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Players per party


#1

Hi there,

As an old D2 player I’m concerned about the possibility to get more than 5 players per party. To me it was clearly a game changer in D2 and my multiplayer experience certainly would have been way different if it’d been limited to 4/5 players.

It’d be highly desirable to have the possibility to play with up to 8 players (or slightly more), a number that could be adjusted in the options. I don’t know why it is widely widespread among the studios that « a diablo-like game is fun with 4 players, more is too much, period » which experience has proven wrong. So apart from the technical aspect I see no reason why it couldn’t be possible to be more in a party as an option?

It may look as a detail but the game will need to get a good and interesting replayability while it will continue its development to maintain a decent playerbase. After having finished the game 100s of times it is good to get some open possibilities for the PvE and PvP (for that one it goes along with the possibility to make several parties playing together like doing a 3 vs 5 or 1 vs 3 for instance).


#2

Hello,

 
Firstly, I am extremely sorry - it appears that your post was flagged by an overly-zealous spam filter. I’ve gone ahead and made it visible to everyone now. Unfortunately, we do very much need those spam filters in place.

 
We greatly value the benefits which multiplayer brings to the table, and we are not opposed in principle to people playing with as many of their friends as they would like to. The primary concern is one of difficulty - groups are often greater than the sum of their parts, and it isn’t easy to adequately scale the challenge presented to larger groups of players. One issue is AI potentially faltering due to excessive options being available. Another is the topic of what exactly we should scale - increasing enemy damage too much can lead to many enemy actions being potential one-shots, which impacts the viability of melee. Increasing enemy health without increasing their damage leads to them being bullet sponges offering no particular challenge, and this causes combat to feel ‘slow’ rather than ‘interesting’. Increasing the number of enemies too much can have implications for the rate at which groups of different sizes earn XP and gear upgrades, it makes area design harder due to the need to avoid choke points, and it can lead to artificial game play where people are more interested in exploiting the terrain than what we would like. We also have to bear in mind the difference in potential between groups of new players, and veteran groups using optimized meta builds - the larger a group is, the more significant this will be.

 
Just as some people prefer playing in groups, others prefer flying solo - and we want to try to accommodate both types of gamer. We believe the primary factor in determining whether someone is in a group should be their own preference; not an imbalance leading to there being a perceived ‘correct’ way of playing the game.

 
We’re exploring the option of having more than five players together for certain game modes, but we do feel that five is a good number for regular play such as people leveling up through the storyline. I’ll be sure to pass on your feedback to the rest of the team, though - you’re correct that the number of people you can play with will be an important aspect of the game and will help decide how much people enjoy playing it.


#3

Ok thank you for your detailed reply !

I understand the need to keep it as balanced as possible to no let it believe that a way of playing the game is better than another. However I emphasize the fact that your game is going to be neither a online only game nor a purely solo game but both at the same time. There is either a choice on one side to make the multiplier a “solo +” experience - which is basically adding a couple folks to the solo experience and that’s it- or to make it a real multiplayer experience with a strong feeling of being in a team, which is not incompatible with the solo one.

If this game follows the tracks of D2 & PoE in terms of clearing speed with top-end gear there’s nothing to worry about since it is faster to play alone than in team lol. Then comes the experiences of the newcomers and middle-geared people who would gain an advantage to play in team rather than alone but there’s nothing bad about that, I mean it is quite impossible to balance that with someone who is playing completely self-found. It’s a part of the game but no one is forced or even encouraged to play it this way.

In D2 I started countless of characters by joining a 7 players public “Act 1 start” game which was fun as hell and the pace appreciable especially when I already finished the game several times. In this game there was a particularly split between the solo experience which was very nice but repetitive after a while playing and the multiplayer one who was usually dedicated to become as rich as possible to end up making PvP characters.

I think the most important thing in a game before digging further is to know whether if it’s fun or not, if the maps are a bit too little or the enemies not perfectly balanced or some people exploiting the content, it can be fixed but the essential is there. Allowing possibilities through as many options as possible for the players is top-notch and prevent from going round in circles.

Anyway, I hope it will be possible to add such a possiblity, I’ll certainly have more topics to share in the future :slight_smile:

 


#4

I’ve mentioned on the discord before that I like the way Guild Wars 1 handled solo vs. party content. Content was entirely doable solo, however playing in a party was more enjoyable and often easier. Maximum party sizes started out small, and grew later on depending on the difficulty of the content. Some of the most fun was the 12 person dungeons, even if they weren’t always the most rewarding.

I’ve been thinking how how such a concept could be applied to LE, as the devs have mentioned that they don’t want to implement henchmen/AI party substitutes, which was one of the enabling features in GW that made system possible.

I’m of the personal opinion that solo play does not necessarily need to be the equally efficient in time/reward as group play, because if it is it will always be the most efficient route to play solo, as working with others can be challenging in it’s own right, time consuming due to IRL factors (always waiting for the 8th person’s potty break), and requires impetus or reasoning from players to do so.

From personal experience I generally prefer to play in parties, however I will always play solo unless given a reason to form a party (see above).

Assuming the goal is to always make Solo = Group in terms of efficiency, then there are still a few potential options:
1.[quote quote=7752]We’re exploring the option of having more than five players together for certain game modes[/quote]
I like this. So long as there are end game options primarily for Solo play, like arena, I don’t believe there’s any reason there couldn’t be endgame content intended for group play. The rewards wouldn’t necessarily have to be exclusive, and as long as items of similar value can be attained in the same time as in solo play, I believe that’s balanced. I wouldn’t be put out in the slightest if the only real group content was end-game content.

  1. The possibility of a Solo/group hybrid game mode. An idea I got from one of the aforementioned 12 man GW dungeons (https://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/The_Deep), the start of the dungeon requires the group to split into multiple parties. Taking this idea into last epoch could involve splitting many small 1-2 person groups into many instances (points in time?) which requires interaction/quest objects from the other instances. Basically a puzzle/maze of sorts with mobs in the way. As the instances would be designed for smaller groups, the clear speed would be very close to directly proportional to the number of participants, without any other weird scaling issues. Meaning a solo player would be able to finish the dungeon in about the same time it would take a team of 8 players to do so, so as long as the loot is proportional, it should feel balanced.

[quote quote=7752]One issue is AI potentially faltering due to excessive options being available. Another is the topic of what exactly we should scale – increasing enemy damage too much can lead to many enemy actions being potential one-shots, which impacts the viability of melee. Increasing enemy health without increasing their damage leads to them being bullet sponges offering no particular challenge, and this causes combat to feel ‘slow’ rather than ‘interesting’. Increasing the number of enemies too much can have implications for the rate at which groups of different sizes earn XP and gear upgrades.
[/quote]
Insofar as scaling is concerned I agree that simple stat scaling is not the way to go, only imbalance lies down that path. Although yes, an enemy AI is easier to code for single player than multiplayer, it is worth creating an AI that handles groups well. A dynamic AI is what makes multiplayer both challenging and enjoyable gameplay.

Another idea for scaling could be randomized party wide detriments (also an idea from aforementioned GW map). This idea is similar to the random affixes on mobs, except that it would be influenced by the number of players in the party. This would prevent the prevalence of a meta or mono-type team composition, and also promote dynamic replayability.

The cheapest scaling option would be to simply scale the loot that is dropped. Scale it so that on average a single player will get the same amount of loot over the same amount time whether playing in a group or solo. A separate scaling value could be made for each group size. Larger groups are probably bound to have more variance in their average clear times, as such this would reward groups that are working synergistically, at the expense of less coordinated groups, whilst solo play is relatively unaffected. This however, would not change the difficulty of mobs, meaning that larger groups would be able to clear content faster, and get less rewards for the amount of content cleared, which could feel bad.

The most expensive scaling option would most likely be, not scaling the number of mobs directly, but scaling the size of the map, the number of rooms/corridors that need to be cleared. As this involves making more areas on the map for each number of party sizes, it’s probably the least desirable solution.


#5

GW1 was so fun and challenging to play in group, I actually didn’t play any other game like that since then as more of the recent games are more solo games that are played online - groups aren’t important. I personally conceivre the multiplayer and the solo as two different experiences that both have their advantages and disadvantages and who should be as “balanced” as possible without falling into the idea that if there’s an inequality for a mode it shouldn’t be pushed forward.

I like the idea of having to play with a support for certain parts of the game may this be with other people or with several mercenaries, but if it was stated that it won’t happen I won’t insist, though having one single mercenary with specific powers from where you hire him to help you out throughout the game would be amazing.

In the long run the multiplayer is always the key factor to keep a game like this alive and fun, usually the “solo-players” are doing a couple characters and then waiting for the next content to come up. Diablo 2 wouldn’t be a so active game nowadays if the online multiplayer wasn’t there, and it was initally designed to go even further into the multiplayer experience. I think there’s nothing to fear about to put some effort into the developpement of the multiplayer, it cannot be a bad choice anyway. In the same vein I’m for an open PvP allowing people to party against together and figthing each other freely in the world, but that’s another topic although linked to the players per party question.