How about a training mode instead of easy mode/nerfs

There are already talks of balancing around the game difficulty, as a solo player on US West (OCE player) I think a proper solution, one that would set the bar for the rest of the industry isn’t reducing difficulty, or tweaking rewards but educating the player and showing them that overcoming something difficult that actually caused practice/thought is key.

—Back Story about my experience—

I Joined a guild at level 30 right at launch, there was talk of doing endgame content together, a week later I’d started to take the lead in gear score, to the point that I got to 1000 while the next person was only just into t2 and the rest of the guild was still mid to low T1.

Yet even the lower T1 players were not completing content together, I had to resort to matchmaking. My experience so far has been mixed… What really bothers me isn’t the fact that you’re bound to get a mix of player skill levels, it’s the barren chat. I always say hello, 99% falls on deaf ears. I try to even joke or do something different to wake them up and either they never check chat or just don’t want to communicate.

The best group I had was in Gate of Paradise, we wiped a few times, but a few members who knew the fight took the time to explain it to the players who kept getting caught out, which I’m fine with, personally I take the time to do a quick read to check for one shot mechanics etc, or depending on fight style (I struggle with fast bosses as a Art) I’ll do more research to make sure I can land some decent shots.

—The problem at its core—

It’s a lack of understanding, a lack of communication, vets can get hot under the collar after having to bail on X group for the day when all they want to do is clear it, while newer players are afraid to put their hand up and ask for some time to learn the boss. I personally always let the group know, This is my first attempt, I feel confident.

The big one is lack of time. Players want to progress but given the chance to go and learn some prefer to avoid spoilers and want to have a crack at it themselves which I 100% support…

meta gaming is a form of cheating that the mmo community has made part and parcel, rather then learn how the puzzle works, i.e. your class and how to play it optimally, the go to method is to look at a build guide that often is delivered in a quick to digest manner that i’ll suits learning the intricacies of said class, it’s like buying a puzzle just to come home and what someone on youtube do it piece by piece. Because being competitive and getting the job done is valued higher than learning and improving based on your own personal skill level.

— Solution—

Now in a perfect world the community would step up, however as a long term problem with the genre as a whole and gaming in general I think the devs have a perfect opportunity to show players the real reward.

Enter Training mode. Keep the difficulties as they are now, the way they are balanced are for a reason, Smilegate knows X boss will take X long for the average group etc to tackle. Rather than simply do what every other mmo does and add an easy mode that just begs players to fire up netflix for some easy dailies/weekly progression reward the player for improving and paying attention… Almost always when these modes exist players don’t have a mode they can tackle easily, the player base just gets lazier, look at the horror show that was raid finder and the meme it became.
Let’s quickly make a boss called X, boss X has some armor the group needs to deal with, a few skills that can be interrupted, some fast dashes that can catch a player out and 2 or 3 one shot mechanics. In training mode one shot mechanics would be be removed, the boss would still use said move but instead of one shotting it would deal a fair amount of damage for such a mode, HOWEVER, it would also inform the player by flashing the character or any other number of ways in the intended mode they would be dead.

I’d also suggest dumbing down the damage, while also tracking what the player would have taken in the “normal/intended mode”.

You get the picture almost every mechanic could be addressed like this in some way. Dumb it down for easier learning but give feedback to the player on when they missed key points that can’t be missed.

Now take Guardian raids, you can do 2 a day, this training mode would let you do 3 or even 4 a day, those 3 would equal the rewards of 2 “normal mode” runs. This would be balanced based on time, i.e. if the normal mode takes an hour to down two Guardians with a decent team and one or two wipes then 3/4 easy modes would take roughly the same time.

At the end of the raid instead of giving a MVP, tell the player if they successfully avoided one shot mechanics and if not how many landed. Show the player if they avoided enough damage in general to survive or if they would of struggled, and lastly if they contributed enough to said fight, much like the suggested skill system that shows the % of players using what skill in what mode, players could be given feedback to how the faired vs players of the same class and gearscore/build.

Now I’d suggest a carrot, if the player passes everything, and beats the boss on normal mode, they will get the full rewards as if they completed it. Once this has been completed 4 times (2 times each day) to stop players being lazy and abusing an easier mode it locks or no longer offers the quick completion bonus.

Lastly when a player dies they are greeted with their body and a chance to watch their team mates, in a pre-made this is fine and fantastic way to cheer on those crazy moments when one or two players down the boss you have been struggling to down finally.

However in match making or if the option is ticked in the menu for pre mades, Id think a much more valuable feature would be playing a short video (like the class previews) that shows the bosses ability that just caught you out, if you really wanted to make sure players learn, slow it down and give hints, i.e. Player goatcheese just died to boss X from a rushing thrashing attack, have it play once, then play again slower, pausing with captions pointing out the tell, i.e. it might be a scorpion that while the attack is very quick it has a wind up which it telegraphs via arching its back and stretching out a split second before the aoe markers hit the ground to show its path.

While the last suggestion does mean a lot of work, a lot of youtubers do this for any content worthy, and even if it did take extra staff to make sure bosses were properly documented before a fight I’d say it would be well worth the investment not just for the player but for the dev as it would allow the player to enjoy and overcome the obstacle created by the devs.

Long post and sorry for the grammer, english isn’t my first lang… But I feel as a player who mostly solos content themselves rather then giving me a easy mode made for pugging with total randoms of different levels id get much more enjoyment out of a training mode I can go into and learn in an enviroment that rewards me improving over simply rewarding me because I pressed queue. Best part would be Id meet other players trying content for the first time and if we all passed it be the perfect opptunity to suggest tackling the “normal mode” together.