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Posted: Feb 15th 2012 11:24AM nimzy said

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This is why I think sandboxes are the only way to innovate when it comes to MMORPGs. Actual, tangible benefits to working together with other people will always trump bonuses and better gear.

Posted: Feb 15th 2012 11:27AM hami83 said

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The article complains about Rift because you can out level a character, or a friend starts at 1, but you're 50.

I believe Rift is getting a mentoring system similar to EQ2, so I don't know if that would change anything about their view on the game.

Posted: Feb 15th 2012 12:25PM (Unverified) said

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I think Rift is one of the few games that can take a typical lone wolf solo player and get them to really have fun in a no-obligations, no-pressure group setting with its public system for closing rifts during invasion/zone events.
I typically just feel... pressured (by myself) to be a top performer in groups, even if my skill is sub-par. I'm too hard on myself for goofing up, missing a heal, failing to realize a boss mechanic on the first try etc. I get stressed out because I don't forgive myself, even over the small stuff, if I do anything to embarrass myself around others. This can make social heavy games a challenge at times, and can often leave me feeling miserable by the end of the day if I don't "wow" everyone.

The public system in Rift is so friendly, you just... join... or someone joins you and you just keep working on whatever it is you're on. By the time you're 50 (hopefully sooner, so you can enjoy the lower level dungeons) being in a group won't even phase you because its been happening so often. I really like that style of play. It helps me "chill out" a bit and not take grouping so serious. Grouping should be fun, not stressful.

Posted: Feb 15th 2012 1:59PM (Unverified) said

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Thanks for the article, definitely worth a read.

I never thought of a free trial as a barrier to playing together. In my mind the alternative of no trial at all is worse. That'd keep people apart even more in regards for those that do not want to invest money to try out a game with a friend.

The mention of mentoring systems is what excites me for Guild Wars 2. I think it'll be great fun to return to lower level content to help people out if they need it and still have it be a challenge. Without a mentoring system you don't see many higher level players in the earlier zones of an MMO. You can still return to the zones, but it feels pointless when there are not many people around.

Posted: Feb 15th 2012 2:36PM Sente said

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Has the EQ2 mentoring system changed much lately? If so, what are they doing then that tops the City of Heroes mentoring/sidekick system - which almost completely eliminates level concerns.
As long as you have a character with a compatible alignment you can do pretty much anything together - and be beneficial for everyone, besides the fun part.

Guild Wars is also pretty nice in that the level part is pretty much a non-issue also, since getting to max level is kind of an extended tutorial, timewise.

Posted: Feb 15th 2012 6:09PM Heraclea said

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@Sente

It always struck me that the City of Heroes developers never knew what they had created. They made a game that is the least trinity-bound of any MMO I've played. Most content can be handled by a group of any characters, and content scales to group and level. The only fly in the ointment is that you have to level to get powers that will help your team.

So ad hoc groups based on rapid completion of easy content became the glue that held the community together. The object was to level and claim your powers. For much of the game's history, the drumbeat of the dev team has been hostility to "power levelling" and "farming". The eternal worry was that players were levelling too fast or earning rewards too quickly.

Adding difficult, multi-group, choreographed raid content, and other team content that requires more careful attention to team composition, has been their latest response. That always was the sort of thing I'd got back to CoH to get away from in other games.
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Posted: Feb 15th 2012 3:30PM mccar42 said

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since how long ago?
EQ2 lets you mentor, of course, but you can also mentor your self with the chronomages. and if you need help while mentored (which 9 times out of 10 you wont) you can hire a merc to help you and he will adjust to your lvl even with the chronomage "buff".

tbh I feel that chronomages made the game 100x better for me. I could just log in any time and run, for example, a lvl 40 heroic (group) zone on my lvl 90 toon solo to finish an old quest or hunt for some unique items to equip in appearance slot.

in eq2 mentoring is basically like this;
*You group with someone lower than you are
*You right click on them and select Mentor (or you can type /mentor %t with them targeted, %t = target's name typed in chat.)
*You are now at their lvl with your gear lowered in strength (but still stronger than normal gear of that lvl for the most part)

While mentored the other player will get extra XP and you will get a lower amount of xp based upon the difference of your lvl and their lvl. This is so someone lvl 88 can't just mentor a lvl 5 and lvl up, he will get like no xp for being 83 lvls higher, but the lvl 5 would get a iirc 10% boost, and iirc it adds more if several also mentor him. forget the cap on bonus xp though.

As a fully raid geared Inquisitor (like an offensive/battle cleric) I find mentoring with other players below 75-80 makes the content too easy and boring. but when the system is used closer together or maybe with toons that are not using the best gear in the game it might be more balanced. Like I would out dps a wizard at lvl 60-65 and be tanking and heal most also.

But than again isn't mentoring basically a front to help your friends get to your lvl faster, and also give you a chance to help them out. Games like this (MMO) can be daunting to a new player at times and sometimes all they need is 1 person to show them some mechanics and stuff.

Posted: Feb 15th 2012 3:39PM mccar42 said

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blah can't edit lol

While the chronomages make it better for higher lvl players, it kind of kills lower lvl grouping, which has seen a bit of a boost with the addition of F2P and silver imo.
maybe it is just a coincidence but lately I have seen more people in lower areas lfg.
but the style of game EQ2 is, is top heavy. It is the type of game where you can enjoy the lower lvls but most of the grouping is higher up. This seems bad at first but it really doesn't take long to make it to 80. getting 320aa is more of a challenge but still doable pretty fast. especally if you get into a decent active guild so people can help you and mentor/group.

That being said Mentoring for me has always been a way for me to play the old content, not so much for me to "power level" some random player...

Posted: Feb 15th 2012 5:03PM jimr9999us said

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I think it would be cool if games had max lvl classes...each of the archetypes you could start at max level to join your friends.

They'd have very simple mechanics and no gear though...so you couldn't raid with them or anything. But you could play a normal dungeon, screw around in pvp. That sort of thing.

If you liked the endgame you could start lvl'ing a real toon then. Problem with so many games now...WoW and EQ2 esp...the thought of getting a toon through 80+ levels before even seeing what the game is like is simply too daunting.

Posted: Feb 15th 2012 7:20PM Seffrid said

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@jimr9999us "Problem with so many games now...WoW and EQ2 esp...the thought of getting a toon through 80+ levels before even seeing what the game is like is simply too daunting."

I take the view that those levels is what the game is like, I have no interest in endgame shenanigans like raiding and PvP, but clearly if those are the only draw for some players then they will dislike having to churn through the levels to get there.
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Posted: Feb 15th 2012 7:16PM smartstep said

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Mentoring systems is plastered ,flawed workaround around a problem that exist just because of flawed linear ,level-based progress system with it's roots in D&D.

There are far better progress systems that does not create so big rifts (pun unintended) between players and don't divide content and players so much.

Posted: Feb 15th 2012 7:39PM jimr9999us said

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Yeah, this wasn't about what the game was, only about ways that made it easier for friends to play together :)
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Posted: Feb 17th 2012 4:47AM (Unverified) said

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Mentoring in a level based game is as necessary an evil as a LFD teleport tool is needed in a gear treadmill/dungeon heavy game. It's also improves the multiplayer aspects of games. I love GW2's proposed model since it downgrades players to the level of the zone, and one doesn't LEARN new abilities from anything other then the use of weaponry instead of talking to a trainer so this method eliminates the problems of inflating abilities but still being short abilities like we've seen in the pvp zones of many an mmo like WoW, and most recently SWTOR. You can make them do the same amount of damage as the higher level abilities but when you don't have all of the abilities trained then the problems hit.

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