Sorry if i was unclear, i was reffering to the ability to gain any SP while grouped as a caster. While soloing sp gain still occurs as often as before hitting 20, while partied SP gain was non-existent. Both leve and general mob hunting. I did say leve's but i was refferign to both. Should wait for coffee to kick in.
As far as gaining the same amount of sp (frequency wise) partied i don't see how that's possible for casters. Mobs die before you can finish two casts. In most cases you can barely do one cast. Having a fight that lasts longer is such a rarrety in a group of 4 or more it's wierd. Thats fighting reds and oranges.
I'm not saying that's the case for mele classes, as i don't know. Conj/Thaum... party = significantly reduced sp gain in parties.
I was in a 4 member party yesturday for a little over 2 hours. In that time frame i gained 30 sp total as a conjurer, the Pug leveled and was close to next level. I was the only caster so i had no good reference if it was my play style.
Oh man... That is horrible. I'm really sorry to hear that. I think, however, it was probably a case of poor mob choices. For a point of reference, however:
I only do three offensive moves in party as a THM - "Magic Missile", 1000 TP MP Regen attack (Pick whichever you like), and MP Siphon to get MP back. I basically just spam the default dart attack (Which I affectionately refer to as magic missile) as a mage. Casting bigger spells isn't generally worth it to me, due in part to what you mentioned. This could be a flaw in the mechanics of casters, who knows.
I then cast Sacrifice as needed, refresh Stygian Spikes (When I remember), and since I leveled CON to 16, I always keep Protect (and Shell depending on mobs) up. It's worth noting that as a mage, Cure/Sacrifice and buffs do actually give you SP. And you have a chance to get SP for each person you cast on (Including yourself) when in a party AND
a monster is engaged (red name).
So a good chunk of SP is gained through buffs/heals, but generally most SP is still gained through dart spamming and TP move usage. When I party up with my linkshell, we target monsters that provide a decent amount of challenge, so they don't die too fast, and there's plenty of times to get in hits as a THM, since the big melee generally know not to use their biggest, baddest moves. We're not trying to kill monsters in record time, we're trying to get acceptable SP/hour. Melee may get more SP than mages, I won't argue that. I've not really compared those numbers. But you definitely should be getting more than just 30 SP over the spam of an entire exp session on a mage. Just try targetting harder monsters, I guess, or tell your other melee to use weaker moves. More damage does not = more SP. Now TP moves probably give more SP on average than the default attack (But I think it's based upon the fact it's a TP move, and not the damage it does), but that doesn't mean they need to stack all their buffs before using it to try and take off 50% of the monster's life. hehe
Hope that helps. I feel for yah. I think there's a lot of growing pains we're experiencing with the new game and party dynamics, but I personally have experienced far greater success 20+ in parties than solo. I think parties are a lot more fun, too, if you find a good group of people to play with. I just wish crystal/shard drops increased with more members, like they did in FFXI. Sharing drops I can deal with, but shards are precious. Edited, Oct 8th 2010 10:18am by Ridere Edited, Oct 8th 2010 10:20am by Ridere