"wrote:And like you I believe that there has to be an advantage for groups because otherwise no one would play in groups.
I've seen this repeated so many times and it seems like a really strong assumption to be making.
The implication is that the only reason to play the game is to accrue in-game wealth or characters as fast as possible and all other reasons are discarded. Fun is discarded; being friendly is discarded.
Even if playing in a party was sub-optimal, party play is still a fun thing to do and people will do it solely for that reason.
re: party map v solo map, the best suggestion I've seen is to have a button on the map device that regenerates the same map that was cleared but keeps the same number of portals. This means a solo player that uses one portal per map gets 6 maps per map; a duo gets 3 maps per map; a group of 6 gets 1 map per map. It also handsomely rewards not dying (and thus not losing portals) and it leaves the economic argument (number of portals tied to amount of loot you can possible haul back) alone. It still has its own problems (groups of 4 and 5 are biased against, exp tuning would either be broken in maps or in story), but it's a start.
re: exp gear, just remove it. Ideally remove mf as well because both are meta-gamey bullshit mods, but they're never going to do it. (At least IIR/IIQ was removed from the tree, the IIQ gem/gear IIQ was removed or nearly removed, and values of IIR have been heavily decreased over the last few years.)
re: auras, they should be self-affecting by default and people should have to go out of their way to make them affect allies, much like Conduit. Generosity should be inverted, basically. As for reservation in general, it would be fun to experiment with auras only ever reserving life or being some other "painful" trade, because giving up mana is fucking nothing. "Auras reserve off of max resists." :P