Part 1: Background Info (skip to part 2 if you want my list of mostly small ways to improve DDO).
Hello, while I am new to the forums, I am not new to DDO, although I am what you might call a casual player. I have purchased some P2P content but am not a monthly subscriber.
I have never posted (at least not in memory) on the forums because I usually find my opinion or build idea expressed somewhere in the forums. In fact, most of the following are not completely my original thoughts. If you are a regular on the forums I doubt a whole lot of it will be new to you. I am doing this because I believe that the more posts there are discussing what players want to see, the more likely it is that the development team will take serious notice. Think of it like a political letter campaign to a representative.
The underlining principle here is to mitigate the munchkiness of DDO (that means power gaming) and to enhance the awesome fantasy world that is Eberron.
Two things have happened recently that have made me want to post. Number 1: Creature companions; and number 2: the daily lottery thing that was recently added. While neither of these things necessarily detract from the gaming experience, I do wonder why they have received priority over everything on the following list! They do very little to enhance the game (in my humble opinion, I'm sure there are those that disagree) and are quite gimmicky. Especially when a number of the following issues can probably be dealt with via patches rather than full updates or expansions.
The following is a list of 'issues' I have with DDO. That being said, I really enjoy this game and I believe that overall Turbine has done an excellent job with D&D. A game I have been playing in one form or another since I was 4 years old (seriously). While that does not make me an expert on DDO, the point is to enforce my love of what they are attempting to do. This is meant as constructive criticism.
Part 2: List of (mostly) small ways to improve DDO -
Please keep in mind that some of the following assumes knowledge of the Eberron Campaign World, which DDO is based on.
Issue 1: Weapons and Armor
Problem #1) DDO needs to deal with the problem of weapon variety, i.e. Khopesh, blah blah blah, Khopesh. We need weapon balance, if for nothing else, because I get tired of looking at toon after toon using the exact same gear. I also get tired of being forced to build a character within the parameters of limited weapon choice unless my build is just for flavor. Can I get an amen?
Proposed solution: Nerf critical damage. Critical damage should only be x2 or eliminated all together. Instead have the following weapons stats: damage range, weapon speed, weapon reach. In other words, daggers and fists should be the fasted possible weapons with the shortest reach. While great swords should bring the pain, but be significantly slower and have splash damage.
Problem #2) Weapons that should be better. How many times have you come across a post discussing the desire to use bastard swords 2-handed? Exactly. This should be addressed and while we are at it, what about extended hilt longswords for 2-handed use? Whirling Steel strike anyone? How come morningstars are not both piercing and bludgeoning weapons as they should be? Wait wouldn't that make them uber weapons? Maybe, but I doubt more uber than the khopesh and at least we may see someone actually using them. By the way, I do not believe that quarterstaffs should be allowed for 2-weapon fighting. They should just have the increased attack speed. A double spear or double club however. . . hmm
Problem #3) Weapon variety. Here is a list of what many of us want to see: spears, double swords, double axes, double spears, sais, pole arms of all types, whips (this would expand the possibility of martial type classes taking on a more CC kind of role), scythe (which the model clearly already exists for). For example: The advantage of double axes and double swords would be slightly higher off hand attack speed or something like that.
Actually forget all that and just give us the following: Valenar double scimitar, Talenta tangat, Talenta boomerang, Talenta sharrash, and the Xen'drik boomerang. Remember that thing about some Eberron Campaign Setting?
Issue 2: Skills
Problem #1) Isn't it about time turbine figured out a way to implement the climb skill? Age of Conan did it and DDO could clearly do a better job. Actually forget that, really fix the ladder bugs first.
Problem #2) Tumble and jump should be the same skill. Acrobatics or something. Look at how they are used in the game by players. Having them as separate skills is a trap for noobs. Not cool.
Problem #3) See #2. Ditto for search and spot. Keep them separate if you allow spot to have some clear effect on ranged combat. Otherwise, I feel angry every time I have to put points in one and not the other.
Problem #4) See #2 and 3. Ditto for hide and move silently. A single stealth skill just makes more sense.
Issue 3: Ship Buffs
Seriously, they are too much. Nerf them to some degree. They are so powerful as to make anyone that doesn't have them gimp compared to those that do. Its completely unbalancing and creates an even further rift between new players and experienced players.
Possible Solution: I know that a number of players would probably be outraged if 30 pt resistances were eliminated, so here is my solution - limit buffs to a max of 5 per person. Or limit the number of ship buffs a character can have based on level. Not only would this temper the unbalancing factor, but it would create a new level of strategic preparation for different quests.
Issue 4: Hard and Elite Streaks
My opinion is that this was one of the worst ideas Turbine has had. Get rid of them. Sorry, feel free to disagree but I do believe it adds a level of the bizarre elitism (pun intended) that exists in the MMO world. The fact that some people won't join a group because it will break the streak is silly. And yes, I have been guilty of this before and have to make a conscious effort to join a quest that will break the streak. That being said, I don't think having hard and elite streaks as an event is a bad idea. Event prizes could go to the top streakers (I crack myself up).
Issue 5: Lame Quests I am Disappointed in Buying
Problem: Sorrowdusk Isle anyone? This example is a fairly low xp and poorly designed quest chain that requires excessive running back and forth. Can I get a refund until its improved? Seriously, this kind of thing makes me very nervous about buying any content. I shouldn't have to ask other players what is worth it. All your content should be worth it. If it isn't address it before design new quests!!!! That is just good business.
Solution: Have a forum discussion about which quests are the lamest and why they are lame. Address the player comments in an upcoming update. This is actually more important than producing new content.
Issue 6: Feats and Enhancements
I'm not exactly sure what's happening with the new enhancement system, but based on what little I've seen it will probably fall short of addressing the following problems.
Problem 1: The weird similarities and overlaps between feats and enhancements. This is incredibly confusing to new players and requires continuous research by experienced players. Much of which is unnecessary. Feats worked alright for pen and paper, enhancements make much more sense on a computer game.
Solution 1: Get rid of redundancies. Many feats are considered to be taboo unless they have to be taken for a requirement. Some of these are mirrored in enhancements. Get rid of these feats and/or make them enhancements. Most skill focus feats I feel are an example, maybe with the exception of UMD.
Solution 2: Get rid of all feats that are not class feats. This helps by allowing players to quickly and clearly see all feats that they have received automatically and everything they have specifically chosen. Fighter bonus feats and monk bonus feats can either be re-designed similar to rogue abilities (no reason why they can't overlap with enhancements and stack) or give monk and fighters 2 bonus enhancement points at those levels that can only be used for certain enhancements. In other words use the same class system currently for feats but for enhancements.
Problem 2 and Solution: Prestige enhancements requiring 6 levels of a specific class instead of requiring certain class feats and enhancements to acquire. In other words, Pale Master I should require the ability to cast 3rd level arcane spells (not level 6 wizard), Spell Focus Necromancy (which should be an enhancement), Intelligence I (sorry if this is not quite right, I didn't double check), and a specific number of enhancement points spent. If you can qualify without taking 6 levels of wizard what does it matter? Each character should only be allowed to take 3 prestige enhancements, they can take the first, second, and third tier, or 2 tiers and one other tier one prestige, or three tier one prestige enhancements. This does a number of things, not to mention removes pressure from the developers to create an equal amount of prestige enhancements for each class or even 3 tiers in each line. Four levels of fighter should get me what I need to qualify for Kensai I at 6th level as long as I meet the BAB requirement. Just saying.
Problem 3 and Solution: Sub-races. This is sort of done for elves. Races that have multiple sub-races in the Eberron setting should have the option to choose a sub-race at character creation. Specific enhancement lines is really all you need to make this work. Again this is about creating the feel of Eberron which is just as important to the game as game play.
Problem 4: Where are my warforged attachments for fleshies? Common, where are they?
Issue 7: Familiars and Animal Companions
The worst part about playing a wizard, sorcerer, or ranger these days is seeing druids and artificers get the love I don't. Fix this ASAP.
Issue 8: Races
Problem 1: Where are the changelings? I know there are a number of issues with a shape shifting race in a video game, but then again we have druids as a class. Of course they also would have great potential synergy with druids via creative enhancements.
Proposed racial abilities/feats:
No ability adjustments
Slippery Mind - +2 to save vs. sleep and charm effects
Innate Deception - +2 to bluff, diplomacy, intimidate, and haggle
Increased Spell Level - this is for any shape changing spell (also, we need shapechange and other spells for arcane casters).
Minor Change Shape - clearly this is the reason why this race has not been and will not be implemented. Here is a starting point. At first level a changeling can take the form of 2 other player character races. When in this form they bypass racial restrictions to items. Every so many levels they get a new race (except maybe warforged).
Problem 2: Gnomes. Seriously, how much more do customers have to complain about the lack of gnomes?
Problem 3: No Kalashtar? Why? You don't need to have psionics to have mindflayers and other monsters, why not Kalashtar? Just replace mindlink with a similar ability and have 'psionics' represented through enhancements.
Problem 4: No Shifters? Again why? Seems it would have been easier to incorporate than druids and probably even easier now that druids are here. I want to play partial lycanthropes!!!!
Problem 5: Where are the goblins? Am I missing something about Stormreach? The campaign setting describes goblins in detail. In fact, they make realistic character races. Goblin artificers? Anyone?
Also: These are more important than say tiefling or aasimar characters. These are the races that belong in this setting. If you want another race, this is where you go. Otherwise we end up with just a hodgepodge of D&D stuff that makes little aesthetic sense.
Issue 9: Please Hit the Breaks on Forgotten Realms for Now!
I love the Realms, but for heaven's sake I play DDO because of how cool Eberron is. If you are going explore this line at least have the decency to let me journey to Athas (Dark Sun setting) or Sigil (Planescape). The main reason I say this is because there is still a lot missing from DDO Stormreach and that is the feel of Eberron. Maybe allowing players to pick a region they are from, opening up a regional enhancement line for instance, would be useful and fun.