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  1. #1
    The Hatchery sirgog's Avatar
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    Default My thoughts on the state of DDO

    MOTU came out 3-4 months ago. At the time I was extremely excited. Now I'm noticing PUG raids taking ages to fill, a sharp fall in players online in every channel I'm in (one from ~30 to ~6) and just a lot less activity in-game.

    What's happened? What can be done to turn it around? Here's an attempt to answer that.

    This feedback is intended to be constructive but honest and not sugar-coated.


    Firstly, there's the issue with MOTU's capstone, the Caught in the Web raid, disappointing most players. (I'm in the minority that like the raid but I'll acknowledge this is a real issue). However one of DDO's most popular releases, Gianthold, also had a disappointing raid, so this certainly isn't the only issue. DDO did well during the period after Gianthold's release.

    TLR: The problems are more than one unpopular raid.


    Secondly, there's the total lack of any medium difficulty options. Early in the game's life, DDO's strength was that you could generally pick a difficulty level that was suited to your group. Heroic ADQ1 is fun for a typical PUG on Normal, but a well-prepared, geared group can instead take on Elite. And if your group is weaker than average you have the option of Casual.

    Epic Elite is there whenever you have your guild or channel's A-team together and are in the mood for some challenge. But if your group isn't up to that, your only option is Epic Hard which is so easy that, with the exception of the Bat and Monkey wings of ADQ1, I do not think I have ever seen a group with a healer type fail to overcome any combat encounters in EH on their first attempt. (Soloing is different but that's an unrelated issue related to how powerful healing is in this game.)

    So if you are in the best 10% or so of players you have EE as an option. If you are in the worst 10% of players, EH is tuned for you. But for the middle 80%, there is literally nothing. These are the people that completed old epic Chronoscope but never led a group, the sort that PUGged TOD on Hard (maybe never without pots) but never beat Elite, the sorts that ran old epic VON6 often but could never solo a base, and the sorts that ran old Epic Into the Deep but never split the party to speedrun it.

    Even as a player that prefers higher difficulty settings, I come across issues here as I can't carry PUGs through Epic Elite runs - the setting is hard enough to generally require 3 or 4 competent people. So if I can't find those trusted people, I can't really run EE and wind up being bored in EH.

    Without a medium difficulty setting, where will the next generation of players develop the skills they'll need in EE?

    TLR: There's no difficulty setting aimed at the majority of high level players, just three settings aimed at the worst 10% (and soloists) and one aimed at the best 10%. In particular there's nothing for the player that aspires to get into EE but is not yet knowledgable/skilled enough.


    Thirdly, there's the way that game mechanics for character advancement reward 'un-fun' things.

    This I feel is the big one. Unchecked, I believe this issue will kill the game in time.

    Want to unlock Twists of Fate? Then you need to surrender a good deal of your character's power by swapping into a non-synergistic destiny. Then you go and run House of Rusted Blades 30+ times in a row (or one of the other two quests, or previously challenges). Does anyone actually enjoy spam-running those quests? I would hazard a guess that fewer than 5% of players enjoy their 50th run of HoRB and less still enjoy their 200th. Those runs feel more like work than playing a game.

    The silly thing is, there's lots of fun things to do still in DDO. But progress towards character goals comes at such a glacial pace when running anything other than the 'optimal' path that there is a real tension between having fun and developing your character.

    Add to this issues with item drop rates never having been rethought now that the 'epic' items of old are mostly stepping stones to new equipment. Epic Spectral Gloves are every bit as rare now as they were back when they were the best melee gloves in the game.

    TLR: Character advancement is too closely tied to near-mindless repetition of dull content. Yet certain levels of character advancement feels somewhat mandatory to run intense content.

    Suggestion to address this: A total overhaul of the XP system so that players hit a point where they feel finished with XP without spam-running quests, a total overhaul of per-quest and per-difficulty-setting XP rewards so that players can run their most enjoyed difficulty setting rather than feeling pressured to run settings they don't enjoy and a total overhaul of item drop rates so that getting the absolute best items is difficult and prestigious but getting 'almost but not quite best' items is much faster.
    Most of all, any time a large section of the playerbase says 'Quest A might be fun on difficulty setting X, but running it on anything other than Y is a waste of time', this means you need to consider adjusting rewards for X upwards.


    Fourth, and somewhat related, there's the way that the XP system has killed off alts.

    When the level cap was 16, most active endgame players had at least one character of each main archetype that was raid-ready. Of course we all had our mains that would shine in Elite runs and our oddball builds that might stay in Normal, but alts were common.

    These characters weren't 'completed'. Very few players had more than one character with two Greensteel accessories and two weapons, for instance, much less all the +3 tomes they wanted. But these alts were there, ready to be swapped in for a raid any time.

    Now, I don't know many endgame players that have more than two or three characters they would feel comfortable bringing into a medium difficulty epic elite (say House of Rusted Blades with Matron or Trial By Fury).


    TLR: The game feels entirely different on a different type of toon and alts add a lot to the game. Let's bring them back.


    Fifth, there's a few really, really obnoxious bugs that just need to be splattered.
    UMD recalculation lag and the FVS aura lag are the worst offenders.
    Alongside this, the entire GM system needs to be overhauled so that GMs are able to fix problems, and where a fix is impossible, to grant some form of character advancement as compensation. (Example: You page a GM because Epic Elite VON1 bugs out just before Deadheart the Unbeaten. The actual problem is beyond the GM's ability to solve, so to compensate they force-complete the quest, which awards full completion XP, then spawn the epic chest for Epic Hard difficulty - one difficulty down because your group hadn't quite completed the quest objectives). GMs should know the game well and be able to use their judgement (which would be final) with supervisors checking for any player-GM collusion.

    TLR: Kill the worst bugs. Make GMs better.


    Sixth, and finally, there's the way that poorly thought out repurcussions for failure in several important quests/raids have made the playerbase risk-advese.

    Let me ask you a question. How often do you see Epic Elite VON6 attempted?

    The answer is - very seldom. Not because EE VON6 is so hard that only a few people can complete it. And not because the rewards are poor (they are significantly better than EH). The reason is that it is a miserable experience to fail VON6.

    When the level cap was 14, I remember taking 10 or 12 attempts to down Lailat in Elite ADQ1 and later a similar number of tries to down Cholthuzz in Elite Ghosts of Perdition. Each time we failed, we had someone hold the instance while we all returned for another try.

    But a large number of important raids now heavily penalize failure by forcing you to repeat dull content to retry the raid after a failure. LOB and MA are worst, but they aren't the only ones

    This led to a widespread fear of failure among the playerbase. I remember how hard it was to fill a Normal LOB group (pre MOTU) to test a new strategy out because people were so risk avoiding. Likewise it is hard for first-timers to get into some raids.

    TLR: After a total party wipe, groups should be able to get straight back to reattempt the encounter that defeated them, just as they can in ADQ2 or the Reaver's Fate. This would make higher difficulty settings more appealing to attempt.
    Last edited by sirgog; 10-09-2012 at 05:14 AM.
    I don't have a zerging problem.

    I'm zerging. That's YOUR problem.

  2. #2
    Community Member mondo's Avatar
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    Well written and much better than the other "doom" threads, this sums up my own issues with the game at this point. My life has changed quite a bit recently leaving me less time to play the game, and when I do log in theres hardly ever anything going on. Thought it may be summer slowness but its cooling off now and not much has changed yet.

    You have a good voice for the masses and the devs Sircog, mayby this will reach the right ears and some changes will be made before the "doom" threads become a reality.
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  3. #3
    Community Member Qhualor's Avatar
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    BINGO!!!

    i mean, oh my gosh! another Dooo000ooo000mmm thread

  4. #4
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    You should consider adding "too many multiple unrelated component grinds"
    In each tiresome gear grind you have to do a series of quests or raid over and over and over ad infinitum.
    With the release of so much content, we really don't need to be endlessly bogged down in any one repetitive grind.
    Let me give you an example of a turbine wasting peoples time in unimaginative ways.;

    Today I spent 4 hours of my time doing nothing but advancing my crafting level.
    So for 4 long hours my character stood in front of a digital slot machine clicking, sorting, crafting, clicking etc...

    Good lord! what do you want me to do next? spend 4 hours with each of my edged weapons and a sharpening stone so I can get a bigger to hit bonus? How about 2 hours taking care of hygiene for a +2 charisma bonus? yagottabefrikkinkiddinme
    Last edited by MaximusParthas; 10-08-2012 at 09:56 PM.
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  5. #5
    Community Member gphysalis's Avatar
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    A very good post,

    I agree with everything but this:

    Quote Originally Posted by sirgog View Post
    After a total party wipe, groups should be able to get straight back to reattempt the encounter that defeated them, just as they can in ADQ2 or the Reaver's Fate.
    I think that if a party wipes, they should be able to jump back into the quest they failed.
    VON(5/6) is a poor mechanic because of the long repeat, and the house C raids are bad because of the wilderness.
    The shroud is a good mechanic, because it means you have to restart the raid, but you don't have to run through the wilderness to do so.
    You shouldn't be able to jump to the section with Harry if you died on part 4, reattempting the same encounter would be bad.
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  6. #6
    The Hatchery sirgog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaximusParthas View Post
    You should consider adding "too many multiple unrelated component grinds"
    In each tiresome gear grind you have to do a series of quests or raid over and over and over ad infinitum.
    With the release of so much content, we really don't need to be endlessly bogged down in any one repetitive grind.
    Let me give you an example of a turbine wasting peoples time in unimaginative ways.;

    Today I spent 4 hours of my time doing nothing but advancing my crafting level.
    So for 4 long hours my character stood in front of a digital slot machine clicking, sorting, crafting, clicking etc...

    Good lord! what do you want me to do next? spend 4 hours with each of my edged weapons and a sharpening stone so I can get a bigger to hit bonus? How about 2 hours taking care of hygiene for a +2 charisma bonus? yagottabefrikkinkiddinme
    I'd not thought of that. Really there's an overall issue of complexity creep in the game which I was somewhat hoping the changes to Greensteel/TOD crafting might be a step toward addressing.

    Still, complexity is only an overhead that hurts the game a small amount. I think some of the other issues here are more serious, mostly the vast chasm between developing your character and doing things that are fun.
    I don't have a zerging problem.

    I'm zerging. That's YOUR problem.

  7. #7
    Hall of Famer & Hero DoctorWhofan's Avatar
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    Von 5-6 on any difficulty is horrid when it fails.

    According to Sirgog's definition, I am part of the 80%. And I agree. THis isn't a doooooOOOOOoooooMMMmmmmm!!1!!!! thread, per se, but an honest one. I respect that (actually expect it from him!).
    +The Goddess of Tempest's Spine+Merc's Only, THELANIS: List is here: http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php...94#post2798094 LEGIONNAIRE /Salute to Rameses, He has RETURNED!

  8. #8
    The Hatchery sirgog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gphysalis View Post
    A very good post,

    I agree with everything but this:



    I think that if a party wipes, they should be able to jump back into the quest they failed.
    VON(5/6) is a poor mechanic because of the long repeat, and the house C raids are bad because of the wilderness.
    The shroud is a good mechanic, because it means you have to restart the raid, but you don't have to run through the wilderness to do so.
    You shouldn't be able to jump to the section with Harry if you died on part 4, reattempting the same encounter would be bad.
    Having played other games which allow you to jump back to the encounter that killed you (most notably WoW), I have to say it works better than you might think.

    It lets the developers tune content (at least on the highest difficulty settings) around the assumption that trailblazers will take 20-50 or even 100-odd attempts to complete it. The first guild in WoW to complete the Heroic Ragnaros encounter (a notoriously hard optional encounter) estimated that they had wiped about 500 times. For comparison I beat Epic LOB on my third attempt at it, although I wasn't one of the first on the server or close to it.

    What is important however is that boss encounters fully reset so that you can't cheese fights the way I cheesed my first VOD completion (back when you could reenter VOD).


    That said your suggestion would be an improvement over the status quo.
    I don't have a zerging problem.

    I'm zerging. That's YOUR problem.

  9. #9
    Community Member scoobmx's Avatar
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    I agree with everything except the fourth point, and in addition want to both emphasize bugs and also add that balance and loot allocation is currently terrible. How long has warforged been absolutely terrible? Pretty much since I ever rolled them. The 'docent problem' coupled with bugs and nerfs make an already bad situation worse.
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  10. #10
    Hall of Famer & Hero DoctorWhofan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaximusParthas View Post
    You should consider adding "too many multiple unrelated component grinds"
    In each tiresome gear grind you have to do a series of quests or raid over and over and over ad infinitum.
    With the release of so much content, we really don't need to be endlessly bogged down in any one repetitive grind.
    Let me give you an example of a turbine wasting peoples time in unimaginative ways.;

    Today I spent 4 hours of my time doing nothing but advancing my crafting level.
    So for 4 long hours my character stood in front of a digital slot machine clicking, sorting, crafting, clicking etc...

    Good lord! what do you want me to do next? spend 4 hours with each of my edged weapons and a sharpening stone so I can get a bigger to hit bonus? How about 2 hours taking care of hygiene for a +2 charisma bonus? yagottabefrikkinkiddinme
    The crafting system is stupid. It is practically non-functional unless you are at top levels, and yes, the devices take too long to perform their tasks. In LotRO (outside farming) I can load up with some ore, start processing and walk away. At least I can clean the bathroom while I level in crafting. They even added recipes that allow you to processes stacks at one time (to a limited degree, but still!) The reciepes made more sense, too. THe gear is very good, outside some rare drops and raid gear.

    I HATE the crafting system.
    +The Goddess of Tempest's Spine+Merc's Only, THELANIS: List is here: http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php...94#post2798094 LEGIONNAIRE /Salute to Rameses, He has RETURNED!

  11. #11
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    Good summary. Thanks. Certainly the medium difficulty setting has been commented on for quite some time. As have others.

    I would only add to the xp part, a resetting of all xp first time bonuses when you take 25 - that would solve a few of the reptition issues and add more content for some people. For example wizking. Hopefully a relatively easy fix.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobmx View Post
    I agree with everything except the fourth point, and in addition want to both emphasize bugs and also add that balance and loot allocation is currently terrible. How long has warforged been absolutely terrible? Pretty much since I ever rolled them. The 'docent problem' coupled with bugs and nerfs make an already bad situation worse.
    Oh yes. Definitely.

    And a few class issues like rangers for example. :/
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  13. #13
    Community Member Zorth's Avatar
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    "We are working on our characters instead of playing them".

    Some one said it before me, but I thought it was such a powerful statement, that I put it here.
    Last edited by Zorth; 10-08-2012 at 10:20 PM.
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  14. #14
    Community Member Qhualor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaximusParthas View Post
    You should consider adding "too many multiple unrelated component grinds"
    In each tiresome gear grind you have to do a series of quests or raid over and over and over ad infinitum.
    With the release of so much content, we really don't need to be endlessly bogged down in any one repetitive grind.
    Let me give you an example of a turbine wasting peoples time in unimaginative ways.;

    Today I spent 4 hours of my time doing nothing but advancing my crafting level.
    So for 4 long hours my character stood in front of a digital slot machine clicking, sorting, crafting, clicking etc...

    Good lord! what do you want me to do next? spend 4 hours with each of my edged weapons and a sharpening stone so I can get a bigger to hit bonus? How about 2 hours taking care of hygiene for a +2 charisma bonus? yagottabefrikkinkiddinme
    which is one reason why i dont craft. i would think they would want to make improvements with the crafting system so we dont spend long periods of time doing it, when we could be spending what little time we have to play, in quests.

  15. #15
    The Hatchery sirgog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeliCat View Post
    Good summary. Thanks. Certainly the medium difficulty setting has been commented on for quite some time. As have others.

    I would only add to the xp part, a resetting of all xp first time bonuses when you take 25 - that would solve a few of the reptition issues and add more content for some people. For example wizking. Hopefully a relatively easy fix.
    Honestly I think more than a once-at-25 repetition reset is needed.

    You'd go from three to six viable XP farms (Fathom, VON3 and Wizking would be added) but those three are all a tier below the big three anyway.

    Fate points need to come quicker. Not necessarily the last couple but enough to get three level 1 twists should be available without grinding HoRB until you bleed from orifices you didn't even realise you had.
    I don't have a zerging problem.

    I'm zerging. That's YOUR problem.

  16. #16
    Community Member alvarego's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirgog View Post
    I'd not thought of that. Really there's an overall issue of complexity creep in the game which I was somewhat hoping the changes to Greensteel/TOD crafting might be a step toward addressing.

    Still, complexity is only an overhead that hurts the game a small amount. I think some of the other issues here are more serious, mostly the vast chasm between developing your character and doing things that are fun.
    Well this is yet another stone in the foot of newcomers, and there're many ... the game has become really hostile to newcomers and the gap between experienced and newcomers have become much wider.

    IMHO there's yet another important issue here, it's all about Dungeons & Dragons Pen & Paper charm, what's attractive in the real game, simplicity in my opinion, only a few clear rules, balanced classes and easy to solve with a d20 situations, much of this feeling is gone, too many stacking-nonstacking, too many effects on weapons, too much STR (how much is max nowadays? 140-150?), too much damage from casters to balance the uber STR, too many HPs on monsters, too many stacking +hit/+dam/+crit-range/+crit-mult ... it's just moar and moar and moar and in the end it's just less fun.

    Too much WoW, each day less D&D.

    PS: happy to read such a thread, many have written about this thing just to hear the mockings about 'Can I haz your stuff?' ... yeah maybe people just rant and the looks are wrong, but still there's something rotten deep inside, and it won't get any better just looking the other way or going further into the sh*t
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirgog View Post
    Honestly I think more than a once-at-25 repetition reset is needed.

    You'd go from three to six viable XP farms (Fathom, VON3 and Wizking would be added) but those three are all a tier below the big three anyway.

    Fate points need to come quicker. Not necessarily the last couple but enough to get three level 1 twists should be available without grinding HoRB until you bleed from orifices you didn't even realise you had.
    I've been grinding wizking normal with a monk sidekick doing 2 towers to my 1 (d4mn they're fast). That's been kinda fun. Can't do it on other characters as I farmed while leveling

    Other alternative is add masses of new content I guess. But even if they did a one off reset of first time bonuses and now we all know enough to be careful how we level that would work.
    ~Thelanis ~ Khyber ~

  18. #18
    Community Member Brennie's Avatar
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    I tend to agree with everything you've said Sirgog. I think there are also some other issues at play (Half-assed and really boring/annoying crafting system, huge amount of inventory glut/management, huge swaths of completely useless skills, feats, abilities, named items, spells, among issues others), but i think you definitely hit a few key issues.

    But mostly i just wanted to say that the accidental emoticons really make your post seem a lot more upbeat Instead of "DoOoOoOoOm !", its more like "DoOoOoOoOm !"

  19. #19
    Community Member Dolphious's Avatar
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    Well said and on the mark as usual Sirgog. I agree with all the points.

    I love this game, but these are definitely issues that need to be addressed if it's going to thrive.
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  20. #20
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    I'd like to chime in that there's also the TR2 XP problem that mirrors (and can expand) the endgame XP problem that you've described.

    Prior to the cap increase, capped players could join people still levelling in quests and raids without really hurting XP. Now is not the case anymore. I believe this is one of the major factors that raids aren't ran anymore. (As a side note, lack of XP for capped players and gear in these areas also hurts the raids.) With a pool of players no longer able to join the raids and upper Heroic quests, the ability to get groups together has been hampered.

    Add in that quests that have both Heroic and Epic levels get hit with XP penalties when repeating quests. If the Epic Gianthold goes through, I can see getting groups together for those quests becoming difficult in the heroic levels. Why would this happen? Some people would probably opt to skip as much of GH as possible so they could benefit from the major XP completions at the Epic level. Much like the major XP from the Challenges before the nerf, the "smart" players will farm the XP of the most efficiency for the least amount of work and/or time. Many GH would fall into that category, even if the Epic quests are limited to a handful of flagging quests, like the Epic Sands.

    Splitting the Heroic and Epic repeats would go along way to helping this problem out.

    Another problem is the horrible horrible XP in the upper Heroic quests. It was understandable when the cap was level 20 to stretch out getting to the endgame. However, the endgame has moved and the XP for the upper Heroics should be adjusted. I have a solution I think...

    Druid's Song introduced quests with both Heroic and Epic levels in the level 17+ range. The Heroic quests had pretty bad XP while the Epic quests had decent XP. The Devs should use that as a template and adjust the XP for the upper Heroic quests. If the Heroic quest has or will have an Epic version, leave the XP as it is. However, if there is no plan to make Epic versions of the quest, INCREASE the XP. The most obvious one would be the House C quests since the Devs never planned on those quests to being Epic, just the raids.

    This would give players some extra XP for their TR2s and also an additional source for some better XP for Epic levels from these Heroic quests. It's a bit of a win/win here for both Heroic and Epic leveling.

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