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I've been gone since April, and I'm looking for a broad overview of the most significant changes, and maybe some suggestions for new things to try out that weren't possible back when I played (or heads up on anything I ought to be trying to get before open beta ends or the like). So basically, what's happened in the last half year?
For the most part I'm looking forward to what I read in the manifesto, however it seems like it danced around the issues with solo/party balance. There've been continual requests for a /players function for ages now, yet rather than addressing the drastic imbalance in how effective it is to party versus solo, you've suggested that the imbalance will grow greater.

For my part, as a mostly solo player I don't mind that I have it harder. However, I do want to have an equal chance to get loot. One of the problems here is that from a party perspective, players are not simply going to snap up random loot. A coherent party is going to arrange for useful loot to go to the player that can use it, which means that there's a far, far larger amount of immediate upgrades in a party, and the number grows with the size.

You obviously can't account for players cooperating in the rule sets, but you can permit solo players to choose to play against party benefits/issues. It'll still leave things in favor of parties, but at least it'll be a step forward.

On another topic, I will say I'm glad to hear that melee is getting buffed rather than ranger nerfed. However, I'd prefer to have a developer manifesto on what goes into your decisions about, 'balance'.
I have other feedback, but for now I'll simply take the time to mention the one thing that I consider most important, as I haven't been playing lately (feels pointless, I can't participate in enough races to win the ring).

Make race times flexible

Simply put, in the case of small solo races, there's no real reason not to simply let people run them whenever they want in a 24 hour period. This way you could say have a small one hour race every day, and if someone had a spare hour at any point, they could participate.