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Reader Comments (6)

Posted: Jan 12th 2008 4:17PM (Unverified) said

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I live in Los Angeles. I get loads of opportunity to interact with a few million real live humans. I like having a chance to roam around by myself. It's one of the things I originally liked about Myst. I don't want to be forced to play well with others.

Posted: Jan 12th 2008 5:11PM Ayenn said

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I understand you are not intending to bash any one or anything. I don’t even perceive this attitude from your article. What i do see is a short sightedness on general commentary (not only from you) on the issue of grouping vs. soloing.

First, I am a predominantly solo oriented player. Additionally I am a leader of an active 200+ member guild. I value community and group effort. I value the group experience and the camaraderie it fosters. MMORPGs are about community, it is about the masses playing and working together. Community is what makes MMORPGs work and worth playing.

However, the thought of better drops or unfair advantages for people who group over the solo player upsets me. I agree that there should be benefits to grouping but the idea that grouping being made overtly superior to soloing is not something I feel I can condone.

The group experience should just be just that, a group experience. The combining of skills and abilities to be more effective than solo play. to be able to achieve the completion of more difficult tasks. Guilds should also be rewarded for working with one another, for being a guild.

The second thing I wish to mention pertains to the first and some of what you and others have said.

This second thing is for some reason you all ignore an IP that does, for the most part, what you all desire. This would be Ever Quest 2. For some reason or another the MMORPG community has ignored or written off EQ2. I implore you to go take a look at it. A lot of what you desire is present in EQ@. It fosters the group and guild experience you wish for almost completely. The benefits and gains for being in a group and in a guild are as substantial as the environment can permit.

It is not perfect. I have my own gripes with it. however, after playing over 30 MMORPGs i find the group and guild abilities and rewards to be the most satisfying. Additionally my solo preferences are not reduced. There are things I could never hope to accomplish with out a group. There are rewards for doing groups activities and raids i cannot get without being involved in a group or a guild but my solo viability is not reduced.

For what ever reason SOE has been vilified. I know what is being said about SOE and its IPs. If you only look at the surface of the events people cite you will see carelessly produced games and content. If you look deeper you will see a company that cares about its player base and gives them what they request. No, it is not provided the day after the request. In some cases it takes a year or more.

I have two questions in light of all of this. first, would you want additional content to be slapped together with out substantial development and testing? I ask this in regards to the evolutionary process of all things, including MMORPGs. There must be testing and development...

The second question, why does it seem that you all feel that solo play must be made incredibly difficult? Have you not realized that massive does not always mean group/guild? As a solo player I immensely value a near free trade system in my MMORPGs. That is part of what makes these worlds worth getting involved in.

Grouping is cool, I love it! Soloing is what i prefer. Making solo play arduous in comparison to grouping is a sure way to destroy your c ore player base. No matter what bells and whistles you put in a game to facilitate grouping nothing can grantee you can find a group. Therefore, solo play MUST be viable because some times you have no real choice in the matter. If there are no groups to get into or people interested in doing what you want to do as a group you are left with solo play. Therefore solo play MUST be as rewarding as group play... can you see this?

Again, I question for the sake of good discussion, not as a flame.

Posted: Jan 12th 2008 5:49PM GreenArmadillo said

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Personally, I will not play a game with mandatory grouping. This is partially because of bad experiences with my fellow players, partially because of the "AFK, real life" issue, but mainly because I'm not willing to spend my gaming time hoping for a healer or a tank to show up so I can actually play the game. There are ways for game designers to improve that situation, such as improved LFG interfaces and making healers and tanks sufficiently fun to play that the population balances out, etc, but if the moral of the story is "no group, no game" then it's no cash from me. Which SHOULD be fine - there's no reason why every single game on the market should be forced to cater to folks who share my views on the topic.

Unfortunately, the industry all saw Blizzard's numbers and decided that they weren't willing to write off the solo crowd anymore. WoW is essentially the best SINGLE PLAYER online RPG ever created. That's how they got 10 times as many players as any previous MMORPG - they're literally tapping a different market. Unfortunately, publishers aren't willing to write off the 90% of the market that plays WoW but wouldn't play the old, multiplayer online RPG's, and thus everything suddenly looks and plays like WoW.

This has hurt everyone. Players who want a more robust grouping experience all the time have nowhere to go. Players who want to group some of the time have their experience ruined by players who don't know how to play (and, in all fairness, there isn't really a setting for players who soloed to the level cap to learn how to group, since endgame instances tend to presume that players already know what they're doing). Players who don't want to group have their progression grind to a halt because all the best content and rewards must be reserved for groups. This is what we're going to be stuck with until people stop blindly imitating WoW. That might happen any decade now, really.

P.S. Those Warhammer group PVP quests that are going to save grouping in MMORPGs? We have those in World of Warcraft. They're called Battlegrounds. Anyone can join at any time for as long as they want, with any class they want, and players are supposed to work together with members of their faction to complete the group objective for a reward. I trust no one reading this blog needs a history lesson on how well PuG battlegrounds have turned out.

Posted: Jan 12th 2008 10:16PM Ghen said

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While I respect your playstyle I completely disagree. Grouping is harder to manage and therefore should get more rewards. Plain and simple.

And besides, nobody is advocating making single player harder or impossible to force grouping... Just saying that grouping should be easier and get more rewards than in current-gen MMOs (read: warcraft)

point 3: wall of text, holy crap. simplify that stuff!

Posted: Jan 13th 2008 12:43AM Oneiromancer said

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I'm a predominantly solo player and I totally think that groups and raids should get better rewards than solo players. It's just the way that you get the ability to take on harder stuff.

As all players level and get new abilities, and new gear through quests or drops, the increased levels, abilities, and gear let them take on the more advanced content. This is the way of all RPGs since Dungeons & Dragons.

The same is true for group and for raid content, especially at max level. The gear you get in easy dungeons helps you take on the harder ones, and the gear you get in the basic raids lets you advance to the later ones. There's no need for a solo player to have raider level loot--the solo content isn't designed for it. Most soloers would hate me saying this, but as a soloer myself, I'm fine with the situation. Of course, when I hit max level in a game I usually play another character or another game until the next expansion anyway.

To address the original topic, if they made solo RPGs as big in scope as MMORPGs, I wouldn't be getting online. But MMORPG developers make these big awesome worlds that I enjoy exploring with the same playstyle that I have in a solo game. I thought Minions of Mirth did it right--you could play offline, controlling a full group of characters, or you could play online in a persistent world. Unfortunately it was a little too much like original EQ instead of the new questing paradigm of MMORPGs these days, but I appreciated the effort.

Posted: Jan 14th 2008 11:30PM (Unverified) said

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I love MMO's for their interactive and social environment. People make for more intriguing drama, than npc's do.
However, I HATE being forced to group. Unfortunatly, most MMO's will force you to group in one way or another.
I can do things better and more competently myself, and yet I am repeatedly forced to team up with " nubs "who haven't a clue as to what they're doing. Its frustrating. Also there is a certain pride, in flashing something awesome in the game and being able to say "I did this myself, without any help. Check it out."

To help people understand the solo in a MMO mentality... I'll use a real world example:

I enjoy going to the occasional café. ( Sometimes with friends, sometimes alone.)
I enjoy the hustle and bustle, people talking, stuff happening. It's a great place to people watch or just relax and read a paper and enjoy some coffee. As a fairly attractive female, I also get a certain glee from showing off nice new clothes, or a new haircut. Sure I could enjoy coffee by myself, at home, but its really atmosphere I'm looking for.

Now lets say... I go to a café , and the waiter sits me at a table, with 4-5 people I don't even know. Total strangers, one of them dingy, dirty, and drooling. Does this mean I'm anti-social for not wanting to be forced to sit at a table with complete strangers. No. Its about choice. I did not choose to be set next to these people. I didn't really WANT to. I don't know them... *staring at the drooling one* I'm not even sure I want to know them. I just wanted to have a nice time and relax.

In order to get any coffee, we all have to agree on the same brand and style and order it at the same time from the same menu. These people don't know how I like my coffee. They're all bickering, in fact, over which brand of coffee is superior. That drooling guy, is happy he even has any coffee. There's an elitist guy who wants an Americano style espresso. And some of these people aren't even sure what the difference is between a Latte or a Cappuccino. But yet, in order to go forward, to the grande prize of a nice Skinny Peppermint Mocha... we all have to agree on it and order it at the same time. *sigh* -_-; And I should want to do this.... why?

Does this make me anti-social? No. There are things I am comfortable with as a human, and being forced to be social when you don't want to, is different than actually being social. When you're forced to do something, it can actually trigger resentment. Seriously, how many of you out there would go back to a café that did that? Most likely you would go searching for a different café, one that won't sit you randomly with a bunch of strangers.

This comparison, to me, is like a mmo. I like the social environment, I just would rather get to the prizes on my own. It takes time to know people. I have to socialize with total strangers and possibly step on a few toes and bruise some egos to even figure out if they're competent enough to be in a group with. Why? I could be using that time to achieve goals myself, if only the developers would allow it. I like the idea of a social environment. A good MMO makes the world feel alive by populating it with players. I enjoy having other people around, it makes the environment more immersive. I chat occasionally in general forums if a good topic comes up. I like showing off my achievements to those who are too dim to figure stuff out on their own. Its a lot better than a world filled with NPC's. Still doesn't mean I want to group, and that my lack of desire for grouping makes me "anti-social" with no place in a MMO. MMO's don't HAVE to be all about raids and groups, developers just make it that way.

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