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Reader Comments (50)

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 8:15AM smartstep said

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Yes.

There has to be few things in order for me to group-level and enjoying it:

1. There has to be separate open world content / zones / quests made for groups. Doing solo quests, normal mobs which are painfully easy to solo in group which make it even more ridiculosely easy - IS NOT FUN.

2. Group levelling has to be bit faster (and this time has to include some minutes to find people to group), than levelling solo. Because modern mmorpg's are very fast to level solo , making it even faster when foing it in a grup would be quite ridiculous and would lead to another point (3). So levelling would need to be made SIGNIFICANTLY longer.

3. Levelling would have to be made significantly longer process and ideally not so linear as it is now (zone A level 1-10 , zone B level 11-16,etc - bad design!) - because with fast levelling finding a people to group with is very hard, becasue everyone level so fast it is hard to find people that are interested in doing similar content / quest as you.

4. Grouping in open world, would ideally tend to be bit more challanging to level than soloing, and bring bit better rewards.


Point 1-3 is mandatory, point 4 is optional.

That would need mmorpg to change whole design and their concept to more 'old school' approach. Kinda would require 'balls' from devs / investors to do this.

Modern mmorpg's actually disencourage grouping apart of instances. Looking for group of people is pointless now, unless someone want to power level or just voice talk while plowing through boringly easy solo content - that is ridiculed even more while doing it with group, so doing it has even less sense than doing it solo.

So yeah me going back to prefer playing / levelling with group would need drastic changes into mmorpg's at least this one I would play.

Saying all that I would LOVE those changes I said.


Posted: Oct 16th 2011 12:11PM DarkWalker said

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@smartstep

The game I expect to bring back some degree of group leveling is GW2:

- There are no penalties to being in a group, even if not formally grouped. Two ungrouped characters going together through a zone will get the same rewards as, or even more than, if they were doing it solo, including loot drops and crafting nodes, while getting the benefits in safety and speed from being in a group. There is no mob/node tagging, every player gets the same reward from participating in the kill as if he had killed it solo.

- Consequently, there's no requirement to formally group in order to play with a group. You see a few players together, you can just tag along and enjoy the benefits, while knowing you have almost no way to grief the group you found (or, on the other hand, if someone tags along with you, you are safe in the knowledge there's almost nothing he can do to grief you).

- Plenty of overworld content that scales with the group size. You go alone, you find a few individual mobs; you go as part of a raid, you find a horde of mobs, with some quite harder ones in the middle that require coordination.

- Events that scale with group size and are open to, and reward, anyone who wants to participate. No need to concern oneself with quests, and whether or not everyone is on the same stage of the quest; you see the broadcast that marks an event starting, you can always go there and participate.

- Power restrictions on characters on a per-zone and per-instance basis. A max level character can never simply overpower the low level content because, whenever he attempts it, he is brought to the maximum recommended power level for that content. This also means any high-level friend can opt to play with his lower level friends without draining all the challenge out of the content.
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Posted: Oct 16th 2011 12:17PM smartstep said

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@DarkWalker

Yeah, I will check out GW2, even though I really loathe cash shops, but I am interested enough to check b2p model.

My main concern with GW2 is that this game will lack challange, especially in open world. From what I saw in movies, open world content really seem very easy like in most mmorpg's in last few years.

Well time will tell it seems.
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Posted: Oct 16th 2011 12:55PM Irem said

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@smartstep
The way the devs have described it is that they kept in mind that some people will want a challenge while leveling and some won't. So it's viable to fight mobs that are several levels above you, it's just that you'll need to be good at dodging and using your class abilities. Fighting stuff your own level allows you to basically stand still and whack them until they die.
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Posted: Oct 16th 2011 1:12PM smartstep said

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@Irem

Well problem is that fighting mobs over your level is possible in all mmorpg's ou there, it has big downsides though.

Biggest is that you level faster (when levelling is too fast lately imho) and you skip content because: a) you skip on-level content b) becasue you get much more xp doing higher than your own level quests / mobs, you level incredibly fast and in order to keep challange you have to move to other higher level area in middle of quests line stories / areas.

So I did that, but really that is no viable solution.

Solutions would be:

a) making 'higher difficulty' servers - that would require putting additiional money and resources in it

b) just making game harder - would hurt players that want easy game, and as GW2 beign mainstream game for wide-audience it does not fit their plans.

So yea. Just doing stuff over your level does not really solve a problem with difficulty.

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Posted: Oct 16th 2011 8:23AM (Unverified) said

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City of Heroes strikes a nice balance. Anything other than Task Forces can be solo'd, but grouping is quick, easy and painless. Though I play mostly solo I do enjoy the occassional day of PUG hopping.

Generally though in City of Heroes and Fallen Earth I prefer soloing, and mainly because I like to explore, take my time and enjoy the story and atmosphere - all things that are nearly impossible in groups where it's Go Go Go! all the time.

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 8:26AM sortius said

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Not really.

I generally find partying with people slows me down. I'm a bit of an efficiency nut when it comes to "grinding". I'll party for quests that require it, instances, etc, but general partying for normal quests, well, where's the challenge?

I suppose until level cap I'm a bit of a soloist, my style of play I suppose. As I said, I like to find efficiencies and go nuts with them. It's probably why I usually level cap all classes in games I play.

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 8:33AM stephen09181981 said

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i think grouping content is starting to lack a lot in a lot of mmo giving you a choice to solo grind to cap without ever having to group which i disagree with but this is my preference

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 8:57AM BigAndShiny said

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Even if missions are easy I love grouping for long periods of time. So for example I'll grab a guildie or IRL friend and just do 4 hours of power-questing.

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 8:59AM (Unverified) said

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It is my preferred playstyle, I get bored when all you can do is really solo and seeing as how the modern MMO is designed with as little grouping as possible in mind I can see how I get easily bored with nearly every MMO released since 2004.

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 9:11AM Valdur said

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Leveling solo gets boring pretty quick so I prefer doing group quest.Unfortunately MMORPG are getting a bit stale these days with each new release.

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 9:34AM Weiji said

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MMOs just need to stop exp splitting while grouped and let people do quests out of order. That's the biggest pain while grouping, you and the other people would rarely be all on the same quest. There's no reason why you couldn't get credit for Step. 5 and go back to do previous steps.

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 12:17PM DarkWalker said

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@Weiji

Look at GW2:

- No XP splitting in groups. No loot splitting either; every player gets as much loot as if he had killed the mob solo. And even crafting nodes can be independently farmed by everyone in the group. There's no downside at all, from a rewards point of view, for being in a group.

- No conventional questing outside the main, mostly solo questline. Instead, zones have tons of events, where any player can participate and get the rewards for, no matter what he has done before.
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Posted: Oct 16th 2011 9:38AM Bramen said

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I like to level in groups. I also like to level solo.

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 9:44AM pancho72 said

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I prefer to have a mix of solo content and group content. In this way I can play in a group when one is available and go solo otherwise.

The solo content that most modern MMOs employ is really ill suited for grouping. It's way too easy to give a group of even 2 people any advantage, and becomes very boring that way. As Smartstep says, grouping in MMOs is being discouraged nowadays rather than encouraged.

It's a shame that optional group content has gotten so little priority, turning MMOs into single player games with regular payment, instead of the multiplayer environments they used to be.

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 9:45AM Wisdomandlore said

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I liked the social aspect of leveling in groups in games like FFXI. You found a camp, settled in, and got to know each other. You pretty much had to to or else you would die from boredom during downtime sometimes.

But I have yet to see a modern MMO recreate the social experience of grouping. Once MMOs moved away from camping to questing as the primary leveling mechanic, the leisurely social experience of previous games was lost. Because you were always going, going, going, there was never any time to talk or interact with other players. The ad hoc grouping of Rift and soon GW2 doesn't solve this either. Sure, it gets people grouping, but it doesn't encourage social interaction.

While voice chat helps, the community that play these games have changed. Previous games felt like a tight-knit social group. They weren't perfect, but at least people were invested in the community. Today's games feel like visiting any random internet message board.

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 10:18AM Bhagpuss said

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I get tired of seeing that old, inaccurate cliche about there being no soloing in the older MMOs.

My first MMO was Everquest, which I bought in 1999. I soloed pretty much exclusively for the first few months I played. I took the advice of a website (probably Caster's Realm) and began with a dwarven cleric. He didn't solo quite as well as they suggested he would, so I tried various others. A half-elf ranger. A troll shaman. A human warrior.

After a while I settled on a gnome necromancer and a human druid. They both soloed happily. As I soloed my way around Norrath I was chatting with other soloists; necros and druids for sure, but also many bards and wizards and magicians. Long before WoW appeared in 2004, Everquest was filled with soloing enchanters, shamans, paladins, shadowknights, clerics.. in fact, pretty much everyone could solo apart from the poor old rogue.

Soloing wasn't the fastest way to level for most classes. Not all classes could solo to the level cap without a great deal of difficulty. Grouping was much more common than soloing. None of this, however, meant that EQ didn't have a lot of soloing going on right from the beginning, nor that soloists weren't having a great deal of fun doing it.

MMOs need to be built for a balance of solo, small group and full group play. Every motorist is a pedestrian sometimes. Every group player will sometimes solo.

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 10:30AM mysecretid said

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If it's a group of friends, sometimes.

Certain people try to turn soloing versus grouping into some sort of "antisocial versus friendly" thing. Or worse, a "right play versus wrong play" thing.

What they miss is that many of us find soloing preferable because being part of a group can feel like extra work.

When I solo, I can go where I want; I can do what I want; I don't have to answer to anyone else; and I don't have to responsible for the health, safety, and happiness of someone else's character.

Simply put, grouping can bring a kind of social pressure, when all I really want to do is relax.

Sure, when you're playing with a group of people you truly enjoy, the fun can jump to new heights -- but sometimes you just need time to be the lone hero, and leave group responsibilities behind.

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 11:18AM GW2waiting said

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I tried grouping in many of the MMORPGs I've played, but I often found that most people were just not interested in experiencing the story that went along with the quests. They would join up with me and try to go through the quests like it was some sort of race.

I remember one group I joined up with and I was happily reading the quest text, trying to work out where the next step was and I got told "don’t worry about reading it, we've already looked it up on the net and have the coordinates mapped already. Just follow....". Where is the joy in that? Where is the excitement of exploration? Where's the mystery? Where's the sense of wonder? And that is why people solo! It’s not because they are anti-social and don’t like grouping, it’s because they want to play the game and enjoy it the way it was supposed to be played, without having some snotty nosed 15 year old flaming the chat because he wants to get to max level.

These games don't start at max level, people! I blame the death of social interaction in MMORPGs not on solo questing, but on this misguided notion that somehow the object of the game is to get to max level as quickly as possible and grind dungeons for ever and ever.

Slow down for goodness sake! Smell the roses! Enjoy the ride and you will actually get more for you money than a one month run to level cap and then sitting on the forums complaining "...this game is crap, nothing to do but grind.....".

Posted: Oct 16th 2011 12:00PM Poordevil said

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@GW2waiting

Yea I agree. I like to group but I also enjoy taking my time and not racing through objectives. Not all groups are in a hurry that way, but it is kind of common. I don't understand the mad rush to arrive at end game content either. I think the best part of a MMO is playing the game from 1 to level cap.

Grouping is important. It is a major element in MMO gameplay, so I don't shun grouping. In fact I had a general policy playing Age of Conan not to turn down any invitations to group. All told though I probably spend 80% of my time solo. I would have done more leveling with groups if the population was there to support all the group quests. But there are more group quests mid game than there are players to fill them.

One thing I discovered from grouping was how many women were playing the game! I was surprised to find there were so many gals playing such a bloody MMO, lol.
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