We've been trying to get an old tabletop friend to play DDO with us.
He gets frustrated by the video game aspects of DDO and running with PuG's who finish the quest before he's done buffing at the door. He's never gotten hooked, but will grudgingly login from time to time to hang out with us.
The new slayer areas have been awesome for us as a team. He can wander around and pet the deer while my husband charges ahead to take on orc camps. When we find an encounter, everyone gathers up to solve it. When someone finds a spinning coin or snowflake or scroll or what-have-you, everyone comes to get it.
I don't mind that the clickie things can't be highlighted from a distance, it is nice to spend some time hunting them. (When my husband gets bent about it, he can look up a map.)
My husband enjoys the fact that we are still earning decent XP during our wanderings. Our buddy loves not feeling forced to "stand here, hit that, don't move forward or you'll get locked in." He can do more role playing without "ruining the quest." I just like the fact that everyone is playing together.
In any case, the one thing I have heard them echo over the years of trying to play together is, "This doesn't feel like D&D." Finally, they agree that the new interactive wilderness areas do feel like D&D. It's not about the setting, it's about the random "adventures" and discovery.
I would very much like to see the lowest level wildernesses updated with some of these interactive features, particularly Cerulean Hills and Searing Heights. Tangleroot would also be nice. That is a lovely map and most people never bother with it except for the first run to Ungarz.
Getting people hooked on this game is not easy. The old wilderness rewards those who "kill 7500 monsters" who spawn in the same place on the map every run with decent XP but the repetition to reach that goal is mind-numbing. Boosting the interactivity (encounters) and XP for things that can be done in a flexible way while people are still learning the mechanics is a smart tactic. There is plenty of "fast xp" in the game; focusing wildernesses on storylines and discovery while gaining respectable XP is a good way to accommodate alternate playstyles.
In any case, I just wanted to give some kudos and let you know the new style is appreciated by some of us at least!