There is a huge portion of the Oberin map that players are unable to access because it is too difficult. Places like the Marali dungeon which has never been fully cleared. The last two tower hunts I went on wiped as well, and I don't think there has been a visit to skull to see if the black rose quest changed since the update months ago.
Even if we do get a new client, which I hope we do, it won't solve all the player problems. 2007 was around the peak of Oberin and players leaving had nothing to do with the client.
While I appreciate all the work that has gone into Oberin. Certain classes have needed work for years (rangers, wizards, and clerics imo). For example I have played since 2007 and there have been no changes to the cleric class during that time. Currently the game is balanced towards fighters/clerics with all other classes just being 'extra' in higher level play. It is because Oberin doesn't really have a damage class, just healer/tank.
One thing that keeps players away is being pressured to play a certain character. I know several high level clerics who no longer play because this reason.
In summary either certain dungeons need to be toned down or players will have to be beefed up to rely less on others and the fighter/cleric duo. Stronger players won't make it any harder for GMs to do RTQs because they will just spawn stronger creatures.
Some parts of this I agree with; others I don't really. I think that back in '09 and '10 when players really begun to leave in droves, there were certain issues regarding an ever-staling game that suffered from the issue of having too little GM - player interaction (and probably a few issues in both player-bases that don't really warrant going into right now). Players begun to leave - but Obie has its own special charms and many people came back eventually... only to find that the client itself was at the point where you needed this silly old thing called 'sheepshaver' to play it. In most cases, Sheepshaver added unnecessary lag to a game that already had a few issues with it and thus made it very hard to play, which turned off many veteran players from the game they had once loved. So while I agree the client going out of date wasn't what made people leave, I think it had a major part in ensuring both new players wouldn't join the game and old players wouldn't return.
Oberin's mechanics have issues. No-one's afraid to admit this, granted. Exponential successes to level (if we wanted emphasis on low levels and the whole "the highest level in our game is only 17", there are better ways to create such a system. The system must be slightly easier at the very least, and way more benefits need to be conferred at each level so the player feels his/her work is being justly rewarded), class issues in particular areas and less rewards/focus on higher levels, their challenges and rewards (so like, what benefits do you get at level 14 magery/cleric? And what do you go out for other than Dragons, Golems and Liches past level 12/13?). But with all this, we now have a rather dedicated dev and GM team that are working on fixing many of these issues. We shouldn't advertise Oberin by calling out to everyone and saying "Hey look, our skills are super buffed! Now's the time to come and play!" Rather, we should advertise Oberin by telling people that many of our mechanics are under scrutiny by both the GMs and the community, working together to ensure a more balanced game. That eliminates the need to take away all the buffs of each player class when people actually DO come back to the game.
And on that note, people need to stop treating Oberin like it's dying. That frustrates me quite a bit. Right now, we are so close, we are on the verge of being able to rejuvinate a game we all love and know is one of the most unique and special games on the planet. We are so close, and we need everyone to believe. The more we can do that,. the more chance Oberin won't tire out right before the finish line, the more chance people will stop and be like "hey I remember that game! It's still going? Maybe I should see what's happening!" The more chance we can get people like my brother Lei and plenty of other vets back into the game. I'm not necessarily saying that you're making it out like Obie is on its last legs so much as i'm saying that we shouldn't be trying to find temporary solutions to a game that will need to fix them when it does come back to the fore, or else the ideas look like they're just last hurrahs.
But I digress. In answer to your point, I think the mistake we're making here is that players are nerfed and need to be buffed. I think that's too much of a generalisation and will just lead to inflated versions of the same issues. What we need to do is think about what we want each class to be or rather, what weaknesses lie in the classes and allow more people to branch out and fill more roles with each class. I think the druid class is an awesome example of what i'm thinking. Druids used to have the issue of being incredible the incredible solo class in a game where solo-ing wasn't encouraged. They suffered heavily in groups and in dungeons until level 9 when they got a tusker and even then they were very limited in their role, and only optional. Regardless, they were overpowered in the wild, but no druid really wanted this and preferred the more common dungeon delves. So what the GMs did was give druids the bears, which allowed druids the same solo capabilities whilst allowing them to fill more roles in the dungeon. The bear was the perfect mix of damage and tankiness, giving the druids a hybrid option to allow them to fulfill a more solid role in the dungeon and come to par with wizards whilst allowing them some share in the tank role through their pet. Druids were further buffed to this end with the new magery spells that allowed the shapeshifting into Dracos, which meant druids could then join their pet and be an extra tank when there was nothing to be crowd control for. As a result, I personally druids are very, VERY close to where they need to be generally in the game. Taming needs a few more higher level creatures as an incentive to level it and alchemy needs more varied potions, and then I think druids are pretty much done for the time being.
If we look at the roles of each class and where they fall down, it becomes easier to think of precise and valid solutions to fix their issues. perhaps druids DO need Dracos, I don't really know. But we need to make sure when we're buffing classes that it adds to them in some way rather than just making them marginally more fun to play for a little while before once again turning to their weaknesses and saying, "gee, I really wish they'd allow us to do THIS instead."
So for some of these changes, I would say they're very appropriate. I think clerics should have a better TU or something to allow them to feel like they're crucial damage dealers in particular areas because I believe that's something the cleric class would benefit from and make them more fun to play as. I also think mana for many spells needs to be tweaked (not sure about a general lessening of mana cost but definitely tweaking for some spells). Other changes I think don't fix the problem those classes have and wouldn't really add anything except "oh look a buff! I'm still useless in groups though."
But yeah, that's my thought process atm. Lei and I are considering a future in game design and mechanics are something we have a bit of experience with as competitive gamers. We have a lot of experience with MMOs, so if the GMs are interested I think we might brainstorm and post something ourselves as well to verify what we're talking about.
But I like your thought processes Varto, and i'd like to brainstorm stuff with you at some point as well.