I've been away for a few years and recently returned to play again. I've brought you maps through Dorim's Map Shop and passed the torch to others. I've designed and built games as a hobby, so I know a bit about what it takes. Point is, I'm committed to this community and making this game better.
Here's the problem. I brought with me a few friends who have varying amounts of time to commit to the game. We find it difficult to keep our levels within 3 to maintain 100% XP from quests. Now I've introduced another player to the game and do not have any low enough characters to play / help them along the way. This is a common issue I know. This is nothing new. But I have a suggested solution that has been implemented successfully in other MMOs and a mechanic to suggest it's easy implementation in DDO.
I suggest DDO implement mentoring down. This is the ability to willingly handicap your character to a level comparable to your friends level in order to play with them without suffering an experience penalty. This has the additional advantage of allowing characters who have reached end game, re-experience content at the proper level without having to re-roll and grind. Ultimately it fulfills the social goals of the game by allowing friends to play together always and the replay-ability of the game. In theory you could mentor down even further than required for a quest to make it challenging again.
A mechanic to do this already exists in the game. With a small amount of effort the developers they could use the Negative Levels spell effect to implement this feature. When you get a negative level in DDO it makes your character one level less effective as if a level 10 character was level 9 again. This effect already stacks. It's not exactly like reducing your level because you can still use abilities, enhancements and feats, but any formula based on level (attack and damage BAB for example) would be modified. You could make this effect permanent for as long and as many levels as the player likes. You could even attach the spell effect to a potion and make players pay for it with platinum. Yet another money sink for the game. Of course you would need quests to recognize this effect when calculating experience.
This would make introducing friends to this game much easier and ultimately more enjoyable. Please consider. Thanks.