Dev Discussion #2 - Solo Gameplay

LieutenantToastLieutenantToast Moderator, Staff
edited July 16 in General Discussion

Glorious Ashes community - it's time for another Dev Discussion! Dev Discussion topics are kind of like a "reverse Q&A" - rather than you asking us questions about Ashes of Creation, we want to ask YOU what your thoughts are.

Our design team has compiled a list of burning questions we'd love to get your feedback on regarding gameplay, your past MMO experiences, and more. Join in on the Dev Discussion and share what makes gaming special to you!

Dev Discussion #2 - Solo Gameplay
How do you feel about solo progression? How far should a player be able to progress as a "lone wolf"?

Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion topic, Group Gameplay!


  • GumdropsGumdrops Member, Explorer
    Specially when my playmates are still/already in bed, I'm logging into my alts to play around with them.

    It should not go as fast like doing dungeons with teammates, but I also love just to grind some dungeons alone and I think it should give the possibility to get the missing exp and piece of armor.
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  • dphantomtvdphantomtv Member
    edited May 2
    As long as you're #1 Ashes Player you should be able to do most things while guildmates are sleeping. Meaning, as long as you're good at the game, you should be able to lonewolf most things.
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  • CMKalezCMKalez Member
    i think you should have a decent amount of content for solo players but at the same time this game is designed for guilds/alliances etc. so if you dont like group content i dont think aoc will be for you.
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  • DrakehiroDrakehiro Member, Leader of Men
    I think it would be really cool if games offered more solo content. I think group activities are important. I think they allow people to play together and lots of group activity is really fun in games. But, I think a solid path for solo players is also important, for instance solo dungeons/instances. They would offer less exp per person then group activities but they still allow solo players to grind when friends are asleep or they just dont feel like playing with anyone.
  • IbarumarkyIbarumarky Member
    You should be able to progress as a solo to some extent so you've your freedom.

    Some people love do complete task alone and set themself challenges. All people should be allowed to play as they want and how they want as long as they've worked for it enough.

    In a group everything gets done faster and easier but everyone is his own master and so it's their decision

  • GubstepGubstep Member, Braver of Worlds
    I think groups should be required to do difficult content, it is after all a MMO.
    However, when it comes to things like professions I think it should be a little more self sustain. You can be a miner/blacksmith and not have to rely on other people for mats if you don't want to for your trade.

    Strong solo players are generally heavily emphasized towards PvP, but it would be a nice change of pace to see some solo content that PvE players could do well. The Green Fire quest for Warlocks in WoW and optional Trials were awesome and gave you a title if you were able to complete them. I think more of that kind of content in an MMO would be really cool.
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  • valerianvalerian Member
    edited May 2
    I think AOC caters to both solo and group content. It depends what you want to do, but once you hit max level, you might want to raid with other players. Lots of stuff won't be solo'able after you hit max level unless you want to craft or do quests. You can PVP solo if you want to hit caravans even if your not in a group, other players probably will join the fight. They have said some content (dungeons) are open world, so if you happen to get into a dungeon with other people looking for something, they might either help you out or attack you. If you out level the dungeon then you can probably solo it.
  • cdkineticcdkinetic Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty
    A skilled solo player should be able handle up to 5 enemies in PvP at a time. As for loot/grinding a field boss should be able to be brought down by a single player but a dungeon/world boss should take a team of players to bring down unless a significant level difference between the player and dungeon boss.
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  • cosmicthundercosmicthunder Member, Braver of Worlds
    EQ2, at least how it is now, has--in my opinion--a healthy balance of solo/group/raid content all the way through. Earlier in the game I would say this balance should be tipped more towards soloable and becoming ever more group-focused as one's level increases. However, even at the highest levels there should still be a measure of soloable content but with a bias towards groups. Basically, the rewards given should match the effort/skill required, but not totally lockout those who wish to play alone; he/she just won't have the best the game has to offer, much like real life.
  • AradinscAradinsc Member
    As someone that tends to play solo most of the time in MMOs what I like is when a lot of the story and quest content is still available for solo players (and not just the top players or those looking for super hard difficulty) whereas a lot of the dungeons and especially raids is where I see group being necessary although I think it would be cool if there were some dungeons or similar things that could be done solo (obviously with lesser rewards) but I can understand that that could be tough. I know I may be in the minority but the degree to which grouping is necessary to enjoy the story/questing in the game does strongly influence how likely I am to really buy or put time into an MMO
  • ZekethephoenixZekethephoenix Member, Braver of Worlds
    I think there should be challenging content that Solo players can do completely alone, like legendary item quests, however I don't wanna see a player soloing content that drops competitive loot (top end gear). The one thing that kills a game's late game is when group content is trivial because developers wanted to cater to lone wolf mentalities. Make MMOs social again!
  • zilexionzilexion Member
    Don't mind having to group up to do story / combat quests.

    If we go down this route then I'd like to be able to fill up lone-wolf time with crafting / fishing - hoping for a large in-depth fishing system myself :smile:
  • wulfewulfe Member, Founder
    Their should most definitely be draw backs to lone-wolfing. It's a game that works within community and people doing things together. If a raid were possible to do alone, then it's probably not worth doing at all tbh. BUT! In this sort of immersive open world experience, it should allow for all types right? If I want to separate from society in all respects and go it alone, I should be able to grind my way to getting the stuff I need myself if I choose. Explore the world entire myself. As well as have an appropriate amount of skill based success. Even with bad gear, if I'm good enough I'd like to be able to accomplish more than a bad player with great gear.

    As much as I want to accomplish things with friends, and potentially become renowned for it. I also adore the idea of being able to be recognized as one of the few who can single handedly take out a hardcore dungeon full of baddies and high level loot. Make room for all kinds!
  • A good mixture of both is always a nice balance. There should definitely be a need to group however in order to drive that social and group aspect along. More difficult content should require allies and co-operation to overcome. If everything can be accomplished solo then there is no need to interact with others which is a shame.
  • While I feel that certain gear and quests, pvp and raids as examples, should be restricted to group endeavors, I feel that solo players shouldn't suffer. There are too many instances where a quest pops up, but it needs 2-4 people to do, and it is a story quest. There should also be ample opportunity for a player who plays mostly solo, but still has friends, to help the status of his/her guild, even in a small way, such as gathering materials at a reasonable rate.
  • WeoloWeolo Member, Braver of Worlds
    When playing as "lone wolf" a player should have the feeling that they can have a go and enjoy anything they would like to but with the exceptions of content designed for groups of players around the players or map level. No player should be forced to group up with others just to level up.

    Generally the harder the content then the longer it should take a lone wolf to complete.
    It's worth saying the skill of each lone wolf will be different, some won't be able to take on any harder content alone where others will be really good at it. This is a normal part of any MMO.

    There should always be endgame "group designed content" which a lone wolf could not do alone.
    I say endgame group content because as each area is level based the lone wolf should be able to go back to a lower level area and complete it later when they are much high level than the content. This mechanic gives the player the choice if they want to complete the group content as they are in an area or choose to come back and complete it later.

    Generally if grouped things should be quicker to complete, slightly easier to complete and with a small xp buff. That way giving small incentives for group play but never forcing a player to be part of a group if they decided not to.

    Oh and if two players are grouped up both trying to do the same quest; for example to pick up 5 logs; then when one member of the party picks up a log please give quest progress credit to both players! otherwise it means larger groups are worse off trying to complete quests together
  • elfstoneelfstone Member, Braver of Worlds
    edited May 2
    This should fall under two major influences, game lore and player skill. If the game lore gives the impression that the player is this almighty warrior, then they should be able to complete quests and dungeons solo, albeit at a much slower progression for most PvE interactions outside of minor questing (go here, collect or kill this, turn in). Since dugeons also require other class types to proceed, like revealing hidden passages or clearing out the posionous fog, that should be a complete hinderance for a solo player. In a PvP view, then the lore stating the players power would be much less concerning.

    Since this game have a hybrid combat system, the dependency of the player's skill level can vary, with class type acting as a variable. But in most instances and for a fair fight, the player should not be able to take a small party, but in my opinion, they should be able to handle two or three PvP opponents with high skill walls abilities, before needing to recover or having to retreat or face the pain(given neither side have any advantages).

    Based on these concepts, when a player progresses the storyline, they should eventually run into a few main quests that require a group dungeon or raid, however if the player is brave enough to face it alone, the option should be there. Should it be possible to complete everything alone? Not really, unless the lore or events in game make it so within reason. Can you get through almost everything alone? Sure it just should take more time since that is more likely.
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  • AzryilAzryil Member, Leader of Men
    I believe there should always be some level of solo content at all levels of the game, however if you want to get the best rewards in an MMO group play should be heavily incentivized.

    Early game and leveling should be largely soloable with the occasional group quest to take down a big elite or group dungeons. However grouping shouldn't be penalized.
    Once max level is reached I think Group play should be the more common gameplay with solo content being more of a one off task or farming mats for crafting.
  • Alpha SoulAlpha Soul Member, Phoenix Initiative, Hero of the People
    I think a solo player should be able to progress fairly well, but I think it really should be looked at in the context of grouping and never outshine or be something that you would rather do than group. Let me try to explain.

    Solo Play is necessary simply because of the fact that you can't count on always having players to play with in order to advance. Early on in most MMO's lifecycle's that I've played, its never a problem. There are plenty of other players to play with and you can always find groups easily. As the lifecycle changes though and there are less people spread out or in a level bracket, grouping becomes harder due to sheer lack of equal players you can find. A real life example is Wildstar. I picked up the game later and ended up soloing my way through the game. Once I got to the end level, the next stage of advancement was to equip myself via dungeons which required 5 players. For 5 nights, I attempted to put together groups and would either sit in queue for 2 hours (nothing popped) or not find enough people in general chat at that stage... so it meant that my char could never progress to the next level and raid. That's a problem. I ended up having to quit, not because I wasn't enjoying the game... but because I couldn't find people to group with!

    There are also practical reasons. I'm an adult with a wife and child. For me , gaming most reliably takes place in between an RL event, or after our daughter has gone to bed. If I only have an hour or two hours to play that day... I want to be as efficient as possible and get something done in that timeframe.

    On the flip side, Solo play cannot be SO beneficial so that a player would ignore the grouping aspect and go solo because you could get comparable exp and loot. I feel grouping should always be far more beneficial than soloing to balance things out and encourage group play, better loot, better experience. This includes all of the tertiary systems as well... not going to include a group finder? Not a problem...but getting a group shouldn't be a tedious affair.

    I can talk for days on this subject!
  • aaronvienneauaaronvienneau Member
    edited May 2
    "How far should a player be able to progress as a "lone wolf"?"

    The easy answer is, "There should be content for any type of player", but that's not entirely realistic in terms of an initial release. As in, it doesn't make sense to develop a bunch of systems/content that you think the player's will like, only to find that they flop on release. It's usually better to release tried and true content, and then expand on it (carefully) as you receive (legitimate) player feedback (not care bears, lol).

    As far as XPing, a lone wolf should be able to hit level-cap without having to group with anyone. Granted, the content available for them might be limited to grinding, or quests, but it should certainly be doable.

    As far as equipment progression, I'd advocate for more group oriented activities such as dungeon raids, PvP activities, world bosses, ect. But crafting is certainly another gear-progression that doesn't necessarily require a group (unless you implement gathering in a group-oriented way: multiple people can harvest a node, node profits are split or increased with more people in the group, ect...)

    The point of a massively multi-player game is that you get to experience it with thousands of other people, and group-oriented content is really a win/win. You get to be apart of, and give back to, the community -- making it feel more alive and dynamic. Which is why I'm personally not a fan of solo-dungeons. I find they tend to further isolate people from the community who're already inclined to self-isolation. That's not to say you should *force* them to group, but if you make it a quick and easy experience to find a group, and complete group activities, you'll encourage those same people to enrich the game. Conversely, if a solo-dungeon offers the same great rewards as group-dungeons, and there's no wait time, what's the incentive to group up?

    TL;DR: Make grouping quick and easy. Make fun group-oriented content and people will group. A great match-making system is key. Even better, make content difficulty/rewards scale with group numbers, giving everyone a challenge no matter how big their group is.
  • AzryilAzryil Member, Leader of Men
    dphantomtv wrote: »
    As long as you're #1 Ashes Player you should be able to do most things while guildmates are sleeping. Meaning, as long as you're good at the game, you should be able to lonewolf most things.

    I primarily prefer to play solo when possible, and I look for ways I can solo content that is intended for a group, however I hold no delusions about being able to solo high end group content. When you're face to face with a big world boss or deep in a dungeon facing hordes of ogres you'd best have a meatshield in front of you and a healer on your ass.
  • moulptasmoulptas Member
    I don't think it should be easier to level up doing quests or killing mobs as a party instead of a solo player. Some classes who are more solo oriented shouldn't feel like they have to group up to level up faster and classes that are more tank or healing oriented might be incentivised to group up in a more organic way.

    And pvp wise I think it is very important that more skilled players are able to win outnumbered fights if they do manage to read the opponents and counterplay well.
  • Solo And group Content should be balanced so there's enough Of Each. Most of the time there's always more of one or the other. Maybe this time around things should be balanced evenly.
  • alavertalavert Member, Braver of Worlds
    As a solo player, you should be able to advance as far as possible into the game, though with more difficulty. Dungeons and raids, etc, should not be impossible to complete, but much more difficult.

    There is a massive difference between solo content and solo capable.

    Players should be rewarded for their dedication to the game, regardless of them being a solo or group player.

    As with smaller and larger guilds, there should be benefits to being a solo player as well.

    Within an MMORPG, players should have as many options when it comes to game progression as possible. Some routes may require more dedication than others, but should not render advancement impossible.
  • valerianvalerian Member
    There are certain things that I will try when it comes to solo play, for example I would test different class mechanics. Say if I pick a rogue and enter an open world dungeon, then my stealth skills would become very useful to avoid unnecessary fights (mobs or pvp). Especially if I want to farm or just to loot a boss for an item drop. E.g Say the boss drops a mighty dagger.

    Another class would be a summoner, if the mobs or boss you want to solo out levels you by one, then you can summon creatures to help you in the fight without having friends around. Solo play really depends on class choices also, you might have a solo load-out and group load-out options.

    One thing excites me for group content is to be part of a node or guild that I feel I belong too because I've invested in protecting the lands and services they offer whether it's a Node or Castle. So I would love to PVP for sieges or node wars even guild wars.
  • DamoklesDamokles Member
    Half-Half, MMORPGs are... well... multiplayer games at heart. We need content that really encurages teamwork (even with random people).
    I myself love to play solo: scavenge dusty ruins, mine rare ores deep under the earth, dive in the sea for clams and pearls and test my mettle against strong monsters in the deepest parts of the woods and deserts.
    But (fat but here!) that doesnt mean, that I (for an example) dont want to play with other people, more so that most of my rl friends dont play mmorpgs anymore and i am pretty lonesome right now (except my org in SC), because all of my old online friends stayed to play WoW. :D

    Best of two worlds scenario here: Make half of the quests doable solo (and from those make half of them hard to do solo even xD), while making the other half so hard that we will need a group to even hope to accomplish them.
    Give the different quests scaling points for the node progression, where group quests give most of the time way more then solo quests (except for the really hard solo-able quests^^)

    Challenge us to get better at the game, dont hold our hands and tell us it will get better. Dont make us feel like one man armies, make us feel mortal and weak, only that will lead to people actually band together and clasp our hands together, stand the test of time together. (If you didnt get the reference: "Dan Bull - Civilization" it is pure gold)
  • TekathurraiTekathurrai Member
    edited May 2
    imho this is one of those categories you don't want to be too "different" from other MMOs. A good example is Age of Conan, where you can do everything you want solo except for raids and "epic" areas/dungeons. If I'm running around at level 26, I should be able to do everything to level up myself, but if I really want to do this level 26 epic dungeon, or this level 26 epic quest that has me go to a certain spot on the map that has epic difficulty mobs, I can decide to not do it, or team up with others my level to complete it.
  • - How do you feel about solo progression ?
    In my opinion a MMO should provide a system that allows players to do a certain range of tasks by themselves, like XP until max level with quests, although some side quests that requires you to group and defeat a greater threat should be added to reward players that want to xp with other players to encourage social interactions. In regards to gathering and crafting I would say that you should be able to do most of it by yourself but interdependancy would be a really interesting dynamic especially for top tier items.

    - How far should a player be able to progress as a lone wolf ?
    I think that most of the end game content should be group requiring, because that doesn't make sense if you can take a dungeon or a raid by your own and get good rewards without the help of other players.
    I might have a suggestion regarding dungeons : There should be dungeons corresponding to the whole level progression to give players the opportunity to xp together, and they shouldn't require a fix number of players to do it. If possible, there should be a range from 3 to 5 players (something like that) to do a dungeon, with the stats of the mobs (health, damage) corresponding to the number of players. More flexibility is very enjoyable and favors social interactions. To balance that, if you choose to do it with 5 players maybe you could have a slightly better chance of having a some rare loot, or even add some loot that gets shared between the members.
  • timmboetimmboe Member
    edited May 2
    I think, kinda like Dark Souls, if you are skilled enough then you should be able to technically solo anything. Not to say that it shouldnt b hard AF to do so however. I would b sad if the game was a cakewalk. Personally, I enjoy games that are genuinely challanging like Soulsborn titles and Sekiro!
  • WololoWololo Member, Leader of Men
    lone wolf should be able to be the best at anything, it just takes longer then with a group. in pvp/pk a solo player should stand out and be able to make 200 IQ plays
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