There's a point between "World of Warcraft difficulty" and "Gates of Discord" Vext/Tipt era difficulty that's a fine line to balance and often subjective numerically. I have played and completed Gates of Discord in both group content and raid content during the time when it was live. It was brutal to the casual player base, and as a cleric in Kod'taz I'd get tells all the time about not having a flag or something and "needing to go help a guildie." Problem isn't the first five guildmates, it's the next 15 of them on a mission that took a few hours to do each time. That was "bad design." You mean Lceanium and Frontier Mountains or Shard's Landing. Those are entry level zones that provide relative challenges without necessarily undermining the sense of challenge. Frontier Mountains is the best designed zone for the mid point of an expansion because it takes out a lot of drawbacks in the system of Everquest by stripping out time sinks and focusing directly on the mission and storylines with great and interesting rewards and fun quests. Scorched Woods progression is hated because of the amount of faction switching, it's a time sink and relative to the time sink there's not much of a reward. It's also not like you're really choosing sides, you switch sides during the storyline as needed. Faction in Everquest is best done what it was like in Velious. You had three factions, and each faction offered different content and new benefits. I would argue, though, that Velious faction took too long to build up and should have been made swifter to swap around. The least restrictive was the Plane of War factioning where mobs gave faction and the tokens and quests for faction were there too.The faction went one way and that was it. I just don't like "faction dancing" and the time requirements it takes to accomplish that. There's no real challenge in it and detracts away from the sense of adventure and scale. Skyfire is known as "Skyfail" because of the drakes are out of combat range for people to attack and the AE effects do not allow for people to drill in one area and must move constantly. In a game where "camping" is ordinary in static zones by design this is bad design by forcing players to do what they don't want to do and aren't accustomed to doing. It is essentially fighting human nature. Now, Overthere is good however the nameds again are overtuned relative to difficulty as there is a large jump between Frontier Mountain and Overthere for content. Veeshan's Peak is a well designed zone, because well it's supposed to be Veeshan's Peak the end game and end goal for Ring of Scale expansion. We have fought with the Combine Empire and now we must face Talendor in the 12 man group mission to ensure peace for the rise of the New Combine Empire. Tsaph is our buddy, we know this character and we fought along aside him. We also have some really awesome quests to do and what not. It's difficult, because it is the end game and it is the end of the story. Stratos, however, isn't "end game." It is the beginning of a new tale, and some people haven't finished the original story in Veeshan's Peak and do not have Veeshan Peak gear. They lived in easier content and skipped over "group end game." This is any fault of ours? Not really, but that's just reasons. People want a place like Lceanium, Frontier Mountains, or to a lesser extent Overthere. There's a segment of the player base that only does certain zones. And that's the vast majority of them. As a raider, I also do not want every single mission to be hard as nails once it's been solved. I do not want to spend 4 hours of an evening doing one single mission and having to do that mission for everyone, their dog, their cat, their whatever. Gradually scaling up difficulty overtime then when you hit end game it "feels like end game." If you want a feel for this play through Velious in the old era or The Serpent Spine expansion. You see a really interesting "feel" for the game. You know in Great Divide there's a war going on from day one, but it's not until you see the Avatar of War and the Ring War what's really going on. Now for the Dragons, when you see North Temple of Veeshan you know that's really end game. When you awaken the Sleeper you know you just beat Velious. It's that feel for the game and sense of scale that's missing when you make Tier one too hard. Not everyone did the Coldain quest lines or beat the raid mobs, but eventually even years later people still do the 10 Rings War because it's fun. Now do people do Skyfire for fine? Not really, they just rush around and try to move around and dodge the worst of it. The Parrot Aug is something people still do. Yes it's a long quest, but people still have done it. Those are what attracts people back to old content, however I just don't see people running back doing Vext/Tipt for the memories. To be honest, I don't even see people doing Breakdown in Communications anymore, either. COTF had some well designed zones such as Dead Hills, while they were nerfed people still do them. We need Dead Hills and the Frontier Mountains of the game, people just want to have fun and don't want to feel the frustration that goes with "hardcore gaming." I'm a full advocate for Veeshan Peak zones, but we cannot have an expansion like that. I played in the Veeshan's Peak expansion, and Gates of Discord wasn't something people like in general. Out of the entire expansion for myself, I only enjoyed Kod'taz. That's it, and I've completed BiC and the raid content. I far preferred Citadel of Anguish for raid content, and far preferred the scaling difficulty and various radial artistic design for Omens of War, the epic 2.0's, and especially what I consider the most beautiful zone in the game Riftseekers Sanctum. Trials of Smoke are Plane of Justice trials all over again with a better rewards system, but again those bottle necks and such have to be watched. I mean really watched, people don't like being stuck at the beginning while their friends are doing the "cool stuff." I watched that with Kod'taz and it just divides people. I watched that with Plane of Justice. It just divides people. I remember a shaman who did Plane of Justice for a number of weeks just brutally failed, until the top guild on the server just took her through. It was nice of them to do, but in all honesty it was something that should not have been necessary. I really don't want to see Plane of Justice divide the community again, nor have Vxed/Tipt again ever as a raider. I don't play the game to repeat the same content over and over. I play to progress myself and have the different aspects of my play style appealed to. Yes, I love Veeshan's Peak, but I don't want to go to Veeshan's Peak everyday.