Possible (partial) solution so solo/co-op disparity...

General Discussion
... use the followers!

1. Have followers' GF/MF/XP bonus gear give 100% of its benefit to the player, rather than 20%.
2. Allow players to travel with more than one follower in solo games.

Since followers are exclusively solo, these bonuses wouldn't apply to multiplayer, but they also aren't as strong as the multiplayer effect, either, since followers have fewer equipment slots than players do. It means a little additional work to gear out all three followers, which wouldn't be easy with Smart Drops, but it's doable, and all the necessary code should already be in place, thanks to multiple points in the story where players get to travel with multiple NPCs.

(Originally posted here: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/18716988367#18 ).

Edit: So far, the only serious issue that anyone's raised concerns Unity. Yes, I had overlooked this initially, but I've managed to come up with a couple of possible workarounds for it since:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/18705077568?page=1#7
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/18705077568?page=1#10

Azmir came up with a pretty good workaround for the Unity issue, too:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/18705077568?page=2#23

So, Unity is an issue but I think can be worked around. Can think of any other problems that would need to be worked around? If so, please share them -- further refinements are almost certainly possible, here.

One last note: I'm not really interested in debating whether or not solo/co-op disparity is a thing, or needs to be fixed. Blizzard have already recognized it as a thing, and said that they're discussing possible fixes, so the goal of this thread is to give them some constructive idea that might help. Please try to stay positive. Yes, I'm aware of the irony involved in me asking for that, but still. Thanks.
09/13/2015 02:37 PMPosted by OldSchool
... use the followers!

1. Have followers' GF/MF/XP bonus gear give 100% of its benefit to the player, rather than 20%.
2. Allow players to travel with more than one follower in solo games.

Since followers are exclusively solo, these bonuses that wouldn't apply to multiplayer, but they also aren't as strong as the multiplayer effect, either, since followers have fewer equipment slots than players do. It means a little additional work to gear out all three followers, which wouldn't be easy with Smart Drops, but it's doable, and all the necessary code should already be in place, thanks to multiple points in the story where players get to travel with multiple NPCs.

(Originally posted here: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/18716988367#18 ).


But it doesn't solve the problem of efficiency that groups have over solo which is one of the main reasons why everyone is complaining. Example: Split Bounties. Yes, I know there are a couple of threads that are out there, that want 2 bounties for solo, 3 for 2 players, etc...but thats going to hard to implement without someone figuring out a way of abusing those mechanics.
09/13/2015 03:40 PMPosted by Selestiall
But it doesn't solve the problem of efficiency that groups have over solo which is one of the main reasons why everyone is complaining. Example: Split Bounties. Yes, I know there are a couple of threads that are out there, that want 2 bounties for solo, 3 for 2 players, etc...but thats going to hard to implement without someone figuring out a way of abusing those mechanics.

True -- it's more of a partial solution than a silver bullet. I don't think that there's any real solution to the split bounty problem, though, and giving solo players a solo-specific buff can only help the situation. Since it doesn't require adding any new functionality, either, isn't worth at least trying?
4 way unity with 3 immortal follower tokens would give you 75% damage reduction. Not too shabby.

There are 2 things that the vocal solo-first minority repeatedly miss
1. Blizz has said over and over again that Group Play will always be the most rewarding way to play. They've been saying that for 2+ years! This also means that it's Blizzard's intent for there to be a gap, because solo play is intended to be less rewarding. It's not a "problem" when it's working as designed.

2. The solo minority would be more likely to shrink the "gap" if they argued for changes that benefited the majority, solo and group players, instead of just themselves. For example, there are many group players that feel the xp leechers are out of control and that the shared xp system is broken. There is 1 guy over paragon 1200 in s4 already and bunches over p1000. How much of that solo-group gap is from that alone?
09/13/2015 04:31 PMPosted by EmmetOtter
Blizz has said over and over again that Group Play will always be the most rewarding way to play
It was the most rewarding even in Vanilla, it was just very hard to pull off.

Now you don't even need to try, and that's bad. Apparently you can't see this.
I would love to bring along all three of my followers on my solo romps. It would be by no means as efficient or as effective as 3 more players, but that was never the purpose. Just something to add a little extra flare and take away some of the disparity.

But, as someone already pointed out, it does present an issue with Unity. I think we can all agree that a 75% damage reduction would be a rather dramatic and unprecedented shift in balance. That's the equivalent increase about ~5 torment notches, give or take. Farming T10 at the ease of T5? Something tells me that's not going to fly...
09/13/2015 04:31 PMPosted by EmmetOtter
1. Blizz has said over and over again that Group Play will always be the most rewarding way to play. They've been saying that for 2+ years! This also means that it's Blizzard's intent for there to be a gap, because solo play is intended to be less rewarding. It's not a "problem" when it's working as designed.

Blizzard also said in the recent Reddit Q&A that they're working on ways to reduce the disparity between solo and co-op, which would seem to indicate that even they see a problem here. I'm just trying to offer suggestions which they might find helpful, since they've said that they're already looking into the issue.

09/13/2015 06:11 PMPosted by LostSoul
But, as someone already pointed out, it does present an issue with Unity. I think we can all agree that a 75% damage reduction would be a rather dramatic and unprecedented shift in balance. That's the equivalent increase about ~5 torment notches, give or take. Farming T10 at the ease of T5? Something tells me that's not going to fly...

Rats. It's been so long since anyone complained about Unity that I'd forgotten all about it. Blizzard probably would need to cap the amount of DR you could get that way in order for something like this to work, or implement a diminishing rewards scheme. That code is already in the game, too, so it's not like this particular problem is intractable, now that it's been spotted, but some refinement would be called for, for sure.

Edit: Just had another thought -- what if they just limited you to one Unity amongst the followers' inventory slots, collectively? You could still share damage with 1 follower, but only with 1 of your followers; to share damage with 2 or more other characters, you'd need to join a multiplayer game.
09/13/2015 05:34 PMPosted by Deus
It was the most rewarding even in Vanilla, it was just very hard to pull off.

[/quote]
Contradicting yourself, again, with this statement. Anything "very hard to pull off" logically means that only a few could do it. By contrast everyone could make solo work very efficiently. The most elite players didn't play in groups, they went solo.
Solo players won't get all 3 followers unless they use the ( most likely ) revamped Asheara's set. Which i get a feeling will be one of the new for solo player changes.
09/13/2015 06:32 PMPosted by Mike
Solo players won't get all 3 followers unless they use the ( most likely ) revamped Asheara's set. Which i get a feeling will be one of the new for solo player changes.

That might work, and it would be consistent with what seems to be their design philosophy, but pushing all solo players towards a single set wouldn't do much for D3's build diversity issues, especially since it would effectively rule out the use of other, more potent sets.

Making this an itemized thing is a good idea, though -- maybe by adding new legendary follower tokens to the game, which allow followers equipped with them to join in as 2nd and 3rd followers? That might help with the Unity problem, too, since only 1 of your followers could be immune to damage.
09/13/2015 06:51 PMPosted by Eights
Rested experience. % bonus experience for solo play based on time played.

So, what, the longer you play solo, the more your experience bonus goes up, but it resets to zero if you join a co-op game? That could work. There'd need to be ceiling, but... yeah, it's an idea.
Doing bounties together should grant a bonus as well.

The more players within a certain area as the bounties are completed could grant an extra x items, or y higher chance of z.
09/13/2015 04:31 PMPosted by EmmetOtter
2. The solo minority would be more likely to shrink the "gap" if they argued for changes that benefited the majority, solo and group players, instead of just themselves.


How much more of a benefit does group play need? Isn't massive shared XP gains and the best drop rates enough? Split farming while solo has to do the same number amount alone?

Seriously. It sounds like you want even more piled onto group play while only throwing solo a bone.

Why did you quote the word gap? It's more like the Grand Canyon and you think Group play needs even more benefits. Isn't Paragon 1000 in a week enough?
I say make all three followers join you....

1 player by him/herself = 3 followers.
2 players = 1 follower/each
3 players = game creator has 1 follower.
4 players = no followers.
09/13/2015 07:06 PMPosted by Eights
09/13/2015 06:54 PMPosted by OldSchool
...
So, what, the longer you play solo, the more your experience bonus goes up, but it resets to zero if you join a co-op game? That could work. There'd need to be ceiling, but... yeah, it's an idea.


Not so much to reward solo play but players getting individual rested exp that is burned quickly if you are in MP. But a solo player will have the gain longer due to not being in MP.

Say it has 1 billion exp bonus ceiling. that ceiling will be hit super quick for multi-play but last longer for a solo player until they either reach it or never reach the ceiling due to not feeling they need to play 20 hours a day and skip out on a life.

So rested exp for all players, it would just last noticeably longer for solo players and help close the gap on this insanely retarded experience difference in solo/multi play.

Oh, I get it, you're thinking of WoW's resting XP system. I don't know that D3 is MMO-like enough for that, or that it's really a great idea to reward people for time spent not playing. MMOs need that kind of thing, so that people who don't play as much can still group with people who play more often, but that's to encourage casual players to play more co-op; reversing it to enable people to play more solo just seems awkward.

09/13/2015 07:10 PMPosted by Kenshiro
Doing bounties together should grant a bonus as well.

The more players within a certain area as the bounties are completed could grant an extra x items, or y higher chance of z.

If they replaced the strength in numbers buff with somelike like this, to encourage actually playing together over split-farming, then maybe. Otherwise, it's just another buff to co-op, which is larded with incentives already; co-op doesn't need any more straight-up buffs.

09/13/2015 07:14 PMPosted by Halcyon
I say make all three followers join you....

1 player by him/herself = 3 followers.
2 players = 1 follower/each
3 players = game creator has 1 follower.
4 players = no followers.

I like it, although you'd have issues with people joining and leaving games.
09/13/2015 06:32 PMPosted by Mike
Solo players won't get all 3 followers unless they use the ( most likely ) revamped Asheara's set. Which i get a feeling will be one of the new for solo player changes.

QFT.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/artisan/blacksmith/recipe/ashearas-custodian
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/artisan/blacksmith/recipe/ashearas-finders
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/artisan/blacksmith/recipe/ashearas-pace
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/artisan/blacksmith/recipe/ashearas-ward
09/13/2015 06:32 PMPosted by Mike
Solo players won't get all 3 followers unless they use the ( most likely ) revamped Asheara's set. Which i get a feeling will be one of the new for solo player changes.


This.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/artisan/blacksmith/recipe/ashearas-custodian
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/artisan/blacksmith/recipe/ashearas-finders
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/artisan/blacksmith/recipe/ashearas-pace
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/artisan/blacksmith/recipe/ashearas-ward


That is not a solution. If anything, that makes the problem *worse*, because that's 3-4 slots of other set bonuses you won't be getting...bonuses that will do a HELL of a lot more for you.
I wasn't agreeing with it I was just saying that this is more than likely what is going to happen. Something that's really not that helpful.

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