Hey there, glad to see someone willing to give some punch to MP
The reason I stopped Synelite is the same reason why I wouldn't be able to start it again : lack of time. Plus Rollcage comes first.
However, I'd be glad to join a couple of games.
As for some recommendations, I'd say that this needs to be organized, or you won't have anyone joining you, considering how scattered MP is right now.
I originally went for the solution of steam group, because :
- You can see who is online, and possibly invite them in the group chat in the beginning, or chat with them directly (this feature is possible as long as the group does not exceed 50 members)
- You can set up steam events, which display a "popup"
- You can have people commenting and stuff
You don't have to use a steam group, but you should use something nevertheless to actually gather people in a global chat independent of Torchlight 2 (IRC, Mumble, Teamspeak, Discord, ...). If you don't, well you will have no way to know if that guy has a problem with the game or if he's actually afk, etc..
Right now I'd say discord is nicer than steam, because it's really a chat, with permanent messages. Unlike steam where you have to go on the group's page and comment on it to have the same effect. Or go in the group chat.. But if no one else than you is in there, it just feels empty.
About what should you play, a few remarks :
- Allowing other contents than Synergies is fine as long as you make it clear what this content should be. Otherwise, you will end up with everyone proposing his set of mods and it will be chaos.
- About which character to play, if you just say "take any character you want", one guy will arrive with his lvl 100, will ask people to play with him, and everyone who has a lvl 100 will join him, except the 1 dude who is beginner and don't have one yet. At which point you will have to decide, either you ask every lvl 100 guy to switch to a new character, or you leave the dude alone. Or you split. That was why I was doing a fresh run from lvl 1.
- But the problem with the lvl 1 thing, is that you really need to lock that character for these sessions. And as you have noticed, it goes very slowly then, and people gets bored out of it. So yeah if I had to recreate Synelite, I guess I would allow any character, so that people are free to continue them afterwards.
And about meetings vs no meeting - the no meeting works if you have a great playerbase. But if you have say 5 people in the group, you have very little chance that you happen to be willing to play TL2 at the same time.. On another hand, if you have meeting days on a particular hour, people are most likely to "block" these hours to be present in it.
You don't have to do only "meetings" though - ideally, if you choose for example discord, if you see someone else being online, you could ask him "yo man up for some tl2 ?".
But this will require a good bit of involvements for whoever is willing to do this. Once stuff are settled, it might work without the original creator - or might not :P (Synelite example : we had games for like 2-3 months, and then I could not attend to it anymore. Even though I had given instructions here and there to continue without me, no one was actually doing it. And I couldn't continue hosting the game every Fridays). But it definitely needs the creator of the group to be present in the first organized games.
Eventually, if you manage to make people use their microphone on Discord (or whatever you choose), this will create bonds between the players, which will be then more willing to join (not because of the game anymore, but just because of plain friendship). That's what happened with the Rollcage group (and I would have liked the same to have been achieved with the Synelite group..)
PS : PrimetimeUTK, weren't you the guy spanwing thousands of meteors with your wand build ? :P