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Theodum
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re: Playing on your own Part 1 - general thoughts

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General thoughts

This thread is the result of a chat with one of my members who isn't playing currently. He tends to play WoW and other games mainly on his own and felt that PFO just doesn't allow him to enjoy it because it doesn't allow solo play.

This got me thinking. The game will lose a lot if we have no solo players. I'm playing 95% of the time 'solo' - so why is there a problem for other people?

Maybe the issue is that there is a difference between playing on your own and solo play.

Playing on your own is possible in PFO and can be rewarding. But playing on your own might need adaption to games designed for solo play.

So first start what I mean by 'solo play' - I already started using the phrase playing on your own instead. I mean that you log in on your own without mumble or teamchat and enjoy the game.

A lot of potential players seem to struggle with how to play on your own in PFO - and that lets them reject the game. I mentioned already a member of the Emerald Lodge telling me that he tried the game, couldn't play meaningful on his own - and therefore wouldn't start until much later as EE. So I thought to enable a functional Emerald Lodge I needed to do something for these players - before I lose them. And I'm sharing my thoughts here as the overall community will be better off if we don't chase away these players.

There are several hurdles to overcome if you play on your own. The main reason in my view to reject playing on your own result from a few generic topics

1) The game is deliberately complex to allow years of gaming
2) The game is designed for settlements and not for solo play
3) The game is still in development

So let us look into ways how to play different roles solo in a rewarding way - and which hurdles you need to overcome to do so.

General hurdle for all roles - knowing how to play the game

This is a new game. It is a complex game. I often compare the crafting and other advancement trees to Civilization. In a way this is good - as it offers a large interdependent game play - but right now it is confusing for a beginner as you start without a map of the tree - in alpha the tree sometimes changed, some information isn't available inside the game itself yet (common vs uncommon) so you have to reply on external spreadsheets - and these sometimes can be out of date.
And you have to add to this some non-intuitive ways how everything is named / works. Like learning feats to go up levels in fighter/wizard/rogue or cleric or having to equip a staff/wand to be able to cast spells, needing the right equipment so that a feat actually is doing anything - or the other way round - having +3 equipment but lacking the feats so it isn't doing anything better as a +1.

So learning the game is an investment. Just logging on and learning by playing is a sure recipe to be frustrated with the game. GW has been adding tutorials, there is more and more information available online - like Cheatles guide or the PFO Wiki. And it helps to follow the links in the start-up screen. And ASK - there are many helpful players out there and there is a plan to have a help channel in the game. I died uncounted times while running from a to b and giving advice to players in the chat - and running into large groups of monsters doing so.

But as a player who wants to play mainly on your own you have to accept that this game is not yet in a place where you pick it up, log in and enjoy playing. There is a huge learning curve - even if you played many other games before. Or maybe especially if you played many other games before.

The game is designed for settlements - not for solo play

This is the most important part to understand in playing on your own. The game is deliberately designed so you will never be self-sufficient - even with a destiny twin or multiple accounts.
But there are still a lot of ways how to play in a meaningful way on your own - with on your own I mean 95% on your own. Occasionally you will have to interact. Ideally by aligning yourself with a settlement. How much you will be able to do on your own and how much you depend on others will depend on the role you chose. This will be investigated in later posts.

The game is still in development

This can be good or bad for someone playing on his own. You can see this as giving added meaning as you can influence where it is going. But it also might mean that you are caught flat footed by some changes if you don't spend hours at forums and always read the blod.
People caught out overloaded when encumbrance was switched on is one such example.

Roles:
The amount you are able to play on your own also depends a lot on your role. Do you want to play gatherer, crafter, PvE fighter, PvP fighter, trader or another role.
I have started to write about the gatherer but realized I didn't finish the write up. So I felt I start with this post and then dedicate further threads to individual roles.
Explaining what is possible, what to look out for and how best adapt in PFO to have a meaningful game.
I plan to post these whenever I manage to finish them.

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