As a 98% Solo Demon Hunter player, I am disheartened by the current state of the Leaderboards. When I originally wrote this post, I decided to check the Season 11 Leaderboard to see where I might fit in, and I was astounded to see that the number one spot was a GR102 at a little less than 15 minutes, and the player was at P2941! I was even more astounded that the Season 10 #1 DH was GR104 at 11:11, and the player was P3083! I would have had to do a GR87 at less than 14:13 just to get on the board at #1000.
At Season 16, the number one Demon Hunter was at GR128 at 14:29, and the player was at P4799! I would have to do a GR115 at better than 13:12 just to get on the board at #1000.
Today the normal nonseasonal Demon Hunter is at GR134 at 13:32 at P9155. I would have to do a GR117 at a little under 13:17 in order to get on the board at #1000. The Seasonal Hard-core Demon Hunter is at GR120 at 14:11 at P1730. Now, P1730 wouldn’t be all that remarkable, except that the season has only been going for exactly 3 weeks. What is remarkable is that this player has a Bane of the Stricken at rank 120, a Bane of the Trapped at rank 126, and a Legacy of Dreams at rank 99 (the max).
It’s fairly obvious that this player and many, many others at the upper end of the completely laughable “solo” leaderboards developed their characters 100% in group play. There is nothing about any of the player characters at the top of the leaderboard that suggests anything about “Solo” achievement.
The situation brings up two issues: the need for a dedicated Solo only mode, and the need for Leaderboard divisions.
Solo Only Mode
Solo only would require a selection box on character creation, which would limit the character’s interaction with other characters in the same way that normal Seasonal characters cannot play with Hardcore non-Seasonal characters, and Seasonal Hardcore characters cannot play with normal Seasonal characters, etc… The Solo character wouldn’t be able to play with anyone else, ever.
If we have a dedicated Solo character, then there must be a Solo Leaderboard where these characters can rank against each other, and not against “Solo” characters who have been developed in a four-man meta-group with Paragon levels in the thousands, and Legendary gem ranks in the hundreds. Solo characters would be compared only to other Solo characters, so players could get an idea of how their characters are actually performing. Non-Solo characters would never be able to place on the Solo Only Leaderboard, even if they play solo and achieve a higher clear than the top Solo Only player.
As the game progresses, and more and more players are reaching into the 1000-5000 Paragon range, new and casual players simply have no chance of ever seeing their names in the top 1000.
The solution is the creation of 9 more Leaderboards (for a total of ten), each with 1000 places, and their separation by Paragon level. For example:
3001 and up
Each player earning a place on the Leaderboard would keep that place, even after moving up to the next Division, until they are bumped off the end of the list by upcoming players.
The beauty of this system is that a player cannot play the game without earning experience points, and thus earning Paragon levels. There is no way any player could artificially dominate a Leaderboard in any Division, because once they moved past that Division, there would be no way they could go back and compete in lower Divisions.
It is conceivable that a single player could appear on all ten Leaderboards, and it is possible that the number one spot would never be replaced if no other player could achieve that level of performance at that particular Paragon level. But everybody playing in that Division would have a chance to.
There is only one way to satisfy the original concept and implementation of Leaderboards; there must be a Solo only mode of play, and there must be Leaderboard Divisions in which players of similar level and power can compete against each other.