Bashiok replied to several posts on multiplayer issues today. The thread started off with a post that asserted that characters should have to be within a certain proximity to a dying monster in order to get an item drop. Bashiok uses lots of words to agree.
Playing in groups benefits partly from the per-player item drops, but also an increase in items-per-minute ratio due to groups killing faster than a single player. The amount of items dropping with each additional player is slightly higher than if those players were to just play in their own games. Now, that’s slightly deceiving because we’re talking about the entire pool of drops, but actually each player sees and receives an equal* portion, so in this case we’re looking at the drops as if they were shared completely freely within the group. This may not be the case for all items or groups.
Still, if you have three friends and you’re all buddy-buddy with each other and sharing everything, the benefit of playing together for item drops is noticeable. If you’re all being very stingy and not sharing anything, or just throwing out the crap, you’ll still see a slight increase just from killing speed.
But anyway, with all that in mind, there is already of course a distance limit in which you’ll be considered an active participant in a monster kill to be able to receive a drop from it. If you’re out of range and someone in your party kills something, you don’t get a drop from it. It’s a very obvious solution to deal with a very obvious issue. And the range is fairly forgiving.
So with that settled our focus turns to helping groups help themselves through various mechanics to keep everyone together. To make sure that playing in a group is not only beneficial, but to see if we can help remove or alleviate as many of the burdens that make grouping sometimes less desirable. But those are specifics for another time.
(*In this case it is relative to the amount of time played. All things being equal on a long enough time line the drops would reach a point of being almost exactly equal. In any given game though one player could simply be luckier than the others.)
A reply asks what constitutes an “active participant?”
We could then rename the game to Antithesis of Fun[/blue]
But what about leeches, or rushes, where one or two characters do all the work and others are just along for the ride?There’s nothing wrong with the idea of friends running other friends through the game. Have a friend with a higher level character? Cool, have him help you through the game if you want. That doesn’t mean we won’t have some limitations or slight impediments, for instance we probably wouldn’t want it to figure out to be the best way to level, but the general idea of friends helping friends is a positive aspect and something we want to retain as best as possible.
Another reply asks about party controls; ways to boot non-productive players from the game. Sadly, that idea comes with its own set of issues, as Bashiok explains.
But, from a game feature side, it sounds like what you’re actually asking for are game moderation options. Such as the ability for the game creator or game participants to kick, ban, squelch, etc. And maybe those are some possibilities, maybe, but they themselves could easily be turned around and used as griefing tools themselves.
There are solutions. I don’t think it’s a problem that warrants a lot of time at the moment though.
I’ve always found the level limit option on D2 B.net games to be fun for that purpose. When half the people in cow runs games in the old days were level 15, I’d just exit “CowRunz045” a little early, and create “CowRunz046” with a level limit of about 20, so the leeches didn’t take up party spots that would otherwise go to real characters.