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After creating a new character and leveling it to 20, I've run into an issue that's been spoken of many times: high level players in low level zones. This may not seem like a problem, but it is when you consider things like world events and zone invasions. While they are set up to scale, to a point, they fall very short of their goal. A level 60 that is downgraded to 15 for a level 15 event will still always overpower the lower level. And that does not even take into consideration the armor bonuses and extra skills (like having all of your high-level heals while you are a much lower level).

The Problem

To give a bit of background, the most complained about part of most world events is that high level players will go to low level zones because the kills are easier. This includes requirements of taking down rifts and invasions, or even things like in Carnival of the Ascended where pinatas were destroyed.

In my own case, I've been running into this problem with the zone invasions. To have a bit of fun with a low level character, I felt like it'd be a fun experience to try leveling him only off of the zone invasions (taking down whatever is needed to complete it). I couldn't have been more wrong. Because they're too hard? Not at all. But because high level players destroy both the challenge and the desire to take part.

As a direct example, some of us were taking down a couple groups of elite invasions very carefully. It was going good, we were slowly progressing through them. This ended, however, when a level 50 came and one-hit everything with a single AoE and kept moving on. Once we got to the final boss of the invasion, he was slain by 3 people in under a minute. Not even long enough for other players to make their way near it.

The Attempted Fix

So far the biggest thing Trion has done to try and fix the problem of high level players in low level zones is to balance the health of the invasion mobs (including rifts). The idea was that as more players took part, the difficulty (health) would increase to help compensate for more players.

While this idea does help a bit on end-game zone invasions, it falls very, very short in the lower level ones, as we can easily see. This is because increasing health does nothing to hurt those who are doing too much damage. A mob going from 2k health to 10k doesn't make much of a difference if someone is constantly dealing over 1.5k DPS.

My Proposed Fix

My proposed fix is to take something that Age of Conan had. When a high level player went to attack a low level boss, the boss was dynamically increased in difficulty for that player. This included both its defense against the player, as well as the damage done to the player. A great way to help illustrate this is to take the following:

There are 2 players going against a single boss. The boss is level 10 and the players are level 10 and 50. The level 10 player's estimated incoming DPS is ~80 off a level 10 boss and the level 50's is ~400 off a level 50 boss. To normalize this, the boss, being level 10, would do ~80 DPS to the level 10 and ~400 to the level 50.

The same scenario above would also play out for damage done to the boss. So instead of the level 50 doing 1.5k DPS, it'd be doing 50 just like the level 10 does.

What this does is keep everything normalized so that no single player can steamroll easier content. Furthermore, this could be used against normal mobs and elites as well. This would allow lower levels to continue enjoying their content without a level 50 rushing in and killing everything in one hit.

Criticism

I have received a lot of criticism regarding what I think should be changed. This mostly stems from players that are causing the problems, but also leads in to those with alts wanting quicker progression for their other characters.

I completely understand where these players are coming from, but I really miss the way invasions and events used to feel. You used to get a nice rush. It was hectic sometimes when you would see a flood of elite mobs come in to a group of twenty or thirty players, and then a massive, exhilarating battle would take place, leaving dead bodies of both mobs and players spread out all over the place. Being able to take part in these fights, and reflect on them, has been one of the things that has kept me interested in Rift for so long. Once this enjoyment dies off, there is really nothing left to look forward to for me. I like the challenges, but even more so I enjoy working with large groups of players to try and overcome those challenges.

Raid instances, to a point, do still interest me, though not nearly as much as open world battles. This is because I believe highly in the concept of the “MMO,” and to me that means hundreds of players all working together on one field for a common goal. The Conquest system does somewhat help give this feeling, but being that it is end game content, you never really get to see new players.

What we need is invasions that, even as players get better geared, are still very difficult to take down. We need events that start up and completely take over zones if everyone is not taking part. We need a real reason to hang around and spend our time trying to achieve something, rather than just sitting there spamming a single key in the hopes that we may get something nice out of the loot bags.

Luckily, since Rift is going free to play, I am in the hopes that we will see a huge influx of new players. With this will likely come some new shards (servers), which, with any luck, players will not be able to transfer to. This will bring about a fresh new start to the world of Telara, and will once again allow me to experience what once upon a time really sucked me in to the game.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while I really enjoy the way invasions and such work, I had a lot more fun back when it would take an entire raid to take down a level 7-12 zone invasion boss. We actually had to work together, not sit around waiting for a level 50 to come and kill it within a few seconds. I've also seen the argument a lot against dungeons, where I feel this fix would also be extremely helpful.

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