Alright, so maybe the cutesy titles are doing nothing more than dating me… Jimi FTW!
There is a point of course. I just ran across a great post in the forums describing the mechanics of group/solo experience in LotRO. Read about it here. Kudos to Monika and friends for doing the hardwork. I haven’t tested it, but it feels right as I’ve alluded to this impact before. Coupled with the quest heavy balance of experience, it explains the catch-up phenomenon I was beginning to notice.
There are a couple of good take-aways from the post which should help explain the system and dispell some misconceptions about the whole solo/assist/group allocation of experience:
- First, grouping multiplicatively increases the group bonus, so solo exp bonus = 1, a party of two = 1.2, party of four = 1.73, etc.
- Second, an individual party member’s share of mob kill experience is independently based on that character’s baseline experience for that mob, regardless of the level of groupmates. So, if a level 10 would have gotten 50 xp solo and is grouped with a level 40 who would have gotten 2 xp solo for the same mob, as a group, the level 10 would receive 30 xp (50 x 1.2 / 2) while the level 40 would receive 1 xp (2 x 1.2 / 2).
This leads to a few interesting ramifications (which I quote):
- There is no penalty whatsoever to any player in a fellowship based on the “level spread” of the fellowship. Your adjusted exp is not dependent on anyone else’s level!!! Higher-level players in the fellowship do NOT somehow “steal” exp from the lower-level players in the fellowship!!! Drive those points home and spread it around because it’s the Number One misconception that most players have at the moment, and it’s preventing PUGs and even many kinships from grouping together more often.
- The only “penalty” that exists is based on how many players are in your group, and even that is a somewhat false penalty. In fact, the more players in your group the more raw exp you are all bringing in over time. This is because of the multiplicative nature of the group exp bonus. For example, assume that your baseline solo exp is 100 exp for a mob that you can kill in 30 seconds. If adding a second player to your group enables you to kill two of those mobs in 30 seconds, your exp flow over those 30 seconds is 20% better (60 * 2 = 120 adjusted exp). If adding a third player to your group enables you to kill three of those mobs in 30 seconds, your exp flow is now 44% better (48 *3 = 144 adjusted exp). And so on.
- Of course, there is a practical point of diminishing returns for how much faster a larger group can kill things. In reality, 6 people are not going to kill mobs at 6x the normal solo rate, but even if an entire group of 6 can kill mobs only 3x as fast as you can solo those same mobs, then you’re still WAY ahead in terms of exp flow. For example, 6 of you kill a mob that normally yields 100 baseline solo exp. Your adjusted exp for the kill is 41 points ((100 * 2.49) / 6), so killing 3 of those mobs yields 123 adjusted exp for you. That’s 23% better exp flow than you could do by yourself.
This allays some of my fears about overlevelling friends who have a different play budget that I do.
Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about based on all too familiar RL facts:
A group of friends regularly plays together and is dedicated to keeping a character at about the group’s same level. Lets say they are all level 20 when one member gets the flu or has to travel out of town, etc. and misses a regular group session or two.
If the non-absent players keep rolling, they might add a level or two depending on how productive they are in the interim. When the absent player returns, he can rejoin the group and, if the group is engaging at-level content (L22 content or accessible to L22 groups, over level with respect to the L20), the returned absentee will actually receive proportionately greater experience than the other group mates because of the higher base level xp he would earn.
If the L22s are receiving 100 xp per kill in the group, the L20 will receive more than that, depending on the mob (regular or elite, etc.) maybe 10 or 20% more. With experience required to level increasing at each subsequent level, the laggard can actually make progress catching up playing the same content. If they are questing at a higher level, the lowbie will also receive a greater quest experience reward for quests that might be white, yellow, orange or red to him when they are merely light blue, white, yellow, etc. to the L22s). More opportunity to close the gap as long as you can keep people on the same stage of a quest.
Add on rested experience bonus and the lower level character may have more runway to do it too than the rest of the group. Add on to that the fact you can use destiny points to purchase additional rested bonus time and you might actually have a levelizer (within reason) to keep close groups together and more importantly to encourage and not penalize grouping across a level spread.
For those of us that like to help out our friends and like to play together, this is good.