
    Hard - Should be a bit of a challenge for a geared TR to solo( This 'should' also make it possible to do with a well geared party of new players/first life toons)
    Elite - Should be a challenge for a TR party (This one is all about risk vs reward. A PUG consisting of a few TR's and a couple well geared new players will find it a fair challenge but could complete with good teamwork, A group of vet's who TR together and know each others abilities and the quests should even find this a slight challenge, but lets face it - if you balanced elite around those players it would become extremely exclusive and new players would never even attempt it)
    Epic - Should be... Well, Epic. Capped Toons first life or not, with decent gear (Greensteel, ToD sets ect) should be challenged, somewhere around a 70% completion rate. At the moment most epics can be walked through with just a small amount of coordination just 1-3 well geared toons (One or more would need to be a caster but this isn't the place to be discussing that)
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  16. #36
    Community Member Ganolyn's Avatar
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    Here's a question to the playerbase:

    Would you accept Elite/Epic quests that smacked you around like gimps, even with fairly good gear, stats, skills, multiple TR's etc...; where you had more of a chance to fail than succeed; where you need good planning, communication, tactics, skill, a little luck and still the outcome is not in the bag; as long as at the end of it you were guaranteed something you might want to loot to help you progress your game? This would make beating the quest the goal and not a certain number of completions hoping for a good drop. Yeah, you'd die a lot, but you would become better players for it and not treadmill runners. Would this be preferable to the mindless repetitive head banging that grinding and hoping the luck gods smiling on you that is in effect now?
    Last edited by Ganolyn; 12-21-2011 at 04:55 PM.
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  17. #37
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    I think to say "The game is too hard" or "The game is too easy" is too broad of a stroke to be taking. Really, we need to be able to see that we can leave appropriate, targeted, qualitative feedback on specific Quests, Mobs, Encounters, and Difficulties. Also, with 12 distinct classes, the relevance of party composition also comes into play. Saying "The game is geared toward the Uberleet" or "The game is way watered down easy button" ... it's just too general. How does feedback based on such premises turn into a change in product?

    So, I will leave at least a couple pieces of feedback that are more targeted:
    • Air Elementals - They were bad, then they were good, now they are bad all over again. 1 is bad in and of itself, and can significantly increase the difficulty of an encounter well beyond it's challenge rating - 2 or more in a pack become a nightmare. Was duoing Casual Running with the Devils with a level 16 Dex-Based Rogue, a level 18 Paladin, a level 18 Cleric hireling, and a level 13 Bard Hireling. There was a particular area in the middle where two elementals, a Djinn (who went into "invincible air form"), and two Invisible stalkers - and it nearly wiped us. That's *Casual*. It killed both hirelings, and even as a Dex Rogue found myself getting tossed and knocked over regularly not because of low reflex saves, because of lack of a cooldown or immunity timer on their various effects - 15 saves in the span of less than 0.5 seconds? Yeah, I'm likely to roll a 1 on at least one of them.
    • Abbot - Not the puzzles, they're fine provided you have no server lag, no ISP lag.. whatever. The Black Abbot himself. High HP, High AC, High Saves, multitude of Undead + Lich + Purple Name immunities, and Evasion? It's just entirely too much on one mob. He's a caster - he should low AC. He's a Sorcerer, I believe? If I'm remembering that right, he should have a pretty poor Reflex, as well, since he can't benefit from Insightful Reflexes like a Wizard would. His Fortitude probably shouldn't be all too stellar, either. And where exactly does Evasion come from? It really doesn't serve the flavor of the mob. It's an example of a "super mob" - just because someone wants to Ascend to Godhood, that doesn't mean they are without imperfection.
    • Quests where the trash/effects/etc end up becoming more of a threat than the boss mob - For example, Elite New Invasion. Barnzidu? I could care less about. But his traps, combined with the aforementioned Super-Air-Elemental? Different story. In this situation, you've got a relatively weak boss, to the point that he is on the back burner. The bigger concern is evading traps, getting a Power Word : Kill off the moment the Air Elemental spawns and hoping you don't get the "You are not facing..." Error that's been cropping up so much lately, and then you can deal with "the big bad". His Binding Chains are only scary and dangerous not because it allows him to close on you, but because it makes it very difficult to avoid the traps - again, the traps become the highlight, not the boss. Likewise, Shroud on Hard or Elite shares this issue - instead of the Boss, Arraetrikos, being the "difficult part", the new difficulty is instead the Blades, an "Effect". By Effect, of course, I mean that they do not follow the rules for either a Mob, or a Trap, or a Spell. They do not have AC, HP, and are immune to all player interactions attempting to stop them (Web, Dancing Ball, Massive Damage, Disable Boxes, other attempts to "Thwart" them.) They also do not have To-Hit, so player AC is irrelevant, and they do not have a standard Trap/Spell Save, so player Saves or status of Evasion is irrelevant. This is again where Turbine basically deviates dramatically from a D&D perspective. There really is no "Cure" for Blades, no resist, no buff, no offensive or defensive action aside from Large HP Pools, and Fast Response Healing. Different from that is Arraetrikos : He is an enemy mob with a To-Hit, spells with DCs and specific damage types, etc. He can be Debuffed, he can be destroyed, his spells can be saved or buffed against, etc. So... again, rather than the boss who intends to make Shavarath coterminus taking the spotlight... some "effect" of dead Barbazu becomes the focal point of Parts 3, 4, and 5.
    • Caster Level/Hit Dice issues : These cause more problems in the game than we tend to think about, I believe. They can greatly influence the outcome of an encounter. An Epic Quest with all Ogres? Great. Cast Mass Hold, move on. An Epic Quest with all Drow? Same "Difficulty", except a great deal of a caster's spellbook is instantly nullified by the fact that they have SR45~46 on Epic Difficulty settings. Yes, there are non-SR-based techniques, but that's not solving the problem, it's adapting to lack of sufficient solution to the problem - make them 25 HD mobs instead of 35 HD ones, and an SR of 35~36 ends up being more a level well casters will see 40%~80% efficacy of "Landing" their spells, dependant upon how much they have focused on Spell Penetration. Likewise, when a CL:21 Greater Dispel Magic and rolling a 20 is insufficient to "Remove" a Symbol of Pain Debuff cast by an Epic Caster? That Epic Caster's Caster Level needs to be toned down. Player Character Caster Levels and Spell Resistances become as irrelevant in most Epic Difficulty settings as AC does.
    • Difficulty Versus Reward : This is often a problem that I see, and hear complained about. Running Elite VoD is probably somewhere on the order of 6 times more difficulty than a Normal VoD, as a practical example. It will take longer, require more damage, more resources, better saves and gear... etc. However, the rewards for completion of Elite are not so different. A few new items? Good. But there is still a maximum of 3 chests, with only 3 chances for Major Pots/Renown/etc. It's sad that I can run one of the Dreaming Dark quests in 5~6 minutes, pick up the reward in 60 seconds, and be back in to repeat process, and net more material worth *and* renown than a 12 man group can do running an Elite Raid. Abbot Elite shares this issue - 1 Chest? Really? Really? 1 "Named Loot" chest - and five CR18 Trash loot chests. Do it. Elite DQ and Epic DQ have the same "Junk loot" chest? No. Epic should have an additional CR20 Trash loot side chest, the kind with a chance at unbound +3 Tomes. Do it - reward players that both attempt and succeed at high degrees of difficulty.


    That's all for now.

    Edit : Looking at that, that is a big wall of garbage. Horrible looking. I apologize. It might help to Copy/Paste individual bullets into Word and read them or something, because the forum format did not come out well.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post
    What are your thoughts on the overall difficulty of DDO?
    The most-outstanding specific problem with DDO's difficulty: the lack of Normal Epic, Hard Epic, and Elite Epic. If NHE settings are good for level 1-19 dungeons, they'd be good at level 20 too.

    The bigger problem (and more difficult to deal with) is spellpoint potions, and how they form an entire other axis of success/failure. Do other MMORPGs allow players to spend consumables to power through tough fights like that?

    Yet another big problem is the loose way DDO measures a character's power, since whether an encounter is difficult is relative to the character attempting it. DDO deals with this by applying XP penalties or other drawbacks if a character is "too strong" for the content, as measured by his level. But the truth is that a 34-point FVS 13 with a Supreme Tyrant Greensteel Greatsword of Lightning is a much stronger character than a Drow Paladin 17, but yet the weaker character is penalized for being overlevel.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post
    It seems like a couple years ago the salient message from the community was 'enough with the easy button already!'
    The giant pitfall with that kind of feedback is that it rests on the assumption that difficulty is a scalar; that all difficulty is interchangable. Of course, the truth is there are many different ways to make some content more difficult, and the various approaches can lead to very different gameplay enjoyment levels.

    Once again, the problem overshadowing all that is that if you give Boss X +100% hitpoints, he'll stay alive +100% longer and do +100% damage, requiring +100% healing and up to +100% spellpoint usage. In one sense the battle has become way way more difficult. but almost all of that "difficulty" can be conquered by doing the exact same things a bit longer and clicking a few mnemonic bottles as-needed.

  19. #39
    Founder Kushiel's Avatar
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    Default Overall Difficulty Skews Badly Higher Levels (For Me)

    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'm sure class type matters some, especially against certain foes. If built as a min/max, that probably changes things too. I'm an old (OLD) pnp player... I built "characters" for my own fun, each life I've slipped a little closer to min/max allocation of points, and definitely putting more in CON that I would for pnp. It's... annoying... to do that with a DND character. Even kinda botched, it'd be nice to shine!

    I think (would like) that every player/character/build stood a good chance at progressing through quests on Elite... also since that is favor reward bumps that unlock other additions and aspects of the game. It'd be nice for folks to have easier access to more content. Let there be that "Epic" level/version of quests where people who want a "challenge" *playing* a "game" can go and feel like they are pushing their attributes, gear, and personal twitch skills to red-line conditions.

    In general for the higher level quests I'm one who would say that I would like an easier time on Hard and Elite difficulties... because that is where the xp is. Repeating on casual and normal the xp penalty kicks in to quick to count on that for good leveling. For the characters I build, the race I prefer to play, my playstyle, my gear there are many high level quests I actively avoid even on their casual or normal setting. Maybe that will change on life 10 or so....

    I really enjoy most the quests and leveling from 1 to about level 13 (I'm a TR addict and like to see progress taking place). Levels 14-15 are okay... but the spread of quests is poor. I hate levels 16-20... even on Normal I find many of the quests full of foes and mechanics that sap a lot of the fun out of "playing" a *game*.

    I have never done Shroud - I'm not likely too. What I've read about it sounds like a messy PITA. So, in my recurring lives I don't have greensteel items. I don't grind out Mabar, Cove, or Challenge stuff either. After trying the early cumbersome, confusing, unintuitive (compared to pnp magicking up better gear/weapons), unfun repetative button-clicking annoyance of "crafting" I haven't done that either.

    Many of the quests on hard or elite, say in the levels 12-20 range, probably are a breeze for people with greensteel and uber epic'd gear. That's not me. That's not first life 28pt builds (I guess those folks still exist in the game and we get more now and then? Don't we even *want* more of them... they are new people to play the game?). I can't imagine folks who aren't guilded up and playing consistently with good parties finding much fun in many of those.

    Critters like mephits, glass spiders and eye-horrors that do spawn-offs of additional critters... that do Not count towards kill count (but can be deadly, use resources, and can damage gear) are miserable. Blanket Immunities suck... I want a chance to be able to use all my abilities/capabilities/spells and see them be effective.

    The mechanic where if one parties with another who is 4 levels higher the XP penalty hit is painful makes grouping in the higher level quests miserable as well. Limits too many chances to get into quests (even on normal) and see some good xp accumulated.

    Some Wilderness Zones (Desert, Water Works, Red Fens, Restless Isles) could stand to have more critters added to instances that are just groups of fun, nice stuff to kill. Not every critter on the map has to be a potent foe. Especially for first life 28pt new players running through the area.

    Puzzles. OMFG Puzzles. Some of them are deity-awful stupid to figure out *in-game* and benefit from doing (The Sane Asylum, Dream Conspiracy). I've recently been in a couple groups where we have been screaming along having a great time together and... pfftttt... those puzzles are a complete bog. Have had people drop group while trying to "solve". Swamp. Suck of time. Unless... someone is able/willing to alt-tab off to a freaking wiki to find a solution. Not Fun In The Game World.

    If this actually saves (this message) will try to edit later with better/more details.
    Last edited by Kushiel; 12-22-2011 at 05:39 PM.

  20. #40
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    Personally I am finding the difficulty levels quite confusing. I am running my first TR and am trying to run everything on hard. I have noticed that hard in some quests are simple while some are a lot harder. The Catacombs at level are very easy, while the Seal pack is quite a bit harder (and longer).

    I never did see a significant difference between normal and casual. Hard is definitely harder and Elite is a step harder still.

    I am more annoyed with the xp awards for quests. It doesn't seem like the length of many quests are taken into account in the xp awards.

    Quote Originally Posted by Torc View Post
    I’m only nerfing you now so I can buff you later.

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