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Blizzard on Solo vs. Multiplayer EXP Bonuses

Discussion in 'Diablo 3 General Discussion' started by Flux, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. Flux

    Flux Administrator

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    [​IMG]

    [caption id="attachment_385714" align="alignright" width="293"][​IMG] Brings NBA and Paragon titles?[/caption]Continuing our series of posts (yesterday was UI buff display) focused on the most important topics from this week's Reaper of Souls developer chat, let's talk about solo vs. multiplayer experience. It's well known that playing in MP parties is a certain route to much more exp than is possible in solo play, and we've been debating it all year.

    Some players who enjoy partying up like the current system, but many players who feel that solo play is more skill-based, or a purer form of gaming, have long complained about how heavily D3 and RoS incentivize multiplayer. The whole issue was really spelled out a couple of months ago in comments by the first player to achieve Paragon 2000, where he talked about what a waste of time it was to play solo. It's not just about high Paragon e-peen, it's the fact that very high paragon levels are *required* to achieve the top spots on the Grift leaderboards, which means anyone who wants to compete for top Grift times, even in single player, needs to spend most of their time grinding in party games to achieve those Paragon levels.

    So what does Blizzard think of this state of affairs? They're pretty much okay with it, at least judging from Wyatt's comments in the chat this week. Here's an excerpt:

    Let’s talk philosophy. We want people to play together. I think everybody understands that groups should be better than solo, but there’s debate about how much that difference should be. If I’m playing by myself and then a friend joins me, I should be a little bit better off, right?

    The issue is that this is only true when you and your friend are exactly the same power level. Realistically, in Diablo III, the power level of players varies widely. You may be in full Ancient gear with your 6-piece set bonuses and all the appropriate complementary legendaries while your friend only has their 4-piece bonus and a non-ancient weapon. Is it okay for your friend to join your game and your experience to be worse?

    We took a long look at the way the game has evolved over the last three years and made a judgment call: as much as possible, we want a friend joining your game to make your experience better, not worse. People shouldn’t feel they need to inspect you when you join a public game and your friend that stopped playing for two months shouldn’t feel like a burden for wanting to play with you. Generally, you should prefer to have company in your game than not.


    Actually, I object starting at the first sentence. Why should party always be better? Why should someone in crappy gear get more exp leeching off their friend than I do working harder to succeed solo? Why should someone else in good gear get more exp for carrying their friend than I do kicking ass in solo? Why should any four players fooling around in a PuG earn far more exp than one or even two expert players do?

    Obviously Bliz has simply decreed that playing in a party *should* be more rewarding, but it's not like there's some objective proof of that. It's just an opinion, and they could as easily say, "Solo should be more rewarded since it's all about your individual skill, and not something you can achieve by using other players as crutches."

    In MP player get the advantage of much faster bounties via split-farming, plus more pets for tanking, plus shared party buffs, plus the monsters actually decrease in HPs (divided per player), plus you can take turns tanking, plus monster AI is terrible allowing for easy survival for glass cannon ranged chars... and parties *STILL* get huge EXP buffs on top of all that?

    What do you guys think? Click through for the full Wyatt Cheng quote from the chat, where he talks about the different types of party exp buffs and (sort of) admits that at least one of them is probably OP.



    Blizzard on Solo vs. Multiplayer EXP Bonuses

    Right now the gap in efficiency between solo play and group play is quite large, does your team have any plans to not necessary completely close the gap but at least narrow it somewhat?
    WyattCheng: I realize this is a hot topic right now in the community and I know a lot of people are eager to understand how we determine the right rewards for single player versus multiplayer game modes. I’d like to go in depth on this question especially.

    [caption id="attachment_384075" align="alignright" width="239"][​IMG] Not everyone likes to party.[/caption]

    For us it is an issue than the efficiency of groups who are stacking XP% don’t get to wear their awesome, face-melting gear. The game should be about slaughtering monsters to get rewarded with epic loot. It’s a lot less fun when you don’t get to do the slaughtering.

    Exacerbating the situation isn’t experience farming itself, it’s how different the activity is from other activities in the game. I was listening to State of Sanctuary and one of the hosts actually mentioned this – in 2.1 XP farming wasn’t considered as big a deal, not only because the rate of XP gain wasn’t as large, but more importantly, XP was a natural by-product of trying to get legendary items, blood shards, or generally melting faces. Today, the activity that maximizes your experience per hour is no longer the same as the one that maximizes blood shards and legendaries with a powerful build. Because the activities aren’t the same, it forces players to choose between playing the core game as it was designed and wearing XP% gear in a specifically calibrated environment. We agree that these activities need to be re-aligned again, and that’s what we’re re-examining.

    Some people have asked if our intent in changing experience sharing in Patch 2.3.0 was to better balance multiplayer rewards. Functionally speaking though, there isn’t a difference before and after the patch. Players can still wear the exact same amount of bonus XP gear and perform about as well in Greater Rifts. The difference is that before only 2 people would be getting all the benefit. How the rewards are split is a separate topic from whether XP gear provides too much benefit.

    Let’s talk philosophy. We want people to play together. I think everybody understands that groups should be better than solo, but there’s debate about how much that difference should be. If I’m playing by myself and then a friend joins me, I should be a little bit better off, right?

    The issue is that this is only true when you and your friend are exactly the same power level. Realistically, in Diablo III, the power level of players varies widely. You may be in full Ancient gear with your 6-piece set bonuses and all the appropriate complementary legendaries while your friend only has their 4-piece bonus and a non-ancient weapon. Is it okay for your friend to join your game and your experience to be worse?

    We took a long look at the way the game has evolved over the last three years and made a judgment call: as much as possible, we want a friend joining your game to make your experience better, not worse. People shouldn’t feel they need to inspect you when you join a public game and your friend that stopped playing for two months shouldn’t feel like a burden for wanting to play with you. Generally, you should prefer to have company in your game than not.

    Then there’s the suggestion that we should remove the 30% bonus to experience gain in multiplayer. It comes from a well-intentioned place. However, once you examine all the sources of advantages in multiplayer groups, that 30% experience bonus is the least significant. It’s easy to pay attention to because it’s the most visible of the multiplayer bonuses, so it’s also perceived as the most advantageous.

    Here are the main advantages to playing multiplayer and farming experience:
    • Adding an extra person increases potential damage up to 100% or more, but monster health only increases by 50%. Similarly, in a 4-player game, monster health doesn’t scale to four times the amount in solo; it only goes up 2.5 times the amount. This is clearly a greater benefit than 30% experience.
    • Another source of advantage for groups is skill synergy. When groups are synergizing their group buffs and enemy debuffs to their maximum, the advantage provided blows the 30% experience bonus out of the water.
    • Finally, another source of advantage for farming XP is being able to have some people in XP% gear. As noted previously, the problem here isn’t that the XP% is averaged, it’s that the XP% gear has such a positive effect at all. The fact that it’s averaged now just means everybody benefits, which is better than only the people wearing the gear benefitting (despite everybody contributing). It also removes the social awkwardness of arguing over who gets to wear the XP gear.


    If you feel that XP% gear shouldn’t be this good in the first place (regardless of whether you’re in a group), then that’s fair. My long explanation is to explain why we are happy with the 30% bonus in groups, but we are examining the other 3 major contributors to see what we can do there to shrink the gap between solo and group play while still keeping group play better – even when your undergeared friend joins.


    Why did you make solo play so unattractive?

    Sure, playing in a group should give some advantages but atm it’s just absurd… Mobs don’t scale linearly(I think only to 2.5 times their solo hp when with 4 people?) and with the recent changes to xp you can take one or two people wearing xp gear and you will still kill as fast or faster than a soloplayer while everyone gets way more xp…

    I really feel punished for liking to play D3 solo instead of in groups if I see others gaining paragon lvls three or more times faster than I do with the same effort

    Nevalistis: Wyatt has a much more in depth answer here, but I’ll try to trim it down to a TLDR:

    • We’re less concerned with the efficiency of this activity and more concerned that people don’t get to wear their cool gear
    • Experience farming doesn’t align with other activities you want to do (blood shard farming, finding legendaries), and we want to realign those experiences
      You should never feel punished for playing with a friend who has worse gear than you
    • That said, group play should always be a little bit better, but it’s definitely still a question of how much better


    This is definitely a super generalized version of what Wyatt said, so I recommend you read his full reply for the details![source]http://www.diabloii.net/blog/comments/diablo-3-developer-qa-this-afternoon[/source]


    I think multiplayer should be more rewarding, if it's done well. We've all seen those 3p and 4p Grift videos with the perfect teamwork and cooperation, and I have zero problem with that sort of play yielding the biggest exp and item rewards. But I think it's a stupid philosophy to just decree that any half-assed 4p PuG should be hugely rewarded for bumbling through a Rift like clumsy children in a sack race.

    Bliz devs seem to feel there's some huge risk of not providing the biggest rewards to any party, and presumably they've got server stats to back it up. Maybe players really do play more if they get huge rewards in party games, and quit if they're forced to know what they're doing to progress. But so what? Why should poor play in a group be more rewarded than expert play solo? I don't agree with that basic philosophy, and neither do a lot of other players, judging by how often we see complaints from people who feel "forced" to party up for the exp grind.
    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2015
  2. Cymra

    Cymra IncGamers Member

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    For me the problem is the benefits high Paragon gives you in terms of outright power - as you said on one of the podcasts, 5 mainstat at P2000 becomes 16 sockets of max levels gems. That means that I honestly can't compete because I don't have that sort of time to devote to endlessly running rifts and GRs.

    From a philosophy point of view I disagree with the comments because of the problem we've got with botting. On the EU servers the season started on Friday and by first thing monday morning the top GRs on the leaderboards were all around GR70 (for softcore) with all of the characters at P600+. That can only be because of botting. The reason it's an always online game is to get rid of people changing their gear stats offline and then going online to compete. So the whole reason has been invalidated if we all know that the top end of the leaderboards is filled with people cheating - enough paragon and it's the same as adding +1000 mainstat to your gear.

    On the playing with friends side of things it doesn't work either. My clan leader has spent all season in 4 player GRs (P250 - full IK set), I've dipped in and out of 4 player rifting (P150 - focus & restraint and thousand storms/Iannas) and another guy in the clan has only done MP when the three of us have been in a group together (P48 - basically nothing). Two of us can now romp T6 but the third can't and that's becoming a problem already and the season has only been live for 7 days.

    I'm definately against going back to the days when you were penalised for being in a party and I'd guess that's why Blizzard are so reluctant to do anything to the MP bonuses but the only way to bring it back into alignment is to nerf MP (because if you buff SP it'll be stacking the MP buffs).
     
  3. crazyziggy

    crazyziggy IncGamers Member

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    the buff's gotta go. faster clear speeds should be enough incentive at this point. it was a bad idea in the first place frankly. many people prefer solo, just get over it blizzard.
     
  4. Silverfang

    Silverfang IncGamers Member

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    Skills of different players interacting with each other would be the (only) mp incentive I'd like to see...
     
  5. TheChosenOne NL

    TheChosenOne NL IncGamers Member

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    I like to play solo plenty of times. Esp when I'm watching a Dota 2 game on my ipad and want to focus on a teamfight or such.
    A buff for MP is alright I guess but dont make it so big. It should be a small bonus, not a requirement.
     
  6. Cipherthros

    Cipherthros IncGamers Member

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    Once upon a time I seem to remember that it was a waste of time trying to group with other people as there was so little reward for doing it at launch. The monster penalties were too harsh vs little tangible reward. Now, as they often do, they've gone far too much in the other direction. At least they've acknowledged areas they can look at again outside the flat 30% buff.
     
  7. HFDOH

    HFDOH IncGamers Member

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    Most of the time I play solo and I cant see why I should play with others to rcieve any bonus the the game should be equal to all!!1 It seems more and more that bizzard want all to play in Groups and thatis not fair in my eyes.the only bonus that teams should recieve is the fact they easiler can do Bountys and quests.
     
  8. Apocalypse

    Apocalypse IncGamers Member

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    imo the only thing that needed to be fixed was the scaling in multiplayer games. you are right, at launch you were punished for playing in a group but that was all because of the damage scaling. once that was removed everything was fine.
     
  9. Iera

    Iera IncGamers Member

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    I'm not really sure, but I feel the 50% increase of monster health instead of 100% per player should be enough of an incentive for MP. No other buffs are needed.
     
  10. Apocalypse

    Apocalypse IncGamers Member

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    right now this is my only issue with diablo but its sadly a very big issue for me. i work night shift and do almost all of my gaming during day time hours, when everyone else i know works. unless i want to join public games where it seems i run into endless amount of leechers or i play solo. the fact that i actually gain xp faster from dragging 1-2 worthless people through the game speaks volumes about how bad it is right now
     
  11. Dacar92

    Dacar92 Community, Amazon, DH Moderator & Inc Clan Officer

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    This is what I object to:

    Why should you even care how I enjoy the game? Further, who are you to tell me how to enjoy the game? I prefer solo most of the time now because I like to play at my pace, not that of others. Some of whom prefer to run ahead and kill a boss or something while others are still way behind. That's not cool and one reason why I play solo sometimes. This season I have played solo probably 80 or 90% of the time, while in S3 I played solo probably 40 or 50%. I don't want others to finish my bounties before I'm even there.
     
  12. ADest

    ADest IncGamers Member

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    Really, people complaining about the multi-player in an online only game? Do you think the rewards in heroes of the storm should match those of ranked in Heroes of the Storm? If anything, there should be MORE incentive for playing in a party if this game's gonna stay OO. I'd love to see them enable 6 or 8 player groups next PTR. Solo play is my favorite play style, but if this game is supposed to be so much better online, then keep incentivizing it. Otherwise the OO is just cheap DRM masquerading as a feature.
     
  13. DaveTheBrave

    DaveTheBrave IncGamers Member

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    You can argue until the cows come home, but that one's a design decision and it's probably here to stay. Multiplayer is always going to be more rewarding in some way as long as Blizzard wants Diablo 3 to be a multiplayer game first and foremost. I think the correct stance here is to argue in favor of making solo more attractive, not nerfing multiplayer rewards or exp. Personally I've enjoyed a lot of solo lately, trying to beat my own grift score. It would indeed be nice to get a little more xp for it... but as far as d3 issues this one's way at the bottom of the list for me.
     
  14. Flux

    Flux Administrator

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    Long term I do think the majority of highly ranked softcore players get there with a lot of botting. I don't think that's an issue yet this season; people really did play 12+ hours a day the first weekend. Multiple people on my friends list or in the clan were P500+ after the first weekend, and that's in Hardcore, and afaik none of them bot at all.

    Botting is mostly solo or multi-boxing and it's gradual gain over time. It's nowhere near as efficient as four players in good gear who know what they're doing and spread out in a Rift or split farm, etc, which is what lots of people were doing all weekend long.
     
  15. Flux

    Flux Administrator

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    We've seen lobbying for that sort of thing in the past. Back with the AH we had a whole Ironborn/self-found movement, where players wanted to play with just gear they found, instead of buying on the AH.

    That became sort of irrelevant with D3v2 when all the good gear became BoA, and such higher drop rates. With the whole game now skewed so far towards rewarding MP, it's interesting to consider some sort of solo play league or category.

    As is constantly pointed out, you need huge paragon levels to compete on the Grift leaderboard, and the only way to earn those levels is playing in big party games. So why not a solo player classification or flag, where characters could only be on the solo Grift if they'd never partied...
     
  16. Flux

    Flux Administrator

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    I do think the devs' philosophy is somewhat preordained. All during development and since launch they've constantly said it's a multiplayer game, best when played with others, etc. And maybe they really believe that, but it's also obviously dovetailing with their online-only DRM, no-modding, no SP mode.

    Many players hated that when it was announced shortly before launch, and most of us assume it's an anti-piracy measure. Blizzard of course never admits that and just says the game is better online in a party, meant to be played that way, etc. And so they can't admit otherwise now.
     
  17. trocadero

    trocadero IncGamers Member

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    What he said. Over the weekend it was obvious that you couldn't really run public T6 rifts b/c of all the sub-P20 leeches running around. T7 having that public floor (P100) might be one of the smartest things in the entire patch.
     
  18. Carlyle

    Carlyle IncGamers Member

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    I stopped at „philosophy“ — in an approaching retching reflex. „Polishing, polishing, polishing“ has been a major part of their pre-release philosophy, by the way.
     
  19. Mithron

    Mithron IncGamers Member

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    A couple of years ago everyone was complaining about how partying was worthless and solo was the best and most boring.

    I like Blizzard's responses. I think partying should be more rewarding, but it shouldn't be required and maybe shouldn't be as this rewarding. I think the best solution is a solo only Season option.
     
  20. Jupiter67

    Jupiter67 IncGamers Member

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    A good bit of contrast comes from the console world: I play solo 99% of the time, and I have played solo daily since launch, and I've only just hit Paragon 673. Many legit players hover above Paragon 800, but that's primarily because they have good, trustworthy 2-4 person groups to play in. Because of the "bad player problem" (e.g., cheaters, aka "Legion" to co-opt a Biblical term) on console, it is literally impossible to get into these "closed" groups, because once the 4 slots are filled with trusted regulars, that's it - no one else is getting in because the risk is too great. This insular reality on console means that even if one or more of those 4 players can't play, other people can't necessarily take their place (a group like this would rather roll with 2 players, rather than fill open slots with non-regulars, however legit they may [claim to] be). So sure, in the PC reality, solo play "has EXP issues" but in an alternate console reality, solo play is mandatory - since cheaters have ravaged the online portion to the point where it's actually dangerous to join MP games. The changes in 2.3 re: EXP distribution mean a few short seconds after you join a Nephalem rift with a bad player using modded EXP gear, you go from Paragon-n to Paragon 10,000 in a matter of seconds. Imagine gaining billions of EXP per kill. That's what's going on in the console world. If this happens, your only recourse is to basically hard-quit D3 before the game can write to your save file. It is, in some small way, astonishing that Blizzard has created a version of D3 on console that absolutely requires you to backup your save file to a USB stick prior to every single play session. It's the equivalent of practicing safe sex at this point. Always wear a condom, and always backup your save file to USB stick. It really is without precedent in the console realm. I've commented before that I have ergonomic issues with gaming using the mouse+keyboard (basically, I'll never be able to game that way again), but Diablo 3 is my favorite game. I can only play this on PS4. So this "solo problem" on PC really does come off as one of the worst kinds of "first world gamer" problems when you consider the corresponding horror of multiplayer on console. Then again, I would love it if solo play was more rewarding on PC, since it would certainly improve the experience (pun!) for console Diablo 3 players, where solo play is really all there is, unless you're lucky enough to have one of the aforementioned insulated MP groups.
     

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