Don’t let anyone fool you; DDO is about fun, camaraderie and beating heads, but there’s no fun unless there’s some ‘measure’ of biggest stick and good gear involved.
There are those who constantly lament how ‘easy’ things are now. Last I checked butchers path haven’t changed much.
Back when I started I really got butchered there. Now it barely tickles. And the reason it barely tickles is because of a combination of spell resistance item (like the ML 3 Mirror cloak or whatever you make using crafting) and the greater resist guild ship buffs (harder for shamen to hold or fry you)
Those two things plus tons of other good gear makes otherwise noob killers trivial.
That’s not the games or the gears fault; it’s the players fault. Making the quest harder to satisfy people who love the buffs and the gear simply miss the point of how hard work brought us here. Like starting out with Moderate fort armor and the crystal cove trinket that provide +10 fort, making crits rare.
Or a keen of bleed weapon at ML 1 who makes life little more than kobold meet butter knife type scenario. And honestly; do we need our first 10 levels to be a struggle from beginning to end? Isn’t all our gear, skills and buffs the reward for the struggle so our first 10 levels in the next TR grind isn’t a frustrating mess of little kobolds stomping all over brave reincarnated heroes?
I prefer that upper end quests and Epic quests measures the individual more than lower end quests. If anyone want frustration and pretense of superior tactics I suggest permadeath guilds. Personally I’m just not into the idea of challenge all the time.
Or for that matter; the silly idea that grind somehow is the challenge everyone wants and if we ever get the stuff we want easier then 200 runs it somehow demotivates us to ever play again and removes the ‘challenge’.
But Here’s my suggestion.
Make a new challenge level – call it to the death. Where the kobolds just don’t have say twice as many HP and hits for x amount more in damage. But that you start seeing higher end critters. And it has the same level requirement as Elite, but you get more XP and more really good rewards. And that you can only make them once per TR – and if you fail, die and even win – you can’t do them again. And that if you actually die without getting raised you don’t get the XP and the end reward. And if you die you don’t get the bonus XP.
It’s the one time only event at that level. You can only do them at max 2 levels above ML of the quest (so if it’s a level 4 quests the max you can do them at is level 6). And limit the rest shrine to 1. You get rewarded more for doing it under at or closer to the ML.
Now I don’t want a challenge where the critters have over inflated amount of XP or anything; I want a challenge where you can’t use your ship buffs and you rely more on your wits and gear. There’s no harm done to your character or gear, but you only get that one chance and survival brings the bacon while death brings failure and shame.
And I rather see a challenge with more crafty critters, then HP overinflated ones. Where you throw in some randomness and put traps where there normally were none. Which requires more balanced teams or if you solo – guts and skills.
And why not some kind of leader point board. Like a simple statement before you enter the quest that shows a leaderboard – who did what and at what level – something for other players to try to beat. After all, what is the point of a challenge unless it also comes with some bragging rights.