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Reader Comments (11)

Posted: May 23rd 2011 3:23PM hereafter said

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LFG tools are a mixed bag for me as well. Any time they involve grouping up for quests out in the world (when having an easy way to group on the fly is most useful), they seem basically empty. Dungeon finding has way more hits and is very convenient, but it kind of kills the camaraderie that I remember back when I had to find groups through chat.

The other thing about chat relates to you point about wanting to sense that response. Passive LFG tools feel like dating sites to me. You put yourself out there and hope someone comes a long to say "hi," but unless you're actively messaging others, the responses are few and far between (not talking about cross-server dungeons here, just group quests) I think that's the main problem, it's that they're not an active thing. It's always faster for me to say "LFG [Quest Name]" in the chat than it is to rely on a tool to match me. I suppose it's okay when used as an information tool to let players know who needs help in your zone, but expecting it to be a complete solution to finding groups is pushing it.

Posted: May 23rd 2011 3:47PM DarkWalker said

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I don't play RoM, but what you described is almost identical to what WoW's LFG tool was like before the current LFD.
It's also similar to WoW's currently underused LFR tool.

BTW, for me, the stroke of genius on Blizzard's part was reserving the rewards for players joining (not so) random dungeon runs. Basically, anyone who wants the rewards is agreeing to help others in doing runs on any dungeon; thus, players looking for specific dungeon runs can always find "willing" helpers.

Posted: May 23rd 2011 4:14PM Dracones said

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City of Heroes did LFG very well right out of the gate. The key was how the missions were laid out. It was beneficial to get more people into your group because it enhanced the rewards in the missions and also gave your group more missions to choose from.

Plus it was very easy to co-ordinate the questing. Group leader set the quest, a waypoint would pop up for everyone pointing out the mission door and you'd all head to it.

The only place where it fell down was when you hit levels where there wasn't a good playerbase size(usually the 20's).

Posted: May 23rd 2011 5:31PM (Unverified) said

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Jeremy, I think you and my fellow commenters are leaving out the main reason why LFG tools in most games, including RoM, is never used. Correct me if I'm wrong, but RoM's LFG tool is not automatic like WoW's or Forsaken World, meaning you have to keep checking for people's entires there. In both WoW and Forsaken World, you can just apply to a dungeon or event and leave the rest for the system. You can keep doing whatever you're doing while the game automatically finds you a group, then you can join and be transported to the instance.

Again, correct me if I'm wrong, but that does not happen with Runes of Magic or with a lot of other MMOs I've tried. A LFG tool will only work, it seems, if there is that automatic grouping. It's easy, it's intuitive, it's effortless. And that's why the LFD in WoW pretty much replaced zone chat shouting for 5 mans. To ilustrate this further, WoW also has a looking for raid tool, but that one works just like all the others, only listing your name and comments, and people have to manually invite you. Guess what happened? Nobody uses it.

Posted: May 23rd 2011 6:25PM jeremys said

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@(Unverified) A very good point. That's an added incentive I hinted at in the article. The luxury(convenience) of being ported directly into the dungeon from any location.

I have been able to test out RoM LFG tool, but not a lot. When you register an entry that's looking for others, the player will get notified via a pop-up and you can click to add them to a party.

I filled out the looking-for tab and it took awhile but someone actually responded and a special pop-up appeared on my screen telling me the name of the character and a some other information.

Still, it was up to me to let them join my party and manually join up with them.

That's definitely a nice feature, but along with many other systems and functions in current-day MMOs, I personally feel it's almost too easy. It reminds me of when I'd play Nintendo and get some games, try them on easy or super-easy mode and not have any fun. The games just weren't fun because the challenges and requirements were so lax until I put them on normal or hard mode and they became fun again. I feel the same way about many forms of cheat-codes. But that's for another article. :)
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Posted: May 24th 2011 8:28AM (Unverified) said

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@jeremys But don't you think spaming in trade/world chat is much worse than any hand-holding on group assembling?? Maybe it is too easy, but after Blizzard implemented their Looking for Dungeon tool, I kinda expect the same feature in every MMO. I can not go back to chat spaming, waiting in cities for half an hour, desperately trying to fill the empty slots and roles. I have some really bad memories of that time. I don't need the automatic teleportation into the dungeon, but the automatic nature of the group assemble has become the standard for me. I was actually very surprised when I played Forsaken World and the LFG feature worked the same way.

RoM's system isn't bad, quite the contrary as you pointed out in the article, but people end up not using it, so the choice is between the system doing all the work for you or doing nothing, so I'd just rather the game doing that work in particular.
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Posted: May 24th 2011 3:21PM jeremys said

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@(Unverified) I agree. I think I was to broad and vague in my comment. I tried to cover too many thoughts at once.

Part of it is the automatic teleports into dungeons that kind of curtail or discourage running around a gigantic world. Another is taking things as they come.

I usually never sat around waiting for 30 minutes trying to fill a slot. I would chat, then run around and dance and explore on my way to said dungeon, stop off and have some quick quest-help action along my way. Doubling-up, traveling while I "waited". I think it's a bit of an old-schoolers approach to play. I'm not an old-schooler, I just find fun in everything that I can. I like spending 8 hours picking herbs(sometimes), or spending hours just walking(not even using my mount) across the world to see what I can get into.

I think in current times a lot of psychological factors have steered they way people approach an MMO. Some jump in and want to do a dungeon and everything else around them becomes an annoyance. Sifting through bags while you wait is no longer just another fun-filled activity among many other activities, but it - and many of those other activities - are now annoyances.

Create a wooden bridge and crossing the beaver dam is now an annoyance. Create a stone bridge and now the wooden bridge is an annoyance. Create a teleport and now walking is an annoyance. That kind of thing. In many respects, it is the players responsibility to make fun, not ask for or only take fun.

But, you are right. The LFD tool is actually pretty neat and I never really ran dungeons until it was implemented in WoW.
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Posted: May 23rd 2011 7:17PM Ordegar said

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Of all the mmos with LFG interfaces that I have played, DDO is the only one that actually seems to have large-scale usage. The reason for that, I think, is because of the repeatable nature of the quests in DDO. When I peruse the LFG window, I look through the list of groups filtered to only show ones that want my class and level, and see what adventure area they want to play in, and if it's somewhere that I like I will join them; the question of whether I have done the quests in that area before or not does not apply because it's all repeatable and I will still get xp and loot for participating.

In other games, including Turbine's other mmo LOTRO, the quests are meant to be done once and then you move on; so the chance of someone looking in the LFG window who is on the exact quest you are is not that great. But almost everyone is in the LFG channel in LOTRO, so you're more likely to find people for your quest there. The same goes for Everquest 2, which has an awesome LFG interface that nobody uses.

For those types of games with the do-once type of quests, the LFG interface needs to make note of all of the quests in your quest log, so when someone is looking for someone to group with, it will only show them people who have common quests, and which quests they have in common; otherwise it only gets used for dungeon pugs.

Posted: May 24th 2011 3:10AM FrostPaw said

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My one experience of Runes of Magic was trying to get a group for the first proper dungeon. I advertised in the LFG tool and after two days of looking was eventualy forced to be taken through it by people far too high in level for the content...completely ruined the game and I stopped playing shortly after.

Most mmo players are too dumb or lazy to bother figuring a LFG tool out. They would rather spam a chat channel. Its not just runes of magic, most games with a LFG tool don't have that many people advertising, of course it may also be that most people don't need to bother LFG when so many games allow them to solo all the way to cap anyway.

There is also a great deal of evidence that people want to be led not lead. So not many people advertise as looking for more. Everybody looks for a group but few people want to lead it, again just too much effort/lazyness.

I think DDO gets some use with their LFG tool because for a while the game required groups to do the content, I think there is some solo content now but its the only game I know of that mostly expected its players to team up to advance and because of that people needed to learn how to use it.

Posted: May 24th 2011 4:12AM BGExorcist said

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The one thing I remember it was used to, was to promote gold seller sites in the description of the player.

Posted: May 24th 2011 10:30AM cored said

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"I think Blizzard has come close to hitting a sweet-spot with WoW's dungeon finder."

You can't do PvE matchmaking. At least not for semi-experienced players. Having it available for newbs, or people just messing around, is fine, but there needs to be an option that does not use matchmaking.

It would also be nice if you could use the LFG tool for dungeon quests that are still yellow to you...

DAoC LFG tool, simple, effective, done.

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