Dev Discussion #2 - Solo Gameplay



  • boromisboromis Member, Braver of Worlds
    Hey devs! I think the best rewards possible from a numbers stand-point should be tied to group content as getting a group of people to succeed at a common goal is naturally more difficult than accomplishing solo content from a logistics view.

    The solo player should be able to prepare their character to the point where they can be accepted within that group-play content but not exceed the pure mathematical requirement where their characters can easily out-perform a group who's been completing the content regularly.

    As an alternative form of solo content, I'd suggest "class mastery challenges". These could take place at varying levels of progression to test player skill and provide you with performance based rewards depending on how you did. Your tests would be measured using C, B, A, S, S+ ratings (or a #) per challenge to offer some re-playability.

    Keep up the good work and stay away from crunch! :smile:
  • kesarakkkesarakk Member, Warrior of Old
    Questing should always be a solo-venture. Nothing has irritated me more in games when I'm following a questline and get deep into the story but now locked behind a group quest. People should be able to group for quests, to either make them go faster or to play with friends/family, but it should always be balanced toward the solo player.

    This may sound like I'm being Captain Obvious, but artisan classes should work the same way. Don't get me wrong, I like the romantic idea of having to have a group of people to get a certain material for a potion, or that ore used to make a powerful weapon, and maybe that can be the threshold for legendary items. After all, a legend is only as good as their companions. Still, players shouldn't feel like they have to ask for help with this personal progression, even if it helps the group dynamic.

    I don't want another MMO that has turned into a solo game that you only group for weekly progressions (Popular games need not be named). I do want enough content available to me, so when I log in after working all day I can focus on small things before my friends and family get on to play together. Bottom line: Please don't force me to ask for help when it's something I should be able to take care of in my own time and not stop the group (i.e friends/family) from what they are doing.
  • gidedeongidedeon Member, Leader of Men
    Personaly i believe very little content should be able to be finished solo besides leveling and maybe early professions. If there is a way to finish mid to high teir content solo it encurages better playes to break away in to smaller and smaller groups and really destroyes the comunity feel of a game. The harder thing are and the more people it take generly speaking will make the woow factor of it last longer and drive people to comunicate more. P.S. dont mind the spelling the letters are very tiny on phone
  • nestharusnestharus Member, Phoenix Initiative, Hero of the People
    Entrances of easier dungeons and open world should be soloable, but should be slow. Going deeper into a dungeon should require multiple class mechanics plus have adds, so not soloable.

    I' EQ1 vet, so basing soloability on that : ). If a game is soloable, people don't group, even if grouping is way better. People only group when they have no choice. I hate single player mmos. Please don't makes ashes yet another single player mmo : (.
  • SylemSylem Member
    My gut answer says try to follow the real world. I mean that usually two heads are better than one and rarely is one man worth two others.
  • zawniuszawnius Member
    I've always been more of a solo player, but the best memories I have of MMOs are actually with friends and guildmates, which is exactly my philosophy.

    I think that solo players should at least be able to complete the "core" of the game, e.g. hitting level-cap and reaching endgame, completing the main questlines, crafting, buying a house, etc. They can get decent equipment, make some money, live peacefully on their little corner of land...

    But, like in human society, there is only so much you can accomplish alone. I feel that MMOs should reflect that, and encourage grouping up to really experience the game to the fullest, to clear the biggest, craziest bosses and quests, and get those hard-earned resources and powerful equipment only strong teamwork can provide.
    You shouldn't stray too far from well-established systems: an easy and intuitive grouping and matchmaking system, difficulty and rewards scaling according to the group's size, and even downscaling your level to match the current zone you are in (so you don't one-shot everything and ruin the experience for you and other players, GW2 pulled this off beautifully).

    A well-built and though-out system will naturally make players band together. And AoC looks like it already has the right structure: one can contribute to a node's development either solo or as a group, but actually experiencing and participating in the node's life, like politics, trading, diplomacy, waging wars with other nodes, clearing surrounding dungeons and raids, defeating huge bosses, etc... strongly encourages you - but never forces you - to socialize, group up and earn the big rewards. And hey, perhaps you'll make some of the best memories you have of MMOs along the way.
  • dmgavindmgavin Member
    My two biggest gripes with group only style advancement, is what others have indicated. Time Zone differences, and being locked out of things because group advancement becomes cliquish.

    I think group style stuff is needed though, and the time zone issue could be handled if says there was a people filter (LFG filter) by time zones.

    People shouldn't be soloing city raids, or city defenses, or some major bosses. Doesn't matted if your a lvl 200 whatever and have super mad skills, if your facing off 80 enemies, eventually that one lvl 2 lucky archer is going to get an arrow into your brain pan.

    Generally I think the awards should be circumstance oriented, somethings yield better to solo, others to groups.

    For example, Exploring (Cartography, resource discovery, etc... ) should yield more experience to the solo player then a group.

    Where as major battles and bosses should yield more exp to the group then to someone solo the same activity.

    And quests designed specifically for either of the styles depending on the nature of it.

    Maybe a simple bit flag that goes with the total exp to award for an activity, such that if solo is true, then the solo person get 10% over the total reward, where as a group would not. Vis versa for it not being solo flagged then the group would get the 10% bonus. Something along those lines.
    The AOC Bard went into a tavern to entertain the folks. After a standing ovation, he took a bow and said, "Thank you, Thank you Verra much."
  • bloodprophetbloodprophet Member, Braver of Worlds
    Lot's of great comments in this thread. But I gotta ask the question for all those that think solo play in an MMORPG is good and should be encouraged.

    Whats the point? Why spend time and money playing a online Multiplayer game only to shun all the other players as best as possible?
    There are a lot of single player RPG's out there that seem like they would be more to you liking.
    In the end it is your $15 but I am curious as to why?
    Most people never listen. They are just waiting on you to quit making noise so they can.
  • AzryilAzryil Member, Leader of Men
    Lot's of great comments in this thread. But I gotta ask the question for all those that think solo play in an MMORPG is good and should be encouraged.

    Whats the point? Why spend time and money playing a online Multiplayer game only to shun all the other players as best as possible?
    There are a lot of single player RPG's out there that seem like they would be more to you liking.
    In the end it is your $15 but I am curious as to why?

    One thing that MMOs have that most single player RPGs don't have is continuous content updates. In single player games you finish the story and any minor side quests and you're done. In MMOs you always have something to work on and strive towards. In this thread I have been a huge proponent of incentivizeing group play over solo, but I am still largely a solo player, and I love playing solo in MMOs as much as I can, I just don't think the endgame progression path for solo play should be on par with group play.
  • JaxarJaxar Member
    I think some level of solo availability is important.
    I think if you want to build a community however you need to create an interdependence between players.
    MMO's over recent years have mostly created dungeons to do this but that creates such a small time of group interaction that they become routine speed runs.

    The balance I would like to see is some a fair amount of content out in world where it beneficial to have more than one player. I would like to see two grades, Co-op and group.

    Co-op content should be at a difficultly level where a solo player at a high skill cap could eventually solo it but would be a regular difficulty challenge for any 2 players grouped up regardless of class. Think WoW's elite mob area's and elite quests or SWTOR's 2+ quests.

    Group open world content should be doable with a half group at high skill cap but really should be aimed at a holy trinity full group.

    If I don't have a clear advantage being in a group for the bulk of my time then I won't feel inclined to interact with the people around me then I get upset because I feel like I'm playing a single player game. This is despite being very aware of the hypocrisy in that.

    My most memorable casual grouping content in the last few years was Warhammer online's public quests and how seamlessly it lead to random people working together regardless of what part of the event I arrived at.

    Finally a couple of please don't dos.

    Don't do what ESO did and create so many phases on a quest that it actively makes it hard to quest with friends.

    While I fondly remember my time back in EQ1 and want that sense of community back. I am very aware of how extreme the need for a group was to experience any of its content. Don't feel the need to go that extreme.
  • nestharusnestharus Member, Phoenix Initiative, Hero of the People
    edited May 2019
    Well, I know that I play MMORPGs for the MMO piece. Grouping is a lot of fun. A lot of people are arguing in here that they can't always group with their friends. I'd say to group with completely random people then. The idea of only grouping with friends kinda destroys the community. Nobody talks to anyone else at that point, no new meetings... chat kinda becomes dead. I think you guys know what I'm talking about? When you see that giant quest train of people on launch or something and nobody talks to each other. They are all talking on Discord with their friends and playing with their friends. No random groups.

    What about when you try to get a random group? It becomes ultra cutthroat. Also, once again, the groups don't talk with each other. You can go from 1 to level cap without actually talking to or meeting a single person. That's what having soloability in an MMORPG does to a game : /.

    I will say that way back when, in the old EQ1 days, I would sorta shout out the challenge I'd want to do, the zone I'd want to tackle, and see who'd be interested. Met a lot of cool people that way and we accomplished some pretty wild stuff. Was always fun ^_^.

    The other argument is, "how do I progress when I don't find a group?" "what if I just want to solo for awhile?" Well, some MMORPGs had these REALLY rare items that you'd have to spend weeks to get. When people would be LFG, they'd be killing time by camping ultra rare spawns. These rare spawns couldn't be solo'd by players at the level of those spawns. A level 60 might camp a level 40 spawn. People also worked on tradeskills and gathering. Some people, while lfg, would just randomly help out other parties or chill in chat or work the markets. There should be solo content, it shouldn't just tie directly into progress/exp. For example, gathering materials can be totally soloable. Same with crafting = ). I don't think hunting should ever be soloable though.

    By making all hunting group content, the game can REALLY focus hard on class interdependence and preparing to clear content. To give an example, in some of the zones I was in, some of the mobs had increased movement speed. They'd also run at low health. If they weren't instantly killed or their movement speed was slowed, they'd cause huge trains. For this reason, you'd need some sort of massive nuker to finish them off or a class that could slow them down. I can only imagine the things a modern MMORPG could try out and what interesting combinations of groups you could come up with.

    As others have pointed out, some of us are ultra old school. We play MMORPGs for the MMO in the MMORPG. We don't play to silently solo amongst a mass of other silent soloers. We want that social experience, teamwork, class synergy, interdependence, and to solve content like solving a puzzle. Figure out how to counter the content, what classes you need, and do it. Think about some anime. A party might advertise for their next adventure that they need a fire wizard to do it. Heck, it shouldn't even be possible to just play with your friends for all content either as the group might not have all of the appropriate roles. This would really give an opportunity to invite randos to a party, not to just fill out the slots, but to fill out a particular role that the party is lacking. Pretty sweet, no? Promotes that social experience while also giving interesting and meaningful content = ).

    Soloable content is always very limited. The content must be very bland as you can't mix in elements from different classes into that content. Not to mention that it kills the social scene. Now when people can't group with their friends, they will just solo instead. No more PUGs : /. We're back to that silent mass of soloers.
  • ilisfetilisfet Member, Braver of Worlds
    A solo player should be able to achieve at least entry requirements for all content. That means being viable for raids, large scale PvP, and other non-solo content in addition to solo content. There also ought to be some solo exclusive content, like a legendary weapon only a lone wolf can obtain.

    I also feel solo players should be able to solo group content to an extent, using a mixture of parkour, stealth, diplomacy, and sheer overpowered stats. They shouldn't be able to solo via convential means -- a group is stronger than an individual -- but they ought to be able to progress via unconvential ones.
  • zephariazepharia Member
    edited May 2019
    As someone who has played dozens of mmos both solo and grouped I will make the comparison of classic wow vs live wow with some personal oppinions on it. Classic wow provided content that was very challenging and often made grouping for quests, grinding, farming certain areas for items feel like having someone with you helped both of you feel helpful to eachother. That content could be cleared solo aswell and provided a certain satisfaction doing so and even opened the ability to challenge yourself to clear it solo on an alt or something. current wow has almost pushed content to be entirely soloable by anyone which removes the satisfaction of “I did this alone, I can say I beat X alone to my friends”. It also removes the feeling of actually helping eachother, and replaces it with, “I/we don’t need you stop bothering me/us or taking our rotation/mobs”. solo players should be able to experience a challenging but rewarding path that may allow them to focus not only on going through content but optimizing their gear, resources, and allow for opportunities to grow self sustaining processes to give them advantages lategame. Imo, it would be cool to have access to a variety of different difficulty dungeons and such, making a smaller sort of camp like skyrim secret areas or something soloable with similar rewards to dungeons but only giving enough loot for a single person. Make full blown dungeons, raids, wars, and other large scale content require groups but let solo players shine in things such as world pvp while they search for more of their secret camps or something.
  • rima596rima596 Member, Founder
    I think the biggest thing for solo play is the ability to queue in a group finder for content like Dungeons and Raids. I'm sure quests will be easy enough to complete with one person and just easier with more people.

    Necromancy is when you raise the dead. Necrophilia is when the dead raise you.
  • AzryilAzryil Member, Leader of Men
    rima596 wrote: »
    I think the biggest thing for solo play is the ability to queue in a group finder for content like Dungeons and Raids. I'm sure quests will be easy enough to complete with one person and just easier with more people.

    dungeon finders are bad mmk.
  • Lot's of great comments in this thread. But I gotta ask the question for all those that think solo play in an MMORPG is good and should be encouraged.

    Whats the point? Why spend time and money playing a online Multiplayer game only to shun all the other players as best as possible?
    There are a lot of single player RPG's out there that seem like they would be more to you liking.
    In the end it is your $15 but I am curious as to why?

    Let me put it this way: You can go to a bar, have a drink and enjoy the atmosphere. Maybe chat with some people. Or you can get your gang together, go and hang just with your friends. Which is more social?

    For me, group content is like going with some people to a dance club, where the music is too loud and you can't really converse or talk or anything, but have to stay with your group anyway. Why bother? I guess some people like it, but I don't get it.

    I like smaller groups, I like atmosphere, and I like being able to interact with others on my own terms. This is what I seek in an MMO. Soloable content is important, but so is a world that provides the mechanics for my efforts to affect and interact with other players without having to get all hot and sweaty with them.
  • CaelronCaelron Member, Braver of Worlds
    edited May 2019
    I think this question is extremely complex, and people are doing their best to simplify it (myself included.)

    One of the best feelings in any game is overcoming a tough challenge - whether solo, or in a group. I also like thought puzzles and freedom in games as much as possible, which is very difficult from any perspective to properly incorporate in to an online mmorpg. If you compare it to the table-top Dungeons and Dragons version, the player is only truly limited by his/her own creativity. There's even forums dedicated on how to beat the most difficult creatures, theoretically, with the lowest level character(s) possible.

    There's a lot of great points in this thread in both directions. I, personally, think that whatever gives players the most freedom is best. I think that there should be both easy challenges and very difficult challenges; solo-designed content, and group-designed content. I also think there should be some content that should be impossible without a specific item, gimmick from the environment, or player craftiness. A small example would be must having a magical weapon to damage a certain type of creature or bypass its 'resistances'. Another would be needing a one-of-a-kind Vorpal sword to actually slay this one creature.

    I, personally, want much of the content to not display levels or even damage/healing numbers. I think the difficulty of all areas and creatures should be discovered, not telegraphed to you. I'd be okay if there's some class 'spell' or 'skill' that gives a player details, but I also think that breaks immersion.

    Similar concept would be Armor Class. Sure, it's a numerical value for the player. But the "character" has no concept of a number representation. All he sees is a person (or thing), either wearing armor or not. He might have crazy dexterity skills and super fast, thus impossible to hit. Or so decked out in invisible magic that the second you even think about attacking him, something compels you to hand him your weapon willingly. Or a player so decked out in armor, you'd have to remove or damage the armor enough to deal damage. Or it could be a dragon with scales so thick, it would be impossible to penetrate his armor unless you somehow snuck in to his lair and talked him in to revealing the only thing that could hurt him.

    All that being said, I think it's possible a solo player should be able to overcome any of it. But it will always be faster and easier with the help of companions.

    Example: Assume I'm a rogue. I want to kill that dragon and take all of his treasure. I might need to construct a crazy elaborate trap where, once activated, it gasses the dragon's whole lair and seals him in until he dies from lethal poison damage (pick your type). It would cost a lot of time and money to set up something like that. Possibly longer to recover the loot, but it would all be mine if nobody else discovered it in time.
    Or, I can find a mage, tank, healer, and a couple other strong friends, and get their help to just poke him to death in about ten minutes... but, then I'd have to share the loot.

    tl;dr - Everything should be soloable, but being in a group is always going to be easier.
  • In WoW I really enjoyed just exploring the map and reading bits of Lore that were on some of the interactables / npcs and looking at the random paintings on the walls. It was also cool seeing the fog of war go away and collecting my achievement points for exploring and later the Title. It would be really nice if there was a good exploration system or like lookout points, but I mean you guys played MMO's so you know already! :)

    besides that in MMO's in general, Solo play for me was usually re-specing or working on my HUD or looking up a rotation and setting up my hot bars or gathering to work on my gear / market board stuff.
  • georgeblackgeorgeblack Member
    edited May 2019
    If the max lv is 76 let's say I think a solo player should progress until 40 with ease, then until 55 very slowly and then the content should require people to at least team up with another player. A duo or a trio should allow players to go to at least 65 and then they should form a group of at least 5 or 6.

    We want the game to be challenging and engaging. Not a single player rpg game.
    Mmorpgs are about players playing together or against online in the same environment.

    Progression should take into account:

    Group play requires sacrifices and coordination. A solo player progressing with the same ease as a group means the open world is not challenging, nor will mmorpg players feel accomplished for their gear, level and character in general.

    As games have become more appealing to people of all ages, this means that a lot people have families and obligations.
    Many mmorpg games have catered for very casual players and the result is that we tend to get bored very fast becsuse we achieve everything fast and easy.

    I think progression for casual players should be slow but still fun. Not grinding.
    However they should find people to play with at their own pace, while the oldschool mmorpg players finally find in AoC what we have been missing since Line][Age
  • dresdendresden Member, Leader of Men
    As someone who personally prefers solo game play I would like for most of the content in the game to be solo capable. I don't want the content to be easy for solo play, I just want the content to not be locked behind multi-person mechanics. I love trying to solo content that is designed for groups, what annoys me is when I can solo everything in the dungeon with a combination of skill and gear optimization then I run into a mechanic that requires me to click on an item but I keep getting interrupted by something hitting me. The main reason I have left past games was because I just don't have anything to do by myself. I personally don't enjoy single player games because I like the interactive world of online game play even though I am not a naturally social person. Going out and killing elite creatures that are 3-5 person recommended is fun. Getting an item, mount or title to show people that I was able to do that content is fun for me. In single player games it just seems pointless to spend all that time and not be able to share my conquests with others.

    Maybe as a way to integrate solo play into group content there could be a scaling feature in dungeons. If you are solo instead of having complete piece of gear drop you get segments of gear that drop. You can take those segments to a crafter with a high enough skill level who can combine those segments into a full piece of gear for you. It would enable solo players to experience group content without making solo zerg game play more efficient that group clearing content. It could also promote crafting as a profitable en-devour since lone wolves would be paying for their services to have fragments converted for them.
  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    I'm rather late to the party on this one and someone has probably already mentioned this, but just in case they haven't I want to speak of my leveling experience in FFXIV with regards to solo play. Due to my working hours I often play at off-peak times, which is fine for the most part and I have no issues with it. However, when it comes to leveling in FFXIV, during the story there are mandatory dungeon runs that must be completed using the group finder tool. You cannot progress along the story without completing these dungeons. This is a problem for me as I am currently playing a dps class during off-peak hours, meaning I have often sat in a queue for over an hour. Yes there are things I can do while waiting but right now I just want to progress through the story and having to wait over an hour for a dungeon queue is not my idea of fun.

    While I know how important group play is in an mmorpg, I believe that leveling and main story content should be 100% completable by solo players.
  • mrwafflesmrwaffles Member, Pioneer
    edited May 2019
    i 90% solo in every MMO I have ever played. My first true mmo was Lineage 2, more then 15 years ago, and even then I was a solo player. Being alone and simply wandering around is relaxing . I even enjoy grinding trash mobs ( I know that's not a popular opinion now-a-days). In real life I am a social butterfly, but in an MMO it's nice to just explore and not be forced to join a party to reach end game. I have had the least amount of fun in forced co-op MMO's. I spend most of my time waiting on getting the group together, or "learning" the team dynamic. Which usually I am told to "just go look up the guide and then requeue up".

    I have joined guilds in the past, despite being a solo player, and usually they are with like minded players. We all solo but want a place to chat, hang, and occasionally create a small party to just derp around.

    For me the content is not important for a solo player. If the game is quality, and my A.D.D. can just wonder and look at an amazing fantasy world I'll be just fine if it's not solo friendly.
  • The only things that should not be solo-able are dungeons / raids. But I think all content should allow a solo player to queue in and still enjoy that content. This game will thrive off of the individuals, not the mega-guilds.
  • grisugrisu Member
    I see the hermit as the best example. If he wants to/feels that he can progress that way, it's his choice. He won't be able to tackle a 40-man raid alone, but that doesn't mean he can't aquire the skills required to be in a 40-man raid.
    The thing about this tho is, only challenging yourself really makes you grow so while he can probably aquire that raidgear through money, some character progression might be behind that group content.

    So I don't know. I think they should be able to progress however far they want, but some things should be obtainable only through hardship. If that hardship requires a group, well then that is how it is.
    I can be a life fulfilling dream. Grisu
    I can be a life devouring nightmare. Zekece#1819
  • ezenkrul87ezenkrul87 Member, Phoenix Initiative, Hero of the People
    Last time I checked this is a massively multi-player online game or did it change?
    Solo content is great to have, being able to partake in activities without having to find a friend or a group of players is a must. You should not be able to get to the top or be the "best" without having the support of friends/guild and progress should be much slower.
    Ezenkrul - Phoenix Initiative
  • Is it possible to have both of solo zones and party zones at high lvl? I loved old lineage 2 idea... there were hard zones only for group of players. I think there should be bigger reward for groups.. but some players like to play solo, so they would have some chance to get good gear too..
  • yeoldesmithyeoldesmith Member, Founder
    Shaylx wrote: »
    alavert wrote: »
    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.

    +++++++++ agreed 100% couldn't have said it any better

    Yo you said it so good man very nice 👌
    Something need doing?

  • Hiya all - thanks for participating in another round of Dev Discussion! I've gathered up a summary to share with the team, but feel free to keep chiming in here with more thoughts <3
  • CheesyCheesy Member, Pioneer
    Ideally, during the early levels most things should be soloable at a reasonable difficulty, but as you get to higher levels it should get incremenatally harder to play solo. However, you should never be forced to group in order to do content. Grouping should of course come with benefits such as making combat easier and having faster cleartimes, but doing solo content should also have benefits (e.g the loot that drops is generally a bit better) as to not put solo players at a complete disadvantage. The advantages that solo play has should not scale as much as the advantages you get from group play. This would make group play the most efficient way to play at higher levels, but make it perfectly viable, or even good, to solo content up to a point where group play becomes objectively better. This would also make it easier to level for people who join AOC late, since it should be viable, or even good, to solo some of the early content.
  • kwivurkwivur Member
    I may just be the A-hole in the room, but the game should be difficult from day one. I don't like grinding and I sure as hell don't like easy content. It's a MMO, so find some buddies and do your best.
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