I am hearing very different opinions on how the new content has affected solo play, ranging from "totally unplayable - I die all the time" to "meh, no real change - some fights just take a little bit longer".
I have talked to a few players who claimed they had real issues and found one common factor. Now, I am absolutely not saying this is the only reason, or even that it is the biggest one, but it is something that is reasonably easy to fix in many cases.
The issue: Combat Advantage (CA) - both a failure to maintain CA against opponents and allowing them to have CA against you. Many newer players are simply not used to thinking about CA at all, and they cannot any longer get away with ignoring it. On the other hand, those who are "CA-aware" tend to have significantly fewer issues.
Your CA against opponents
I used to pretty much ignore CA in my own solo play. I primarily play a Cleric, which has no class-specific way to obtain CA, so I just ignored it altogether - I ran with an augment companion and did not put anything into CA - in fact, I specifically avoided gear giving CA for my "solo play" loadout, which used to work just fine.
It no longer works for me, and, I suspect, many others. Today, maintaining CA against opponents in solo play is a key factor in killing them fast enough - after all, a dead enemy cannot hurt you, right ?
- So, augments companions are out....combat companions are in, and you need to rely on them for CA.
- I can either use a companion like the Black Death Scorpion which grants CA, or one of the high-DPS companions, but then I have to use positioning to have CA against opponents. Just do whatever works for you, just maintain CA.
- I need to rearrange gear to have sufficient CA ratings in solo play, but that means I can now for example use the same companion gear items as I previously used in my "group" loadout, as those pieces actually provide CA.
One reason many have problems in solo play is that they are still running with an augment companion, so they never have CA against the opponents....something which has now become an issue. Or, they may be using a summoned combat companion, but are not giving sufficient thought to positioning so they don't actually have CA, or their CA stat is too low so the benefit from having CA does not help as much as it should.
Opponents having CA against you
This is the killer issue for many...the "I get swarmed by zombies" problem. People used to not have to think about opponents having CA against them....just rush at the nearest group of enemies and kill them.
Well, it doesn't work any more. People need to be more careful about not letting enemies get CA against them...and that will probably reduce the damage they receive more than any other single factor. Now, this is easier for some classes than others. Powerful ranged attacks can take down some enemies from a distance, reducing the number that reaches you, but it is harder for those who rely on close melee combat.
For those, well, getting backed up into a corner is not necessarily a bad thing.
In other words, you need to practice using the environment to your benefit, to prevent enemies having CA against you and to limit the number that can reach you at any given time.....keep repositioning.
No, this will absolutely not solve all the problems for everyone, but it does make a big difference.