I have an idea. It’s simple.
We currently have a community that will solo more and more – that’s a fact. The change to make Cabal a flagging quest instead of Crucible is one of the realities of that. But it’s also something else. TR have turned some of the community into BYOH type deals (nothing wrong about it but TRs don’t want to run with people who don’t know a quest and dies) and scaling have made large groups less useful and especially in challenges. So what do we do?
Now there are things out there that make it possible for new players to get onboard. Korthos Island with the different help options is a good started. Someone suggested that better paths (you know when you create your first character) would be a great thing as well. After all – it’s always somewhat confusing to start a new game and with so many options and the many ways to gimp a toon, it would be helpful if there was an easier way of simply level up without messing things up yourself. In other words valid, very useful paths.
However there’s one thing that remains clear; this game is full of quests that require either very skilled players or people to group together. Until you reach never quests where most of the quests are simplified. Some say easier – but what they really have done is traded mechanics that requires specific skills and classes and even several people doing puzzles or pulling levers at the same time, with a more straight forward no nonsense path. This have turned off people who love platforming mechanics and due to circumstances many people simply solo.
So here’s my suggestion to provide an incentive for people to play the way the want but still find a reason to group up.
A dual system.
First – you have the same difficulty settings. Normal, Hard and Elite. The game don’t scale at all on Normal, it does if you group more then 4 people on hard and it doesn’t scale at all on Elite.
Second – there’s a new choice. I call it solo OR group. But it can be called simple OR complex. What it does is that it either turns off certain mechanics that would require a group or it gives 2 alternate paths.
Solo/simple allows for certain group related mechanics to be turned off – either by them not working or by picking a different rout in the quest. But it’s not ‘easier’. You might have to fight more mobs or a mini boss instead. It’s not meant to make your time in the quest easier – just that instead of complexity of grouping that might require someone with reflex save at one point, you don’t have to do that. Or it circumvent a puzzle, a place where you have to pull levers at the same time etc. In other words you create a quest that pleases all type of players with alternative routs and features. So people who like platforming and puzzles pick the complex option and people who like to group to just beat stuff and not worry about super traps – pick the simple. Yes – solo doesn’t mean that you can’t do it with friends or hireling – it just means that you get more of a rail shooter experience rather then the complex jump, puzzle, lever pulling and trapped version.
But it’s not just that. The carrot isn’t just to appeal to as many type of players as possible – the carrot is that people who pick the complex version that usually require a diverse group or REALLY skilled players get a little something for the trouble. Like a XP bonus or extra chest. The idea is that with the simple vs complex option you want to give a carrot to people who group and want a little but more challenge (mechanic wise). But people who chose simple trade away some XP bonus or chest for a more streamlined run. But instead get more fights, maybe a mini boss or just something that still make it as hard as before.
So lets look at an example. Necro. It’s pretty dead out there (no pun intended). Few run it because it requires people to group or to run with more hirelings because of the built in mechanics. In other words; we don’t really want to run it because some quests can’t be run solo or with just a hireling or friend and some of it is just PITA. So wit the simple function you would ‘turn’ off some of the mechanic. Like the quest where you have to stand of 4 plates to open; with simple it only require 2. BUT instead you have to fight a red named mini boss. Again – this is not to make it ‘easier’. This is to make it possible for people to overcome obstacles.
Torment? How about that with simple you don’t need to do the floor maze with rats but instead you have to fight this red named zombie. If he bites you he turns people into charmed monsters that have to fight the group and the only way to cure that is to throw these potions on them that you find in the beginning. Again – you trade a horrid feature for another more streamlined. The quest with the gears. Simple makes it just a matter to run through rooms without the teleporting back and forth (by knowing how and what the room will be next) but instead you have more intense fights or something else.
The end result is that the people who do the simple don’t get the XP bonus or extra chest. People who group does. Favor remain the same and such, but the mechanics work for everyone.