Back in the older days, there were a lot of fellowship quests. Casual players found it hard, or didn't have enough time, to find a group to complete those, so the call for more solo-friendly content came. Turbine listened, and made a lot of parts easier. The point however is that player skills were often designed for group play, players didnt get to use them as much in solo play, which in turn has as result players can get to higher levels, gaining skills over time, without actually getting to appreciate the value of those skills. As of RoR, leveling to 85 was more of a grind than a challenge, and a lot of skills are hardly required. Since many players had skills, they would never use in a solo-designed context, they became useless for the majority of the players. This in turn was a motivation for the class changes, which removed a lot of utility from a lot of classes.
However, would it really be necessary to remove useful utility skills and complexity from the game? I don't think so, difficulty is mainly perceived based on the player's skill, so if you want to keep complexity without players complaining, you have to get some progression in actual player skill, there are several ways to do this:
- Clear descriptions for systems, the mechanics of the game should not be a secret, or hard to figure out. This has actually improved, but it can get an extra step.
- Provide tutorial info in a more subtle way, those pop-up boxes generally either distract or get clicked away, use npcs to explain something, put them in quest dialogs as well.
- Useful, clear tutorials (important, allow an OPT-OUT) of more advanced techniques.
Make a tutorial instance for LMs after they get blinding flash which teaches players to daze-lock mobs, this can be really easily done by something like:
Create 2 circles (A and B) with 5m radius, put a (signature?) mob in each of them (mobA and mobB, and the player in one of them (A)). Than require the player to kill mobA before mobB and keep mobB in it's circle. With a clear explanation about the strategy of daze-locking.
Another tutorial can learn players about kiting (useful for any class I'd say), probably something like kill mobA that is 40% slowed without getting hit at all (it'd only work well on a ranged class really, but you get what I mean), again with an explanation.
Besides tutorial instances, there could also be some regular quests with tutorial elements, like a NPC asking a LM to debuff a certain mob.
Of course there shouldn't be tutorials for everything, but I'm sure it'll make the game easier for players without actually reducing complexity and difficulty at all, in fact, it might actually be possible to ramp it up in several places. Careful and good placement of good tutorials (short and simple, shouldn't take much more than a minute to explain a technique), could direct casual players to a higher point of skill, allowing a nice progression in actual difficulty.