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Reader Comments (51)

Posted: Sep 6th 2011 3:16PM Dril said

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As I've said before:

I don't agree that soloing should be *encouraged* or really catered to all that much as a playstyle in MMOs. SRPGs exist for a reason: to solo through an adventure without pesky real people ruining your day.

I agree, in a sense, that there should always be solo options; but they should be less efficient, less engaging and more as filler content for people who want to get something done in 20 minutes. Grouping should be easy, engaging, efficient but also meaningful and variable from 30 minutes to 3+ hours.

It also irritates me that people say that there needs to be a solo endgame option, yet make no mention of the fact that levelling is, by and large, totally geared toward soloing where grouping is either endless repeated content or simply less viable, meaning the average player is going to go out of their way to avoid grouping.

There should be solo options; but, in an MMO, grouping should always provide the biggest, boldest and best.

Posted: Sep 6th 2011 4:02PM Bolongo said

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@Dril Yes, grandpa, we kow how you feel. ;)

And no, I'm still not gonna help you die....
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Posted: Sep 6th 2011 4:12PM DarkWalker said

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@Dril
While I agree that soloing should not be encouraged over group content, MMOs need to cater to solo players for a simple reason: players often want to go solo (or else just can't group, for whatever reason).

I'm really waiting for GW2 due to it's take on the group issue: keep some exclusive group content (exploration-mode instances, some events), but make most of the content scale from solo up to dozens, or even hundreds, of players; and make grouping as easy and painless as possible (in this case, done by removing all disadvantages to grouping, and enabling players to tackle group content by just fighting side by side, without any need for formal grouping). If this approach works, it will be the best grouping experience ever in a MMO.

(I really love, in GW2, how we will be able to do group content without a need to formally group. If I find a guild doing a raid-level boss event, I can just start helping them, and get the same loot at the end; no need to formally assemble and/or schedule a raid. Also, the fact that, for those events, there will never be a need for benched players or to kick someone just because the group is too large or the player is the wrong spec is another huge advantage.)
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Posted: Sep 6th 2011 4:23PM (Unverified) said

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@Dril

I don't really know why this was downvoted (or whatever they call it here on massively). Even if I don't totally agree, it's a valid opinion.

I do think saying "there's SRPG's out there" is kind of lame. Not many SRPG's have similar gameplay to MMO's, and even then, some players like the world, the gameplay, the lore, etc. of a specific game. I don't think adding solo content would in any way dilute or diminish the impact of raiding or grouping.

One thing I do think is that if there's a solo endgame, it should be on a completely different progression path than raiding. If we like at iLvl, soloers obviously don't need gear that's as good as raiders. If normal iLvl is 300 and raiding iLvl is 350, soloers don't need 350, maybe they get 320. Raiding, in my mind, is tougher than soloing not because of mechanics but because of the organizational component, and should offer better gear. So I do think it should provide the best because it's harder than soloing. And even then, it's not like as a soloer you NEED to have the topnotch gear. If you're going after a carrot, it doesn't need to be the best best carrot out there.
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Posted: Sep 6th 2011 4:30PM Dril said

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@Bolongo

iknorite?

Offering an opinion in Massively's opinion column is evidently an open invitation to be ridiculed by people like yourself who offer such fantastic contributions.

+1

@DarkWalker

I know people want to solo, and, as I said, I do think there should always be a solo option for people to do something in between grouping.

I just think the best stuff should be reserved for grouping in an MMO.

@Unverified

The SPRGs comment was more aimed at people who say they never group, never will, and think MMOs should offer moar soloing stuff.
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Posted: Sep 6th 2011 4:54PM Dumac said

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@DarkWalker
"MMOs need to cater to solo players for a simple reason: players often want to go solo (or else just can't group, for whatever reason)."

One thing. People play solo because it's easier and faster. Why is it easier and faster? Because it's hard to get a group. Why is it hard to get a group? Because everyone is soloing.

Well, among other things ... But it's something to think about. Not specifically targeted to DarkWalker, just in line of what he said. Solo and group content are not compatible in a single game. I agree with Dril that solo content should be inferior, because the impulse to make both solo and group content as good as possible is going to draw people away from grouped content even if they wanted to play the group content.

But i could also see how after 80 levels of solo questing you would want a solo endgame, that's perfectly reasonable. But a game shouldn't try to cater to both.
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Posted: Sep 6th 2011 5:26PM Utakata said

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@Dumac

I'm not sure what games you are referring to. In City of Heroes for example, solo'ing is far slower and more difficult than grouping. Only WoW seems to haven taken that to an extreme recently...least in ease. But even then, you'll still level faster doing group instances than solo'ing.
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Posted: Sep 6th 2011 7:16PM bulldozerftw said

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@Dril Maybe mmo's can just add in a non pay application that will greatly boost players ability to enjoy themselves with friends and also end up sticking around more long term. An application that instead of having gear scores it would have a play style score.
It would be able to give you an average of time you usually play in. You would be able to classify what kind of player you are such as raider, pvper, roleplayer. Basically a bunch of ratings to help group people together into small guilds that can work towards specific goals or in some cases just relax. I find it almost impossible in some games to find a group within a decent time frame, sometimes it might take a full hour to organize an instance group. Which for some people they barely have that much time.

My best option recently in one mmo was to just do whatever was close to being enjoyable or to what I needed to accomplish that someone else wanted to do. Over time I might randomly get done my main priority. Mostly due to scenarios being locked out to certain ranges of level ratings.

In some cases I played a game for a full year and still never got a guild or group of players to help accomplish some huge tasks such as gearing up on time bases boss re spawn items.
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Posted: Sep 6th 2011 8:10PM j3w3l said

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@Dril
while i do think group content has its place in endgame, it shouldn't be the only thing to do at endgame which it so often is. Having a wealth of things to do for your entire playerbase,(no chasing artifacts doesn't count) is just good business.
as to grouping content, it is stilll a rather independent experience anyway as you are usually only worried about what your particular role.
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Posted: Sep 7th 2011 7:47AM JuliusSeizure said

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@Dril

I say down with preconfigured group content entirely. With games relying on instanced raids full of pre-determined fights, they become more and more like bombastic PvE-Raid MOBAs with super fancy lobbies.

I'd rather see a shift towards more dynamic living worlds where people are encouraged to work together off the cuff, but there's no party mechanic. Games that can figure out how to reward everyone for the effort they make and offer coordination tools which communicate with anyone nearby. Something that truly embodies the term 'massively multiplayer' instead of just 'quite large but largely static groups'.
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Posted: Sep 7th 2011 5:09PM DarkWalker said

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@Dumac
Solo and group content are compatible. It's not as if a game can only have one or the other. And if the players actually prefer to play solo, well, that should tell you something.

BTW, the best way to solve the problem goes through making grouping so easy, players don't need to lose time when doing so. If a game can be made so players waste absolutely no time to get in a group, or running some piece of content in a group as opposed to solo, you can bet there would be many more players grouping, even it the rewards for group and solo play were the same.

It's roughly what GW2 plans to do: you find someone on the game world, you just tag along.

No need to formally group: all benefits from grouping extend to players that are playing together but not in a group. This even include the raid-like events. Can you imagine raiding without having to previously assemble a group?

No wasted time with loot division, no reduction in farming speed: loot is individual, and every player that helps kill a mob gets as much loot as if he had soloed the mob. You want to get loot faster, the best way is to actually help other players fight their mobs.

No need to worry about quest state, locks, whatever: the "quests" just happen in the world, anyone can help accomplish them. There should be no situation in which a player can't do a "quest" and get his due reward.

No need to worry about group size, or even composition: the "quests" scale with the number of players participating, most of them from solo up to a few dozen/hundred players; and characters can fulfill every role (perhaps requiring a "respec", which can be done anywhere, as long as the character is out of combat).

Of course, GW2 is not even in Beta. But, if what they are planning works, it will put "massively" back in MMO, while also being very solo friendly. Can you imagine over a hundred players fighting a raid boss? Seems like it will be possible, and might even be a common occurrence, in GW2.
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Posted: Sep 8th 2011 5:17AM (Unverified) said

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@DarkWalker
"And if the players actually prefer to play solo, well, that should tell you something."

This. Completely. I am largely a solo player in MMOs. Not because I am determined to solo everything, but because the grouping mechanic doesn't work for me at all. I only ever group when someone happens to come along to do something at the same time as me and we're like "hey let's do this together." It's easy, it generally works out pretty well, it's casual and fun and you can work together as long as you want and then leave when you want/need to. Of course in most current MMOs this only happens once in every blue moon because most everyone is rushing to get into a guild, to powerlevel, and then to run raids over and over.

I am very excited to see how GW2 plays out because it really does sound like the perfect system for me. You can work together without having to wait for long periods of time, without having to worry about getting the right types of players. If it's not working out for you, you can leave without worrying about disrupting the group too much and log off or go find something else to do. If you are successful, everyone gets rewarded, no worries about ninjaing and no need to run the same content hundreds of time to get one pair of gloves or whatever. I really hope this works as intended!
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Posted: Sep 6th 2011 3:21PM j1083 said

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"Choices are always better than a lack of choices."

Emphatically: yes.

Posted: Sep 6th 2011 3:25PM doublerainbow said

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I like to say that choice is king in the land of the MMO.

If you want to be truly successful it seems that you have to cater to every kind of play style with your game. Some people love to explore, others like to get into the lore and questing hardcore, and yet others like exploring what other classes do and become altoholics.

You of course have your end game players, pvp'ers, and crafters as well. MMO's are perhaps like universities. They combine many different schools into one area for convenience. The schools in the MMO are its various gameplay elements.

If everyone knows that your MMO is the school that caters to the PvP crowd, or the end game crowd, then you are basically loosing substantial income from other types of players.

This all seems like a no brainer to me, but I have no doubts that putting together an MMO is the hardest thing to do in gaming.

Posted: Sep 6th 2011 3:29PM smartstep said

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What is worst in today's mmorpg's is that 'levelling' is totally solo made and even if there are few group activities. Solo is still more effeficient.
Not to mention it is painfully easy and fast.

Then this kind of player who just played multiple regions solo , reach max . level and there is grup content thrown at him. Much harder one as well.

That is biggest flaw of modern mmorpgs.

Games need to be made more balanced. Make 'levelling' much longer and at same time interesting and meaningful. Let it be a pleasant journey not a 'follow an arrow meaningless solo-killing time'.

Game should provide more content for solo player at this so called "end game" I agree. So it should have better crafting , housing , social activities , exloration tasks , collection tasks , some solo dungeons (thought it should be less rewarding and/or effeficient than group dungeons or all ppl will grind them solo) .

Another way is just to throw out level system based character advancement , and make games more in SWG style. Solves many problems.

Posted: Sep 6th 2011 3:29PM smartstep said

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@smartstep

I mean SWG pre-NGE of course.
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Posted: Sep 6th 2011 3:29PM Arkanaloth said

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I've often said:

Final Fantasy XI taught me what I didn't want in a game, World of Warcraft taught me what I didn't want in an end-game. I enjoyed WoW til I hit the level cap so I made alts until most of them hit the level cap, for me the game didn't start at 80, it ended. Didn't even bother with the most recent expansion, a 5 level gap until I was at the cap again just didn't feel like it was worth my cash.

so far the only MMO I play that has kept me coming back over and over is GuildWars. I genuinely enjoy the gameplay and if my friends are not online it doesn't impact what I feel like doing on a given day. As you said choices are always better.

Posted: Sep 6th 2011 3:47PM Utakata said

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As I said before, the word "massively" needs to be replaced by 'metaverse" in MMO's...a vitual world where you come to do whatever you want, with friends, strangers or by yourself. Where options to do content solo, groups, raids are given equal weight. And players's playstyles are respected across the board....wether they want to solo, PvP, raid, RP, chat, ahievement whore or just watching an ingame sunset. The old dinasour thinking of WoW's "raid or die" mantra needs to be slain and put to extinction fast.

Posted: Sep 6th 2011 3:53PM Utakata said

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@Utakata

*dinosaur...Freudian typo is Freudian. :(
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Posted: Sep 6th 2011 3:48PM real65rcncom said

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"It's Raid Night Every Night"

I thought this was RIFT's tagline...

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